Reward Alerts from Loopt – Location Based Rewards

Imagine yourself walking around downtown in search of a place to eat dinner.  You don’t have much preference as to where this place might be, but you know you aren’t out to break the bank tonight.  All of the sudden your phone vibrates notifying you that if you come to Restaurant X first, you can get a special price for your meal.  What I just explained was one of the driving influences behind a new feature for Loopt, a social network catered to mobile users.  With this feature, companies like those found in the scenario I described above can detect when Loopt users are within a certain radius of their store.  Upon receiving this information the company can automatically send out an alert or coupon to the user.  These coupons can range from special meal prices to user-only coupons.

The new feature is called Reward Alerts and will be unveiled later this month.  In hopes to define a new era of marketing, especially one that calls for more personal, direct messaging, the people behind the new feature believe it will greatly heighten reception. According to the article from the Wall Street Journal,

The announcements mark the next step in the evolution of location-based advertising. “Location is a key component of the future of marketing,” says Noah Elkin, a mobile analyst at research firm eMarketer. Companies are “still figuring out what’s going to be most effective, but if the ad is contextually relevant it tends to get better reception than other forms of advertising.”

I don’t believe there will be any issue concerning privacy or feeling bombarded by text messages due to the user’s choice to use Loopt in the first place.  Reward Alerts could shape out to be a huge new step in marketing and I can’t wait to see how it plays out in the months to come.

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Learning from the Past and Moving Forward

Its the new year and that can mean many things.  For some, it is time to hit the gym for a month, for others its a time to make a fresh start and learn from their previous year.  For marketers, its time to observe the past and begin to create the future.  The new year always feels like the beginning of something big, even though the only real thing that changed was the date.  Nonetheless, I enjoy taking this time to scour over the many blogs, tweets, and articles that cover the always enticing question of, “What the hell were we thinking!?”  Well, maybe not put so bluntly, really these articles are about what happened in the industry in the previous year and how, like many resolutions, we can improve upon them.  With such a fast industry like marketing and advertising, one year can cover a ton of ideas and information.  In March of last year alone, Facebook added 17 million users worldwide.  With such incredible change and growth it can be hard to remember everything.  I decided to post two links I found for great articles about 2010 and what to expect from 2011.  Of course there are many more links out there but I really enjoyed these two.

Simon Mainwaring’s top 10 posts of 2010.

Simon is an amazing force in the world of advertising.  I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at the University of Oregon and ever since have enjoyed and learned from the words of wisdom that come from his blog/tweets.  This article covers the most commented and stirring posts he wrote from the previous year (a great way to see what was big in 2010).

Wall Street Journal’s article on what 2011 holds

This article was great in that it gives some interesting predictions for many outlets like social media, television and movies among others.  Interesting insights that I can’t wait to see come true (or not come true).

Although we may never be able to predict what 2011 may bring, we can learn a lot from 2010.  I’m excited to see what will blow up and what will fizzle in the following year.

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Where Would You Like to Work?

I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down with my boss the other day to discuss the my future ad what I am looking for.  He told me that he read an interesting book titled “What Color is Your parachute?” and he wanted to discuss the themes that arose in the book in relation to my future.  The book is a career planning guide and spiritual guide for personal insight in your career.  Over the years it has been renowned as one of the better career help books on the market.  Essentially, our discussion focused on where I would like to see myself working in 15 years.  According to the book, many people find themselves in a job they do not like simply because they “go with the flow” throughout their career.  Without stopping and thinking about what they truly want, they take jobs that are available.  Of course the book does not say you should deny jobs simply because they are not exactly what you are looking for, but rather it asks you to take a long look at the job offered and to ask yourself if it coincides with your career goals.

I cannot cover in detail all of what the book embodies, or our discussion for that matter, but here are some of the main themes and questions it asks you.

Where do you want to work?

What type of organization do you want to work for?

What kind of people environment do you want to work for?

What is your goal/purpose/value for work?

What are your ideal working conditions?

What are the work responsibilities you would like in a job?

What are some transferable skills you bring to a job?
After discussing these questions, I discovered a lot about myself and what I truly want from a job.  Its easy to list what companies you would like to work for by their reputation, but make sure they meet your expectations for your career before diving into a job.  It is just as important to know what you want in a job as it is knowing what an employer wants from you.  This is great for interviews as well because it shows the interviewer that you know what you want and you are actively working towards reaching your goals. Make sure you understand where you want to be before you decide which direction you will go.

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Finding a Job Through Twitter

I have been an avid Twitter user for quite some time now.  Its purpose for me has evolved over time from purely social interactions in my early days to the brain picking, job hunting glory that it is today.  With graduation looming in the near future, I find myself looking for any means out there to connect with more people and learn more about how to best prepare for the future.  While reading tweets the other day I noticed a retweet from Simon Mainwaring (@simonmainwaring), a social media and brand leader, saying how to find jobs through twitter.  I had always heard that Twitter can be a great tool to utilize uin networking and job searxching but I had not quite grasped its full potential.

The post, which is an article from Mashable (@mashable) shows you the best ways to build a strong and respectable Twitter account as well as how to connect with professional as well as who the best people to follow are. Here are the first steps listed in the post to build a stronger Twitter profile:

Make your Twitter presence “employer-friendly”

o Put your job pitch in your Twitter bio (which is 160 characters)
o Use a professional looking avatar
o Tweet about your job search

Utilize your Twitter background. There’s lots of space you can use to promote yourself. Don’t know how to create a professional-looking Twitter background? Use this free template to design your own.

Include a link to an online CV or resume in your bio. Use a tool like VisualCV. (For more information on building an online resume, see Dan Schawbel’s post HOW TO: Build the Ultimate Social Media Resume)

Establish yourself as an expert in your field on Twitter. It’s important to note that you should not misrepresent yourself. If you’re not a medical doctor, don’t play one on Twitter. As those on Twitter become interested in your content, when employers are looking at you, you’ll have more than just your resume to back.

The author continues with who to follow and the best ways to interact with these people.  Towards the end of the article, the author lists job posting accounts and  head hunters from a wide variety of locations, fields, and companies.  I added about 15 new people to follow after reading this article and am looking forward to seeing how job hunting through Twitter plays out.  After all, it doesn’t hurt to have another outlet to network and look for jobs does it? Check out the post and see how you can utilize Twitter for job hunting!

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Walk through and Info Interview at CMD

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Elissa, a Senior Designer at CMD agency.  Although this is not my focus in advertising, I found the interview to be incredibly helpful because I got to see how different areas of an agency interact with the account side (which is more my focus).  The most productive agencies know how to work together and maintain open conversation.  By seeing the work and environment that she employs, I got to see how best to work with someone in her position.  You can interview a thousand people in the area you are focusing on, but if you don’t understand what the people in different areas of your field do, your work life will suffer.  In other words, open communication and understanding of each other’s roles means less headache for all.

A huge takeaway I got from this interview/tour was when I was introduced to the many people in different focuses of the agency.  CMD houses more than just advertising, they also have PR and interactive sections (among others) that all work under the same roof.  What was so great about seeing and meeting these different people was that I got a first hand look at how a multifaceted agency works and interacts with each other.  I was shown the most productive and reliable ways to work with each area which will be a huge help for my future work.


Also, I learned a great deal about what to expect if I were to apply to an agency like CMD as well as what a typical work day is like. CMD has a great atmosphere, work environment and group of people that makes work there seem less like work and more like a creative and productive think tank.

The bike ride downtown to CMD in the pouring rain was worth this great experience and I am thankful I remembered to pack extra dry clothes!

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Winter conditions outreach and Twitter

This time of year can be quite a hassle for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), especially for an intern like me in the communications area.  The winter months mean a lot of public outreach for PBOT.  This includes safety press releases, traffic updates, and answering inquiries from the many news outlets covering the treacherous conditions.  As for me, I am focusing mostly on media advisories and Twitter updates.  The latter of the two has been my most recent project at PBOT. (Check out our newly established twitter account @PBOTinfo).

The new account has been up and running for two days now and has become an interesting and fun project for me.  Although we may not post a lot, I compile articles, press releases, and interesting tweets to post.  So far I have been tweeting about road conditions and updates but I believe the feed will extend beyond a makeshift RSS feed once we move past our winter season updates.  This will be the second twitter account I have worked on as an intern but it appears like it will be the most rewarding do to the high importance of the subject matter as well as the large number of people who are (and will) follow this account.  (In the ten minutes after I created the feed, the account had more followers than my personal accountJ)  The internship here at PBOT is going strong and I plan on extending it for the next (and final) ten weeks of school.  If you are interested in transportation updates please check out @PBOTinfo and have a great Thanksgiving!

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The Hardest Class I’ve ever tried to get into…

As I prepare for my final term (hopefully) of college, I find myself in a situation I never thought I would face.  Throughout college, every student faces the arduous task of signing up for classes.  We fret over whether we or not the classes we need will have space for us and what are options are for the long run.  Thankfully in the end we seem to work things out and manage to get the classes we want and need to graduate.  But this year has been the most difficult for me to get into a certain class that will be one of the final two I need to graduate.  The funny thing is it is not a major class with limited seating reserved for seniors, it is a 100 level general science class from PCC.

In order to graduate, I need to take ASTR 123 to fulfill block requirments.  Being in Portland for the PDX Senior Experience, I thought I would take this class from PCC.  I figured I would sign up, get accepted, take the class and be done.  Oh how wrong I was.  At PCC, transfer students hold very little priority in registration.  No matter the number of credits you take at another university, transfer students are among the very last to sign up for classes at PCC.  I found this out the hard way as I attempted to register for the 100 level science class this past Fall.  Not only was there no room left in the class, but each class had around 10 to 15 people on the wait list.  Keeping a cool head I decided it would not hurt to stay one more term in college, after all, whats the rush?  Here is where I become extremely frustrated.  Since I could not get into the class last term, I am still considered a transfer student with no credits at PCC, which of course means I am among the last to sign up again.  This means that the probability of me getting into that class are slim to none this winter term making me have to wait another term just to get into a 100 level ASTR class!

After speaking to multiple advisors at PCC, they recommended that I pay $82 for a 1-credit P.E. class this Winter term so I can register earlier for Spring 2011.  I don’t want to take a P.E. class, I don’t need to take a P.E. class, why must I take a P.E. class if all I need is a general science class?! This is completely absurd and it leaves me to question how students entering PCC get into the classes they need when entering from high school or transfering.  You mean to tell me that in order to register for the classes you need you must first take any classes that are available (like a PE class that costs $82) for a whole term BEFORE you can officially register THE NEXT TERM for the classes you actually want and need?  This is a terrible system that should be reevaluated by PCC, or at the least offer more classes in a subject that repeatedly fills up with 10 to 15 people on the wait list for each class.

What I thought would be an easy process has become a year long nightmare…who knew Astronomy was of such high demand?!  My recommendation for all future PDXSX students in the future, talk to an advisor at PCC more than a term before you need to get in (if you are taking an extra class from PCC of course) because when registering for any class, it is never a easy as it seems.

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