All posts in Blog

  • The Customer’s Journey- Erik Hultgren, Mlive Media Group

    Erik Hultgren, who has background in Radio, now works at Mlive Media Group. He spoke to us at our last
    Friday about igniting a passion for social media and talked about how “it’s never been easier to be average”. Instead of selling or banging people over the head with ads–start with a story. The power of storytelling is the best form of digital marketing.

    Before 1990, all we had was traditional marketing–then time went on and marketing channels keep exploding. Now our marketing channels are so vast. People are distracted continually–every 60 seconds. We have to figure out how to get their attention in our Amazon “1-click” culture.

    The retail market is being disrupted. Netflix & Amazon is investing billions in advertising. Marketers should stop trying to do everything all at once, instead, pick a single channel and OWN IT. And please don’t put the same content on Twitter and Facebook, otherwise, what’s the point in consumers following both pages?

    Be real. Show live events. Show people how it happens. Show them the process. Facebook organic reach is near zero for business pages. If you want to reach real people, you need to pay for it. There are some exceptions to this including Facebook live, but don’t expect that to be the case for much longer.

    Don’t bang people over the head with ads. Instead, tell stories by using content marketing. For example, if you are a clothing store, write an article about how to tie a tie (or other clothing topic) and be a resource when people are searching on Google. Be a good source for information. Be the answer to a question. And they will remember your business.

    Thank you to our November event sponsors: 

     

     

  • Professional Development – We Can Help!

    We’re less than a month away from 2018. Are you where you want to be in your career? Do you have a plan for moving forward? As communication professionals, we know that strategy is essential to success. But like the shoemaker’s barefoot children, we also tend to put our own needs last. Not to worry, we have a few suggestions that won’t take much time.

    1. Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss any of our 2nd Friday meetings. In January, we’ll kick the year off with a special career planning strategy workshop. There, we’ll explore “Top Trends Driving Change in Communication” that you need to know about as you plot your professional path. Whether you’re building a consulting business or climbing the corporate ladder, we’ll discuss what changes are occurring, what skills and abilities those changes demand, and what you’ll need to think about to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

    We’ll continue our career-building theme in February with “Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset.” You’ll learn to apply the principles of entrepreneurial success — innovation, continuous improvement, collaboration and doing work you love — to your professional development.

    And that’s just the start of our season!

    2. Talk to us. Especially the board, but other members too. I’ve personally made connections for lots of members that I know led to work. Some introductions led to employment opportunities, other to client work. If we know what you’re looking for, we’re happy to help.

    3. Make a point of meeting new people at all of our InterCom events. Whether it is our 2nd-Friday series or our three annual evening gatherings, networking is baked into everything we do. Why? As Carl Jung said, “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see it.” In other words, that person you don’t know may be looking for someone with your exact skillset. Or they may know someone who is. But only if you’re open to meeting them and having the conversation.

    4. Get involved with InterCom in a deeper way. Whether you’re looking for stronger career ties or you want to build skills, InterCom is a great way to give back while helping your own career along. We’re always looking for talented volunteers to help with events, event planning, and even board service.

  • InterCom Gathering for Holiday Cheer

    Come bid the year adieu while noshing and toasting with InterCom for our annual Holiday Gathering.

    Thursday, December 14, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
    at The Union Cabaret and Grille
    125 S Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

    Current members, past members and anyone interested in learning about the group are invited to enjoy: networking, free hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and a preview of InterCom’s spring lineup for its 2nd Friday Speaker’s Series kicking off January 12, 2018.

     

  • How to Have Hard Conversations

    The ability to put tough issues on the table and deal with them directly is one factor that differentiates good companies from great companies, according to author Jim Collins. Virgin CEO Richard Branson says the ability to say what you mean and mean what you say is essential to success in business. Yet somehow, many of us struggle with direct, honest, difficult conversations. It’s often called Midwest nice, and it’s not a compliment.

    Facing tough issues head-on is more than a communication issue, it’s a hearts and minds issue. So to help us better understand the problem and work through solutions, professional counselor, professor, and author Larry Pfaff led us through a discussion of “How to have Hard Conversations” at our 2nd-Friday event in Oct.

    Since 1980, Larry has worked extensively in the area of career development, employee development and selection. To speak out, Larry told us we first must look inside ourselves. He challenged us to ask, “What’s holding me back?” And address that fear first. Once we understand the fear — and it’s associated risk — we can be more thoughtful and deliberate when we choose our words.

    The situations may differ. We may find ourselves leading up and guiding managers and boards to face problems. Or we may be managing an employee — someone who reports to us — to change behavior. We may even be sharing unpopular news with colleagues. But if the issue is important, we owe it to ourselves to face it head-on. And our careers and reputations will be better when we do.

    Check out Larry’s presentation in the PDF of his slides.

  • Find talent. Build your career. Grow your business.

    Find talent. Build your career. Grow your business.

    One of the best benefits of your InterCom membership is your direct connection to work opportunities throughout the region for communication professionals.

    We’re actively seeking employers who are looking to fill top jobs.

    If you have a communication job posting, make sure you tag InterCom in your Facebook or LinkedIn posting. It will not only reach our network, but our social media team will share it — and many of our members will, too. That expands your reach exponentially to a highly targeted population of professional communicators.

    We’re connected to top companies that are looking for talent.

    If you’re looking for work, make sure you’re receiving our notifications in your social media stream.  And let your network know you’re looking, especially the InterCom board of directors. We’ll discreetly keep our ears and eyes open to new opportunities for you. Because we’re connected to many businesses throughout the region, we often hear about job openings early in the search process. Sometimes before the position is even posted.

    We are frequently asked “Do you know anyone who does…”

    If you’re looking to build your business, we often receive requests for people with various skills. Let us know what you’d like to do more of! When we get request from clients, we can connect you.

    Kudos and congrats to…

    Several InterCom board members have made recent career moves. In addition to celebrating their success, we know that a job move for one professional can sometimes spell opportunity for someone else.  Please join us in congratulating:

    Curtis Cunningham is now the director of marketing and public relations for the Gilmore. He is joined by former board member Anders Dahlberg, who steps in as The Gilmore’s director of operations. Note that The Gilmore is currently seeking a digital marketing coordinator.

    Kelly Durlach is now director of marketing and advertising for Migala Carpet One Floor & Home and ProSource Wholesale.

    Jessy Wilson is now a communication specialist at Bronson Healthcare. Jessy was most recently at Communities in Schools, which is currently seeking a full-time marketing coordinator. (http://ciskalamazoo.org/careers/)

  • InterCom 2nd Friday Event: The Customer’s Journey

    Join us for our November 2nd Friday Speakers’ Series with Eric Hultgren from MLive Media Group

    The Customer’s Journey – Using the tools and tactics of the modern marketing arsenal to find where your customers actually are and turning them from customers to advocates by making the marketing about them.

    About Eric

    A driven market leader focusing on how human beings can connect pragmatically using technologies available right now. In addition to being the director of social media and content marketing for the MLive Media Group and Advance Midwest, he is an adjunct professor of mass media, CEO of a charity that helps at-risk kids experience the performing arts called Now Playing and nationally recognized podcast host. For Eric, “everything is marketing” is not just a catchphrase, but a lens through which he views the world around him.

    Event Details

    The brown-bag lunchtime event starts at noon (following 30 minutes of networking) at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Anna Whitten Hall, 202 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, 49007. It is free to InterCom members. Non-member guests are asked to pay $10. Please register and pay online at Eventbrite.

     

     

    Thank you to our November event sponsors: 

     

  • Don’t Forget to Renew Your InterCom Membership!

    Every year, for many years we have tried to make the month of May the time when InterCom members renew their membership to InterCom.  Typically we have a small percent of members renew in May with most members renewing beginning in May through December, making it difficult to manage membership and our budget for programming.

    Online and web-based technology for managing payments has improved dramatically in the last couple of years and InterCom has just invested in STRIPE to manage our renewal and payment process.

    Here is what you need to know:

    • Our renewal system has launched June 1, 2017.
    • Because no InterCom members have joined or renewed through the new STRIPE system, the system this year will ask you to JOIN, even though as a member you are just renewing.
    • If you paid your membership last year (2016) before June 1st, you will be receiving an email at the end of May informing you that it is time to “Join” InterCom – and on June 1st you will be sent an email invoice for renewing.
    • The links in the email will take members to a payment site where you can pay with your credit card.
    • The system will send an email receipt documenting payment complete.
    • In agreement with all 3rd-pary payment applications, InterCom has no access to any financial or personal information, and STRIPE (similar to Paypal) is a certified and secure payment portal.
    • All members that paid their membership fee after June 1st of last year will receive an email seven days before their membership anniversary telling them that they will need to renew and will receive another email invoice the day their membership expires with a link to JOIN (which is a renewal)
    • The system is designed to do automatic renewals after a payment process has been entered into the system. Therefore, if you do not wish for it to auto renew, please uncheck the box.
    • All new members going forward will be processed through the automated STRIPE process.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Gretchen Johnson (gretchen@intercomkalamazoo.com) or Kristi Droppers (kristi.droppers@gmail.com).

  • WOTV in Kalamazoo with Kevin Ferrara, Operations Manager

    At this Intercom event, Kevin Ferrara, Operations Manager for WOTV discussed why they have opened a working downtown news studio in Kalamazoo. Kevin explained that the media market has changed, and WOTV wants to “break the mold”.

    He discussed “call letter confusion”, meaning over time the different stations with names that we are familiar with like WKZO, WOODTV, WZZM, WXMI evolved due to competition, changing audiences & viewing areas, consolidation, regionalism and nationalism.

    WOTV is now owned by Nexstar, who also owns WOOD and WXSP. The changing media landscape presented opportunities for WOTV, and they were urged to have a “storefront” in Kalamazoo.

    Why would WOTV have a Grand Rapids AND Kalamazoo storefront? There are a few reasons:

    1. To leverage market leadership. Everyone turns to them for severe weather and breaking news.
    2. Be localized. Instead of sending Grand Rapids staff to cover Kalamazoo, WOTV wanted local investment. They want their employees to live here and care about the Kalamazoo community.
    3. Expand community service by partnering with Kalamazoo Public Schools and community events like Art Hop.
    4. Reach both Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo audiences.

    kalamazoo-downtown-studio1WOTV’s Ryan Sterling said, “This is a start, not a stunt”. Their main focus is news, investigation, and severe weather. This is what people rely on them for and what they are known for. The prediction is that southwest Michigan can no longer support 4 stations in this market. WOTV hopes that with their new changes, they will the one that survives.

    Thanks, Kevin!

  • How to Have a Hard Conversation

    InterCom 2nd Friday Event: How to Have a Hard Conversation

    Join us on October 13 for our 2nd Friday Speakers’ Series with Larry Pfaff.

    Midwest nice isn’t a compliment. It suggests the inability to speak directly with grace and tact when difficult topics come up. Firing someone. Asking for a raise. Asking for the sale. Failing to address tough issues can hold you back professionally and may be affecting your team or organization’s ability to reach its full potential. Dr. Larry Pfaff will lead us in a workshop discussion on “How to have a hard conversation.”
     About Larry Pfaff
    Larry Pfaff, Executive, Career and Lifestyle Coach, Executive Consulting, Professor
    Larry is a licensed professional counselor, a professor, and author with master and doctorate degrees in counseling. Since 1980, he’s worked extensively in the area of career development, employee development and selection. He is a pioneer in the implementation of 360-degree feedback systems and has authored several books on the topic. He also created the SELECTPro® system, a method of conducting behavior-based interviewing of job candidates. His materials have been used at more than two hundred organizations worldwide.

    We’ll gather to network around 11:30 and start at noon with the presentation.

    Register at https://how-to-have-hard-conversations.eventbrite.com.

    We’ll gather to network around 11:30 and start at noon.

    Event Details

    The brown-bag lunchtime event starts at noon (following 30 minutes of networking) at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Anna Whitten Hall, 202 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, 49007. It is free to InterCom members. Non-member guests are asked to pay $10. Please register and pay online at Eventbrite.

    Thank you to our October Sponsors:
  • 2017-18 Season Kickoff at Boatyard Brewing

    InterCom members, friends and guests gathered in the back room at Boatyard Brewing Company to cheers the upcoming InterCom season of programming. It turned out to be a beautiful day. A drawing produced some happy winners of movie passes and Frederik Meijer Gardens tickets. Thank you to all who attended this event.