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The 3 "Rs" of Professional Development
Technology and Tactics
Upcoming Events
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July 2011
Cropped 2011 head shotHappy Birthday, America!

Yes, I do wax chauvanistic on Independence Day. With all our warts--and there are quite a few--this is the best place on earth to live--just my opinion!
Strangely, but happily, things are getting busy here at ADM, so there may not be a lot of spare time this summer, but we will certainly try to relax whenever possible. Hope your summer is off to a good start, too.
The Three "Rs" of Professional Development
Don't Just Sit There, Do Something! 

I have always been a big believer in lifelong learning. While this is important to keep oneself interested and interesting, it is even more important professionally. We all know how technology has changed the way we work--and the kind of work we do, in some cases. In order to remain competitive, we must keep learning.
Last month, at the IABC/LI Awards lunch, keynoter Mark Schumann spoke about three things we need to do in order to stay fresh. With apologies to Mark for my paraphrasing, we need to:
  • Recharge: keep learning new things; not just technology, but approaches to marketing and communications challenges. We can all learn from one another.
  • Reconnect: Community is a very powerful thing. We all belong to different communities, representing different aspects of our lives or interests that we have. Professional organizations are more than just venues for business development; they offer opportunities to establish and reinforce relationships with peers and colleagues. They also offer opportunities for learning.
  • Reinvent: If you have been in the business world for a while you know how much your profession has changed. Some people find it is necessary to reinvent themselves. This does not have to mean a radical change. Sometimes it means shifting focus within the same industry or discipline. Sometimes it means becoming a consultant rather than an employee; or becoming a teacher to pay forward the knowledge and experience you've gained. 


Some people equate business and professional groups with networking venues. Some are dedicated to lead generation and business development. But many others offer true networking: that is, the ability to establish relationships with other business people and professionals, some of which MAY lead to business opportunities in the near term. More likely, they lead to friendships, the sharing of information and knowledge, and occasionally, new business in the long term. That is the real "diamond in a mountain of coal."


So stay fresh with these three "Rs." Find a group--or more than one--that suits you. Attend to learn and connect. The benefits will accrue, even if it takes a while. Like many things, the quality of the results are often proportional with amount of time you put into the effort.

Technology and Tactics

Lessons From A 100-Year-Old Wartrench warfare 1


I recently saw the play "War Horse," which was a big hit in London, and is now enjoying full houses at Lincoln Center in New York. One of the main themes of this play is how the technology of war in World War I--trench warfare, barbed wire, and machine guns--outstripped the traditional use of cavalries. The result was disastrous, for both men and animals. The military leaders, especially on the Allied side, did not realize how the use of barbed wire and machine guns would make cavalry charges--a standard tactic for the aging generals--a bigger nightmare than they were in the Crimean War (ever hear of the Charge of the Light Brigade?), 60 years earlier. Out of a million horses that the English brought to the Continent between 1914 and 1918, only about 62,000 returned. That's about six hundreths of a percent return rate.


Not to trivialize the horrors of warfare--for both men and beasts--but what can marketers and other business professionals learn from this?

  • Learn about new technologies: As noted above, it is really critical to keep up on new tools and techniques. But it's not nearly enough to know HOW to use Twitter, Four Square, or other forms of digital marketing. It's not even enough to know how to monetize these new methods. We have to learn how to fully integrate them into our marketing and communications "tool kits."
  • Learn how to manage change: Sometimes, we have to change the way we even THINK about marketing. We have to learn about how market segments obtain information and use it to make purchase decisions. In some ways, the process never changes; in some ways, it changes entirely. We must learn which is which, and how to manage the change.
  • Spend some time in the trenches: This is a common phrase which actually harkens back to World War I, when generals ordered suicidal charges in the Somme Valley from their offices in Paris and London. You have to observe how your target audience behaves in order to understand how to use the new techniques to your advantage. It is wise to test a new campaign or distribution channel to make sure you will not be tripped up by speed bumps and barriers you cannot see from your office.
  • Don't make rash assumptions: We all know that the primary danger of making assumptions has to do with the first three letters of that word. Just as you shouldn't make assumptions that a certain population group does NOT use digital technologies, you shouldn't assume that other groups will "get" your intentions immediately. Carrying forth the warfare analogy, don't send off the cavalry charge until you have investigated the terrain over which you are going to send them.

Many people feel pressured to adopt digital marketing strategies quickly, for fear of being left behind. After all, you don't want to be the cavalry charge that is met by machine gun fire. But neither do you want to take the risk of moving so quickly that the vehicle or distribution channel fails. You don't want to be charged by the cavalry and have your machine gun jam.

Upcoming Events
July 28, 5:30-8:30pm

SMPS-Long Island is hosting their annual summer "Meet and Greet" at Westbury Manor on Jericho Turnpike. If you are at all interested in meeting people in the architectural, engineering, and contracting industries, you should go! For more details, visit the SMPS-LI web site.

July 14, 11:00am-12:45pm


New York Women In Communications is offering a behind-the-scenes look at CBS 2 News.   Including a Q&A with newswoman Dana Tyler, this sounds like a really cool deal. NY WICI has some other events this summer, which you can find out more about at
IABC/LI is planning some terrific programs for the Fall, and perhaps a social evening in August. Check out the Facebook page for more details ("like" it and those details will be delivered to your page) and look in your mailbox for flyers.
This practice is dedicated to helping companies become knowledge-driven, rather than assumption driven about strategic and tactical decisions concerning lines of business, branding, communications, and various marketing activities. For more information about how we do this, case studies, frequently asked questions about marketing research, and testimonials, please visit our web site:

Ann Middleman