Marketing: An Elevator Pitch

"What do you do?” It’s a question that is casually asked in Ubers, at cocktail parties, and in elevators around the globe. There’s even a term for it—“the elevator pitch”: a succinct reiteration of the solutions or a sales pitch. When I tell people that I own my own marketing firm and work with organizations to help them meet their communication goals, there is typically a blank stare. Then realization hits, eyes light up, and the response: “You do PR!”

Back to the drawing board to perfect my own one-liner about my business, I’ve done a lot of pondering about exactly what I offer my clients. Henceforth, I came up with the golden trifecta of marketing communications, planning and content development, and strategic storytelling. This has really clarified my offer to small- to medium-sized businesses and the non-profit organizations I support.

But then, the dreaded “You do graphic design?” or “Does that mean social media?” pops up again and again. So, to set the record straight, what is marketing? The better question to me is, “What does marketing include?”

Brand
A good strategic marketing communications plan includes sections on brand. “Oh, a brand is my logo, right?” A company’s brand certainly includes a logo, but in addition to visual cues of design and colors, it’s the essence of what the organization does, its competencies, and its values. Brand includes the personality of the group—what is the voice/tone, language, key messages, and how the organization meets the needs of key audiences.

Strategy
Once the foundation of brand is set, then an overall marketing strategy can be determined. This includes deciding on the best tactics—like leveraging advertising campaigns and public relations—to market the brand. While a paid social media push is a fantastic idea for product company with incredible imagery, it may not be the best option for a professional services organization. This is where strategy comes into play. And crafting the right story—via this strategic storytelling I keep mentioning—is crucial.

Tactics
We think content strategy should be at the center of any strategic marketing plan, feeding channels such as website, public relations, social media, blog posts, etc. The goal is to showcase our clients’ expertise in their fields, and strategic storytelling and sharing client’s unique value proposition is at the cornerstone of our communication efforts.

Public relations: absolutely essential—with the correct messaging. Graphic design, snazzy infographics, and catching imagery…yasss! Carefully planned events and orchestrated launches can be excellent parts of a larger marketing strategy. Newsletters…even handwritten thank you notes can be a more traditional tactical arm used well with other components.

I think you get the point—all of the above are encompassed in the bigger grouping of “marketing”. And we do a lot of it…it’s in our DNA and part of our everyday work. Cue the elevator music…and please contact us if we can help you on any of your strategic marketing and communications objectives. 

Tribe: Surround Yourself for Success

When I started my business over three years ago, I didn’t realize become a jack of all trades. I figured I’d be completely focused on the strategic marketing activities of my clients…and for a couple of hours a month on my own business. How wrong I was! I’ve learned to set aside time to work on my own brand, as well as set up and run a small business. It’s tremendously daunting to think of all the work that goes into going out on my own, but I have learned a few important things…insert teaser here for an upcoming blog post.

What I did right from the start—and probably stumbled upon—was surround myself with supportive people and allies. In a culture where words like tribe and squad are thrown around, I hesitated before calling this assembled force a tribe. Yet when thinking about it, one of the first things both my mentor Lori and client Nikkole advised was: get a tribe.

Tribe /trīb/ noun: close friends, group of people who are loyal to you, care for you like family. In a business environment, a tribe includes mentors, partners, encouragers, and connectors.

Urban Dictionary defines tribe as “close friends, group of people who are loyal to you, care for you like family.” For this post, I’ll take it wider to include specific people like mentors, partners, encouragers, and connectors. I even count resources like Judi Holler’s Friday FAB Five email and the Copyblogger FM podcast as experts in my extended tribe. And I must say, one cannot be successful without a delightful combination of all types in one’s posse.

To those of you who knowingly are in my tribe, you have my gratitude. And to those influencers, thought leaders, and role models that are putting positive ideas and encouragement into the world, thank you. To my clients, I appreciate you for allowing me to partner as a part of your organization’s marketing team.

And to my readers, if you have a gap in your external communications or strategic storytelling, I’d love to be a part of your group. It’s a big world out there, and we must get together to create an impact. I’d welcome an opportunity to join forces and make a bigger splash! Click here to start the conversation.

Leadership...in Las Vegas

When I applied to Leadership Las Vegas over a year ago, I defined leadership as “a characteristic that inspires others to follow, moving together in the same direction to reach a common goal.” While that language is still an accurate definition, after becoming a member of the Class of 2017, my view of leadership—and the community in which I live—is quite different.

After almost 14 years in the energy efficiency space, moving to Las Vegas three years was quite a professional departure for me. I had to make myself invaluable within a whole new set of industries, as well as create a whole new network. Bottom line: I’d be lying if I didn’t say I initially wanted to apply to Leadership Las Vegas as a networking opportunity.

But what I learned after going through this extensive 10-month program run by the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of commerce was not networking. It was relationship building with likeminded leaders who want to make the most out of being a part of the community. I applied and interviewed to learn more about my adopted hometown. What I gained throughout the process was an inside view on how I can be a part of important issues in Southern Nevada like education, healthcare, and community services.

My classmate Elaina Mulé, with the United Way of Southern Nevada, was very new to Las Vegas when she applied. “As a new resident to Las Vegas with no relationships or personal connections to the city, Leadership Las Vegas ingrained me in this community in ways I could not imagine were possible over the course of just 10 months. The program truly enabled me to make Las Vegas my home and gave me with family and friends that provided—and continue to provide—support, love, and laughter.”

I was shocked at how strong the friendships with classmates and program alumni alike would grow to be. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, as curriculum chair Jennifer Mayon and co-chair Brian Rice set out to create themes of inspiration, collaboration, and gratitude in monthly session days. Those themes set the tone for the entire experience and brought 49 of us from leadership roles across the valley together.

And we weren’t the only ones who were inspired. Rice, Chief Administrative Officer of Boys and Girls Club of Nevada, says, “Serving in a curriculum role and leading the Class of 2017 through the experience had an exponential effect. I now have an affinity for the members of the class who are some of the finest people that live here and make our city great.” Mayon, with the Clark County School District agrees: “I still have a post-graduation gratitude afterglow for the opportunity to collaborate with, learn from, and lead the LLV Class of 2017. They are a force for good in our community. The type of ripple effect we choose to make matters. Creating ripples of kindness, decency, and curiosity instead of judgment will undoubtedly help us to recognize the humanity in ourselves and one another. I can't wait to see the ripple effect that the Class of 2017 will make in our community and the world.

And our views and perceptions of our town have shifted. “Leadership Las Vegas’ real value for me was not just getting me outside of my bubble, but helping me realize what a bubble I live in,” shares classmate Gian Brown, a partner at Hart & Holland. “That occurred from what we focused on, to the people who spoke, to the people who are our classmates.”

Dr. Shellie J. Keller from the College of Southern Nevada has this to say about her experience: “My understanding of the history, challenges, and wonderful opportunities in our community increases my drive to help others and create positive change. My network of people and support is much larger. I’ve made lasting friendships with some amazing and talented people. And to top it all off, I experienced personal growth that is priceless.”

Yes, I have imbibed on the proverbial Kool-Aid when it comes to Leadership Las Vegas. My class did get to do amazing things like visit the Golden Knights’ practice facility under construction—and be a part of the hype of Nevada’s first professional sports team!, tour the Nevada Test Site, and experience back of house of the MGM Grand. But it was more than that. Leadership Las Vegas helped me understand the history, culture, and industries that have shaped the city. And I’ve met 48 classmates and even more alumni, each of whom has brought something special to my life while I explore my chosen hometown.

To learn more about the Leadership Las Vegas program, please click here.