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January Marketing Focus Wallpaper: Ambition.

ambition desktop wallpaper
New Year is by far my favorite holiday of the year. I love the atmosphere of closure and fresh starts, of collecting your lessons learned and leaving behind what doesn’t suit you anymore. In that spirit, I came up with a little New Year’s gift for you: Focus, for every month of 2013.

Unwrapped: Marketing Focus Wallpapers

Starting with January, you’ll find a wallpaper for your computer, tablet, or phone here on my blog for every month of 2013. Each wallpaper will have a different theme. The idea is to keep that theme in focus, explore it, practice it, work on it, and have fun with it throughout the month.

You can of course come up with your own interpretations of the themes, but in case you’re in the mood for more specific suggestions on how they might translate into marketing ideas and actions, I will also offer a blog post on the theme along with the wallpaper.

Sound good?

Then on to the first theme of the year: Ambition. Feel free to read on, or skip ahead and download the wallpaper at the bottom of this post.

January Focus: Ambition

Ambition to me means dedicating yourself to a goal that requires you to stretch yourself, to learn new skills, find creative solutions, and be OK with uncertainty. It means trusting your potential, intuition, and stamina.

In some ways, it’s like setting out to climb a mountain: you can’t predict every step you’ll need to take to reach your goal (if you can, it’s probably not all that ambitious) or what conditions you’ll encounter, but you’ve still got to be ready to get going and enjoy the process – and let go if you realize that it’s not the right goal or the right time for you.

(I also liked this article on ambition and wisdom on tiny buddha.)

How ambition might infuse your marketing activities this month:

1. Define your ambitions.

Clarify your goals for your practice or business for the year. What do you want it to provide for others? What do you want from it for yourself? Include some big, ambitious goals, the kind that will continue to inspire and motivate you for the long haul.

2. Distill your message from it.

Create a clear and simple message about your vision to share with your people. Of course you don’t have to make all of your goals public, but let them know where you are headed, why it matters, and how they can get involved.

3. Spark connections.

Identify the people who share your ambitions, and the ones you want to benefit from it. Find out how you can reach out and connect with them. Start sparking some of those connections this month.

4. Start the learning process.

Make a list of skills you need in order to realize your ambition. How, where, and when can you learn them? And how can you have the most fun possible with the learning process?

Download your January wallpaper


320 x 480, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 800, 1366 x 768, 1440 x 900, 1024 x 1024.

The superb photo of the Matterhorn is the work of Chris Zielecki a.k.a. zanthia on Flickr.

How to create great swag.

swag
I just bought (!) a tote bag from ¿Por Que No?, which means I conducted a self-experiment on why people want or don’t want your swag. The result of this (very enjoyable) experiment are three rules for creating promo items that send the right message:

1. Make it look bomb.

My rad new tote bag is bright red with a sketch of a parakeet on it. Perfect for the target audience: Portland can always use one more splash of color, and we’re into art that sometimes borders the amateurish but never holds back with creativity and outlandishness. Two bonus points here! (The rumor is that people around here also just like to put birds on things.)

On the other end of the spectrum, have you ever flipped through one of those catalogs that show all the cheap crap you can have your logo printed on? Flimsy pens, plastic yoyos, and, maybe worst of all, generic, half-transparent t-shirts with no consideration for fit or comfort? And if you have, did you ever find yourself thinking wow, I want one of these?

The problem here is that this kind of swag treats people as if any small shiny object could charm them into giving you their money and their loyalty. But your people aren’t lemmings, so don’t let anyone tell you that “people love that stuff.” Create something you would love to wear, even if it wasn’t your studio/practice/business/project.

2. Make it quality.

Yes, that makes the whole project more expensive, but investing $500 into something that actually works is so much better than throwing out $50 for nothing. If you’re on a low budget, opt for ordering a smaller number rather than compromising on quality.

The quality of your swag also says something about you and your business: Do you respect your people’s sense of style? Do you value quality, fair trade, sustainability, and beauty? Your swag is part of your brand. Let it send a consistent message to the world.

3. Make it a conversation piece.

Rather than just slapping on your name and logo, make your swag a conversation piece. The best thing that can happen to you is when someone asks your lovely client where she got that awesome t-shirt and what she loves about that place. Get creative!

Final words:

Lucky you! You already have the main ingredient for great swag: an offering that people are genuinely happy to accept and to pass on. Wellbeing, joy, community – let that message shine through in everything you put out there.