October 27, 2011

3Ws for New Managers Most first time managers are charged with getting specific tasks accomplished. As a result they need to focus their energies on how to convert their actions and attitudes from individual player to effective coach and supervisor. The secret for success is to focus on the critical 3Ws. What. You have to explain every task succinctly and clearly. Then get your people to play it back to you to insure they understand exactly what has to be done. If it’s a group task you have to lay out who does what and how the pieces and parts come together. Carefully discuss the sequence of actions and point out the dependencies and contingencies. Be sure your team understands each person’s role and how the pieces come together to form a cohesive whole. Draw the project out step by step. Don’t assume everyone gets it; because someone won’t. Try to leave hardly any room for interpretation since there’s always someone willing to shirk or skimp. Keep everyone informed of timelines and progress to date. When. You will never succeed as a manager if you can’t meet deadlines and budgets. Finding ways to get more done in less time is a big part of your job. This means understanding your team’s abilities and handing off assignments to individuals best suited to handle them. It also means you must know your people well enough to know which kind of motivation works for each person. Some people strive with a deadline. Others freak out. You must know who reacts each way and parse out the work to suit them. You also need to know and to explain why the timing is what it is. If it’s a rush, your people have the right to know why. If it’s complicated, your people need to know all the nuances. If there are serious consequences for good or bad, your team has to know what they are. If the reason is bogus, it’s your job to push back. You must manage your resources, keep them informed, find ways to motivate them and keep them as happy as you can. Why. A vital component of team happiness is knowledge and context. Nobody wants to feel out of the loop or like a robot. It’s your job as supervisor to cue the team about what they are doing, where it fits into the bigger picture, why it matters and how it contributes to the overall company mission. Most people come to work and what to feel like what they do maters. Nobody wants to be on a losing team. Everybody craves information and context. It’s your job to create this information, even if you worked in close-lipped or dysfunctional firm. Most people work to help their teammates and to please their boss. Be the kind of boss that engenders good will and affection by letting your people know what you know. Being a front line, first time manager is about transforming yourself and relating one-on-one to your team. What, When and Why are the fundamental building blocks of those relationships.
Realistic Thinking About Mobile Media Mobile media makes marketers drool. Unfortunately they are focused on the rapid adoption of the technology and the increasing use of smartphones, apps and mobile-enabled services. They are thinking about all those people they can intersect and message on-the-go. But they are not looking at the attitudes and adoption patterns of users. Most people don’t necessarily want media intrusions. They want to use a mobile utility on their terms and on their timetable. Is there any surprise that getting an ad on your cellular phone is still considered bad form? Does anyone really question why there are so few opt-in lists available for SMS or graphical mobile campaigns? Users want to drive. They want information, search keywords, comparison shopping data and rewards and offers when they want them; not when marketers want to transmit them. We are also seeing distinctive use patterns by device type. iPads have become news and entertainment media that in some psycho-demographic segments challenge TV while smartphones are being used as more practical utilities. Comparing behavior by device, we see that some tasks like applying for a mortgage or filing in complex forms are still the province of desktops and laptops while quickly checking balances; directions, movie times, medications or calendars are done by phone. And while publishers and portals like AOL are changing design parameters to create bigger ad units and expanding their reach, these moves correspond to corporate revenue goals rather than consumer preferences. Ironically as mobile ad spending increases to $1.8 billion by the end of 2012 according to eMarketer and brands plough more dollars into rich mobile media and mobile video ads, the devices themselves make it easier and easier to skip or ignore advertisements. Outside ads embedded in apps, users can easily sidestep the messages targeted to them. The persuasive path or brands is to create or associate with mobile content, games or utilities valued by your target customers rather than SPAM them in a new media.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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