Fei's World Podcast Interview

I'm a big podcast listener. I was back in the beginning when podcasts were first a "thing" a decade or so ago. Then they declined, and we measured that! In the B2B research I was doing we measured over the course of several years how folks sought out and took in information about their industry and it was fascinating to see podcasts waning over time.

Well, they are definitely BACK and better than ever! At some point I'll do a rundown of my favorite podcasts (topic of another blog post) but one of them is Feisworld podcast "created to celebrate stories from sung and unsung heroes".

When I find good content, I want to ensure that the author/producer/creator knows I find it of value. Usually I tweet that out or do an iTunes review. 

In this case, Fei tweeted back and thus started a conversation which led me to be featured on her podcast, which is such an honor. The interview ended up focusing a lot on the topic of international adoption and some really unique twists and turns in our adoption story that brought us to the family we are today. 

Click below to head on over to Feisworld to listen to the podcast!

Women Taking the Lead Podcast Interview

I had the honor recently of being a guest on Jodi Flynn's Women Taking the Lead podcast.
We chatted about leadership styles, moments of "playing small" and business and non-profit management. Interested in learning more about those topics, and my favorite leadership books and quotes? Those are in there too. Listen and enjoy! Click on the photo below to go to the podcast.

Agents of Change 2016 Conference

Ahhhhh autumn. The leaves are changing, pumpkin spice everything is available, and conference season begins!

The 2016 iteration of the Agents of Change conference occurred this past Friday in Portland (ME, for any of you out of town readers ;). What was once a local social media conference (Social Media FTW) has grown into a strong digital marketing conference drawing national speakers such as Chris Brogan, Sue Zimmerman, and John Lee Dumas

Local digital marketing celeb, conference organizer, and zombie movie star Rich Brooks got the room laughing by opening the conference with clips from the "zombie rom com" Night of the Living Deb that was filmed here in Portland. The trailer is below for your viewing pleasure...Rich is the zombie at the very end.

With the crowd warmed up, New York Times bestselling author of nine (!) books and CEO of Owner Media Group Chris Brogan took the stage for the morning keynote. Cue the multitude of tweets about how awesome it was to see him in person, which is absolutely true. Brogan is a true industry leader and it was great to see him in person (yep, one of those tweets was mine). He discussed selling in the crazy digital landscape "Sales is no longer a funnel, it's a Jackson Pollock painting" and producing content which "must become habit - you are talking to people who are anxious to hear what you're doing next." But he warned to not give away the whole content buffet in one go but rather focus on "small bites, snacks, we are in the world of tapas."

Brogan's opinion of what you need for digital marketing? Four things: a blog, email marketing, podcasting and Instagram. But be authentic, the message gets lost if you're not living it: "It's not how you say it, it's how you live it. Worry less about wording, be out there living your message."

With the morning keynote complete it was time to grab some caffeine and head off to the first breakout session. I was impressed with the offerings and it was legitimately hard to choose which one to attend, which makes me very happy that video will be available post-conference so I can catch the ones I missed. 

I decided to attend 'Creating Systems to Help Grow Your Business' with Kate Erickson of Entrepreneur on Fire, and host of the popular podcast Kate's Take. I have to admit, I wasn't familiar with Kate prior to this session, and left it declaring she is my business systems spirit animal. So true! 

Erickson's specialty and superpower is business systems (no, not back-end IT systems). Creating systems and workflows for your business to create efficiencies, which then open up your time for the work you should be doing as an entrepreneur, digital marketer, etc. “No one in this room should be working on $10 tasks, you should be working on $10k tasks" and creating systems can help you offload those $10 tasks. 

To set the stage for all those in the room, she outlined what could prompt the setup of a business system: prepping for a deadline, planning an event, all these things can be systematized by: taking inventory, writing out the steps, determine the efficiencies, document the system, and periodically reviewing and refining the system.  

Erickson then shared life hacks and tech tools to help create and manage these business systems. Life hacks included theming your days (aka social media content producing on Mondays, sales focus Tuesdays and so on), batching like tasks together to eliminate context switching. Tools varied by use case, but Zapier, Boomerang, Edgar, Asana and more were mentioned. (I personally use Trello to manage my business processes and highly recommend it). Even the most creative of endeavors have systems behind them. Content creation includes drafting, writing, editing, scheduling and promoting.  

So much of what Erickson mentioned are also strengths of mine - creating order out of chaos, defining, documenting and implementing systems - so it was heartening to see this kind of work which is often behind the scenes be recognized! 

Up next was the fantastic and energetic Sue B. Zimmerman sharing her thoughts on how to amplify your company's online presence. Now, if you work in social media you are aware of Sue "The Instagram Expert", and she has tons of content out on social media to view. She's fantastic and super high energy in person, but it's not all just fun energy, she's super savvy and had lots of tactical takeaways for the audience. 

To drive traffic, Zimmerman pushes out content on three platforms (Facebook, Periscope, Instagram) all to drive traffic back to her blog. She styles the content specific to each platform, and much of what she does is video: “The power of live streaming and video is so real, it’s like nothing else and you can’t hide behind it.” However, the key to video is to not just regurgitate the blog post or Instagram post, it's giving the viewers something specific they'll only see on the video.  

After a quick lunch, we were back at it with 'Mobile Marketing: Beyond a Mobile Website' with none other than Rich Brooks. But first, his  Dad took the stage to introduce him and was fantastic and engaging! Now, to be clear, his dad isn't just a proud father who shared Rich's report card info with us he is also Dr. Robert Brooks, internationally recognized psychologist, speaker, and author. 

Brooks (the younger) professed his presentation was going to be emoji-rich and so it was! But the content was serious. Mobile marketing is no longer "I have a mobile friendly website! Done. Check!" And it's not one size fits all. What's needed for mobile marketing for the pizza place is going to be different than for the dentist. Speaking of, "a human is more likely to own a cellphone than a toothbrush, 4.6 billion toothbrushes vs 5.1 cellphone" according to Brooks. Yikes.  

Brooks shared easily attainable tasks such as making the NAP (name, address, phone) consistent across all platforms to help with mobile search (check Moz Local to see how you appear), and how to use geofencing and geotargeting with your mobile marketing.

Next I was off to Elite Twitter Tactics with Jen Lehner and was so impressed! I feel like I've been on Twitter forever and know it well, but I definitely learned a lot of new tips and tricks from Lehner! So much so that I hopped right on Twitter to tweet to Rich Brooks to book Lehner for this same conference next year - great content! Lehner covered such tips as using Lead Card, how to do automatic client mining, and more. She shared some great real world examples of using video reach-outs on Twitter, and some really cool advanced search hacks. And she used what is now my fave Twitter geek hashtag #birdnerds! 

For the last breakout session of the day I chose to focus on video and one of the best in the biz was in the house. Amy Schmittauer is a video marketer and the producer and host of Savvy Sexy Social; her YouTube portfolio has more than 10M views and has 47K+ subscribers.  

Fun and snarky (in a good way!) Schmittauer broke down the barriers of video to the audience, such as getting over the fear of needing really good gear, that your first video needs to be perfect, slick, and well produced, and that you don't have the personality for video. For everyone, Schmittauer said, it's all about SRP= Specialize, Read, Practice. Get comfortable with the camera and speak to it as a person/a (your mom, your best friend, etc.) rather than trying to sell something to the camera.  She also did a deep dive on video on different social platforms - a great example being: "If you're watching me on YouTube, YOU pressed play. On Facebook,I showed up auto-playing in your feed while you were stalking your ex." 

Whew-brain full! But we're not done yet (with the conference or this blog post) - the last speaker of the day was John Lee Dumas, founder and host of Entrepreneur On Fire, an award-winning 7-days-a-week podcast featuring successful entrepreneurs. Dumas challenged the audience to not let all the conference learning go to waste and go back to business as usual on Monday. Rather, he challenged the audience to set and accomplish meaningful goals. Walking the audience through SMART goals and F.O.C.U.S., Dumas also highlighted consistency - "what would my life be like if I consistently accomplished my most important goals?" - and accountability such as finding a mastermind partner.  

And with that, Agents of Change had come to a close. But the closing reception, the after party, and apparently the after after party kept the Twitter stream hopping for quite a while!

For a full rundown of the conference tweet by tweet, check out my Twitter stream.
Like this recap? Give me a shout out on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn!

I'm back!

Missed me?

Yep, things went quiet for about a year here on InsightsGal. Wondering why?

2015 was a nutty year for a lot of reasons. Our research department was growing and business was booming, I had assumed a leadership position with the Junior League of Portland Maine (President-Elect), was consulting with clients about social media onboarding and... [drum roll]

We were quietly going through a very time-intensive international adoption process!

I'll write about that process in more detail at a future time, but suffice it to say that pulling all that paperwork together really is a part-time job!

Just of the several binders of paperwork...

Just of the several binders of paperwork...

I made an intentional decision to go (mostly) dark on the blog and social media. While the outward face of InsightsGal was quiet, lots of work was happening behind the scenes consulting with market research and social media clients and continuing to keep up to date on changes with the various social platforms. I owed it to my clients and to my family to focus on those areas of the business and life at that time and return to the blog and social at a future time.  

Well, the future is now!

Now that we have returned from our adoption trip and for the most part settled in with the kids (yes, multiple kids!)  it's time to get back at it.  

Thanks for your patience, and watch this space for more content as I get back up and running!

The two newest members of the Clark team!

The two newest members of the Clark team!

Glassiversary Reflections

It started with a wish...

A year ago, I posted a wish on on Facebook...just throwing it out to the universe:

"You know what would be the best birthday present ever? Google Glass."

As luck (miracles?) would have it, I got the coveted email from the Glass team the following week, inviting me to participate in the Glass beta program. My husband and I chatted, and we decided this would be my birthdaychristmasvalentinesanniversary present! 

I had no idea what to expect, except a new tech toy to play with. I had no idea how much Glass would change my life!

Shortly thereafter Glass arrived and I spent the evening setting things up and testing things out

Really late at night the first night, my first Glass selfie
My initial reaction (beyond "holy amazing batman!") was that using Glass was easier to learn than learning to use my smartphone. So, pretty darn easy. For everyone, not just this techie nerd.

I of course started wearing Glass everywhere. Early on, there were only about 6 Glass explorers that I knew of in Maine, and many of then not in the Portland area. So it was pretty much a guarantee that I was the only one walking around Portland wearing Glass. It's been that way until last week when I finally saw another Glass explorer in Portland (finally!). 

Since I was one of the very few in Maine it was likely a much different experience than my friends in bigger cities such as New York and San Francisco. I got absolutely no derogatory remarks or negative feedback ever. Just curious looks, hesitant questions, and once folks realized how friendly I was and was happy to demo Glass, definitely some requests to try them on. More often than not, however, it was me offering Glass to them to try on. Many didn't ask me outright. 

The demos have been my favorite. The reactions of folks when they try Glass on and see what they're all about. At this point, more people have tested my Glass than I can count. From conferences to subway cars, they've definitely been passed around. All the better, so any of the 'fear factor' can go away for people and they realize that Glass is a communication device.

The many faces of Katie, demo-ing Glass
My favorite quote so far? An employee on the Downeaster tried them on, was totally taken aback, then exclaimed:

"Holy shit, this is the FUTURE! And the future is AMAZING!"

I know there have been some negative reactions in different cities, but it never happened to me. Even on a packed subway train in Boston. Let me tell you, nothing will make you instafamous faster than wearing Glass on the T during rush hour. I was fielding questions from everyone which was fabulous and hilariously surreal at the same time.

On the business side, I travel a lot and had the chance to demo Glass and speak about Glass in different venues around the country. From Boston to Salt Lake, Minneapolis and DC, below are a few examples:

Speaking about Glass at Social Media Breakfast Maine... 

At the MedTech Boston/Google Glass Challenge...

Hi Trish!

At the Qualtrics Summit in Salt Lake City

Look, another Explorer in the wild!

At the Administrative Professionals Conference in DC (where I was also a speaker on mobile tech)...


At the Pri-Med conference in Boston, where I had the privilege of helping to bring together doctors for a conference session on Glass...the first time many of them has seen Glass in person...

Along the way I've gone #teamtangerine ALL THE WAY. All of my accessories are turning orange...

I apparently have determined it's all about the jazz hands when folks are trying the "Glass, take a picture" feature on my Glass...


I've acquired an addiction to GPOP... 


Besides my travels, Glass has been to formal events...

Whale watches...

Lobster bakes, it is Maine after all...


Social Media Day Maine...

And even to visit the (YouTube famous, but we knew them before then!) goats at Sunflower farm...


And even made me somewhat of a local tech celebrity (my 15 minutes of fame ;)

But the best of all? I don't think any of us ever realized that the beta program would create a #glassfamily - a most amazing group of people who I'm so happy to call friends! Some of whom I've had the luck to meet in person, and many of whom I hope to meet in person soon (at the Googleplex...hint hint?)!

Yes, Glass is the thing that united us, but it's definitely gone beyond that! 
There are too many #Glassfamily members to name (just look at Kris Kitchen's collages for a sense of scale) but just know that you guys are fabulous!

And to our amazing Google community managers and advocates- BeccaTeresa, and Sarah - thanks for making my first year with Glass amazing

It's been a wild ride - I can't wait to see what the next year of Glass brings!