Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Archive for March 2008

Got passion?

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thumbs-up.jpgAs a hiring manager-type, if there is one character trait I looked for in adding an individual to a team, it would be someone who was passionate about all the right things.  I was never a manager of a widget maker.  Everywhere I’ve worked has been media related.  There is no way to work in media, either in the environment that existed 20 years ago when I started or in today’s hyperchanging, absorbing, multilayered assult that we experience today without that passion.  If you don’t have the passion for what we do, you will not be involved enough to be able to keep up with the times.  You will not be in tune enough to know which new media channels to use to help your clients to achieve their marketing objectives.  And you will not be looked to as an expert in this field providing value to your clients.

I have participated in enough recent meetings with old school marketing people that clearly didn’t have passion for today’s media environment.  They were smart enough to hire some kid that just came out of college and get it.  But as the meeting wears on, they sit back and let the kid do the work.  It’s clear that the elephant in the room is them and they are no longer relevant as marketing experts.  Old school marketing principles do not apply across the board to the new avenues that marketing professionals can use to be successful for their clients.

They don’t have the passion.  Do you?  What are you passionate about?

Written by Jeff York

March 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Posted in Marketing

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Integrity, karma, and business

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According to Wikipedia, integrity is “the basing of one’s actions on an internally consistent framework of principles.”  In the world of freelance media, we often find ourselves in vulnerable positions.  Sometimes we are asked to submit creative work on spec.  Sometimes we work to develop new business with the understanding that commissions would be paid.  I have been in this situation several times recently with entirely different outcomes.

If your business model involves the generation of creative materials or concepts, a substantial amount of your success relies on other people operating with integrity.  You provided logo proofs for approval without full payment, for example.  They, in turn, choose which sample to run with and you executed it, providing the client with full vector, breakouts, etc of their new logo.  They could easily have taken your proof and gone elsewhere with it for execution.  Maybe they have a niece that’s going to art school or a neighbor that knows Photoshop.  But if they operated with integrity, then they knew they entered into an implied agreement with you and you will do the work.  If they don’t like your work, then they return the proofs and seek help elsewhere.

I have been on the wrong end of this scenerio several times.  Creative work has substantial value.  So does operating with integrity.  Your reputation is everything in the small world of creative developers.  Your brand is built on the way you’ve conducted business.  There is no better advertising than word of mouth.  Those mouths can just as easily destroy businesses as it can build them.

Have you been in a situation where someone has operated in a less than honest fashion?  Have you been in a situation where your creative was regarded without value?  What did you do to rectify the situation?  What can be done to protect your greatest product, your creative, in the future?

Written by Jeff York

March 21, 2008 at 11:26 pm

Your biggest client – YOU

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I was meeting with a prospective new client recently and she made a simple comment that I needed a web site. With that simple observation, she hit the bull’s eye on exactly the biggest problem many of us face in generating new business; we fail to market ourselves well.

Oh sure, there are lots of reasons we can come up with to not do it.  For me, it’s hard to find the time between writing scripts, directing shoots and edit sessions, building relationships, and keeping up with the latest trends and technologies.

But then again, if you don’t take yourself seriously, who will?

I’ve challenged myself this week to finish my web site, at least a first draft of it, and post it up for all to see.  And like for all of my clients, I will deliver on time!


I’d love to hear from everyone how you overcame the challenges of the day-to-day of your business and how you found a way to rise above it and to promote your biggest client: YOU!

Written by Jeff York

March 16, 2008 at 1:52 pm

To blog or not to blog – my answer

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Hello everyone.

The road to that sentence hasn’t been as easy or as smooth as the simplicity of those two words might suggest.  You see, I’ve been resisting blogs.  For the longest time, I’ve been of the opinion that there are so many blogs out there, why add another?

Now I have that answer.  It’s because I have something to say.  I had something to say before.  I just had to believe in blogs as an interesting and viable means to delivering messages.  I’ve seen the light and I’ve come to the church.  I hope people will read.  More importantly, I hope people will write.  I believe strongly in the communications model which includes the concept of “feedback.”  Please let me know what you think of my ideas and concepts.

I’m in marketing.  More precisely, my background is in using mass mediums to get messages out.  I’ve produced pieces that have aired on local television up to national broadcast and cable networks.  The logistics of getting spots to air may differ, but the basic premise is the same; there are typically 30 seconds (900 frames) to use to bombard the sight and sound senses…make sure none go to waste.  Be effective.  Be memorable.  Be good.

Now enter the Internet.  Now the number of seconds and/or frames are almost exclusively up to the storyteller.  So is sorting through the possible methods of delivery.  You can’t just say you make Internet video.  That can mean anything from beautiful sellable HD podcasts to shaky home footage of someone’s daughter dancing on stage uploaded on YouTube.  You have to pick your effective channel(s), pair it with a business model that makes sense, and get the message out.  That last part has been one incredible challenge.  I’m struggling with that last concept.  But I rather suspect the answer lies in our past:

Be good.

Written by Jeff York

March 9, 2008 at 5:47 am