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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
How the Smartest Marketers Improve Your Business and Your Life

How the Smartest Marketers Improve Your Business and Your Life

How the Smartest Marketers Improve Your Business and Your Life

Kansas City’s Direct Marketing Association taught about a lot more than just social media and white papers at their annual Bootcamp, held on July 20, 2017, at Lifted Spirits Distillery. It turns out this group is more than just data-driven, they’re also purpose-, meaning- and fun-driven.

Keep reading for actionable takeaways from their day-long conference and tools you can use right now to improve your business and your life:

1. What entrepreneurs and innovators have in common.

Josè Pires has helped some of the biggest companies in the world innovate: Sony, Nestlè and most recently Kansas City’s own Black and Veatch as global vice president and director of business excellence.

His definition of innovation is as simple as it is daunting—implementation of new ideas that create value. Josè lays out three characteristics that innovators must have in order to ride the roller coaster of exponential progress: passion, discipline and resilience.

Passion: directional guidance
Discipline: consistency with purpose
Resilience: ability to pivot through obstacles

Sounds like a good toolset for an entrepreneur as well, wouldn’t you agree?

>>>>> If you’ve always wanted to start a business but aren’t sure that you have what it takes, sign up for the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program. Class starts on August 30, and if you live or own a business in Kansas City, Missouri, you’re eligible for a huge scholarship. (There are only a few left!)

2. SEO is hard to keep up with, but it’s worth it (if you want anyone to find you on the internet).

Did you know that Google changes their search engine algorithm more than 500 times a year? In fact, since they started using machine learning to improve the algorithm, it’s probably even more than that (and no single human knows exactly what’s called for at any one time).

You may be asking yourself, well what’s the point of even trying to keep up? Well, calm down just a bit. Professional SEO’ers keep up with it for a living and we do know the basics. Here's a periodic table of SEO success factors to give you an even deeper look. 

The good news about SEO is that content is king (not keywords). The key to effective inbound marketing is providing value to your customer that keeps them coming back for more. Aim for quality, not quantity.

>>>>> You know marketing is important for your business, but you have too much on your plate to keep up. We got you. Here is a list of our resource partners happy to help you keep up with the latest and greatest on all things marketing.

3. You are your own worst enemy at networking events.

Do you dread networking? You’re certainly not alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Erin Sass, former board member for the KCDMA, had tons of great advice for networking like a pro. Here are a few tips that I’ll be chewing on next time I grab my business cards and head out for coffee (or something more libational):

  1. Set a goal. We all walk into meetings prepared, let’s do the same for networking. And start small—giving your business card to one stranger can be a great place to start if extroversion is not your style.

  2. Ask a lot of questions. One thing is almost always a sure thing—people love talking about themselves. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to wander away from the event’s topic (folks love talking about their babies and pets, too!)

  3. Perform an audit after… and be kind to yourself. It’s good to look back at your time networking to think about what went well and what you’d like to do differently next time. But don’t get hung up on some silly little thing you said or did (most won’t remember anyway!)

>>>>> If you’re ready to test out these networking tips, head to our comprehensive business calendar to see all of the great events coming up in the coming weeks.

4. Don’t bring opinions to a data fight.

All ideas start in your head. But once you bring them out into the real world, you should start backing up your beliefs with numbers. Every marketing decision you make should be testable and repeatable. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Our fresh newsletter design looks great. Glad you like it, but how is it performing? Does your open rate match or exceed your industry average? Are you getting the results you desire (click thrus to website, revenue, new subscribers, etc)? Have you automated everything possible so that you're not spending more time than necessary getting to send?

  • My business’s website is very comprehensive. Information is good, but actionable results are even better. If your website is just acting as a brochure without leading to sales or generating leads, it may not be optimized. Learn how to dig into Google Analytics to see how things are really going below the hood.

>>>>> Learn more about marketing best practices at our blog which is constantly updated with educational content from all around Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

5. It’s all in your head.

The final talk at the KCDMA Bootcamp was all about mental toughness. The facilitator, Barb Schlittenhard, became interested in the topic of mental toughness when her two young sons started playing sports, but the lessons go way beyond the playing field. Hearken back to Josè’s talk on what it takes to be an innovator in your field and consider—what is stopping you from being as passionate, disciplined and resilient as you would like to be?

Barb would argue that much of what is stopping you may be manifestations of your own mind, aka limiting beliefs. Letting go of these (and choosing and controlling your thoughts and feelings) can help you reach your full potential.

>>>>> If your business needs help reaching its full potential, share with us some more info about what’s holding you back and we’ll be in touch ASAP with your personalized action plan. The solution is within reach, we’ll help you grab it.

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