Strategic Thinking in a Brave New World

Taking one idea and repurposing it for all of the new and traditional advertising platforms is not the way to market your product.

The answer has to be the strategy, and in order for strategy to be the beacon, a few things have to happen:

  1. The business strategy needs to be realistic and achievable and the resources assigned to execute upon it need to be on par as well.
  2. The advertiser needs to be able to clearly state and share its business strategy with all of the stakeholders who will be responsible for executing it.
  3. All stakeholders need to understand how the success of this strategy will be measured in the eyes of the advertiser in precise terms.
  4. All players need to come together to understand, acknowledge collaborate upon, and respect the strategy. This means the advertiser and its internal team plus its traditional, digital and PR agency partners and technical developers. In an ideal circumstance, all of these players would be willing to forfeit some of their slice of pie in order for the overarching strategy to benefit. This is called doing the right thing, by the way.
  5. Testing new ideas should be built into this process, but the test should also come with its own goals, objectives and measurements.
  6. Regular review periods need to be built into the term so that the impact of the efforts can be compared against the business objectives and adjustments can be made as needed.
  7. The advertiser has to be committed to its own business strategy, objectives and metrics – expecting to achieve results when the target constantly changes just sets everyone up for failure. If the strategy is failing, however, don’t take the ship down just to protect the strategy. In other words, be committed but know when to cut your losses and re-group, too.

For the digital media planner, this brave new world means never sitting back on your laurels. Past experience is not necessarily a predictor of future behavior in this ever-changing world.

To continue reading the full article by Hollis Thomases click here


Read “Fan Factor”… It Will Help Make You Socially Relevant

Do you want a fun, easy-to-read, practical and relevant overview of how to be more “socially acceptable”?  Then I urge you to go to Meredith Oliver’s website, Creating WOW, and download a FREE copy of her eBook Fan Factor.  Did I mention it was free?

Fan Factor is written as though a good friend was telling you a story, with timely injections of personal anecdotes. It is a quick read, although it took me twice as long to get through because of all the time I spent highlighting passages and bookmarking pages.

While subtitled, “20 Slam Dunk Secrets to Engage Your Online Audience”, there are a lot more useful ideas than that.  Meredith provides consistent help in “Formulating Your Game Plan” to insure against being labeled a “social misfit.”  She exhibits the passion and expertise necessary to make it fun for the reader.

“The Fan Factor” will help you click with your fans! Feel free to join the Fan Factor discussion on Twitter (#FanFactor) or on Facebook.

10 Reasons Business Blogging is Better than Facebook [Infographic]

Came across this great Infographic from Patricia Redsicker on why business blogging outshines Facebook.  And what better place to share than on a blog.

While a huge proponent of Facebook and it’s new Timeline, Patricia points out that it is risky to build your own brand on someone else’s platform.

Furthermore, she mentions how blogs link very easily with other blogs much more than static websites do. By employing highly sharable content such as video, audio, breaking news or trending topics, blogs attract in-bound links which enhance their credibility and authority in that particular industry.

The potential benefits of a well-executed corporate blog are simply huge. In addition to boosting your organic search engine optimization (SEO) by filling your pages with keyword-rich link bait, it also builds your reputation as an industry authority.

Don’t get too caught up in building your Facebook and social online presence that you forget the most important of all… Blogging!

With Friends Like Twitter and Facebook, Who Needs a Corporate Website?

Have you noticed the sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle attempts by commercials to drive social media awareness to their brand? Have you interacted with a brand because of it?

Check out this television commercial for Wheat Thins and then read the full post by Jeff Lemer at ClickZ.  Notice the non-invasive letters at the bottom right of the screen: @wheatthins.


While we don’t endorse the removal of your corporate website, perhaps it takes more of a secondary position.  The added use of  these channels will certainly create terrific engagement with your brand.

We would love to hear your thoughts…

Six NEW Marketing Mandates for 2012 to 2015

The digital revolution transformed how marketers interact with customers. But the transformation isn’t over yet—and we’ve got to be ready for what comes next. Joel Rubinson has peered into the not-too-distant future to identify trends that any successful marketer can profitably exploit. Here are six of those trends.
via Marketing Profs

McAuliffe & McCormick “Plan and Attack”

This follow-up article featuring our company, appeared in the Gulf Coast Business Review this week. We are always very honored to be a part of great news stories. Thank you Alex Walsh.

Plan and Attack

In the long run, selling out the Towers of Channelside will likely end up as a secondary achievement on the resumes of Cheryl McCormick Brown and Steve McAuliffe.

More importantly, their success as a sales team taught the two how best to execute their idea for a new business. The new firm, called McAuliffe & McCormick, is now actively searching for clients with properties that need selling.

In February, the pair was tasked with finding buyers for 137 luxury condos at Towers of Channelside in Tampa — an inventory representing more than half of the building’s total number of units. At the time, McCormick Brown was the Towers’ sales director; McAuliffe was a broker with St. Petersburg-based JMC Realty.

Cheryl McCormick Brown and Steve McAuliffe parlayed their sales success at Towers of Channelside into a new, full-time business.

Four months later, all 137 remaining units had been sold, and the duo’s first “clients” — four banks (Wells Fargo, Fifth Third, M&I and PNC) and a hedge fund known as The Madison Group — were pleased.

McAuliffe and McCormick Brown were pleased, too. The two had begun talking about working together more than a year prior to their success with the Towers; and when Ryland Homes, McCormick Brown’s most recent employer, decided to cut back on its marketing operations, the time to act had arrived.

To sell the remaining inventory at Towers of Channelside quickly, McAuliffe and McCormick Brown cut prices by an average of 40% for all empty units. The strategy may sound simple — lower prices spur sales. But as McAuliffe explains, the team’s approach to pricing was anything but guesswork.

McAuliffe looked at 20 years of real estate price data to try to isolate the impact on values caused by the overheated market of the last half-decade. By his count, prices at the Towers were 40% higher than they should be; thus, the aforementioned cuts.

The team also says it was important to cut prices just once, rather than allow them to slowly creep downward over time. Holding new prices steady convinced lurking buyers to stop waiting for further decreases.

The scale of that sale was impressive: If a 40% discount brought in $45 million, that’s $30 million gone from the original price point. But McCormick Brown is confident the banks would have gotten “about half” of the revenues she and McAuliffe generated had they settled on a bulk sale of the properties.

Going forward, that’ll be the key to the sales pitch for McAuliffe & McCormick: the promise of better revenue recovery from working with them, as opposed to a bulk sale.

They’ll also need properties to sell. Like so many Floridians, the two are forced to wait for the owners of distressed properties to decide what to do with those troubled assets.

“It’s definitely wait-and-see,” McCormick Brown says. “It takes a while for a lot of these properties to come to fruition.”

In the meantime, the new company will provide consulting, marketing, and even Web design services to slowly recovering homebuilders looking to grow a little without making a dozen full-time hires. McAuliffe & McCormick will likely remain a two-person company for the foreseeable future, but working with former partners from past projects on individual cases makes the firm flexible in the long run.

In fact, of all the details behind their new business, it’s that diverse line up of supporting cast members that the pair is most reserved about — questions about their partners were met with silence, and then, “Next question, please.”

The new company won’t limit itself to work in the Tampa Bay area; in fact, McAuliffe thinks his firm’s home turf is lagging furthest behind in terms of recovery. “We haven’t seen a lot of progress,” he says.

But despite that slow movement, and with signs of life in other nearby markets, McAuliffe and McCormick Brown remain confident that there’s a need for their business in this market.

“There are definitely buyers out there,” McAuliffe says.

Please note: The sellout of the Tower’s 147 inventory homes took 12 months.

McAuliffe & McCormick Brochure


Fast Company Wants YOU to Have a Banner 2012

This article is to over the top with great information to simply push out a link on Twitter or Facebook.  Therefore, I’m Re-Gifting Fast Company’s very best advice and tips on how to work smarter, manage your career, and lead a more meaningful life as we enter 2012. Be sure to click on the links for full enlightenment.

Work Smarter

Do sweat the small stuff. The combination of an insane attention to details and neurotic focus on customer experience is what sets the great companies apart from the good, Box CEO Aaron Levie reminds us. Organizations that adopt this level of intensity will always have superior offerings, an instant differentiator from the indistinguishable competition. Wordle: 2012 Goals

Embrace gratitude as a business strategy. Almost everyone suffers from Gratitude Deficit Disorder. We want to know that we matter, that our efforts make the world a better place. And so do your customers, vendors, coworkers, employees, friends, and family. So make an action plan to communicate your appreciation in 2012.

Figure out your social media strategy already. Twitter still give you hives? Not sure how to connect with your customers on Facebook? Accept it: Social media is not a fad. Syncapse CEO Michael Scissons answers the most commonly asked questions about developing a social media strategy.

Brand early, not often. Branding, done right, is a rigorous process, and shortcuts almost always end up costing more in the end, says Emily Heyward, owner and partner of Red Antler. An early investment in branding is no different than taking the time and money to set up a proper operating agreement or purchase efficient machinery that won’t break down.

Don’t botch your pitches. We all have something to pitch–your startup to VCs, yourself for a new job, or your product to customers. In any situation, one rule applies: The better the pitch, the better the results. Here are five rookie mistakes that will sink even the best ideas.

Make LinkedIn work for you. If you’re not a digital networking ninja, you’re missing out on the best way to steer your career. Tips from LinkedIn SVP Deep Nishar.

Give kick-ass presentations. If you’ve made it this far without getting good at presentations, the time to work on it is yesterday. Take advantage of these seven (somewhat snarky) new rules for public speaking in the social media era.

Create Stars

Attract the best talent. Digital companies are hiring–and in fact are in hot competition for certain types of employees. But you don’t have to be Google to attract top-tier talent. HUGE CEO Aaron Shapiro offers advice on luring the cream of the crop to your office.

Hire based on spirit–not just skill. A leader can be coached on how to become more influential and engage their team to achieve great results; an employee can be trained for technical skills. But spirit is the set of “soft” skills that can’t be trained effectively. You have to hire for them. These are hard to find, but are necessary for a company to excel.

Motivate your employees with workplace flexibility. Organizations that employ a healthy and robust work/life flexibility will win the talent war. Start with these pain-free ways to move your company toward greater flexibility that benefits you as well as your employees.

Keep your MVPs. If your once-stellar employees are starting to shine a little less brightly, it may be time to rethink your approach to accountability and rewards. Interpersonal Frequency CEO Harish Rao suggests putting more focus on the relationship than the size of their paychecks.

Live Fully

Make small steps toward improvement. Build a strong foundation for 2012 with this simple yet effective list of 5 things to do every day for success.

Get your workout in–and not just for the sake of the scale. For artists, entrepreneurs, and any other driven creators, exercise is a powerful tool, says author Jonathan Fields. It can transform the persistent uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that accompanies the quest to create from a source of suffering into something less toxic, then potentially even into fuel.

Don’t let the Internet kill your productivity. You’re probably reading this during your workday as a distraction from whatever it is you’re supposed to be focusing on, which is likely sitting open and untouched in another window. Imagine how much you’d get done and how many fewer hours you’d have to work if the Internet weren’t eating up all your time–follow these easy steps and you can make it happen.

Quit that dead-end job. Leaving a career you’re not excited about to pursue your passion is the greatest escape there is–but one that’s totally possible (even in this economy). Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your dreams a reality.

Mean It

And finally, for the lazy or merely goal averse, here’s the one resolution you should make for 2012.

Embrace 2010… Work Smarter, Live Fully, Create Stars and most importantly, Mean It!