Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting Pissed Off Is Not A Plan. Seize The Moment.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a colleague, Ramsey Poston, who was fortunate to be mentored by Jody Powell, Press Secretary to President Carter. He said Jody had 10 great sayings, but his favorite had become a way of life for him.  "Being pissed off is not a strategy. Help clients get from anger to something more productive."   Ramsey actually improved on Jody's message, simplifying it even more "Getting pissed off is not a plan".  This is now one of my favorite mantras, and one I will pass on to my friends and business associates, when they lose focus on what is important in life, and are stuck in the moment.

I was fortunate to have been adopted/mentored by Mrs. Rosa Parks.  The biggest lesson she taught me was to “seize the moment”.   Utilize every breathing moment you have, in carrying out your message and mission in life.  Although Mrs. Parks and Jody Powell's lessons are seemingly different, they are both remarkably simple.

Achieving your goals, whether personal -- or with your brand -- is easy if you keep these simple words, in your mind’s eye, always:  Getting pissed off is not a plan.  Seize the moment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Bad Reviews Are Good For Business

I run several business. One is a restaurant. In the past year, we have received some bad reviews on the internet. While many of them are from vendetta driven fired employees, when the bad reviews are real reviews, meaning from genuine customers, I am actually quite happy.

Why would getting a one, two or three star review make me happy? Because knowing enables change. So many times in life you think things are great, because you choose not to look at them -- or you are too busy to see them. Unhappy clients force you to re-evaluate who you are, where you are going, and who you want to become! I embrace every bad review as good. That's the key to positive evolution. Our restaurant business has improved because we listened and acted on the bad reviews. We have even gone so far to ask people who have given us bad reviews for clarification and suggestions on how to make things better. Their feedback has been fabulous and productive.

So embrace bad reviews, learn from them, and utilize them to your advantage!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Memory of Steve Jobs

Here I sit in front of my iMac, with my wireless keyboard and trackpad. Also in front of me are my iPhone, iPad, Magic Mouse and my MacBook Pro. In the living room is the AirPort Extreme, in the kitchen the AirPort Express to stream music. My wife has her MacBook Pro, her white iPhone, and her postage stamp-sized iPod. Since we started buying computers, our household has owned at least 6 Apple computers. In my basement is a Mac Classic.

I use built-in iChat screen sharing to troubleshoot other people’s computers on a daily basis. I use built-in videoconferencing to talk to my son while I am traveling (and I have FaceTimed with my wife, her dad, my brother and my co-workers, all sporting iPhones). We capture countless pictures and videos on our phones, that we will all have to share from now on.

My 7 year old son installs more apps on my phone and iPad than I do.

I have used AppleScript to automate many of the tedious repetitive things I have to do at my job, so that I can push one button or issue one voice command and my computer will do for me what it used to take me many steps to do. I use these a hundred times a day, no exaggeration.

I’m not one to watch a movie more than once… it needs to be great for me to want to watch it again. We have a half a dozen Pixar DVDs that we have each watched many times over.

It is truly difficult to understate the impact Steve Jobs has had on my life.

Steve, where the rest of your industry saw things as “good enough”, you had the awareness to know better, the brilliance to imagine how things could be, and the drive to make it so. May we all learn that lesson.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Secret Motive Behind Proprietary CMS Packages

My professional purpose is to help our clients make money. In this vein, PIR leverages technology to improve businesses, not to take advantage of them.

Agencies that deploy proprietary CMS packages for their clients have all the power in the relationship -- that's why they push them. It's their security blanket; your bottom line is not their concern.

Agencies that deploy open source CMS packages for their clients are committed to empowering their client rather than ensuring on-going dependence on them.

Beware of an agency that only offers their own proprietary CMS packages, rather than an economical, and cyber safe open source CMS package for three big reasons:
  1. You have no power when negotiating fees, timelines or deliverables.

  2. If you decide your agency is not delivering what you need and you want to part ways, you are at their mercy because proprietary systems means there are no outside developers you can ask to take over their tasks. You likely have to rebuild your site from scratch, all over again.

  3. Technological innovation is not a nice to have for your company — it is a need to have. Companies like Polaroid, Blockbuster, Palm — and soon RIM— failed because they did not keep up with technology trends, why not learn from their mistakes?

    Proprietary CMS systems means future functionality and technology upgrades will slow to a crawl. No agency can keep up with the rapid feature development occurring in these massive open source initiatives. For this reason you should be cautious when considering proprietary CMS packages.

While there may be many talented and well-intentioned developers within an agency that know better,  there is likely a money guy behind the scenes insisting that they only offer their own proprietary system as a solution.

However, if your agency is a true-blue partner, and comes to you and says: “We believe you should drive your business toward open-source CMS systems because...” Listen to them — and stay with them. They have your best interests at heart, and truly care about your profitability.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Social Couponing - When Is It A Good Idea?

The social coupon craze has hit a fever pitch with companies like Google, Yelp! The Washington Post -- and every Tom, Dick and Harry getting in on it. Although the back end is expensive to build, once launched it is a pure profit phenom. Jumping on the bandwagon as a business is easy BUT, is is good for your business? 

Though it appears on the surface that these offers are FREE for your business because there is not an upfront cash outlay don't be fooled. It's NOT free.  

So, when should you consider making an offer?

When you need a loan:
If you are in need of a quick infusion of cash, you might consider running a deal of the day. You get the cash up front, which is helpful when you need it. However, your business will pay later in the form of service to your customers and product costs (we had a client that sold over 6,000 meals). Be aware you can actually lose money if your deal isn't priced to incorporate the 50% that goes to Groupon, LivingSocial or other coupon vendors... AND your 50% discount offer on top of that.  

When you want to increase your customer base
Though it is not easy to do, it is possible to increase your customer base with social "couponing". In order to increase your customer base, you need to custom tailor your coupon/promotion in such a way that it will interest potential new customers more than the general social coupon audience that is just looking for a one-time deal.

Consider your deal carefully before you create it:
1. Is your deal too appealing to bargain hunters? 

2. Does your deal cater to people who really “get”your business?
3. Does you promotion lend itself to potential customers coming back?  

If your goal is to create the most appealing offer to interest bargain hunters, then consider your deal a high interest loan.   

If your offer is crafted with options 2 or 3 in mind, then you stand a chance of growing your customer base. 

Our advice is to think about your pricing strategy -- before embarking on any coupon  promotion.

When you want to test a new product or service
Given that these services tap into large audiences with broad appeal you might consider trying out a new offering on them (think, affordable focus group). Some of these coupon services offer feedback mechanisms for the merchant so they can understand how the purchaser perceived their experience. This information can be enormously helpful in tailoring your product or service for the future. 

Final thoughts you should consider before you jump in
Will making an offer taint your current customers? Some of your customers might decide not come back until you run another special, which could melt away your loyal bread and butter clients — so, be prepared.

The key to running successful daily deal promotions is in the preparation -- before you run your social couponing deal. Goodluck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Building Interdisciplinary Teams

No one department can make an organization successful. It is the sum of the parts that ensures success. Interdisciplinary teams work for companies of all sizes, especially global ones, and we recommend cross-functional and cross-cultural teams to: (1) review all strategies; (2) take ownership in all activities; and (3) define and guide messaging.

The benefits off cross-functional organizations are:
  1. Reduce redundancy of efforts;
  2. Lowers operating costs;
  3. Streamlines processes;
  4. Increases value in the eyes of customers;
  5. Cross-education leads to higher productivity;
  6. Empowers teams to think outside their immediate expertise, which adds to innovative ideas
  7. Provides transparency and accountability
  8. Forces delivery on commitments (peer pressure).
Building interdisciplinary Teams is a game changer, especially in this economy. Talent wins games, but teamwork, focus, passion and intelligence wins championships.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Manipulation or Win-Win?

I just finished reading Kristina Bjoran's Psychological Manipulation in eCommerce Design, and I do not share her conclusions. She starts out:
“Web designers and architects use an array of psychological tricks to manipulate users into specific behaviors. What can be learned from these tricks? And, more importantly, is it ethical?”
and then builds on this with examples; she ascribes pejoratives to each:
  • Free shipping on orders of $25 or more— “users are tricked into spending more”
  • Receipts e-mailed two days after purchase– “when negative feedback is necessary, it’s best (for the retailer) to postpone that feedback as long as possible. It’s a smart move, but also one that feels a bit, well, cunning.”
  • Limited time offers— “undoubtedly manipulative.”
And she ended with: “how do the craftsmen and women of user experience feel about such manipulation/design?”

Well, first we'd have to agree that it was indeed manipulation (manipulation not as in “I manipulated my software settings”— but as a judgment of unethical behavior, as in “I manipulated that sucker and he bought my snake oil”).

What is the litmus test of manipulation? What of the ethics of these?...
  • using a New York Times-ish design on your blog because you want to be taken seriously
  • giving your art to museums. Now you can say your art is in museums!
  • dressing well
  • coloring your hair/nails
  • wearing makeup, concealer, etc.
  • smiling when another facial expression might better reveal your thoughts
Each of these could be seen as manipulative— they all seek to influence opinion at a minimum, maybe even influence the actions of others. They could also be seen as putting-your-best-foot-forward, which should be topmost on everyone's personal priority list. So which is it?

I recently took advantage of Amazon's free shipping of orders of $25 or more. My immediate need was one item; shipping would have added 50% to the purchase. So I looked in my Amazon wish list (thank you Amazon for a wish list!) and saw two more items that I had been meaning to get but were of a lower priority. Added to my purchase; shipping waived! I had been planning on buying them all along and delayed buying them until I had enough items for free shipping. Kristina's hypothesis depends on the premise that the additional items purchased were not items that I ever really wanted, and that a free shipping option hastened my purchasing decisions rather than postponed them. To boot, one of the lower priority items was an educational book for me; hard to qualify that scenario as unethical given that my mind will be enriched from my purchase!

One could suspect that Amazon intended to “manipulate” me, but in and of itself, free shipping on orders over $25 is not unquestionably and undoubtedly “manipulation”. I am reminded of a quote from American artist Fairfield Porter, from a debate about whether it is arrogant to sign your paintings:
“If you are arrogant and you sign your paintings, then it is arrogant to sign your paintings and if you are not arrogant and you sign your paintings, then it is not arrogant to sign your paintings.”
“Manipulation” is a matter of intent. Did Amazon manipulate me, or did they create a win-win scenario by allowing me to gang my purchases together to save $4 shipping per item? Whether I perceive that scenario as manipulative or beneficial says more about me than them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ask for what you want; NOT what you think you can get.

It takes courage to ask... for anything. 

With that in mind I'd like to make this suggestion, when you are considering asking for anything — in your job, or your personal life — Ask for what you want; NOT what you think you can get.

You never know what the recipient of the request is thinking so it is in your best interest to ask for exactly what you want up front... even if it seems out of the realm of possibility. When you ask for what you want you set the stage for clear negotiations, letting everyone know exactly what your expectations are up front.

When you ask for what you think you can get, you sell yourself short — bargaining with an imaginary opponent and ultimately not satisfying your original intention.

Nobody wants to go to the well twice — give the recipient of the ask the opportunity to evaluate what you really want and you may be surprised by the result.

Friday, July 8, 2011

When is it time to kiss that client good-bye?

I know you’re saying, “In this economy, I’d never get rid of a client”, but the truth is sometimes you should. A client/agency more than a relationship, its a marriage. When a relationship is not healthy, its not good. But when a marriage is rocky, you need to take stock and reevaluate who you want to be, to each other.

When I was a kid my Mom gave me some advice that has been the barometer of my personal and professional life.

Show me the company you keep
and I'll show you,
the company you are.

Keeping clients who are dysfunctional, disconnected, or lack integrity will ultimately inhibit you from doing your best work and reflect poorly on you, your health, and your company's bottom line.

Here are some instances when you should consider ending the relationship:

When the client’s words don’t match their actions
Creating a great brand needs passion, focus and vision. When you are faced with a client who’s written mission and vision do not align with their actions, you are headed into rough, troubled waters. Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to work with someone who speaks the speak but doesn't walk the walk?

When there is internal discourse
When you are hired without all of the stakeholder’s knowledge or buy-in, you will be fighting an uphill battle. We have been successful when this happens only when we reported directly to the CEO, CMO, CTO and/or CFO. If this is not an option, consider the consequences carefully before moving forward. You can’t charge for hours spent maneuvering the minefields that may be thrown in your path by unhappy and/or disgruntled staffers, who are ultimately not the decision makers. Ask yourself this question: What is my bottom line with this project? How do I make up for loss of productivity?

When you are asked to show your credentials
When you are asked by non-stakeholders (employees that are not decision makers or responsible for the project) to show your credentials, it means they have no confidence in their senior management to make the right decisions for the company. While this seems incidental, this kind of behavior is a sure-fire sign of cultural problems at the core of the company that will ultimately compromise your ability to be effective. Ask yourself these questions: You have been in business how many years? You have an incredible track record. Why does this make a difference? Does the person who asks have a different agenda? Did they recommend someone else? And don't be afraid to ask them where this question comes from. Remember, you are in a relationship. Trust is important. And understanding what is happening is important too. Its easy to misunderstand. Maybe this question comes from another place. Better to ask then wonder!

When you don’t get straight answers to your questions
Our success as marketers and branding experts is dependent on accurate information from our clients. With the internet at our finger tips exploding with information, it is easy to work for public companies. But for privately held corporations, information is limited. Our strategy, campaigns, plans and more depend on the information provided by the client. When there are internal forces beyond your control that impede your ability to collect timely accurate data -- or you are not getting quick feedback on your work -- it is time to stop and ask yourself why, and do I really need this client? As with any relationship parting ways is hard. Even people who are married 40-50 years get divorced. If you sit down and talk with them, they will say "I keep on thinking of all the time I wasted and positive experiences I could have had. I don't know why I waited this long." Same is true with your business,  you and your team should be focused on positive experiences with clients that will help your company flourish and grow —allowing you to do your best work.

When collaboration becomes combative
We love, love, love, healthy exchanges and critique. Partnerships are exciting because everyone brings a different perspective to the table generating great concepts and energy. It's a necessary part of the creative process and it propels productivity. However, when these sessions become combative or abusive, it is no longer collaborative and ultimately will jeopardize your ability to help the client. If this was a friend or family member you would be the first person to tell them to end a relationship if they were being physically or emotionally "beaten up" by their partner. Transfer this same philosophy of "Don't take it anymore -- get out!" to your workplace. You will find another client — and if you pay attention to your "lessons learned" — the next one will surely be a better fit.

Remember this adage: When one door closes another opens. As long as you continue to learn from your experiences, behave with integrity and stay true to your own mission, vision and values good things will happen!

Our agency is so much better because of this philosophy. Think about it. Don't be afraid to take the plunge when/if needed!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Be Authentic.

Don’t underestimate the value people place on authenticity – especially when building your community
Social media places consumers in control by providing them with the tools to quickly communicate to their "network" what they think.  If your company's actions do not match their messaging, your customers will find out quicker than ever -- and they will make that information go viral.   Going viral is not always a positive experience.  So the importance of authenticity in your brand has never been greater.

Seven points to always keep in mind while building your community:
  • A community is like building a relationship; and like all relationships, it is built on trust -- you must be consistent;
  • Great communities (like brands) are built through simple, heartfelt ideas -- and a passionate fan base;
  • All ideas expressed need to be spoken in a true and honest voice, reflective of the brand personality;
  • Embrace your roots (mission/vision/values) to foster open dialogue;
  • Engage your community in big, compelling ideas and causes;
  • Reward people for their time and thought; and
  • Connecting with people is easy, so don't force it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Web tech support calls are a gold mine to web developers

Support calls provide tremendous insight into how people actually use your pages.

It's easy for a web developer to say that a user should understand how a page works; to say that their webpage is “intuitive”... “Who could possibly misunderstand this button?”.

It is a humbling experience to be on the phone with a user who is clicking around and “your site doesn't work”. It's helpful to learn that some people expect something to work a particular way and they are stopped in their tracks when it doesn't.

A quick for instance: I was on the phone with the customer asking them to use our search engine. She said,"the search engine didn't take them anywhere." As I inquired further, I realized she expected to click on a “search” button. Our site's search lacked a button (users hit the carriage return to perform the search). Inside the search field, at the right was a small (X) button, that allowed you to clear your search. She was using the (x) as if it were the “search” button and was confused as to why her search kept disappearing and the site “did nothing”. (Later I found out she was browsing our site from her Android phone, which is whole different conversation).

As a minimalist, I may not add a search button since one is not required, but I will likely remove the clear button as it is of little benefit and potentially problematic.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Doing More With Less

This was part of our conversation with a large global senior executive team just before the economy took a hard dive. It is even more true, today. We hope it will help someone out there, and look forward to your thoughts and ideas on the subject!

Accountability is the key to doing more with less. But to make doing more with less successful, you must have a team that can not only can multitask -- but has "bought in" to the new corporate culture of multi-tasking. Doing more with less does not mean a larger work load, it means a smarter work. Right now, its about survival. Employees that don't buy into this concept, should not be working with your company. It's that simple.

To implement accountability throughout the entire organization you must add transparency. Implement a concise Annual Operating Plan (AOP) to ensure all teams are driving toward the same goals -- and working only on projects outlined in the plan.

There must be quarterly executive reviews held for each team to track progress and set benchmarks for meeting these goals.

Streamlining business by creating interdisciplinary teams that focus on circular strategic thinking and execution will be key elements to ensure success. Teams should not be made up of executives only but a cross section of all departments, head to toe.  Great ideas come from thinking differently, challenge every member of the team to think about all aspects of the business; sales, marketing, accounting, product management etc. Remember, many successful executives started in the mail room!

Streamlining at a Glance
  • Eliminate duplication of efforts, i.e., individual websites, regional PR agencies & ad agencies
  • Institute an immediate evaluation of IT infrastructure, consolidate where you can and cut unnecessary systems.
  • HR should evaluate benefits and restructure immediately.
  • Set deadlines for strategic planning budget, resource allocation and performance management report
  • Execute. Execute. Execute.
If you would like more information on this topic please .

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Take a fresh look at a problem and amazing things happen

Mindsets are sticky things. Once one takes hold, it takes conscious effort to change it. You need to decide to look at a situation with new eyes.

Revolutionary changes happen when one takes a fresh look at a problem, rather than accepting other people's thoughts/opinions/directions on the matter (the iPhone is a prime example).

Revolutionary changes are somewhat rare, not due to a lack of possibilities, but rather due to the inherent effort involved in thinking freshly.

Lytro is about to revolutionize the digital camera industry by bringing their light field camera technology to the market. Lytro changes the game: rather than a race to add megapixels to cameras, they've decided to completely rethink how a camera focuses, and it invented a mind blowing technology that allows you to set the focus of a picture after the picture has been taken. Check out this write up at All Things D.

Kudos to Lytro for breaking out of everyone else's thoughts and opinions about the camera industry and coming up with their own ideas.

Marketers Have Guardian Angels?

Many CEO's and other senior executives prefer strategy meetings to be with primary decision makers, only. They believe the old adage "Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth". But there is one person you should always invite to the party -- a rep from the legal department -- and sometimes, depending on the meeting, the Chief Counsel.

I know what you're thinking —"What the .... Why would I do that???" Truth is, the legal department is your Guardian Angel. They are there to protect you, your ideas, and the company you represent.

No, I never went to law school, so I have no vested interest in saying this. I am a marketer and I have seen too many companies choke and lose a ton of money down the road because their legal counsel was not in the vetting process early enough. By warning you of potential issues they can save you and your company time, money, and embarrassment.

Another benefit of having the legal department in all your strategic meetings and presentations is that they feel more involved with the company -- because of you -- and are thus more responsive to getting your work done -- ahead of other divisions.

Some of the most iconic campaigns we have worked on started with comments from our guardian angles — the lawyers! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Killing 2 Yelps with One Stone

Let me just say right up front, I am not a fan of Yelp. Yelp can be very frustrating to business owners because it allows anyone to say anything they want: Yelp doesn't care if the contents of a comment are completely and utterly untrue. Yelp doesn't care if a disgruntled former employee who signed an NDA agreement breaks their agreement by posting (lying) about your business on their site. Yelp, however, will filter comments they deem as suspiciously positive, and hide those comments from view (Scroll to bottom of reviews, and look for a tiny gray link that says "123 filtered"). The result is that the aggregate of posts on Yelp are more negative than the reality of the situation. (Oddly, Yelp only filters comments they deem suspiciously negative on the Yelp about Yelp page, making the aggregate of posts on Yelp about Yelp more positive than the reality of the situation, go figure).

So what's a business to do? Here are a couple of strategies you might want to implement:

Add Yelp into the meta-tags on your site. Purchase a domain with your name and Yelp combined in the domain name. Link that domain to your site. The goal of these tactics are to get your site to appear higher in a Google search result than the actual Yelp page for your business.

While the above tactic may help to reroute traffic away from poor reviews, your real goal is to reduce the number of poor reviews and increase the number of good reviews. Technology can help here too!

Look at it this way: if people had a good experience with your business, then you need a way to capture that and encourage them to yelp about it. If someone had a bad experience with your business, then it is important for you to learn about the bad experience, address it quickly and directly, and hopefully resolve their upset so they don't feel compelled to Yelp about it. A negative experience is a ripe opportunity to show the strength of your company by demonstrating that you know how to redeem the situation.

The process I'm going to recommend requires that you have your customer's e-mail address. Pretend you are a hotel. After the customer's reservation (but on the same day), send them a “how did we do?” e-mail that links them over to a short survey. Give them the opportunity to enter a star rating and comments (a large bright smilie face on the form can help to set the tone!). Ask them for permission to republish their comments. You've done a couple of things here: you head them off at the pass–if they're upset then you allow them to vent to you directly, possibly defusing their emotional need to complain about you on Yelp. They may also defer Yelping for a few days just in case you might decide to get back to them. And those first few days will make a substantial difference as to the emotional tone of their Yelp, if they decide complain at all. Of course, they may refuse to fill out your survey and go rant on Yelp anyway, but at least you did your due diligence by asking them how their visit was.

At this point, if you receive a negative comment, excellent! Someone who does not like you has given you information that you may use to improve your business! You may decide to follow up with them and thank them for their comments and maybe even give them a gift certificate. But make sure that they don't feel like you are badgering them: don't follow-up repeatedly with questions about how can you do better.

So what we've accomplished up to this point is we are now reducing the number of poor reviews (if you turn the situation around it may produce a positive review, but don't expect it). But you can add an extra wrinkle to help increase positive comments.

Remember your survey asks customers to give you a star rating. After they click submit they are brought to a page that thanks them for answering the survey. If a customer gave you a five star rating, provide them with a link over to your Yelp page and encourage them to praise you there. "we're so glad you enjoyed your visit! click the button if you would like to help the us by sharing your experience!"

The email survey process accomplishes a few things: it improves the feedback loop from customers which will help improve the business. It provides a proper outlet for unhappy customers to vent their frustration: better to tell someone who is in a position to make a difference about the matter than to just rant about it ineffectually to the world (did we actually just make our customers more responsible people too??). It captures positive commentary and asks for permission to republish those comments, thereby giving you great customer testimonials that you can use elsewhere. It locates the most favorable customers and nudges them to help you by encourages them to post their comments on Yelp.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Designing for the ever-changing landscape

Web designers must never be done learning. They should never get comfortable, thinking they have mastered their jobs. New devices, form factors, and interaction methods require rethinking existing design strategies.

iPhones in iPads are a great example. There is no mouse, there is no clicking (only tapping), there is no rollover or hover. Lots of great interactive designs assume that users will use their mouse to interact with the page. Remove the mouse from the equation and certain things that used to be exciting now fail to work.

Are your designs “finger friendly”? Do they work just as well by tapping as by mousing? Do your pages resize– when one might reasonably expect it– to fit the width of the device? If you display a phone number, can you tap it to dial it?

If you aren't accommodating these devices, at best you are diminishing your brand experience, at worst you are failing a forward thinking portion of your audience.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Navigate The Jungle — Start With A Plan

A band of explorers was struggling to make their way through a thick jungle to some fabled ruins. In the front of the entourage was the hatchet crew seriously hacking away at the thick undergrowth. Behind them were pack animals, explorers, and a couple of elephants. The leader of the expedition decides to mount the tallest elephant in hopes to see where they're headed. Once atop the elephant he gets a glimpse above the jungle, and sees the ruins, but they are off in another direction.

The Explorer yells down:
"Hey guys, we're heading the wrong way!"

To which they yell back:
"Quiet! We're making progress!"

It is very easy to get mired in the day-to-day tactical operations of your business. It is much harder to get your head above it all in order to see if you're heading in the right direction, but it is critical. Take some time to glimpse above the trees and see if you headed in the right direction.

The Potential Price of "Free" Social Media

While it is free to participate in social media, resources will be required to manage your online presence. Make sure your dedicated resource is savvy to the intricacies of social media. Don't pick someone just because they are inexpensive. Mistakes in the social realm can end up ultimately costing you more money than you saved by picking that intern to "do your Facebooking and Tweets".