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First Pryority – A Generation Y Job Search

erinpryor1Erin Pryor, formerly with Salon.com, is now posting every Friday here at OCbizblog.  Erin is looking for a new gig and is kind enough to share her experiences with us.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate was 7.2% in December 2008 and the California state unemployment rate was 8.4% in November 2008.

The economy sucks and the job market is brutal.

Tell me something I don’t already know, right?

Unfortunately, I too am currently part of that 8.2% (I’m sure it’s risen since November) and am experiencing the difficulties of a tough job market. Even with a background combining experience in journalism, marketing and sales I’m finding it hard to even get an interview.

The most common thing I hear is, “You have great experience, but we think you are overqualified.”

Recently, I had a local business owner tell me that he “wasn’t sure I would be content working in a local market since I had national experience and have lived in both NYC and LA.”

Really?

Bottom line…if I didn’t think I could do a job well and enjoy it at the same time then I wouldn’t apply.

It seems as though many small businesses are limiting themselves in terms of hiring. It’s an employers’ market and it’s baffling how some aren’t using it to their advantage.

Rather than being fearful of hiring an ‘overqualified’ candidate because they may only stay until the market turns, companies should take full advantage of these people and their experience.

Isn’t it better to get the blue chip recruit and take the franchise to the next level even though he may ask for a trade a couple of years down the road?

Innovid: Groundbreaking Ad Technology

tal-chalozinThanks to Elad Lavi for walking us through the incredible technology employed by his buddy at Innovid, Tal Chalozin.

This is a blog about small business marketing in Orange County, but today we are touting a groundbreaking start-up outside our region, because it is a leading indicator of where online advertising is headed.

Web advertisers have found it difficult to monetize viewers of video.

But Tal Chalozin and his team at Innovid, have come up with a new approach to video marketing.

Instead of running ads at the bottom of the screen, Innovid creates live interactive pictures of products embedded in the video.

When viewers scroll their mouse over, say, an image of a coffee mug, a window showing the location of the local cafe could pop up.  Or an image of a magazine could become an offer to subscribe.

Chalozin’s company has already got the backing of high-powered investors.

And most recently, Businessweek named Tal Europe’s Best Young Entrepreneur.

For more on Innovid, see here.

By |January 22nd, 2009|marketing|Comments Off on Innovid: Groundbreaking Ad Technology

Marketing Plans: When the Finger Pointing Starts

finger-pointingIt’s not working.

As marketers, we hear it every day.

For most of us, our first instinct is to see what we could do better. 

We are the ones, after all, who believe our work can make a difference, in spite of the challenges.

It’s natural for us to question what WE are doing.

 Is the offer strong enough?  Is the design clean?  Is the copy tight?  Are we targeting the right prospects?

But once these questions are answered, we have to look in the other direction.

At the client.

Clients that are willing to accept responsibility for implementation of a marketing plan are a blessing.

And small changes can make a big difference.

Incentivizing employees to make a behavior change recently resulted in a big jump in results for a client of Waxpoetix.

The promotion involved handing out a small card to customers who would then go online and fill out a short (60-seconds max) form to claim their gift.

We were seeing great results for several stores who had recently implemented the program with the exception of one.

The owner was convinced it was a failure.

We were convinced the cards were not being handed out.

So we made a bet.  Paramaters were set.  And, as it turned out, we were right.

Once employees were paid a small commission every time a card was handed out, returns increased 50% in five days.

A marketing plan is no cure-all. 

But cooperation and execution can be.

The Email Opener Two-Step

twostep1Had a conversation with a client today.

They asked me to give them “a quick tutorial” on how they can get more people to open and read their email newsletter.

So, in the spirit of 2009 and a “Back to Basics” approach, here it is:

The Email Opener Two-Step.

1.  The “From” line.

Make sure it is an actual name and not an email address.  A certain political campaign was sending me emails for eighteen months and it became a running joke with my wife that I got another email from “you know who.” A name in the “From” line sets off a recognition trigger that moves a reader to act.  You’re building a relationship after all and the only person with .com as their name is Tracy Morgan’s bodyguard on 30 Rock.

2.  The “Subject” Line.

This is where you make your money.  We use an acronym we created called FISTFIST stands for Fun, Insightful, Short and Timely.  Our subject lines must include at least three out of four of these attributes before we send an email out.

Why fun?

Because you’re not a fish.

The other three are self-explanatory.

The humble email newsletter or email marketing program you have implemented, has become the wallflower to all things Web 2.0 and Social Media.

But things are tight and times are tough.

Better take a second look y’all.

Heck…

Anybody can do a two-step.

By |January 14th, 2009|marketing|Comments Off on The Email Opener Two-Step

Small Business Marketing Without a Budget


I had lunch with a small business owner yesterday.

Looking for a recession-proof niche?

This is about as close as you’re going to get.

e7sports provides online management systems for youth sports groups. Youth sports is pretty inelastic. The demand doesn’t fluctuate too much with the economy.

They’ve been at it for six years and are hitting their stride, projecting 75% growth over the next two years

We talked about his marketing strategy.

He said, “You know how we market? Our product works and we answer the phone.”

My kind of guy.

Marketing isn’t just advertising. It isn’t just being creative. It isn’t simply saying you’re the best.

It’s living and breathing it every day by working on your internals – your brand strategy, your tactics, your culture.

Having a great product, answering the phone and genuinely caring about customer service (see Zappos) is both cost effective and smart.

We see a lot of waste.

We know of one business in Orange County that two years ago did a million a year in revenue and spent $10,000 per month on print and cable TV. They tracked none of it.

Ouch.

It raises a classic marketing debate.

Which is better?

A great product and mediocre marketing or great marketing and a mediocre product…

It is getting more and more difficult to have the latter. Nike and Budweiser and anyone in the entertainment business beware. There are a lot of conversations going on out there and a lot of individuals with clout that can rave about a great product or slam a bad one.

You are a small business. You only have so much time, money and resources. Start with first things first. Have a great product. Answer the phone. If you haven’t been focusing on that, now is the time.

By |December 22nd, 2008|marketing|Comments Off on Small Business Marketing Without a Budget

User Guide to the Yellow Pages

A friend of mine has a nice little embroidery and screen printing business here in Orange County. Yesterday, as we stood in the parking lot after dropping our daughters off at school, he told me about a conversation with a Yellow Pages rep he had the day before.

The rep quoted him a rate for a full page ad and my friend politely declined, stating the none to obvious fact that almost half of his business was coming from online sources and the rest through word of mouth and referrals. The rep persisted and after the third “no” he dropped his quoted rate by 60%.

Nice.

Now that the Yellow Pages has gone Tom Cruise crazy by telling small business owners that they’ve been ripping them off, it makes sense to help them find more practical uses for their product.

Here are a few ideas.

1. Use the book as a primer to teach your children the history of advertising. See kids? This is what ads looked like when your grandmother was a little girl!

2. Bring it to the gym and offer $100 to the biggest lughead who can tear it in half. It used to be hard, it may not be anymore.

3. Booster seat for the toddler.
And it’s mobile. Throw it in the car and use it for the next family outing.

4. Hidden weapon in case of home invasion robbery.
Getting hit on the side of the head with pages and pages of pest control and plumber ads can do some damage.

5. Archive it. The traditional use. Let it sit at the bottom of some drawer or cabinet or closet until the next one comes along.

As a small business owner, you rely on your local customers. The internet allows you to reach them more cheaply and more effectively than any other paid medium. Take advantage of Google, Local.com and Yelp.

Your future customers are all there. Are you?

By |December 19th, 2008|marketing|6 Comments