Monthly Archives: November 2011

Entering the Smartphone World as a Laggard

When my 2-year wireless contract expired a few weeks ago, I was stuck at a crossroads. Should I stick with the original “basic” phone and get a new one for free with my renewed plan or up my tech game and buy a smartphone? My Decision became much easier with the help of one website: Groupon. Written by Juliet Rocco

In the spirit of Cyber Monday and all things savings-worthy, I decided to write about a website that offers amazing deals all year round. If you haven’t used Groupon.com yet, I definitely suggest you read this and think it through!

There’s a Groupon For That? It all began when a friend suggested I use a special Groupon offer that was going to end in T-minus 3 days. I had to make this decision quick and ended up taking the leap and buying it! I had never used Groupon before, but my dad has and said it was a good, trustworthy website. Choosing a smartphone was clearly the best choice, since access to social media and e-mail was crucial for me to have.

The Groupon was for a Motorola Droid 3. It would only cost $25 plus a one-time activation fee when I agreed to a 2-year plan with a data package under Verizon Wireless (already my carrier). Bottom line: This deal was too good to pass up!

Delivery! I had the phone delivered to my house and then journeyed over to the Verizon store soon after to have it activated along with all my contacts transferred over. I didn’t trust myself doing this because I would probably end up erasing all of my existing contacts and have to make one of those dreaded Facebook groups! 

When I told the sales associates about the Groupon deal, they all took out their phones and downloaded the Groupon app immediately, searching for deals while they were still on the job! “Drive a Ferrari for $100!” exclaimed one of the associates, searching for Groupons on his phone. They were really impressed that I was able to purchase a $199 phone for $25. It was a pretty empowering moment, I must say.

How do I work this thing? It took me a few days to get used to navigating through the interface and learning how to add and erase things, but I’ve gotten the hang of it. I’ve had an ipod touch for over 2 years so I’m not completely incompetent when it comes to touch screens!

Overall, the phone is great. My only complaint is the short battery life, but that has been an obvious problem in pretty much every smartphone out there. It will get fixed eventually. It is also a fairly large phone and doesn’t fit securely in my jeans pockets. That does make me a little nervous, considering how clumsy I can be sometimes. For now, I’m pleased with my decision. I would probably still have a basic phone if it wasn’t for Groupon!

Takeaway: Don’t settle for paying for something if you aren’t comfortable with the original asking price. Today’s market is a lot different than what it was twenty plus years ago, when deals were based on how well you haggled! There are great websites offering products and services for a steal out there, so explore more before you buy! Google “Cyber Monday deals” today and see for yourself!

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Stumbling My Way Through the Internet

With a vast assortment of content online, how exactly do you find what you’re looking for? Sometimes we don’t even know what we want until we see it. StumbleUpon.com has been my savior of inspiration, laughs, and entertainment for the past few years. Written by Juliet Rocco

During the beginning of my freshman year in college, I learned about StumbleUpon.com from some of my peers. I thought, “It’s just another website, I’m not going to become addicted or anything.” I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. Hours and hours would pass and I would be sitting in the same spot just hitting the “Stumble!” button over and over again, exploring what my interests had to offer.

How would I describe StumbleUpon? It’s like an espresso shot for your imagination! Once you get started stumbling through your interests, the possibilities of discovering new and inspiring content seem endless, not to mention it’s simply addicting!

The In’s and Out’s of Stumbling: For anyone who’s never used it, here’s how it works:

  1. Go to StumbleUpon.com and set up an account (or Facebook log-in)
  2. Add interests to your profile. What do you want StumbleUpon to find for you?
  3. Hit the “Start Stumbling!” button and begin launching into a whole new world!
  4. Click the thumbs up button to get more content like the webpage brought up, or the thumbs down to discontinue getting certain content.
  5. Become addicted, procrastinate, and get inspired!

Recent Website Exposure: I always submit my blog posts to StumbleUpon. I know I can’t simply rely on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to contribute to my site views because that’s only limiting myself to my own private networks. Reaching out to people who are not in my network and gaining exposure is important to me, since I never know who will end up viewing the blog. My last post garnered twice the page views of an average post from StumbleUpon alone in a matter of a few hours. Someone also referred the post which then became indexed in the curated content for business and marketing interests. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

Takeaway: StumbleUpon has given a plethora of websites mass exposure, which would otherwise be left unfound if not submitted. This website allows us to effectively share high quality content with the rest of the world. We’re not restricted to privacy settings and blocked content. Everything is available right at your fingertips. I think StumbleUpon is a great way to gain free exposure for your brand. If you want to be discovered by people other than your friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter, then I suggest you take advantage of StumbleUpon!

Well, now that you’ve read this post, go ahead and submit it to StumbleUpon! (just click the StumbleUpon icon in the “Share it” menu below) Thanks!

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How to Paint the Perfect Picture: Creating the Marketing Mix

Sometimes, choosing the marketing mix can be extremely overwhelming. This post will help you get a better idea of what goes into basic business planning strategy by using the 4 P’s of Marketing along with insight from my own experiences in writing business plans. Written by Juliet Rocco

Lessons Learned: As a very young child, my mom would let me express my inner Vincent van Gogh by letting me paint mini masterpieces in our kitchen. Newspapers covered the table and floor, paint was separated into little cups, and I had about six different brushes to choose from.

My mom would say, “Now, Juliet, this time you’re going to keep all the colors nice and not mix them together too much. Make something nice for daddy when he gets home. I don’t want to see a brown mess!” I would look up at her, grin, and nod my head. Fifteen minutes later, there would be paint everywhere and the clean white sheet of paper now looked like a Hershey’s chocolate bar melted all over it! Oops!

Although mixing all the colors seemed like the best way to create a rainbow, it didn’t work out exactly how I had planned. Later in life, I would comprehend the basic rules of mixing and go on to win awards at art shows (I’m not kidding).

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” 

Vincent van Gogh

I think businesses fail at reaching their target market when they either try to do everything or simply sit back and expect results from one distribution channel. In the marketing mix, decisions are based on the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion (go ahead and try saying that 10 times fast!).

Product: In product decisions it’s important to know what tangibles you’re offering. This also includes services. The styling, quality, packaging, warranties, and functionality all go into product-making decisions. Make friends with your fellow engineers!

Price: Having a pricing strategy is crucial. I had to take a managerial accounting course last winter which covered all indirect and direct costs for the production of products and services. Knowing what these costs are along with expected ROI are key contributors in deciding what kinds of pricing discounts, promotions, bundling, and strategies are attainable.

Place: When choosing a distribution channel (place), you must decide if the market coverage for the product will be inclusive, selective, or exclusive. Where will you be storing/selling the products?

Promotion: Now for promotion, my favorite part! Are you going to use a push or pull strategy? What will sell your product best? A sales force in person, online salespeople, etc.? For luxury and high-end products, it’s highly encouraged to have a strong sales team with good interpersonal and selling skills. Through public relations and communications, you’re going to get your name out there and although these services are often cut off first financially, you simply must invest in the time and money to put together a powerful promotional strategy! Quality is better than quantity. What good is your product or service if no one knows about it?

Be sure to check out this helpful blog post which features the 4 P’s of marketing in greater detail.

My Experience: Over the summer I took an internet marketing course. For the group project we had to create an entire internet marketing campaign and strategy for a local Rochester business. It was a challenge in a way because the business was already doing so well, but I could see that they needed something more. They were a single location that really relied on word-of-mouth. The customers were their evangelists. Their website was outdated, but they updated their Facebook and Twitter multiple times a day and had a solid fan base (currently over 10,000 now!).

One of our suggestions was to launch a native mobile app that would feature the business’ updates. Our target market was moms on the go as well as college students, both of whom are very attached to their smartphone devices. Needless to say, I think if we were to implement this plan in real life, it would bring even more business to them. Although, they might need to think about opening up multiple locations!

Takeaway: Remember, if you mix everything together without thinking it through carefully, you’re going to make a mess! Don’t get overwhelmed by the decision making (that’s why you hire people such as myself). If you take the proper steps in figuring out the dynamics (demographics and psychographics) of your target market, you will have greater chances of success. Check out http://mashable.com/ in the small business section for even more tips!

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