Hispanic Soccer Ball Promotion

19 12 2011

This has been a very exciting program to work on because it contains so many different facets of marketing. It began as an opportunity to leverage soccer balls we had in storage off season by focusing on Hispanic consumers in the Publix Miami Zone. We developed combo cards to display in store with the mail in offer for the soccer ball. Just developing a multi-cultural promotion wasn’t good enough though – we wanted to drive traffic to the co-branded microsite, KelloggShopSmart.com too. So we added the ad below to the site’s rotational carousel.

Then we invited “mom blogger,” Michelle from iheartpublix.com to blog about it on her Facebook page and blog and shipped a couple dozen balls to give away at her discretion. The end result? Two blog posts and two Facebook posts (shown below) provided visibility to 60,000+ fans to boost traffic to the new site and bring shoppers back in store for those qualifying purchases! 🙂

-Nikki M Jones-

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Cinco Designs & Portfolios

3 03 2011
Business Card

Just designed my business cards for my side business, Cinco Designs & Portfolios. 🙂

-Nikki M Jones-





The 4-Hour Work Week

16 02 2011

Ok, so I may not have learned Spanish yet, but I’ve already checked off one item from my 2011 Reading List so I had to share my thoughts (and show off my progress, of course).

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss is essentially a self-help book to remove the shackles of working forty years in an unrewarding 9-5 job for a gold watch and a pension that may or may not still be there once you’re ready to take it. It attempts to liberate employees from believing that they have to wait to obtain a “deferred life plan” for retirement age, and instead spread mini retirements throughout your life. The book goes at length to explain that there’s almost no such thing as a fulfilling job, except one that can be done in the least amount of time, and that no one has to be a risk taker, hate their job, or even quit their job to begin exercising this philosophy.

Ferriss had my attention by page eight, when he asserted: “People don’t want to be millionaires; they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy. Ski chalets, butlers, and exotic travel often enter the picture. Perhaps rubbing cocoa butter on your belly in a hammock while you listen to waves rhythmically lapping against the deck of your thatched-roof bungalow?” That perfectly sums me up. I don’t want to be a millionaire, but living a leisurely life of sea-side hammock living… who doesn’t want that? More importantly though, who in their right mind is going to risk job security and health insurance to obtain that lifestyle?

The book seems to be most practical when a person is re-evaluating his or her life from a recently laid-off frame of mind. Ferriss says, “This period of collective panic is your big chance to dabble” (p xiv). At any point though, he believes it’s essential to test the most basic assumptions of the work-life equation. For example: How do your decisions change if retirement isn’t an option? What if you could use a mini-retirement to sample your deferred-life plan reward before working 40 years for it? Is it really necessary to “work like a slave to live like a millionaire?”

While I found the book as unrealistic as most starry-eyed optimistic multi-level marketing sales pitches, I took away several valuable points. First of all, my life plan has always included working like a slave to be able to retire early enough to enjoy my deferred dreams – but they’re still deferred dreams. The 4-Hour Workweek gives a fairly valuable approach to entering financial freedom incrementally, through the acronym DEAL: Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.

The Definition and Elimination steps are still more about personal psychology than actual actions, for defining – or more accurately re-defining wealth, time management and employment assumptions, and then systematically eliminating them. The Automation step is most personally valuable to me, and any other individuals that may not be planning on immediately tossing away the security of their job. I previously thought of automation in personal finance terms, such as having 10% of my income automatically deducted for a 401k or independent retirement account. Ferriss shows that income, as well as personal management and communication, can be automated through outsourcing.

After reading these chapters, I decided to attempt my own venture into outsourcing. I thought the most cost-effective method of this experiment would be to work for hire as a virtual assistant, rather than to hire my own. I visited Freelancer.com and replied to an ad to proof-read someone’s cover letter, résumé, and thank you letter. Two and a half hours later and I’d made $25 after Freelancers fee. Not bad, but not worth competing in the global marketplace for not much more than minimum wage. It was a worthwhile experiment, and it definitely caused me to value the things virtual assistants will do for $5-10/hour. If my time is worth $20-25/hour it’s just poor utilization of resources to do some things myself if I can find someone to do as good of a job as I would.

Ferriss touched on several other things that are valuable, with or without leaving an employer. For example, he discusses Pareto’s Law that “80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs.” We’re all familiar with this law from a wealth distribution point of view, but Pereto’s Law isn’t exclusive to economics. Ferriss urges readers to evaluate which 80% of company profits are coming from which 20% of products or consumers. I can see from a marketing or customer service lens, that this a priceless statistic. With the right market research (done fairly cheaply by individuals in Bangladesh, by the way), this could essentially save 80% of a company’s budget.

On a personal level, evaluating which 20% of sources are causing 80% of headaches may be difficult to truthfully analyze, but it would be very telling. This type of analysis may allow giving up some of the things that drive me crazy, like following up with the same time wasters over and over again. Unfortunately, knowing where headaches are located doesn’t necessarily allow all of them to be removed, because part of that is just dealing with life.

Ferriss discussed time management with a similar point of view that I found mind-altering. He reminded me that doing something unimportant well doesn’t make it important and just because a task requires a lot of time also doesn’t make it important. In my work life, I’m reminded of the mind-numbing spreadsheets that I’ve had to complete for the sake of tracking productivity for micro-managers of my past. If I’m spending 30 minutes a day recording production in three different locations for various commissions and tracking purposes, are those ten hours per month really productive?

Another example in both my personal and work life is obsessing over distributing emails as effectively as possible. To do so, I’ve set up elaborate folder rules and techniques to have everything automated. Ferriss believes this “professional wheel-spinning” may demonstrate efficiency, but not effectiveness – which is what actually brings you closer to your goals.

Overall, I enjoyed The 4-Hour Workweek, even if it was overly idealistic for the cynic in me. It had a narrative-style of writing that made it effortless to read and digest several chapters at a time. At times, I felt Ferriss’s breezy style combined with his unique perspectives waivered between hedonistic and arrogant. I’m not sure if it’s realistic or fair to teach people that they are the only thing standing in the way of money flowing freely into their checking accounts as they bask in the sun. At the same time, it’s almost refreshing to be challenged with such an assertive position. I don’t know if I should be offended that there’s an underlying accusation that it’s my own fear or failures that are causing me to not be a wealthy entrepreneur or if I should be stirred to action to realize my American dream – and in the end, I’m both.

-Nikki M Jones-





Re-Resolutions

28 01 2011

We’re drawing near to a very pivotal date: February 1st. It’s the day that determines if resolutions are made to be forgotten or to be… well, resolute. When it comes to resolutions there are three types of people:

1) The Naysayers – These are the glass half-empty people that call themselves realists. They believe that trying to transform yourself one day per year is capricious by nature and they don’t even consider trying to bend their willpower for a week because they realize it will fail.

2) The Whimsical – These are the exact opposite personality. They are bright-eyed optimists that wantonly set impossible goals that they don’t have the willpower to achieve or the fortitude to prepare for failure.

3) The Strategic – These are the true realists. A beautiful blend of the other personalities. These people don’t try to magically better themselves overnight. Instead, they are constantly creating new goals and reinventing themselves. They benchmark their progress and always have a back-up plan. Because they’re not placing all their energy and hopes on one goal, they don’t give up altogether when they meet failure face to face.

On January 1st, I was Whimisical. I am not just a bright-eyed optimist by nature; I desperately want to be. I want to believe in all things good and beautiful and righteous. I didn’t just set out to lose 20 pounds in one month – that is attainable. No, I had to go for the impossible. My resolution was to be the best wife that I can be.

But that was then. When? Four or five fights ago. January 1st. And this is now. I am re-resolving for February 1st. I’m no longer setting out to be a Whimsical Wife… Now my goal is to be the best ME that I can be. That’s right – I’m upping the ante.

I want to be the kind of person that wakes up at 5am, and works out before heading to the grind. I want to learn another language, Spanish, specifically. I will invest in my future by securing a better job. I will no longer be the one pleading for ten extra minutes with my beloved pillow. I will be productive with my weekends and no longer squander my time on Facebook or other time suckers. Instead I will dedicate time to read the words of the brightest business minds of our time. And – I will be the best wife that I can be.

So what’s the difference? I’m going to be Strategic about it. First, I’m writing a blog. I will track my progress with my foreign language study, my job hunt, my book list. Otherwise known as, accountability and benchmarking. And I will be far too invested in this project of ME to give up because I bombed the first interview, skipped the gym on Wednesday, or took a month to read that Suze Orman book, instead of the week that I’d scheduled.

Now the real question – why am I writing this at 1am if I’m going to get up to work out at 5? Because thankfully, it’s only January 28th… so I can still be an optimist and believe that I can pull this off, even if all logic tells me otherwise.

Here’s my 2011 Reading List:

1) Leanne, Shel – How to Interview Like a Top MBA

2) Covey, Steven – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

3) Ramit Sethi – I Will Teach You To Be Rich

4) Ferriss, Timothy – The 4-Hour Work Week

5) Ogilvy, David – Confessions of an Advertising Man

6) Frankel, Lois P. – Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

7) Schwartz, Eugene M. – Mail Order: How to Get Your Share of the Hidden Profits That Exist in Your Business

8 ) Schwartz, Eugene M. – How to Double your Power to Learn

9) Caples, John – Tested Advertising Methods

10) Kiyosaki, Robert – Rich Dad, Poor Dad

11) Orman, Suze – The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke

12) Collins, Jim – Good to Great

13) Collins, Jim – Good to Great and the Social Sectors

14) Levinson, Jay Conrad – Guerrilla Marketing

15) Friedman, Thomas – The World is Flat

16) Christianson, Clayton – The Innovator’s Solution

-Nikki M Jones-