Agile Marketing: What is it and Why is it Important?

The following is my most recent blog post for Mudbug Media entitled “What is Agile Marketing and Why is it Important?”.

Agile Marketing…Is it just a buzzword or a new way of marketing that could have a big impact on productivity and creativity?

Agile originally began as an approach to software development, but the ideas and practices have been adopted by those with a variety of skill sets, including design and marketing. By using an Agile approach, marketing becomes about being adaptive and responsive. The following are a few of the key components of the Agile approach to marketing: Continue reading

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All Marketers Feel the Ups and Downs at JC Penney

Brianna Smith:

JC Penney has been going through a lot of changes lately, and that is an understatement. After changing their logo, leadership, strategy, and pricing model, they have been losing both their identity and their customers.

But, they may have a plan to turn it all around. Check out this great article by Lisa Arthur about the renovation of the JC Penney brand. I really enjoyed her analysis of the different and creative ways that JC Penney is re-branding themselves moving forward.

Do you think that they can create a clear identity that their customers can connect to, and turn around their sales numbers as well?

Originally posted on Lisa Arthur on Marketing:

jcp logoInvestors are worried about JC Penney’s ability to turn itself around.

Marketers are, too.

After all, it’s no secret traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are undergoing significant upheaval. Convenient and compelling digital shopping experiences offered by online giants like Zappos and Amazon have shrunk offline sales, and marketers around the globe are now scrambling to create the winning formula that will get customers off laptops and tablets . . . and into their stores.

But, if retail icon JC Penney –under the leadership of Ron Johnson, the former head of Apple Stores –can’t get traction with the brand renovation it launched earlier this year, what does that say about the future of brick-and-mortar retail, in general? With the omnichannel revolution underway, how much leeway do brands have to try to connect with today’s empowered consumers? Which missteps are forgivable . . . and which are potentially fatal?

Many contributors at Forbes have…

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How Your Speech is Damaging Your Career

I recently watched Jillian Michael’s interview with Tara Mohr, author of  “10 Rules for Brilliant Women“. During the interview they discussed the speech mistakes that we unconsciously make during interviews, and during our everday  professional life, that  can damage our careers. Tara Mohr is renowned for her self-help advice, she has been featured on: Big Think, CNN, Forbes, Huffington Post, Today Show, International Business Times, and USA Today.

In the interview, they talk about four features of our speech that can quickly turn a strong confident statement into an unsure question. The following are the four speech mistakes we make, that we probably don’t even know we are making:

Don’t Discount Your Own Advice

When you are presenting your opinion be careful not to unintentionally add on a ‘disclaimer’, you don’t have to apologize for having an opinion. During an interview, or while at work, try not to down play your opinion by adding a “but” to your sentence.

Saying “I think that…..” is a confident statement that others will take seriously and that will contribute to a discussion. In comparison, statements such as “I think this but…” or “I’m not an expert but…” often make the speaker appear uncertain and the statement appear unimportant.

Lost the “Just” Already

I have never thought about how often I say “just” but I admit I say it a lot (something I plan on changing). This four letter word can quickly turn a strong sentence into a weak one:

Stronger: “I am concerned” “Can I speak with you for a moment?”

Weaker: “I’m just concerned” “Can I speak with you for just a moment?”

While it may be just one word (haha), it may be the difference between leading a conversation and sitting on the side lines.

“Uptalk” is NOT a Good Thing

“Uptalk” is when we raise our pitch at the end of a sentence, like when we ask a question. When you raise our pitch at the end of a sentence, it makes it sound like you are not sure of yourself or confident in your decision/opinion. Tara recommends that we should focus on going down in pitch at the end of a sentence instead of up, this shows authority and confidence. Hey, Oprah does it so it must work!

Pause for a Moment

Whether you are in an interview or giving a presentation, in your mind picturing placing a period at the end of your sentence and then wait a moment. This will protect you from saying something you don’t mean to and helps you make sure that others have a chance to ask their questions.

While they focuse on applying these rules to an job interview, I think that they are definitely applicable to a person’s overall career.

Do you find yourself falling into these speech traps?

If you do, take Tara’s advice and don’t try to change all these habits at once, make this a long term project.

Check out Tara Mohr’s website for the “10 Rules for Brilliant Women“.

Design in Business

Check out this great blog on how thinking like a designer leads to business success. This article breaks down the very interesting relationship between design and business. Have you ever thought that design could impact your business strategy or organization structure. The way that design can spark innovation is they same way it can impact how you make decisions and evolve as a company. This article definitely has inspired be to try breaking away from the way I normally work and take more of a “design” perspective.

Work Lessons From the Hunger Games

Brianna Smith:

The Hunger Games

Love, love, love this blog post! “Work Lessons From the Hunger Games”
Find out how the following rules will help you to survive at work and “win” your dream career.

  1. Get people to like you, or you’ll die
  2. Be yourself so that people like you so you don’t die
  3. Be memorable or you’ll die
  4. Some people will like your guts but others won’t
  5. A good mentor will help increase your chances of survival

I definitely recommend checking it out!

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Originally posted on University Ave:

So by now I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing about the Hunger Games. But too bad. I’m still going to write about it. Yea, there are a lot of people annoyed by yet another teen love triangle but I have to say, I picked up some essential business lessons while watching the movie and paying $17 for popcorn and a soda.

Here are some of them:

Get people to like you, or you’ll die

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or read the book, the main characters in the movie have to compete in a fight until the death. Yes, children, because their ancestors rebelled against the capitol, are selected to enter an arena and kill each other in hopes of having one remaining victor. How lovely… Sponsors however, while watching the tournament, assist the tributes in providing them with medicine and food to help increase their chances…

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6 Tips For Strategic Thinking

Strategic LeadershipI recently read a very interesting article in Inc. magazine by Paul Schoemaker; 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

The article focused on the six things that strategic company leaders do well.

  1. Anticipate upcoming changes in your industry by looking beyond your current business strategy and expanding your external networks.
  2. Think Critically when faced with a problem. Question everything to determine the root cause, so the same issue does not recur. Challenge current belief; do not assume that all management or business fads will work for your business. Look beyond the fad and understand the entire impact of a change.
  3. Interpret all the data available when making a decision. There is so much information available at our finger tips today, use it to find patterns and test hypothesis. By doing this, you will decrease any associated risk when a final decision is made.
  4. Decide where you stand on an issue and hold your ground. Develop a system that works for you for making decisions. Even if you are not 100% sure about your decision, be vocal about how you feel about an issue. Don’t sit on the sidelines.
  5. Align your goals with those that you work with. Try to learn what motivates the others on your team and bring the uncomfortable issues to the forefront to discuss. By doing this you will open up a dialogue for new ideas and build trust between team members.
  6. Learn from your mistakes. This is a simple lesson that we have been taught since childhood. Do not ignore or pass the blame when a mistake happens, because no matter how perfect you are mistakes will happen. The most important thing is how you, as a leader, respond to a mistake. When a mistake happens, ask your team for an honest debrief of the situation from their perspective to better understand why things went wrong. If you are in the middle of a project and you feel that the current course of action is wrong, speak up right away to shift the focus of the project in a new direction. Do not wait and hope the current path ends up “okay”.

Check out the full article on to learn more about how to become a better strategic leader.

Image: Salvatore Vuono /