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On Assignment

October 27, 2010

So, I know this is a very vague title, but again, I am a marketer and you did visit. Intrigued?

I have not posted recently because I have since found a position as an Email Marketing Specialist for a catalog retailer. Since that isn’t an excuse, I will get to the ultimate point of posting.

While reading an article on NYT online “Paul, the Octopus Who Predicted World Cup Matches, Dies” I had an idea for an assignment (or two). The build up is to assume that your company goes under tomorrow. A little sobering isn’t it? No job, no place to go, no paycheck and no one cares about your products/services. Now the first part is to write an obituary for your company, an HONEST, obituary. No holding back. Keep it short enough to explain what it was, it’s significance and how it died. The next part of the assignment is to write the article on how it died. This is what the article actually inspired me to do.

IF YOUR COMPANY DIED TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD KILL IT?

This is different from the writing an obituary because it is not about the past, and why you have a good company. What this article is about is why the company died so abruptly. Even if you are as secure and innovative as Google or Apple, this is a good way to look forward and see  your companies shortcomings and where it needs to adapt.

Now, as I said, I am on assignment, because I have not written these articles yet. But I will get back to it.

If you beat me to it, let me know. I’m interested to see how this goes.

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Find your appeal

June 23, 2010

Curb appeal, global appeal, SEX appeal – Any-kind-of-appeal! In what ever category you can think of, the first thing you think of is the one with the most appeal. So this morning I got to thinking: “what’s my appeal?” Just in general, but more specifically in my job search.

What is it that makes you desirable in an area. Spend a few minutes thinking about it; then…

viola!

…you have your sales pitch.  Now, take your strengths and write them down, take a minute to read them. You’ll then be more prepared when it comes to the nitty gritty.

Job Search Lessons Learned

June 19, 2010

Well, it’s been several months into my job search and I feel that I should share a few of my lessons learned.

  • Cover letters can’t be a template – I tried keeping a template for each cover letter that I wrote and ended up writing and rewriting each time I was applying for a position
  • Job descriptions are different ‘on paper’ than they are explained
  • Shorter tenures at jobs can (and must) be explained
  • Re-answer every question you have been asked on an interview – assume you will be asked something more ‘out there’
  • Only hitting refresh on a job search doesn’t cut it
  • Sit on a job description before you write your cover letter

Now I know this is a relatively short list, but trust me, these are not all of the lessons I have learned. However, I believe some lessons can’t be read about and don’t translate to every job search.

Good luck.

Lifelines Can Help You Drown

May 28, 2010

It wasn’t long ago when “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” was one of the top shows on television, so I know most of you can remember that a popular lifeline was to ‘phone-a-friend’, where the contestant was able to call a trusted confidant and ask them to answer a question that they were stuck on.

Well, if I had done that years ago, I would not have taken a few gambles that bet on social media to win as one of the leading forces in marketing.

Before they were big I balked at blogs; while it was still for students I shunned facebook and before there was a flock of followers I thought Twitter was for the birds. But then I listened, and I noticed the stigma around these new social sites changing and I dove in head first even when my group of friends weren’t interested.

The choice has served me well so far and has checked a few more boxes off in my lifetime experience.

There is only one message to get from this post, some times it is better to trust yourself to either sink or swim. Go with your gut; it’s not about ignoring your friends, but rather trusting your instincts and trying something new.

The Follow-up Shows Follow-thru!

May 24, 2010

This is a title that I wrote down in early January. Since then I have been laid-off and on the harder side of a job search, the side where you need the work more than it is your choice to move. With this new information, this title is even more relevant.

Early in my career I was prone to waiting until I heard back from vendors, superiors or coworkers. I thought that everyone would have a clear idea of time-lines and I would respect their role in the process. During the course of my career I have evolved  to a more proactive approach.

During initial planning for anything (be it getting graphics made for an email or following-up on a job application) I set a prospective time-line with checkpoints that I can control. These checkpoints aren’t meant as a form of micro-management but as reminder for myself to track the progress being made.

The feedback I have received from this new take on my own responsibility has been more than satisfactory. Besides a better understanding for myself, I am better able to communicate with others where projects stand which reflects well on me.

I can only tell of my experiences, but follow-ups are vital for forward progression.

Life: locked in 140 character or less.

May 21, 2010

It has been nearly two months since I have been laid-off from my position as a vendor for Microsoft and nearly four months since I have last posted a blog. I have not been lost as I have said before, merely living simpler, 140 characters or less simpler to be exact.

Just as so many others have done, I have switched some of my focuses to Twitter, allowing me to concisely sum up a thought the instant I have it and post it to the masses. If you have visited during my blogging hiatus,  then you may have noticed the feed to the right being updated while the blog has not. It has been my continued experiment in Social Media.

If you are interested in what else I have been up to during the last few months then keep readying. If you are not, then please explore some older postings, as I am about to get a little reflective and ‘preachy’.

Personal and Professional Updates:

  • Laid-off from Microsoft position during a management shuffle
  • Have had several phone-screenings for positions
  • Reached one year of marriage with my beautiful wife
  • Have been doing odds jobs on the side to keep my skills sharp and days busy
  • Learned that nothing can stop forward progression
  • Begun developing business plan as a way to keep thinking

Lowered Expectations

January 30, 2010

You may or may not remember a skit from Fox’s MAD TV called Lowered Expectations. This skit is a take on a dating service for less-than-fortunate (meaning overweight, offensive, ugly Gary Coleman, etc.) people to meet other less-than-fortunate people.

Well, recently I’ve worked on an advertising campaign (with NO development budget) that involved a video spotlight on a website. The details aren’t necessary, but the result was… not professional. It was naturally lit, single shot and you could see that it was practiced; but the result was perfect.Lowered Expectations

The site spotlight format was been built with the YouTube format in mind (although with a better player). The idea is that with the new ‘everyone can do it’ culture, there is a lower threshold for small budget advertising; which gives smaller budgets a chance to expand. Embracing this new Lowered Expectations from consumers is a great way to start off embracing social media and encouraging user content.