Jerry Gitchel

Jerry Gitchel

Friday, 28 April 2017 07:12

Are You Ready for Your New Title?

Your new title will be, Entrepreneur. Oh, not me, you say? In a classic article from titled, Why Everyone Will Have To Become An Entrepreneur they recall a scenario from 20 years ago. It's full of CD's, record stores, maps and pay phones. It would be full of warm nostalgia if not for all the people who were put out of a job when these products were no longer in demand. Author  Paul B. Brown, puts it in perspective with, "As you think about this scenario, and countless others you could imagine, you realize that it’s easier to list the tiny handful of professions and industries that will remain unchanged in the next 20 years than it is to write down the ones that will be altered—radically."

I don't have "5 Tips" or the perfect strategy to share with you today. Just a question. If your job went away today, what would you do tomorrow? I know what I'm going to do. If you'd like, I can share it with you. Just make a note to return here tomorrow at 10 am Eastern. 





I don't mean alcohol, I'm talking about the Hooch App. The title above is a quote from Lin Dai, CEO of NY-based Hooch. The premise is that everyone want's a free drink. The magic behind the concept is bar owners want measurable ROI. 

An article published on, Free Drink App Hooch Is Growing A Market By Giving Its Products Away makes the case for metrics. Hooch has been steadily growing their audience to 100K subscribers, many of whom are paying $9.99 per month. Dia touts tcustomer data as the most important factor behind the success of Hooch. 

The Gold in Data-Mining

 Using technology to extend your reach drives value. The wealth of data generated by growth sustains profitability. The platform gathers info on product, location, and even time-of-day to provide valuable metrics the company provides to bar owners in real-time. Current research methodologies produce PR metrics in 6-8 weeks. The question for established organizations is this. What if you knew, right now, what your customers are doing? Not what they are thinking about doing, actually doing? 

Adopting a Digital Mindset

The benefit of real-time data collection is often missing from the ROI calculation when making a case for digital transformation. Adopting a digital mindset is the first step toward growing sales and profits in the digital age. Better data leads to better decisions.


I've been told not to use this word.

I'm told, "People don't like it, it makes them uncomfortable, even angry." I get it, but like it or not, change is coming to your business, (Like when the Apple store moved just a few blocks). Then I read an article and a lightbulb went on. After reading the article, Tommy Hilfiger on a Game of Hangman, I realized what was different. 

The word? Disruption. I wouldn't be surprised if you winced just now. When I use the phrase "Digital Disruption" it evokes the fear of an uncertain future. However, in the article chronicling Tommy Hilfiger's big breakthrough, it's a celebration of his success. Back in 1985, Hilfiger was introduced to George Lois, as an "advertising genius". Tommy wanted an ad campaign that was the same old, same old. George offered a different idea.

Lois displayed campaigns from a lot of the big brands. It was hard to tell the difference between them. “This”, he said, “is the problem. Unless you do something different – something disruptive – nobody will notice.”

It worked. the so-called "hangman" ad positioned Hilfiger as on of the top four fashion designers. It caused an uproar in the community and yes, made some designers angry. Calvin Klein, confronted George in a restaurant, ‘Do you know it took me 20 years to get where Hilfiger is today!’ I politely grabbed his finger, bent it, and answered: ‘Schmuck! Why take 20 years when you can do it in 20 days?!’”

Established businesses here in Jacksonville don't have 20 years. Digital disruption is changing the way business is done. Besides, why wait for disruption when you can profit from a digital transformation, right now?

When you're ready to hear more about tapping into the transformation to enhance your bottom line, call me

Monday, 24 April 2017 14:52

Marketers Are Wearing Me Out!

 I'm sure this is no surprise to you, but in a recent article from titled, Your Buyers Are Experiencing Marketing Fatigue; Here's What to Do About It, the author, a marketer admitted he was tired. No kidding. The post lists 5 items to work on. There is even a fancy metric to go with it, "Outreach Cadence". The thought appears to be that we are sending way too many messages. No kidding.

Each of the 5 items makes sense, but only from the marketers' point of view. I believe the central issue to why buyers have stopped opening your emails is you are bugging them way too much. If you are a sales professional using more technology but getting much less return, here are some ideas to disrupt your rut.

  • Tighten your reach, expand your pool. If you find yourself returning to check in with the same prospects, stop. Return to your target prospect. Are you engaging with your perfect prospect? Tighten your definition, then expand your reach to a larger audience. When those folks you've spoken with are ready, they will contact you.   
  • Go legit. Authenticity and transparency create value. Drop all the lame excuses for reconnecting. Use social listening to create legitimate reasons to connect. Focusing on what's going on in their world opens your eyes to opportunities to be genuine.
  •  Sharing is caring. Stop sharing everything with everyone. Add "favorite topics" to your contact records. Which topics do prospects follow or need to know more about? Instead of one size fits most, tailor your info sharing to earn your place in your prospect's inbox.  

It's time to stop kidding yourself, prospects are not waiting for your generic email followup. Rediscover your creative side, stop being hard of listening, demonstrate you have respect for their time, effort and attention.


Monday, 24 April 2017 07:27

The Art of Preemptive PR

My client was walking on cloud 9, "I'm going to be on TV!" After I congratulated their good fortune, I asked, "How will you leverage this opportunity?" I didn't mean it as a buzz kill, simply as a call back down to earth. A TV appearance is a perfect opportunity for exposure and so much more.

The Art of Digital PR 

Both our current and former presidents have mastered digital PR. President Trump understands that by using Twitter, there no longer is a need to wait for the media for him to speak directly to the American people. Former President Obama continues to leverage social media to extend his reach. In traditional PR, communications professionals would call on all their media contacts to leverage a TV opportunity. With access to social media via mobile, the PR machine is always available at a moments notice. Taking a page from the presidential PR playbook, here's some tips you can use to leverage your time in the spotlight.

Get Ready for Your Close-up 

The producer will give you a specific time to arrive for the taping. What you really need to know is the specific airtime and more importantly, where and when your appearance will appear online. Where refers to the URL. Telling your followers to "tune-in" is pointless. No one watches live TV during the day. The invite you share online must include a web address. A live feed is perfect. A generic link to the station of fine. An archive link after the event is great for your mom. She's the only one who watch it once it's old news.

We are Live in 3-2-1

Local Jacksonville PR legend (and client) Rebecca Hart taught me to stick to three, short easy to remember points during an interview. It is your #1 priority to include the organization name in your response to an interviewer's question. NASCAR drivers are famous for including the names of every sponsor in response to the question, "So how did you win the race?" It can be as simple as, "At XYZ Corp, we believe..." Don't assume the media will include your contact info. If you get luck, and they ask how to reach you, provide the easiest method. I recommend your web address as long as it is easy to say, spell and type.

And We Are Out!

You'll hear someone on the production team use this phrase to let you know when to start breathing again. It may be the end of the taping, but it is not the end of your PR promotion. If you've done your homework, you will be ready for all those new prospects who just discovered you or your organization through your interview segment. If you chose to send folks to your website, acknowledge them on your home page and extend an invitation to take a single action. Give them too many options and they will disappear. Post the web link to the segment and include a text invitation with a link to an appropriate landing page.

Being on TV is exciting. Leveraging the opportunity for PR for your cause or organization is very exciting. Technology provides you with the tools to extend your reach to new members, sponsors, and patrons. Keep Calm and PR on! 

[Editors Note] This TV PR strategy is part of Jerry's upcoming course, Social Engagement for Public Relations at UNF.  



It's a scrap of a lyric from a classic from Bob Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone". It starts playing in my head each time I see a social post without a link to drive traffic to the organization's website. I've heard the justification for not linking to your site or linking to valuable content from other publishers. The irony is it's often shared by the same folks who wish they could increase the traffic to their website. If you are seeking a position online as an influencer or expert, it's time to deliver your own intellectual property (IP). Here's why.

You owe it to your followers. Photos are nice, but after a while it begins to feel like vacation syndrome. I'm glad you had fun, but I didn't get to go. If you create a link that leads to something I can learn, I'm engaged. If all I see is a photo, I'm gone. 

I won't remember you. If you share a link that leads away from you or your web presence, I will forget the source. I can't even remember what I ate for lunch yesterday.

A photo leads to a limited engagement. If I click the image you shared and all I get is a bigger image, I've already seen it twice. I may add a comment, but that's about the extent of it. Seems like a lot of work for so little engagement.

Delivering Value to Those You Serve Best

Developing unique content you deliver directly to your community creates value, builds trust, and top of mind awareness. Here are some quick content ideas for a successful landing page.

  • A blog post a new development in your customer's world. Create value by including your two-cents worth.
  • A news page covering the local angle on a national story.
  • A customer success story.
  • An update on your hours of operation.
  • Your new menu items.
  • Today's special
  • A short page with tips on how to receive more value from a purchased product

Landing pages bring prospects as well as loyal customers closer to you when you can't be there in person. What will you publish on your landing page? 


 The idea that your business success depends on buying more technology is a myth. You have suspected it for a long time. The truth is your business can profit from a digital transformation. If you are a business leader who wants to gain an ROI from your technology investment, you'll be surprised to learn it's easier than you think. All you need are 5 essential technologies

Technology, What is it good for?

Each of the five essentials creates value for your organization by extending your reach, bringing prospects closer, increasing your speed of execution, or reducing expenses. As you consider each of the following technologies, make sure your decisions are grounded in where they create value.

Social Media

It's not about pictures of what you had for dinner, it's all about discovery. The first step to transforming prospects into loyal customers is helping them discover your organization. There is only one tool that deserves your attention and investment. It's the social platform your customers use.  Not sure? Ask them. All you have to do is show up and execute two essential techniques; engage in conversations that replace shouting with listening, master the art of the written invitation. All your social media invitation requires is colorful visuals, details about who, what and why, and clear directions in the form of a link to learn more about your organization.

Content Marketing

If you use social media to invite prospects to your party, make sure it's memorable. Their first impression is critical to the decision to stay or leave. The best technique to build the relationship is to create a landing page. Think of it as a VIP entrance to your world. The best tool for this assignment is a blog. The content changes frequently and provides prospects with a sense of urgency. The key here is to provide information that answers a prospect's needs. Jot down a list of the questions customers ask, like, "What are your hours?" Where are you located?" or "Do you have this in stock?" are examples of content you can use to build trust.

Sales Automation

At no time in history have so many, had such vast access to so much information about everyone on the planet. Yet we squander this fortune when we craft emails addressed to, "Dear valued customer." The traditional sales funnel has been replaced by the virtual sales pipeline. The customer journey starts long before prospects become customers. A Contact Relationship Management system is the perfect tool to document where your prospects are in your sales process. More importantly, it transforms data into actionable information.  

Customer Service

User experience (UX) attracts customers. Support experience, (SX) converts them into raving fans. Take a good look at any of the major Internet platforms and you will see a robust, valuable customer service and support strategy. When the student community for a client's learning management system designed for 1,000 students exploded to 22,000 students, we build a support platform. Once you have customers, what will you do to keep them?

Brand Reputation

In the age of Twitter, your good name is a fragile commodity. A social monitoring tool is the first step. Training your team to respond when things go wrong is a talent development imperitive. Having a disaster recovery plan is the best technique to guarantee your organization will not only survive but thrive.

Connecting your digital dots is the ultimate goal. The first step is to pick one of the 5 essentials. Focus in one area then move to the next. Before you know it, you will have become the master of your digital domain!

The question, "Does Social Media Make You a Better Leader?" is more than a trivial pursuit. As customers and staff become increasingly connected, social media skills have become an essential skill for budding CEOs. The article cites a recent report by Development Dimensions International, a leadership development consultancy. As part of its High-Resolution Leadership study, DDI examined different aspects of leadership among potential CEOs and,  "Not every CEO is savvy on social media, but the ones who are often have a lot of other traits considered desirable in leaders".

 More than just some nice to have traits or behaviors, the study found that those executives who were active on social media were stronger than their counterparts in key metrics; 89 percent stronger at empowering other people, 52 percent stronger at compelling communication, and 46 percent stronger at influencing others. 

I find the last metric to be significant. Traditionally, CEOs were measured on their ability to direct others. The rise of the Internet has elevated the extended network over the organization. In the digital age, leaders must learn an indirect application of power. Social media is about infulence, not control.



At first, I thought I had stumbled across an article authored by my trusted advisor Frances Pound Fisher. Chances you've heard of those courageous folks who work without a net? Frances works without a To-do list. It was the article, Could Time-Blocking Replace Your To-Do List?  from Fast Company that brought Frances' lesson to mind. 

The logic is simple. Since completing tasks on your to-do list takes time, why not schedule them in advance? Frances' top tip is to create 20-minute blocks on your calendar. When the time arrives, start immediately. Make the call, start writing that blog post, commence working on the next task to move your project forward.

Two key finding from the Fast Company article by Gwen Moran. The first is paying attention to cycles. I plan my week in advance Sunday evenings. I schedule early meetings at a nearby undisclosed location to avoid rush hour. The second key is known as the Zegarnick effect. We remember what we haven't done better than what we have done.

I recommend reading the full article. If not now, consider blocking out some time on your calendar.



With giants like Target, Yahoo and the DNC victimized by hackers, it would be easy to throw up your arms and give up on cyber security within your organization. A recent report from TechCrunch on a leak of exploits by Shadow Brokers reveals the single most important, simple to execute solution to protecting your computing environment. 

First Step to Cyber Security

What is the first line of cyber defense? Keeping all your software up to date. A spokesperson from Microsoft confirmed that the majority of the exploits leaked had already been patched. In the blink of an eye, an urgent call to action switched to yesterday's news. 

The continuing shift to cloud computing means that the day will come when your software and systems will be up-to-date the moment you log into the cloud. Until then, take action when you receive a software update announcement. Immediate inoculation is the best defense against the nastiest of Internet viruses. 

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