A Marketing Department is Born

It Starts NOWMy lack of focus on writing has led to a lack of article this year. I’m hoping to turn that around and start writing more frequently.

Weekly? Hopefully. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Two months ago I transitioned from my role in product marketing to a new role taking over marketing for a sister company. Same parent company. Same building. Different business unit. Different floor.

A great opportunity!

Coming to work each morning is…

  • Exhilarating
  • A Rush!
  • Stressful
  • Nerve-wracking
  • A Roller Coaster
  • Exciting
  • Totally Awesome!

Our parent company is great to us giving a sense of stability, while as a business unit we are like a start-up. Every day new challenges come up. Each day is different than the one before.

So yeah, I‘m loving it.

The new marketing department consists of me…. and me. A department of one. I continue working with my old marketing group as they support our efforts, almost like an internal agency. They continue to be great to work with.

The focus here isn’t on projects and staying productive. It’s all about results! Building brand awareness to drive revenue. That’s it.

So I’ll be writing more, documenting the process of marketing and branding – from the ground up!

It starts now!  

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New Favorite App

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More than 1.2 million mobile applications exist on the Android market. Over 1 million on the App store. (According to one stat I read) That’s astounding!

In this article I will include a detailed review of every application on both platforms. Okay, not really.

For the time being, let’s begin by reviewing a single app.

One of my favorite apps is Evernote. I use it for note taking, jotting down random thoughts and concepts had throughout the day and tagging articles I read online for future reference. As much as I find Evernote beneficial, it’s not the best resource for creating to-do lists.

Now, I’m not an obsessive list keeper, however to-do lists are quite practical. In my quest to find the perfect to-do list app I perused multiple app review articles before finally selecting Wunderlist. It has quickly become one of my favorite and most frequently used apps.

What I love Wunderlist and why:

  • It’s free. This one seems pretty self explanatory.
  • Both Android and iPad. There’s nothing wrong with being both an Android and Apple guy. In fact, it’s a great marriage. I’m a huge fan of my Samsung Galaxy 4 smart phone and also enjoy firing up the iPad when I arrive home. Wunderlist is available for both platforms (and syncs nicely).
  • To-Do lists. I was seeking out a tool for creating and managing to-do lists. That’s us of Wunderlist. It’s doesn’t attempt to be something it’s not.
  • Categories. Life is a balance between family and career, plus personal and professional development. Not to mention the occasional requisite grocery list, books I plan to read and movies I want to watch. Custom categories help me sort lists for all areas of my life.
  • Sub-tasks. Rarely is a to-do item a one-step process. Wunderlist allows me to create sub-tasks under the main item. This way I know each of the next steps towards total task completion. Otherwise daunting tasks become straightforward when breaking down to a series of small manageable tasks.

The Wunderlist app has far more capabilities that I’ve yet to unlock and utilize, but I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a way to generate and track progress on your to-do lists.

Are you using Wunderlist or have a to-do list app you think is better? Let me know, I’d love to learn more about other options.

Got a preferred new app you recently downloaded? Share your experience by commenting below.

Thanks,

DJ

5 Keys to a Better Year

 Keys III

  1. Control Technology – Use technology like cell phones, computers, tablets, apps, and websites to your benefit. Stop letting technology control you.
  2. Talk to People – Yes, actual face-to-face conversation is preferred. Speaking over the phone is a distant second. Notice I didn’t say text more, tweet more or email more. Talk – your family, friends, and co-workers will feel more appreciated.
  3. Put Down the Device – Lift your head, take your eyes off the tiny digital screen and see the world around you. This breathtaking world will be enjoyed more fully by seeing, hearing and feeling it, than anything you’re staring at on that 7” phone screen.
  4. Let it go – We all make mistakes. Embrace it. Stop holding a grudge and you’ll feel relieved and much happier. My six year old constantly singing the Disney song with the same title is a great reminded that I need to do better at this one.
  5. Experience Something New – routines are good, finding something new is better. Try new foods, make new friends, learn new skills, read a new book, find a new favorite song. Variety really is the spice of life – so spice it up!

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Taking a Vacation to Improve Business

Recently I spent a week on vacations with my wife and a couple friends. We took a cruise on Carnival Cruise lines to the Western Caribbean. Despite a slew of bad press I still believe cruises are one of the safest and most enjoyable ways to travel. During the cruise I was reminded of a few business principles that are too often forgotten.

Service: There is no replacement for great customer service. I didn’t say good service, I said great! The ship we were on had approximately 3,000 guests. However, the house keeping staff and each of our waiters always greeted us by our first names. The service was personal, it was friendly and it excellent. It reminded me that we need to do a better job of providing not just good, but great customer service.

Be Daring: Every night at dinner there was a different appetizer called DIDJA (Did you ever want to try?). Our waiter encouraged us to try the daring culinary creations. Over the week long trip I tried alligator fritters, frog legs, escargot and more. Some of the appetizers were delicious, others I wasn’t a big a fan of. Tasting new and unique foods was the highlight of our dining experience. Had we not been a little daring, we’d have missed out. The same goes for business; sometimes we need to take some risks and try something new. Employees should feel comfortable doing the same. Giving people a little latitude could create some unexpected, yet impressive results.

Disconnect: Traveling outside of the U.S. with little to no access to internet proved to be a nice break. For 7 days I didn’t carry a cell phone or log on a computer. A week of no phone calls or email was bliss. Business owners, managers and employees all need time to relax and recharge. Allow yourself, your employees and/or your co-workers chances to disconnect. People are generally more productive and less likely to get burned out.

Connect: You’re thinking “Wait, didn’t you just tell me to disconnect?” Often when we hear ‘connect’ we think of phone calls, email, texting, and technology. On our trip we connected with dozens of people through personal interaction. Interactions occurred during a bus riding through the jungles of Honduras or on a boat being ferried to the island of Grand Cayman. We interacted with people sitting near us at dinner or while lounging around the pool. We meet many staff members, allowing us to get to know people from all over the world. All of these interactions were personal conversation, handshakes and often hugs.

When at work, find more ways to connect. Connect with co-workers; learn more about the people around you. Look for opportunities to develop true partnerships that can mutually benefit all parties involved. Above all else, go out of your way to connect with customers. Customers are the lifeline of your business. Notice I said “connect” – emailing and posting to your Facebook wall is not the kind of connecting I’m talking about. When you connect with people personally they’ll be more likely to continue to do business with you.

Traveling is one of my greatest joys. I love seeing new places, meeting amazing people and building long lasting memories. Learning from my vacation was a wonderful added benefit. I’m already anticipating the next adventure, wherever that might be. In the meantime, hopefully a better job can be done while at work; making a job and a career, an experience in itself.