What Makes a Great Event for Marketing Your Business?

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What Makes a Great Event for Marketing Your Business?

As I work with small and medium businesses, many are using events to help drive business. The events vary in type, size and purpose. Some events are designed to introduce new products or staff, while others are designed to increase awareness of the company’s capabilities. Once you know your desired outcome, follow the recommendations below and you can host a results producing event for your organization.Event Marketing by J.R. Atkins

For the event to be successful at producing results, use the three C’s: Content, Cocktails & Connections

Content, as in Social Media, is the primary driver of results. What will your guests hear, see or do at your event? The more your guests are involved, the greater likelihood that your event will create a lasting impression. Some examples of content: a noteworthy speaker, not necessarily the CEO, such as a customer or a professional presenter who can talk about you and your company so you don’t hype yourself. Have entertainment such as a musical combo playing quietly, or a comedian warming up the crowd before your speaker. Remember you want to inform and entertain the audience.

Cocktails or unique beverages such as flavored tea will help ease people into conversation. When your audience is freely talking they are usually enjoying themselves. Warning – Make sure you have a good sound system for your presentation as people often continue their discussion during your presentation. No one enjoys or learns from a presentation they cannot hear.

Connections are the second driver of results. The people we meet impacts our business and personal lives. Think of inviting “noteworthy” people for your guests to meet or connect people who should meet one another. Then tell them in advance you would like to introduce them at the event.J.R. Atkins recomend Events to grow your business

Once you have planned your event, the next task is to fill the room and to do this use the letters “ALV” or Awareness, Location and Value.

Awareness can best be understood by asking yourself “How many people know about my event.” How will you make others aware? A few suggestions to consider: Mail an invitation. Yes, “snail mail” still works. Email, 2 to 3 times leading up to the event. Send the first one at least 3 weeks out so people can “save the date.” Online tools such as Websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and MeetUp are good tools to get the word out. If your event is on a larger scale you may consider advertising in local journals or trade publications that your target audience reads.

Location in itself can be a deciding factor in your audience choosing to attend your event. A new venue such as a hotel, restaurant or bar can be a big draw. Many business people don’t get to the hot clubs unless there is a special event. Plus, clubs and bars often have very light or no traffic in the hours at the end of the workday.

Value, as perceived by the invited guests, is critical to saying yes to the invitation. Value is often seen as being entertained, being held in esteem to or honored, or a feeling of being special. Another way value is viewed is “how will this help me or my business.” If the invited guests see value in attending your event, then they are more likely to go. Value can be created via the program, other guests and your presence.Professional speaker J,R. Atkins

Lastly, a few comments about “How To” and cost. If you are new to event planning, get help! You can find event planners that cost you nothing and others that charge a substantial fee and deliver startling results. Look online for best practices in event planning, write out the details with a time line, involve your staff and for peace of mind, give yourself plenty of time.

I look forward to hearing and reading your comments on using events to drive business results. You can share them by email, blog, or phone at 214-707-1705.

Events Worth Considering

06-29-30 DFW Rocks Social Media with J.R. Atkins
06-30-30 DFW Rocks Social Media
07-02-13 Fostering a Tech Startup Culture
07-04-13 Concerts at the Arboretum
07-08-13 Rena Pederson, The Burma Chronicles
07-09-13 Social Media & Your Career with J.R. Atkins
07-10-13 Facebook Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-11-13 DFW AMA Meet & Greet
07-11-13 Rolling Stones Cover Band
07-16-13 Learning from Iraq
07-17-13 Digital Dallas ~ Digital DUMBO
07-17-13 Film Screening: Not My Life
07-20-13 5th Annual Little Black Dress Event
07-24-13 LinkedIn Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-30-13 Last Tues Happy Hr @ The Ritz

Every Sunday 8:30 pm Perspective Pulse with Ashley Berges & J.R. Atkins on KLIF 570 AM and the iHeartRadio App.


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Who are your Advisors?

As a new year begins, many people have their mind on New Year’s resolutions, goals, wrapping up last year, and focusing on the new year. During this time my mind drifted to the role advisors play in our lives.

Build a better 2013 with Advisors by J.R. Atkins

For some people, they claim they have not advisors, yet these people can be found talking to bar tenders into the night or discussing politics with friends and neighbors. However they appear or whatever we call them, we allow and even encourage others to help shape our thoughts, actions and lives.

For other people, we recognize how what we read and think as well as the people in our lives, shape our future. I like to call these people advisors. Let’s take a look at how Advisors shape our business life and contribute to business success.

My life advisors have come in the form of teachers, professors, religious leaders, authors, speakers and very close friends. As a young businessman in the Financial Services Business, I had a Board of Advisors who I would meet with quarterly, on an individual basis over lunch. I’d share my goals and activities and they’d offer their thoughts to help me. For some reason, when I left that business I quit meeting with my advisors and wish I had not. Through various religious organization I have meet with men’s groups on a weekly basis to encourage one another. From these men I have drawn support, insight and accountability to the things I say I wasn’t to do. What a great reflection on one’s self. Certain authors and speakers have come to mentor me such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Steven Covey (these three have passed) John C Maxwell, Seth Godin and others. I take what they write and say and apply to my life, I often quote them or refer to their work when I speak and write. A very few, very close friends also count as advisors as I can tell them things that I would share with no others and know I will not be judged. My dad’s mentor told him if he had 3 close friends like this in life he would be very lucky and I have found this to be true.

Another type of business advisors come in the form of Official Boards; Boards of Directors with fiduciary responsibilities and Boards of Advisors with less responsibility, both offering great business insight. If you are looking to grow your community influence, then you might consider serving on a board such as:

  • Non-Profits Boards
  • Association Boards
  • Churches, Synagogues and Temples leadership boards
  • Company Boards, for small, medium, large private companies as well as public companies.

As an example, I serve on an Advisory Board for one of my clients, Copper Mobile. My role is to identify potential candidates for both their Board and Advisory Board, offer insight into the Mobile App industry, help identify market opportunities and refer prospects. In return, I get to interact with quality people on their boards, share ideas with their staff, learn from their projects and help others grow.Mobile App Enterprise Solutions

A friend of mine asked “why I serve on boards?” the best reason I have is because of the good you can do. As a board member, you have a chance to make an impact, to help others, to do something bigger than yourself and it is very rewarding. Another reason to be on a board is for the growth you will experience. You will see and hear issues and opportunities that cause you to be a better you. Finally, as a board member you meet great people that encourage you, challenge you, befriend you and make you laugh.

I have hear people say they are bored enough with the meets they currently attend, so why join a board to be bored. If this is the case then you need to find another board. I still laugh every time I hear of the board for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit; The DART Board J

As I look into 2013 I do have one resolution, to reestablish my advisory network for three reasons.

  1. To have a consistent, regular source of input of others
  2. To be “on purpose” about my business and personal growth
  3. To be accountable to others for the things I say I want to do and be

 

What about you? Do you have advisors, do you serve on any boards? I’d like to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please add them to the comments section below.

Events worth considering


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The Rise of Global Business

Are you engaged in Global Business? According to USLegal.com “Global business refers to international trade … a company doing business across the world.” With today’s technology, open access to information and contacts via Social Media, every business can engage in Global Business.

Looking back on history one can see how the lack of technology and relationship slowed an organization’s global expansion. Many companies were limited to their local geography to conduct business but today, most barriers have been removed or reduced. Let’s take a look at a few:

  1. Transportation – As the cost to drive, fly or ship people and goods decreased, more organizations could reach beyond their local borders.
  2. Communication – The Telecom boom of the 1990’s expanded capacity to talk and send data cheaply anywhere in the world. Then came Video, Skype, and Smartphone expansion. With our Smartphone we can access anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  3. Author, Speaker, Consultant J.R. Atkins references the World is FlatInformation Access – Thomas Freedman writes about the “Uploading” (flattener #4) of information in his book The World is Flat. We now have the information of the world in the palm of our hand. “Not knowing” is no longer an excuse.
  4. Relationship Access – With the development of Social Networks it is easier to identify, connect and build relationships with people of other lands. Prior to my last trip to the Middle East, I was able to set 5 meetings with new contacts from LinkedIn and Facebook. After meeting them in person, we continue to build our relationship through email, Skype and Facebook. See a related article by Alana Muller President of Kauffman FastTrac, created by the Kauffman Foundation.
  5. More ways to get Paid: EBay (Entrepreneur), Amazon (Wikipedia), PayPal (Overseas selling guide), and Square (comparison by HubPages) provide 4 additional ways to exchange value for currency and the cost of these transaction has decreased as well.
  6. Where is Value built: During the industrial revolution, value was built in the factory. Today, value is built with the licensing of Intellectual Property (Inc.), on-line, in the cloud, with virtual relationships, using technology and by knowledge workers.
  7. The Rise of the virtual organization: Co-workers no longer have to be in the same room, building, floor, city, county, country, or time zone. This means that your next great hire can come from anywhere and this may help you uncover global markets as well. Why not hire a developer in a country that you would like to expand? A good example of a virtual company is 37 Signals, maker of such products as Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack & Campfire (I like the outdoor names). They have succeeded as a virtual company where other non-virtual companies have struggled (i.e. Microsoft)

Still, with technology and access, you may be concerned about your own Cultural Awareness. Someone’s cultural awareness is their understanding of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values. Here are three ideas I have used to improve my own cultural awareness:

  1. Someone from there is already here – I look for foreign nationals, refugees, foreign dignitaries and others who have recently arrived from another country I am seeking to learn about.
  2. On-line help – Before traveling to the West Bank of Israel, I watched 28 videos from TEDxRamallah.
  3. Go and see – It is cheaper and easier to get to other countries than it used to be. Go and see for yourself.
  4. Get professional help – I have engaged university professors (Dr Robert Hunt) and other professionals (CI Cultural Intelligence) to help me overcome my own misconceptions.

My perception is that any business can have a global outlook if they choose. A hair salon can become globally oriented by saying so on their website, building relationships with global travelers and opening up communication channels such as Skype. What about your business; can you be a Global business today? Instead of a mammoth multinational corporation could you be a micro global business?

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the comment section of my blog (see below).

Resources

Events Worthy of your Consideration


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Changes in Worker / Business Models

The cover story on the February issues of Fast Company Magazine discusses Generation Flux and addresses the changing work model; specifically to be successful Dallas Marketing Concultant J.R. Atkins disucces Gen Fluxwe must learn to thrive in chaos. They describe Generation Flux as “… less a demographic designation than a psychographic one…a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates–and even enjoys–recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions.“ One of my favorite quotes in the article comes from the CMO at GE, Beth Comstock, who says “our traditional teams are too slow. We’re not innovating fast enough. We need to systematize change.” This is validated by the success that small nimble companies are having in the area of Social Media and Mobile App Development. I hear terms like lean start-up, pivot, and crowd sourcing associated with new companies, not the Fortune 1000. This got me to thinking. Is the traditional, large corporate model losing its footing as “the way to do business” or “the ideal kind of company to work for.”?  Below I have identified a find few other trends and shifts in business and employment models. I welcome your observations and comments.

Trend #1 – If you are over 45, someone can do your job cheaper. Since wisdom and experience do not show up on the corporate balance sheet, it’s easy to look at this group as an unnecessary expense; their salary and benefit packages cost too much. Many in this group have been laid off and will not find the same job in another company. They will be forced to learn new skills and work for an SMB – Small Medium Business as the large corporate structures retool and redefine themselves with a younger workforce. (See “Age Discrimination”)

Trend #2 – The 24 hour work day. With proliferation of technology and low cost global communication it is getting easier for people to do their critical work duties far beyond 8:00am Eastern time to 5:00pm Pacific time. As a result, business culture will shift from rewarding those who put in extra hours for the “team” to those that can get better results in less time. When it is easy for anyone to work 12+ hour days I hope we quit wearing it like a badge of honor. The badge of honor goes to the people who get more results with less time. Besides, putting in long hours is an idea associated with the industrial era, not the knowledge era. (See “Sleepless in Silicon Valley”)

Trend #3 – Value for multiple jobs on your resume. Do you recall being warned not to “job hop?” This has changed to where employers look for skill building that may take the form of several different companies on your work history. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, “the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.4 in January 2010.”

With this trend, I hope we see a change in employer language and expectations about “permanent positions.” What is a permanent position in today’s climate; 3 to 5 years? Who are we kidding? How can an employer say “we’re looking for someone for the long hall” when they know they need someone now and have no idea what the future holds.

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins recommends Linchpin by Seth GodinTrend #4 –Become a Linchpin. In his book Lynchpin, Seth Godin describes changes in the corporate business model as the industrial age gives way to the digital age. He tells us that the person that is most employable is either an artist (creative), innovative, a connector of people or a combination of the three. With these skills you are often the key person (linchpin) on projects as you are indispensible. Leadership comes to you for the big important projects because you are very valuable (and you get results).

Trend #5 – I am responsible. For my healthcare, retirement, career path, and continuing education. How will we prepare the workforce for this? Some will take to it, but many others will need help. What kind of new business model will spring up? Or, do we have an existing model to fill the gap? I see staffing firms as a part of the solution. These firms can help many of us get the next project as our current project winds down. They can also be a source of benefits such as healthcare, retirement, paid vacation and continuing education. If we are not associated with a staffing firm then we must think like a contractor and always be looking for our next project within the company.

Events worth Attending

3/1/12 Tech Execs Discuss Steve Jobs Biography

3/2/12 Social Media & Leadership

3/2/12 Cultural Intelligence for Leaders

3/6/12 HBO Premier “Game Change”

3/8/12 Angel Investing Trends

3/8/12 The Coming Invasion; Drug Wars

3/9-3/12 South by Southwest Interactive

3/11-6/17 The Age of Impressionism

3/13/12 The Rivalry between Biz & Gov

3/20/12 Career Pathing in ’12 & Beyond

3/21/12 Membership in the Digital Age

3/21/12 SXSW Recap @DigitalDallas

3/22/12 Creatives in DFW Event

3/23/12 Dev Your Biz Social Media Strategy

3/27/12 Mobile Apps, the Next Big Wave

3/27/12 Last Tuesday @ The Ritz

3/31/12 Membership in the Digital Age


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Breaking Patterns for Improved Results

As I look forward to 2012, I realize I must discontinue some of my current activities and habits and start new habits to Seth Godin and J.R. Atkins are fellow authors & speakersachieve different, better results. Authors from Seth Godin to Zig Ziglar have written about how our habits and goals must align for us to be successful.  I thought of a few ideas that might help you and I make the most of 2012. Let me know if you try these or other ideas to break old patterns and create new and improved habits.                                                          

Learn something new: My friend Steve is learning to drive a motorcycle as his new goal for 2012. Considering he is not the risk taking type, this is a stretch for him. It will put him out of his comfort zone and cause him to grow. What could you learn; a new language, a new technology, photography, how to ride a horse… and how might it help you grow? Check out the book “Learn Something Every Day” by Robert Young. 

Zig Ziglar is a mentor of J.R. AtkinsSee something different: I went to a movie in the middle of a weekday recently. It felt odd and “wrong.” I got to examine my beliefs about the right and wrong times to see a movie. What other “rules” was I holding on to? Do I follow some rules that no longer support my vision of who I am? What could you see differently? Art, an old car, behavior of your children,… and how might letting go of a view help you? Check out photographer Kat Miller’s website “See Things differently.”

 

Be a different person: What would it mean to do absolutely nothing for one hour; or one day? As an entrepreneur I look at the ROI of my time so at first my reaction is “why would anyone do that?” But, I hear that once you quiet your mind, you are able to see life and issues more clearly and this is the payoff for quiet time. Check out “The Critical Role Quiet Time Plays in the Achievement of our goals.

 

Do a different task: Have you been on a Habitat House Build? I like it because I’m not in charge, I’m part of a team, I’m making a difference and I meet people from different walks of life. This different task helps me break the habit of doing the same things, the same way. What is a different task for you? How could you benefit? Check out this video on YouTube “Doing things differently leads to something exceptional”

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Events worth looking into:

2/07/12 Dallas SEO/SEM Meet up – Hardcore Video SEO

2/08/12 Social Media & Your Career in 2012

2/08/12 “From Made in China, to Made for China”

2/09/12 Membership in the Current Age – Executive Briefing

2/09/12 AAF Dallas Presents the Addy’s

2/10/12 Author of “Paper Promises” Philip Coggan to Speak in Dallas

2/11/12 7th Annual Career Symposium

2/13/12 Arts Markets and Management Research Initiatives

2/14/12 The 2012 Economic Forcast with Alan Murray

2/15/12 Membership in the Digital Age

2/15/12 The state of the World by Former PM of Canada, Jean Chretien

2/16/12 Top 5 Pitfalls of Building a Fin./Acct.Team,…

2/17/12 Membership in the Digital Age

2/24/12 DFW BeMyApp Competition

2/28/12 Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz-Carlton

3/9-12/12 South by Southwest interactive – SXSWi


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Perspective on Travel & Business

I enjoy doing business as I travel. The idea of rising above the stress of business to see the sights of a foreign land, to enjoy a good meal and relax by the pool are attractive. So I offer you the following thoughts on travel and business.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins taveled to Jerusalem

1.       Perspective

I like the perspective of getting away from home, office and town. Sometimes a trip of only 100 miles away can make a difference in how you see your current situation. Any time I travel I come home appreciating what I have. This is especially true when I travel abroad. When my wife and I went to Israel in January, my comment upon arriving in Dallas was “We are affluent, on our way to wealthy, according to global standards.” I take for granted our infrastructure, the rule of law, individual rights and all the wealth America has at hand. 

2.       Meet others who are doing things

It’s fun to meet people from other places both in the U.S. and abroad. Have you ever been someplace and met someone from your home town? I get excited to meet them since we are away from home. I’m sure if I met them in line at the store at home it would not carry the same level of excitement.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins recomends the book: What they dont teach at the Harvard Business SchoolI remember Mark McCormack’s book, “What They Don’t Teach You at the Harvard Business School” where he suggested that you fly in First Class because of the people you meet. There is still some truth in this today, that the people who fly are doing something bigger than themselves, something important or something new. I like to meet these people and keep in touch via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. With Social Media, it is so much easier to have a global perspective.

3.       Time away from business productivity

As much as I like the perspective I gain through traveling, on a recent trip to Atlanta it dawned on me that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel.

Let’s say you place a value of $100 per hour on your time. That would mean in a typical day of work from 8:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00 you would create $800 of value. This is assuming that you are in one place creating value, like your office, and take just 1 hour for lunch. If your commute is 1 hour each way, you spent 11 total hours creating $800 of value or about $73 per hour.

Now let’s look at a day of business travel where you leave for the airport at 5:30 for a 7:30 flight and land at 9:30, drive to the business location arriving at 11:00, and work for 1 hour, take a 1 hour lunch, then work again from 1:00-5:00, hop on a plane home at 6:30 arrive in your home town at 8:30 and get home at 10:30. In this day you have created 6 hours of value in an office and let’s say another 2 hours of value working on the plane for a total of 8 hours. This would mean that you spent 17 hours creating $800 of value for or about $47 per hour.

This is how I got the idea that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel. I also need to stay longer in one place while I am there, to spread the travel time and cost over more billable days.

The other solution is to travel less and do more through video conferencing. There are many tools in a wide array of price ranges, from free services, like Skype, to premium services like Cisco Unified Communications platform.

 4.       Time away from family and friends

A little travel might cause you to appreciate your friends and family a little more, but I submit that the more you are away, the more your relationships suffer. Telephone, email, social media and video can make a positive impact on being away from loved ones but nothing takes the place of being there. So before we hop in a plane, train or automobile, we need to make sure it is a worthy trip. (Work Travel & Family Research Project at Texas Tech University)

 What have you learned through Travel? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

 Dallas sociala media speaker J.R. Atkins attends the Social Media Club of DallasFebruary Events

 2/16 – DFW American Marketing Association Luncheon

2/17 – Social Location Marketing with Simon Salt

2/19 – Saturday at the Warwick Melrose with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed

2/28 – Dallas iPhone Developers & Entrepreneurs MeetUp


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