Practicing What I Preach: Networking

marketing small business

I’m a fan of networking. I love getting to know folks, and learning what it is they are doing, both professionally and personally. I love to be that person in the room or at the table who – when a problem arises – can boldly  state: I know someone who I think can help.

MP900385571So, of course, I was naturally curious when I saw the LinkedIn post from the New Yorker’s Nicholas Thompson yesterday, Network With Your Peers, Not Your Superiors. By and large the advice he provides is good I think. I do believe that it is important to one’s career to network. And I do believe, it is also good to get to know your peers on a deeper level – yes, actually build a relationship with them.

For me, the moment that the power of networking clicked was in reading Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone. He suggests more than a few hard and fast rules, but these are some the stuck out for me.

One, don’t keep score.

Two, you must constantly ping (like sonar on a submarine) your network so as to build and maintain your relationship.

I mention this second observation for a reason. As much as I’d  like to think I am a good networker, I feel like working to maintain relationships is an area I need  to spend some time to improve. I don’t do nearly enough to build and keep relationships on solid ground as I should.

I thought about how I could score myself in that area, showcasing the areas of opportunity to improve. And of course, I turned to LinkedIn for this exercise – specifically, to my contacts page. And my suspicion was correct: I have not had a conversation, let alone sent a note or email, to over 75% of my contacts in over 6 months, or more in some cases.

How’s that for relationship building.

On the flip side, I also know that it is largely due to my personal relationship with several of my contacts that I was able to spearhead the launch a small business degree program at my college.

What does it all mean?

Simply this: networking is only beneficial if you put the time and energy into it. And like blogging, or anything else for that matter, it takes time and discipline to build and maintain.

And it seems to me like the time to reach out, and reconnect is long overdue.

 

 

Grudge Match: Content Marketing v. Earned Media

PR Small Business

I subscribe to countless newsletters and e-mail alerts. I read numerous articles and receive even more via e-mail. Some I read religiously (I’ll meet or tweet with you one day, Seth Godin); others I glance over and move on to the next task. The CyberAlert blog typically falls into the later category, but the  latest post caught my attention (which is what good post titles should do, so mission accomplished):

Why Content Marketing Will Never Beat Earned  Media.

Now, for those of you not familiar with the term “earned media,” it is defined as publicity earned  through promotional efforts other than advertising; the natural results of public/media relations efforts, events, ad campaigns and the content that you create within your owned media channels.

Get  it? Yeah, I know.

Think word-of-mouth, buzz, and “objective” news articles = earned media. PR Small BusinessContent Marketing on the other hand, is owned media, or media generated through your company’s blog.

OK – now that we’ve got the particulars out of the way, the post goes on to say:

Content marketing can not replace earned media. The most successful companies partner with the media rather than try to replace it with content marketing.

Immediately, I got defensive to this  line of thought. This  is a very lopsided view for anyone to take, let alone a successful business, small or large. The post goes on to say that while content marketing shouldn’t be abandoned, it should be used sparingly. However, earned media is much more valuable due to some compelling factors such as “consumers trust earned media,” and consumer value the truth because “Earned media is largely free of corporate meddling and bias.”

Again – and coming from a guy who’s calling his blog Perfecting Naivety – this is a dangerously naive assumption, and thus a dangerous piece of advice.

First, for every data point used in the post, I could provide a counterpoint data source to argue the opposite. Secondly – for any small business owner in the San Diego area (and many other cities with a large and  thriving Small Business economy), while word of mouth falls under the earned media moniker, the author here  is speaking largely about PR. Not every small business could afford to have a PR department, or an agency of record to generate earned media.

So then what? What’s a company to do if earned media is too hard too expensive, too much to handle?

The answer is everyone’s least favorite: it depends.

It depends on you, your company, your services or products, your goals, your budget, what has worked, what hasn’t worked, what is working, what isn’t working…it  all depends.

And like a good investment strategy, there is not one marketing channel or marketing method that will win the day for your business. Diversify: use content marketing, traditional marketing, earned media, paid media. Then test, measure and analyze the results, adjust and move on with what works, dumping what doesn’t.

At the end of the day, it’s not about defining what’s better; it’s about defining what’s better for you and your business through a strategic plan and the measurement of results.

Anyone telling you something different is just plain naive.

A New Beginning: My Last Film Post

So blogging and I have had a unique relationship in the last few years. Every time I think I am finished, the bug starts to gnaw  at my need “to be heard.” (I just can’t quit you!) I’ve been doing a lot  of reading over the past year, and I’ve dressed up the site a bit since you may have been here last.

Little did I know when I wrote the post”The End is Near” did I know that the topic would begin

Cinepolis San Diego

Cinepolis San Diego

the birthing  process of an entirely separate site – familyroomfilmcritic.com – where I will continue my musings on all things film-related, though with a slightly different bent. If you have enjoyed my movie grousings and grumblings here on Perfecting  Naivety, I encourage you to go take a look at the new site. I have a vision for where I’d like to take it…if you like what you see, there are some bigger plans percolating.

In the time away from the blog, I’ve come to realize I want to do something different. With the absence of film commentary, Perfecting Naivety will now host observations in a variety of different areas that inspires me. In my professional life, I am challenged to keep abreast of many industries, yet have no outlet to comment. By now, with the new design elements, you can guess the areas in which I will be commenting:

  • Leadership: In the business – no matter the industry – we have a plethora of examples, both good (Hello, Mr. Branson) and bad (Do I have to say hello to David Sterling?) to choose from, and learn.
  • By day, I am the marketing director of a small career college here in San Diego. The changes that have taken place in Marketing from the time I earned my MBA (marketing emphasis) to today is absolutely astounding, and it shows no evidence of slowing down.
  • In the recent political climate, Education has been a hot topic – particularly, the for-profit sector. I aim to write about the changes to the entire education landscape, with a bent as to how it’s shifting and changing under each political leadership.
  • I am blessed to also be able to help my college launch a Small Business degree program. In San San Diego Small BusinessDiego, 90% of the economy is made up of small business, providing over 60% of the economic drivers here. In a recent survey, Forbes named San Diego the number one city in the country to launch a small business. In the past month alone, the San Diego EDC has recorded that The private sector outperformed by adding 3,400 jobs in the month of April. Suffice to say, there  is a lot going on here.
  • Finally – I wouldn’t be the man I am today without my family. So expect the occasional musing on my struggles to be a better dad, husband, brother, and son.
  • The Film and Entertainment section will stay put, but only as an archive of sorts. I feel like there  are some really good articles in that section, so if someone happened to stumble on a post or two that lead them to follow the new site – bonus!

I hope you like the new direction I am taking with Perfecting Naivety. I am excited about the change and I hope you’ll join me in this new direction. For the first time, I have some modest expectations as I throw a variety of  different topics into the giant Martini-shaker of the blog-o-sphere (shaken, not stirred) to see how it tastes. My hope still remains that you will see – on Mondays and Wednesday – an inspired concoction of the things that make us all wake up each day with a renewed sense of vigor and purpose.

Slainte!

Oscar Showdown Lowdown!

…and I’m spent. Sitting at the kitchen island for a quick breakfast then bedtime. Here’s my breakdown of the last 24 hours, via an ESPN-like by the numbers:

  • 24 hoursAMC Theaters Oscar Showcase 2013
  • 20 hours:19 minutes of film
  • 2h:45m worth of breaks (thanks Marc)
  • 1 participants, including yours truly
  • 9 films
  • Six 16-ounce caffeinated beverages (2 each of coffee, diet coke and eco-energy drink)
  • 2 meals
  • 1 popcorn
  • 1 soft pretzel
  • 1 8-ounce bag of Keebler fudge striped cookies
  • and 1 tired Danny!

All in all, so glad I did this. Having not seen any of the nominated films until now made it that much more fun. So…drumroll please…..here are my picks for the little golden guy to be handed out later tonight.

Original Screenplay: Django should and will win this one hands down, with a dark-horse nod to Zero Dark Thirty

Adapted Screenplay: Argo will win

Original Score: I like Lincoln for this one

Cinematography: Life of Pi

Supporting Actress: It’s a coin toss between Anne Hathaway (sorry, haters) or Sally Field. I was surprised at how amazing Field was in Lincoln

Supporting Actor: Another coin toss category between Tommy Lee Jones and Christoph Waltz…pick one.

Leading Actor: Daniel Day Lewis had this locked up when he signed on to play Honest Abe

Leading Actress: There was some debate via FB earlier about this category. The debate made me think. I like and want Jessica Chastain for this one; a friend of mine called it for Naomi Watts, another solid choice. Here’s my dark horse pick:

In 1973, Tatum O’Neil won an Oscar at age 10; in 1993, 20 years later, Anna Pacquin won at age 11. Guess what folks – – – it’s 20 years later: give Oscar to 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis.

Best Director: Ben Affleck. What? No? Crap – must be the sleep deprivation. This is a three-director race, between Russell, Spielberg, and Lee. Hollywood doesn’t like change too much, so call it for Spielberg.

Finally, Best Picture: If it were up to me, Django would win, no bones about it. But Argo has been the awards darling of the season, particularly with the supposed snub of Director Ben Affleck. So I think this one is a safe bet.

Alrighty folks – this is the Superbowl for film geeks – looking forward to kickoff at 8 EST, 5 PST. Thanks for following my movie marathon madness via this blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Hooray for Hollywood!

 

 

Oscar Showcase Showdown, down, down

Got very little in the tank. Gotta admit, missed a chunk of Pi, and the body’s hurting a little.

Eyes are a little blurry writing this, and my fellow movie geeks are showing signs of wear and tear.

Cup of hot coffee is in hand, and I’m hoping a film that has the Philadelphia Eagles playing a significant role will give me a jolt of energy!

And maybe exclamation points will too!!!!

7 down, 2 to go…

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Oscar Showcase Showdown-Kill Zone

I’m running out of the clever quips, if you couldn’t tell from the title.

But I called it the Kill Zone for a few reasons:

1. Les Miz was life suckingly long
2. Zero Dark Thirty was really good
3. Jessica Chastain is phenomenal in this film, and now on my kissing list (apologies to both her and my wife)
4. Life of Pi is next, in 3-D
5. This is the stretch of films that I thought I might fall asleep in… And the first 51 minutes of film #6 was touch an go.

Alrighty Ang Lee – can you keep me awake?

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