3 Skills For the Next Generation of Marketers

BBQAhhh, spring.

Sun’s starting to peak through more regularly. New Yorkers are shedding those winter coats. I even drove by a Queens BBQ last night. For those of you that didn’t grow up in Queens NY, it’s just like a regular BBQ, except it takes place on the sidewalk in front of your house with a portable grill and fold-up table and chairs.

Spring also marks the start of summer intern season. Offices across the world will soon be infiltrated by fresh-faced college grads and under-grads looking to validate their choice of major, obtain some ‘real-world’ experience, get a foot in the door for a long-term gig, make a little money to feed their drinking habits, or all of the above.

For the aspiring marketers within that group, the new reality of our chosen profession has had a profound impact on what’s required to be successful.

Here are three skills I believe the next generation of marketers need to possess. Continue reading

The Luck O’ the Innovator

fingers-crossed”If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he still lucky?” – Stainslaw Jerzy Lec

St. Patrick’s Day took place this weekend, and with it came the usual chatter about luck. Not sure how lucky the two guys I saw carrying their friend down 55th St. were, but I guess ‘luck’ can cut both ways…

Got me thinking about the role of luck in creativity and more specifically, successful innovation. In an interview with SEOmoz last week, I was asked where I liked to go when brainstorming creative content ideas.

“Luck is only important insofar as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment.” – Frank Sinatra.

In a way, my response was similar to that of Ol’ Blue Eyes’. Creativity is difficult to force. It’s often serendipitous. But you need to place yourself in an environment where creativity can flourish. It’s in that mindset where luck will find you. And when it does, your own talents will ensure you recognize and seize the opportunities that present themselves. Continue reading

Be Nice. Humanize Your Brand.

BeNiceA few days ago I came across an interview with Lee Cockerell. For those of you who don’t know who he is (count me in that group until a few days ago), Lee held leadership positions at Hilton Hotels and Marriott for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to run worldwide Operations. When he retired from Disney in 2006, he was responsible for 40,000 cast members (that’s a LOT of Mickey ‘mice’…), 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village, and a sports and recreation complex.

Think this is a guy that knows something about building customer relationships?

What struck me the most about the interview was when he discussed his latest book, The Customer Rules. In writing the book, he asked his 12 year old granddaughter to tell him what the first rule of customer service should be.

Her response? “Be nice.” Continue reading

Native Advertising. Holy Grail? Or Holy Sh@t…!

holy grailMuch has been written about native advertising recently. Some are predicting a $10B+ market. Others, like the Atlantic Monthly, are scrambling to save face after poor execution of a native advertising campaign for The Church of Scientology. To quote Homer (Simpson), Doh!

So what is native advertising? And is it the holy grail? Or will it cause customers to say holy sh@t!

Continue reading

3 Rules for Great Push Marketing (Yes, PUSH)

FZF_walking-into-glass-door-72L8rU72L8rUFor years the battle of ‘Push’ vs. ‘Pull’ was fought on the front doors of restaurants, bars, and retail stores around the world. Ignore the warnings of ‘Pull’ or ‘Push’ and get rewarded with a face-plant against a glass door. Broken noses and humiliation (the silent killer) were all too common casualties.

More recently, marketers have adopted these terms to differentiate between outbound and inbound marketing.

Few marketers that remain gainfully employed ignore the transformation of pull marketing. The hyper-connected consumer has been the catalyst. He’s now in control. His options to access information are limitless; television, laptop, tablet, phone, game console, his car and soon, even his glasses. He decides what to tune in and tune out, and when to engage.

But too often, marketers are staking their flags squarely on the side of pull marketing, and gearing up to do battle with their perceived ‘push’ opponents.

Put down the six-shooters, boys. This isn’t a war. It’s a dance where each partner alternates the ‘lead’ and ‘follow’ roles depending on the rhythm of the maestro’s music. Continue reading

3 Post-Apocalyptic Marketing Strategies

Mayan-CalendarSilly Mayans and your pre-iPhone calendars…

December 21st came and went, and we’re all still here. I, for one, have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, not sure I want to live in a world without the Twinkie. On the other hand, all that time shopping for Christmas gifts would have been in vain…and that would have really pissed me off. I’d have died a poor (literally and figuratively), miserable, frustrated soul.

Nonetheless, I am still here. And it got me to thinking…what if I did know for sure the world was going to end on December 21st? What crazy marketing ideas might I have tried? Continue reading

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

motivation2This isn’t a post about Christmas. Or about Office Space, as the picture to the left would suggest. It’s about incentives.

By my fourth Psychology 101 class in university, I was convinced I wanted to be a psychologist. At the end of that class the professor turned to us all and said, “About this time in the curriculum, some of you might be considering becoming a psychologist [WHOA!]. Psychology is about people. If you don’t find people interesting, you’re a zombie, and please don’t eat the student next to you. Just because you find this stuff interesting doesn’t mean you want to make a career out of psychology.” Continue reading