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Mary Ellen Miller, Elyse Batista and Dr. Stephen Marshall present Elyse with the 2015 MarketingMel Mass Communications scholarship.
Mary Ellen Miller, Elyse Batista and Dr. Stephen Marshall present Elyse with the 2015 MarketingMel Mass Communications scholarship.

This fall the ETSU Mass Communication department awarded the MarketingMel Mass Communication scholarship to ETSU senior, Elyse Batista.

As a transfer from North Carolina, Batista, a senior, maintains a 3.77 grade point average, leads the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as president, and has been awarded the Dean’s List certificate since her arrival at ETSU in 2012. She will be interning with MarketingMel for the 2015-2016 academic year.

MarketingMel, founded by Mary Ellen Miller, is a creative firms that offers marketing, public relations and social media strategies. “The MarketingMel internship has propelled me into the communications industry,” says Batista. “From networking, researching and attending events to one-on-one mentoring with Mary Ellen (Mel), I’m able to put classroom lessons into action.” Batista says that the scholarship is a great bonus to a great program.

Originally, the scholarship fund was established by Miller in honor of the fifth anniversary of MarketingMel. She began the internship program as a mentoring opportunity for young women aspiring to work as communications professionals and the scholarship was a natural outcome. Over the years, the internship has come to be known as a great opportunity for students.

Since the start of the mentorship program six years ago, MarketingMel interns have experienced a 100 percent employment rate upon graduation. These interns have moved forward in the communications industry and have found their niches within a variety of specializations including public relations, marketing, sales, and advertising.

Miller enjoys mentoring young professionals. “I feel it is my duty to give back to the community that has been so good to me,” says Miller, “What better way than to mentor the next generation of PR professionals?”

When have you mentored or been mentored by another? Please share your experiences with us. 

 

 

 

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MarketingMel talks LinkedIn with Tim and Carl on WJCW Radio

MarketingMel talks LinkedIn with Tim and Carl on WJCW Radio

Recently I had the opportunity to go “on the air” with Carl and Tim on their “Thinking Out Loud” morning program on WJCW Radio. We covered everything from trends in social media to LinkedIn tips for business people.

Here’s our podcast link: click the audio link at the top of the page.

I’ve also copied my notes below for those who prefer reading to listening.

Mary Ellen Miller, MarketingMel, teaches LinkedIn workshops for business professionals and for college students. She recently taught a hands-on workshop for the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors and she conducts a workshop for Milligan College Seniors each semester.

Why would our listeners care about LinkedIn?

Your listeners are business professionals. This is the network for business professionals. The demographics are truly a gold mine: 364 million members, average age 42, average income 100,00+, well-educated, professional, skews male…if you want to change jobs or think you ever might consider changing jobs…this is the place to be. Furthermore, it’s the place to reach the decision makers.

What times are people on LinkedIn?

Time on 8 and 5 pm.

What can our listeners do immediately to boost their LinkedIn profile?

Your listeners can do three things to boost their LinkedIn profile.

  1. Use a professional head shot – profiles with head shots get 11 X more views
  2. Use keywords to describe themselves (example: conference speaker, author,etc.)
  3. Provide occasional updates. (I suggest at least once a week.)

Have you seen these tips actually help people?

A student at Milligan College credits the workshop I teach there once per semester with providing him tools to find a job at Baylor.

Tell us what your LinkedIn tip is that helped you get
904 views, 98 likes and 17 comments?
Published a post about Peyton Manning’s Leadership Tips from Leadercast! Nothing like Star Power
What are the Trends in social media?

Facebook is graying….the fastest growing demographic on it is grandparents. With over a billion people it is a force to be reckoned with. Now it is more and more a “pay to play” network in terms of business presence there.

So where are the young people? Instagram, Snapchat, Watching Vine and Instragram videos, etc. My 13 year old has not one time asked for a Facebook! He loves his Instagram. Watch young people in order to watch trends and see where we are heading in the future.

Do you have comments to add in terms of your own experiences with LinkedIn for business?

 

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Wynne Tyree, CEO of Smarty Pants, tells working women to "Put on Your Big Girl Pants."

Wynne Tyree, CEO of Smarty Pants, tells working women to “Put on Your Big Girl Pants.”

Wynne Tyree is CEO of an internationally known children’s market research firm. Her clients are some of the largest companies in the world (Think: Lego and McDonald’s.) She’s also a wife and a mom (which is how I know her; our kids are in Tae Kwan Do together.) When it comes to inspiration for other business women she’s full of practical advice.

Here are twelve success building tips she presented to the “Women Empowered” gathering sponsored by the Bank of Tennessee. 

1. Know your WHY. Wynne actually had us take a few minutes to write down our personal “whys.” After thinking her son was developmentally late at crawling, she placed a red toy just out of his reach in front of him. Guess what? He crawled! What moves you forward?

2. Specialize. Be an expert at something. Take a cue from the medical world and specialize. “Tell me why you’re awesome in 60 seconds.”

3. Take Calculated Risks. This was my favorite visual as one fish jumped from one gold fish filled bowl into a bowl of water with no fish in it. Be willing to do what others won’t. “99% of Americans swim in the same bowl,” she said. “You don’t regret the things you do. You regret the things you don’t do.”

4. Be Passionated and Contagious. Tell yourself you’re great and you will be!

5. Get Uncomfortable. Sometimes we have to move outside of our comfort zone in order to really grow, learn and succeed.

6. Surround Yourself with Amazing People. Nobody succeeds alone. Move with the people you want to be, not the people who you used to be. Move toward the people who are where you want to grow. Along with that, be slow to hire and quick to fire.

MarketingMel

Wynne Tyree (an amazing woman!) and CEO of Smarty Pants and Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel.

7. Demand Excellence. Wynne said if you’re concerned with an employee who’s turning in less than excellent work, role play with a trusted companion/spouse. If they’re not performing up to par they may not want to be in your company.

8. Know your value and ask for it. Wynne said women often won’t ask for their real value whereas men will ask for “another $10,000 and then go out and play golf together two hours later.” She asked each of us to actually put a pencil to paper and calculate own net worth as we considered the many facets of our work and home careers. Add up the value of each job and then divide by two to get our real hourly rate. When she looked at life like this, cleaning the living room wasn’t quite so important. What is the best use of our time?

9. Stop Multi-Tasking. Learn to Compartmentalize. Multi-tasking is a lie. We actually need to create walls, structure and time frames. Set boundaries with e-mail (and with our kids if we work from a home office.)

10. Be “Selfish.” While that may sound strange, Wynne said we have to first put on our own air masks before we can start saving others when a plane is going down. What “fills our bucket?”she asked. Do more of that to save our own sanity, first.

11. Say “No.” “Remember the trampy girl in high school?” Wynne asked, as chuckles filled the room. “When you’re not so accessible, you have more value. It ups your ante,” she said.

12. Reassess and Course Correct. Check where you are and be willing to make a detour. For example, if after three years your original business plan didn’t work out, let it go and move on.

Which of these tips resonates with you? How will apply them in your business or every day life?

For more information about Wynne’s fascinating market research business visit www.smartypants.com.

 

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Editor’s note: The following article was published in the June 2015 issue of Out N’ About magazine. June 26 is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. We set out to find local dog owners who take their dogs to work on a regular basis. Here’s the “tale” of one such pup.

Jake as a puppy

Jake as a puppy

Is taking a pet to work more likely found in Hollywood Hills than the Blue Ridge Mountains? Actually, we found plenty of four legged friends making their way into the hearts and offices of workers right here in Northeast Tennessee.

One such pet is Jake, a 6 ½ year old, 80 pound Golden Retriever with a soft, well-groomed coat. Jake is the self-appointed doorman and greeter for Stowaway Storage on Browns Mill Road in North Johnson City. As this writer entered, Jake approached carrying a soft, red child’s toy in his mouth and wagging his tail. By all appearances he is both welcoming committee and chief public relations officer.

“From the very beginning when my youngest son pushed me to get another puppy (after the family’s previous Golden passed away), I said, ‘OK he has to learn to ride in the car, he has to learn to jump in and out of the car, and he has to go to work with me every day,’” said Jake’s owner and person, Barbara Allen. “I picked him up on a Monday and he was just about 10-12 pounds. Tuesday morning at 8 AM he was in the office and Friday of that week he shot a TV commercial for the Dogwood and Cattails Ball.” Jake has been the mascot for Stowaway ever since.

“There are a lot of people who want to do business with somebody that is a dog lover,” says Allen. “Some people bring their kids and time their visit to be sure that Jake’s here.”

Barbara and Jake the puppy

Barbara and Jake the puppy

Allen says Jake considers his co-workers an extension of his family and when the tenant, who lives in an on-promise apartment, stops home for lunch, Jake believes it’s his lunch break too. “Jake rushes over to greet him and keep him company through lunch and then the tenant leaves and Jake comes back to work,” says Allen. Jake knows the UPS and FedEx truck drivers and is excited to see them because they are regular visitors at Stowaway. (Note: The well-mannered Jake does not bark at these uniformed guests.)

Allen says that taking a canine to work involves a lot of prior planning. “You always have to be thinking ahead. You can’t run errands after work and you have to adjust your timing,” she says. Thankfully, Jake feels so at home at Stowaway that he is completely at ease when Allen says “I’ll be back,” during work hours.

“He is featured in all our advertising and believe it or not, he is responsible for lots of rentals,” adds Charles Allen. “Although Barbara didn’t take him to work for that reason, it (taking a dog to work) is probably one of the better marketing moves we have made.”

Now age 6 1/2, Jake guards the front door before taking his daily nap.

Now age 6 1/2, Jake guards the front door before taking his daily nap.

Just like a small child, Jake’s regular nap time rolls around each afternoon between 3 and 5 pm. That’s when people know to step over the sleeping pooch who’s generally sprawled out in front of the door. His rest routine; look outside for a few minutes and then nod off to doggie dreamland.

“Dogs have to be at the right place at the right time and Jake’s perfect for here because he gets to interact with lots of different people,” says Barbara Allen.

Mary Ellen Miller writes, walks and works with her dog Lucky, a nearly five year old Jack Russell Terrier mix. Do you have any working dog stories to share with us?

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“People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill they want a quarter inch hole.”  Professor Theodore Levitt

SnickersTake a healthy dose of sociology, psychology and marketing, mix them liberally and serve up a marketing presentation to the Northeast Tennessee ADFED.  That’s exactly what Bite Interactive’s Chief Technology Officer, Brant DeBow, did recently in talking about his company’s “Jobs to be Done Theory.” He used the professor’s quote above to introduce the concept of discovering what consumers really want. Focus groups are not always the answer. Neither is blanket targeting of demographics. Instead his team uses a system of in-depth interviews to determine the functional, social and emotional reasons for purchasing a product. “When you purchase a product you change your behavior,” he says.

“People are bad at knowing the future,” he said. “But they are good at telling you what’s going on now and about the past,” he said. “Correlation is not causation.” His example was the Motorola 2007 Razor phone. SMS was barely on the scene and that slim, little phone did its job as a telephone extremely well. Who would want something bulky with a large screen back then? (Little could they imagine the iPhone!)

Netflix vs. Blockbuster was another example. Blockbuster mowed down the Mom and Pop video stores offering a better in-store experience. Netflix however offered a completely different model; what the customer really wanted — entertainment in his/her own home.

DeBow said four forces are involved in purchase decision making: push, pull, anxiety and habit.  The first two move us toward the new product and the second two keep us maintaining the status quo.

4Forces

DeBow’s team launched a clever campaign for Snickers after determining that Snickers, unlike Milky Way, was used to curb hunger. They deliberately mis-spelled words related to Snickers in their online ad campaign and then purchased associated mis-spelled keywords, attempting to gain the hungry and tired 3 PM-need-a-candy-bar crowd. “Snickers is now the most successful candy bar as a result of the Jobs to be Done reorganization of the brand,” said DeBow. “Who do you compete with? For Snickers it was hunger, so it was actually other snack foods. It was not Milky Way, as they originally thought, because Milky Way was perceived as a guilty pleasure, a reward and something people didn’t want to share.”

What examples have you experienced where a company has completely met your needs as a consumer? When did someone serve you the “quarter inch hole?” instead of making you buy the “quarter inch drill”? Please comment below.

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AlexMelInstagramIf you enjoy watching communications trends then you know that young people are all about visual social media channels. The more pictures and videos, the better! One of their favorites is Instagram. This photo-sharing social site is growing at a faster rate than twitter. Recently, MarketingMel was called on to assist a client with her Instagram presence.  Public Relations Intern Alex Quillin (who is 20 and loves Instagram) was given the assignment and received rave reviews from our client. Alex first had a customized one-on-one social media training session with the client. Then she created this handy step-by step how-to-guide to Instagram as a follow up piece. The client loves having this to refer to as she continues to build her personal brand on social media channels.

Instagram How-To

How are you/your children using Instagram? For business or fun? (Note: My tween LOVES Instagram and uses it daily to communicate with friends and even share homework!) Please comment!

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LisaRiceWritingA column about Lisa Rice’s successful judicial campaign, the Socktober campaign to help the homeless and the Johnson City Up & At ‘Em Turkey Trot were all winning entries for the MarketingMel public relations team at the Tri-Cities Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awards banquet April 21 in Kingsport. Two awards were “Awards of Excellence,” the highest honor given.

Mary Ellen Miller, founder of MarketingMel, received the 2015 Award of Excellence in Column Writing, for a column titled “Three Ways to be a “Shoo-in” in Business and Politics.” MarketingMel was the only winner, in the writing category, to receive a perfect score from one of the judges on a writing entry. The column, first published in Out ‘N About Magazine, and later on MarketingMel’s blog, offers tips to success in the world of business and politics.

Miller was the campaign manager for Criminal Court Judge Part 1 Lisa Rice’s campaign. After watching then-candidate Rice’s hard work and determination, Miller was inspired to write the column. “It was an honor to work with, and learn from, the professionalism of then Candidate (now Judge) Rice,” said Miller.

“This is a wonderful and well deserved award. Congratulations to Mary Ellen Miller and the MarketingMel team,” said Judge Rice.

Additionally, MarketingMel received a second Award of Excellence at the ceremony. This was given for the Socktober campaign that saw numerous organizations come together to support the cause of socks for the homeless, first initiated by YouTube sensation Kid President. During this campaign, MarketingMel, with the assistance of Johnson City Schools’ homeless coordinator, Bonnie White, set a goal of obtaining 750 pairs of new socks. With the help of Johnson City Morning Rotary, Spine & Sports Chiropractic, Appearances Hair Salon, Exalt Academy of Cosmetology and numerous other businesses, more than 1,100 pairs were collected and given to the Johnson City/Washington County Area United Way for distribution through its agencies that serve the homeless. “The judges loved your measurable objectives and your clear goals for the project” said Brad Belote, Tri-Cities PRSA president.

The final award, the Award of Merit, was given to MarketingMel and the public relations team of Jenny Brock, Karen Hubbs, Keisha Shoun and MarketingMel Intern Alex Quillin, for their work on the 2014 Johnson City Up and At ‘Em Turkey Trot 5k. The race featured a first-ever press conference at Fairmont Elementary School. The event, which received widespread coverage from regional media, included a mascot race along with Biggest Loser Season 15 top five finalist and Grand Marshal Jennifer Messer.

“It is a tribute to the giving nature of our region that projects like Socktober and Turkey Trot have been so successful,” said Miller.

MarketingMelTeam

Elyse Batista, Mary Ellen Miller and Alex Quillin

Miller was accompanied to the event by her newest intern, Elyse Batista, and her outgoing intern, Alex Quillin, both ETSU PR/Advertising majors. Mentoring the next generation of PR professionals, including Batista and Quillin, is a pillar of MarketingMel’s mission.  “It is so incredible to get awarded for all of the work we put into these campaigns. Mel has taught me so much during my year with her and this ceremony was the cherry on top!” said Quillin.

MarketingMel, now in its sixth year in business, is a communications-consulting firm offering marketing, public relations and social media strategies to business professionals. For more information visit www.marketingmel.com

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Azaleas and the Master's Golf Tournament: True Signs of Spring

Azaleas and the Master’s Golf Tournament: True Signs of Spring

Ever since I was a little girl, tuning in for the back nine at Augusta National Golf Club was an annual family ritual and rite of spring. Back then I watched the azalea-covered Master’s golf course on television with my grandfather. He would always cheer for “the young guys.” Each year he taught me to encourage the up and coming generation of golf champions. “It’s time for the new, young guys to win,” my grandfather would say. “The other guys have had their time in the spotlight.”

Grampa must have been smiling from heaven Sunday as my 12-year-old son and I watched a new, young Master’s champion, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, make his way up #18 and into the history books. Spieth tied Tiger Woods’ record of 18- under-par for 72 holes and did it by winning round after round, keeping himself atop the leader board. As Spieth said later, he “put a target” on his back for the other pro’s to take aim. They didn’t come close.

Tuesday morning I watched Spieth, garbed in his freshly tailored green jacket, interviewed on the CBS Morning News. I thought the comments he made were applicable not only to winning at golf, but to business as well.

1 – Visualize Your Goals: Spieth said he visualized winning the Masters and walking up to the 18th green as a winner, particularly for the past year. That’s because one year ago he tied for second after losing to Bubba Watson. His new dream had a different winner this time around. For more short term goals, he visualizes each shot and where it will land before he ever takes it.

2 – Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing: Spieth stayed focused on his goal for each day, namely winning that day. He wasn’t concerned with outside influences like tying or even for a brief time in the final round, beating, Tiger Woods’ record. He just focused on what he had to do to win the tournament.

3 – Never Let Them See You Sweat: When asked about his “cool as a cucumber” persona, Spieth said even if he’s worried on the inside he doesn’t let his competitors know it. “They’ll seize on the weakness” he says. “They’re the best in the world.”

4 – Stay Humble, Even in Greatness: The new champion’s humility is refreshing. When asked about his name (his father named him for basketball legend Michael Jordan) the question was asked, why golf and not basketball? Spieth laughed, “Have you ever seen my basketball game?” Frankly, that kind of self-effacing humor and likeability will earn him more in the long run than any amount of bragging could possibly bring his way.

Thanks for the business and life lessons Jordan Spieth. You are definitely a champion.

In case you missed the interview with the 2015 Master’s Champion here it is. Even if you don’t play golf it’s worth it to watch. What can you learn from this champion?

photo credit: DSC_0425 via photopin (license)

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