Author Archives: Joe Sharkey

So, Where Have You Been?

It’s been a while since we’ve last talked. I’ve been a little busy with the holidays and my new position, so I figured I’ve give you an update on what has transpired thus far.

I started right before Christmas [talk about a great present]. I have a great office full of young, energetic, driven people. Everyone has a very laid back feel, all the while truly working their tails off. I’ve really found the culture and atmosphere invigorating. Consistently, I’ll find myself looking at the clock and being shocked at how much time has gone by in the day. This feeling is entirely contrary to my experiences in the past. I’m not bored, I’m not trying to figure out something to do, rather I’m being challenged on a daily basis to solve the puzzle that is how Facebook fits into the marketing mix of small businesses.


It helps that they hooked me up with a bunch of fun toys which keep me motivated. I truly am all Mac’ed out now. I really enjoy the fact that the company wants me to have the most cutting edge tools to do my job at the highest level. The company as a whole has a lot of interesting things coming down the pipeline and I’m pumped for the challenges that lie ahead!



1st Day of my Grown up…..

Today was my very first day of a legitimate job. Now, I’ve been saying it’s my first grown up job, but I’ve decided playing around on Facebook isn’t the most grown up thing. FINE BY ME!

I woke up to the sound of elephants above my head. It was 15 minutes before my alarm, but for once I was okay with it. I really felt like it was Christmas morning and I was about to rush down and open all my presents. I got ready and was out the door by 7:45am [haven’t seen that time in a little while]. I have to commute now, it’s about 45 mins, an hour in traffic.

I walked into my new office and I immediately felt like home. They had my workstation all set up and I was welcomed in as a part of the team immediately. This is the beauty of a small company. Everyone knows everyone and there is a very familial atmosphere.

The day was very much like syllabus day in college. There’s a lot of paperwork that can get tedious and boring, but I had all kinds of adrenaline and excitement to keep me going strong without ever feeling like the day got long. I played around on my new computer to get it all setup and then spent the rest of the day inculcating myself with everything GrowthWeaver.

It was a fantastic day, and I can’t wait to get back tomorrow morning!


I’m writing today with great news! Not only did I find a job, but it is a position right in my wheelhouse. I have accepted a job offer from GrowthWeaver as a Digital Marketing Consultant. I will be a client liaison, managing what ever digital marketing needs they may have, but primarily focusing on Facebook. It’s a relatively young company in every sense of the word. My coworkers are young, I’d say in their mid to late twenties, and the company is a year and a half.

I’m thrilled to be joining this team and making an immediate impact. It is a very exciting time in my life, and I’m looking forward to all the new challenges it presents.

As for the direction of this blog… Right now I really don’t know what I’ll do. I plan on continuing to write because I’ve found it to be a great creative outlet; however, I’m not sure what content I’ll be talking about. Who knows, maybe it will be a simple forum for me to vent, spill my guts, or just put pen to paper [do people do that anymore?].

I appreciate all of you readers and I look forward to entertaining you in the future.


Customers and their Requirements

This post was meant for yesterday.

Yesterday, I read a fantastic article which I felt speaks a bit to what I was talking about a few days ago. This article from the {grow} blog is a really interesting take on the prevailing understanding that the customer is always right.

The article can be found by clicking [or touching] ———> here

I found this blog through twitter and following @markschaefer. It always has great ideas and general thoughts about marketing and social media. There are some really great posts which are more than worthwhile.


Practice… We’re Talking About Practice?

Today, I’m taking stock of all my recent interviews. I’ve had a bunch lately, whether they be on the phone or in person, and I feel I’m getting much better at them. Yes, I’m talking about practice. When I first started seriously job hunting, I felt anxious before every interview. I would get a little sweaty, my hands would go cold, and I’d get the shakes a bit. I felt this was pretty standard for going into something as important as an interview. I’m sure my symptoms were clearly evident and it could have been a factor in why was passed over in the beginning; however, now I don’t have those traits. I’m much more composed and put together. On top of not exhibiting nerves, I feel excited to go in and talk with people [this could be from the alone time I have now, but I think it’s because I’m genuinely excited about the company I could be potentially working for].

Practice is a key aspect to getting a job. It sucks, to put it bluntly, but it is a part of the process in earning gainful employment. Now, earning employment is different than having it handed to you on a silver platter. I understand networking is crucial in the process and that is fine, but what I’m talking about is the son or daughter of a senior level exec who is gifted a position because of their parents position. That is frustrating, but on the other hand it is invigorating! I know I have amazing ideas to bring to the table, and if I have to work a little harder than someone else… bring it on.

I feel all my interviews have gone well as of late. I have three more coming up the end of this week and the beginning of the next and I’m pumped. I can’t wait to really demonstrate what a solid, enthusiastic addition I’d be to a team.



The Challenge: Implementation

Today, we shall continue our voyage into my attempt at targeting older demographics to bolster Apple iPad 2 sales. In the first installment we began to understand our customers. They are old men who aren’t technologically savvy.

Now, we’ve established a framework for how the commercial’s will look and what changes I’d make. This brings us to the implementation of the campaign.

The commercials will be slotted to appear during programs the older demographic [60-70 years old] frequently watches. Based on solely personal experience I feel the news is an incredible place to start. Much of the younger generations don’t watch the evening news simply out of the fact we get our information elsewhere [social media, online news, etc.], yet the older demographics are more likely to tune in because it is what they have always done. We, as humans, are creatures of habits. Not only do we stick with what works, but we will even stick to something that doesn’t just because we’re comfortable with it. That said, this is the exact issue marketing to this demographic presents.

My plan would be to slowly integrate the ad campaign into the nightly news time slots [4pm-6pm]. From there, I would continue my research and see if maybe day-time television would be a road to take [This is where some serious research would have to be done in collaboration with the major networks to truly understand where my audience watches]. However, with regard to the news slots, I would slowly increase the frequency of the revamped commercials demonstrating the feasibility of older people using the iPad 2 to enrich their lives. Not only would this then inform the right target market, but it would also remove some of the anxiety new technology often creates innately.


Next, on our journey through my marketing campaign, I’m going to come up with a commercial. Establish the setting, get the gist of what the actors will say, and paint a verbal picture of what the targeted audience will see.


Honesty is the Best Policy

Now, I tend to be a brutally honest person [hence the subtitle of the blog]. Although it may be cliche to adhere to such a policy, I feel the world would be better off if more subscribed to it. Not only would you not have to worry if people were shooting you straight, but it’d make life a lot less stressful. Think back to all the times you’ve had an elephant in the room with you. Not only is that elephant 24,000 lbs, but it creates an immense amount of stink. Having to share a small room with something like that is a true pain and yet, people still live with that burden.

I, by no means, am not a saint, but I try to be as honest as I possibly can. I’ve run into trouble and don’t want to have to deal with that ever again. As a result of that experience, I’ve become a much better person. I tell the truth, and I expect the truth. Despite my opinion on the subject, I know others are not as forthright as I am, thus I’m not naive enough to believe everything I’m told. Regardless, it’s how I have decided to live my life and I feel it’s working out for me.

I understand business does not follow this mantra. There is a lot of looking the other way, tweaking the truth, and little white lies. I have yet to truly encounter these aspects of business, as a result of my being in only entry level jobs, but I am expecting it in the future. I know there are plenty of ethically sound companies who truly put forth the effort to be honest; however, just like the squeaky wheel gets the oil, the companies who lack integrity get the attention. It is disappointing to me that this is how life is.

Regardless of how it is, how society is structured, I don’t plan on bending. It may hold me back because I’m unwilling to compromise my character, but I feel the right company will see that as a positive attribute they want their people to have. I’ll wind up succeeding in an organization espousing comparable values, contributing in a meaningful way to achieve our goals.

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.

— Tennessee Williams


Cute Ad Campaign

Post graduation, I feel I’ve become infatuated with everything marketing. I don’t ignore advertising any more, I look for it. This may bring out my inner nerd, but I enjoy it. Whether it be walking down the street, listening to the radio, or watching TV, I love ads [about the only ones I can’t stand are the ones on words with friends]. Lately, I’ve found a campaign that really strikes a chord with me.

The Cuties campaign very light and bright, but it is simple. Here is a taste of what they are doing to try and get the world to buy Cuties. I feel this is one of the most complete ads in recent memory. After hearing this spot a few times, I found myself repeating the tagline, “Kids love Cuties because Cuties are made for kids” over and over trying to match the innocent, sweet voice of the narrator. All the commercial consists of is two kids sitting eating Cuties. No fancy photography, not special effects, nothing. The words of the narrator seem so pure because of how innocent she sounds. Everything in this commercial is working together, pulling on heartstrings [aka ethos] and making you want to either give that experience to a child, or relive your own childhood by eating a cutie [who doesn’t remember getting covered in cutie juice and having your hands smell fantastic for the rest of the day?].

The campaign is well rounded, pulling on emotions, driving the consumer to feel they need this product. They highlight the benefits of the product: sweet, seedless, EZ peel. It has a safe feeling which right now is difficult to feel in our current economic times. Whoever said sex sells was smart, but that method tends to have a guiltiness to it. I just feel wonderful after watching a commercial like this, kids/innocence sell.


The Challenge: Marketing to both Happy and Grumpy

Yesterday, I talked a little bit about the trails and tribulations of having to market a product to a wide spectrum of people. Today, I’m going to begin to tackle a hypothetical project I’ve created for myself.

The Challenge:
  • Take the Apple iPad 2 [one of my favorite products in the world right now] and market it to a cynic as well as an innocent, demonstrating its value.

I’m thinking this is going to be a very multifaceted plan, so it will take up a few blog posts. I won’t harp on this daily [that is unless there is an amazing amount of demand for me to continue]. I want mix it up, but I feel this is a good way to work through some of my ideas, putting them into theoretical practice.

Target Audience:

The two men from the restaurant. Both are in their mid-sixties, have ample buying power, and both are still working. They are each full of energy and enjoy being out and about whether it be for business or pleasure. Neither is very technologically savvy, nor are they planning to join techies any time soon. They both have grandchildren who are all over the newest technology, but the two gentlemen have no interest. Just as in the restaurant, one is open to conversation–willing to take a minute to talk to someone, read something someone else has suggested, and enjoy time out in a public space with family. The second gentleman is more reserved. He doesn’t like to be bothered with frivolities, walks with purpose to avoid others, and always has a task to accomplish.

First Steps:

We now know who I’m going after. These two guys fit the bill of a supposedly hopeless situation from the stand point of getting them to buy new technology. However, they just don’t know how beneficial it can be. They aren’t informed as to how the iPad 2 can help them in their everyday life. Thus, how do I even start to inform these people about this amazing product. I want a new devotion to older demographics. All of Apple’s marketing seems to focus on young, hip people. People who are artsy, creatives, even hippies, but the ipad 2 spans greater demographics. I would implement a new campaign to build off the current ones in place. Using older actors in commercials would be a simple way to begin accomplishing my goal. The commercials would highlight the features [ie. pinch to zoom, multitasking gestures, facetime] in a way that would communicate the benefits an iPad 2 has for older people. Taking Apple’s advertising budget into account, adding a few more actors and having a few more spots would not break the bank.


The next installment will address when and how these commercials will be presented, and how I would go about implementing this idea.


Restauranting: The People Who Eat Out

While I’ve been job hunting, I’ve been paying the bills with a gig at a breakfast restaurant. I worked there in high school, and the GM was a server back then and was gracious enough to hire me on. While I’m thankful for the income and the ability to pay my bills, working in a restaurant is incredible motivation to get a real job [I don’t mean to demean it, but I’d rather be doing something else]. Despite this, it is highly entertaining.

I spend a lot of time at the front of the restaurant, and I get to see all the different types of people walking in and out. Yesterday, I found myself laughing at the innocence of the elderly, as well as amazed at the rudeness of people. All the while, I’m thinking to myself…”I have to market products/services that could potentially cover this spectrum?” First, the old man who made me laugh simply responded to my wishing him a good day with “Take care of your health.” Now, the response normally is ‘you too’ [see Brian Regan], however, his response gave me pause. I’m sure he was just struggling to come up with the stereotypical, appropriate response, but I felt he was genuine. Thus, there are people who will openly listen to what you have to say, and give a response either positively or negatively. Basically, these people could be classified as well-intentioned–at least superficially. It is easy to market to this demographic because you can easily ensnare them, and get your message across without much of a barrier. Wonderful! However, the other group is a little tougher.

An apt portrayal of the customers.

The second person did not enjoy his time at the restaurant and his response to how was everything today was, “We won’t be back, does that answer your question?” I was a bit taken aback. I dug a little more to find the root of the issue and what it boiled down to was a miscommunication. Think of the telephone game you played back in grade school. The message gets jumbled the more times it is re-communicated. The server didn’t quite get it, the kitchen tweaked it more, and the end result was an unhappy customer. Instead of understanding it wasn’t necessarily the end of the world [like he made it sound] he became irate, demanded things, and got grumpy. This person is a little more difficult to market too, unless of course you’re trying to sell Oscar the Grouch. They may filter information, avoid it, or totally disregard it–much higher barriers to mindshare.

If you can market something upbeat, in your face, and exciting to a grinch, I feel you are well on your way to becoming a true marketing guru.


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