Along with the 16 on-line courses at Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University there are homework assignments for each one. I decided to try my best to do each and every one of them.

Assignment #1: Write a blog post about three best practices that you will adopt into your blogging strategy.

After listening to Ann Handley and Mack Collier discuss effective business blogging, I took away three key points that I wish to incorporate into my blog at some point:

  1. Header – It is clear that my blog template needs a face lift in order to have a more professional/business appeal. This includes a new header or banner that will display my name and/or logo very prominently.
  2. Sidebar – Along with the new layout, a sidebar for information may prove beneficial. Typically, all of the links (Archives/blogroll) at the bottom of my blog, are in the sidebar for other bloggers. This makes navigation more user-friendly, but I may like this clean, one column look better.
  3. Guest Bloggers – Ann and Mack discussed businesses who hire people to blog for them. This brought me to the idea of guest blogging. A lot of the popular, heavy-traffic blogs will invite guests to blog about a particular topic. It seems to me this wouldn’t be very effective until I have gained some sort of positive reputation. However, maybe some form of interview with a popular blogger can help boost my “ratings”.

I’m off to class #2 to learn a little more about Search Engine Optimization!

If you were the teacher, how would you grade my homework?

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Hey Mr. Merrow

May 17, 2010

While still searching for a valuable internship for this summer I came across the Merrow Sewing Machine Company. Admittedly, I have never heard of them before, and if I had, I forgot (considering I’m not part of their target audience this is understandable). However, after reviewing their website and reading some of their blog posts, I have realized how reputable this brand actually is.

In order to be the best it is wise to learn from and work with the best. This is why I have decided to apply to such an influential brand in their respective industry.

Owen and Charlie Merrow – I have put together a list of the top 10 reasons why you should look no further on your intern search:

  • I will get the job done by any means necessary
  • I play well with dogs (Proof: My last internship had two dogs as well and there were no bites or bruises – I’d get along with Sable & Pilot just fine)
  • I am extremely interested in branding and am continuously learning about all aspects of marketing (Proof: This blog, daily check of Ads of the World.com, currently enrolled in Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University)
  • Creative: the most commonly used word  others use in describing me
  • I took 5 years of French in high school (per free translation.com:  Je me souviens de quelque français)
  • I have a strong desire to be the best;  at everything
  • The amount of energy I exude is not the result of energy drinks
  • I have proven I can handle a large amount of responsibility (Proof: Spring 2010 semester included 5 group projects out of 6 courses and I achieved my first 4.0 semester)
  • I have a lot of experience and skill in time management (Proof: Last summer I experienced smooth sailing during two simultaneous internships, working at Panera Bread, two summer courses, and AMA responsibilities)
  • Have you Googled “Merrow” lately? Try it out…look around.

Just so anyone reading this understands, I sent my resume and cover letter to Mr. Owen Merrow tonight and directed them to my blog for further insight into who I am. I’m trying something different, and I hope they like it. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

(Note – if you are not located in RI or MA, #10 on the list will not work for you, but it will for the Merrows) 🙂

Never Stop Learning

May 16, 2010

Now that the Spring semester has come to a close for 2010, I no longer have to attend classes everyday and listen to lectures, review slides from PowerPoint presentations, perform research, or do homework assignments for the next few months. While this is a pleasing fact it also leads to a problem; I won’t be learning.

In order to improve oneself and continue to succeed you must never stop learning. We’ve all heard the sayings “knowledge is power” and “never stop asking questions”; these sayings hold a lot of truth and reason to them and that’s why people keep repeating them.

Absorbing information from different domains and gaining insight into new possibilities provides oneself with opportunities. Taking advantage of opportunities is how you move forward on the path to success rather than standing comfortably in one spot. In an effort to to build on my knowledge and add value to my personal brand I have decided to attend Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University.

Attending IMU

This certification program consists of 16 on-line classes, taught by very reputable professors, that educate students on inbound marketing. After going through the one hour courses you have the opportunity to take the exam, if you receive a 75% or better you are inbound marketing certified.

This will be the first of my goals to be accomplished over the course of this summer. I intend on being certified by Sunday June 6th. And yes, you can hold me to it.

Since the beginning of 2009 my life has changed tremendously. This is when I finally took the step towards my career path by investing a lot of time and effort into my courses as well taking advantage of numerous opportunities like the American Marketing Association and internships. Everything that I have experienced and all that I have accomplished from that time until now have really shaped me into the person I am today.

Today, my very productive, confidence-boosting, “I can’t be stopped” 17 month time frame has come to an abrupt halt as CVS declined me for a summer internship in their Media Department. It goes without saying that interning full-time with a Fortune 18 company yields numerous opportunities for experience and networking, as well as a tremendous resume addition. I’ll admit I am disappointed; I’m missing out on a great opportunity. Sure I was one of over 500 applicants, narrowed down to 50 or so who got interviewed, sure they sent a nice rejection e-mail me with words like “impressed, outstanding, diligence, you should be proud! and competition was fierce!”, and sure at the very least I gained interview experience as I had three of them back-to-back-to-back…but I wasn’t selected.

It’s like coming in second in the big race and getting the silver medal. There are times you’d rather be fourth or fifth because you weren’t that close to the prize. Losing closely sometimes hurts more than losing by a lot. Anyone who knows my attitude toward competition in any form knows I don’t want the consolation prize; I play to win.

The confidence I exude on a regular basis is now against its first real test. I have no problem displaying confidence even if it’s not all there on the inside because that’s how you should present yourself in any situation. However, it’s easy to act like this when everything is pretty much going your way. It’s easy to quote cute little sayings to your friends in an effort to boost their self-esteem and confidence when you are experiencing smooth-sailing yourself. Is it just as easy to stand by my words when I finally stumble? It’s time for me to walk the walk after a real big rejection.

To all my friends who I ever said “don’t worry about it” to after they received a bad grade or didn’t get a job, and to everyone who I told to “keep trying” or said “so what, do it again” when they failed in some way, and to anyone who has heard me say “no big deal, move on”, when it really was a big deal – this is your proof that I too, don’t always succeed.

Will that stop me? Nope.

Take Your Own Path

May 8, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when students everywhere don their caps, gowns, and tassels at a ceremony that transitions them from college life to the real world. This past Wednesday was the cap and gown convocation at Rhode Island College and I witnessed many proud seniors walking around in delight as they were one step closer to receiving their degrees. While I congratulate everyone on their accomplishment I did feel slightly left out as I am not graduating this May with everyone else.

Note: If you want to skip the story and go straight to the point, ignore the following three paragraphs.

After graduating High School in 2005, I had every intention of continuing on to the next level of education, just not right away. Like many young adults, I had no clear idea on what I wanted to do with my life. I threw around the idea of graphic design at Gibbs College, but that was quickly dismissed. I already felt the urge to go into management, or some form of general business, but I was not ready to attend college; so I didn’t. All I knew was that I wanted my ideas to be part of something bigger than me. I took a year off from school altogether and continued to work while many people said I would lose any motivation to go to college; these folks underestimated me.

Ultimately, I applied to one college the following year, Rhode Island College, and was accepted. I decided to get a B.S. in Management (which later turned into Operations Management), and essentially, what did I accomplish by waiting? I could have attended RIC immediately after High School and at least got some of my general education classes out of the way; this is a concept I don’t think I quite understood at the time. I ended up going to the same college I more than likely would have attended had I applied a year prior, and striving for the same degree at that. Had I been on the same educational path as most of my High School peers, I would have graduated in May of 2008, so why am I bringing this up now?

It didn’t really bother me that I would be “a year behind” my high school class. However, it’s more than that. I decided to add a second major, Marketing, and this added another semester to my college career. While it’s only one extra semester, it may not have been extra had I added the Marketing major sooner and packed my earlier semesters tighter. I could go the other way with this one though, I have had multiple 5 and 6-class semesters, on top of summer classes, that have allowed me to only need one extra semester.

My point is this…it’s natural to question your decisions in life. It’s very easy for me to say “Damn, I could have been done with college a year ago!” While that may have been nice, how do I know my life would have been any better up to this point? I don’t. Thinking about the “what if’s” and “shoulda coulda woulda’s” doesn’t get you anywhere and is just a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, thinking about the future in these terms can be fun and great for setting goals, but don’t waste your time regretting anything.

You are you, and you are where you are for a reason. Had I not taken the path I am on now, I may not have had all the opportunities and success I have seen thus far. I don’t know what I’d be doing right now had I graduated in 2008, but I also don’t care. The decisions that led me here were already made and I cannot change that, so why bother thinking about it?

Invest your time, thoughts and efforts into what you can control; and that excludes the past.

I wanted to share with all of you what a great ad series looks like. These ads were done by an agency that goes by the name of Script and it is for AutoDesk’s AutoCAD Civil 3D program. If you are unfamiliar with AutoDesk, they have quite a few neat products that revolve around 2d and 3d design, animation, prototyping, and modeling. The Civil 3D program is mainly for the use of civil engineers in constructing simulated designs of various types of projects – basically a 3D model of whatever they want to build. Now take a look at the following three ads and tell me what you think. Photos are courtesy of Ads of the World (click to enlarge).


What’s so great about this campaign? A few things – – it’s simple, the visual is astounding and is straight from the program being promoted, and the copy matches the visual to perfection.

“Visit places that still don’t exist” – – This is one of those simple “DUH!” lines that just works and appears as if it was probably very easy to come up with. No matter the difficulty, when the copy and the visual are in such harmony, you can’t debate it. What’s important to think about is the impression these ads have on individuals who are civil engineers or would use this program; more than likely very effective.

I’m not going to go into any further discussion; I just wanted to give this some recognition.

Missing the Target

February 28, 2010

I recently became a member of AdsoftheWorld.com and have viewed numerous advertisements and marketing ploys every day since. One of my favorites is by the agency Prolam Y & R done for Kitadol.

Courtesy of AdsoftheWorld.com

This is an excellent ad. The visual execution is fantastic, the copy is congruent with the message being conveyed, and the copy placement/style is good. So what’s the problem? This ad is targeted towards men.

Kitadol is a form of acetaminophen, and apparently there is a menstrual-relief-specific product as well. Barring the occasional gender-curious specimens or science experiments gone wrong, the only people who will be needing this product are women. Now I don’t have any research data in front of me, but I think it’s fair to say that most women buy their own “I hate you PMS” pills.

As for the boyfriends, husbands, and “What the hell am I doing this aisle” fathers that may be generous enough to throw this into their shopping cart either out of sincerity or personal defense; they are not the ones making the decision on which brand to buy. If they have any common sense or previous second-hand PMS experience, they will buy what the woman wants them to buy. There will be no man “shopping” through the variety of these pills and making his own decision on which to buy. I acknowledge the fact that there are always rarities in any population as well as extreme situations, but even then the number of male shoppers would account for a very, very low percentage.

While this is a great ad, does it do any good? It’s a clever idea and I give a lot of kudos for that, but it’s aimed at the wrong audience. Period.

How many companies are wasting money by promoting their product or service to the wrong audience? Do you have any examples of this?
That pun you noticed about 10 seconds ago…it was intended.

I came across this ad in the book Contemporary Advertising and thought it was very witty.

At first you think Gold’s Gym is just being environmentally friendly and simply positioning their name in a place where people who care about their physical appearance are likely to be. Then you read the line “And pick up the trash, too.” What a great double meaning for the first line!

I love it when a company can cleverly put a double meaning on something that is actually relevant to their business. There may be a small percentage of people who read it and never notice, or don’t get it. But I’m willing to bet that the majority will understand it rather quickly if not after a few seconds of thinking. And isn’t that what you want? Get your audience to not only see your name, logo, or slogan, but to get them thinking? This means that they are spending and extended period of time dedicating their thoughts to your company’s message and your message only. It’s a winner!

Do you have any favorite ads that use a double meaning?

Can’t Dodge This

January 25, 2010

During last night’s NFC Championship game a Dodge Charger commercial aired that I wanted to share with everyone.  I consider it to be well executed:

If you are unaware, it is believed by many that the world will end on December 21st, 2012 because that marks the end of the Mayan calendar.

The narrator is Michael C. Hall from the hit show Dexter.

You can see more of the Dodge Charger commercials on YouTube here. They are all worth a watch, but the one above is my favorite.

What do you think?

Not A Cheesy Ad

January 20, 2010

I came across this video earlier today, I forgot how, and thought it was great, give it a watch:

Kudos to John Nolan for his creativity in this piece.

Imagine if this were a real TV ad for some brand of cheese, and shortened a little in order to fit a proper commercial slot. Would you enjoy it and tell your friends? Would you remember the brand of cheese being advertised? Would you at the very least remember this pumped up little mouse? If you answered yes to at least one of those questions, then that commercial would be considered a success.

I think it’s very memorable and powerful because it actually brings you through a set of emotions. I’ve included the steps for what I believe would be two general reactions:

1. Aw how cute that little mousy is getting some cheese
1a. Ah I hate mice! I hope that mouse trap destroys him!

2. *Snap* Oh no! Poor little guy! 😦
2a. *Snap* Haha, he had it coming! Stupid mouse.

3. *Music* YES! YES! That mouse is the man !!
3a. *Music* What the ?! Crazy mouse better not come to my house.

It’s just a winning video on multiple levels with the music choice, emotional attachment, humor, and clever transfer of strong cheese to a beefy mouse.

What do you think?