Tuesday, February 5, 2013

RIP = Rest In Pieces.

Surgo Skateboards - Home Page

Surgo Skateboards - Where To Buy It
Surgo Skateboards - Retail Outlet Store Info

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Definition Of Insanity.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again...and expecting different results."

Albert Einstein, 1879 - 1955

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Few Good Men.

Of course the title of this one could also just as easily have been "A Few Good (Wo)Men." since there is no need for applying unnecessary and politically-incorrect gender bias here.

Will be a down-and-dirty one tonight because it is A) quite late - or really early actually - and also B) I have been spending FAR too much time on Twitter past few days...but more coming on that subject very soon.

Before I list the latest positions for your consideration, please remember the standard ground rules:

> unless otherwise indicated, these are all located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

> again, don’t always believe the media hype…because while I cannot dispute times are tough these days within many industries, those who can make a contribution in the areas of online media, interactive marketing and e-commerce will continue to advance their careers

> promoting this stuff is not part of my day job in any way, nor a side business that I am pursuing or anything of that nature…I just enjoy connecting good people with good opportunities, so think of it in terms of as Pay It Forward exercise.

> if you are - or know of - a qualified and interested candidate for anything referenced here just contact me and I will arrange the introductions to hiring contacts

With all that out of the way, let us get right into the main event - jobs, jobs and even more jobs:

*** Online Media Sales Executive***
> Leverage your interactive sales skills and relationships with agencies & direct clients to develop and close new business for this established Canadian Males Lifestyle-focused (think: “Maxim Magazine Canada”) publisher, while working within an entrepreneurial startup-type working environment

*** Online Media Sales Executive (New York City)***
> Practice your craft in one of the top media markets worldwide, representing a network of properties for a Canadian-based organization that has been in existence since 1999. Only those with a deep rolodex, excellent sales skills and a Hunter mindset need consider this one. Total comp package in mid-100s to $200K+ and is uncapped…

*** Sales Systems Administrator***
> Apply your technical and analytics background plus experience with sales and billing systems (eg. Solbright) in this key role with a leading Digital Media organization

***Web Analytics Contractors***
> Recruiter seeks 2 individual consultants for client engagements, experienced with 1) WebTrends and 2) Omniture Site Catalyst

***Online Marketing Specialist***
> Permanent downtown role and ideal candidate has experience in managing a website, vendors, podcasts/vodcasts, project management and developing online programs/products. SEO/SEM skills also required and back-end Web capabilities, eg. HTML, CSS). Preference for those with professional services industry experience and bilingualism (English/French) would be an asset. Salary to $70K

***Web Analytics Implementation Specialist***
> Established and well-known firm is growing its Search & Analytics practice. This is a good gig for an “up and comer” with energy, passion and an understanding of the space

***Inside Sales Representatives***
> Boutique SEO/SEM shop recently hired 2 Account Execs and now also needs 3 Inside reps

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Good To Be The King.

Have to give a shout-out to my fellow marketing-minded blogger (and coincidentally he is also a *Superdad* as well, just like me!) Rich Gould here, as I originally viewed this awesome video on the Razor Creative blog.

(UPDATE: I keep revising this with new pointers but if you still cannot see the embedded video above just do a Web search for "SpongeBob Burger King" and watch it on YouTube instead...trust me, it is well worth the additional effort to find it)

Rich expressed some concerns in his blog posting about this spot, basically the fact that it was targeted “for kids” and therefore being somewhat inappropriate if viewed by the younger set. My view was exactly the opposite, as I personally think it is an absolute *genius* ad.

Here’s why I think so. As the parent of 3- and 5-year-old children who fall solidly within the SpongeBob consumer demo I consider anything SB-related to be "fun for the whole family" here at my house.

Yet I believe this commercial is talking to me, not to my little ones. Because Daddy is usually the individual (after consulting with Mommy, of course!) who decides where to go for any fast food dining and in the end is ultimately the one springing for a couple of Kiddie Meals, complete with the obligatory branded toy item.

And with me being of a certain age - ie. able to remember this bad boy from its original release; seems Sionne is getting OLDER every day, by the way - hearing the distinctive opening line and musical riff had an instant head-nodding effect that captured me right away...and well, must admit that the King’s antics, the song lyrics and simply ridiculous booty-shaking dancers with their square (!) butts kept me coming back for more. Must have replayed the video about 6 times or so that night before moving on. And ended up checking it out again several times in the week or so since the originally viewing.

So I fully agree some of the content is at best not likely to connect with those aged 3-9 years old…and at worst potentially very inappropriate if in fact BK is targeting children. Rich made the valid and undisputed point that the unsolicited measuring of some buttocks by the King could be construed as something unseemly. But in my mind BK was talking to me here, not to my offspring and I think this allows me to appreciate the commercial in the way it was intended to be received.

Bottom line? With their choice of approach in promoting the current SpongeBob meal/toy offer, this brand captured my attention and also totally made me laugh out loud, gaining some valuable *street cred* in the process .

Depends on your preferred scoring system but the evidence generally supports this being a pretty solid ad win overall, at least based on my Focus Group Of One response and being within the adult/parental consumer demo. Besides, execution-wise, it’s kinda to argue with the effectiveness here of a cameo appearance by Sir Mix-A-Lot himself…isn't it?

Round 2
OK, so was catching up on my email tonight and noticed that (my admittedly personal and subjective) opinion has been validated, by at least one metric anyway. Turns out the Burger King “Square-Butt” spot made its Online Viral Video Chart debut in third place, according to Ad Age:

BK's Square-Butt Spot Makes Viral-Chart Debut in Third Place
Published: April 16, 2009
NEW YORK (Ad Age.com) -- The King likes square butts -- and web-video viewers sure like his crooning about them. The Crispin-produced video promoting Burger King's SpongeBob SquarePants kids meals, which is also airing on TV, entered this week's viral-video chart in the No. 3 spot with more than a half million views, according to data from video-measurement firm Visible Measures.

Yet again, the guys at Crispin Porter + Bogusky hit a home run for their client, while further reinforcing their long-standing image within the industry as Creative & Marketing Rock Stars…and maintaining this status in my personal ranking as well, since I have been loving almost everything they produce from the first time I became aware of this agency’s work back in 2005.

Dear CP+B: Keep pushing the envelope, making it memorable and above all continuing to bring your A-game material, because I just love this stuff…


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Don't Believe The Hype.

Recently read a very *official-seeming* article, squarely placing the blame for the recent global economic woes on increased levels of Twitter usage. Took a while for me to catch on but turns out it was actually a satrical piece, mimicking the style of The Onion and really quite entertaining in the end.

Those readers of this blog who are more “tuned in” than the rest of us may have already seen it…but for anyone who hasn’t yet, you definitely need to take a look at this:

Harvard Economist Blames Twitter for Down Economy

Speaking of economic concerns…with all due apologies to Admiral Farragut, I can honestly say there are many reasons these days to simply say "Damn the Torpedoes Economic Downturn, Full Steam Ahead!" and especially so recently since I don’t really see much evidence lately that companies are scaling back their hiring activity in any significant way.

Case in point: tonight I am sharing two really awesome Sales and Marketing roles that recently arrived into my email in-box via my personal network. So if you know of any Qualified & Interested candidates please hit me up ASAP so I can connect the right people with my hiring contacts.

And remember, when it comes to what the media is telling you, always keep eyes / ears open and believe in what you know to be true…just
don’t believe the hype.

***Online Media Sales Rock Star***
A leading Entertainment-focused online media portal has an immediate need for a true *superstar* online media sale executive. If you fit the profile of a “…seasoned, driven & entrepreneurial online media sales pro” then this could the right opportunity for you.

> Additional Info:
* The ideal candidate has at least 3-5 years of online media sales experience as well as a strong base of existing Media Planner and Buyer contacts via agency and/or client-direct
* Applicants should be experienced in successfully selling the Entertainment (ie. Music, Movie, Video, Celebrity) category
* Applicants should have experience with developing creative revenue-generating client solutions, integrated online media and content deals
* Employer definitely has a startup profile and culture versus a Corporate environment, although the organization does have multiple offices in the US and also overseas
* This role would appeal to candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset, possibly preparing to move out of a bigger online media firm (corporate environment) and into a smaller, more nimble (startup) area
* Compensation package is very attractive, with solid "market-competitive" base salary and opportunity to earn $150K+ OTE

***Senior Vice President, Marketing***
Flex your marketing muscles as a top executive with this global Technology/Software company. Reporting to the CEO, the ideal candidate possesses demonstrated success with corporate marketing in the tech space and has also lead a team of marketers.

> Additional Info:
* The ideal candidate offers a minimum of fifteen years' experience of progressive career growth as a marketer within the software and/or high-tech industries
* The ideal candidate also offers a minimum of 5 years' experience in a senior management capacity
* Applicants will be able to outline a Been There, Done That track record (with Tier 1 industry leaders) and communicate their commitment to career advancement in pursuing this senior Marketing Leadership role

Friday, April 3, 2009

Survival Of The Fittest.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.”
Clarence Darrow (1857 – 1938)...and actually not said by Charles Darwin, pictured here *Obama-style*

Wow, basically a whole month since my last posting. Now I would really like to be able to attribute my recent failings in updating this space to a deep commitment in observing Earth Hour…deliberately abstaining from using my computer’s power resources for an extended period and therefore being unable to update Posts By Sionne. The reality though is that my tree-hugging tendencies are in fact not that well-developed. I was honestly just too busy lately to get around to blogging.

That being said, I do think I have a pretty reasonable explanation behind my “going dark” and if you allow me to share a personal story here you will soon understand the situation much, much better.

So we were advised by our realtor at 5PM yesterday that the Seller's conditions are being lifted as of 10AM today/Friday. Assuming the inspection goes well this coming Monday then the transaction will proceed and as of May 15, 2009 we will be relocating to our new residence, aka The New & Improved “Casa Roberts” in lovely downtown Bradford, Ontario.

I offer this as proof that if one is truly committed and able to invest the required effort they can find themselves with a (sort of) Moncton-sized mortgage on a fully updated and reno’d 4-bedroom, 3-bath home sitting on a 100 X 100 fenced lot in a quiet family-friendly neighbourhood that is 5 minutes away from the GO Train station and also still takes only about 70 minutes of vehicle commuting to arrive at my office in downtown Toronto.

Very near the top of the Benefits list for us in this move is the fact that Natasha will soon be 20 minutes from her work and driving primarily via city surface streets, instead of her current “one hour of white knuckles on the highway twice daily” arrangement. This is really quite an exciting concept for my lovely wife, trust me. We both only hope that the ulcers we have induced and additional grey hairs acquired recently will turn out to all worth it in the end...

Meaning I will not elaborate extensively right now but let's just say that past few weeks have involved a whirlwind series of exceptionally-strange dealings with first the buyers of our current home, followed by constantly-stressful negotiations with the multiple potential sellers of the homes we offered to buy. And at one point there were even some serious and in-depth consultations with legal counsel on whether or not we could actually sue our finance company to counteract the impact of our potentially being sued ourselves (yes, I am not joking about this) by the buyers of our current home.

Did I mention yet - as I like to do often - that Natasha and I both work full-time and on the home front are managing the usual excitement that comes along with parenting a 5- and 3-year-old, while also finding time daily to pay at least a little bit of attention to our two supposedly-neglected pet dogs as well? And since moving back to Toronto we have faced the challenge of there not a whole lot of family support locally (aka “absolutely none”) and even something that should be as simple as getting the occasional babysitter for an evening is something that has not happened for at least 6 months now. Good Times indeed and I can honestly say that life as usual is highly *unboring* for all of us playing in the game as members of Team Roberts - Toronto Edition.

Before I go, I do have something tonight for those of you completely disinterested in Sionne’s personal affairs and dropping in periodically instead for my news and insights from the online media and marketing worlds.

Now if this applies to you and you have actually even made it this far down the page I can definitely say I commend your commitment to the pursuit of information, or your exceptional amounts of available free time, or both. But I will also share something I read this week that I believe falls under tonight’s Darwinian theme. Or for those of you who can remember this, perhaps it is more along the lines of that classic Timex slogan Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking instead.

HEADLINE: Microsoft Looks to JWT to Market New Search Engine - Web Giant Expected to Spend Up to $100 Million in Bid to Win Share From Google, Yahoo

Summary version of the Ad Age article is that Microsoft has engaged its agency JWT to develop a creative campaign for the latest version of its Search offering...which I have heard being referred to as both Kumo and Project Kiev but still also called plain-old Live Search, according to Steve Ballmer.

This is either an example of a committed push by MSFT to get some much-need traction in the Search category, or a colossal waste of dollars and a case of throwing good money after bad in a (doomed) losing effort. I suppose it depends on your point of view but mine is that this is a good move and might actually be able to make a difference in growing share for a viable market alternative to the Google powerhouse.

I personally have an above-average familiarity with the Microsoft adCenter offering from my previous role here at Bell Canada. I also experienced a reasonable level of success during that time, communicating adCenter’s merits to its B2B audience. So I think it is entirely possible for JWT to create some compelling messaging resonating with consumers of Live Search as well. Can’t hurt to try. Plus, if the Redmond crew really want to pursue a win in the Search Wars then taking aggressive action is better than doing nothing...and expecting a divine intervention-type of miracle to happen instead. As I often like to say, “the definition of insanity is continually repeating the same behaviours, yet expecting a different outcome” so this announcement makes perfect sense to me.

And combining a multi-million-dollar ad blitz with a parallel Microsoft strategy of Why-Buy-Yahoo!-When-We-Can-Just-Hire-All-Of-Its-Best-People just might be enough to do the trick. Since the other big news I heard this week was that Dayne Sampson - former Yahoo VP, Operations for Search and Advertising - has also defected to the Dark Side and been beamed up to the Redmond mother ship. This now makes a pretty impressive roster of Search & Media execs (aka Yahoo! alumni) on the MSFT payroll, a list that now includes Sean Suchter, Qi Lu, Larry Heck, Jan Pedersen and now Sampson.

Maybe the current thinking of management is to ignore whether or not Carol Bartz wants to re-open the dormant Micro-hoo! merger/acquisition discussion. Because as many who follow this industry closely are also observing, if this torrid pace of fence-jumping from Yahoo! to Microsoft continues it might not be too long before there won’t be much of a Search biz remaining for MSFT to buy anyway.

Always interesting. And I have no doubt there will be even more developments surfacing very soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Godfather.

I do not say use the term "marketing guru" lightly or frequently. Suffice it to say however that Seth Godin is an absolute genius when it comes to marketing. Not only is he insightful and enlightening on an ongoing basis but his true gift is clarity of communication and making his points with brevity while still remaining entertaining and engaging.

This is not always easily accomplished and I believe Woodrow Wilson expressed it best when he said upon being asked how much preparation he would need to write a speech, "That depends. If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation. If fifteen minutes, three days. If half an hour, two days. If an hour, I am ready now."

Have followed Seth pretty regularly for about 10 years now...since the late 1990's, going back to his Yoyodyne days and the publishing of his book, Permission Marketing. His concepts definitely resonated with me then as I was working in Member Acquisition Marketing with a pre-IPO dotcom in the San Francisco area at the time. And the amazing thing is that while he continues to publish new books they - with a few exceptions - still keep delivering against expectations, at least for me anyway.

Tonight I am re-posting two of my favourite Seth’s Blog posts here. If you enjoy them and it turns out you have been living under a rock, ie. you are not already reading Seth's musings frequently, then do yourself a favour ASAP by going here now and then returning often, OK?

(And sorry Seth, but for some reason Blogger does not support TrackBack URLs linking to your blog so I am using the Permalink version here instead)

Personal branding in the age of Google

A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.

Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person's name.

The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, "binge drinking."

The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, "I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I'm annoyed by it. I'll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings."

And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.

Three for three.

Google never forgets.

Of course, you don't have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you're on Candid Camera, because you are.

The panhandler's secret

When there were old-school parking meters in New York, quarters were precious.

One day, I'm walking down the street and a guy comes up to me and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He held out his hand with four quarters in it.

Curious, I engaged with him. I took out a dollar bill and took the four quarters.

Then he turned to me and said, "can you spare a quarter?"

What a fascinating interaction.

First, he engaged me. A fair trade, one that perhaps even benefited me, not him.

Now, we have a relationship. Now, he knows I have a quarter (in my hand, even). So his next request is much more difficult to turn down. If he had just walked up to me and said, "can you spare a quarter," he would have been invisible.

Too often, we close the sale before we even open it.

Interact first, sell second.