With Job Titles – Perception is Reality

With Job Titles – Perception is Reality

Not too long ago my daughter asked what my job title is. When I told her that, since I own the company, I don’t really have one, she was completely perplexed. I’m a founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, and director of marketing all rolled into one with a few other jobs mixed in. She then asked if I’m Rob’s boss. Rob is our president and my co-founder. When I said “no” I could tell she was struggling with making sense of it all.

We live in a world where everyone is assigned a job title that helps us understand what their role is in the company. My wife is a teacher. Pretty simple, right? Rob’s wife is a data scientist for a pharmaceutical company. That title may not be as crystal clear as “teacher” or “carpenter” but most would have somewhat of an understanding of what she does based on her title.

Rob and I are perfectly fine with not having a specific title beyond president & CEO that tells the world exactly what we do with Mamu Media on a day to day basis. However, according to an article on Quartz at Work, some millennials will forgo up to $10,000 in annual salary for a job that has a more appealing job title.

Strategic Uses of Branded Magazines

Sponsored Magazine

When you hear the term “branded magazines,” your first thought is probably of print magazines that are customized with an organization’s name and sent out to a mailing list. That’s a pretty accurate assessment—but it isn’t a complete picture.

We’ve pointed out how print is a powerful medium that lets companies keep their messaging from getting drowned in the fast-moving river of digital content. Because digital content is free (or nearly free) to create and distribute, everyone’s doing it. But how much of that content actually gets noticed? If you think about how quickly you yourself hit the delete key whenever an advertisement lands in your own inbox, you’ll realize that everyone else is doing the same thing. We’re inundated with digital content these days and barely notice most of it—and that’s why print media can stand out.

But when some bit of digital content does catch your eye, how much of an impression does it make on you? Thanks to haptics, print media has a huge leg up on digital media in this regard: the act of physically handling the content vehicle (a printed magazine) increases the reader’s engagement with it and ability to retain the messaging.

Clearly, getting print magazines into the hands of clients and prospects is a great way for your company to connect with those audiences. A printed piece that arrives in the mail can have a powerful impact!

But don’t rely solely on the mail to get the job done. Remember, businesses are built on relationships—and successful companies work constantly at creating and strengthening relationships with their clients, prospects, and other target audiences. And one of the most effective tools for working on a relationship is direct, person-to-person contact.

No doubt you already know the impact of an in-person visit—with a handshake, eye contact, and time spent together in the same space. Now imagine making that visit with branded magazines in hand.

We’ve long suggested using branded magazines as marketing tools for in-person sales calls. At a professional conference last fall, we met with a client who does just that. One of the tools her organization’s sales team highlights in its market engagement is its branded version of our bimonthly hard-copy magazine HR Insights.

The sales team loves the magazine because it gives them a reason to visit their clients. Hand delivering the latest issue gets them in the door and having a conversation. In-person visits are a time-tested method for maintaining business relationships—and one that especially stands out in an era of mass communications.

Companies also know that in order to maintain their business relationships, they must continue to add value beyond the staffing they provide. Sometimes, this takes the form of positioning themselves as innovators, sharing information about industry-specific trends, or informing clients about relevant legislative updates, for example. Sending this information to clients through the mail in a branded magazine already distinguishes those companies from those that rely exclusively on digital mass mailings. Delivering that information in person sets that apart from the competition even more.

Would you like to learn more about how your organization can leverage branded magazines as outreach tools by incorporating them into in-person visits? Mamu Media can help you develop effective strategies for this. Contact us to find out how!

Leveraging the Power of Narrative to Win Clients

the power of narrative in marketing

Have you ever turned on the television “for just a few minutes,” stumbled upon a show already in progress, and been so riveted that you had to watch it to the end? Or have you ever picked up a book as bedtime reading and found it so interesting that you completely lost track of time until a few hours later? That’s the power of a narrative.

Narratives draw us in. They engage us. They grab our attention and encourage us to reflect on where we are—and where we might go.

Businesses have long used the power of narratives in their outreach campaigns. The famous 1979 Coca-Cola television commercial with “Mean” Joe Greene told a complete story that resonated with viewers (and had countless people wishing they were at the receiving end of the “Hey, kid—catch!” line). More recently, an IKEA ad for a lamp not only told a story, but poked some fun at the fact that the public actually expects to find narratives in advertisements.

You don’t have to hire a film crew to tell a good story, though. More and more companies are using print magazines as outreach and marketing vehicles—and enjoying tremendous success with these efforts.

Last week, for example, I caught up with one Mamu Media client who’s using our branded magazines to open new doors. We’ve been working with this client to create semi-custom magazines, a type of publication that includes some original content by the client or by other relevant organizations.

Mamu Media develops a strategy tailored for each client’s specific needs, and in every issue this particular client (a staffing agency) runs a custom article about one of its own customers. These “company profiles” each tell a story about an organization—what it does, how our client is connected to it, what people are involved with it, how it has succeeded in its market, etc.

One recent issue featured a cover story about “Company X,” a business that saw its longstanding problems with staffing turnover disappear after developing a relationship with my client. While reading that article about “Company X,” the HR director of a different organization found that she was able to relate to the stories in that article. Her company has similar staffing concerns, so she reached out to my client to see if he could help stabilize her organization’s workforce as well.

Not only is he hearing directly from other company representatives who’ve read the stories in his magazine, but my client reported to me that numerous prospective customers have also been reaching out to “Company X” to ask about him. Happily, “Company X” is thrilled with my client’s work and is happy to serve as a positive reference and send more organizations his way!

At Mamu Media, our top priority is to help our clients succeed in their fields. We thrive on figuring out and implementing ways to improve our clients’ outreach to and connection with their customers and with prospective clients. Knowing that our client is doing well is all the thanks we need. But when a client goes out of his or her way to tell me, “Thanks Mike. This is the best content we have seen in the industry,” I have to admit being a bit thrilled about that, too!

If You Want to Be Innovative, You Need to Walk the Walk

Innovative in business

I’ve written before about how important it is for anyone who wants to succeed in business to keep learning. Regardless of what field you’re in, if you want to stay at the front of the pack you need to keep expanding your knowledge base so you’re ready for whatever comes your way.

I take this advice to heart myself and stay abreast of new developments not only in publishing and marketing but also in the areas of interest to Mamu Media’s clients (such as staffing, sales, and HR). By paying attention to trends and news in my clients’ business areas, I’m better positioned to offer them excellent service.

Earlier this month, for example, I attended a staffing conference in San Diego. (I will be the first to admit that although I was there primarily to learn from and network with people in that field, I didn’t mind too terribly that attending this gathering required me to trade Pennsylvania winter for California sun for a few days!) The presentations, panels, booths, and conversations there all reinforced my belief in one of the hard truths of this industry: all staffing companies want to be different, but most of them are all pretty much the same.

“Unique” and “innovative” are hot buzzwords today, but most companies fail to live up to that self-description. Every firm wants to claim to be distinct from all the others, but the reality is that most staffing companies are saying the same things to the same companies and recruiting from the same candidate pool as everyone else.

Standing out from the crowd involves more than just saying, “We stand out from the crowd.” Companies who want to be genuinely different need to know what’s going in their industry—and then say and do something new.

Mamu Media’s publications offer one powerful (and affordable) way for firms to be unique. I’ve often discussed the effectiveness of our magazines vis-a-vis other marketing and outreach media, and although print is a remarkably successful communication tool, it’s still a fairly new and innovative tool in the marketing tool kit. Companies that recognize its value and have become our clients are getting a leg up on their competitors.

At the San Diego conference, for example, one of our clients gave a presentation on what works (and what doesn’t work) in marketing her staffing services. She explained the value of leveraging a branded HR magazine in her marketing efforts: “The HR and Labor Insights publications allow us to have new conversations that are relevant to the challenges the person we’re calling is facing. And these challenges often have nothing to do with staffing. We finally have some new and relevant material to discuss on a call.”

Not only do branded publications help your clients stay up to date with the important information in their fields, but it provides them with a great option for connecting with their clients by giving them a great reason to "drop in" every other month to hand-deliver the latest issue.

In 2015 the staffing industry grew 2.6% over the previous year. It’s been growing steadily for quite a while now and shows no signs of slowing, which means that more and more new firms are entering the market. Companies that are able to find true innovation—by leveraging their knowledge of cutting-edge research and practices, by finding ways to have new business-relevant conversations with the same old prospects, and by using methods to engage their audiences—will have an edge over their rivals in this highly competitive field.

Why Your Sales “Strategies” Aren’t Working

Sales Strategies

Last week I wrote about taking stock of the state of my business—a common practice among companies during the first few weeks of a new year. Figuring out what did (and didn’t) work in the past year is a critical step toward formulating a plan for the year ahead.

If you, too, are taking some time to evaluate your organization’s current practices and direction, don’t forget to challenge the status quo. I’m not saying to ditch everything you do. Rather, examine your practices critically. Ask yourself, “Is this really effective?” and “Is there a better way to do things?”

This is especially important when you’re trying to increase your staffing sales. How many times have you heard a salesperson say, “This strategy always works” or “That strategy will have the clients knocking on our door”? No doubt you’ve come across plenty of sales strategies, suggestions, and practices during your career. Whether you’ve just heard about them, seen them in action by others, or tried them out yourself, though, they actually weren’t strategies.

  • Having recruiters pick up the phone during a lull in job orders to see if any former clients are hiring is not a strategy.

  • Hiring a new sales representative is not a strategy.

  • Undercutting your competitors’ rates is not a strategy.

  • Sending the 5,000 contacts in your sales database a marketing e-mail that teases them with a list of “hot candidates” is not a strategy.

  • Sponsoring thought-leadership events is not a strategy.

  • Advertising on the side of a bus or buying billboard space out in center field is not a strategy.

  • Riding the elevators in an office building to drop off cards or make in-person cold calls is not a strategy.

  • Religiously attending monthly meetings at your local SHRM chapter or even becoming one of its board members is not a strategy.

  • Developing and sharing with your clients a local salary guide for your market is not a strategy.

  • Posting on social media relevant information about your company and fun pictures of the office is not a strategy.

  • Offering better pay and benefits than your competitors is not a strategy.

  • Sending a hard-copy HR-themed magazine published by your company to your clients and prospects is not a strategy.

  • Writing a monthly blog post is not a strategy.

“What do you mean?” you may be thinking. “Those sure look like strategies to me!”

Here’s the thing: each one of those practices is actually just a tool in your sales toolkit. In any field—whether you’re doing carpentry, marketing, baking, sales, whatever—some tools are more effective than others (especially under particular circumstances). But in all cases, tools are what you use to achieve a goal. To achieve a goal, you need a plan for how to get there. And that plan is a strategy.

The tools listed above can be used to develop relationships, build your brand recognition, augment your web presence, and even bring in new business. But if you use those tools without a strategy, at best your results will suffer—and at worst you’ll find yourself spinning in circles.

So as you take a good hard look at your company, if you get the impression that your “strategy” is actually is a hodgepodge of techniques that lack unity and direction, then it’s time to reevaluate the current state of affairs. Figure out what your goal is, then figure out your strategy for getting there. And then decide what tools to use.