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Are You Really A Professional?

Are You Really A Professional?

Marketing Professional

I recently read a post on Elizabeth Halford‘s blog.

 “I want to start a photography business, but I’m not a photographer.”

Elizabeth had some great advice and suggested the folly of trying to start an artistic business without knowing the art or the business.  My first thought was how demeaning this comment was to the profession.

Do people think that anyone can pick up a camera and figure it out?

Do people think that creativity is inborn in everyone?

Do they think that creativity, innovation and that mastery of the technology is within each of us?

Creative Guidelines

We mere mortals are in love with creativity.  There’s a romance quality to that creative world that most of us want to be part of.  And many of us believe that we’re qualified to do just that.  But like many things in life, there are guidelines.  There are guidelines to what makes a great photo… a great painting… a great work of art.

Marketing Guidelines

As we know there are also guidelines in the business world.  We all willingly accept legal, accounting and financial guidelines.  But when it comes to marketing, advertising and sales, everyone thinks they know best.  Forget about ‘best practices’.  Forget about years of experience and experimentation that have proven the efficacy of certain protocols.

“I want to make marketing decisions, but I don’t have marketing experience.”

“I want to re-write that ad, but I’m not a copywriter.”

“I want to create a guerilla marketing event in Grand Central Station with about 1,200 people and a High School Band on my $3,000 budget.”

The title of “professional” is backed up with a great deal of time and energy – training, hard work, experimentation, learning, honing, polishing and on and on.  Feel free to challenge any professional when something is not the way you believe it should be.  But, remember to have a bit of respect for everything that went into building their professionalism.

Sharing creative insights is wonderful.  You never know where the next great idea is going to come from and people should be open to expressing and listening to those insights.  One great photo, doesn’t make you a professional photographer.  And one amazing marketing idea does not make you a professional marketer.

 

 

Are You Smart Enough To Hire the Best?

Are You Smart Enough To Hire the Best?

Hire Marketing StaffOne service that Market Inc offers is helping clients hire the right people.  Most of the time we work on hiring marketing staff.  And when I look at the laundry list of skills, experience and education used in the hiring hunt,  I’m gobsmacked.

Consider why most people are fired, let go and pink-slipped.  It’s more often due to their inability to fit into the company’s culture rather than their skills, education or accomplishments. Why not find out:

(1) is this individual capable and willing to learn?

(2) do they fit into our team?

Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group, agrees.  He hires for cultural fit, personality and versatility.  “Find people with transferable skills–you need team players who can pitch in and try their hand at all sorts of different jobs….While specialists are sometimes necessary, versatility should not be underestimated.”

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Design for Design Sake: Fail

Design for Design Sake: Fail

Grafik BS Design

Design is a critical component of all <visual> marketing.  It can make or break logos, brands, websites, packaging, presentations  and … almost everything.  But when design goes overboard, who does it serve?  Possibly no one.

Use professional designers in your business whenever possible.  But, be sure follow these rules:

  1. Describe your brand (attitude, target customer)
  2. Desribe the message you want the designer to help you deliver
  3. Reject ideas that don’t support (1) or (2)

A designer’s perspective can bring  new, fresh look to your business.   It can clarify your brand image better than most other tools.  But,  don’t fall prey to falling love with a design that doesn’t work for your business, your brand or for you.

But design can go bad.

PSFK reports that “Graphic Designer Amy West has created a brilliantly refreshing new project titled Grafik BSThe work sees a completely made-up design studio with its own fake Behance page aimed at an audience with a shallow understanding of design….The studio’s ‘page’ displays posters with meaningless messages giving users the ability to comment on her phony designs thus portraying our modern obsession with trends and style whether they be good, or bad.”

Check out the article here. 

4 Easy Steps to Unlock Marketing Success

4 Easy Steps to Unlock Marketing Success

Winning marketingDoes your website really work for you?  Or is your site buried like an undiscovered treasure at the bottom of the Long Island Sound?   Or is it a tangled mess of seaweed and garbage that’s floating aimlessly in Jones Beach?  Let’s face it.  Websites are easy.  After all, you can create a (free) website in mere minutes.  But, if you haven’t figured out how to make your website work for you, it’s probably a sinkhole filled with your precious time and money.

  1. Having a website is OK.
  2. Having a great website is good.
  3. Having a great website that gets seen is better.
  4. Having a great website that gets seen by the right people is great.
  5. Having a great website that engages increasing numbers of the right people is extraordinary.

According to deep technical, big data analysis there are a gazillion websites.  Most don’t get read.   Many  are seen only by a small group of random people you can fit on that tiny elevator at the back of Macy’s.  Only a few have a big, juicy group of the right people interacting with the site and the organization.

Strategic Marketing PlanHow do you get from OK to extraordinary? Two words – strategic planning.   It’s not only the key to making websites work …  it can unlock  marketing and sales successes throughout your business.

Since the mere utterance of  ‘strategic planning’ seems to make people run,  let’s just focus on the Think…Plan…Do…Review  cycle.   Easy.

THINK – What are your insights on trends and activity in the market, your company, your customers and your competition?  What’s worked in the (recent) past and what hasn’t?  Don’t just look at your closely defined market.  Check out similar industries to see if reading between the lines might shed some light on your challenges.

PLAN – What are your key (measurable) objectives?  What is your strategy on differentiating and communicating your organization’s character and capabilities?  What are the steps you’re going to take to take you from where you are now and where you want to be? Who’s going to do What?  When will it be done?  How much are they going to do it and how much will be spent? Remember to write down your plan.  It’s doesn’t have to be a 42 page document with supporting charts and graphs that you print and distribute (but that’d be great).  You can write it with crayons on a big piece of drawing paper.  Keep a digital copy online or on your desktop.  Just be sure to write it down and save it.

DO – Go out and execute the heck out of your plan.  Plans are meaningless if you’re not going to commit the time, energy, resources and money needed to activate them.

REVIEW – Remember that plan you saved?  Go back to it weekly or monthly and make sure you’re doing what you need to do… and evaluate the impact the plan is having on your business.

 Creating marketing is easy.  Creating marketing that works requires some thought, work and (dare I say) planning.  It can be a great opportunity to create some impact and see your business grow.

 

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?

 

logo design

Your logo is often the first impression you make on potential customers.  Goldman Sachs logo just doesn’t work in the lavender chalkboard font so popular today.  And, the Disney in neo-modern, neon green lacks the playful, approachable persona of the true Disney logo.

Make sure your logo represents the true essence of your organization.  Here are a few guidelines.

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business? 

What Are People Saying?

Susan is a marketing leader who understands the creativity required to insure enduring success. She is smart, innovative and committed to getting it right.

K. SharpeC.E.O.Sharpe Partners

How We Can Help You.

We are marketing consultants based on Long Island, NY. Over the past 20 years, we've built fierce market leaders in a broad range of businesses - from tiny start-ups to global Fortune 500 companies.  Our experience spans multiple industries from consumer electronics to financial services and from food services to photo.  We're looking forward to talking to you to see how we can help take your business to the next level.