Tag Archives: marketing

Shameless self-promotion

13 Apr

It’s been a while…the muse had left town and I was a bit busy promoting other businesses. However a recent incident reminded me of the importance of ‘self’ promotion.

That self is in inverted commas for a reason – because self is also your business.

When you’re a 1-woman-band then it’s one and the same. I was so fortunate to parlay my shameless ability to self-promote into successfully promoting 4 editions of the Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam – and now as I need to once again promote the brand Kris Clark I have been pondering ‘self’ promotion and once again astonished at how many small businesses do not see marketing themselves as a key thing to do AT ALL TIMES.

I can’t ben sweet and nice about it – MARKETING IS IN EVERYTHING. If you build it they will not come! You need to promote. Always promote. Not random PR posts, not sporadic news and definitely not ”we’ll get the marketing intern on it’.

How do you expect clients to find you? The virtual world is just like the old fashioned brick world of the high street. If people don’t know who you are, what you do and where to find you they won’t. And you can never rest on your laurels of yesteryear.

Granted it is a bit scary – and typically the Calvinistic north or Europe isn’t very good at blowing their own trumpets.

Luckily <insert shameless self-promotion here> there are some mighty good consultants such as yours truly out there to help.

Remember to market internally…

12 Apr

We spend a lot of time working on our external shell – how the world perceives us, our products, our services. We think about our corporate vision, branding, website, letterhead, signature etc. We are very polished in marketing ourselves externally. But how about internally? My friend and former colleague Hank Poot wrote several posts on Linkedin about the engaged employee and the actual loss in profitability by companies by people who ”just do their job”. I say take it one step further  – and people this isn’t news – make sure to market yourself internally. All those great values we write down in value ladders and pyramids, do all of your employees know and embrace them ?  Do we take time to engage them in the process? In understanding what it all means and confirming that they are behind it? Do people understand what a touchstone is and why the values are something we need to test everything against? No is usually the answer, but often and even more sadly, because management and the marketing department didn’t bother to think about selling internally.

Years ago I was at an ad agency expecting a foreign delegation of one of their biggest clients, they meant to request that employees kept in mind that this famous sport shoes brand was visiting the next day, and be sensitive by not wearing their outright competitor’s brands. Turned into a Catherine the Great kind of atmosphere. Why? Aside from the fact that if there is one thing a Dutchman hates being told is that he has to not do something – it’s also because they were not engaged with the brand they worked for. They didn’t know the values/marketing behind it. It was a fun place to work, won some great awards but at the end of the day it was a paycheck.

So market to your internal clients as well…

What is intellectual property?

7 Aug

Was recently working with a local small team creative company. They wanted to discuss the budget (as in wanting more) and said ‘but what if we sell our idea on internationally’. We then had a discussion about when is an idea still the idea? I’m always surprised about how people mentally change rules to fit their own situation. When we don’t want to pay international rights we simply claim that it’s a local market and no-one would know but when we want something suddenly even the prepositions are claimed as part of an idea. Once upon a time, way back in school, I studied copyright law and also I have spoken to a lawyer and copyright agency in recent years about IP. I would suggest that everyone who works in marketing communications positions understands this and stays updated or at least asks clever professionals like trademark agencies for advice.

Long and short a) in the world of the interwebs it is impossible if you post something to not have it stolen – provided that it is good b) simply changing the colors of an artwork does not make it your own version and therefore copyright free c) it is not necessarily an infringement on IP if someone uses a different visual, different typography and a slight change in the words d) however if you deliberately change something only slight to lend the idea that the consumer if looking at another original it is an infringement and most of all just because something has appeared  on YouTube, TV or been played on the Radio does not make it rights free.

One more note on good CRM

1 Aug

About 2 years ago I was really frustrated with my energy provider. They did nothing to keep me onboard as valued customer, spending big budgets to woo new ones. When they couldn’t explain fluctuations in my bills I switched. Recently someone rang our bell – showing proper identification he explained that his job was to convince me to become a returning customer. He wasn’t canvassing the neighborhood, he had a list of clients to win back and that was his job.

Finally an almost personal approach – took the company 2 years and several incarnations (and no doubt agencies) to realize that keeping a customer happy and upselling is a much smaller expenditure and bigger ROI. Well done!

An excercise in putting the network to work.

19 Jul

Mary Poppins is retiring from flitting around the ad world helping raise the children. She’s moved over to a permanent position at the fabolous Affordable Art Fair Netherlands. What a great team to be involved with both locally and globally and what a fab thing to do. As I truly believe in the accessiblity of art for all.

As the new Fair  Director Netherlands this is a professional challenge I am so happy to pursue – putting all my marketing experience to good use and hopefully making great use of my professional network.

So from now on don’t watch this space but please check out all of our sites, facebook pages, instagram and twitter feeds from around the Affordable Art Fair world. And particularly https://www.facebook.com/AAFNETHERLANDS.

X Powers

6 Feb

Freelancers have special powers, well they should have, and namely you have to absorb knowledge quickly. Not only do you have to be a chameleon who adapts to each new environment and blend into the team quickly, you have to understand the company you’re working at and its processes, but also the clients or products you are working on/for. And start churning out results quickly. It’s is a shift into top gear quickly and keep running the marathon type of existence. Basically I feel that freelancers can be compared to professional athletes and freelancing like competitive sport. Not everyone is cut out for it…

Happy 2015

31 Dec

As we close out the year some predictions and recommendations for 2015…


#1: Consolidation will increase especially in the smaller markets. Even though SMB is the motor of the economy, there are way too many agencies in small markets. And whilst the larger network agencies will continue to close their doors in smaller markets, especially where one network has more than one shop, the small local agencies are going to find the pickings tough as well. Specialize, combine forces…consolidate to give clients one-stop shopping but true integrated thinking.


#2: The internet is out there – please do your homework. Most job seekers will know that it is wise to research the company you are applying to or interviewing with, but how about researching the other people at the table? Business meetings, new business, interviews – look up the people you are speaking to and know a bit more about them. Think that it just shows professional courtesy. Nothing is more off-putting than people expecting a man or starting a conversation with ‘who are you and why am I speaking to you?”.


#3: Plain speak will rise again. Whilst I would also love to say that people will rediscover proper grammar and spelling that may be a bit too far in the future…but I think that as we continue internationalizing people will finally start using regular plain words instead of flowering discussions up with jargon. Why? Because they will discover that it helps prevent confusion and promote efficiency.


#4: The cloud is here – embrace it but don’t be too interwebs only. Now that large corporations are finally embracing the cloud, however most people still work in cubicles from 9 to 5 – please don’t think in marketing that all people simple Google it. Not only do large numbers of people on this planet still have not internet access – even 1st world people don’t use the internet as we think they do.

Have a fantastic 2015 and may your work/life balance balance.


28 Dec

What exactly is integrated? It seems the buzzword of 2014 was integrated. Not through-the-line, not 360, not non-media specific but integrated. But what is integrated? According to dictionary.com it is an adjective which means:

1. combining or coordinating separate elements so asto provide a harmonious, interrelated whole: an integrated plot; an integrated course ofstudy.
2. organized or structured so that constituent unitsfunction cooperatively: an integrated economy.

3. having, including, or serving members of differentracial, religious, and ethnic groups as equals: an integrated school.

So technically integrated means good old 360. A key idea, message or thought which you can translate through into different media along the customer journey.

But in discussions I have had with different agencies it seems that they mean it to mean the ability to do digital as well as traditional…oh. In other words through the line? Oh no wait we’ve forgotten what the line was. Ok so 360? No ? But how do we send them to web? Not onboard with that. So if I undestand the buzzword correctly integrated is someone with a digital background who can talk banners, facebook apps and google adwords at the account.

Sorry still doesn’t mean that we are looking at a key message leading to dialogue and reactive touchpoints along the customer journey. Feels to me, after having produced many a rich media banner and the odd 1.000 or so adwors that in 2014 digital is still some sort of magic looking glass to agencies. Despite the writings of Saints Seth and Malcolm. Let’s hope that 2015 is the year of the message.

The sun will come out, tomorrow…

27 Sep

Freelancers have to be business people. They often forget this along the way, specifically the starters. Freelancing is as much a career choice as staying at one company and growing up the corporate ladder. You have to be good at whatever you are selling, as well as good at doing a  whole lot of other things to keep your business afloat.

I think that entrepreneurs have to be born optimists. You have to believe in chances and that something brilliant is just around the corner. This does not mean, as some poor freelancers do do, that you always have an eye out for something better to the detriment of your current assignment. No. A commitment is a commitment. But if an assignment falls through, or something ends much quicker than expected, or you are in between assignments you need to believe that something will work out.

Of course you have to make opportunities happen, by being a business person and marketing yourself/skills. But a good dose of inborn optimism is also very helpful.

So in the words of Annie:

The sun’ll come out, tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun…


Take time out from your screens…

17 Aug


As summer draws to a close and everyone returns to work (Yes I can finally get something done) I wanted to remind everyone to take time out from the screen and see life around them. If we in marketing put messages into the world we should at least realize what is going on and maybe dedicate some of our time to doing something to change it.