Friday, 24 April 2009


During my freshman year of college I was in a writing class that proved to be quite the challenge creatively. I was assigned a paper –  which I wanted to ace, of course -- but every time I sat down in front of my computer: nothing. Not one word would flow from my head to my fingers and onto the computer screen – except my name. Time and time again, I was stuck, left frustrated and lacking confidence.


After days of torturing myself, I went to my professor for some guidance. While I was meeting with her she told me that during college, first jobs, and even just in life we need to step back, take a deep breath and allow ourselves to be inspired. She told me when she felt a bad case of writers block, a sour mood or a lack of confidence she would go to what she dubbed her “inspiration box.”


Inside this box she put anything that pushed her creative buttons and anything that made her happy. It could be as simple as a quote scribbled on paper or as individualistic as a childhood toy. She told me to go back to my dorm, take a deep breath and to find what inspires me and create my own box. I still have my “inspiration box” and I often find myself adding new quotes, images from old movies, dresses from runway shows, color swatches, event planning ideas, art, words I love (seriously, check out the word “halcyon.” It’s a gem), encouraging letters from friends and family, photographs, song lyrics, recipes, fonts, and the occasional photograph of George Clooney (a girl can dream, right?) 


The box is something I truly treasure. Anytime I’m lacking creativity, confidence or when I’m a little down, I open the box. I’m immediately inspired.  Since the economy is in a downturn, unemployment is on the rise, and even everyday life has its bumps, I think everyone should have an “inspiration box” or something similar that allows us all to take a deep breath and dive into our own creative euphoria.





Sunday, 19 April 2009

Never Ending, Always Pending: A New Motto for Marketers?

Remember the movie, Groundhog Day? In it, Bill Murray plays a haughty TV weatherman assigned to cover the "rat," as he calls the world's most famous groundhog who will emerge to look for his shadow. Through some odd twist of fate, Bill's character continues to repeat the same day over and over, much to his chagrin and extreme aggravation.

In recent months, I have begun to have my own Groundhog Day experience, as I repeatedly jump to write creative proposals for new projects that just won't seem to materialize.

Without a doubt, the economy is the "rat" in this scenario, forcing even the most ambitious of companies to delay their marketing plans. "Maybe next quarter" is the all-too-common response to these never-ending, always-pending proposals for new business.

"Never Ending, Always Pending." Hmm. Has a good rhythm to it. It even rhymes. And when repeated in a sing-songy voice, it kind of lifts the spirit of a frustrated marketing professional. Perhaps I've stumbled on a new motto for marketers during these turbulent times?

Lest it sound like I'm whining, I'm not. It certainly could be worse. After all, these potential clients could actually be saying, "No." That would be bad. But they're not. They're just delaying their decisions.

For an eternal optimist like me, "Never Ending, Always Pending" prolongs hope. I know times are tough. Budgets are being cut. Clients and potential clients long to implement the oh-so-amazing marketing plans our team is proposing, even if they can't right now. I also know that eventually, the economy will improve, money will begin to flow again and these projects may come to fruition.

In the meantime, just as Bill Murray's character eventually accepts what he cannot change and reexamines his priorities, this "Never Ending, Always Pending" phase presents an opportunity to learn, grow and become even more creative. Which will enable us to be even more effective in helping clients take advantage of the next boom!

Saturday, 11 April 2009


Of course, the economy is on everyone's mind these days. It's also on mine. However, something happened two years ago that changed my path in life. My 2 year old son was diagnosed with autism. After a period of mourning, my world changed. A friend told me "Now is not the time to think of your feelings, but to put those aside and focus on your son, and doing whatever it takes to give him the best future possible." At the time, I thought it was a bit cold and insensitive. I wanted pity. But, when the dust settled, I realized she was right. Once the shock and devastation wore off, I moved forward. I researched and researched and became determined to do whatever my son needed to assure a productive and fulfilling future for him.

2 years later, I am a more determined person. Everything I thought my future would be is not. I never dreamt of raising a child with autism, or fighting for his education, or helping other mothers in those delicate days following a diagnosis. But, I do. The autism community is one that I am proud to be associated with. Parents join together and offer advice, compassion and motivation on a daily basis. There are days when this network of "mother warriors" gives me hope and helps me dust off those bad days and get back to work.

I don't think any of us thought we would ever be in the midst of a recession in this country. But we are. And, what I've learned from the wonderful group of parents who are struggling with autism, and from my own child, is to never give up! I feel that companies need to stay positive. We need to work together to ensure success. Employees need to be motivated to come to work and produce results -now more than ever. Although some companies are facing the "fight of their life" so to speak, it is possible to make it, to come out on the other side. Hard work, motivation and dedication are crucial to the survival of our economy. I choose to be optimistic about this change in our country, and to plug away everyday, as I do with my son's treatment, and look forward to the success our country will have once the dust settles!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Show, Don't Tell. But show whom?

Last week I presented to ewomennetwork, an amazing group of women who run their own businesses. My presentation was titled "Soar Above the Rest: Smart Ways to Grow Your Business."

I talked about "Show, Don't Tell", one of my favorite methods of doing marketing. I explained that an example of "Show Don't Tell" is taking networking one step beyond by volunteering on a committee or on the board of a relevant organization. That way, people see what you can deliver and trust you with their marketing. Instead of hearing you talk about yourself, you are showing what you can do! When you volunteer, you give others a demonstration of how good your product will be: whether you are dependable, show up on time, follow through with your volunteer commitment and prove your integrity.

What has been on my mind lately since my presentation is the immense number of organizations I've been visiting or have been invited to attend: ewomennetwork, Sales and Marketing Executives International, Alliance for Women in Technology (ATW), WITI, Richardson/Plano/Dallas Chambers of Commerce, Carrollton Networking Group, American Marketing Association, IABC, and on and on. It's overwhelming. So starting today, I'm going to create criteria that will help me decide which to join and which to continue attending. I must consider my objectives: Meeting partners and new vendors, finding new prospects, winning new business, learning about the latest and greatest, branding my company, obtaining a speaking engagement, etc. Okay, here it goes...

My criteria will now be that the organization must:
  • Meet a minimum of 2 of my objectives (e.g. learning and finding new prospects)
  • BrightBlue Marketing will be of the minority in types of companies like ours, such as being the only marketing agency at this networking event
  • Produce ROI after one year of membership
Have you thought about your networking criteria lately? We'd love to hear about YOUR methods.