F.O.M.O – Fear Of Missing Out

This past Saturday I woke up and decided to go for a stroll down King Street. Apparently, so did 40,000 other people. Ohhh, the annual Cooper River Bridge Run. One of the only things in Charleston (besides snow or a hurricane) that can completely shut down the city for a day. All Charlestonians know that there is an unspoken after party for those who run in the race. Basically, runners spend the second part of their day making up for the calories burnt by bar hoping.

I had an intense F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) feeling and refused to miss the celebration. My friend and I devised a plan…we went home and changed into out best running outfit. As we headed toward King Street, we cornered a group of runners who were leaving and asked to have their registration numbers. They were nice enough to not question our weirdness and pass over their golden tickets. As we pinned our numbers to our t-shirts, we morphed from weekend slackers to Bridge Run survivors.

The next couple of hours were spent chatting over a drink with other runners, debating if the uphill part of the bridge or the last mile was the worst part of the run (as if we knew…). Although we faked our acceptance into this group of people, my friend and I truly enjoyed our conversations with strangers. Even if we didn’t actually have the bridge run in common, our conversation always led to a topic that was mutual.

As B&A’s biz development sidekick, I get to attend several networking events every month. The hardest part of these events is breaking the ice with strangers.  However, my bridge run experience showed me that new conversations tend to follow the same pattern. Awkward introduction followed by information sharing, discovery of a shared interest, and BOOM a connection is made.


Networking - A Necessary Evil

Being a business owner is something I've always wanted. It is the thrill of assuming the leadership role, the responsibility for providing a great service, and forming and fostering relationships with both my team and the potential clients. I love meeting people and making new friends but I get quite uncomfortable in a setting where I'm expected to make a pitch. I know that Ronii shares that feeling with me (this is why we need to rely on our business development team.) I've always felt that poor networking causes more harm than good for a business. You never get to make a first impression twice, right?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, networking is " the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business." You heard it. We simply can't function without creating and maintaining business relationships and it doesn't help if our efforts produce no results.

In addition to being selective to which events attend and which groups to join, I find that it helps me to always prepare for a networking event as if I were doing it for the first time. I always think about who my audience is going to be at that event and what my goal is. Then, I revise that good old elevator speech to make sure it is relevant to that group of people to get their attention. I go in with no expectations to meet a client. Rather, I hope to meet people I want to see again. Once I have my business cards, I follow up and ask to meet for coffee because as Ronii always says, "You just never know!"

I leave the sales part to my business development team because I don't like to do it and I admitted it a long time ago. I prefer to focus my time and energy on getting recognition and making connections that will help me serve my clients better in the future. 

Happy networking everyone!


My Love/Hate Twitter Relationship

I'm taking over Bartlby's Blog today, which I normally don't do, to share an experience I had last week that I think we can all learn from. As many of you may know I have a Twitter account (you can follow me @bartlesandassoc) that I have an unhealthy, co-dependt relationship with. I love Twitter because it is an innovative medium to hold conversations that businesses can utilize to give their brand a personality and to start to create that all important relationship with consumers that is so vital in marketing today but it can be a bit of information overload (for me at least).

So to give you a little background, for the past year and and half I have been trying to work with a mortgage company (who will remain nameless to protect the innocent) to try and take advantage of this low interest rate market. I'm a business person, what do you expect? Every single time I call the company I get the same snarky, why did you call me, answer, "You have to send in your information again and call every week to check the status. I'll make a note in your file." And then I call a week later and get yet another person who can't even put together a proper sentence who asks me all kinds of personal questions only to tell me they have no note that I called last week and to fax in my information AGAIN and check back in a week. So at this point every person in the company has my social security number because I have to keep giving it to them over the phone and then faxing it in with my information AND I have lost an hour of my life that I can't get back which I could have been using to make money to, you guessed it, pay the mortgage. Needless to say, my customer service experience has been terrible!

This last time I had had enough so I took to my Twitter account (because I was in one of my love moods with it that day) and posted, "I want 2 know why (company) takes forever & never gets anything done & I have 2 go through the process all over yet again." Followed a few minutes later by, "So aggrevated with (company), going to the pool for a few hours to get over it. See you guys on the flip side." Within about an hour a representative from the company tweets me back about how they are sorry for my aggravation with the company and to DM them with my concerns and questions. So in 140 characters (part of the hate end in my love/hate relationship) I tweet them my issue and they are now working on my case. It still remains to be seen if I will get any help, but there is a very valuable lesson to be learned here. All consumers now have a loud voice and they WILL use it.

For businesses it is extremely important that you monitor the conversations that are happening on social media about your brand and company. And whether or not you choose to participate in the conversation is up to you, but you need to monitor them because if you're like me you can't afford negative conversations happening about your company. Also, it allows you to spot good and bad opportunities that you can build on. The company I'm dealing with is going through a particularly hard merger right now and CANNOT afford to have bad PR floating around on the interwebs about how their customer service is terrible. Can you afford that kind of bad PR? I know I can't.


Happy Anniversary B&A!

I have been with Bartles & Associates a little over a month now. It is hard to believe how fast time flies when you are having fun. I have learned so much and meet so many people. I am quickly learning lots of new strategies and ways of doing business.

Marketing has been a major focus for many of our clients this past month. Particularly social media. Social media has burst onto the scene as a viable marketing medium so fast and is ever changing. It has gained so much traction because social media is a great way for brands to communicate their personality and create relationships AND most of it is FREE. We all love free, right? If you haven't integrated social media into your marketing plan, you should. You will have too because it is a medium that is here to stay. We approach social media from three angles: 1. messaging, 2. programming and followers and 3. measuring. Bartles & Associates is an excellent partner in helping your business strategically plan your messaging and then implementing, executing and measuring the effectiveness of that message by managing vendors to achieve goals.

This month is B&A 2 year anniversary and in celebration we are offering 25% off all our services. Check out our services tab to see some of the things we do. Enjoy the summer heat and until next time...

Best wishes,

Business as Unusual

I'm Bartleby and I'm the Bartles & Associates elephant. It has been three weeks since I started at B&A and it has been a whirl-wind. I have been out networking and working with clients in West Virginia and North and South Carolina and I have meet some amazing people. I started off my B&A adventures in WV working with Realtors consulting them on marketing strategies. Then it was off to NC to work in marketing research and finally back to Charleston to help more business owners with business and marketing strategy and planning.

This experience has taught me an important lesson in relationship marketing. Since I started at B&A, Ronii has been telling me that in today's economy consumers want to work with businesses they trust and have a personal connection too. So as a business owner it is extremely important right now to create a relationship with your customers and potential customers because they want to buy products and services from people they know and like. The hardest part of this type of marketing strategy is that it takes time and you HAVE to be consistent. I find it boring after awhile, but Ronii keeps telling me it is so important because otherwise consumers get confused as to what your company does and what it stands for.

We have so many exciting projects going on at B&A and I'm so excited to be a part of all of it. This is going to be a busy summer and I'm going to be chronicling all my adventures and the lessons I learn along the way. So stay tuned this summer to keep up with me and all the fun stuff at B&A. Feel free to explore our website and learn more about how we help businesses and as always give a shout if you want to start creating that all important relationship with us.

Until next time,