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  1. Marketing “across the pond”

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    I was recently given the opportunity to go to London with some friends and Scouting colleagues to visit Gilwell Park, the location of the original training ground of Scouting leaders by Scouting founder Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell.

    “The Wood Badge is a Scouting program and award for adults in the Scout associations around the world. The Wood Badge course is designed so that adult Scouters can learn; in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting,” according to the Scout Association, the founding organization of the Scouting movement.

    Gilwell Park has special significance for those of us who are Wood Badge trained. In his Boy Scouts of America Scouting Magazine blog, senior editor Bryan Wendell commented, “This is a Scouting landmark, as significant to Wood Badge history as Independence Hall is to the history of the United States.”

    This Gilwell Reunion was also the annual meeting of The Scout Association. So, it was a very busy weekend for the U.K. Scouters. They were very gracious hosts, and many of the staff took time out of their schedules to meet with us. I was especially impressed that with as much going on – including the Scout Association’s annual meeting – that CEO Matt Hyde and national Commissioner Tim Kidd spent at least an hour with us to discuss the Scout Association and would check in on us from time to time. We also heard topics about community impact, U.K. Scouting today, heritage service, the Pears project, plans for the Gilwell Centenary (100th anniversary), international Scouting, and program delivery.

    The Scout Association has recently undergone rebranding. Even though this was a vacation for me, as someone in the marketing business, I found this interesting. Other than the businesses with whom I work or through the Agency Management Institute, it’s unusual that I get a look into the inner workings of the rebranding of others.

    The plan for the Scouting Association to prepare for a better future has been named “Skills for Life” which is similar to their American cousin’s “Prepared for Life.” We were afforded a glimpse into a five-year plan they’ve developed that includes a mission statement, a values statement, a vision for 2023, and the plan that includes goals for growth, inclusivity, how the plan will be youth shaped, and community impact. They’ve developed three pillars of work to support their movement: program, people, and perception. I was given a 20-page brochure of their plan and its goals. They’re using their plan to make sure that all the work they do fits within the vision they’ve developed.

    The Scout Association has also rebranded. Focus groups were used in planning and changing the brand. They worked on a new brand positioning, a new logo, and a new visual identity. They were very open about the reaction and comments about the changes. As we all know that change is difficult, it was nice to hear both the good and the bad comments.

    They’ve created a branding guide for their members to explain the changes. The last logo that was created in the early 2000s and was not optimized for social media use. Their new logo is identifiable at any size whereas the old logo was impossible to read if used for a social media profile.

    The rollout of the new plan and branding started in May of this year. They’re taking it one step at the time to make sure it goes smoothly and according to plan.

    This was a great vacation for me. I was able to see where Scouting started, and I was able to get an inside glimpse of marketing into an organization in which I have great interest. I can’t wait for the 100th anniversary of Gilwell Park next year!

  2. Nonprofits are more similar to for-profit business than they are different

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    Advertising and public relations are both functions of marketing. Advertising and public relations are more similar than they are different. Marketing for businesses and nonprofit organizations are more similar than they are different. Our lives are interwoven with our vocational and avocational pursuits as much as the promotional side of marketing is interwoven with advertising and public relations.

    I’ve actually spent more time working with a nonprofit than I have years in the working world. I joined the Boy Scouts of America as a Cub Scout 10 years before I left for college. Boy Scouts got a head start on me.

    Regardless of whether the organization is for-profit or nonprofit, the “4 P’s” of marketing do not change – product, place, price and promotion.

    The marketing “P” known as product is really referring to a product or service. Nonprofits are typically more service-oriented. The service that Boy Scouts provides is leadership development. My company provides a service, and it is marketing consulting. We both offer touch points whether it’s merit badge pamphlets or brochures, but the similarity between us is service.

    We both have an area of territory that we cover. This “P” is place. The Yocona Area Council covers a 12-county area in Northeast Mississippi. Robinson Marketing has a much wider coverage area. Thanks to the Internet, service organizations like my company can cover a much larger territory than it is to comfortably drive.

    “Price” is not necessarily profitability. For nonprofits it’s about breaking even. For-profit companies look at revenue. Nonprofit companies look at funds raised. Both carefully look at expenses.

    So, with “promotion,” nonprofits use public relations and for-profits use advertising? Right? No. Nonprofits use advertising and public relations and for-profits use advertising and public relations. More simply put, nonprofits and for-profits promote their services in a variety of ways. It is a fair statement that nonprofits rely more on public relations, but there are times when they advertise.

    Advertising refers to paid space. With advertising, the advertiser has creative control. The message stays as it is crafted. Advertising lasts longer because the space for print and the time for broadcast is paid for and is dependent upon the advertisers budget for the campaign.

    Public relations is about free publicity. There is less control over the message because when a news release is sent, the media can edit the release. More credibility is given to a public relations article than paid advertising. The media is under no obligation to run a news release or public service announcement. The life of a public service announcement or news release is generally not as long as an advertising campaign.

    Communications with the audience is the key. The simpler the message is, the better. Nonprofit groups have more advocates who will use social media to help their cause and who are more likely to post about their relationship to the group. My personal Facebook and Instagram accounts show more about the Boy Scouts of America and the Yocona Area Council than it does about my business. But, since my business is about marketing, I’m using my social media accounts to aid my Scouting relationships.

    Keep the message clear. And, thank you, for the work that you do to support our community.

  3. Learn to read the signs

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    When I was visiting my brother’s family after my first niece was born, he asked me to put a car seat in his vehicle while he got my niece ready to travel. He said that it was easy to install the seat into its base; his actual words were, “It’s intuitive.” I’m normally good with gadgets and assembling things. Putting this car seat into its base puzzled me.  I spent almost five minutes trying to figure out how these two seemingly simple pieces fit together before he came out holding my niece in one arm and grabbed the car seat in the free arm. With one move, he put in the seat and it clicked securely. I did not comment on what I was thinking: intuition or experience? To him, it may have been intuition, but from my standpoint – as a bachelor, non-father – it seems like experience would make it easy. I didn’t have time to search YouTube for a tutorial on the model of car seat. Now my niece is old enough to instruct me on its assembly if I’m asked to put it together again.

    I pay attention to the physical signals I experience. Sometimes I can tell when a sinus issue is starting, and I’ve stopped avoiding the doctor. Now I go as soon as I recognize the symptoms. Recently I woke up with an eye issue. Not being able to readily tell what was wrong, I had the doctor look at it. I wasn’t sure if it was an allergy issue or if it was the beginning of conjunctivitis. I knew there was a problem, but I needed someone with experience to give me a direction and advice. I had the data; I needed a diagnosis from someone familiar with dealing with the data.

    In business, it is important to pay attention to the signals the business sends. Some is joy, some can be pain. It’s important to keep careful records of what is happening to see patterns and make predictions. Predictions are a diagnosis.

    Marketing deals with analyzing trends. It takes both intuition and experience to decipher. Good business owners recognize the patterns of their companies. They also know that sometimes there is a quirkiness that comes and needs to be analyzed further. Sometimes a business owner can self-medicate, and sometimes a business owner needs the assistance of a marketing professional, either from within or without.

    This shows a difference between marketing and advertising. Marketing is much more than simply promoting a service or product. Data analysis is very important. More data is better. More applicable data is priceless to a business. It is sometimes difficult to separate the company data wheat from the chaff.

    I have consultants for my business needs like legal and financial. Sometimes I turn to these professionals for advice when I come across something for which I do not have an intuitive feel. They know that marketing is important for their businesses. They may have a marketing person on staff, or they may employ an outside professional or team for help.

    It is important that companies pay attention to the signs their business gives them to stay healthy. It is healthier to be proactive and get ahead of an issue than it is to be reactive to fix an issue.

  4. The paradox of advertising

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    The paradox of advertising that we’ve all heard is this: “I cannot afford to advertise, but I cannot afford not to advertise.”

    The answer to this is that it’s not about advertising, it’s about marketing. More specifically, it’s about marketing planning.

    Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive. And, the correlation that the more is spent the more is gained does not always work if the message is not targeted correctly or if it is not engaging.

    There are a few companies that have spent their entire year’s budget at once. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are other companies that follow the tortoise and the hare philosophy of slow and steady wins the race. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Start with the end in mind. That’s “vision.” In an article earlier this year, I mentioned a five-year plan. If that’s too difficult, start with a one-year plan or a six-month plan. Know where you want to be. Yogi Berra, one of my favorite modern day philosophers, said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Start with a vision, and allow a little flexibility.

    Where you’re going is important. How you’re going to get there is as equally important. If you set a quota for yourself, the flow of customers has to come from somewhere. How will the message get to them?

    Being in the marketing business, I don’t necessarily focus on one medium or one vehicle. I believe in a multimedia approach when possible. Sometimes budgets don’t allow for this at first. But, each medium and each vehicle have their strong points and their weak points. It’s important to know these when spreading the message.

    “Every time I turn on the TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper, or go online, I see my competition.” The first SUV I bought was small and green. I thought it was unique. Yet, after I bought it, I started seeing its twin everywhere. Because I had an interest in the vehicle, I started noticing what I hadn’t been seeing before. If I’m not paying attention, I can easily lose my car in a parking lot because there are so many cars similar to mine. Perhaps your competition does have a larger marketing budget than you do, but you’re also seeing the message because you are looking for it. With a smaller budget, it is important to work harder, target better and be more specific with the message. And, no one’s budget is limitless even though it may appear to be so.

    I started this article with one cliché, and I’ll end with another. “Plan your work, then work your plan.” Remember Yogi Berra. A direction is needed. The path may change along the way. That’s OK. While the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, sometimes obstacles get in the way to make the straight line path impossible. Don’t lose focus of the vision. One vision may lead to another vision. That’s OK too. Then it’s time to plan again.

    Failing to plan and then following the plan is “like déjà vu all over again.” Right, Yogi?

  5. Be an influencer for marketing

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    At a Boy Scout event a few years ago, I was asked by a friend, “How are things at the Journal?” I know I had a puzzled look on my face because at that time I was not writing a monthly article. I answered, “OK, but I don’t work for the Journal.” He then asked me where I worked, and when I told him, he responded, “I’ve been looking for a company like yours.” I knew he was a CPA, and I asked how I could be of assistance to his accounting firm. He smiled and said, “I am a CPA, but I don’t work for an accounting firm. I manage another company.”

    That was an important lesson to me to let others know what I do. I am a representative of my company regardless of where I am, and yet someone I know found out that he didn’t know me as well as I thought nor did I know him. It was a lesson in learning to listen to others, asking pertinent questions and communicating better myself.

    The trouble with trying to explain marketing is that it is a service and therefore invisible and intangible. It’s rewarding to hear, “I really enjoyed your ad,” but the reader or viewer may not have a clue about the amount of time and planning that went into the implementation of the ad campaign. Nor should they. The purpose is to communicate a product or service, not to discuss the creative process that came before the production of it.

    When a marketing firm presents product samples – like a newspaper ad, a TV commercial, a website, a radio commercial – it’s showing the “how we do it” of marketing, but it is not showing the “what we do” of marketing. A case study would be more effective with its explanation, but case studies only appeal to those who are interested in hiring a marketing firm. Trust me, they’re not bedtime reading.

    When I’m asked what I do, I have a short reply prepared to do my best to explain what marketing is. I encourage others to do the same for their businesses. Networking opportunities are all round us. We can all help each other. I get asked questions that are not directly related to my business, but I want to help the person get connected with someone who can assist them. That makes me an influencer for their businesses, and when they refer to me, they are an influencer for my business.

    I attended a conference in New Mexico. There I met an attendee from Mount Gambier, South Australia, which is near Adelaide. He told me of Blue Lake – how pure the water was and how incredibly blue it is during the spring, summer and autumn months. I told him of Tupelo and the attractions we have. Later in the week, we were on a trip with a group to a museum, and our van driver stopped the car. He saw a buffalo standing in the field. My friend told the passengers, “That’s nothing for Ty; there’s a whole herd of buffalo next to the airport in Tupelo at the buffalo park.” With our conversations, we had turned each other into ambassadors for our respective towns. We were influencers for each other’s towns.

    In addition to letting folks know what you do, it is also important to have good relationships with friends who can be influencers for your business. And, be sure to return the favor.

  6. Why use a marketing firm?

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    Why do companies hire marketing firms?

    There are many reasons.

    Some companies hire a marketing firm because they don’t have a marketing department for themselves and need assistance in this area of their business. Some companies don’t need a full-time marketing person and appreciate the depth they get when they employ a marketing firm that has many people and many ideas to share. There’s one phone call to make to get the work from a team.

    Some companies have one person in marketing who needs more depth to properly get the job done. In this case, a marketing firm becomes the de facto marketing department for that company working directly for the marketing director. The company’s marketing person also has a group to brainstorm with and share ideas. There’s someone to call to ask, “Have you read the latest Adweek article? What do you think?”

    Some companies use marketing firms to supplement the marketing work they cannot do for themselves. “Hey, you’re better at social and digital media. I want to hire you just for that.” Perhaps the company needs assistance in buying media or is just looking for expertise for other ideas.

    Companies know that it helps to get an outside opinion of their work.  I belong to a group of advertising agency owners for the simple reason that I sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees either, and I need an outside opinion. And, even if the advice is something I’ve thought of, it helps to reinforce that I’m following a path that others have traveled on. My group is not shy about offering different opinions either.

    Why do companies not hire a marketing firm?

    One reason is they think they can do it on their own. That’s fine. Some can. But, sometimes it’s like that New Year’s resolution and gets put on the back burner as other hotter firey issues come before it. We all have a limited amount of time to get our jobs done. I look to others who have more expertise than I to help me – like accountants and lawyers.

    “Well, I use Facebook, and that’s all I need.” I’m not opposed to Facebook. I would recommend the Facebook-only user to talk to others who have experiences with other media to see how it works for them. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket. Are all my customers on Facebook? Are all my customers reading the Daily Journal? Who might I be leaving out? What does the research show? What do my existing customers say.

    Another reason is expense. Anecdotally I always hear that the first cut on the budget is the marketing line. I know one business owner who believed in adding to the marketing line of his budget when the economy slowed so that he could gain market share so that as the economy was to grow the business was to grow in the new market share proportion. Of course, as a marketer, I’m going to ask if someone can truly run their business without marketing it in some way.  The buying public has to know the company exists before it can make a decision to use the company.

    To use marketing or not to use marketing. There’s no choice really. Marketing is as integral part of any business as operations, human resources and accounting is.

    I know that when I find myself saying that “I just don’t have the time,” that’s the point I need to reach out for help.

  7. You hear what you listen for

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    One winter evening, two men left work in a busy city and joined the mob of people headed to the subway during rush hour. As they walked toward the station, one man stopped the other and said, “Do you hear that? It’s a bird singing.”

    “That’s impossible,” replied the co-worker. “It’s winter in the city. All the birds have flown south. Besides, it’s rush hour. Look at all the people. Listen to the traffic. You wouldn’t be able to hear a bird above this din if you tried.”

    The first man looked around, and sure enough, there was a robin on a telephone wire. The co-worker saw it and sarcastically said, “That’s great. Come on, or we’ll miss the next train.”

    As their pace quickened, the first man reached into his front pocket, pulled out a few coins and pitched them into the crowd of people headed home from work.

    “Stop!” the co-worker said. “Someone has just dropped four quarters!”

    The first man grinned at his friend and said, “You hear what you listen for.”

    I can’t remember where I first read that story, but the message has always stayed with me. It reminds me of the challenge of finding customers because not all customers have the same goal.

    Where do you go to get information about a product you plan to buy or a service you plan to hire? How do you become aware of what you need? Who do you talk to before you make the step to call or meet a sales representative?

    Word of mouth is a form of advertising. A good testimonial from a friend can be the highest rating a company can receive. The opposite can also be true. The difficulty is that two people given the same facts and experience can report it two different ways. Compare a trip you’ve taken with a friend. Do you both remember everything the same?

    Perception is a funny thing. While it is true “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” first impressions are not always accurate. I’ve watched people draw the wrong conclusions based on little information. And, I’ve done the same thing only to learn much later how wrong I was.

    Advertising and public relations are about informing the customer, potential customer or interested party. It’s about staying seen in the public eye. The experience that the customer has is the next step after being seen. Not all will accept the invitation to learn about the product or service. That’s why the message has to be placed where it has the maximum efficiency of finding potential customers. That location varies based on the interests of the customers.

    Salesmanship is a part of marketing too. How a salesperson interacts with a customer affects the sale and the good or bad referral. And, the title “sales representative” is not necessary to be a salesman. The person who answers the phone – whether it is a secretary, a maintenance worker or the owner of the company – immediately represents the company. That person’s actions dictate the perception of the person calling in.

    If you happen to get the voicemail message on my mobile phone, I tried to make it warm and friendly. I’ve gotten several compliments on it. I’ve been kidded about it too. Different people have different perceptions. I’m not saying their perceptions are wrong, I’m just saying their perceptions are different. Facts determine whether something is correct; opinions always vary.

    I try to keep an open mind. I’m looking for a longer relationship than a first impression, and I’m willing to invest the time to establish that relationship. My hope is that I can hear the bird sing in rush hour traffic.

  8. It is no secret that success comes from partnerships

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    Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, once said, “Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.”

    I look at how successful Northeast Mississippi has been in recruiting businesses and what makes us stand out against other areas in the state and  around the country, and the answer is “partnership.” Synergism is where the activities of a group working together exceeds the sum of the efforts of the individual members. This is hardly a secret in the favorable outcomes in business recruitment and retention in Northeast Mississippi, but it takes willing partners to make the accomplishments happen.

    My company has been fortunate to be a part of some great campaigns that have come from partnerships.

    We were given the opportunity to work with the Community Development Foundation, the PUL Alliance and Three Rivers Planning & Development District to brand the land that came to be known as Wellspring in Blue Springs. The result was the Toyota plant. We played a very small part in this, but we are proud to be a part of the team.

    We have been honored to work with executive director Randy Kelley and his team members at Three Rivers. From concept to completion, we’ve worked on many campaigns for dropout prevention, adult basic education, youth summer job experience, assistance with promoting the Mississippi Department of Human Service’s campaigns through the Area Agency on Aging, and the Furniture Academy. So do you remember “Bling, No Bling”; “Talk to Someone Who Cares”; “Know More, Go Further”; “Hot Jobs”; “Summer Coin Crew”; “Mississippi State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)”; or “Mississippi Access to Care (MAC)”? The names might not be as familiar as the visuals. Getting the word out is important, and we enjoyed the work we did to bring it to the attention of the public.

    Regarding the Furniture Academy, the key players in putting together the academy are H.M. Richards of Baldwyn; HomeStretch of Nettleton; Kevin Charles Furniture of New Albany; Max Homes of Fulton and Iuka; Southern Motion of Pontotoc and Baldwyn; the Franklin Furniture Institute of Mississippi State University; Itawamba Community College; Northeast Mississippi Community College; the CDF; and Three Rivers. My company was invited by Three Rivers to participate by aiding with the branding of the program by working with the partners to develop a name, a logo, advertising materials and putting together a news conference. Again, we played a very small part in the Furniture Academy, but we are pleased to be a part of a program that has such great importance for our community. We learned that within the first few days after the news conference and the advertising started that over 100 people had applied to be part of the Furniture Academy. This speaks volumes to the collaborative effort of all the parties that are working together to raise the level of the workforce in our area.

    We are all more successful working with each other. The proof is seen in the good news that we read in the news. Not every story has a happy ending, but it’s small steps that move us forward and make Northeast Mississippi a great place to work and live.

  9. Marketing for a Boy Scout with a letter of recommendation

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    As a Boy Scout leader, I am asked on occasion by a Scout to write a letter of recommendation for him. My usual answer is “Yes, but I need to ask a few questions so that I can write it.”

    When I agree, I normally know the subject – the Scout. I’ve worked with him long enough to know what his strengths and weaknesses are. So, most of the personal information I need to write about the Scout, I already possess – at least from my point of view. I do ask why he is interested in the path that requires the recommendation. Usually I already know, but I need it validated by the Scout so that he and I are on the same page. I don’t need to assume.

    To assist in the promotion of the Scout in the letter of recommendation, I need to know the audience. I do not have a template of a recommendation letter that I print out. I don’t have a “form letter.” That will not help the Scout. I need to pull out the specific qualities that the Scout has that will impress the audience. Sometimes the Scout may not realize he possesses these qualities. With the examples that I give, he should be able to see that he does have them.

    For example, I told a group of Scouts that I’d been on a business trip where I had to make reservations for lodging, make reservations for food, secure transportation, and carry items needed to make a presentation. I asked the group, “Who among you would be able to do this if asked?” As I assumed, no one raised their hand. Then I asked the patrol leaders, “When you go camping, aren’t you in charge of making sure of having enough tents for the event? Aren’t cooking groups assigned, with each patrol member having a part to play? And, don’t you as members of the Patrol Leaders Council along with the quartermaster make sure any additional gear is taken in case it is a canoe trip, a hiking trip, or another kind of trip that requires special equipment?” I could see the lights in their eyes coming on. They’ve been training for leadership without realizing they were getting practical experience. They can do the job, they’ve proven they can do the job, but sometimes they don’t realize they are doing the job.

    So, if the audience I’m given is for leadership, I include specific leadership examples. And, we work at subdividing the information to make sure all the topics are covered. How does the Scout handle finances? How does the Scout work with others? What is the reputation of the Scout among his peers? What is the reputation of the Scout outside his peers? I elaborate the points, but I do not embellish.

    I’m not opposed to a “To Whom It May Concern” letter, but where possible, I like to know the name of the person or persons I’m writing. Again, this is defining the target audience. Also, I can do a little research on the receiver to see if there is something I can include that will hold the reader’s interest.

    The question whose answer can make me cringe the most is “When do you need it?” My least favorite answer is “Tomorrow.” I have to leave out information regarding time-management skills if it is a last-minute request. While it is not impossible to write a letter of recommendation with a 24-hour turnaround time, I like to have a little time to collect my thoughts. “Haste makes waste.” I can and have produced a letter in a short turnaround, but I usually think later “I wished I’d included ….” And, I want the Scout to have input into the letter. The letter is a promise being made to the reader, and the Scout should know what it says.

    Advertising is built with some of the same principles applied here. Research the company with the product or service. Find what makes the company unique among its competitors. Promote those qualities to the audience that will be receptive to them. Know your audience. Be specific. Be focused. Be timely. Deliver on the promise.

    And, do a good turn daily.

  10. Where do ideas come from?

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    “Where do you get your ideas? How do you come up with ads?”

    The best creative comes from a relationship with the client. This starts with research. I have to know as much about the client’s business as possible.

    Just to come up with an idea isn’t very difficult. Making sure the idea fits the client is very important. It takes focus and understanding the business.

    I’ve taken several management courses that taught S.M.A.R.T. goals. Ideas must be able to meet all the requirements for a S.M.A.R.T. goal: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. In the beginning, however, it’s important to list all the ideas before putting them to the S.M.A.R.T. test. It’s possible that an idea can be molded to fit the S.M.A.R.T. model.

    In our agency sessions of exploring ideas, the only rule we have is to stay positive. Negativity stifles creativity. In the initial phase of idea discovery, examination of the idea will come in the next step. All staff members are encouraged to be part of the idea process. A good idea is not limited to a job title or hierarchy within the agency. We also encourage clients to be part of this process. A positive outlook and energy is what makes a good brainstorming session.

    Good ideas are like cream in milk: the really good ideas rise to the top.

    I was recently at a personal appointment near a client’s office. When I was finished with my appointment, I stopped by the client’s office just to give greetings. I was invited in. I thought this would take about five minutes. Then we started talking. We started batting ideas around. When brainstorming, I try to never ask “Why?” but to focus on “Why not?” My job is to come up with “How.” We spoke of several different projects. The client explained the vision behind the projects. We starting talking about steps to take to make it all happen. We were excited about the ideas as they freely flowed. Some will happen; some will not. It was a great session. I thought it was a 30 minute conversation, but it turned out to be a 90 minute conversation. That’s the mark of a good creative session.

    I read a lot. Mostly what I read these days are articles – magazine, newspaper, blogs, etc. I am constantly on the lookout for information that I can take to my clients. And, my job is to connect my client to their customers. There’s the “How” I mentioned. Sometimes how I get from point A to point B might not be very orthodox. “How” can be creative too.

    I dislike the phrase “Think outside the box.” For one thing, it is cliché. For another, it is limiting. What’s really being said is “Be more creative” or “Come up with an original idea.” Comedienne Jeannie Robertson says that left-brained people, like her husband, like to measure the box while right-brained people don’t know there is a box. I believe that we all carry traits of both. I like the Casey Kasem sign-off “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

    Ideas turn visions and dreams into reality. It is the job of marketing to turn visions and dreams into reality. We just have to be S.M.A.R.T. about it.

    Originally published in the July, 2016 issue of the Northeast Mississippi Business Journal in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

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