The Year of Reckoning: A Refresher on the Marketing Industry’s Diversity Paradox in 2020

The Year of Reckoning: A Refresher on the Marketing Industry’s Diversity Paradox in 2020

 

Before the novel coronavirus and a rash of police brutality brought structural racism back into stark focus, and before advertising giants were taken to task for this year’s slew of tone-deaf commercials, we knew the marketing industry had a diversity problem. In the wake of Hollywood’s movement for racial equity (remember #OscarsSoWhite?) marketers took a look around the office and really started to notice, well, how white it was. Being at the forefront of understanding what potential customers want, we began recommending that the brands we represent start appealing to a wider audience.

 

At first, we recommended that big brands look at new ways to engage with different audiences, including finding new and fresh voices, creative elements and various perspectives that directly appeal to a more nuanced target audience. Under the old guard of media and advertising, the norm was to create ads and campaigns targeted at a mass, primarily white population. It was still a relatively new idea to explore the things that African Americans, women and other cultures liked that deviated from the status quo and create specific campaigns for those audiences.

 

Major campaigns appealing to various age groups, women and minorities, and in some cases, even social movements, showed promising results. For example, following the #MeToo movement, Twitter, Google and Nike all jumped on board with various advertising campaigns designed to empower women. All of that sounds like a positive step in the right direction, and the ads were generally well-received, but something still wasn’t quite right. These big ad agencies were recommending their clients shift their communication to a more conclusive, diverse message, while they themselves remained (and still remain) almost entirely dominated by white males.

 

We’ve come to understand this problem as the “diversity paradox,” and though industry-wide numbers haven’t changed much in the past couple of years, we are starting to see individual companies and coalitions create plans that go beyond talking about our industry’s issues and take steps towards solving them. For example, Nike ousted several leadership-level employees to combat their reputation as a “boys’ club,” and it has made a huge impact on its business and its relationship with their ad agency. 

 

Even clients have noticed the diversity paradox, and they are demanding more. Back in 2016, The New York Times published an article claiming that big brands wanted ad agencies to diversify. In 2017, highlighted in an article published by AdWeek, an Adobe study aimed to understand the diversity issue and plunged into why agencies were having difficulty fulfilling this request. The reasons cited in the study are the standard boilerplate expressions of why women and minorities struggle to gain success in any industry, which, to our ears in 2020, sound like lip service from a group of happily successful and secluded white males.

 

At this point, marketing firms with a conscience recognize that it’s disingenuous to recommend our brands and clients be more diverse and inclusive while we continue to only offer that opinion from our singular perspective. And the problem goes all the way to the top: Diversity and Inclusion experts have made it clear that it’s very difficult to retain diverse hires in low-level positions without mirroring that inclusiveness in company leadership. No matter how hard you may try, or how much market research you do, it is impossible for an agency full of white males to create authentic work that appeals to the greater audience. Representation has to stretch all the way from our audience to the C-suite.

 

As I already mentioned, the numbers have still yet to improve. But as we marketers love to do, the industry has begun gathering data to set benchmarks and create realistic goals. Just this September, a benchmarking survey of 165 agencies representing more than 40,000 employees—found that Black and African American employees make up just 5.8% of the industry, while 8.68% identify as Hispanic or Latinx, 10.7% as Asian/Asian American, 4.23% as “other” and 70.51% as white or caucasian. Of the less than 6% who are Black or African American, 68% are admin or entry-level, 43.5% are non-management professionals, 27.6% are managers or directors and just 4% are vice presidents or higher, excluding C-suite roles. 

 

We found several examples of big agencies shaking up business-as-usual to make way for diversity and inclusion: According to Forbes, Ad agency Horizon Media created resources for different employee groups such as Black, African American, LGBTQ, Hispanic, Latinx and Asian employees, as well as working parents while also looking outside the ad industry for talent. GM has created a scorecard to measure progress in all outgoing creative from their agencies, and Havas is conducting extensive internal research. Ad Age and Facebook have formed a collective of advertising, marketing and media leaders focused on a different objective every year (2020’s theme has been amended to “confronting unconscious bias in the wake of the new normal). Legacy organization She Runs It has launched the #Inclusive100 movement, a drive for agencies to commit to specific initiatives and participate in an annual benchmarking report.

 

The male-ness of the marketing industry hit home for us at @revenue when we saw how skilled working mothers are being pushed out of our own industry. As marketing leaders in our community, we felt that it’s past time for us to follow suit with these industry giants and not just talk about our diversity problem, but take drastic action to fix it. This year, the data, the goals and the strategies are finally coming together in an actionable way. And we are ready to do something about it. It’s time to change the way we hire, promote, manage and appreciate our teams. We need to listen to stories and open our internal offices to inclusion. There is no other way to understand and be better than to start doing and try it, track it, change it. Let’s start a revolution.

An earlier version of this article was published on Forbes.


Productivity Tips for #EntrepreneurLife in 2020: Eat the Frog

If we could sum up 2020 in one quote, it might be this one by Herbert Hoover: “About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends.” This feeling of endlessly chasing a moving target, treading water or running in place was already a familiar part of the entrepreneurial experience. As a marketing and sales agency that works primarily with small businesses, we’ve picked up some tricks over the years to create structure out of chaos and forge ahead into productivity. 

2020 has taught us some new things about doing business in uncertain times, but when it comes to productivity, some of our tried-and-true basic principles have come through with the best results. Our answer to Herbert Hoover’s pithy proverb is this one by Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” This is our classic antidote to procrastination at the @revenue office, and we pride ourselves on being adept and graceful frog-eaters. But in the time of big pivots bringing a deluge of new and daunting tasks, sometimes we find a few more frogs hanging around on our to-do lists than usual. Can you relate?

We’ve seen many successful entrepreneurs and business owners adapt this frog-eating concept into a philosophy that keeps them on track and focused. So how does it work? For me, it gets broken down into these simple steps:

Step 1: Create a list of to-dos. I am a major list creator, so much so that I sometimes have lists of what lists I have. Each morning, as I set out to start my work day, I create an all-encompassing list of things to do. This list is primarily focused on the goals for that day, but often includes larger projects that I can complete in stages. The key is to make your list as comprehensive as possible first.

Step 2: Prioritize your list. Once your list has been created, you want to take a few moments and prioritize it. I generally categorize my list into things I can complete today, those that are deadline focused, those that are in stages and those that arenʼt deadline focused but would be great to accomplish as soon as possible. Once you have a priority in mind, you know where you need to spend your time.

Step 3: Read your list. Read it, and as you do so, mark the items that make you groan vs the items that are relatively simple to complete and donʼt bother you much.

Step 4: Biggest Groan = Frog. Inevitably, there will be one item on your list that you simply do not want to do. Perhaps when you were reading your list you were trying to imagine ways to procrastinate it. You will know what that one thing on your list is. For me, it’s often something to do with cash flow. I just simply hate reviewing accounting and financials. Iʼd much rather spend my time on fun marketing projects and writing.

Step 5: Eat the Frog. As Twain said, the key to having a positive day is to eat a frog first. That biggest groan on your list—do it first. Get it out of the way and the rest of your list will be no big deal.

Mark Twain knew what he was talking about! We use the frog-eating method every day to stay on task. The feeling when you accomplish that thing you were dreading is a natural high that keeps you going all day. Just take a few minutes every morning to prioritize your task list, and when the frogs come to call, you’ll know what to do.


Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO in 2020

In the unfolding economic crisis of 2020, most business leaders are pushing forward into new territory in one way or another, whether it’s internal restructuring or a complete overhaul of your offerings. Marketing is a high priority to not only survive these relentlessly uncertain times, but also to make sure the work you’re doing now is building towards a more sustainable future for your business. Many early-stage and small businesses are finding that they don’t have the marketing leadership in their C-suite to keep up. 

There are plenty of ways companies end up in this situation: maybe you’ve gotten by without a CMO thus far, but other roles are too busy to manage marketing right now, or maybe things are changing fast in your industry and you need an expert with a wider range of experience. Maybe your company is growing faster than you anticipated and you need a marketing leader who can step in and chart the course until you can afford a full-time executive. An agency could do the trick, but you need a dedicated person “on the ground” with you who can strategize and implement with your team. 

The short-term, big-commitment marketing leader you’re looking for does exist: meet the fractional CMO. This role is typically brought in to build up or manage your company’s marketing function on a part-time or short-term basis. From a cost-benefit standpoint, fractional CMO services deliver an incredible amount of value for much less than what an in-house team of their caliber would cost. The average salary for a full-time CMO is $174,573, and they usually have a marketing director or marketing manager working under them to carry out tactical work (earning average salaries of $87,915 and $65,399, respectively). And that’s before any benefits, payroll taxes or bonuses. All told, hiring a team with all of these roles plus support for digital and social implementation would cost over $400,000 per year in salaries alone. Working with @revenue for fractional CMO services costs about 30% less than that—around $280,000. See what we mean by fractional?

Take a look at some of the benefits a CMO offers that you won’t find with a consultant or a typical agency:

Evolves existing strategies and processes

When tried and true marketing channels aren’t working like they used to, it might seem like you have to abandon your entire strategy and start from scratch with a new approach—especially if you see your competitors finding success with new technology, social channels, etc. and you can’t keep up. Trusting an agency to make these calls for you can feel like a huge risk, and it is. If you don’t know where to start with new channels or how to make the transition without breaking the budget, a fractional CMO will take the time to get to know your existing strategy and make incremental changes to evolve it along with new tools and best practices so you can keep your momentum and your audience as your marketing processes change. 

Crafts and manages a unified strategy with your team

Maybe you’ve tried some new marketing channels and been burned by one-stop solutions that didn’t do what they promised. Opening up new avenues for marketing takes an integrated strategy with someone experienced at the helm keeping a close eye on your metrics and making adjustments as you go. It takes a level of communication with your CEO and your team that most consultants and agencies don’t have the capacity for, but a fractional CMO is flexible to step in and actively manage your strategy in real-time.

High-level partnership

Speaking of communication, if you’ve made a big pivot recently and need to maintain consistency at a big-picture level, a fractional CMO often has the business leadership experience to take part in those C-suite conversations. Lots of companies are finding themselves in need of a high-level manager with the experience to build up a new marketing foundation while sales are lower than usual and they are still smoothing out the operations of a new business model. It can be a challenging time to hire the kind of full-time support you will eventually need, but a fractional CMO will fit the bill until the time is right.

Supports your sales team

Is your sales team struggling to work as a team while client responses are turbulent? Do they have any strategic marketing support, or are they creating their own materials? Often when there isn’t a robust marketing department, the onus falls on the sales team to generate, develop and close their own leads. Trying to get by without a dedicated marketing leader is a recipe for sales team burnout. A fractional CMO will find the gaps that are costing you sales and fill them so your salespeople can do what they do best.

A fractional CMO delivers the marketing leadership you need to keep growing your business while you need to keep cost, commitment and risk to a minimum. But the key factor that can really make or break this decision? The relationship you build with your fractional CMO is mission-critical. You have to find someone you trust, who will tell you the hard truths that will make for a better strategy in the end. At @revenue we call this Professional Love, and we insist on loving all of our clients, especially through their most difficult times.

But all good things must come to an end. Your team might absorb the new processes after the initial implementation, or the new revenue you generate might open up room for a full-time marketing executive. It takes about 6 months to see the full ROI from your CMO, but you may decide to work together for several years. Our team is great at documenting processes to hand back to your team whenever you’re ready. 

Are you as excited as we are about the benefits of a fractional CMO? Get in touch with us and let’s talk about it!


How to Support Your Small Business Community During the Coronavirus Outbreak

It’s almost become a campaign cliche that small business is the backbone of America; but in the year 2020, amidst a viral outbreak like we’ve never seen before, the strength and flexibility of that “backbone” is being tested. Without much direction or aid coming from the government, we’re looking to each other to make a way forward—but there’s so much noise it’s hard to make some sense of it all. Our responsibilities as business owners have changed overnight and we’re asking ourselves where the money will come from, if and when we’ll have to let someone go, and how to go about making sales in a quarantined market.

Without a doubt, it’s an urgent time to support our networks while offering the opportunity to support us back. Nobody wants to come across as taking advantage of this awful situation, but what does one do if they want to appear authentic and actually help? Our team had a meeting of the minds this Monday; we came up with our best ideas to help you get through this time and come out on the other side with a team that believes in you, a customer base that knows that you care and partnerships that are even stronger.

Spend Wisely: Support Small

The #1 way to support your fellow business owners right now, as always, is to shop small. It’s especially important to think about brick and mortar businesses that usually rely on foot traffic, like restaurants and retailers. Many are scrambling to build online stores, but some have gift cards available on their existing websites. One of our favorite tricks for lunch meetings on lockdown is sending a GrubHub gift card with a list of locally-owned options.

Everyone’s budget is in flux, but necessaries like cleaning products can be found locally instead of at big-box stores. Think about any birthdays coming up and any other gifts you need to buy soon. Spend some of your downtime searching these local business directories to find what you need right now:

Communicate Mindfully

As we all huddle up to our laptops to stay in touch with the world, we live and do business through our online presence, and our messaging becomes more critical than ever. Be sure to communicate with each of your audiences—yes, everyone—clients, partners, employees, the public, about any changes that will affect their business with you. Communicate with your existing network first before reaching out to new contacts. Post important information in a central location, like on your website, and use appropriate channels to share it.

Just as important as spreading the word about the changes in your business is putting other news on hold until you know for sure that it’s still moving forward according to plan. And even if it is, think twice about whether or not a big announcement is still appropriate. Blaring good news while so much is being canceled may come across as tone-deaf. News about product launches and events may need to be softened or postponed.

Manage Your Fear and Be a Leader

Fear of the unknown is a whopper, especially when you have a team (or a small community) looking to you for answers. While it’s an important time to show resilience, being honest about the things you still haven’t figured out is a much better look than withholding information.

If we didn’t know it before, it’s becoming abundantly clear that a business isn’t run by technology and systems: it’s run by a group of people with a shared goal. And when your mission is bigger than any single person on the team, you can have real faith that it’s all worthwhile. We at @revenue seek out other mission-driven businesses to work with because we believe this so much. Remind your team and your clients how important they are to you, and that no matter what else changes, your mission will drive you forward because it’s bigger than all of you.

Take Action

While you’re waiting on your bigger answers, take action on the things you have the power to do right now. If you need to get out of the house, My Block My Hood My City is accepting donations and organizing volunteers to distribute viral response packages to seniors. Reach out to your network and ask what kinds of support they are looking for.

One thing we know for sure is that this isn’t going to be over quickly; businesses that don’t already have a tech stack to support working from home will need to pull one together. Our team is working on a webinar to help you get digital quick, so watch out for more details! As always, let us know what else we can do to help.


The Times They Are A-Changing: Managing Fear

By Emily Lonigro

Do you feel something is changing? I do. It’s everywhere and I can’t quite name it yet. It feels deep and systemic, something much bigger than just me or you. Are you feeling it too?

During the past 2 months, I’ve been feeling this big change coming and I’ve been working on managing fear. It’s like an undercurrent to every conversation I’ve had. Usually, I can turn up my entrepreneurial mojo and crank out a ton of work and just blast full steam ahead with a singular goal, and I’ve been doing that for about 4 weeks solid now. I’ve done it a million times over the past 15 years — you know how exciting it is to think up a new plan and start the wheels in motion. It’s the part of my job that I love the most.

This time, something is different, and it’s not just me this time. I’ve been talking to foundations, our competition, partner agencies, B Corp CEOs, women in my network, clients, and really anyone I can get for 15 minutes. Everyone is saying the same thing: something feels different and we’re not sure what it is.

I’m not sure either. But here are a few things I do know and I’m hearing from everyone else:

1. There is a clear shift to bring more purpose and intention into our day.

We don’t separate work and life. It’s one big thing and it can be overwhelming. The things we do and say make us who we are, so when one of those pieces doesn’t jive with the rest, we face big problems like self-doubt, anxiety, and anger. When you’re in charge of things, like a business, this can become extremely messy. Finding the right people to talk to, whether a network or a paid advisor is the way through. Because the only way out is through.

I’m seeing more consultants and small advisory practices focusing on self-care, mindfulness, and bringing intention and meaning to clients’ lives. There has been a big focus on the rise of the entrepreneur and the startup, the leader who grinds all day and has a singular vision of success through disruption. Are we getting burned out? Are we spending all of our time working and forgetting about what binds us together as human beings? Or are just spending too much time on Instagram?

I hear a collective need for coming back to mission, purpose, intent, and meaning, especially in the business world. There’s a desire to work less and experience more.

2. We are getting used to working and living in a climate of uncertainty.

The uncertain political climate destroys my business. When we didn’t have a budget in Illinois for a few years, almost all of our work dried up with our biggest client. We know the same happened for a lot of our consultant friends and nonprofits lost funding and resources across the board.

This new political uncertainty that we are all witnessing every day is something else. It is changing our spending habits; we’re less likely to sign up for something for a longer term. We’re hoarding cash because we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are hearing about a coming recession, and we’re all wondering what’s going to happen.

Most of my competitors are talking about this. Some of them are digging in, some are getting out, and some are changing. We’re wondering what’s going to happen to our business and a lot of us are making pivots in our service lines and pricing structures to get ahead of it. We’re taking bets.

What does this mean? It means we’re realizing that business, as usual, isn’t working as usual and it’s up to us to keep things moving and for the betterment of our communities. This climate of uncertainty is designed to separate us and keep us alone and scared. I think a lot of us are at the point where we recognize: “yes, those people in charge of policy and big business are bananas crazy, but I need to keep my enterprise going to support my staff and family, so I’m going to keep going and do what I need to do to do that.” We recognize we are part of a system and we’re better of joining forces than going it alone. So let those crazies be crazy and let’s stand for something more.

3. We are slowly getting over being afraid.

I don’t know about you, but I used to be afraid almost all the time up until maybe a few months ago when I got to a breaking point. I finally realized that all of this worrying about uncertainty and what I SHOULD be doing wasn’t making my life any better. In fact, it was killing me.

Thinking back to when I started my business in 2004, I did that because I was tired of selling people crap based on the fear of not being good enough, or having some “other” person take everything away, or the fear of not keeping up or missing out. I rebelled against that idea in marketing, but most of everyone else didn’t. And marketing embraced it. So part of the issue why we’re all feeling like we’re falling behind because we let the marketing get to us.

This fear and anxiety is created by marketers, either deliberately or accidentally. It’s why we love and hate Facebook and why we are addicted to knee-jerk spending on Amazon. It’s a quick fix to a bigger problem: we’re afraid. We’re buying things that fix it for a moment, but in the long term we’ll just end up deeper in debt and at the mercy of the 1%.

I’m seeing a new trend emerging: one of fearlessness. Slowly, I’m seeing more honest questions, more support networks, and more authentic marketing that’s about creating real conversations.

I’m not sure what will be the result of all this, but I do know there is a new way and an old way. The old way is based on exclusion, fear, and profit. The new way is based on collaboration, honesty, and impact.

This is where I’m really excited. I know that the methods of design thinking, when used deliberately and inclusively are perfect for getting at the heart of the matter. It’s not always easy, but the results are always honest and insightful. This has been our practice for a long time now — extending far beyond branding and web development — and I think we’re in the right place at the right time to help more people make real change.

For us, this is the path that’s unfolding: our practice is about uncovering truths, defining a path forward, and inspiring and including. It’s less about the things we produce and more about teaching the tools and practices that help make the world better.

I created this model for to you get a sense of where you are in this uncertain time. Is your org or business responding or reacting? Is it from fear or inspiration?

 

[button style="red" float="left" margin="" size="small" link="https://www.limeredstudio.com/download/6779/" target=""]Click here to download my FEAR or INSPIRATION, RESPOND or REACT Worksheet[/button]


What My DiSC Profile Taught Me About Myself

By Kevin Drolet

Recently, I retook my DiSC Profile test. It’s been over 12 years since my last one and my hopes weren’t too high. In the past, profile tests like DiSC have made me curious but also seemed like too much work to apply in real life. I remember the last time I took the assessment, it was only briefly gone over by the trainer. Our group had a laugh at finding out “who we really were” but didn’t go much deeper than that. My manager even hid his because he didn’t want us to learn how different his behavioral styles were inside and outside of work. In reality, we laughed a bit too much when this test really could have improved our team's communication. Including and especially my manager’s communication challenges!

This time the experience was not the same. To go through the profile was like stepping out of myself and looking back into how “Kevin” behaves. So much of it was dead on the mark it was scary. Granted it wasn’t perfect, but having this kind of honest feedback was eye-opening. Feedback is something we crave as growing professionals but rarely get. Here is what happened from looking at my reflection in the DiSC reality mirror.

I changed. After many years of success in sales and digital marketing, starting my own successful digital media company, raising a child and dedicating myself to consistent martial arts - I had changed my behavioral style. While I had thought of myself one way - I had really transformed into another behavioral style. Thinking that I was communicating as a S (Supportive style), which tends to be calm and steady, when really I was more of a D (Dominate style), someone that can be more blunt and to the point. These are totally opposite and I can immediately think of several examples where I got myself into trouble.

I had to let go. Understanding how I thought about myself and how others perceive me was illuminating. Let’s face it, our ego and self-identity is important but when in a sales situation it’s all about the other person. By highlighting where I had some challenges in my communication style, I’m able to adapt and adjust.

It reminded me of a recent experience when my agency client called me to say the client we were doing work for didn’t appreciate my tone in a meeting. In fact, the client was really mad and I was in jeopardy of losing an account. In the meeting, I told a truth about the shortcomings of the client’s website and acquisition strategy. I thought I had been the supportive “S” in that meeting - helpful calm and providing good information. In fact, I was a high D, insisting they change their silly ways and stop wasting money. To make matter worse I didn’t understand the behavioral styles of the clients - including know what would set them off. I was lucky enough to be able to apologize and my agency client forgave me.

Using the right key to open the right lock. This is the most powerful lesson I learned through DiSC training. We all have different personalities and views of the world. When looking at it through the eyes of DiSC, you are able to identify and understand someone else’s perspective and communicate to them so they will best receive that information. Let’s face it, the golden rule is dead. You don’t need to treat others how you want to be treated but instead how THEY want to be treated.

Remember, there is no “right” profile. Instead what is right is the better we understand ourselves and understand each other, the better we communicate and have successful conversations, relationships, and clients. That’s why we use a powerful tool called CrystalKnows. It allows us to identify and understand someone’s DiSC type before we go to a meeting or send that email. With templates customized by personality, powerful insights to help plan your meetings and tools to clarify your communication, CrystalKnows takes our DiSC communication to a whole new level. Start your free trial today.


Your Values, Your Business. Yes, You Can Build A Dream Business Based On What You Value Most.

When we begin a conversation with a client, we’ll typically ask: “What type of business do you think is right for you?”

Mind you, it’s not that we expect that individual to have everything figured out. Some people may know what they want, but may not look at the reality that accompanies that. Others aren’t sure at all but do know they want to control their own destiny. No matter where you’re coming in, we’ll typically take a more introspective approach and encourage you to ask deeper questions internally about your lifestyle before choosing a business.

Now, why do you think we would be so interested in what you value and the life you want to have? Yes, these are important but what does that have to do with owning a business?

Know The Business Behind The Business

Think about this: If you’re going to be a successful owner, you’re going to be heavily involved in that business for at least the next 10 years and probably more. If the organization doesn’t match up with your values and lifestyle, you may have some buyer’s remorse.

To illustrate how buyer’s remorse could happen, let’s say that you’re intensely passionate about a product or service – we’ll use dogs as an example. Since you have such a love of dogs, you figure that owning a pet store franchise is your true calling.

Sounds like a terrific fit, doesn’t it? Not so fast.

You may have a love of animals, but we still have to talk about what you will be doing as a business owner. In this case, you may be spending a great deal of time involved with inventory management, stocking shelves and a host of other responsibilities that take you away from playing with the puppies.

Doing what you love has to align with business responsibilities, which makes it crucial to take a hard look at each franchise opportunity to ensure your perception meets reality. This involves a series of deep questions that can force you to give careful consideration to why you want to become an owner and what you want out of the business. Because once you’ve addressed these questions, you’re ready to pursue an opportunity on your terms, based on what you value most.

4 Deep Questions Before You “Jump”

  • What are your strengths?
    When you think back to times in your career where you’ve been promoted, why was that? How did that happen? Was there something about that type of work that energized you?
  • What type of work environment and style do you prefer?
    Do you like working with people or independently? Are you a teacher? An organizer? Are you motivated by sales? Do you dread event planning? Do you believe you can thrive in a customer-facing role or do you see yourself as more of an operational leader behind the scenes?
  • What do you like to do most?
    Believe it or not, one of the areas we look to as evidence of what you enjoy is your prior education. What did you go to school for, even if it’s nothing to do with what you currently do today? That shows a degree of passion.
  • What does your family situation and schedule look like?
    Make no mistake – this is a big one. If you have a spouse and children, how would owning a business change your current situation at home? What are you willing to give up?
    Is your family on board with this commitment? There’s going to be a ramp up period to get the business running strong enough that you can pay yourself the salary that you want, including minimum expenses. It may take 12-24 months to turn a profit – are you comfortable with that? If so, is it because your spouse is working and can take some of the pressure off? Is it based on savings that you have or through an SBA loan?

You know your strengths, your work style, your greatest passion, and have a loving family that’s got your back for the next 12-24 months to pursue the next exciting chapter of your career in business ownership. That’s great – but there’s still one more vital component to your success that we can’t neglect – an outside perspective from a highly experienced franchise consultant who can help guide you to the right franchise opportunity that aligns just right with your values. That’s where organizations like On Pace and @revenue come in - we’re here for you!


The GIF is a Gift!

First, I believe we need to address a very important issue. Deep breath because there will be a lot of emotions here. Do you pronounce if GIF or JIF?

via GIPHY

Allow me to settle the battle for once and for all. It doesn’t stinking matter. 

The Psych

Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about this novel little addition is changing the face of business. As always, the first thing I get excited about is the psychology behind the form of communication. An easy piece to understand is the mere-exposure effect. This phenomenon explains that we have a preference for things that we are already familiar with. In our society, media is the most common denominator. I know, there are always going to be outliers. There is generally at least one in every crowd that wants to loudly tell you how they have never watched TV or that they keep themselves pure of the mind pollution of popular media (Uh….ok...cool. I’m gonna talk to this other 99.999 % of people). Most people have some common experience and when you can use that commonality to express a thought or emotion it has more resonance for the recipient.

Most of the time GIFs are used to communicate emotion. EMOTION, the cornerstone of communication! Take into account  Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication.

If you are relying only on words to communicate your message you are leaving 93% of your ability to communicate on the table. We also know that people make decisions (about everything) based on emotion and back it up with logic, so if you are effectively communicating to and connecting with emotion, are you doing your level best to get the recipient engaged with your message?

The Culture

As a company that uses GIFs heavily in our communication, I reached out to some of our newest members. Here were some of their responses:

Well, gosh. Who wouldn't want to be around some humor in a company culture? I think a little mechanism like a GIF goes a long way, more than people probably might give it credit for. It shows that you're among friends, or at least that we're all in this together. Without it, you might risk the communication feeling like a cold directive. There's SO much room for the tone of an email to be misinterpreted. Using humor within that communication makes you appear warmer, friendlier and more accessible. All good things that any company culture should want to have.” -Dan Gershenson

“Using a gif is like finding that perfect Hallmark card at the store. Couldn't have said it better myself. It just sends the perfect message, unlike texts. It adds inflection and there is usually no denying what the other person is trying to say. More often than not, it puts a smile on my face and lifts my mood." -Laura Wilson

“First, my lack of knowledge about pop-culture and trivia made me hesitant to follow, but after just my first few experiences, using GIFs takes a weight off my shoulders as a writer. I can lean more on my GIF selection to set the tone. I don't have to be funny - I can just find something funny instead.

To me, GIFs establish a shared emotional connection through pop culture. As humans, our brains connect differently with faces, naturally assimilating to other's perceived emotions. When we see someone happy, we feel happy. This is two-fold when we connect with another through shared experiences of favorite comedians or movie scenes. The art of GIF-giving is selecting one that your audience will 'get' and can easily connect with.” -Megan Robinson

Just last week we entered a NEW client intake meeting (not yet full clients) and they mentioned that they were so happy when I used a GIF in the email because they automatically knew that we were cool (read that as ‘we are like you’), we have a sense of joy and humor, and that we were going to be fun to work with. A tip of my hat the Mr. Sinatra dancing in the rain!

If your internal staff and your new clients appreciate it, how can you create a GIF-embracing culture of your own? Well, start with a few rules and tools.

  1. Use an email plug-in tool like https://giphy.com/ that will allow your team to add images on the fly. They simply need type in a search term like excited, happy, or raining and a small list of images will pop up for them to click on and add to the email, slack channel or the like.
  2. Encourage common sense! This is not a place for profanity or lewdness just like ANY OTHER part of your work.
  3. Know thy audience! If it is your initial conversation with someone and you don’t know if they have a sense of humor to speak of it’s probably not what you want to lead with. You need to have a few exchanges with someone before you will know if this is something that is a fit for them.

The Business Plan

According to Forbes ‘[Other] businesses have had success using  GIFs in email marketing campaigns. A case study of Dell’s GIF-centric marketing campaign was done by MarketSherpa. They compared metrics of the  GIF campaign with other quarterly campaign reports and found that Dell saw a 42% increase in their click rate and a 109% increase in revenue.’

To meet the demand, many of the tools you already use are adding GIF searches to their services. Facebook, Twitter, Mailchimp just to name a few have adopted the movement.  Want to create one of your own?

Forbes even gives you a step-by-step so that you can show off a product or even a great part of a speech.

At the end of the day you have to decide if it is brand congruous for your internal team and your external communication, but for me and my house….we will GIF IT UP!

via GIPHY

 


How We Inspire Clients To Tackle Sales In The Office And In The Field!

Sales cannot stop once the contract gets signed!

Your sales process is part of your brand, part of your culture and the lasting impression that people take from your business. At @revenue, we know that creating a powerful process that both your sales team and your internal team can follow will allow not only for more sales but greater customer service and increased value per client!

 

If your business is ready for powerful growth, it's time we talked. 312.720.1399 x1

 


3 Reasons YOU Should be on Stage

There you are,  sitting in yet another conference listening to a speaker review something that you have heard 100 times before and all you can think is, ‘Good GRIEF!’ (I assume you watched the Peanuts as a child, too), ‘I have so much more powerful information to share, things that would actually give this audience some REAL value!’ Well...let me give you 3 reasons why you should get yourself together and get on the next stage.

**Please do NOT remove the current speaker from stage - let’s find you one of your own!**

  1. The more you have a microphone in your hand the more of an expert you are.

Listen, the raw truth is that no one is going to call you an expert until you say it first. There is no ‘authority fairy’ that is just waiting for you to reach a magical point of experience, education or innovation to give you your set of wings. You have to take the leap.

On a physiological level, the simple appearance of being on stage (in front of a room speaking with authority) creates a subconscious understanding that you have information to give and that you are an authority. The more often you are seen on a screen, stage or in print the more people know and begin trust you. As you start that relationship, with 10 or 2,000 people at a time, you have an opportunity to connect with them much more quickly and deeply when it is time for the next step.

  1.   The Bloom Effect

In this content-heavy world, we are all looking for opportunities to create effective blogs, articles, videos, newsletters, and on and on. With one speaking engagement, you can use that single event to spread your marketing message wide.

  • Post on your site
  • Write your speech and a blog at the same time
  • Video your speech and create 5-7 short burst videos
  • Spread through your social media
  • Engage with other organization’s social media, website, event programs
  • Cross promote with other speakers at the event
  • Etc.
  1. Be the Change

If you are not in business to change the world and make it a better place, this is not for you. For those of you that have the vision, that truly believe that what you do has a major impact on your client’s lives, you need to plant the seed. Our organization is focused on changing the lives of SMBs through providing them with the profit they need to care for their families, invest in their communities and create abundance for others. If that is truly what we are here to do and we keep it under wraps, we have failed tremendously.

This is why we take stages with a message of professional love. We tell the stories that give people a reason to care. We create empathy, provide tools to foster change and lift others up around us. If you were to apply those ideas to your business and look at your impact through a community if not worldwide filter, what would your keynote speech be?

Not sure where to start? Let’s find some time to chat...who knows, the next ‘chat’ you have might be on stage!  

marie@atrevenue.com