The Journey to Mindful Leadership

It has been a blissful 10 months since completing my PhD! No writing, hard deadlines, or questioning my sanity. And my bound dissertation is a daily reminder of the important of life long learning. I have had a nice break, but now its time to jump back in to learning..

I have set some lofty goals over the past few years, and here we are again. As my career has evolved from the days of Sales, to Director of Marketing, Adjunct Professor, Dean, to everything in between…I have really focused on simply working hard, doing my job, and continuous improvement. It never occurred to me that Leadership Skills are (somewhat naturally) developed over time when in the right environment-surrounded by the right people. Until now, as I reflect back on my career and anticipate the challenges and opportunities to come.

The Goal
A few months ago, I began to research leadership topics and curate leadership books to read for the purpose of helping inform and energize myself. The goal was to really hone in on the skills I have, those I need to develop, and to identify these skills in others I work with in order to better define them in myself. So, for the next few months, I will be reading, reflecting, and writing (think 10 part series if you will). Those who subscribe to this blog will see a slight deviation from the typical social media marketing, marketing, branding related posts – However I am sure I will be able to throw in a bit of social and digital marketing terminology or concepts! I can almost guarantee it.

In my masters programs (I completed an MS Marketing and an additional 18 hours of MBA courses), there was focus on effective management skills and a deep dive in to all genres of business. However, I know I never differentiated management and leadership. My goals were to become a CMO for a Fortune 500 company ( I had my eye on SC Johnson and P&G, with my runner up being The Dallas Stars), yet I do not think I fully understood leadership in my 20s. I think I more aligned leadership with power, and did not define the type of power (more on that in another post). Then, later in life, my PhD courses were not leadership focused either. Yet, I found leadership qualities in many mentors I had though my years of study. And here I am now, in a leadership role.

It has taken me being surrounded by leaders and managers to really understand the qualities that I appreciate and admire, the qualities I possess, and those qualities I hope to embody.


The Leadership Books

The books I have curated are below. I am focusing on Higher Education, yet many main stream leadership books transcend. It may take some time to completely digest them, and I have more awaiting my purchase on my ever growing Amazon List! And, of course I am always open to suggestions, so feel free to comment below at the end of the post. You will see evidence of several themes in my selections thus far.

Joy, Inc.
Grit
Start With Why
Reframing Academic Leadership
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
The Essential Academic Dean: A Practical Guide to College Leadership A Practical Guide to College Leadership
The Academic Deanship: Individual Careers and Institutional Roles
A Guide to Leadership and Management in Higher Education
Challenges in Higher Education Leadership
Women Leaders in Higher Education
Inclusive Leadership in Higher Education
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT
People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow
Ego vs. EQ: How Top Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps With Emotional Intelligence
Ego Is the Enemy
The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World

The Focus
Leadership books are a great resource to help identify the leadership skills I have and those that I need to develop. However, I want to take this one step further to bring the content of the books I am reading to life.

The focus of this series is to Identify:
Skills I Have,
Skills I Need to Develop,
Skills I See in Others to Better Define Them in Myself

I am so fortunate to work alongside many leaders. From them, I have learned – and am learning. It is through them I see leadership skills in action and it is through interactions with them I can really define and develop those skills in myself.

Spectate, Cheer, and Constructive Feedback

As you see these posts go live on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and direct to your email (for those who subscribe), I hope you will sit along the sidelines, but not just spectate. But, instead cheer me on through this journey and when needed- offer constructive feedback. This is a learning experience for me, and I truly want to harness my uniqueness, become a more effective leader, and be a leader who inspires others to be better and more mindful as well.

My call to action to you is to subscribe, or follow/connect with me on my social channels and offer feedback and commentary. As a community we can learn from one another and support one another through discussions such as this.

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HubSpot Education Partner Podcast: It’s Bigger Than Social Media


SNHU Marketing


It took me six years, 22 weeks and two days to finish my PhD!  Southern New Hampshire University recently posted an article on my journey as well as my thoughts on our new  Digital Marketing concentration.  I am very excited our students will be benefiting from  HubSpot’s Educational Partner Program in courses that are not only user-friendly, but also aligned what employers want , and  include  industry certification prep.

Read the article here:  Spotlight on SNHU Marketing Faculty Lead Dr. J | SNHU


From the Archives: Almost any brand can be Pinteresting. Here’s how!

pinterest warning

By Jessica Rogers, {grow} Contributing Columnist

I’m not crafty. I do not scrapbook, do DIY projects, or tackle anything that involves a glue gun.

However, I recently created a “Laundry Room Makeover” board on Pinterest and completed the renovation. Pinterest was a wonderful source for before and after pictures, detailed tutorials, names and reviews of paints, and even lists of where to find the products and their prices.

I must point out many of these, if not all, were not brand sponsored! For example, like other Pinterest users I posted all the materials used in my after photos. This is an amazing opportunity for brands to increase brand recognition by way of social sharing or “pinning.”

This story is played over and over across the globe. Pinterest is the ultimate source for creative (P)inspiration.

Why use Pinterest?

Pinterest marketing specialist Piqora found that one “pin” generates an average of 78 cents in sales. Pins are 100x more viral than tweets and Pinterest Board pages can rank on Google long after the original post.

Like any social platform, Pinterest might not work equally well for all brands. However, Pinterest can be a great way to share valuable content with your target audience and showcase your brand personality.

Pinterest is obviously the home room for the visual content from clothing designers, photographers, and makeup artists. But the platform can be utilized by non-creatives like real estate agents, marketing thought leaders posting relevant articles, even parents posting ideas about home schooling their children. Almost anyone can be more Pinteresting….

Are pins really content?

Absolutely. But keep in mind the importance of  “delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.” Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and of course Pinterest have a specific demographic of users and can be optimized accordingly. What is often overlooked is the importance of relevant and timely content for these platforms.

What should you pin?

  • What does your target audience of client base want to learn more about? What moves them? What interests them? Find pins related to those topics. Become your follower’s go-to resource.
  • Regularly visit the What’s Popular section of Pinterest to see what is trending and what really resonates with Pinterest users.
  • “How to” pins are very popular. Find tutorials your audience can use and pin them, or create your own. Including before and after images.
  • Infographics are a great way to share a large amount of information in an attractive, inspiring way.
  • Do not always pin your own content. If you do pin your own content, be sure to do it in a way that drives users to your website.

Tips for optimizing your pins 

  • Add relevant Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords in your “About” section. Search engines index this page, so use those 200 characters wisely.
  • Utilize humorous of catchy titles to entice folks to follow the board, and include keywords in board titles to make the board more searchable in Pinterest.
  • Curate pins that link back to your website, email opt-in page, or product page/catalog
  • Pinterest is social, so remember to interact and engage with others. Repin, follow, and make comments.
  • I found this Pinterest Master Class to be helpful. It is a series of three videos equaling an hour of content.

via Almost any brand can be Pinteresting. Here’s how! – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow} – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}

*Update: With over 150 Million users, Pinterest is worth a gander. Read more here on the latest stats on this power platform! At the same time I posted my reno on Pinterest, I added a “make me move” price on Zillow…. the rest is history. Full price offer, that led to us building a new home, 2.7 miles down the road.

Photo credit: clasesdeperiodismo via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA


5 Attributes of Thought Leaders- Intellectual Takeout

5 Attributes of Thought Leaders

Have you ever asked yourself, what makes someone an entrepreneur of ideas, a so-called thought leader? The ability to invent and spread the word about newfangled concepts? A master of the TED Talk? A magnetic Steve Jobs-like personality?

The Marketing Insider Group defines a ‘thought leader’ as someone who “tap[s] into the talent, experience, and passion inside your business, or from your community, to consistently answer the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience, on a particular topic.” Thought leaders are innovators and forest-for-the trees types, not borrowers, technicians or, as Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) called intellectuals, “professional secondhand dealers in ideas.”

With tongue in cheek, New York Times columnist David Brooks describes the thought leader:

“The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, he gets to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited. Month after month, he gets to be a discussion facilitator at think tank dinners where guests talk about what it’s like to live in poverty while the wait staff glides through the room thinking bitter thoughts.

He doesn’t have students, but he does have clients. He doesn’t have dark nights of the soul, but his eyes blaze at the echo of the words ‘breakout session.’”

Besides being lampooned, the notion of thought leadership has also been widely criticized. University of Reading Management professor Kevin Money and research fellow Nuno Da Camara call thought leadership “meaningless management speak.” Harvard Business Review writer Dorie Clark comments that “it is very icky when people call themselves thought leaders because that sounds a little bit egomaniacal.” According to Tufts University professor Daniel Drezner, we need fewer thought leaders and more public intellectuals. Perhaps, for these academics, thought leadership is a matter of sour grapes, something they cannot achieve, so they roundly reject it.

Whatever the case, thought leaders are highly sought after by business firms and government agencies. High-performing organizations want these people as their executives, consultants and managers, and they are usually compensated handsomely. Why? Because they possess some or all of the following unique attributes:

  1. Ambition: They want to achieve the most they can with their novel ideas, both for themselves and the organizations they work for.
  2. Image conscious: Marketing their ideas and producing the perfect presentation matters, since image impacts how others perceive their brand.
  3. Big thinking: They care more about the macro-level, the larger picture, and less about the small details or technicalities, which others can always work out later.
  4. Expertise: They are authorities in the areas of inquiry where they generate the most innovative ideas.
  5. Ability to see aspects others don’t or cannot see: They detect subtle patterns and larger trends where thought followers fail to.

This last attribute—often called ‘aspect-seeing’—is the most important. To illustrate, look at the Duck-Rabbit image, invented by the Gestalt psychologists and employed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) in his ground-breaking work Philosophical Investigations:

Most people either perceive an image of a duck or an image of a rabbit. The thought leader immediately detects the patterns for both and possibly more. He is adept at seeing aspects of a puzzle or a problem that others cannot.

Is thought leadership something you aspire to? Or is the notion meaningless, icky and/or trendy?

This post 5 Attributes of Thought Leaders was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Shane Ralston.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/all/themes/ito/js/ito-repub.js


From the Archives: 4 Critical Social Media Lessons I Learned From My 4 Year Old

My son just turned 4 and has developed into a kind and considerate little man. Before you say “of course, he is your son, brag much?”, let me support my theory with a bit of fact.  The truth is, I am learning from him. I marvel at what we can learn about connecting on the social web from this little man …

Thank you is just the beginning of the relationship

On his birthday, we had a party for all his friends at a gymnastics place where the kids could bounce around and burn some energy. After the party, not only did he actually thank each friend for coming and for each present, he could recall who got him what afterwards! The staff at the gymnastics joint commented on his awesome manners. A proud Mommy moment and even more proud the weeks following when my son still remembered what each of his friends gave him.

In social it is so easy to show gratitude but often can be time consuming when you have many followers/fans/comments. However, a little “Thank you” goes a long way!

Thank people for sharing in a Tweet, Re-Tweet something that resonates with you, or share a blog post that your followers would enjoy. Pay it forward, be a resource for others and support those around you. Also, know it does not have to stop at “Thank you.”  There have been countless times my son and I have been going into school or a store and someone has held the door open for us. My son politely says (on his own) “Thank you” and then asks me, “Mommy why didn’t they say You’re welcome?”

“Thank you” is just the beginning of a relationship. The doors of communication are now open and you have endless possibilities of what you can do with the relationship.

Stay centered

big hairMy son has the most beautiful long blonde hair, and he loves it! He allows me to trim it but he really wants to have long hair. This is a part of him.

l recently took my son to McDonald’s to romp in the play area (He absolutely thinks this is THE most fun ever). The last two times we went to McD’s he comes up to me with a new friend (once it was a girl the other time a boy) and says, ” Mommy tell him/her I’m a boy!”(because of his hair). No matter how many times he has a “prove your gender” altercation or is called a girl at his own birthday party (yes this did actually happen), it does not phase him. He likes what he likes, and that is it.

Whether you are a person, a business or a brand on the social web, you’re going to get knocked around a bit. But you must represent yourself in one true, consistent voice. You can’t be something you are not. Stay centered.

Patience Pays

My family had been looking forward to the State Fair of Texas all year. My son has big dreams about it and was sure he could ride all the big rides now. After all,  he was 4!

Big TexRealistically, he was just one inch taller than last year, so we were still very limited in what he could enjoy at the fair. This did not phase him at all. He went, he saw, he conquered the same three fun houses and four rides. All day.

He patiently waited all year for the fair, patiently waited to park, patiently waited in many lines to eat, drink, ride rides, and play games.  And then, it was all over in 8 hours.

In social, success rarely happens over night. You must nurture the relationships you make, consistently deliver valuable content, and engage with others in an authentic way. Most of the time, you have to wait to ride the big rides.

Just as it takes time to build a valuable brand, it takes time to build a good social following. Simply opening accounts serves little or no purpose. Don’t give up after one month and you have only 15 followers on Twitter and no one has read your blog post. Just think of the possibilities: communities to be part of, businesses you can work with, folks to connect with, and all of the knowledge that goes along with it.

The Wonder of Learning

Each day my little dude learns at least two new things. How wonderful is that? Life is constantly exciting for him because the world is a wonder.

How can you capture this spirit in your own life? Are you spending time to learn and wonder?

Make it a point in your life to try to always be learning. Social make this so easy. You have a world full of folks on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and G+ willing to connect with you and share new content and ideas.  Many of these connections can be instrumental to you personally and professionally and likewise, you can be very instrumental to them. It can be a very mutually beneficial on various levels.  You must first listen, then engage and take part in the conversation. Identify mentors and learn from them.

This post was not meant to be a page in my Mommy Brag Book. But, when thinking of some of the basics of social, they really do relate back to the basics of a happy life. Keep things in perspective. Be genuine. Be the person you want to meet. And be sure to take the rocks out of your pockets before starting the laundry!

What are you learning from your kids and how is relating to your business?

via Four critical Social Media Lessons I learned from my 4 year old – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}


Education Then and Now- Intellectual Takeout

Education Then and Now

If you want to positively impact the future, you must have a thorough knowledge of the past.

One of the most interesting books that I’ve read in the past year is Henri Marrou’s A History of Education in Antiquity. It’s considered the standard treatment of what education looked like in ancient Greece – the fount from which education in the West and in America sprang forth.

In particular, there were 5 characteristics of ancient Greek education that struck me when reading Marrou. I’ll summarize them for you below:

1) It focused on the basics. Primary students learned the “three Rs.” Step-by-step, they would move from the alphabet to syllables, words, sentences, and continuous passages. When they were ready, students would move on to a grammar school and more complex literature. They were also taught enough math to function in everyday life and in a trade.

2) It focused on literature. The ancient Greeks believed that a literary education was the best way to establish a core knowledge among citizens and to form mature and virtuous human beings. Teachers spent most of their time introducing students to the great authors of the past. They had a more integrated view of knowledge and did not split up the curriculum into various subjects.

3) It rooted students in the past. The educational philosophy of ancient Greece is contained in the word paideia – a “training” that students underwent to be initiated into adulthood and the Greek way of life. Education was about introducing students to the great authors and ideas of the past. The ancient Greeks believed that this process was the only way to preserve the identity and greatness of their culture while effectively preparing students to contribute to that culture as adults.

4) Education and character formation went hand-in-hand. In 1947 Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” The ancient Greeks felt the same way. The Greeks believed that the family should play the primary role in character formation. But they also believed that the values the child learned at home should be reinforced in the schools.

5) There was no centralized education system. Throughout the tenure of their civilization, the Greeks were able to preserve a consistent ideal of education without a centralized system and curriculum. Schools were built and funded by local communities. Greek culture visibly reflected the ideals taught in schools, so there was no need for the imposition of a standard curriculum. Citizens were clear about what education was for, and what it should teach.

These same characteristics marked Western education for over 2,000 years. They marked the education of Americans during colonial times, when literacy rates among those who attended school were higher than they currently are. And they marked the education that was offered to Americans in the 19th century.

In the past 100 years, American education has gone down a different path in the name of “progress.” The characteristics of today’s system, however, make me question how much progress we have really achieved.

The current American education system seems mystified about how to adequately teach our students the basics, as evidenced by low test scores. It has lost a sense of the purpose of education – both for the human person and our culture. It cuts students off from the past by almost solely focusing on modern literature selected for its conformity to modern ideals. It has become increasingly centralized, taking away the ability of local communities and teachers to meet the unique needs of their students.

At the same time, many parents do not provide enough character formation to their children at home – a formation that is necessary if students are to succeed in school.

As C.S. Lewis said, “We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road.”

We may very well need to do an “about turn” with the American education system.

Image Credit

This post Education Then and Now was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Daniel Lattier.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/all/themes/ito/js/ito-repub.js


From the Archives: Social media is saving animal lives

 

By Jessica Rogers, {grow} Contributing Columnist  

Most people read {grow} to see how social media is connecting brands and people … but I wanted to share how it is also connecting people to animals in need, too. In fact, social media is saving lives.

Adopting a pet who has been  abandoned, rescued, abused, or simply unwanted, is a wonderful thing for a person to do. Not only do you get a loving companion who adores you unconditionally, but you get a sense of purpose and true responsibility to this innocent  life you saved from being put down unnecessarily. By also helping via social media, I hope that my “lives saved” tally reaches far beyond the paws I have in my home.

The story of Bit.ly the dog

Last year my family lost two of our dogs due to old age and subsequently began our search for a new pet by visiting shelters every Saturday. Each week we saw plenty of contenders, and then I would go home and visit them on Facebook to see who got adopted, new strays that had been rescued, and the antics the shelter staff would post. This went on for weeks until I was introduced to a beautiful fluffy white dog with a pink nose  who had just been posted on Facebook:

bitly the dog bitly shelter photo

About 45 minutes later we were going home with our newest addition “Bit.ly.”

But connecting people with pets is just part of how social media is helping shelters. Just last month the shelter was able to reunite two stolen senior Basset Hounds from Missouri, Aggie and Clyde,  who were dumped here in Texas!  You can watch the reunion here. My local  shelter has many happy tails, and many not so happy tails of abandonment, neglect, abuse etc. But the point is, they use Facebook. They use it well. With little staff and money, they have managed to pull off consistent stellar Facebook engagement. Some things  they do:

  • Reply to posts within hours to inspire engagement
  • Post intake and adoption photos daily, updates on animals who have been adopted to drive consistent activity
  • Post professional photos of animals up for adoption, some of which are really quite adorable and shareable
  • Promote fund raisers; coordinate volunteer initiatives to get folks involved and posting to the page

Their community is wonderful. There is a lot  of activity, personality, and of course sharing. So why weren’t they on Twitter?

The Twitter connection

One day my son (4) says out of the blue,”Mommy I want a kitten. A black kitten.”  I have no idea where this came from but he never let it go. So we re-started our Saturday shelter visits with a new purpose. I was getting more and more involved with the wonderful shelter pets but noticed there was no Twitter feed. Why wouldn’t they share these animals with people on Twitter too?

So, I sent a Facebook message to the gals at the shelter (we are old friends at this point) and told them I could help them set up a Twitter account, show them how to use Hootsuite, and leverage Facebook posts in this new platform. Easy enough right!?

Not really.

Twitter best practices for a shelter

Well here in lies that pesky problem of time. The shelter needs time to post, which they are already doing and Hootsuite would basically just copy the posts to another social platform, Twitter. But they also need time to devote to building a following, sharing Tweets, and also answering tweets. They simply did not have the resources to do this and asked for my help in setting up and maintaining their Twitter feed.

Some time saving strategies I use, and suggest are:

Set up scheduled backbone tweets. The shelter has many “core messages” they can run over and over on Twitter on a timetable by scheduling through Hootsuite or Buffer. An example would be monthly remiders to followers about donating goods selected from the shleter’s Amazon Wish List.

I like to schedule posts that are pretty basic and not  terribly time sensitive.  The scheduling process is as easy as writing your short blurb, adding the link (Hootsuite and BufferApp will shorten the link for you), click which social networks you wish it to post to, and pick a date and time that you want it to post. There is also the “auto schedule” option that lets Hootsuite choose the most optimal times to post for you. Scheduled tweets can not be the only part of your strategy, but they help free up time to do real time engaging. Don’t forget to add relevant hashtags to help your post be “found.”

Utilize add-ons. Buffer and Hootsuite’s extensions are excellent time savers. The extensions are on your web browser, so you basically only have to click the icon on your browser window when you want to share something as opposed to opening the full dashboard. The shelter might want to use this for any article they run across or even YouTube video that is relevant to their audience. You can choose to post immediately or schedule as described above on Hootsuite and BufferApp as well. You can post to multiple platforms.

Utilize Twitter’s mobile App. I have the Twitter app on my phone (of course) and can toggle between my accounts and the shelter account. This is great for live Tweeting.  The shelter might be able to utilize this at off site functions, of course while utilizing appropriate hashtags. You can also check any mentions, messages or the like while on your smartphone.

While this list is by no means inclusive, it may help you get started with organizing your social media efforts when you don’t have much time.

I hope that through a few  minutes a day of my Tweeting I can help someone find that perfect pet or a shelter animal find their forever family, like “Marlo” or “Roxie” who have been at the shelter for 276 and 236 days respectively. Eventually, I am sure the shelter will be able to take over tweeting, but for now I enjoy it.  My ROI is knowing that I might be able to save one animal life.

And, in case you were wondering, here is “Bit.ly” with our new addition “#hashtag” the black kitten:

bitly the dog

Do you have any experience using social media to help with animal causes? I’d love to hear your story in the comment section!

via Social Strategy for the Dogs. How social media is saving animal lives. – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow} – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}


Everyone is a Marketer

Since 2009 I have been fortunate enough to encounter thousands of undergraduate and graduate business students at two different universities during those years. Whether it be the sophomore or junior taking their first Marketing course, or the graduate student pursuing a masters in marketing with an undergraduate degree in another discipline – I always come across at least one student per term that is fearful and nervous about the course because they have “no experience in marketing“. Typically, this same student refers to simply advertising and commercials in our first class discussions. Not knowing, that those are only but two elements of a discipline that transcends …..

Everyone is a Marketer

A key idea I like to present to my students in the beginning of the term is for them to not think of themselves as marketing novices. I ask them to look at themselves, as consumers. I ask them to consider why they made purchases, why they chose one brand over another, how they prioritized purchases etc. Then, I ask them to take those details and consider ways marketing may have played a roll. This often opens many eyes. Then, I will also ask student to think of themselves as a product, and ask them ways that they could address the 4 P’s (or 7 P’s). Students begin to think from a different perspective. I tell my students, ” YOU are the most important product you will ever market. Brand it accordingly“. Often this self reflection makes many elements of marketing more applicable…..Because everyone is a marketer.

The Narrative
Students know more about Marketing than they realize, they simply need a tour guide to provide the narrative. In this age of push and pull marketing, consumers are marketed to in a variety of ways throughout each day. Marketing is everywhere, even if it is a bit incognito. As part of this narrative, instructors like myself seek textbooks and resources to not only support our lectures and teachings, but to also help show application and relevance. As part of this quest for useful learning resources has evolved, so has the output from publishers. I was lucky enough to review Hunt and Mello’s Marketing some time ago when the 1st edition was being developed. The undergraduate level book presented a novel approach of “everyone is a marketer” that grabbed my attention. Now, the anticipated second edition will be hitting the shelves.

Social Media Marketing
A majority of the courses that I have taught since 2009 are Social Media Marketing courses, my doctoral research centers around Social Media Marketing. So, when I see college level text books devoting one chapter to social, I cringe. I would prefer to supplement the resources with proven business books on the facets of social. However, for an undergrad Marketing course, that is not feasible. Students need a book that not only covers the basic principles of marketing, but also includes the elements of social media marketing into the mix. Just as social media should not operate in a silo in business, it should not be thought of as a stand alone topic – it should be interwoven throughout an introductory marketing book.

So, naturally I was intrigued by Shane Hunt, John Mello, and George Deitz’s approach to Marketing. As I further reviewed the content, I was delighted with the approach they took for the text. The second edition now includes chapters on retailing, personal selling, and digital/social media; while still doing a great job helping students apply marketing to their own career and career search. For example there is a Personal Marketing Plan section woven through the text, where students have the opportunity to really reflect on themselves, their career, and aspirations as the focus of a Marketing Plan. Through a variety of methods, the authors help make the content relevant whatever student career paths may be:

1. Executive Perspective
I really like the ‘Executive Perspective’ added to each chapter. This section features successful professionals who did not major in Marketing, yet use the principles of marketing every day. This addition helps bring concepts and topics to life by showing them in action, in a business environment, by someone in the field.

2. Today’s Professional Perspective
Another great addition to the content is a section (much like the above) in each chapter that highlights a recent graduate addressing the various areas of marketing that a student may find employment in. Again providing students with information that is relevant and timely.

3. Interactive
The text includes an interactive feature called Connect. Assignments help students understand and apply concepts covered in the chapters. For example, you can assign textbook readings with SmartBook, and for each chapter there are auto-graded analytics exercises. Not to mention, students have access to the eBook and study tools geared toward their own personal knowledge gaps (based on their interactions with the adaptive learning of SmartBook). This is a great display of content meshed well with technology.

4. Ethical and Global Elements
As opposed to devoting one chapter to Ethics and Globalization, they are woven through the text as a section in each chapter. Students are presented with cases that relate to the chapter topics. which helps give them a more robust view of marketing.

5. Social Media Application
Again, this was a key feature of the text for me. While they offer a chapter on Digital/ Social Media Marketing, there is also the opportunity for student to explore application within a Social Media Application section in each chapter as it relates to specific chapter topics. This is a great way to relate basic principles of marketing to social media as a tool for marketers.


The Chapter Challenge
How does your undergrad text measure up? You can take The Chapter Challenge here. Why am I suggesting you do this?.. Well, for every Challenge completed, McGraw-Hill will make a donation to the American Marketing Association’s Diversity Leadership and Social Impact scholarships. The Chapter Challenge takes about half an hour to complete and invites you to compare Shane Hunt, John Mello, and George Deitz’s Marketing, 2nd edition with your current Marketing Principles course materials.

Take the Challenge and feel free to comment below!


Theory and Application: Advancing the World of Marketing

glasses-568408_1280
Both academics and practitioners have long discussed the application of theory. The notion that there will always be a gap between practice and theory dates back to 1793 when Kant suggested in one of his early works that practical judgment by a practitioner is necessary in order to apply a particular theory. Knowing a theory and knowing how to properly apply a theory are two different concepts. The issues lie in transferring knowledge from academics to practitioners in a language they understand, and in a way that is relevant to them. Similarly, academics must see the real value of practitioners in the trenches, acquiring valuable insights into the applicability of an assortment of concepts and theory. Business has changed dramatically over the years, and it is imperative the disparity of theory and application be examined in order for business to harness the power of both for a substantial strategic advantage.

The Relationship Between Theory and Practice
The function of theory is to predict outcomes. Rotfeld (2014) suggests theory must explain existing data, make predictions, and must be falsifiable. The empirical value of a theory can be weighed by assessing if the theory helps in gaining new knowledge about a phenomena, or even helps in the discovery of new phenomena. Further, a theory might be evaluated based on if the theory demonstrates further applicability. Rotfeld (2014) suggests that practical use of a theory would be tied to its ability to predict an outcome in given conditions where there is a decision to be made and new data may not be readily available. Regardless of the impact a theory has made, how applicable it is remains to be of concern to many practitioners.

There is a disparity between practical implementation and research theory. Additionally, practitioners often misunderstand the meaning of many theories presented in academic journals, while also seeing little relevance to the real world of business (Rotfeld, 2014). However, theories are instrumental in guiding decisions by explaining and predicting. In business, theory can help direct decision-making much like it does in the academic realm. Practitioners that draw on their past experiences to make decisions, are in effect using theory. These decision makers are drawing upon conclusions they have made, and making predictions of outcomes. Theory also helps guide values and beliefs while helping practitioners and academics alike reframe their thinking. Conditions, domains, and contexts vary within business, and transferring theory from one context to another necessitates evidence that will still hold true for the newer context. Many ideas and theories within marketing practice are simply not generalizable. This is where we rely on academic research. For example, the copious amounts of data now available from the use of social media platforms will require relevant theories to help interpret this data for marketers. Additionally, appropriate theoretical models could be useful for making sense of the data (Pan & Crotts, 2012). However, the utility of theory for practice can only be assessed in regards to how well they predict and inform decision making if they are actually used and applied (Rotfeld, 2014).

Theories are critical to marketing practice
Practitioners need research for better decision- making, but also for superior understanding of context. Without theoretical context, data generated has very limited utility, or worse, could be considered meaningless (Rotfeld, 2014). Theoretical frameworks may help practitioners in that they can offer a global and abstract view (Pan & Crotts, 2012). Rotfeld (2014) points out those practitioners who do not value or ignore marketing theory development are simply seeking out research that matches a decision they are making rather than seeking out information, and then making a decision based on findings. It is possible to identify evidence applicable to almost any theory, but researchers and practitioners alike should seek evidence that is a compelling test of a theory rather than evidence that is consistent with a proposed theory. Traditional methods of research used in the applied setting are not appropriate to address significant practical issues and questions. This is when scientific and empirical approaches are needed. In order for marketing theory and education to influence practice, academics must ensure practice does not evolve faster than marketing discipline (Harrigan & Hulbert, 2011).

Practice enriches theory. Research initiated to solve practical problems can have immediate applications as well as inform further research. However, Gummesson (2014) believes theory in the social sciences does not take a holistic view and is somewhat fragmented. The author suggests case study research to tackle the complexities of marketing by building on solid empirical evidence and avoiding assumptions (Gummesson, 2014). Simplifying theory through assumptions makes theories become unrealistic, going directly against the pragmatic view of research. Researchers must combine theoretical, methodological, and analytical approaches (McFarland & Ployhart, 2015).

Often academia can look to practitioners for new an innovative ways of thinking that are on the cutting edge of the industry. Given the long process of formal publishing in academia (Pan & Crotts, 2012), some practitioners are able to use low cost of open source publishing to share pseudo-theories. Pseudo-theories are recent conceptual frameworks yet to be tested empirically and are generally proposed by non-academics (Pan & Crotts, 2012). These pseudo-theories can contribute to the understanding of a discipline much in the way a micro-theories or macro-theories can. However, any statement that cannot be tested by observation or experimentation cannot be considered a theory (Rotfeld, 2014). Additionally, practitioners face significant ethical implications in any true research endeavor; they rely on academia for empirical theory development and testing.

Theory and practice work together in a reciprocal and interdependent way

Advances in theory produce advances in practice. Likewise, advances in practice will initiate advances in theory. While theory guides research, it also has the ability to guide practitioners. Similarly, application can guide further research and has the ability to guide academics in their quest to finding suitable research ‘problems’ for empirical studies. Theory guides marketing practitioners and helps to generate knowledge. It helps to describe or explain the discipline of marketing, and importantly theory enables practitioners to know why they are doing what they are doing.

Marketing is based on theory; it is founded on theories of consumer behavior that are drawn from the social and behavioral sciences. Theories applicable to marketing are plentiful, but few are truly relevant to the distinctiveness of social media marketing. Many do not account for more modern social issues and unique situations, and thus may require a more refined approach. However, when considering the act of exchange is essential to the discipline of marketing, focus shifts to theory that can guide research surrounding such relationships taking place within a social media environment.


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