John R. Kowalski Integrative Marketing Fusion

75 Pages and 20,000 Words from B2B Marketing Expert: A Look at the Year in Review

As I start to wind down the year (or at least try to), some thoughts are swirling. I’m still working on my book, “A Practical Guide for Integrative Marketing Fusion – Foundations, strategies & tactics for marketers, growth drivers & change agents” (working title). I’m currently 75 pages in and over 20,000 words with several sections to go. It’s been a fulfilling process for me with lots of reflection on my career, influencers, and drivers of my IMF marketing process. I know there’s a lot to do yet in terms of writing, then editing, design, artwork, etc., but I couldn’t be happier. As part of this I’m also including downloads of templates that I have developed and use today in my work. As I continue, I’ll keep sharing chunks of it here on my blog.

I want to mention what I believe to be the top marketing trends for B2B in 2022. Here are my thoughts:

  • Account Based Marketing (#ABM) will continue growing and become more sophisticated
  • The move to digital marketing will accelerate, with a focus on video content
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) will play an increasing role in marketing decisions
  • Marketing automation will become more ubiquitous and sophisticated
  • The customer experience (CX) will be even more important, with a focus on personalization
  • There will be increased pressure to demonstrate marketing’s impact on the bottom line
  • In addition to where I see things going, I also want to touch on some marketing missteps. I’m not trying to be negative, but rather learn from the past so that we don’t make the same mistakes.

Here are three of what I believe to be the biggest marketing failures this past year:

  • Failing to align marketing and sales
  • Not adequately targeting buyers early in the buying process
  • Misunderstanding how digital marketing is evolving and the impact of marketing technology

As always, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what’s happening in B2B marketing. Please share with me on social media or email (john at babacita dot com). Thanks!

Marketing failures this past year include failing to align marketing and sales, not adequately targeting buyers early in the buying process, and misunderstanding how marketing is evolving.

I’m really looking forward to some time off at the end of the year for a chance to recharge and then come out of the gate with the marketing pedal on the floor.

As of now I have the following 2022 activities complete (could be a guide for you also)

  • Marketing strategy documents
  • Marketing program calendar with campaigns, dates, estimated costs, etc.
  • Marketing budgets set with some $ allocated for new programs that may pop up
  • Social calendar outlines
  • January campaigns and blog posts written and scheduled
  • Analytics mechanisms in place

Let me know if I can help guide you in any way and I want to wish you a warm season’s greetings.

During this holiday season, we want to express our thanks to each one of you, as well as share the magic of the season. The past year has been filled with many challenges and opportunities.

We are so very grateful to have the chance to celebrate the holiday season with our friends, family, and colleagues and wish you the same. May you find warmth in your home, hear sweet laughter, and receive special notes, calls and visits from loved ones.

Have a wonderful and peaceful holiday season!

Book Progress

I figure it’s time for an update on my marketing book. It seems the writing process ebbs and flows with time availability, energy and the right mindset but I’m cranking right along. Currently at 68 pages (18,000-ish words). I’m really happy with how this is progressing.

Here’s a look at the current outline and working title:

A Practical Guide for Integrative Marketing Fusion

Foundations, strategies & tactics for marketers, growth drivers & change agents

  1. Introduction
  2. Marketing Defined
  3. Integrative Marketing Fusion
  4. Team Empowerment & Creativity Equals Growth
  5. Self-Care Equals Growth
  6. A Brand
    • Molding the Brand
    • A Brand Identified
    • Corporate vs Product Brand
    • Product Traits vs Brand Traits
    • Brand Checklist
    • Brand Brief Defined
    • Brand Attributes & Architecture
    • Brand Perception Survey
    • Brand Outline Example
  7. Building a Personal Brand
    • Evolve, Connect, Inspire – Evolution Guide Workbook
  8. Marketing Strategy
    • SWOT Analysis
    • Market Trends
    • Competitive Landscape
    • Target Audience & Creating Personas
    • Messaging Focus
    • Reviews & Workflow
    • Marketing Strategy Template
  9. Marketing Communications Program Management
    • Setting Goals
    • Tactics Must Support the Brand
    • Programs & Tactics
    • Learnings & Tips
    • Marketing Mix/Tactics Template
    • Public Relations Strategies for Success
    • Strategies for the Future
  10. Metrics
  11. Product Launches
  12. Product Launch Template
  13. Annual Planning
  14. Marketing Functions
  15. Resources & Tools
  16. IMF for Greater Value
    • Gaining Leadership Support
    • Tying it all Together
    • Leadership & IMF
    • PeaceWalker Project
    • WorldBlu
    • Ubuntu
  17. Connected & Aligned
  18. The Future of B2B Marketing
  19. Close
  20. Acknowledgements
  21. Testimonials

Other elements to add in:

  • Experience Notes (Stories)
  • Content bits that need to find a home

Staying Focused and the Creative Flow

This past week has been a whirlwind of work and life. Just some highlights

  • 2022 Marketing strategy final reviews
  • 2022 Marketing programs – begin outlining activities to support the strategy
  • Reviewing marketing automation and nurturing tools
  • New work projects started, and a few wrapped up
  • I received a notice that there’s a drug surge in the town where my two kids are
  • The usual fire training – new EMR protocols and review/prep on forcible entry (love that stuff!)
  • My mother had a routine surgery – all good, but still added stress on my dad and sisters, and on me while being not near them
  • Smoke alarm went off at 4:30 am Wednesday morning. It was a malfunctioning smoke detector but only determined after checking things out (including the attic), borrowing the TIC (thermal imaging camera) and doing a full sweep just to make sure. Have you checked and changed your smoke detector batteries lately? Do it this weekend – don’t wait.
Flow, the Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi book cover.

Sounds like a lot, yes? But you know something? It was a great week! I was focused and in the creative flow. Speaking of Flow, a moment of silence for Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Flow passed away this week. If you don’t know about it, check it out, it’s a monumental and foundational read.

I’m sure you’ve been there before. You’re in the zone (or flow), your creative juices are flowing and then suddenly, it’s like someone pulled the plug on your laptop. Then you’re scrambling to find inspiration or idea that will get you going again. What if I told you that there was a way to stay focused and work more efficiently? This post is about how to do just that. This works for me, but the key is finding what works best for YOU!

Have you ever been rolling along to have life through you a huge number of curveballs all at once? How do you keep focused and stay in the creative flow while dealing with those curveballs?

I know I’ve been there plenty of times. It can be very hard to focus on your work when you have a million things going on at once. You might feel as if all your ideas are disappearing and it’s time to start from scratch again. In those moments, take a deep breath and focus on what is important for now, and focus on that.

Everyone has a different way of creating. For example, some people focus better with music playing in the background while others prefer quiet surroundings. Some focus best early in the morning while others focus best late at night. You need to find out what works for you.

I like the analogy of creativity as a muscle you need to work out or it won’t work at all. To find focus, find something that helps get your creative juices flowing again and keep going. Don’t sit there and assume nothing is working because chances are if you just give it time, focus will find you.

Here are some tips that focus my focus:

  • Write it down – If something is on your mind, write it down. It doesn’t have to be in a journal or even an idea for a blog post. For me I use OneNote so I can access my notes anytime from anywhere. This way if I feel stuck, I can open my notes and focus on one thing that keeps me focused.
  • Keep your workspace clean – Being organized is important. When you take time to clean up your work area, focus will automatically come. Cleaning helps me focus because it makes everything more simple and therefore easier to focus on whatever it is that needs focus.
  • Find focus – Sometimes it’s hard to focus on what you need focus on instead of worrying about all the things you must do. To find focus, make a list of everything you need to do and then focus on one thing at a time. You can even prioritize your task list depending on their importance.
  • Diversify your focus – While it’s good to focus on one thing at a time, sometimes focusing on too many things at once can zap focus. So, focus on one thing for an hour or two and then focus on another task. Or focus on your work for a while and then take a break with some fun activities.
  • Take your focus outdoors – Sometimes focusing indoors can be challenging. I focus better when I get some fresh air and focus outdoors. Going for a walk or taking a break outside helps me focus because it’s like getting away from everything and allowing myself to focus without distraction.
  • Stay hydrated – Getting plenty of water while working will help focus. Sometimes I focus better when I’ve got a full glass of water because it can be easy to get dehydrated when you focus for long periods at a time without drinking anything.
  • Reward focus – Rewarding yourself is very important in motivating focus. You want to focus on your work so you can have some fun, right? It’s good to focus on work but it’s even better if you let yourself have some fun or enjoy life while focusing.
  • Take a break – Find focus, but also remember to take time for yourself so you can relax and focus on having fun. Life is all about balance and finding focus should help us all become more productive, not less. A focus break can be just what you need to get back on track and focus more efficiently.

Try out different focus methods until you find what works best for you. It might take some time but with practice, focus will come naturally when it’s time to focus.

To summarize, here are some keys to not losing it when life comes at you

  • Be and stay organized
  • Prioritize
  • Time management
  • Self-imposed target dates
  • Real deadlines
  • Time for YOU – For me it’s spending enough quiet time to stay organized, playing the guitar and cooking

Most people find it difficult to stay focused and motivated. It’s so easy for your creative, “in the zone” state of mind to slip away from you when you’re working on a long deadline or project that requires a lot of focus. The good news is there are ways to keep yourself in this productive mindset longer! The above tips work well for me – maybe they’ll help you too?

What strategies do YOU use to stay more focused at work? Leave a comment below with your best practices!

Integrative Marketing Fusion, Writing the Book

Being in marketing or leadership can sometimes be challenging and difficult. When things are a mess, and you have no idea where to start. I’m writing a book to make life easier for marketers and business leaders.

I think it came about when I was mentoring on my branding process, and I realized that I have all this great information from 25+ years marketing experience. I have a ton of content, both written down and, in my head, so why not get all of this down into a concise and to-the-point document. I base my thinking and work on an integrative marketing model, but I also bring in several change disciplines around evolve, connect, and inspire. That’s my secret sauce and something I’ve coined Integrative Marketing Fusion. More on that as the book progresses.

Originally, I was thinking a practical workbook but then quickly it jumped up in page numbers. As of now I’m at 52 pages with at least that amount to go. One thing I want this to be is something that is useful now. It has some theory in it but basically, it’s a down and dirty how-to guide with templates that can be downloaded and used by anyone in any industry at any level – students, leadership, people interested in learning marketing, and marketing professionals.

The current outline (as of today) is:

  • Introduction
  • Marketing Defined
  • Integrative Marketing Fusion (IMF)
  • A Brand
  • Building a Personal Brand
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Marketing Communications Program Management
  • Marketing Functions
  • Resources and Tools

Each of these major sections have several sub-sections.

I’m posting parts, pieces, and downloads on my Patreon page as I go through this initial drafting phase if you’d like to check that out.

I just wanted to get you all a quick update on what I’ve been up to lately and will be for a while. Stay tuned for more updates.

The Guidebook Shifts to a Book

As I kept rolling with my guidebook it has grown immensely. I made some great progress this past weekend and am currently just over 40 pages with new additions and ideas coming every day. Not sure where this will end up but just as I tell graphic designers, let the content dictate the design, not the other way around.

I’m really going in-depth on not only Integrated Marketing but my “special sauce” philosophies, tactics, and ready-to-use templates.

Anyway, just a brief update and if inclined, you can support this project via Patreon.

Marketing Guidebook & My Brand

I thought I’d step back a touch and share with you some of my rationale to get my 25+ years of experience in one consolidated guide or book. Over the course of my career, I’ve always been collecting templates and ideas from a variety of sources and then make them into something I use in my work. Over the years as I have grown and how marketing has changed have also played into how I update my templates. I have taught many classes for organizations, universities, or companies around marketing or certain aspects of it and I’ve always enjoyed sharing my knowledge. I’ve also had interns along the way that have gone on to do some brilliant things with their careers and I’m still happy to be their mentor.

Anyway, due to my love of teaching and sharing knowledge, I wanted to share, not only, what I’ve learned along the way, but tips and guides for getting things done systematically, efficiently, and effectively. Real-world practical’s with just the right amount of theory behind it.

This is really geared towards any functional marketing professional or aspiring professional. I really enjoy the branding and strategy, but I also love developing campaigns, writing content, and doing the design. All those aspects, the functional marketer, is what makes me and the passion and love I have for marketing.

There are also many parts of us, not just our professional lives. And that’s something I also wanted to share with you in the hopes of triggering some new or reinforcing some (perhaps) lost or hidden aspects of you.

My brand is me. It’s marketing, but it’s also a home chef, a volunteer firefighter, and a guitarist (in process). It’s a diverse collection, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Join me on this journey.