‘Coming Into Ones Own’…

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I’ve heard that more times than I know throughout my life, only to now internalize. For me it’s been about choosing to take small steps that have required courage. It has also consisted of embracing seasons containing some of my favorite moments and people.

True… some of those seasons have SUCKED! Sucked the life and spirit out of me… sucked my hope and belief in my talents. But for those too, I am grateful. Those were some of my best lessons. Growth requires learning, flexibility and receptiveness. Opportunities to learn are everywhere, so long as the choice is made to see the growth potential and take that step.

We are all presented with opportunities everyday. It’s choosing to step towards the unknown that sets us all apart. RedKite has an amazing collective of receptive growth consultants that each specialize in sustainable vocations.

• Operational Strategy
• Global Water Solutions 
• Corporate Visibility and Design
• Green Roof and Rain Water Collection 
• Organic Agriculture and Sustainable Earth Practices
• Zero Waste and Lean Practice Workflow Management

The collection of expertise has come to fruition though a general belief in ‘doing well by doing good’, hard work and a passionate belief in one’s purpose.

Learn more ‘About Me’ HERE: http://about.me/katrinamccullough and join the movement.

An Ethical Shift in Global Water

It’s a rarity… for a large group of genuinely-concerned, game changers to come to the table.

Cred: K.Mc

Cred: K.Mc

This is exactly what has happened and the possibilities are endless for the collective humans.

The Florida Earth Foundation through the primary efforts of Stan Bronson, has interested much of the creme de la creme in education, as well as groups in public and private sectors.  The desire to build and learn is meshing with industry experts rooted in good ethical motives.

The need for water infrastructure is prevalent. Natural management and utilization coupled with science and industry supported by the collective humans – will result in powerful solution implementations.

Supporters:

Want to learn how your organization can get involved?

Schedule a ‘think-tank’ meeting / presentation with our team.

Exciting – Powerful things to come!
Katrina McCullough –  Consultant, Red-Kite.US

Find Your Voice

Katrina’s colorful youth and journey led her through 24 schools prior to graduating high school. She didn’t learn to read until the 4th grade. Mrs. Osterberg, a teacher that encouraged better results, took initiative and changed a life. Katrina’s story is one about finding her voice and encouraging others to use today’s technology as a global platform to inspire others and take a stance on issues that matter.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Privacy Fee Assessed

Privacy:  Payment in FULL Required 

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A mobile phone is personal property.  The cost of owning mobile devices for some people let alone families is a substantial financial commitment.  On top of that, our data is being harvested, mined, used to create massive revenue web hosting companies and also marketers.

AND we, the consumer pay for cell phones because… ?

The price being paid is a slowly developing image, that I believe will always be in flux, hindered only by the gumption of our dreams.

Having a mobile device is a convenience for the consumer, obviously, that’s why we all have them…except me.    It’s hard picturing life without our ‘lifeline’ but it is possible. The paying customer should have control over who is tracking their activity and cell consumers should receive disclosure of the utilization of their data and summary of benefit-outcome.

My exception:  Similar to how we civilians set “Google Alerts”, I stand firm against human trafficking, child abuse-pornography… these online activities need monitoring. This issue has reached epidemic porportions and it is an American problem too.  Human abuse falls outside of the lines of privacy protection because they are violating the privacy of others and prevelence falls with boys and girls alike.  This topic needs it’s own post some other time.

I know I specifically take issue with location-based geo-tracking.  For me it’s an issue of security.  I do not want my current location public at all times. Of course from a marketers perspective I experience a clash as I see the value of this type of marketing.  That said I believe ‘opting-in’ and ‘opting-out’ needs to be left to the consumer with full disclosure of the use of their data.  Forcing the customers hand is not a fruitful tactic that works long-term, they realized they were pressured influencing a trusting relationship.

We will continue to see more evidence of the chipping away at our privacy rights because of law enforcements use of warrantless cell phone searches to catch criminals in the act.  The precedence still remains to be set, for example check out this current US Supreme Court cases pending. As technology rapidly evolves, I sincerely doubt we will ever be ahead of the next and best of the tech world from a monitoring standpoint.  The reality is with benefits of technology there is a price to pay.  That price is your privacy.

Seven Basic Questions to Aid in Improving SEO

Since the number seven in numerology means ‘searcher and seeker of truth’, the title ‘seven questions’ is appropriate as effective SEO will help seekers find the answers and solutions needed.

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Delivering on client SEO depends first on understanding their business and their goals.

Ask these important questions:

  1. How competitive is their business niche? (Determine through industry specific key word search + location)
  2. Are they claiming their location on digital mapping sites and through local directories like the Chamber of Commerce?
  3. Do they need global, national or local exposure?
  4. Are they creating unique content? How are they sharing it? Are they utilizing cross platform promotion?
  5. Are they using keywords effectively? The revival of long-tail keywords can help companies stand out. Try this useful tool: Übersuggest.
  6. Who is the target and what is the targets intent?
  7. What is the budget?

Complimenting SEO with well-placed online advertising is a must have for effectiveness.  What is the objective?  Increase sales of products or services? According to Forrester, thirty percent of online shoppers start at Amazon to research products.  Amazon accounts for more than 19% of all U.S. ecommerce revenue.  So perhaps this is could be a great fit to advertise for some of your clients?  Or perhaps location apps are a better fit for those in the service industry.  Here is a great slideshare presentation on 20 apps that could be the compliment your client’s campaign needs.

It is also important to take into account devices usage statistics, gender and content area when planning for clients.  You need to know where the eyeballs are and how to reach them.

It may seem overwhelming, but when dissecting marketing and optimization step-by-step, effectiveness resides in client-by-client customization.  No two organizations are alike.

What are some of your tactics, tips and tricks?  Please share.

8 Basic Steps for Integrating Social Media Marketing – Forging a Foundation for the Future

Marketing strategies and campaigns have substantially grown in complexity.  Maintaining current content while cultivating branding and engaging audiences is not for the faint of heart.  So how do businesses maximize brand loyalty while elevating comprehensive campaigns through the use of social media visibility without compromising control?

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  1. First and foremost, develop a social media policy.  When you don’t know where to start, look to those who have established policies and start your outline from there.  Check out these policy examples: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, American Red Cross & Starbucks.  Prior to moving forward, let your corporate legal counsel review and edit if necessary.
  2. Through your internal means of employee communication (Newsletter, Intranet, Digital Social Board, etc.…) ask each employee two simple questions. First, ask each to provide a brief description of what they value most about the organization they chose to serve.  And secondly, ask each to provide their level of comfort with social media on a scale of 1 to 10.   Ten illustrates exceptional ability.
  3. Identify a social media team that includes a rep from each department.  These are internal marketing links to the marketing department giving the organization a holistic voice.  (Employee buy-in is paramount to campaign success.)
  4. Utilizing internal feedback, task the marketing team to formulate a comprehensive integrated marketing campaign employing a combination of: PR-Blog(s), video, customer/client/patient testimonies – content, geo initiatives, discount partners like Groupon, social media and gamification.  Remember, each medium needs to be customized based on intended audience and approach and some platforms may not be a good fit.
  5. Minimally, test pilot campaign initiatives with your own team prior to launching them live.  Ideally, launch the campaign using a controlled test segment and employ random sampling to measure penetration and impact.
  6. Fine-tune if necessary prior to campaign launch based on reactive feedback.
  7. Task your whole organization with monitoring campaign initiatives.  Strong public relations and exceptional customer service is everyone’s responsibility from the janitor to the CEO.
  8. Base measurement on a campaign-by-campaign basis deriving from initial strategy and desired outcome.

“The Machine is Using Us… The Machine is Us.”

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Michael Wesch‘s thought provoking video illustrates how we collectively are teaching “the machine” through each ‘like’, search, click, check-in, etc… Perhaps we are grooming our future digital assistants based on our personal web trends and patterns. Our digital use creates a databased-backed web. Concern shifts to a right to privacy. Does your web activity exempt you to this right? Where do you draw a line in the sand?

Thank you Dr. Edmiston for your instruction and enlightenment in Emerging Media and the Marketplace.  I would not have seen this video otherwise.

(Photo credit)

Corporate Sponsorships: Strategic Marketing or Obligatory Handouts?

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Any marketing team leader or members understand annual budget planning and sponsorship obligations.  Sponsorships are important to relationship building both locally and nationally, all in the name of brand awareness.  That said, how does one introduce intriguing product integration that feels natural and not forced in relation to program content?

A stellar example of who’s getting it right is Volkswagen.  They integrated the Beetle as a Shark Cage two years running.  The unorthodox yet brilliant concept was introduced on-air as a short-form content series allowing viewers a chance to watch as a marine biologist took the Beetle Convertible for a subaquatic road trip. In addition they paired the series with Shark Week “sneak peeks” which offered exclusive looks into the forthcoming Shark Week programming. (Sessions, 2013)

See one of their Youtube promo below:

See the subaquatic road map here!

VW leveraged digital media through an organized, strategic campaign approach.  Their utilization of Vine, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube was cohesive and without doubt, resonated with the audience based on social response.

The lesson here isn’t for marketing departments to fight for multimillion dollar, one month campaign pushes. The lesson here it to be authentic.  VW put their money where their mouth is through monetary support to protect the oceans in a push called Surfrider in conjunction with the Shark Week campaign.  When corruption is everywhere it’s refreshing to see a large corporation with honorable intentions and by judgement of their campaign response, I’m not alone.

About Surfrider – They are a grassroots organization. They’re local in many coastal regions, and operate in 18 countries worldwide.

Is Your Data Capture S.M.A.R.T.?

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Has your company or organization discussed leveraging internal data (aka: Big Data) collected to shift operational processes to ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ initiatives?  You may ask what does “S.M.A.R.T.” stand for?  The acronym is my off the cuff description applicable to any organization, for or non-profit.

S-    Strategic

M-   Marketing

A-    Analytics w/

R-    Return On Investment

T-    Tactics

Chances are that discussion has happened, several times.  The challenge for most organizations is determining where and how to start.  First and foremost the right team players need to be identified. This is where, IT, Marketing and Operations meet.   Ask these questions:

  1. What are the fiscal year operational goals for the organization? (Sales driven)
  2. How are we currently driving sales and what is our average rate of growth for the past 2 years?
  3. What is our current marketing and operational budget?
  4. How are we currently capturing and storing data and in what format(s) – platform(s)?

Secondly, the team must agree to work collaboratively.  Check egos at the door.  Accomplishing real progress requires all team members to invest in the project in addition to their established workload and responsibilities.  So, if a teammate isn’t willing to rollup their sleeves from jump, then you have the wrong person on your team.  Address this before trying to move forward.  S.M.A.R.T. initiatives require a level playing field and open communication.

Thirdly, the established team needs to collectively determine the idealistic outcomes through goals for the year.  These need to be SPECIFIC and ACHIEVABLE. The link above provides a workable template for goal setting.

Examples:

  • Increase click through to sales conversion rates by 5 % through year-end.
  • Create loyalty program incentives for repeat sales – goal of 20 % ‘opt-in’ rate of current client base.
  • Customize digital product highlights per customer based on purchase history and complimentary products/services.
  • Etc.…

Once the team has compiled specific and achievable operational goals, the team works backwards from there. This is also know as backward chaining.   Dissect each and every goal into operational step to achieve those goals.  Each goal becomes its very own flow chart with specific steps assigned to team members to foster accountability.

NOTE: It’s very important to set time frames for accomplishing each step.  This keeps everyone on task and accountable for progress towards the goal.

Allow for change management.  Remember, this is uncharted territory for your organization.  Collectively, you will learn what works and what doesn’t by doing.  Finding a strong team that works well together and genuinely believes in the mission through commit to growth will enable your ‘big data’ to work for your organization.  The key to success is communication and respect.

Katrina McCullough