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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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Your Customers Know When You’re Full of Shit


As the saying goes, “you can’t bullshit a bullshitter.”

But it’s also true that you can’t bullshit an expert.

And that’s something you had better keep in mind when you’re talking to your customers. A lot of them are experts, and they know when you’re full of shit.

Any time you’re talking to a customer, whether it be via email, video, social media or <gasp!> in person, you’re talking to someone in their world.

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Free Webinar: Social Media MUSTS for Building Your Author Platform


Your “author platform.” It’s something every author hears about, and how important is to build one. Whether you’re a self-publishing or going the traditional publishing route, it’s an absolutely key component for any modern author’s success.

Now, there’s a lot of parts to building a successful author platform, including your website, blogging and guest blogging, author and book tours, live events, etc. – but in my experience the area where people seem to struggle the most to make sense of it all is in social media.

It’s been almost 10 years since I published by first novel, and I’ve been a professional digital marketer (I’m the ex-CMO of one of the top-500 e-commerce companies and one of DMN’s Top 40 Under 40 Marketers for 2016) for almost 20 years. So yes, I’ve been around the block. But one of the most important aspects of my success has been in understanding the ins and outs and pluses and minuses of most digital communications platforms.

I want to share what I’ve learned building a world-leading brand as well as my own personal platform with you.

Be aware though that building your author platform alone can’t guarantee sales. For that to happen you’re going to need to write a great book that people want to read. The quality of the product and level of appeal to consumers are going to be extremely important in turning your platform into sales. I’m not a best-selling author … and mostly it’s because what I prefer to write isn’t quite in the mainstream. But what I have done is connected with thousands of other readers and writers and built a strong brand around myself as both an independent author and digital marketing expert.

So, with all that said, there are a few absolute MUSTS that you should be doing with your social media when building your author platform, including a special section on what platforms you need to be on (and why), how to engage with readers and authors in ways that best work on each platform, and how to build your social media platform with strong cross-channel integration in mind.

I originally wanted to share this via a blog post, but honestly there’s just too much information to share and it makes much more sense when I can walk you through it all. So instead I’ll be hosting a live webinar where I’ll go through this all, and even have it open for questions from the attendees so you go away with actionable tips specific for your needs on how to best grow your author platform using social media.

Social Media Musts for Your Author Platform

NEXT WEBINAR: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24, 2017 @ 12PM EASTERN!

Leadership Lessons from Team-Based Videogaming

Leadership Lessons Learned from Team-Based Video Gaming


I’m a gamer. There’s no argument about it. I’ve been enamored with video games and all the different opportunities they offer in interactive entertainment and experiences ever since I first put my hands on a Nintendo back in 1988. This means I’ve played a lot of games in the last 30 or so years, across multiple platforms and genres. They’re part of my life and absolutely have an effect on how I think about and frame problems and their solutions. And the other night, as I was thinking about the qualities of what makes a strong leader, I was brought back to my experiences as a gamer and how those experiences have helped me to become the type of leader I am.
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