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Appreciating the Moment

02 Jun
Appreciating the moment

Evelynn Ratcliffe, CM, Partner at Alair Homes Forest Hill Toronto, discusses staying ahead of the curve, unique challenges in marketing, developing a growth mindset and appreciating the moment.

Distinguishing Dedication

The Chartered Marketer (CM) designation is nationally recognized, signifies credibility and professionalism and helps marketers stand out in a competitive job market. Just as a hobbyist is not an entrepreneur, a bookkeeper is not an accountant, a decorator is not an architect, and a paralegal is not a lawyer, the CM designation distinguishes those dedicated to learning, studying, and applying themselves to various tactical and strategic marketing endeavours.

Pulse vs Psyche

When I was growing up, Saturday morning cartoons were sandwiched between commercials for toys and games in bright gender-specific colours. Toys marketed to girls were dull and unimaginative, while those marketed to boys were interesting and engaging. At an early age, I realized that marketing was the center of everything. If the economy was the nation’s pulse, marketing was its psyche. Marketing weaves our desires, goals, and values while exposing our insecurities. It can enable and empower or narrow one’s field of view by reinforcing unhealthy social norms.

Connecting and Building

Marketing is a powerful tool that can change how we see ourselves and the world. While it can inspire us to reach our highest potential, consumers must pay attention to the message and question whether it aligns with their values. Marketing is about more than selling a product or service. It’s about connecting with people and building relationships based on mutual trust. By taking the time to understand the needs and desires of the audience, we can speak to them authentically and relevantly. Building a marketing career permits me to impact culture and perspective ethically and responsibly as I strive to create a better world for future generations.
Appreciating the Moment


Ahead of the Curve

Marketing is a dynamic field that’s constantly evolving. It reflects the culture and perspective of a nation. As mindsets change and grow, marketing adapts and responds with the appropriate language, tactics and strategies. However, marketing is not purely reactive. It’s also an opportunity to help shape perspectives. Through thoughtful and intentional messaging, marketers can challenge social norms, promote diversity and inclusion, and inspire positive change. Successful marketers understand they sell more than just a product or service. They are creating a narrative that resonates with their audience and speaks to their values and aspirations. They must be attuned to the cultural and social shifts around them and be willing to take risks and innovate to stay ahead of the curve.

Five Unique Challenges

There are several challenges unique to the marketing profession.

Rapidly changing landscape: Marketing is constantly evolving due to technological advancements and changes in consumer behaviour. Marketers stay ahead of the curve by embracing new technologies and techniques, continuing to learn, and adapting strategies accordingly.

Balancing creativity and data: While creativity is essential for compelling campaigns, data is just as important. Data helps measure a campaign’s success and make informed decisions about future strategies. To succeed, marketers must find the balance between data-driven decision-making and creativity.

Meeting customer expectations: Consumers have high expectations when it comes to marketing. They expect personalized experiences, relevant content, and seamless interactions across multiple channels. Meeting these expectations requires a deep understanding of the consumer journey and a commitment to delivering value at every touchpoint.

Measuring ROI: Proving a marketing campaign’s return on investment (ROI) can be challenging because it’s often viewed as an expense rather than an investment. Marketers need to use metrics that aligned with business goals and communicate the value of marketing initiatives in a way that resonates with stakeholders.

Managing reputation: In today’s digital age, a company’s reputation can quickly tarnish by negative online reviews, social media posts, or news articles. Marketers need to be proactive in managing their brand’s reputation and responding to negative feedback promptly and effectively.

Overall, the marketing profession is complex and multifaceted, and requires a diverse set of skills and expertise to navigate successfully.

Growth Mindset

While investing in my professional development, participating in online communities, experimenting with new technologies and platforms, and subscribing to thought leaders, my favourite way to stay current is to maintain a diverse network. I became a marketer to build connections and better understand those around me. It starts with a growth mindset and openness to new ideas and perspectives. I challenge my assumptions and biases to evolve and seek new experiences and learning opportunities to grow.

From What to Why

Marketing has undergone significant changes since I joined the profession more than two decades ago. One noticeable shift is switching focus from the what to emphasizing the why. Today’s consumer is less interested in the benefits and what a product or service does and more concerned with what it represents. In other words, marketing is no longer just about selling a product or service; it’s about selling a vision and values that resonate with consumers. This shift in focus has challenged marketers to think beyond the features and benefits of products or services and consider the bigger picture of what a brand represents.

Strategies and Goals

Most of the challenges I’ve faced in my career have stemmed from misunderstanding the value marketing brings. Senior executives and data-driven clients may struggle to grasp a marketing campaign’s long-term impact and value if it hasn’t produced immediate results. While it can be challenging to communicate the potential benefits of campaigns that generate goodwill or brand recognition, I’ve learned the importance of aligning strategies with specific goals and prioritizing delivery of tangible results. Focusing on measurable outcomes first makes it easier to demonstrate the value of marketing efforts and gain stakeholders’ buy-in for longer-term initiatives.

Appreciating the Moment

While it isn’t easy to choose one defining moment in my marketing career, one project that stands out was my work on a massive 243-acre development.

Appreciating the momentI had to create a sense of community years before the development would be completed, build goodwill with the surrounding neighbourhoods, and manage heavy traffic delays caused by construction. The original construction hoarding, covered in the builder’s logos, enraged commuters and failed to foster a sense of community. I proposed redesigning the hoarding as an outdoor art installation featuring the work of 20 local artists, each depicting their vision of what the development meant to them. The campaign was a tremendous success, engaging deeply with the community, celebrating local artists, and inviting commuters to pause and appreciate the moment.

Evelynn Ratcliffe, CM
Partner, Alair Homes Forest Hill Toronto