Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blog 2: Up & Go (Abroad): Getting Organized

Welcome back! Another week down and let me tell you, things are already picking up speed. Usually when I start a new semester, I take my sweet time getting acclimated to the new schedule because I usually have a very limited workload. Not so this semester it would seem.

The main object of my interest in the coming months is to study abroad. The deadline for the Fall 2014 semester is February 7th and at this point in time, I have a little over a week and a half to complete all of my forms. I have been very successful in getting everything done, surprisingly. Another important caveat about all of this work I have been doing towards study abroad is that this is all on top of my school work load, work-study, and concert band rehearsal (in a few weeks I'll hopefully be adding on another semester of being a radio DJ at WWPV, too.) It has been a hectic week for a type B person like me.
Stressed Nate is stressed

I plan on going to Copenhagen, Denmark next fall. Part of the process involves selecting courses to take based on what you need for requirements to graduate. Now, to do this, one must first see what courses are offered at the institution in the country of study. Whether or not the credits from those courses will transfer is another question. Needless to say, this has been extremely stressful (notice stressed Nate to the right). But I have toughed through it and just gotten my work done (mostly) without complaint. Friday, I even realized that my minor takes the place of my Business concentration requirement which means I can afford to take classes that may not transfer credits abroad! So what does this all mean?

This is the part where I explain why my pain relates to marketing. This whole experience has taught me the importance of getting organized. Usually I just do everything as it comes along and do not take the initiative to get work done before its due, but now I am (gasp!)  This isn't just for study abroad but for my classes as well. This class especially needs organization. As a marketer, I believe it is important to be organized so that you can stay on top of your company and ensure that everything is going as smoothly as it can. This also ties into my TED talk presentation about innovation. Innovation allows one to change how the market works but to do this one needs to be organized and have a set goal in mind. For Rodney Mullen, it was so that he could expand the street skating vocabulary. For me, it is to study abroad and expand my experiences in the world. When we approach the new shoes simulation in the coming weeks, I will be more prepared to operate a business and to take on all of my other course work.

I still need to finish my study abroad packet first. However, I am much more prepared than I ever thought I could be, which means that marketing is having a somewhat positive effect on my life. My view of the world is once again expanding. Finally, simply because I love this song and because it is the title of this post, here is Up & Go by The Starting Line. Have a great week! (Note that this is a song about a girl, not study abroad. My women problems are a whole different story)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blog 1: Nice Try Kid, Marketing is for You!

This past week (1/13/14-1/17/14) was the first week of classes and that meant another semester of having no idea what I was getting myself into. This is one result of that.

Marketing: What is it? Before the class and from my own experience working for The Big Y chain of grocery stores back home, I felt that it was all about brainwashing customers into purchasing something they didn't need and there are still times it seems like that, but it is far more complex and interesting. Perhaps its actually a positive?

I was shocked at myself when that question first entered my mind, but then i looked something very near and dear to my heart: Nice Try Kid.

First, a little history. Nice Try Kid is a pop-punk band hailing from my homeland (Western Ma/Eastern New York) made up of (currently) 4 really cool dudes. I'm good friends with the two guitar players, Bryan and Tom, and their sister, Jess. This means I'm in the know with the band and get all the updates earlier than other fans. They've performed all around Berkshire County and the Albany area of New York, even venturing as far as Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania to play gigs. As with any band, you want people to know your name. To do this, they started printing t-shirts and having stickers made and have even had custom guitar picks made! Now, you may say "So how does this relate to marketing?" Well thank you for asking!

In this first week we learned of the four Ps: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.
  1. Product-What stands out? Why would a customer want this product or service?
  2. Place-Where are customers going to find this product or service? How will the product be distributed?
  3. Price-What should the product or service cost, especially considering the competition and the market?
  4. Promotion-Why would a customer choose this product? How will you convince the customer? How will this be communicated? 
Let us take the Nice Try Kid guitar pick as an example. As for product, it has a Nice Try Kid graphic and it is made from a glow-in-the-dark material. This could make a customer want this product. The customer can find these picks at any of Nice Try Kid's shows and they are distributed from the merchandise table which I occasionally run. Price is where their marketing skills fall short for this product, as they are free. The promotion aspect of the pick is very good though. It communicates the bands name and it is easy to get to people at shows by throwing a pick at the end of the set. It is also incredibly portable. So much in such a small object!

So what is marketing? It is about building a relationship with customers that will benefit both parties. The term that was learned in class was "creating value". It is about connecting with people. It can even be applied to the self.

Now I see that marketing applies to the music I love and I'm sure that I will begin to notice it more and more in the other parts of my life. I can only ask this question now: What will happen next?

All Nice Try Kid material used with permission from the group