Four tangible takeaways you can put-to-work right now

With Adria Campbell, National Accounts Director, Dean Foods

By Jacquie Goodwill, Chief Inspirationalist, Peninsula Strategic Communications

Recently I spoke at the NACM Business Credit Services Winter Credit Forum in Honolulu (I know, tough duty in January).  The topic was applying marketing communication tactics to the credit department to grow your company revenues and opportunities.  Full credit is due to my colleague and friend Adria Campbell, National Accounts Director for Dean Foods.  Her background in both Finance and Sales represents a dual expertise on this very topic.  She and I both agree that the Credit Department is the unsung hero of your company. While all business flows through the financial operations team it’s the Credit Department that helps maintain cash flow, ultimately driving business operations.

“Cash flow is everything,” says Adria.  “The Credit Department can play a pivotal role to increase daily, weekly, or monthly revenue.”  Adria’s specific expertise in both Finance and Sales operations offers an invaluable perspective on how your Business Credit team can help your organization.

Follow these steps and soon your CFO will say: “Everything the Credit Department touches turns to gold!” Here’s how:

Make an intentional shift from Descriptive to Predictive to Prescriptive contributor.  “Three types of people make up a company’s financial team,” Adria observes.

Descriptors, who report out what happened.
Predictors, who estimate the future.
Prescriptive leaders: These team members offer intelligence and recommendations about the company’s financial resources.

“The NUMBER ONE thing you can do is lead by contributing insight and advice,” Adria says. “You can provide essential guidance on how to reduce days sales outstanding (DSO) and increase cash flow.”

Care about the business of your customers and vendors. And, take note.  Author & speaker John Maxwell is renowned for saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” How does that translate into your daily work with customers and vendors? Along with ensuring you invoice them or paying them in a timely fashion, get to know their business. When and where possible, ask how you can help build their business. Turn the tables on the notion of asking for a referral and ask how you can provide an endorsement or recommendation. Could they use a positive review? You bet! If they are bidding on new business, you can refer them and provide an important endorsement. If their business grows, so does yours.

Become a collaborative partner with your Sales team:  The essential next step, Adria advises, is to share this intelligence with your Sates team.

“In any business, the Sales team is a profit center. Contributing this valuable data ensures can be added to the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system or incorporated into sales calls, immediately," she explains.  "For example, in the retail food sales business we have different buyers for different lines within one company.”  We need to know that the ice cream buyer is paying bills in a timely fashion but the milk buyer is not.  That type of guidance provides an invaluable contribution regarding not only risks but further opportunities for success in our sales efforts.”

 

Share your passions and joys—all in the spirit of service.  At NACM Business Credit Services division, based in Seattle, WA, their CEO, Jon Flora, is passionate about model trains.  Needing inspiration for his monthly blog, last winter Jon wrote about his love of trains.  As he said “it had absolutely nothing to do with our mission at NACM. It was all about the spirit of Christmas and electric trains.”

The response was overwhelming.  All year long Jon heard from a trove of members and customers—some responses were funny, several heartwarming, and a couple included special remembrances. He connected with each person and appreciated the many conversations that ensued.

As Jon observed, “We spend an inordinate amount of energy Tweeting, posting, worrying, and fixated on things that we can do nothing about or just don’t matter in the larger picture.  We all have so much more than we’ll ever need except possibly, gratitude.”

With that in mind, what could you share?  Do you LOVE to knit? Do you LOVE to follow football? Or, do you have a thirst for sharing tips you’ve learned about your business?  The ideas spring from your passions and joys and are found in your desire to inspire and encourage others.

Offer a personal “Thank you”.  We all say “thank you” so often. Next time, express your appreciation in ways that are personal. Send a handwritten note, make a phone call, or drop by their offices one day just to say “thank you” – all of these are very much appreciated … especially in this day and age of instant messenger, email, and texts.

In Summary

Growing business thru the Credit Department

Yes, you CAN be a marketing pro from the Credit Dept.

The Credit Department can be a pivotal contributor to your company’s success.  “You can become a Prescriptive Leader and strengthen your influence by redefining your team,” Adria says.

“It’s true that nearly every transaction concerning either a customer or vendor involves Credit.  Without Business Credit, your company would not exist. A strong partnership with Marketing and Sales, and strong relationships with your customers, greatly benefits your organization’s lasting success.”

Your Four Tangible Takeaways:

  1. Contribute to your vendors/customers success: Submit positive reviews, serve as a reference, or offer a formal recommendation. Help them build their business because as they grow, so do you.
  2. Collaborate with Sales and Marketing: Share what you know and provide guidance and recommendations to leadership based on that intelligence.
  3. Share your joys and passions: Whether tips in the work you do or by a glimpse into your other pursuits and purpose. Allow others to get to know you by sharing what you love and connecting with them in personal ways.
  4. Express your gratitude: And do so in specific ways. A phone call, visit, handwritten note—offer a unique and personal thank you.

Tangible takeaways you can put-to-work right now

By Jacquie Goodwill, CEO, Peninsula Strategic Communication

As I considered how-to describe the creation of an annual plan, it came to me that it seems like a waltz.  The steps follow a straightforward “one-two-three-one-two-three…and so on, and so on…”  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made it look so easy. It’s important that you follow the steps in order, 1 then 2 then 3.  No skipping.  And, that’s true with creating your annual marketing communication plan.  You can’t skip steps and they need to be done, in order.  So, put on your creative “dancing shoes” and here’s how:

  1.  Level-check at the start: First and foremost, it is essential that your MarCom plan aligns with your company or organization business plan. To follow our melodious theme, first know the song so you can gauge when and how to dance along! Your MarCom plan should align and roll up to your organization and operation targets. I know, I know, seems like it should go without mentioning but there have been so many times I’ve seen MarCom plans deploy without first level-checking to confirm business or product lines have capacity for growth and development.
  2. Create a BRIEF MarCom plan narrative: Just like the waltz, keep it simple. Think of the written narrative of your plan as an executive summary. Depending on the complexity of your organization, this playbook should be from two to three-and-a-half pages, at the most. It will include the following elements:
    • Situation: This explains the circumstances and state of affairs in your business or organization, underscoring the need for your goals, objectives, and strategies.
    • Goals: These are typically broad in scope, and they are abstract or large concepts. They are expressed in ways that help you know you’ve arrived at your destination. For example, at A-County Healthcare Network, by the end of the year you may want to become an essential community resource for adult and child wellness. Or maybe your company, 7th Heaven Solutions, will launch a new cloud-based network platform that redefines the market and becomes a market driver. Either of these annual goals are aspirational in nature and not easily measured or validated.
    • Measurable objectives: These are the “what-it-looks-and-feels-like” results. They are narrow in scope and specifically measurable. So at A-County, you’ll increase patient annual exam patient visits by XX%. At 7th Heaven, your product achieves $$ in first year annual sales and is recognized by the industry at your annual conference.
    • Target market/audience/stakeholders: This step is important because naming your audience helps you think of how and when you will reach out to them. For example, if you want to reach out to tax accountants about how to re-brand their business, might be better to do so after the January-April tax season PUSH.
    • Strategies: This is the general resource allocation plan you will follow. It’s the philosophical or overarching approach. A great example of strategy at A-County Healthcare is to undertake a multi-faceted promotional campaign aimed at helping patients and providers find alternative methods of pain control.
    • Key messages: While sometimes these are created separately, I like to include these in the plan because it ensures our driving themes are front-and-center, and also agreed upon by all on the team. At 7th Heaven Solutions, this includes a features and benefits description and “elevator speech” to incorporate into all materials and presentations.
    • Annual calendar sample for you: Should you like to see what a sample looks like, email me with the subject line “Annual Calendar Sample.
  1. Tactical Calendar: Once the narrative is complete then create your annual calendar. Reviewing the strategies and objectives, your calendar is expressed in very specific terms.  I prepare mine in a horizontal-orientation as a pivot table—either in MSWord or MSExcel—and organize them in three-month increments.  The left-most column gives a laundry list of tactics.  Each row represents a tactic, whether newsletter, direct mail, events.   The next three columns reflect a quarter-year.  So, column #1 is “January”, column #2 is “February” and column #3 is “March.” Each quarter is summarized on one page.  Sometimes, that page is 11x17 in size, but all-on-one-page so you can see what’s “Up” each quarter at-a-glance.
    • Tactical calendar sample for you: Should you like to see what a sample looks like, email me with the subject line “Annual Calendar Sample” or...
    • What, you want both, you say? If you want to see both, just email me with the subject line “sample MarCom planning materials.

Tangible takeaways:

(more…)

Tangible Marketing How-to: Butterfly metamorphosis

How three different professionals branded their business by transforming and re-positioning their work.

In this final installment of a three-part series, learn how three different professionals representing three different industries achieved this butterfly metamorphosis, by applying three key principles: Confidence, Courage, and Compassion.  From their stories, you can gain some tangible takeaways on how-to articulate the vital difference in your philosophy on a regular basis.

Part III – A COMPASSION for helping others live their best lives

Jackie Nagel, Synnovatia:

“I believe there is an Einstein within each of us,” says Jackie Nagel, a 20-year expert in the innovative synergy of coaching, mentoring, and training her clients for maximum effectiveness.  “There is a key poised in the lock mechanism of their personal treasure chest of success. I am there to help jiggle that lock so they can realize their greatest potential.”

Jackie’s special brand of compassion comes from her own career experiences.  In another life, Jackie was an area sales director in a nationwide direct marketing company.  She was what some call a “blue-flamer” who rose quickly in the organization.

There came a time she sought more guidance in order to further enhance her skills and her success—support that she could not find with her corporate leadership.

“I needed a strategic leader, not a motivational leader,” she explains.  “I needed some specific approaches and tactics because I already had all the motivation I needed for success.”  The resulting lack of support was disheartening, both personally and professionally.  She kept working harder, but as Covey so aptly observed, she reached the top of the proverbial ladder and found it was leaning against the wrong wall.

“That’s when I was diagnosed with cancer and that changed everything for me.”

As she regained her health, Jackie took it as a sign and began exploring her interests.  Using her experiences, values, and ethics as a dive platform, she went deep within to discover coaching.  She quickly evolved her business model to focus on support for small business owners.

“My dad started a small business later in life, and like him, I’d seen how other small business owners needed an adapted model of coaching,” she remembers. “Some leaders need coaching, mentorship, and training to develop a context or framework of resources to draw from.”

Jackie’s approach is in having compassion for her clients and their unique situations. “My job is to tune into each person, to understand and address their needs in the moment.”

Jackie draws from her own personal history in her work with clients.  “From where I came, I’ve grown to fundamentally believe that people are smart.  While they may not always know how to get somewhere, they know where they want to go.”

In summary...Here are your tangible takeaways:

  1. Confidence: Invest in and believe in yourself.  Become a student of lifelong learning.  And, take stock in all that you know because you really know a LOT.
  2. Courage: Fill your head—and heart—with inspiration. Read, watch, listen to, and do things you love, that inspire you.  Surround yourself with people who encourage you to be your best self.  Day.  And put your blinders on to what everyone else is doing.
  3. Compassion: For your customer as yourself.  Remember why you embarked on this enterprise and express that in all you do for your clients.  Believe and invest in helping them as much as you do for yourself.

Go back and read the earlier blogs in this series:

Part 1...The CONFIDENCE to transform your brand, featuring Nancy Giacolone, Olympic Crest Insurance

Part 2...The COURAGE to transform your brand, featuring Rich Leighton, Leighton Photography

Tangible Marketing How-to: Butterfly metamorphosis

How three different professionals transformed and re-positioned their work.

Butterfly metamorphosis is great to see! You don’t have to be Henry Ford or Bill Gates and usher in a whole new industry.  With a bit of caution thrown to the wind regarding your profession's traditionally-accepted norms, you can transform your work by how you deliver products or services to your tribe.

In this second of a three-part series, gain some real time “how-to’s” from three different professionals who represent widely different industries. Each transformed their work, achieving this butterfly metamorphosis, by applying three key principles: Confidence, Courage, and Compassion.

Part II -- Have the COURAGE to redefine your art

Rich Leighton – Leighton Photography:

To say Rich Leighton is multi-faceted, multi-talented photographer is a complete understatement.  Most in his industry focus on one genre or two, whether it be corporate imagery, nature settings, wedding, or real estate photography.  However, through his firm, Leighton Photography, Rich chose them all.

“One hundred percent, I do not pay attention to what other photographers are doing in their work,” he explains.  “To me, that becomes a comparison or criticism of my zig versus their zag.  I don’t even want to know what their zag is.”

Early on Rich learned how negativity—not merely criticism—was a creativity downer.  In contrast, he discovered that affirmation and encouragement were the well-spring of innovation in his art and his profession.

“Every morning, I read a LOT of good stuff and I fill my head with encouragement,” he explains. “It inspires me and gives me the courage to do what I do.  If I’m bummed out or angry at something, it’s hard to be creative or focused on my work.” So, instead he looks for constructive, helpful affirmations from luminaries like Seth Godin, or by getting out into nature without the noise of the world to distract him.  This helps Rich to clear his head, to hear and heed his inner muse, removing ego and doubt from his creative process.

“Eleanor Roosevelt said that great minds discuss ideas.  That’s where I want to be and the type of people I want to collaborate with.  Having the courage to start is found by being inspired.”

It’s true that a picture paints a thousand words.  Singer and Songwriter David Gates sure got that one right.  Leighton Photography captures the tome of sentiment, imagination, and relationship that spans the faces, places, and things that are important us.

Go back and read Part 1 -- Be CONFIDENT and believe in your work, Featuring Nancy Giacolone, Olympic Crest Insurance

Read Part 3  - A COMPASSION for helping others live their best lives, Featuring  Jackie Nagel, Synnovatia

A three-part series on how-to re-position and transform your brand

A series on tangible marketing takeaways you can put-to-work right now.

By Jacquie Goodwill, CEO, Peninsula Strategic Communications

In elementary school we all learned about the metamorphosis of caterpillars to butterflies; it’s a remarkable freak of nature. Likewise, revolutionary ideas are the hallmark of transformation. And with a commitment to expressing brand through your mission, vision, and values, it’s a formula for lasting success.

In this three-part series, gain some real time “how-to’s” from three different professionals who represent widely different industries. Each transformed their work, achieving this butterfly metamorphosis, by applying three key principles: Confidence, Courage, and Compassion.

Part I -- Be CONFIDENT and believe in your work

Nancy Giacolone, Olympic Crest Insurance:

“I always felt very strongly that employees need to understand their benefits by hearing them in layman’s terms,” she begins.  “My job is to ensure they feel comfortable and empowered about their medical issues, their overall health, and their healthcare decisions.”

Nancy’s agency, Olympic Crest Insurance (OCI), specializes in providing employee benefits to companies ranging from five to 500 employees. “Employers of all sizes are challenged with helping their employees really understand and make the most of their benefits,” she says.

Nancy and her OCI team host on-site seminars to ensure thorough benefits education.  They work hand-in-hand with clients and their employees to help them improve and maintain their good health.

At the outset, she had a LOT of naysayers. “I was told over and over again, you cannot succeed with the model you’re creating.  I knew I was good but wondered whether I was good enough.”

So she brought in a senior-level executive with the plan to grow business and opportunity for the agency.  And, well, that experience was an eye-opener.  “I learned that I had more skills, more knowledge, and I was more capable than this so-called expert; all I needed was confidence—and to believe in myself.”

Since then she’s never looked back.  Her son, Nick, joined the firm and with a few other well-chosen additions to her organization, today Nancy’s business thrives.

“What I’ve gained is that as long as I continue to invest in myself and my team, and to be a lifelong learner, through attending conferences, reading, and doing other things that inspire me, my work will be successful.”

Nancy’s platform expands beyond the employee briefing room as she and her team share their philosophy through video, comics, news and blogs, and in social media.  “I just had to gain the confidence to start talking about what I believe in and who I am.  I’m not going to help anyone if I just keep quiet.”

Next in the series...

Read Part 2 -- Have the COURAGE to redefine your art, featuring Rich Leighton Leighton Photography

Read Part 3  - A COMPASSION for helping others live their best lives, featuring  Jackie Nagel, Synnovatia

Three organizations from three different industries consider where to start in updating a website.

By Jacquie Goodwill, Principal/CEO, Peninsula Strategic Communication

Since Tim Berners-Lee created the first website, a lot has changed online. We now buy things, sell things, raise money, gather votes, educate and entertain, and so much more…could you imagine a day without the World Wide Web at your fingers? We shudder at the thought.

So, its a natural consideration every few years or so, as web publishing and cloud technology innovate the Internet.

Should you simply revise and update your website or re-make it completely?

To answer that question, here are some issues faced by three different companies from three different industries.

1. Do you have a unique product or service? Or, have you changed or added considerable scope in products and services?
2. Have you changed your brand, your graphics and color scheme?
3. What does your website “say” to your stakeholders and/or customers?
Outcomes:
Summing it all up:

While each organization chose a different design/revision plan for their website, there was a specific commonality across all three organizations. Though representing dissimilar industries, they all shared an abiding commitment to ensure their websites appealed to their patients, their clients, or their membership.

Whether you completely scrub your website and create a new one or just make specific renovations, first consider how your changes will engage your customers and fuel growth.

Jacquie Goodwill is a transformational leader offering B2B and B2C MarCom services for start-ups and those who need to refresh brand identity.  She specializes in providing hands-on support during times of major transition in an organization.  Peninsula Strategic Communications:  Strategic thinking for valuable, great solutions.

Five thoughts on your social media strategy

By Jacquie Goodwill, APR

Some in business use “marketing” as if it’s a swear word, convinced it’s a shell game led by con artists. On the other end of the spectrum are those ALWAYS adding a new brand statement to their latest advertising campaign.  In between are the rest of us, wondering what to do with social media and whether it’s a worthy endeavor to build sales and product awareness.  Here are a few lessons learned from the trenches of building followers on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Will the pay-off be worth the investment into our social media platform?  The short answer is maybe.  Not what you probably want to hear, given the quick-fix approach to many issues of the day.  However, it takes a concerted, consistent effort to build your brand, increase sales, and to, yes, market your products and services via social media.  In short, to build your social media platform is really about building relationships, which takes time.

Peninsula Strategic Communication (PSC) delivers spot-on B2C/B2B MarCom and internal Communication for your business.  Principal Jacquie Goodwill provides hands-on support during times of major transition, growth, and change in an organization.  She’s also known to bring delicious chocolate-filled, home-baked items to a meeting, now and then.

What are they and why are they important to your brand?

By Jacquie Goodwill, APR

My father, Wesley Wedge, was a straight-talker.  A former Stanford football player, Marine Corps Officer, and trailblazer in building our nation’s freeways, he didn’t mince words when it came to recognizing a good idea.  Whenever I brought a notion to him that he agreed with, my dear father would respond, simply “Well, that’s a no-brainer!”

Bright Shiny Things:  Give each other something to shout about!

Effective, profitable MarCom is a decided mix of alchemy and science.  Knowing where and when to deploy resources and how to measure their worth is important work.  You want to inspire and encourage your people, enterprise-wide.  That’s a no-brainer. Yet, with all this talk of ROI how do you accomplish that goal?

Well, with bright, shiny things, of course.  Be sure you develop compelling imagery and stories featuring your key players; including your customers, your employees, and retirees or volunteers.  Every day, in the trenches and front lines of your business, your people make a positive difference in the lives of others.  By chronicling these stories, you demonstrates success, build trust, and celebrate your most important relationships.

Positive momentum and enthusiasm is as-important to build profitability as measuring ROI.  Your organizational champions are your best ambassadors and sales persons—sometimes their stories go viral and that’s better than any ad you can buy.    

Branding your organization is an intentional, focused activity.  It’s a no-brainer to your bottom-line.  It doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly requires collaboration among everyone on the team:  From your marketing communication (MarCom) executives to your department leaders, and, of course, the C-Suite team.

Is it possible to create a cost-effective marketing communication plan that improves profitability?

You ready? If so, let’s figure it out, together.   

Peninsula Strategic Communication (PSC) delivers spot-on B2C/B2B MarCom and internal Communication for your business.  Principal Jacquie Goodwill provides hands-on support during times of major transition, growth, and change in an organization.  She’s also known to bring delicious chocolate-filled, home-baked items to a meeting, now and then.

Real People aRe Rock Stars

By Jacquie Goodwill, APR

My go-to, fundamental belief in advertising is that Real people aRe Rock stars.  Hands down.

So often, I see the same faces selected from an array stock images or stock video.  There’s this one guy who is found in about #300 photos among stock imagery sites.  I call him Pensive Aging Man. Over the past ten years, he’s been featured in tri-fold brochures, sales catalogs, and print and online ads.  I am just sure he’s passed on by now, and whenever I see Pensive Aging Man, it’s a brand diluter.

I’m an Actor.  I was Acting. 

That line comes to mind every time I see actors, not real people, in an ad that tells you to do something compelling or formidable, like undergo joint replacement surgery or take your entire family on a cruise around the world!  I feel it’s a missed opportunity if your organization selects actors instead of real people in your promotional imagery, citing privacy concerns.

In truth, most often actors are hired, instead of finding testimonials to share, because of the time it takes to identify, chronicle, and then produce the campaign. If you have spent, literally, millions of dollars to ensure your organizational quality, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement, why have you stopped at branding?  If you need to find the quintessential person or team who embodies your brand identity, look no further than these groups:

Yes, you will have employees featured in your advertising or marketing pieces that leave your organization.  Yes, your customers will move away, or even pass away.  You will also find some people who, due to personal or professional issues, can no longer be featured in your public, promotional imagery.  However, if you commit to a refresh of your imagery on a regular basis, that is okay.  It is factored into your ongoing commitment to tell your brand story by featuring the real-life heroes, beneficiaries, and champions of your organization.

Peninsula Strategic Communication (PSC) delivers spot-on B2C/B2B MarCom and internal Communication for your business.  Principal Jacquie Goodwill provides hands-on support during times of major transition, growth, and change in an organization.  She’s also known to bring delicious chocolate-filled, home-baked items to a meeting, now and then.

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