What’s Your Why: Facing Death for Future Success

Thinking of your own death can be morbid and scary (for most of us anyway)! Most of us can’t even bear to write a will let alone write an obituary talking about ourselves in the past tense. Last week, however, we challenged about 40 business leaders to do just that as part of an introspective workshop designed to help them make sure their companies were living a life worth remembering.

The workshop, titled “What’s Your Why” was delivered at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s Annual Conference in Sioux City. We challenged ABI members to think about the end of their lives as well as the lives of their companies to identify key changes they needed to make to ensure their legacy, and that of their business, is one in which they will be proud.

The workshop was a combination of creepy morbidity and good-natured fun with a bit of acting and a few surprise celebrity death scenarios reenacted. Throughout, participants had the opportunity to reflect on their past experiences both personally and at their companies while setting new goals aimed at closing the gap between their ideal selves and the reality of their current actions.

Each participant was given a special surprise at the end – a personal note from someone close to them describing how they are viewed by others and detailing their impact on those around them.

Some participants left with giant smiles and many in tears.

“This was a fantastic experience, which genuinely impacted my life. What Measured Intentions gave us was so much more than could ever be expected from a convention breakout session,” says Dick Davidson, President of Thombert, Inc. in Newton, Iowa.

“This was the best breakout session I’ve ever been to,” said Bobbie Segura, Regional Manager of IWLC.

“When you can blend introspection, planning, and a range of emotions from humor to tears, you can really make an impact on a person and their organization,” says Kathleen Riessen, Partner at Measured Intentions. “This workshop touches people personally and professionally and we received numerous notes and emails about the changes people planned to make as a result of their attendance.”

Interested in looking death in the face and having the chance to change your life and your company’s while there is still time?

Contact us at 515.868.0240 to discuss hosting a “What’s Your Why” session at your organization!

 

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Getting Ready for the ABI Conference!

We’re excited to be heading to Sioux City for the annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference!

We’ve completed our pre-conference checklist, which includes identifying past, current and hopefully future contacts we want to connect with, as well as which events and presentations to attend ensuring we make the most out of this great event.

We’ve also been practicing our presentation, which has some interesting characters attending and is sure to be a real eye-opener!

Have you completed your pre-conference checklist?

See you in Sioux City!

Strengthening the Marketing and Sales Process

blue chain link

Written By: Kathleen Riessen

A few years ago I decided I wanted to give back to the local community so I called a well-known non-profit that had been asking for my help for years and offered my services. From serving on the board to performing tasks, I was up for anything. I waited and waited for a call back. No one called. Fast forward to a few months ago. I decided to give this non-profit another chance. I called and left them a message. Crickets. No one called me back. This time I was mad. Why would you send me all of these requests for help and then not return my calls?

In this example, the non-profits had great marketing. They established a need and a desire in me to help them, but when I took action, they failed miserably.

While it’s easy to understand that non-profits are stretched thin, generally have budget shortfalls and are understaffed, we can all think of examples in the government and for-profit industries where their marketing has worked, but their sales process or the hand-off from marketing to sales has failed.

How do we strengthen this hand-off between sales and marketing?

  1. Make sure the process is clearly documented. In the case of our non-profit, something as simple as answering the phone would have solved the problem.
  1. Identify the points that cause prospects to become uncomfortable or frustrated. Maybe the response time to get back to them is too long or there isn’t enough information on your website.
  1. Assign metrics to understand how the process is working. For example, how long should it take to respond to a phone call? If the answer is 24 hours, then create a log for all incoming calls and record the time and date in which you responded.

These simple steps will increase your marketing ROI and turn prospects into happy customers.

 

Happy 8th Birthday to Us!

What would most 8-year-olds want for their birthday? We asked ourselves this question and all unanimously came to the same answer – LEGO® blocks!

Who wouldn’t want colorful building bricks that can be transformed into airplanes, spaceships, skyscrapers, dragons, a magical mystery island, a sea monster, unicorn or literally anything the imagination can dream up!

LEGO® building blocks is the best analogy we could use to describe our 8th anniversary. Why? Because each unique, individual building block to us represents a business challenge or opportunity. A new competitor entering the marketplace. New team members. A legacy business trying to make it another ten years in a competitive industry.

At Measured Intentions, we like to think of ourselves as Master Builders. Looking at our clients landscape and developing the best business plans to construct our clients ideal LEGO® empire! We look at each individual building block to strategically place it where we know the foundation will hold strong, but allow for more growth and stability. Our company was built on this concept, continuing to build upon our strengths and defining and refining our landscape.

What does your LEGO® empire look like? Let us help you build it like we’ve helped numerous clients do so far and look forward to continuing to build upon in our future.

 

 

But I Didn’t Say That!?!?

Written By: Kathleen Riessen

Confused woman

Many years ago my husband sent me to the hardware store to buy ¼” pipe. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, and while Noah wouldn’t have asked me to help him build his ark, I know how to swing a hammer. So off I went to the hardware store. The pipe aisle had many different options but I couldn’t find ¼” pipe so I asked an employee.

Me: Hello sir. I am looking for ¼” of pipe.

Hardware helper: Sure, how long?

Me: ¼”

Hardware helper: Yeah, I get that. How long?

Me: Ummmm . . . I don’t understand your question.

Hardware helper: (Trying to control his laughter). Why do you need the pipe?

Me: My husband asked me to get it. He’s building a patio.

Hardware helper: (Now visibly laughing. He hands me a long pipe). Here, take this home. It’s what you need.

So I took a long pipe home, handed it to my husband and said, “I’m sorry. I know you wanted ¼” but they made me buy this whole thing.” My husband tried to control his laughter and said that was what he needed.

How was I to know that ¼” described the thickness, not the length?

 

People interpret information based on their set of life experiences. When you are communicating through advertising, you lose control of how people interpret your message. Quickly, people can draw the wrong conclusion and make assumptions about you, your product or service.

When developing your messaging, make sure you are succinct and direct and, for goodness sake, test your message on a few people first.

Part Seven: Measuring Effectiveness

Today’s topic concludes our blog series – how to build a successful strategic marketing plan.

We’ve covered the following steps in building out a strategic marketing plan:

Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan

Effective Marketing Strategy Part One: Research

Part Two: Data Analysis

Part Three: Identifying Your Business Goals

Part Four: Defining Your Target Audience

Part Five: Identifying Effective Marketing Tactics

Part Six: Implementing the Marketing Plan

So you’ve put all this work into researching, developing the plan, assigning roles and responsibilities and have started implementing the plan.

How will you know if your marketing plan is effective? By measuring your specific tactics.

Many times we hear, “I tried doing that and it didn’t work.” Our first question is “How do you know?” Without setting specific goals to measure your tactics, it becomes very subjective as to what did or did not work.

Review your tactics and decide how you are going to track its “effectiveness” to reach your business goals. Know your baseline (current state) and put a value on each tactic. How valuable are new leads – $50, $100? What is the cost of a product or service? Knowing this value will help you determine your ROI for each metric, which will answer the question “is it effective?”

Examples of metrics to use include:

  1. 30% monthly open rate of newsletter
  2. 10 new leads from email blast
  3. 10% new visitors to website
  4. 8 monthly purchases of product or service
  5. 12 new registrants for event

Let’s look at a quick example for metric #2 listed above – sending out an email blast.

Say the cost of sending out the email is $500. If you value a new lead at $100, you’ll need at least five new leads to cover your cost. Ten new leads and you’ve got a good ROI.

The true effectiveness is the value you put on it. Some may consider covering the cost effective enough, while others may view the engagement with the content effective. These are values you will need to determine based on your business goals.

There may be some situations in which a tactic cannot necessarily be tracked, for instance a brand awareness billboard. In these cases, we recommend training your employees to get in the habit of asking people where they heard about your company, your products/services. It could be as simple as asking them to check a box from a list of choices.

Lastly, and more importantly, we need to remind you that there’s no one-time silver bullet for engaging response or gaining leads. Many times tactics need a specific length of time to run to become effective or need to be tweaked. You just need to start somewhere to start gaining those insights and seeing those patterns to make adjustments to continually improve.

So this concludes our blog series – how to build an effective strategic marketing plan! We hope you found these posts helpful and insightful. When it comes time to plan your marketing, make sure to refer to these posts or contact us to help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Six: Implementing the Marketing Plan

Whomever pulls the sword from the stone will lead this project comic

There’s nothing worse than taking the time to research, develop and create a full marketing plan and then not following through on implementing it.

In this series, we’ve reviewed the following steps to building a successful marketing plan:

Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan

Part One: Research

Part Two: Data Analysis

Part Three: Identifying Your Business Goals

Part Four: Defining Your Target Audience

Part Five: Identifying Effective Marketing Tactics

Even if you do all of the above, a marketing plan is only effective if you actually follow it . . . and measure it (which we’ll get to in our next post).

Assigning roles and responsibilities to each of the tactics you included in your plan is essential.

This could be one person, a marketing department, a marketing firm or a combination of all.

For some clients, we will help to the point of creating the strategic marketing plan and then turn it over to them to implement and track. For others, they want us to help with some implementation, or even all implementation.

It really boils down to time and resources to assure it happens.

After you have finalized each of the tactics within your marketing plan, add a column or note next to each to add in the name of the person responsible for completing and monitoring that specific tactic. In addition to the name of the responsible party, add the due date of this task so they understand when it needs to be completed by. This adds accountability and eliminates any “assumptions” that someone else is handling it.

This is a simple step, but a crucial one that is often overlooked.

Make sure to follow us for the last part in this series – measuring success!

Part Five: Identifying Effective Marketing Tactics

multi channel marketing tactics

We’re over halfway complete with our series: how to build a successful marketing plan!

So far, we’ve covered the following steps:

Part One: Research

Part Two: Data Analysis

Part Three: Identifying Your Business Goals

Part Four: Defining Your Target Audience

Now that we know our target audience, or audiences, we need to identify how best to reach them.

Some tactics may have been discovered during your research and data analysis, such as a specific publication, trade show or newspaper, but many times this will need further research by your marketing team.

As with all marketing plans, it’s important to be as comprehensive as possible in your marketing mix. You want to find tactics to reach your target audience, or as we like to call them “clones”.

The easiest way to get started is to first identify your basic marketing categories. This usually includes the following:

  • Print
  • Digital
  • Radio
  • Public Relations
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Outdoor
  • Events (Trade shows, community events, etc.)

Before you start including specific tactics, consider the following:

  • Do you need consumer-facing tactics?
  • Do you need Business to Business (B2B) tactics?
  • Do you need both?
  • Do you need internal tactics to current employees, customers, leads or past customers?
  • Do you need all?

Many tactics may be used twice, for instant an email campaign. You could have a consumer-facing email blast for a product as well as a B2B email blast about a new service. These would be two individual tactics within your marketing plan.

Now it’s time to get to work and start adding your individual tactics. As you do so, be sure to include whether it’s a tactic for brand awareness, lead nurturing or lead generation

For example, a billboard might be for “brand awareness” while an email blast would typically be “lead generation” based on your call to action.

Why do you need to know this? It helps set the expectation of each tactic and will help you measure ROI based on its purpose in supporting your overall business goals you identified.

To learn more you’ll have to follow our blog as we’ll discuss this topic in an upcoming series post!

 

 

 

Part Four: Defining Your Target Audience

defining your target audience

Welcome back to our blog series: Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan!

In case you’ve missed them, you can catch up with our previous posts by clicking the links below:

Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan

Part One: Research

Part Two: Data Analysis

Part Three: Identifying Your Business Goals

Now that we’re actually building our marketing plan, it’s time to define your target audience. We hear quite often, “Everyone is our target audience!” As much as we wish that were true, it’s not. Check out a recent post we did specifically about this topic!

Identifying your target audience(s) in your marketing plan enables you to align your tactics with that audience for a better marketing spend ROI. Think of it as the rifle vs. shotgun approach. Knowing your audience will make you a smarter marketer, attracting the same audience to achieve your business goals.

Let’s walk through an example.

A business goal is to increase attendance at a specific event. From your research, you know that the majority of attendees to your event are females between the ages of 35 and 55.

You want to find more attendees like these (we refer to them as “clones”) to increase those event registrations. So “females between ages 35 – 55” is a target audience.

Your research may or may not have also told you how these individuals like to be communicated to or their interests. If it did not, you may need to do some additional research to find these things out. For instance, do they read specific publications? Which publications? Do they prefer snail mail to email? How much time do they spend on social media and which channels?

The more you know and can pinpoint about your target audience, the smarter you can be with your marketing dollars and attracting them into the sales funnel as a lead and potential new customer.

You may have one target audience or many depending on the business goals identified. Regardless of the number, make sure to include who they are within your marketing plan as a reminder of who you are trying to attract.

Stop by next week for part five!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Three: Identifying Your Business Goals

Welcome to our blog series: Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan! If you haven’t been following along, we’re walking you through the importance of having a marketing plan and how to best create, implement and measure marketing success through a strategic plan.

Check out our first few posts to catch up!

Building a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan

Part One: Research

Part Two: Data Analysis

On to part three! You’ve completed your research and data analysis. Now you get to start building your strategic marketing plan.

Before getting too excited about what tactics you’re going to use, you need to identify your business goals. There could be one overarching goal, or many, smaller goals. Regardless of whether you have one or many, they need to be outlined in your marketing plan. shutterstock_70201246

Some of these business goals you may have already known before you even conducted your research. Maybe you wanted to increase revenue (who doesn’t!) or enter a new market.

Other goals you may have been unaware of and were gleaned from your research and data analysis, such as improving a specific product/service or building a better sense of community for employee recruitment purposes.

Ask yourself (or your team) the following questions when reviewing and determining your business goals:

  1. Are these short-term or long-term goals?
  2. What metrics are we going to use to determine if we succeed at these goals?
  3. Are these goals tangible (selling actual products) or perception-based (increasing brand awareness or feelings toward a product or your company)?

Below are a few examples of some different types of business goals:

  1. Increase number of registrants from 10 to 20 for class or event.
  2. Increase brand awareness of product XYZ in X market by end of year.
  3. Become top 3 in market for XYZ product.
  4. Increase annual sales revenue by XX%.

Once finalized, write these business goals into your marketing plan along with the metrics that will be used to track them.

Make sure to stop back next week for the next part in our series: defining your target audience!