My Reason for Walking in Tulsa’s Komen Race for the Cure

Breast cancer awareness is a cause near and dear to my heart. I was asked to be on the board for Tulsa’s Komen affiliate earlier this year. I readily accepted because of my passion for finding a cure. I’m not a scientist so my involvement is nothing like those who choose to dedicate their time to the process of researching and identifying treatments for breast cancer patients. Instead, I’m using my communication skills to help educate women (and men) on the importance of early detection, treatment and regular follow-up. You can read more about my breast cancer story here.

I’m asking for your help too. Please consider donating $10 to help me reach my personal goal of $250 as I walk in this year’s Race for the Cure. $10 is lunch one day. $10 is a couple of cups of Starbucks coffee. $10 can go a long way toward research grants or educating an under-served population about the importance of self-exams, regular check-ups and so much more. Please click on this link to donate as little or as much as you would like. I truly appreciate your help!

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My World Right Now

About a year ago, I wrote a post called Cataloging Time. It’s that time again in my world of retail marketing. Once again, I have to ask whether or not catalogs are a marketing tactic that is past its prime.

As the retail marketing person for a consumer goods company, I am responsible for making sure our product pages are prepared for any number of retailer catalogs being published for 2011. This can be master catalogs or supplements for specific categories, each one requiring a great deal of time and resource allocation to complete. I can only imagine the efforts by our retail partners who are receiving and compiling dozens and dozens of pages from product manufacturers around the world. What a task!

As a consumer and marketing professional, I receive catalogs and look through each and every one of them for ideas and creative brainstorming. I have to wonder how many other people do the same? Is the practice of reading catalogs still a common practice?

I especially ask this in today’s world of social media. Twitter accounts like Walmart direct consumers to websites for new product information on a regular basis. More and more time is spent fine-tuning and tweaking those same sites to ensure the right information is presented for consumers to make purchasing decisions. Product comparisons, search filters and so much more is made available online that cannot be easily handled in print catalogs.

While I’m spending a lot of time on those printed catalogs pages, another current project is implementing an e-commerce solution for our company where we can easily sell our products online to our BtoB customers as well as consumers. I wonder whether or not this is a better use of our time and resources?

We as a manufacturer have a gentleman’s agreement with our retail partners that we will only sell certain accessories directly to consumers. Everything else is pushed to retailers and consumers are directed to find a local store in which to make their purchase. Does this make sense in today’s business environment?

This is where my head is right now. Any thoughts?

Event ROI: To Attend or Not to Attend?

I am constantly reminded of the need for strong planning on the front end of any project. A colleague of mine calls the opposite “stream of consciousness planning”. It’s amazing to me how many times programs, campaigns and projects are put into place without a rhyme or reason as to why it’s going to be done in the first place except to increase sales. While I understand that is an important reason, the question remains, “How exactly are you going to increase sales simply by attending that trade show?”.

Nothing should ever be implemented without a clear strategy being discussed and laid out first.

From a communications perspective, I’ve learned quite a bit in the past few years about measuring return on investment against the activities in which your organization chooses to participate.

The most recent examples I’ve got in my head pertain to trade shows. Those pesky industry and association events we all feel we must attend each year. But my question is whether or not you have set up a way to measure your attendance and determine whether the show is truly valuable? I’ve had many people tell me over the years that companies should attend particular shows simply because it’s always been done, but I have a really difficult time accepting that as a valid reason to continue attending. In my view, it’s critically important to gather information, such as revenue targets, to determine whether or not the show makes financial sense. Companies should not make an assumption about the value of a show simply based on history.

While I understand there is a brand awareness being built through attendance at these shows and events, it’s still possible to develop an ROI plan around awareness. It’s our job as marketing professionals to figure out the right metrics for our organization to make the most of the dollars we’ve been given to manage.

What are your thoughts?

Is It Just Me?

I’ve noticed that the years fly by faster and faster as I get older. Is it just me or is this the case with everyone?

This year in particular seems to be speeding by. The year is more than half over and I feel like we just got things rolling with our New Years’ Eve party. The next thing I knew we were hosting the 4th of July and trying to find time for a vacation (which doesn’t appear to fit in our schedules until September).

My husband and I have hosted activities/people at our home every weekend since Memorial Day. Is it wrong of me to wish for a weekend to myself? Is it just me or can I be a little selfish and wish for some alone time?

A Life Well-Lived

I spent this past weekend celebrating my grandfather’s 94th birthday and Father’s Day with my dad. While it was exhausting and trying on my patience at times, I have to say that I have been blessed in my life.

My parents have set an amazing example for me both personally and professionally. I have established myself professionally due to the work ethic my parents taught me. I grew up watching my dad balance a demanding career in the university world with the demands of a family that was active in many things over the years. I learned the joy of hosting parties in my home from my mom, who is an Southern charm exemplified. She always made people — family, friends or strangers — feel welcome in our home. Between the two of them, I hope that I have lived up to their expectations in my adulthood.

My grandfather is my last remaining grandparent alive. At 94 years old, he is a spry, opinionated man who is both flirtatious and moody. While I find his repetitive stories to be a bit much at times, I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to listen to his memories about life in the early 20th century. I watched him care for my ailing grandmother for the last 10 years of her life and admire his courage as they battled the effects of Alzheimer’s on her mind and body. He never once stopped loving her. Now, as he remembers their early years of marriage, I hope that I can be such an example for any future children after 60 plus years of marriage.

I know that over the years I have not always shown my family the appreciation or love that they deserve. But I can tell you that, in my adulthood, I have seen the core values and experiences that I was given over the years to be truly amazing, beneficial and more meaningful than I ever expected.

Writer’s Block

It’s been a crazy few months between moving into our new house and dealing with family health issues, but I’ve also been struggling lately with what to write about on this blog. I need some inspiration. I read blog posts from other fantastic writers every day and read articles, books and other thought-provoking material offline as well. I’ve just lost my focus on what to write here. Maybe I think I need to come up with something amazingly original or truly set apart from the hundreds of other writers out there or perhaps it’s hard to get motivated here when other areas of my life are less than inspiring. Hmm … perhaps that is the real issue. Does anyone else ever feel like they’ve lost their mojo? How do you get it back?

Crazy Holiday Season

It’s been weeks since I last posted here. It’s been an insane month but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

After finally closing on our new home, we’ve spent the last month moving in and getting the house ready for Christmas. It’s becoming a home now, and for that I am thankful. More space means that we have plenty of room for all of belongings but also for our families and friends. We planned on hosting my parents, brother and sister in law on Christmas Eve but a record-breaking blizzard in Tulsa prevented them from driving the hour from Stillwater. That snowfall didn’t prevent my in-laws from visiting on Christmas day though, and we had a fantastic lunch and afternoon spent opening gifts and spending time together.

We are now planning a New Years’ Eve party for our friends — the first in our 10 years together. I’ll try to post again soon, but I do hope you each have a wonderful and prosperous New Year.