Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chicago Tax on Wine and the US Governments over Spending.

OK...I know I have been slacking here for a while, but I have been very busy working on Get Talked About clients and solidifying the GTA brand.

So I thought I would can the marketing speak and jump into a favorite topic of mine TAXES! The other day I am in the store buying a single bottle (OK several) bottles of wine, when I see this .10 tax per bottle on the receipt. The Liquor Tax in Chicago says I should be paying .36 per gallon or roughly .07 per bottle not .10. Where did the other three cents come from! I also looked in to other Chicago city taxes and found the number and amount of taxes we have to pay to the city of Chicago is ridiculous!( City of Chicago Tax list )

I couldn't bring upon myself to look at the state and federal charges on all the stuff one might purchase/use but this is what I did find....There is an .184 (or .19) Federal, Plus 6.25% sales tax and .3 % tax for underground storage tank fund, and other local sales and gasoline taxes and Diesel fuel taxes are 27.5 cpg for commercial highway users IN ILLINOIS GAS TAX ALONE! The average overall US/state gas tax runs between .53-.45 per gallon. Don't give me this crap that we need to pay higher taxes on gas to fix infrastructure, because half that money gets tied up in overpaying for repair/building and the bureaucracy of it all. Moreover, the US Federal Government saw 2005-2008 record tax revenues, yet we still couldn't get our act together. How do we go from spending 1.7 trillion in 2000 to 2.9 trillion in 2008. That is NOT all cost from the Iraq and Afghan operations, nor from inflation. Raise your hand if you can add hundreds of billions in debt annually, adding to a existing multi-trillion debt without answering to anyone.

So here is my point, the next time you hear politicians in Washington, be them Democrat or Republican say their party is going to lower the "income tax rate" on the average Joe, call bulls--t on them. Because what they may be doing is putting money back in to your left pocket and pulling out even more from the right.

I would love to know what the rest of you think about this situation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Marketing Profession and Social Media

I was reading a recent post on Chris Brogan and it reminded me of something else I recently read on QuestTeam.com

Chris Brogan Quote:
"...social media isn’t a PR tool; it’s not a marketing tool ; it’s a communications tool and a media making/distribution tool set. And further, it’s not the only way to the finish line out there. ..."

Martin Hammond, Ph.D. Quote:
"Yes, marketing is a profession; however, the endeavor is often engaged in by amateurs"

I think they are inter related because in Martin's article he talks about marketing professionals needing to be specialists in their chosen markets.  Brogan is trying to educate people with regard to social media. Bottom line, if you are a marketing professional, and are using social media in your efforts, know your chosen market. Get to know how social media works and in what situtations to use or not use social media. That way you will be a true Marketing Professional (at least with regard to social media)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Using Social Media - Reasons to Participate

As more and more businesses board the Social Media train, I have noticed Marketing, PR, Advertising and Word of Mouth Marketing agencies and businesses are still missing the point. In order for Social Media strategies to be effective you need to give people a reason to participate. Giving away free "stuff" or coupons is only a reason to get free stuff or coupons. It is not a reason to participate. Most people who are interested in getting something free will do the minimum amount necessary to acquire the thing that is free. They will not start a meaningful dialogue with you, engage with your company, or freely offer the kind of insight that can change the way your company does business for the better.

While Social Media tools are "cheap" or "free", that doesn't mean formulating an integrated plan is. Social Media is really easy to get wrong. A sound approach is often over looked for the quick "hey we can create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and build a community and everyone will be dying to participate" mentality. Even supposed social media marketing pros are using social media the wrong way and often charging clients large sums of money, that would have been better spent do something else.

Ask yourself, your team and outside partners helping you to create your social media strategies these kind of questions:
  1. What is the end goal of our social media objective (research, build affinity, test products, etc)
  2. Why would any one care to do x,y,z online?
  3. Who is our ideal participant and where do they currently interact online?
  4. Are there current communities of people that fit with what we are trying to do, and can we use that platform or do we need to build our own?
  5. What are we offering that is different and would ignite the passion of a participant to engage with us as an organization?
  6. Is using social media tools the best way to execute what we are trying to do?

Getting social media right is about great research, proper analysis and the right strategy AND giving people reasons to participate.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Farewell To Zocalo Group...Hello Get Talked About

As many of you already know, in the beginning of January 2009, I resigned from Zocalo Group, a Ketchum owned partnership and Omnicom's (NYSE: OMC) only Word of Mouth Marketing Agency. Zocalo Group has been a great experience and I was able help them establish their presence in Online Community, Industry Influencer tracking and Digital Influence. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have helped them launch the company in 2007 and wish every person there the best of luck. Over the past 2 years I have been fortunate to work with some amazing brands such as Frito-Lay, The Cheesecake Factory, 3G's, Kodak, Michael Angelo's, De Paul University, Schawk, Cricket Wireless, Orbitz, PAM, and many others. Along with my colleague Ryan Rassmusen, we were awarded Ketchum's first Innovation Idol Award for 2008.

Many of you don't know, I am launching a new company with my partner Andy Angelos, called Get Talked About. Get Talked About (GTA) will be focused on the current realities of Marketing that requires in depth knowledge of the living, breathing and very social web. This is a work/concept in progress, but it is painfully obvious when you talk with us, that we know what we are talking about.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stimulus Package, Perception and Reality...We attract what we believe

There is much to do about the economy in the US...the World...and the so called stimulus package passed and signed in to law by our elected US leaders. As some one who has been very up...and very down...economically in life, I can tell you....so you believe...so is your reality. Every time I thought I was down...I was...every time I thought things were looking up...they were. Guess what... the economy and the government  intervention of it have nothing to do with your life. The government is and always will be intruders to your stability, success and well-being. They will destroy your way of life and the environment with constant bickering and poor choices. True capitalism is the way out. Only low taxes, less government, and true capitalism (value, innovation and fair exchange for goods and services)  can guarantee our future. Study economics, finance and history and you will understand that our government and thier current beliefs and ideas are wrong. Real hope and change come by self-evalutaion, personal responsibilty and your ability to apdapt and overcome challenging situations.

Would love to know if anyone can make sense of this...or if this is even the pacakge that was signed by President Obama. So much for transparency....how about here is the legislation I signed today in a PDF format on www.recovery.gov

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Social Networking Technology is a commodity

There are a thousand ways to skin a cat (never understood that saying-It implies skinning a cat is an important part of ones day or something) and there are also a thousand technologies that do the same thing. There will always be dominant players in any industry, and there will always be smaller players trying to unseat the larger ones. Why am I stating the obvious? Because, after reading an article on TechCrunch about Bebo possibly being on the AOL auction block, it reminds me once again, we are all not going to jump on every technology band wagon in masses, just because it is the latest and greatest or received a new round of funding and possibly been bought by a bigger fish.

Success in social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, result because they were early entries and had the proper direction to give them staying power. When any technology becomes a commodity, people pick one and settle in. Sure you will have digital anthropologists, futurist, technologist (hell I belong to this group) examining new and old players alike, but in the end, even those people will pick the best (usually the biggest and for good reason) and make that their mainstay.

There is not room for every entry to be at the top, nor for everyone to use every social network that comes along. BTW I use Facebook and LinkedIn more frequently than any other, because they are more accessible to the masses and I don't have the time to maintain all the relationships I have in two places, much less 10. If the rumors turn out to be true, I wouldn't blame AOL for dumping Bebo, but at the same time I wouldn't understand why someone else would acquire them, unless they have the next big thing up their proverbial sleeve.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Analysis before Strategy..Beware of the Snake Oil Salesman

If a company comes to you and makes recommendations about your own company without doing a complete analysis.....RUN!

How does a company make recommendations on how they can help you, before they have:

A) talked to you in depth about where you see yourself as a company on and off line. In addition, discovered what your over all vision and goals are as an entity.

B) Done the research to substantiate OR debunk your own claims

C) After A and B are completed, presented objective analysis

Only after completing A,B and C, can any credible outfit create with you a sound strategy with various ideas and price points to execute the strategy in a reasonable amount of time.

The first part of any business recommendation, be it for Marketing, Advertising, Financial commitment, or hiring, etc is analysis. Analysis of any situation will tell you where you are, how you got there, and what to do next. Any ideas presented before real analysis are usually faulty and doomed to failure.

Analysis first, Strategy second. Just my thoughts...would love to know yours.