Perhaps it's the economy, but more and more of my old friends and co-workers are job hunting... especially tough for us in that OVER 40 crowd. I'm sure you're hearing it too.
"Do you know anyone hiring?"
"Have you heard of anything?"
"Could you keep me in mind?"
"Can you take a look at my resume?"
I usually then ask where are they searching, beyond job boards? I ask how they are marketing themselves. How are they networking... social media? LinkedIn?
And I've received some surprising answers. Some people didn't see the need before. Some haven't EVER worked their LinkedIn presence. Worse yet, although they're business people, some aren't even ON LinkedIn at all. They never saw a reason to.
And now they're scrambling. Trying to frantically START a network when they need it most.
So, those of you IN sales... if you're not using social media or LinkedIn, and don't have your profiles current or posting updates, tsk, tsk! You're leaving leads on the table. It's a FREE, EASY way to market yourself! Watch a youtube tutorial on how to use it better and get going!
To those NOT in sales, you should ALWAYS be networking. You've heard that adage...
"It's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know."
So true. More jobs are gained through networking than any other source. In fact 85%, according to Lou Adler, author of the recently published Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired.
So even if you're happy and secure with your current employer or are your own boss, you should still be "workin' it." Looking for leads. Making connections. Reclaiming old friendships. Seeing who knows who once in a while. Joining groups in your field. Learning from the great posts in your industry and from thought leaders you admire. Even if only to reach out and help other people with their leads and job searches in the future, it can be so rewarding.
You might come back and say, "So I should spend my time networking just to help other people?"
Yes. And here's why: Networking is defined as "Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit."
Keeping it active. For MUTUAL benefit. If you help others, they're more likely to want to help YOU. And as the great sales guru networker Dale Carnegie once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
And before you need to. Happy networking!
Your Networking Ninja,
If you're like me, then you're obsessed with decorating TV shows. Bargain hunts. Fixer-uppers. Makeovers. Flippers. You name it. Although I am always thrilled to see the final results, I am just as drawn to the home buyers' faces when they arrive at a new property and size-it-up for the first time.
Now pretend you're a client, visiting your website for the first time. That website is your company's front door. Your welcome mat. Your landscape. Your style and personality.
It's the way the world usually meets you now. Not in person. Or via phone. Or in a brochure or catalog. But online. And they can choose to enter, or keep on driving by, just by the looks and the lure of your website front page.
I was meeting with a new potential client last month about his website and other marketing projects. He thought his website might need some "sprucing up." I asked when was the last time he updated it. He hadn't. (Heavy sigh. Yes, I recommended that be a priority.)
My point today is that this new generation of buyers are making buying decisions online by what they see on your website. Is it current? Give them all the information they need to get to the next level? Easy to use? Logical? Complete? Have lots of photos? Short captions or copy (instead of long, droning paragraphs no one reads?) Links to other helpful sources? Links that WORK?
Business owner friends... go to your website. Examine your front page. Is everything right there on the single screen? (If prospects have to scroll down, they most likely WON'T. That front page real estate is GOLD.)
Then click inside. Surf your site as if you were a new prospect. Or better yet, get someone else who doesn't know you to shop your site. Can they find what they need? Was it easy? Fun? Informative? Tell your full story? Was it targeted to the right prospects? Was there a call to action to bring in a lead or a purchase?
Your website is your business' calling card in this new digital shopping world. Mobile curb appeal of your business is essential. (And probably a lot cheaper than a home makeover, for sure!)
This weekend, I read a wonderful post about how Hershey's Chocolate World - yes, the famous kiss-creating chocolate mogul - is launching a new, completely interactive experience right in the heart of Times Square in New York.
The location is three times the size of its old one, which is pictured here. Rather than just focus on TASTE, the company - who built their brand on giving tours of their facility since the 1920 - is planning to "create new and exciting experiences by connecting fans with what they are smelling, tasting, touching (and even hearing) when it comes to chocolate."
You'd think they'd just focus on TASTE, huh? No. Because their brand is linked to all sorts of sensations conjured up in childhood. The senses of smell, and hearing and touching all play into the brand connection with our inner child.
As you read their plans and watch their tease video, you can see that its superb marketing team plans to push every experiential hot button they can in driving us - particularly the new consumer power-group - millennials - to connect with their product. In fact, the press release touts that the new location will "continue our legacy and showcase our creativity with new, exciting and interactive experiences."
Interactive experiences. The more you engage your audience, the more they can connect with you.
So let's right now fly 30,000 feet, as if we can look at your marketing plan from above. What parts of your plan, your media, your trade show design, your sales message delivery have buyers INTERACTING with your product, EXPERIENCING your service? Sure, Hershey's has CHOCOLATE to experience. You or your customers may have health care or pest extermination or casual furniture or financial services as your product. But that does not mean you can't deliver an experience just as powerful.
The success of great companies today is often in the storytelling they do. The new age storytelling is EXPERIENTIAL for new consumers today. For them to want your product, they have to experience it... or what life is like without it. They want to relate it to THEIR world, THEIR needs, in THEIR way. Through digital and social sharing which is so a part of their world.
As you begin to plan your marketing for 2018, examine what could you do to better involve your customer:
- Which scenarios can your reps convey to paint the picture of what it's like to experience your product or service, different from your competition?
- How can you convey that in a demo or in a theater in your trade show booth?
- How can you engage prospects in simple videos or with meaningful content - beyond just sales flyers or specials - in social media that will become shareable and viral?
And if you're stumped at how... then you might need a marketing pro who can help. (It's what we do!)
I wish you delicious results for your next experience ...
My husband and I often sit at the kitchen table side-glancing at each other during a dinner with our Millennial children. "What did THAT mean?" we convey telepathically to each other after another unknown term ping-ponged among the 20-something-aged players.
The fact is... Millennials are the new power generation. They have their own little language set. (Like "on fleek" and "slay" and "turnt" and "throwing shade" and "can't even.") Their own values and preferences, sometimes very different than ours. Their own purchasing power. Their own buying preferences. Their own new jobs. (In fact, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials by the year 2025, according to Forbes magazine.) Yes, 75%.
Are you reaching them, THEIR way, speaking their language?
Now I don't just mean knowing their new hipster vocabulary. But do you know what's important to them? And can you deliver value and service the way they want it?
Ok, I'm a Boomer. I'm used to going to a store to buy most things. I often pick up the phone to order stuff and talk to other humans. Most Millennials do not. They go to their phones to find things. Most everything. And THEN they purchase them. I have been told that their ideal purchasing situation is when they can do the entire purchase online and don't speak to another human... especially when having to order a pizza!
So, many pizza shops and restaurants - and even McDonald's in many areas - are offering online ordering, and delivery through GrubHub and UberEats.
Has your business adjusted for this new buying group?
How are you reaching this new group that may never go to a trade show? Never page through a catalog? Rarely open emails if they don't know you?
If you want your business to be viable for the future, you need to BE where they are. Understand them.
Are you providing them online resources that help them sell THEIR way? Social media tools on THEIR choice of media (Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube?) Marketing to them the way they want to be reached?
In for the long haul? Hitch your wagon to the Millennials. (For now. Gen Z is right on their heels, starting to graduate college in 4 years.)
Next level... (Another Millennial term meaning "to succeed")
Mary Ellen Sokalski
Diva of Direct Marketing.