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?