November 2020   
short stories and essays for marketers -

Grant Lee, CPM
AGL Marketing launches podcast that features Grant Lee and guests who are "Thinking Marketing"

Throughout my careers as a consulting professional land development planner and now a consulting professional marketer, I embrace technology. 

Instruments and software data collectors give me an advantage of understanding situational environments at points in time that show trends and touch points of people receiving my technical reports or marketing communications messages. Continuous learning and applying the technology that I understand open doors and lead me into business sectors that interest me and stimulate my personal and business purposes. Personal and business relationships that are woven through the complex nature of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials keep my marketing consultancy alive and my knowledge and experience saleable. Occasionally, I manage and provide marketing services for professional and industry associations, and that experience gives me incredible insight into industry sectors.

There are few consulting marketers as I who have applied offline and online marketing strategies and tactics, hands on, and instinctively know what will work and what will not work to establish and grow small businesses, especially micro. The action and excitement is with entrepreneurs selling services and products who are generating wealth for their families, employees and suppliers while practicing corporate social responsibility. This is my consulting marketer world.

To share my experience and knowledge, I created an AGL Marketing Podcast called "Thinking Marketing" that features monthly episodes. This marketing communications technology is new to me and it will take a little time before I move through the free account of PodBean into a subscription. Always on the hunt to find new ways to communicate and connect with clients, prospects, and friends, I am ready to advance my knowledge and experience with podcasting, because it is a marketing communications tool that works. It is a time-tested technology.

If you are interested in my thoughts about "Product", one of the 7Ps of the marketing mix, click on the audio icon and listen to Episode 1 of Season 1- Sell Something! A Conversation about Product. Before you click on LISTEN, please finish reading this article.


At the same time that I created the podcast for AGL Marketing, I created one for the partner marketing consultancy of AGL known as CA14. The CA14 podcast is called Marketing Talk. My colleague Peter Perko edited my audio and we placed it on Marketing Talk as Season 1 Episode 1 called Product is the Most Important Consideration in Marketing. Compare the differences when there is a proper introduction to the episode and editing of the audio file. There are two episodes on the CA14 podcast. This is an example of how small businesses like AGL Marketing and CA14 build services that are available through AGL and CA14. We apply technology that we learn to grow our own businesses and then learn from mistakes before we offer to clients to help them grow their own through ethical marketing tactics and strategy.

Eliminating ageism and age discrimination in consulting marketing

According to the Ontario (Canada) Human Rights Commission, the term "ageism" refers to two concepts: a socially constructed way of thinking about older persons based on negative attitudes and stereotypes about aging and a tendency to structure society based on an assumption that everyone is young, thereby failing to respond appropriately to the real needs of older persons 

Throughout my careers, it has been natural to gravitate toward people with similar life and business experiences. By doing so, it seems easier to build and maintain a relationship because there are underlying assumptions about touch points, language comprehension that includes unspoken words and nuances, values, and level of knowledge, to mention only a few points that encourage empathy between individuals. For many consulting marketers who view their career as a source of income rather than a lifelong purpose, they are startled with a reality that their circle of clients and prospects has contracted or disappeared. It is too late to build a client base of other generations because their skills and expertise have become redundant and not saleable. They themselves have triggered ageism in their careers and contributed to their demise.

Client Experience Management 
is in place under COVID-19 international travel protocol - and it will improve quickly

I can testify that preparation for travel through international ports has changed in the blink of an eye. I doubt very much if the requirements of a visa and passport will ever again be the minimum requirement for travel to many countries from ports of origin. It is early times to give definitive comments on any cohesive marketing strategy of travel companies, airlines, government agencies, and support services such as health insurance providers and hotels that will be developed along with new standards for travelers and protocol expectations. I can provide November 2020 insight into what may await international travelers post COVID-19.

Pre-boarding health testing is a grey area. Currently, there are temperature checks, physical distancing protocols, face masks and face shields required for passengers destined for certain countries. I am travelling by Philippine Airlines (PAL) to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines from Toronto on November 5. Masks, face shields and temperature checks are mandatory boarding requirements. Masks and face shields must be worn at all times during departure security and documents checks and during the flight except for drinking and eating.  The current pandemic limits travel to Canadians with dual citizenship and Permanent Resident visas wishing to return to their homes and families. No-one is allowed entry into the Philippines on a tourist visa.

Personnel of all organizations and agencies who are points of contact with travellers will have elevated training in customer experience management due to the need for repeat customers in a new world of fewer travellers.
Essential marketing communications technology for a small business

There are essential marketing communications "must-haves" for small businesses to manage communications and relationships with clients and prospects. These include a website, certain social media pages and accounts, and an email database for email marketing campaigns. With these essentials, small businesses are enabled to survive and thrive in economic environments that have been forever altered by the lessons learned from epidemics and pandemics like COVID-19 and periodic recessions.

Websites for small businesses have the routine pages as most sites including information about the company and its owners/mangers; a page detailing products and services; a blog page that archives articles and opinions about the company and its products, along with a newsletters and bulletins library; and contact information on every page. The enterprise with products for sale may have a sales room on their website where products can be viewed, compared, and purchased. There could be accommodation for shipping through a third party or direct delivery service in a local community. In addition, the website would have a page dedicated to corporate social responsibility to tell its story about its integration into community social, economic, and environmental fabric. If the enterprise is dependent upon skilled employees, it would have a career page to attract candidates for employment.

Small businesses must have a Facebook Business Page and a LinkedIn Company Page to build social networks and post time-sensitive information to social networks. These sites drive traffic to the website and long-lasting information that helps build a relationship with the brand of the business. Other effective social media pages for small businesses include Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Activity on these pages is largely dependent upon the products and services of the enterprise, and the activity of its employees.

Email databases are essential for all small businesses so they can stay in touch with clients, prospects, suppliers, and friends to differentiate their brand from competitors. Using email marketing campaign software, the company can send direct messages to the entire database or segment it for targeted messaging. It is no longer possible to link  with large numbers of clients at in-person trade shows, conferences, and special events. Meeting online through virtual seminars, webinars and general meetings is now routine. Email databases accommodate modern methods of constantly staying in touch to inform and educate about products, services, and corporate activity.

Small businesses must take every opportunity to have an online presence to enhance sales to new and repeat customers and long-term clients. Online transactions are now commonplace as opportunities for offline sales are becoming harder to find and increasingly expensive and time consuming. Websites, social media networks, and email databases are modern business essentials.

Marketing technology and knowledge of generations help consulting marketers with business development

Consulting marketers in Canada are working with Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. But there is a new kid on the block - IGens also known as Generation Z. Gen Z is now entering the workforce. They were born between 1997 and 2012/15 with the oldest aged 23. This generation is different from those who are now influencing markets, and geopolitics. It is important for brands to introduce themselves and compete for their attention and products/services needs.

There are touch points with Gen Z that are already apparent and more that have not yet evolved. For now, it is clear that Gen Z customers become aware of their environments through hand-held mobile devices, not television and radio. Their mobile devices are their lines of communications with peers and brands, and they are big on "cancelling" (boycotting) brands, generations, and people that do not meet their interests or standards.

Generation Z is very conscious about environmental issues, health and safety and I expect that the COVID pandemic will leave an indelible mark on their memories as was the Cuban Missile Crisis and moon landing on Baby Boomers, 9/11 and employment hardships on Generation X, and family insecurities on Millennials.

The Internet Generation will impact small businesses like no other generation. It is embracing virtual reality, augmented reality, and technology to slow or mitigate the damage done to the environment characterized by climate change and catastrophic weather. Brands of small businesses would do well to understand VR, AR, and what they can do to contribute to CSR (corporate social responsibility. Then small business entrepreneurs will be prepared for the next generation of customers and clients who in themselves will be the influencers of change.

Nurse assisting people requiring medical attention inside the dispensary
Rwang'enyi Trail:
The path to health
The story about a poor village with a dispensary serving thousands
An AGL Marketing Limited project

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 must 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.

If you are interested in helping, email Grant Lee at [email protected]
(4 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)
The CA14 connection
Experience and Capacity Building

AGL Marketing Limited combined strengths, creativity and resources with the CA14 Team to bring a new level of service excellence on a global scale to a wider range of clients. Combined portfolios ensure high-level strategic marketing and communications solutions for micro and small to medium-sized enterprises.

See the CA14 brochure that summarizes the CA14 team and the services that help many companies improve their market share.

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Grant Lee

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