Engage, Don’t Push.

I had the pleasure of attending the BMA Chicago January luncheon with Scott Brandt, the CMO of Sprout Social, who discussed the evolution of social media and its business impacts. In case you weren’t aware, engagement is crucial and our approach needs to change. In other words, stop talking, start listening. Here are three social trends Brandt says to look out for in 2017:   From promos to dialogue. To put it simply if you do not speak to your customers they will leave you. One in three customers will leave and go somewhere else if you don’t respond to them via social in time. They expect a response within 4 hours, and that time is shrinking. Social media is not just a function of marketing; it needs to be built based on interdepartmental collaboration including customer service. Attribution & analytics: redefine what matters. Social commerce is real. Seventy-five percent of people...

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I Am Not a Content Marketer

  “So, what do you do?” I asked a woman I met at Content Marketing World. “I’m a content marketer,” she replied.   “What do you guys do?” I asked another person I met at the conference. “We developed a content marketing platform for content marketers,” he exclaimed.   Excuse me for finally saying something that has been bugging me for quite some time, but didn’t know how to articulate.   Here it goes.   I consider myself a marketer. I am not a content marketer. I am a marketer.   To all attendees of Content Marketing World 2016, we are not content marketers. We are marketers.   We don’t market content. We market stories. We market organizations. We market people. We market causes.   We are marketers.   We build plans and we are strategic. We provide counsel. We develop great and purposeful stories. We implement technology to make our stories more effective and measurable. We learn and we improve. We lead.   We are marketers.   We were inspired...

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8 Steps for Storytelling Success

8 Steps to Storytelling Success

Tell Your Story Founder George Rafeedie gave a recent breakfast seminar with the Chicago Business Marketing Association where he taught a group of B2B marketers how to develop and share stories on any budget.   In his dynamic presentation, George explained how every organization (big, small, start up, non-profit, division) has a story. And our job as marketers is to find it. Then develop it. Tell it. Measure it. And lastly, improve it. The story should be unique and tied to an organization’s purpose, the difference they make in the world, says George.   He shared the following 8-step process that marketers can use, right now, to develop and share their story/purpose.   1) Executive download & brainstorm. This is where executive buy-in happens. It is where you go to your boss/CMO/President/whomever and explain the process and why your organization needs it. This step is crucial as it ensures your stakeholders feel like they are part...

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All the Feels: 14 Reasons Why Marketers Are in Love with B2B

The closer we get to February 14, the harder it becomes to avoid the Valentine’s Day restaurant guides, Tinder-themed events and Red Velvet Oreos (although nobody really wants to avoid Oreos). While B2C marketing steals so much of the spotlight, all this attention only reaffirms my love for one thing: the B2B industry.   I know I’m not alone in this thinking. All the B2B marketers I know are filled with passion, admiration and respect for the work we do. You may not know it, but B2B is hot. Here are 14 reasons why B2B marketing is the ONE for so many of us.   1)  “It’s where the business is! And because we can.” – Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, Primetime TV & Radio Host, Chairman of the C-Suite Network   2) 3)  Understanding B2B is to understand the world around you; how businesses operate, how purchase decisions are made, how the global and digital economy works.   4)  B2B purchases...

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It’s More Than Love – The Female Condom Story

Say the words “female condom” and you’ll get a raised eyebrow, a nervous laugh or worse. But did you know the manufacturer of the FC2 Female Condom is headquartered here in Chicago? The Female Health Company has distributed tens of millions of female condoms to 144 countries around the world since 2007. Recently the company enlisted our help to roll out new female condom packaging, which went from hospital-looking white to passionate purple. [caption id="attachment_3054" align="aligncenter" width="300"] New packaging for the FC2 Female Condom was introduced to public health workers, educators and clinics.[/caption] Tell Your Story was charged with introducing the new package to public health workers, educators and clinics in the U.S., so this was a B2B, not consumer, campaign. We developed refreshed messaging that emphasized the protection, empowerment and choice that the female condom represents for women. The Female Health Company invited five of the world’s leading experts on sexual...

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Why I Am Outraged By the Lack of Love in the Workplace

We are pleased to share this guest post from our friend, Karen Davis. This post originally appeared on Karen's Facebook page, and we LOVE it! [caption id="attachment_3020" align="alignleft" width="300"] Karen Davis, Executive Coach, NCC, PCC[/caption] I have a fire burning in the very depth of my soul and it has been burning for a very long time. I am outraged by the immense stress, intimidation and fear created in our country by the vast majority of organizations. Our people are walking out of their jobs every day with bottomless empty souls. My children and your children will be walking in those doors if we don’t do something about it now.   According to the latest Gallup study only 1 in 4 people are engaged with their jobs. People are going home from work every day with no sense of meaning or purpose in their lives. These same people go home to their families and treat...

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Lemonade Stands & Business Acumen at BMA Chicago

  Did you ever have a lemonade stand as a kid? As it turns out, that early business experience can help you succeed in your career as a communications professional.   As I learned at yesterday’s BMA Chicago luncheon with DePaul professors Ron Culp and Matt Ragas, having business acumen is one of the top criteria needed to be a successful marketing/communications pro. Ron and Matt discussed how in order to earn—and keep—a seat at the table and maximize your full value, communicators need to be able to speak the language and understand business goals, issues and trends.   The problem is that most communicators don't hold an MBA and didn't study business in college.     Ron and Matt offered the following tips to help you develop greater business acumen:   Understand Your Company’s Business Model. Transparency is key here. Make sure everyone on your team understands what drives your business. How does your company and clients make...

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Joe McCormack on Profound Brevity

Dispatches from BMA14: a Series of Short Reports from the Tell Your Story Team at #BMA14 in Chicago [caption id="attachment_2049" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Joe McCormack presents at #BMA14[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_2050" align="alignleft" width="122"] Joe McCormack[/caption] Profound brevity. A crucial skill in business communications, a beautiful concept, one that I personally applaud, one that I hope more of us can attain.   One of my favorite sessions at #BMA14 was led by Joe McCormack, Managing Director, Sheffield Marketing Partners, and author of Brief. His point? Go deep, but keep it simple. We're all too busy for long-winded, blustery talk. No one's going to listen if you go on too long. People will tune out. Your email will be deleted.   There's a difference between superficial brevity, when you just don't know that much and therefore you have to keep it short; and profound brevity, when you know your subject so well, you're able to distill it down to the essential facts and talk...

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Social Media Preview at the Chicago Auto Show 2013

Social media has grown to play a major part in our lives; whether in the personal or business world, social media has made its mark and has proven its importance when it comes to communicating and promoting a message.   On February 8th, we attended the 2013 ChicagoAuto Show for the Social Media Preview Day. While decked out cars and the latest in automotive technology were prominently showcased, the power of social media was the focus and spotlight of the day.   In attempt to reach a bigger audience and promote the exciting schedule of events that cater to the media savvy, the Chicago AutoShow rebranded this day to a more Twitter-friendly, #SMP13 and #CAS13. As we walked around to each exhibit, it was hard to ignore the theme of new and innovative thinking, as each exhibit prided itself on being a “game changer” in the automotive industry.   Although there were many vehicles that were...

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