Posted On: 2005-09-15
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So, as most of my loyal listeners know, my rants really do run the gambit. Sometimes they're funny, sometimes they're a bit askew, but if you doubt how on point I am, I want you to listen to this. Last week I talked a lot about the real women campaign, the real curves, the Dove thing, and I mentioned that what I was waiting for was a real men campaign. Well, it's now being reported in Ad Age that a German arm of Ogilvy and Mather has actually created a real man campaign. The ad features middle-aged men in their tightie-whities and it's enough to make you want to cover up, even on the most warm day. But it's a humorous take on the truth for beauty campaign spearheaded by Dove, basically portraying a more accurate image of the female body in advertising. Now I'm not saying they stole my idea, but the fact is that there are enough enlightened masses that compose my group of listeners that does include now Venezuela, Singapore, and even Germany. Behold my power, dear listeners. Some podcasters, especially a certain one on Q-poder, find my slogan, saving the world one marketing campaign at a time a little bit humorous and sometimes even a bit overstated. To me though, there is a great proof in my growing influence, and that is this real men campaign. All I can say, though, is when you need me to put my money where my mouth is. You've got it. There's nothing greater than an idea whose results, once implemented, perform to an idea that exceeds any expectations. So, loyal listeners, international marketing illuminade, sit back relax, and get ready for the 20-Something Marketing Forum episode 7, aptly named "Overachievers Among Us."
Rise and shine 20-somethings. It's time for the 20-Something Marketing Forum with your host Jared Degnan.
Oh yeah. Coming at you from Washington DC, the most powerful city on earth. The capital of the free world, and the center of the universe, except if you're a marketer. You're listening to another edition of the 20-Something Marketing Forum, an interactive engaging look at overly ambitious 20-something professionals dealing with the realities of the modern workplace. As always, I'm Jared Degnan chief contributor to the 20-Something Marketing Forum and I want to thank you for tuning in. It has certainly been an interesting week for me. My bosses have been in and out of the office all week long, so my workflow has been intermittent at best. It's not like I get less work done when my bosses are away, in fact I somehow get more productive. It's kind of weird, though, because I get so much of my content from my bosses when I'm in the office. So it's easy for me to do some random brainstorming for this show when they're there, so maybe I work too much on it. But, basically my bosses hopefully love me. Please love me. Please.
Anyway, that being said, I had a hell of a time getting the podcast put together this week, but I can tell you that in the end it's all worked out and I've got some great stuff for you this week. First off, as many of you seen, and you've read in the blog at, accessed at marketingforum.blogspot.com, I am joining David Zinger of the Zinger's blog in his commitment to charitable action on an ongoing basis. So as I mentioned in the intro, I am putting my money where my mouth is. What I'm doing is that at the end of the year I'm going to count the words blogged at my site, and actually donate two cents for every word towards charity. Now I haven't exactly decided which one I'm going to go with yet, but it's either going to be like the Susan G. Coleman breast cancer foundation or the Whitman Walker clinic here in DC for Aids research. The rationale that I have is that in any given month, because I have to blog every week about the show, I put in around about 1,000 words, which translates to about $20 per month. So, what I'm going to do, I'm going to put this out there. If you're interested in matching this, and I really do encourage you to think about this if you do like regular charitable giving, to tie yourself to this effort, because I think we can raise a lot of money. If you're thinking about this and you want to match, I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. What we're going to do is at the end of the year I'll tell you how many words I counted and how much my donation will be, and if you're matching, we'll all donate to the charity, or charities depending on which one you choose, and we'll do it separately, and the donation will basically go under your name on behalf of the 20-Something Marketing Forum, and I just think that it's a really great idea. Because basically it reaffirms the fact that in the end, in this global economy, we are really in this thing together. And what affects us in one part of the country or one part of the world will eventually touch us all, whether it be economically, physically or even emotionally, so again I want to put a shout out to all my friends in New Orelanas. Gina, I know you're doing fine out there. You're at a farm somewhere, I have no clue. You're living off the land, which just completely blows my mind. Anyway, but the fact of the matter is, Karma is real people. You get out of life really what you put into it. And that makes a perfect segue into our main topic for today, which is performance and overachievement.
Now, if there's one thing that I'm proud of it's that I, like most of my listeners, am an unabashed performance freak, and a card-carrying overachiever. And don't get me wrong when I say that. We're not suck ups and we're certainly not ones to actually blow smoke. What we, we know what needs to happen for our endeavors to be successful, and what's more, we know how to get shit done. And to me this is a really important distinction. You can talk the talk all you want. But at the risk of mixing my metaphors, where the rubber meets the road, we're you. 20-somethings run this risk all the time. It sometimes comes off as bravado, and it can even make us seem a little bit arrogant and elitist at times. I personally tell my boss that if I ever get out of line, then he can just basically step in and slap me, but you know what, though? I don't care. When you ask me to do a job, I'm going to do it and I'm going to take pride in what I do. And to me nothing ticks me off more than someone who talks as if they're the shit, but is really just floating through life without any ambition and without backing it up. And I'm not saying that non-career oriented 20-somethings have something wrong with them. In fact I know a ton of people out there who, just reprioritized their life. They realized that there are more important things. Well, you know, that's fine. But chances are that if you're listening to my show right now, you're not in that boat, so I definitely feel comfortable bashing the hell out of what I'm going to call the 20-something professional slackers.
And the people that I'm talking about, take absolutely no pride in their work. They go into work, they act like they're shit. And they're the bane of my absolute existence. In fact, in my last job there's a guy who just ticked me the hell off. And he had been with the firm just about as long as I had been. And one day I was working and he comes up to me and goes, um, do you know how to work this copier? And I'm like, well, are you talking about this particular copier, or are you talking about all copiers in general? He's like, no, I've never used a copier before in my life. Ok. Stop right here. Folks, there's plain regular stupid, and then there's lazy stupid. It's called a manual. Read it. This was a clear violation of Darwin's theory of evolution. This guy should have been hit by a bus a long time ago. In four years of college, I had about four internships and/or externships, and had to learn to quite literally be the ultimate copy jockey. And anybody who has worked a day in their life knows that it's basically a right of passage when you work through college, And I really just want to say to all those people who don't know how to use copiers right now, do not try to stand on the same platform as I am. And try to not look like an idiot while asking those types of questions. I'm just sorry. Anyway.
Over achievers get pissed off in situations like this, like I just did, and rightfully so. On the upside, though, us as overachievers can rise above the fray. We can do amazing things and turn heads doing it. And that's why I want to focus on it this week. The point here is that in order to be successful, we need to focus on measurable performance and ways in which those results can be used to, for our respective agendas. Now I mentioned last week that there was a lot going on right now in terms of blaming Katrina, blaming stuff for Katrina, and what kind of leaders we want going forward. And I highlighted a great op ed in the Washington Post. And the answer is simply, people who can get shit done. Americans want that. We're seeing a shift away from rhetoric and towards measurable results. Not always do we need to wait for instructions, or for consensus, especially as leaders, and the way that I see it, 20-something overachievers can really distinguish themselves by truly understanding when the moment is to strike in this respect.
Now, in a crisis or in just day-to-day work, thinking one, two, three steps in front of your boss, and producing the results to back up your initiatives can go a really long way to boost their confidence in your abilities. Now, as we discussed and demonstrated in episode 5 about organizational politics, moves like these can be really dangerous if you tread in the wrong person's territory. The question is, when is the right time to shine as an overachiever, then? Well, as always, the situation should dictate your actions. For instance, if you have the tools, the skills or the resources to take on a task before you're asked to do it, do it. An example might be promoting or producing a promotional email concurrently while your boss is planning the product and/or event that the email is supposed to be about. The key to this being is you know they're going to need this, and you know your boss doesn't have the time, so why not go ahead and just doing it. It's the kind of forward thinking that's obviously a quick hit win because you're not treading on other people's territory and it makes you look fantastic. It gets more complicated though, when you do have to ask for permission.
Now there's a great story of a co-worker of mine who actually had to produce a drop-in script for a teleconference, and ended up trying to get the VP of marketing to take action on it. Now going back on our principles for internal buy-in, it's important that the VP be comfortable with my co-worker bringing this forward. So essentially what he had to do was withhold the script before he actually told the guy about it, and what he did, was he approached the VP and said, you know I'd like to do a drop in on this, what are your thoughts? So essentially the guy had it in his back pocket, went away for about 30 minutes, and then basically sent it to him via email. And the end result was that the VP was elated with the script, and he was like, ecstatic that it was handled so quickly. And it really did make a difference for my coworker, showing that they were forward thinking, industrious, and could clearly handled the job. The coworker inspired confidence in the VP and when the chance came along, was rewarded with further responsibilities that were even more valuable, and basically an opportunity. Essentially the drop in script was going to be for a teleconference, and they ended up doing the entire teleconference themselves when the VP got sick. So I'm not saying that you should poison your bosses, or that you should make your bosses sick, but granted it can be a very big benefit to you that you are able to step into their shoes at that point in time.
But for me, though, this lesson is taken directly of all places, from football. And I know that there are a lot of football fans out there, so go Skins. And ask yourself what characterizes a great quarterback, or for that matter, a great team? And that's really easy if you know football. It's keep going no matter what. The quarterback literally has to view the field, identify the best opportunity to get that ball through, and then execute in such a rapid manner that he keeps control of the action and dances his team down the field. And I can tell you that football coaches are full of great advice for overachievers in any arena, and I know this because I used to be a football manager in high school. So I got to listen to all of their speeches, and got to listen to exactly how they view success. For instance they said it's not just about the big drives. It's about four yards, and then three yards, and then four yards again, and then just one more yard, and you've got a first down, and you've got yourself another four set of opportunities. The same thing goes for any line coach. When you ask any line coach what their number one piece of advice is for lineman, they're going to tell you that during that drive you never stop moving your feet, no matter what. Even if you have a 300 pound nose guard named Bubba in your face, your feet keeping moving and it's in that half a second of hesitation on his part that allows you to break through and make a huge play. Now this kind of proactive mentality is at the core of any successful strategy, sports or otherwise. It's about finding the little things, the moments of pause that make the critical forward momentum that allow you to gain massively in your job. And that really is what makes an overachiever. The sheer will, energy and enthusiasm. Not the stuff just because you did what other people expect of you. So basically I'm going to leave it off there, but keep in mind folks, that ambition is never a bad thing.
The following is graphic clinical material. News and commentary proving once and for all reality does indeed bite.
And of course now on to news you can use. Commentary on business, marketing and beyond. Oh, gosh folks. It is right now 7:19 in the morning. I record some of this stuff before I go to work, and I just want to let you know that this is the miracle of podcasting. I'm right now half-watching Wanda Wisdom's latest vidcast, and let me tell you, there's nothing like watching her vidcast at 7:20 in the morning when you haven't had coffee, and she's basically dancing the chicken dance. So it's a 30-year-old drag queen in really OK drag, dancing the chicken dance on a vidcast in the morning, and she's just pushed it out to everybody and assumed that we'd like it. So, that's going to be interesting. But basically, the moral of my story is that there's a lot of stuff out there in the podcasting world. I've just gotten informed that there are over 6000 podcasts, just 72 alone in the business or business commentary marketing area. So I know you guys have a choice, and that is why I've got some big news. But. I'm going to wait until next week to do it. Because that's why I'm evil. You're going to have to listen to the rest of this news, and you're going to have to tune in next week and you're going to hear some big news about 20-Something Marketing Forum that's just going to blow you away. It's going to become more interactive, more exciting, and more ways for you to get involved. So, it's going to be a lot of fun and it's going to be all free. And the announcement's going to come next week.
So, that being said, second up on news. From the same people who brought you the Olsen twins, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Dualstar Entertainment Group, the same guys who licensed Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, have just licensed Disney channel stars, Cole and Dylan Spouse to a multi-year deal to become the next teeny-bopper sensations. Yeah. This is basically teeny boppers gone metro sexual. These guys are like blond hair, blue eyes, are going to grow up to be complete and utter dreamboats. I don't know where the hell for that. But basically Cole and Dylan are most noticeably from the sweet life of Zach and Cody, which airs from the Disney about kids living in the Plaza Hotel in New York City, so you can imagine how much I watch that, a lot. But basically they're going to be gracing DVDs, T-shirts, and other useless overpriced merchandise in the soon to near future, but Dualstar is basically putting a lot on the line here saying that, indeed, that these kids who are going to be basically replace Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who are now 19 and who can legally do their own porn video, I'm just saying it's a rumor. I believe like these guys are going to be the new idol for tweens and basically they're counting on them to drive revenue from a product extension.
Now, to me guys, this is one of those ideas between there are good ideas and there are bad ideas. This folks, I'll give you one hint as to which one this is. This is a BAD idea. First of all, forget having kids having positive role models that you know have actually, like you know, accomplish something like sports stars. Let's give something our kids can look up to. Little teeny boppers who live in hotels. Yeah. Talk about a skewed element of reality. This is why people hate marketers, folks. We promote this false sense of reality and that everyone's fabulous, everyone's good looking, and you know what, they just can't be that way. Some of us have to do podcasts.
Ok. On to podcasting news, actually. Dawn and Drew appeared in Advertising Age and that was pretty interesting, and not so much because they're being highlighted as basically, "oh we didn't, oh we're going to be famous." Now they have like 200 something thousand listeners folks. That's not even funny. They had 100,000 listeners before iTunes got a hold of them. And that's just bizarre to my thing. I think they're humorous, but you know what, they can't tell you how to move forward in your career. Listen to my podcast folks. Tell people about me. Anyway, so they actually had some great stats, including that 6,000 one about podcasts. But it's estimated that there are 22 million iPod owners, or I guess MP3 owners, MP3 player owners in the US, and 29% of them are podcast listeners. So that actually goes very, very well for me. And it talked a little bit about commercial entities in podcasting, how you recoup your money. Now you've seen a lot of this lately, Regan Fox, ( ) and Wanda as well, Wanda. But the point of the article is there's money to be made in podcasting. To that I challenge any advertiser who's currently listening. You know what, you can spend a thousand, two thousand dollars to do this massive radio or TV advertising, and basically you're not going to get as targeted an audience as you are with this podcast. So if you're out there and you're interested in sponsoring a podcast like this, please do, because I'm basically for sale. And that actually basically makes up news you can use for today. I really didn't have that much and I want to make sure that I wrap the podcast up fairly quickly today. But first of course, I'm going to get myself some coffee and then we're to segment.
You're listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum.
And now on to a little bit of your mail today. Today we got a message all the way from Belgium. Peter van something or rather he emailed me and he said, hey Jared, here's one of your recently joined listeners from Belgium, I'm 22 this week, so happy birthday buddy, and I'm a strategic consultant for one of the biggest interactive agencies, and I'm assuming this is going to be Belgium, it's Belox, but of course I'm an American, so basically I have no clue what I'm talking about. Anyway, he goes on to say that in my job I specialize in viral marketing and community marketing. Next to this, they often ask me to do information, architecture and usability. It's not exactly the type of marketing for the 20-Something Forum, but I think your podcasts are interesting and fun to listen to. Have you ever done something with the Internet for a campaign? Sometimes I have the feeling that my older colleagues are really bad in being creative with media channels. They tell me I'm too radical. Do you recognize this?
Well Peter I can definitely tell you that, number one, I have done stuff with the Internet, number two, this is definitely something that we want to talk about here at the 20-Something Marketing Forum. So, let's go ahead and pull back really quickly, and we're going to consult our old friends over at Wikipedia.org for the definition of viral marketing, and they make it known that viral marketing, it refers to marketing techniques that seeks to exploit pre-existing social networks. And you do this to increase brand awareness, you do it through word-of-mouth, and it's very much, like viral advertising really the best example that I can come up with is probably the Burger King coqroq campaign, where you don't really see them on the, you don't see them on TV, but then you are pulled through to the actual website, and you get to listen, you actually see what's going on there.
Now I actually have a couple of different points to make to you. First of all, with viral marketing, I've actually done something with a large national brand that really worked with, between viral marketing in terms of a B2B setting, and then translating that into a community-based forum. Now, the one thing to notice here is that you need that multi-channel pull through. You need radio. You need advertising. You need media to capitalize on that trend. The second part of this is that you need the community element to the content of your website. You need to be able to have something that is sustainable. And I'll give you a great example. With this particular project that I took on, I had the, my targets come to my web site and essentially use it as a point of reference. There was a document archive, there were discussion boards, and I found it really difficult to get people, at least in a B2B setting, to really interact socially. So, you're trying to pivot off of a basically a fad into something that's more sustainable. I definitely encourage anybody who's out there who has actually dealt with viral marketing to definitely call in or email me at email@example.com, cause I definitely want to talk a little bit more about viral marketing because I think it's something very big in our society today and something that we as 20-somethings need to understand.
The second of which is, point that Peter brings up is in terms of kind of dealing with some of his coworkers. And I actually want to use this as our game plan for today. We talked a lot about performance today. And we talked a lot about what it means to be overly ambitious, and basically to be a shooting star in your organization. And the danger with this is no better explained than in the story of Ikarus. Ikarus of course is the mythological individual who when trying to escape from a tall tower, built wings out of feathers and wax and when he flew too close to the sun, the wax melted and he fell, plummeting to earth. There was a great professor that I had in college who taught one of my very first management philosophy classes. And he mentioned that essentially there is one solid string that ties all Greek characters together. Or at least Greek leadership characters together. And that is huberis aute and nemsis. Huberis very easily is strength, it's bravado. You have aute, which is almost foolishness thinking that you're above reproach, and nemesis, which is of course self destruction. And I think that we need to understand and we need to acknowledge each of these three things as we're going through and trying to enfranchise our constituents. Because that's great if we have these ideas. It's great that we're trailblazers, but we always have to keep in mind that sometimes other people are not going to be as receptive to our enthusiasm. In fact I learned this the hard way at my last firm. I ended up ticking some people off pretty badly because I got a little bit too full of myself. People didn't have the same type of humor that I did, and they just got ticked off. They got ticked off at seeing the guy who knew everything. It's like the guy in the front of the class who raises his hand all the time. You want to kill him.
So, luckily enough I found a new job and I love my boss to death because he and I share the same bizarre sense of humor, and even when I do step over the line sometimes, he's very understanding. And I keep on telling him, you know what, if I ever step over the line, if I ever make it to that point where I'm seriously annoying you and getting to the point where you're going to want to slap me, do it. Because you know what, I need to be checked at that point. So my advice to you and my advice to everybody who listens to my podcast is just simply to kind of slow down a little bit. It's, having pride in what you do is not a bad thing. It's not ever, ever a bad thing. The point is just to make sure that you're not treading on people's toes. We talked last week a lot about organizational politics. You have to be careful whose territory you waltz into. Now I think this is especially important in marketing because there are so many more ideas that we have to encompass as marketers, and we have to push the envelope or else our message isn't going to get through. So I hope that wraps it up for you Peter, and if it doesn't, please go ahead and email me. And I encourage all of you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned and keep on listening. Let me know what's going on, let me know what's going on in your lives, and let me know if there's anything else that you'd like to hear me do on the podcast. I hope you guys have enjoyed it. This has been 20-Something Marketing Forum, episode #7, Overachievers Among us. I want to thank you once again for tuning in, and again, remind you that we've got big, big, big, big, B-I-G news next week and so keep tuned in and we hope to see you next week, and all I can say folks is we'll catch you on the flip side.