Do You Equate Boring with Serious?

Do you believe the only way to become a thought leader in your field is to express yourself in as dry a manner as possible?

Do you use data or graphs your audience won’t be able to read so your opinion seems well-researched?

Do you obfuscate your  meaning with words like obfuscate to make yourself feel smarter?

Do you wonder why you have a hard time bringing outsiders into your fold?

Unless you work in web development, gaming, or some corners of the internet marketing sector, the answer to these questions is most likely yes.  It also explains why if I were to sum up my consulting practice into one sentence it would be:

Stop sapping the awesome out of your inherently amazing work. Continue reading

Repost: The Baby Groundhog Guide to Organizational Decision Making

I wrote this post last summer, and while the groundhogs in question are no longer staying with us, the lessons about when to take advice and when to ignore it still stand.  Happy Groundhog Day!

If you work with people, eventually some of them are going to make suggestions.  Most of the time, those suggestions will be made with the best of intentions.  And yet, sometimes following said advice will be the best thing that ever happened to you or your organization, and sometimes it will lead to unmitigated disaster.*  So how do you determine when to listen and adapt and when to smile and nod?

Bring on the Baby Groundhogs!

The groundhogs in this video live in my backyard.  As you can see, I’m pretty excited about it.  When they first showed up I called two moms to tell them about it. Continue reading

A Marketer’s Guide to Winning:  Lessons from NAMPC 2011

I spent the beginning of this week with my fellow arts marketing peeps at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Louisville.  For a person who does most of her work in a home office surrounded by cats and books, it was great to be in the same room with so many amazing people with great ideas.  It was also great to be able to tweet at the dinner table without subterfuge, but that’s another post. . .)

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I had every intention of coming home from this conference and sharing what I learned in great amounts of detail.

I’ll pause for a moment to give those of you who spend a lot of time at conferences time to stop laughing.

Let’s just say it was amazing, you can get some of the flavor of the event from the  #nampc twitter hashtag, you can download many of the presentations here, and watch the archived versions of the keynote speeches here.

But really, you had to be there.

So instead of the blow-by-blow, I’ll go back to my competitive forensics roots and examine the conference theme, Winning Audiences through three different lenses. Continue reading

A Cat Lover’s Guide to Customer Loyalty

I want to tell you the story of a veterinarian who doesn’t treat dogs.  Actually, he doesn’t work with a lot of animals.  He also has no patients who are horses, cows, ferrets or birds.

He only works with cats.

Based on conventional wisdom, Dr. Andy is being naive.  Wouldn’t it be better to serve as many animals as possible?  Why leave all that money on the table from dog owners who need a vet?

Turns out, unless you are a huge organization with tons of money, conventional wisdom is wrong.

By only working with cats, Dr. Andy trades clients who are looking for the vet closest to their house for clients like me. Continue reading

How the Kardashians Can Amplify Your Message

I’m so excited to introduce you to Deanna Lohnes, this week’s guest blogger in our summer of small voices series.  Deanna teaches solopreneurs and small businesses to create effective marketing messages. Deanna owns Parlance Media Stop by the blog and say hello. When she isn’t building success with smart business owners, she is lounging in a boat or on the beach.

The biggest fear of anyone with a message is that they will speak and no one will listen. Bloggers pour blood sweat and tears into a post … then nothing. Crickets.

The best way to amplify your message is through community. The best way to build community is to show your audience that you care about what is important to them. Whenever you broadcast a message, make sure you are talking to the person your audience believes themselves to be. Don’t talk to urban women 25-45 with college educations. Talk to liberal women who care about the environment and love animals. When you consider your target market, go beyond census data. Consider what they care about. Continue reading