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Starting the conversation:
Endings are often overlooked. We can push project dates and modify results expectations much easier than calling for a full-stop to review. Review and assess the plan, the actions selected, and the results to be able to make decisions about continuing or modifying — or keeping things the same (and setting a new end date). Pam Didner, Founder at Relentless Pursuit, LLC, and Mickie Kennedy, President at eReleases, share their ideas and experiences and how endings help their clients thrive.
It is easy to jump right into tactics to get results, yet what we typically desire is an overarching goal: more of something or a change to the way something is. Whether a product launch, your business’ story, or breaking into a new market … the less clarity there is means the less likely you are to know when you’ve actually reached the desired outcome. We must be able to identify that we’ve arrived if what we thought would happen did, even if in a very different way.
In this episode, you will hear about the importance of milestones to mark your progress, how endings are the starting point, and that we rarely follow a direct path from execution of the plan to achieving the objective. Jess Dewell hosts Pam Didner, Founder at Relentless Pursuit, LLC, and Mickie Kennedy, President at eReleases, to discuss why it is BOLD to reflect on how endings help us thrive.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Pam Didner and Mickie Kennedy
What You Will Hear:
Endings are subjective and can mean different things to different people.
Hooks can help focus the starting point which clarifies the desired outcome.
How intention — and clarity of communicating that intention — can help everyone visualize what the ending, the achievement, may look like.
For products and situations, use cases, users, and experiences are imperative to telling a good story.
How teams contribute to the story creation and the WHY behind what your company chooses to do.
The power of endings is that when considered at plan creation, the in-the-moment decisions of execution are founded in the key objective.
Touchpoints or base camp rest breaks allow you to assess progress and necessary changes, and address unexpected problems.
Rarely is the path we take the one we thought we’d take.
Additionally, for the Fast Track Your Business Today Uncut conversation:
Shaping the “how” of reaching your goal is determined by the attention and focus put the desired outcome.
Creatively, over time, the team learns how to use their strengths to maximize results along the way.
The importance of reflecting on yourself.
Puzzles and problems are clues to underlying issues — the root causes — and can be fun to work with.
It is BOLD to use endings to help you grow and thrive in this world.
Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your business has many directions it can travel. The one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place. Your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 00:51
Hi, and welcome to the Bold Business Podcast. This is the place where we are talking to people who have been there who have faced challenges who have had successes, and they want to share their journeys with you. Today is no exception. And in fact, we’re talking about endings. And I have no idea what’s going to come up when we talk about endings. All I know is I wanted to talk to other people about something that isn’t as important to ending that we tend to overlook. Just like we overlook celebrating our successes, a lot of the time, we overlook ending so we can choose to go again. So we can choose to adjust. And then we get to make smaller adjustments and get to where we’re going faster. Now, even though I said all that, I have a question for our panelists today. And guess what? In this question, they may say something totally different than I just did. And that is the beauty of what we do on the Bold Business Podcast for our panel discussions, many points of view, dialogue and discussion, so that you can be inspired, you can hear what these two are bringing to the table, and then post-show. You can come join us in conversation on social media. Tell us what you think what your experiences with these and things as well. I’m just will your host of the Bold Business Podcast. With us today is Pam Didner. She is an award-winning B2B sales and marketing speaker and consultant. She’s been working with marketers to demonstrate their impact in sales as a marketer, a speaker, an author, and a fellow podcaster. You can’t forget about her three books either. And I will tell you, her podcast her YouTube channel, her B2B Marketing and more is all going to be in the show notes for you. And I’m so glad you’re here today.
Pam Didner 02:45
Yes, thank you so much for having me. It’s wonderful to be here.
Jess Dewell 02:49
And also with us today, is Mickey Kennedy, he founded EA Releases 24 years ago, now talk about a veteran in the industry. Talk about somebody who is seen not one, not two, but three, at least maybe he might say more disruptions in the way that we do PR and promote ourselves and be able to get the recognition we need so that we can meet the right people that we can serve and help solve their problems. That visibility, that credibility, that concept that is in the press release marketing is something that drives him to get out of bed every day, to talk a lot every day about and to make sure you’re doing your best with it. So here we go, Pam, y’all I want to know, how can a powerful ending help shape our memories and perceptions? And one implication do those memories and experiences have for us?
When you told me that we’re going to talk about powerful ending? And I was immediately thinking, oh, what should my gravestone said because that’s a powerful ending, like when you die, and then you know what’s going to show up on your on your gravestone, then the more I think about it, a lot of times the powerful ending is not necessary the end the final destination. If you see ourselves as a book, and each book has a different chapter, everybody’s alive a book and we have a different chapter. And when you close one chapter, you started a new chapter. And that’s an ending by itself. And I personally think a powerful ending is not necessarily like oh my god, you won. I won lottery today. You know, that’s a really a powerful ending. Oh my god, I won a client’s deal today. That’s also a powerful ending to some extent. I think it’s more or less in terms of what you have done. Specifically, you bring a closure maybe to a specific milestone, and then you start a new one. I see the powerful ending more like interim major milestone that happens in your life. That’s how I see we can talk a little bit more and love to hear Mickey’s insight.
Jess Dewell 05:04
Thank you, Pam. Oh, there’s already a lot of juiciness here. So okay, okay, Mickie, tell us this. How can a powerful ending help shape our memories and perceptions of an experience, and then the implication that those memories and perceptions of that experience have for our storytelling and communication?
Mickie Kennedy 05:24
So many people, when they approach marketing and PR, get focused on the hook, and they don’t realize that the ending is so powerful, and it is a great opportunity, a really good marketer will know that at the close, you do the sale, you put the offer out there, and you get it out there with press releases. So many people just sort of do the inverted pyramid. And it just sort of peters out with a lot of people can put really strong call to actions and other information at the end of a release. For example, I’ve had New York Times pick up a link to a white paper that a client had because they provided so much useful information in the press release, and then closed and said that people can download this resource for free. I don’t know if you know anything about the New York Times, but they rarely ever include links to another website. And articles. Don’t take for granted a powerful ending closing.
Jess Dewell 06:21
So now we will have three different perspective as we go forward in this because our views are different in the way that we’re looking at the world is different, three people in a room together having different views of the same thing. And how can we weave them together, and come up with something that nobody has ever heard before? And we’re going to do it right here today. So as we dive into this, my first thought, for the two of you to begin our this concept of our roundtable discussion around endings when we’re relating to the chapter changes. And always think about the end in mind. When we think about those two things. If you reflect on the way you do your work, and you do your planning, and you do your execution, does that happen with those two thoughts in mind already?
Pam Didner 07:10
I wouldn’t call it the powerful ending. That’s not a term I will use per se. Whenever I create a presentation, I always think about obviously, I create a presentation for someone. When I create a presentation for someone, there’s a specific reaction or the specific call to action, or the specific information I want to pass on to that specific person, I want to make sure that he or she understand. So I will try to write what are some of the key objectives I want to accomplish. When I tried to create a presentation. I think that is my end goal to achieve that objectives and code that what it may isn’t the powerful ending I want to accomplish or is just the objective I want to accomplish. When I do create my presentation, they are a couple of things I have in mind, I want to make the audience laugh. I want to share a couple of key points. And I also want to share those key points in a way that was fun. I do think in terms of what that angle or what kind of reaction I want to get. But obviously, I’m using the example as speaking.
Jess Dewell 08:17
What would you add to that Mickie?
Mickie Kennedy 08:19
You want to lead with your biggest pitch. Additionally, each additional paragraph is also an opportunity to continue selling in which you want to get the reader to buy into what it is you’re pitching and to get them through the press release. Anytime I’m looking at something I am trying to build on it. And trying to keep the reader the journalist interested in intrigued and wanting to learn more, it’s very difficult to have that balance because a lot of people can write a press release. But there’s a difference between a captivating press release and one that just seems like a safe, staid type of press release that has a very similar tone throughout. It doesn’t really excite anyone. So I look for the constant opportunities to build a layer add nuance and intrigue as someone reads because my job is to get them to the next sentence into the next sentence. And then at the very end having that powerful close of what I wanting them to come away with, what would you do I want them to visit the website to get more additional information. Am I pitching a product and here’s a spec sheet or something like that I want to take people and lead them down that path.
You’re listening to the Bold Business Podcast. We will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders, unedited and uncut. And we don’t just stop there. There are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You will also have unlimited access to one, hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often. Two, experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders. Three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. Altogether, The Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere. You can access what will become your most versatile tool in your toolkit by going to FastTrackYou BusinessToday.com. Now back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 10:35
I play in the strategic planning world a lot. And I say play because you can design all you want, once you start doing stuff, you never know what’s gonna actually happen when you take that first step. And what I hear you both saying is actually incredibly important, not only to the perspectives that you’re bringing from the focuses that you have, it goes all the way up to the top, it goes all the way down to the bottom, and from the left side to the right side of an organization, as things are moving forward, as you have this intention about what you want to include to bring people along. When we don’t have that to even grow our business, we actually won’t grow our business. In your own businesses. Have you seen that? Have you seen where it’s like, oh, I think I’m supposed to be doing this, or here’s the formula with which I’m going to execute, or Here are the numbers that I’m going to reach? And it’s a little too bland. Sometimes when we just get into the process without with forgetting about the importance of the storytelling and why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Pam Didner 11:35
I think I would like to answer that in two different ways, especially in a team environment, a lot of time, we do dive into a tactics very quickly, for example, we have a product that we need to launch, everybody will get together and say we need to launch this product. And we put a plan together and it’s all about launching the product. And we started talking about all the details, we need to have a launch events, we need to actually have a press release, we need to actually reach out to analysts, we started talking about a lot of tactical things we need to do in order to launch the product. And I think the big things and I just want to tap into giving Mickey is actually on the prsi and the Jesse all talking about the bigger picture. Product Launches is great book, launch product, launch anything as such, that is always a channel that you have to dial in. But a lot of time rather than focus on the tactic, which is majority of people will focus on, it’s important to elevate yourself, let’s think about the key objective. Why do we want to launch this product, I think is to answering the question of why. And also what are the key objectives we want to accomplish that will help us determine some new tactics. If nothing else, it will actually shape the talking point that a lot of time is that messaging. And the key talking point, that’s a very, very important. And if we don’t have that shape early on, and when you dive into all the tactics, and all the launch detail, you will always come back. And I’ve done this many times is like you can have all the launch detail plan created. But if you don’t have that key messaging key talking point, and objective that completely aligned with all the team, when you do a lot execution, you will end up tripping each other. Does that make sense?
Jess Dewell 13:21
I think so. I think one of the things that comes up for me right there pan, we can accidentally have too many stories. And when we have too many stories, not only Mickie was alluding to earlier about blandness and not wanting to continue on an important serve structuring and building where the opposite of that there’s clarity involved. And if there’s any sort of confusion or dissonance, we now actually have a space with which to measure that internal dissonance or people really understanding what I’m saying is the importance of what I have to say actually coming across. And in fact, I’m talking about a constraint or a problem to avoid or are the right solution coming to the top. Are we saying the right things to the people who need to hear about it in the press releases? What do you think about all of that, Mickie?
Mickie Kennedy 14:07
I think it’s very interesting. You mentioned product launch and press releases, because it is one of the most common type of press releases that we get, they often don’t do very well. And it’s because they’re written from a standpoint of what’s in it for me, we just want to sell more of this product. What you really need to do is realize that a journalist is a gatekeeper. And they are protective of their audience. And so you have to give them a compelling message that they want to share with their audience. And the thing that I find missing for most product launch press releases is a story. Journalists are story builders. And they’re storytellers. The type of thing that I always tell people that’s missing from a lot of their press releases is the elements for them to build that story. Things I’m talking about are like a use case study. You have this new product, people who’ve used it were their experiences. And you might say company xy z achieves 14% savings and their logistics or something like that, and then have a quote by them something favorable about you, that builds out a story, there’s an art to it, here’s a new product. Here’s some of the features, here’s someone who used it, this was their experience, here’s an amazing quote is a story where if it’s just a product launch with a list of features, or specs, it’s very hard for a journalist to build that into a story. So I think that realizing the importance of story, stories have a beginning, a middle, and of course, an end. And sort of, you know, developing the press release with that, in mind, I think is one of the most overlooked things that people do, they don’t take into account that journalists are really just trying to find something worth sharing with their audience. And if you can sort of reverse engineer it so that they will find it compelling, you stand a much higher chance of getting that media pickup you’re looking for.
Pam Didner 15:55
Not just a product feature, but translate a lot of features to the user benefits, and then actually have the benchmark data to substantiate that benefits with the qualifying information. And then you have a case study, again, is another point validate a lot of features that you are talking about, you’re just to add additional layers of information so that reporters can pick and choose what they want to do when they structure their stories. I agree with that.
Jess Dewell 16:23
How about the people who are selling a product before they build it? What’s your take on that?
Pam Didner 16:27
The way I see that any kind of preorder is kind of like GoFundMe, they are asking people to fund them. And they don’t have a product yet. And I think that, obviously is pretty risky. In fact, I actually sponsor a couple of GoFundMe, some of them is very much artwork, like they created New York City in a very different type of art. And they will send me a poster for what I actually pay for the GoFundMe. And a year later, I finally got the product. And there are some people will be creating like a specific product. That way, a long time ago, they will create a product or devices they can use when people go diving or whatnot, right and then go fund right? Again, when I look at some of those, they actually create a really compelling reasons why people need to fund a product. And a lot of time is really tapping to that emotion, and also the desire or address some of the users pinpoints for me specifically, I always love New York City and a couple of the sample they use. I was like, Oh, that might look good in my room. So that kind of serve that purpose. But they spent a lot of time talk to a couple of the people actually did the GoFundMe, they spend a lot of time on messaging. They really, really work hard on what are the things they want to say and how they want to say it. It’s very, very crisp in terms of what we are trying to tell people and what the people is going to get. If they put the money in that wallet.
Jess Dewell 17:59
I saw you make a face when I asked that question. What crossed your mind?
Mickie Kennedy 18:03
I do see GoFundMe and Kickstarter campaigns and things like that get media pickup. But it’s not as easy as you would think. And I think it’s because journalists have traditionally been burned with companies announcing themselves or their services or their products before they launch. I was in business before the.com crash that happened. I think there was five or six magazine covers that profiled companies that never launched, they never launched. And yet, the cover of red herring, the cover of Wired was this company. And I think that a lot of journalists got really sort of careful about that. And they’ve been a little more cautious. And so I think that Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and things like that, that I tend to see are generally ones with that are done by individuals who have a track record. So there’s a sort of reputational component there that they feel like this is a safe bet that profiling this isn’t going to end up with our audience paying for a product that they don’t receive. I do think that it is one of those things that it’s a little give and take, it can happen. But I do think the journalists are a little more cautious than they used to be for the reasons that some of these things just don’t happen. I remember the famous cooler that had I don’t know, had solar, you could charge your your cell phone, had a blender, it was an amazing product. It got it everywhere, Good Morning, America, all these places. And it never really launched, they produced about 15% of what they said they were going to and people paid a couple $100 that they just never got back. And so that is the risk of pre-selling something or selling something that’s may or may not happen. But I think despite that people love the whole idea of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, they love this idea of curation like this is a cute or interesting little concept here. or it’s not being done by anyone else. So here’s my opportunity to help bring it into the world. When it does work, it’s really great gets really powerful way in which community and word of mouth really plays into it, as well as some media pickup as well.
Pam Didner 20:15
There are several of those, I will say product pitches, and they did such a great job and they get the money they need, if nothing else to do a prototype. And I think that’s incredibly hard sell to actually get people to contribute with or without media coverage. That means they actually have done a very, very good job in terms of shaping their story, what telling the key point or the selling point is so clear or so compelling, and people are willing to actually contribute, and then see that it happened,
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Jess Dewell 21:16
When a company feels like they’ve reached a growth plateau, right there, you could get more products, you could get more customers, you could get new, what you write, there’s four main ones of how to grow. And then there’s all kinds of other awesome variations within the main for making those decisions. Because if you’re going to go after more people in a new market, that’s a different story than the original story.
Pam Didner 21:41
And I think that comes back to kind of what you said initially, the more strategic and that this is probably on the product side, you need to determine if you actually create a product. And a product is doing incredibly well. How can you take the product to a next level that can means adjacency to similar verticals, or a similar product to a different segments, or you can change the product a little bit. And then to reach out to a different segments, for example, like a SaaS based platform companies, they have a free version, they also have features that’s being added for small business. And then I have additional feature that has been added we’ll miss size and company. And then of course, there’s the whole enchilada and that sales will enterprises. So you can see and get the same software products, but different features that has been added or segmented to grow the business. So that’s one way of doing it. And the other one is the same product, the different sizes. And all like the selfie is the six ages, this selfie is 10 inches. And then there’s another one is like 12 inches or whatnot. It really depends on from my perspective, this question that you are asking has a lot to do with a product development, and also your product definition. And also at the executive level, how do you want to grow your product? And in the tech industry, we hold that product roadmap, what is your product roadmap will look like? Are you developing a new product in JSON to the product that you are half or you are creating a brand new product. And if you do that you will see like in the enterprises like Siemens, Google, Amazon, because they create a new product, then they have a new product divisions and new business unit that has been created. But if you actually went into one product that you are creating, you can create different microphones actually for different features that you want to dial-up. And Thomas will actually music studios, some is actually for PAM and you jazz that actually just in our own room. So to me, that has a lot to do with a product decision. And that is the company that needs to make at a very, very high level in terms of what is the direction that they want to go in next three to five years?
Jess Dewell 24:06
Are we seeing enough uptick? Is it worth it? To have this many do we want that many? And what kind of opportunity might that and here’s the thing, we can talk about stuff all day long. But until we start doing it, we don’t know. And that’s where some deli agility comes in. And it also is, if it’s communicated poorly, the story outside doesn’t match the story inside. So there’s dissonance and weird, awkward silence. But then there’s also the concept of well what about when we’re telling these stories? And when we have these ending, making sure that that dissonance doesn’t happen within the team itself so that the momentum stays and the curiosity days and I take your product development roadmap, and I’m like, well, that’s just a communication roadmap, taking the things that we’ve been talking about a little bit with this concept of this bigger path, this longer journey, bringing those together. What’s coming up for you
Mickie Kennedy 25:01
Again, my experience with people who sort of pivoted or change their marketing to different segments is really a lot of trial and error. Because most of the people I work with, they’re small businesses that can’t fund a lot of the research and getting market studies and things like that. I do recall one person who did a press release, who was obsessed with the golf market, they had a umbrella that you could attach to something. And they were convinced that you would attach them to your golf clubs, and you could play in the rain without thinking that if you’re playing in the rain, you’re gonna be walking away from the golf bag. So that was a little weird, but he really wanted to get that market. And he didn’t. And in defeat, he said, Well, I guess I’ll just continue to sell to the handicap market. And I said, What do you mean, he goes, well, people attach him to their wheelchairs. And I’m like, Hey, have you considered doing a press release on that? He did. And he sold his complete run. He said he had 18 months worth of these. And he sold out completely. And he was his own worst enemy he was obsessed with. I see golfers using this. I want golfers to use it. I want rich Wall Street Journal type articles talking about this as the perfect golf accessory. He already knew that there was people that were buying this that were handicapped, I don’t know if he was oblivious to it. But it took me to sort of shake him a little and say, let’s give this a try. It’s just a press release. Sometimes you have to get the feedback from your customers and actually listen to it.
Jess Dewell 26:34
Now you know why. I have Pam and Mickey here today on The Voice of bold business. I’m your host to just duel and we have been talking about endings, not on the way I thought we would be talking about ending the more important of these to be how do we stay creative? How do we know we’re on the right path? How do we know we have great communication and being able to make those changes in an adaptive form as we go to create the most momentum without coming to a full stop to create the most connection to build relationships, and then see what shows up?
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