Decisons, decisons

Do you like making decisions?

By Business, Creative thinking, Learning, Psychology, Success No Comments

Are you good at making decisions? Do you tend to make the right decisions, in your personal and professional lives? Do you like making choices?

I have been thinking about this subject, following a series of conversations with The Marketing Compass member and decision making speaker David Knowles-Leak.

We all have to make decisions, every day of our lives. Most decisions are minor in nature (which shirt shall I wear?) whilst some decisions are of crucial importance (shall I propose?)

When I am selling, I sometimes wonder why it can take so long for people to get back to me. I have come to the conclusion that many people like to reflect on a decision, before they take it (or avoid doing so). Or perhaps they are inundated with more pressing matters?

When it comes to marketing, there a host of decisions that need to be made. For example, are we product or customer centric? How much time and money should be devoted to marketing? Will everything be done in-house or will some of it be outsourced? How important is digital marketing? Will we use a push or a pull marketing strategy?

Personally, I tend to make decisions quickly. For example, when I am buying something, I know what I want. When I find it, why not cut to the chase and buy?

I make a lot of decisions and I always talk through the big ones (and many of the smaller ones as well) with my wife, Joanna. We often do this when we go out for a walk, which helps me to think clearly.

As far as I am aware, decision making is not taught as a separate subject in schools. Bearing in mind how important it is, perhaps it should be?

Your enterprise is a competing data processing system

Your enterprise is a competing data processing system

By Learning, Marketing strategy, Software, Success No Comments

As everything continues to become digital, think of your enterprise as a competing data processing system. This idea is contained within Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Homo Deus.

As a marketer, I think a great deal about the customer, brand and promotion. However, when I want an answer to a question, or I am looking for a product or service, I reach for my 2nd brain (my smartphone).

The enterprise with the best data processing system is:
A) Going to be on page 1 of Google
B) Their website will engage my attention
C) If I want to find out more, their data processing system will engage with me and learn about my needs. It will communicate, follow-up and be there for me.

On this basis, don’t think ‘website’, ‘Search’, ‘CRM’, ‘Email’ etc. Instead, see  it as a holistic integrated whole that delivers a better service than anyone else.

In order to achieve this, you need to learn continually as software never stays still. As systems, apps and services move into the cloud, there has been an explosion of options and alternative ways of serving the customer.

You can throw money at IT if you wish, but it is better to understand it first. Talk to people and ask questions about what they use, how they use it and where they bought it.

This article first appeared within my marketing ideas newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

Too many browser windows open?

By Internet marketing, Learning, Software, Success, Technology, Writing One Comment

Do you find that that, as your working day progresses, you end up with dozens of browser windows?  I used to have so many that I would have several different web browsers on the go.

Station can be downloaded for use on your computer. It is free to use and it enables you to work with several hundred apps such as email, accounting, online storage, MailChimp, social media accounts (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter), Skype and many others (about 300 in total).

The result is that your website browser is much less cluttered. In addition, you can search across multiple apps within Station and move from one app to another in a variety of ways.

Station groups all your pages by app, automatically.  You can turn notifications off, when you need to concentrate.

No more getting lost in 50 open tabs. Decision making speaker and NavigatorPlus member and decision making speaker David Knowles-Leak kindly brought this to my attention.

Visit Station’s website here to find out more and download the app.

This story first appeared in my marketing tips and ideas newsletter. You can subscribe here.  “Your newsletter is the most useful I have ever subscribed to!” Steve Munden

Does fear of software stop you from trying digital marketing ideas?

By Business, Learning, Psychology 2 Comments

Are you comfortable around software? Do you find it easy to learn? Would your business attract more customers if you could master the art of using marketing software?

Digital marketing has brought us new ways to communicate with customers. Every day, new apps, platforms and functionality are launched by software developers.

On the one hand, you want to promote your services / products. On the other hand, there is the continual requirement to learn new software, isn’t there? Having spent hours or days learning WordPress, SEO, Google AdWords, MailChimp etc you may not get the results that you are after. Some initiatives work, some don’t. The important thing is to keep learning.

For some people, fear of failure can stop progress, when it comes to software. It can all feel overwhelming at times, can’t it?

You can watch YouTube videos, read blogs, buy books or go on courses. Alternatively, you can outsource some or all of your requirements.

Personally, I invest two days of my time every month learning new software. This is challenging, as I am always busy.

How about you: what was the last piece of software that you spent time with? How was the experience for you?

It’s not what happens to you that counts, it’s how you handle what happens to you. Thomas J Watson Senior, the founder of IBM said that the formula to success is easy: simply double your rate of failure. Don’t fear failure: learn from it.

I wish you great success with your software journey.

By the way, if you would like some marketing software training, I may be able to help.

Marketing learning and training

By Learning, Training No Comments

During 30 years as a marketing consultant, trainer and speaker I have found that much has changed. The world wide web, search technology, the ubiquitous smartphone, Apps, and software as a service come to mind.

To a large extent, the underlying psychology of marketing has not changed as this is based on the human psyche.  As marketing is all about customers – a good place to start is psychology which teaches you about the way that people think. NLP is an interesting topic if you want to learn more about people / customers.

With regards to marketing, what should you learn? It is all too easy to get lost in the details, so you should study strategy. For example, is your enterprise going for market share or rapid profitability? Are you preparing new services / products? Is brand awareness increasing? What is the optimal promotional mix? Are you receiving your fair share of sales enquiries and sales? Your marketing strategy should be encapsulated within a written marketing plan (see Marketing plan training).

If you are writing your own content, you can increase the speed at which you write and the quality of your content via copywriting training.

Learning to use software properly can save a considerable amount of time. In addition, you will discover how to get the best out of the features that are available. See WordPress training and MailChimp training for example.

I read marketing books; magazines (the monthly magazine from the Chartered Institute of Marketing is very good); websites; e-newsletters; and blogs. I also attend marketing workshops and listen to webinars. I now also listen to marketing podcasts (when I am ironing!)

If you would like to learn more about marketing you are welcome to join us at The Marketing Compass.

Finding time to get the marketing done

By Learning, Success, Writing No Comments

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Marketing takes up a great deal of time, doesn’t it? Do you find that there are too many tasks? Do you keep running out of time? Here are some marketing time management ideas which may help.

* Consider the time you have available for doing marketing tasks or managing them. Even if you are a full time marketer, this will not be 100% of your working time. If marketing is part of what you do, work out what you want to achieve and then allocate a certain amount of time per day / per week / per month for marketing. For example, I spend two hours a day on marketing activities, five days per week. The rest of the time is spent with clients and members of The Marketing Compass.

* Is copywriting part of what you do? You may be writing blogs, website pages, a newsletter or a book. I suggest that you write early in the morning, before you answer emails and when your mind is fresh. Getting stuck into emails is, for many of us, the start of the working day. As soon as you do this, you will be thinking about work related issues that arise from emails. A clear mind is helpful, when it comes to writing.

* Put key marketing tasks in your diary. For example, blogging might be daily or weekly, so put it in the diary. Just like you would for a meeting, scheduled phone call or video conference call.

* Plan for learning time. In a fast changing world, you need to keep up to speed with software and different ways of doing things. This may equate to reading time and attending seminars.

* Use a time management system or methodology. Stop getting interrupted the whole time. Manage emails and phone calls better. Include an end time as well as a start time, for meetings. I recently attended a time management seminar which was run by Smarter Not Harder which was very helpful.

* Delegate, delegate, delegate. You can’t do it all yourself. You should delegate the stuff that you hate doing to someone who loves doing it. I realise that this will depend on your circumstances – however – marketing is of critical importance to your enterprise and you need to focus on it.

Marketing skills 7 point checklist

By Learning, Psychology, Success No Comments

Here is a checklist of 7 marketing skills:The Marketing Compass logo

1. Lifetime learner.  See: Is it important to keep learning? and Do you like learning?

2. Good with software and computers in general, for that matter. Do you enjoy learning new software programs?

3. The ability to think long term. Otherwise, you are continually in the battle, aren’t you?

4. Strategic thinking. See: Strategic marketing thinking.

5. The ability to write quickly and well. See: Is copywriting part of your job?

6. Command of the English language (or the language of your marketplace) including spelling, grammar, syntax and idiom.

7. Presentation skills. The ability to present your ideas to colleagues and management in a compelling way.

What else would you add to this list?

Making creativity part of company culture

By Creative thinking, Learning, Psychology, Startups, Success No Comments

William Bernbach, one of the three founders of the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), once said: “It may well be that creativity is the last unfair advantage we’re legally allowed to take over our competitors.”

During the 20 years that I have taught creative thinking, there have been fundamental shifts within our civilisation. For example, the rise of low cost distributed computing is perhaps best epitomised by the launch in 2007, by Apple Inc of the iPhone, one of the first smartphones to include a multi-touch interface. Apple is a hot bed of creative thinking and in May 2017 became the first US company to hit US$800 billion in value.

Globalisation, intense competition and the disruption of entire industries are now part of daily life. Underneath these dramatic changes, human beings are the same. The desire to be creative resides in all of us.

Creativity in its many forms outside of the work place is a good thing. Whether it belongs in the office environment is another question entirely. Some would say that creativity in business is OK for computer game producers, architects, advertising agencies and the like. I believe that it gives every organisation, regardless of size the edge within a fast changing environment. Making creativity a part of company culture will give you a competitive advantage, motivate staff and help to increase turnover and profitability.

A client asked me recently: “How can we make creativity part of everyday office life?”

Here is my response:

* Nominate a company (0r department) Creative Thinker each month.

* Buy some creative thinking books and leave them lying around the office.

* Use a creative thinking technique, such as Mind Mapping, the next time you encounter a problem.

* Take a walk with the people who are tackling the problem and discuss it as you move.

* Share creative thinking stories with each other.

* Talk about creative thinking during business meetings.

* Put up some creative thinking posters in the office.

* Mention creative thinking within internal newsletters.

* Blog about creative thinking.

* Let your customers know that you enjoy using creative thinking techniques.

* Share interesting creative thinking articles, stories, cuttings and books with your colleagues.

* Count the number of new ideas that your company / department generates each month and display the number where everyone can see it.

* Get senior management involved.

* Share creative thinking quotes around the office.

* Once a year, have a creative thinking away day.

* Ask non competitors to share their approach to creativity with you (and return the favour).

* Try using creativity software.

* Use creativity ice breakers to get meetings started.

* Invite artists, engineers, architects, authors and professors to talk about creativity.

* Announce an annual award for the best creative thinker within your organisation.

* Tell the media what you are doing.

* Never stop experimenting and learning.

What other ideas could you add to this list?

Nigel Temple is a creativity speaker and trainer. He delivers engaging creativity talks and creative thinking workshops for audiences of all sizes, anywhere in the world.


Is it important to keep learning?

By Learning, Psychology, Success No Comments

Most people would answer “yes” to the question: “Is it important to keep learning?” However, now that we all have 2nd brains (smartphones), why bother? After all, you can look up facts and figures and get instant answers on your phone, can’t you? If you need to get a complex task done, you can hire an expert.

Increasingly, the expert will come with 5 star recommendations from a website / App. For example, there are currently TV adverts for websites where you can hire household jobs experts (plumbers, electricians etc). If you need a freelancer, you can try or a similar platform.

You can now talk in real time to another person in a foreign language (that you don’t speak) using an App. It is not perfect, but software has a habit of getting better, doesn’t it?

So why bother learning anything?

Here are some reasons to keep learning:

  • The more you learn, the more connections your brain makes
  • Greater knowledge = greater confidence
  • Having a conceptual understanding of a subject makes all the difference when it comes to decision making
  • Your job / business is probably threatened by AI (so this is a good time to learn something new)
  • If you don’t keep learning, what do you think happens to your brain?
  • Successful peoples are learners

What do you think? How will learning change over the next five years?

By the way, what are you learning at the moment?

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The Default Mode Network and human downtime

By Creative thinking, Learning, Longevity, Psychology, Spirituality, Success No Comments

You have around 100 billion brain cells (neurons). Each of these neurons has about 7,000 inter-neuronal connections. Estimates differ for adults, but your brain has about 250 trillion connections.

The Default Mode Network (DMN) comprises a network of interacting parts of the human brain. When you not working and not ‘doing’, the DMN lights up.

I have meditated since I was in my 20s. I find that it makes me calmer. It helps me to find new ideas which would not have materialised during my busy life (we have four children, one house, one garden and I am self employed, amongst other things).

I have found that mediation connects me to a different way of thinking – as opposed to the frenetic ‘beta brainwave state’ that drives the business world and much of Western civilisation*. When you are in beta, your logical left brain is active as well as your critical abilities.

Technology (which I love) is often to blame, for all of this ‘busyness’. Who invented email? Who invented smartphones? Who invented social media? Many of us spend a considerable proportion of our time staring at screens of different sizes, trying to keep on top of it all.

Would it be a better world if we all slowed down a bit?

By the way, the DMN is active when you are planning for the future. Imagining a positive, interesting and engaging future is time well spent.

The Dalai Lama once said that the busier he gets, the longer he spends meditating. (Have you noticed how much he laughs?)

Tony Buzan sparked my interest in the human brain. My office was across the corridor from his, for five years. I learned a great deal from Tony and he included one of my Mind Maps within one of his books.

* Interviewer: “What do you think of Western civilisation?”
Mahhatma Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

Nigel Temple is a creative thinking trainer / public speaker.