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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Holidays, The Benefits of Giving Back

With the holiday season upon us as well as the shopping season it is important for us and corporations to give back.  While for us that might mean one less present for the person who would receive it might mean getting a present.  Its a small sacrifice for many of us who are fortunate this season and such a huge impact on those who aren't.  You can always give back, not just during the holidays and the rewards are still plentiful.

What one person can do
A single individual can make a large impact this holiday season by giving a little bit, whether it is time, money, new/ used items you have no use for.  You can go ring a bell for the Salvation Army or volunteer for one of many different charities.  Right now there are numerous Toys for Tots toy drives and other charitable drives going on that are easy and convenient to donate to.  During this season one person can make a difference and a group can make an impact.

What a small business can do
A business also has the ability to give back.  Your place of business can be a drop off location for a toy or food.  You can have your own toy or food drive and allow your customers to give back as well.  The business can donate a percent of sales on a day to charity.  Or like Milwaukee's AJ Bombers which has a local "celebrity" bar tender every Friday night where that individual receives tips that go toward a charity of their choice.  This is a great way to give back to the community.  Another great example of always giving back is Teecycle.  One dollar of every shirt sold goes towards restoring urban rivers and trails.  I encourage all my readers to look into Teecycle and buy a shirt or 10.

What large corporations can do
Continue to give to charities and back to the community.  Most if not all corporations have a few charities they donate to and ways they contribute to community development. Some companies choose to publicize there donations while others keep silent.  I am fine with either approach, if you donate to charities your consumers could and should be aware of that.

The Benefits of Giving Back

Do you intend to give back this holiday season?  How do you give back?  Any other benefits of giving back you would add? 

Photo Credit to Atran.Photography

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Need To Prioritize

Different people have different priorities, for me my current priority is working as much as I can whenever I can while I still can.  If you noticed I have not written a blog post in a while.  The reason is that writing a blog post is low on my list of things to do.  I am not a professional blogger nor do I have a large following, this blog is just that a blog.  Because of that if I don't feel I have the time to blog I don't force and make the time to write.  So despite my plans in My Promise to Myself I have not blogged every Sunday.  I was even debating posting this immediately but decided to wait until Sunday.  With much less free time and increase of workload I have to prioritize how I use my remaining time.

I ask myself what do I have to do?  Or what can wait?  Pretty much the only of live television I watch is sports on the weekend.  For me television can wait so can many of my other activities.  Much like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs I do what needs to be done first now and depending on time I will do as much as I can.  I still take the time to read marketing articles and blogs daily to continually improve myself.  What I have cut back on is my Twitter activity and reading updates from a select few instead of all.   I also cut back on my running, but more of that is due to the cold instead of the lack of time.

It is all about what is important to me.  If I had the time I would do much much more.  With the limited time I prioritize my daily activities.  I do not have nor do I follow a schedule aside from when I work.  I find that usually working off a schedule constricts me and doesn't allow me to dive into what activity I might be doing.  I choose to do something that needs to be done and work on it until it is finished despite how long it will take.  Sometimes I am unable to do this because of a lack of time, when that happens I stop and move onto what else needs to be done and multi-task.  That new activity takes priority over the task I was doing.

So that is why I have not been blogging or on Twitter as much.

What activities have priority with your time?  Do you have or use a schedule?  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Company's Most Valuable Asset

The most valuable asset for any company are its employees
Without the employees a company could not be where it is today.  The employees no mater the job all have a roll in the company and its success or failure.  With the current economic downturn many companies are neglecting the most valuable asset to ensure a profit.  As a business student I understand the occasional need for cutbacks.  As mentioned in When is it Time to Change the Status Quo blog post "There is no perfect business, formula, or strategy each and everyone can be improved and refined" There is not a perfect business with 100% efficiency and they all can be improved, so instead of resorting to layoffs and cutbacks first look for ways to improve efficiency.  Or invest in your employees, happy, motivated employees are more productive and efficient.  To make the employees content and motivated might not cost anything, employees care about more than just money.  I highly recommend that you watch this video by RSA Animate Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us and the other RSA Animate videos.

Treat your employees right and enjoy the rewards
The best employees are the motivated employees, so as a company you need to find a way to motivate them.  Google recently gave its employees a bonus and a raise to keep them happy and motivated.   If you watch Undercover Boss on CBS they show examples of the best employees who are motivated and who might also have a touching story.  Those are the individuals companies want to employ.  A motivated employee takes pride in what they are doing and understand their importance in the company AND the company understands the employees importance.  The difference between a motivated employee and an unmotivated or disgruntled employee is clear.  The difference is even clearer in the areas of customer service and quality control.  A motivated employee takes the time and effort for the customers behalf not their own.

Not all employees are right for your company
A company is like a machine it is made up of a lot of parts (people) and they all have their place.  If a individual does not fit in where they currently are or is not motivated the machine will not run efficiently.  The part is either in the wrong place or doesn't belong in the machine.  Don't force the part into the machine if it doesn't fit, it will damage the part and maybe the machine.  If the person doesn't fit or isn't motivated to do a proper job then their boss and the company needs to find a way to motivate them so they do or find someone who will.  The departments of Customer Service and to some extent areas that need quality control have high turnover rates.  Those employees no longer fit in the machine.  Once one part goes bad it starts to effect the rest of the parts in the machine.  Either repair or replace that part those are the only two options the company has.

What do you think are the most valuable asset?  How do you make sure to keep employees motivated?  Do you notice a difference between motivated employees and non-motivated employees when you deal with customer service or other areas?  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Importance of Taking Notes

Even after "school" you will need to continue to take notes and write stuff down.  The minute it will take to write something down and get it out of your head can save you much heartache later on.  I often get many ideas when I am about to go to sleep and use to ignore them, but now I take 5 minutes to write them on a piece of paper to review when I wake up.  I had a few blog posts fell apart because I did not write them down and figured I would remember them when I wake up or even in 30 minutes.  I didn't remember, and many good ideas have been lost because of this.

Thoughts and ideas are constantly racing through our heads, and dismissed so we can focus on the current task.  Many great ideas are lost during this time, these ideas are worthless.  This can be avoided by taking a minute to write the idea down.  I take a few minutes everyday, usually when I am running, where I can focus on my thoughts.  When I get an idea I stop and get out my mini notebook and write it down.  This is when I often get ideas for what I am working on, or blog posts.  The times when I can let my thoughts develop are rare and I now make sure I take advantage of them.  Everyone should take a few minutes every day to let their thoughts develop and devote their attention into that.  

You should take notes more than just when you have an idea or a spark of genius.  I take notes now to aid in my continual education after I read a marketing blog post or watch a Webinar.  I do this because with how much I read and how many different topics it becomes hard for me to keep them separate.  I also do this because it is a handy notebook with the main points and ideas of many posts all in one place.  When I finish I ask myself what have I learned by reading this, what were some main points.  If I can't think of anything I wait a minute and try again if still nothing I reread it.  I know that their is valuable information in what I just read, and sometimes after reading for a while it stops sinking in or I stopped reading and started skimming.

Without looking or scrolling up, what do you remember about the photo at the beginning?
I would be willing to say nothing other than it was a notebook, your mind went to focusing on the text of this post and you dismissed the image as just a thumbnail photo.  By the time you finish your task (reading the blog) the idea (image) is already vague and mostly gone.  That is just another example of how important note taking can be.

Some other great posts on this subject of note taking include:
Mitch Joel's post: Take Notes

What main points did you take away from this post?  Do you take notes, how often?  How many ideas have you forgotten because you were too busy to write it down. 

Photo Credit to Brenderous who has a great idea about organizing notes which I will try to use from now on.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Marketing Idea: Underutilized Resource College Organizations

Your company is most likely neglecting a great resource that is inexpensive to use.  College Organizations, there is a college organization or group for anything you or your company needs to do or have done.  I was a member of the American Marketing Association at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.  As a member I was able to   meet with many company representatives that spoke at our meetings.  The representatives talked about their jobs, their company, and answered questions.  I was able to network with many individuals and different companies through the AMA, but that is where my relationship stopped.  These companies that spoke were helpful and informative but all came down to finding some perspective employees.  That is great for the company and the AMA members, but the company could have utilized the AMA more.

The AMA chapters participate in case competitions where they create detailed marketing campaigns for the selected company or organization.  As a member if a company asked me or the UWM AMA to help create a marketing campaign, slogan, plan, etc.  I would have been happy to do so.  All a company would have had to do was ask or make a proposal, for about a tenth of what it would have cost the company to do it the AMA could have.  I realized this and instead of waiting for a company to make a proposal I wrote one to Joe Sorge of the now famous AJ Bombers.

Part of the proposal: "An American Marketing Association fundraiser at AJ Bombers will increase the level of awareness University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee students have of AJ Bombers, while providing additional funding for the UWM Chapter of AMA. This will be done by promoting the menu and specials of AJ Bombers on campus by the use of strategically placed posters and flyers, and by word of mouth. The fundraiser will consist of promoting a new Burger of the Month, for the month of November 2009, called “The AMAzing Burger,” where one dollar of each burger sold will go to the UWM AMA."

While the fundraiser did not yield the projected results, it did increase the awareness of AJ Bombers on campus and gave me and other AMA members valuable experience in creating a marketing campaign. Most importantly it provided additional funds for the AMA so the organization could continue to provide their 
members.  So on behalf of myself and the UWM AMA I would like to thank Joe Sorge and AJ Bombers again for taking the chance with us.

So that was my personal experience with the underutilized college organizations.  

Why you should consider using a college organization?
  1. The number of college organizations and ability to find one just right for what you need.
  2. The ease of finding that college organization and making contact with the president, a simple search on the campus website for organizations should provide you with a list that you could use.  Or a Google search if you know what organization you would like to use.
  3. It provides valuable experience to the college students in the organization.
  4. Costs less than using an agency or going in house (or it should)
  5. The money goes to the organization and is used for its members benefit.
I am not saying that using a college organization is perfect for every situation but it should be considered.

Do you or your company have any personal experience?  Do you know any college organizations that would fit with what you intend to do?  Have you considered using a college organization?  Any other reasons why you would or should consider using a college organization?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Staying with the Times

This is a follow up post to When is it Time to Change the Status Quo? 

Best Buy understands the need to stay with the times and move towards selling digital so they are able to remain as an industry leader.  They also have a great understanding of social media and its importance, that is why they are one of the leading companies on social media.  There are numerous case studies available to show how Best Buy is staying current and understands the changes that are occurring in its industry and the consumers shift towards digital. One of the better ones I have found is from case studies online which has numerous case studies available.  

Another company trying to shift towards digital is Blockbuster, but it seems they have waited too long to keep up with the new competition.  They have waited until it was "broken" and needed to be fixed where Best Buy started the transition early in the digital life cycle.  

Many other industries are also seeing the need to stay with the times, while it might not be the shift towards digital.  If you are not able to stay current with the times or the industry you will face problems similar to Blockbuster.  

When should or do you make a change to how you or your company operates? Any other companies that you think are great example of staying with the times?  Any other consumer shifts occurring that could pose problems to an industry?

Photo Credit to Big C Harvey

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An Open Letter to Perspective Employers

This post is a continuation of my blog post I am a Position Player.

Disclosure this is very much a rant blog post to get out my frustrations of not being where I expected or wanted to be almost one year after I graduated. 

Finding that perfect job or any job right now is frustrating.  To help understand some of the frustrations I recommend you read this post about the Young, Educated, and Unemployed. You are looking for an entry level employee who can do a lot more than any entry level can and 3+ years experience be realistic, that is not entry level.  I understand there are people who have this experience and are out of work, but try to make the posting for them not a recent college graduate.  Also experience isn’t everything; sometimes it is better to have no experience.   I am able to do a lot but not everything in your job requirements, and I am aware of the hassle of hiring an entry level employee who doesn’t know everything… but that is what makes me entry level.  My experience and education has taught me a lot.  And my continual education has taught me even more.  I don’t want to be micro-managed but would like to have someone I can go to for advice or help.  As mentioned in, My Promise to Myself I have many areas of expertise in which I am comfortable working in.  I am also trying to add a My Resume to my blog… but honestly it’s not turning out good and still needs a lot of work.  In the mean time you can see it here on my LinkedIn.  Soon I plan to go into the two marketing agencies in Appleton I would love to work for and give them an offer they can't refuse.  I have done my research on the companies and know what they do and that I can do that.  I am almost to the point of working for minimum wage just so I can get more experience and get a relationship with the agency.  I am close to the point of no longer waiting for a job to open and going and make the job.

Thanks for sitting through my rant.

Raymond Lutzewitz

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When is it Time to Change the Status Quo?

This post focuses on only one aspect of business, change or the need for change with the introduction of social media.  Change is a difficult decision because a majority of people do not like change.  A lot of businesses are changing their approach in reaching customers and are venturing out into new social media markets.  While others are weary of this change and keep doing the same thing.  There are three contradicting approaches to businesses.

The first is don't fix what isn't broken; keep doing the same thing until it no longer works.  These are the businesses who have steady sales and wait to change something until they need to.  This is a dangerous approach where you are waiting for something to go wrong before you fix it.  Instead of repairing a small leak they wait until it bursts and turns into a flood.

The second approach is stay with the times; do what the other businesses are doing.  Once your competitor(s) is successful on Twitter or Facebook you join in social media as well.  With this approach you remain close to the competition but always a step behind.  That wait gives you the extra time to see how the new strategy is working for the competition so you can adopt their strategy, alter it, or ignore it.

The third approach is to be a trend-setter and a first mover.  This approach is being the first to get and use the latest technology or strategy.  They might be unproven and risky but that extra risk may hold a great reward.  By being the first mover you will have a step up on the competition, one in which they might never catch up.  With this or any approach it is important to not only adopt the new (social media) tools but to stay current with the changes and evolution of those tools.

So which approach works best, that will depend on your industry and companies preference.  Each approach has its pros and cons, some more than others.  But in this current environment of constant change keeping everything the same is at the very least not going to improve your business.  You don't need to make a big change, in fact it is better to continually make numerous small changes. People tend not to like change especially a large change, many small changes help ease the transitions.  There is no perfect business, formula, or strategy each and everyone can be improved and refined.  By remaining content with the status quo you are hurting your chances for growth and improvement.

A similar blog post talking about change (or lack of) from

Which strategy does you or your company use?  Is their another approach?  When should or do you make a change to how you or your company operates?  This post mostly applies for marketing, advertising and sales, what other areas would fit?

Photo Credit to Chapendra

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Promise to Myself

I have been neglecting this blog badly as of late and other blogs, still read my favorite few and what others linked on twitter.  This has to stop, today I went back into my Continual Education and have been watching the Inbound Marketing Summit today.  I have stopped well, slowed down, because with my new job I have less time to spend reading the latest news and posts or viewing webinars.  My current part time job is just that a job and I have stopped what I was doing before so I could get my perfect job and be ready for it, I was content.  That is until I got my paycheck and realized this would barely cover a car payment and that was the, pardon my language "shot in my ass" that I needed.  I am back on my proper path and determined once again.  What my new promise to myself includes

  • Continue to write blog posts - Personal posts such as this during the weekday when I have time and the drive AND a weekly marketing related post EVERY Sunday.  I will write that post in advance to post at 5 am each and every Sunday.
  • Get back to my old ways - Watch and participate in Webinars, Read and discuss marketing bogs, monitor my LinkedIn daily, continue to search and apply for jobs that suit me.
  • To remain hungry -  Keep my drive and intensity until I get my perfect job.
  • Determine what that perfect job would be, should have done this before but it keeps changing.
How you can help
Help me find my perfect job that is in marketing/ advertising (outside of sales, I can do sales but do not enjoy it).  I also understand that I may need to have that sales position so I can move horizontally in the company and am willing to do so.  Something that will let my creativity flourish, a copywriter, account executive are two examples of that.  Where I can utilize my current skills with Social Media.  Because of my limited experience it would have to be an entry level position.  Some of my areas of expertise and where I excel are: 
Advertising -  Consumer and B2B in Print, Social Media, Billboard, and Transit.  
Design - Branding and Identity.  
Promotions - Increasing Visibility, new product launches, Rebranding and new campaign launches.
Public Relations - Event Planning/ Management, Social Media
Planning - Strategic Development, Marketing Planning, Integrated Marketing Campaigns
I can do much more but that is where I am comfortable and have experience.  If you know of any jobs that would fit that please let me know you can email me at if you or your company has an opening or know of one please let me know.  

The other way you can help is by reminding me/ hassling me to make sure I wrote my weekly marketing blog.

Thank you

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why It is Better to Have No Experience

So many job openings require 1-3 years experience in the industry or I did not get a job because another candidate had much more experience than me.  Granted I just graduated college and my experience is limited but I find that as an advantage.

It takes much longer to unlearn a false information, a bad habit, or a wrong technique then to just learn it.  The experienced individual has to first forget the way they conducted themselves and if done for a long time this can be extremely difficult and time consuming and then learn the new and correct method.  If you do something everyday for weeks, months, or years that is how you are going to do something.  So if the new workplace has a different policy, structure, or way to conduct business than you are use to it will not just be unfamiliar but also weird, awkward, and just seem wrong.  An employee that thinks they know how something is or should be done is not only a hinderence to the company but also a liability.  I know from personal experience of the new guy coming in and not learning the operating procedures and just going right to work.  Well this is how I do this and how we did this where I use to work.  Not only did that destroy the flow and order that we had in the workplace but also those "shortcuts" were a safety violation.  Despite the supervisors warnings and instructions he would still on occasion "forget" and do it his old way.  Remember Pluto the planet that is no more?  How hard is it for individuals to remember and consider Pluto no longer a planet.

Fresh clay, it is the material you want to work with, it has the ability to be whatever you want it to be, like a bowl.  But after the clay is worked and no longer new and fresh and has some experience it can no longer be anything you want it to be.  The already made clay might be a bowl, but that experience might have molded and formed it into a bowl of the wrong size or fit.  It takes a lot more work, time, and effort to turn that made bowl into the bowl you want it to be than just using the fresh clay.

Photo Credit: Scott Ableman

Would you prefer to have an experienced piece of clay or  fresh clay?  Any other analogies you can think of that would work? Do you have some bad habits that you need to unlearn?  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Continual Education: Always Learning

I graduated in December 2009 and I am learning MORE now that I am out of college. All being self taught for my enjoyment and to stay on top of the changing trends in the business world. I am putting more time and effort in now than I did during college.  I am also having to absorb a lot more because of how much information I am taking in daily.  Honestly I am not sure how long I will be able to go at this pace.  I am currently teaching myself about SEO, proper social media use for different brands and other topics.  My class load is huge right now and it is getting harder for me to retain this information.  To help aid myself in this task I am starting to teach myself like this was a class and taking notes to review later and less like a hobby.

How am I continuing my education?
  • Watching numerous webinars on topics that interest me including social media, marketing, and engagement. 
  • Reading numerous books on marketing. Some books I recommend are UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging (affiliate link if I did it correctly) and Twitter Works.
  • I read numerous blogs every day a quick list of my top 5 because of the content, quality, and consistency are:
  1. Social Media Examiner
  2. The Brand Builder
  3. Jim Raffel
  4. UnMarketing 
  5. Translator Digital Cafe
  • Writing blog posts talking about marketing and getting my ideas out onto the web.
  • Conversing with other marketing professionals on Twitter and Linkedin.
Photo credit: ZadorSpain

What webinars are you watching and participating in?  What books are you currently reading or would recommend that I and others read?   Which are the blogs you read daily, I read more than those 5 but they all offer consistent quality posts.

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Brand Loyalty - A Symbiotic Relationship

    Brand Loyalty is something that is established at an early age.
    From commercials for what cereal to eat to what shows you watch for what products to buy. The relationship with the brand grows and strengthens over time, as does your loyalty. The loyalty you show the brand is returned with continued great service and
    products. Many brands have also established loyalty programs for their valued customers.

    For the quality brands your relationship strengthens over time and the brand already has a product or service for you in your next stage in life. For instance McDonald's, they have a happy meal for when you are young and meals for when you get to old for a happy meal. Other brands don't have this ease of transition. Once you reach your a cut off age where that brand is no longer cool or popular there is nothing more that the brand can offer you. All that brand loyalty that was built over the years has vanished. A personal example was my younger brother who loved Barney, he had Barney & Friends toys, games, clothes, bed sheets. But once he reached that age where Barney wasn't cool he got rid of all of that.

    What could Barney have done?
    Not much could have been done when you focus on an age demographic and have no follow up once they get beyond that age range. Once the brand locked themselves in with the 1-8 age range they were stuck with it. They could have attempted to make a spin off show for an older audience of 5-12 to run with the original. But with such a narrow demographic the brand was doomed for a cliff of brand loyalty. Some brands that managed a better job are the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus brand with a larger demographic and numerous complementing industries. The brand has movies, music, video games, clothes, jewelry and much more that appeals to a wider age range than the original brand. Two other brands are my childhood favorites of Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For me I started with the cartoons at a young age, 5 or 6, and expanded into their toys. Over time expanding further with their video games and movies. With the additional arenas for me to follow the brands to my loyalty and fandom grew and expanded.

    Ways brands can destroy the relationship.
    There are many ways of destroying the relationship and loyalty.
    1. No Room to Grow -As stated above one way you can destroy the brand loyalty is by not having a way to continue to evolve the relationship once it reaches a point (age range or end of brand product line).
    2. Poor Customer Service/ Brand Deterioration - can whittle away at the established brand loyalty as described by Scott Stratten in his blog post Why I changed my coffee religion.
    3. The Competition has Arrived - Someone else has came and has a bigger, better, and/ or cheaper product or service. But if you have brand loyalty they should wait for you to come out with a similar product, as long as you let them know.
    4. Any others I have missed besides these big three let me know.
    What brands are you loyal to and why? What have they done that others haven't?

    If you enjoyed this post you can read my post on Brand Value - It changes with the tide

    Photo Credit to ArbyReed

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Social Media Experiment Part 1

    In an effort to get some comments and increase my interaction with my online community I will be posing a question across my social media accounts to see where I get the most interaction then I will share the results with you, my readers.

    The most difficult part is coming up with a good question that will invoke a response to comment. I have known for a while what I want the question to be, just not how to word it. I choose this question because I never get the same answer, and it is hard for me to answer about myself. It can be my Achilles heel of job interviews, so your input and views would be highly appreciated.

    The Question:

    What adjectives would you use choose to describe me (Raymond)? Or what personal impression(s) do you have of me?

    If you can give a reason to why you pick or feel that way, and I will be glad to give my opinion of you as well. If you never meet me that is fine since when I write I try to insert my persona into it. It's human nature to have an opinion on anything and everything and I want to hear it. When I write want to be honest, so if you do meet me in real life you will get the same guy who is writing this blog, or sending out those tweets, or posting stuff to LinkedIn. (Is that the correct verbage for LinkedIn?) I want to come across the same on all medians, well maybe more laid back on Twitter.

    Thanks for your input

    If you want me to give you my opinion of you feel free to ask it in the comments.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    How I Use Twitter

    A few months ago I posted 5 Easy Ways to get me to follow you (on Twitter). This is a sort of follow up to that post.

    I connect with my followers

    Twitter is a wonderful service that has allowed me to find many people who I now would consider friends. For me Twitter is a community, we have similar interests and I genuinely care about them and in most aspects what they are doing. Twitter and the people on Twitter continue to amaze me with their generosity with all the charity events going on like #saveteecycle.

    I read all the tweets and click on the links

    As @TheBrandBuilder tweeted: I no longer need an RSS reader. You guys are my meta filter. THIS is my RSS feed now. Which for me is very true, the individuals I follow keep me up to date with the latest and greatest blog posts, videos, and current events. I have recently unfollowed a significant amount of individuals, why would I do that? I like to read all of the tweets, I have the time and get not only enjoyment but value from them (well most of them). I was not getting what I wanted from some people I was following and the extra tweets in my timeline were making it difficult for me to keep up on everyone else's tweets. This is different from individuals I follow with now dormant accounts. I will not unfollow them, they are not posing any problems or clogging up my timeline. As well as the possibility they will come back and start tweeting again and I will be unaware of this for some time.

    Others follow an army

    I know some individuals following thousands of people on Twitter, nothing is wrong with that. They are not able to read or keep up on everyone's tweets but they do manage a lot more @ replies and mentions that they are able to read. I feel that these people will miss out on an awesome tweet or link. Most of the good tweets and links get retweeted anyway right, that is true but I would rather not take the chance of missing it, or being the person to RT it. Those that follow more than they can keep up with also are the ones using twitter clients to help keep up and get the important information. I use TweetDeck as my client but also use Clusterr. My previous post on Clusterr: Is the next step in Social Media Clusterr?

    For me its about quality not quantity

    I follow the people who provide me with entertainment, joy, and value. I don't need to follow everyone because it is popular or they are popular. I enjoy who I am following and do add others when we have a common interest or I enjoy what they tweet.

    Which camp do you fall into, do you follow a few or a lot? Do you read or try to read everyones tweets or just look a few times a day? Anything else you would like to add?

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Time Sensitivity- Don't wait for the fruit to rot

    Sorry if the visual is too harsh for some.
    The Story
    3 weeks ago I saw a Webinar on Content Curation is the Secret to Becoming a Thought Leader with Chris Brogan, which is the reason why I watched the Webinar. It was a good Webinar and if you have an hour I encourage you to watch it. I watch about 3 Webinars a week on various marketing subjects. I also spend around 3 hours a day (since I have the time) reading blog posts on various marketing subjects. I remember most of the valuable information, ideas, and points; who presented the Webinar not so much the company even less.
    The Follow-up
    Today I received a phone call about that Webinar and was clueless. I did, I was... umm okay. For me it was the equivalent of a cold call maybe even a telemarketing call. The individual reminded me of the topic which I recalled a little or think I did, it was something I would have watched. Then he brought up what was covered and some key points, okay now I remember, so what can I do for him?
    The Problem
    I have already forgotten about the Webinar and had little interest in the product, even if I could afford it. The time for the sale has passed and the sale (fruit) has rotted. You only have a small amount of time from when the sale is not ready to ripe to rotten and have to pick it at the right time. In fairness it is completely possible they went after the high profile individuals first right away when the sale (fruit) was ripe and ready to be picked. I am unemployed, with little work and attempting to do some freelance work with no success so I would not be an ideal candidate for anything. So my fruit is underdeveloped and small but those mini foods are still awesome and can fill some of the hunger. But I do remain a prospective client for the future.
    The Solution
    It would have been easier for them to send a follow up email, once was sent for the Webinar. On that email they could have asked if I (we) were interested in the product and a follow up phone call. That would have helped them find individuals interested in purchasing the product or finding out more information. While being still within a timely period where the fruit was ripe.

    What would you suggest for the sale not to rot? Would you as a company do anything different, as the consumer?

    Photo by Jacob Esben

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Baseball Analogy: I am a Position Player

    This is about me, and where I would and could fit in and how I see myself.

    I might not be an all-star on the team or even a starter but I am there when you need me. I just need the chance to be called up from the minors to get a chance to show what I can do. I can bat (work alone) or field (work as a group) efficiently. I am a switch hitter who can bat .250 who doesn’t hit home runs often but is able to advance the players (team members, ideas) to where they are able to score. I am also able to get on base (start an idea) and let my team mates hit me home (finish the idea, make it work). I am able to play any position you need me in (with the exception of pitcher and catcher) because there are some things I don’t know, yet. If you want me at third base (for example promotions) I am there, or at short stop (Social Media) you can count on me, and the same with outfield or anywhere you need me. I will be there to get the ball and make an out or work with my teammates to turn a double play. The areas where I can’t currently play are limited but I know what they are and won’t be committing an error by playing those positions. But with a good coach and team I would be able to focus my skills to be that needed position player. With the extra experience and guidance I will be able to be a starter for the team and eventually I will become an all-star.

    For those who don’t understand or follow baseball:

    While I specialize in the areas of Promotions and Social Media I am able to do much more. While I am not the greatest or the best at many other business activities I know and understand them and would be able to perform them well enough to get the job done correctly. If there is something that I don’t know how to do I will learn and teach myself it. What I will do is tell you that I don’t have the experience so you don’t put me there alone before I am ready or able to meet the expectations that role requires. I am a team player able to start new ideas or help to finish old ideas. I can work alone or in a group setting proficiently. I have the skills and patience to become a valuable member of your company all I need is an opportunity. Given this opportunity I will work as hard as I can to improve your company and myself.

    Where would you fit in on a team? Given and what you know about me would you be willing to call me up to the majors? What If you are a Human Resources or Hiring Manager I would love to hear what you think of this analogy.

    Photo by Erin Ryan also known as Shutter Daddy

    Saturday, July 31, 2010

    Brand Value - It changes with the tide

    What do I mean that brand value changes with the tide? Simple, a brand's value can rise or fall as quickly as the tide. When something negative happens or affects the brand's value or image it often doesn't stay in the general public's mind for very long. As Americans we are quick to forgive and forget and move onto the newest story or tragedy. This can be a positive thing for brands when something negatively affects them but more likely it is a negative thing for brands. Even after a brilliant marketing campaign such as the recent Old Spice Social Media campaign mentions and thoughts are calming down to a point where people no longer think or blog about it. After one month the waves of the campaign have quieted and the waters are calm to a point where the mentions are returning to where they were prior to the start of the campaign.

    My car won't stop accelerating, we are all going to die, its the end of the world!
    Ok so maybe it did not go that far, but with the recent (within 6 months) recalls due to acceleration problems the Toyota brand value and image was taking a beating. Do you even remember this or how big of a deal it was and all the up roar and a congressional investigation? Those that may remember this are the few individuals whose accelerator did "stick" and a few who were negatively affected by the recall. Other companies have similar smaller recall problems, McDonalds with the Shrek Glasses or Walmart with the jewelery. Or even Apple with the iPhone 4 antenna/ reception issues or being stuck with AT&T's network.

    Why this doesn't affect these companies brand value
    There are many reasons why this has a limited or no impact on a brands value.
    1. Only affects one product or part of a large global company.
    2. The amount of people affected by these events and recalls are small compared to the overall population that uses the company. (limited impact)
    3. The companies address the problem to take care of it as quickly and efficiently as possible, usually.
    4. Most importantly you as the consumer don't remember the problem because of what happened just after the recall or disaster was a bigger disaster that affected far more people and caused much more damage.

    The current disaster: BP
    I already wrote a blog about BP which can be read here. What currently has the majority of American's attention is the BP oil spill. But with the well finally capped it looks like most of America is back to its pop culture fixation with the Mel Gibson tapes or Lindsay Lohan in jail. Unlike the Toyota recalls and problems this oil spill affected the lives of hundreds of thousands and while many Americans outside of the gulf coast will forget a bitter anger will remain with the Gulf Coast residents who lost their livelihood from this disaster. This will be almost impossible to repair (in America) but BP is a global company and outside of the US its image and brand value will bounce back and return close to the what it was. What will be the next tragedy to fulfill our fascination and make us forget about this oil spill?

    Do you forgive and forget? What causes you to forget something that just a short while ago was on your mind? Why do some people remember this and others forget?

    Image from

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Marketing Idea: Adidas Campaign - Inspiration

    This doesn't have to be for Adidas but can be for any of the shoe companies (Nike, Reebok, New Balance....)

    There are so many great people who inspire us.
    For me one of these people is Anne Munkwitz or as we may know her better as @bananza. She is the main reason I have begun running again *insert cheesy movie quote here* One of the greatest reasons she is an inspiration is her story.
    Another great inspiration for me is Sarah Hagen and her story. For me it is about the triumph over the many hardships and coming out on top and being better because of it.

    The Campaign
    A series of commercials each spot lighting a different individual of inspiration, I have given two great examples but their are thousands more. The commercial shows what that individual has overcame and shows them running, or playing soccer, or some other activity with that companies (Adidas) shoes. To fully integrate this campaign there would also be a website where you can read and see that individuals full story and nominate another person to be a part of the inspiration campaign.

    Additional Steps
    For any campaign to be successful it needs follow through and complimenters. With the nominations of other individuals to be a part of the Inspiration Campaign the amount of new commercials and length of campaign can continue to evolve. Encompassing all forms of media the Inspiration Campaign can utilize social media, the internet, print, television, and word of mouth to reach a greater population. This campaign can be a stepping block for active communities, like Fit Milwaukee where the company can donate or sponsor the healthier and active lifestyle.

    Why this would be successful
    • America loves stories of comebacks and inspiration.
    • The large amount of people who could be spot lighted for the campaign and the diversity among them.
    • The campaign contains real people that had real problems.
    • The cost of the campaign would be less expensive then current and past campaigns, no large budget productions or highly paid actor/athlete spokespersons.
    Would these stories inspire you to go out and be more active? Who inspires you? Who would you like to see in the spot light as an inspiration? Why else would this be a success/ failure?

    Also thank you Anne for being an inspiration in my life and motivating me to run again.

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Ideas are Worthless (by itself)

    There is no such thing as a million dollar idea.
    What is valuable and creates worth is the action that is taken. If you have an idea and don't do anything with it then there is no difference if you had that thought or idea or not.

    This is why I blog.
    I blog to put my ideas into the world, albeit a small and select world of 10's of readers. But one solid idea or post is all one, or I, need to peak interest and increase my reader base. I also blog to help create my own identity and brand and to allow myself an avenue to market my thoughts and skills. This idea came to me at 3 am so I found a pen and paper and wrote my thoughts out until that pen died, then I grabbed another. This is not an original blog topic I have read some similar blogs but I am trying to incorporate my personal touch to it.

    I hope that by blogging one of my marketing ideas which is the main focus of this blog will be original and have you my readers thinking to yourself why didn't I think of that.

    Photo from Ethan Gibbs

    So many ideas so little time.
    I have many ideas, most of them will not succeed or at least not as well as I plan and hope. I know this so I put the most effort in those few ideas that I feel have potential and develop those ideas further, then hopefully post a blog on them.

    "I didn't fail. I found out 2000 ways how not to make a light bulb.' But he only needed to find one way to make it work." - Thomas Edison (National Treasure)

    Step 1: Idea
    Step 2: ??
    Step 3: Profit

    Step 2 can be more than one step and could be done many ways but an action of some kind must be taken. This step is what makes ideas have value and not be worthless.
    For me Step 2 usually involves blogging the idea, or telling someone who could use this idea and make it a reality.

    Do you agree that ideas are worthless? What is Step 2 usually for you? Do your ideas just sit in your head or on a piece of paper that no one knows about? How do you determine which ideas are worth developing?

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Satire A Dangerous Slope: BP Case Study

    This post has less to do with the actual BP Brand and more to do with the individual who created the fake account BPGlobalPR on Twitter.

    What has BP done right so far?

    In the disaster that is the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is a PR nightmare, BP has managed to do a few things correctly from a PR standpoint.
    • Have paid for a google sponsored link that comes out on top for searches of BP Oil Spill with what BP is doing to fix the problem
    • Going to their homepage auto redirects to a splash page where they show what BP is doing for a Gulf of Mexico response
    • Created a twitter account of BP_America to help people speak out on the oil spill.

    BP not managing or monitoring its brand.

    While it is great that BP has made its brand and tried to take control of it, because if you don't someone else will. And someone else has done so, a twitter account BPGlobalPR made by someone who was upset with how BP was handing the oil spill situation. I am not the first to notice this account or how "real" BP hasn't or if it has I have yet to see anything about it. Some other bloggers have touched on this subject including Samir Balwan, John Taylor, and Mark Smith, and The Brand Builder himself Olivier Blanchard. I recommend once finished reading this blog that you read their incites on the situation. As for me this blog post is more on the Spoof/Satire point of view and what that individual is doing in response to the oil crisis.

    Edit: According to Ad Age BP is aware of this account and the outrage that this person has towards the whole situation is understandable. Also looks like the account will not be taken down but might have to change slightly to make itself more clear that it is not a BP account.

    Using Satire...for the good?

    The fake and in my opinion hilarious twitter account of BPGlobalPR shows what social media and twitter is capable of. The fake account has over twice as many followers as the real account and many people on twitter do not recognize that it is a satirical account which devalues and damages BP and its brand. But with the over 10,000 twitter followers the individual behind the account is able to use the account and the followers to not only vent and point out how bad BP screwed up the situation but also do some good. What good could come from impersonating an actual brand. selling t-shirts. The fake account links to a site where you can get a "free" BP Cares t-shirt with $25.00 shipping. The good is the owner claims "All proceeds from these satirical shirts will be given to charities involved in cleaning, preserving, and rescuing the gulf and its animals.
    We are printing shirts as quickly as possible, please allow 4-6 weeks for shipping." Now it would be great if that is true but by coming off as a fake account/impostor/con man it is hard for some people me included to believe that all proceeds will go to charity. Now they very well may which would be awesome and that individual who used Twitter to address their frustration at BP is doing plenty of good.

    Edit: It looks like the proceeds will go to a charity of Healthy Gulf.

    How is this a dangerous slope?

    Where is the line that should not be crossed? Impersonating a brand and using their trademark and image is illegal. I am waiting to see what BP will do to the individual who made the account, and if other people who are upset with the situation also will create a satire account at BP or another companies expense.

    Were you familiar with the fake BP account? What should be done to this account? What should BP and other companies do to make sure that this doesn't happen again or to them?

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Trying different templates

    I am attempting to find a template that works in 1024p resolution, having some difficulty but going to keep trying and messing with them, liked my old template but the images and borders were static and enlarging the width to 1024 left lines over the text. Also I still remember some html... how would of thought I would not me. If you have any suggestions or opinions please let me know. I don't want to keep writing articles and want these to be blog posts with a community. But thanks to my 10s of loyal readers.

    Is the next Evolution of Social Media Clusterr?

    What is Clusterr?

    Taken from The Clusterr Blog: “Here is a very brief synopsis of what Clusterr is:

    Clusterr solves the information overload inherent to social media streams. The application parses the users Twitter timeline looking for Tweets that contain links. Clusterr resolves the short URLs, identifies and categorizes the media behind those URLs and then organizes & sorts the content in “Clusterrs” by type: Videos, Pictures, Web Sites and Music. Each piece of media is presented visually using a thumbnail image.

    Clusterrs can be viewed chronologically or by popularity of content (number of tweets including the same media URL). Users can consume the media directly in Clusterr, as well as use Clusterr to share the content (through tweeting or re-tweeting) or by saving the media into a Custom Clusterr and then sharing that cluster with their friends. Additionally, Clusterr functions as a Twitter client, allowing users to send tweets with or without media directly from the web site.

    We started Clusterr on the web, however our simple yet effective design was created specifically with cross platform applications in mind. Currently Clusterr is in development for the world wide web (Currently in Private Beta). We have also just begun cross platform development for smaller and larger screens. Cluster is the brain child of Kevin Pereira (Host and Executive Producer of G4′s Attack of the Show and Women of the Web) and Joshua Krane (Co-Founder of G4tv and formerly G4′s SVP of New Media and Interactive) and was designed and built lovingly in Los Angeles.”

    What does that mean?

    Clusterr takes the hassle out of your social media and twitter streams. Instead of having hundreds of links that will redirect you to another website Clusterr provides a way to view this additional information in one place without the need to click on each link. With Clusterr you can easily view all media files buried in your twitter time line, this includes videos, pictures, web sites, and music. Clusterr is similar to TweetDeck. TweetDeck has the ability to have pop ups for digital media, whether it is a picture from yfrog, twitpic, or another place or a video from youtube that when clicked on overlays it on top of your twitter stream. Unlike TweetDeck Clusterr has all the media on one screen where it is easy to view and access.

    To simplify this here is a short demo video of Clusterr showing what it does and can do. I am unable to embed the video despite my best efforts.

    Clusterr is not a replacement for twitter or twitter clients, yet.

    Currently Clusterr doesn’t contain a feed, but maybe it will in the future? But what it is capable of doing is resolving all the links that are included in each tweet to something that is manageable. By using Clusterr I no longer need to click on every other tweet since there is a link it will show me what that link is.

    An evolution? The Future?

    This is not the big thing for social media, but rather it is another tool to better utilize the current social media. Clusterr makes managing your twitter feed easier similar to HootSuite and TweetDeck. But it doesn’t replace them, not yet at least. Being a beta version a final verdict can’t be stated yet but here are some add ons to Clusterr I would like to see in the future/ full version.

    • Integrate with Facebook and other social media streams to be an all in one place
    • Allow to tweet and update profile/status from the site
    • Include a feed with the rest of the tweets not just ones with links - Now included
    • Have a better preview of what Clusterr is, screen shots and a sample video
    • Faster uploads, not waiting an hour from time tweeted to seen

    I will continue to use TweetDeck because I have my columns all set up and most links and items will pop up on screen without a redirect with one click. Clusterr has a lot of possibility depending on the social media integration in the future.

    Edit: Update on Clusterr

    Wonderful customer service, tweeted a problem and got a response in very little time, and the response was helpful. You are also now able to tweet from Clusterr which is a major plus, still can't see a time stamp or delete seen items. Clusterr has been very helpful in saving time and allowing me to read more tweets and see more content.

    Addition Edit (8/12/2010):

    Clusterr has been continually updating and adding numerous features including some that I have suggested in this post. I am still loyal to TweetDeck because that is what I am now use to, but I have been logging in and checking out Clusterr almost everyday and like how it is developing and where it is going.

    Are you interested in trying out Clusterr? What do you see as the next evolution in Social Media? What would you like to see added to Clusterr to make you want to use it?