Yes, that includes moms. But it also includes sisters, nieces, aunts, godparents…surrogate moms of every shape, size, age, gender. Because let’s face it, families sure don’t fit the stereotypical mold anymore.
And I love that. My daughter teaches special-needs-children in a local school. One of her charges is a five-year-old boy whose two dads adopted him, his older sister and two additional children to make their family complete. To me, they’re a perfect picture of a non-traditional family in 2013.
I never paid much attention to Mother’s Day when I was growing up. My parents said it was a “Hallmark” holiday, designed to sell cards and gifts. But as I got older, I softened that view and saw Mother’s Day as a day to say “thanks” to all the women I know—and have known—with or without offspring. Many of them broke through barriers and paved the way for working moms like me. I hope I’m doing the same for the next gen.
Fun Facts this Mother’s Day
Total spent on Mother’s Day Cards annually—$671 million.
Total spent on flowers for mothers on Mother’s Day—$1.9 billion.
Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of our economy.
Women-owned businesses provide 15.5 million jobs, employing 35% more people in the U.S. than Fortune 500 companies worldwide.
46% of women between the ages of 35–55 and 64% of women ages 18–34 want to become business owners.
I think this raises some interesting ideas about visual language as it relates to process in the new digital millenium, and I think some kind of middle ground may be where I land — yes, the “anthropomorphic” representationalism of, say, a — entirely virtual — trash can seems a little outdated or old hat, but are we ready to let go of that convention in favor of a “image free” conception of our gizmoid functions and performances? How is the MEANING of it changed? Is there a new understanding of what is transpiring if there is no “depiction” of it? Probably. I think the interaction becomes that much more abstract and concrete at the same time, oddly. But colder and maybe even more solipsistic — so, it makes sense I think that microsoft would be at the cutting edge (and I really kinda only mean that sorta snarkily — I mean, y’know, it kinda makes sense considering what they’ve been about culturally and historically). I agree that there’s some silliness associated w/ the woodgrain and the stitching, but I wonder if doing away w/a representational approach to user-interfacing isn’t a step too far in the other direction.
Today is sam’s birthday. To my great surprise and delight, he said recently that he wouldn’t mind having a wristwatch (one of his “cool” friends must wear one), so I was very happy to have his present easily determined and then purchased. I very deliberately got him an analog watch rather than a digital one — and I was actually thinking about this in the car on the way in this morning — cuz a digital read-out will tell you what time it is RIGHT NOW — THIS VERY SECOND — with no indication of how that relates to the “sweep of time” on a grander scale. A minute hand and a second hand and an hour hand, on the other “hand,” convey what comes before and hence — you can see it there — the second hand moving through space IN TIME. It’s a more humane experience of time. Still a man-made contrivance, but somehow more organic. And I wonder how these little aspects of our daily life add up and influence our experience of the world and how we react to it. I saw a GPS on the dashboard of the car in front of me, and thought how, similarly, the GPS will tell you EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. A traditional, paper map shows you the space and then it’s up to you to put yourself in it — a fundamentally very different approach. The further we get into abstraction, is more humanity lost byte by byte? And what is happening to the hard-wiring of our children’s brains — the ones who never heard of a floppy disk? How is their experience of the world different from ours?
One of the greatest challenges for any company, organization or copywriter is how to tell your story in a way that’s both concise and compelling – whether the goal is toothpaste sales or fundraising dollars.
How do you make the connection between Point A and Point B, and inspire action? Coming from a nonprofit background, I especially empathize with the challenge of making the case to the everyday consumer when the case is driven by complicated stats and data.
Good marketing, of course, brings many tools to the crafting the case. One that’s rising in popularity: the infographic.
Shortly after the first presidential debate, a reference to PBS funding by Mitt Romney inspired the creation of an infographic that’s gone viral. PBS could probably make their case in many different ways, but what other way could capture a multitude of stats on the benefits of public broadcasting?
Brick-and-mortar venues to sell your product(s) can’t go much beyond the traditional retail outlet or mall kiosk, right? Wrong! We can now buy clothes in airport malls, from trucks (think food trucks), and in our home via direct selling agents. Our options are growing. My new favorite is this… Victoria’s Secret is opening a store tonight inside the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium alongside the other vendors. They are selling their typical under-wares, all themed out for Dallas Cowboy fans.
“Darlin, I am going to get two large beers and a medium bra, can I get you anything?” Brilliant. My guess is that this will be a huge success. What do you think?
Teaching is new to me. At least in a formal way. Like creating curriculum, developing a companion workbook and then tying it all into a compelling and engaging two day training session. I had my first shot at this last month in Denver alongside Drew McLellan of McLellan Marketing Group. We had been tapped (well, maybe more like volunteered) to facilitate the first ever IAEE Marketing Academy. I must confess, I was nervous. Drew is a veteran at presenting content over an extended period of time. My experience has not gone beyond the TED talk style of “no more than 20 minutes please and no bulleted slides!”
Day one got off to a great start. We opened with a group activity that had to do with communicating goals for your event. Believe it or not, we tied this exercise into working with Legos. One group built a fire pit. Fire pit? Yup! This was their way of telling us that they put out fires all day long but the fires just keep on burning. Thus, they never even get around to even talking in depth about their event’s goals. From there we talked about working in reality (think shades of gray) versus black and white (think complete clarity and definitive answers.) Throughout the day we found ourselves talking about how this idea, that strategy, or the right execution might look like in the perfect world and then in terms of their reality.
Day two was a continuation of this process as we worked through conversations on interactive marketing tactics, social media, selecting and selling creative to many internal stakeholders, list development and more. We kept reminding the folks if they could take just one idea home with them and implement it on Monday they were beginning to work on defusing the fire. There was such enthusiasm and conviction in the room around the collective ideas to chose from that we asked them to pinky swear to it. They made a promise to us, their classmates and themselves to put one idea into action. We all get to hear how this new action is taking hold when we gather for our group accountability call later this month.
I often get overly excited (maybe overwhelmed too) by all the possibilities, options and services we can provide our clients. It is endless. But I have made a pinky swear to myself that I will focus more on fewer solid ideas to ensure they are explored without fear and with enthusiasm.
So, what is your pinky swear for your next marketing initiative?
I sit on the Board of Directors of a group called Leadership Montgomery and a couple of years ago I took over as chairperson of the recruitment committee. A natural fit, right? I make a living by helping event producers recruit attendees and exhibitors to participate in their trade shows and events. At my first recruitment meeting, I dared to state the unthinkable: “Guys, there are lots of people and businesses in Montgomery County who have never even heard of Leadership Montgomery.” After the gasps of disbelief quieted, I stated that one of my goals on behalf of LM was to expand the reach of the organization. We would be successful when we started seeing applications from companies that were brand new to LM. It took two years, working with tiny (mostly pro-bono) marketing budgets and lots of true grassroots word-of-mouth marketing. This year the “pool” of applications grew to the 2nd highest ever in the 23 year history of the group. Yes, we saw apps from companies previously unknown to LM and/or from companies that hadn’t participated in a decade or more. The success of the recruitment efforts is also apparent in the quality of the applications (read: senior management and owners). And yes, there were excellent applications that were turned away for this class simply because space is limited and the competition was too tough! And now we crank it up again to recruit a Class of 2014. We’ll keep spreading the word
Everyone doesn’t know about you.
Grassroots marketing on shoestring budgets does work, but it takes time.
Be clear on your goals and get your marketing messages crystal clear (and make sure everyone is saying them, over and over.).
Marketing budgets help speed up your success by getting the word out faster and to a larger audience, but Rules 1-3 still apply.
I am back in the office after an unforgettable weekend doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington, DC. I was one of 2,200 participants from 39 states who walked 39.3 miles over two days to help raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer. It was an amazing experience.
At Fixation we are always thinking of new ways and ideas for our clients to create an event that sets them apart. With my professional hat on, I can think of some things the Avon Foundation for Women did right from an event experience standpoint:
They have a great fundraising program powered by Convio that can be accessed online. It’s super easy to use.
Once registered, every participant gets assigned a walking coordinator. She or he is your go-to person for any questions until the last day. And when I say anything I really mean anything.
The event is organized by the staff but mainly run by volunteers. I cannot tell you how grateful I was to both groups during the walk for all their patience and kindness. I was in awe of how hard they all worked as a team to make the event for walkers a memorable experience.
The customer service aspect and user friendly tools were very important in making my event experience a great one. Something else just as important was the connection part. I gained new friends and fortified my relationship with old friends and my family. I am proud of what we accomplished this weekend. We raised $5 million and 10 local breast cancer organizations will receive grants. I am already thinking of ways to get involved next year.
Thanks to my fellow Fixators, friends and family, every donation and every action, big and small, has made a positive impact and an incredibly rewarding experience.
Today marked the last day of the interactive section of SXSW. As I prepare to leave Austin, I am convinced that this event should be in my calendar every year.
I doubt there is another event as complete for interactive professionals where you can find this combination of great networking, hundreds of educational sessions, outstanding speakers and exhibitors offering the latest products and innovations. All of this in the middle of a fun and casual environment that invites people to have longer conversations leading to the exchange of knowledge — changing the way we think, the things we do and how we do them.
As I start to process it all, here are a few random non-technical things that stuck in my head:
Everybody keeps talking about social media, and there is no question it’s here to stay. Social media is great but content is king.
Be an entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean you need to have your own company, you can be an entrepreneur at your job. Muhammad Yunus said “All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves we were all self employed… finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where the human history began. As civilization came we suppressed it. We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.”
When going after a dream or idea, invest in time and/or money and be willing to risk as much as you are hoping to achieve.
Mobile phones and mobile apps are changing the world and will keep doing so. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and optimized.
Another great day at SXSW. Great networking, sessions, speakers, and entertainment. Here are the highlights of the day:
Listening to Ray Kurzweil’s session titled “Expanding Our Intelligence Without Limit” for a second time. I had the opportunity to listen to a very similar session by him at Shop.org last year. Ray Kurzweil has been involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments, all inventions that are embedded into gadgets we use on a daily basis.
Seeing Biz Stone talk about his experiences and the thought process behind Twitter. Biz is best known as the co-founder of Twitter.
Then to finish the education part of the day, we had the opportunity of seeing Al Gore interviewing Sean Parker, founder of Napster and co-founder of Facebook. (Think Justin Timberlake if you saw the movie The Social Network)
Another great part of the day was walking the show floor. It was a great reminder of how important face-to-face communication is, and why we are in this business — Tradeshows.
After learning a lot at SXSW, the next stop was the entertainmet part and some more networking. We headed to the Jay-Z concert. American Express had a campaign where they asked us to sync our AmEx credit card with Twitter as they are launching a campaign that allows credit card members to Tweet their way to savings at SXSW. That gave us free tickets! Watch the video below.
South by Southwest, or how the old-timers like to call it “South by” happens every year in Austin, TX. The event has three components, Music, Film and Interactive, the last one being the reason for me to attend. The event is packed with talks, workshops, keynotes, meet ups, exhibitors and plenty of networking.
For the next five days I will be looking for the latest interactive solutions for our clients, listening to inspirational speakers, meeting geeks from all over the world, and yes, socializing over beer and BBQ by night.
Today’s Keynote speaker was The Onion director of digital, Baratunde Thurston. He was very funny, inspirational and thought-provoking. His keynote titled “How to Read the World” was about how comedy and satire can help make sense of the world, help increase the limits of freedom of speech around the world, and how the internet and social media have helped this movement happen.