Sydney Morning Herald shows marketers not taking advantage of the moment
March 7, 2013
This post is by Pam O’Connor a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. Pam is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an AMI Certified Practising Marketer, has lectured for the AAAA, RMIT and is qualified to ‘Train the Trainer’ through the Australian Institute of Management.
With the launch of the weekday editions of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to a tabloid size this week it raises the question as to why marketers did not take more of the opportunity to create advertisements that capitalised on the event.
With around 50 different advertisers appearing across The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Monday’s launch day saw only 3 creating an advertisement associated with the monumental change of the size in the newspaper’s nearly 180 year history.
BMW took the lead by “Change the Way You Move” with six various sized advertisements to promote BMW X1 which included a promotion of a chauffeured driven ride home in a BMW X1.
The Commonwealth Bank played on the change of size to highlight that interest rates often change and promote fixed interest home loans. The advertisement appeared as if it had been originally planned to appeared in a broadsheet newspaper and therefore had been cut off as it did not fit the new tabloid size. A bit lost on many readers as it looked as if it was a printing error but nevertheless a good attempt to focus on the change of the day.
Challenger promoted the ability of annuities to remain stable even if, as the headline read “This paper might shrink but my savings don’t have to.”
Mumbrella reported that Media buyers welcome first Fairfax ‘compact’ edition and data from Commercial Monitors shows that there were more overall number of advertisements on the previous Monday editions, up by 8 in Sydney and 4 in Melbourne.
With a greatly increased print run that was sold out in most outlets across the city by lunchtime, the interest in the newspaper was heightened with the new look. The topical nature of the change was being promoted across the day with publicity and news stories that scrutinised and dissected the new format. Even an evening edition of the tablet version of the newspaper (it almost sounds like the evening Mirror and Herald are being reincarnated).
The interest in special events, be they Royal and celebrity weddings, babies or scandals creates higher news interest be that readers or viewers. Advertisers should not let these opportunities slip through their fingers.
But with the amount of attention and interest being incredibly high only three thought it worthwhile to hone in on the new situation.
Opportunities like this are few and far between and worthy of engagement gold by the advertisers who took advantage of the moment.
Interested to hear your views. Please leave a comment with your thoughts.
The ABC of getting agencies to collaborate with lessons from Dr Suess
March 5, 2013
This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.
Three years ago I was invited to talk to the ISBA COMPAG group on developing and managing collaboration between agencies. This has been a focus for me personally and for TrinityP3 since 2005, when we noticed that one of the big challenges for many marketers was managing their roster of agencies, while most processes and systems looked at only individual supplier relationships and not how to manage these more holistically.
This led to the development of the Evalu8ing system, which allows marketers and procurement to manage the multiple relationships that exist between marketing and their roster of agencies in one survey and one system. The process of using Evalu8ing with our clients has led to insights into the key elements required to create a collaborative environment, or at least a cooperative environment within the agency roster.
Taking a page out of the writings of one of my favourite authors, I was able to present this as the ABC of developing collaborative agency relationships – with grovelling apologies to Dr. Suess.
Here I want to revisit this presentation and expand and update some of the observations in that original presentation, which is here for reference. lets start at the beginning…
BIG A little a what begins with A?
With so many channels and so many specialist agencies, it seems that agency rosters can multiply like coat hangers in your wardrobe. This is because the roster structure evolves organically rather than being strategically planned. What I mean by this is that agencies are often added in response to an immediate need. This is a tactical approach to roster management and means that the suppliers within the roster often do not see a strategic requirement for their services so they are competing for their place in the roster.
While some marketers and procurement people see this as a power advantage, the fear and uncertainty this creates in the suppliers is counterproductive to creating collaboration which is heavily based on trust. Not to mention counterproductive for creativity which likewise requires a high level of trust. This does not mean you cannot have a competitive roster. It is simply that competition in the roster should be positive and not ever at the expense of the trust between the marketers and the agencies.
The game Tug-o-War is a prime example of what can be achieved if a team of people are aligned. However alignment does not occur naturally in large groups of individuals or between multiple teams. Simply putting teams of people together will not create alignment. In fact depending on the diversity of the people within the teams and the diversity between the groups, alignment can be almost impossible unless you create some common, specific, measurable, achievable, short term objectives to which people can align themselves.
In the ideal situation, these would be the short term goals determined in the marketing strategy and then interpreted and defined for each of the agencies to deliver against. This alignment is also encouraged where all of the teams within the roster share in a success based reward.
If you achieve alignment, you cannot simply rely on everything running smoothly. Of course, where it is small teams, it is easy to check in to ensure the relationship is on track. But larger teams and especially where there are multiple marketing teams within the organisation, all accessing and interacting with the same group of agencies on the roster, it is important to have a more rigorous and structured review process and the discipline to regularly review the relationships.
Interestingly, the type of process you use can influence the level of collaboration. You see in many cases people use performances based score cards and questions, where the criteria is specific to the performance of the individual agencies. There is a score card for media and a score card for digital and a score card for creative. This approach immediately positions the agency as a supplier and the marketer as a buyer. It reinforces the power game between the two and often leads to ‘scoring’ points off the agency with low scores.
The other issue is that different score cards for different disciplines focuses the agencies on their personal performance and away from the concept of the collaboration for the benefit of the collective group. This is why all parties should be assessed against common, consistent criteria with a true 360º approach where the marketer is also evaluated based on the same criteria. This is one of the fundamental principles of Evalu8ing as it creates a perfectly even playing field devoid of the power plays so common in other relationship score cards and surveys.
Big B little b what begins with B?
Most agency remuneration models are counter collaborative as they recognise and reward the volume of work undertaken by the agency and not the results delivered. If you are rewarding agencies for the volume of the work they undertake, then you will find that each agency will be competing for more work as a way to increase their revenue. And in an environment of a limited budget it means they are competing with each other for a share of that budget.
This type of competition works against collaboration as each agency is working on bettering their position at the expense of the other agencies you want them to collaborate with. Instead, the bulk of the remuneration should focus on rewarding all the agencies collaborating together for achieving their and hopefully your common goal. The focus should be placed on having all parties align to a measurement of success.
There are a lot of technology companies making a fortune out of selling technology solutions for collaboration. But as my colleague Shawn Callahan at Anecdote has found, there are many reasons these collaboration tools fail to get traction with human beings. And that is a key point about collaboration. It is about relationships between human beings. Collaboration requires those groups of people to share values, share expectations and share their goals and objectives. This requires a high level of trust. Interaction, talking and sharing these objectives provides the opportunity to share learnings from successes and failures. This sharing and bonding builds trust.
The problem is that many times these ‘bonding’ opportunities only occur with account management, and often at the most senior level. Here there are financial and relationship agendas as the account management team of each agency is responsible and held accountable for the profitability and financial growth of the account. Instead, marketers should encourage agency teams to share and bond at all levels and across all disciplines within their agencies. In my experience this is especially effective in creative and production, where the focus is more on outcome than financial performance.
Following on from Arrangement, is the need to set very clear operating boundaries. Often when agencies are appointed to fulfill a tactical need there are no clear boundaries set up in the engagement. This can first of all lead to the incumbent agencies on the roster feeling threatened and secondly the new agency unknowingly overstepping their area of responsibility increasing the perceived threat. This leads to turf wars with the agencies becoming more focused on defending their patch and share of budget and trying to take a share of budget from the other agencies.
To stop turf wars requires rules of engagement in contracts. There needs to be very clear and defined roles and responsibilities. This is not simply in regard to disciplines and services, but also in defining process. We have found that the Engagement Agreement process is an ideal way to work with the agencies to define these role, responsibilities and boundaries, but it also sets expectations and allows the agencies to own the process.
Big C little c what begins with C?
One of the ways agencies are trying to increase revenue is in the diversification of their services and capabilities. This is sometimes achieved through acquisition of another specialist agency or grown through recruitment of key agency staff. But it is almost impossible for any one agency to excel at all of the disciplines they say they provide.
The problem for marketers is in determining what is the core competency of their agency and what is simply a bolt-on competency in an attempt to capture more of your budget. In determining the core capabilities, the best way is to talk with the agencies’ other clients, who use these services and see what they think of the quality. Another way is to simply have the agency present case studies on a regular basis of what they have delivered for others. The main thing is to judge the agency’s core competencies through action not words.
If a rostered agency demonstrates a new competency that allows you to potentially consolidate your roster and remove a specialist, then simply undertake a limited review of that capability between the two in a structured and transparent way. Any other approach and you will encourage distrust and suspicion between the agencies on your roster.
Of course great communication is essential for collaboration. But I want to specifically focus on disputes and dispute resolution. This is because I believe that creativity is like sand in the oyster that creates the pearl, creativity and innovation is prickly by nature and can cause irritation. But managed properly this can create valuable enduring and productive relationships. Therefore a dispute resolution process is essential.
When disputes arise, rather than ignoring these and hoping they go away, it is far more effective to create a forum that allows a free exchange of concerns on issues. This collective ownership of the problem will often produce ideas and innovations that enrich the relationships, the process and ultimately the marketing outcomes.
In the original presentation my last C was collaboration itself. And I reiterated the importance of managing the process by establishing rules and regular management. But more importantly than this is Culture. Collaboration is not simply a process. You can implement a process but that will not mean you will get collaboration.
Collaboration is where two more parties have agreed to work together to achieve a mutual goal where all parties share in the value created. This requires the presence of a culture of collaboration. It means developing mutual trust and shared values. Because if you do not have a desire to share the value of the outcomes you will at best have cooperation or at worst simply coordination. But essential to collaboration is a culture that builds and maintains mutual trust between all parties.
Interested to hear your views on getting collaboration between agencies. Leave a comment with your thoughts.
Reducing expenditure by determining and minimising print obsolescence
March 3, 2013
This post is by Shirley Kirkwood, a Senior Consultant with TrinityP3. Shirley has a unique and diverse career background spanning over 30 years, with proven experience in the print, advertising, publishing, graphics arts, marketing, and corporate arena.
In the past we’ve outlined why low advertising print cost does not necessarily mean great value and one of the factors highlighted that accounts for a great deal of wasted expenditure is the problem of obsolescence.
Whether you are a large multi-national or small to medium business, you’ve most certainly got boxes of now obsolete and excess printed collateral material (not to mention promotional items) stored collecting dust, incurring warehouse storage fees or simply taking up valuable real estate somewhere.
I’ve seen an on obscene amount of obsolete print (and promotional items) sentenced to destruction and equating to hundreds, thousands even millions of advertising and marketing budgeted dollars.
Here are a few steps to spring cleaning out what’s lurking in your cupboards, setting up responsibilities and ordering sensibly:
STEP 1. Perform an Audit
Be aware and informed.
Identify what you own, where it’s located and how much it’s worth.
While you may think you know exactly what you own and where they are located you may be surprised by what you discover once your investigation is complete. Here is what you need to do:
- Involve your suppliers and key stakeholders. Find out where your stock items are located – this includes warehouses, retail stores, branches, head office storerooms and third party suppliers.
- Obtain stock reports from all stockholders. At a minimum this report should include stock item codes, title, version date, quantity on hand (in unit of measure), last order date activity, any backorder requests.
- Establish if the stock has been paid for. In some situations the supplier (particularly in the case of some generic items such as stationery and promotional elements) may be in a contractual arrangement where the stock is owned by them until the marketer draws down on the item. This may mean any obsolete stock that is identified may need firstly to be paid for by the marketer (and accrued against someone’s expenditure budget) before it is made obsolete.
Once you have compiled this information someone needs to review the item and make a decision on whether it should be retained or made obsolete.
STEP 2. Ownership and Accountability
Every item produced, ordered and stored for your company should have an owner. The major stakeholder or requester of the item, a person who is responsible for it’s lifecycle and the budget it is allocated to. If you already have good stock item husbandry measures in place – congratulations you should already know who the stock owner is, if you don’t you may need to go to step 3 and then come back to this step.
While stock ownership is easy at the commencement of the items generation, as staff (owners) move on within a company or leave, the stock item quickly becomes like a temper throwing child in a shopping centre – no one wants to take responsibility for it, which is why it is advisable to allocate the division’s cost centre to the item, ensuring the item doesn’t become a hot potato that just keeps being passed around with no actions or decisions made on its fate.
Even with ownership allocated, the decision to obsolete an item is difficult for a lot of people for various reason such as:
- Fear of retribution whether legitimately (ie they have been negligently forecasting or deciding on quantities) or
- Because they think it might be useful later, but very rarely is, or
- They are one of the 2- 5% of Australians who Swinburne University estimate are hoarders, in which case you will need to fess up and delegate this accountability to someone else.
Ok – so you’ve determined what you have and who is taking responsibility for it,
STEP 3. Review stock report and samples
Obtain samples of all stock items (and each version) – start by requesting these from your main warehouse supplier/s.
You can use this batch of items to cross reference to other stock holders’ stock reports without making them provide samples. However, anything any stock holder has that does not have a stock code/version date identified you will also need a physical sample, just to ensure you are not making a decision on something you think it might be.
Sometimes a digital photo can suffice if there is any doubt rather than incurring logistics and courier fees.
Now the identified stock owner needs to physically review the element and determine if it is still relevant, up to date and if it will be required for the future (and if so, by whom). This process can take a while and includes engaging with other existing and potential stakeholders.
A word on stock codes and version control
It’s simple, but you’d be surprised how some businesses still don’t include (or it has been forgotten ) a stock item code (or key number) and version date on an item.
Having this provides a quick and simple way of identifying an item (from concept to obsolescence) and determining if the item is valid, without having to trawl through the content to then decide if the item is still relevant or superseded and therefore now obsolete. Smart operators include an expiry date for the item if known, i.e. end of a promotion/offer and log this in their inventory system, which will then appear on stock reports, making for easy obsolescence decisions.
STEP 4. Make a decision
Be honest and brave.
Now, you’ve made a decision to obsolete an item, calculate the value of the obsolescence (value of stock x quantity on hand).
Inevitably, the value of this stock obsolescence will be confronting to many owners and a possible revelation to business unit managers. For whatever reason the item which was made obsolete along with the value of obsolescence should be tracked and managed for future financial accountability, KPI reporting and monitoring.
Formalise your decision in writing using a standardised template and circulate to all parties requesting that the item be obsoleted and removed from their inventory.
STEP 5 – Obsoleting an item
Don’t just ask your stock holder to “bin the items”. Ensure you know what is actually going to happen with the unwanted items and that they are being destroyed, recycled responsibly. Paper and cardboard is easily recycled but consider the options for some of the other items you might be wanting to make obsolete.
I’ve seen (and recycled, repurposed) lots of promotional type items, everything from branded t-shirts, plastic drink bottles (which leaked and goes to show the importance of quality control particularly in offshore supply, but that’s another story) to large scale acrylic/metal point of sale material destined for landfill which is not only environmentally unsound but also corporately irresponsible. Seek advice (the original supplier or your warehouse are usually good places to start) as there are many simple ways of being responsible and in some cases even making back some money , although I wouldn’t go factoring profit into any budget. Request your stockholder to report on how they destroy or recycle the item and capture this information in a central system such as the logistics system.
Don’t forget to ensure a few hard copies are retained in an appropriate place for posterity, nostalgia and those award entries, particularly on the more creative and technically diverse pieces.
One expects by this stage - the electronic files which where created for the items production have been archived off. Add to this a digital image of the final item in various poses. These can be filed by item code, date, title etc and can be useful for referencing at a glance using a content management system.
It’s funny, often through pure coincidence, how concepts and creative ideas often emulate something that may have been executed months or even years ago. This doesn’t mean that it’s not still a great concept because it has been done before but it is prudent as a marketer to be able to refer back to a previous piece and see how it was executed, how effective it was and it’s ROI before leaping down that path again.
STEP 6. Sensible quantity ordering of existing and new stock items
The best way to avoid obsolescence and reduce waste is to be more accurate with your stock ordering.
Engage with other key stakeholders (ie sales, marketing, production) regularly to determine up to date quantity requirements. Don’t just assume past quantities are still valid on existing stock items.
Sure, unit cost and quantity are linked but unless the stock item you are printing is a generic piece, which is likely to have longevity and not require any amendments (due to changes in your business, product or even errors), it is not advisable to print more than 12 months stock, maximum! Six months stock of such an item is standard however each item should be reviewed on a case by case basis taking into account production lead times, unit cost, projected quantity usage.
Ideally the value of each item created should have a unit cost associated and this should be captured not only against your budget but also in your warehouse logistics system and reports along with at least:
- Version date (i.e. the date the item was produced or amended)
- Expiry date of item (this may be actual or expected and monitored regularly).
- Unit cost, unit of measure (single, bundle of 25 etc), quantity on hand, value of stock
- Reorder trigger quantity (based on leadtime and projected usage and monitored regularly).
In the case of promotional items and complex printed pieces (books, point of sale items) resist the urge to look just at unit cost of an item and think you might need 2,000 items when you only need 1500, because sometimes making these items obsolete responsibly can be cost ineffective.
If using a database to determine print quantity (ie for a direct mail piece) – ensure you have cleaned your data and have your mailhouse dedupe and run it against the various Australia Post AMAS programs to determine valid and accurate addresses before determining the final quantity for your print run. This means you need to do your data preparation before you order any preprinted base stock.
Of course, always allow “overs” which is usually 5- 10% of the total print quantity depending on complexity and number of processes required to produce and despatch the piece (embellishments, hand work, fulfilment etc). Check with your suppliers what overs they require or recommend.
Don’t forget samples – check with all the principle stakeholders (agency, supplier, marketer, customers) if they require samples, but be cautious as on high cost complex items this can add up. Make sure you allocate a couple of extra samples on items that you may wish to enter for that award later.
Your proposed usage quantity plus overs, plus samples will give you a final quantity on which to base your estimate request and eventual order.
STEP 7. Set up and Repeat
Be vigilant with your spring cleaning.
Set up an obsolescence process and action this every 3, 6 or at a maximum, 12 months, depending on your inventory holding. The more regularly you do it the easier and less time consuming it gets.
Now, simply repeat Steps 1 to 6 (or Steps 3 to 5 if you’ve set up your stock items well) and watch your logistics costs reduce because you are not paying for unnecessary space and your print costs reduce because ordering has become more responsible and accountable.
So, put on that apron, don your rubber gloves, get out that broom and bucket and get to it!
If you would like to know more about setting up an Obsolesence Process please contact us and if you would like to know more about preparing data for variable digital printing contact your supplier or leave a comment here and I’ll write an article providing tips and pitfalls.
The author acknowledges that no actual cleaning products have been used or housework performed during the creation of this blog. Furthermore, she acknowledges that she has never been responsible (or will be) for any tantrum throwing child being subjected upon shopping centre patrons.
Why marketing is becoming the new ring master of the content strategy
February 28, 2013
This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.
Firstly I want to be very clear of what we are talking about when we refer to content strategy. Because often content is interpreted as media content such as programming and films. But in fact content has a much broader definition.
Content strategy basically is the development or procurement of brand related content (anything that represents the brand experience – advertising, public relations video, text, music, software, etc) that is then used or made available to consumers to engage them in the brand experience and encourages them to share those experiences with others.
In the past 12 months we have had increasing numbers of marketers approach us to discuss how they should restructure their marketing department and their supplier roster to embrace and implement a content strategy for their brands.
The first issue is having them clearly articulate their understanding of a content strategy and how they may see that evolving. From this we can then begin to develop a clear understanding of their current state and propose a future state that can deliver this content strategy vision.
Often this vision is not fully formed. This is understandable as the process requires a complete transformation of the role of marketing from the traditional broadcast / publishing approach to brand management to a test and learn approach.
In this process, it requires the marketers themselves to rethink not only their role in the process, but also how this impacts on the way they work with internal stakeholders and external suppliers.
There have been many different metaphors proposed for the roles of the marketer in this process.
The Royal Court
There is a monarch sitting on the throne, surrounded by courtiers and advisors on how to run their kingdom. They take advice, consider the options and then make proclamations.
I have known several CMOs that embody this metaphor. But largely it is, like a monarchy ruler, largely outdated and ceremonial. It places marketing at a distance from their subjects, the consumer and has a patriarchal overtones that are more reminiscent of the broadcast / publishing model.
i.e. Here we are, smugly superior in the castle, dispatching proclamations to our subjects, the consumer, hoping they will not revolt.
The Army General
Military metaphors abound in marketing of old. Target audiences and Campaigns the most obvious. And that is the trouble with being the General, your mission is to defeat your enemy with all the resources you have at your disposal.
But now, through social media, the enemy, your consumer and customers are fighting back. It is a battle and the problem is that with so many choices the worst thing that can happen is they no longer even fight back, they simply ignore you completely.
The Football Coach
Second only to military metaphors in marketing are the sporting metaphors. And not just marketing, these metaphors are still used in business.
Kicking goals is the role of everyone in sales and marketing. But who is the team we are trying to beat? It is not our customers, they are in the stands, waiting to see who the winner is. They cheer on the side they support. So it must be the competitor, or better phrased, competitors, because there are many more than ever before.
In this scenario, marketing communications is a performance between the various brands with the consumer looking on. But the fact is most marketing is developed for the consumer and not the competitor.
The Orchestra Conductor
This was proposed last year in AdAge in regards to the way a marketer should consider how they manage and work with the growing number of agencies and suppliers on the brand roster.
There is the rarified air of the concert hall, the marketers lays out the marketing plan in the form of the strategy. In most cases it is a tried and tested classical favourite guaranteed to draw the audience, the consumer. As the conductor it is the marketers role to ensure the various agencies work in harmony to maximise the experience of the performance. And at the end the audience applauds in relation to their level of delight and politely leaves.
As a metaphor it is more focused on the maximisation of the performance, which is the context it was delivered in the article. But it is still largely a one way performance and lacks the dynamics of the modern market place.
The Circus Ringmaster
Sure, circuses are largely old hat and for children. But circuses like Circus de Soleil and a the like have and are constantly reinventing the circus experience in response to the audience demand.
The circus ringmaster has a role to manage the event, but they are not responsible for developing each and every performance (content). That is the role of the individual artists (content providers). The ringmaster chooses the mix of performances, schedules the performances and does so in response to delivering the audience a brand experience that they all share.
Ideally it will be entertaining, informative and surprising. The audience will gasp, and cheer and applaud and interact throughout. And while the ringmaster is not centre stage, as the focus is on the performers, the ringmaster is just off to the right listening to what resonates and what does not. While as a metaphor for marketers, the ringmaster is not perfect, it does capture the dynamics and interactions. They measure success through customer feedback and the door takings.
What it does provide is a vision for the role of the marketer in this new paradigm. One that reflects the role of the marketer and the relationship with suppliers, agencies and most importantly the customer.
The Social Activist
Here the marketer is stimulating the crowd with content messages and looking for the patterns and opportunities in the crowd activity to maximise the impact and effectiveness of the action with interventions and co-ordination.
What do you think? Is there a metaphor that is even better at defining this role? Let me know by leaving an example and your thoughts as a comment here.
5 effective ways to build your LinkedIn network
February 26, 2013
This post is by Paul Kent – a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. Paul has over fifteen years experience in the media and advertising industry in both Europe and Australia. His career has spanned across both the agency and media side of the business giving him valuable insights into changing communications landscape.
So we all know LinkedIn is great for getting a job, snooping on who has just changed jobs and essentially feeling like a connected member of the professional class.
As of November 2012 there were +175 million users on LinkedIn up 58 million from 2011 combining to generate 5 billion searches over the course of the year. Surely they are not all looking for a new job?
Like any Social Media platform LinkedIn takes a little commitment but once up and running it can open up a world of networking opportunity. So here are ’5 (Very) Basic Tips to help you grow your LinkedIn network’.
The ‘People You May Know’ feature is a great place to start – any self-respecting LinkedIn veteran is forever scouring this nifty little tab for fresh connections.
Another handy way to build up a pool of potential connections is to ‘make friends with the popular kid’ – those users with 500+ connections. Are they actively engaging with all 500-plus connections? Almost certainly not. However connecting to them provides you with the opportunity to scour their connections and you can connect with anyone of them as you have a second degree connection.
Depending on your industry and objectives for LinkedIn one new connection a day is a good target. LinkedIn allows you to send 3,000 invitations so you should not run out…
2. Be Personable
Even if it someone that you do not know directly, always send a personalised invitation to connect. The standard ‘I would like to add you to my LinkedIn network’ invitation is fine but hardly screams ‘This could be the start of a beautiful friendship’.
Particularly powerful when approaching those you do not know personally is to include in your invitation mention of joint connections, how you believe you can assist each other or how much you have appreciated their posts.
You may not be invited around for a BBQ (do you want to go anyway?) but the personal touch does reflect a genuine desire to connect as opposed to a ‘numbers game’.
3. Stay Consistent
Every time you login to LinkedIn you will generally notice the same faces active – about 1/3rd of members access the site daily – these are the ‘Super Engagers’. They simply love the site for its ability to connect with their chosen network and build their ‘personal brand’.
The general rule-of-thumb is three updates a day. If you can find the time on Facebook to share photos of your sushi lunch then you can probably afford the time to build your professional profile with engaging content.
4. Be Authentic
Following on from the above point – make sure your personal brand is authentic.
If people have connected with you then it is for a reason – justify that decision. There are those users in every network (you know who they are) that take the quantity over quality approach to LinkedIn. Any chance to get their name up to the top they take it – if there is a post on the ‘Mating Habits of Atlantic Salmon’ they repost to their network. All well and good if you work in the fisheries department but relatively useless (and potentially damaging to your brand profile) if your network consists of Telecommunications Executives who wouldn’t know a Salmon from a Shark.
If you repost something make a personal comment about why people should take time out of their busy schedules to read – they will not thank you for wasting their time but they will if the post is of value.
5. Be A Team Player
This is an oldie but a goodie.
LinkedIn groups are increasingly popular forums to engage with peers, thought-leaders and the opinionated. As above, less is more, limit your participation to three to five groups that you can actively participate in by adding value, posting comment and asking questions.
The LinkedIn Group search feature is pretty handy in helping find forums that will interest you and in which you can again build that personal profile. Another short-hand search option is by filtering searches to find out which groups your connections belong to.
So there you go – simple but effective. By building your network on LinkedIn now, you can always draw on it if and when you need it later to get that new job. Unfortunately too many marketers neglect their own personal brand marketing until it is too late.
How reflective of your skills, experience and network is your current LinkedIn profile?
Perhaps a good place to start is to connect with the TrinityP3 consultants you know:
- Anita Zanesco
- Anton Buchner
- Chris Sewell
- Clive Duncan
- Darren Woolley
- Georgia Suttie
- Jodi Randall
- Les Margulis
- Mahesh Enjeti
- Nathan Hodges
- Nick Hand
- Pam O’Connor
- Paul Kent
- Shirley Kirkwood