Thursday, June 16, 2016

Here we go again.

Earlier this week, I was catching up on some reading, and saw that Snapchat just expanded their advertising. (If you want to learn more about that, click here.) I do not currently use Snapchat, and really don't have much interest in it from a personal level — but as a marketer, I feel compelled to learn more about it, especially when I look at the overlapping demographics between Snapchat users and apartment dwellers.

This morning I realized that a while back, I had a very similar opinion about Facebook, and Twitter. I initially signed up for both of those networks thinking a) I don't really know that I will ever use these platforms personally, and b) I have no idea whether these will be applicable to my professional life. Same goes for Pinterest, and Instagram. And lo and behold, today, I use all of those channels personally AND professionally. Facebook, in particular, is a massive part of our marketing mix — nearly all of our properties have Facebook pages, and we also run a significant number of micro-targeted campaigns to help drive traffic.

When I think about Snapchat, I can't help but wonder whether this is another case of deja vu all over again: even though I don't understand the appeal of the platform yet, that doesn't really matter. Companies and brands are doing some really interesting things with custom geofilters, and more importantly — connecting with their customers in a way that is timely and relevant.

The blessing (or the curse, depending on your mindset!) of being a marketer is that you are constantly required to adapt. That takes an enormous amount of time, energy, and testing, to make sure that your efforts are actually having the impact you desire. So, even though I am not sure that I will ever be a mass publisher of Stories on Snapchat, I have officially signed up. If you're on Snapchat, find me at @sarasgraham: over the next few months, I am going to attempt to get my feet wet, and welcome any and all tips.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hello, 2016.

I am a bit embarrassed that I haven't written a post in months. This fall was incredibly busy with travel, work, and family commitments, and somehow blogging just fell to the bottom of the list. I wish I had gotten my act together sooner, but there are only so many hours in a day. (Onward and upward!)

In just a few short weeks, I will celebrate a milestone birthday — and surprisingly, I am not nearly as freaked out as I thought I'd be. Someone very close to me recently said, "Why WOULD you be freaked out? You have so much to be proud of, and so much to be thankful for." And I found myself nodding in agreement. My life is certainly not perfect, and I firmly believe that there is always room to grow, but I am very lucky to have a family that I adore, wonderful friends, and a rewarding career.

Life is indeed good.

But, it is also sometimes very messy. And embracing that mess is not always easy. I just finished reading a book that explored the "what ifs" in one woman's life, and it made me wonder what my own life would look like, if I had chosen a different path. (My very own midlife crisis!) When you stop and think about it, every decision we make somehow influences our future: how we spend our time, who we spend that time with, what we say...the list goes on. You name it, it has a lasting impression. And when you look back, you realize that all of those tiny decisions somehow come together to create a slightly messy (and beautiful) tapestry that is uniquely your own.

This year, as I face a new decade, I am resolving to Embrace The Mess. I may gain a few additional wrinkles along the way, but somehow, I think they'll be worth it.

Cheers to a wonderful, challenging — and yes, messy— year ahead.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jump on in.

Where has this summer gone? I swear, it was just a month ago that I was planning out our entire summer, week by week. C went to four (yes, really) different camps, we went away for a wonderful and relaxing family vacation, and I became an auntie for the first time. We packed a LOT in, yet it still seems like the summer was much too short: C's first day of school is on Tuesday. This year, she will be in first grade, which honestly boggles my mind. How on earth do I have an almost seven year old, who devours chapter books and can (sort of) write her name in cursive?

Anyway, one of my best memories of the summer, and quite honestly as a parent, is C conquering her fear of swimming. Note that I did not say of the water; thankfully, she has always loved the water. But jumping in and swimming, without a "floatie," was a Big Deal. Despite the fact that she had taken swimming lessons for the last few summers, something just wasn't clicking. Swimming in water that was more than four feet deep was over her head, in more ways than one.

What finally got her over the hump? Getting out of the way. We took C to my parents' house on the lake, and they brought her to/from day camp every day, while my husband and I maintained our normal routine at home for a week. We talked on the phone every night, and one evening, my parents said, "When we get home from camp, C runs off the dock, and cannonballs into the water. Then she swims to the beach, runs up the lawn, and does it again. We have to drag her away from the water, when it's finally time for bed." My husband and I looked at each other, and our jaws dropped. This was the same girl who we'd been begging to swim, just weeks before?

When I went to pick her up a few days later, she asked me to watch her run and jump. She pounded down the dock, sailed off the end, and screeched Cowabunga. As she was paddling back to the ladder, my dad smiled proudly, and said, "We decided to make it fun. It's one of our new traditions." I high-fived my girl, and then she challenged me to a cannonball contest. (For the record, she won. My technique is a little rusty.)

As we begin the new school year, I encourage you to think about where you're getting "stuck." It could be that you need to get out of your loved one's way, clear the path for a teammate, or simply get out of your own head. Or, maybe finding the fun will be just the ticket you need to break through and drive progress...and if you're lucky, that progress may be beyond your wildest dreams.

Jump on in, friends. And Cowabunga to you all.