One of the great benefits of being a consultant is having flexibility in your work schedule. Being your own boss, it’s up to you on how you manage your downtime — whether it’s going for a long bike ride, volunteering in your child’s classroom or learning something new.
Last week, EM Marketing hosted its seventh Freedom Friday — a day to collaborate and learn in its newish digs. We heard from fellow consultants about what projects they’re working on and why they went into consulting. What’s better than to learn from others sharing their expertise and experience? A yummy, healthy lunch and happy hour, of course! Here’s a quick wrap-up of Freedom Friday.
When Organizational Changes Disrupt Your Project
What happens to a project when your client suddenly announces that their company has just undergone a major re-organization? Does it get totally derailed or worse, killed? Is there anything you can do ahead of time to prepare for a situation like that?
CW Training and Consulting co-founders Debbie Crouse and Jenny Warila have had plenty of hands-on experience in project management, process improvement, and product development. They shared a case study about one of their clients that had faced project disruptions due to organizational changes. (See full presentation below.)
The key takeaways:
- Anticipate: expect changes (whether big or small) will happen
- Clarify Roles: understand who the key players and decision makers are (see slide 10!)
- Manage Change: know what to do when it does happen e.g., build clauses in the contract, change procedures or adjust the project size
- Communicate: keep a steady rhythm of communication and make your clients aware of the impact of potential changes
If you’d like to learn five key principles to running successful projects, sign up for Debby’s and Jenny’s next workshop, Demystifying Project Management on October 12. You’ll get tips from these pros and lunch is included!
Marketing Execs: How to Get Your CEO to Ask You to Spend More
The business landscape is rapidly evolving. Companies face increased pressure for faster returns to their shareholders, so CEOs and CMOs need quick wins or they won’t last. In the 1980s, CMOs’ tenures lasted an average of four years. Now they’re lucky to get 18 months. What makes things even more challenging is the clutter of marketing and ad tech — and channels to get the word out (email, social, mobile) lose effectiveness fast.
Sodan Selvaretnam and Mark Harnett know a thing or two about growing businesses, wearing their CEO and marketing consultant hats, respectively. They’ve seen a classic Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus language barrier happening between CEOs and CMOs. It can create fear and second-guessing!
But it doesn’t have to. When CMOs understand what drives the CEO — keywords such as profitability, shareholder value, growth and positive ROI — they will stop using vanity metrics (does it really matter how many Likes or Followers you have?) and present the metrics that mean more to businesses. Can you say Cost Per Acquisition, Return on Ad Spend and Lifetime Value?
Yes, you can. And when you tie your marketing plan into those financials and business outcomes, you will increase your staying and spending power. Check out the full presentation below.
A Consultant’s Journey and One Very Productive Gig
In between these presentations, we heard from Daniel Gehant on why he started consulting (two cute little rugrats have something to do with it!). He also shared how he’s found ways to find human connection through his work at EM Marketing and unexpected camaraderie through Snapchat.
And you’d be impressed by Kirti Dewan‘s laundry list of projects she’s accomplished at Zetta, a startup that offers cloud-based server backup and disaster recovery — in mere months. At her very first gig as a consultant, she did what many EM Marketing consultants excel in: Getting Stuff Done.
One thing’s for sure. Freedom Fridays are a great way for consultants to connect with other friendly consultants and learn something new. Stay tuned for the next one — we’d love to see you there!