The Art of Listening

If you listen, they will talk – Hear what your customers have to say

We’ve heard the command since we were old enough to talk. “Listen up!” said our parents, teachers, coaches, and instructors. It’s easy to become numb to the idea of listening, or at least fall into the habit of listening poorly. However, the value of hearing what clients, and their customers, have to say can’t be overstated. That’s a key element of what we do here at KW2: we put our customers first.

Listening can help improve the efficiency of your business, streamline your practices, and bolster your relationships with customers, co-workers, and personal contacts. Here are 5 easy strategies to consider:

1.   Listen without distraction. Put down the phone. We’re all multitaskers in theory, but science tells us that we actually are just shifting focus between tasks momentarily and with great speed. That means you miss details if your attention is divided, even slightly.

2.   Actually listen. If you’re talking, you’re not hearing what is being spoken to you. There will be times where you need to speak up, but allowing your mind to absorb what is said helps YOU in turn develop better ideas and retain information.

3.   Ask clarifying questions. This helps avoid confusion and mistakes down the line since you’re ensuring you have complete and accurate information. It also helps the speaker feel that you value and understand what they say.

4.   Doodle. Yes, draw things while you listen. It engages the visual parts of your brain, and it helps you avoid other, more involved distractions. Fast Company’s article, “How to Turn Your Mindless Doodles into Productivity Enhancers” suggests what your doodles say about you and how you can turn them into productive tools.

5.   Don’t agree with everything, but be prepared to change your mind. Inspire true dialogue by challenging assumptions and the status quo. Take a moment to think. What were we trying to accomplish? What was said? What underlying meaning was there in the conversation we just had? Then DO. Innovate and explore as many ideas as possible to arrive at the best one.

Better listening leads to informed, more efficient decision-making. Engaging your customers, your staff, your peers by truly listening to them ensures that you miss the mark less. Ideas come from everywhere … are you willing to hear them?


digital marketing training events 2014

Top 23 Digital Marketing Conferences for 2014

As 2014 kicks into high gear, it’s time to assess your marketing goals for the year. Part of that assessment should include a look at what digital trends and tools your marketing team should be paying attention to. We’re all too busy to plan for these events, right? Knowing this, we’ve gathered a Poster of 2014 Top Marketing Training Events that we know will help make your team even smarter in digital marketing.

Maybe you need help understanding your analytics so that marketing and sales can work as a more unified team. Or perhaps you need to know the latest ways to measure ROI on a social media campaign. Maybe you’ve got a question on the trendy topic of responsive design for websites. Searching for all of the different marketing conferences that can help you learn these things can be time consuming. So, the good folks at KW2 have done some of the legwork for you. Click here to download an infographic of the top marketing conferences in 2014. This reference guide can help you plan your training calendar around the events you want to go to. To help you get an easy view of the events that might interest you, the poster lists the location, date and  hot link to each of the event websites. Some folks from KW2 will be at Confab in Minneapolis in May. We’ll also be attending BOLO in Scottsdale in the fall. Got any good training events you think should be added to our list? Let us know and we’ll update it and re-post to our blog. Happy conferencing!

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4 Takeaways from the Big Game – Super Bowl XLVIII Marketing Trends

The biggest ads on the biggest stage of the year, the Super Bowl has been the marketing mecca since its inception. Even if you don’t have beaucoup bucks to throw at a coveted 30-second spot, there is still value in watching how other companies and brands reach millions of captive viewers.

Here are the top four things we learned from Super Bowl XLVIII:

  1. Wow-factor is important, but so is doing good. This year we saw an overarching theme of companies inspired by humanitarian efforts. Intuit QuickBooks gave its spotlight to GoldieBlox, a small business who makes toys designed to empower young girls. Microsoft featured Steve Gleason, an ALS patient who can communicate with his child through his Surface tablet. Chevy advocated for celebrating life though World Cancer Day on February 4. These companies seized an opportunity to spread good will by advertising more than just their product.
  2. More than ever, the importance of social media is undeniable. It’s not just about the ad anymore; integration with digital spaces is key. The big game saw a record number of tweets. Ads featuring hashtags (now ubiquitous on Twitter, Vine, Pinterest and Facebook) rose from 50% to 58%. At the close of the fourth quarter, Esurance announced a $1.5M giveaway contest that went viral within seconds with the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. If your company or brand has a social media presence, invite your followers to engage in conversation.
  3. Real-time marketing. Who had this year’s “Oreo Moment”? Real-time marketing, or #RTM, is not reactive—it’s proactive. It takes strategic thinking to know which moments to be prepared for, to develop intuitive and insightful ideas to contribute. It also takes a fair amount of great ideas on the spot, and trusting intuition in moments you couldn’t prepare for. Companies like Tide and Priceline responded to big plays and big commercials as they aired using clever Vine videos on Twitter. Some of this content was posted live, while other content appeared to been planned out beforehand. Regardless, be ready for the moments when your customers are ready to engage.
  4. A look in the mirror. Super Bowl ads grab your attention like no others. But aren’t they also a reflection of what society values? Consider how many “reality commercials” were featured during the Super Bowl this year. Doritos’ fan-submitted commercials have been hits for years. This year we saw promote a fledgling business as an engineer quit her job on live TV. Bud Light showed what it’s like when you’re “Up for Whatever.” A look into what advertisers brought to the Super Bowl this year suggests that we as an audience long for nostalgia, adventure and a more homegrown take on advertising.


We’d love to hear what you thought of this year’s ads. Did anything miss the mark? What moved you most?