Post archive

Generalists vs specialists aka never trust a man who says trust me!

I’m now in a privileged position, where I’m moving from a more generalist marketing communications role to specialising in the digital arena.


A question I was asked at my interview, which is a fairly standard question to ask (but often difficult to answer) – where do I see myself in 5 years time?


Digital communications are often seen as a brave new world. Particularly “social media marketing” which is often seen at best as a “dark art”, and by others as a fad that will pass.


There are countless people that label themselves as “Social Media Experts”. And a great deal of genuine mavens in this field that are appalled by the term. I think it partially links back to the idea of “never trusting a man that says trust me” (you need to make your own decision based on their merits - they shouldn't need to reassure you!).


Like Matthew Taylor , I’ve been often told (and indeed have the grades to prove) that I’m a good all-rounder. AKA a jack of all trades, which can occasionally feel a bit… I don’t know. Difficult to “measure”.  I’ve spent a long time searching for a specialism, an area where I feel confident in holding my own as a point of reference to turn to when the going gets tough.  Marketing seemed like a natural fit for me in the broadest sense of the word, being that unique part of an organisation that combines creativity, business sense, the ability to communicate messages clearly, and the opportunity to work with people from every department.


Whilst I have a broad skillset, what has become abundantly apparent (when I look at my hobbies and interests outside work, as well as the areas I gravitate towards in the workplace) is that I definitely have a passion for all things digital. I was lucky to be at school through the 1990s, at a time when computers started to slowly become a part of the education system.


Innovative, forward-thinking teachers were tasked with being “Head of IT”, marvelling at these new scanners that take images and upload them to a computer (one of my favourite early art projects involved me scanning a painting into a computer to manipulate later), or lumbered with teaching the CLAIT course, and setting us up strange new Hotmail accounts. In a relatively short space of time, computers have become an integral part of everyday life (and indeed the National Curriculum).


My ultimate vision is for social media and other “digital” communications to become an integrated part of the marketing mix, reflecting this move towards mainstream.  Whilst they may seem free/more reasonably priced than their offline counterparts, they need time and resource to get things right. Which makes me excited about the opportunity to focus on this area as my day to day role.


This should not be operated in a vacuum. I'd like to think another of my strengths is connecting things together, and sharing ideas/themes throughout teams and departments. Econsultancy, at a recent talk at the TFM&A show at Earls Court demonstrated how the future of online is offline. The power of joined up thinking, as it were. Truly integrated marketing campaigns make the optimum use of internal communications, websites, internal intranets, paid-for advertising online and in “regular” offline channels.


Critically acclaimed social media campaigns such as VCCP’s Compare the Meerkat would be nothing without the TV adverts. Direct mails can enhance messages and themes throughout these channels, and indeed get more of a response if they do. And can be used to drive customers to key tactical landing pages online.


In answer to the question, I’d like to be in a position of influence, with experience of how to do “digital” right as part of a successful marketing strategy. I’m not sure if this post was any clearer than my interview answer. Although I did however get the job…



A whistlestop tour of @lisariemers's 2009

Phew, what a year. 12 months of ups, downs, roundabouts, hard work, holidays. A social media revolution. A year that saw me take to the online stage... no wait, I'm being overly dramatic.


My personal year in pictures. This is much harder to compile than I'd have thought. There has been sooo much going on that my mind has been on overload. Having originally written it off as a year of hard graft without that much happening, stopping to think and take stock has reminded me about the absolute joy my whirlwind 2009 has brought . 


I'm blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family.  (Whilst it may sound a little simpering there's no cynical/humerous way to dress it up.) And even more so that I have a camera in my bag to capture the moments and remind me of what we've gotten up to! I've not been able to summarise everything, so this is probably more of a choice selection of what's happened over the last 12 months, but you all know who you are, and thanks for being there!

 Cold spring


So, the year started off as cold as it finished, with snow and ice abound. Who knew that an abandoned mattress in the corner of Epsom Downs car park could be so photogenic? 



The wintry theme continued as we re-enacted a scene from Dirty Dancing in February, somewhere in the nether regions of Shere...



Thankfully things warmed up a little by March - I think this summarises this perfectly. Taken somewhere in the vicinity of Staines, believe it or not. As I said, it feels as though much of the year has been a hard slog (even in between all the wonderful things I've been up to in my spare time). I'd like to thank @themanoutside for all his love, support, encouragement (and common sense) this year.



A warm spring Sunday afternoon saw some of London's greatest people converging on Battersea Park, laden with blankets and overflowing hampers.


Harbour at St Ives


To get away from the rat race I checked myself in to a lovely B&B  in St Ives in April, for a long weekend of photography, painting and gastronomy, without any other technology to distract me. Considering I generally have a short attention span, I forgot just how easy it is to lose a few hours (and the feeling in your bottom) sitting painting a landscape that catches your eye.


Wales at sunset

 In May,@themanoutside and I escaped to the west coast of Wales. Relaxation (and revision for my CIM exams) ensued, not to mention a wonderful time away!

 June saw a fab week away in Marmaris in Turkey. Post exam relaxation... sunshine... cocktails... late night spuds from the Tattie Master, crazy robot man... one word summary: bonkers.


July's highlights included a grand day out at Thorpe Park, culminating with two goes on the Stealth ride  (O-80 in 1.8 secs) followed by delicious grub somewhere in the general area of Chertsey. Thankfully not the other way round...


Walking with dinosaurs!


August saw us walking with dinosaurs at the O2. SO much fun, even though I wasn't even allowed a shandy as I didn't have any ID on me...



Exploration of the area soon to be home to @themanoutside started as far back as the summer - I think we'll all be pleased and relaxed when the move's complete, although what great scenery to be moving near...



The August Bank Holiday saw Epsom Hill Carnival as a preamble to the lesser known Notting Hill Carnival. Cue curry goat, Red Stripe, bright shiny costumes, beats (and that was just in the Epsom part...)


London skyride


September cycling through an otherwise deserted City of London for the Skyride. Great fun, although reminds me somewhat of my lapsed fitness.


The road to Vecpiebalga

Having gotten older in October, we journeyed to Cesis in Latvia to visit my family. T'was cold, although thankfully there was hot food a-plenty. And my Dad introduced to my family the wonderous concept of the pork scratching.


Smoked salmon-based graduation


An incredible stay at @BirminghamMal . Smoked salmon, dill and mustard sauce and provisions from the really friendly, lovely team at Harvey Nichols in the Mailbox in Birmingham @HN_Birmingham . Accompanied by home-baked rye bread from @themanoutside . Added to a general feeling of smug satisfaction that I managed to successfully complete my CIM professional diploma, and graduate at the Symphony Hall.


Queuing like its McDonalds in Moscow


Which takes us up to December. A crazily busy month, catching up with myself at work, with my friends and family over the Christmas period. Some frenetic sales shopping. And thankfully some downtime in the limbo between Christmas and 2010.


I hope you've had at least a fraction of the fun reading this as I've had putting it together. Trawling through file after file of photos from the last 12 months has reminded me of just what I've gotten up to. It has (as the best-meaning techie projects often do) taken a lot longer than I thought.


Which means that my 2009 in films has had to take a backseat image-wise. It's been said by many a man that I've hardly seen any decent films, particularly the "classics" of our era. Now, I've still not seen any of the Star Wars saga,  but here's my top 10 list from 2009:

  1. Wall-e
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Persepolis
  4. Holiday in Handcuffs
  5. Sword in the Stone
  6. Proof
  7. 300
  8. Hot Fuzz
  9. Practical Magic
  10. The Science of Sleep


I was also planning on delivering a complete round-up of all the awesome roundups I've read from @RWW @robcottingham  @armano  @mashable  @briansolis


But as I've run out of time, do find them at your leisure.


Bring on the New Year's revolution. And all the revelations, trials, trips and tribulations it may bring!
































































































































































































































































































































































































































Learning lessons from men with big choppers: when great service sells more!

They say ("they" being @briansolis, @radar, @ahawkinson, @freshnetworks  to name but a few) that customer service is the new marketing.  I've recently experienced some fantastic examples of great service which has directly affected the amount I've spent, as well as generating some positive word of mouth (hell, even a blog post).

They're fairly basic elements of sales/marketing 101, but when done really well (and with marketing budgets/customer spending a pressing concern) they should be acknowledged, and hopefully learned from!

Make things as easy as possible for your customers to buy from you


I'd like to thank Firebox  for bringing slanket-based joy to my family this Christmas. I'd also like to thank @Josiefraser  for tweeting about them in the first place, as I'd only seen the single-sized versions. Thanks to their great website to start with, it made it really really easy (and enjoyable) to buy a double Siamese-style Slanket for my parents for Christmas within a few clicks of marvelling at it,  which has already been unwrapped given the adverse conditions, and all less than three working days of first imagining the fun and warmth it could bring.


Really clean layout, easy to navigate, incredibly smooth transaction, and massively helpful and responsive customer services team, who didn't baulk when I emailed asking if I could change from the Ruby Wine colour to Chocolate Brown, to (shock horror) avoid clashing with the sofa.


Everything you want in an online store! With an option to include a personalised gift card. They delivered on time, in the slot that I chose. In the colour that I'd changed my mind to.  AND they threw in a little bag of sweets, and a voucher for free delivery if I order again soon.  Guess who's got a few more orders in the pipeline...


Up-sell to "hot prospects"


Now, I clearly have one of those faces that butchers can tell would like a bargain .


Having initially wandered over to SussexWay Meat's stall at the local farmers' market for a packet of bacon, I ended up stopping for a chat, buying the beef for our traditional Sunday before Christmas, signing up to their mailing list, and walking away with a large bag of free bones for @themanoutside's canine companions to enjoy.


He made a good £40 more than I had intended,  I've got some well-hung beef now defrosting for tomorrow's festivities, I have a regular online channel to meet my meat-based needs, and the dogs will have fun too.


Sell more to your existing customers


Greg Johnson's, on The Street in Ashtead, offers an outstanding collection of meat. Not to mention advice on how to cook it, or where to source more "interesting" items (its harder to buy ingredients for curry goat than you'd think). We went in today to pick up some calves' liver for one of our planned festive feasts, and he asked me the oh-so-dangerous question "Do you want a bargain"?


I eyed him suspiciously.




"How about this massive platter of succulent pork, at a price that would make your mouth water?" [paraphrased]...


Our freezer is now rather well-stocked. If anyone fancies a pork chop sometime, let me know ;)




Procrastination is dead long live the planner!

I recently attended a time management course.

The first question we discussed: can you manage time?

The answer, of course, is no. A big fat resounding "no". (Unless of course you're Doctor Who. Who is more of a manipulator of time really.) Managing yourself in the face of time-based adversity is what it's all about, apparently, although its not quite as succinct as a course name.

Being a self-confessed procrastinator, this has been something on my agenda for a long time. I've read a number of articles  and a few books  (well, started then ran out of time to get through to the end/apply the methodologies) - in a part learning consolidation/part new wisdom-sharing exercise here are my new-found top tips:


  1. Just say no.
    Like Zammo .
    If you can't say no, make sure you have 2 and 3 nailed.
  2. Know what you've got on your to-do-list.
    It's a lot easier to do number 1 when you can give the reason why you can't respond to someone else not managing their time properly.
  3. Ruthlessly prioritise. Remember that everyone has their priorities. The chances of your personal objectives aligning to that of your manager, team, other department or overall organisation's best interests varies greatly, but you need to make sure you strike a happy balance between them all.
  4. Stop procrastinating, and get it done. Your time is precious (and of course yours to waste as much as you want), but getting rid of things on your list feels good.


Ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls. Welcome to the inaugural address of @lisariemers

Now I'm sure some of you may be wondering why you are here. Not in an existential, "I'm not sure of the meaning of life even though I read somewhere it may be 42" kind of way, but more along the lines of what exactly is the purpose of this blog.

It's a good question, and one which I think will take more than an evening's braindump of an answer. You'll have noted the "under construction", "Beta" and "In progress" messages currently littering the site. I'm not entirely sure how and when to change these. The editor's decision is never final; correspondence will, and be encouraged to, be entered into. (Once that functionality has been added, of course).

The interweb itself is evolving faster than the H1N1 virus; thrice as virulent and infinitely more difficult to shake off once its taken a hold. Having been infected by the bug (the net, not the swine) in my early teens, I've spent a great deal of my spare time (and indeed work time) basking in the possibilities that the world wide web has to offer.

From early forays into chatrooms, getting rapidly addicted to buying cheap CDs (and other items "ending soon" on Ebay, reading about (but never actually venturing into) MUDs such as Lambda Moo, online dating (Hi @themanoutside), getting convinced that MySpace isn't enough and that signing up to Facebook is actually a good idea, to procrastinating via cartoon sites such as XKCD, SMBC or watching genius at work , to getting excited about the potential of truly excellent, integrated marketing campaigns, to say the possibilities are limitless is an understated cliche.*

My Twitter biog summarises my main topics of interest in which I can claim at least a miniscule amount of knowledge or experience; the most spurious of the claims is "chef" - this would be better placed as gourmand which will change in due course. Once I get around to it.

A great man once said to me "you live your life in distraction". My initial aim of this web space is to share things that interest, inform, entertain or distract me, in the hope that they might at least bemuse, if not excite, you too. There may even be at least a degree of exhibitionism at play here; although I have no specific end destination in mind at the moment I'm enjoying the journey - let's hope I brought enough snacks for the ride!


*note to self - this could make a great cartoon as a timeline of my history - future content tba


This website is currently under construction.

Welcome to the first iteration of Lisa Riemers "online", in my very own domain.

I'm rather excited by this - in fact, I've just finished a celebratory hot chocolate, complete with Riga Black Balsam Cream Liqueur.

Watch this space - there will be more to come soon...

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