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May Luncheon: The Only Constant in SEO is Change

May Luncheon: The Only Constant in SEO is Change

Holly Yalove, president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to our May luncheon featuring Jill Werderitch, SEO Manager for Discovery, Inc. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

AMA Knoxville also offers certificate programs through the University of Tennessee which are excellent for increasing your knowledge and building your resume. You can sign up for those courses here: http://noncredit.utk.edu/

About the Presenter 

Currently leading the global SEO content strategy for Discovery, Inc. as SEO Manager, Jill Werderitch champions organic traffic growth for lifestyle and entertainment brands like Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery, TLC, and the DTC streaming platform discovery+. With over 12+ years in digital content and SEO, she has conquered the search marketing game. That is, until it changes, and it’s always changing. A midwestern transplant, she resides in Knoxville, TN where she’s likely to be found front stage at a concert, taste testing the city’s latest culinary creations or on a hiking trail with her corgi, Opie.

What is SEO?

If you’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you know that SEO (or search engine optimization) touches nearly every aspect of your website and online presence. Put simply, it’s the process of building organic visibility of your website in search engines like Google.

SEO’s essential factors includes:

  • Indexing content with tools like Google Search Console
  • Written content on your web pages
  • Site speed and performance
  • And more!

Where Does SEO Happen?

Most companies, including Discovery, Inc. choose to focus their SEO efforts on Google which drives the most searches across the web with over 70,000 searches each second. Other search engines include Bing and Yahoo, although their usage is significantly smaller.

Recently, Google has shifted to a mobile-first search algorithm which prioritizes the mobile version of your site over the desktop version as the majority of searches are happening on mobile devices. It’s important to keep this in mind as you develop content for website users on both desktop and mobile devices.

Essential SEO Considerations

Although search engine optimization is no simple task and requires ongoing attention and improvements, there are a few things we’d recommend keeping in mind as you work to improve your ranking in search engines.

Backend considerations:

  • Use a secure domain (https:// vs. http://)
  • Don’t put important text in mediums that Google can’t crawl (like images)
  • Don’t use complex JavaScript or Flash that Google can’t crawl
  • Condense media sizes so they don’t impact page load
  • Use schema markup where appropriate
  • Use Google’s URL inspection tool to find out where you might have issues that need to be addressed

Frontend considerations:

  • Build a clean and easy to use site architecture (not too deep in subcategories) and keep it organized well so Google can crawl it easily
  • Include target terms (keywords) in your URL and title tag
  • Use alt tags on all images (this tells Google what the image isn’t about since they can’t crawl the image itself)
  • Use headings, lists, etc.. where possible to make content easily scannable and break up large blocks of text
  • Don’t use duplicate content on your site or across the web
  • Include internal links in your copy to other relevant content 

External considerations:

  • Social sharing and engagement can factor into your search engine ranking
  • Backlinks from authoritative or similar websites can increase your domain’s authority
  • Promotional messaging offsite can generate uncharacteristic spikes in traffic

How to Stay Agile in the Search Industry

Keep up with the latest technology and tools that are at your disposal to diagnose and improve your site’s search engine performance. This includes things like:

  • Google’s Core Web Vitals Report which allows you to inspect your site for performance metrics that impact your ranking like cumulative layout shift, first contentful paint, and more
  • Google Search Console which allows you to monitor your site’s performance, submit your sitemap for consideration by Google, and understand how your site is indexed
  • Algorithm updates which are usually not announced, but, in the event that you do have advance notice, be sure you pay attention and prepare your site and content accordingly to ensure to traffic is lost

Develop a content strategy that is based on topical and keyword research. You can use tools like Google Trends to understand what people are searching for in your industry and understand which topics offer the highest potential to boost your rankings. You’ll want to pre-plan your content calendar but ensure that your topics are timely. As you plan out your content, be aware of Google’s new passage indexing function (instead of needing several different URLs for different keyword targets, Google can now understand and index several keywords in a single page and bring searchers directly to the passage that’s relevant to their search.)

Take advantage of available tools that can direct additional traffic to your site. This might include things like Google Discover and Google News. To make sure your content is optimized for these spaces, you’ll want to be sure that you’re using high quality images that will attract searchers to your content. 

Follow these recommended blogs and informational outlets to stay up to date on the latest developments in search engines:

Use available analytics tools to understand your own performance and that of your competitors. Free tools like Google Analytics are a great way to start collecting data and analyzing your site. As you grow, however, you may want to use a paid tool like SEMrush or BrightEdge that allows you to track more customized metrics and even understand the performance of your competitors.


Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, we’d love to see you at our upcoming luncheons and events including:

6/8/2022: Media Consumption: Trends before and after Covid

Keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ama-knoxville-4371428287  

March Luncheon: Social Media Today

March Luncheon: Social Media Today

Holly Yalove, president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to our April luncheon featuring Abbi McCollum, VP of Social Media and Linear Digital for HGTV. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

About the Presenter

As the Vice President of Social Media and Linear Digital for HGTV, Abbi McCollum creates a bridge between the on-air programming team, the marketing team and the digital team. As the digital lead for the brands, she manages a team that creates a digital and social presence for all HGTV shows and talent. Abbi works closely with the interactive ad sales and marketing teams to monetize the digital on-air content as well as to establish social sponsorship guidelines and campaigns.

Abbi oversees a team promoting daily content to an audience of over 27 million, managing influencer partnerships, working with talent, producing live events, and creating content strategy for Instagram (Feed, Stories, Lives, and Reels), TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat. She also oversees a team of editors that creates SEO-rich articles and photo galleries to keep HGTV talent and shows at the top of search engine results as well as a team of social media editors to create a mixture of seasonal, trendy and evergreen social content for the HGTV brand including promotion of the HGTV Dream Home, decorating and design content and audience engagement pieces.

How Has Social Media Changed (But Stayed the Same)?

Social media is constantly changing. From content formats to algorithms, there’s always something new to learn. Here are a few of the top trends coming to the most popular platforms:

  • Instagram – It’s not just for pretty pictures anymore. The Instagram algorithm is now favoring Reels more than ever.
  • Insta Stories – Stories have become like must-see TV with some users only consuming Stories and not the feed.
  • YouTube – Historically, YouTube has been the go-to place for long form video content, but as other platforms find success with short form video, YouTube is launching Shorts.
  • TikTok – Highly algorithm dependent and geared toward viral and trending content.
  • LinkedIn – Makes you think that every post has to say “…and let me tell you why.”
  • Twitter / Facebook – Community is the name of the game on these platforms with users gathering in interest-based groups.

No Longer One Size Fits All

In the past, many brands shared the same content across multiple social media platforms. Now those brands, including HGTV, are reevaluating that strategy in favor of content that’s specifically tailored for each platform and the audience that awaits there.

McCollum shares HGTV’s approach to video as an example. Historically, produced series and longer videos performed well across Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube but that is no longer the case. To accommodate today’s social media needs, they are instead creating content specifically for Reels, in platform for TikTok, and longer form video content for their YouTube audience (like project recaps, best ofs, etc…)

Increasing Engagement for a Large Brand

Large brands need the most targeted content for each platform. Below are some tips to help engagement soar with large audiences:

  • Instagram – Make interactive posts by asking questions in the post, by sharing something highly relatable, by jumping on a trend, and telling people to tag a friend.
  • Insta Stories – Question boxes are our friends! Answer questions as the brand or as talent associated with the brand. If questions don’t come in that you want answered, ask them yourself!
  • Twitter – Retweet and quote tweet fans, join in conversations happening that are brand appropriate, and tweet questions or polls.
  • TikTok – Post content that tells a story that hooks people, grab them with a quick cool visual, teach them something. Pay attention to people tagging the brand in conversations and jump in where it makes sense.
  • Facebook – Encourage interaction by asking questions in the post and not posting links in the post caption.

Increasing Engagement for a Small Brand

A lot of the same advice holds true for a smaller or midsize brand as it does for a larger brand, but things are scaled down a bit.

  • Instagram – Create feed posts / Reels that are specific to the audience that would want to follow you. Give your followers info that will help their lives. Be active on the platform – tag other local businesses, collaborate on posts, comment on other accounts’ posts.
  • Insta Stories – Get fan feedback with the Question box on the site to see what fans want to see more of – and use the responses to create more content. Tag other businesses or creators that make sense for your brand so that they can repost to their stories.
  • Twitter – Don’t be afraid to not be on Twitter. If you are a local bakery it might not make sense to spend time on Twitter. This platform is better suited for experts and people who understand the Twitter voice and can play in this world. Pay attention to if anyone is tagging you in comments and join in the conversation.
  • TikTok – Don’t be afraid TO BE on TikTok. Tell your story and/or explain your expertise from a family-owned ice cream store to lawyers/chiropractors/travel experts. Stay on brand while being trendy.
  • Facebook – Post content you know your audience wants and needs – or that they don’t even know they need. You might have to boost posts here to get any traction. 

Increasing Engagement for Content Creators

A lot of the same advice holds true for content creators as it does for small, midsize, and large brands, but things are scaled down even more.

  • Instagram – Create content you know your fans will like and that is in your wheelhouse and can appeal to the masses. If you like a brand or a service you can post about them if it makes sense.
  • Insta Stories – Show up in your stories, let people see your personality here. Post about the processes and show the steps of what you do. You can tease the steps then post a Reel or story that shows the entire process. AMAs are a great way to get feedback from your audience. Tag brands that you use and other influencers you love – sometimes they get lost in the DMs but sometimes brands see you and respond!
  • Twitter – Tweet if Twitter is your vibe. There are many niche interest groups on Twitter and if you can contribute to the conversation, post away! Join in conversations by replying to tweets, retweeting, quote tweeting, and tagging other creators.
  • TikTok – The hardest to break into but has the potential to make you soar. Be true to your personality and your experist. Use popular sounds and figure out how to make trends work for your personal brand.
  • Facebook – Reposting content from Instagram can still work on this platform as Facebook starts to prioritize Reels. Give people information about you that they want and can use (for example, appearances, workshops, new downloads).

Does Your Business Need to Be Everywhere?

No. But also, maybe yes.

McCollum’s recommendation is to find a platform (or platforms) that best serve you and your business needs. You aren’t required to be everywhere all the time for everyone, but don’t be scared to experiment with a new platform either!

No matter where you’re sharing your content, it’s important to make sure that you’re sharing it in the best place and in the best format for your audience to receive it.


Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, we’d love to see you at our upcoming luncheons and events including:

5/4/2022 – Honors Event: Details coming soon

5/11/2022 – May Luncheon: The Only Constant in SEO is Change

Keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ama-knoxville-4371428287 

February Luncheon: The Art of Negotiations

February Luncheon: The Art of Negotiations

Holly Yalove, president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to our first in-person event of the new year, hosted by Axle Logistics. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

In addition to sponsoring the Eagle Endowment, AMA Knoxville works with the University of Tennessee’ Non-Credit program to offer an AMAK Marketing Certificate with course topics including:

  • Marketing Fundamentals
  • Branding Essentials
  • Digital Marketing Management

Visit utnoncredit.com to learn more or register for these exciting courses.

 

About the Presenter

From being named a top Freight Brokerage Firms in North America to a top Workplaces, Shawn McLeod’s top negotiation skills have propelled him and Axle Logistics to industry success. Previously vice president of logistics, Shawn McLeod was promoted to president in July 2021. With his demonstrated history of working in the transportation/trucking/railroad industry, he’s skilled in negotiation, operations management, freight transportation, freight, and sales.

Axle Logistics is a non-asset based, third-party logistics (3PL) company with a focus on providing safe, reliable, advanced logistics services – Truckload, LTL, Intermodal, and Warehousing – to a wide variety of customers throughout the continental U.S., Canada, and Mexico. By providing specialized customer service, a unique overall philosophy and approach to management, Axle is a leader in the logistics industry.

 

What is Negotiating?

Simply put, negotiating is merely a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. A negotiation may take place between buyers and sellers, an employer and prospective employee, or in everyday life between two or more people socially with the goal of reducing debts, lowering the sale price of a house, improving the conditions of a contract, or getting a better deal on a purchase (i.e., car, house, etc.). Whether you realize it or not, negotiation is an unavoidable part of our daily lives.

Negotiating holds the key to getting ahead in the workplace, resolving conflicts, and creating value in contracts. 

Top Negotiating Skills include:

  • Communication
  • Active Listening
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Expectation Management
  • Patience
  • Adaptability
  • Persuasion
  • Planning
  • Integrity
  • Rapport Building
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making

 

Preparing for a Negotiation

It’s imperative that you go into each and every negotiation prepared. A lack of preparation can easily lead to an unfavorable outcome. There are a few steps you should take as you prepare for each negotiation:

  1. Do your research: Evaluate all sides of the negotiation and consider both your goals and the opposition’s goals
  2. Know your priorities: Determine what is most important and where you are willing to compromise to achieve the desired outcome
  3. Consider the opposition: Assess all the potential oppositions and have supporting examples to drive your position home
  4. Know when to walk away: Not all business is good business and you have to know when a negotiation is no longer worth your effort
  5. Keep your timeline in mind: Find a sweet spot between rushing a negotiation (potentially leaving something on the table) and dragging it out (potentially losing that deal to competition)

 

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a solution after a disagreement. Within the 3PL space like Axle Logistics, conflict resolution is utilized daily. Uncontrollable circumstances present themselves each day which at times cause conflict. Navigating these conversations to find a resolution as quickly as possible not only preserves positive client and carrier relationships but increases the ROI on that individual’s time.

It’s a fact of life that between any two people or groups, conflicts are bound to arise over time. The key, especially in business, is recognizing those conflicts and working expediently to resolve them in a way that satisfies both parties to the best of your ability.

 


 

Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, we’d love to see you at our upcoming luncheons and events including:

Keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ama-knoxville-4371428287 

Got Interns? Need Interns? Learn the Ins and Outs of Marketing Internships

Got Interns? Need Interns? Learn the Ins and Outs of Marketing Internships

Holly Yalove, president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to this virtual event. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

 

Meet Our Panelists 

Lygia Karagiozis is a junior Marketing major, minoring in Advertising and Public Relations, with a collateral in Entrepreneurship. She serves as the President of the University of Tennessee’s American Marketing Association chapter and the Vice President of Creative Marketing for VOLthon (UTK’s Dance Marathon). Off-campus, she is the lead marketing intern for the Knoxville Greek Festival at St.George Greek Orthodox Church. In my spare time, she enjoys volunteering at the local Children’s Hospital and traveling to new cities, states, and countries.

 

Grace Caldwell is the Vice President of AMAze for the American Marketing Association at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She’s a Junior with a Marketing Major, a Psychology Minor, and an Entrepreneurship Collateral. She is the Vice President of the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization here at UTK as well, and she’s a member of the Haslam Student Advisory Council. She loves networking so please connect with her on LinkedIn! She’s always looking for more opportunities to develop her leadership skills.

 

Chole Pigue is originally from Franklin, TN. After graduating UTK with a degree in marketing, she transitioned from an internship into a full time role with Big Slate Media. Her role with Big Slate Media includes digital marketing strategy, account management, and production assistance. In my spare time she likes to hang out with her dog Copper!

 

Cindy Raines brings over 40 years of integrated marketing communications experience to the Haslam College of Business. She teaches in the college’s undergraduate, graduate, and executive education programs. Her areas of focus include integrated marketing communications, strategic planning, traditional and digital media, media relations, branding, positioning, and packaging. She has successfully built and advised organizations across a variety of industries — including education, consumer product goods, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, athletics, and real estate.

Raines earned the Lee and Allison Herring Endowed Teaching Fellowship in Marketing, Keally Excellence in Teaching Award, Dean’s Award for Excellence in Executive Education, UT Phi Eta Sigma Outstanding Faculty Member Award, and Osborne Award for Excellence in Service. She is a UT Tennessee Learning and Teaching Innovation Center Faculty Fellow and the faculty advisor for the award-winning UT chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Raines has won numerous Addy, Telly, Communicator, and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awards for creative excellence, including a PRSA Best of Show for national media relations.

 

About the Event

Do you have questions about marketing internships? Whether you’re a marketing student looking for an internship or a company representative interested in adding an intern to your team, our expert panel – including two students who have interned before, one graduate who secured a job at the business she interned at, and a professor with years of experience matching businesses and interns – answers burning questions about their experiences with internships and what they’re seeking.

Please note: panelist responses are summarized

 

Q: Moving from an internship to full-time employment, what do you and the business seek?

CP: First off as a student, one of the main things that I looked for was compensation. Depending on a student’s financial situation it can be difficult to take on a great amount of responsibility without receiving some pay to live on. When I was looking for internships, I didn’t seriously consider any unpaid internships. I feel that structure and routine is important in an internship. When interns are initiative-driven without being given specific, measurable goals and given training in areas they might not be familiar with, employers set them up for success. 

 

Q: In today’s environment, I’d love to hear your experiences on remote internships and tips for success

CP: When it comes to remote internships, standard routines, schedules, meeting times, and structure are SO important! Especially when you can’t be face-to-face with your interns this helps them to develop their at-home workflow and manage their time and responsibilities/expectations. 

 

Q: In today’s environment, I’d love to hear your experiences on remote internships and tips for success

GC: My roommates and I have all held internships and jobs over the past few months and I can say it’s a challenge to balance all aspects of my life. Especially in pandemic times and working remotely, there are more opportunities for miscommunication so it’s important to keep in touch often and keep interns in the loop. I’ve even seen people drop their internships due to confections and lack of organization on the part of the employer

LK: Communication is absolutely key! Having your employer in constant communication is highly valued by students. I’ve been lucky to have good communication with my employers and this has helped me structure my semesters and my life. From a student’s perspective, time management and prioritization is the biggest challenge. Grace and flexibility on the part of the employer is a valuable resource as well, as student schedules can change regularly.

 

Q: Cindy, would love to hear onboarding tips! How do set up that type of structure Chloe spoke on and get interns up to speed without it being a major, daily time-suck for FTEs managing the intern?

CR: I hear a lot of students say that they didn’t really do much of value in their internships or that clear goals weren’t set for them. The biggest value an intern can provide to your company is giving you something that provides value back to you. So put together a plan to start. For the intern to provide the highest value, it’s going to require some up-front time on your part in planning what they’ll do. Then be clear about your expectations and give them the tools they need to succeed.

 

Q: There’s a common myth that the best internships are with high-profile companies. What are your thoughts on interning with large corporations vs. small- to medium-sized businesses vs. startups vs. nonprofits?

HY: At the marketing agency I owned, we certainly weren’t a huge organization but we valued our interns and were heavily focused on providing them with education and experience that would open doors for them. Many intern positions went on to become full time positions in my agency and when I interviewed job candidates I looked for a lot of those same skills that we taught to our interns.

CP: My first internship was with a company that averages ~$15 million and I actually preferred my internship with a startup which eventually turned into a full-time position with the company. You can find just as much value and learn just as many skills if not more at a startup that will be applicable in the corporate world. In many corporate internships you can often find out more of what you don’t want in a full-time position. 

CR: I see many students now interested in the nonprofit world and wanting to give back. More often than not, nonprofit internships will be unpaid but the students are looking to get more back out of the experience than money.

GC: Honestly I would prefer to work more with a smaller business because I like the more personal feel! I have learned so much from some of the issues we face with working on projects with the small businesses in the area and it has taught me so much more than just marketing! It’s amazing to see how entrepreneurial / intrapreneurial I can be through the marketing world.

 


If you enjoyed this event, we hope to see you at our February in-person luncheon as Shawn McLeod’s speaks on top negotiation skills that have propelled him and Axle Logistics to industry success. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-art-of-negotiations-tickets-199346238967?aff=ebdsoporgprofile 

October Virtual Event: Top Tips for Work-Life Balance

October Virtual Event: Top Tips for Work-Life Balance

Holly Yalove, president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to this virtual event. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

About the Presenter

Samantha Lane is a time management guru, with past work in advertising, public relations, higher education, and wellness. In 2014, she experienced a life-changing surgery that shifted her perspective on life. After years of juggling full-time careers and passion-based side-hustles, Samantha started Origami Day to help others bring balance to their busy lives. She now teaches individuals and companies how to be present in life while being more productive through tested strategies and proprietary tools. Samantha holds a BS degree in Public Relations from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from King University. When she is not helping others make the most of their time, Samantha spends her days enjoying life with her loved ones. 

Have you ever stopped to think that how you spend each day is how you spend your life? If you are not happy with how you are spending your days, read on!  Samantha’s top 3 time management tips for work-life balance will help make a change in your life with tactical next steps. 


Top 3 Time Management Tips for Work-Life Balance 

You might have heard the phrase “how you spend each day is how you spend your life.” This is true for each of us, but became especially clear to Samantha when she experienced life-threatening medical complications that made her face her mortality. She realized that she wasn’t happy with how she was spending her days and set out to make some serious changes.

 The tenets of her approach to a balanced life include:

  • Work may be a necessity, but life is the priority
  • We can be present in life while still being productive
  • We are happier and more productive when balanced
  • Time is finite

With these principles in mind, Samantha created a three-step system that we can all implement into our daily lives to find a more peaceful and purposeful balance between work and life.

Tip #1: Prioritize

When everything is important, nothing is. We cannot do everything and certainly cannot do everything well, so we must decide which tasks are most worthy of our finite time resource. We must prioritize. But how do you know what to prioritize? First, you must set a goal for yourself. Keeping this goal in mind will allow you to determine which tasks are priorities and which are not.

For peace and productivity, you must prioritize and decide what is the most valuable way to spend your time. Talk with your family, supervisor, etc… about where they hope to see you focus your time and consider the following in your decision:

  • Performance Metrics – What is it that you are being graded on? Prioritize those things that will move the needle and be the most impactful way to spend your time
  • Eisenhower Urgency Matrix – A useful tool to help you determine which things in your life are urgent vs. non-urgent and important vs. unimportant

Tip #2: Plan

Planning is a way for us to work better. Through planning we can accomplish more with less effort and utilize things like flow where outputs exceed inputs. Create your days strategically to get more done in your days with less time. A plan creates intentionality, which helps you become proactive instead of reactive.

Samantha recommends dedicating time on a specific day every week to do your planning for the coming week and avoid the “Sunday scaries” that many of us know all too well. For her, Friday afternoons are a dedicated plan time. She does a weekly wrap-up to ensure she’s completed everything she needed to do during the past week, schedule her next week, and then move into the weekend with a sense of peace.

Samantha also shares how she recommends planning to make the most of your time:

  • Start with what you know – Begin by marking off time that you already know you’ve committed to or tasks that are required (both personal and professional).
  • Then add what you hope to do – What additional tasks do you need to do? What other things would you like to do during the week? What would you like to get ahead on?
  • Digital reinforcement – Samantha believes there is value in paper planning because digital calendars give you the opportunity to plan infinitely and we do not have infinite time. But because we live in a digital world, this reinforcement is helpful. For example, if you have a meeting, you might send a calendar invite with the Zoom link to other participants and add it to your own calendar as well.

However you choose to do your planning, make sure that it helps you be more productive with intention.

Tip #3: Protect Your Plan 

We know that plans are constantly changing but it’s important to protect the plan you’ve made whenever possible. When confronted about a plan change, ask yourself, “Does this need to be addressed right now or should I stick to my plan?” If your answer isn’t a HECK YES, it’s a no (or a not right now.) It’s up to you to decide whether the unpredicted need is something important enough to sacrifice something else in your plan.

Saying no isn’t something that comes easily for many of us, so in order to help us protect our plans Samantha provides the following tips: 

  • Let the person making the request say no for you. – Instead of meeting the request with an outright no, ask them if this is something that’s needed right now and if you’re the only person who can do it. In many cases, they’ll relent and find another way to fulfill their need.
  • Practice! It’s not comfortable and most often, we are not confident in saying no. Learn to make it part of your dialogue.
  • Use this resource from Origami Day to learn additional methods for gracefully declining a request

With these tips and techniques in mind, look at your own life and see how you can benefit from intentional prioritizing and planning. We can all benefit from a little more balance.


If you enjoyed this virtual event, we invite you to join us on Thursday, December 2nd for an evening of member socializing and networking! Our holiday networking social will also serve as a drop off location for Second Harvest donations in support of their mission to end hunger in our community.  Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-networking-social-second-harvest-tickets-169100109981?aff=ebdsoporgprofile 

October Virtual Event: Top Tips for Work-Life Balance

September Virtual Event: The New Pressures Facing Marketers and How to Overcome Them

Chris Hill, the immediate past president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to the first event of the new season. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Hill recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

As an announcement, an AMA-endorsed marketing certificate program is available at the University of Tennessee. To learn more or to sign up visit http://noncredit.utk.edu/

 

About the Presenter

Eric Eskey is Managing Director of Dark Horse Works and a Practitioner of the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) innovation approach. Eric founded Dark Horse to serve change makers like you by encouraging innovation and defeating the hidden forces that resist it.

Eric is a 17-year, seasoned innovation practitioner and leader. In the past year, he’s partnered and advised at the senior level in significant innovation engagements with: 

A mid-market finch company to place the right financial bets, beat their most powerful competitors, and decrease their time to market as they prepare for their IPO.

A Fortune 100 company to judiciously drive down their marketing costs and drive-up revenue by reframing their product marketing approach and capability.

A mid-market insurer to reduce client and employee churn, strengthen their culture, and drive down risk as they respond to the threat of disruption by InsureTech.

 

How Has Marketing Changed?

It’s no secret that the face of marketing has changed considerably over the years. In the 50’s, TV and print were the top priorities. In the 60’s, the idea of campaigns was introduced and was closely followed by the integration of detailed analytics in the 70’s. The 80’s brought developments in technology and a need for increased marketing complexity and efficiency. The role of marketing was broadened to include more strategy and segmentation with the introduction of the CRM in the 90’s. A digital and social revolution came about in the 00’s which ushered in the era of AI and big data in the 10’s. And now in the 20’s we are faced with the future of marketing – smart data. Marketing has moved from “telling and selling” to “engaging in dialogue” with the customer.

 

What Kind of Marketer Are You?

Marketing has changed more profoundly than any other organizational role. The shift is historic and to truly understand its impact we must clearly (re)define the role of marketers. The range of marketing responsibilities has become so broad that it’s easy to set ourselves (or our employees) up for failure if we aren’t clear about expectations.

There are three types of marketers in today’s organization:

  • Strategist – This individual makes decisions about positioning and product
  • Commercializer – This person drives sales through marketing communication
  • Leader – This person does both of the above, delivering profitable growth and innovation

Regardless of which role you serve (or want to serve), your success depends on creating alignment. This alignment comes from an interest or goal that’s shared between marketers and their partners.

Because marketers are focused on generating demand, we place a high value on creativity, speed, and achieving goals. But our organizational partners may be more inwardly focused on stability and accuracy. We can meet in the middle where our common interests collide and put the customer at the center of it all.

 

Creating Alignment Through Customer-Centric Goals

To best serve our customers, marketers must work together with other team members or departments to meet the customer’s needs. The best way to accomplish this is by creating a set of shared, customer-centric performance goals that all parties strive to achieve. Before we start setting goals though, there’s a few things we must consider:

First, we must get the customers right. The word “customer” has an incredibly flexible meaning and although many companies claim that their strategies are customer-driven, they may not be serving the right customer. The strategic selection of a primary customer group defines the business and should be made up of those who can unlock the most value for the business – not necessarily the most revenue.

Next, we must get their needs right. We often ask ourselves, “Can we do this?” instead of, “Should we do this?” This narrow frame of mind unduly limits the options we consider and can keep us from seeing what our customers really want or need. To widen your view, invite the customer into a dialogue about their customer journey, desired outcomes, and obstacles and use that knowledge to inform planning and decision-making.

Finally, we must gather smart data. After broadening the pool of available options, we must choose the right ones to make a difference for our customers as well as our own business. At this stage we reality test our options with smart data we can trust and work hard to avoid confirmation bias.

The bottom line? Smart data is the future. Our role as marketers is evolving and as we face new pressures, we must be vigilant, avoid bias, and create alignment within our organizations to provide truly customer-centric solutions.


If you enjoyed this virtual event we invite you to join us next month on Wednesday, October 13 when we’re joined by time management guru Samantha Lane for a discussion on work-life balance, managing time, and setting boundaries. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/top-tips-for-work-life-balance-tickets-169098625541

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