Posted On: 2005-10-13
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Oh! Gosh! I hate dating. I really do have to say it. It's not like I want to be single my entire life, but there's got to be a better way. And I mean, I really hate, in fact, first dates. The ambiguity, the "will I get a second date out of it?" It's just absolutely insane. And, I mean, the best thing about it is you get to feel sorry for yourself afterwards if you don't get a second date, and you have to pick yourself up by you bootstraps and say, you know what, it didn't mean that much to me. Ugh! Gosh! Anyway, but I mean, it's one of those things where you have the first date, you think it went pretty well, and then for some strange reason they don't call you back. Well you know what, folks? I'm a big boy. I can take it. If you don't want to go on a second date with me. Fantastic. Just don't say that you can cut through the BS when apparently you can't. Anyway, it's one of those fun evenings, where you end up babysitting your straight engaged girlfriends because their fiancés believe that you're the safe alternative. So you end up dancing in a club to hideously bad music and well, you can guess where I went from there. Well you know what, folks, it's always great, though, when you're able to salvage something from the ashes. Now, granted, still haven't heard back from the guy yet, and I don't know if I will, but you know what, it's all about beginnings. I was able to kind of you know, even though that I had a rough week, I was able to salvage a friendship this past week, and that is incredibly important. If there's something that's gotten between you and a friend, and it's stupid and it's petty, to be able to raise that friendship out of the ashes so beautifully like a Phoenix, it's an incredible thing. So folks, I want to do this. I want to dedicate this podcast to all the single people out there currently slogging their way the first dates, and those people out there who are willing to make a new beginning, day after day after day. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the 20-Something Marketing Forum, episode #11, aptly named "Beginnings."
Rise and Shine 20-somethings. It's time for the 20-Something Marketing Forum with your host Jared Degnan.
And greetings and warm salutations out there, folks. This is Jared Degnan and I am of course the chief contributor to the 20-Something Marketing Forum, an informative, engaging look at really ambitious 20-something professionals dealing with the realities and the drama of the modern workplace. Oh gosh, folks. It's actually going to be kind of paradoxical because I am not going to be at work this week. I have a training Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the American Management Association here in Washington, DC. And then of course I have Yom Kippur on Thursday, so basically I'm not going to be at work. And usually what happens is I go to work, I brainstorm, I write some notes down, and then I come home and I write. And I write the show out. But this week it's going to be kind of different because I'm really, like, ugh, I don't know. What we're going to do instead, is we're going to change up the format of the show a little bit today. I'm not saying that the content is going to be any different, but I'm going to put together a couple smaller segments based on some of the topics and the overall idea of beginnings. So, with that, I want to quickly go through a couple of housekeeping items here. As you might have noticed, I'm starting to use the forum boards a little bit more. I posted a question that a listener asked me a couple weeks ago in regards to Internet marketing. So if you guys are involved in Internet marketing at all, please go to 20somethingmarketing.com, click on discuss, and then the At Issue, which is a brand new discussion category. I'm going to be posting your questions there, and then you guys can respond back, and kind of interact with each other and get some brainstorming going here. So I think that's pretty cool. And of course I'll be posting these from time to time. Also something very, very interesting is in the works with my pal Ethan over at The Vision Things. I can't exactly tell you what it's going to be right now, but I can tell you that it's very, very interesting, and we're going to see how that goes. So hats off to Ethan. He's absolutely jacked up. It's kind of funny because Ethan is this very process-oriented person, but he's very passionate about what he does, so he sends to me these like emails, like "I'm on crack, Jared, I'm on crack. Guess what I'm going to do next? Oh my gosh." So basically they, I get home after a night of clubbing or something and I read his emails and I laugh my ass off, and my friends wonder why I'm so giddy when I get home, so you know. Who knows?
Anyway, so basically today is about beginnings. And I think it goes without saying that no matter what you're in, if you're in finance, if you're in marketing, if you're in business in general, you know that when you start out on a new venture like I am with Ethan right now, it's important to kind of get the vision nailed out, and I'm going to give you guys a great example. I'm actually working with a great little organization that I've worked with for about a year and a half, I mean you guys can probably guess what it is, there are only so many organizations that I work with. But the point here is that when we first constituted the main governing body for this particular organization, there wasn't a good foundation. There wasn't a good beginning. There wasn't a good vision of what the board was supposed to do. So, therefore, the last couple of weeks have been a little bit shaky because we're all trying to go forward with our own vision of something without a shared vision, and I think that's going to be really interesting. I think it's really interesting commentary on the kinds of issues that we're facing right now. So, to that I asked myself in this podcast, to kind of lay out some ideas going forward. It could be really exciting to start something new, whether it's dating someone new, starting a new venture, I mean, even a new project, and it's important to kind of understand that passion and process go hand in hand. I mean it's silly, because I probably should have Ethan on right now. But the idea here is that when you start off on something and you really want it to work, you have to make sure that your vision, your foundation, and you know why you're doing it.
So to that extent, I'm going to take a look in a case study of a couple different elements here. The first of which is actually going to be a small ad hoc project that I've done, and I mean, I'm just the kind of insane person that does ad hoc marketing jobs because I like to do it. So, the first example that I'm going to give you guys is for a bar called Recessions here in Washington, DC, and I think I mentioned them beforehand, but I'm going to quickly list off some things involved with this project and some of the things I had to take into consideration. As well, I want to kind of go into what makes us begin something. Without kind of going to over arching, I know sometimes I have a tendency to be really prosaic on this program, but the idea here being that when you start something, you have to make sure there's teeth behind it. So it's like you have that three-panel business approach where you've got the idea, you know the result, and you have to fill in that middle portion, that middle panel, that process. And how you're going to do it. And just kind of taking a step back a little bit when you start something like this. It's kind of interesting. So we're going to look at some things here and we're going to hope not to ramble on too much, but I remind you as always, that if you're interested in learning more about the topics we talk about today, or are interested in commenting on anything, please don't hesitate to visit 20somethingmarketing.com, that's 20so9methingmarketing.com, 2-0 something marketing.com. Of course repetitive rules of three here. And check it out, let me know what you think, you guys. I love your comments, I love your feedback, I love your mail, and so we'll deal with it later on. God! This is just going to be a really interesting program, cause it's going to be a mixed bag, but it's going to be fun. So let's go ahead and kick it off folks.
OK folks, let's talk a little bit about one of my recent marketing campaigns. Every once in a while I like to kind of go out on my own and do a project just for the heck of it, and it's kind of strange because I do this completely pro bono. I pick a small business somewhere, I make friends with the owner, and it just kind of allows me to run my own shop, essentially. So I want to quickly go over a challenge that I faced working with a little bar called Recessions. Recessions is actually a little bar located 1823 L Street NW in Washington, DC. I encourage you guys to go there if you're in Washington, DC for a visit. And the thing about Recessions is that it's kind of a basement bar, so essentially you have the hotel on the top, and then you have Recessions on the bottom. Recessions is a really weird bar. And that's the best way that I can really say it. There's essentially it's got weird stained glass above the bar. It's got strange stone work along the sides, and it's got pool tables and a big screen TV and it's got food and cheap things of beer, and so it's really a mixed bag when it comes down to it. In fact the Washington Post in its review said "it's this odd little bar on L Street." So when I was talking with Kozzy, who's the owner, he and I came up with an idea to produce just a generic postcard that we could drop in certain areas, whether it be around DuPont Circle, around the downtown area, or potentially in dorms. And the selling point for Recessions is that it's always been too much for your money. And I'll give you a quick background on it. In DC there's a very very strong after-work happy hour crowd as you can possibly imagine. In fact if you walk around downtown DC, one of the things that you're going to find is that there are a large amount of liquor stores. We consume a large amount of alcohol here in our nation's capital, folks. That's right. Your representative are constantly buzzed. So essentially they have a happy hour that's really fantastic. It's like $2 domestics, $2.50 real drinks, $2.75 what they call King Kong beers, which are beers that have got to be the size of like your head. And of course $2.50 appetizers. And it's just a really, really neat little place. And I think the charm comes in the fact that it really is kind of like Cheers. Everybody does know your name when you sit down there. And Kozzy's just a really nice guy and I wanted to help him out, especially because my friend Josh is a bartender there. So I sought out this challenge, and it's kind of interesting because he really didn't have that much money to do marketing, and it was up to me to figure out some sort of medium that we would be able to actually promote the bar and promote the happy hour. So what I came up with was just doing a basic drop card that you'd be able to place in an office building, give out to people, and just let people know about what's going on. Now, of course, I'm being a cheap little person here, and so I decided to go with gotprint.com, who offers 5000 color one-sided postcards, 4 x 6 for about $99. So, and it's, if you've ever seen a 4 x 6 postcard, it's hard to cram a ton of information onto it, so I tried to keep it as smooth as possible, and I mean, I want to make the caveat here that I'm not the greatest graphic designer in the world. You may have seen the site. It's a template. And I did some of the graphic work, but honestly I can't do a lot of it without a lot of my friends. But this one I actually am pretty proud of because I did it myself, and I'm really more of a layout person, too. In fact, one of the things that copywriters lament is the fact that it's so hard to work with designers, and I can tell you that if you really, really, really want to become an effective copywriter, I encourage you to learn a little bit about graphic design and what you like in aesthetic quality, cause the more that you can communicate with your graphic designers, the better you're going to articulate your vision.
So here's the challenge. Recessions is a mixed bag. It really is. The best thing going for it, it's got, it's one of the best buys in DC. Like honestly. It's fantastic. The food is very, very good and it's kind of interesting. But the challenge is making people realize where it is. Essentially all you have is doors. You have doors to it, there's a big sign, and that's it. You don't have an outside area or anything. Now, keeping in mind that L Street's kind of, that hidden area of DC which I happen to like, the fact of the matter is that you've got K Street, which is the famed lobbying center of DC, and then you've got M Street, which is more of the professional yuppie type people, and then of course you have L Street, and honestly I like L Street the best. But along L Street you have this corridor of bars that's I think Mackie's, and a couple of different other places down there, but we wanted to try to articulate Recessions as effectively as we could, yet have it maintain a very unique quality. So I decided to really go and emphasize the fact that it was unique. In fact I seized that line from the Washington Post as my theme here, this odd little bar on L Street. And I think this is one of the really cool elements of kind of running your own shop, especially when you're in marketing. It's that you get to actually kind of decide where you're going with it. So I actually started out just with my camera in the bar and taking photos of people. I told people, you know what? Have fun. We took some pictures of the bartenders, we took a picture of Kozzy shooting some pool, all the kind of fun things that really make it quirky. And it's just, we had fun with it. And it really does eventually articulate this image in the series of photos that I have. I also kind of structured it a little bit so that it looked a little more professional than what was originally kind of the whole essence of Recessions. Now the challenge with Recessions is that it's not, this was not it's original location. The original location was actually located on K Street, oddly enough, right now where I think H&R Block is, and back when it was on K Street, it was renowned for being the perfect place to go if you had no money. They had great crab cakes, great big beers, and you could always get a ton, ton for your money. In fact their logo was, too much for your money. And so now that Recessions has moved on, it's time for them to get a little bit of a facelift. So the main things that I want to kind of point out here, and I'll actually post the image on the website, is the fact that I kind of compartmentalized the way that I had it, and specifically draw your eye where I want it to be drawn by the use of color. And I mean, I'm not a graphic designer as I mentioned, and I'm not going to lecture you guys on the need to bring aesthetic clarity, but I mean, take a look at it and see how I've taken one central color, which is green, and kind of tied it down throughout the postcard, and take what I put there, and start looking at different ads that you see and where your eye flows. So, we really kind of made the happy hour specials like a menu, and focused in on how we get people there. So essentially there are two main colors in the document that really kind of draw your eye down, and the first of which is going to be the green, and the second of which is going to be the white. And I know this is kind of like nit-picking, but it is important in the way that you arrange the information. What I want you to see is the logo, the odd little bar on L Street, the happy hour, and then location. Because honestly, when you talk about what you need to put in in terms of content, you need to get these guys the information that they need to know without confusing them. The first things that you're going to see on this document is where it is. And that's honestly what I want people to notice. Because it's going to be a challenge getting them to a bar that practically doesn't exist. And so I, you know what, it came out very, very well, and I'm waiting to see some proof back from gotprint before I go forward with it. But I think it's an interesting case study to look at just because it was one of these things where I would not have been able to do this kind of thing on my own in my workplace. So I was able to kind of like work through it, and one of my biggest marketing mantras is the fact that if you ask for something in the right way, you can get it. And I ask Kozzy very nicely about doing this. I did it for free and of course he's paying me back in beers and appetizers and whatnot. But I actually happen to think it's fun.
So, I encourage you guys that if you're thinking about kind of expanding your boundaries and really kind of playing around with some of the things that you want to involved yourself with, for instance, if you want to start doing graphic design, pick up projects like this. Seriously. This show is all about beginnings. And so, kind of figure out your own beginning in terms of a project. Figure out what you want to do and go out and find an opportunity to do it. And I mean, there's very little risk with this particular item, because Kozzy doesn't have his own marketing department. I am his marketing department for that matter. And it's fun because I mean, I had a lot of fun doing it. And it's just something that I enjoy doing, and I think it's something that you guys would probably enjoy doing too. So, I mean, kind of take a look at what you might want to do and figure out where you can kind of create your own opportunities here, because I think that's one of the greatest challenges of the 20-somethings, is to really get real world experience, and this kind of project is like right up your alley. And I mean, it's really very simple. Look around. Find small businesses. These guys are all around, and they all want marketing support, and the best thing about it, I can put this on my resume. Well, granted I keep on putting the 20-Something Marketing Forum on my resume, but we'll see if that actually becomes an asset or a liability. So I'm going to go ahead and post this on the website and see what you guys think. I'd love your comments on it and of course, if you are in Washington DC and you need cheap happy hour specials, $2.75 King Kong draft beers, go to Recessions, this odd little bar on L Street, rated 2005 AOL City Guide best bet for downtown location with small town prices. Recessions at 1823 L Street NW in Washington, DC.
You're listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum.
And finally today guys, we come to the game plan. That chance where I get to list off some actionable tactics you guys can take with you in your day to day lives. So, what was today all about? Well, today was a little bit of a truncated show thanks to the American Management Association and the wonderful training session that I went through. So I want to quickly take off some important things about beginnings. Now, as you probably have heard, I tend to go a little bit prosaic with this particular segment. But I don't mind doing it today, and that's because it is actually the start of, actually it's the beginning of the end of the Jewish tradition of the Ten days of Awe, and I just got back from synagogue, and of course it's Wednesday right now, and I'm going to try to get the podcast out Thursday morning. But essentially the rabbi was talking a lot about what it meant to actually begin a new year after year. And it got me to thinking a little bit about beginnings. And the ways that we start out and the reasons that we start out, and why are beginnings so important and why do marketers in particular have to look at it. Well I came up with three main things here. The first of which is momentum. Second of which is process, and the third is planning. There are three areas, these are three areas of opportunity that we have to seize as marketers. Now, first of all, with momentum. You have to ask yourself some pretty critical questions before you begin a marketing project. And that's how much excitement do you want to build in for this particular project? The second of which is how can this momentum enfranchise the staff? And then lastly, how is this momentum going to help you create buzz? These are three main things that need to be seized upon when you start something out. And to that I only have to say that in marketing it's about compelling your target to do something. And how can they get excited about doing something if you're not excited to do things? So, take kind of my example from the Recessions post card. I got excited about that. I figured out a reason to get excited about that, and I think I was able to communicate that through the postcard. I mean hopefully you guys can hear that through my podcast, that I really do get excited about this stuff. The second of which is process. It kind of allows you a unique opportunity as a marketer to really focus in on the process. A lot of marketing, and I think it's overlooked a lot, sometimes is operations. And you have to ask yourself, two main things. First of all, do you have a process around your marketing, what's the creative process like? And second of all, do you have clear communication and assigned accountability for it? And this is something that my bosses beat me upside the head with over and over and over again. And it's not that I'm saying that in a bad way. However, as marketers, we're kind of in charge of positioning and placement. And we sometimes forget that we actually have to collect the lead on the back end of these things. So, it's important to understand where your leads are going to go and account for that in the beginning section of the progress. Now, lastly in planning, understandably the best laid plans are going to go awry. And the best thing that you can do is figure out, number one, what can go wrong in the launch of that, and honestly, there's a project that I'm wrapping up right now at work. It's a national campaign, I think I've talked a little bit about it previously. But the number of things that have been able to go wrong in this six-month campaign is staggering. Absolutely positively staggering. I have like thirteen people calling me every single day asking me the same exact questions. If I had started at the very beginning and said to myself, what can go wrong here? And then planned for that, include that in my contingency planning, that would have been a good thing. The second of which is just second steps, follow up. And this is just simply, if you've ever put out, for instance a market research survey. That first initial push is going to net you a lot of people, but it's in that follow up that is going to be able to pull them through. And I think it's really important to count for that in the beginning process. And that really kind of ties it up in terms of what you need to think about when you start a marketing project. But overall, guys, and I mean I really do apologize, because this is me getting into a little bit of my prosaic mode here. But it's your book. It really is. And as a 20-something the privilege is yours to write it. So, the one thing that I can give you guys advice on in the game plan today is simply to go out and find your own opportunities. Find your own beginnings. Every single day that you wake up, figure out how you're going to challenge yourself and allow yourself to practice these beginnings. And it's really kind of interesting, and I'm really very excited about the opportunities that the next couple of months are going to provide me cause this particular training session presented by the AMA and the course is actually called "Getting Results without Authority." And if your bosses can actually like pay for it, I think it's about $2,000, but it absolutely positively worth going for. So, that being said, create your own opportunities guys. Look out there. Figure out what's going to challenge yourself, and really write your own book. I mean, essentially take a piece of paper, figure out what the heck it is you want to do, and just make your own beginning. And that, my friends, is the secret of happiness. Last week you got the secret of reality. This week you get the secret of beginnings and the secret of happiness.
Well, I am afraid that wraps it up for the 20-Something Marketing Forum for this week folks. I definitely appreciate you guys tuning in. If you're tuning in just from Yahoo, welcome guys. Welcome to our big crappy family here at the 20-Something Marketing Forum. As always I encourage you guys if you have feedback, to please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. That's jared@ 2-0 somethingmarketing.com, or email@example.com. Don't really care which one. I might phase the other one out at some point in time. You know what, I'm too lazy apparently. Also check out the boards at 20somethingmarketing.com. Always want to hear your feedback, want to get your insights. And of course this is becoming more and more an interactive process here folks. So if you guys have questions, I want you guys to put them on over to me and I'll be glad to post them on th3e forum boards. We have a great topic up now about Internet marketing, and we had one of my listeners actually call in last week in regards to some answers to our folks over at victorylanegirl.com, and how they can generate revenue without necessarily going directly through clickthru. So, I think that does, as I mentioned, wrap it up for today. I hope you guys have a wonderful week, a wonderful weekend. Tell you friends about the 20-Something Marketing Forum guys, and of course, I hope you guys have a great week, and you are as excited as I am about getting out there and creating your own beginnings. Thanks so much guys. This has been Jared Degnan for the 20-Something Marketing Forum episode number 11, entitled "Beginnings."
OK guys, one second before you turn off the podcast, I've got a big announcement. On episode #12, I actually have an interview with Catherine Marlow of the Fright Catalog. That's right. The premiere online catalogue based Halloween shop is giving me an exclusive interview this holiday season. This special Halloween holiday season. So tune in to episode #12 where you will hear the Fright Catalog's Catherine Marlow, marketing director, talk about what makes her organization fantastic, and what makes her 20-something marketing team tick.