Advancing through 200 posts (and over the moon about it).
You find out a lot--about a lot of things--through blogging. Not the least of which are things about yourself. Writing of any sort, really. But when there is a conversation and an archive of enough posts, themes about yourself, and your work, emerge. Even to see actual words repeated creates a thread of sorts.
A fan of methodologies and such, I'm always working to home in on a paradigm or framework. Maybe I have a methodical nature. Or maybe biz school and a battery of case studies messed with my head. But as it pertains to just about anything on the marketing front--and life, really--I've found that I basically need ask but one question to decide if it's worth my time, thought and trouble:
Is it advancing? Does it advance this medium and/or does it advance the marketing discipline?That's my $64,000 question. That's my litmus test and my barometer. It's what drives me, my decisions, my professional time and, in large part, my personal time.
It can be a program that advances a company or brand to increase ROI. Or it can advance a cause solely by opening a conversation. It can be an effort that advances the marketing profession, or a medium that does that. People are advancing. But it's people from all types of backgrounds and levels of experience that advance me. There's no set recipe or resume; I learn as much from those with less experience than I do from those with more. Heck, I learn as much from those outside of the profession as I do from those within it (like fan armies, Doctors or heavy-metal heads).
Reading books is advancing. But even more so when you can discuss the theories with others. I always have questions--or just plain "don't get" something--after I've read a piece so it seemed natural to push for a forum where I could get some answers (thanks to MarketingProfs for pushing for it with me). Getting closer to customers is advancing. So I'm encouraging clients to open more feedback channels (get a darn blog or wiki!) and instill more customer advisory boards (hope upon hope they listen).
Seeing the "myriad opportunities in mishaps" is advancing as so many times when a company has done wrong they are afforded ways to advance themselves, not just apologize. And it seems such a wasted opportunity when they don't (sigh).
Promoting socially responsible practices is advancing and it's one way I can help raise awareness on these fronts. Giving CEOs ideas for ways to give back to those just starting out in their careers is advancing. I love giving fellow marketers recommendations to advance their brands, staying on top of them so they join the community...and also giving them well-deserved props for trying new things.
It's why the collage was important to create, because it could show the world (er, a very, very small corner of it) just how many ways social media is advancing and contributing so much value to to so many smart people, not just me.
In large part, if not in full, advancement is why I've been so focused on the blogging front--as I have more than my share of friends, clients and colleagues who think I'm absolutely nuts spending the amount of time I do in my "blogging bubble." And a Book Club that takes time but doesn't pay? They think I've completely lost my mind (granted they could be right).
But they've no idea how many newfound contacts I've met through blogging and books. Relationships from all over No. America, India, Europe, Australia, etc. that genuinely advance me because I'm afforded to see the world from outside my USA bubble. We are such a small part of the world and I need to better understand just how skewed my viewpoint, or the assumptions I hold may be if I want to advance into global terrain.
And meeting all you brainy bloggers when afforded the chance through travels to other cities...or travels to mine? That's highly advancing and just adds another dimension to the strong relationships we're building (I've been so fortunate to meet so many of you that I can't just point to one post, the category is here).
While I'm a fan of connecting, sharing and uniting--and I outright deplore initiatives that divide and destroy--my barometer is really set by advancing, or advancement. It's a subjective barometer to be sure--I'm certainly not the authority on what is or isn't advancing overall. Just advancing for me.
So, 200 posts later, that's one thing I've learned about myself and why I do, believe and support what I do. It's not groundbreaking by any measure...who wants to spend time on things that don't advance themselves, their company or cause? But it does give me my barometer. It also gives me a way to craft and position the message to my colleagues and clients. Maybe it will "advance" them to join the conversation and get closer to their own communities. Hope so.
Thanks to all you brilliant bloggers for advancing me. Not sure I'll ever be able to give you as much as you've given me but I'll always work to advance this medium, the marketing discipline and you good folks. Wish I could give you the moon. Alas, I'm told she's not mine to give.