Overcoming The Paradox of Choice is Possible—And Here’s How

If we’ve learned anything the past two years is that the only constant is change. And change is hard. As the owner of Marissa Pick Consulting, I’ve certainly felt the bumps in the road throughout the pandemic, but I’ve learned how to adapt to change and remain agile, ready to shift with the changes that are sure to come.

With rapid change comes choices, which can make it challenging to make decisions, especially when business and personal lives collide. Whether it’s choosing a career to pursue or a snack to eat, our lives are full of decisions. But how does our brain decide between an apple or Fruit by the Foot when we go to the snack cabinet for a mid-day treat? Even with routine choices, decision-making is a complex task that involves assessing the information we have (there are so many kinds of snacks on my shelf), determining our choices (which snack do I like?), examining our experience with these choices (I remember liking Fruit by the Foot as a kid), and ultimately picking what we think is the best option.

We can’t escape the need to choose, nor can we control the consequences of our decisions or the choices of others. We often put too much pressure on our choices. And somehow, we don’t put on enough pressure. This causes us to mess up at both ends. But by taking control of the process, here are some ways I was able to embrace the “paradox” of choice so that my business could continue to grow.

Embrace change. A self-described “Type A” personality, embracing change in my own life isn’t easy. But the pandemic forced me to tackle my issues with change headfirst. A planner by nature, I really struggled with the uncertainty surrounding all aspects of life. It was like a constant question mark was looming above me and it was extremely uncomfortable. As someone who thrives on predictability, accepting and welcoming change was a scary experience. But by focusing on my communication skills and leaning into a more flexible mindset, I learned that change doesn’t have to be scary. I realized that “not knowing” can sometimes be liberating and inspire you to see your world and the responsibilities that come with it in a different light. Since I stopped running away from change, routines in my business and household spheres have become a bit steadier. And if things become rocky again, the difference is that I’m more equipped to handle that.


Try to plan ahead. There are many times in life that we know change is on the horizon, forcing us to choose a path. Whether it’s following market dynamics, trends or just gut instinct, there are many ways to get ahead of the “selection process.” With my marketing clients, I’m a big proponent of prep work. I try to do as much research as possible to outline the “nice-to-have and must-have” elements of any marketing plan. For example, there are a plethora of technologies available to add efficiencies to our work, but which ones will best justify marketing budgets and boost performance?By weighing options upfront, you’ll be in a better position to provide sound counsel and judgement.

Before you start looking for ways to embrace change, you need to identify what the change is and how it will impact you. Many people think that any change which throws our plans off-course is undesirable. However, it is important to not feel pessimistic or lose hope. Review where you stand after things settle down. Identify the areas which need attention and allocate resources to them accordingly.

Reframe your thinking. Change will happen regardless of our decisions, so it’s important to identify how change makes you feel. Are you feeling sad or anxious? How can you break negative patterns or step back and reflect on your feelings? Taking timely action after adversity or change will enable you to embrace it. For example, if you break your arm, you may be unable to type, write or do other important work for yourself. However, you can look to dictation services, voice to text software, or even hire someone to support and take notes for you. By reframing your thinking and addressing a situation in a different way, you can feel more in control of the aftermath of change.


Count your blessings and smile. Life is overwhelming, and some days it’s hard to not get lost in the endless circus of life. The highlight of my day is when my kids run into my arms after school and tell me everything about their days. Kids have a view of the world that is so innocent, pure, and refreshing. My boys are so inquisitive, curious, and hopeful about the future. Every day, they inspire my husband and me to smile and have fun, and they remind us that family comes first, no matter what. Whatever it is that makes you smile, recognize it, and make it part of your daily routine. Change makes the world go around, and we are fortunate to live in a country where we hold the power to make choices (even if there are more than we would like, at times).

In the words of Bob Dylan, “Your old road is rapidly agin’/Please get out of the new one/If you can’t lend your hand/For the times they are a-changin’.” When you’re able to re-think your relationship with change, you may be surprised to discover how many more possibilities you can unlock for yourself and your business.

Stop and Read This Before You Start Your Small Business

Guest Post from Amy Collett, BizWell

Image via Pexels

As a budding business owner in New York City, you can set yourself up for success if you follow a few rules and avoid making the same mistakes many startups make. Instead of cutting corners, prepare thoroughly for this new venture. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid. 

Not Having a Business and Marketing Plan

Your small business will have a better chance of thriving if you develop a business plan that provides a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish, how you will achieve it, and when it will happen. By doing so, investors and partners will be more likely to be interested in your idea, whether it’s based around products or services.

With approximately 220,000 businesses located in NYC, it’s important to make yours stand out. Create a go-to-marketing strategy template that can help keep everything on track for a product release. Using a pre-made go-to-market strategy template can help you streamline the entire process instead of creating your own from scratch. Expecting your product or service to speak for itself as a new business owner is a pipe dream. 

Not Taking Advantage of Technology

Small businesses have a lot to gain from technology since it can make things run smoothly and boost profits. The use of inventory management software, project management platforms, cybersecurity protection, and cost savings can benefit your business. Other benefits of technology for your business include: 

  • Communication with customers:  Your customers can get information about your business online 24/7 through FAQs on your website. In turn, this facilitates smooth communication between your business and the public.
  • The efficiency of operations: Technology can help you better understand cash flow needs and save you time and space. Meetings can be held online with tools like Zoom and Skype rather than renting a physical space.
  • Security: Data protection and client security are vital in any industry. Make sure you invest in solutions that increase security and improve operations.

Choosing the Wrong Type of Business Entity

The wrong business entity can have a significant impact on your business as you could end up with additional taxes or be liable for issues with your business. Consider the following:

  • Business creation and ongoing costs: Partnerships are typically the simplest to set up, but LLCs come a close second. Corporations require more paperwork and filings.   
  • Indemnification: Consider your assets when choosing a business structure. LLPs and LLCs are better options for securing your private assets than sole proprietorships because they separate your business from you. 
  • Taxes: Corporations are often the most tax-efficient, depending on how you structure them, but LLCs are close behind. 

Underpricing

One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make when launching a new product is underpricing. If you underprice, you won’t make money no matter how hard you work. Research your target market to determine a suitable price.

Setting Up a Business

Running a business requires a lot of groundwork and needs careful thought, from creating a business plan to choosing the right structure.  

If you have any questions consider contacting Marissa Pick for digital marketing help from the social media evangelist herself. If you need more specific help consider reviewing Design Rush’s Top Social Media Marketing Agencies.

Amy Collett is creator of Biz Well, a website that helps professionals and entrepreneurs build and strengthen their personal brand.

The Future of Content Marketing Appears Bright Moving Into 2022

The pandemic put content center stage, reminding many marketers that they must develop content that includes purpose, context, creativity, and integrity. To do so, content must add value and enhance the conversation with brands’ target audiences to facilitate engagement. It’s clear that people are looking for ways to be inspired and entertained, making it even more important for content marketers to find creative ways to connect with their audiences. 

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs released their 12th annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report last month which portrays an encouraging and optimistic future ahead for content marketing. The research within the report confirmed what many of us already knew: content marketers are some of the fiercest business pros around. In the most difficult of times, they get the job done– and many come through more creative and stronger than before.

I wanted to break down some of the key themes highlighted in this report.

Video and Events Present Prime Opportunities for Engagement

Ninety percent of content marketers say that short articles and posts (such as blogs) have been within the mix this past year. That is followed by videos (66%), virtual events/webinars/online courses (64%) and case studies (61%). But which tactics produce the best results? Virtual events, webinars, and online courses were named by 58% of respondents as a top performer (including 66% of those categorized as “most successful”) and research reports and short articles/posts were tied for second at 48%.

B2B marketers remain at a critical inflection point as we prepare for the future of events. The pandemic rapidly accelerated the digitization of events, profoundly changing the live events industry as we knew it. I maintain that most events and conferences will remain virtual until the end of 2022, but agree that the opportunity for virtual events, webinars and online courses showcases the importance of virtual and hybrid events as a MUST next year.

Given the results of the survey it’s no surprise that the top two planned areas of investment for next year are video and events. It’s clear that content marketers are looking for ways to more immersive engagement with their audience within a fundamentally altered environment. The good news for content marketers is that there are several opportunities to keep virtual events as an integral part of fostering connection and engagement. 

Earlier this year I wrote an article for InEvent about the 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Virtual Event which discussed the importance of developing great content. When you begin planning your virtual event, it’s important to remember that content is often viewed hand in hand within the overall program. That is why it’s so important to take the time to put together a cohesive look and feel and ensure you’ve outlined branding for your online event. Make sure that the content you develop promotes your speakers, sponsors, and every aspect of your program. Eye-catching and captivating promotional materials are key.

LinkedIn Remains King for Organic and Paid Social Media  

It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is the top social media platform to distribute both organic and paid B2B content. It’s a viable content marketing platforms and when content is relevant for the proper audience and complimentary to the features of LinkedIn it can really pay off in the end. 

B2B content marketers in this survey rated it as the most effective for both organic and paid social media. When it comes to producing results with paid social media, LinkedIn was ahead of the next-highest rated platform by 25 percentage points. For organic results, the chasm is even wider.

Overall, more than three-quarters of practitioners said their paid distribution spending has either increased or remained steady. Social media advertising and promoted posts were the most common paid distribution tactic (77%), beating out search engine marketing and pay-per-click (65%).

Content Marketing Budgets Are Rising

Although the pandemic brought a lot of businesses uncertainty, many haven’t pulled back their content marketing investments, which was at one point considered “discretionary” spending. Forty-three percent of respondents familiar with their organization’s spending said their content marketing budget increased in 2021 compared to 2020. Meanwhile, 66% say they expect their content marketing budget to grow in 2022. Very few saw decreases in budget this year or expect them next year.

The Top Marketing Challenge Ahead

Creating content which appeals to multi-level roles within the target audience and accessing subject matter experts to create content are still a major challenge. It may be because more marketers are leveraging content collaboration tools, or because so many people have been changing jobs over the last 18 months. 

This challenge can be compounded if content marketers only focus on creating content that appeals to those in the C-suite, as research from Netline Corporation shows that the vast majority of content consumption happens within roles outside the C-suite. Marketers must find relevant subject matter experts in 2022 to develop relatable content appealing to numerous roles within their target audience. 

I discussed the future of content generation on my blog and just like any other content marketing strategy, repackaging content is all about consistency. I recommend brands create 2-3 additional content assets whenever they publish a new article, such as developing a piece of audio content, adding a voice over, or turning a presentation into a video. Through videos, user generated content, and a variety of content types they can begin to home in on what content resonates most.

Despite the challenges of the recent past, it’s an exciting time to be a content marketer. With new approaches and channels to develop content and engage with audiences, refreshed budgets and agreement that content is king, it’s clear that there is a world of opportunity for B2B content marketers in 2022. 

Four Trends Marketers Shouldn’t Ignore

Are you wondering what you should be keeping an eye out in 2016? Look no further, within this post I share key findings from recently published reports from PulsePoint and PageFair and Adobe highlighting key trends and stats marketers can’t afford to ignore.

1. Content Marketing is King!

If you’re vaguely familiar with Content Marketing you’ve heard heard the term “Content Is King.”  A report published by PulsePoint found that by 2017 content marketing budgets are projected to double, and 83% of marketers believe content marketing will go “programatic” by 2017. (Click to Tweet)

When most of us think about real-time content marketing, we think of examples like Oreo’s tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, when they advised customers that they “can still dunk in the dark.” That tweet was a great response to an unexpected occasion and the birth of the awareness of real time content marketing.

oreo-dunk-in-the-dark

Keep in mind that real-time content does not always have to be spontaneous. The majority of real-time content advertising and marketing can be prepared to some level by maintaining a close eye on preparing and trending topics material that replies to a broad range of scenarios.  Brand who are setup with strong content marketing strategies will rapidly set themselves apart and cut through the noise and “win” within this arena.

2.  Content marketing and native growth will outpace display and search

Brands, agencies and publishers reported that content marketing and native are both important to their organizations and strategies. But are the ad dollars and digital inventory available to back them? The answer is yes as both supply and demand are expected to grow over the next two years.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 12.34.02 PM

While display and search still command most of the ad dollars, 37% of respondents to PulsePoint’s study named content marketing as one of the largest spending buckets.  That gap is only set to narrow, as content marketing and native ads both are both projected to see increased budgets over the next two years. The other format tracking slightly behind is digital video since the formal draws a higher audience engagement which is pivotal for brands with upper funnel campaign objectives.

 

3. Ad Blocking Is Rapidly Expanding, and Costing Publishers Billions of Dollars.

The number of consumers using ad blocking software worldwide has increased 41% year-on-year to 198 million monthly active users according to a report by PageFair and Adobe. (Click to Tweet)

Ad blocking is increasingly a challenge to marketers and it’s estimated that the click-through rate across all ad formats and placements is only 0.06 per cent.  Now users are able to be more discretionary than ever about which content they want and what they don’t.

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Currently ad blocking almost always happens via desktop computers, however ad blocking on mobile could soon become a mainstream phenomenon.

The rate of ad blocking varies country by country. The US has an estimated 45 million monthly active ad block users, up 48% year-on-year which across  Europe, 35% of the internet population (77 million users) used an ad blocker at least once a month.  The report also found that ad block users are usually young and technically savvy and predominantly male.

4. Mobile Emailing Marketing Remains in The Mix

Email is a channel which can’t be ignored however with the rise of wearable technology and mobile marketers must work towards firming up their email marketing strategy.

A study from Moveable Ink found that in the first quarter of 2015, 67% of all U.S. email opens occurred on a mobile device  and 75% of those were smartphones. (Click to Tweet)

The growth in mobile is staggering and the shift is undeniable as tablets and wearables are now being dubbed the “new inbox.” Marketers must ensure their messaging is “mobile friendly,” personalized, and optimized for success.

What trends do you think Marketers should watch into 2016, leave a comment below or send me a tweet.  

Three Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

Social Media is similar to Pandora’s Box.  It holds powerful tools which can help boost your business to new customers, retain loyal ones, and help to engage online within the digital world, or if can be a ton of wasted resources if not used properly.  Along with anything new comes a lot of misconceptions.  Although you maybe questioning the most efficient ways to maximize social media with your audience, don’t give up! Here are three major myths I come across which I’d like to take a stab at debunking.

Myth #1: I Don’t Have Enough Content to Fill my Social Media Feeds 

Social media outlets are fast paced and constantly changing.  Content gets posted online, flooded, pushed down, and becomes irrelevant quickly and before you know it.  Although this may seem like a wasted effort it reminds us that it’s important to repost the same content in different ways to best represent your brand.  Getting creative and thinking of interesting and exciting ways to share your content while avoiding making it seem too repetitive is important.  People often miss things, forget them, and if it’s evergreen content, then it’s always useful.  Putting a new spin and angle on how you repost it will help it live long and prosper. One of my favorite tools is pablo by buffer or canva, both can help quickly create visual content to accompany your content, and did I mention they’re both FREE.  Remember, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text (click to tweet this) so visual content within social media is a MUST if you want to stand out and drive engagement!

Myth #2: My Social Media Channels Can’t Show Personality

Although your content should be targeted around your industry and demographic to best optimize, don’t be afraid to show personality.  Behind your brand you’ve got REAL people following you and engaging online.  Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your brand, product, or service spreading some humor can help to humanize your brand’s message.  We’ve found quotes, funny gifs, and office photos and interesting news articles helpful at CFA Institute.  Have a little fun, let your hair down, and get creative with your social media posts!

Myth #3: My Demographic Is Older, So Social Media Isn’t Relevant or Worth It

Contrary to what you believe, the older crowd is quite active on social media.  According to comScore Mobile Matrix the average tablet minutes spent on social networks per visitor is up 115% from 2015 in the 55+ age bracket.   According to FastCompany the fastest growing demographic on twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket (click to tweet this).  This demographic has grown 79% since 2012. For Facebook this group has jumped 46%, for Google+ 56%.

average-tablet-minutes-spent_reference

Not broadening your brand to reach an older age group, or ignoring their presence on social media outlets will severely limit your company’s potential for growth.

What do you think of these three myths debunked? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below or send me a tweet, thanks!

Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing

Influencer marketing is the most powerful tool in getting a brand’s message to an interested audience in a relevant and authentic way. Whether launching a new product or just trying to raise brand awareness, it’s effective in driving engagement, visibility,quality traffic, and more. Last week I spoke at ClickZ Live New York on Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing.

The future of influence marketing is up and coming as marketers are trying to hone in on how to develop relationships with key influencers with hopes to lift awareness of their brands. It’s not enough to market through influencers, now it’s crucial to find a way to collaborate in partnerships with influencers.

Within my speech I discussed the four rules of influencer marketing:

1) Popularity Does NOT Equal influence.

2) To be influential, a person has to be actively writing on topics which matter to your audience.

3) To be influential, a person has to have authority.

4) Influencer’s drive action.

Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have led to the rise of a new generation of influencers that have amassed huge followings on niche subject matters. A research study by Nielsen showed that buyers trust experts and influencers over branded content. It’s important start a campaign with a precise set of goals, and understand the purpose of your influencer outreach plan.  Whether its to get them to be a brand advice, guest blog, or vouch for your brand you must begin by defining concise targets and have various KPI’s for various social media networks.

So how can you find Influencers? Great Question, here are some of my favorite (and free!) tools:

1) Follower Wonk Enables you to find, analyze, and optimize for social growth, and search bios of those influencers you’re after (especially very niche topics!).

2) Twitter provides free analytics which outlines top followers, influencers, and also gives a nice overview of your impressions, mentions, and more.  I also find using twitter lists to be an excellent way to tap into and influencer and “digest” twitter in a more streamlined manner.

3) BuzzSumo allows you to find the most shared content and see what content performs best, as well as discover key influencers.

4) Topsy is one of my favorite tools to search all tweets and measure social trends, but they’ve also got an influencer option which has proven quite helpful.

5) Klout is the original tool to rank influencers based upon social networks and reach, they’ve started a content first approach, but hey, I still get free perks, and i’m still a fan!

Once you’ve found your influencers it’s important to get closer and engage with them using social media.  Being socially active you’ll be one step closer to your influential audience.  When reaching out to an influencer you’ve got to recruit, initialize and grow your relationship, and then nurture. Make sure your outreach is relevant.  Taking time to research your target influencers interests, and understand who they are and what they like is crucial.  Engage on social media by sharing an article, providing an opinion, and engaging when them in conversation without an ask. Once you’ve built your initial conversation pitch free it’s important to reach out offline to discuss next steps, and if possible remind them of your discussion and engagement to spark the conversation.

My slideshare from ClickZ Live is below, and remember Jay Baer’s quote, “Content is fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” When done right tapping into this new generation of influencers can put your brand on the map, increase traffic, engagement, and so much more.

What do you think of the presentation, send me a tweet @MarissaPick, or leave a comment below.