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Tracey Parsons

Is making magic killing our careers?

by · January 29, 2015

Over the long weekend, I had some time to reflect on last week’s post on how hard it is for organizations to keep high performers because they make magic. I’ve come to realize that making magic might actually be a career limiter. Never once in my career making magic have I thought that it could be holding me back. Reason being: magic is magic, and people in the C-suite don’t speak magic. They speak profit and loss. It is a common problem with marketers in our relationship with the C-suite. We do not speak the same language. So, it begs the question, is the magic a reason we are not elevating to the C-suite as quickly as other disciplines?

We’ve all read the reports that tell us that CEOs don’t trust marketers (unless they are marketers who measure). In fact, AdAge pointed out that in 2013, of the 9,800 board seats at Fortune 1000 companies, only 38 are held by CMOs. And I am relatively sure that the number hasn’t grown 60 fold in the last two years. So, could it be the magic? Let’s explore some of the ways conjuring is holding us back.

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The Curse of High Performers

by · January 15, 2015

Making magic is something that high performers do. They have a knack for conjuring amazing results for their managers, clients, and team. High performers are crafty and they make it look easy. And everyone adores them. The problem with your high performers… they’re going to leave you. They’re going to leave you because you expect magic, and when they deliver time and again, you know what happens: these magic makers get fewer accolades and worse yet…less budget. Yes, the magic makers in your organization get less budget because they can do so much with so little that they get less… therefore, they’re going to leave.

I have banged my head against the wall about this for years. I will never understand this. Ever. Because my brain doesn’t work that way. Here’s how my brain works. When I get magical results…I want to invest MORE into that thing that drove the magic…not less. I want to replicate that magic across everything I do. Conversely, when something isn’t working…you know what I am not going to do? Throw more money at it. A campaign with zero recall is not a success no matter how many awards it garners. Yet, we keep making them. I do not understand.

What can we do about it? Well, I happen to have a little soapbox here at my desk and I would like to pull it out and make a little four-part rant.

<rant>

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Yet Another Case for Curation

by · January 7, 2015

Last year, all I wanted for Christmas was to have the “80/20 rule” become standard. Clearly I was on the “Naughty List” as this did not come true. For those of you who are new to the “80/20 rule”, the idea is that 80% of your social posts should be designed to deliver value to the audience. This content should be curated from other sources and aligned with your brand’s mission, vision and values. The other 20% of your content can be about you and your brand. The idea is that if you spend 80% of your updates on content that is valuable to your audience; you will earn the right to talk about yourself. Problem is, we preach it. Heck everyone preaches it! But far too few brands and companies do it. Go ahead, go and audit your posts right now. I bet the best you did was 50%. I understand why. It is easier to talk about you and it is also easier to do that when leadership is reading because they want you to talk about their company. But, the reality is the more you talk about you, the more your updates become ignorable noise.

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An Ode to Mailing It In

by · December 24, 2014

Well, we’ve made it. It is the last few weeks of the year and everyone is either on vacation physically or mentally. Not much gets done this time of year in the business world that I work in. Sometimes it’s different, last year was one of those years. I was neck deep in projects and strategy development. But this year, this year is closer to normal than last year.

Personally, I love this time of year because it is so different than the rest of the year. I usually spend my day in high gear. A lot of energy flows from me during the day and at this time of year; I like to take it down a notch (or 50). And it’s refreshing. I take the pedal off the metal. My days are not planned to the minute. I love that things slow down for the most part at work and I am able to take a minute and reflect on what has happened this year. And maybe we should all take a minute and do that. Take a day. Reflect on the year that has passed. Look at the wins. Look at the losses. Look at the places where you really rocked. See where you might have done better.

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An Open Letter to Customers from The Brands

by · December 18, 2014

Dear Customer,

So glad you like the stuff! We do make great toothpaste and laundry detergent and we really appreciate your loyalty. We’re really glad the food is good and the car works well. But, we’re worried about you. The fact is, we don’t know why you buy, and we don’t know what the triggers are. We would love to figure that out.

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An Open Letter to Brands from Your Customer

by · December 17, 2014

Dear Brands,

Thanks so much for the amazing products and services. I really like my toothpaste and my laundry detergent. So much so, I will not buy anything else and there is no coupon in the world that will make me switch. Unless my husband shops; then, all bets are off! Sorry about that, he loves him some end caps! I also really appreciate the food that ends up on my table. Especially when I do a good job cooking it; it’s delicious. Same as above, I will always buy the same brand of hot dogs and corn chips because, well, they are delicious! Oh and about that car, works great, thanks so much. Totally gets me where I am going with very limited problems. “The White Whale”, as I call her, is a great car that fits my family and a ton of other stuff. And when someone else is using the car, that car-sharing service totally kicks ass. Love it all.

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Mission-driven business will always win

by · December 4, 2014

Last month an article was written and widely circulated about a former employer of mine, the who is not important, what was important was the assertion that they lost their mojo because they shifted focus from being all about the “mission” to maximizing shareholder value. These types of articles always cause me to pause because the downward spiral of a business is not one decision, but a series of decisions. But, the fact remains when you stop delivering value to your customers; you are exponentially less likely to follow a growth trajectory.

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Listening And Measurement Is Useless Without Action

by · November 6, 2014

The past few weeks, I have been writing about listening and measuring to learn what matters most to your audience. I’ve taken a look at my own startup CredHive.com as well as served as an active advocate for my clients about listening deeply to the customer conversation in your category. I am wildly passionate about connecting customers to brands and to do this, I think it is really important to know what customers want. To understand what a customer wants means you need to listen to understand and really know your metrics.

The net of both of these posts (and many of my earlier posts) are about advancing the customer relationship and adding value to the audience’s day. The goal of course is to help your brand stand out in the social and digital landscape by really studying what’s working, what’s not and where any existing white space may live. I think measurement and listening are incredibly efficient ways to do all of these things.

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Enough with Busy!

by · October 29, 2014

Busy, busy, busy. Aren’t we all so charming with how very busy we are? It feels like we are all competing over who’s the busiest. Don’t believe me, just look at your social feeds. Everyone is really, really busy (of course not too busy to take the 2 minutes to update their status with how busy they are, but whatever) We are all just so darned busy with work, and our families, kids sports, events, holidays, special projects and hobbies… Just. So. Busy. And we just keep adding things to our to-do list to be busy with little thought being placed on if we should add these things to the list. We just are mindlessly adding tasks. It’s as if busy has become a sport these days and frankly, there are no winners.

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About Tracey Parsons

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.

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