Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

Eat Chicken, Don’t be One August 5, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,School — Carla Bobka @ 1:41 pm
Tags: , , ,


After 2 years of talking to people about their business and social media, the number 1 reason people don’t get started is fear. What are they scared of? Bad stuff. Bad stuff being said about them.


I get it, no one enjoys hearing criticism or harsh comments. I sure don’t like it. And that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or helpful to avoid it.


So, Laurie Bick and I have joined forces to do a seminar on dealing with negative posts. It’s called “Walking the Minefield.”  Laurie is a marketing communications consultant. She’s worked with companies like DuPont and Corning Glass. We’ve been working on a couple projects the last few months, and have developed a series of workshops based on things clients have been struggling with.


The goal of “Walking the Minefield” is to help people develop a plan for responding. When you’re armed with a plan, it’s a bit easier to stay calm and control knee-jerk reactions.


The session is next week, Friday August 12, 9:00 – 10:30 am. It is an in-person session at Brandywine Executive Center in Wilmington, DE. All the details are here on the registration page.


There are 6 sessions in the series. You can find the session descriptions here. If you or someone you know is struggling to get your head around social media take a look. We hope you’ll join us.




Social Media Strategy Session March 28, 2011

Filed under: Ideas,Resources,School — Carla Bobka @ 5:59 am

On Tuesday April 5th I’m hosting an in-person session on social media strategy for businesses. The focus is on getting your strategy down on paper and developing a plan for how to execute on it. We will talk through what goals you’ve already have defined for your business this year and how to use a social media platform to help accomplish the goal.

  • We will explore your customers’ interests and how and where to get content feeding those interests.
  • We will walk through practice posts written to encourage engagement.
  • Managing time spent on the platform, and how to keep it from become a giant time suck.
  • Leave with worksheets for post planning and measurement

This is a small group session so if you are having trouble putting your goal into words you’ll get help from the crowd nailing it down.

The session is in Wilmington, Delaware at Brandywine Executive Center. It’s located just north of I-95 and Rt 202. Cost of the session is $20. I wanted to keep the price down so it would fit into as many budgets as possible.  The boardroom we’ll be in has limited seating. At the moment there are 15 spots left. So if you know someone who is “wandering around” in social media, feel free to forward this to them. By the end of the session, they will be clear on the direction they are going.

Here’s the registration link. Hope to see you there!



Gratefulness Today June 29, 2008

Filed under: School — Carla Bobka @ 8:42 pm
  1. Homemade Ice Cream
  2. Classmates
  3. Good Teachers
  4. Church
  5. Fresh Fruit

Penalty Work and Old Friends June 24, 2008

Filed under: Ideas,Leadership,Learnings,School — Carla Bobka @ 12:58 pm

I missed class last week.  My oldest friend, from Kindergarten came to visit on her way home from a trip to New Hampshire.  Her daughter and 3 grandkids were with her.   It was wonderful.  It is unbelievable that Mandy has grandchildren and my kids are in elementary school.  Life is full of different paths.

But, I struggled with missing school.  Her arrival and departure directly overlapped school, so I had to make a choice.  I went with what I could not recreate.  The EMBA office sent me DVDs of each class.  Each morning while I exercise I watch them.  I also take our portable DVD in the car so I can listen while I drive between customer meetings.  The experience has actually been great.  Exercise is more enjoyable while I listen to Terry Nance or Tim Monahan.  Going forward, I want DVDs of each class.

So, because I missed Leadership, there is penalty work.  Yes, that seems contradictory for a Leadership class being taken by adults who are spending +$80k.  I is clear our professor doesn’t trust us.  Mentally, I have renamed the class “Management”.

My penalty assignment for Chapter 3-everyday for 7 days make a list of 5 things you are grateful for.  Does the exercise change your overall mood and outlook?

Today’s list:

  1. Greg
  2. Maggie
  3. Paige
  4. Oppty to speak at the New Hire session today-my intention for this meeting is have the new Account Managers understand they need to create value in the eyes of our customers, and to help them understand how to do that.
  5. Oppty to meet the candidate for Assoc. Director of EMBA -my intention for this meeting is for her to know that the program will be a reflection of me for it’s lifetime.

So Many Things-So Little Time to Blog May 23, 2008

Filed under: Learnings,Life in General,School,Uncategorized — Carla Bobka @ 6:19 pm

Things that have been happening:

  1. Trip to Vietnam and Bangkok for Villanova-gas will never come down, an engine can transform a family from poverty to middle class; Maggie lost another tooth; Uncle Bob died
  2. Sample Wiki for one of my customers-great solution for sharing day to day processes across geographies
  3. New Customers to  My Book-lots to sort out, problems to resolve
  4. Finished Spring Module of School-got an A in Value Creation Thru Technology
  5. Started reading for Summer Module
  6. Got new Learning Cell assignments-great group, again
  7. Registered on Facebook-I never thought I would do that, but it’s really fun
  8. Registered White Clay Financial as company name-more to come on that later
  9. Found a cool website w/ stats on who blogs

We are heading to the shore for the weekend.  The weather should be great.



Value Creation Thru Technology April 7, 2008

Filed under: Ideas,School — Carla Bobka @ 2:24 am

Friday I had class again.  My learning cell’s presentation on how to apply new technology tools to an existing business model was one of the deliverables.  The Accountabilabuddies topic was my company.   We looked an the strategic implications of adoption of a number of techonologies to our current business model.  As well as how to use other techologies from a tactical perspective to increase customer value.  Since the 2nd class, my head has been exploding with ideas to apply the technologies we’ve learned about to my company.  It has been amazing to get this excited about technology.  Let me explain that I have no idea how most technology works.  But, I’ve discovered I am pretty good at figuring out what it can do to help you.  This class at Villanova has been transformative. 

The presentation itself went well.  My learning cell contributed to the overall content, but Steve (professor) doesn’t like polish parades of presenters, so Brian and I did the entire presentation.  We elicited a great deal of discussion in the strategic portion.  So many questions/comments from Steve, that I actually had to cut him off, so I could continue.  Our plan was to spend 10 minutes on strategic topics and 20 on tactical.  At the 20 minute mark in the presentation, we still weren’t finished with Strategic.  The discussion was great and I am sure will contribute to our overall grade.  On Tuesday night, I had cut about 15 slides and 4 topics.  It was just too much content for 30 minutes.   Maybe I should have cut more.

As part of the tactical portion, Brian developed a Wiki for us.  He presented that portion, adding content and conversation threads in the moment.  The reception from the class was wonderful.  There are so many ways to use the Wiki:  to gather ideas in a central place so you can use the information when it becomes important.  It builds community among users, keeps a conversation together, rather than spread across several peoples inboxes, and allows people to participate on thier own schedule.  The concept is somewhat similar to using SharePoint or a HomePage, but is better because it can be is dynamic.  There is not just 1 webmaster and many viewers, all participants can contribute.  The rest of class were excited about it and the ease of use.  When Brian finished, it seemed like a natural closing point, so he wrapped it up.  We still hadn’t discussed Business Intelligence, but that’s alright.  Steve will see it when I send him the PowerPoint.

Here are a few ideas on wiki use: 

  • Policy creation discussion
  • Policy impact:  capture input on how it is impacting the business, to be taken into account when it is revised, or to initiate revision
  • Customer management across geographies: particularly for documents and instructions that don’t have a place in any other application like your inventory management system or CRM system; capture and share successes and lessons learned across local geographies to stimulate cross selling in other portions of the customer’s operation; disseminate Best Practices and customer SLAs; post documents in a single location

I think Wiki is the new killer app in relationship management across large organizations.  It’s amazing that it is so low cost, and can build so much value for both our organization and the customer.  I’m going to build one tomorrow for one of my largest customers.  We service them across 5 districts, Maine to Florida.  A normal month consists of more than 2000 trips to thier locations. Of course security is the first question, it has to be front of mind.  The wiki will be private, so only those I invite can access it.  I can consolidate a number of documents in a single location.  Whenever a new local account manager is hired or newly assigned to the account, they will have a single stop to get up to speed on what the customer expects and how to service them day to day.  I can’t wait to get started on it!