It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s breast cancer awareness month. Get a mammogram! Help a patient! Make a donation! If you’ve been reading along on this blog, then you know that I get antsy when “increase awareness” is listed as the goal or the objective. Awareness feeds broader goals and objectives that determine your anticipated outcomes. Knowing about something without knowing where it fits in the scheme of things  is trivia. Breast Cancer Awareness Month does it right! However, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is far from trivial. It is probably one of the largest campaigns of its kind. Since 1985, it has educated women about the warning signs, encouraged them to undergo annual mammograms, and raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research, free cancer screenings, and support services for patients. I found this well-written, concise history about Breast Cancer Awareness Month on the website for Brevard Health Alliance in Florida. The piece includes the campaign’s clearly defined goals. Click here to read the whole story. Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 with an enviable combination of a well-respected nonprofit, a prominent corporation, and a familiar and trusted spokesperson. The American Cancer Society, the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, and cancer survivor former First Lady Betty Ford joined forces to set the tone for a campaign that has left us in the pink ever since. In 1992, cosmetic company giant Estee Lauder began distributing the pink ribbons to help spread awareness. Breast Cancer Awareness Month Goals The campaign committee aimed to increase the survival rate among breast cancer patients. The remedy was, and still is, empowering women to take proactive measures to detect breast cancer early. They set these distinct goals to solve the problem: Educate women about breast cancer and early detection tests Empower women to be in control of their breast health Promote mammograms as an important tool to be used in the fight against breast cancer. Celebrate breast cancer survivors Raise funds for breast cancer research and other related causes. While We’re On the Topic … Note, men can get breast cancer too, so don’t ignore any abnormal lumps under the skin on your chest, regardless of your gender. Women over 40 are wise to book annual mammograms. If you find it kind of scary, then book it with a friend then go to lunch or get a massage after–celebrate your health and congratulate yourself for being proactive. I recognize...
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Tools of the Trade – Social Media

Hammer, screwdriver, social media – different tools for different objectives The tactical implementation of promotional tools is definitely the fun part of a marketing plan! It’s no wonder that sometimes the zeal to use those tools elevates the tool above strategies and into the objective slot. I don’t recommend that social media, or any tactical tool of promotion, appear as an objective in a marketing plan. Your objectives should measure outcomes, not outputs.   Social media is a tool the same way a hammer is a tool Did you ever watch the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”? The network would choose a deserving family that was overcoming some challenges and their house was part of their problem. A crew of professionals and a whole lot of volunteers would re-create their modest home into a spectacular dream home designed for their needs and interests. The finale of the show was the big reveal. A drumroll led to large trucks moving out of the way to allow the family to see their new and improved home for the first time. How boring would the show have been if at the end, they revealed the output and not the outcome? Imagine if instead of seeing a drastically transformed residence, host Ty Pennington pulled out a tally sheet and revealed the number of hammer swings, number of rotations each screwdriver made, and how many times the cordless drill’s battery had to be charged. “Show me the house!” You’d scream at the TV and never watch it again. The outcomes are how happy the family is, how much easier it is for the wheelchair-using child to move throughout the now one-story ranch home, how the mom who prepares meals for a local charity now has a gourmet kitchen, and how security guard dad can now sleep at night having been relieved of the upside down mortgage payment. These were the objectives that were met. They reflect the intended destination. The outputs (the use of the tools) were supremely important in making those things happen, but they are tactics not objectives.   Objectives Match the Mission Here’s an example of an objective I would avoid: Attract 1,000 Facebook Likes each month of 2020. There are some obvious red flags here. Your Facebook campaign might garner you 1,000 new Likes per month (if it does, congratulations!) but that is an output. How does that output...
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Terms of Service: The 4 Ps of the Marketing Mix

  The 4 Ps comprise what’s known as the marketing mix. These components are the building blocks of marketing. They are PRODUCT, PRICE, PLACE, and PROMOTION. One of the easiest examples of how these work together is in real estate sales. When a real estate agent signs with someone who wants to sell a house, the agent naturally considers all of the Ps and how they work together.     4 Ps In Action If you watch any of the real estate sales reality shows you know there are some factors that affect the product right away. “Location, location, location!” is the old real estate adage but that’s really only the start. Let’s say the PRODUCT is a four bedroom, two bath house in a good neighborhood with good schools (PLACE). What condition is the house in? How old is it? How is the plumbing, heating and AC, electrical, roof? Is it owned by the first owner or was it recently flipped? All of those things and more come into assessing the PRICE. When a veteran Realtor® considers the PRICE they take into account what has sold in the neighborhood recently that compares to this new listing. In other words, they consider the PRODUCT and the PLACE. Once the price tag is established, the PROMOTION starts.   Location, Location, Location! If this is a supremely desirable neighborhood where sales happen very rarely, then a sign might be all that it takes. But let’s face it, those neighborhoods, or any PRODUCT set apart exclusively by PLACE are atypical. It is more likely that the agent needs to turn to PROMOTION and buy a few ads, coordinate a mailer focusing on this particular property, and hold an open house (virtual or live). Common these days are Video tours and even drone footage if it boasts a spectacular plot of land or scenic view.   Your Turn! What are your 4P’s? Here’s a downloadable chart to help you map them out. 4Ps_2020_McCormickLA   Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Sign-up on her website today to receive helpful insights like this one in your inbox.  See how easy your promotional efforts can be here....
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3 Words to Replace for Stronger Writing

Just – Do – Get – Out of the Way for Better Writing This is not a weird rip-off of Nike’s affirmative tagline, Just Do It! These are the words that haunt my writing making it slag and drag with boring words. Do you have a bad habit in your writing? The same three might plague you as well. Extraneous words make boring copy. Admitting there’s a problem is the first step. Double check your writing by reading each word in reverse order. This way you will view each word individually instead of anticipating what word comes next. You’ll also be more likely to notice if there’s a repetitive word.     Just a Minute I’ve overused the word ‘just’ for years. I use it in front of a little, a tad, a bit. I also use it instead of only, solely, and all (as in “you just need to _______”). The worst is as a qualifier—just a PR consultant or just a work-at-home mom—it never belongs in front of a role or occupation! It’s belittling and disrespectful. Let me say that again:             NEVER PUT THE WORD “JUST” IN FRONT OF A ROLE OR OCCUPATION! If you find you’ve done that, ALWAYS change it to an aspirational descriptor like fabulous, valuable, qualified, sought after, or respected as a way to support what you and others are doing and the important roles you fill every day. The truth is, the word is rarely needed and is just in the way.   That Thing You Do ‘Do’ is a general word. It works for Nike (Just Do It!) and for Mountain Dew (Do the Dew!) because everyone can internalize the statement and believe the tagline is referring to what the they do best. When I find that I am using ‘do’ instead of a specific verb, I substitute something more interesting or active—maybe something punchy–that doesn’t leave any question about what I need to do. “I just need to do a report” becomes “I only need to write/create/compose/author a report.” If you give instruction to others on a regular basis as a parent, teacher, or manager, then you know that saying, “Don’t do that,” is not nearly as effective as saying, “Stop running,” or the more affirmative “please walk.”   I Get You While we get each other and try hard not to get COVID-19 and other viruses, it is...
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Titles – CEO to Vizier

  As the US Postal Service finds itself in the news quite often lately, I was pondering the title Postmaster General. What a weird title! Silly, really. When you Google it, the information assures the reader that the postmaster general is the CEO of the USPS. Why don’t we just call it that? The first postmaster general was Benjamin Franklin. I have to assume the witty Almanac writer was great at parties making him a Toastmaster Postmaster–now that’s quite a title! An even stranger (dumber) title is Grand Wizard. That’s what a certain white supremacist organization (which doesn’t deserve to be named) calls their leader. It’s stupid enough to suit that group just fine—good branding! I can think of some other suitable titles, but I digress.   The U.S. Government is Not a Great Model for Titles The United States government is full of titles that perhaps don’t mean what they once did and don’t seem to follow the terms of just one organizational chart. President, vice president–those are fine. The term ‘secretary’ was especially confusing to me when I was learning about the Cabinet (the what? Like a cupboard?) in elementary school. My mom was a secretary. She knew shorthand and typed. Is that what the Secretary of the Interior does? By Interior, we mean outside (what?)—national parks and such. She worked at a bank, does that make her a Treasury Secretary? Hmm. Then we have a whole tier of ‘deputies’ under the ‘chief of staff’ (a normal title). Deputies? Where are the sheriffs? Did they all get shot by Eric Clapton? Is the chief of staff the sheriff? In the interest of parallelism, if that person isn’t called the sheriff, shouldn’t those under him or her on the organization chart be called ‘assistant chiefs’? Or ‘sous chefs,’ like in a kitchen?   Russian Influence Sidelining sheik and vizier, the US Presidents somehow embraced the title of ‘czar’ as the title for those who are essentially task force managers, the term for Russian emperors before 1917. How did this Russian title make it into our government structure? Aren’t we opposed to Russian influence? What’s Russian for ‘task force manager’? That might have been better. Czar was largely used as a nickname for the person in charge of a department, however the title was given out by presidential appointment starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt who named 11 czars. Topping...
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