April 2020   
short stories and essays for marketers - aglmarketing.com

Grant Lee, CPM
OK Boomer - Reality Bites

The Western World's Baby Boomer generation remains powerful in terms of disposable income and influence on prices and socio-economic policy, but the fact is that its power is waning, and in some markets more quickly than others. That generation will not "go gentle into that good night (Thomas 1914 - 53)". As it completes it life cycle, it opens new markets and opportunities for business along the way, because it has enormous wealth and the wealth will not vanish. It will change ownership and manifest in other ways. Lexicon of Gen Z includes the dismissive phrase, "OK Boomer." Be careful, Boomers are bent on leaving a legacy that will last longer than the life span of the youngest Gen Z and Millennial, and will extend well into the generations that follow.

(3 minutes)

Social Media Content Calendars for small businesses and associations
Stay away from silly posts and fake sentiments

For small businesses and most small-scale professional and trade associations, the struggle to be relevant on social media is real. Shove is coming from youth, customers, and influential members to innovate, adapt and prevail with social media in a tightly contested marketplace. Managers/employers who tend to be aging Gen Xers and Boomers resist, questioning value and purpose.
One of the easiest ways to achieve buy-in from corporate management is to manage social media content with a "Social Media Content Calendar (SMCC)." For many a small business, there is no time to plan a full complement of about 20 messages over a 30 - day period. Some are unsure if they can pay the rent in 30 days. For them, an SSMC makes little sense, and the world will not stop if they post information occasionally but consistently on their social media pages and sites. Larger small enterprises may hire someone to periodically update their pages. The problem however does not end with a hire or contract. The fun runs out in about 60 or 90 days.
(5 minutes)

Corporate bafflegab: Is anybody reading that stuff?

You don't need to look far to find an example of corporate bafflegab. We have it on our own websites, but hopefully so little that eyes pass over it quickly and visitors find what they really want. Bafflegab is incomprehensible or pretentious language, especially bureaucratic jargon. This artform of unintentionally numbing an audience is no longer the purview of politicians and bankers. Many people claiming expertise in marketing communications have become culprits to this unnecessary violation of rational thought. Just pause for a moment and think what you are saying.
Websites have become the notorious victim of bafflegab. How many times have you read about a company that might read like this: ...is the agile leader going forward in a deep dive with ninja-like focus to find the state-of-the art solution. Ugh! It almost sounds believable.
(3 minutes)

Posters are powerful marketing communications strategy assets

Posters are a different medium than oral presentations, that may include the traditional PowerPoint deck about published articles or learned papers. Posters make use of visual elements to tell a story or call to action. Good posters will leave lasting impressions.
Poster sessions are expected events at conferences held by academic and science-based organizations. The private sector has ignored marketing and technical communications with posters. Businesses and their industry and professional associations have found that there is a place for poster sessions in their marketing communications strategy. Poster sessions can be more effective in a few hours than a social media campaign over several weeks.
There are a few considerations that will result in an outstanding poster presentation.In the geomatics, civil engineering and manufacturing industries, posters should be a snapshot of a technical message, project, or technology application to engage an audience in a conversation. Poster sessions are designed for an exchange of information. If the author of the message in the poster is not present, then the poster should be able to speak for itself and entice the viewer to want to know more.

An application of a poster session for effectively educating an audience of technical professionals was at the 2020 Pipe School and Pipe Show of the American Concrete Pipe Association.

(7 minutes)

Rwang'enyi Trail:
Our path to health
The beginning of a story about a poor village with a dispensary serving thousands
An AGL Marketing Limited project

After two hours shuffling along this red dusty trail, steadily climbing, the Rwang'enyi dispensary is barely visible on the sparsely shaded mount. The silent weight in her sling, adds to her burden. She worries as she trudges onward under the hot Tanzanian sun. The child is ill and needs help that she cannot give. She shuffles along. Help is near.
For thousands of people living in remote villages a few kilometers from Lake Victoria in Tanzania, the Rwand'enyi dispensary is all that there is to ease the pain, combat infections, prevent disease, and help with birthing. The dispensary was built with money from The Health Basket Fund, a sector wide approach to health care.

Rwang'enyi cannot sustain the dispensary building in peak working order. The dispensary has insufficient resources to grow its business with many hundreds annually walking great distances, some up to 18km, to get medical help. Roads are untreated trails. There is no electrical grid serving the dispensary, the water supply is captured rainwater, and there is no full-time doctor. Three full-time nurses paid by the national government staff the dispensary. There is no refrigeration, but a solar panel cools a vault for storing vaccines.
The people of Rwang'enyi know that the path to better health is the creation of sustainable businesses and enough personal income to contribute to the maintenance and staffing of the dispensary.

For sustainable development to occur, villagers using the dispensary need to sell products that are needed and can be used now. The village is reaching out to people worldwide on social networks who may have experienced success with similar enterprises. They want to hear your story so the people of Rwang'enyi can learn from you and sell a lady's sandal or man's shoe to help build their path to health.

Email Grant Lee at [email protected]
(4 minutes)

Hunkered down in the Philippines waiting for COVID-19 to weaken

It goes without saying that the coronavirus caught most by surprise. It is interesting to see how  governments have reacted as well as citizens. The Philippines reacted early to the pandemic and sacrificed the economy for lives. Lockdown in our community began March 16, the day a curfew was declared by our municipal council from 8 pm to 5 am. Nobody is on the police-patrolled streets during curfew other than those declared essential.
On the same date, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the entire Luzon area in the Philippines (the main island of 50 million on which I live) under "enhanced community quarantine" (ECQ) which is effectively a total lockdown. The council of the town of 62,000 where I live immediately enforced the lockdown with rules and restrictions for accessing basic needs which are food, banks, and medical. There is no travel without sealed permits from civic officials. Stay at Home is the order.

Some rationale for the swift action is that the Philippines is no stranger to natural disasters including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, typhoons off the Pacific, and deadly urban fires in crowded settlement areas of the urban poor. The country has been occupied for most of its recent history by Spain, Japan and the USA. It is fighting hot wars with ISIS and its allies, communist rebels, and drug cartels. A nation with over 7,000 islands to patrol finds it impossible to not be a target for illicit drugs by evil people in many countries. Filipinos are a resilient culture that has survived great disasters of the past and capable of pulling together quickly and helping neighbors. It is experienced in preparing for and responding to disasters. Survival and success of a people over the past five to six hundred years may be a cultural thing. I am happy to be part of it.

(3 minutes)

Value for service begins with credentialed marketers

In the beginning, I frequently heard from licenced professionals with whom I worked that marketing was something nebulous. Back then, marketing was an activity passed along to the well-dressed male with a full mane who could play golf, get choice seats at professional sports events, tell (somewhat) funny jokes at staff parties and client meetings, and feign friendships with everyone, almost.
Then it was the ladies turn. If you were well groomed, spoke well with a sense of humour (that was strained at times in the presence of sexist jokes and lewd comments), and carried yourself with grace and beauty, the marketing coordinator job was a high-heel shoe-in.
In both scenarios that are now too outrageous to be believed, the "nice people" in charge of marketing were oblivious to marketing principles, standards, ethics, strategy, and tactics. They were having a wonderful time that really boiled down to advertising and entertainment at the whim of a boss in the name of marketing.

(3 minutes)
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Grant Lee

Marketing is not an expense. It is an investment in the future of your organization.