Facing the Realities of Life

What happens when you fall off a roof?

I was fortunate to start Zephoria over 20 years ago through a partnership with one of the fastest-growing ad agencies in Upstate New York.  Together we worked on some amazing projects for many start-ups and established companies. However, the Zephoria journey even before with the same commitment of helping companies build more traffic with better results.  This was done with a commitment to strategic search engine marketing, innovative web development, and accountable web development.  So whether it was a large pharmaceutical company, historical educational institution like Georgetown University or a start-up company just getting started, we were committed to those same ideals.

Throughout the history of Zephoria I was committed to keeping a positive attitude and helping companies reach their full-potential as well as working with team members to reach their goals.  This meant looking at the positive side of life and knowing that they always had someone “in their corner” who believed in them and who would help them through the challenges of life.  I believed that life is more than business.  It was helping people and working together and the business would take care of itself.

Living in Rochester, New York I came face-to-face with not just a few inches of snow, but feet of snow.  Snow that was so deep that at times you had to shovel it off your roof. Regretfully, I had the bright idea of shoveling this snow, which led me to falling off the roof, breaking my shoulder and falling on my head.  This blow to my head more than a decade ago has led to a number of challenges of the years, and last year was the worst.  This culminated in having brain surgery and months of recuperation that continues to this day.  Many of you have experienced the impact and to you, I apologize.  Most of all, I hate the impact it has had on those closest to me.

What this has taught me…

Three marketing truths that we must all face.

  1. Change happens.  No matter how hard we work or what we do we must accept that change has happened or will happen to our industry.  This means we must keep an eye on the changes happening in our industry, adapt, and continue to change to meet how the industry is changing.  Whether it is AI Bots being used by partners who are being used by AI Bots to siphon customers we must understand AI is changing our industries and we must adapt.  Just like I tried to ignore the realities of change in my personal life due to my fall, hard work is not enough to overcome change alone.
  2. We must adapt.  This is the hardest for me.  I work hard and be my best, but there are times we must adapt and just like number one we must change.  For me, it was a meeting at Disney with my largest client.  I was sharing some recent story and my dearest customers and friends just gave me this empty stare.  It was the stare that you get when you’re not making sense.  That is when it hit me.  Despite my hard work, giving it my best, reading in my industry, and giving it my best, I had to accept I had to adapt to a new reality.  I had changed.  Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned that oftentimes the marketplace changes far faster than the client.  In fact, the client usually is the last to know despite what you try to share.  So what does adapting look like?  This is what I’ve learned.  It doesn’t always have to mean firing the person, but perhaps it means a change in role, a movement to a coaching role.  Generally, a long-term vendor knows more about some elements of the company and, therefore, can help the company grow in new ways, avoid pitfalls, and also have a better understanding what is happening within the industry.  Sadly, the need to adapt happens to nearly all of us and therefore it can be a healthy and positive change versus a negative adjustment.
  3. Data-Driven Changes.  What most employees don’t realize and most organizations haven’t begun to track is that we all have data that allows us to keep track of the health and changes happening within an organization.  For example, Google Looker Studio gives you insights into the health of a business way ahead of the data that they tend to track.  What I hear from many marketing employees is the shock of the implications of what this means when their employer begins to become a data-driven company and how this totally changes the institutional framework of the business.  For example, what are the implications of sudden spikes in search traffic?  Is this due to a surge in social media, paid search, or commenting on social media?  If you ran a business you would want to know and if you are not asking these questions, eventually, someone will probe that these questions should be asked.


What happened when I fell off a roof

I’ll skip the medical implications, but I will tell you that there are times when things happen that can’t be fixed through hard work, a pill, or physical therapy alone.  This has been the most difficult part.  I am now disabled which means life has changed in a way I never could have imagined.   This has so many meanings and the implications are beyond description and I am still continuing to learn what that means. I simply can’t work the way I did, but I can now explore volunteering at the local hospital ER to help others who were like me. I also am learning that our suffering and challenges can help us help others beyond our wildest imagination.  So falling off the roof forever changed my life, career, and future prospects.  I live with daily, excruciating pain, but I know that is nothing like those that are suffering far worse such as the earthquakes.  Lastly, it makes me want to help you see the digital marketing observations that I’ve learned as well as working through your challenges to help others.