Monday, May 9, 2011

Sir John, Eh? (my starting point)

So, today I'm officially beginning a new adventure in my freelancing career: Marketing Director for the Macdonald Festival ( This is a fun festival that celebrates Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald (no capital 'd'). With lots of free activities to occur outside the venue of St. Andrew's (attended by Sir John, back in the day) and an amazing musical theatre performance inside (Sir John, Eh?), there will be lots to talk about!

So, the daunting task of overseeing marketing for this second year festival is exciting and scary at the same time. There are many things to consider. We have someone very competent looking after the website and social media, so that's a relief.

At the moment, I'm concentrating on developing local marketing partnerships. Cross-promotion can be quite powerful and certainly valuable to a charitable organization such as this one. I'm proud to say that in my very first meeting today, I've come up with a tentative agreement that will give us great exposure to the tourism crowd. Since it's tentative, I can't talk about it, but look forward to doing so later.

I also have a lot of other local ideas that I look forward to implementing. do I grab the attention of those outside of the immediate region??? With a limited budget, I find this a tad scary.

I'll let you know how I do as I progress through this new task!

Long time, no blog

Oh, those good intentions! I decided to jump on the blog bandwagon and then proceeded to fall off it rather quickly. I felt lost. I felt a bit down - what could I contribute of real value? Really, does it matter? Do people blog for themselves or for others? A combination, perhaps.

All I know, is that I want to try this again. I enjoy marketing and as per the title, that should be what I stick to--so, here I go again. Keep in mind, that my focus may switch around and frankly, that should be okay. Maybe I'll develop a groove eventually and fine tune things, but for now, I'm telling myself to follow Nike's lead and "Just Do It."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weapons of Mass Destruction

A weapon of mass destruction has the ability to cause casualties and damage on a relatively large scale.Well, what if most of us own a weapon that causes horrific casualties and damage on a localized scale, but at a global level? Wouldn't that be another form of mass destruction? I think so. What is this weapon? As you've probably already guessed, it's your vehicle.

We cause accidents when we make stupid driving decisions: drinking; speeding; texting, to name a few. Over the years there have been many marketing campaigns to improve driver awareness of the consequences of bad decisions relating to road safety.

One video that is currently making the email circuit and has received more than three million views on YouTube, recently won an international award for its powerful portrayal of what can happen when people make the decision to drink and drive, speed or get distracted. The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria, Australia, produced a five minute montage of ads in honour of the 20th anniversary of its awareness campaign, which aired over Christmas 2009.

Do videos like this really make a difference? Will someone change their behaviour after viewing the graphic demonstration of consequences? Maybe, maybe not. But it's worth a shot. Totallie my opinion. What do you think?

Check out "Everybody Hurts" on the TAC's YouTube Channel. (Go to the second video.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Dandilion Perspective

Driving home today, I noticed how beautiful the surrounding landscape was; waves of green dotted--in some cases quite densely--with splashes of brilliant yellow. It was really quite stunning. The same scene in my backyard would be frowned upon.

Why? How can something that is so beautiful in one setting be looked upon so negatively in another?


A weed is only a weed if it's growing somewhere it isn't wanted. Or isn't valued. A culinary artist will view a dandelion through very different eyes than a residential gardener.

When you're promoting a product or service, you need to make sure your dandelion is appealing to the chefs in the crowd, otherwise your message is going to fall victim to the gorker.

Totallie my opinion. What do you think?

P.S.: A little something for...

...the chefs:
...the gardeners:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Love at First Site....An Analytical Love Story

Spring is in the air and naturally, so is love! In my case, it's a case of cyber love--and I'm not talking about late night chats with "sexymanlyman."  For me, it was love at first "site" when I first laid eyes on...

INSERT: dreamy harp music... and mist...yes, dream sequences always start out with that misty stuff

The harsh reality of the lab's fluorescent lighting couldn't cool the heat that was igniting inside me. With burning desire, my eyes widened as I took in the beauty of what lay before me, beckoning me to come hither. Eager with anticipation, I reached out, desiring more, more, MORE...

INSERT: screeching to a halt sound FX.

...information and data.

Uh huh. Information and data. Analytical stuff. Love that. So, imagine my delight when I learned about Google Analytics!

I'm a thinker, specifically, an analytical thinker. Sometimes it's annoying and draws processes out longer than necessary. I'm sure by the time I finish this post, I'll have read and rewritten it numerous times because I'm assessing every word. I want the tone to accurately reflect my voice. I want the message to be clear. I want readers to understand and react to what I've written. Kind of like marketing.

Whatever you send out there for the public, you hope will be effective, attention grabbing and interpreted in your favour. Human nature being what it is, reactions will vary. The key is ensuring the majority of your target interprets your message the way you intend for it to be interpreted.

That's where analysis comes in. When it comes to Internet marketing, the world is your oyster. Pretty much anyone with a connection will have access to your message. There are many ways to gather data and figure out how effective your website is, but aside from actual visitor responses (purchases, comments), you might want info on how your site is actually being used by taking a look at its traffic.

Well, that's where my love of Google Analytics stems from. Google Analytics is free and allows you to see who is looking at what on your site, when, where and how many times. You'll know how they got there - was it through a search engine or some other reference? You'll know how many visitors land on your page, explore or don't explore your site. You'll find out which pages are popular, which ones, not so much. Data is represented clearly and is so easy to interpret - yes, as I've said, I like to analyze, but I also like information to be presented so that I can analyze the results, rather than waste time trying to analyze what's been analyzed and how to analyze it - know what I mean???

So, if you have a site and you want to know how effective it is in a sea of sites, you may want to check out Google Analytics.

Totallie my opinion. What do you think?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Yay! Let's hear it for Excrement!!!

Today a TV commercial caught my eye that I just can't resist commenting on. It also caught my ear. It seems the Barbie enterprise has added a new member to the family: Training Pups. Well, that sounds very cutsie, doesn't it? Turns out you get to feed the three little puppies water from a bottle....what little girl wouldn't enjoy that? But...then the really exciting part...let me quote the jingle:

"....what will he do? Number one or number two? ......what will it be? Puppy poo or puppy pee?"

Yes, it turns out you can buy a Barbie doll complete with puppies that simulate excrement production - or as the written product description so quaintly puts it..."reveal a surprise."

Oh, and they are nicely gendered too, according to the online toy description. The girl pup squats when you press on her, the boy pup needs to have his leg lifted (I wonder if he squats too? I mean, I'm not a vet and I haven't had a dog since I was a kid...and she was a she....but I don't think I've ever seen a boy dog poo with one leg up). And just to stay politically correct ...the third pup is somewhat genderless - it will relieve itself if you press its tummy. Hmmm. Yeah, I could see that.

Wow. I think I missed out on something very special in my childhood. I still have my Barbie dolls packed away somewhere, but they didn't have any of these special accessories. One even has super frizzy hair because I decided to wash it...but Barbie hair back then wasn't washable. Another one got an ink stain on its forehead so I used to pretend it was a bruise. Poor thing. I digress. But that's the joy of Barbie.

If you want to check out the commercial, it's been posted on YouTube (some of the comments are pretty funny):

Well, at least the advertising was clear about these toys! I wonder how many kids will actually keep the waste production on the accompanying paper though? There's the catch...only comes with two pieces of "colour changing newspaper" -  no word on if replacement papers are available. Other than that, I guess these puppies can only be abused as tiny, ineffective squirt guns.

I suppose one could argue this is only one step away from the baby dolls that would wet their diapers (or a "number two" step away). It just kind of worries me about what's next...oh, the mind wanders beyond this blog post - excuse me while I go take some notes.

Totallie my opinion. What do you think?

Sunday, March 21, 2010 to be connected!

As I procrastinate from writing a website analysis paper by checking out Facebook, I started thinking about how important this sense of "cyber" connection has become to many of us. I remember reading a year or so ago, about a new disorder called "disconnect anxiety" - I realized then that it applies to me - hopefully not as a full-blown disorder, but definitely there's some anxiety! I hate not being connected. For me, just knowing that I'm a click away from interacting with someone is comforting. We are so used to being constantly connected, if not through our laptops then through our mobiles, that we've created a need for it - and not just connection in general, but specifically wireless. Can you imagine not being able to sit anywhere and connect? Crazy.

Anyway, that brings me back to interaction - that for me is what solidifies the connection need - knowing that if I feel like having even a low-level interaction with someone, I can, just like that (...snap... if my connection is fast....snnnaaaaapppp... if it's not). It's funny how platforms such as Facebook have become part of our lives. I heard some college students joking about it last week. As they came through a door, one guy said to the fellow behind him: "I'd hold the door for you, but we're not friends - at least not until Facebook makes it official." Joke or not, it's a pretty powerful statement on how that particular platform has infiltrated so many lives. And, considering that many people have Facebook friends they never speak to in real life and may have never even met (I have 3), it also shows that we are accepting people into our virtual lives on a much more casual basis than in reality. Why is that? Is it all part of the need to be connected to someone, anyone?

So, if this need to be connected, to interact remotely, is strong enough to create a disorder, doesn't it make sense that there's something to be had for using social media for marketing purposes? Of course it does. Businesses should be looking at whether developing an online community is beneficial to their particular type of organization or not. Last week I posted a podcast to one of my class sites ( talking about how Urban Outfitters has embraced just about every social media platform out there. It's pretty impressive how this retailer has made every aspect of the site interactive. Explore to find out for yourself.

By the way, if you think you have an issue with disconnect anxiety, here are some "survival" tips from Mashable you might want to check-out:

Totallie my opinion. What do you think?