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Doing Big Things


Here's a tangent for you. Or is it?

Every now and then I get struck with a thought, an idea, a word that sticks out or a line from a book or speech. The other night while watching and tweeting the president's State of the Union Address out popped the line: "We can do big things."

do big things

He's right you know. Regardless of your political affiliation, the "we can do big things" is more than just an aspirational slogan. It can be a force connected to a definite purpose and plan of action that produces physical reality.

My big thing last year involved a major shift in business. I left something that wasn't a good fit and became a Certified HubSpot Partner. Built B2B Inbound from scratch, enrolled in a sales development program and 8 months later I'm starting to realize the success I had envisioned.

This year I have three big things I will tackle. One is personal (RV trip from CA to MN), the others are business related. More about those in coming months.

What does "do big things" mean to you? What goals, dreams, aspirations do you have? And, most importantly, what are you doing about it?

Whether your big thing is achieving success with inbound marketing, a business idea or personal endeavor, there are a few things I've found helpful along the way. See if these resonate with you:

Act on your hunches.

Have you ever had an idea to do something but failed to act on it and then some months later saw it become a big thing? "Damn," you thought to yourself, "I wish I would have done something about that hunch I had about that back then!"

Why don't we act on hunches? Do we lack confidence? Are we afraid of failure? Do we succumb to negative thinking? No doubt there's more excuses we could shake a stick at as to why we don't act. But what's needed I feel is to take the first step. You can't steer a parked car. Take the crawl, walk run approach to big things.

If your mind says you can't, why not re-program your mind? We may not be able to control our thoughts but we can counteract negative thinking with positive. One thing I've done is to record a list of positive affirmations of what I will do,and then listen to them on my iPod. Auto-suggestion feeds the subconscious mind and helps develop success consciousness.

Take this to heart: "Whatever (idea) you can conceive and believe you can achieve." (Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich.)

Eat your own cooking.

When I was with AT&T Wireless and the Wireless Data Division back in the mid 90's we were doing big things by bringing Cellular Digitial Packet Data (CDPD) to market. We produced the first Internet browser enabled phone, the PocketNet Phone.

It was imperative for us to use this technology and be able to demonstrate how it worked and what it could do for a business (consumer applications came later). We ate our own dog food.

Likewise today, if you're going to do something big: launch a product, sell a new service or be an expert in something it will be to your advantage to develop specialized knowledge. It's the application of knowledge to a specific goal that counts.

There's so many ideas, positions, programs and plans floating around. The winners will help us understand what to do with what we know.

Be in the way of not way to a big thing.

I get this from Dan Millman and his book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. It's great to have dreams and goals to shoot for, but don't get all caught up in the destination. It's more about what we become on the journey than what we get at the end point. This has helped me to view each moment in time as important. We may not be able to control outcomes, but we can control the choices we make and how we respond to challenges.

Fuel your big thing with passion, planning, relentless commitment and action. Have a "Burn the Boats" mentality. But if the rug gets pulled out from under you don't despair. Millman says, "Stress happens when the mind resists what is." Life is sometimes a mystery, goals are elusive and nothing stays the same. Accept the "what is" of right here and right now. What you do with that can be a really big thing.

Have you been in the way of doing something big? What works for  you? Comment here or join #DoBigThings conversation on Twitter

Photo: Flickr, anitacanita


Just in Time Marketing Lessons: Peanut Bags and Key Cards


Airlines like Delta handout little snack bags of peanuts and Just in Time Marketing snooze controlpretzels. We come to expect this. What I wasn't expecting however, was the marketing message from the Hilton Garden Inn on the bag: "Snooze Control - Our Adjustable Beds Await You."

Hmmm...when did they start advertising on peanut bags? The more I thought about it the more it made sense. People who travel on airplanes often stay in hotels. Why not put your message in front of your target audience when they're (actively) traveling?

Reflecting back on this experience, I recall what Capt. Nathan Broshear of the U.S. Air Force said at IMS 2010 in Boston: "The most effective marketing is done communicating where the action is."

Just in Time Marketing is Where the Action is

How much more effective would our marketing be if it were done where the action is? Just in time marketing is engaging and communicating where and when the action is taking place. Just in time marketing is being able to communicate a solution just when your ideal customer needs it the most - based on their activity.

just in time marketing key cardI was travel weary - and hungry. Took a bus from UMass Boston to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Foxborough. As I walked into the front lobby around 7:30 PM I wondered, "Does anyone deliver pizza to this hotel?"

Checked in. Got my room key. And my question was immediately answered in the form of an offer, right on my room's key card from Domino's: "We'll Deliver Our New Inspired Pizza To Your Room."

Hmmm...when did they start advertising pizza delivery on hotel room key cards? I don't know, but sure glad they did. Someone was pretty smart to figure out the activity and needs of a segment of their customers: Travelers to hotels that don't serve dinner at their restaurant.

This just in (the nick of) time marketing has got me thinking. I get the pop-up message from HP saying I should consider ordering a new image drum when I'm printing. How much more effective would it be if, in the pop-up message, they could actually provide a nice discount code to an order link?

David Meerman Scott has come out with a new book, Real-Time Marketing & PR. I've heard him speak a couple of times on it. This concept of real-time to me is the same or very similar to just in time marketing. The fact is we live in a now world. And, as David exhorts, "Speed and agility are direct marketing advantages." We must adjust our marketing mindset to think in terms of acting and reacting in the here and now - like our hair's on fire. Where the action is. As it's happening - not after. If we don't we may not get a second chance. Take the opportunity to define in real-time what's happening now and what it means to your market. Then get with it, just in time to capture their attention!

Where's Your B2B Just in Time Marketing Action?

What can we apply from these peanut bag and key card marketing examples to the B2B inbound marketing world?

First, it's about identifying your buyer persona segments. Where are they? What are they doing or what action has taken place that may make them receptive to engagement? Can we anticipate or predict buying behavior based on the experiences of current customers? How can we be in the path of where their action is now, or where they're headed?

Secondly, what's the engagement look like? What kind of message, relationship or offer best aligns with this segments problem, need or situational activity?

So many questions. Yet so much opportunity for someone to get creative with some just in time marketing!

10/16/2010 Update:
David Meerman Scott shared a link in his comments to how one B2B company, Eloqua responded to news about an acquisition in real-time to help frame the discussion around what the announcement meant. In doing so, they became more visible and consideration for their solution increased in the marketplace. Click the following link to read David's post about it: Real-time blog post gets Eloqua CEO tons of B2B ink. And here is the link to the original blog post by Eloqua CEO, Joe Payne: Oracle joins the party.

What's your idea? Where's your opportunity for real-time / just in time marketing?




B2B Inbound Tips and Tools: Burn the Boats!


Burn the BoatsHernando Cortes, the famed, Spanish conquistador, in 1519 landed on the shores of Veracruz, Mexico. He had a clear objective: defeat the enemy and conquer the land for Spain. The enemy was fierce and outnumbered his own army. He and his warriors also had to endure scarce resources and rampant disease. In preparation for battle, Cortes ordered a lieutenant back to the beach with the order to, "Burn the boats!" Addressing his men before marching them forward Cortes said, "You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice. We win or we perish!"

With everything of value there's risk and reward. And, there should be a no-retreat, burn the boats determination.

I see a lot of situations where business owners, marketers and managers want to dabble in something. Try out the latest and greatest shiny thing. Even invest time, money, human capitol in a product or service with the fall-back mentality that if it doesn't work we'll go do something else. I get that to a point.

But, what I don't get is when they won't put everything they've got into it. It's like a build it and they'll come mentality. It's just let me take the wonder pill. It's, "I want something for nothing."

Here's what I think: If you have a definite goal coupled with a burning desire to achieve it, and you have the opportunity with a plan of action to achieve it, why wouldn't you burn your boats? Take it a step further and let's say you've got the data to prove that those who have done X, Y and Z with product A, get the kind of results you're after. Would you go into that with a "trial mentality?" Or, would you keep the boats at launch-ready, engines running? You've got a better edge and higher probability of success than Cortez and his men ever had. I hope you'd burn your boats and go full speed ahead with the methodology and tools to claim your success.

So, whether you're embarking on an inbound marketing trial, launching a new blog to market your business, or getting engaged with social media, please stick with it. See it through. Put everything you have into it. Burn your boats and think no retreat! Seek out the best practices and techniques shown to deliver success. Don't just go with feelings, hopes or wishes. Get help if you need to, and be sure it's backed by data and success metrics.

"Those who would win in any undertaking must be willing to burn their ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success." Napoleon Hill, "Think and Grow Rich"

Burned any boats lately?


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