Yes, I Still Have a Blog…

Long time no see, folks.

It’s funny, once you are hired to write every day, it makes it increasingly difficult to find time to write for one’s leisure.

Yet, here we are.

First, some life events. The wedding planning is going along fine. It’s times like these when being easily pleased is quite a virtue.

Second, some work events. Things have picked up at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, with plans to continue. We are in the progress of doing some major changes. First, some background. When John and I started JDW, LLC., we wanted to plan with the end in mind. The end, being that JDW,LLC itself owns multiple business segments. In business school we learned time and time again that the best way to maintain a revenue stream is diversifying your investments.

With that being said, in the very near future, JDW: The Charlotte Agency, our marketing shop, will soon be known as The Charlotte Agency, a JDW LLC. subsidiary. The JDW logo will continue to be the brand for JDW LLC, and The Charlotte Agency will have its own specific logo, but similar branding to JDW. We are currently making our website anew with the changes in full sight.

My soccer referee gig is going quite well. I just started my coaching and private conditioning, and am working on my personal trainer certification with the hopes of starting a personal training company for couples with my wife-to-be, Mackenzie.

Third and finally, some leisure events. Believe it or not, I still have some time to spare. So I decided to start a pickup soccer group on Sportsvite, with the intention of forming it into a modest pickup league. If it continues to grow, I have plans in mind for tournaments (small and full side), rec-league play against other groups in the Charlotte area, and a youth league.

Also, I’m thinking of changing the name of the blog. Since writing for Beyond Madison Avenue, I have been able to thoroughly scratch my marketing writing itch. Therefore, “New Age Marketing” is longer a need title or avenue. I’ll still write about marketing, economics, consume behavior and the like, but I think it is time for a new name.

It has certainly been an exciting couple months, to say the least.

I know you all have been waiting for an update. I hope these 400 words have sufficed. Until next time.

Advertisements

Crowd Vs. Pro….I’ll Take the Pro

Color me old school, but I have a hard time taking the opinion of a crowd over anything.

Even if we play the “Founding Fathers” card, they too were against obliging the will of the majority. That’s why in the Senate, each state, how matter how big or small, has the same number of Senators. It is meant to balance out the crazies (on both sides) in the House.

The same applies in business. Professionals are called professionals because they spend a dedicated amount of time becoming proficient at certain activities. I may be able to understand using crowds of professionals (when necessary) but using consumers or the public for certain matters that were traditionally in the hands of “experts” is totally beyond me.

I do see the attractiveness of selling a product or service that the crowd of consumers design themselves. It goes back to a saying in marketing, that we want to provide what the consumers want.

But the saying was never meant to be taken literally.

A book came out about using crowds and Freakonomics covered it. I do believe they made valid points, but I think my studies of behavioral economics and following the research of Dr. Dan Ariely have made me conclude that there is no such thing as a rational crowd. When groups begin to make decisions, inaccuracies are bound to follow.

Maybe that product or service designed by the group will sell, but I would believe that the driving forces are not the features picked from the crowd, but in fact because the crowd wants to but the product they designed, and people- who don’t like many options- will choose the option others are buying.

I’ll listen to a crowd.

But obey one?

2013 is Poppin’

It’s just a little over a month into 2013, and we have been making some serious waves in the ocean.

It’s been exciting.

First, I am happy to say that JDW: The Charlotte Agency picked up two new accounts. The first is the Carolina Knights, a professional summer football team in Charlotte. They will be playing in the Professional Developmental Football League (PDFL) in the National Developmental Conference. I’m serving as the VP of sales, marketing and sponsorships. Good deal.

The second account is We Are Fit to Fight, a fitness/self-defense group based in Charlotte. They are awesome. The agency is devising multiple marketing, public relations and advertising activities for them. We’re really excited about what we will be doing with them.

With that being said, we are looking for 2-3 more sizable accounts and actually begin hiring. Woo! After 4 years of hanging in there, we’re excited that we are near our goal. We are actively searching for interns, and we hope to have 2 (or so) join the team soon.

We are still with the Charlotte Batdogs, and now that spring is upon us, the pitchers and catchers are reporting in less than a week, we can become a little more relevant about baseball in Charlotte, and helping the Charlotte Baseball Clubhouse gain some momentum.

The Charlotte Agency is also in the process of adding more “digital inventory” on the web. Two things: we are re-designing our website, which is super exciting. Also, we’re creating a spec-site for our non-work, musings, and intern projects. We hope to use that space to not only explore our own creative outpours, but to also have it stem into meetups/events, workshops, and the like.

The site only has a splash page. All I can tell you right now is that its super hero oriented. Yes I know, its going to be sweet.

All of this in a little over a month. I love it.

Talent Zoo still isn’t tired of my ramblings, so my advertising “knowledge” is still roaming the interwebs.

Hope you enjoyed the update. Cheers.

 

The Practicality of Marketing Economics

Inbound marketing. Big Data. Social care. Marketing Analytics. Content marketing. Social neuroscience. Neuromarketing.

What the heck does it all mean?

It means that the evolution of our marketing and advertising landscape is speeding up. And we are all trying to keep up.

For several years now, I have championed the application of economics (both traditional and behavioral) in marketing and advertising activities. Naturally, I have been met with responses (and more, admittedly,  the lack of) from all over the spectrum. Objections and criticism stem from my “attack” on creativity, lack of focus on digital, to simply missing the point.

Forgive me for applying science to an art form.

Right.

Let’s be honest, the majority of the advertising and marketing out there cannot, with a sound conscience, be called art. In many cases, calling it advertising is a stretch.

The reason why I thoroughly enjoy economics can be attributed to the most simple definition of it:

“choice under scarcity.”

Those three words, though simply put, are absolutely profound. Consumers are thrown into a market, and producers must fulfill the needs and wants of these individuals and entities in order to survive. And sometimes, in order to survive, those producers may have to contrive needs and wants to create their own market.

How is this not applied to marketing?

Simply being creative cannot suggest a successful campaign. Running Google Analytics and deciding, based on the numbers, to push a certain product is not a sound foundation for strategy.

Yes, pretty pictures and numbers without context is not enough.

There are great brains already out there on the outskirts of marketing economics. Dan Ariely, for example (whose course on game theory I’m taking in January and am absolutely stoked about), has conducted several research projects on consumers’ “predictable irrationality”. Another author in the UK wrote about how and why consumers make decisions. William Bonner, a finance guy, wrote about how consumers and markets interact. Even Malcolm Gladwell’s books show consumer behavior in an interesting light.

But clearly, their advice falls on deaf ears. Perhaps if they added the words “engagement” and “content is king”, they would get more buy-in.

Forgive the long post, I’m almost done.

The point is, I am fascinated and disappointed at the same time on why marketing economics is failing to take off. If we want to do the lame marketing jargon, I would reckon it to be the Marketing Scientist 2.0. No more focus groups looking at ads saying if it would work or not, but more focus groups that ask consumers how they feel in certain situations, shopping alone versus with others, and making them choose items in different environments.

I’m toying with the idea about writing a white paper, or presentation about marketing economics. If you’ve made it this far, I’ll keep you updated as my idea evolves.

Cheers.

What’s Been Goin’ On the Past Month

I can’t believe it has been a month since my last post. Talk about some serious slacking.

I wish.

As this blog has been a priority of mine for some years now, this summer marked a shift.

First, I accepted a position as Lead Blogger at Talent Zoo’s Beyond Madison Avenue, a blog that talks about marketing and advertising, and the world between. I write once a day there, so the time usually dedicated to this blog has been consumed by my researching and writing for them. It’s also a paid position.

Paid to write? Yep, I’ll take it.

Then, we’ve been quite busy on our accounts, which is a very good thing. Ignite Charlotte and Live Out Loud! are just wrapping up, and we’re currently compiling research for our AV/IT client while stirring the pot for some new business.

Things are looking up.

“Looking” is the key word. Though we have things going on, there is still much work to be done for The Charlotte Agency to prosper. We’re still hunting for that “big deal”. We’re now open to contacting freelancers and expanding our creative capacity.

Are you a design or creative freelancer? Contact us.

We are still centered on working with and succeeding with small businesses in Charlotte. Watch the Charlotte Viewpoint panel I was on where we talked about idea incubators.

Anywho..I hope to get better in balancing all the stuff I’m working on and keeping this updated regularly again. Sorry to the ten people who check this frequently.

Cheers,

DW

The Young Business Owner: My Typical Day

Running your own gig requires effort, determination, ambition, motivation and thick skin. It takes a while to understand that not everyone is going to buy into your idea, and in the beginning you are going to hear many more “No’s” than “Yes’s”.

Once you get over that, then you can start building your organization.

We’re in our third year. It’s been a wild ride, with that as many successes as setbacks. The economy and Charlotte small business environment will have that effect.

Since I run The Charlotte Agency‘s daily operations, as well as principal, I wanted to show you a snapshot of my typical day.

7:45am- 8:40am – Reading latest ad/world news and updates

8:45am- 10:00am- Writing for Beyond Madison Avenue (Lead Blogger)

10:00am-11:00am-Reading and responding to important email

11:00am-2pm- Working on accounts

2pm-2:15pm- Break, throw some darts to relax the mind, maybe watch something funny, or read something smart

2:15-3pm- Prospect

3pm-4pm- Work on accounts/JDW housekeeping (project management, updates, etc.)

4pm-5pm- Wrapping up/Email/Meeting or call/proofing creative

5pm on- Networking/ volunteer meeting/ part-time gig/ nap/news

There you have it. A jam-packed day, but its enjoyable.

“Too Stubborn to Quit”- Being an Entrepreneur

“It’s easy to quit. To succeed, you have to be too stubborn to quit.”

I was a company advisor at Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week or PFEW, last week and during a break I received that advice from a fellow company advisor and entrepreneur. He is more seasoned than I am, in his second business and has been a business owner for 20+ years.

We had a chance to talk about the ups and downs of being a business owner, and I got a chance to vent my frustrations in business development, being a young black business owner in a very white-dominated industry, and all the fun stuff I try to not bother me.

He said that I’m one step away from having that big break, and that I shouldn’t quit before that happens. Because, cue his quote, it’s easy to quit.

Why are all the simple pieces of advice so freakin’ profound?

It is easy to quit. I could just stop trying to help small and medium sized businesses. In these past few years, they certainly haven’t made it easy for me.

But from reading about great leaders, and taking advice from other business leaders, I’ve learned that the great ones have been just too stubborn to stop.

Theodore Roosevelt couldn’t get the nomination from the Republican Party. What did he do? He formed the Bull Moose Party and was one of the only presidents in history to win as a 3rd party.

To stay in the family, FDR had a ton of, at that time, radical ideas to get the nation on the right track. He faced obstacle after obstacle in the forms of political opposition, spousal opposition, the Supreme court and even family. But he stayed his course, and left a legacy that is regarded as one of the greatest of our time.

The owner of FedEx gave up most of his equity in his business to survive. He believed so much in his idea he was willing to basically sell it to others. I guess he did okay.

Stubbornness, with a good idea, is a good quality to have.

Now, my idea of supporting the small business community in order for them to succeed and reinvest in the community, does not match up to the New Deal, obviously.

But it can make Charlotte a better place to do business. It will make young, bright people want to stay and start something. It will help people in Charlotte want to be a part of something.

This is a pep talk. Entrepreneurs, if you wholeheartedly believe that you are good at what you’re doing, and have an idea that will improve an industry or community, don’t quit.

More people are going to say no than yes, accept it.

More people will doubt you than support you, deal with it.

More people will ignore you than listen to you, preach it.

People are afraid of change, of something new. Entrepreneurs represent exactly what the public fears, yet are the ones society needs most.

Thanks for listening.

DW