Friday, October 21, 2011

    My advice for your first day: Don’t be a robot

    This post was first published at the InternMatch Blog and it is my first guest post on that blog.  Please head over to the link, FB Like and Tweet it because it contributes to my coffee fund.  If you are interested in writing for InternMatch, fill out their app!
    This post has been on draft for a while and recently, I have been inspired to complete it after being asked by a friend for a ride to an interview.  For many, the beginning of school is marked by first time jobs and most people including me were incredibly nervous and unsure about how to act on our first day. 

    I searched on Google on what to do for my first day and saw that it was a topic that has been thoroughly explored.   However, no matter how much you read, it is always the same few things that show up:
    •             Dress appropriately
    •             Arrive early
    •             Ask Questions
    •             Do your homework on the company
    •             Be positive/upbeat/have a good attitude

    Following that advice you will be alright, you might even do very well! However, after working a few internships, that first day advice seems to be missing something.  Perhaps, it is because I am anthropology major and was taught the value of personal connections, because to me those points of advice miss that very important aspect of being human.  It is my opinion that the first day of work should be about laying the foundation for not only a professional connection, but a friendship as well in order to create a lasting relationship.

    There are three things that I would recommend someone to do on their first day:

    1) Be a chatterbox
    As soon as you are shown to your desk/cubicle/place of work, immediately talk to the people around you.  Remember how eager you were to make friends on your first day of college by striking up conversations with everybody?  Capture that same mindset and use it to develop friendships on your first day of work.  Revealing things about yourself through conversation, even something as simple as what you did that weekend, helps your coworkers find common ground with you and allows for the beginning of a relationship.       

    2) Be a great listener
    In a conversation is important to take as much as you give, meaning that simply chatting away about yourself will get you labeled annoying, conversely if all you do is listen it will kill the conversation.   The key to being a great listener is not just to passively listen, but also actively ask questions and give affirmations as well.  If you listen well, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find how much people will tell you about themselves.  A receptive ear is always welcome and the sooner you demonstrate you have one, the more quickly you will be able to gain people’s trust and develop a relationship.

    3) Keep it real
     Genuine people are greatly appreciated and fakes can be spotted a mile away.  Therefore if you do not have a genuine interest in being friends with your coworkers, your execution of the first two points I listed will fail.  Stay honest and be yourself as you interact with your coworkers and you will be making friends with them in no time.
    In closing, remember to use you heart as well as your brain and I wish you a fantastic first day,


    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Marketing Binder Entry #4: Campus Crusade for Christ Booklet

    I was awaiting the start of my weekly Wednesdays conference call when two members of the Korean Campus Crusade for Christ (KCCC) came up to me and asked for five minutes of my time.  After a couple of refusals, their persistence paid off and I finally relented and let them preach to me.  One of the members whipped out his trusty booklet and began reading from it.

    That is when I noticed how terribly done their sales collateral was.

    Long, tacky title with an uninspired font and color scheme. And that's just the beginning!  See the whole booklet here

    Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? is a booklet published by the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) and the whole design of the booklet just screams amateur.  It looks like something someone whipped up on Microsoft Word 97 and then never got around to updating it for the new millennium.

    Below are two pages from the booklet:

    There are a host of problems with them, but the most notable are:

    1. Lack of color - I imagine CCC is already paying for color printing due to the yellow, so why not use other colors to spruce up the text and make things pop?  Also images in black and white in this day and age of cheap color printing is a crime.
    2. Text heavy/bad formatting - Shorter headers and bullet points would have helped the reader grasp the message more quickly.  Overly repetitious headers, pushes the reader to gloss over the material.  The last paragraph should have been broken up into bullets not only for the reader, but for the presenter of the booklet as well.  Bullets in the form of incomplete sentences force the presenter to put things in their own words, making the whole presentation much more interesting and lively.  Reading a sales pitch in front of someone is a surefire way to lose a sale.  
    3. Confusing image - There are too many elements in the image to grasp at a glance.  It fails to convey to the reader immediately how they are missing out on happiness due to the lack of Christ.  
    4. Fails to answer "So What?" - The text fails to make immediately clear what is the benefit for receiving Christ.  Reading through the headers and quotes the reader is left asking so what? The value proposition is simply not there. 

    Closing thoughts
    The flyers and posters put up by other Christian groups such as Intervarsity and they just blow what KCCC does out of the water.  It is a hyper competitive market out on the UCSD campus with dozens of fellowships and churches vying for converts.  Having subpar collateral is just not going to cut it.  

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Daily deal folly at UCSD or just a genius marketing ploy?

    I thought the daily deals marketing concept pioneered by Groupon had already been thoroughly debunked.  However, when I got back to UCSD I heard my friends buzzing about a new daily deals site called Munch On Me.  According to TechCrunch, Munch On Me is an YC startup that is the "Groupon for food."   The “key” difference and advantage Munch On Me has over Groupon is that it gives deals on specific items rather than dollar amounts letting restaurants stock up on a particular item, which leaves them much more prepared to handle the spike in traffic.  It looks like they just recently expanded to San Diego and are offering quite a lot free items on their site.   Munch On Me has even managed to get my on campus Tapioca Express on board.  For over a week, the UCSD Tapioca Express is offering a free pearl milk tea with no purchase necessary. 

    I question what Tapioca Express hopes to accomplish out of this promotion.  The theory behind daily deals is that by driving a massive amount of traffic to a store through a “too good to be true” deal, will result people in discovering the store and then turn them into repeat customers once they realize how awesome the store is.  Munch On Me must have a great sales team to be able to convince Tapioca Express that it needed to be discovered, considering that it is the only milk tea shop on campus with the next closest one being a 10 minute drive, 20 minute bus ride or 30+ minute walk from the center of campus.  In other words, if you are on campus at UCSD, you do not have a choice but to go to Tapioca Express for your milk tea, making the act of running a free milk tea promotion with no purchase necessary, sort of a puzzle.  I reckon money would have been better spent on something as simple as a flyer.       

    This promotion only makes sense, if Munch On Me is paying Tapioca Express for the promotion in order to drive traffic to the site.  As one of the most highly trafficked stores on campus, a Tapioca Express promotion would drive a lot of traffic from UCSD students to Much On Me.  It would be an ingenious way to get that word of mouth effect going overnight.