Memes of New York

someecards meme creation for facebook

I have always been a big fan of the late, great Dave Barry. I say late because, as of the writing of this post, he is fifteen years late responding to my fan mail. Seriously though, his writing style has been truly inspirational to me. Every word so carefully crafted, it’s as if his filter was not a six pack of Budweiser, but a chain mail of brilliance. A lot of what made his writing so ingenious was his ability to pull together the most random of objects or discussion points, find a hidden link and tie them together to a wonderfully resounding denouement.

In the hopes of following in his steps, I want to talk about the memes that have recently been littering my Facebook news feed (I am referring to the images with a clever quote overlaid ..or something like that). Where did this phenomenon originate? Who came up with this crazy thing? To find out, I decided to use some investigative journalism. [Note to the IRS: Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve done any investigative journalism, but if you take a look at my previous articles, you will see I definitely do it for business reasons.] This time, my professional journalistic nature took me to the grand city of New York.

For those of you who have not yet been to New York City, let me tell you a bit about this wonderfully stuffed berg. It houses two of the most hated baseball teams in the Major Leagues and is the only logical city for Spiderman to sling around in. Let’s be honest – imagine if Spiderman lived in Omaha, NE. All he could do would be to spin a huge net between the Woodmen Tower and the First National Bank Building. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think he’d be very effective that way unless criminals were sling shooting themselves through the air.

Back to New York. While there, I ran into the tremendously helpful Jolene Smithers. When asked about her knowledge of the funny card corporation, Someecards, she excitedly responded, “Who?” To help jog her memory, I told her I was talking about those funny cards that get passed around a lot on Facebook. Now clear on what I was asking about, she said, “Oh, I don’t do that Facebook thing. Sorry.” That confirms only 1 of the 18 million people living in New York are not familiar with these memes, proving these are obviously significant no matter where you live.

Why does this matter? It matters because these memes are so completely helpful to our daily life. Thousands of barely surviving business struggle on Facebook trying to provide relevant and informative information to their constituent base, but they’re not doing anything for the gazillion Facebookers out there; nobody cares about helpful information anymore – mindless entertainment is the way to go! I could not agree more, as I am certainly a huge fan of mindless entertainment. I must say though that I am not a fan of the letter games going around; I’ve spent all day trying to figure out how many states do not have any vowels and I’m now way behind on work.

That is why I am so fond of Dave Barry’s work; his mind is as disconnected as mine and he doesn’t use words more complicated than “potato”. I’m pretty sure if they had memes back in the 80s, he would have become a millionaire (but only if he had been the one to invent them). [Note to the IRS: I admit this does not seem like a lot of research for an entire trip to New York, but I can assure you that I have more crackpot investigations to come; such as, what would happen if the Incredible Hulk got trapped in the subway? Or, what exactly does crab juice taste like? Trust me, there is a ton more where that came from.]

someecards meme creation for facebook

Phil Stalnaker, Stickboy Creative’s Business Development Director, Interviewed by News-Press

I am honored to announce that I have been highlighted in a story from the News-Press in their Coastal Life Section. The article was published on Friday, November 23rd, and tells the story of a dedicated professional who works hard while enjoying his sunny new life in Florida.

I am excited to be on the Stickboy Creative team and pumped that my efforts have led to an article after only four months of living in SWFL! Follow the link to read the article in the News-Press and see my dedication to doing what is right for each and every person I meet.

Stickboy Creative is a cutting edge Design Company specializing in Website Design & Development, Print Design and Print Management, Animation, Video Production, Identity Branding and much more. We are a one stop shop for all of your company marketing materials and we do not disappoint. Stickboy Creative was established in November of 2007 and has been growing at a rapid pace. Please contact us at 239.206.1193 or toll-free at 888.758.5558 to get a website that will make you bold | innovative | now.

FYI, since the publishing of the article is has already turned into direct business for our firm. Thanks, Florida!

This is a scan of the actual paper from the News-Press.

This is a scan of the actual paper from the News-Press.

Here is the full link to the article for sharing:

http://www.news-press.com/article/20121123/COASTAL_LIFE/311230003/Q-Phil-Stalnaker?nclick_check=1

 

Being a part of a success story like Linda’s is a once in a million opportunity. She was primed and ready to change before we ever met. Me getting to be a part of that change is an honor to me, and one that I continually strive for with all clients I get involved with. Read this and get to hear it In Her Own Words…

barkingpugs

That is just what I feel like. It all started with a class from Pro/Vision Coaching I took on Guerrilla Marketing.  At that class we were given the book E-Myth Revisited by Michael E.  Gerber. That lead to me reading E-Myth Chiropractor.  Soon I found myself reading through all the books Michael has written.  That lead to The Go-Giver by Bob Burg which lead to The Go-Giver Sells More by Bob Burg,which lead to It’s not about you by Bob Burg, are you getting where I am going?  Well I then called my friend Doug Christy owner of Pro/Vision Coaching and asked him what he could recommend to me to read.  He suggested The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalwicz.  Loved what Mike had to say so much that I read his first book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.  I started following Michael, Bob and Mike on their websites.  Recently Mike released…

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Websites and Houses | Why Generalists are Merely Adequate

As hard as it may be to believe, I, in certain ways, miss living in a house I own. This is only after a number of beers though; it comes slightly before I start missing Omaha, but only after I miss being an awkward adolescent. It’s at those times I look over and ask my wife if she thinks we should buy another house. It’s a good thing she holds her alcohol better than I.

All this reminiscing I’ve been doing during my reentrance into the web world has many people worried, most of all my dog Quimby (yes, we named him after the womanizing mayor of Springfield). Apparently I have him so worked up that now he’s afraid of water bottles. Ok, that may be a bit exaggerated (only a bit). The truth is, both worlds hold many similarities and I am therefore not completely crazy when I discuss the two of them over coffee (be really concerned if I start drinking coffee). It is actually quite easy to compare the world of home building to the world of web design. To help describe the similarities, I have asked an old friend back for an interview using the ever popular bold/unbold Q&A format.

Though it’s been a long time since Mr. Fix-it Guy has appeared in a column, he agreed to help as long as I don’t use any overly complicated words. Our original disagreement was over the use of the word juxtaposition…notice it was not used above. Or was it supralapsarianism?

Anyway, thank you, Mr. Fix-it Guy for coming back and sharing your brain smarts with us.     It’s not for you “buddy”, it’s only for your fine readers out there. Besides, it’s too hot to bicker now.

Agreed. Can you explain why it’s important to have multiple professionals work on a building project?     Actually, no. The whole notion that says it’s better for a team to work on a project don’t know what they’re sayin’. Just because one person can’t be an expert at both the creative world and mathematical world doesn’t mean they can’t design a house and also wire it electronically.

I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Please Explain?     No.

Ok, not for me. But for the readers?     I guess. Old wisdom has always said that it is better to use multiple experts on a project as opposed to a generalist. This is because one person cannot be an expert in everything. The skills that it takes to be creative are the exact opposite to the skills it takes to be programmatic. Someone who can wire electricity and handle all the minute details of a fuse box is probably not the best person to be giving interior decorating advice. That’s the old way of thinking. The new way, which I subscribe to says, “Sure, I can do that.” After all, who wants to share money? Isn’t it better to keep it all yourself?

Hmmm… That’s a good question, Mr. Fix-it Guy.     That’s why I became a generalist. Why be the best at something when you can be decent at everything? I don’t like to share money.

You make a good point. It sounds like your sales are going pretty well.     Well, not so much.

What? Any idea why not?     I have no idea.

That’s too bad. I was hoping you would help me describe the similarities of home building with website design and development. Basically, the same kind of idea – how the design part is more like creative artistry and programming is all math. And don’t even get me started on coding languages.     What? Now I’m lost in your silly cyber space. And I haven’t landed a job in years! Any idea why nobody has been building new houses lately?

New Marketing vs. Old Marketing | What Does that Mean?

For a 32 year old man, I may be a bit old fashioned in my practices, but I believe strongly in honesty in marketing. Sometimes I like to take a light-hearted and fun stance on it, such as my last post, Spies Like Me. Today, I am frustrated. Quick story before I get to the point of this blog post.

I called a prospect this afternoon to check in on the proposal I sent out last week. After a minute or so of him fumbling around for an apology (he promised to contact me once he heard the final decision), he informed me that they had chosen another company. My usual response at that point is to find out why, so I can learn from the experience. What I found out is the reason for my current frustration. The very thing he told me to do last week (to give me the best chance of winning the proposal) was the very thing that caused me to lose it. Even though he was on the board that chose the proposal, he gave me information to help in my quote that sabotaged my chances. He lied. I wish I knew why. People, no matter what side of the sales process you are on, being honest is VITAL. When sales people lie, they push the stereotype of the snake-suited used car salesman. When purchasers lie, they destroy any motivation of the sales person to be honest. Honesty builds; lies tear down. Please treat people on both sides of the situation with respect and honesty.

Sorry for the side note, but I had to throw that in, because this specific image below ties in with the honesty issue, but in a slightly different context. Here is the image from Contently Marketing:

The image places “new marketing” vs. “old marketing” in a comparison to determine which style is better. There are a few problems with the picture. First, the difference between one-way and two-way communication is the desire to listen. Just because a company uses social media does NOT mean they are actually listening and forming a dialogue with their customers.

Second, “new marketing” is not only made up of certain tools. The accurate definition of “new marketing” has to do with TRACKABILITY; or how easy it is to measure it success. The new marketing paradigm is all about saber-metrics (coined in the baseball world by Billy Beane). It is about taking away all subjective issues and making decisions purely based on numbers. “New marketing” has plenty of room for TV commercials, as long as they are acutely tracked for ROI.

Third, providing value is not only subscribed by the “new marketing” as suggested in this image. Companies have been striving to provide value since the first corporation formed. Quality marketing from those companies have been able to provide value to their customers long before social media and SEO was invented.

Lastly, quality marketing does NOT seek to just educate or entertain. A good marketing strategy is defined by its ability to earn revenue. Education and Entertainment are both good ways to build revenue streams, but not the only ones, and TV commercials have been seeking to entertain for decades.

Please do not fall for uneducated propaganda such as this. Make good decisions for your business based on data, numbers, and research. “New marketing” as I would define it, means just that. It means doing what it takes to earn revenue from your prospects through honest and targeted campaigns, reaching them where they are at. (Hulu seems to think there is still a good place for commercials in this world). The one thing they are correct about is the vital importance of dialogue in your marketing. If you are not listening to your consumer audience, then you cannot succeed – it’s as simple as that. People will not buy today if they do not feel that they are heard; that’s the postmodern version of building trust.

By the way, inbound vs. outbound? Inbound marketing is about encouraging leads to “come in” to buy from you. TV, media, etc… all fit that description. Outbound means the company is going outside to directly make the sale (such as door-to-door sales or cold calling). Thanks for allowing my rant. Have a great day!

 

Spies Like Me | The Importance of Being Known in Marketing

My name is Stalnaker. Phil Stalnaker. Being as I have written a fictional short story before that was about a private detective, I feel overly qualified to write about being a spy. Not sure you believe me? Just ask Chuck Bartowski. That’s right. You don’t know how to find him…because he’s a spy too. You may try telling me that Chuck himself is a purely fictional character created by Chris Fedak and enjoyed five wonderful, spy filled years on television. That’s just what the government wants you to think. He is real. And so am I.

Ok, so in the spy since I am not real (word is still out on Chuck, though). While I admit that I have a penchant for vodka martinis (you know the rest), I do not live in the world of international espionage. Here’s why: the very things that make me successful in marketing make it impossible for me to be a spy. Simply put, I am too known. While I am positive the comment section will be filled with jokes about me for that line, the statement still holds true.

Even as far back as 2004, Gallup was publishing the importance of a truly relational, or emotional, connection with consumers. “Recent Gallup research has shown that the process of forming emotional connections doesn’t begin when consumers try the brand. Instead, emotional connections start to take shape with every brand encounter that leads up to trial.”1 This concept has become especially prevalent with the growth of social media, as it provides companies and brands the opportunity to be known on a personal level with their customers – or at least that is what the customers believe. Basically, if they don’t know you, they can’t like you. If they don’t like you, they can’t trust you. If they can’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. This has become as true for Nike today as it always has for the corner coffee shop. Your customers must know you.

This creates a problem. The idea of getting to know a person does not allow for pieces of the story to be missing; knowledge and trust are built on complete information. “If you try to fake who you are, it will show and it will work against you.”2 That’s not cool. That means gone are the days of polished, shiny, mistake-free commercials. When potential customers see your advertisement (whether it be in a magazine, direct mail piece, television commercial, online ad, or networking event) they must see an accurate portrait of you. “What they see in your marketing is ultimately what they get from your goods and services and that builds trust and rapport.”3 If their experience is inconsistent with the message they were presented, you could be in a heap of trouble, and this is where social media can really hurt. If one customer isn’t happy, they now have a mouthpiece to the entire world through their connections. Negative reviews will fly through cyberspace faster than the rage virus infected the whole of London.4

This is why a good marketer cannot be a spy (and vice versa). No matter how nice and good intentioned Austin Millbarge was, he still had to lie. A spy has to lie. A marketer, and entire company culture on that end, cannot. There will be no opportunity for redemption after filing bankruptcy. Thankfully, Jason Bourne figured it out before it was too late. Your company may be completely honest and forthright, giving your customers the ability to put their trust in you. If that’s the case, it is because your company has allowed itself to live in a glass hut and be seen in the true light of how it really is. Maybe, as a marketer (either personally or professionally), you are as well. Maybe not. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap. If you are open and honest with who you are, there is no need to withhold information. Transparency buys trust. Trust buys customers.

That is, unless you really are on a secret mission to stop SPECTRE’s plans for world domination by destroying the value of gold. Hopefully, your headquarters is not in Burbank.

(Image used from DeviantArt)

1 http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/11209/building-a-brand-relationship.aspx
2 http://fullbleedartsmarketing.com/honesty-value-1-of-a-winning-personal-brand
3 http://www.gmarketingcoach.com
4 http://www.foxsearchlight.com/28dayslater/

The Birds or Giant Eagles? | Social Media’s Prevalence in Business

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door –

“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –

Only this and nothing more.” 1

I doubt I’m the first person to make a reference to Twitter being The Raven from Edgar Allen Poe. While I could draw many similarities to the constant updating and blast of a normal users feed, that is not the point of this article. Twitter was not the first, nor is it the most pervasive. It is just one of the many…which is the point.

I have a hard time not finding this amusing. We are literally bombarded by social media in our daily lives; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are only a small few. If I chose to write up the name of every outlet I would run out of digital paper. The second largest search engine in the world is YouTube after all – a social media video site! 2 The question is no longer “Do we accept social media into our lives?”, but how do we keep it under control so that we can manage its use in our lives and business while not letting it control us.   As a business professional, I have spent a lot of my time out in the community attending events, seminars, trade shows, etc… Social media is by far the most prevalent thought, most discussed topic, and most misunderstood tool in the business realm. Everybody wants to hear speeches when the topic is social media; everyone wants help figuring out how to incorporate it into their business. But is it worth it?

I think we’re in real trouble. I don’t know how this started or why, but I know it’s here and we’d be crazy to ignore it… The bird war, the bird attack, plague – call it what you like. They’re amassing out there someplace and they’ll be back. You can count on it…3

People start and run businesses to make money. We are told by everyone that every business has to be on social media because everyone is on social media. GM stopped using paid Facebook ads in May because they weren’t generating the desired revenue,4 but that’s just one example. We also know that social media drives a lot of revenue across the board. “Social media has a bigger influence in decision-making and is now considered as the new (and probably more effective) word of mouth channel,” general manager, Sam Shetty says. “Netregistry, which helps businesses get online, says businesses operating in the fashion and baby products sector have seen a better response compared to B2B providers. Return on investment should not only be measured on revenue, but also in brand recognition and popularity,” Shetty says.5 Shetty’s vision of social media is reminiscent of Frodo’s while being carried out of Mordor by the Giant Eagles.

Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here, the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? I think you’re the cause of all this.3

This is where the hair on my neck stands up. Should return on investment (ROI) be measured in more than revenue? I am pretty sure most people did not get into business to generate good will and feeling. While many people work for that, it is all because they are means to a profitable end. While there are many things that lead to higher revenues, such as good will, popularity and brand recognition, those are means, not ends. Measuring ROI based on subjective content will not fly in a standard business plan (or a business loan, especially in these days). Hard numbers are what count.

This leads me to the crux of my point. The most useful thing about online marketing, whether it be websites, SEO, or social media to name a few, is that anything done online is easily track-able and measurable. How many people saw your ad? Easy. How many people clicked on your ad? Easy. How many people bought because of your ad? Easy. How much revenue did that generate? Easy.

Traditional marketing (rightly so) has been slammed for years because the nature of it makes it much harder to track and calculate a detailed ROI. Thus marketing over time developed the reputation of being the part of the business that is just a necessary expense. Now, because the business world is experiencing its infatuation with social media, it has apparently relaxed its standards of measurement. This is not right. Social media is and can be a great tool for your business, but it must be treated like all the other tools in your belt. Measure it. Test it. Figure out how much time and expense actually leads to a profitable ROI and then stick to it. I know too many people that spend all day playing on social media, call it a job, and end up flipping burgers on the side.

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted – nevermore!1

(Image courtesy of Elisa Vegliante)

1 http://www.shmoop.com/the-raven/poem-text.html

2 http://www.melaclaro.com/2010/10/05/youtube-the-second-largest-search-engine-so-what/

3 http://www.finestquotes.com/movie_quotes/movie/The%20Birds/page/0.htm#ixzz24OW5Ob1k

4 http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/15/autos/gm_facebook/index.htm

5 http://www.smartcompany.com.au/internet/051372-is-social-media-advertising-really-worth-the-time-and-money.html

Referral Based Marketing | Why it Pays to Have Trusted Business Relationships

Could this post BE any more about pop culture placement? As much as I would love to spend the entire article making sly references to New Zealand’s 4th most popular folk parody duo, this is about marketing your business through referrals. Simply put, there is no better or cheaper way to market than to utilize referral marketing.

Case in point: I have a networking friend, Albi (names have been changed to protect the guilty) with whom I am also a customer. He runs a real estate office of multiple agents. Because of our networking relationship, whenever someone would mention to me that they were either buying or selling a house, I would give them Albi’s name as an option and suggest they contact him to see if he would be a good fit. Since I knew him, I liked him, and I trusted him, it was a fairly easy referral to give.

The reason for that is not because I used him for my own house purchase first (in fact, that will come later), but because as responsible business marketers and networkers, we understood one KEY principle. People do business with people they like and trust. Albi and I spent time building a trusted business relationship. It starts small, with easy ways to try out a person’s trust level. We met for coffee, lunches, and even brought our wives in for an evening out. We decided for both of us it was important enough to know the quality level of the person, so that we could speak with honesty and integrity. After all, whenever you refer someone, you are ultimately putting your name on the line for them. Trust is HUGE.

When it became “Business Time” and my wife and I decided to buy a house, we chose to give him the opportunity. When we personally experienced his level of service and quality, we were even more blown away than we could imagine. I already knew and trusted that Albi would do a great job, and my expectations were fulfilled – even more than I thought they would be. Not only do I have a long term, trusted relationship with him, but it was tested with personal experience. Now he can’t keep me from talking about him. Who would not want to gain new customers this way?

Do people in your local area know you? Do they like you? Do they trust you? I encourage you to take a moment to think and see what you might be able to do to develop trusted relationships with business around you; think of the advantages it would bring you. Just don’t use too much tape.

(Image from www.gawker.com/flightoftheconchords)

Marketing Psychology | Phil Stalnaker, Pro/Vision Coaching’s Business Development VP Speaks to Coldwell Banker Bain Agents

Originally posted on March 27, 2012 at Pro/Vision Coaching.

On Thursday, March 22, I gave a training presentation on marketing to a group of CB Bain Agents (both live and watching online). In it, I addressed such marketing topics as Target Audience, Marketing Message, Marketing Strategies, and Evaluation of Methods. I also discussed the psychology behind marketing and spoke about things like the concept of demand resistance (why don’t people follow through?), the reasons people buy (pain vs. pleasure), and how the human psyche handles purchases.

The entire presentation can be seen on the link. Enjoy!

http://bit.ly/GLgtwt