In every company, there comes a time when you need to ‘clean house.’ Sometimes that house-cleaning is done in personnel to dispose of unproductive or disruptive employees. Sometimes that house-cleaning is done to the physical office to reorganize, make better use of space and eliminate clutter. And sometimes that house-cleaning is done to a particular department’s work to maximize efficiency, increase creativity and catch mistakes. For marketing, that type of ‘cleaning’ is essential to ensure that the company’s strategy, messaging and branding are tightly aligned and working in tandem.
Last week, we reviewed three areas of marketing — collateral, promotional items and trade show materials — that often can benefit from a little Spring cleaning. This week, we will look at three more areas of marketing that often could use a little sprucing up and dusting off: websites, PR and advertising. While these areas of marketing primarily don’t exist in the physical world – as there is no marketing closet that houses your websites and most PR and advertising efforts today begin and end in the digital world – they can still benefit from a little virtual cleaning…. Some proofing, editing, updating and organization. Continue reading
Part 1: Collateral, Promotional Items, and Trade Show Materials
With record high temperatures sweeping the nation in April, it’s clear that Spring has arrived. It’s time to put away the coats and boots, roll up the sleeves and do a little spring cleaning. After you’ve cleared the cobwebs in the basement or attic and cleaned out the closets and pantry, you should also do a little Spring cleaning at work. A good place to start is tidying up your marketing. Depending on how long it’s been since you did this last, it may take only a day or as much as a week… or for some poor souls who’ve put this off a long time, it may even take a month. However, whatever the investment of time, it is well worth the effort.
Just like when you clean the windows of your home, wiping away the winter grime so you can let the sun pour in, Spring cleaning your marketing will allow you to see your business more clearly. This will then allow you to focus on what is needed and what will generate the biggest return for the investment. Here are six areas that could use a little spring cleaning: collateral materials; premiums; trade show booths; websites; PR and advertising. This week, we’ll look at the first three. Continue reading
If you ask any Sales Manager what is the most powerful motivator for their employees, you are likely to hear ‘financial compensation’… as in “show them the money.” If you ask any Human Resources manager the same question, you may hear things like ‘fringe benefits or perks.’ While there are many different opinions about how best to motivate employees, one strategy may be more effective at motivating employees than money or benefits (and more cost effective). Namely: praise.
That’s what an obscure study done by Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock proved nearly a century ago. In Hurlock’s 1925 study, students were divided into four groups during instruction. One group was praised. One was criticized. One group was ignored. The last group was ignored during instruction, but not in front of the others so they had no idea that some students were being praised or criticized. Students who were praised in front of others during instruction improved their test scores by 71% while students who were criticized in front of others during instruction improved their test scores only 19%. The students who were ignored completely during instruction improved their scores by only 5% and that was similar to those who were separated from the others. When it came to results, praise was the best motivator. But is the same still true today? And does praise motivate adults at work as much as it motivates children? If so, does praise motivate employees as much as money or benefits? Continue reading
A lot has been learned about how lack of sleep affects the human mind. As we reviewed last week, sleeping too little has a definite impact on mental ability. It inhibits productivity. It diminishes the ability to remember and consolidate information. It lessens the ability to reason and do numerical calculations. For most businesses, this can have serious implications such as reducing workplace safety and decreasing work quality. Here is another consideration: lack of sleep can also cause health problems.
Indeed, studies show that lack of sufficient sleep is linked with:
• Increase in body mass index – a propensity for obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
• Increased risk of diabetes
• Increased risk of heart problems
• Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including substance abuse
• Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information which leads to increased amount of accidents
But, as it turns out, there is also a correlation between too much sleep and health problems. In fact, just as it is possible to overeat to the point of obesity, it is also possible to oversleep. A study found that extended sleep durations (over nine hours) is associated with increased illness, depression, accidents and death. Two surveys of more than a million adults conducted by the American Cancer Society found that people who (on average) slept seven hours per night had lower mortality rate after six years than those sleeping less than seven hours or more than eight hours each night. The surveys showed that too much sleep can be ‘too much of a good thing.’ Thus, the goal for sleeping – just like eating, exercising, working and playing – is to get enough without getting too much. The key is balance. What is the right balance between ‘not enough’ and ‘too much’ sleep? Continue reading
What do the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker grounding and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger all have in common (besides being major catastrophes that cost millions and took lives)? Individuals who played a critical role in what went wrong were sleep deprived at the time of each accident. There is also a link between lack of sleep and medical errors in hospitals. The Institute of Medicine reports that over a million injuries and 50,000 to 100,000 deaths occur each year from preventable medical errors, many of which are believed to be attributed to insufficient sleep. Likewise, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes in the U.S. annually are the direct result of driver fatigue. Also, the National Transportation Safety Board estimates that 70% of commercial aviation fatal accidents are related to human error and that operating crew fatigue is responsible for 15-20% of the overall accident rate.
While employee fatigue may not seem like a major concern for the average business, employees who do not get enough sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of weeks to months or on a regular basis — can significantly worsen productivity, work quality, customer service, and safety. Employee sleep deprivation can negatively impact mood, ability to focus, and ability to access higher-level cognitive functions. Sleep-deprived employees are less productive, creative, efficient, effective and engaging.
But just how much does lack of sleep affect a person’s productivity and mental ability to function? Continue reading