Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Notes from 3/26/2010 OCA Meeting

Three new members joined us as we had another big meeting.
- Melissa Baldwin, who was at WaMu in their Experiential Marketing group for 12 years, most recently finished a project with Starbucks and is also a volunteer marketing manager with Taproot.
- Caylee Betts, who recently completed her BA in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Phoenix, is currently an Art Director intern at
Square Tomato.
- Michele Powell, who was most recently with AMEC Earth & Environmental, has 15 years of marketing experience, primarily in the industrial and technology sectors.

Fantastic speakers last week as OCA welcomed Kristina Muller-Eberhard and Thomas Lamprecht of Plume21. The two of them have recently started a new creative agency and visited us to talk about launching a business in today's economy and to share their thoughts regarding work, clients, and the future.

Their background. The two of them each have more than 20 years of ad agency experience, having worked with some of the top brands in the world (Oracle, T-Mobile, Sun, Adobe, Wells Fargo, Nestle) while at some of the top creative shops (Grey, Publicis, DraftFCB/Hacker). Thomas started Grey San Francisco and built the office into the agency's fastest growing division, starting with 1 employee (himself) and eventually managing more than 200 people before moving to Seattle.

Why start a business in today's economy? This is a question they've heard, many times, before. Easy answer: "It's better to start at the bottom, than it is at the top. There's nowhere to go but up." Competitive rates in a down economy mean everyone is looking for a deal. Because they are small, and therefore more nimble and more efficient, Plume21 can approach companies that are "fed up with large agencies."

Who are they targeting? What industries? Kristina and Thomas are looking at growth areas, as well as ones in which they have experience, such as technology, services (intellectual properties), hospitality, health care, communications, and foundations. As one would imagine, they would love to add a couple Fortune 100 companies to their client roster, but are currently focused on small businesses which have potential for growth. "We believe small businesses are the future of this economy."

How are they prospecting potential clients? "We're plugging into our network as we socialize the idea of the business." As with searching for jobs, Plume21 knows the importance of networking. Before they were even able to hang an OPEN sign in the window, they were starting to receive referrals. They are also tapping into the venture capital market, as there is a mutual need that can be satisfied. They need clients, and start-ups need help developing their brands.

Their philosophy. "We approach things from the point of sales. As much as advertising would like to think it's about Art & Poetry, it's not. It's about sales."

Today's audience. According to Thomas, in 1998, people were exposed to 1,800 messages a day. Today, that number has climbed to 6,000, and it's extremely easy to filter out what we don't want to hear. "We scan, we go to what we need. Relevance Rules."

Their approach. Thomas used the analogy of designing and building a house when describing their approach to architecting a brand. "Too often a brand is developed in a vacuum. The brand has to be constructed to function in all spaces." He and Kristina think about all aspects of a client's marketing when developing a brand platform. "We build houses that are pre-wired, with all the plumbing installed. You'll get outlets where you (will) need outlets."

Project specific. Talking about a current project with a company based in Portland, you can hear the excitement in their voices as they describe selling a logo as part of developing the company's overarching brand. "We would normally show 3 or 4 designs, but we gave them more options - because it forced the client to focus on the idea behind the work."

Finally... What's the meaning behind the name? Another question they've answered before. Project Lamprecht und Muller-Eberhard, 2 people, 1 company. (The "und" - which means "and" in German - is a nod to the pair's European background).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

VW's Fun Theory Winner

Last November I wrote a post about VW's web site and its "staircase" video (which, by the way, garnered over 11 million views on YouTube). The site's purpose was to generate ideas that show how something simple can change people's behavior.

Close to 700 entries were submitted in less than two months. They just announced the winner:

I like it, but I still think
the Staircase is better.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Notes from 3/19/2010 OCA Meeting, Job News

With another record crowd (21 people at last week's meeting), we welcomed two new OCA members:
- Jen Pearce is currently a design intern at Wexley School for Girls.
- Bronwyn Webster was most recently a graphics designer with Highline Community College.

Two agents from creative staffing agency, Aquent, were our guest speakers. Kelsey Foster, who specializes in Online Marketing, places candidates throughout Washington and Oregon. Joining her, and visting from Minnesota, was Gretchen Stanford, who handles staffing needs more on the traditional side of marketing.

Last year,
Eric Smith visited from Aquent and provided resume tips. Since then, Aquent has changed its staffing model, where its agents focus on particular practice areas. In addition to online and traditional marketing, Aquent also places staff in client engagements needing resources in UX (user experience), interactive design, and graphic design.

Kelsey and Gretchen talked about recent trends. Both see that things are picking up in the market. Companies, which have made it through lean times, are realizing they need additional help and are handling staffing needs through contract opportunities. Some companies are also hesitant to staff full-time positions with full-time hires, and are rather using "contract to perm" work to feel each other out.

Aquent works quite a bit with Microsoft and has a team dedicated to meeting the software giant's needs. The agency places primarily a-dash contracts (where you're on-site dedicated to a particular project team), but can also handle some v-dash work, where you're a 1099 employee. In addition to Microsoft, Aquent also works with several other well-established Seattle-based companies, such as Expedia, Amazon, REI, Nordstrom, and Getty,

What's the best way to work with Kelsey and Gretchen and their fellow agents? Continue to check their job board. (They're working on an outbound communication that will alert candidates of open jobs.) Also, touch base with your respective agent. They're looking for opportunities for us, but remember to stay top of mind.

Contact info:
Kelsey Foster - (Kelsey's LinkedIn link)
Kelsey is posting jobs on Twitter @OnlineMktgNW
Gretchen Stanford - (Gretchen's LinkedIn link)

Job News!
Congrats to Deepak George, who will start next Monday with Zimmerman Advertising out of Florida. Deepak, who also recently won a student ADDY, is a recent copywriting graduate of the SVC.

The Last Advertising Agency on Earth

Some people have already gotten the message. Some are hanging on to the very last dangling threads of hope. Which way do you lean?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

40 is the new 60??

Yesterday I saw two articles about how hard it is for "older" workers to land jobs. The first was from CNN and provided "job tips for older unemployed workers." A quick scan of the article, and it referenced the AARP and its free Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). The article also provided some startling facts: "Unemployment for mature workers is up 331% over the past decade," according, again, to the AARP.

But this isn't anything I really need to worry about, right?? Well, article number two was from The Ladders and was titled, "
Facing Age Discrimination As Young As 40."
Hey, wait a minute.

As it turns out, the article was written in August of 2008, shortly prior to the onset of the Great Recession - and just before many talented mid- to upper-level managers lost their jobs. It cites that "many companies have reservations about hiring older workers based on preconceived notions — namely, that they have reduced energy and higher salary expectations and are unwilling to learn new technology."
Higher salaries, sure... but reduced energy? Not willing to learn new technologies?

Define 'older.'

So, not only are many of us facing a crowded job market in general, but the article states that "the increasing pace of technological change, globalization and economic instability means age discrimination has crept into the lives of working professionals as young as 40."

True, globalization has changed how things are being done, as off-shore resources have dramatically reduced the number of home-grown jobs. This is more prevalent, though, in the technology sector. I've seen web dev being off-shored, but you're not going to see many strategic marketing roles going to India, China, or Brazil.

But this isn't just about me. The topic of age discrimination has come up at numerous OCA meetings. "Should I 'hide' my age on my resume?" "Should I just focus on the past 10 years?"

There's no doubt our group skews older. The talent pool we have is extremely, for lack of a better word, talented. Ivy League educations, MBAs, former VP and Director-level titles, and in many cases, 15-20+ years of solid marketing experience. Sure, there are new ways of doing things and trends that affect marketing approaches and techniques - but do you think that hasn't been the case since these people first entered the workforce?

40 is supposed to be the new 30, not the new 60. If 40 means it's time to put me out to pasture, I'll go kicking and screaming. There was a time when I half-expected to be retired by 55. Now, with the way Social Security is, I'm expecting to work until I'm 70. So, I don't plan on running out of steam (or "energy" or the need to continually learn) any time soon. In fact, I'm just getting going.

Now, by even addressing this, am I setting myself up for possible discrimination? You tell me. You're reading it. It's a blog. Social Media. Wait a few, and I'll tweet about it, too.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Notes from 3/12/2010 OCA Meeting; Job News!

Last Friday's OCA meeting welcomed another 4 new members:
- Bill Johnson, former project manager with C2 Media and ProLab, has extensive print production experience and is seeking another PM role.
- Kate Larson, is also a project manager, but comes from the world of construction, where she was most recently with Northshore Sheet Metal.
- Meghan V.H. Ragsdale, who has media sales (Clear Channel) and promotions (Red Bull) experience, has just moved to Seattle from Virginia, where she had completed her masters degree in Creative Brand Management at the VCU Brandcenter.
- Jenna Swalin, communications and administrative associate, is a fairly recent graduate of Virginia's College of William & Mary.

Paul Anderson, career psychology consultant and owner of ProLango, was our guest speaker for the 3/12 meeting. Paul, a former recruiter at Microsoft and Expedia, presented his Career Search Optimization seminar and provided many insights regarding today's job search.

From the recruiting end of things, it's a numbers game. On average, posted positions are receiving 900+ resumes per job. And on Craigslist, a job posting can generate up to 400 resumes per HOUR.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), such as Taleo, not just manage the masses on the hiring side, but they keep tabs on how many positions you've applied for and can easily serve as a source for quick background checks. Recruiters can compare your previously submitted resumes, and an ATS can also profile you through public information shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Zillow.

Trends in the recruiting industry have changed the rules of the game. Companies have made it harder to get directly to the source. Early last year, Microsoft instituted a vendor management system, a go-between cutting off direct contact from the the staffing agencies and the company's recruiters. With an average rate of 20% charged by the agencies (and the aforementioned number of applicants per position), many companies are now forgoing the agencies altogether and relying on word-of-mouth. A great example of this is the influx of opportunities that have come to OCA from friends of friends, and thus the importance of networking the 'hidden job market.'

Speaking of which, Paul then covered
"What not to do at a job fair or networking
Don't sell yourself. Make a connection. People don't want to be sold and won't want to help you unless they like and trust you. Don't practice the 30-second elevator pitch; practice being a resource. When networking, Paul recommended a 5-step process that should also be used when interviewing:
1) build rapport
2) ask questions
3) find a need
4) link their need to your offer
5) close and handle objections

A topic of conversation that has come up at several OCA meetings, and Paul has been featured in a Wall Street Journal article about, is the subject of "Blacklisting" - when a company just doesn't want to consider you, for whatever reason. How does someone get blacklisted?

  • Mass (e)mailing your resume, and applying for every position listed. "Did he even read the description before he applied?"

  • Lying on your resume. Paul said people sometimes have a tendency to explicitly tell the truth on a LinkedIn profile (because they're connected with friends and colleagues who know their work history), but feel it's OK to fib on a resume, because it might only be going to a select few. Only problem is, the ATS we mentioned earlier (remember?) and how easy it is to compare your resume with your LinkedIn profile.
    It's one thing to tweak a description to better match the verbiage used by a employer, but you can't make major changes.

  • Social Media mistakes. No need to get in to any details or examples here, but you can easily imagine that posting certain things to the World Wide Web can knock you out of consideration (forever) with a company recruiter.

  • Recruiter stories. It happens. A bad screening, an errant remark, etc. can keep you from getting a job at Company #1. But unfortunately, recruiters talk, and Recruiter #1 may happen to know recruiter from Company #2 and can too easily pass along any mishap.
Paul finished out with 3 Key Elements of Successful Job Seekers:
1) Mindset. Your attitude and belief system have to be positive.
2) Strategy. Do your research and develop a plan. Determine who you need to know and how you're going to meet them.
3) Relationships. Create and cultivate a network where you are seen as a resource.

Job News!
- Andrea Lewellen landed a 6-month contract with Moss Adams, as an in-house creative group Account Supervisor. Congrats, Andrea!!
- Dale Cody is Manager, Interactive at Central 1 Credit Union. He landed the job a while ago, but I was able to finally catch up with him recently. The new job also meant a new location: Vancouver, BC.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Notes from 3/5/2010 OCA Meeting

Last week's meeting had six new faces.
- Marina Babic was most recently a pre-press tech at C2 Media and has nearly 4 years of printing experience.
- Lane Buechet, owner at S&L Lending, has 15+ years of sales management experience in the banking industry.
- Mark Farmer, former marketing director for the Condominium Law Group, PLLC, has one of the most interesting backgrounds within OCA... social work (he's a lawyer), police officer, and social-network Internet entrepreneur.
- Teresa Lizotte, most recently a senior graphic consultant with Stella Color, has over 17 years of experience in the printing industry.
- Tim Rose, creative/art director, was most recently with the Sterling-Rice Group out of Boulder, Colorado. Tim has close to 20 years of art direction experience, 6 of which were spent living and working in Europe.
- Marcella Van Oel, content manager at start-up (a site that hosts career management tools and resources), is a web production consultant and strategist.

Rick Peterson, president of Hydrogen Advertising, was our guest speaker at OCA's 3/5 meeting and provided a wealth of information about a wide variety of topics.

- Rick's company, which he has guided since 2001, has seen the worst that the Great Recession has thrown their way - and has survived to have one of its best months ever. They are busy on a number of fronts, developing projects for clients in multiple media venues, including web, broadcast, and print.

- Lean times over the past 18 months have led to a lean, effective, efficient, and partially outsourced staff for Hydrogen. Rick and the group spoke of today's need for virtual staff members and a freelance model which is not entirely new to the advertising world. As expected, some things can be more easily outsourced, such as creative talent. On the flipside, account management, which is often key to the client relationship, should be a steady force within the agency.

- The economy's effects have also made clients much more fiscally frugal, squeezing budgets and expecting more with less. Clients are asking for lower rates and often wanting work done in less time. Given the three-legged stool of money, time, and resources, you can see how the latter is often what is impacted most. And because good business can result in repeat business, it also means that Rick's team needs to blow away his clients with every piece of creative work.

- We discussed an interesting parallel between the cost of responding to RFPs and the job search. In both cases, both can be extremely time-consuming (and costly), so it's extremely beneficial to be networked and to get in the door before a search (for an agency or an employee) goes the official route.

- Regarding today's job search market, Rick feels everyone should have a portfolio. "Can you show your stuff? Can you sell? How can you describe what you've done in the past?" Utilize case studies to concisely explain your work, regardless of role. And when asked about the current job seeker's dilemma of being 'overqualified,' Rick understands hiring managers' fears, but said he would much rather have the experience.

- In talking about Hydrogen's own needs, Rick discussed what he would look for in a job candidate: someone who is enterprising, a problem solver, and multifaceted. Hardworking. "Are you a person who is interesting and interested - in Hydrogen and their problems?" Do you have an insatiable curiosity? And, last but not least, "No Assholes" need apply.

And did I mention they're hiring? Click
here for details.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What kind of interviewee are you?

Have some fun, click on the image.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Inspiration of the Musical Sort

OK - update on the below... the video has now been viewed more than 6.5 million times (since launching early last week) and has garnered the attention of The Wall Street Journal and Business Week bloggers, not to mention the music community. For interesting details on the behind-the-scenes info (and to see what State Farm did invest), click here. Now the burning question, from a social media aspect... "Was it worth it?"
2 days and 1.2 million views later, OK Go's new video for "This Too Shall Pass". Amazing.

And see part 1 of the Making Of.

Not sure what State Farm kicked in (or why, exactly) to be a part of it, but 1.2 million+ views can't be a bad ROI.

Notes from 2/26/2010 OCA Meeting, Job News

Welcome two new OCA members:
- John Dunn, who was most recently at James Farrell & Co., is an experienced logistics, procurement, and supply chain professional with extensive international experience.
- Avi Katzman, copywriter and content manager, was most recently in a marketing position at the law offices of Garvey Schubert Barer. Avi also has experience with media and event production.

Notes from last week:
During our last meeting of February, we took time out to review resumes. Several people braved the criticism and subjected their hard work to feedback - all of which was constructive.

If there was one consistency, it was that there was no consistency between formats and layouts. Everyone had a different style and approach, depending on what they felt worked well for them.

However, there was a general consensus about several items:
- No need for an objective statement. The objective of the resume is to get an interview for the job for which you're applying.
- A summary statement, on the other hand, can quickly convey your experience, skill set, and the value you can add to the hiring company.
- A list of qualifications / accomplishments toward the top provides a quick checklist for a hiring manager or HR rep to make sure you meet their requirements. This can also be modified to better match the job at hand.

Regardless of format or the font you use, get multiple people to look over your resume. Get feedback (don't worry, the feedback you get will also be varied), find mistakes or inconsistencies, and never be satisfied.

Click here to find
other resume tip OCA blog posts.

Job News!
- Chris Lowe is on day 3 as a Recruiter, Enterprise Staffing at Starbucks Coffee Company. Congrats on the new job!
Wide variety of webinars available via the AMA!
Check them out!