marketing


Part of my job is to keep up on the latest channels of communication (in 2012 that translates to the latest technology and social media sites). Why? Because they are potential marketing vehicles for my company or one of my clients. Unless you’ve been living under a rock—or have decided that you aren’t going to be part of the social media environment like the people in the ancient days of the late 90’s who didn’t want to get an email address—then you’ve no doubt at least heard of the site called Pinterest.

Last year my friend and colleague, Stephanie, wrote about it on her blog and I took a look at it and asked for an invitation (you have to be invited to start your own account). I finally got one and have been pinning away for the last several days. I’m torn between absolutely loving this site and hating the fact that I have another potential addiction to deal with.

Pinterest has really opened my eyes to the amazing amount and variety of creativity in our world. And while this site is the fastest growing social media site in the world and is exploding with unprecedented popularity (they are making Facebook eat their dust), in the grand scheme of things is still a small community. Which makes me even more blown away by the sheer amount of imagination and talent that’s out there. I have been truly humbled. I like to think I’m creative (not a typical artist but a good amateur photographer and a half decent writer). I have to say though that there are some seriously talented people out there—whether it’s photography; designers of home elements, clothes, jewelry, graphics, and more; chefs, cooks, and bakers; authors; humorists; you name it—someone is there sharing their work. The travel photographs are making me really, really, really, want to see the world. Yes, I keep saying how much I want to travel and photograph God’s creation but the urge is getting almost painful when I see all these glorious pictures.

One of the nice things about Pinterest is that the community is about sharing and spreading cool stuff. Haters can stay home (with the exception of a few people who think certain things are funny but maybe not so much). Getting your stuff “repined” or “liked” feels good. Sharing others’ work and commenting on how cool it is lifts people up. I like this positive reinforcement, this encouragement of art in all its form.

So is it good for businesses? For some brands, absolutely. Others, not so much. Companies that have products or services that are creative in nature fit the mold of this site. But like any social media channel, if you shove your wares down the throats of the users, you’ll be ignored or shunned. Social media is about sharing content and creating a forum for discussion and thought. With that said, I’m going to shamelessly plug my page and ask you to follow me on Pinterest!

Follow Me on Pinterest
 

Need an invitation? Let me know!

(The photo below was something I found on Pinterest and was posted here: http://pinterest.com/pin/142989356888534418/

It's the latest "thing."

Pin It

I watched this webinar today on how to improve your blog. It was very interesting and the speaker—who was from the Kodak company—had some great stories and case studies to share. Being an amateur photographer myself, I loved all the fun posts they have. Let me just pose a question for your thoughts here. Why do we call ourselves amateur photographers? Basically almost every person in America over the age of three has their own camera and takes pictures. Almost all of them do not get paid, so isn’t everyone pretty much an amateur? Okay, not important I get it.

So, the speaker was telling us about a post she wrote that went viral. Of course, it had a dog in it so that helps, but she tested out one of Kodak’s products—a weird tripod thing which I think I need to get now—on her Pug. She summed it up by stating that all the photos that were taken showed him looking at 1) her, 2) his food dish, and 3) the cat. Too funny. Kind of sounds like men. (I bet they mostly spend their time looking at women, TVs, and refrigerators.)

Later on, she tried putting a video camera on the dog. It was like watching someone have a seizure inside your head. Not a good video but funny. The piece de resistance was when she put it on her cat. As you might guess, the only footage is of the back of the cat’s head. The cat was so lazy it didn’t move and so nothing of interest was shown.

After the webinar I put my iPhone in Grendel’s collar and hit record. He immediately turned his head to try to eat it so the only thing you see is black and then blurred randomness, and you can hear me in the background saying, “No Grendel! Awwwww. Dang it.”

I hope this was interesting content. Posting interesting content was the first tip on how to improve your blog. The second was to make a plan (I don’t think my life is that interesting to plan ahead like that), and the third tip was to answer people’s questions. If your questions have something to do with how to get cat boogers out of your window sill, how to get a Grendel dog to eat, or anything marketing related, I can help. Brain surgery, sewing, curling, eating with chopsticks, growing vegetables, and piano playing are not in my wheelhouse, so you’ll need to go somewhere else for those questions.

Check out the pug with the camera.

Kodak: A Thousand Words – Dog Photography: Not of dogs but taken by a dog.

Kodak: A Thousand Words – Pet Videography – Videos Shot by Pets.

People can be smart, kind, generous, supportive, and make you laugh. They can also be really gullible, inattentive, impatient, and insecure. I have those last few traits for sure and I tend to get very frustrated with those who share those traits with me. Hypocrite? Yup. Realist? Yup. Dreamer? Yup. Critic? Yup. Destroyer of nations? Nope—but the cat in the photo below could eat his way through Europe.

 Speaking of the cat photo, aside from making me LOL it made me think about my profession (marketing) and how we use imagery and words to persuade. I don’t lie. Let’s just get that out there. I refuse to use tactics that are unethical and I do not help sell products or services that would go against my principles. But…it is my job to get through the clutter so that you, my dear, wonderful, modern and hip consumer, will see the value in what I’m offering. Sometimes that means cutting out the fat. Sometimes that means pricing something a certain way to position the brand at a certain level in the consumer’s mind. And sometimes it means putting a pretty label on it.

Yesterday my creative group at work took a break and played “guess the better wine.” Now wine of course is subjective—what some call “feet-like tasting swill” others call “late-night after-the-beer-is-gone nightcap.” We basically covered up the bottles and tasted wines to see which ones we liked better. Not surprisingly I picked all the more expensive ones. And by expensive I mean like $10 (vs. the Trader Joe two-buck-chuck options). What can I say? I appreciate a good product. But given a real test, who would say how much the brand and price would influence the perceived taste? Guess that’s a test for another day.

Oh and FYI, if you didn’t scan the QR code on my last post you may not be aware that the whole getting another puppy thing was an April fool’s joke. I must be really good because if you really believed that I could handle a Grendel mini-me along with the critters I have, then you must think I’m nuts. Hmmm. What does that say about me? More importantly what does getting fooled say about you? Just a suggestion–research a little more closely before making assumptions. Especially when media outlets report that the army is changing its headgear to Stetson hats. Unbelievable. hee-hee.

Funny Pictures - Fat Cat Facebook
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Grendel saw the cat photo and got really hungry.

Grendel licks his chops in anticipation of fat cat for dinner.

 
 

This morning a co-worker sent me a link to a hilarious video (here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRDhx8Lo37E).  Somehow that link led to some more funny stuff and before you know it I was laughing out loud in a serious way.

 

I know what you’re thinking; she was in the lolcat trance again. Nope, but it’s similar to that kind of humor—in its format not content. I work in marketing and while I know that certain things are important (they can persuade people in strange ways, believe me), sometimes things get out of hand and we take ourselves too seriously. This is what this site is saying—about bad marketers that is. Not me and my creatively talented co-workers.

The site is here for your viewing pleasure but I’m going to post some of the photos for a quick laugh. The site is called “Things Real People Don’t Say About Advertising” and it can be found at http://tpdsaa.tumblr.com/.

Not everyone needs a Twitter feed people.

People always want too much text in their ads. White space is good!

And now for something really special. Back in the 30’s the ad execs (and the general population it seems) were a bunch of racist, ugly jerks. I won’t post the racist ads they published back then because it’s just too ugly. But, being a woman and in the business now, I can tell you I’m shocked at the audacity of those pigs and what they got away with. Take a look at these ads. I guess once they realized that women had serious buying power the messages were changed. But jeez.

Women bashing ad execs in their prime.

Yes, Delmonte, even a idiot woman can open a bottle of ketchup.

Can you imagine this today? Coffee in the lap buddy.

I wonder how many women were beaten because of this kind of attitude?

It gets kind of hard to write on my own time now because I spend so much time at work chipping away at the keyboard. But, writing for me allows me to express myself. My clients don’t always want to take risks with their brands and so sometimes my little jokes get edited out of copy I write for them. Boring! The best marketing copy I get comes from MarketingProfs. Their style is fun and humorous and I always read the copy because it’s so refreshing. I feel like I’m listening to a real person (who happens to be fun and lively) and not some stuffed-shirt-corporate-scaredy-cat who wants his/her brand to stand out but is too afraid to do it.

I jest—but just a little. I get the fact that sometimes the audience is made up of very serious people and maybe the topics are serious and the company doesn’t want to come across as silly or incompetent. Having said that, take a look at some of the most successful ads and marketing campaigns. You love them because they are creative, intelligent, out of the box, and at times—laugh-out-loud funny. So don’t be afraid to show your personality. Your customers are human and buying decisions are based on emotions. Tap into those emotions!

Here’s my advice on how to get people to stop and come into your store to shop. I have to say it’s one of the most ingenious things I’ve heard of. Better than the invention of chocolate. Okay, I take that back—nothing is better than the invention of chocolate, thank you very much French monks or whoever invented it. But this is good. Ready?

Place a huge sign (handwritten will be better for that personal touch) outside your store—or on your homepage, ad, brochure, email, etc., that says:

FREE PUPPIES!

When you’ve done that, call me and I’ll give you some more brilliant ideas. If you have any of your own, please share them here!

The Grendel dog is not free, but he would be a good prop for selling some hunting gear.

Grendel and the fake duck.

Last week I travelled to Dallas, Texas to attend the International Dairy Show. I spent the last nine months working on promoting the show and got to see it come to fruition. My clients are really fun, smart people so it’s been a great experience working with them and learning about the dairy industry. And while this show is targeted to processors and packagers, there was plenty of food tasting to be had. The ingredients folks are there—giving away samples of new flavors. I was loving the funnel cake ice cream.

I felt like a kid walking the show floor. I got to meet Chester Cheetah and the Nestle Quick Bunny. I got my picture taken at the Got Milk? booth. Yup, I’ve got a milk mustache photo of me on the fridge now. Then there was the flipbook booth. I donned some silly glasses and hat and danced with maracas while holding a sign that says “single and looking.” It was turned into a book where you flip the pages quickly making it look like a movie clip. Got to get that for my other clients!

What’s that you say? Did I work? Yes, and I’ve got blisters to prove it. I interviewed lots and lots of people for a video I’ll be working on later. I got an extensive tour of a cold delivery truck, and detailed lectures about a clean seal bottling machine-thingy, a new kind of packaging machine, a cow-milking type machine, and some food-safety technology. I also ran some focus groups (that can be another topic altogether), tried some funky tea, and heard President Bush speak.  

So, lots of fun was had at the Dairy Show. Next year we’ll be combining some peaches and cream and heading to Atlanta. Oh, and as my long-delayed flight neared home I looked out the window and saw a view of the Big Dipper that I’ve never seen before. It was so low on the horizon that it looked like it was even with the plane. Cool. Irrelevant to this post (except maybe I was dreaming of a big ice cream scooper), but cool.

I’m back now and going to try to lose the weight I gained. The new thing now is yogurt. Not quite as good as strawberry milk, yummy cheese cubes on forks, ice cream samples, and cream cheese, but it’ll have to do. Off to work on my other clients—just as important, I just wish they had cooking demonstrations in their exhibit halls!

Yummy cheese samples

 

Chester Cheetah

 

Yogurt samples

 

The milking machine

It’s so easy to put something out there on the Internet and have people believe it. On Facebook for example, there have been a number of times I’ve seen people put in their status, a comment that had been said by someone else. They just copied and pasted and passed it along. There is a name for that. It’s called gossip. And not just gossip but opinions, reviews, travel descriptions—all based on someone’s perspective. I’ve been guilty of passing those Facebook status things along. How about you?

 

I was thinking about the trip my parents and I took last summer to Canada. And recently I found some comments online about this place we visited—Frontier Village in Sault Ste. Marie. If you read my post on it, I stated that it was a couple of shops, a fry stand, and ice cream place with some wooden statues of Wild West characters scattered around. We missed it several times (it was right on the side of the big highway) and even asked for directions to it from a local who gave us a weird look. But, here is how two Web sites describe it.
  • Frontier Village vividly recreates life in the nineteenth century. 
  • Visit Frontier Village and catch a glimpse of what Sault Ste. Marie looked like in the 1800s. There is a collection of stores, restaurants, and craft shops associated with the era. Life-size woodcarvings depict scenes from the Old West.

Nice. Makes me want to seek out this place. Oh wait. I did. Was it fun? Yes. But only because of how the reality of it compared to the descriptions. See below and you tell me.

I remember once I was writing some marketing copy for an upcoming conference and found a great quote about San Diego on some Web site. My boss asked me to confirm it and after looking for the source, found that the source of the quote had gone out of business long ago and the quote had been used over and over again by various organizations such as mine. We had each found something online and took it for granted that it was the truth because it was posted on some Web site.

I find it interesting that it’s so easy for us to believe rumors or what the media tells us and yet so many doubt or even refute the truth of Jesus. Why do we put blinders on to something so wonderful and yet accept lies and deceit so easily? It’s sad but I guess it’s just human nature. I often pray to God to help me stop and pull the plank out of my eye before telling another about their splinter.

I am a professional marketer and it’s my job to persuade people to purchase products or register for events. But I have found that I can be successful by telling the truth. If you feel like you have to stretch the truth or lie in order to sell something, then why are you standing behind it? Just a thought.

Well, I’m off to read some travel brochures. They say this place in Nova Scotia has great whale watching and that it’s the most beautiful scenery in the world. Hmmmm. 

the Wild West at Frontier Village

Characters at Frontier Village

The trading post at Frontier Village

Frontier Village depicts what life was like in the 1800s

The totem pole at Frontier Village

The Old West dudes and the fry stand

Canadian humor

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