Friday, December 25, 2009

Year of the Flannel! Happy Holidays!

Just wanted to say happy holidays to everyone. I have seriously stocked up on flannels this year, haha. This upcoming year feels different. I don't know if it's because of the friends I have chosen to stay around, the near future graduation or the idea of starting my own side business. Whatever it is, it feels good.

I hope and wish the best for everyone. Just know that you can do whatever you want to do. Do not let anyone hold you back from what you have always dreamed or always have wanted to do. Seriously.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Bestest, Greatest Post For Your Day.

Main Points:
1. Headlines are manufactured to draw attention
2. You probably read this post cause of the headline

Did the headline alone make you want to read this post? I am guessing it played a role in why you decided to open this message. Or, you could be really bored and anything with a link on Facebook or Twitter, you read. And, that's OK, I do it too. But, if you did open this because of the post, you may be curious on why you choose to read this post of mine as opposed to an older one.

There are a couple tricks happening in those seven little words I uttered that I will briefly discuss. They are, (1) the use of a superlative, (2) the use of the definite determiner, (3) the use of the 2nd person pronoun and (4) presupposition.

A superlative is the greatest form a word can take and indicates that it is comparatively better than anything it is comparing too. For example, The BESTEST, GREATEST post. By using the word greatest, an adjective that modifies (or attaches) to the noun post, you infer that the post you are about to read is the best, it is better than other posts and therefore you should read it.

The role of a definite determiner is to concisely create definiteness. Definitiveness is a very powerful tool that advertisers use to make you assume the product is constructed just for you. Determiners (like the word the) are words that identify nouns. In this headline, The Bestest, Greatest Post. The first THE modifies the noun POST so that the hearer, you, are positive that the bestest, greatest thing is the post itself. Make sense? The definite determiner is not the only tool advertisers use to make you assume uniqueness, they also use the 2nd person pronoun.

The 2nd person pronoun in my headline is the word you. "In using this pronoun, advertisers conversationally presuppose some knowledge of their audience" (Justice, 57, SDSU). This concept is a little tricky to understand but you need to know that you can say one thing but it can have a different meaning, they call this implied meaning. So for someone to presuppose something, it means that they know something about you. Take for example this headline "Get in touch with YOUR dark side." In this headline, they are presupposing that you ACTUALLY have a dark side. When in fact, they don't know you, they don't even know what you like and don't like. Going back to my headline "The Bestest, Greatest Post For YOUR day." I am presupposing that you read articles daily and this is the one for you.

As we can see in some of the examples I have listed as well as my headline, we subconsciously decide to read things or buy things or engage with a brand based on headlines. They speak to us. But what we have witnessed here, most are manufactured to receive the greatest response.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Storm The Brain! With Brainstorming!

Main Points:
1. Brainstorming is exciting
2. There are ways to curb brainstorming block

Isn't it amazing how much computing power and creative ideas stem from just talking? From just having a conversation. It is amazing how you think you have the best idea, but then someone throws a twist your way, someone simply speaks and it triggers a new and better version, version 2.0 of your idea in your head. It's a process that is exciting from the get-go, or maybe just for me.

I enjoy brainstorming. I don't think there is a better way to improve ideas than to open it up to multiple people. Of course, you need to set limits to how much you open up your brainstorming activities but in general, the more the better. There is nothing more exciting than the first couple minutes in a brainstorming session. Well, actually there is, but I guess I am just different. Then, when you get going and white boards fill up, notes are flying, people are getting excited about the idea, that's where the magic is. But, we all know that some days the magic doesn't happen. After reading through blogs and books, I have compiled a list of ideas you can use to curb writers block.

1. Find a place of peace. Find where you are comfortable, then change it up, change it back, change it again, re-change it, go outside, go upstairs, find your place of peace. When I say peace, I mean the place where you start thinking creatively. It will be different on multiple occasions.

2. Bring a friend. Ask a friend. Ask a stranger. Anything to make you think differently.

3. Constrain your limits or set goals. Such as, 5 new ideas, then you are done. 15 minutes, then you are done. Remember, no idea is stupid or absurd. Sometimes, the weirdest ideas will trigger the best ideas.

4. Meditate. Self-reflect. You have come up with great ideas before, this is no different. When you finally start the flow, you'll wonder why you had block in the first place.

5. Eat something or stimulate your mind. No specifics, everyone is different, if you catch my drift.

There are other methods to curbing brainstorming blocks but these I thought were powerful and interesting.

envision · create · dream up · ponder · think · conceive


FREE LUNCH. Help Decide My New Business Name.

Main Points:
1. I need help with a Business Name
2. I have always been a DIYer. Are you too?
3. Doing things for yourself is good.
4. Comment with your ideas
5. FREE lunch if I use your idea. Promise.

Continue reading for a good time:

Have you wanted to start your own business? I have. I always have. This of course sounds cliche, but since we all have to work to earn money to pay bills and to have leisure time, you might as well do something you have some interest in. I have no idea where my drive to 'get things done' came from, but I really like that quality about myself. I have always stayed true to that traditional business model, the mom and pop shop, the DIYers. You just get more utility when you do things for yourself. For instance, a home cooked meal that you (a) came up your recipe one night when you couldn't sleep, (b) went to the store after your hard day at work to pick up the ingredients you carefully considered, (c) cut, seasoned and prepped all your ingredients, (d) cooked everything to your liking, (e) cleaned up your mess. There is just something very fulfilling in the process of doing things for yourself.

So, being the natural at doing things for myself, I have decided to start my own consulting company in January. Well, the preliminary stages will come in January, but I figure I could get a start on it now. This is where all my friends come in. I know everyone has ideas. Everyone has free time and everyone thinks. The best ideas are the ideas that are put to good use. So here it is:

Basics on what my business will be:

Opportunities exist in the Social Media sphere that Small Business' can implement fast, cheap and with little resources. However, understanding that Social Media is not a one way communication takes a greater understanding.

(INSERT NAME HERE) is a Small Business brand that implements key Social Media methods by leveraging Internet tools that are cost effective and bring a whole new meaning to user engagement.

I have already came up with these ideas:
- Zocial Group, Inc, etc.
- Zocial Sedia
- Leverage

Comment on this post with any suggestions for names
Post something on my Facebook
E-mail me:
Text me
Twitter me: @mktgstudent
Linked In me

Also, if you are perhaps interested in joining, shoot me an e-mail and we can talk. I hope I can get some responses. After I installed Google Analytics, which is amazing, and posted something on Facebook, I have actually seen some activity, which is pretty cool. Thanks to anyone who read this or commented. Seriously, thank you.

Here are some resources for business name creation:


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stress Full Week

Doesn't the holiday season excite but stress you out? For me, not only has holiday season approached but so has finals week. It feels as though the semester just started. Seriously, I remember thinking to myself "It's only September, I got a long way to go." I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoy and appreciate the learning I am able to do. It's the laziness and the procrastination that is the evil doer here. But, this is where pushing through the dip pays off.

It's that time in the semester where I don't get much sleep. Where, even though I want to sleep, I can't cause of the energy drink I drank earlier. It's that time where Christmas gifts are starting to fill baskets and for most of us, money is coming tight. It's that time when all you want to do is nothing, but you know you can't. Or can you?

Now, more than ever is the time to take a breath. We are perpetually connected to out e-mail, social networking sites and to anyone globally. This allows for constant contact and less alone time. Take a walk. Go for a job. Go sit in the forest. There are countless things you can do to give yourself space. Everyone needs it. Turn off all your electronics. Log out of your e-mail. The good thing about e-mail is that it's convenient. Finding relaxing time is not, so make it a priority.

Friday, December 11, 2009


So it appears that my brother has gotten engaged. Congratulations to them! I was instructed to go paparazzi style with these until he popped the question, then run out and capture whatever moments I could. Seeing how it was freezing cold, not too many places to hide, I was wearing red flannel, I had a huge camera, it was cloudy and overcast, it was definitely a fun time.

Here are just a couple of the photos that I thought were worthy of being out there. The full album is available by invite from the couple. We are also setup to do their engagement photos in the coming future, so be on the look out.

Engagement is the promise to marry. It's the trivial time between the proposal and the wedding itself. But, in business is a little different. Engagement in business refers to "turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context" (Advanced Research Foundation). The surrounding context is where the creativity lays; it is part of your competitive advantage. What aspects of your business/service engage and interact with your customer? Engaging could be as simple as empowering the guest such as at restaurants when they are allowed to "Create Your Own."

In the new era, Social Media is a dramatic addition to engagement. The Social Media platform, built upon Web 2.0 services/software allow business' to connect and engage with consumers on a new level. Response time to complaints is lessened, response time to questions is faster and engagement with the brand or a physical person from the brand is increased. The Social Media platform allows a business to increase engagement in a variety of ways. Be creative in your engagement.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I don't want your ad.

One of the biggest misconceptions with marketing is that people want to listen. This is not the case. With the ever increasing amount of marketing and the limited amount of eyeballs out there, one of the challenges for marketers is to utilize creative techniques when designing ad campaigns.

I do not want your ad. I don't want to hear what you have to say. I am not interested. The new marketing era is changing. Prior to the social media era, just-in-time was reserved for mass production. Now, with the complex algorithms and complex data sets, just-in-time marketing refers to idea that, when a customer wants to see something, they will and we must provide it to them. This is in contrast to how it used to be. It used to be the marketer was in control of the marketing process. But, it is slowly moving to incorporate the end user in many of the marketing functions. Look at the ideas of crowdsourcing and the impact it has on companies and freelancers.

We need to understand that the world of marketing is overcrowded and with the introduction of social media, it might get even more scarier. Marketers need to become more and more creative with their campaigns in order to stay alive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


In no way do I consider myself a professional consultant. A professional consultant has earned a reputation amongst the field he/she currently resides and has experience to back it up. I am however eager to promote and implement new ideas, I have a strong ability to think creatively, I have experience with technology, I am sociable and I am part of the community. These characteristics, I feel, are also part of what makes a good consultant.

I have a feeling this coming up year will be an interesting one. First, I will be graduating with my degree, second, social media is starting to take off, and third, I need to start gaining experience with clients and the real world. I feel as though this is the time to enter the market as a consultant to social media. Companies are starting to fill positions for social media and platforms are becoming easier and easier to use. This next year, when the economy is starting to turn around is a prime time to recruit more awareness of your product or service, to increase your involvement in the Digital Networked Environment (the web) and to take your business to the next year.

I have always wanted to start my own business. I have always seen myself helping out local small business' or even starting my own business. So, I was thinking, why not start a business that helps other business'? Great idea. I think I will.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Starting it. And keeping it going.

Starting something new is exciting. It gives you hope of potential and lets your mind wonder to all those happy thoughts about what could be. It's the gun at the starting line. It's the anticipation of the immediate gratification that you will receive once you are off. But, what some of us fail to realize is that short term gratification is good and all, but we must keep our focus on our long term goal. What do we REALLY want to come out of this?

For instance, I recently began working out. I know, I know...really? Yes. I found myself complaining to other people and finally realized that if I want change, I have to do it myself. Which reminds me, honestly, if you want things to get done, do them yourself. This applies to a lot of things in life, it's what I have come to realize in life.

The thought of working out and the gratitude I will receive once working out pays off is the biggest motivation that keeps me going. It's so easy to quit when you start running for the first time in months. Your stomach starts hurting, you feel dizzy, your muscles tighten. It's not a good feeling. But, you need to push through and always think about the long term. Although it will take a while to reach that goal, there needs to be steps and goals that will get you there. With these steps and goals you can track your progress, just like with any new project you start.

I am excited that I finally started this adventure. Cause believe me, it's going to be rough. I am even more excited that my girlfriend is on board with everything. This is the last time I will not let myself fail. I have too.

[The photo was taken off Google Images. Unknown author]

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The holiday season is in full effect. From the Christmas lights slowly being put up around my neighborhood, to the spending of money at Nordstroms. It's going to be a good holiday season.

There is a major difference between companies who make it a point to ensure you receive some form of experience and companies that are behind the times. I was very impressed by the marketing going on at Nordstroms as well as The Cheesecake Factory. Focusing on the experience of your visit, the first time, not only provides a unique first impressions but also a lasting impression.

If I ever open up my own place, it will definitely be focused on experience and there will always be the question "What more can we do to provide our customers with a better experience?"

Friday, November 27, 2009

I rewarded myself.

This month has been gracious to me. Besides the fact that it was my birthday and Thanksgiving, I had some good luck on some shifts at work. So, since I haven't bought myself something in a long time, I decided to buy a GPS from Best Buy. I currently use my iPhone and the AT & T app for navigating but honestly, it sucks. It always lags and it cost $9.99 per month. It was a really good deal, from what I researched and should be arriving next week. I am stoked.

Monday, November 23, 2009

One of my first campaigns.

I recently launched my first marketing initiative/campaign at Chili's. The advertising didn't play out how I wished (color copies) due to cost, but the presentation and campaign itself turned out better than I hoped for the amount of time I put into it.

With the month of September really slowing down our store, our area director has been on our managers ass to think outside the box and start being creative to bring guest counts up. Well, I mentioned that I was studying marketing and I would be willing to share some of my thoughts and ideas. What I noticed though was too many people have too many ideas and not enough action. Sure it's easy to come up with ideas. Well, actually, it does take a unique mind to come up with unique ideas, but for people who believe they are creatively challenged, there are techniques to help you. Like here. So, what it boiled down to was the mere fact that these people lacked focus because they are so overwhelmed with the operational side of the restaurant. BTW, I'm a server at Chili's, not like a marketing department guy.

We decided that the first push of our marketing plan was to focus on our TOGO service. Having heard from regulars that they had no idea that we offered that, it came to our attention that maybe the community doesn't know we offer that or even worse, maybe they don't even know we are here.

Our plan consists of three phases for the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Each with several components to help merry the TOGO awareness together. Such as, promotional pricing strategies for the local community and business' as well as optional pricing strategies. We have decided to use fliers and coupons to promote as well as other visuals for our in-store promotion. The next phase will incorporate more marketing strategies and techniques.

I am excited to start doing some local marketing for my store, even though I am just a server, it's pretty cool that I get to deal with a big brand. Although this these are not sponsored activities by the marketing department, it will add to my resume or maybe even attract attention from someone in the marketing department. We'll see what happens.

Twice removed.

In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely points out an irrational behavior that is exactly that. It's irrational to think that stealing a coin and stealing a can of coke would invoke different motivations from people. But, as he conducted his study, he found out that once physical money was taken out of the equation, people acted differently.

One of his first studies he conducted was in a dorm hall. He placed a six pack of coke in the lobby refrigerator and then counted them each day for a week. He conducted the same survey with 6 dollar bills that he left in the same spot. What he noticed was that people were willing to snag a coke here and there but surprisingly no one touched the money.

So think for a little. Do you borrow pens from the break room? Do you eat a couple fries or some chips here and there? Once money is removed it's a whole new game.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I see so many types of people...

Working in a restaurant, you get to see many types of people. Well, actually, that statement is false. One of the basic phases of Marketing is to determine your target market. You determine traits such as age, gender, ethnicity and location to name a few. There is much more to finding your target market but the basics are that people tend to group together by certain traits. Every business does this. It's a way to focus your resources on a select crowd.

By saying that I see many types of people while working in a restaurant may seem clear on the surface but if you consider the fact that the types of people going to this restaurant are predetermined by marketing functions, then yes, I have seen many people but not different types.

It's as though every business is it's own community and each community has a set of business' that they rely on.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Linguistics and Advertising - They know that we know that they know, shittttttt.

Pretty interesting linguistics material that we have been covering. The Cooperative Principles (CP) are the basic structures describing how people relate and converse with each other. There are four maxims that Paul Grice states that must be obeyed by both parties for a conversation to be cooperative. The maxims are: Maxim of Quality (say the truth), Maxim of Quantity (say enough but not too much), Maxim of Relation (context should be consistent) and Maxim of Manner (be clear in what you say).

We as the listener assume that the speaker is observing these maxims and we assume that the listener understands these maxims and with that knowledge the speaker is allowed to play with phenomenon such as implicature, implied meanings between the lines and blatant flouting of these maxims, obvious violations.

Advertisers understand these common maxims in conversations and can use them very creatively in their ads to attempt to amuse, mislead or imply other meanings. An example would be an ad for 3 Musketeers candy bar where they state: 45% Less Fat. (Paul Justice, SDSU 2009).

It's obvious to assume that it's 45% less fat than a leading candy bar product, less fat than a previous version of 3 Musketeers, but this is where the maxim of quantity (say enough but not too much) is being quietly violated by the advertiser and is intentionally misleading. Since they didn't say enough, the rule has been violated, therefore the conversation is not cooperative.

The implied meaning behind this ad is that it's better for you than other candy bars. However, by not supplying enough information to back up this claim and by leaving the sentence ambiguous, it creates an incomplete comparative. 45% less fat than a hamburger? 45% less fat than an apple? Who knows?

Advertisers use these quite violation as a legal way to imply meanings without stepping over ethical advertising boundaries. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, it's true and here to stay. So, when you see advertisements that setup claims that make you finish the sentence for them, using your imagination and without facts, then you know, that they know how you think and could mislead you.Crazy, huh?

Another Example of quite violations by advertisers:
Olympia Beer: "It's the water." (Paul Justice, SDSU 2009).

Can you recognize the implied meaning behind this ad?

Get to know yourself, employees, life, organization...

I'm at the point where I need to start thinking about what I should do when I graduate. For all of you followers of my college life, Joey and Geoff, my planned graduation with a degree in Marketing is Fall of 2010. And no, I will not be receiving my doctorate, although it has felt like it's been that long.

I know for a fact that after I graduate, I would like to travel. I am not sure where, maybe going back to Europe may be a good idea. I just know that I want to go see what's out there.

So, we'll see what happens. Right now I feel like joining an agency would be a wise choice but then the fear of interviewing (I don't know why I get so nervous) weighs upon me. Having worked for a couple small business' and for a few older entrepreneurs, I know I can do better than them (not to sound selfish). They lack things called basic business practices. But I do want to give them credit on establishing what they have done so far. But, it appears they are in "The Dip" and have no idea how to get out. Or, they might not care about getting out. I know these practices won't make or break a business, but not knowing your costs, not knowing your demographics, not utilizing the creativity of your employees, not treating your employees as your number one asset is mind boggling to me. Which is why I think I could run my own business.

So, I am not sure what to do. Just food for thought on my part. I want to be able to work for myself. I want to be able to wake up at 10:00-11:00 and work till 10:00. I hate the feeling of constrained hours. But, if I had to do it, I could. I would just prefer not to.

There are different types of people in the world. Night owls, day timers, morning people. I am definitely a night owl. Is this a bad thing? Hell no. It's common sense. If I had my own business it would run on how/when people are productive. There are people that like to work at 7:00AM, good for them. There are people that like to start their day later (myself). I don't believe that you can get as much productivity out of someone without understanding their habits and life style. Get to know your employees, seriously. Ask them. Be creative. If someone is always late in the morning, ask why? If there answers are consistent, I woke up late, obviously they aren't a morning person. Get them out of that time slot and I am sure their productivity and happiness will increase. If it doesn't, they are retarded.

I know what type of person I am. I know what I can and can't do. I know what I want and don't want to do. Let's just talk and figure them out.

What to do next...

There are many choices left in my undergraduate marketing studies. I wonder what I will choose next year? Marketing Research? Retail Marketing? I really enjoyed my Linguistics in Advertising class. I will post up some examples of what I learned in this class. It is very interesting to understand that most major ad campaigns are put together and studied like a science experiment. The play on words, the use of homophones, the use of creative phrase structures, all of which are extremely creative and very amusing.

What will I take next year........

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Now available.

On my Facebook.

The Best.

Being the best in what you do will warrant the best result. As described in Seth Godins "The Dip," you must recognize when you shut doors. You must acknowledge when you are just peddling around, doing the norm and not utilizing your full potential. People search for the best type of person that matches their preferences. The best could be different for everyone since everyone has different opinions.

I recently shut a door because I finally knew it was heading nowhere. Not that it couldn't have gone somewhere, cause it could have. But, the others involved were not motivated to be the best, which dragged me down.

You must realize what goals you want to reach. You must know that what separates the best from the majority are the people who prosper and push through "The Dip." You must shut those doors that aren't leading anywhere so that you can focus on what you really want to do.

My friend said it best, "Greg does what Greg wants to do."

You won't read this. Yea you will.

If you have not yet heard or read Dan Arielys Predictably Irrational, I suggest you pick it up. Ever wonder why we make decisions? Are you interested in ways that marketers and behavioral economists sway us to the choice that best fits the organization. Ever wonder why people would steal a can a soda but not a dollar bill.

Before college, I was not really into the whole business thing. I was actually pretty turned off by it. I swore that I wouldn't go down the corporate tunnel, that I would rather open up a small shop and live cheaply. We all think about that option at some point. "I can open a business. I can do it better than anyone can." This is the mind set I had going into college. When I go in, I was taken back by just how much information is out there. By just how much knowledge some of these professors had and quickly realized I have to do things out of the box. I need to do more than the next person. Cause if you really think about it, there are how many students in the business program at SDSU. How many business programs in the CSU system? How many top notch private business schools there are? It's shocking just how much competition there is out there.

So, I soon realized that on top of the school readings and learning's, I am going to have to take it upon myself to read as much as I can and gather outside knowledge so that I can have a competitive advantage when applying for a job. Or, for when I open by own business.

I went to Barnes and Noble with a friend and like Marketing research has shown, colors do attract attention and are cultural. Looking through the selection, Dan Arielys book caught my eye. Without looking further, I chose it and read it. Not only did this book open my eyes up to some of the tricks that marketers use, but it hits home with how we as humans make decisions. It recognizes that humans are irrational and since we know they are irrational, they are in a sense predictable.

Give the book a read and let me know your thoughts.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The World is Flat. Not.

A very interesting look into the future of competition, job creation, idea creation, global trends, the flattening of the world, the new energy climate, not only between your neighbor but with your neighboring continent.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Social Media. What could happen?

With the rise of Social Media appearing prevalent in my Google Reader, on marketing blogs and in business articles, I wonder what the future will be for this new addition to marketing. I mean, before Social Media, the Internet, even before Marketing became part of the normal business activity, there was a clean slate for marketers to come in and grab the attention of the present consumer. As more and more marketers entered the field, there was less and less attention to grab and it became more of a competition for eyeballs. Ever since, the attention span of a consumer as well as the placement of ads has diminished. Now we are bombarded with ads everywhere we look. Anywhere we go. Anything we watch. There is some form of advertising near us at all times. Now, is this a good thing?

It doesn't seem like a good thing for any side. For one, the consumer is faced with decisions everyday on which product to buy, top of choice products, top of mind products, new deals, discounts, FREE, buy 10 get 1 FREE, and all the other multiple and manipulations of pricing strategies that marketers use. With all these choices, it's up to the marketers to be that top of mind choice, but that comes with a price tag, major PR, major campaigns, major awareness, major everything. For the business, it is just as hard to make decisions as it is for the consumer. Marketers are faced with placement decisions, whether or not their ad will penetrate and stick with their target consumer. But are these decisions good or bad for the consumer and organization?

On the surface, I don't think it's good for either. But with the introduction of these new technologies, such as contextual marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing, these new tools are the gateway for ads to be tailored to content. This I could see as a reasonable substitution for traditional marketing. However, traditional marketing will never leave but I believe it won't be growing anytime soon.

There is one problem that I can see occurring. The bombardment of ads in the digital world, just as the traditional marketing as dominated the physical world. With business' researching and hiring Social Media marketers, there will be a point where every web page, every corner of the Internet will be a space for marketing. At some point, every business will have a Facebook page. Every business will have a Twitter feed. Every business will have a blog. Will everyone doing the same thing then make a difference? At this point in time, I believe it does matter and could help sway consumers to a brand that has an interest in Social Media, as long as the consumer has an interest in Social Media. But what will happen when every brand has what every other brand has?

This is a very interesting time. I don't know how business' will adapt when every business is using Social Media. Will it still influence like it does currently?