Monthly Archives: November 2011

Branding: Bah humbug or Beautiful

I read an article this morning about the importance of branding [via @AndrewMackayBP]. The Tentblogger brought up some interesting points which I love about marketing.

I won’t go into the nitty gritty of the article, but my favorite part was about evangelizing for a brand. I feel like this is the ultimate goal for marketing. A marketer starts with a product. Then they have to find a way to demonstrate why the consumer should by theirs as opposed to another. From there, marketing forks into a billion different avenues to accomplish their communication. Companies themselves have a lot less to lose when it comes to branding. So what if their company doesn’t make it and they have to find new products and establish new strategies, failing at a personal brand has much steeper implications.

Maybe Prince took the idea of personal branding a bit too seriously

A personal brand showcases everything about a person. If I suck initially, I have to work 10 times harder to reinvent myself into something positive. However, if I hit it right on the nose, develop a solid network, and turn that network into fanatics…well then now we’re talking. Just as it is beneficial for a company to have raving fans continually talking about your products, it is great to have people willing to go to bat for you and speak well on your behalf. Throughout my job hunt I’ve been told, “it’s all about who you know, not what you know,” branding is a key and essential part of developing a network to aide the arduous search.

I’m not sure if I want to come up with a logo for myself just yet, but I feel this blog is a small method to distinguish myself from competition, and at the very least, provide a forum to communicate with people who are interested in the same things as me.

-J


Cyber Monday = FANTASTIC

Times are tough. Supposedly everyone is struggling. Thus, we have all become deal hunters. Now, this isn’t just a result of hard times; rather, the retailers have breed some of our seek and destroy approach to shopping. I’m all for it. I enjoyed Black Friday and all the crazies it brought out [myself included] but I think I enjoyed Cyber Monday more.

Last night, while my girlfriend was shopping [in real life] I was on my iPhone shopping the Cyber Monday deals. That took a little bit of focus because walking and searching at the same time can be a dangerous prospect, but I accomplished my objective. I then proceeded to drive home, plop down on the couch, and finish my Christmas shopping. It took around an hour and a half to complete, and I only had to pay shipping for one item, and I don’t think I bought anything that wasn’t 50% discounted or more.

When I did come across something at full price, I ignored it and moved onto the next. I knew there was a comparable product, cheaper. Now, this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do from a retail stand point. You train your customers to expect deals. Although I’m not normally for this, Cyber Monday has other benefits outweighing the costs incurred by severe discounting.

It builds tradition. Similar to how McDonald’s works their Monopoly game. People have come to expect it and they revel in the tradition of the game. It rolls around every year and they participate. McDonald’s doesn’t have to do any extra marketing or even change their collateral. It brings people in and keeps them coming back.

Cyber Monday functions in the same regard and gets customers excited about spending money. They feel they are saving money, but in all reality, they still have to buy your product.

-J


Passion: Phonics, Photos, Pluckin’

I’ve returned from my feast-filled hiatus with high hopes and wishful thinking. I’m already beginning to compose my list for Santa [bet you can’t guess what I’m asking the big man for!]. Regardless, the time spent with those I care deeply about was a fantastic way to recharge the batteries and get back on the hunt.

Throughout the weekend, my family was very good about avoiding deep, involved conversation about my future. I appreciated this. It weighs enough on my mind to where if they would have harped on me, it probably would have made for a very grumpy Joe. Instead, there was a lot of talk of things I find very intriguing.

We spoke of writing, music, sports, photography, technology, and alcohol.

Now, I enjoy conversing about all of these, but I found a couple to be areas I’m professionally passionate about, specifically writing, music, and photography. They are all different aspects I’d love to incorporate in my everyday grind [as a means to remove the ‘grind’ aspect]. All three have one thing in common: creating. I’m in control–deciding what goes where, how something sounds, or what something looks like. Regardless, I know I can find ways to tether them to my job hunt, and eventually gainful employment.

I guess I’m different than a lot of people [generalizing I know] but I’m not about to settle just for a paycheck. Even though this may put me at a disadvantage at first, from a bird’s eye view I’m sitting as pretty as a frozen dew drop on a pine needle.

-J


Hunting during the Holidays: Hurtful or Helpful?

As I continue my job hunt into some of my favorite times of the year, I’ve found available opportunities are less frequent than early October. This isn’t a time to pack it in and hibernate until Jan 1, 2012. Rather, this is a chance to work on some other things that will help you in the hunt. Obviously, if there are less postings, you spend less time filling out applications and tailoring your resume. So, since you have more time…do more!

For example, go through your spreadsheet you’ve kept of all the countless jobs you’ve applied for [and if you haven’t done that go through your emails]. Do some followups. Who knows, maybe some of the candidates they hired over you the first go around didn’t quite work out. Reaching out after you may have been out of mind demonstrates you have your stuff together–making you more appealing as a new hire. Having the where withal to stick with a company after they shut you out the first time shows your perseverance.

On top of doing some reaching out, maybe it’s time to take another look at your resume. If you’ve been on the search for a little while, your resume could need some revamping. Now, I’m not saying take everything you were doing and throw it out the window, but think back to some of your interviews and dissect some of the interviewer’s comments. Are you not presenting something clearly, is it lacking uniqueness, does your resume not fit you and your personality? Little tweaks could be the last piece between you and the job of your dreams.

Lastly, take that extra time and do something good. Go volunteer. The holiday’s offer plenty of opportunities to help. Go check out a food bank, shelter, or even ask your neighbors if they need any help getting ready for company. At the very least, this last suggestion will get you out and about, interacting with others. Talking to people is a good thing, you know, that whole networking thing.

-J


The Best Part About Thanksgiving

Today marks the beginning of the week to my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. I know I’ve already talked about it before, so I won’t get into why it’s my favorite or why I think it should be your favorite too. Rather, I’ll talk about the other reasons why the week is so fantastic as well.

The primary reason, aside from food, I love Thanksgiving week, is the shopping. There is an unparalleled amount of participation in consumerism. Whether it be Black Friday or Cyber Monday, a ridiculous amount of people–regardless of their financial situation–will be out at the crack of dawn buying god knows what. I don’t purchase a lot on Black Friday, but I love watching everyone else.

Seeing all the crazies running around Best Buy at 5 AM is worth the price of admission. However, something that gives me pause are the in store displays. Is it even worth it to have those cardboard displays up, knowing all these nuts will be just grabbing your product and running to the next sale item. Maybe, instead of doing something fancy, simplify.

Although Cyber Monday isn’t necessarily simpler, it is a way to better invest budget. People are shopping online more and more nowadays. Making concerted efforts to ensure the online demographic is taken care of is a necessity. If this segment is neglected, there is the potential for considerable losses.

-J


Blast from the Past

Today, as I was manning my post at the front of a restaurant, I had three different people come in and try to sell me ad space. Now, if I were a manager, I would have loved to talk their ear off and really see what they had to offer; I only got to eavesdrop. There was two different types of mediums: radio and magazines. Now, I know I have been ranting a raving continuously about the future of marketing and how old, traditional methods are toast. However, hearing their pitches today–and going back to Marketing 101–I realize it would be naive to eliminate those tactics.

They have obviously worked for a very long time. People have used whatever means possible to get their word out. Whether that be hieroglyphs, pictographs, parchment, printing press, newspapers, billboards, or radio, we want others to know what we have to offer. So, why would you scrap what has worked?

I wouldn’t put all my money on one horse, and as such, I would continue to invest in some of the older techniques, as well as venturing into the unknown. Risk is a necessity of business, and without it, there would be no progress. History repeats itself, but it is smart to understand history isn’t simply cyclical. Rather, picture an ever growing positive curve, with another consistently oscillating as the former grows.

Moving forward, we as marketers must remain on the cutting edge, while not forgetting our past. That being said, I guess print, radio, and TV aren’t all that bad for getting the word out.

-J


Twitter: The Future of an Ad Agency?

I used to hate twitter. Actually, to be honest, I loathed it. Not only did I find it pointless, but I found it to be a nuisance. All I saw/heard about it was that people told you what they were doing, when they were doing it, no matter how menial the task. My opinion has since changed, but it took a bit of dedication and focus on my part.

Yesterday, I had a meeting [twitter-date??] with someone I started chatting with on twitter. His handle is @nateenderle if you want some sweet carhartt gear. We talked a lot about where the future of marketing is and some ideas we’ve had brewing. It was nice to sit and talk with someone who was as passionate about marketing as I am. One thing lead to another and we started talking about the possibility of remote ad agencies.

I see twitter as a forum for this to actually take place. Not only are there plenty of great minds consistently conversing, but–if you allow it–everything is searchable and public. Thus, it isn’t difficult to find people who have certain expertise. For instance, say I needed someone with great graphic design skills. I search #graphicdesign, or some similar combination, and I find all the tweeters, tweeting about graphic design. Pretty simple. Now, how does this create a remote ad agency? Well, once you find people you feel you can trust, you send them things to work on. They, in turn, have no need to leave where ever their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone is. There is no overhead, and your projects are being completed by someone with a real dedication to their craft.

Twitter has the ability to truly network individuals, connecting them in order to accomplish amazing things without leaving the comfort of their home–no matter where that may be. It has the real capabilities to break down barriers, create opportunity, as well as innovation. Just the idea of this gets me, like Dr. Jones in the Last Crusade, “Giddy as a school boy!”

-J


Nerding Out: Simplistic Thoughts on SEO

Yesterday’s comments on the Assessment post had me thinking about bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and how little I really, truly know about it. I get the general gist of it, but I don’t know how to do it for my own site effectively. Here is my understanding:

You have a website, domain name, content, everything is put together and ready for viewing. Next, a site like Google or Yahoo! ‘crawls’ everything and finds certain things to latch onto–keywords. From there, it has to rank the page based of relevancy and importance. The search engines then take that information, organize it based off the rankings, and present them upon request when a searchee types in a query.

I know this is a pretty ground level and basic understanding, but I’m still learning.

I want to be a marketer, and along the lines of what I was talking about yesterday, I need to be on the cutting edge. SEO is an integral part of marketing now, despite the potential qualms engineering a website to be high in the search results compared to actually putting out truly relevant content the searchee was looking for. I want someone to look at my blog over someone else’s because I feel is mine is better [human nature]. However, tweaking my posts, the code on the page, and using keywords to simply bolster my ratings without delivering on those pretenses seems crooked to me, and I won’t do it. Of course, there are plenty of people who are doing this consistently to get more attention. It reminds me of something my teachers in grade school continually said, “If you put the same effort into studying as you do cheating, you’d ace the exam.”

I feel this is along the same lines. People are trying to work the system to get their stuff up front, rather than finding what they really enjoy and talking a lot about it with like minded people to generate those high rankings. I know I still need to learn more, but we’re getting the ball rolling.

-J


Assessment

I’ve been blogging since mid-August, and things have been running fairly smoothly. A wide variety of people have visited, over 300 since the very, very beginning. Since I have turned this into a conversation about my thoughts on marketing and job hunting, about a little over 200 visitors have checked it out. First, thank you. Although I truly have no clue who is actually reading what I have to say, I hope it is pertinent, and at the very least entertaining. I feel I’m starting to develop my voice a bit and find a niche where I feel comfortable challenging norms, and informing others of my ideas.

With that said, I recently interviewed for a positing that would have been dealing with eCommerce. This digital space is a crucial part of marketing today, and I’m surprised how little I’d heard about it during college. It’s not like the Internet/shopping online is a new thing, but I’ve never really had any formal schooling on how to best utilize this space. Where are the universities and colleges on this front? There needs to be some kind of curriculum to train students to succeed in this realm. It is the future.

Combine this space with social media, and there is a totally different marketing mix than what today is still seen as traditional. When will terminology change to reflect how marketing happens today? I know terminology is just words we use to describe, but I feel it is crucial to adapt and evolve to better serve the next round of marketers. It’s not that I feel neglected; rather, it is I could have been better prepared for what marketing really is now. I know all the archaic methodology–a great thing to know and learn from–but I was not cutting edge as a result of my schooling, I became cutting edge through natural curiosity and a willingness to take it upon myself to learn.

-J


Dealing with Rejection

No one likes to be rejected. Not only is it disappointing, but it completely crushes any hope you had of obliterating the funk you’re in. I always get amped up after I interview–maybe this is a fault of mine [being optimistic]–but I know when I do well, so why not get excited?!

Now, after getting turned down, all is not lost. It may feel terrible and be disheartening, but there are positives to being shut down. First, you’ve gotten solid practice in dealing with the interview process. Second, it got you out of the house. Third, you have avoided an imperfect fit. If you aren’t picked for a job, there is something that didn’t quit work, whether it be the team wanted something different, you wouldn’t have gelled with others, or maybe someone was better than you [it’s not the end of the world]. Regardless, you’ve been saved some stress and misery.

If you’ve made a good impression, you then have 3-4 people who will go to bat for you the next time you apply to that company. Talk about a way to network! Even though there is a lack of instant gratification [something all too common now] the search for a job that fits requires patience and understanding. If you lack these, get another job, one to pay the bills, and then learn patience, learn to be better. Baby steps.

In the words of Jack Sparrow, “Take what ya can, give nothin back.”

-J


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