Archive for December, 2008

Let’s Build a Fence

I remember when I bought my first house. Either for reasons of lack of money or ego (you know a 20 something can do anything), I decided we needed a new wood fence and I was just the one to put it up. So, down to the local fencefencehardware store I go. I purchased the wood, lots of nails and a new hammer. Of course, I had read all the books on carpentry and had seen a few fences built, so I had everything I needed to do a first class job. Who needs to hire a professional? I have all the tools I need and at less cost.

Well, after 4 weekends, not the ONE I had expected, I had my fence standing, well sort of. It was 50 feet of the most crooked thing you ever saw not to mention that every post and picket was a different height. Oh, and the materials, I only had to go back and buy more 3 times not including the trips to return things that I didn’t need. And of course, to add insult to injury I still had to hire a carpenter to fix my mistakes before the Home Owners Association made to tear the fence down as an eyesore.

I think this story pretty well parallels what I see happening so much today in production. I know it’s a tough world out there; the appearance of saving money while achieving the same results is very seductive. But, no more could I build a good fence just because the tools were available to me than most people could do a professional audio/video production just because the programs are on their computer. Those carpenters have spent years learning their craft, making mistakes and learning how to fix them quickly, but most importantly learning to work with style and creativity. In the long run it doesn’t cost more to do it right in the first place rather than have to fix it. Like they say “pay me now, or pay me later”.

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December 22, 2008 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

Good people looking for a job

oih_logo2Many in marketing and advertising are laying off some good people.  These free agents may freelance or be looking for employment.  Either way network and let people know what you have to offer.  A great creative directory and marketing resource in Houston, “Only In Houston” (OiH) is now allowing one to post their resume for free.  So what are you waiting for?

Dwight Cook
Please spread the word about OiH to your networks

December 19, 2008 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

Can you hear me now?

handsetYou know how our moms and dads have so much trouble hearing us when we call on their cells?    

It’s because the “sweet spot” on the earpiece eludes them. I’m sure it’s not just happening with seniors but it happens more often in my calls with them. 

Now there is a way to enlarge that “sweet spot”. I thought this was a great idea providing they can figure out how to connect it!  Maybe they are available on ebay.com because they are $45 at Neimans. LOL

December 15, 2008 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment

Full Steam Ahead or Should I Start Bailing?

From what all reports say, we are IN a recession.  Some say we have hit bottom and others say they are not so sure. Ok, I get it – you can’t tell where you are in the graph till you are OUT of the graph. 

I attended a Christmas party last night, my 4th this season, and spirits were bright.  I spoke with two real estate folks who had divergent offerings about the state of their businesses – one said it was flat and he was hanging on tight, while the other said he was buying and business was booming. I’m not sure if marketing had anything to do with these two differing views, but ultimately, communications will affect your business course in the storm of a recession.

Some businesses will pull way back creating less noise/clutter in the print and broadcast mediums. These pull-backs could likely create opportunity for you if media prices fall.  Several of my clients indicated last week that their advertising buying dollar is going much farther now. Are they buying less advertising? No, they are buying more for the same money!

Here is the bottom line based on the 1974/75 downturn. If you hesitate and make decisions in panic, things generally get much worse.  In fact, companies that maintain or increase their advertising levels, grow their businesses. It’s a cliché but proceeding with a “glass half-full” attitude will allow you to weather this recession far better than the “glass half-empty” scenario. Maintain strong marketing and communication links with your customers and start looking for that sunny day.

Related information:
Newspapers and Radio hit hard
One-third of retailers will cut holiday spending
Wall Street Journal on 74/75 Recession

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December 15, 2008 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Now you can make Google work for you!

Have you ever thought about how great it would be to be able to customize your search engine? Now Google SearchWikia lets you order your search results, add comments and more to your search.

Wikia Search

If you use Google as a regular method of finding information, now you can tweak it to your personal needs. Using SearchWikia allows me to use search results as I would a phone book but with comments, the ability to rate a site, get a custom listing of all my notes, as well as drag results to the top or bottom of the list. How does it work?

Look at this Google Wikia video for more info and see if it can benefit you as it does me.

December 11, 2008 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

PowerPoint for the Web? (part one)

wolensakIt wasn’t that many years ago that the Wollensak cassette machine connected to a Kodak Carousel slide projector was “state of the art” for corporate presentations.

Bulky, heavy and hard to transport, they were not your user-friendly way to present a report or sell your product to a potential new customer. You should have seen the setup for a slide projector presentation!

old_videoThen came the miracle of portable video. Now we had a very impactful way to make our presentations “just like the movies”. However, you had to be a “geek” to know how to operate one and the term “portable” was debatable.

Jump ahead a few years to 1989 and enter PowerPoint. A single person with a computer, software and the ability to write and locate pictures of charts and graphs, could produce a “slide show” on their own. Business was enamored with both the possibilities and implementation of this new medium.

Quickly on the heels of PowerPoint came the internet and Corporate Websites in need of material to fill the pages – exactly the same kind of material that was being produced in PowerPoint for live presentation. Now how could all this media be incorporated without duplication of efforts?

presentationThe answer was either Flash, video or both. It is quite easy to convert a Powerpoint show into Flash. However, Flash also lets you combine video with those charts and graphs. Add tasteful transitions, music and a good professional voice, and it’s possible to create an interesting presentation. But, to make it “professional”, you may want to think about hiring a copywriter, a professional voice and a production company to pull all the pieces together for you. I’ll write on the topic of production in the near future.

December 10, 2008 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

Sticky Notes for your browser?

stickynotesI ran across a new product in beta, looks very interesting.  I usually browse the web and copy items and links of interest into an email and save it into an Outlook folder. This would be a light plug-in client that would also put Outlook on a weight loss program.  The product is called WebNotes and here is some copy from their press release:

“The market demand to serve the individual researcher is untapped,” says Ryan Damico, co-founder and CEO.  “There are several ‘social annotation’ tools out there that focus on building communities around annotated content, completely neglecting the individual professional user.  WebNotes aims to tap this market and provide a powerful tool of unparalleled quality, that is easy to learn and simple to use.”

 

So, if you are interested in the beta go to the WebNotes site and see if you can join the limited beta test.  I’ll comment later once I have experienced it for myself.

December 10, 2008 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

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