NoahKnoble's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

It’s Time to Realize Value

Image

“You can hate me, choose not to work with me anymore, that’s ok, but I have to say this guys” my Father In Law, Jeff Zuelke (whom we call PJ which stands for Papa Jeff), said as he took on a more serious look than his normal natural easy-going and fun ways.

I shot a quick look at my wife, then at my four-year old son, concern grew through me as I knew he had something very important to say.

“I need you to start seeing the value in these homes I am showing you. I am taking on a completely different message from my prior stance of, be comfortable with your decision” he paused  “to see value in your decision,” PJ said now waiting for our reaction.

At first I was a bit taken back, why would that statement make me angry? Why would that make me want to fire my father in law as our real estate agent? It didn’t, but I wasn’t sure what he was getting at so I filled the air with “Well PJ, I know we lost on three homes now, but I don’t think I would have been comfortable going any higher than we did,” he stopped me right there after those words escaped my lips.

“Noah, if I could show you how to take a dollar and make it into a $1.30 or even $1.50 within five years, wouldn’t that be of VALUE to you?” I nodded my head to agree “Then Noah, the three homes we lost on, there was value to them. You made a decision based on being comfortable, and we lost. The value is, that those homes would have had a significant return on your investment in the very short-term, even if they were a bit more than what you were comfortable with.”

Before you all start shaking your head and saying “yeah right, what housing market is this guy in?” keep in mind the majority of the homes we have been looking at are short sales and very good deals to be had!

PJ was right, I was still kicking myself over the last bid war we lost on, but I was caught up in nickle and diming and feeling like I got the best price possible that I completely failed to realize that even at full purchase price the house was still a great deal because it had value…..unfortunately someone else was able to see that, and we lost out on the house.

This entire time PJ was waiting for me to come to this resolve myself, but when he saw that I was getting too caught up in “best price possible” and not seeing turning a dollar into a $1.30, he knew he had to say something.

That very moment, as we walked out of the house we were viewing, I came to a stark realization, I was a hypocrite! I have been through so many bid processes for catalogs, brochures, and especially magazines as of late only to have lost it by a very slim amount (sometimes more, sometimes less) that I don’t understand it as I am confident I have shown the Publisher or Print Purchaser how working with us will change a dollar into a $1.30.

I understand it now, sometimes we all get polarized by the day to day events of our lives, the economy we live in, or just trying to get the best deal possible and nickle and diming everything they can.

Friends, I come to you today to repeat a message my Father In Law, Jeff Zuelke, said to me this very night……” I am taking on a very different tone with you, you can hate me, choose not to work with me, that is fine, but it needs to be said. It is time to start making decisions because they hold value, not because you are comfortable or because they are the cheapest deal.”

In the end, when you find a printer that shows you value, you will be very comfortable. Consulting on digital, print, and advertising vehicles, not leaving once the sale is made, establishing relationships, friends, is their value you to that? If so, don’t be like me and realize it before it is too late!

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, Digital Magazine, Mailing, Printing, Publishing, Relationships, Sales, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What my graduation taught me about technology!

Tassle on the left side check, ok Noah, remember, take diploma with left hand shake with the right hand, don’t fall, don’t walk too fast.

“Melissa Karger, summa cum laude” the speakers boomed through the auditorium, one person left in front of me then it was my turn to step up onto the stage.

Where is my family, man there are alot of people here, why are my hands shaking, oh man I am sweating so bad…. thoughts were running through my mind like a run away freight train.

“Mark Knable” the speakers boomed, I was up next, and then I saw them in the sea of people, my wife and children waving frantically at me as if they had been trying to get my attention for some time. A kiss blown from my wife now landed on my cheek, the look of pride in my childrens eyes filled me with strength, and in that very short moment, my journey to what brought me to this very step flashed before my eyes.

Ten years prior I was a high school graduate beginnig my first semester at college. More scared, and nervous than excited, because unlike many other kids, I had no idea what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Two years of college, and feeling like I may be the only one at the university without a hint or a clue of what I wanted to do, I dropped out and entered the work force.

There was no going back now, and a few years passed. Feeling the regret of not finishing college, I heard of something I had never heard of before, you can go to college online! Wow, this was new and exciting to me, now having kids and a full time job I may be able still get that degree! Who knew you could go to college online, well it turned out this was something that many colleges had just started expirementing with.

So I jumped at the opportunity, and enrolled with a renewed confidence in knowing where I wanted to go in life. Life was good, and I found a new home with my current employer. I began traveling to meet with people, but dragging these heavy text books and laptop everywhere I went so I didn’t miss an assignment or posting was becoming quite the hassle!

Then came along this wonderful new thing, called a Kindle. I quickly found out that many of my textbooks could be downloaded right to the Kindle itself, making my business trips much less cumbersome. Then another new thing, there was an app for Blackboard (online program) and I could access it from my smart phone (or i pad if I had one) no more lugging around the laptop.

Technology helped me out tremendously, and made my life much more convenient on those trips. Every time I got home though, I always went for the printed textbook, and the laptop.

“Sir” the days and months that just flashed before me were gone and I was again back in the auditorium, “do you pronounce the K in Knoble?” the speaker asked and I shook my head violently yes. “Noah Knoble” boomed the speakers and my name echoed throughout, shake with right grab with the left, check, walking slow, check, smile and breathe….check!

The moral of what college and graduation taught me about technology is that it is very convenient and makes many of our lives much easier. However, it’s also nice just to have the “real thing”  and finding that balance is the key.

Believe me when I say while I was looking at the pride that filled my children’s eyes that day, I too looked back at them with just as much pride in them. Bonds are what hold us together, something physical, but technology will allow us to keep those bonds strong when they eventually reach the day that they hear their name being called through the speakers.

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Publishing, Relationships, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What NYC Taught me about Social Media!

Back from my first trip to New York City…..WOW….what an experience!

 Here’s the thing. I grew up in a town of less than 2,000 people, live in a town with less than  5,000 people, and work in a town with less than 15,000 people. You get the picture, so there was some pretty big culture shock as I swam through the sea of people on 38th and 8th Street feeling like I was about to pass out from the rollercoaster cab ride just a few short moments ago.

“How am I going to find this coffee shop where I am supposed to meet him?” I began to worry. There it was, on the corner, just like he said. I ran in, happy to be off the street as I was feeling like a salmon swimming against the current. “Great, no place to sit! But no one has food on their plates, why don’t they leave?” the thought screamed through my mind. I stood there in the middle of the coffee shop for about ten to fifteen minutes, with my luggage, observing this “foreign culture”.

People were chatting away, oblivious to their surroundings, but as the observer in the middle of the room, it seemed to be the most beautiful choir I have ever heard. I have never been in one place with so many people, never heard so many conversations going on all at once, and never felt so small. Suddenly, I felt connected to all of them, and I began to enjoy being the observer. To my right were two young adults, one with a laptop, showing the other what looked to be a business proposal. To my left, were three co-workers laughing the afternoon away…..and the rows of people went on like this.

Finally, a seat opened up. I ran as fast as I could before someone else could claim it. I was quite excited to join the choir of white noise and looked up to see my client approaching my table.

Social media is a lot like this, isn’t it? There are conversations taking place 24 hours a day,
7 days a week, with hundreds of millions of people each chatting away making the most
beautiful choir we have ever heard. Where does that leave us as the advertisers, publishers, and corporations looking to join that choir? Standing in the middle of the room, with our luggage, looking for a table?

So how do we find that seat? Don’t be scared! Believe me, I was quite scared when I was
walking to my destination in the city, seeing so many people all at once, and feeling so small. That all went away when I realized we are part of something bigger. Don’t be scared to join in – add to the choir that is us.

How does your voice become heard over the other beautiful voices, or what others may call white noise? I believe it is consistency, keep showing up every day, and provide information/content that people want to read. If I went to that same coffee shop every day, I would know every single person who worked there, and then I would get to know who the other regulars are. From there, your branches can only sprout more leaves.

So NYC, at first you tried to scare me away with that insanely near-death experience with the cab ride, then making me feel so small like I didn’t exist, but in the end I see you were only teaching me a lesson. If you don’t join the choir, you have no voice at all. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, we all do, but what isn’t ok is to not participate in the choir of the 21st century!

March 12, 2011 Posted by | Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It benefits you, and if it benefits you, it benefits me to know about it.

I am known within my company as the “technology” kid for two reasons: first, my age compared to almost all of my cohorts – I could be their kid – and second, I get so excited about new technology, people begin to wonder how I could possibly be a print representative.

I was in a meeting earlier this week, we hit it off, and then I laid it on him and asked, “What are you doing to bring the web into your publication and bring your publication to the web?” He looked at me the way a dog looks at you – confused, kind of cockeyed. His blank canvas of a look was easy to read, “This guy couldn’t possibly be in printing if he is asking me this!”

After about 30 seconds of stillness, he said, “Well, I have a digital magazine.” As I nodded, he continued politely, “But it’s a free one. I know printers offer digital magazines, but I really am not interested in paying for one.” I immediately thought to myself, are printers only synonymous with digital magazines? I prodded a little more about his digital magazine. Did he see it as a way to engage his readers or a way to increase profits from his advertisers by being able to offer rich media and the like, or hopefully both? The conversation went on for a few more minutes about digital magazine capabilities and what he liked and didn’t like, etc. I asked again, “What else are you doing?” And again that look came over him, but this time I didn’t wait for silence to fill the air. “How about QR codes, Augmented Reality, PURL’s? How are you using social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to interact with people?”

He immediately said, “Are you sure you’re in printing? How does any of that benefit you?” I smiled and said, “It doesn’t, but it benefits you, and if it benefits you, then it benefits me to know about it.” Through further discussion, I found out that he creates videos for his website, and we spoke about how he could easily incorporate Augmented Reality and QR Codes with the skills he already possessed. And how he might be able to offer it to his advertisers for additional profits and create more market share for his publication. We also talked about his social media strategy, and I shared my point of view. When I left the meeting, he looked at me and said, “You really seem to be up on your stuff!” We shook hands and agreed to talk soon.

On my drive back to the office – it was a long, three hour drive back – I thought of a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with my old boss. He is the reason I am in printing, the person who hired me without any background in printing, but knew I was a bill collector at one time and had no fears about picking up the phone and establishing relationships. He is now president of a major publisher/marketing communications provider.

At first, it was a conversation about how life was, but then I quickly realized what a great opportunity to get some insight that not many other print reps have into the publishing market. We spoke about iPad apps, and I learned they had just begun to create some apps for their magazines. I asked him, “What are you looking to do? Are you trying to go all digital or just supplement the printed magazine?”

He gave me the best answer anyone could ever give, and changed my view on everything when he responded, “Noah, I am not trying to dictate anything. I am giving the readers and advertisers what they want. Where they go, I go. If this is what they want, then this is what we will do. If it is all print, then so be it; if it is all digital, then so be it; but ultimately the market will decide.”

Now, driving back from this meeting, I fully understood what he meant. Why should a printer only educate, sell, and consult about print when there are so many integrated communications available to publishers? Why should a publisher limit themselves when the market is demanding all of these channels to be open to them? The answer is, they shouldn’t, and as a young guy in printing, I am confessing I am in love with print AND technology! We all should be, and we all should look at ways we can gain the most market share available to us.

Times are changing, print is still relevant, but even more there are now additional channels to use to create the most effective brand possible.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

March 3, 2011 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Rebel with A Cause!

 

A marine who has served two tours in Iraq, co-publisher of 4PM, business owner,and someone who rebels against the norm are only some of the many things that describe Kyle Blades. When you speak with Blades, it is easy to see that he is an innovator who has the ability to help organizations effectively market and promote themselves via social media.

Upon Kyle’s return from his first tour of duty, he went to work in marketing for a well known organization. He saw them struggling to utilize several social media mediums back when social media sites such as Facebook weren’t as commonly utilized as they are now. However, as a progressive and innovative person, Blades knew there was a need for organizations to utilize new channels of communication in order to engage their community of customers. Through social media, Blades saw both an opportunity and a way to fulfill a dream of becoming a business owner. Out of this, Rebel was born.

“The main goal of social media,” Blades says, “is to be a source of value. If you are not giving away free information, then your market will go somewhere else to find it.” Blades goes on to ask me, “When you are watching TV, and a commercial comes on, does the advertiser say, ‘check us out at our website’, or ‘friend us on Facebook’?” I thought about it, and realized that most ads, not only on television, but also in print magazines, have a “Friend us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter” message in their ad campaigns. The relevant point is that the way we communicate has changed, and is still changing. “There is no longer one central message distributed on one medium like there was before; now there are several messages over several mediums – print, radio, television, the Internet and you have to do your best to utilize all of them,” Blades pointed out. “So what does this all mean?” I asked Blades, to which he simply responded “Content is king!”

It is all about establishing a community, a feeling of belonging and building loyalty, which hopefully spreads to multiple new customers. “The best thing about social media is that it provides trackable information, so you can target your message to your market, see how they are responding, and what you need to do to get the responses you want,” says Blades.

Things have changed so much over the past three years alone, how could they possibly continue to evolve anymore? For that question, Blades also has an answer. “Video interacting and advertising are going to become more prevalent. Google predicts by the year 2013, 90 percent of web traffic will be viewing videos such as those on YouTube. Today, 1.2 billion people view videos on YouTube every day,” says Blades. “Becoming more visible to your audience is going to be key, and video allows you to do this in a creative way. ”

The biggest difficulty in social media is rising above the white noise, says Blades. There are so many people on social media, all trying to do the same thing you are. Getting your voice heard, even though you may think it is easier, is actually harder these days because it is easy to become lost in all the noise on the web. “Patience is the key. That is why I tell my clients that we work on a time line of results over a 12-18 month time period. This isn’t something that is going to be a one day quick fix,” says Blades. Through showing up consistently, he says, you become a credible source, a resource for others, and show the community that you care what they are saying by engaging with them.

Lastly, I asked Blades to break down his opinions on these social media sites:

Twitter – This is the least understood one; you have millions of people and businesses tweeting away. Does anyone try to engage with their followers, ask questions, re-tweet others, respond, and answer questions? Engage!

YouTube – With an expected 90 percent of web traffic viewing videos, you better catch up, as this will become a major part of all marketing campaigns.

Facebook – “The golf outing,” says Blades. Whether you are B2B or B2C, you need to be here. You connect with others on a more personal level, strengthening loyalty and bonds.

LinkedIn – Most people have this one figured out, Blades says. Get active in groups, post questions, and become a resource for others. The most under-utilized tool is the Advanced Search feature – a very strong search tool to help you locate your market. Take advantage of it!

Blog- This is a necessity, and is the first thing I tell all of my clients to do if they are not already.

Blades ended our interview with a challenge to us all, “Be a rebel against the norm!”

FYI….Rebel ( http://timeforarebel.com/ ) is a company dedicated to helping companies promote and market themselves via social media. Blades’ main goal while working with clients is to expand their reach and help them build brand loyalty among their customers. When consulting with a client, he helps an organization define its target market, why its market is buying (or why not), as well as any other issues the organization may be experiencing. Through this consultation, Blades and the business owner set agreed upon goals to reach in the time they spend working together, typically 12 to 18 months.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments