Tag Archives: military media

Don’t Write Off the Military Spouse

We might be a marketing, advertising and publishing company, but we believe in helping our clients in any way we can. That, and I feel that if I’m going to spend as much time as I do in a classroom, I might as well share as much as I can with others. So, I’d like to give all the business owners and managers out there a little advice that I’ve partly learned in the classroom, but mostly in real life. And don’t worry, I promise not to bore you to death.*

(*Disclaimer: I cannot control your emotions)

When companies have a position open, they either have on tap or quickly come up with the best-sounding job description they can. The responsibilities are all-encompassing, and the qualifications reflect the most perfect person ever for the job – one who will most definitely apply immediately and stay for years. Sadly, these ideals almost never come true. Why? Because they’re ideals. They’re the equivalent of chocolate-covered, deep-fried cheesecake bites with no fat or calories. And the worst part is that when an employer finds what they only think can be their unicorn, they find and focus upon one imperfection that isn’t ideal and call it a deal breaker (ie OK… so maybe the cheesecake has 100 calories… game over).

My advice to you? You can only think so far ahead and be so picky. I’ve written before about the plight of the military spouse to find work when his/her spouse PCS’s to a new base. And while I am certainly not saying that every military spouse is super qualified for your open position just because they’re a military spouse, I am saying that many are simply not given the chance because they are like the 100 calorie, chocolate-covered, deep-fried cheesecake bite: almost perfect, but not quite. It is often thought that because military spouses are all but guaranteed to move again that they are not worth the time and money it would take to train them. An understandable concern, but ultimately an unreasonable one.

The average military family PCS’s every 3-4 years, with some switching as often as every 2 years. But think about it this way: long careers with one company are no longer the norm. In fact, many employees do not stay with a single company longer than two years, and some experts even encourage people to switch companies every three years in the interest of greater salaries and titles. Comparing this to the military spouse, it is incredibly unlikely that a non-military employee would stay any longer. Even these facts aside, think about it this way: How would your company benefit by hiring a qualified military spouse for a year or two versus a less qualified individual for maybe longer? The fact of the matter is that great employees are hard to come by. Military spouses, in my experience, tend to be dedicated and hard-working because they are truly appreciative to have a job (that, and the military discipline of their spouse can rub off on them). So, if you have the chance to actually hire a great employee, TAKE IT and enjoy reaping the benefits as long as you can. Instead of thinking how much you’ll hate having to interview again when they PCS, think about the asset they will be during the time they are there.

Without naming names, I have literally held jobs where I have seen one employee be more productive and beneficial to the company in a week than another has been in two months. No joke, no exaggeration… on more than one occasion. While I can’t (and don’t want to) tell you how to run your business, this is just something to think about that may help your business to run better, more efficiently, and even grow.

(722 views)

Does Your Slogan Require an Explanation?

Slogans: every company has one, and many of us don’t have a single clue what they actually mean. They might be catchy, profound, inspiring, funny… or even annoying, incorrect or downright weird. But one thing they all have in common is that someone, somewhere thought it was the perfect way to quickly sum up whatever the brand, product or service at hand. And while they might be right, if the non-company employee doesn’t get it, what good is it?

There is always something utterly ambiguous about a company. The owners, employees and their families are excited about the business model and what it stands for. The customers (kind of) know what the company does or offers. But somewhere along the way, we all get stuck either being on the inside looking or, or on the outside looking in. And while we may all be looking through the same window, what we see on the other side usually doesn’t come close to what the other people are seeing. Sound familiar?

I’d like to be as un-ambiguous as possible, so let me tell you a bit about MMI and our slogan – “Marketing That Matters” (sounds deep right?). I thought it was great when I first heard it – but that’s because I understand what it means. If you don’t, you might think we’re really full of ourselves, or a non-profit or charity, etc, etc. So what does it really mean? Here goes…

We contract with military bases to produce their base newcomer’s guides, directories and maps – important resources people PCSing, TDYing or visiting the base need. The guides have plenty of information about the base itself, but also about the community because, let’s face it, no one wants to spend their entire time on base.

So, businesses have the unique opportunity to market themselves in these publications – putting them in front of personnel at a time when they are most likely to need them and are ready to make purchases. In fact, new residents typically spend in 6 months what current residents spend in 2 years… Sounds pretty tempting to market to.

So that’s the “marketing”. Why it matters (aside from the business side of ROI) is that while the businesses who advertise within the base guides are increasing their visibility and business, they are helping to support and keep the guides running. With little to no budget for them, business sponsors are the only way we have been able to give the military personnel the resources they need for their bases since 1981.

Get it? Help build your business; help support the military base guides and directories programs – Marketing That Matters. Not to sound too cliche, but that’s a win-win.

(4125 views)

What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Marketing

I get it. In the world of business ownership, much like the world of home ownership, it seems like the expenses never stop coming. You need to pay your employees, pay the rent, utilities, licensing fees, insurance, get products in the store, etc, etc, etc. So when you’re balancing the budget and trying to keep your checkbook from catching on fire, you look for things to cut. Typically, marketing is one of those things – seen as a luxury which would be nice to have, but isn’t realistic. And all those advertising salespeople ringing your phone off the hook just make you want to put your guard up and say “No, we’re not interested, we can’t afford it right now”.

What I want to say to you is why can’t you afford it right now? And before your guard goes up, I’m not a salesperson. So just think about why. Is it because sales aren’t going quite the way you thought they would? Or because you’ve spent money on everything else so you want to wait until some people start rolling through the door to bankroll an ad campaign? Don’t get defensive, these make sense. BUT, you need to adjust your way of thinking. Let me give you an example.

When you go to the store and buy a bunch of groceries, you know that money is never going to magically reappear in your checking account. Groceries are certainly a necessity, and are a lot more economical than eating out all the time, but the $100 you spent isn’t ever coming back. Now, think about when you buy a stock. You’re not buying it to eat or serve some other purpose, you’re buying it in the hopes that you’ve done enough research to be reasonably confident that the $100 you forked over will multiply and become $150 or $200 or more. So while you might subtract it from your bank account for the moment, the chance of that money coming back exists.

THIS is where most business owners go wrong when they think about marketing. Marketing is not like groceries – it’s like stocks. It is an investment made in your business that, if done well and through the right channels for your particular industry, should bring you a positive ROI. When business slows, marketing absolutely should under no circumstances be the thing that gets cut. After all, if it is designed to improve business and increase brand awareness, why would you get rid of it at a time of year when you need these things most? I get that you only have a defined amount of cash, but if you treat marketing like the necessity it is, then you can typically find other areas to trim to make the budget work.

Now, I’m not saying that you should suddenly buy into every single advertising opportunity that comes your way. You’d go broke real fast if you did that, considering how many different media channels exist and the fact that not every type of advertising is right for every business. But if you change the way you think about marketing, do your research, and work with someone who understands your company and who your target market is, then paying to promote your company won’t be a minus sign in your books for long.

Need specific advice? Have any particularly good or bad experiences with marketing you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

(1336 views)

Why I Had to Stop Biting My Tongue

So, we’re going to break a huge business no-no and (kinda) talk about politics. But before you click away from here for fear of a heated party-based debate and anger placed one way or the other, it’s not like that. I promise. No, what I have decided I cannot hold back on any more are the military budget cuts being proposed, and what they mean. I might be a little ranty at first, but I have a really important point to make, so just stick with me here.

Today, it dawned on me that it seemed every day I was receiving a new email in my inbox talking about one cut or another proposed to the commissary or the DoD budget. So, today I went and checked. And as it turns out, it didn’t just seem that way. I’m not becoming crazy with how busy I am (well, at least on this… overall is really another story). That thought I had is really, truly, depressingly the case. And when that became apparent, I decided I was done biting my tongue. Sure, I’ve posted articles on the company Facebook and Twitter pages about what’s going on from time to time, but I’ve tried extremely hard to state the facts and nothing more. Every time I saw something wonderfully opinionated, calling out someone or another for what they’re proposing, I basically sat on my hands to stop myself from re-tweeting it. Really, guys… I’ve been good.

But I’m done. And thankfully, my computer is keeping me from yelling. Because I’m much more calm and reasonable when I have a keyboard.

Now trust me, I obsessively budget my own finances and have for years, so I get it. If you need to make cuts, it has to come from somewhere. Money, as much as we like to hope it would, just doesn’t appear out of thin air. But why, WHY, does it seem the FIRST PLACES looked at are the DoD budget and military benefits? That’s like me deciding to cut my rent payments out of my budget to save money, but choosing to keep my wine budget in tact. Because after all, I spend a LOT more money on rent than wine, so that totally makes sense right?

Honestly, these men and women are putting their lives on the line every day, whether they’re deployed or not. Because the truth is, that could change at any second, and they signed up for that. Their families are thrown for a loop either dealing with deployments and/or moving way more than anyone should ever be asked to, all because they’ve decided their country, their loved ones, and the service is worth it. The retirees and vets have been there and done that, too, and guess what? They deserve a break. So, why does the government think that the commissaries, one of the few great day-to-day benefits provided to service members, are an easy place to start the slashing? Or that the already horrendous Tricare system should be battered even more? Oh, because it costs the taxpayers a lot of money? Is that it?

Well, last time I checked, government salaries and insane pensions and benefits cost the taxpayers a lot of money, too. And all those random projects that aren’t doing any hardworking American any good sure cost a lot of money. But those are being rolled out like donuts at a Krispy Creme.

What I’m trying to say here is we, as a country and individuals, need to appreciate our military way more than the bulk of us do. It’s not enough to simply have the valiant supporters go to events, wear the t-shirts and protest what is wrongly being done. We need a cultural shift. Our freedom to act and be any way we want to has been taken for granted, and our country isn’t even that old. We need to think back, and I mean really think back to how awful it must have been to not have it. Because if the whole military went on strike tomorrow, we’d be in a LOT of trouble. Unimaginable, almost inconceivable trouble.

Now most people and business owners I run into, especially around here, are very pro-military and supportive. But I do run into the occasional person who is almost anti-military… and it’s quite disturbing. It’s something I just don’t understand. As far as I’m concerned, if you want to be against war and violence, fine. Whatever. That’s your opinion and that’s alright. But when you cross the line to being anti-military, I just can’t handle it. How can you be actively against the group of people who have stepped up to defend you when they don’t even know you? That takes character, and heart, and bravery.

So, let’s ramp up. Let’s show these men and women just how much we support them. Let’s show them that there’s no end to our appreciation of their service and sacrifice. And let’s show them that we’re willing to make some sacrifices for them, too. Because at the end of the day, our lives would be a lot more terrible without them.

 

If you’d like more information on how you or your business can show your support or would like information on upcoming charity events, please leave us a comment here. Thank you all!

(1289 views)