Productivity @ IQPC: Why you can’t work at work

30 03 2010

I hear a lot of IQPC Marketing Managers tell me about how busy they are, and I think I might be part of the problem! Maybe you are too?

A friend from SSON sent me a link to this video by Jason Fried,  from 37 signals.  She thought I would love it and she was right. 37 Signals also wrote, what was for me, one of the best web development guides of all time, called Getting Real, but I digress.

In the video Jason talks, passionately, about how work is all about interruptions and he blames managers.  I just spent two weeks travelling through 3 countries, well 4 if you count the unintended stopovers, holding numerous meetings. I should apologise now!

Great IQPC Marketing Managers

28 03 2010

Apologies for the lack of updates, I just got back from two weeks on the road, visiting IQPC offices in Sweden, Germany and the UK.

We have so many great marketing managers at IQPC, all full of energy and great ideas, although the trips are often exhausting; I always come back energized and full of new ideas to test. Thanks to everyone who took the time to meet with me over the last 2 weeks.

I also often get floored by the cultural differences when I travel, especially the marketing approach of different organisations.  I am often amazed at how one thing in one place can mean some thing else in another.

For example, This poster welcomed me to Sweden, in the Arlanda Express train station below the airport in Stockholm (apologies I took the photo with my iphone and it was cold, so not exactly quality photography):

It’s apparently for a very funny TV show in Sweden, but I don’t think it would work in NY.

This also captured my attention, IQPC as part of our green initiative also stopped making CD’s, and started placing presentations online for customers to download, so I finally found out what happened to the old CD’s in this amazing art installation in our Sweden office:

You have to love the creativity, and the CD installation wins my art prize of 2010. You also have to love the cultural differences – not sure my children will understand what a CD is? Let alone understand why they are on the wall. In many of our offices we put up posters of brochures for our events, like they are our products, when in fact our product is bringing people together to share information and network, so why not CD’s. I think Sweden has laid down a pretty big challenge as far as artistic integrity goes, are there any offices willing to challenge for the title?

Your best coaching tips…

8 03 2010

On a recent trip to IQPC New York I read a great article in “The Week” about coaching, basically it outlined some entertaining stories about coaching, mainly to do with sport.

One from a football coach who walked up to a player at half time and then punched him the stomach for show boating. Another from a coach who during his half time talk singled out 9 of his players saying “You, you, you, you and you …. are s**t. They (pointing to two other players) are good. You (pointing to the original 9) pass the ball to them!”.

It made me start thinking of some of my best coaching moments:

  • After a couple of weeks of working on a big project my boss told me, “it’s a marathon not a sprint”
  • Once at the start of an under 16 basketball game, one I thought was the most important in my life our coach bought the team together and said, “What ever you do don’t get married!”, I think he had been fighting with his wife!
  • An old boss of mine once said, “You take things too personally”, my response was less diplomatically… “You would to if you work 16 hour days”. I was very young at the time…
  • I really like this quote from Indra Nooyi, CEO, Pepsi co, “Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent…When you assume negative intent, you’re angry”. We should all practice this more…
  • And this one from the wisest women I have ever met, Focus only on what you can control.

For some more serious tips on coaching I highly recommend The Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg, one of the most practical management books ever in my opinion.

Anyone got any other pearls of wisdom?

Zen and the art of conference marketing – Step 4: Research & Analysis

7 03 2010

Step 4 on our stairway to conference marketing heaven – Research & Analysis. Doesn’t sound very Zen, and it might even seem a bit out of order, but I’m going to stick with it…

I am talking here about the nuts and bolts direct marketing research, not glamorous but effective, time to start putting some muscle on the bones.  Start to apply what you learnt about your target audience in step 2, look into how people communicate with each other in the community, see what promotional opportunities if at all exists, Investigate what’s worked in the past, what new channels may be available, what you have already, what you need to get and what your competition has that you might need. Start building your buyer profiles out and start slicing and dicing your data, if you don’t have any start finding it! Or find out who has it, can you get your hands on it?

Speak to other marketers (like your sponsors) who market to the same audience, what do they say? What channels do they use? What have they found effective? Can we work together? How can we help each other reach our goals? Analyse the marketing of the most successful companies in the space – What can you learn?

Now you can start thinking about how you are going to get attention and what you plan on doing with it, if you get it. Can you build a permission asset, or leverage someone else’s. Will the bloggers work with you, will other partners come along for the ride, speak to them all, build some win-win partnerships. Start working with the media partners, associations, and publications and do some more detailed breakdown of their membership. Look on LinkedIn, look on Facebook etc…what’s acceptable to the community and what’s not.

Blue Sky, Blank Page, Green fields or what ever you want to call it… Put it all together, no rules, just everything you can find and start organizing it around your buyer personas, costing it, forecast its impact, do you need more, do you need less…Time to answer all the questions!