Mothers Day

To all mothers out there, I wish you a very good day!

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On management & recruiting – make sure you curate them to grow past you

At my very mature age of 42… 😀 I concluded that I have worked more than half my life and by this seen quite a lot of managers and been both recruited and have recruited.

Few of my takes on recruiting

  • Look for someone who have enough ambition to want to succeed but have enough humility to understand that it is a team sport
  • Do not be afraid to hire out of your own personal comfort zone… very common…
  • If some one has more qualification than needed… do not discard them, they may have a very good reason for applying for the position
  • Figure out where you want your department to be in 3-5 yrs and recruit from that perspective… you cannot take on the world with rookies only…
  • If you use a recruitment company, be very specific in your briefing… been to quite a few interviews… well I do not really know what the customer is looking for – Thanks for wasting my time and effort
Few of my takes on management
  • As a manager it is your job take make sure that your team have all the necessary tools and skills to deliver
  •  Make sure that you help them clear the path if needed
  • Micro management is always wrong… or you have hired very poorly
  • Make sure it is your personal objective to curate your team to grow beyond you if possible
  • Hire with diversity – young, old, male, female, different ethnical backgrounds – you will win and the dynamics will be better
  • Do not use management-by-fear or mushroom-management… IT DOES NOT DELIVER RESULTS ANY BETTER…
Well that is about my rantings but this is what I have found true after 23 yrs in marketing, project management, communication, IT and telecom…

On being relevant in social media – or plain relevant…

There is a lot of good advice in different fora on the internet and MyNewsDesk together with Mashable has a good sponsorship on PR as for an example.

Mashable and TheNextWeb have a lot of good writers and are linking to many good resources on the net.

So what can I offer that no one else have not already stated… Well probably not much but as for the latest post in Digital Tonto on great ideas all good ideas are usually peer-and-time related.

Relevance is still the name of the game and it is not really confined to the realm of social media.

To be Relevant is the single most important thing for a business to focus on… the problem is who you are to be relevant to… Here is where the mayhem begins for many companies and their marketing departments… The owners and shareholders demand constant growth and maximizing market share… that will make you less relevant to a larger number of potential customers or partners…

It is impossible to be relevant to everyone but finding the core customers, followers and people who like you are of utmost importance for a successful business… and of course you need to convert those followers and likers to customers…

How can you be relevant? I have seen many different approaches and most of them are good ones.

This is my take on the subject in short bullets:

  • Know your business and try to understand your customer, no difference if you are a B2B or a B2C – Knowing your customer mean frequent interaction through a diversity of channels both in person or with good research
  • Share and invite – Share your developments, ideas and knowledge and invite your customer/fan-base to bring their ideas and competence to you and make use of it for real, and yes it includes marketing initiatives! – Open Source!!!
  • Use all means necessary to share and learn: blogs, events, customer meetings, twitter, facebook, mobile, newsletters, customer service department… but see to that you listen to the responses that you get through the channels and dedicate enough resources to manage it.
  • Set objectives that are measurable when it comes to customer engagement, conversions and knowledge about your company… and of course in the end measure the fiscal result! But do not manage it on a quarterly basis… you need a longterm objective with adjustment points say every six months… you do not get results that fast because this is brand value!
  • Make sure that top management knows how to make use of this way of working otherwise it will never fly… the key problem with owners and management is money… always money…
  • Do not use this as a PR-stunt… but I guess you already figured that one out…
I dare any FMCG to try to use this approach… B2B are half on the way since they have to involve customers in development more and more today…

Information management – Competitive Edge

Over the years we have been flooded with data from all possible sources not only the traditional media and marketing analysis set-up. Now we need to add the Social Media which is an interesting part since it actually bring real live comments about you as a company, the products&services or on a personal level…

How do we get this data to make sense since it is not a consistent and coherent information. It is in different currencies all of it. Traditional analysis on target audiences are still the key method but how do you value a possible contact in TV compared to a click-through on a banner… That is still subjected to the mind of every marketeer and analyst.

The bigger database you feed all info to, the more complex it get to understand but with a set of variables you possibly can get trend data that is useful, brand data that consists of more than numbers, attributes set to it.

Visualize it and you might be able to get the Executive/Board Level to understand it better…

Very easy said but harder to do… But I have seen systems that are basically set up to manage complex projects and organisational set ups that would be absolutely fab to tweak a bit and then all marketeers would have a great tool to understand the data and the company and it’s products&services… Check out Inrigo from Ortelius and you might get an idea of what I am talking about…

Sales vs. Marketing – Irrelevant nonsense

A constant debate over many years, who should support the other, what will impact be on bottom line, what are marketing really returning… sales can deliver hard numbers on roi etc…

All this is really irrelevant nonsense, neither will be truly successful without each other… they are just composed by different types of people with different characteristics and objectives to meet.

Marketing help building the awareness, desire, interest for products and services and interconnect with sales and all other relevant parties to execute the transactions needed to deliver a product and collect the payment for this product no matter if it is in knowledge, money or any other form…

Traditional Media vs. Social Media… same same discussion…

The only certainty is that if you do not understand the needs and behaviors of the people you want to talk to… you will never be truly successful!

Perception of a voice – Branding dilemma

While I have worked with many publicly known brands, there has been one thing when it come brands that has always been an enigma for many brand people:

Tone-of-voice for the brand

How do you define your tone-of-voice and how do you make it stick and resonate true both internally and with your customers and potential ones?

Well… there are an ocean of experts on this topic and when you talk to marketing gurus, agency people and communication professionals you will get about as many answers as persons you talk to…

I have a few basic rules I go by and I will try to describe them below in short.

1. Think hard on what is really true about the product/service you market, add some characteristics that you strive for and really do everything you can to accomplish it.

Do not strive for what is ridiculous… Kia Cars will never be the “vibrant choice for car aficionados” or Choco Pop cereals will never be “the healthy option for kids on the move”…

2. You can never do it before you have your own company live the brand and by that I mean everyone from receptionist, service team, it, marketing&sales to the executive board.

A car company could have the best cars in the world but if their dealerships, customer service policies or warranty policies comes with surly staff, stupid public relation replies to complaints on faulty cars it will ruin your reputation fast… Look at Mercedes A-class or Toyota…

If you are a mass-market commodity like toothpaste you cannot all have shiny white teeth but you should at least think about what you communicate…

You should definitely not do a Bloomberg… (demand taxes on fat and sugar and then offer your employees free soda). Apple should not have staff that answer customers “you are holding the device in the wrong way” if you claim to have the best user experience on the market…

If you claim to be the industry leader in servicing your customers you really should give your staff a lot of leeway to make decisions on the fly when it comes to customer service issues and not have each claim to waltz five levels of hierarchy before a decision is made.

3. Constantly innovate and tweak your product, design and communication…

Look at CocaCola who has done it constantly over a very long time. They tweak here and there on design and wording of their communication but they never leave their basics.

Very basic rules and when they are in places the rest will come quite by itself to you with a little help of the professionals you hire to help out.