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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Post featured at 420Creative!

My post about how a print ad out-ROIed Google Adwords made it to a design studio blog, 420 Creative.

See the post here.

How neat!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Marketing a BBQ Smoker

One of the skills I knew I needed to develop after leaving the corporate world was
how to nap better
marketing and promotions. The easiest thing to do, of course, was buy Google ads. That's what I did for Tremore Breeze Smoker. It did very well, generating lots of hits and getting us on many BBQ sites. Overall, it costed about $300 over a month or so.

I didn't stop there though. My partner and I took a trip to the Heart of Kentucky Bourbon and BBQ Fest to see how the BBQ competition circuit was - we had decided to target competition teams for our smoker. The competitors had just turned in their food to the judges, so many of them were just sitting around enjoying a beer. We learned a ton just talking with them, and they were all amazingly friendly. We asked them about their smokers, what frustrated them, and what made them choose their current smoker. But the best question I asked a team captain was, "How did you find out about the smoker you bought?" The answer was he saw an ad in the Kansas City BBQ Society newsletter (called the "Bullsheet." one other thing I learned about these people is they love their puns). This was an amazing insight; people would buy their smokers based purely on an ad in a newsletter.

So I quickly created an ad and placed it in the Bullsheet. The ad costs about $300 for 6 months. Within days of it publishing, we were getting inquiries from our website and phone calls. We probably average about one inquiry a week, I would guess mostly from the Bullsheet ad. The people that contacted us were knowledgeable and had great questions. The return on investment from the Bullsheet ads were much better than the Google ads. We got a lot of website hits, but didn't get any inquiries from them. So we decided to kill the Google ads, and right now we're still reaping the benefits of the Bullsheet ads.

I was inspired to write about this after reading a great post on A Smart Bear Blog called How cold calling (properly) works better than AdWords. The post also talks about sales, or more specifically cold calling - another skill I aimed to learn. More on that later...


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Google Doodles would've never happened at P&G

Today Google paid tribute to Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday in what is becoming a very popular feature: The Google Doodle. Another great Doodle I remember is the tribute to Les Paul, where you could play a tune with strings on the Google logo. Coincidentally, I'm listening to an audiobook entitled "I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59." It's told by Doug Edwards, one of the first brand managers Google brought in, and how he had to adjust to Google's lack of corporate-ness, coming from decades of big corporation experience.

Also coincidentally, I had just finished the chapter where he talks about the first Google Doodles. The people at Google wanted to have fun with Thanksgiving, Election Day, Mothers Day, etc. by making fun things happen with Google logo. But Edwards fought it, saying it was taught in all marketing books that you don't mess with your brand equity. Fortunately, he lost, and the rest is Doodle history.

As I'm going through the book, it just reminded me of how frustrating the corporate world is. He talks about how he was taught in his corporate experience that ideas were things to be stomped out before they drained resources, and how Google was so much different. He also talks about how, in the corporate world, you only did what was in your job description, for fear of stepping on toes. Many of the things he talked about wanting to stop or implement from the old corporate world got turned back, for the better.

No, I'm not going to apply for a job at Google. I doubt they're perfect either. But this really goes to show how the corporate world is broken. I really feel there will be a revolution in the future where big corporations get disrupted. Smaller companies with better cultures will get more out of their people, making them more successful. Hopefully, I'll never need to return to the corporate world again.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy | Derek Sivers

I firmly believe a good leader knows when to lead and when to follow. I recently came across the concept of the "first follower" on Derrick Siver's blog, and he makes an awesome illustration of it with a video clip "First follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy:"

I've put this into action a few times. In an organization where I'm an officer, I've tried to use any influence I've built up to support another person's initiative. During meetings, when someone is trying to make a point but people weren't able to hear him/her, I'll say "so and so is trying to make a point" at  the next natural break. This allows all points to be heard, which makes the organization better.

Be the first follower... and recognize people who are YOUR first followers!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Timely post: What to do with your inactive blogs

Another timely post from Problogger entitled "5 Brilliant Things You Can Do with an Inactive Blog." As I said in the previous post, I was up to my neck in blogs... I guess if you're a successful blog on blogs, you must be good at blogging...


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blogs coming out of my ears!

I've got a dilemma. Hoping for some advice from the community.

I have the opposite issues of what this Problogger post is talking about. I have so many topics I want to blog about that I end up starting myriad blogs. Here's what they are:

  • Corporatepreneur (this blog) - started with a couple friends to blog about entrepreneurship while working in the corporate world) ACTIVE
  • Nottheblog (notthebookstore.blogspot.com) - to promote NOTtheBookStore.com INACTIVE
  • Dale's Sabbatical (dalessabbatical.blogspot.com) - to update people about the 3 month sabbatical I was taking INACTIVE
  • Wok this Way (wokthisway.blogspot.com) - A blog discussing being Asian American in the midwest (have decent amount of content, INACTIVE now)
  • Forever Cheesehead (forevercheesehead.blogspot.com) - Blogging about Wisconsin sports outside of Wisconsin (SEMI-ACTIVE)
  • Cincyasian (cincyasian.com) - Where to get good (good enough at least) Asian food in Cincinnati (ACTIVE, but just started)
  • Breeze Blog (www.breezebbq.com/ask-a-bbq-expert-blog) - News on the Tremore Breeze Smoker (ACTIVE)
This doesn't include two blogs I consider personal, so not sharing publicly... even though it's findable. This also doesn't include two or three more blog topics I've considered starting, including one on investing in the stock market and another discussing baseball statistics.

The reason I started so many is because I feel like blogs need to be targeted in order to best get traffic. Each one has its own niche that I was hoping to exploit. But I realize I also need to be dedicated enough to a blog to give it proper content and to promote it properly. Plus, with my personal blogs, I want to keep it semi-private, and also because I'm sure it's a different audience that wants to read about my personal stuff than my public stuff. Or maybe that's not true?

What I've come up with is one blog that I can just blog about things that come to mind, and ideally have a good tagging system that allows sorting into RSS feeds that people who are interested in only one topic can subscribe to. I'm sure that's not ideal in terms of getting and holding traffic, but I can't seem to garner up enough inspiration to keep all those blogs full of content.

The article from Problogger was really good. I might go this route for now, and then see if niches naturally fall out of it. Any advice from the blogging community?

-Up to my neck in blogs


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pimp my ROAD office! Best remote locations to work

I recently went on a 2.5 week, 14 city road trip out to the east coast (Adam, I almost looked you up but I ran out of time as I had a game to catch in Boston!). I went to see my Milwaukee Brewers play at Fenway Park in Boston and Yankee Stadium in NYC, and along the way visited a whole bunch of places. One thing I enjoy doing is working from different places, in essence showing that one can escape the artificial lights of the cubical world in exchange for more inspirational locales.

Out of all the place I visited, the #1 place to work was Battery Park in New York City. They had tables near one of the food stands where you had a view of the harbor and to top it off, the Statue of Liberty in the background. I happened to be there on an absolutely beautiful day. The park had free, fast AT&T wifi. You could not ask for anything more.
Statue of Liberty is in the distance above the left person's head
 I only wish I could stay longer, but alas Katz Deli was calling my name...


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