Do You Love Your Work or Just the Money?

Do You Love Your Work or Just the Money?

A friend of mine, Andie is her name, recently started her own company after bouncing around at a few different positions the last few years.  When we first met, we both had been with our employers for a number of years and then ventured out to try new things.

Andie and I spoke briefly this month and reflecting on that conversation, I’ve seen lots of people do what Andie has done.  I’ve done it too.

Maybe you have gone through this, let’s check.

You worked somewhere for awhile and then for some reason decided to leave.  For me it was a group of radio stations where I did nearly everything that I wanted to do and was getting bored and didn’t like the direction they were heading.  For Andie, her background was in the paper industry selling to ad agencies and print houses.

Over the eight years I was with those stations, I had people regularly approach me with offers to join them. Sometimes it was as a new business partner, sometimes it was in addition to my work for the radio station.  I did some of that, formed my own company, ScLoHo Marketing Solutions and earned a bit of side income.

Then one day I decided to jump ship.  It surprised my radio co-workers as I was the one who had been at that company longer than anyone except for a couple of the air staff.

Here’s the critical point:

The new job I took was not going to be a stepping stone, It was going to be my profession for the next 8+ years, like my last employer was.  But a few months into it, the position changed and I learned things about the company that I didn’t like.  But I was stubborn and stayed with them 6 months longer than I should have.  Years later, when talking to the radio stations I left, I learned that they would have welcomed me back.  But even though I didn’t burn any bridges, I had shut the door on that chapter of my career.

Anyway, what was supposed to be a life changing career move into the digital media world was at the best, a big learning experience and I returned to radio with a different company.  That was also a career mistake and the warning came sooner than before.  The very day I was signing my contract they asked me to make compromises. Their style of doing business eventually drove me away.  When I left I had 6 offers and decided to take another break from radio.

Again I was taking a position that I could do for the rest of my life.  It was organizing and running the social media outreach for 6 brands for a locally based national internet retailer.  I say local, but it was an hours drive from home and required me to be at the office daily.  I would leave home at 6:30 and return 12 hours later most days.  I also worked weekends from home and monitored our social media.  Why did I leave after 10 months?  The company changed.  Specifically my boss left and was replaced by a temporary boss who was clueless about what I did, but wanted me to make changes that for the most part were not good.

Each of these career changes were originally going to be permanent. However each simply became a learning experience.

As you decide what to do for money, be open to making changes.  But also use each experience as part of your ongoing education.

One final thought,  if you are working somewhere that you truly hate, first examine your attitude and if you decide you are not a good fit, do everyone including yourself a favor and look for someplace else to work, or start your own business like my friend Andie did.

By the way, looking back on the past 4 years, I see how each of those positions I took have added to my experience and abilities as I serve my clients today, along with helping me to sharpen my focus for what is important in my work and personal life.

It’s the Experience We Want

It’s the Experience We Want

#TBT From my 2008 ScLoHo archives:

Some of the smartest marketing minds don’t seem to get IT.

Some of the smartest marketing minds DO GET IT.

What’s IT?

IT is the real reason people like you and me and your neighbor, and your spouse, and nearly every human being decide:

  1. What to Buy
  2. Who to Buy from
  3. When to Buy

The pessimistic economists and some in the news media say that we are slaves to prices. That we are driven by the mighty dollar and what it will buy.

It’s this line of thinking prompts retailers to always have a sale, to the point that you feel stupid if you pay full price.

We have become numb to the price games.

We want more.

We want to feel important.

We want to feel valued.

We want someone to care about the things we care about.

We want to know that we are getting what we pay for, not just something cheap.

It’s the experience we are after and here’s two examples from my own life that illustrate this point:

In 2002, I bought a house that had no central air conditioning, and no duct work since the house had hot water heat.

I got two bids from two companies that I was familiar with that my parents had used years ago, or that I remembered from their decades of advertising. One bid was for $8,000. The other bid was for $8,500.

I spent the extra $500 from the company that impressed me with the way they treated me as a potential customer, and I was not disappointed. After the A/C was installed, they had to come back and make some adjustments, but they told me in advance that this was going to be necessary, and I continue to recommend them and use them.

The other story involves dry cleaning. I once was tempted to visit a different dry cleaner than my usual dry cleaner because of a special they were running.

Problem was, they told me it was going to be 5 days instead of the 24 hours I was used to at my usual dry cleaners to get my clothes back. I continue to be loyal to the one that provides the best service for my needs.

Now granted, there are certain stores that do both, provide good service and good prices.

But you can never lower your prices low enough to make up for bad service.

A Drip Campaign can be a Good Thing

A Drip Campaign can be a Good Thing

Okay, when I say drip, how many of you thought of something negative?

It’s time to change your thinking, at least marketing wise.

I was talking to the owner of an ad agency the other day and he had not heard the term “Drip Campaign” before.

Here’s what it is and why a drip campaign can be a good thing for your business.

Think about a faucet that drips.  Not a lot of water all at once, but just a consistent drip….drip….drip….drip…you get the picture.

You can overflow a glass that you leave in the sink overnight if the faucet drips in it all night long.

While it’s not what I would recommend when you are really thirsty right now, you agree that it’s one way of filling up your glass, right?

When you have a business that needs to advertise, you can do it in short powerful spurts by turning the water on full blast, or you can just let it drip in, slow and steady.

Unless you are one of those short term businesses that are only open a short time each year, you probably would do better with a regular stream of customers every week.  That’s the thinking behind a drip campaign.

You create a steady flow of business that you can handle.

Let’s say you can handle 20 customers a week. That’s 140 per year.  What would happen if you got 140 customers showing up at your business in just two weeks.  Could you handle that much business all at once?

Nope. Not if you are only equipped to handle 40 in two weeks.  What would happen to those other 100?  You’d lose them.  You’d annoy them, they would be talking smack about you.

Your advertising schedule should reflect the pace of the flow of business you want too.

Steady, maybe a little less than you would do if you were running a special promotion, but consistent too.

It works.  I’ve done this time and time again for business people who want to grow their business at a pace they can handle.

By the way, you are already doing this type of drip campaign marketing if you have a sign on your business that people see as they drive down the road.

Let’s talk about how to make this work for you.

Contact me: Scott@WOWO.com or 260-255-4357.

 

Teach and be Teachable

Teach and be Teachable

How open are you to learning?

When I turned 26, I moved my family to Detroit.  I had been out of school for 8 years and was venturing into a new, but related career.

I made the switch from being on the radio in the programming side, to working on the advertising side of radio.  WMUZ-FM was one of 6 stations belonging to Crawford Broadcasting and I was hired to write and produce commercials and ad campaigns.  We received a weekly sales training letter from Don Crawford and it was the start of being teachable again.

Actually I also became a self taught student too.  I read several books that I sought out on marketing and human relationships including Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout; Harvey Mackay’s books Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.

I have had the opportunity to interview hundreds of business people in the course of my work and each person has a nugget of wisdom that I add to my collection of knowledge.

Over the years I found myself teaching others too.  And continuing to learn. A week ago I was in an all day training session that involved online personal marketing and a few other items.

Here I am, the one that others come to for advice on online personal marketing and I was learning too.

We are never too old or too full of knowledge to not learn more and more.

And then as we learn, pass along the knowledge.  That’s one of the purposes of this website.

But being teachable also means that you have to retain a degree of humbleness.

In 2006, the group of radio stations I worked for hired a young man named Ben Saurer.  I was asked to mentor Ben.  After awhile as I was training new salespeople, I asked them to pick Ben’s brain because he had survived his first year and was one of the rising young stars on our sales team.  Fast forward a few years and Ben has been hired away to lead a sales team at WOWO Radio.  He and I stay in touch once a year or so until last year when the opportunity to work for Ben arose, I took it.

Every once in awhile, Ben will quote me, back to me… not something I just said, but something I said a few years ago.  And we both are continuing to learn as the circle continues.

Opportunity To Serve in #FortWayne

Opportunity To Serve in #FortWayne

Save the date: Saturday October 25th

I, along with the help of several others are organizing a Leaf Raking Project that morning for a few hours in a Fort Wayne neighborhood in the 46805 zip code.

We will gather at Klug Park and spread out in teams in the Frances Slocum Neighborhood to rake and blow leaves starting at 8:45 AM until noon and gather again at Klug Park for a hot dog lunch.

Everything is free.

We are volunteering our time, our energy, our enthusiasm, and the food is free too.

Who, Where & Why?

The Who is the Frances Slocum Neighborhood Outreach Team from Holy Cross Lutheran.  That’s the core group that is organizing and many will be actively participating.

But this event is open to everyone, yes you too.  You don’t have to live in the neighborhood, you don’t have to be connected to Holy Cross.  If you don’t have a rake or leaf blower, we’ll bring extras.  Bring your kids, bring your parents.  Only have a little bit of time?  Join us anyway.

Where?  If you want to GPS an address, 2226 Lawndale, Fort Wayne, IN 46805 is the home of a friend who lives across the street from the park.  The Frances Slocum Neighborhood is named after a former elementary school that used to serve the 1000 or so families in the neighborhood.  If you know Fort Wayne, the Frances Slocum Neighborhood official borders are East State on the south, Vance on the north, Hobson on the east and the west border  is a couple blocks from North Anthony.

Why?  This is one of four events that the Frances Slocum Neighborhood Outreach Team from Holy Cross Lutheran does each year.  In 2013, we started this team as a way to make a positive impact in a portion of the 46805 zip code.  As Christians, we want to demonstrate friendliness, and neighborliness in a manner that is action oriented an impactful.  The other four events include Winter Christmas Caroling in December, the Great American Clean Up in May, and a Summer Carnival, all free.

I lead this group, so reach out to me if you have any questions, or if you know of an address in the Frances Slocum Neighborhood that needs raked due to homeowners being elderly or handicapped.

Ever since 2003 I have been involved in various volunteer activities.  I served for 7 years on the Advertising Federation Board of Directors, I have been on a number of marketing advisory teams for non-profits and these days, this outreach program has been my major volunteer activity.  Join me, won’t you?

2014 Leaf Raking

 

 

What The Digital Shift Means to Your Business

What The Digital Shift Means to Your Business

For #TBT or #ThrowBackThursday this article I wrote in 2011:
A few years ago I was doing speaking engagements on the subject of Social Media and inviting people to “Join the Conversation”.

Just a couple of days ago I read a tweet about 3 generations in one family are all on Twitter, Facebook and now Google+.

The shift from traditional, old school sources of information, entertainment and communication to digital is having an effect on businesses because your customers are shifting to digital.

What is Traditional & Old School? Here’s a few examples:

The Daily Hometown Newspaper. This was the way to get all the in-depth information on everything current from the previous 24 hours. The Sunday Classified section was where they made lots and lots of money do to the help wanted sections and full page automotive ads.

The Phone Book. Now we Google it.

The Evening TV News. CNN and the other 24 hour networks made the ABC, NBC & CBS nightly broadcast unnecessary.

Music Radio Stations. I hate to say this but unless a radio station is providing local content that you cannot get elsewhere, there is no need for many of them to exist. And I worked in that business since I was 16.

Some of these Traditional, Old School sources will adapt, reorganize and survive, if they get their business model organized to stay profitable.

And some will stay strong for years to come do to external factors which include:

Generational habits: Face it, some folks prefer not to change. My Mom (who passed away in 2001); preferred to give her credit card number to a stranger over the phone to place an order, than trust the “internet-web-thing“. I wonder if she were alive now, if she would have changed.

Technology changes: I wonder if there is some secret pact between car makers and radio broadcasters to always include a radio in every vehicle that is sold. I believe that is a primary reason for the survival of radio broadcasting. However, with the inclusion of web access in newer vehicles, this could signal the end. It will take years however due to the number of older cars that dominate our roads.

How is your business involved in this shift?

By the way, click here for a study with more info.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

It’s all about the Impressions

It’s all about the Impressions

Sunday I was sitting in a coffee shop and in walked a guy with a Coke Zero shirt.

A few minutes later I saw a can of Diet Coke on the counter that someone purchased.

That’s two Coke impressions in 5 minutes.

I had not seen any other soft drink ads or marketing materials that day, so Coke was Top of Mind for me.

Later at lunch the server brought my friend a diet cola of some sort, but I don’t know if it was Coke or Pepsi because instead of asking specifically for a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, he just ordered a Diet.

That’s a non-impression.

Each of us are bombarded with marketing messages, thousands every day that penetrate our subconscious if not our conscious minds.

And these messages, the ones that connect the dots, form an impression.

The ones that don’t connect the dots, like the Diet _______ my friend ordered don’t count.  Some say they are neutral.  I say they are a lost oppotunity and are borderline negative.

Why should you as a marketer care about impressions?

It’s a numbers game. The more positive impressions you can make on a person the more likely that you will be top of mind when they are ready to buy what you sell.

Let’s take a moment and thing about those wasted opportunities.  Does your business have company vehicles?  Do they have your business logo, business name, website, phone number on them?  Or are you wasting opportunities to make an impression?

I work for WOWO Radio, the most listened to radio station in Fort Wayne with a nearly 90 year history.  This summer I wore my WOWO polo shirts a couple times a week and every single week someone would ask me if I worked for WOWO.  I am now pushing to get WOWO winter wear to continue this trend.

What can you do to make a positive impression for you and your business that you have been overlooking?

 

 

And Don’t Call Them Ma’am

And Don’t Call Them Ma’am

I’ve seen an increasing tendency of, how should I say this, younger folks?  Yes, that fits… not understanding who the Baby Boomers are.  Some of them qualify as senior citizens because of their age, but they don’t want to called seniors.  Here’s more from Mediapost:

Women 50 And Over Are Not Your Parent’s Boomers

Yes, marketers wear Millennial-focused monocles, but it’s kind of hard to believe that anyone at this point would imagine that Boomers spend less time online than anyone else. Empty-nesters in their 50’s are the affluent demo, and the decision makers are women. They are also savvy about the Web and spend as much time on social media sites as any other demographic. They are also probably as unlikely to pay attention to TV and print ads as other people.

Marketing firm Influence Central and Vibrant Nation, an online community for women over 45, have a raft of new data on women over 50 with grown kids. The firms’ joint study, based on a poll of 600 women, looks at how women relate to marketers who communicate with them online versus off; how they see themselves; and where they get their trusted information.

First off, women born between 1946 and 1964 disagree that they are behind the times and feel disengaged from pop culture. Seventy-one percent of those polled asserted as much, while 68% said they consider themselves early adopters and independent minded.

And they are mobile minded: 72% of respondents said they use a smartphone to visit social media sites and nine out of ten said they consider themselves “texters,” 36% said they — like their kids, or kids’ kids — actually prefer to text rather than talk.

Facebook is their Internet channel of choice, with 89% saying they have an account and 23% asserting that they post to their accounts more than once per day. The firm said about 40% use social media to express their opinions and 59% said they share other peoples’ posts on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is also the preferred brand engagement channel for female Boomers. Three-quarters of those polled said they follow brands on Facebook. Forty percent said they follow brands’ social outlets to receive information, and to stay up-to-date on promos and deals. Nearly 50% said they follow brands on social to learn about deals, and 30% do so to get answers to customer service needs.

Although about a third of respondents said they don’t want brands to engage with them online, the turnoff is twice as high if it happens offline, with 67% of the women polled saying they are skeptical of offline ads and tune them out. And about half think the actors that brands choose to represent women over 50 in ads look too young to be relatable. Which probably doesn’t matter because, as the firms point out, traditional communications are simply drowned out by digital noise from blogs, ads, reviews, experts of various kinds. Half of the women polled said they pay attention to bloggers, not ads in magazines. Only 11% say they trust newspapers’ and magazines’ own content, and only 15% say they are more likely to purchase when they see a product showcased on TV.

Almost all of the respondents said they seek online reviews and first-person recommendations. The most influential sites for reviews seem to be Target and Amazon with more than 85% of surveyed women saying they trust reviews on those sites. Over half trust reviews on blogs and personal, and 53% trust third-party sites.