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Archive for August, 2015

Yes I love this email and not because it is from a Justin!

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Like you I get a ton of emails a day. Probably north of 200. Included in that number are probably 40+ that are unwanted and unread. The question is how does an email get thru the clutter? Catch my eye? Well here is one that did and I’m here to tell you why.

To start with, the email didn’t say sir or madam and actually did spell my name right. Believe me that helps! Also it was short, 114 words, and was 100% customized to me! He knew we advertised in Marketing News but he also knew I was involved with Baylor and that I moved to Texas. All of that means he did his homework and too many emails don’t. They are all about quantity and not quality!

Please let me know what you think of Justin’s email?

Subject: AMA MARC Profile – Networking
Merrill –

My name is Justin Horner, and I just ran across your company’s profile in the AMA Marketing News magazine sent out this month. I recently moved back to Dallas to run the marketing and sales operations for a local production company and was wondering if you had some time to grab coffee or lunch, my treat. I would love to hear about your journey to Texas, how you got involved with my alma mater Baylor, and any advice you may have regarding marketing /networking in Dallas.

Let me know a time that works best for you over the next few weeks, and I can make it work. Thanks for your time.

Best regards,

Justin Horner / PCS Production Company / Marketing Director

How does an email get thru your clutter and catch your eye?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

P.S. – I will be meeting with Justin but I will be treating him! Nice job Justin!

Are You Ready For Some Football? Time To Join Our Weekly Football Pool! Yes! It Is Free… And There Are Prizes!

Friday, August 28th, 2015

For five years now, we have had a football pool and I am excited to say we are going to continue it for another year. Last year’s overall winner was Jeff Spitzer Jr. Jeff followed Steve Kennedy, Doug G Golab, Andrew Dixon, and Sarah Baird who won the first five years of the pool. It is VERY easy to participate. Here are the rules:

  • We keep track of everyone’s cumulative score and will be awarding a spot in the final week to the top two people who pick the most correct games right for the first 16 weeks. If those people win a week they will be awarded another spot in the finale.
  • Every Friday (except for the week of Thanksgiving when we will post on a Wednesday) we will post a link to the weekly pool.
  • All you need to do is select (by clicking) the team that you think will win each game
  • We are ONLY picking the game winners…the point spread means NOTHING in this pool
  • Every week we will have a winner. The winner is the person who correctly predicted the winner in the most games
  • If there is a tie, the tiebreaker will be the total points of the Monday night game
  • If there is still a tie, the people tied will split the weekly prize money
  • All picks need to be in by Thursday at 5:00pm CST except for Thanksgiving week, picks will be due by 12:00pm CST that week

    The weekly prize will be a $50 American Express gift certificate. In addition, the person with the highest CUMULATIVE SCORE for the year has been increased to a $350.00 American Express gift card and the person who has the second highest cumulative score will be awarded a $200 American Express gift card. The tie-breaker (if needed) for the cumulative winners will be the total points for the Monday night game on week 16. There is also a bonus!

    The pool will go on like this for 16 weeks. For week 17, only the winners of the prior 16 weeks and the 2 cumulative winners can participate for the grand prize, a $500 American Express gift card. If a person wins multiple weeks during the first 16 weeks they can have multiple entries in week 17.

    I will be playing as well, but CANNOT win the pool. I hope everyone will enjoy the football pool and I can’t wait to see who wins the first prize and who has bragging rights until next year!

    Please use the same name and email address when you enter your picks. This makes it much easier for us to track the cumulative scores.

    Click Here to Participate in Week 1 of the 2015 Football Pool.

    Feel free to share the link and have friends, colleagues, relatives, kids and anyone else you want join the pool.

    Good luck to all!

Do you turn back the clock – yes or no?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

On my last trip to the east coast I decided to try something different and not change my watch to reflect the correct time zone. No matter where I go I always change my watch to reflect where I am going prior to getting off the plane. I have lots of friends and industry contacts who actually don’t change their watch and this time I decided to join that team.

I must admit it was a little different. I did like the fact I knew what time it was back in the office but didn’t really like it when I went to sleep and was setting my alarm. That part made me very nervous since my iPhone does change automatically and was a different time than my watch.

I probably will change my watch when I am in a different time zone but I am curious to know what you do?

  • Do you change your watch to the new time zone?
  • If not, have you always done that?
  • Do you do it so you know what time to call the kids or your spouse?
  • Do you do it to know what time you should go to sleep?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Time to get in a cab…ugh…help!

Monday, August 24th, 2015

All of my close friends know I get motion sickness. On a boat, train, or cab the end result typically is the same which is I just don’t feel well and sometimes worse happens!

Well a few weeks ago I was in New York and I must admit really dreading a cab ride into the city. I find most… (not all cabbies) like to do the old, start and slam on the brake routine and all of those types of people seem to find me! Well this time I was going to try something different. I made a decision to not check emails, texts, or call anyone but rather put on my headphones and listen to music. As luck would have it – it totally worked! I was singing to myself, enjoying the loud music and it distracted me so I felt great for my meetings.

  • Do you ever get motion sickness?
  • What do you do to overcome it?
  • Have you tried music?

I look forward to hearing from you and letting me know if you have any ideas that can help me!

Vacation – is it really vacation? By guest writer Debra Semans

Friday, August 21st, 2015

As the earliest leaves begin to drop onto my lawn and the school bus is making test runs, I think back on the summer and those lovely vacations I took. Or did I?

Well, I did take about five days off for my son’s wedding. But, as much fun as that was, we were so busy it couldn’t really be called a vacation. And I was still responding to emails at least a couple times a day. We did get to the beach for a long weekend. But, yes, my husband and I were checking emails and worrying about internet speeds the entire time?

Sometimes it seems that vacations are almost not worth the bother. You kill yourself getting everything done before you leave, then you work while you’re away, and then you work hard to catch up when you get back (no matter how much you worked before or during!)

We’re no different from most employed Americans: a recent Randstad USA Employee Engagement study found that:

  • 49% feel stressed when they return to work after a vacation,
  • 46% worry about work while they are away,
  • 45% don’t believe their bosses help them disconnect when they are away from work,
  • 39% don’t believe their boss encourages them to take their allotted vacation days,
  • 38% believe taking fewer vacations makes them look better to their boss, and
  • 36% have had to cancel vacation plans due to work.

This is no surprise to any of you, I know. And in spite of all this, I remain committed to taking vacations, because I believe we all have to recharge our batteries – at least a little! So next month, we’ll be setting off on a road trip and in December heading back to the beach between Christmas and New Year.

So, help me out. What tips can you offer?

  • What do you do before you leave to make sure you can disconnect?
  • Do you work while you are on vacation and, if so, how do you keep it within limits?
  • How do you deal with the stress of coming back from a vacation?
  • What electronic devices go with you and which stay at home?
  • How do you manage your boss around taking time off?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Can I have your autograph?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

I am sorry if you thought today’s blog was a request for you to send me your autograph because it really wasn’t. It is more of a question about if you ask or have asked athletes or celebrities for their autograph.

Over the years I have gotten a lot of autographs from professional athletes especially at Fenway Park. In fact long before when it was a big business and people were selling them for lots of dollars?

One of my most cherished autographs is actually from George Steinbrenner when I was an 11-year-old. I still remember meeting him while he was sitting in the owner’s box (down low – row 1) at Fenway Park. He was having a conversation with Lou Piniella about the length of Lou’s hair and George himself was very kind to sign for me. I still have the autograph and it still reminds me of all the great times I have had with my dad.

So I ask you:

  • Do you collect autographs?
  • What is the favorite one you have?
  • Are there times where you won’t bother athletes/celebrities and respect their privacy?
  • Do you have a funny story you would like to share?

I really look forward to reading your comments.

Let me know what you think about these clever inventions.

Monday, August 17th, 2015

I received an email a few weeks ago (thanks Uncle J) that showed some pretty cool inventions: I have highlighted 7 of them:

Water fountains with spouts to fill water bottles too.

Public transit that will accept recyclable goods as fare.

Benches that you could rotate to always have a dry seat.

Packing tape with a simple, easy to open strip.

Mugs that will catch any drips before they reach your table or desk.

A backpack with a built-in hood, for those days where you’re unsuspectingly caught in the rain.

Wall outlets with extension cords built into the wall. Nothing will ever be out of reach, now!

Some pretty cool stuff right?

Help….I am trying to communicate with my son and don’t understand!

Friday, August 14th, 2015

I pride myself on trying to be a good communicator and certainly many times I fail but it seems with my son I tend to fail more often. A few weeks ago I was having dinner (thanks M.D.) with my kids and I asked my oldest son a simple question:

Are you done with dinner?

I would have thought of a number of answers he could have given me and never would have thought of the answer he did give me. Here is the actual conversation (not even sure that is what we had) that took place:

  • Me: J are you done with dinner?
  • J: around
  • Me: around what?
  • J: What?
  • Me: What are you around?
  • J: Dinner
  • Me: I have no idea what that means?
  • Me: Is that a yes I’m done?
  • J: Dad……please I’m eating.

I don’t even know what happened or took place and then less than 10 minutes later I am pumping gas and this next discussion took place:

  • J: Dad can we go to Market Street (grocery store) this weekend?
  • Me: Sure
  • Me: Is there something specific you would like?
  • J: Yes
  • Me: Can you give me an idea what it is?
  • J: Cereal
  • Me: What kind of cereal
  • J: Cereal
  • Me: I get that but there are 125 different cereals anything specific?
  • J: Yes

Are you kidding me!!!! Help!

  • Am I asking difficult questions?
  • Is there a code book that I can buy to understand what he is saying?
  • Are you going through similar conversations with your kids?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time to get my Mom on video……hear me out and you might join me…

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

I consider myself pretty strategic and creative but this time I made a huge mistake. Since my dad’s memory isn’t as sharp as I would like it to be it is hard to take video of him for a number of reasons. My mom is a different story, she is sharp, funny (although most of the time isn’t trying to be), has a good memory, and most of all likes to talk.

Here is the idea – moving forward every time I see my mom I will take very short (45 seconds) videos of her while I ask her questions. A sample of some of the questions:

  • Tell me about the first time you met dad?
  • Describe your wedding?
  • What is the funniest experience you had with your brother?
  • Did you enjoy nursing school?
  • How was the African safari you went on?
  • Was I a difficult child growing up?

The idea is to save those videos and share them with my kids and their kids down the road.

  • What do you think of the idea?
  • Are you already doing this?
  • Will you join me moving forward?
  • I look forward to reading your comments.

    P.S. I am a fool for NOT starting this sooner!

Time to have some fun with me in a casino…

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Ok let’s pretend for a minute we are all in a casino and as we walk through and feel the excitement we stop at a roulette table and start to play.

What is your strategy?

  • Are you going black/red?
  • Playing 0 and 00?
  • Odd/even?
  • Do you have a favorite number that has been good to you over the years?
  • Do you look at the chart to see the past numbers and make your decision from there?

I look forward to reading your comments.