TEAM of One

TEAM of OneI was having lunch with a colleague of mine the other day and he asked me how my latest project was going.  After lamenting about how much I have left to accomplish.  I felt compelled to add something that made me feel really strong.  I said, “Never underestimate the power of a great team behind, beside and in front of you.”

As “Father’s Day” has come and gone and I am knee deep into the process of publishing a book based on some of my father’s infinite wisdom he imparted on me when I was young.  I can’t help but think about the day he retired for the last time (and yes, he has retired twice).  I was asked to speak and before I uttered a single word I looked out over the audience and saw the faces of the people my father had touched and those who were with him along the way during this part of his journey.  I’m not sure what possessed me to say this, but as I  thought about him and where I was in life, I said.  “Each of us walks a path that at times that was paved by those who come before us.”

So as I am knee deep into publishing this book I wanted to say “thank you” to everyone who has helped make this dream possible.  Continue reading “TEAM of One” »

Bite Size Strategy: Marketing With Heart – Cause Marketing Partnerships Should Provide Benefits For Both Parties

I co-delivered a pilot workshop today on cause marketing and ’Benefits To Both Partners’ was a central theme.

We gathered a small group of for profit business people and not for profit directors to experience a portion of our workshop content and provide feedback to help us shape future workshops .  When we presented the topic of benefits in general, and provided a short list of benefits to businesses and began to talk about Revenue and Brand exposure, an interesting shift happened.   The not for profits chimed in and said that historically these were not subjects or even words that they brought up when talking to businesses.  In fact, it went a bit deeper into a conversation about how, over the years, not for profits tend to show up already undervaluing themselves and as a result possibly get about one third of the dollars they could have received.

Having been on the business side of the table for years, I so appreciated and valued the openness of this conversation today. I will tell you that I have been in many awkward conference room conversations related to cause marketing.  Typically, it is during or at the end of an intense business planning or budgeting meeting and the HR director or Director of Marketing or fellow executive brings up a recent lunch or cause they would like the company to support.  In those rooms, there is a similar shift, except it is not always so altruistic.  After rounds of negotiation on hard costs, revenue projections and tough decisions to produce profit – the subject of supporting a favorite cause often is perceived and presented as a ‘we should do this because it will feel good’ rather than a strategic imperative to extend brand and produce revenue. Many times, these campaigns and relationships are treated with kid gloves, are supported by only a small group within the company, are not selected based on their merits and are not measured well for value. All of this magnifies the gaps.

The not for profit people shared that they did not want to offend donors or maybe their board members and went to great lengths to avoid looking or sounding like a business.  Fascinating to me, because most board members are active or former business leaders as are many donors and not for profits fight for a bottom line and budgets – just like their business counterparts, every day.  The for profit business wants to work with a not for profit that will help them increase brand exposure, increase customer loyalty and ultimately to produce revenue and reach new markets. All of these are business issues.

From the business attendees, the light went off as well when we talked about adding cause related marketing to your overall marketing mix to recognize cost savings as well as brand extension. Even if the business partner stands to take more financial risk, studies show that consumers are more likely to purchase a product that is tied to a cause, in some cases up to 41%. “I’ll take those odds”, as my dad used to say. The businesses also avoided using business terms AND also avoided using not for profit terms, in order to not offend or look less knowledgable to their not for profit counterparts. The thought kept echoing in my head from my Toastmasters group – if you want to connect to, motivate or persuade your audience – speak their language.

That is why I love the area of cause related marketing because it is based on a business deal tied to doing good, and is not philanthropy.  It also lays a great framework to support a shift in the conversation, the presentations and eventually the negotiations towards making a sound business decision for both parties.  It empowers a not for profit to identify, articulate and be recognized for the valuable assets they bring to the table.  It also forces businesses to approach cause related marketing conversations as opportunities to build partnerships based on  revenue generating, sustainable relationships and away from half-hearted, soft, we really should do this attitudes of the past. If we continue to seek common ground, common language in these conversations just think of the powerful partnerships that can be created.

And this is not easy stuff.  Lots of history, lots of need, lots to work on all compounded by constant changes to navigate in the marketing world today. Not to mention, the economy. No matter how you look at it, not easy. But, worth the time? Yes. But how?

One of the best tools I have found for principled negotiation of win-win partnerships is “Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In ” by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury.

Their method of principled negotiation is based on four propositions:

Separate the people from the problem. Focus on interests, not positions. Invent options for mutual gain. Insist on using objective criteria. Another element of the method talks about knowing when to walk away.  It is referred to as knowing your best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA. This is a confidence builder and a powerful tool for both sides. If you have done the prep work to understand and present your value AND know when to walk away – you can be more selective and confident in the end result.

Next Post:  Foundation #2: Identify not for profits that align with your business and personal goals and connect with your consumers.

My not for profit co-pilot for these conversations and workshops is Jane Kuechele from Kuechle Consulting. More to come…

Joni Kovarik | BizDev Consulting | Blog

Step 3, Stephen

Last week I attended a conference. Like many day long conferences, it began with a keynote speaker, was filled with small hour long workshops on various topics, and concluded with a celebration.  This conference was put on by the Northwest Development Officers Association, a Greater Seattle area organization that does an outstanding job of providing continuing education for those of us in the fundraising profession.

I sat in on a discussion about social media by Dave Sharp, of the College Success Foundation,  who said that he was not a social media expert but rather a social media learner, just like all the rest of us.  It was refreshing to find someone who acknowledges that we are all learners, especially in a medium that is so new and so fast moving. Nobody is an expert. Non the less, there are a host of confusing aspects of this new way of marketing your business, for profit or nonprofit, that I find myself scrambling to keep up and to understand.

Five days later, on Tuesday of this week, I attended the weekly blogger support group founded and moderated by Deborah Drake. Sometimes our conversations are very philosophical, sometimes they are interventions for reticent bloggers, and sometimes they are very practical. This past Tuesday was one of those practical conversations. I have notes about lots of websites, terms and applications to explore. It will take a long time to digest and apply all that I learned. Today I took the first step.

One note I wrote was, “Step 3, Stephen.” Exploring the posts on Tuesdays WIth Deborah, I finally found the post called “Getting Started With Tuesdays With Deborah” that Stephen Magladry posted. I guess I’d missed it earlier or wasn’t at a point where I could use it. All these terms that had been so mysterious to me now started to come into focus: SEO, tags, meta description, meta robot tags, incoming autolink anchors, autolink exclusion, more link text, etc. So I’ve now taken the time to go back and update all my earlier posts, adding a meta description, incoming autolink WordPress, and appropriate tags.

Of course I want to be found on the web. Of course I hope all this work will bring in more business. But mostly I want people to read what I write. I think I have something worth saying. How many times have we heard, “If I put it out there who will read it”? Hopefully following Stephen’s Step 3 will help people find what I write and engage in conversation about what I have to say.



Bite Size Strategy: To Stay On Track Working Your Marketing Plan

It is so easy these days to get distracted and as a friend of mine often says, chase bright shiny objects.  And we all can be heard trying to justify our wandering.  Just last week I heard someone say, “If I hadn’t been searching online I wouldn’t have found this seminar and even though it is a lot like the one I went to last week, it was free!”  Okay.  Nuff said.

Here is the hard part.  Once you break your marketing plan tactics into chunks, pieces and bits and are honest with yourself about your horizon – your comfort zone for future thinking, you need to stay on track, but how?

Continue reading “Bite Size Strategy: To Stay On Track Working Your Marketing Plan” »

Bite Size Strategies: To Get Tactical Start With Chunks, Pieces and Bits

Are you staring at your marketing plan like a deer in the headlights?  Whether it is a comprehensive document or you have done the good, hard work to whittle it down to one page, you still need to get tactical with the damn thing.

No bones about it, unless you get real and get tactical it will more than likely gather dust or keep you up at night – figuratively and literally.  That video you want to shoot for your business cannot exist on paper or in your head, because no one will see it – at least not until all of us are implanted with video chips.  That blog with all of that relevant, meaningful content an incredibly brilliant, marketing tool with one of a kind insights that only your brain and heart holds will not write itself or just appear one day complete with a stellar following.  That event or workshop everyone says you should create and just post on biznik will not magically happen either.  And that Facebook business page is just a figment in your imagination.  Sucks doesn’t it.

If you want a dusty, old marketing plan to point to when you tell your down and out, should-a, could-a, would-a stories over and over again then don’t read any farther.  However, if you want to tell a lookey-what-I-did kind-a story here is a quick way to start to get real and get tactical.

more bite sized strategies

What Is Your Elevator Speech?

You are at a networking event (breakfast, Lunch, dinner, trade show, golf tournament or a meeting) and you start talking with someone and they ask you what you do?  What is your answer?

You are calling a great prospect on the phone—trying to set up an appointment—and you finally get them on the line.  What do you say?

You are in an elevator and in walks the prospect you’ve been trying to reach for a year. You have 15 seconds to make an impression. What do you say?

You may ask “What is an elevator speech?”  An elevator speech is a brief description of what you do and who you do it for.  It describes how you offer value, benefit and quality to your customer.

 I call these statements “benefit statements,” for they focus on the benefits you offer your customer, as opposed to focusing on what it is you do.

As an example, a client used to say that she was an interior designer.  Today she says: “I work with people who want to have beautiful homes.”  A CPA client of mine now says:  “I help people keep more of their money by showing them how to pay less in taxes.”   My elevator speech goes like this is: I help companies develop “Top of the Mind” consciousness that keeps them from becoming the “Best Kept Secret in Town”.  Would that be a help to your business?

Write down a list of the BENEFITS that your customers derive from working with you. Then use those words/phrases to create your benefit statement.

Practice, practice and more practice!  Do so until it is a natural thing to say—someone could wake you up in the middle of the night and you would repeat your elevator speech.

Remember that this opening speech is what buys you time and gets the other person to respond to you in a favorable way.  Develop you elevator speech today and you will be getting additional business each and every time someone says “What is it that you do?”