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Why I’m Still Running at 40

The 39th Annual Peace Race was held in Youngstown, Ohio over the weekend. It’s a really great event, bringing people from nations all over the world to the Mahoning Valley. They hold events at multiple distances that help to accomdate everyone, even kids. The day is highlighted with a 10K run that winds through Mill Creek Park and finishes in downtown Youngstown.

This is the first race I’ve run since I turned 40. On Sunday there were several participants in their mid-70’s and early-80’s, by their standards I’m just getting started. One good thing about getting older is that I’ve advanced from the open division which is generally the most competitive to the over 40 crowd, which I managed to finish in 15th place. 

Why I’m Still Running at 40

Last year I wrote a blog article titled, Why I Run. I thought back to that post, I realize that was more about the motivation behind my running, things I think about to help keep me going on a long run and so on. On a 8 mile trail run through Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio last week, my mind wandered as it typically does on runs. I started to process why I run. When I run I’m a better person. I’m better at work because I’ve been able to clear the noise, allowing for more creative thought, better organization and everything that was upside down has found a place.

I’m a better husband. I take better care of my body, I eat right, drink less alcohol and sleep more comfortably at night. Like many, in a world of smart phones, computers and cable TV – I tend to get information overload by Noon. My mind is continuously racing and processing ideas to help grow my business. Whether it’s an event, a webinar, email campaign or creating better content, thinking up campaigns to help generate leads is always consuming me. This tends to build stress and stifle creativity, hence running, being at one with nature, clearing my mind, physicial exertion and breathing. Yes, it is meditative, I don’t know about a runner’s high but it clears the cobwebs.

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When I run I’m a better Dad. I started having children in my late 30’s and I had my last at the age of 39. I want to be around for a long while to celebrate their lives. Taking care of my health will hopefully help to preserve that longevity. It helps to put things into perspective. September marks the start of the Fall marathon season, two cities I’ve lived in and ran both New York and Columbus Marathons and Chicago just took place. I think it helped me to connect with these cities on an entire different level.

 Best of Luck During Marathon Season

I want wish all my friends, my fellow runners, my tribe best-of-luck. Whether it’s your first or you’ve run multiple marathons I wish you well, it’s always exciting no matter what your experience level. Please post your pics of your big day on social media, share your story and hope to hear how it went. For me it was always about the journey, the training.

Non-runners generally think about the day, how could you not. It’s quite a celebration, if you’ve never witnessed a marathon I highly encourage you to go. It’s very inspiring. Amature athletes, all running for a great cause, their cause. Either fundraising to honor a loved one, celebration of sobriety or for just testing your will. No one sees the training. Getting up at 6AM for a two hour run on a Saturday morning. Putting together a 20 miler with no one to cheer you on. Running in the rain, when your tired and you just don’t have it. Running when you feel like the wind is at your back and you know just how good that cold drink is going to go down when your done. 

Everyone will suffer, not all will finish, but generally everyone leaves with a smile. Runners are an interesting breed, their tribe is firecely dedicated to certain brands, routines and education. Some are engineers and will have detailed plans of training, heart monitors hooked to watches and have a hydration schedule mapped out to the minute. Others are the sufer type, they run by feel. 

While many run and train together I’ve always choosen to run by myself, sometimes with music, but mostly without. I believe, although some will argue, that running is a completely solo sport. Oddly I like to suffer physically, feeling physical pain let’s you know you are alive, and overcoming that pain is the ultimate test of will and you get to the point where it (pain) either breaks you or you break (pain) it.

Runners will share running stories with other runners, because they understand, they relate, if you don’t run you’d have no idea about losing a toe nail or the need for running socks or clothing that wicks. If you ran you’d relate to having to go to the bathroom in the woods, water vs. a sports drink, eating before a run or taking Gu. You’d get into hour discussions about lacing your shoes tight or running 8’s or 9’s. 

Life’s Journey

When I started running I failed four years consecutively to get to the start, not even the finish, the starting line of a marathon. Injuries, setbacks and lack of preparation all added up to a learning process that ultimately helped me to achieve my goal of competing and completing multple marathons. I could have hired a coach early on. However for me, the personal satisfaction I got along the way of doing it my way, on my terms, figuring it out in a world where everyone wants you do it their way was a far greater satisfaction (for me) than if I had been able to give someone else the credit.

Pittsburgh Marathon 2012

Running provided me an outlet, a place to spend my time, alone in thought, getting exercise, being one with nature, allowing me to compete with myself, testing me physically and mentally. Running has had a major impact on my life, I like to tell people that are not in the tribe. I had to start someplace, it’s not for everyone and you’ve got to find your own personal Everest! Maybe if more people turned to running the world we be a better place. If I had one piece of advice to give every runner, don’t be afraid to be great today and get a good pair of running shoes!

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3 effective ways to market healthcare IT

 3 effective ways to market healthcare IT

1. Believe in what your doing – We’ve enjoyed being in a position to help educate and bring solutions to market that fundamentally can impact the quality of care that is being delivered in a healthcare organization. Knowing that the products and companies we’ve worked with in the past and clients in the present, potentially will one day be utilized in the care being delivered to a family member or friend, is humbling. I think the most important element to consider in all facets of a marketing plan is that there’s a human element that impacts lives. 

2. Integrated Marketing Approach – Best practices show that aligning strategy along the buyer’s journey with buyer’s personas will help with your marketing efforts. Understand that the buying decision process in healthcare is slow and methodical, being pragmatic with your efforts will help. Typically the buying process invovles consensus from a number of influencers  and stakeholders. Your target market is going to need validation through customer tesitmony via websites and print, thought leadership, case studies, events such as webinars, trade shows and reference from customers just to finalize their buying decisions. Both digital and direct marketing tactics integrated into a pragmatic marketing approach is a considerable amount of effort, but it’s what is necessary to drive outcomes in healthcare IT.

3. Tell the world about your solutions – Content is king and so is your product. Telling the world about your solution is imperative to getting more sales. However, doing it in a cost effective manner is a challenge. Print advertising can get expensive quickly and lacks an organization’s ability to have strong call-to-actions that are measurable and closed loop in nature. However it does serve a place with certain companies that have the budget. Leveraging digital media i.e. blogging, webinars, social media, paid per click advertising and email are all proven cost effective mediums that help to impact search engines, it gives you the ability to work within a very specific advertising budget, track interaction with potential prospects, build brand awareness and tell the world all that is great with your solution. These are all great mediums for healthcare IT companies to leverage, because they are cost effective, scalable and most if not all buying decisions are made with internet searches as a part of the final buying decision. 

National Healthcare IT week is well underway. #NHIT is trending on social media. Great ideas, collaboration and information is being shared freely. There’s a big Twtter chat scheduled today, Join the HIMSS twitter chat on Friday, September 20 at 11 a.m. CT. Hope to see you there! 

CYO Marketing is passionate about generating high quality cost effective leads for our clients and specialize in marketing healthcare IT. Be sure to contact us and subscribe to our blog for more best practices on marketing!

 

 

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Don’t call it a come back!

Brands come and go, some manage to exist and reinvent themselves when old is cool again. For some like Blackberry, it would seem no matter what product they bring to market the consumer has lost confidence in their ability to deliver. Others like Indian Motorcycles are vintage cool. Airstream and Schwinn are examples of other American born brands that have a legacy, they remain consistent in the background and eventually become hip again.

Old is new again

Old is new again

Are you into trends or do you find that once every 10 years you are in the in-crowd? That your favorite is suddenly discovered, wanted by the masses and hard for you to get access. Do you love it when someone starts to tell you about the coolness of Frank or the hipness of the City? The staples that come envouge were institutions long before they got hip and will remain that way long after their recent discovery.

Although, I imagine good for business. An enduring brand is just that, relying on a  belief, quality of craftsmenship, superior service and a segment of the population that remains consistent. Which are you, trend setter or trend admirer? Do you want your brand to have short term popularity or long term consistency?

 

 

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Moments to Reflect

In Honor of 9.11

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The Importance of Yo! MTV Raps

The cultural importance of Yo! MTV Raps on the fabric of American music stems far beyond lyrics and beats to ignite the start of a movement. I’m continually fascinated and inspired by movements for all the obvious reasons. In a previous blog I highlighted Tony Hawk and the Bones Brigade, this one had a far greater impact. Hip Hop as a movement through the vehicle of rap not only helped to introduce the world to a new form of music, but fashion and style as well, and forever changed our culture.

For many of us it brought people of all races into suburban homes for the first time. Erik B, the lyrical genius summed up the impact of Yo! on his rap career, “it changed the whole way we had to think about marketing our music.” It created an opportunity, a platform for the music industry to not just sell cd’s, but it gave artist, who otherwise had no platform to be seen and not just heard. MC’s like MC Lyte gained exposure to be able to book 250 shows per year. Hip Hop moguls had not quite been born and the foundations (for better or worse) of main stream rap were being laid. This led to the commercial interests of big business that took notice to recognize the importance of a being able to use the platform, both Hip Hop and Yo! to sell product.

While the youth of America would devotedly sport the styles of the Beastie Boys or Big Daddy Kane, in the beginning we were all just trying to dress like them, no one had a label. Like the early years of Rock-N-Roll, the genre was frowned upon, it was not considered music. Now the art form is over a trillion dollar industry and we have the pioneers to thank for being trail blazers, breaking down cultural barriers and creating a movement that’s now multi-generational. So from Fab 5 Freddy, to Ed Lover and Dr. Dre who brought these artist and this movement into our homes at time before social media, iTunes and the speed at which information travels, thank you, we’ve got much love for Hip Hop because of Yo! MTV Raps!

 

 

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Fall, Change & Football – Time for Something New!

It’s here, fall and for most of us, Football! A new time and a new hope for all of our rooting interests. Fall and football bring back fond memories of crisp, clear, cool days and of course pads smacking and helmets knocking. It’s the grass, it’s the air, it’s refreshing, it’s new hope, and if I might say, new ideas.

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Time to branch out, start something new or end something stale. If you’re not thinking new, your staying the same and in today’s fast moving world there’s a need to evolve. New ideas float around, like the pending autumn leaves. Just reach out, grab one, and go with it. Today’s modern technology allow for many of us to explore new topics, markets, and areas of interest.

Here’s a thought, start blogging! Launch a Twitter account, start following others. Change your Facebook status. Refresh your website. Hire somebody. Advertise on-line. Run an email campaign. Getting warmed up? The “idea” is to think of new ideas, or think differently. Really, create a business, get another degree, get in the best shape of your life, adopt a new philosophy. The seasons, and their changes remind us that the world to move on, with or without us. Need some help getting kicked off,  feel free to check with me! Buckle your chinstrap and get in the game. Start your season again with ideas, and run with them!

 

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26% of Hospitals have a Social Strategy!

healthcare

(Click on infographic to enlarge)

 

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Bones Brigade

Where do you get your inspiration? 

 

 

If you’ve not watched the story behind the Bones Brigade documentary I’d highly encourage it. I’m truly fascinated by pioneers in their respected industry, sport or craft. There are so many layers that make this more than just a skateboarding movie. A lot to be learned about life, sport, marketing, business and so much more! 

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Three ways to improve your trade show outcomes

 

 

Trade shows can be big waste of time and money if you do not have a plan. I’ve been involved in trade shows that have been a tremendous success and complete bombs. On a personal level I’ve always found trade shows to be a tremendous opportunity to build my rolodex. However we are talking about a company attending a trade show and improving their odds of succeeding, here are three ways to improve your trade show outcomes:

 1. Pre-show planning – I truly believe that all your success will be determined in the pre-planning stages. Goal setting, booth design, messaging & branding, assigning personnel to attend and cover the booth, communication strategy, events, talks, social media engagement, etc. all laid out in a plan months in advance. Get the attendee and vendor lists prior to the show, identify who you want to meet with and how you will get them to your booth. Will it be direct contact, email, social…Putting a booth up and hoping people stop by is a sure way to have poor outcomes. Identify a goal of how many people you want to meet with at the show. 

2. During – Be open, whether at your booth or in a hotel lobby. Doesn’t matter, while many prefer to drive booth traffic as the official measurement of success at a show, some of my best encounters have taken place in line at a cab stand. While I don’t like to rely on random encounters, sometimes the outcome is better than how you got there. Have a mechanism in place to capture leads, relying solely on business cards can be a recipe for disaster. There are a number of automated, cost effective solutions, use them.

3. Post show –  follow up, follow up, follow up…Have a post show follow up in place that will happen immediately. Set your organization up so that when you capture a lead in the booth that you can utilize Card Munch on LinkedIn to immediately get connected. Get LinkedIn, send an email, phone, send a secondary email, add contacts to company newsletter, etc. Remember, as excited as your new customer was in your booth, they were at a trade show with 500 – 600 booths. People remember one or two booths, always generally the size of the bigger companies. To stand out, direct communication and engagement with compelling content in follow up is key!

I’d love to hear some feedback on tactics you’ve used to improve your outcomes at trade events. In the meanwhile if you have an upcoming trade show and want to talk more about ways to improve your performance email Dennis@CYOMarketing.com.

 

 

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Three great pieces of advice in business

“Hey kid, come here…” The next three things that came out of that Vice President’s mouth stuck with me forever through my business career. I think because the simplicity and directness of the message.  This particular individual was an Italian guy from the northeast, I believe Boston, MA. Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, a blue collar steel town and being Italian myself, I could relate. It felt as if one of my uncles were taking me aside to point me in the right direction.

These nuggets have served me well and hope they do you as well:

1. Shake hands and look people in the eye – Simple, common sense, but often times way overlooked and undervalued. Especially when people are looking around the room to see who’s more important than you. Giving your undivided attention to an individual makes them feel they are the most important person in the room.

2. Listen more than you talk – I think it was more like when you see people talking shut up! So true, so many people are just waiting their turn to talk. Everyone’s favorite topic, themselves. Asking truly engaging questions and taking an interest in the individual, asking follow up questions, sending follow up and referencing what was talked about, listening instead of waiting to talk, think about it.

3. Pass on the alcohol – This happened to be an internal conference but whether internal or customer facing no one ever seems to make the same mistakes that end up being career altering while sober. I’m not a choir boy and do enjoy a fine glass of wine or a pint at my favorite pub. Most likely if I break any rule, it’s this one, however it always sits in the back of my mind when it’s time to order a beverage.

We’d love to hear from you, what’s some of the best business advice you’ve received? Be sure to join our webinar, Finding your next big deal on LinkedIn, this coming Friday, June 21, 2013 at 1PM-EDT.

 

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