Idea Mensch Interview
This interview was originally published by IdeaMensch on April 29, 2013 “Stephen Monaco – Integrated Marketer, Author and Speaker.”
Stephen Monaco is an integrated marketing expert, thought leader, innovator, author, and speaker. As a marketing consultant and social media strategist, Monaco advises executives on driving global strategies and leveraging digital media to effectively realize business goals. He welcomes anyone to reach out to him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the marketing launch for my new book on social media strategy and marketing, preparing for public speaking engagements, and doing a few things for clients.
What does your typical day look like?
I’m a night owl, so my day starts around 10:30 a.m. I work until 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. I work from my home office, and my day consists of many phone calls and emails, as well as engaging fans and followers on social networks. I spend most of my day in front of a computer.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring them to life simply by beginning the execution process. If bringing an idea to fruition requires the skill sets of others, I have a posse of go-to people I’ve been working with for years.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Social media monitoring is exciting to me because the professional-grade versions of this enabling technology allow companies to better understand consumer sentiment. They can then develop Voice of the Customer (VOC) initiatives so they can truly engage consumers in meaningful dialogues that will help these companies listen and learn.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The summer I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, I worked for minimum wage inside one of those long, semi-automated carwashes where customers stay inside their vehicles while they’re guided through the wash on a rail system. It was over 100 degrees inside the building with 100 percent humidity. It was miserable. I learned that when you have no experience, you have to start on the bottom rung and prove yourself until there’s an opportunity to better your situation. After a few weeks, I moved up one rung to the full-service gas pumps outside, where it was only 95 degree with 95 percent humidity.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had a great deal of business success over the last few decades, and much of that success came from experience gained and lessons learned along the way. The mistakes I made provided great learning experiences that caused me to adapt and adjust. It stings when you make a mistake. That pain helped me learn my lessons well, and they helped me grow and develop as an individual and as a businessperson.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Work hard and follow your passion!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The continuous creation of value is imperative for long-term business success — and to maintain relevance in the marketplace. Irrelevance equals extinction. Constantly find new ways to innovate; you may be pleasantly surprised to learn how many great ideas come from customers if you take the time to listen to them and understand what they value.
Tell us a secret.
I don’t really have any secrets; my life is an open book. I’ll share anything but my Social Security number!
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
I love the social media monitoring/listening platform software tools offered by Spiral16.
Google+ Hangouts is a favorite because it allows face-to-face interaction with groups of people. Much of what is communicated during discussions amongst people is nonverbal, and Hangouts are a great way to interact remotely and still be able to see facial expressions, body language, and other subtle nuances that can’t be seen via phone calls, email, and text messages.
HootSuite is a great tool because it allows me to provide relevant tweets throughout the day to those who follow me on Twitter, while saving me a lot of time.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’d recommend “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-Smart Executive.” Even though the late Mark McCormack wrote this book in 1986, it contains numerous valuable business tips that are still pertinent today for people in most any business.
What’s on your playlist?
My brother and I used to own a record store together, so I have over a thousand albums and about 3,500 CDs. My playlist has over 5,000 songs, the vast majority of which are the guitar-oriented rock-and-roll I grew up on in the ‘70s — the music now referred to as classic rock.
If you weren’t working on your current profession, what would you be doing?
I’ve been working in marketing since my first real job after college at Warner Bros. Television in Burbank. Marketing, social media strategy and marketing, and social business transformation are my passions. I can’t see myself working in any other area.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Each person should follow the three people who provide valuable content that’s timely and relevant to them and their life situations.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laughed out loud last night watching stand-up comedy on TV with my son. I laugh out loud really hard all the time, almost daily. To me, few things beat a really hard belly laugh. I enjoy humor and look for it in all aspects of everyday life, and I don’t take life so seriously that I can’t poke fun at myself. Many things cause me to laugh out loud. Jokes I receive via email, memes on Google+ and Facebook, comedy movies, stand-up comedians, etc., all get me to laugh hard.
Who is your hero?
No one particular person is my hero; rather, I admire hundreds of thousands of nameless, unsung heroes. My heroes are people everywhere who give their all and challenge the status quo in all aspects of life to be the very best parents they can be for their children; those who do their very best in their civilian or military jobs and collaborate as part of a team; and the forward-thinking individuals who come up with new products, services, processes, and technologies that usurp what was previously considered “state of the art,” especially when the result is a new company that creates new jobs — or even a new industry niche that creates thousands of jobs. My heroes refuse to accept mediocrity or embrace complacency, and they’re always looking for ways to improve and develop personally. They are kind to people around them.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your professional life?
I’m proud of taking a raw start up company with no funding or outside investors and bootstrapping it to achieve $50 million in annual revenue. Building a global brand with 70 percent market share in the process was a wonderful time, as was grooming the company for acquisition. Forty consecutive quarters of profitable growth wasn’t a blip. Competing directly against Microsoft in the same category niche and watching them make a strategic product withdrawal from the market was exhilarating. Being retained by Edelman Public Relations Worldwide was exciting. In addition, being a trusted individual who companies turn to for help with strategy, marketing, and transforming into social businesses is a real honor for me.
What are you most grateful for in your personal life?
I value the opportunity to be the very best husband and parent I can possibly be. Being a parent is the single most gratifying experience of my life, and it’s a job I take extremely seriously. For Michele and me, there is no greater responsibility than raising children and doing everything possible to prepare them for life so they are well-equipped to soar when they fly from the proverbial nest.