August 14, 2016


The 8020Info Water Cooler

  Highlights from the latest information
  for managers, leaders & entrepreneurs


1.  Marketing For Non-Profits

Small and medium-sized non-profits often have a communications plan but marketing consultant Debbie Laskey, who works with such organizations, says that’s not enough.

“They need to enter the 21st century and understand that the communications specialty is just one aspect of an overall marketing plan,” she says in an interview with blogger Eric Jacobson.

“There’s public relations, media outreach, advertising, content marketing, web site development, social media, tradeshows, special events, webinars, corporate collateral, internal communications, partnerships, and more.”

That may sound grandiose. She acknowledges that non-profit leaders are constrained by small budgets and limited staff. But she suggests they are often more constrained by the excuse “we’ve always done it this way” — ways that preceded Facebook and YouTube, however, which have dramatically changed marketing.

Leaders must be open to new ideas. She says that social media must be a part of a non-profit’s marketing strategy as many potential donors will learn about the organization’s work through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. And in the absence of a digital footprint, the potential donor may question the non-profit’s validity.

Jacobson asked: What is the single best social media channel a business should use in addition to its web site if it can only choose one? Laskey’s response: “In today’s visual world, Instagram is the standout social platform to provide photos and quick videos. Non-profits and businesses can create pages and utilize hashtags for a variety of content and easily engage their audiences.”


2.  The Lost Art Of Saying “I Don’t Know”

Advertising agency CEO Steve McKee was taken by the number of people he follows on Twitter who knew as little as he did about the ins-and-outs of Brexit (Britain’s intended exit from the European Union), but that didn’t stop them from pontificating like experts.

“There are some things we just can’t know. And yet, there’s something inside of us that wants to be so certain of things,” he writes on the Smart Brief blog.

Often the myth of certainty is harmless. But at times it can have significant negative consequences. Successful and smart new CEOs don’t come in with guns-a-blazing, certain they know exactly what to do. They listen and learn.

He went through a two-year trial by fire in his company more than a decade ago, when it started to struggle.

“The pressure I felt to have all the answers during that turbulent time was immense — even if it was somewhat, upon reflection, self-imposed. After all, a leader is supposed to lead, and not knowing in which direction to head can cause a lot of sleepless nights. In my case it provoked many of my staff to head for the exits, which only made matters worse,” he recalls.

Working with other recovering companies since then, he has learned that saying “I don’t know” is not a sign of weakness, unpreparedness, or lack of leadership. Knowing when you don’t know something and being honest about it is a mark of a true leader.


3.  How Facebook Tries To Prevent Office Politics

Preventing office politics can depend upon your hiring processes.

Jay Parikh, head of engineering and infrastructure at Facebook, says companies always want to hire the smartest people with the best skill sets. But his company also screens for the ability to calibrate to a team environment. It tries to weed out empire builders, self-servers and whiners since it’s unlikely those personalities will dramatically change in the new environment.

To do that, Facebook starts a discussion with these prompts:

  • “Describe your responsibilities as a leader.”
  • “Can you tell me about four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?”
  • “Describe a few of your peers at your company and what type of relationship you have with each of them.”
  • “What did you do on your very best day at work?
  • “What does office politics mean to you, and do you see politics as your job?”
  • “Tell me about a project that you led that failed. Why did it fail and what did you learn?”

“Successful candidates should clearly demonstrate that their priorities are company, team, and self — in that order,” he writes on Harvard Business Review Blogs.


4.  Make Your Meeting Time Longer

Most of us want to reduce the time we spend in meetings. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But productivity author Cal Newport says on his blog that one of the smartest things you can do is schedule your meeting time 50% longer. So for a one-hour meeting that starts at 2pm, block out until 3:30 on your calendar.

Don’t spend that extra time prolonging the session, but use the “meeting margin”, as he calls it, to process the meeting, catch up on anything missed while in the meeting, make progress on real work and, yes, even take a break.


5.  Zingers

  • Can it wait til morning? It’s a delicate but essential question to ask your boss: “Do you expect me to answer emails when you send them after work hours?” Consultant Scott Eblin says his informal surveys with executives suggest 80% don’t want immediate replies and are just clearing their inboxes and to-do lists, not meaning to add an off-hours burden. (Source: Fast Company)
  • Avoid empty clichés: Your branding message won’t stick if it’s a cliché, says consultant Drew McLellan, citing claims like “the difference is our people” or “your satisfaction is our guarantee.” It may sound great (to you) but it doesn’t say anything – or certainly doesn’t say anything unique or specific to your organization. “A real brand of depth is a bold promise that uses strong language to make an audacious promise. Don’t let pretty words fool you and don’t try to use pretty words to fool your customers,” he says. (Source: Drew’s Marketing Minute)
  • Use after-action wrap-ups: Leadership guru Ken Blanchard recommends holding a “wrapping up” conversation at the end of any task or project, which offers the manager a chance to celebrate a subordinate’s accomplishment and the new knowledge or skills gained during the process. It is also a chance to discuss what could be improved in the future. (Source: HowWeLead.org)
  • Set quick-win goals: The WinStreak app for your mobile helps you to improve productivity by nudging you to create three “wins” you can seek today and three more for tomorrow, making goal setting and goal achievement fun and easy. (Source: Lifehack.org)
  • Lost & gone: A confused ecommerce customer will be slow to order and quick to leave your site for a smoother process, advises consultant Roger Dooley. (Source: NeuroMarketing Blog)


6.  Q&A With 8020Info:
     Find Your Fascinating Content

Question:  We know that “content marketing” has become an important tool to accomplish marketing and communications goals, but how do you find and develop great content?

8020Info President & CEO Rob Wood responds:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content (and doing so consistently) to attract and build relationships with members of a defined audience.

But as anyone who publishes material frequently knows, after the first few bright ideas have been used, it can be a struggle to find outstanding content. You may find yourself slipping away from a crisp, distinctive perspective into material that has a bland point of view and takes the easy out — boring content.

Fortunately Sally Hogshead, the accomplished copywriter and author of Fascinate, recently shared 21 Juicy Ideas For Fascinating Content on Copyblogger, including these gems:

  • Start with information, then add insight. This requires more effort and sophistication to increase the value of your material – but that’s the price if you aim to be a thought leader.
  • Show us the implications of a trend. Your audience may be interested in a new trend: Enlighten them. Connect the dots. Point them toward what they need to pay attention to.
  • Educate people about a potential problem. This tip, like the one above, may seem a bit staid compared to generating more colourful, entertaining content, but it can deliver real value.
  • Ask a provocative question. Hogshead once posted a provocative question on Facebook: “Would you rather work for a talented jerk or a sweetheart hack?” The resulting commentary on social media became a two-part article in Advertising Age.
  • Explore an unfulfilled need. Audiences appreciate it when you can identify something that’s missing or unsolved in their lives — ideally, something that people don’t realize is missing until you point it out.
  • Predict what will happen next. This may be what you believe will happen, or what you feel should happen in times to come.
  • Give a behind-the-scenes glimpse. This type of content plays on human interest. Every once in a while, invite your audience into your home/office, creative process, or backroom life. Show a new side of yourself or your organization.


8020Info helps strategy teams think better together as they develop and effectively implement research / stakeholder consultations, strategic plans, change and marketing communications. We would be pleased to discuss your needs and welcome enquiries.


7.  From Our Water Cooler:

     How To End A Talk

Speakers and presenters working at their craft have all heard about the importance of first impressions and opening strong. Far less attention is given to the outsized impact delivered by how you finish — your finale can represent half of what your audience will remember.

Don’t let your presentation end with a whimper as questions wind down and the energy evaporates from the room. On Inc.com, Jessica Stillman presents advice on how to end with a bang, taken from TED curator Chris Anderson and his new book TED Talks: The Critical TED Guide to Public Speaking.

  • Call the audience to action: Finish your presentation by asking your audience to do something as a follow-up or in response to the case you’ve presented.
  • Try a “camera pull-back”: This involves showing the audience the bigger picture and a broader set of possibilities implied by your work, offer or position.
  • Make a personal commitment: Anderson notes that “it is one thing to call on the audience to act, but sometimes speakers score by making a giant commitment of their own.” But you have to be authentic — if you hope to inspire your audience by promising to do something yourself, really mean it.
  • Recap your main points with passion: This can be a way to finish with a thump as questions start to dry up after a Q&A period and the energy in the room starts to ebb. Send them off with the main points you’ve presented, and recap those points with enthusiasm.

Open well and connect with your audience, make your case, and then be sure to finish on a high note.


8.  Closing Thought:

“Management causes 95% of all the problems.”

— W. Edwards Deming