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Business Book Club: Four Reasons Why People Hang On To Old-School Marketing

It is no secret that things are a-changin’. The very way we relate, interact and engage in our communities has drastically shifted over the last 20 years as the internet has evolved to provide new opportunities for organizing and communicating. But what does this mean for business? I have found that even though we intellectually know that things are changing, old habits die hard. What do you think of when I say the word marketing? Do you see an ad? Maybe on a billboard or in a newspaper. Or maybe you see a commercial. Remember Big Red chewing gum? “Kiss a little longer, stay close a little longer…..Longer with Big Red!” The jingle comes back to me instantly. That stuff is all old-school marketing. It is a way of the past, although so many people cling onto these antiquated notions of what marketing is and how to best get the word out there. Even though one might intellectually know the playing field is different, I think there are four reasons why people struggle to effectively shift their thinking: 1. Because these perceptions have been ingrained since childhood. Children are susceptible to interruption marketing; we all were! And it was during our childhood where our understanding of what marketing is and how it is done was formed. When you ask a group of people to think of a marketing campaign that made a lasting impression they are almost always citing old-school campaigns (this might not be true for millennials but I haven’t tested that out on them yet). 2. Because you don’t want to offend anyone. Appealing to the masses is the MO of the old-school marketing techniques. Here’s a newsflash for you: if your marketing is too subdued and non-offensive, no one will notice it. I have a colleague who named his business WTF Marketing – that’s pretty catchy. Does it offend some? Probably. Does it get noticed and resonate with others? Definitely. 3. Because you trust the old methods will work. There’s a perceived risk in jumping ship from the tried and true marketing practices. If something ain’t broke, why fix it? Right? Wrong! Believe it or not there’s more inherent risk in maintaining the old status quo then embracing these new tactics and strategies. 4. Because you believe marketing messages must convey an agenda. There’s often this desire to always be promoting your own agenda. That any time you communicate you need to promote a specific service or product or event. This belief that every communication must be self-serving is another thing of the past. Today’s consumers are ignoring most in-your-face advertising and taking note of things that offer value to them. Earlier this month in EntrepreNerds, we discussed Meatball Sundae: Is your Marketing Out of Sync by Seth Godin. He outlines how the playing field for marketing has changed from the old-school tactics to this new marketing age. What I found quite intriguing was his insistence that your organizational structure must align with new marketing in order to succeed. In other words, it isn’t just our mindset about marketing that needs to shift (goodbye billboards, TV commercials and print ads), our fundamental understanding of the structures and systems that govern organizations need shifting as well. *** About the Author: Ariana Friedlander is the Founder and Principal for Rosabella Consulting, LLC and has over nine years of experience working with small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to create strategies for successful organizational growth. A dedicated life-long learner, she is also the Lead Facilitator for EntrepreNerds. EntrepreNerds is a business book club for professionals and entrepreneurs who are committed to expanding their knowledge and...

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Google Finally Offers Mass Storage Solution with Google Drive

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 5/25/12] For a company that most techie people associate with being at the forefront of digital trends, it has been a huge surprise to many that Google has never offered a mass storage solution as one of its services. While it has had the best business apps and marketplace to customize your online experience for some time, Google always has been missing a “cloud” storage solution. Until now. As of late April of this year, Google is offering “Drive” as its answer for mass storage issues. According to Google’s website, “Google Drive is a storage platform that allows users to access their data from any device or application. Users rely on Drive to store all of their data, while third-party applications rely on Drive to enable rich and contextual features for this data.” Drive is an immediate rival to other popular mass storage solutions such as DropBox. It allows you to sync your files on any device, and expand the amount of storage to fit your needs. While Google Docs has been a blessing for many collaboration scenarios, Google Drive is taking it one step further. Drive includes all of the features of Google Docs, such as online versions of your popular application formats. But, it is much more. Drive allows for mass storage of any type of file, no matter what. There are hundreds of file types out there, and now you can put them all in one place to store. Drive comes with free software to install on your PC or Mac, which adds a folder into your Documents and allows you to work with your files as you always have. When a change is made on one device, the change immediately is updated on any other device or accessible via your Internet browser. Drive also differs from its competitors because it offers more space, 5 gigabytes, for free. I recently installed Google Drive at my business and moved our files from DropBox. The transition was seamless, and the sync to the new folder took a reasonably short amount of time. I opted to upgrade my space to the next level at a very modest annual price. My co-workers and I now have one central location to store all our files, share easily, collaborate using Google tools and integrate our work directly into the Google Apps we already use daily. At the end of the day, Drive is long overdue from the tech giants at Google. It is a perfect addition for anyone looking to move your files to a cloud storage solution. Learn more at drive.google.com. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Call him at (970) 980-8091 or send email to stu@...

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Is A Used Or New Computer The Right Choice For You?

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 5/18/12] One of the more common questions I get is “should I buy a new or used computer?” It’s always a tough one to answer, but with some simple guidelines, you can probably narrow down your decision quickly. First, you need to be forward thinking with your decision and recognize the endgame of your computer situation. Will you be using this computer for personal reasons or for business? Or both? Ask yourself, “what are the main functions I use my computer for?” Will you need to store a large amount of movies, music or other multimedia? Once you have thought about these questions, you can start to organize what kind of technical specifications you need. For example, someone who is going to be actively downloading a lot of music will need much more hard drive space to be able to store this information. Talk to a computer professional if you have questions as to what specs are right for your needs. A general rule is that a brand new computer will be out of date in approximately three to four years. However, with technology so rapidly increasing these days, the average user can often stretch that just a little bit further. A used computer will most likely cost you less today, but since it is typically going to be a slightly older model, you will probably not get as much life from it. As with many financial decisions, this comes down to the cost value of your money today vs. the future. If you are on a tight budget but find you need a computer upgrade, a used computer is a great choice, knowing that in only a couple of years, you might need to buy a new one. If you can afford to spend a little more today, you will get much more value for your money and be able to use that computer longer. Of course, there are no guarantees with either purchase. A computer, being made of plastic and metal parts, is destined to fail at some point. This failure can come sooner rather than later, but I have computers I have owned for more than seven years. So, spend some time doing your research and considering your options before making your purchase, and you will be much happier with your new or used machine in the end. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Call him at (970) 980-8091 or send email to stu@...

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Microsoft Going All In With Windows 8

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 3/30/12] As Apple and Google continue to win over new customers with their sleek, modern products and services, Microsoft has been plotting its next move to keep up in the fast-paced technology world. After years of dominating the operating system market, Windows has recently seen its sales decline because of this tough competition. At the beginning of March, Microsoft unveiled the beta version of its newest competitor in the operating system market: Windows 8. After the failure of Windows Vista, Windows 7 returned some dignity back to the Microsoft operating system brand name. Now, the company is going all in with Windows 8 on its latest attempt to keep up with the newest trends. Windows 8 features a new “Metro” style, dropping the well known “Start” menu that has been in versions of Windows from XP to 7. Windows 8 will be available for both desktop and tablet platforms, and devices can easily connect via a cloud system. For different-sized devices and screens, Windows 8 will automatically scale the content. Apps are in your face in Windows 8 as a major feature as well. The ability to customize the apps you want is provided in a user-friendly experience. Plus, the entire operating system has been optimized for touch screens, tablets and mobile devices of all kinds. Now, you can flick in new apps to the focus of your screen with your finger. A new Forrestor Research report indicates that Apple and Google are still dominating the mobile operating system market. However, Microsoft believes Windows 8 will help bring back some of its faithful customers. No one knows if Microsoft will continue to dominate the operating system market as it has in the past, but Windows 8 is the latest attempt to satisfy hungry tech crowds. Let’s wait and see if Microsoft’s gamble pays off. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Call him at (970) 980-8091 or send email to stu@...

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Facebook Brings Timeline to Pages: What You Should Know

Facebook has recently launched Timeline for Pages.  It is a similar layout to the Timeline we now see on all our personal profiles, but the functionality is just perfect for businesses.  You can either choose to embrace the changes now, or wait until March 30, 2012 when Facebook will automatically switch every Page to the new Timeline. Change can be scary sometimes, so here is a brief overview of the changes to hopefully get you excited about Timeline for Pages.  I’ll go over what is new, why is it good, and the one thing you may miss. New Design and Layout The most obvious of these changes is the new cover image.  This is your first impression and a way to grab some attention and showcase your brand when people arrive at your page.  The Cover image spans the entire width of the top of the page (dimensions are 850 pixels by 315 pixels). In the lower left-hand corner of your cover image resides your profile image.  This is a great place for your logo or another image that you want to use to represent your business.  This will show up next to your posts as your ‘thumbnail’ used to. The navigation that was once at the top of your page in ‘tabs’ then over on the left side in a list, now returns to the top of the page in cute little boxes.  Photos will remain in the first box, but you can change the order of everything else however you desire. Below the cover image, posts are lined up along a timeline. Functionality – This is the really exciting piece. You now have the ability to showcase posts that you deem worthy by either pinning them or highlighting them. You know when you have a really great post and you hate to see it move down your wall?  Now you can pin it to the top so it is the first post people see when they visit your page. The post you pin to the top of your page will remain at the top for up to 7 days or until you pin another one. (Do this by hovering over a story and clicking the pencil icon) Highlighting a post will leave it in its position on your timeline but will make it span the entire width of the page kind of like giving it center stage for its moment in time.  (Do this by hovering over a story and clicking the star icon) Messages!  I am and super excited about this one.  Now individuals can privately message the admin of a page.  This comes in super handy when someone wants to ask a question but doesn’t necessarily feel the need for it to be public.  If you don’t want someone to privately message you, you have the ability to turn this functionality off. Admin Panel – your “Mission Control” as it is being called This is the place where you can view and manage all your activity including: Notifications, New Likes, Insights, and Messages.  It is also the place you go to edit your page as well as view your activity log (less fancy version of your timeline).   The main thing you may miss……. or maybe not. With Timeline for Pages, you can no longer choose which tab new visitors land on when they come to your page for the first time.  If you had a custom designed landing or ‘welcome’ tab, this will be a sad day for you as it will no longer be the place new fans land.  You can still keep...

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