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FROM THE PRESIDENT

 “Yes, I have challenges, but I have help and support. Life is good. That’s NAWBO Chicago’s mission: creating a community of support and resources for women in business.”

 -Jennifer Masi

Jennifer Masi
President of NAWBO Chicago and Principal and Director of Creative Services for Torque
 
 

Hello Friends of NAWBO Chicago,

Life is challenging. IT’S HARD SOMETIMES. So where are you on the unf♥<kwithability scale? Hold on to that thought.

Recently, I was speaking with a colleague on the many sexual harassment stories surfacing in the media. It got me thinking about women in business. We say we play on equal footing with men, but are those the right words to choose?

Perhaps our “soft” skills, or what some might say our “feminine” skills, are more “necessary” skills. If we look past gender and more at skills — masculine and feminine — we begin to recognize the advantages of both. 

Women are gifted at giving support to one another — when we allow ourselves. When we play in a man’s world, we thrive when we reach for the core of who we are: empathetic, engaged with others, committed to the end, collaborative. Keeping a level head and supporting others, in challenging times, is one of our crowning gifts.

There are many men now joining NAWBO Chicago because, as a man, they support women in business — and the skills we bring to the table. Diversity feeds idea-making. We have one man on our NAWBO board. Jeff Simon of Wells Fargo Advisors is diversity chair. Through his valuable contribution of time and talent, he’s supporting women leaders and giving NAWBO a broader perspective. 

Those headlines we are seeing have created an opening for us to band together. When women come together — when we have an issue we care about — we become a team. Everybody’s in. This is important to US so WE will approach it and solve it together. The big question: As our country faces these challenges, how will we as women business owners respond? At NAWBO’s Women’s Business Conference in Minnesota, author and businesswoman Sue Hawkes wrote a book called Chasing Perfection. There were T-shirts and bracelets with her book’s trademark “Unf♥<kwithability Scale”, a yardstick for measuring ourselves in the face of challenges. Check it out. It holds up a mirror to our own grit. 

Because, without question, challenges exist. How we respond to them is up to us.

A friend who knows my frantic schedule and responsibilities recently asked how I was doing. I reached for the pat answer. Perfectly on cue, I said: “Great.” She countered, “But how are YOU doing?” 

It gave me pause. Then I looked at her confidently and said, “I’m doing great. Yes, I have challenges, but I have help and support. Life is good.”

That's NAWBO Chicago’s mission: creating a community of support and resources for women in business.

Joy to you this season,
Jennifer Masi
(312) 421-7858
jennifer@torque.digital

 

Making Digital Personal

When Walmart bought e-commerce company Jet.com in 2016 for $3 billion, it extended its signature in-store greeting to the digital world. 

We’re not talking just variable data where names are dropped into content. You know the ones. You get an email from Kate Spade that says “Diana, meet your new clutch with a bow.” The purse looks amazing, but your name? Even more amazing. It’s personal and catches your attention. 

No, Walmart took personalization to the digital frontier. They automated a process that used individual names in a video featuring Jet.com Founder and CEO Marc Lore. Thousands of people heard and saw their name in his speech and on subtitles along the bottom of the screen. Yes, Mr. Lore was speaking to individuals. Up close and personal.

Getting personal with digital may be the next big knot for marketers to untie.

Why? Why is this hard? Digital is typically generated by a program or software. It includes database platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Albert Einstein said: “I fear the day when technology will surpass our human interaction.” The famous physicist’s words underscore the importance of adding a personal touch element to our digital relationships. 

Start here: Where is the humanity in our messaging? 

A lot of people are confused about what people want to see in a digital world. So they point first to social media. They post events or tout their products as the latest and best examples of innovation. They subtly hint at virtues. How many times have you seen on LinkedIn: “So excited to support this cause” with a beaming picture of the CEO at a nonprofit’s award dinner. These posts aren’t bad. Making digital personal, though, is about the user experience — talking to your reader/viewer/listener as though you understand them like your best friend up the street. Talking only about yourself will clear a room fairly fast.

Let’s look at what draws the biggest clicks. Dogs. People pouring ice over their heads (remember the Ice Bucket Challenge spreading awareness for ALS?). Black and white wedding photos. You might say: “OK, these are life.” Yes! And businesses have a life too. They have founders that started in a garage and culture in their team stories and ways they serve customers that are unique. Digital is new. No one has it figured it out. Making it personal, though, should race to the top in 2018.

Here are five ideas to get more personal in a digital world.

Plan like NEVER before. In the old days, you sat with a marketing agency and created a marketing plan with a calendar, goals and metrics. Digital demands reflection on your positioning, core values, purpose as a company and communicating all this in a personal way so people are drawn to you. Why would they want to buy from you? Why should they trust you? How can you include them in your sphere of influence?

Tell stories. According to Scientific American, two-thirds of our everyday conversation is comprised of stories. Why? They are memorable, emotional and engaging. In addition to customer stories, share team stories, historical background, life and business lessons, and visionary thinking. Communicate through the senses using video, audio, visuals, experiences, live online events, and content.

Go deep on values. The eve of 2018 is a great time to poll people across your company. If you relegate this to just the leadership team, you will get a narrower perspective. What does your team care about? What do you stand for as a company? How can you communicate that? Why does this matter to your audience? What do THEY care about? From there, identify your core values and purpose. 

Be brave. Be emotional. As you build the messaging, make sure you are speaking to the emotions of your audience. People buy from the heart (this includes B2B). In many instances, they use their gut and emotions to make the purchase. So how is your digital messaging going to make people care about your company and care about wanting to buy from you in a cold, digital space? Make it emotional — funny, heartfelt, beautiful, touching, courageous, helpful and, perhaps the most important word, human.

Explore new tools for personal digital dialogue. As mentioned previously, people love their name on content so explore variable data. Consider marketing automation and inbound marketing programs like Salesforce, Marketo, Pardot, Hubspot, and InfusionSoft. Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber and iContact are relatively easy-to-use for email technology. PURLs, or personalized URLs, create a landing page for each individual, typically in a direct mail or e-campaign.