Selling With Your Worst Product

Recently while traveling, I noticed that the airlines have completely redesigned their pricing strategy. At one point, they were striving to make their "normal" product the best it could be. 

Now they emphasize their "basic" product. They sell customers on low prices, and then make other aspects of travel cost extra, even though they once were included. Why would they opt for that model?

Is it because people didn't use the "premium" services? I think they did. It used to be convenient to check a bag, and a nice touch to get a drink and a chocolate chip cookie on a plane. 

Other services follow this same model. The basic option is there to set the baseline, but is not satisfactory as a product. 

How You Can Master Any Skill In A Day

Regardless of what skill you're trying to master, there is likely an easy and user-friendly tool out there for you to use.

I'm not saying that people are suddenly becoming smarter, but mastery in many skills is becoming much more attainable.

Create Your Own Website

Thanks to the latest technology, people now have access to more tools (pathways to mastery) than ever. Take making a website for example, what once required a professional web developer and a large budget, can now be done by anyone with basic computer skills. With tools like Squarespace and Wix, anyone can make a website for themselves or their business in under an hour.

Improving User Experiences

Focusing on positive user experiences empowers users by making tools more accessible. While a tool that works may "work", unless it does so efficiently, it doesn't really work.

Emphasis on Efficiency

Houses are incredibly inefficient. Cars are incredibly inefficient. Existing systems are inefficient. By making efficiency a priority, humans are again empowered. People often blame a lack of time for keeping them from learning a new skill. If the time we spent waiting could be spent improving ourselves, we would be smarter and more productive.

What's the solution?

Making more efficient solutions mainstream. The movement is happening now towards adopting new standards for efficiency. Smart homes will minimize energy consumption. Even using voice activated devices like Google Home or Amazon's Echo will save time that would have otherwise been spent engaged with a handheld device.

 

Finally, efficiency is ever-improving which will lead to people being smarter. And by making these über-efficient tools more user-friendly, people will be more likely to use them—Which is the biggest barrier of all.

 

While these incredible tools exist, people will still have to change their habits. Unless people are willing to devote their down time to bettering themselves, these tools will remain mostly unused.

Drinking Beer Professionally

Well, I'm not drinking beer for a living, but that's not to say I'm not interested. I started a job on July 24 at a company called Spigot Inc. Spigot is a digital marketing company based in Incline Village, NV, with offices around the world.

I'm working with Spigot's AdBistro team as a SEO/Social Media Marketing Intern. We are based in the Crossroads District in downtown Kansas City at WeWork, which has been awesome. Working in a co-working space has many benefits, including making work more fun. There is tons of creative energy flowing in the office and throughout the entire building. I still can't decide what I like most,  the coffee or the beer.

My first week on the job we had some visitors from the Ft. Myers, FL and Romania offices, so we had to show them around Kansas City. My second day of work we went to Escape Room KC at Union Station. We did the most difficult escape room, which had a success rate of just five percent–and we escaped with a few minutes to spare!

I've been posting on the AdBistro blog for the past few weeks. Check it out to read up on our adventures, including the solar eclipse!

So to the beer part...

Spigot and AdBistro aren't doing anything revolutionary by offering beer in the workplace, but it's definitely a new experience. The laid-back atmosphere of the office definitely incites more conversation, camaraderie and collaboration between co-workers. Having beers with my boss is a new skill I think I'll need to add to my LinkedIn Profile, "professional drinking". It's mostly about drawing a line between drinking and drinking. I still really like telling people that I had a beer at work and seeing their confusion. There are some haters when it comes to perks like these. Many companies attempt to sound "young and hip" by providing foosball tables/catered lunches in place of less sexy, but more important benefits like health insurance or paid sick days.

So far I really love the culture at AdBistro and Spigot. I'm really excited to see how much I can learn with them and hopefully find a long-term position with the company.

What I'm Working On

I'm currently working at The Jayhawk Club in Lawrence, KS. It's been an awesome experience for me so far. The process of getting a business fully operational and running smoothly is exciting, to say the least. 

My last experience with this was with Slice of History, a pizza restaurant in Lawrence. I was a marketing intern at The Oread Hotel, and they were opening (or reopening – the restaurant had been their before when the hotel first opened) Slice of History hoping to turn it into a college pizza shop/bar. My role was mainly with the branding and marketing efforts. I designed menus, promotional fliers and a new logo for the restaurant along with growing its presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). I especially enjoyed seeing familiar faces in there knowing that the effort was paying off and the promotions were enticing to our customers. That was a great learning experience and a great stepping stone towards the larger project I'm now involved with.

The Jayhawk Club is a new country club in Lawrence that is an update on the old Alvamar Country Club. This project though, extends far beyond just a golf course and a clubhouse. There is a huge apartment community, new swimming pool and new fitness center being built as well. My current focus is developing a following on social media, completing the web design process and beginning the first phase of marketing our membership opportunities.

I've enjoyed the social media aspect quite a bit and so far it has seen quite a bit of success. The accounts launched sometime in early-/mid-March and in two months The Jayhawk Club has built a social media following of over 1100. The most success has been on Instagram with over 800 followers. Much of our success is likely due to our connection with Skyflex, a company that does drone photography and real estate marketing. They are doing construction update videos for us and provide awesome content for social media. Needless to say, the association of The Jayhawk Club with the University of Kansas makes for an easy sell to a lot of people. KU fans, alumni and current students all seem to be really receptive to The Jayhawk Club -- simply because it has the word "Jayhawk" in the name. I'm excited to see what happens with the club as more of it gets finished and we start really growing our membership.

 

New Work, New Experience

Over the last year I've been interning for The Oread Hotel in Lawrence, KS. I've been working on marketing which includes a lot of designing marketing materials for the business. 

The Oread is hosting a bridal fair on June 26 featuring David Tutera, celebrity wedding planner. As part of the event, The Oread is putting out a bridal magazine featuring many local wedding vendors. Some advertisers have left the design of their ads up to the marketing team at The Oread. It's been an interesting experience designing a few ads for new clients.

When designing for the same client over an entire year, you get used to using the same fonts, images, messages and overall look again and again. These three ads I did were a fun chance to take input from the clients and create something unique for them to accomplish their goals.

Designing advertisements is something that appeals to me because of the challenges associated with designing something that is visually appealing and that matches the overall aesthetic that the brand is seeking. I could easily create something that I am proud of, but that doesn't always fit the wants and needs of the client. The challenge of accomplishing the clients goals and keeping their needs in mind is exciting.

A Country Adventure

Sometimes a drive in the boring country leads to some exciting discoveries. This trip just West of town lead to Stull, Kansas (the apparent gateway to hell). 

Stull has many legends surrounding it, including a crazy one from my own father. His version of the story is that he and friends went there when he was in college -- at least a hundred years ago.  According to him, he and his friends headed to the old cemetery at Stull on Halloween with some beers...just to see what would happen.

The Stull Cemetery

The Stull Cemetery

My dad's story from here gets a bit ridiculous, but maybe this place creates this type of situations. He says when he went back to his car, all the doors were locked and the spare key was in the ignition. The crazy part, he says, is that the spare key was in a sealed envelope in the locked glove compartment. And after he unlocked the glovebox with his key, the envelope was still there and sealed, but empty. 

 

That's the only story I've really heard about the place, but a lot of stories exist online about weird things happening at this place. 

http://www.weirdus.com/states/kansas/stories/gateway_to_hell/

Here are a few other shots from my little drive.