New Year, New Goals and Resolutions

As the new year approaches, it's time to reflect upon what we didn't get done or what we wish to do better in 2013 - Am I right?

My only resolution for 2012 was to be happy, positive, and "go with the flow" of the universe in living in the moment, rather than focusing so much time and energy on worrying about things out of my control.

I'm HAPPY to say, I've done a pretty good job with that, even through a temporary job transition over the Summer. By the way, if there's ever a good time to be out of work- Summer is it, because at least there is pool time between interviews and networking!

My positive inspiration came from a little book called "The Secret."  I've learned that you can control your thoughts to be positive and change your mood in a flash. By focusing on helping others good karma always seems to follow, bringing new connections, friendships, and adventures. I will continue practicing having a positive attitude every day in 2013 in addition to a few tactical, measurable goals.


Marketing Cast of Wizard of Oz Characters

This is my version of the classic Wizard of Oz cast with a marketing-style remix.

The Cast:

Starring Dorothy, THE WIDE-EYED MARKETER, always up for an adventure and on an ever-changing journey.

"I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too" - Toto, YOUR COMPANY, can't be left behind. You must bring all of your colleagues with you, coaching, training, education along the way.

The Lion  as CONTENT, the heart of marketing. You must be brave, put yourself out there with original content. It isn't easy and you may fail a time or two. You will never succeed until you try.


The *NEW* 4 P's of Marketing for the Digital-Age Marketer

Consumer behavior and technology change at lightening speed, and so do marketing tactics as marketers strive to keep up.

This blog post is brought to you by the letter P!

The basic marketing principles taught by college professors have traditionally been the classic textbook Marketing Mix, also known as the 4 P's:  Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. What are you selling? How much are people willing to pay? Where is your store located? How are you getting the word out?
What's changed? Well, everything: the internet, mobile phones, social media. People think differently, shop differently, and respond to brands differently than in the old school days of marketing. While some of the 4 P's characteristics remain staples in marketing planning, there are many more considerations for today's digital marketer.
Here are the *NEW* 4 P's of Marketing to add to the Mix:
Every brand has a personality, just as its customers do. The magic marketing mix here is adjusting your brand's personality to fit your customer profile or persona groups.
  • What is your brand's voice in online conversations and in 140 characters at a time on Twitter?
  • How does the look and feel of your brand translate in not just print or on your website, but in all of your collective YouTube videos or instagram and pinterest images?
  • What is your writing style in social media status updates and blogs? Is it serious, funny, informative, educated, child-like and playful?
  • What are your brand guidelines in digital? Is your brand consistent in email, web, and across all social networks?


Little Miss Muffet's No Fear SEO Tips

The nursery rhyme goes:

Little Miss Muffet's SEO tips
"Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet. Eating her curds and whey, Along came a spider, Who sat down beside her. And frightened Miss Muffet away"
In the marketing world, "spiders" are Google's algorithms that connect what someone is searching for with what is available from all of the millions upon millions of websites on the internet. When a word or term is "Googled"(I believe Google is a verb!) the spiders "crawl the web" with the number one goal of presenting the most relevant results. A marketer's number one goal is to be found within the top of those search results.

Have no fear, the modern Little Miss Muffet is armed with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge when Google's spiders come to crawl her website. Here are a few tips to get you on your "whey":


#SF Social Media Visitors Guide

The social media savvy way to travel, connect, and save in San Francisco!
I wanted to get as much leisure and sight seeing in as possible on my recent work related trip to San Francisco, CA. Once my hotel was booked, I took to the web and Tweets to plan and navigate my way around the city's famous attractions.

Kimpton San Francisco Twitter

First, I started with the hotel's website for a list of all the complementary perks (there were quite a few! My favs: complementary bicycles, daily complimentary happy hours, and a companion goldfish for my stay). I connected Hotel Palomar SF on Twitter.  They were very welcoming and social, tweeting with me during my stay.

I also checked out a travel blogger's review via a RT find from Kimpton San Francisco's Twitter account. This gave me a real perspective of what the hotel is like as well as a few tips that were handy in my stay.


Marketers: Get Your Head Out of the Sand and Into the Digital Age!

Throughout this Summer, I have been networking and interviewing with several Nashville-based companies only to find that I seem to be “on another level” than the typical corporate marketer in my approach to an integrated marketing strategy that uses technological trends to deliver relevant content to customers.

Forgive me while I step onto my soapbox and shout for a second:

If you are a “Marketing Director” or “Marketing Manager” in today’s technology, consumer-driven marketplace, it’s your freakin’ job to understand how digital and social media marketing fit into the landscape of who you are marketing to and how your marketing messages are being communicated.  It’s just another part of the marketing mix.


Guest Blogging: A Win, Win, Win!

Guest blogging is simply writing an article that fits with a blog's core topic, yet provides a slightly different perspective from the usual author. This gives audiences exposure to new people, thoughts, and is great for maximizing a blog's exposure to new audiences....not to mention a chance to expand ones' personal brand if you are the guest blogger!

This week, I'm guest blogging for my friend, John W. Ellis over at Crescent Interactive!

Check out my "Winning Google+ Hangout Strategies" article on John's Blog to learn how Google+'s Hangouts and Hangouts On Air can help your brand.

Interested in guest blogging for me or having me guest blog for you? 
I'm happy to entertain the idea....just Tweet me a message at @crossga and let's connect.


Connecting the Dots for "Social Business" Growth

Communications + Integrated Strategy + Technology / Measurements = Growth
 I see the need, I envision the potential, and I'm seeking an opportunity to make a difference. I've done my research through my journey over the past several weeks of networking with marketing consultants, meeting with corporate executives, and interviewing for a variety of marketing/ communications positions. The conclusion I've come to is that technology, brand strategy, and internal corporate communications need to be aligned within an organization.

Companies that take advantage of emerging technology to connect the dots with streamlined communication within their departmental silos, incorporate an integrated (mix of traditional, digital, and social media marketing) brand strategy, and analyze digital and social media metrics will be light years ahead of their industry competitors.


Memorial Day LUV: Get Social with U.S. Army and National Guard!

 In honor of Memorial Day, I'm highlighting of some social media sites that show the lifestyles of U.S. Army and National Guard troops in today's social world.

The U.S. Army is invading Pinterest!
LOVE THIS PIN! Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/157837161910914462/
According to a recent article from The Atlantic Wire, the U.S. Army seeks to reach a broader audience via Pinterest. Below is a quote from the article explaining the intent:
"We saw that would be a way that we could potentially reach an audience that we don't normally reach with our other platforms," Major Juanita Chang, Director of Online and Social Media for the U.S. Army told The Atlantic Wire. "We know pinterest is highly dominated by women... A lot of people that follow the military are men because that's the majority of the military. We want to connect and reach out to the female population and maybe the Army spouses and family members -- the people who wouldn't have any other reason to follow the military otherwise."
I'm honored to live in a country where our military leaders not only serve and protect our country, but have a pretty awesome social media strategy.


Google+ freaks me out, but I like it!

I've been playing with Google's new shiny toy, Google+, more and more since learning more about it at PodCamp Nashville 2012 and from the Google team themselves at the #G4eNashville event.

Just like any emerging social network, I see a little buzz around it, so I sign up for it to see what all the fuss is about.

Personally, I like connecting with people and ideas that inspire me and love sharing resources and ideas with others. As a marketer, I'm always looking for examples of how brands are using technology to reach and engage audiences and create communication channels for customer service and brand advocates.

What I've discovered I like about Google+:

Circles of organization: I've been collecting people, brands, and topics I'm interested in and putting them into categories of "circles" - I love organizing, so this is helpful- and it is another way to brand myself by the categories and people I follow.


#Nashville's #TechVille 2012 Social Media Cheat Sheet

Tuesday, May 15th is #TechVille 2012 in #Nashville! 

If you are attending Nashville Technology Council's 2012 annual conference, TechVille than you are about to find out why Nashville, TN has been named by Forbes Magazine as #3 on the list of the "Next Big Boom Towns in the U.S.". It's not because of our booming music scene, but because we have some of the brightest companies and minds in technology.

If you haven't already figured it out, we're kinda a big deal! (As if Google coming to town wasn't a clue.)
I am honored to be covering the TechVille conference as a "SocialITe", along with a few fellow Nashville marketers and fellow Social Media Club Nashville Members. We will put all the good content coming from the event onto the social networks for the world to follow along.

Here's a little social media cheat sheet of some of the topics, speakers, companies, and presenters we'll be tweeting about throughout the day:

Conference Hashtag:


Yo Mama's So Social…

It's mother's day in Nashville, Music City and there are a lot of "mom" tributes on the social networks today from Facebook wishes to Instragram pics to FourSquare check-ins with moms…and guess what? Most of the moms are on the networks are commenting back!

I would have to point out as a disclaimer, that it depends on how old your mom is and what your lifestyle is like. Not all moms are using social media, but the numbers are pretty big, especially for younger moms with children under eighteen.


#HASHTAGS: Teachers hate them, Marketers love them

With the rise of social media usage has come the popularity of hashtags. If you do not know what a hashtag is, you have probably at least seen it in an ad campaign, on a Facebook post, or even in a text or email (by the way, they don’t work in text or email).

Hashtags originated as a way to group conversations, topics, or events within searchable streams in social media. They are most commonly used on Twitter and Google +. I’ve seen hashtags on everything from TV shows (#madmen, #TrueBlood) to general slang (#swagg, #ohsnap) and the ever popular #FF – FollowFriday.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a teacher about how her 8th grade students are using hashtags. She told me students use them everywhere: on homework assignments, in general conversations, and even requested she accompany the lesson plans on the chalkboard each day with hashtags. She hates them because they are overused and misused. This could be a translation issue with youth. Her frustration is understandable.


The Golden Rule of Olympic-sized Success

Joanna Hayes' 2004 Summer Olympics Gold Medal
Today I had the unique opportunity to hold an Olympic Gold Medal in my hand (yes, that one!). That gold medal belongs to the fabulously talented Joanna Hayes for her 2004 Summer Olympics win in the 100 metres hurdles.

Joanna was the keynote speaker at a conference, talking about her journey from a child to winning the gold medal, as well as her competitions and challenges along the way. The key takeaways for me were her messages to "work hard, do the right thing, and be persistent."

Above all, I found it very inspiring that she is going for the gold again in the #2012Olympics, as seen on her Twitter profile here:

 Which got me to thinking....Joanna has already won a Gold Medal, but doesn't want to stop there. She's not settling for success once- she is motivated to make a comeback.

This just proves that you should always strive to better yourself, challenge yourself, and top your own accomplishments because #WINNING is more than just a token, such as a medal- it is proving to yourself that you can make your dreams come true if you try- and try again. Never settle. Strive for greatness!

*Learn more about Joanna Hayes at http://joannahayesfoundation.org/.


Marketing me: The queen bee networking guide to job searching.

Finding a job is not the most fun thing in the world, but here are a few tips I'll share with you that I'm utilizing to make it work for me:

Determine where to put your stinger:  Set goals / target job search focus on positions of career interest.
Drip a little bit’o honey:  Access features, advantages, benefits…AKA skills, qualifications, and current experience that is applicable to reaching that goal position and appealing to recruiters.

Get your stripes on:  Create your marketing materials- keep in mind brand consistency across all points of contact with potential employers (resume, business cards, email signature, LinkedIn profile, blog or personal website) Use consistent descriptions, fonts, colors, etc.