January 17, 2010

A Golden Globe Nominee

Now, as everyone does, I see a lot of movies. The disclaimer is that I don't often dislike the movies that I see as 99% of them do what I hope they do. I watch a movie hoping it will take me out of my current element and provide me the opportunity to live in a different world for 90 or 120 minutes...or sometimes even longer if you're talking about Avatar. I'm easily entertained but films are truly a great form of entertainment.  Sadly, movie dialogue and quotes serve up about 90% of my humor so the entertainment never ends...for me.

Let's briefly talk about a movie that not enough people are talking about. I recently saw Golden Globe nominee (500) Days of Summer. I'll try not to ruin it if you haven't seen it, but skip to my really important question in the last paragraph if you're feeling a spoiler.

Overall, I thought it was a really good film and would definitely recommend it...unless you don't like storylines that bounce around and don't want the ending up front. I actually enjoy that type of storytelling. I think it mirrors how I think, how I write and how I tell stories. It being a dark comedy didn't hurt for me either as I tend to enjoy them. I was drawn in from the beginning. I didn't believe the narrator during the opening when he said "This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know up front, this is not a love story." I guess it isn't a love story but it also kind of is. The closing scenes (park bench convo and interview waiting area) had me thinking of how I met my wife and how so many random things had to go right for that actual meeting to take place. All in all, I really liked the movie, but I'm happy The Hangover just won the Golden Globe as I type this. It's a hysterical movie that I can't wait to watch a second time...which is likely going to occur tomorrow.

Finally, someone needs to figure out why I feel like I've seen Zooey Deschanel before. I looked through her filmography and it's not any of the TV or film she's been in.  Does she look like someone I know?  Or another famous person?  This is killing me.

January 14, 2010

Two Recent Car Commute Set Lists

I am always amazed by the vareity of songs from the radio that I tend to listen to.  The two set lists below were from some recent commutes, of which I have a long one. Many days I end up listening to sports talk radio, but there are others where I lean on the radio to pump out some good songs.  Both of these rides were at the end of the work day, when it is even more appreciative to wind down to some good music.

There were a couple songs in both, Blur's Song 2 and the G6 song. The first is a blast from the past and the second is just so damn catchy, but both were and will be overplayed, respectively. Otherwise, the sets had some great songs from the alternative 90s (Soundgarden, Jane's, Pumpkins, Melon, R.E.M. ,Sublime) and some great new music (Bells, Yeahs, Killers, Weane, Florence, Death Cab). A few randoms sprinkled in there and we have ourselves two sets of 10.

Car Commute Set List #1
  • Far East Movement, The Cataracs and DEV - Like a G6
  • Taio Cruz - Dynamite
  • REM - It's The End of the World As We Know It
  • Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn of Blur on stage...
    Image via Wikipedia
    Blur - Song 2
  • Broken Bells - The Ghost Inside
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll
  • Jane’s Addiction - Been Caught Stealing
  • Sublime - Santeria
  • Blind Melon - No Rain
  • The Killers - Mr. Brightside

Car Commute Set List #2
  • Death Cab for Cutie - Soul Meets Body
  • Blur - Song 2
  • Keane - Somewhere Only We Know
  • Soundgarden - Pretty Noose
  • Taylor Swift - Mine
  • Far East Movement, The Cataracs and DEV - Like a G6
  • Black Eyed Peas - The Time (Dirty Bit)
  • The Fray - How to Save a Life
  • Florence and The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
  • Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
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January 3, 2010

It's All About Current Customers

I have had a lot of marketing conversations lately that have led me back to sharing my foundamental marketing belief - it's all about your current customers.

I don't care what industry you are in.  The core of your business are your current customers and they always need to be an audience of focus. They are your brand. They know your value proposition better than you do. They are your best marketing strategy.  Their referrals, their word of mouth, and even their bad reviews can make or break your year. 

In thinking of my current industry, this has been a weakness in many higher ed institutions for many, many years.  The focus has always been on the prospective student, the alumni base, recruiters, the foundation, etc. At the end of the day, what are each of those audiences looking at? The current student experience. It all comes back to the current students. Are they happy? Are they thriving? Are they valuing their investment? Are they worth an investment?

So why do so many businesses and institutions ignore this important audience? Why do they refuse to focus any marketing efforts on the service provided to and the experience of their current customers?

It's understandable to want to move forward and look for that next big sale and grow your customer base. At the end of the day, it obviously needs to grow.  It just cannot be at the sacrifice of your current customers.  Losing one current customer with that bad experience can have a far more negative impact than the benefit of gaining one new customer.

January 2, 2010

The Male Baby Announcement

I've recently been sharing the great news that my wife and I will be expecting a baby in 2010.  While I have not been shouting it off the rooftops of every social network, the news is pretty public at this point.  For some reason, I just have not been comfortable spreading the initial news through a status update or tweet.

A couple weeks back, we hit the stage where I was comfortable with sharing the news at work. Our families and really close friends knew, but I wanted to share it with the people I see every single day.  My wife had shared the news at her work for a while at that point as she had unfortunately been so sick and needed to let some colleagues know. But when does a male share this great news at work?  And how do you do it? I'm not gagging; I'm not starting to show; I'm not puking in the bathroom nor am I eating saltines at my desk.  There are obvoiusly no male signs that ease co-workers into the possibility of pregnancy!  I've been excited about the news for months at this point, but I have had to hide my excitement.

I was also struggling with whom to share it with.  I work with many different offices on campus and consider myself friendly with all of them. I figured news would travel fast and didn't really want to develop a hierarchy of awareness!  But how do you do it? Do you walk around from office to office sharing the news? Do you wear a sandwich board announcing the news and just wait for people to react? (to the news and the sandwich board) Do you send a mass email, maybe even mail-merged to disguise it as personalization? This bit of advice is not shared in mantown.

While sharing the news with a female co-worker who I just found out was pregnant, I asked this same question and joked about some ways to do it.  One of the jokes spawned an idea. Knowing that I wanted to add a comedic twist to it, I went to someecards.com for some inspiration. I didn't want to go as obscene as some of those tend to be so I created my own. And then I distributed it out via e-mail at nearly the same time to many different groups of co-workers and friends who had not known yet. It seemed to go over well.