Which is Your Biggest Marketing Hurdle?
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Which is Your Biggest Marketing Hurdle?

There are many problems plaguing today’s marketers. I’ve found that most of them relate back to at least one of three things:

  • Money
  • Channel growth
  • Data.

Even though most experts agree that our economy is on an up-swing, consumers are still spending less and saving more, which means there is less revenue to go around so marketing departments are struggling to avoid slashes to their budgets.  The best way to avoid such cuts is to be able to prove the ROI for marketing efforts.  Enter: Big Data.  A marketer’s dream and nightmare all rolled into one numbers-filled package.  (We all know how much marketers love numbers.)

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Universal Appeals in Marketing
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Is There Such a Thing as “Universal Appeal”?

I was recently in a conversation regarding global marketing strategy and the concept of “universal appeal” came up. The argument is that there are certain ideas, values, etc., that translate across global cultures, and can therefore be used in marketing campaigns. But I’m not so sure…

Dutch Professor Geert Hofstede, who has done extensive and widely-accepted research on global cultural difference and similarities, has concluded that each national culture (and in some cases there must be further segmenting, like with the U.S., which is so diverse) falls at a given point on six dimensions:

  • Power Distance (the disparity between those with and those without power)
  • Individualism vs Collectivism
  • Masculinity vs Femininity (which is really better explained as Assertiveness vs Modesty)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (tolerance for ambiguity)
  • Long-Term vs Short-Term Orientation (focused on the present or the future)
  • Indulgence vs Restraint

Considering those dimensions, I find the concept of universal appeals would be tough to prove. Take superior quality, for example. At face value, it could be assumed that everyone would prefer products and services with superior quality. So, superior quality could be considered an universal appeal.

BUT… what is “superior quality”?

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Work-Life Balance - photo by Barney Moss https://www.flickr.com/photos/barneymoss/18285023895
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The New Normal – Work/Life Balance Paradigm Shift

I’ve talked before about “actual” and “ideal” selves, and my theory about how often a person’s “virtual” self tends to align more with their ideal self rather than the actual one… but where does that leave our “work” and “home” selves? How do they align?

It’s time to talk about an oft-dreaded corporate buzzword, folks: WORK-LIFE BALANCE.

For those of you living under a rock (or perhaps those for whom it is an actual THING rather than an idea), work-life balance is the concept that there must be a balance between time and energy devoted to work and the time and energy devoted to everything else that a person deems to be important. Finding this balance can significantly reduce stress and increase enjoyment and satisfaction with work and with the rest of your life. This balance could be equated to Freud’s Ego that acts as the middle ground for our work (SuperEgo) and life (ID) paradoxes, but I digress.

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Hurdling the Creative Roadblock

Creativity can be expressed in many ways – one may be a gifted artist, an exceptional storyteller, a brilliant musician, a talented writer or an imaginative inventor. But usually a person’s creativity usually does not manifest itself in every outlet. Take me, for instance. My creativity comes out through my writing, but do NOT ask me to draw you anything… you’ll think it was produced by a Kindergartner.

Have you ever looked around at your team and realized that you have no idea what their creative outlets are? If you want to maximize the creativity of a team, you need to identify their creative strengths. And in order to do that, you have to really know your team. If given an hour to spare, what would each one like to do? Where would each one like to go? What are their creative outlets? What inspires them? Knowing these things about the members of a team you are leading can provide you with the opportunity to allow each individual to use their own strengths to generate ideas. Continue reading

Watch Your Tone!

Ever been checking out a brand’s Facebook page and noticed that their posts are obviously being written by a couple different people?  Yikes! That’s no good. With strapped marcom budgets, reduced staff and large workloads, many brands rely on several different people to post to their social pages and profiles.  How can can a brand ensure that all the people posting on behalf of the brand are singing in the same voice rather than their own?

Each person posting needs to understand and embrace the brand’s personality.  Is the brand formal or more casual?  Is the brand fun or serious?  Ultimately, the brand’s personality needs to be determined by the executive team and everyone, from the top down, needs to buy into it. Once the brand’s personality has been established, the marketing team needs to figure out how to marketing materials will reflect it.

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