Reaching for the stars: marketing tips from NASA

Reaching for the stars: marketing tips from NASA

Not since we landed on the moon have I seen so much hype around a celestial event. It’s rather exciting actually and oh so appropriate for the solar season of Sagittarius we are now in—when the energies highlight our need to expand our horizons. Props to NASA’s marketing, PR and social media teams for pulling out all of the stops on this week’s comet ISON perihelion. Take a look at how this one event is being used to tell the organization’s story: Separate event landing page to watch live coverage that highlights solar satellite viewing capabilities A full court media blitz that includes a special PBS presentation  and numerous press mentions across national media to position NASA scientists as thought leaders A Google+ hangout to discuss the event with their fans A special hashtag on Twitter to segment the event from the main twitter site and Facebook  posts to continue the conversation Without huge budgets for promotion, NASA is genius at social media. (would you expect any less?) I think a lot of us can learn from their process. Check out this Inside Social Media podcast with John Yembrick, NASA’s Head of Social Media on how he manages all of the content he has to work with, and the trends he thinks will drive stronger interaction with your audience. At the bottom of the interview page are some excellent tips on how to look at social media, choose the right channels for your content and measure your results. There’s optimistic, expansive energy at your disposal this week. The time is right to consider how you reach your audience to tell your story … and decide whether or not some expansion is in order.   Image Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of...

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Sales enablement: Is marketing really from Mars and sales from Venus?

Sales enablement: Is marketing really from Mars and sales from Venus?

CMO.com just reported the results of Q2/Q3 research on marketing effectiveness. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of marketing’s effectiveness in closing the gap between marketing and sales. For as long as I’ve been in marketing (and that’s a long time), the only time I’ve seen sales and marketing get along is when sales was dictating what to do, to marketing. But is that really marketing’s job? To deliver only what sales wants? Not in my world. I think there’s an answer to this continuing drama, and it requires first and foremost that both departments actually respect what the other brings to the table. And a good understanding of the goals and objectives of the leaders in an organization. If marketing isn’t respected at the top, you can bet your annual salary the sales team is going to follow suit. So as a marketer that’s your first job—to understand the mentality of marketing at the highest levels in your organization. That will drive how you play your role and hopefully a decision on whether or not you are in the right company for your skill set. If you’re a marketer lucky enough to find a company that understands and values good marketing, then you need to get busy closing the sales enablement gap. Jill Konrath, consultant and author of Selling to Big Companies, has written a really good ebook on how marketing can close that gap. I highly recommend you find a way to adopt Jill’s recommendations. One addition to her recommendations that I’d like to add: When you create tools for sales, remember they need to put customer-facing words in their own voice to be viewed as authentic. They’re not robots who parrot your words, they’re people who have their own way of phrasing concepts.  So give them concepts and facts, not scripts to memorize. Bullet-point key information and give them an example of how they can use that information in their sales process. If you’re a super control freak, test them on their delivery. Ask them for a presentation to hear if they’re grasping the concepts and using the facts you’ve provided.  Sales people are way more effective if they can take marketing’s contribution and make it their own. Design your tools to make that happen. Mars and Venus orbit the same star. Mars isn’t pushing Venus along its path. But what happens on Venus could have an impact on Mars. So the answer to the question in this blog title is, YES! Marketing is from Mars and sales from Venus. Marketing (Mars) can be successful in its mission (Orbit) if the sales team (Venus) doesn’t explode.  As above, so below. Photo: Collision,...

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Sweaty creatives and why your critics aren’t the ones who count

Sweaty creatives and why your critics aren’t the ones who count

I don’t have children but I’ve gestated this blog for two years. Two years of thinking about what might be valuable to others. It wasn’t until this past year that I finally figured out it isn’t so much about what anyone needs, as much as it is what I have to share – and how I share it. The only requirement is that I just show up and do my thing. How many of you hold yourself back? Keep the beautiful, amazing parts of yourself hidden for fear that it won’t be enough, or GASP! you could be criticized? You might share those gifts with a very select few. And that’s okay, but it doesn’t take you as far as you are capable of going in life. Brené Brown, the author and vulnerability researcher who channels my internal dialog, says, “If you’ve committed to creating in your life, show up and be seen. Know there’s one guarantee. You will get your ass kicked.” I think it’s that ass-kicking that keeps so many of us from creating the life of our dreams. Our internal voice that screams “too risky!” when we want to set off on a whole new path – a path that is more authentic to who we are. When I need advice on how to move beyond my internal dialog, to get myself motivated and moving again, I turn to Brené and spend some time with her words. Today I found her 2013 Behance 99u conference presentation on how to deal with creative blocks. In this presentation, Brené offers the following insights on how to deal with the creative blocks that live deep inside of us: So many of us stifle our creativity to keep ourselves from being vulnerable. We stay in fear that our critics will eat us alive. She warns, “When you armor up for vulnerability, you shut yourself off. Without vulnerability you cannot create.” The inappropriate response is to not care what others think. “When we stop caring what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we define ourselves by what others think, we lose our capacity to be vulnerable.”  (see #1 above) Connecting with others means some will like what you do, and others will not. The appropriate response is to recognize and be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to support what you do. It’s just a fact of life. A fact I think more companies need to embrace – the whole world isn’t your universe of potential customers. Dial it back Mr. CFO. Don’t be afraid of your critics. Know them. Talk to them. Tell them, “I see you. I hear you. But I’m going to...

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What do George Stephanopoulos, 50 Cent and Lena Dunham have in common?

What do George Stephanopoulos, 50 Cent and Lena Dunham have in common?

According to this New York Times article they all want to talk about how they meditate. Seems the practice I talked about in another post is becoming quite a popular thing to do among people in all kinds of industry. Meditation has so many benefits, and in this day and age we need an edge. A personal edge. A company edge. Meditation has the ability to give you that edge from the inside out. It increases performance, reduces stress and the onset of illness, and helps with building relationships – the capstone of good business practices. Before you dismiss meditation as a practice that is not welcome in business, check out this company participation list from the Institute of Mindful Leadership. Consider that Google has offered a Search Inside Yourself  program for its employees since 2007. (highly recommend that article) Think about how much more you’d get done in meetings if people just quit talking and offered up only what was important in the moment. And what 50 Cent would record if he didn’t meditate!! Remember, just because we live in a connected world doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pull the plug on it all from time-to-time.  Repeat after...

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The downside of frequent flyer miles

The downside of frequent flyer miles

I used to be jealous of the folks boarding a plane first because of their elite status for traveling a gazillion miles a year. I really didn’t want to travel that much to achieve the status. I just wanted to be one of the first people on the plane. But now I have another reason to feel badly for anyone who spends the majority of their month traveling to see customers. NASA just published a video and online article about a less-than-public fact of frequent flying that will make you rethink the value of your rewards. Especially if you travel internationally. According to the article, “A 100,000 mile frequent flyer gets about 20 chest x-rays, points out Chris Mertens, a senior research scientist at NASA Langley Research Center. This is true regardless of the latitude of the flights.” If you want to check currents on radiation levels before you fly, the NAIRAS website has real-time radiation levels for flights here. YIKES! Throw in the TSA body scanners you have to pass through just to get on the plane, and you might want to rethink your travel-day attire.  I see a whole new consumer product line opportunity for the manufacturers of lead aprons. And another reason to replace face-to-face visits with well-constructed online video or webinar meetings when you...

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