Google Engage Master Class

Posted April 24th, 2012 by admin with 1 Comment

Today I am at the Google Engage Master Class. My marketing division at has partnered directly with Google to master Adwords for our clients. Google Adwords is all about finding a relevant audience for your product or service. Canadian Marketing agency Cardinal Path is speaking as I write this.

First of all, I love Google. Everything they do is cool. Even this event is run with class. Secondly, I love anything that will allow me to deliver quality leads to my customers. Google Adwords is central to lead generation because Google is the number one search engine in Canada. Google search leaves Bing, Yahoo, Ask, et al. in the dust.

I’m always available for a chat if you’re reading this and are curious about my company’s relationship with Google and whether Adwords could work for your business. We even have free Google dollars for new customers.

Anyway, business today is competitive. I get really excited about new and improved ways to communicate to the right audience effectively. And, on that front, Google rocks!

eMarketing Association Conference 2012

Posted April 2nd, 2012 by admin with No Comments

I’m en route to the eMarketing Association Conference in San Francisco.

I’m speaking on two panels and moderating one:

Panel 1: Growing email lists with social media
Panel 2: Reactivating lost customers with social and email
Moderating: Establishing control of the social conversation

Looks like a great line up of industry leaders. In line with my fascination, I will be talking about marketing communication from a psychological perspective. How do you connect with your audience?  How do you learn from your audience? The fact is, if businesses listen closely customers are clear about what they want. We’re not trained to listen; rather, we’re trained to talk, write, design, record, etc.

We have to re-calibrate our goals when it comes to marketing. There is no excuse especially in a digital era where businesses have greater access to their markets than ever before. So stay tuned. Leading minds in the eMarketing world should be able to pull together some strong ideas to keep our minds working for a few days.

Talk for your Listener

Posted February 20th, 2012 by admin with No Comments

It’s a funny thing… we all think we send clear messages. But if you’ve ever played a game of telephone you’d know how messed up messages can get.

So what happens when you say something important?
The game of interpretation is a dangerous one. It wastes time, money and energy.

If you could only say something to someone one time,  how would you say it to make it stick? Short and sweet? Long and detailed? With emotion?

You get this one-time chance every day. How much time, money and energy have you wasted being unheard?

What’s the solution? Before you talk, listen. Discover a bit about your audience, even if it’s an audience of one.

If you’re talking to your boss, is he dropping hints as to what is keeping him up at night? Is he telling you what he wants from you in an indirect way? Listen closely. Ask questions. Check if you heard correctly by paraphrasing. Then, and only then, communicate what you want to say and make sure that what you have to say speaks to your boss’s needs.

If you want to be heard, you need to be relevant and compassionate. Demonstrate that you’ve heard your audience. Then return to your message with the knowledge of what your audience needs to hear. You can be your boss’s best asset but he may not be hearing you.

Try again, tomorrow. But this time, listen first!

Guilty of Noise

Posted August 14th, 2011 by admin with No Comments

I’m just as guilty as you are. We fill up our lives with so many things: materials, activities, you name it, we’re drowning in it. We have jobs, and hobbies, and volunteer work, and family. We strive to be awesome at all of it. And, to be honest, I think we can be awesome at a number of things. I make a point of ignoring illusions that tell me that my potential is limited.

I want to be (and absolutely can be) a great marketer, writer, speaker, trainer, strategist, business woman… sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. But the path is always in a positive direction.

So, if I’m comfortable with big and varied goals, what is this noise I mentioned at the start?

Noise is when we’re so busy we don’t have a moment of calm. It’s when we’re so caught up in getting things done that we neglect to reflect.

Virginia Woolf, one of my absolute favourite thinkers, told the world women (and men) need time and a room of their own in order to be creative. Leonardo da Vinci was a master of many crafts and he also believed that we need time for quiet reflection in order to be creative and get inspired.

If minds like da Vinci and Woolf suggest too much noise, activity, demands (call it what you like) are problematic, that’s enough for me to believe it.

So why guilty? Because we bring it upon ourselves. The same way we choose our goals we also choose a stressful and stifling life IF we don’t make room for quiet, peace, and reflection.

Furthermore, we limit our creativity and capacity to perform by being so busy we can’t figure out how to be good at any of the number of things we’re busy doing. In effect, we’re too busy to be good.

Market Leadership Strategies for Service Companies

Posted July 15th, 2010 by admin with No Comments

Market leadership is defined by the business with the largest market share or highest profitability margin in a specific market. Some business theorists suggest that service companies always run the risk of competing neck-in-neck on price. This may work for businesses that sell virtually identical products. In the services industry, however, market leadership requires that your service offers something a buyer cannot find elsewhere.

Understand Your Service
What benefit does your ideal customer expect from your service? Is it really the bricks and mortar that attract buyers to a hair salon, for example? In their book “Market Leadership Strategies for Service Companies,” authors Craig Terrill and Arthur Middlebrooks explain that the intangible experience is what truly sets a service business apart. Go into the field to understand your service. Ask customers directly about their experiences. This is where you will uncover what is responsible for your sales. If customers say they come to you because of your low prices, you may be following a commodities model where your service becomes a product that competes too closely with similar products. Competing on price means you are not offering a strong enough value proposition or unique benefit to your customer.

Choose Your Customers
Identify your ideal customer. Understand exactly what demographic and consumer philosophy you are targeting. You may have to turn down customers but that’s ok. You only want the customers that want what you’re selling. If you try to be everything to everyone you will lose your competitive edge. By going after a specific kind of customer you can own more of the market segment.

Offer Unique Value
Do not ever rest on a service menu that performed well last year. Engage your staff and your customers to develop new services and innovate stale offerings. If your service stays the same, competitors might be able to catch up or mimic your style. Innovation keeps your customers satisfied and avoids the chance of them getting bored over time. Instead of offering sales, for example, offer a value-add promotion. In a hair salon that may mean adding an aromatherapy scalp massage to the haircutting service or a hot towel service with all barber shop shaves.

Listen to the Experts
Follow those who have already achieved success. While Apple offers products more than it does service, its co-founder Steve Jobs is a great model for market leaders in the making. He suggests that you adopt better tools as soon as they are available–do not just follow industry standards, invent them.

How-to Expertise

Posted July 13th, 2010 by admin with No Comments

If you had name one thing for which you or your business are the expert, what would it be?

If you can’t think of anything, you are dispensable.

Find one thing you do better than most people. Take that skill and nurture it into a brand for yourself. For example, if you have a knack for bargaining until you score an awesome deal, maybe you should market yourself as a master negotiator.

Whether you are assessing your business offerings or personal skills, consider if you are contributing anything unique or anything of value. If I can get what I get from you from just about any other employee or kiosk, you have no value to me.

Never underestimate the power of being the “how-to” expert in your field. Everyone needs a how-to manual some time. Being needed is kind of necessary for success.

Three Kinds of Communication

Posted July 12th, 2010 by admin with No Comments

Whether we are talking about a company or a person, the entire gamut of communications can be summed up into three categories.

1. Gibberish:

The first kind of communications covers all kinds of talk without any purpose. Some like to hear their own voices. Some think others actually care about mundane and useless details. One way or another, far too many people talk gibberish. And it gets them no where.

2. Gossip:

I believe gossip is every piece of recycled information. News sources most often repeat each other’s stories (after all only one journalist can be the first to break a story). In offices across the nation staff people are regurgitating the opinions of others. Simply, if you or your company are not the first to form an opinion or statement, every consecutive mention constitutes gossip.

3. Strategic Communications:

Bringing together details to reach a specific goal has a purpose and thus has value. For example, politicians repeat theories they believe will get them votes. Whether you agree with those politicians or not, their communications has purpose.

Strategic Communications (or StratComm) pushes individuals and businesses forward. Everything else is a waste of time. The sad thing is StratComm makes up the very least of our dialogue. In an effort to limit noise pollution and the overall denigration of the human ability to communicate, it’s worth asking yourself – to which category of communications am I contributing most?

Inside and Out

Posted July 9th, 2010 by admin with No Comments

Since Strategic Communications is usually focused on achieving a goal, it is easy to forget its other purpose.

Novelist and poet Don Williams Jr. said, “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”

If Williams is right, stratcomm wouldn’t be strategic at all if it ignored the process. The road that leads to the goal requires as much attention as the ultimate goal – if not more.

This reminds us that stratcomm plays a pivotal role in the daily workings of any business operations. Properly designed processes, guidelines, and standards keep a business running smoothly, a staff happy and motivated, and daily goals fulfilled.

When you think about hiring a Strategic Communications consultant don’t think of marketing alone. Think internal training, procedural efficiency, and ultimate simplicity in what may otherwise be a convoluted world of business

Fun is the Workplace Solution…. Seriously

Posted July 6th, 2010 by admin with No Comments

Motivational speaker Jody Urquhart says there are three ways to motivate people to work harder, faster and smarter:

  1. threaten staff
  2. pay lots of money
  3. make work fun

Urquhart explains how the first two options are ineffective.  But making work fun, she says, “has a track record of affecting real change…. [Because c]reativity, intuition and flexibility are key to successful operation of organizations today.  In stimulating environments, employees enjoy their time at work and they will also excel at work.  Attracting customers is easier in an environment of hospitality.  A fun workplace is not only more productive, but it attracts people and profits.”

Whether you manage a staff or are one of the working minions, find ways to make your work fun. Your career will flourish and you might begin liking the place you spend most of your time.

Nothing Ventured = Nothing Gained

Posted July 3rd, 2010 by admin with No Comments

If you expect to move yourself forward in your career, relationships, education, etc. but you’re not willing to take a risk, be prepared to go nowhere.

You will never be loved if you never open yourself to the possibility of rejection. You will never launch a successful product if you’re not prepared to risk launching a failing product.

The path of least resistance offers the least reward.

You know this, right? But when did you last take a risk?

You will never be anything if you aren’t willing to fail. And trying doesn’t count if you’ve ventured nothing.

Is Your Art Real or Fake?

Posted June 4th, 2010 by admin with No Comments

You’ve likely heard it before but I bet you haven’t done anything about it.

You know that old adage about the shoemaker? Simply, if your art is shoemaking but you’re hobbling around in a tattered pair, you’re sending a bad message.

You don’t have to have the most elaborate shoes or best shoes you’ve ever made, but for goodness sake wear a set that don’t welcome criticism.

If you are guilty of this professional faux pas let me tell you what I might be thinking: you’re a liar. Your art or talent doesn’t really exist and you’re just someone who makes shoes because you have no choice. Quite frankly, I don’t want to buy your shoes any more.

Are you so caught up in producing your product that you’re hurting your own reputation? Or are you broadcasting your weaknesses because you don’t even know what they are?

Think about it.


Posted May 27th, 2010 by admin with No Comments

A licence plate said it all: SEO GUY. Driving in west Toronto tonight I found myself behind a car and licence plate that made me think. Few people take their jobs as personally as Mr. SEO. But making yourself and what you do for a living into a brand is definitely one road to success. More importantly, it’s a way for us all to enjoy our jobs.I try to embody this approach. JTCINA.COM is very reflective of my true self. I pour my heart and soul into it. I mean everything I write. I make it my business to be on top of news and developments in strategic communications. Think about your professional brand. I’m StratComm Girl. Even if that’s too long to fit on a licence plate.