Marketing in the Making

Marketing; Thoughts and Questions

Chalkboards and Cookies!

Well it has certainly been quite a while since I last wrote, but I have still been trying to keep up with the news!

I feel like a lot of things have happened lately. I moved to Chicago, started a full time job downtown, Mozilla decided it would begin blocking third-party cookies in the new Firefox 22 set to release in June. I’m telling you a lot! But first, I want to show you a little decoration I added to my office this past week!

photo.JPG     photo.JPG   photo.JPG

(Please excuse my poor handwriting and photography skills–I am working on them daily!)

Stick on chalkboards the size of a sheet of paper! Perfect for some quick to-do lists, notes and comments on the day! I love them! Check them out at Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store either in Brooklyn, NY or online at So much other fun stuff on the site too–you may get stuck on there for a while!

Woo, sorry for the tangent, just had to share that with all of you! Back to the cookies!

I understand that blocking these cookies may make users feel “more secure” when browsing the internet but at what cost? I’ll tell you. Now with Firefox blocking these cookies by default, you will not receive targeted ads. Now instead of seeing ads that may fit your needs, they will be completely random. By blocking these cookies, ad networks and the like will loose the ability to reach the appropriate audience. I personally appreciate seeing ads that fit my needs and follow my trends. I would not on the other hand appreciate seeing ads about senior living or the cool new restaurant in LA–I am not in LA and I am no where near ready to research senior living. I currently receive ads for the best way to find apartments and events around Chicago–these are a little more relevant for me.

On the other side, for the advertiser, this means that they will not be able to reach their target market as easily. Tracking clicks and impressions just became a whole lot more complicated. How do you quantify the ROI when you loose half the necessary information? How can you accurately reach consumers and understand them if you loose insight? Yes, I understand that Safari already blocks cookies, but that is Safari–who uses Safari anymore? And how likely is it that Mozilla Firefox users will go in and try to change the settings to enable cookies–its too much work!

Please take a look at this article from MediaPost about the subject for additional information.

With all of this, I am interested to see how this pans out and if anything will change. I am also excited to see how advertising will change with this new obstacle..will this lead to a more organic form of advertising that social media has already begun or perhaps more guerrilla marketing techniques? How do you think everything will pan out and change?



Consumer Behavior

For the longest time I have wanted to take a class on Consumer Behavior, so when I had the opportunity to sit in on a class on Behavioral Economics at Northeastern University, I jumped at the chance. During the first class I was at, we were discussing Prospect Theory where people use various heuristics to make analyzing risky choices easier. These heuristics include coding, combination, cancellation, simplification and detection. Instead of going into detail about each of them here, I recommend you look into it on Wikipedia.

As we were discussing supporting evidence for Prospect Theory such as loss aversion, the endowment effect and the status quo bias, I began thinking about the importance of recommendations. How can a recommendation decrease the degree of risk when making a choice? I have learned in the past about the importance of “organic” recommendations. For example, in a magazine, the pages which have the collections of outfits that writers picked out versus the advertisements that the brands paid big money to include in the magazine (see below image from Health Magazine). Social media has encouraged this trend of recommendations even farther through social networks and the simplicity of interacting and sharing information. Hearing a recommendation from a name you recognize and maybe respect means a lot more than an ad from a brand who you can’t match a face to. You can also see this happening when you listen to the radio and Ryan Seacrest, for example is talking about the newest Kindle and how much he likes it. Even if these people are paid to say these “opinions”, they seem realistic enough that we as consumers believe them.

Whose recommendations do you trust? Celebrities, bloggers, authors, family and/or friends? I tend to trust my family and friends a lot…especially when it comes to electronics.

Live Life to the Fullest

I am sorry for how delayed this post is. I have had no idea what to write. It is terrifying how fast your life can change in such a short period of time.

My father just recently passed away after a short yet fierce battle with cancer. It is still a shock to everyone who ever knew him.

I have signed up to participate in Be Bold, Be Bald! an organization that raises money for causes such as Pancreatic Cancer. On November 2nd, I will wear a bald cap to honor those like my dad who have had to fight cancer. I ask that you sponsor me to help me raise money for this cause. You can access my page here. Any little bit makes a difference. No matter where, I am, I promise, I will be participating.

One of the many things I admire about my dad was his ability to truly live life. He is really a man that managed to live life to the fullest one motorcycle and adventure at a time. I am certainly going to try and follow his example.

I promise to be back soon with a more marketing related post…

Ride “The L”

Beautiful view of my neighborhood in Wrigleyville/ Lakeview

As many of you know I did move to Chicago for a short while and am now back in Boston to begin my life after college.

Just for Fun- No need to leave the water for a treat

Living in Chicago means that instead of taking “The T” in Boston which I am used to, I took “The L”. “The L” is certainly a step up in my book. As I was riding “The L” the other day, I noticed how many of the ads throughout the car were a part of a series. (Now is when I wish I took at least one picture) but I believe that Amstel Light was one of them. Keep an eye out for these. Amstel Light did an excellent job of telling a story, gaining my attention, keeping me interested and encouraged me to find out more. There were a lot of print pieces around the train giving quick facts about the history of music, the television, and so on. Then somehow the last one I read was that of Amstel Light. The last board about Amstel ties the whole series together. Now I didn’t read the entire print about Amstel Light because the previous facts may have dragged on too long but I certainly stuck around long enough to understand and see the series.

Please comment and let me know if you saw this campaign or any like it! I will be sure to get a picture as soon as I can!

What’s New Facebook?

I feel as though every time I sit down to write a post about a specific platform, it is always Facebook. I know I have written about others like Google Plus and Pinterest but, Facebook just keeps coming up in the news.

What is the latest you ask? Hmm… Let’s see… Facebook is now being traded on the NASDAQ, Mark Zuckerberg got married just days after Facebook went public, the new app called Airtime and of course the constantly changing privacy settings. Don’t worry, I will at least touch a little upon each of these.

As I was thinking about what to write for this post, I knew Facebook’s stock was almost a must but my only problem with that is I am not very knowledgeable about stocks. So, instead of trying to explain to you what is happening with Facebook’s, I will simply summarize so neither of us get confused. The starting price on day 1, May 18th was $38 and at close it was only $38.23. Since then the stock price has been less than amazing. Based on my research, investors are less than impressed but rather cautionary about their investment in Facebook. Because of this, Facebook is left with a lot of work to do to impress investors. Needless to say, I don’t see myself investing any money into Facebook anytime soon. Take a look at this article in The Economist to see what is happening and learn more.

Mark Zuckerberg apparently got married just one day after Facebook went public to Priscilla Chan… Personally, I would at least wait a week to get married after my multi-billion dollar company went public…but that’s just me. Really though, congratulations to the newlyweds!

Has anyone heard of this new app for Facebook that came out called Airtime? Well, it is similar to chat applications like Chatroulette and Omegle that connect you with other strangers using the application. The only difference here is that Airtime is through Facebook and the app connects people based on similar interests listed in your profile. Users can share videos with one another as well. You can also choose to be anonymous until you “add” each other and then you can determine additional privacy settings. I personally have not used this application yet, but a friend of mine has and seems to like it. She said she even spoke to one of the creators, Sean Parker…very cool! Please check it out and let me know what you think! I will try it too.

Facebook always seems to update their privacy settings, so I just feel that it is necessary to mention. A friendly reminder here to check your settings again to make sure you have all your bases covered.

As always, please make sure to comment! Maybe you could teach me about stocks and update us all about how Facebook is doing.

I Graduated… Now What?

This past month has been intense. I had my last set of finals of my undergraduate career and graduated from college. With all of this brings upon reflection. Looking back on my past four years at Purdue, I know I made the right choice.

This past weekend, my dad asked me if I was happy with my decision to come to Purdue. I responded by telling him that I was incredibly happy with this decision and that if I had to choose again, I would still choose Purdue. I also said that there would be a few things I would do differently like take more classes, join more clubs and try new things. Maybe I would give Humans vs. Zombies a try. But if I had any advice for incoming students, it would be to get involved and take advantage of every moment and opportunity you come across.

With graduation comes the ‘real’ world. With the real world, comes the job search which is not only filled with personal branding and networking but especially the economy. With each internship I have had, each informational interview, each conference and each connection I have made, it brings me one step closer to that job. As I look around at possible opportunities, I have learned that getting in the door is the hardest part. There are plenty of candidates that come through the door with great experience, so what sets you apart? This is the question I pose to you.

Tell me your stories of how you got your first job out of college. I guarantee you, they will not all be the same.



What’s Up Pinterest?

First, I would like to say that I have finally joined the digital age and purchased a smartphone. I got an iPhone 4 to replace my old go phone that had no camera and could barely do the basics of make phone calls and text  (I had to relearn T9 for it). I am still adjusting to the iPhone and have had it for almost three weeks now. Favorite games so far are Draw Something and Scramble with Friends. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

In other news, I wanted to talk about the craze of Pinterest. Since the beginning of this school year it seems, Pinterest has been growing like gangbusters. Yes, it does seem to be mostly around women but there is still a pretty decent male population as well. The basic idea of Pinterest as it seems to me is to collect images with design, health, thoughtful and lifestyle items to share with everyone. In a sense, another way to procrastinate. The great thing however, is that you can create your own boards and customize your interests so you can choose what you see. I personally did sign up for an account but very rarely put the effort to pin, repin, follow or even login to my profile. The public page is just perfect enough for my procrastination. Pinterest is one of the sites I make sure to visit before I actually can begin my homework.

The question the Pinterest craze arises, however is whether or not companies should join the site and try to create relevant boards. The argument about just claiming the domain is still relevant here and important but the issue of what to post and how active to be is the next problem. Luckily, repinning is as simple as clicking a button (literally). The “Pin it” button can be installed in your Google Chrome browser to make adding things to your boards simple. Remember, that pinning articles doesn’t work too well. Pinterest grabs images to choose from on the site to pin that will steal your attention. Browsing and repinning from other boards is a great way to build a community on the platform.

Just like Twitter, it seems important to post items that would interest your followers. Be mindful not to focus on purely promoting your organization (Pinterest seems to be very serious about this).

Personally, I think that Pinterest is a great way for companies to have fun with their communities and show a personality and maybe even sense of humor. This platform does not and should not be 100% professional.

What are your thoughts on Pinterest either personally or professionally? If you do have any recommendations for good iPhone apps, please share!



When are Emoticons OK?

Where do you use your emoticons? Which ones do you use?

With smart phones, there are more and more emoticons available to use in text messages and on the go. Because of this they are being used on a more wide-scale basis. Speaking with my peers, I have learned and realized a few key things with the use of emoticons, especially in texting. First, different cultures do use emoticons differently and some (typically Asian) may even use a larger range of them. Second, they are great for flirting. Some people put a lot of thought into the meaning behind if and which emoticon they use. With the right person, it could make all the difference. Sometimes, the right emoticon can demonstrate a feeling even better than any word could in any situation.

But, texting is not the only place we have started seeing emoticons. They are starting to be used in emails as well. Because this is a new trend, the level of appropriate-ness has not been determined, but I believe it is worth thinking about. Like I mentioned above, it does demonstrate a certain emotion that may not come through in words, which can be very important. But, is it unprofessional? I for the most part do not use emoticons in professional emails and the like but I am not opposed to it. It can make a conversation and relationship more friendly. I shy away from emoticons largely because I don’t know how the person I am communicating with will react and at my age, I am not at a place where I can take a gamble.

Tell me your thoughts and how and when you use emoticons!

As you are thinking, take a look and maybe get this app for your iPhone from Apple for emoticons. Once I get my iPhone (soon!) I am for sure going to get this app!

Ma and Pa and the New Year

Happy New Year! In this coming year, I hope that more of these small companies hop on the bandwagon and realize the possibilities that social and new media have for them.

I understand and do like the uniqueness and charm of a small boutique company that seems like family, but in an economy like ours and in a growing world like ours, the success of a company like that is not likely.

Having a presence on social media allows your company to extend its reach and gain a voice on the new platform where your current and possible future customers are.

Of course, how involved any company chooses to get with social media depends 100% on the target customers. This partially comes from the general 80/20 rule. 80% of your products/services are bought by 20% of your audience. Take a look at this post from Entrepreneurs-Journey blog about the 80/20 rule. (Ok, that little bit about the 80/20 rule may have been a little bit of a tangent, but I wanted to make sure to tell you about it) What I am trying to say is that your customers are the ones who should be deciding which platform you should be on, not you. Your company is catering to them and not the other way around.

These smaller Ma and Pa stores are starting to put up signs in their windows about being on Facebook or Twitter which is a great start, but in all honesty, it is completely pointless if your audience doesn’t even use these platforms. This new year, I small businesses come up to speed in an intelligent and well researched manner.

Take a look at a few specialty social networks:

Dog Lovers:

Interior Design:

Foodies (there are soo many of these):

Sailing Enthusiasts:

These specialty networks, give specialty companies a more easy and direct way to communicate with their customers.

What are your thoughts about small businesses and their involvement in social media?

Advertiser and Fan

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and ate enough turkey to last the year. I know I did.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between being a consumer and an advertiser. Yea, I know, pretty obvious at first glance, but let me tell you what I mean.

As a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn user, I personally use my profiles in different ways than a lot of companies. I think that this should change. A big plug for social media is that it reaches the consumers and your target on their level, so why not use these profiles the same way as their consumers. It should be easier to get their attention.

Companies need to learn that posting about themselves all the time isn’t going to keep their fans interested. It is important to interact with their fans, make them feel important by responding and asking them questions. Also, talk about things that interest them in the news and such. Things like this actually give the fans/consumers a reason to keep you on their newsfeed and interested. In the end, you want your fans to not only read what you are writing, but take it a step farther. Companies want their fans to tell their friends to follow you and then actually purchase your product/service.

Luckily most companies seem to be understanding this more and more lately. They are playing the game that is social media the same way their consumers are playing it and even adding a little extra splash to it. That is how it should be.

Take a look at the great job Jimmy John’s is doing with their social media. They do a great job interacting with their fans and keeping their content relevant. Check out their Facebook and Twitter pages to get an idea. I love Jimmy John’s and just seeing the great job they have been doing on social media made me even happier.

Have you noticed any other companies doing a great job with social media? Let me know!

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