Going viral = out of your control

May 8, 2012

It seems like one of the goals I hear more and more is… “and we want it to go viral.”  I translate that to mean — we want a lot of people to see it.

But rarely when someone says they want something to go viral, do they really understand the implications of that.  The biggest one is — the minute it begins to go viral, it begins to take on a life of its own and it is beyond your control.

Let me give you a very tangible example.  My daughter and several of her college friends decided that they wanted to jump into the Sh*t People Say meme that was started in December (the original video has over 16 million hits – click here to view it) and make a video based on what University of Northern Iowa students say.

Their intention was pretty straight forward and college kid appropriate — they thought it would be funny. (And it is).  So they scripted and shot the video with that intent.  It’s filled with inside jokes about the names of resident halls (Dancer, Bender, Rider so you can imagine the joke!) and some of the art that lives on campus. And the first 50 viewers or so, mostly their friends or people within their circle of friends, were of the same mindset.  They got a lot of “LOL” type comments.

But then as the video began to spiral outside their own circle and go viral, some interesting things happened that we all need to keep in mind as we cross our fingers for a viral spread of our marketing efforts.

Not everyone is going to like it.  Some people took the humor as putting down the college they loved and took offense.  And there were a couple swear words sprinkled throughout which a few people objected to.  No matter how clear your intent or how pure your motives — as your audience widens, so will the range of opinions.

People will apply it to their own agenda. Like most Universities, UNI was not without some controversy this year.  Budget cuts are leading to dropping some majors which routinely only graduated a few kids a year.  Professors and special interest groups started sharing the video as proof “that the kids are upset that classes are being cut.”

Know that we all view things through our own perception/lens.  And nuance and meaning can be inferred or transfered if the motivation or inspiration is strong enough.  Sometimes that will work for you and other times, it might take you off course.

People will nitpick at it, because they would have done it different.  Apparently UNI is a very windy campus and one of the bits referenced that inside joke.  A commenter pointed out that they should have shot it in a different location which is the windiest of the windy spots.

One of the truths that has become apparent via social networks is that everyone has an opinion.  And now, they have multiple ways of sharing it. Some will applaud your efforts, others will take the opportunity to critique.  You can’t put yourself out there if you aren’t ready to accept both.

The lessons learned by the UNI students is a very valid one for all of us that create content and toss it out into the social wind — hoping it will grab an updraft.

There’s the trade off.  If your efforts goes big (their UNI video has over 5,600 views as of this posting) it will also go places you never imagined or intended it would go.  Is that bad?  No, of course not.  The goal is exposure.  

But you need to be ready for the tangents, the crazies and unintended consequences because those are part of the package too. If your brand is strong and consistent, most people will dismiss the fringe comments and see what you were trying to say.

The fear that comes with the potential loss of control is why so many brands do social media badly or not at all.  You have to be willing to let go and trust your audience.

Hmm, there’s an interesting twist.  We want them to trust us with their money but are we ready to trust them with our message?

(Hat tip to my daughter and her fellow students for their creativity and willingness to see what happens.  A special nod to freshman Linh Ta (Electronic media major) for a great job shooting and editing the video. Want to read her thoughts on studying journalism in today’s world? Check out her blog.)

Photo courtesy of www.BigStockPhoto.com


Enhanced by Zemanta

The path is never straight

March 24, 2012

I receive a lot of mail from readers and many times, they have a question that I can answer here on the blog, so everyone benefit from their initiative.

Victoria writes:  I am so interested in marketing but don’t really understand the best path into the business.  I was just wondering if you could tell me a bit about your story and how you got to where you are today.  

I am currently a sophomore in college and I was wondering if you had any advice or words of wisdom to share. 

I’m happy to share my story but realize that if there is a single truth in our business, it’s that no one’s path is the same and there are many paths that lead to the same place.  Sit back, this might take a bit.

I entered college convinced I was going to be a psychologist.  Late in my sophomore year, my advisor (who was also one of my psych professors) asked me to meet with him.  I’d had him for several classes and we’d gotten to know each other.  When we sat down, he challenged my career choice.   He asked me to consider a single question:  Could I leave my job and my patients at the office?

He told me that to be a successful (and healthy) psychologist, I’d have to be able to listen and guide but not try to help.  I couldn’t, he said, bring home every broken person like they were a stray puppy. After a weekend of soul searching, I realized he was right.  I wouldn’t be able to leave it at the office.  I was too much of a fixer.

So I went back to his office and asked him….”now what?”  He asked me what I loved about psych and why I wanted to be a psychologist.  I said:

  • I love understanding people and why they do what they do
  • I love helping people
  • I love asking questions that get people to think in a fresh way

Then, he said…what else do you love to do and I answered:

  • I love to write
  • I love to read
  • I love to do logic problems and puzzles
  • I love technology and computers (even back then)
  • I love to lead

We talked some more and finally he said, “have you ever considered advertising or marketing?”  I honestly hadn’t.  But from my first copywriting class, I was hooked.  Marketing was the combination of all the things I loved.  I just had never even considered it before.

Lesson One:  Know yourself well enough to do what you love.  That way, no matter how hard it is to get the job or how many hours you need to work — it’s a labor of love.

One of my professors was actually an adjunct professor who also worked at Grey Advertising in Minneapolis.  She asked me if I wanted to do some freelance writing for them.  Of course…I jumped at the chance.  I was petrified.  What if I sucked?  But, I decided I was not willing to let my fear get in the way of the opportunity.

Lesson Two:  Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway (thanks John Wayne).  There have been many times in my career when I was petrified.  But sometimes you just have to do it anyway.

So I freelanced quite a bit while I finished school and met a bunch of people in the business.  I was smart enough to know that making contacts would matter when I graduated.   I graduated and got married….and within a month of getting married, my new wife got a job offer from Disney.  In Orlando.  So of course, we moved.

There I was, ready to find a job and I was suddenly living in a city where I didn’t know a soul.  No contacts.  No familiarity with the agency scene.

Lesson Three:  The road rarely zigs in the direction you expect.  You always need to be ready to zag.

So there I am, in Orlando.  I need to find a job.  And no one knew who the heck I was.  I had a great book of real work (thank you Grey!) but I was going to have to do something dramatic to get their attention so I could show it to them.

I had just watched Guys and Dolls and somehow it wove itself into my brain.  Next thing I knew, I was writing a cover letter in “wise guy” language, threatening to have Guido come by and break their legs if they didn’t make time to see “dis kid Drew who could write real pretty.” Believe it or not….I sent it, along with some samples of my work.  I got three interviews.

Lesson Four:  Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind.  The art is knowing when.

I showed up for the interviews in my suit and tie and hoped they’d take me seriously after my wise guys cover letter.  Within a week, I had a job offer from Y&R and accepted it.

My job was a whirlwind of learning and new experiences.  But it wasn’t just about being a copy writer.  I never said no.  I was relentless — anything that needed to be done, I did.  I helped collect old receivables, I ran errands, I served as an account person, I did admin tasks.  I wanted us and our clients to be successful and I didn’t mind doing anything that got us closer to that goal.

Lesson Five:  Put your ego aside.  There is no job that’s beneath you.  Your job is to help the team and your clients be successful.  Do that and it will get noticed.

I loved my job in Orlando and the people I worked with so I was devastated when they decided to close the office.  We all got laid off.  By then, the allure of living in Orlando was wearing off.  I wanted to get back to the midwest so that’s where I concentrated my job hunt.

I was offered a huge opportunity at Burson Marsteller in Chicago.  I would have been one of the lead writers on the Tropicana account.  It meant a lot more money. It meant getting back to the midwest.  I turned it down.

It would have also meant that all I did every day was work on the Tropicana account.  And not all of Tropicana.  The Tropicana frozen orange juice team.  10 hours a day.  5 days a week.

Lesson Six: See lesson #1 about knowing what you love.

I loved the variety of working with multiple clients.  I loved being at the strategy table as well as the creative table.  I couldn’t imagine ONLY caring about frozen orange juice.  And I couldn’t imagine not caring about my work.

Within a month, I was offered a job by the same Y&R agency I’d worked for in Orlando.  But this job was in Iowa.  As a Minnesotan, I was a little appalled at the idea of living in Iowa (long time rivalry) but I knew and loved the company so I said yes.

I spent the next several years there….learning more than I can tell you.  I was given a lot of freedom, responsibilities and lots of encouragement to get involved in the community.  I served on boards, was Ad Club president and found a way to influence the agency’s culture and success.

I couldn’t get enough of it.  I worked long and late.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  I asked questions.  I listened.  And I challenged.

I loved earning my clients and co-workers’ trust and then exceeded those expectations.  The relationships mattered a great deal to me and I will always look back at that job/agency as my real education on how to be a good marketing professional.

Lesson Seven:  Sooner or later you will find a job or a boss (or both) that wants you to succeed as much as you do.  Soak up their wisdom, generosity and be ready sometime in your career to be that person for someone else.

I eventually left that company in the biggest mistake of my professional career.  I took a job for money.  And I was miserable.  But from that mistake came the greatest decision of my career.  I launched my own agency (initially with a partner).

I was in my early 30s, ignorant as heck and thought it couldn’t possibly be that hard.

Man, was I wrong.  It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my professional life.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes.  But it’s also what I am most proud of, career-wise.  I’ve hired some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known.  We’ve built an agency that does smart, strategic work.  And we’ve built a culture that makes people want to stay (average tenure of my employees is 10+ years).  We donate over $100,000 of services to local charities every year and every one of my teammates serves on community boards.

We make a difference for our clients and our community.

Along the way, I’ve made some incredible friends and I am a very fortunate man.  And it’s not over yet.

Final lesson:  Trust your heart.  Our business is about people and relationships.  Yes, you need to be smart and you need to keep learning but above all that — you need to love the work you do, the people you do it with and the people you do it for.

There you have it Victoria…my path.  Now go out there and carve out your own!  (Here are some practical tips on getting that first job!)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Mitt Romney is getting tired (or lazy) in Iowa!

January 3, 2012

This upcoming Presidential election will be my daughter’s first opportunity to vote.

Combine that with the fact that we live in Iowa, the caucus is upon us and she’s a registered Independent and you can only imagine the flood of mail and calls she’s received leading up to the caucus.

You know what all the candidates are thinking…. fresh meat!

So I was a little surprised and appalled at what front runner Mitt Romney sent her late last week.

Screen shot 2012 01 03 at 12 51 08 AM
The front of Mitt’s postcard to my daughter.  Understated would be a nice way to describe it.
The back of the postcard sent to my daughter. No real message or reason for her to lend him her support.

Now….I’m all for plenty of white space but come on.  Is this really the best that Mitt and his team could do?  Why bother spending the money at all if this is the effort you put out?

The marketing message is pretty clear here.  Don’t just spend money or send stuff out to be doing it.  Have a vision/goals and make sure your copy and design support those goals.

Shame on you Mitt.  You claim to be the candidate that will run this country like a business.  Well no business I know would waste their money on this kind of a direct mail campaign!

Enhanced by Zemanta

One last gift

December 23, 2011

bigstock Getting Ready For The Holidays 960678
Give one last gift this holiday season

I’d like to ask you to slow down for just a few minutes.  I know the holidays are crazy busy and you have gifts to buy, wrap or unwrap, baking to finish and all sorts of other very legitimate  things on your To Do list.

I don’t want to suggest that all of that isn’t important because it is.  It matters to you and your family.  It’s about traditions and love and making memories.   All worth your time and attention.

But I want you to consider giving one more gift this holiday season.  I think you have the potential to give a gift that can put a flicker of light back into a person’s soul.

One of my favorite movies this time of year is It’s a Wonderful Life.  I’ve seen it a million times and I still tear up as George watches his neighbors and friends pour into his living room, ready to share their last dollar with him because he mattered to them. (watch the final scene here)

I think part of the reason that scene makes me tear up a little is because I think for a lot of people — they wonder who, if anyone, would pour into their living room.   I’ve come to believe that perhaps the loneliest feeling in the world is the feeling of being insignificant.  As human beings, we need to matter.  And I think this earth is packed with people who don’t really believe that they do.

And that sense of insignificance can lead to a debilitating despair.   Think of it as a shroud of that wet cold that chills you to the bone.  But in this case it goes beyond the bones to the very spirit of a person.

Here’s the dirty little secret.  The people feeling that way aren’t homeless or jobless or anything less.  They are people in your house.  At your work.  In your church.   In your dorm or apartment complex.  At the gym.  You’re surrounded by them but you’d never know it.

They lead busy lives.  They accomplish stuff.  They show up.  They step up.

And yet they feel like none of it really matters.   Because they don’t really matter.  Not really.  Not unless you need something from them. They know you’ll rush in if you need some help, but will you be standing there if they’re the one in need?

In today’s hyper connected world, I think it’s even easier to feel disconnected.  “How can I be so surrounded by people and no one can see how I’m hurting inside?  How can they not know?”  And that’s how the whirlpool begins…pulling a person down deeper until they can barely breathe because the weight on their chest is so heavy.

I suspect there are many people in your life who don’t really know that they matter to you.  Or it’s just been a really long time since you told them.  From the cheerful woman you look forward to seeing as she brews your low fat latte to the quiet co-worker who listens to your “my kid is so cute” stories to the neighbor who always lends you his tools to the boss who gave you extra time off because your son was being deployed to the friend who always seems to know when you need to vent to the teacher who pushed you to do better than just call it in to the Facebook friend who posts things that make you think or laugh or both.

I don’t know exactly who they are.  It might be your dad.  It might be the person on the bus who always offers you their paper.  You might love them with all your heart or you might not even know their name.  But somehow, in ways big or small — they do matter.   They matter to you.  And if they were in trouble or needed $20 — you’d pour into their living room.

Tell them.  Look them in the eye and tell them.  Tell them how they touch your heart.  Tell them how they pick you up.  Tell them how they brighten your day.  Tell them how they make you laugh.  Tell them that they matter to you.

Because what you don’t realize and what we often don’t realize until it’s too late is that today just might be the day that they decide they can’t do it anymore.  They can’t continue not to matter.

Give someone the gift of significance this holiday season.  You’ll probably never know how much it means to them.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Are we living lives of quiet desperation?

September 4, 2011

… who out there is truly feeling alone?

I’m not a big believer in coincidences.  I am however, a big believer in clues.

I think our lives are littered with clues… and usually we either dismiss them or are completely oblivious to them.  Who you think doles out those clues depends on your spiritual beliefs.  For me, I’ve often joked that  God starts with pebbles and it’s about the time He’s placed a boulder in my path that I finally notice.

Who leaves the clues isn’t my point.  It’s the fact that they are there that matters.   This is a post about clues and how often we miss them.  And maybe something we can do about it.

For me, clue one is that Henry David Thoreau‘s quote “Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them” has been weighing heavy on my heart for the past month or so. It keeps appearing in odd places like Google searches and I find my mind drifting to it and lingering on it, both in my head and in my deepest soul.

I think Thoreau was right.  And I think his statement is actually more true today than ever before.  What makes his words so haunting is how horribly isolated they sound.  A  heart filled with a loneliness and hopelessness that is cloaked in silence.

In a world where we are constantly reminded of how many friends, followers and fans we have — how can that be?  We’re busier than ever before.  We check our email 37 times a day and update our statuses around the clock.  The chatter is constant.   The sharing never ending.  And we like it that way.  We like getting to know each other.  But are we really?

For many of us, our financial/professional success is tied to all of these interactions and to the persona/brand we create.  I’m not suggesting for a minute that it’s fake.  But it is selective.  Just like there’s an inside and an outside voice when you’re a kid — we understand the social norms and most of us stay inside them.

But what if on the inside, surrounded by 2,000 friends, 10,000 followers and a bevy of fans — you feel all alone?  Maybe that constant buzz and busyness allows you to keep people at bay. What if that quiet desperation is slowly enveloping you to the point that you might suffocate — but you don’t dare let anyone see it.

It’s so much easier to hide today in the flurry of quips, 140 character chatter and the constant activity.  Which is also what makes it all the more lonely.  It’s like being at a huge party and needing to cry.  There’s no way you can pull that off — so you stuff those feelings down deeper and you become the life of the party to distract yourself and everyone else from how you’re really feeling.

Clue two came today with word of the tragic suicide of Trey Pennington, a very talented writer, speaker and a well known social media personality.  Trey was everyone’s friend.  One of the good guys.  He was always helping someone achieve a goal or try something new. I “knew” him but I didn’t know him. We’d never met in person. We shared some brief exchanges on Twitter and Facebook — but like many others who mourn his loss — I only saw the parts of his heart that he felt safe to expose in public.

I think there are a lot of Trey Pennington’s walking around out there — lifting up and supporting other people, partially because it’s who they are but also because it’s more comfortable than letting the attention turn their way.  And yet inside, they’re barely  making it through the day.  They are drowning in their own quiet desperation.

Clue three came in the form of an incredibly brave blog post called The Difference Between Trey Pennington and Me by Bridget Pilloud.  She tells of a time in her life when she had decided to commit suicide and the one thing that stopped her is that someone noticed her depression despite the mask and called her on it.  I believe that blog post will save a life.  Maybe many.  It made me cry.

Why in God’s name am I telling you all of this on a marketing blog?  Honestly, I have no idea why and maybe I never will.  I tried to talk myself out of it.  I’ve almost deleted it several times.  But somehow, the boulders are so big that I can’t.  So I’ve stopped fighting it.  If I lose some subscribers, so be it.

For some reason, I think you need to hear this. Or maybe I need to say it.

Trey’s friends, both casual and very close, are writing about him tonight as you can imagine.  They’re telling wonderful stories, talking about how he touched their lives and they are loving him well.  It’s a fitting tribute to a man who has earned the love and respect he’s being offered. The more casual of his friends are of course, saying that they wished they’d known.

Maybe that’s what’s driving this post for me.

I think we have this stereotypical idea of what a depressed person looks and behaves like.  The prescription drug commercials tell us that they can’t get out of bed or shower.  They sit on their couch in their robe, staring blankly into space.  They certainly aren’t successful.  They aren’t the life of the party.  They aren’t charismatic and busy serving others.

But they are.  And I think they are all around us.  But we’ve been fooled because they’re afraid for us to know.

Despite the suffocation of the desperation — they don’t want us to know.  It’s a shame-filled secret.  But they also desperately need our help.  They need us to ask because they have no idea how to tell us.  Or if they should.

If you’re a little worried about someone or you see hints of something going on underneath — ask.  And ask again.  If you know someone is going through a tough patch, don’t accept the quick “I’m fine” as they turn the conversation back to you.

Please pay attention and watch for the clues.  I’m hoping you’ll be more alert to them and brave enough to act on them.

Thanks for being patient while I moved the boulders off the path.  Some clues are too big to ignore.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Run your race

May 27, 2011


This post is a result of a perfect storm of events.

  • My only child graduates from high school this weekend
  • I watched the movie Secretariat again
  • Personally and professionally of late — it’s been difficult

Stay with me through the personal parts — I promise, there is a message for you in this post.

Let’s start with the movie.  Secretariat isn’t just about a horse.  It’s about leadership, it’s about life and it’s about whether or not you choose to go all in.   These are topics that have been on my mind a great deal lately — because of all three events I mentioned.

There’s a scene early in the movie when Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery is at the brink of total financial disaster.  She believes Secretariat is something special but if she’s wrong, she places her entire family in ruins.  She comes up with a creative solution but the risks (she has to guarantee that the horse will win the Triple Crown, which hadn’t been done in about 25 years) are staggering.

Here’s what she says in her personal moment of truth.  “We will win if we can and live with it if we can’t, but you never know how far you can go unless you run.  You have to run your race.  I don’t care how many times they say it can’t be done. I will not live the rest of my life in regret and no matter what happens, we are going to live rejoicing every day.”

You have to run your race.  Or you will never know how far you can go.

Penny Chenery chose to go all in.  Because it was the only way she knew how to do it.  Secretariat went on to win the Triple Crown and in fact, he broke records at each of the three tracks and won his final race by an astonishing 31 lengths.  Today, he is still regarded as the greatest racehorse of all time.  All because Penny Chenery had the courage to run her race and let him run his.

I imagine that Penny Chenery spent many nights staring into the dark night, unable to sleep and wondering what the hell she was doing.  That’s the reality of owning a business and, truth be told, of just being a human being that no one really talks about.

There are plenty of great aspects to both but it can be lonely.  And it can be scary.  Usually, there’s no one out on that limb but you.  And sometimes, in the quiet of the night, when no one is looking — you close your eyes and wonder “what the hell am I doing?”

Those doubting questions come faster and louder when you’re weary or feeling like the next hill might be the one that’s just too high to climb.  It would be so easy to just stop climbing.  Maybe even sit and rest awhile.  But then you’ll never know.

You have to run your race.  Or you will never know how far you can go.

I’ve always been an all in sort of guy.  It’s the only way I know how to do it.  The hills before me will level out over time.  They always do.  I just have to be patient enough and have enough faith to keep climbing.  It won’t always be difficult.

One of the hills that has been a pleasure to climb is that I’ve spent the last two weeks literally watching my daughter Kelsey grow up before my eyes as I scanned photos, editing videos and prepared all the fixings for her graduation.  I’ve re-lived her moments of triumph like when her class voted to give her the school’s most coveted award and her personal defeats when things didn’t go the way she/we wanted them to.  Her four year old giggles still tickle my soul and the sum total of who she has become fills my heart.

In those videos and photos, she lived out her dreams of the moment — whether that meant dancing with Minnie Mouse in a parade or performing at the Iowa High School Speech Association‘s All State event.   One of the things I have always admired about Kelsey is that she goes for it.  It doesn’t matter the odds or the challenge — if it matters to her, she takes the risk.  She’s much more brave than I ever was at her age.

Maybe she already knows what it’s taken me 40 some years and a movie about a racehorse to be able to articulate.

You have to run your race.  Or you will never know how far you can go.

That’s my hope for her this graduation weekend.  That she never forgets to run her race.  That she will not  live any bit of her life in regret and no matter what happens, that she lives rejoicing every day.  Because I know how far she can go.

How about you?

I think it’s so easy to let life weigh you down or pile obstacles in your path.  Are you doing something that matters enough to you that you need to go all in?  Are you running your race?  Have you let yourself get stuck in a rut personally or professionally that is holding you back?   Have fear or doubts crept in and tied you down?

I don’t claim to have all the answers.  Heck…I just told you, I want to sit down and rest right now too.  But, here’s what I prescribe for both of us.

Watch the movie. In the final scene, Secretariat takes the lead at the Belmont and never looks back.  I can’t watch it without tearing up.  It is the ultimate visualization of living your life to its finest moment — this remarkable creature was doing what he was meant to do better than anyone else.  That horse wasn’t going to let anything or anyone stand in his way — he was so alive and so full of rejoicing that he flew.

If you’ve opted to sit down and rest — get up.  Get up and find what matters enough.

Run your race.  Find out just how far you can go.



Enhanced by Zemanta

Advice for finding that first marketing job

April 6, 2011

How to find that first job

It’s spring time, which means the robins, tree buds and soon to be college graduates are all popping up everywhere.

I remember how tough it was to find that first job.  Everyone wanted you to have experience but no one wanted to give you that first job…so you’d get some experience!

I am often asked by college students how they can compete in a sea of “I did an internship, I got good grades, my parents are pressuring me to find a job” applicants out there.

So…for all you soon to be and recent grads — here’s my counsel (from the MMG website).

If I were you and I wanted to snare a job at MMG, here are some of the things I would and wouldn’t do. (and naturally, this applies for any job, just substitute the company specifics.  And, I’d replicate this for the 3-5 places you really, really want to work.)

I would:

  • Read the MMG website carefully, to get a sense of culture and tone.  Be sure this sounds like a good fit for you.  I know you need a job — but your first job is so important.  You’ll meet your first mentor there.  Or not.
  • Sign up to receive MMG’s weekly e-newsletter, the Marketing Minute.
  • Stay smart — keep reading advertising, marketing and social media blogs, magazines etc.  You’re going to do this for your entire life — so you’d better get in the habit now.
  • Follow MMG on their Facebook page and Twitter.
  • Read Drew’s blog and if I really want to stand out from the pack, I would subscribe (via e-mail or RSS reader) and within a week, make an insightful, articulate comment on a post.
  • Ask my friends, contacts etc. if anyone knows anyone at MMG who could make an introduction.
  • Be very mindful that my cover letter/resume are the biggest demonstration of whether or not I get marketing.  I would ask myself…if I were a product and MMG was the target audience…how would I sell me?  How would I make myself different from all the other applicants?
  • Download and read “Giving College Grads a Fighting Chance.”
  • If I have a blog, I’d link to Drew’s because I know he’ll check to see who I am.
  • Know that they’re going to check my Twitter, MySpace, Facebook etc. pages.  So if they need cleaning up, I’d clean them up.
  • If I had no relevant job experience, I would look at the job experience I did have and figure out what elements of marketing were present there.
  • Join the local social media club, ad club, marketing club.  Whichever is more relevant to what you love to do and your market.  But start getting connected, if you haven’t already.
  • If I didn’t get the job or they didn’t have any openings at the moment, but still think this is the place for me…I would stay engaged.  I would keep reading/commenting on the blog.  I’d drop them a note every month or so.  I would become someone they notice/know.

I would not:

  • Send a cover letter or resume that even slightly reads like everyone else’s.
  • Rely on any cover letter/resume book. I would throw those away and refer back to my marketing text books.
  • Under any circumstances tout my ability to work with people (or that I like them) as a strength or skill.
  • Send anything that a pair (or two) of fresh eyes didn’t proof.  A typo will get me tossed right into the “no way” pile.
  • Hit send or lick the envelope until I checked and double checked the spelling of the agency, the agency owner’s name and anything else (like their clients) that I might reference.  (see bullet point above)
  • Try to BS my way in.  Because I should expect that MMG will smell that a mile away and ask about it until I admit that I sent the same “I believe your agency is perfect for me” cover letter to 12 agencies.
  • Humiliate myself. I would double check that I put the right cover letter/resume in the right envelope.  (I’d hate to be the one who makes that mistake, but it has happened.)
  • If I really wanted to work there, I wouldn’t give up.  I wouldn’t be a stalker, but I would keep at it.  I would look for ways to help them, even before I got a job there.  Because I would believe that I am going to work there eventually and begin behaving like I already do.

You don’t have to do any of this.  It’s your job hunt, after all.

But remember, at MMG (and most smart businesses) we hire as much for “culture fit” as we do for competency.  We can teach you marketing.  But we can’t teach you to be a team player.  Or curious.  Or passionate about our work & our clients.   We’re not going to force you to be someone who believes in giving  back to the community.

So along with your work and academic achievements, show us that stuff.  And show us that you get why that matters.   Then, we have something to talk about.

Your job is pretty straight-forward.  If you’re smart and creative enough to sell us you, we know you can help our clients.

Good luck!


Enhanced by Zemanta

Gratitude: My greatest gift

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!  Even if you're not in the states — why not take a moment today and remember some of the blessings you have in your life?

I try very hard to make my blog about you.  I want to infuse value, insights and fresh ideas in every post.

But I believe that one of the most powerful emotions we can experience is gratitude.  I believe it literally can move mountains and change hearts.  On this day of giving thanks, I ask your forgiveness as I recognize my own incredible good fortune.

Anyway…enough prelude.Soglogo

In 2006 at the Balanced Life Center blog, the author created the Season of Gratitude.  She invited other bloggers to share “a gratitude moment” and I couldn’t resist joining in back then and I can't resist making this my annual Thanksgiving post.

It is more true today than when I wrote it 4 years ago. Here is my own Thanksgiving homage: 


Rather than create a laundry list of the incredible and plentiful blessings that I am surrounded with every day, I decided to narrow my focus to my greatest gift. 

My daughter.  She is quite simply the best part of me. 

Her questions force me to find my own clarity.  Her humor is the perfect salve for a stressful day. Her fears remind me of my own humanity and her teen-induced insecurities keep my heart tender. 

Her zest for life’s delights feeds my spirit and her need to re-charge urges me to slow down now and then. Her laughter triggers my own (sometimes in the most inappropriate places and times) and her tears show me the depth of my own vulnerability.

Her drive to succeed tempers my own so we can talk about balance and her sense of discovery (both academic and of self) lets me indulge in the same. 

Her need to learn about the responsibilities that come along with being given a good life allows me to share my talents unselfishly and take her along for the ride.

Her presence gives me purpose.  Her future gives me hope.  And her faith in me inspires me to be a better person.   

She is my Jiminy Cricket.  She is my legacy.  And she is, every single day, my season of gratitude.


How about you….will you take a moment and share your season of gratitude with us?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Marketing tip #75: Handwritten notes are magic

July 14, 2010

Thankyoufront I was speaking to a college class on Monday night and our conversation reminded me of this tip.  Handwritten notes are practically unheard of today.  Everyone fires off an e-mail or texts a quick thought.  But for someone to sit down and take the time to actually write a thank you  note (or any sort of note) is an almost forgotten art.

Which is why it is so noticeable and memorable.

The photos to the right are a thank you note that I received nine months ago from a developer at Wufoo.  (Wufoo is an awesome online tool that lets you create interactive, HTML-based forms on the fly).  We've been a happy and loyal customer for a few years now.

Anyway — for no special reason and on no special occasion, I get this homemade handwritten card from Chris, one of the Wufoo developers.

Let's look at this "high end" card.  He took thick construction paper and put a dinosaur sticker on the front.  Then, with a pen, he created the "Thanks" on the front and wrote me a quick note on the back.  He thanked us for our business and said that they valued our trust in them.

Thankyouback I still have the note.  It sits on my desk.  I get tons of e-mails and other electronic forms of communications.  None of them are displayed on my desk.

Handwritten says you went out of your way.  Handwritten says you have good manners, handwritten says it really mattered to you.

Handwritten notes are brilliant marketing.  What if you wrote one thank you note a week to a customer, employee or vendor?

I think you'll be stunned at the response.  Try it and let me know.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A public service announcement for today

June 20, 2010

I get called many things…but there is no title that I cherish more than Dad.  On Father's Day, I wanted to share this public service announcement with all of you out there.

If you had a dad who let you dress him up, who played hoops with you on the driveway or who showed up at your games — be grateful.  There are so many kids who never knew what that felt like.

And if you are a dad…soak it up.  Soak it up with abandon.  I know I do.

Happy Father's Day to all of you sons, daughters and dads!

Enhanced by Zemanta