Posted On: 2005-10-06
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Well folks, congrats! We've reached episode #10. Yep, that's right. The wild insane ride that I like to affectionately call our slow descent into self-indulgent chaos has reached 10 weeks of broadcasting. And to tell you the absolute truth, I didn't really have a clue about what I wanted to talk about today, until a coworker of mine got into a conversation and we were talking about the future and what reality is going to be like in the next couple of months, the next couple of years. And the fact of the matter is that on the show, it got me thinking. We talk a lot about life, we talk a lot about work, and we talk a lot about marketing the way we'd like to see it. Very rarely, though, is life that simple. Personally, I've come a long way in the last year, the last 10 months, whatever, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the kind of friends, the kind of family, and you know, matter of fact, the kind of workplace that I do. I love the fact that I get to explore all the facets of marketing and the possibilities that exist therein with you guys every week. I also know that sometimes life comes at you in increments. If you've ever seen the show, Avenue Q currently playing on Broadway, I also think it's in Las Vegas, you know that there's a great song at the end that lets us know that everything in life is temporary. Sadness. Happiness. Success. Failure. You know what, it's all a part of life. This week marks the start of the Jewish new year or something like that. And regardless, I'll be going to (?), and contemplating deeply about how I want to represent what's happened in the last year. Now to that, I can't help back on what my coworker and I discussed about the future. What will next year look like? Will it be as good as the last? Will it be better? What kind of challenges will we face? Will life as we know it, the opportunities, the incredible synergies that allowed me to start this show, will it all change? The fact is, folks, I don't know. Will a dictatorial boss emerge that will kill everything we've done? Will fate throw a monkey wrench into our works? You know what, who knows? That my friends, and more, I want to discuss today in episode #10, aptly named "The Secret of Reality."
Rise and Shine 20-somethings. It's time for the 20-Something Marketing Forum with your host, Jared Degnan.
And, welcome everyone to another incredible edition of the 20-Something Marketing Forum. I'm Jared Degnan chief contributor and all around marketing guru. I want to wish everyone a big lashanotova out there in podcast land, and hopefully you guys had a great new year, if you're Jewish, if not, then you can pretty much ignore what I'm saying. Anyway, if this is your first time tuning to the 20-Something Marketing Forum, this is an informative, entertaining podcast focused on the marketing and life as a 20-something professional, and dealing with realities and the drama of the modern workplace. If this isn't your first time joining us, then of course you know all my dirty little secrets and none of this really matters. As a quick reminder you can find out more about the things we talk about here, as well as connect with like-minded young professionals by logging as always on to the 20somethingmarketing.com, that's 2-0 somethingmarketing.com, registering and of course ensuring that you have the right feed. As a quick aside, this is my third podcast that I'm going to simulcast on both feeds, and as far as I can tell, about half of you have logged on to 20somethingmarketing.com to get your new feed. However, that means the other half of you need to help me out here and avert my impending cardiac arrest by switching over to the new feeds on 20somethingmarketing.com. This is not going to only receive your timely receipt of the podcast, but it's also going to help you receive the little extras that come with it like the vidcast and other fun things that I have up my preppie little shirt sleeves.
But as so often is the case with marketing, sometimes the good intention of marketing campaigns clash with the realities of consumer behavior. And you know what, the only what that I've really found to ensure customer action is to number one, repeat them several times, which I've already done. And two, make sure you deliver enough value so you actually encourage the consumer to act on your behalf. Then again, if either of those don't work, then you guys can just get cut off. Anyway, an FYI, I've signed up for the podcast, anyway, those of you who have signed up for the podcast last week or so, I'm sorry, and you don't have the podcasts with the messages all over it talking about the alternate feed markings, then you should be fine. Now I have to apologize, I know this may be a bit confusing, on iTunes especially, and this is why I want to ensure you have the right feed. So if you could do me a favor and go to 20somethingmarketing.com, click on the iTunes subscription if you haven't already done so, and if you get a new feed on your iTunes listing, that means that you now officially have it. If it doesn't reload and your podcast list stays the same, then all I have to say is congratulations, you've already go the new feed. Anyway, back to reality.
Reality as I mentioned in the intro is a bit strange. Just when you think you've got it figured out, and the Rubik's cube of life is almost totally solid, your life gets shifted around to the point where you have to start all over again. And I say that, because let's face it guys, as marketers we are control freaks. Now I actually took a day off today to go to synagogue for the high holidays, and I went to Sixth and I, which is a beautiful historic synagogue in the Nation's capital, and I really encourage you guys if you're in the District, and if you're visiting the District, to definitely make that a point of your visitation. Because it's actually a beautiful, beautiful place. It was a synagogue for about a hundred years, I think it was a synagogue originally for the first 50 years of its life, and then it switched over to it being a church, which is really, really interesting. And now of course it's a synagogue again, and it's just a beautiful, beautiful place. I think they do tours as well. But anyway, it just so happens that I'm actually launching a product this week, and it's being covered by a major industry publication, and I'm not there for the interview right now. In fact it's about 45 minutes into the interview, and I'm thinking about emailing my boss, even though he's technically banned me from my email, but you know what, whatever it is. Suffice it to say my worst fears are that the reality and the chaos factor that comes with it are going to come slamming down on my boss right now in the middle of the interview, and he's going to diverge from my carefully prepared script. And you know what, that's just not going to work for me. Reality being reality though, sometimes it's just not going to be in your hands, like today.
Explaining the secret of reality is not that complicated, though, and that's just the fact that you can't control it. There's a noted author that once said that there are so few decisions in this life that really matter at all. What really matters is that you make a decision, and then you figure out how to deal with it. Now reality is going to be reality no matter how you cut it. Consumers are always going to do what they want, and sometimes even the best laid marketing plans go awry. And all you can really do is cope with the consequences. And you know what, that my friends is where the best marketers shine. Really. Though it comes with a chaos factor, reality also comes with an opportunity factor. The best marketers out there live by that opportunity factor, and knowing what you need to do is prepare yourself for those opportunities as much as you can, and then get ready to execute and pounce on it when the opportunities do arise. Now the salesmen out there know exactly what I'm saying. Sales, and being in sales is like cooking a great soufflé. Sometimes with the right amount of time, the right elements of pressure, and the right seasonings, not to mention a deft hand, you can make a dish that's absolutely fantastic and that soars above anything else you can possibly imagine. But it only takes one good jolt to deflate a lead, and completely push the sale into oblivion. You can tell that it's the positive outlook here at the 20-Something Marketing Forum today. But, back to the issue at hand. Let's examine that in a bit more depth. Reality also has its trade offs. When you think you've made that decision to go one way or another, there's always going to be costs associated with that choice, including the missed revenue and the missed opportunity that you forfeit by not taking certain routes. Now, it can totally make you want to pull your hair out, guessing which slogan is going to be the most effective, or even which jobs to take, and I've been in that situation before. I've had to decide, am I going to take this job or am I going to take that job, and what's going to happen if I do take this job and miss out on the things that I might have done on this job? You know what, though? Accept the fact that though decision making may be difficult, you have to think three steps beyond what decision you're going to make and how you're going to exploit that opportunity,. So I mean, you might make the worst decision in the world, but you know what, that's cool. You just figure out how to make it work.
A case in point, GE, with their new eco-magination campaign. God knows that they're not a first mover when it comes to eco friendly design. But they struck an exceptionally good chord with their new eco-magination marketing campaign. I mean, you guys have all seen the ads, it's the elephant dancing in the rain forest to "Singing in the Rain." Ad Age reports that it's probably one of the most recognized and most retained commercials in a very long time. Now, with that ad campaign, there are always going to be costs. There had to be some meeting when they had to decide, you know what, going eco-friendly is going to take a lot of money. Selling the idea to the multiple divisions within GE is going to be a big task. We have to convince people that even though it's expensive and it's going to take a lot of work, and we're going to have to miss out on our traditional lines of revenue that we might be able to take by taking a less cost, but polluting the environment, the fact of the matter is that it's going to work better for us down the line. So, and I really have to give it to Jeff Emleck with this. He needs the medal for decision making with this. He decided we're going to go in a particular direction and I'm going to make it work. You think you have a problem getting one idea adopted? Try this organizational shift. The moral of the story, and the moral of this case is that reality does have a lot of moving parts, and that's being the chaos and opportunity. They were both involved with this GE decision. There's the chaos of not knowing how consumers are going to react. If consumers are going to accept higher costs for greater eco-friendly design, or if they're going to embrace it and make you a millionaire. And you also have an opportunity where you are among the second movers in the industry and you're the first really big organization to take a dedicated approach to it like that. Now these two elements, chaos and opportunity are like the yen and yang of the business world. You really can't control them, but you do have the power to control your decision. Now here's the take away from that. If you can't control reality, and none of us really knows what the future holds, when reality puts you in a situation that you may think is optimum or less than optimum, think about the opportunities around you. Think about how you can make a choice and execute on it, and how not to let the realities of your situation dictate the choices that you make.
The following is graphic, clinical material. News and commentary proving once and for all, reality does indeed bite.
And of course, that brings us to the next section of the show, news you can use. That's right, it's all the stuff that's fit to print in business, marketing and beyond. Today's first story comes to us from the Birmingham Business Journal. It's reporting that Regent's bank, which is a major bank in the southeast, even though that it is facing enormous financial strain due to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, has reaffirmed its support of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. That's right, it's reaffirmed its sponsorship through the 2008 season. And that's, I think, about six concerts and let's see, they don't say exactly how much it is, but I mean, that's a pretty substantial support for a regional bank. Now, Regent's Bank has about 1400 offices in about 16 states, so they're not like, they're not hurting, but at the same time folks, it's the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. We're talking about associating your name with something that's reputable. You know what, I would have no problem if they did it with like the Johnson Space Center, or something like that, but it's the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. It's like Cletus wanting to go to the opera. Hi Bodine, we're going to go see turned on, yup. Oh god!
Anyway, so on to our next, actually another business journal article, but this time it comes out of Tampa Bay. We talked a little bit about a different marketing channels, and actually, Tampa has a great little tico lime streetcar system that moves about 1200 people a day, and they have decided that they are not only going to incorporate advertising, but they're going to maintain their dignity doing it. They are going to incorporate classic looking advertising designs on the streetcars to make them look a little more interesting. They expect this to yield them about $213,000 in annual revenue, as opposed to the previous year which only brought in about $17,500. Now folks, I think this is a fantastic idea. I think that, sometimes we go nuts over advertising, I mean, look at the guys who are tattooing the ads for the online gambling establishments on their foreheads. That's going a little bit too far. I think this is a step in the right direction for Tampa. However, it's still one of those things where, as much as I would like to say that Regent's Bank was smart going into sponsoring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, it's a Tampa streetcar. And I swear to god, Laura Alessie deLouisa, who's the marketing director for the Tampa streetcar system, said, "think Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat, only this is the Tampa treat." Yeah. Again, doesn't work.
Ok. On to actually, ooh, onto the Washington Post. There's a great story in here that illustrates that you really can use market research to justify anything. I like to talk a lot about association marketing and the things that we do to get people to understand the industries that we're in. Now there's one particular foundation that works directly with life insurance, and it's called the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education otherwise known as LIFE. And they sponsored a survey where they surveyed 1,014 adults about cartoon characters and life insurance. They asked which ones do they think are most likely to have life insurance, and why? This just completely freaks me the hell out. The top contender here was Spiderman with 28% of the survey respondents. Apparently he's an unmarried freelance photographer with an elderly aunt, so they're saying that they need life insurance only if his aunt relied on him to supplement her income, so apparently LIFE disagrees with them in that point. Uh, let's see, other funny things Only 16% said that Fred Flintstone, who is a married father with a young child needs life insurance. And of course, their representative says, "of course they would need life insurance. He has a pressing need for life insurance to assume that Wilma and Pebbles could maintain their standard of living if he were no longer able to provide for them." I wonder how many shells that would take? Anyway, another interesting thing and I'll rap this particular segment up, just because I think this is funny as ever loving hell, they really do go out on a limb here and reach. They really want you to make sure that you understand the need for life insurance. Only 11% of them said Marge Simpson, who's a stay-at-home mom, should get life insurance. Now folks, I'm as cautious as anybody. I think that you definitely need to consider life insurance if you have anybody in your family that depends on you. However, they're making the point that stay-at-home parents like Marge perform many household services that would be expensive to replace and consequently have a significant need for life insurance. Yeah. Now to tell you the absolute truth, I can't blame LIFE. I really, really can't. Cause I use marketing research like this all the time in marketing activities. And I think it's really a great way of doing things. However, I do think that when you do market research like this, you're just kind of opening yourself up to being made fun of. Now granted, it got into the Washington Post, so god knows that that'll get you.
Anyway, and finally last thing today, we have our final story which I think is hilarious and very pointed out of Ad Age. Ad Age is reporting that lawyers are warning of advertising law disclosures when it comes down to buzz marketing. Now, buzz marketing as you might remember is the process of someone going out as an undeclared agent for a company and basically creating word-of-mouth advertising. It's a $60 million a year business and it actually grew 100% year over year from the last year. Now, the word-of-mouth marketing association has actually posted its own code, called the Honesty ROI, which is honest of relationship, opinion, and identity, saying that you really shouldn't be screwing around with people's thoughts about representing your particular product unless they know what's going on. And I think this is going to be interesting to watch as time goes on, especially because 20-something marketers are all about the new channels. But here's an actual interesting element to this. Buzz agent, who is one of the main word-of-mouth marketing advertising agencies, believes that it's actually more effective when the workers reveal themselves and who they're working for. And I think this is really an interesting policy, because they've had it for about a year and a half, and apparently it's worked very well. And the only way that I can really see it is that I think that it's interesting. To tell you the absolute truth, I've seen a lot of buzz marketing in terms of alcohol advertising in different clubs. If I know that the person is from, is a representative of it, I like to press them about that. I like to know, well what can you mix this drink with? I know pomegranate juice is fabulous with vodka, but what else is it good with? It just kind of illustrates the point that, I mean, I think that you can definitely be honest with your customers and I think that further underscores every point that I'm making in terms of making you realize that these new channels are to be embraced, but also, if you try to get too smart with yourself, you're usually going to get yourself knocked in the ass. It's kind of like that show from Bravo, I think it's Great Things About, and I think there are great things about being a 20-something marketer and, speaking of which, there are actually great things about listening to this podcast, so I wonder what it would be like if they did great things about listening to my podcast?
So let's go for it. The reasons why it's great to listen to the 20-Something Marketing Forum. Number 10: I don't make up stuff just for the hell of it. Oh. Wait a second, yeah I do. Never mind. Number 9 reason: It's great to listen to the 20-Something Marketing Forum. No stupid catch phrases like "bluberous" or "eat bird." Number 8: My random consumer marketing rants. Ha ha ha ha. Number 7: I'm not Albert Merchion of Provident Partners. The issue today is public relations. Should you strive for a profile piece, or let your client become a resource for the media? Snore. Snore. Huh? Number 6: It keeps you awake at work just long enough to get caught goofing off listening to pointless entertainment only podcast. Number 5: I now have podcasted 500% more than the marketing chick, and I've only been on the air 10% of the time that she has. Number 4: All the fun of The Apprentice Martha without having to deal with the asshole Jim. Number 3: The amazingly fantastic tactics presented in the game plan each week. Number 2: Scat-the theme song. And you know what the Number 1 great thing about listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum is? You! My wonderful listeners. That's right folks, I couldn't do this without you guys, and I really do appreciate all the great support that you guys give me day over day. In fact I want to highlight one individual who emailed me this past week, and I apologize if I'm not able to get back to everybody. I will email everyone who emails me, but I want to make sure that I particularly signal this guy out, because he sounds like he's got a good idea.
So, it's Tommy Strader, and he's like, I just discovered your podcast and started listening. It's a breath of fresh air, and apparently he's looking for answers to marketing his business. He used to be a marketing director for a large home building in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and he's pretty much saying that his ideas were not normal, etc. etc., then again, you know what folks, normal's a hair dryer setting, so don't ever judge yourself on normal. But his real passion is to race in the NASCAR series, so that's fantastic. Six months ago he apparently started a female race wear company, and I'll put this on the web, I'll put this on the 20somethingmarketing.com, but it's www.victorylanegirl.com and he's traveling the country selling out of a vending trailer, but he's trying to find his break even adventure, and he's asking how would I generate, how do you generate Internet sales and how much advice can you get regarding Internet sales? So Tommy, thanks so much for emailing me. I'm not an expert at Internet marketing, but I can tell you that one of the great parts of Internet, being on the Internet, is the ability to track where you're going. I suggest statcounter.com, in fact, I actually use a lot of different elements to track the podcast, to track the people who visit the site, and that goes back to one of my original marketing rules, which is know your audience. Kind of draw up a piece of paper, say who are your target audiences, check, and actually just checked out victorylanegirl.com, and I can tell you that the merchandise here is really pretty cool. They've got t-shirts, they've got tank tops, they've got accessories, head wear, kids wear, and a section marked clearance. And it's all race wear for women and I think there's some stuff here for men, and it's really quite interesting. I think that he's really got a great concept going here, because as everyone knows, the NASCAR circuit is a very, very profitable circuit. And gosh, some of this stuff is just really, really cool. So, yeah, check out victorylanegirl.com.
But as I mentioned the number one thing that you need to do is number one, understand where your audience is. Ask yourself if the NASCAR fans go online, and if they go online, where do they go? Then possibly send an email. Buy some advertising space on some NASCAR websites. And then also, don't forget word-of-mouth marketing. Honestly. Maybe find some really good looking girls cause apparently you've found a lot of them with your models here. But give them some free t-shirts. Tell them to walk around the, tell them to walk around the whatever, the NASCAR circuit stadium thing is, with the boo hockeys and hicks, and I'm apologizing if you're a NASCAR fan, well I'm sorry you're a NASCAR fan. No, I'm kidding. I'm from Atlanta folks, I am part hick, sort of kind of almost. But, to tell you the absolute truth, I think there are a lot of great opportunities for you in Internet marketing. And most of it is just figuring out where your clients go. Where your potential customers are. Obviously you have a lot of female clients on here, so maybe look at bars. Have some of your girls go out and work the bars, work, oh gosh, go out work some local bars around the NASCAR circuit. I don't know. I think it's a great idea. These are really cute and it's really kitschy, and I think that's going to be your main selling point here. So, I think that wraps it up for news you can use, as well as your email. Again, please keep the comments coming. I love the love. I really want to hear what you guys want to say, and I definitely want to kind of keep this as a forum interactive, I also want to make sure that we get as much creative input here as possible. So feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email me at email@example.com, or go on the boards at 20somethingmarketing.com. Anyway, I'll go ahead and I'll shut up now.
You're listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum.
And now it's time for the game plan. That section of the show where I give you actionable tactics to use in your everyday life. Today's game plan I want to quickly harken back to the nature of reality and the nature of change. I actually got the fortune to see the world premiere of a movie called Water. Water is actually by an Indian artist named Deepa Metha. She actually wrote a, wrote and directed, rather, a trilogy of movies which includes Water, Fire and Earth. And she's very much known for her controversial yet interesting social commentary films. Now to give you an idea of how absolutely incredible Water was, it opened the Toronto Film Festival, and as my loyal listeners in Canada will attest to, that is an absolutely, absolutely incredible achievement. And if I can tell you guys one thing, it's to go out and see it. And I was lucky enough to see the US premiere of Water at the Smithsonian Institution, say that three time fast, here in the nation's capital this past weekend. And one of the interesting things about it was that there was a great question and answer session after the show, and one of the viewers came up to her and asked her, how do you ensure that your point gets across in your films? How do you ensure that if you want to speak out for something, if you want to speak out for the nature of reality, and you want to speak out to change things, do you have any advice?
And Deepa Mehta responded, perseverance. She said that the number one thing that you need to do is keep repeating what you're saying and persevere even through the worst of times. And that's the game plan tactic I want to pass on to you guys. There are a lot of times in our life where reality can get us down. And changing things can seem like an enormous uphill battle. In marketing we face these challenges every single day. We face getting consumers to act. We face convincing our bosses of better marketing tactics and better marketing plans. We face enormous challenges and we face the reality of changing things. Therefore, I want to echo Deepa's sentiments that perseverance is the key. Even in the darkest of night. And I have to admit that I've been in my fair share of situations where there are enormous odds against change, and against the trumping of reality. But I can tell you as I did earlier in this podcast, that if you can rise above your situation, you can do anything. So, that's my game plan tactic. It's quite literally persevere when you feel that all hope is lost, dig deep. Dig really deep. And figure out how your ideas are going to help you transcend your situation. So with that, ladies and gentlemen, I want to say thank you for listening. And that this has been the 20-Something Marketing Forum. I'm Jared Degnan. Again I love your feedback, thank you so much guys for writing me, and I definitely want to hear more, I want to hear more great feedback from you guys that this stuff works. So feel free to email me of course at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, and of course visit our website at 20somethingmarketing.com. Again, hope everyone has a great week, and as always, I will catch you on the flip side.