Overhiring

In Periods of Hyper Growth, Be Careful Not to Overhire


Having worked in the digital space for nearly two decades now, and being through periods of immense growth as well as massive downturn (Yes, I was there for the bubble and burst way back around 2000) there’s one mistake I have seen companies make countless times when they were in the midst of major growth: the tendency to overhire.

It usually looks something like this: a company enters a period of strong growth, either just as they are launching, or as there’s been a change in the market that’s allowed them to grow at a rate considerably more accelerated than what they are accustomed to. Amidst a combination of excitement, fear (that you may not be able to keep up) and a few pairs of rose-colored-glasses there is a tendency to bulk up the team in anticipation of the growth, oftentimes planning the hiring to go along with the growth trajectory.  What I’ve seen happen in most of these instances is that the need for additional bodies is a little less than was anticipated, and you end up either looking for work for people to do to keep them busy and engaged, or you end up having to let people go.
Read more

Payoff by Dan Ariely

Read This Book: ‘Payoff’ by Dan Ariely (Book Review)


If you’ve ever spoken with me about books, particularly “business-type” books, one author I always mention as a must-read is Dan Ariely. As the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, as well as founder and director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, Ariely’s work on behavioral psychology has provided groundbreaking revelations and insight into the decision-making process, and the not-quite-rational way in which we make our decisions.

As a marketer (and a once-upon-a-time psychology major) I find the research into these topics particularly useful, especially when your job is to help build out strategies specifically designed to guide people to a desired outcome. After all, that’s pretty much what marketing is – using psychological principles to guide behavior and perception.
Read more

Marketing Consultant vs. Marketing Strategist

Marketing Consultant vs. Marketing Strategist (What’s the Difference?)


One of the big areas companies regularly need help with is in their marketing. And for those who are looking to trigger some growth via marketing, some outside help is often necessary. But when faced with the challenge of finding outside marketing help, a common stumbling block is the question of if you need a marketing consultant or a marketing strategist.

At first glance, the two may seem to be very much the same thing, but they definitely are not. And as you look to build out your internal marketing team or external marketing agency strategy, it’s important to understand the difference between the two so you can decide which is right for you.
Read more

SEO Agency

Should I Hire an SEO Agency? (Search Engine Optimization)


Should I hire an SEO agency? It’s a question that as a digital strategist I hear often – and one that can definitely have multiple answers. But in general, the question of hiring someone to handle your search engine optimization really is a question of just how much do you want to really want to be good at digital marketing and how much do you want it to be a core competency.

Generally I think of SEO as something that should be done in-house, and as part of a company’s core competencies. Anyone who’s writing content or creating web pages should have a good understanding of all the standards and best practices for SEO and work to ingrain them as part of their content creation strategy.

Honestly there’s not a LOT to good SEO once you start thinking of things you create with those in mind. Things like what your title tags say, how you are using your <h> tags, keyword phrases and density etc. are all things that can become pretty much second nature if you start to make it a point to follow them.

Read more

The Future of Retail Has Never Been Brighter (Thoughts from eTail West 2017)


As February came to a close and March began, some of the smartest people in retail converged on Palm Springs, California like it was some sort of e-commerce Coachella festival. As they do every year around this time, these leaders in retail got together to share a combination of insights and recommendations as to the current state of digital commerce, while thousands more of their peers listened in to hear the latest in what’s happening in this world.

Still, as anyone who’s been in “e-commerce” knows, eTail is about more than just selling things online. It has to be. As e-commerce has evolved over the past two decades its grown from an outlier and change agent to become a key component of how we shop and interact with brands. It’s past mobile commerce, multichannel and even omnichannel. Instead, now with its big brother, Brick and Mortar, it’s become just part of how we consumers buy stuff.

But is it even more than that? If this year’s eTail West conference was any indication, the answer is an absolute YES.
Read more

Break Stuff! (a.k.a. Why Perfection Paralysis and Fear Are Killing Your Business)


Fear and perfection, I’ve found, often go hand-in-hand. It’s a crippling mindset, this idea that everything you do needs to be perfect. And it too often kills good businesses and people from becoming great.

Perhaps it’s due to the fact that with modern communication and technology we can be so quickly judged or shamed. The right tweet from the right person can make your company … and the wrong tweet from the wrong person can kill it.

But that’s generally not the way things work. To be frank, most of the time no one cares all that much about what you or your business is doing. At least not enough that it’s going to make or break you.

What will make or break you though is the inability to take action.

Today your success lies more in your ability to move quickly. To risk making mistakes. To break things along the way (and fix them later).
Read more

Always Use a Pencil When Writing Out Your Plans

Always Use Pencil (When Writing Out Your Plans)


Plans.

Life plans. Business plans. Wedding plans. Travel plans. Marketing plans.

Plans.

They never seem to work out, do they? And it’s not for lack of proper planning.

The reason our plans often don’t work out the way we planned them is as simple as this. Life happens.

And part of life is the unknown. It’s fluid and changing and you never really can know what will happen next. But still we try to force some level of control over it. Some part of us wants life to be predictable and known – and so we make plans.

What’s your marketing plan? Can you help me build a marketing plan?

Questions like this come up all the time in business – but I’m here to tell you something.

Stop relying on plans.
Read more

A Quick Hack for Awesome Image + Text Content

Image + Text Typography Content Is Easy (and Awesome) with This Tool


I gotta be honest. I was a little hesitant to share this hack I use for creating image + text content since it gives away a bit of my “magic” – but it’s just too good not to share.

If you use any kind of social network, you’ve seen the images of nicely formatted quotes or affirmations etc. overlaid on nice photography and backgrounds. They’re a great visual (and engaging!) way to get a short message across – so much so that Facebook even recently added in the ability to put background colors behind your text posts as a way to emulate their effectiveness.

But making beautiful graphics is hard, right? There’s certainly a lot more to well-formatted typography than just sticking some text over and image and hitting save (trust me, I’ve tried it). So how do you get the same kind of professional-quality images of your own to share?

Easy. There’s an app for that.
Read more

A Strong Marketing Strategy Requires a Strong Foundation


One of the key tenets I espouse to anyone looking to improve their marketing effectiveness is that marketing should be looked at holistically.

Each part of what we do with our business, particularly in the ways we present our business or brand to the world, is part of marketing. And, whether those actions are online or offline, they all need to work together to build a a greater whole that none of them could accomplish on their own.

That’s a main part of what I do when I’m working with clients – look at their goals as a company and how all their channels and communication are working together to help elevate the brand. This includes looking deep into the data to understand how the channels intersect, where breakpoints are occurring and where things may be missing altogether.

But none of this does any good without a strong foundation.
Read more

Top Ten Sites for Royalty Free Stock Photos

The Top Ten Sites for Beautiful Royalty Free Stock Photos


Where can I find free images to use on my web site and social media without any licensing worries? I need some royalty free stock photos!

It’s a question I get asked pretty frequently – especially since many of my own posts have some great images tied to them.

You could pay for them. And sometimes I do. But a lot of the time things like simple blog posts or social media shares aren’t made with any sort of major return on investment in mind, and therefore can’t have extra budget allotted for creative. So what do you do? Take photos of your own? Leave your posts barren fields of text?

While I do recommend taking and using your own photos when you can (I do it about 20% of the time), there are other solutions – and those are free-to-use, royalty-free images.

Basically they are photos that you are allowed to use on your site or social media, free of charge. Each often has their own terms (like requiring credit, or restricting resale of the images) so be sure to check those out before you go crazy. But they’re a great solution.

And so, here are the top 10 royalty-free photo sites I turn to when I need to procure an image (but just don’t have the budget for something like Getty Images or Adobe Stock).
Read more