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January 2012 archive

Web Seminar Recap: What the #$!% is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

We hear the term SEO thrown around all the time, but what does it really mean? How does it work? How can I get my business started with Search Engine Optimization? And how do I do it well? On Tuesday, January 24th ASPE Electronic Marketing Specialist Traci Lester and ASPE Marketing Director JT Moore presented the free web seminar “What the #$!% is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?”. In this web seminar, Traci and JT discussed SEO basics, how to drive more organic traffic to your website, how to rank higher in Google search results, the elements of your site that Google (and other search engines) looks at when determining your rank, setting your URLs properly, how to adjust web page titles, what meta descriptions are and how they are used, how to properly use meta keywords, and optimizing your page content for Google.

Listen to a recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right). Have a better understanding of how to create better pages, and rank higher.

Do you have a question for Traci and JT? Leave your comments or tweet us! Follow @ASPE_ROI and use hashtag #ASPEEvents.

Web Seminar Recap: Building an Electronic Marketing Department

In 2007, ASPE made the decision to build an electronic marketing department. And as they say, the rest is history; well, at least history to us. And we are thankful for it. We are now a Google Certified organization utilizing Adwords and watching everything with Analytics. We operate three blogs, run multiple Twitter accounts, and send over three million e-mails a year. It definitely didn’t happen all at once, and we are still working out all the kinks. It was the right thing to do and one that has given new life to our multi-channel marketing strategy. On Thursday, January 12th ASPE VP of Marketing JT Moore and ASPE President David Mantica presented the free web seminar “Building an Electronic Marketing Department.” In this web seminar, David and JT went through the initial process taken to start up the department, the metrics used to measure success, and plans being built for the future, including the continued integrate of all our channels.


ASPE 500 – 2011 in Review

In January 2011, the ASPE employees wanted to kick off the new year with a resolution for the whole company. What we decided upon was a fitness and wellness program known as the ASPE 500. Our mission was an easy one, and all employees had a simple task: walk, run, sprint or crawl and record your miles! We decided it was a stimulating, healthy way of starting the new year right, and it had additional incentives.


ASPE is Hiring! Graphic Production Intern Wanted

Yes, we’re hiring! Have you been looking for that door to get your foot in? Are you interested in working in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment? Well ASPE needs a graphic artist willing to roll up their sleeves for print and web production work.  The position is for 15-25 contract hours per week, and requires you to be on site in Cary at least two days per week. All applicants must know Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver CS4 or higher – knowledge of other Adobe CS apps is a plus. Working knowledge of HTML and basic CSS is a must.

Be prepared to populate pre-designed layouts for catalogs, brochures, and webpages. We have a high quality standard and a zero tolerance policy on missing deadlines.

This position offers a significant opportunity for growth. Reports to the ASPE creative director.

Hourly fee is negotiable.

If interested, apply to:
Chris Knotts –  ASPE Creative Director 


Managing Millenials

High Potential Millennial Talent Management

I am lucky enough to work in an office with a large number of high potential Millennials. Meaning I have a good amount of real world experience on this subject, not just source document research knowledge.   Now the first question you may have is, “What is a Millennial (although if you are reading this you most likely know)?”  Although sources differ, a Millennial is usually defined as someone being born between 1982 – 1995, some sources stretches it out to 2000.  So why is this generation any different in value than past generations?  Well there is a very, very good answer to this and it all has to deal with size and economic growth.

The Millennial Generation is HUGE.  Just about as big, if not bigger than the Baby Boomers.  Rough estimates size the Millennial Generation at 120 to 130 million.  This is interesting, but why care?  Well we must care because the generation between the Boomers and the Millennials is Generation X.  And Generation X is SMALL – very small.  Rough estimates on its size are around 80 to 90 million. In order to maintain solid corporate performance and economic growth in the foreseeable future, Millennials will be thrust into significant leadership roles. They will be responsible to drive the strategic marketing, operations and product direction for corporations much earlier than any generation before.  And in this complex global economy, this is a significant challenge.

In some cases, blog post like this might be too late.  The oldest Millennials are turning thirty in 2012 and most likely have already seen this effect and are now fending for themselves.  But I believe the core of this generation is just now entering the workforce and Human Resources and Executive Management still have time to build a plan to successfully implement the training and corporate retention policies necessary to enable high potential Millennials.

This sounds pretty simple. Millennials are needed in leadership roles much sooner than normal because of the size of Generation X and the hole the Baby Boomers are leaving as they retire.  Use standard programs and policies and we are all set – maybe.  The truth is if you use the standard policies and procedures you will FAIL miserably with this group.  This article in Talent Magazine gives a very detailed look at how training programs and retention policies need to change to ensure successful corporate integration of Millennials:

So what is so different about Millennials?  From a real world perspective the first thing I’ve run into is relevance.  Relevance is critical to this generation and it makes sense.  Think about all the data they have been exposed to for their entire lives.  From day one they are connected.  So it only makes sense that their first filter is relevance, in life as well as in work.  So what does this mean?  Basically, in the work world, they want their work to “mean” something.  Not specifically to the world, but to them.  They want their work to be an expression of who they are as a person.  They want to work on stuff they care about and like.  This is very understandable.  We all kind of want this, but with this generation it is critical.  They will forego money and promotions to work on “stuff” they like.  They will walk away from a company without another option if it means working on something that is just not relevant to them.

Some of this will change as they mature and gain responsibility both at work and at home, but for now it is just something that must be managed and understood.  It is easily handled with another business method that is an absolute must for them: Communication.

Mellennials demand communication, feedback and reinforcement.  Gone are the days of giving an employee a loose set of directives and tell them to run with it.  A Mellennial wants to know what they are working on, how it ties to company goals, and then they want feedback on a consistent basis.

So when interviewing Mellennials it is critical to detail their position, the work involved in that position and how that position impacts the company.  They need to see this in order to make a decision, but it also protects you from a short-term hire.  Communication with a Mellennial starts from the very beginning (even before they are hired).  But once hired, the communication must be constant and consistent but doesn’t necessarily have to be face-to-face.

The first challenge with communication is tied to decision making. Unlike other generations, Mellennials like working as part of a team, so they are not used to making decisions “outside” of a team.  They will consistently check in with their manager on decisions to be comfortable.  They will want to discuss their options and hash things out to feel comfortable with their decision.  This is a time issues for managers but it must be done.

The second challenge is around reinforcement.  A Mellennial likes feedback, constant and consistent.  They want to know you know they are doing a good job and working on the “right” things.  For a Manager who was schooled in the art of the “don’t bother me unless you are dying” management style, this is going to be very difficult.  The problem here is you may begin to judge the person as incompetent.  The reality is they are very confident but have never been allowed to fly solo (helicopter parenting issues).  A critical success factor here is to constantly reinforce that they can make a mistake, that a mistake will not kill them or the company.  The more you reinforce the faster they will move to flying solo.

This blog post is just the very tip of the iceberg that Melliennal talent management.  This post doesn’t even get into the stereotypical conversations of social media and texting communication methods that most slap on to this generation.  This issue can take up a blog post on its own. From my perspective It is crucial to continued economic growth that the potential of the Melliennal generation is tapped into quickly.