Monday, August 27, 2012

TAGS: Burned out marketing and business development professionals, workplace burnout, Integrated Work; Leiter and Maslach

Busting Through Workplace Burnout

Marketing and biz-dev professionals. It’s late August. You’re working late again in a virtually empty office. Most of your colleagues are happily on vacation, by the pool or soaking up full-blast AC with friends or family at the local bistro, movie theatre or mall. If you think you’re the one burning the proverbial candle at both ends, you’re not alone.
The good news is that your work ethic, talent, reliability and perfectionist tendencies have enabled you to hold on to your job during the worst job market in a generation. The bad news is that your work ethic, talent, reliability and perfectionist tendencies have gotten you into a vicious cycle. Your superiors, peers and subordinates all feel they can count on 24/7 to get the job done, take on yet another task and deliver it on time, on budget and with flying colors.

Any of this sounding familiar? Read more from a recent column I did about strategies for fighting workplace burnout and ways to recognize signs of unmanageable stress before it’s too late. Life’s too short.


Burned out marketing and business development professionals, workplace burnout, Integrated Work; Leiter and Maslach

Monday, August 20, 2012

TAGS: Building permits, Commerce Department, Seth Godin, James Hackett, Steelcase, cutting corners

Now Is Not the Time to Be Cutting Corners

We know it’s late August. It’s hot, muggy and you’ve already used up your vacation. The business and political climate is still uncertain and you’ve got too many deadlines to possibly handle before the real post Labor Day sprint kicks in. At times like this, there’s always the temptation to “mail it in,” cut corners a little and maybe try to get by with 90 percent effort or even 80.

Don’t do it.

As Steelcase CEO, James Hackett revealed in yesterday’s New York Times, “you have to practice for moments when your integrity might be tested,” such as a bad earnings quarter or a tough issue at your company. “People tend to double down and do bad things under the most extreme pressure.”
In this hyper competitive age of outsourcing and technological one upsmanship, we’re pressured to squeeze every penny out of our production process and every hour of productivity out of our workforce. But cutting costs and cutting corners in order to pump up your bottom line won’t work in the long run, argues futurist and blogger, Seth Godin in his post today, “The Race to the Bottom.”

“There's always the opportunity to cut a corner, sacrifice lifestyle quality and suck it up as we race to grab a little more market share. But the problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win.” Instead, he argues, we should strive to win the race to the top which is focused on “design and respect and dignity and guts and innovation and sustainability and yes, generosity when it might be easier to be selfish.”

OUR TAKE: As we’ve opinioned again and again in this blog, you can’t replace the value of high quality products, high quality client service and going the extra mile for your employees, strategic partners and stakeholders.

The bulls eye prioritization system

As Hackett observed, one technique that’s helped him prioritize for short-term, medium term and long term goals is to think of your work life as a bulls eye. “You put now in the center,” and the outer ring is “near” and the furthest ring is “far.” If you analyze your work calendar, how much time do you spend in each of the three zones?  “You’ve got to train yourself to work in all three zones simultaneously.” Unfortunately, it’s human nature to get pulled into the “now,” Hackett argues, and unfortunately at most organizations, the reward systems are build that way. Great leaders, he says, can transcend the short term thinking.

Macro View

Building permits rise to a 4 year high

Last week the Commerce Department reported that new building permits surged 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 units last month, the highest since October 2008. The numbers are yet another signal that the housing market is improving and experts say it could be the first time that home building adds to U.S. economic growth since 2005.

OUR TAKE: What we like about this indicator is that it points to “new” building activity, not just “sales” which in recent years has mean clearing out old inventory of bargain basement homes, factories, office space and apartments. This is potentially real investment activity and shows signs of confidence on both the consumer and business fronts.


As preseason football gets underway, focus hard on your basic blocking and tackling. Nail down the basics before you get too visionary, but again, don’t ever try to cut corners. As a great leader and marketing organization, however, you have to spend a little time up in the film room and up in the coaches tower to get the overview of where you are now and where you are going. No one wants to get blindsided by the unexpected or caught offside for moving to soon and too carelessly.

There are too many competitors, referees and video reviewers watching your every move.


TAGS: TAGS: Building permits, Commerce Department, Seth Godin, James Hackett, Steelcase, cutting corners


Friday, August 10, 2012

Researchers Find Email Open Rates Down, CTR Up
Here’s why that’s good, not bad, for B2B marketers

As expected, researchers continue to hammer on the fact that MEASURED email open rates are dropping again, even though click through rates and unsubscribe rates are improving. According to the latest findings from email service provider,
Silverpop, email open rates trended downwards again from an average of 21.3 percent in 2009 to 19.9 percent through the first quarter of this year.

“The decrease can be tied to a number of industry developments, namely email service technology that blocks HTML imagery, and features such as Gmail’s Priority Inbox (or similar third-party add-ons,” according to Bryan Brown, Silverpop’s director of product strategy in a statement.

Researchers did find some encouraging signs however. For instance, click-through rates averaged 5.4 percent in 2011 and 2012 -- up from a 2009 average of 4.5 percent. “Click-through rates are a key measure for email efficacy -- more so than open rates -- and the notable increase in CTR can be attributed to a simultaneous increase in automated A/B testing,” Brown explained.

Our Take: Unless you’re selling mass audience brand d advertising or sponsorships, open rates on your email don’t matter if no one is taking action after they open. In fact, it could be a sign that you’re seductive subject lines (that got the reader to open) isn’t delivering on what you promise. We can’t say enough about the importance of engagement and if we take the liberty of extrapolating on Silverpop’s data, you’ll see a nice improvement in the CLICK-to-OPEN ratio over the measured period—27.1 percent up from 21.1 percent!


Engagement will trump “McMetrics” such as the open rate every time. Lots of factors affect your open rate that don’t necessarily have to do with the quality of your list and the relevance of your content. Remember to focus on what you NEED to measure, not on what’s EASY to measure.


Silverpop, Email open rates, click through rates, CTR, click to open, McMetrics