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Age and Marketing

Posted On: 2005-10-27Length: 21:22

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Like, oh, my, god. Buffy! Look at her performance review. It's like so big! Hey folks, Jared Degnan. Question. Where do you draw the line between on top of your game and just being another obnoxious know-it-all? The reason I ask this is because this week is one of those momentous moments in the lives of a 20-something professional that we seem to dread and anticipate all at the same time. It's performance reviews. My boss will be out of town this week, or at least he will be for the most of the week, and has quite literally told us that instead of doing a full formalized review where we get to give feedback and write out everything that we have to save for this particular segment of our lives, what he's going to do is basically say, hey guess what, this is your performance review. Now I'm not necessarily worried about it, but this review is a part of our formally salary bump recommendation. So this, whatever happens here is going to affect me months down the road. And to tell you the absolute truth, things have been going well for me in the last weeks, and there's a lot of reasons for that. But the fact of the matter is that I'd like to not force myself into a corner this week if I can help it. Now, back to the original question.

Remember how I told you about hubris and self-destructive behavior a couple of episodes ago? Well, when things start going well, as I mentioned they have been for the last couple of weeks, I started to get bolder. And that means my marketing starts to get more interesting. My wording gets better, the chances that I take get bolder. The problem with this though, is that I am facing down the barrel of the ultimate 20-something conundrum, and that's presenting information in a presentation to a much, much older audience. And I'm going to be doing this next weekend at a conference that I've been invited to by my boss, so I basically get to go business travel, and that's a whole 'nother subject. But the catch to this is that my audience is just to the left of festively archaic. We're talking 40, 50 years older than I am. Now the question kind of relates back to this, with life spans extending and information driving the digital age, kind of like close together, age itself is certainly not the divisive issue it once was. However, if someone doesn't like what you're saying at a presentation, I've had it happen multiple times, they're going to jump directly to your perceived inexperience. And this is just a reflective issue. So ladies and gentlemen, submitted for your approval, the 20-Something Marketing Forum's episode #13, "The Age Thing."

Rise and shine 20-somethings. It's time for the 20-Something Marketing Forum with Jared Degnan.

And greetings and salutations my dear marketing fans. My name is Jared Degnan and you are listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum, an informative engaging look at the marketing and life as a 20-something professional dealing with realities and of course, yes, the drama of the modern workplace. This is as I mentioned, episode #13, so I want to start off by thanking all of you for tuning in, and want to remind you that as always you can find out more about the things we talk about here on the show, as well as interact with like-minded young professionals on our website at 20sometingmarketing.com. Now speaking of the site, I was actually updating my own list of podcasts that I listen to this weekend, and I found out that there are now over 500 business podcasts listed on iTunes. Now most of them seem to be you standard run-of-the-mill corporate types, and some actually some smaller marketing communications firms have just recently gotten into the mix. Actually, to my chagrin you're finding less and less the fly-by-night podcasters, such as I consider myself to be. Now, I'm not saying they're not out there. Cubicle escape, Vision thing, American copywriter, these are all great shows, but what strikes me about these new podcasts is the quality of information that's coming out. It's absolutely exciting. It's fantastic. I found out that Barry Point actually just jumped into the game with their own podcast. I've got to tell you folks, I'm floored by the quality of the information there. It struck me, though. I could take this surge in more professional, wise professionally produced podcasts, in one of two ways. I can either (a) be as intimidated as hell, or (b) be even more proud that we put the fun in the fundamental problem of young professionals these days. You know what folks, we are here to have fun. Don't ever think I'm going to deviate from that. And frankly, you guys deserve it. And you know you can get marketing advice anywhere, but honestly, for the real deal on the young professional experience, I'm glad to say that this show proudly carries the flag for you. So, let's get down to it shall we?

As I mentioned in the intro, I'm actually hard at work on a presentation to a much older audience this week. And I'm kind of intrigued about how this is going to go. And the fact of the matter is, that to have true influence among a crowd like that, you really need to be able to establish your credibility from the word go. Now, in order to establish credibility, it's generally known that you have to either associate yourself with someone they already trust, or (b) somehow buy that trust through mushed bananas and Viagra. Now I'm just kidding about the Viagra stuff, but they really do respond to mushed bananas. In all reality though, buying trust is not as insidious as it seems. Presenting solid evidence that the audience can relate to can be a very valuable way of getting in the door. And a great example of this might be using data from a survey, or even an article from a well-known paper by essentially leveraging the information and taking them off guard with either data that they would be interested in, or information sources they already deem credible, you're basically shifting the perception that you're talking out of your ass. Now in this particular instance, barring the chairman of my company doing my intro, the evidence is what I'm going to need to do to gain credibility. Now, I'll get to that evidence in a moment, but let's quickly talk about the more basic aspect of public speaking and some ground rules that I use to protect myself from going insane.

Now, as it might be generally known, public speaking is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach. My fear is when the old people wake up from their Geritol-induced comas and realize they're taking marketing advice from a 24-year-old, uh, yeah, I'm probably just going to need to watch out for flying denture cream. But of course as you can see from my witty and sometimes off-color remarks about old people, I have a hard enough time as it is establishing my own credibility, just in my office, and sometimes even with my friends, since I have a penchant to be an extreme cut up, but maybe, just maybe that's where the goldmine lies for us in presentations. Now, the reason I say this is because as the cardinal rule of presentations, written, verbal or even visual at that matter, perception is 80% of your battle. They have to quite literally trust in your appearance and the fact that you demonstrate confidence in what you're saying. In that instance it's all about running towards, rather than away from yourself. And I'm going to say that again because I think it's important. It's all about running towards yourself, rather than running away from yourself. What I'm talking about is the fact that we can not escape our age. It's a fundamental fact, I mean, saving myself, doing my Stadler and Waldorf impression, you know the two guys up in the balcony from the Muppet Show? I really can't intimidate an old person throughout my entire presentation without offending at least someone And you know what, I look at this way. Take an example of wearing a suit. A friend of mine took me shopping with him one day because he has no fashion sense whatsoever, and he wanted to pick out a good interview suit. And luckily we found one, we had it tailored, and he looked fantastic in it. But when he showed up for a cocktail party, he told me that he really didn't feel it looked right, and you know what his problem was? He was letting the suit wear him, rather than vice versa. In a presentation, the only way you're going to project confidence, just like you're going to project confidence when wearing a suit, is by wearing the presentation. Not letting the presentation wear you. You've got to stand up tall, let yourself lead the PowerPoint. Not vice versa. And basically take comfort in the fact that you have to do enough research to be your own expert and prepare to talk, although it may seem very, very simple, prepare to talk and believe about whatever it is you're talking about. I could go into the presentation meekly and very respectful because I'm frightened of the old people, but you know what, that just isn't me. I'm most confident when I am me, and I mean, sometimes in this day and age it's scary to stand up for what you believe in and be yourself, and kind of risk not being accepted, but I mean, the fact of the matter is that you're going to shoot yourself in the foot if you go in there and you're not confident about what you're doing. And the best way to do that is just to be secure in who you are. And granted I know that that's a lot easier said than done, because granted I talk all about dating on this podcast, and you know my battles with that.

Let's see, actually because he probably doesn't listen to this podcast, I'll go ahead and say it. He actually did call me back and we had a great date, and we had a great second date. So it'll be interesting. I'll keep you guys posted. If he does happen to listen to his podcast, maybe he'll IM me for once. It's so strange, it's like, we have great times on the dates, but then we like never talk during the week. I know he's busy, but I don't know. It'll be interesting. If you guys have any thoughts on that kind of a dating mechanism, where you go out on a date and then granted this is neither here nor there, if you go out on a date, you have a great time, and then they don't really want to interact with you between dates, now granted I don't know if it's interacting with me personally, or if it's just me be a psycho nut case, which is probably what's happened, given the fact that I just went on a completely random tangent. I apologize.

Ok. So where do we go in there? Oh that's right. Being confident in who you are. That's funny. Yeah, I plan on going into the presentation essentially with one simple mindset. I'm young and I'm going to essentially use every tool at my discretion to try to influence these guys in this presentation. And what I mean by that is I'm going to use my youthful presence, I'm going to be excited about it, I'm going to use my facial expressions. And I'm going to communicate in every way that I can. Now the trick is to go in there with the information that they want to hear, and that's essentially relevant to their business lives. And, keeping in mind that I like to be creative, and I like to passionate, and that's the way I like to communicate. Now, you have to understand that there is a power in stories and visuals that might not be there for all people. The fact of the matter is that there are all types of personalities out there, and in a presentation, unless you know everyone that's going to be in the room at the time and know exactly what's going to push their buttons, you never know what's going to influence who. It's in that respect I circle it back to content. And I really can't make a generalization about my audience, but I can do my research enough that I can bring something with me that's going to appeal to everyone. And, like I said, this brings us right back to our evidence. I'm going to mix in some data, I'm going to mix in some stories, some examples and some tactics, just to make sure there's something for everyone. And while I do my presentation, I'm going to watch the audience. If they're receptive, if they're leaning forward, if they're not crossing their arms looking like they're about to kill me, that's probably a good sign. And as long as you go in there with a lot of stuff to give out and you're willing to shift your tactics in the middle of the presentation, which I know is much easier said than done, you should be fine. And the fact of the matter is you have to be able to read that situation more than anything else, and have enough stuff in your toolbox of your presentation in order to actually go out there and do that.

So, keeping that in mind, I think that there's a great basis for this, and I think we'll talk a little bit more about it later on in the podcast. But I mean that I think it is fair to say that, keep in mind that whenever you're doing your presentation you wear the suit. Don't let it wear you.

The following is graphic, clinical material. News and commentary proving once and for all reality does indeed bite.

And welcome to news you can use. News from the business world, the marketing world, and of course beyond. I'm Jared Degnan your chief news correspondent, and unfortunately, Kara was supposed to be with me tonight, but it was Skyped. That's right. Instead of using the word Skyped to denote a recording, I'm going to use the word Skyped to describe something that gets screwed up. Those of you who do podcasts know what I'm talking about. Skype just does way too much to my system to describe. Something always goes wrong. Anyway, I'm going to get out of foamy the squirrel mode and back into news mode, because I do have some lessons to draw out here. And those lessons apply directly to credibility, folks. So let's quickly start with Martha Stewart. That's right. There is an SEC filing that Ad Age.com found, and that basically revealed that Charles Koppleman, the guy who plays the cigar-chomping chairman of the board Martha Stewart Omni Media, and I think he actually is the chairman, but he's actually getting $3 million for his regular appearances. That makes the number one question, what does Alexis Stewart, her daughter, get? And second of all, why is his salary more than three times what he gets for running Martha Stewart Omni Media? Am I taking crazy pills here people? You should not be paid that much to chomp on a cigar and complain about selfish morons trying to sell salad dressing. Anyway. My point here is, that attacked onto the end of this, Ad Age.com is also reporting that Apprentice Martha had a ratings guarantee and it actually lost to the valuable 18-49 year old demographic, to lost, which basically violated what it said it was going to do, and is, I don't know if it's gotten them into some hot water, but basically the media buyers were guaranteed a five rating according to media buying executives, and I think that it got a 1.7 rating for overall households, which I don't know, I think it's like a 2.6 rating, I'm sorry. A 2.6 rating for the 18-49 year-olds and a 1.7 rating for everyone. Actually, no, never mind. Don't worry about me folks. There's a reason why you don't get your news from me. And that's because I screw it up. So, let's screw that up, and let's go on to our next subject.

Halloween costumes. And this is actually more of a commentary than it is anything else. But a great article from Seth Stevenson over at the Slate talks about a question that he got regarding the Burger King head mask for Halloween. You know that creepy guy created by Christen Porter to recognize the have it your way guy. Now here's my theory. The guy shows up in bed, he is serving meat to a lumberjack and he appears in people's windows. Is it just me, or is this guy gay? I'm sorry. It's just, it seems weird to me. So you yourself can become the King for $9 a pop by buying it from a web site. And I'm going to try to find the website and post it up there for you guys. It went on sale on October 7 and it's just, ugh, gosh. I'm sorry folks. If you're only creative spirit is to wear a Burger King mask, then you need some serious help. And it's kind of funny, because he does go into some other things that you could have been, like the Coors Lite girls, the twins, the Caveman from the Geico commercials, and hell, even the Dove girls, the Dove real women girls, and honestly, I just don't, I don't want to see people out there in just their little tightie whities or whatever the women wear, I don't know.

Yeah, you can tell I'm having a lot of fun with this folks. Ok. And lastly, but possibly not leastly, I want to draw on this great story that happened from writers talking about this British study on the fact that having an unfair boss actually shortens your life span. In fact they did a research survey of 6400 civil servants in London, but apparently the risk of coronary heart disease was 30% lower in those who said they had a just boss, as opposed to the ones who said their boss was basically an asshole. And I wish Kara was on right now, because she basically said as long as you boss has a heart, yours will go on to. Will your heart go on? It just sounds like there should be Titanic theme music behind here. Oh god. What does this have to do with credibility? I have no earthly clue what this has to do with credibility, folks. Because you know what, that is what it is all about. It is about finding someone that you can trust, someone that entertains you, and that's what this segment is all about. It's about finding those stories that interest you and that relate to marketing but have no relevance to your day-to-day life. And at least I'm honest about that. And that, my friends, is lesson number two for credibility.

Ok and now of course we come to the wrap up. The game plan, guys. Get excited. That's right. This is where I get to distill all of the fun stuff that we've just talked about in the last 15-20 minutes into some sort of moral of the story you guys get to take away with you. That's the greatest thing about this show. Its credibility. Its value. You know when you tune in you're going to have fun and you're gong to learn something from it. So enough tooting my own horn, let's talk a little bit about the age thing. My grandparents just visited this weekend, and I had a fantastic time with them, but it really did kind of highlight the differences in the generations. But you know what really just struck me and it's completely true, and that's as long as you establish the credibility, as long as you establish the fact that you are confident talking to everyone, it's going to happen for you, and the age thing will completely dissolve. And you know what, it is all about trust. It is about their ability to place in you the idea that you are responsible by demonstrating it, and what I mean by demonstrating, is you've got to get shit done. So the game plan for today is go out there and see what you can get done. Go out there and if someone does not have the confidence in you, demonstrate it to them. I had this really weird experience when I was a kid working for a little bagel shop, actually it was a bagel shop restaurant. But the chef hated me. I mean the chef, she thought I was the scum of the earth. Then one day I had to come in early one Saturday morning to kind of cook some stuff for later that Sunday. And she found me there and the fact that I was there changed her entire opinion on me, and I could not have been more excited about that. This was an old salty dog chef that just completely was herself endeared to me because I had proven that she could put her trust in me. And that's what I'm saying to you folks. Go out and challenge yourself right now. Don't shy away from age. Do not be anyone who you are not. Go out there, have some fun, enjoy it, and just remember, that it is all about trust. It is all about credibility. And it is all about your willingness to go out there and meet whatever life has for you.

So I think that is going to be it for the 20-Something Marketing Forum. I thank you guys for tuning in and encourage you to visit the site at 20somethingmarketing.com and also email me at Jared@20somethingmarketing.com. If you have any comments or questions, I love to hear your thoughts. I love to get your questions. And I would love, love, love, love more people to be interacting on the forum boards. So simply go to 20somethingmarketing.com and click on Discuss. Also if you've got some time, I'm going to put a link up to the Yahoo podcast section. I want you to go, I want you to put a review in for me if you have a chance. Also vote for me, just let me know what the hell you're going on, what the hell's going on in your mind. Let me know if you like the show or not by voting on Yahoo podcast. So again I thank you guys very much, and I wish you adieu. Tune in next week where I'll do a little bit of live broadcasting, somewhat live broadcasting, from Tampa and this little conference3 I'm going to do. So I wish you guys good luck, and as always, I will catch you on the flip side.

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