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Adriana Hemans

Trade Show Tricks … And Treats!

By | Be Genuine, Have Fun, Motivate Others, Take Risks | No Comments

You’ve heard of “Take-Your-Kid-to-Work Day,” but what about “Take-Your-Marketing-Director-to-a-Trade-Show Day?” Although I’ve been involved in planning SoapBoxSample’s trade show presence for the past several years, it wasn’t until last month that I actually got to be there for an exhibition. Attending the MRA Corporate Researchers Conference in person let me see trade shows through a new lens. I learned a few simple (and free!) tricks that can help any company bring in a big fish.

Focus on what really counts. It’s not just the flashy booth graphics (although they help), the perfectly-worded handout (probably doesn’t help at all) or the even the free giveaways (although I am a sucker for a good stress ball). What stood out the most for me was the people. Here’s what I picked up.

  1. Being Bored Is Boring

You know how you start to yawn when someone around you is yawning? Yeah, it’s not a good look. So cut it out. Keep your energy up. Tell a joke. Do a few jumping jacks. Be silly. It’s better than putting people to sleep.

  1. Avoid Predatory Practices

Have you ever walked through the mall and gotten the sensation that you were being stalked? It’s probably the overzealous perfume counter girl looking for her next victim to spray. Don’t be like this girl. You can feel her stare from a mile away and it immediately makes you want to duck and run. An overly intense salesperson can cause the same effect. If you notice people quickening their pace and suddenly burying their faces in their phones as they go past your booth, someone may be putting off a desperate vibe.

  1. Seven Deadly Body Language Sins

60% to 90% of communication is nonverbal. Closed-off body language sends a clear signal to potential clients — Don’t stop, keep walking. Here are some examples of behavior that can drive people away from your space. If you see anyone on your staff doing any of these things, throw a stress ball at their heads.

  • Constantly checking their phone (or watch)
  • Scratching, picking, poking, or doing anything to their bodies that should be done in private (It’s just gross!)
  • Staring at the ground
  • Standing too close to people
  • Tapping fingers, feet, or worst of all, clicking a pen
  • Fake, frozen smile
  • Over-blinking (or staring without blinking) (Super creepy! Don’t be known as the company of serial killers.)
  1. Don’t Be a Broken Record!

Have you ever gotten a robo-call? If you’re lucky enough to have avoided them, they are pre-recorded telephone calls, usually from a telemarketing company or a political party. And they are THE. WORST. EVER. Don’t let your staff pitch like robots. Robots memorize a script and recite it on repeat. Encourage your team to LISTEN, and ASK QUESTIONS. People want to feel heard. They want their uniqueness to be acknowledged. Show your value by showing off your human side. In other words, be real.

  1. Steer Clear of Smack-Talkers

Market Research is a small, tight-knit industry. People know each other. If I started talking smack about my competition, it would get around. Fast. Even if you work for a huge industry, it’s not a good idea to trash talk your competition. This is especially true at a trade show, where competing companies are sharing the same space and the same food supply. There are ways to show off your capabilities without putting others down. It makes you look desperate, and unprofessional. And it might make people wonder if you’re equally uninhibited about discussing clients and their confidential information.

  1. When the Show’s Over, You’re Still on Display

Before attending this conference, I thought that Market Researchers were a meek and mild bunch (like accountants or insurance adjusters.) Wrong. Market researchers like to drink and party. A lot. And when they start drinking, they start coming out of their shells. (Some of them should have stayed in their shells.) Speaking of staying in, it’s a good idea to look out for … (how can I put this delicately?) overexposure. After the cocktail reception mingling, potential clients should come away with more knowledge of your products and services, not more knowledge of your salesperson’s soft tissues.

And yes, I actually witnessed all of these things first hand. Some even more than once. I was there for 2.5 days.

I have always known, that having a decent trade show presence can be expensive and time-consuming. But if it’s done well it can have a great ROI. In other words, you can be the best Marketer in the world, but work with your leadership team to make sure your hard work isn’t ruined by a salesperson with a creepy stare who picks his nose in your booth.

Phone Licking — Weird or Innovative?

By | Be Honest, Inspire Ideas, Take Risks | No Comments

Introduction

For the last three weeks, we’ve been posting blogs about Millennials, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z. What makes each generation unique and how can we understand them better? Well the first hurdle, is knowing what the heck a Gen Y’er is. And that’s a more complicated question than you might imagine.

Google searches are great if you’re researching a topic that the Internet generally agrees on. Defining generations is not one of those topics. Newsweek, Time magazine and The New York Times all have different ideas of what a Millennial is.

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and use the mid-1990s to the early 2000s as final birth years for the Millennial Generation.

Not exactly definitive.

At a certain point consistency trumps accuracy. So I’m just going to call it. Here is a list of generational definitions. If you think this isn’t right, feel free to judge, or even send documentation to the contrary. It will be a superfluous effort as I’m not changing it after this. It is carved in stone as the non- Gen X,Y, and Z generation would say.

Gen X: Those born between 1965 and 1979
Gen Y: Those born between 1980 and 1995 (Also known as Millennials!)
Gen Z: Those born in 1996 or later

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s hear from our resident Millennial Sullivan Sednek-Simes. (He was born in 1993. Solidly Millennial territory.)

Phone Licking — Weird or Innovative?

By Sullivan Sednek-Simes

As a social media junkie (at least I can admit it) I’m constantly inundated with people’s ideas on basically three things – social issues, food, and popular culture. With Generation Z’ers basically replacing their binkies with iPhones, I’m interested to see how coming generations process and react to hot button issues.

Social media provides a SoapBox (shameless plug, that’s the name of the company I work for) for people to state their ideas and opinions with a real-time feed of reactions to those ideas. I think about the future a lot. Most of the time, I keep those less tangible thoughts to myself. The opportunity to guest blog seemed like a better platform to do some of this thinking out loud –less risky than my Twitter feed. So here go some of my predictions about the future based on pure conjecture. My own person time capsule (and way less messy than digging a hole in the ground and burying some tube).

Will Social Issues Continue to be Influenced by Social Media?
With this presidential election being as wild as it’s been, with new and not so new voters viewing and interacting in real-time (tweet) with candidates, we have seen a tremendous change in society’s view of a potential president or societal issue. I find myself wondering, will Google start imbedding brain trackers to test people’s opinions on a political candidate? Will gun stores be able to differentiate a customers purchasing intent through the use of technology? Or am I just getting too far ahead of myself like how people predicted the future was going to be in the 50s?

Is Food Sharing, Food Caring?
I’m looking forward to the day where we can virtually taste the food pictures that people post. How amazing would that be? Then someone else can start the “virtual” diet business. What if restaurants could potentially incentivize users to post their favorite dishes in order to give taste tests to a larger audience. You know the girl who posts pictures of every meal? Probably your friend’s girlfriend, that you follow just to be nice? Imagine being able to taste her shrimp scampi. With virtual tasting there would finally be a value in posting pictures of food. Until that day I’m stuck doing this.

Celebrities In Our Homes?
Holograms. Everywhere. I envision a future where holographic robots of our favorite celebrities can be programmed to help us with daily tasks. I can’t wait for a Kanye West hologram to help me pick out my outfit or to have Leonardo DiCaprio advise me on what movie to watch. Celebrities could then tap into the location of their hologram streams and target certain performances to certain fan bases. In less than 10 years we have transitioned from being able to see 2Pac live in concert, to a 2Pac hologram live at Coachella. All Eyez on you Generation Z.

We as millennials will have the chance to fuel the acceptance of technology by becoming early adopters of autonomous cars, and virtual reality. Generation Z will barely remember a world without these things. They will be the ones to change our world in ways that seem impossible now.

Millennials – They Don’t Suck

By | Be Honest, Have Fun, Take Risks | No Comments

Why is everyone talking about millennials? Who they are (who they aren’t), what they do (or don’t do), why they suck (or are great), why they are self-entitled (or hard workers)…you get the point. It is endless. Millennials account for 23% of the U.S. population and spend 200 billion dollars annually. There are lots of funny videos pro and con millennials. You can check a few out here.

SoapBox staff is about 75% millennials. They don’t suck. They are annoying at times, but who isn’t? We thought instead of writing “about” millennials, we would ask one to share their story about transitioning from college to the “real world.” Sullivan, we call him Sully, has learned what life is like with a little structure, hanging out with old people (BTW I am 42 and in the “old” group), realizing that ignorance truly is bliss, and that his actions have impact on his life – both short and long term.

I wanted to poke fun at him, but instead, he backed me into a corner by writing a thoughtful, honest and reflective piece. I actually love it. I love that he is identifying lessons he is learning. I love that he misses his old life, but is all in with his new life. If you ever get to meet Sully, you will like him. He is cool. I might even buy him a beer after work one day – I think we would have fun.

PS – Sully, I am sure you are reading this. I think someone misinformed you about an 8 hour workday. That was part of the bait and switch. Get ready for 10-12 hour work days – that is when life gets super awesome. Congratulations. You have arrived. – JR


5 things I’ve learned from making the transition from college to having my first “real” job in California

By

1. 40 hour weeks are no joke.

I guess Cinderella was right. (The 80s hair band not the princess.) You truly don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Distant memories are the days where I could consider sitting through 3 hours of class and 2 hours studying a “long day”. Now I’m pinned to my desk for 8+ hours a day which leaves little time during the week for the social life I once had, no more long afternoons playing basketball in Johnson gym, and no chance to grab a beer (or three) at Marble. These were college traditions I still hold sacred yet now I’m learning ways to replace these routines as I’ve moved to a full time job at SoapBoxSample in a new state. (Disclaimer – that is Michael Jordan playing basketball not me, we have similar play styles though.)

Aside from finding new breweries and new basketball gyms I’ve had to learn how to prioritize my daily activities and manage my time better. Learning to optimize my time at work is vital to be able to deliver under the pressure of my daily deadlines.

2. I’m no longer surrounded by people my age.

My whole life I’ve been blissfully ignorant, thinking that wherever I go I’d be joined by a group of other people close to my age with similar likes and hobbies. I was awoken from this dream my first day on the job, learning that I will be spending most of my time with actual full grown real adult people (who would’ve thought). Initially I was confused by the common statement of “you’re my son’s age” or “you could be my kid” made by my colleagues and industry equivalents. Haven’t they seen a young man that’s about his business before? I’ve learned to laugh off these comments knowing that in a field such as market research the median age range tends to be over 30.

Hiring someone my age and placing them in such an active role truly speaks to the culture that SoapBox is trying to create. Being around Jaqueline as often as I have has also taught me that most adults are just older kids in their own right. So far I’ve enjoyed being able to gain some interesting insight and hear stories of some scary times known simply as “adulthood”.”

3. Mistakes come with consequences.

In college if I failed a test (happened more frequently than I had hoped) there was always some form of a redo available. I could work on an extra credit project, study harder and do better on the next exam, beg my professor for mercy, bribery, I’ve always had options. (Joking on the begging and bribery.. kind of) At any rate, I felt confident that if I performed poorly I could make it up in one way or another – I provided myself with a safety net. Having a career has completely altered my state of mind in regards to mistakes. Though I’m new to my role and make mistakes pretty often, they now come with real life consequences. Now I have to take into account my company’s reputation, my bosses expectations, and my job. Not just my GPA.

4. My career is in my hands.

It’s both an uneasy and exhilarating feeling knowing I’m truly on my own now. Being left to the wolves and expected to return with a fur coat is especially true in sales. My job is ultimately as fruitful as I want it to be. The harder I work the more I can attain from a salary standpoint. In school it was easy to coast once you received a solid grade, what is really the difference between a 93% and 98%? It’s very easy for people to let up after their first win and ride the wave of success for a while. As I grow, feelings of being content or rejected are things I have to surpass in order to be successful.

A valuable lesson I learned in baseball – keep a short memory. Whether I get yelled at by a client or land a $20,000 deal, I’m learning to celebrate or sulk momentarily, forget what has happened and move onto the next task.

5. Tackling the world’s worst question – “what do you do?”

To me this question is outdated and poorly designed. Asking “what do you do” quickly puts someone in a box and defines someone strictly by their career, but that’s beside the point. At family gatherings this question wasn’t as daunting as it is now that I’m out of school. I could easily answer this question by saying that I’m still in college (yes Aunt Paula I know you remember me when I was just a baby) and stating my major. Now that I work in market research I’m beginning to realize why this is such an uncomfortable question. My boss Jacqueline sums it up best when asked what we do in market research business development “we sell people”.

Moving from Albuquerque to Los Angeles hasn’t been the super seamless transition that I envisioned it being. Aside from learning many things about myself in the process, SoapBox put me in a role where I am tasked to learn an entire industry and learn how to sell our offerings as if it were a glass of lemonade at a lemonade stand. Sounds simple enough right? It’s definitely been a work in progress but with continued support from my team at SoapBox and weekly basketball and brewery fixes I’m confident I’ll end up where I want to be.

— Sullivan

Every Day May Not Be Good…

By | Motivate Others | No Comments

…but there’s something good in every day.

Jacqueline is taking a short break this #Telltaletuesday, but don’t worry, she’ll be back next week. She and her family were involved in a small car accident over the weekend (everyone is healthy and safe!), so she asked me to guest blog for her today. I should probably start by introducing myself. I’m the Director of Marketing for SoapBoxSample and I’ve been with the company just over a year and a half. During my time working with Jacqueline, I’ve had a front row seat to her amazing journey. In just the short time I’ve known her I’ve seen her overcome a series of obstacles — physical, personal, and professional. Even one or two of these would make any normal person lose their minds and completely give up. But Jacqueline is not normal. (Yes, I am allowed to talk about my boss that way.)

For those of you who know Jacqueline, you won’t be surprised to hear me describe her as insanely tenacious*. Fifteen months ago she and her family were involved in a devastating car accident that left her unable to walk or even stand up. Her recovery was long, slow, and painful. But for Jacqueline, impossible challenges are what she lives for. She suffered through the pain and mental anguish, constantly pushing herself to be better than she was the day before.

Jax.running.memoryLast Sunday she re-posted a Facebook a memory from one year ago, that said the following:

The morning of the accident I did my last mile at 7:23. Today I did my first post accident mile run at 17:23. Lots of tears and had to hold on the sides at the end as my foot was dragging. You have to start somewhere. #fightingforrecovery #noexcuses #nopainnogain #icandothis #iwillrunagain #recoverytears #iwantmylifeback #ihatecaraccidents

She loved, no LOVES to run, and is/was determined to run again after the accident. But despite her best efforts over the last year, the damage to her legs may be too severe to allow it. In true Jacqueline style, she overcame this setback with pure mental grit. The accident may have taken away her ability to run, but that just gave way for the opportunity to become a competitive cyclist.

“Roadblocks can be stopping points, or pivot points. It’s up to you. I can either be ‘someone who used to run’ or ‘a road biker’. I choose to be a road biker.” — Jacqueline Rosales

Last weekend Jacqueline faced a roadblock yet again when she and her family were rear-ended. Thankfully, this car accident was much less severe and I’m happy to report that they are doing fine physically although you can imagine the memories this brings back. When we spoke on the phone and I was carrying on about how f*cked up and unfair it is that they have to go though this experience, she pointed me to a meme someone had posted on her Facebook page, based on this quote;

“Every day may not be good…
but there’s something good in every day” —
Alice Morse Earle

Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she immediately started thinking of the lesson to be gained, and how she could use what had happened to her to help other people. The Telltale Ten is a source of joy for Jacqueline because she loves to mentor, support and inspire people. Although a car accident (temporarily) took away her ability to write she pivoted and we found a way to get it done. Other people would have put it off for next week, or reposted something old. Jacqueline is not one to take the easy way out. And if I do my job correctly, the result will be something her readers will find helpful and uplifting.

She applies the same resilience, tenacity and guts to running SoapBoxSample.** Lots of leaders talk about being authentic, and the importance of having grit and determination, and all of the other buzz words flying around in corporate culture. But Jacqueline actually lives it every day. And she encourages others to do the same. When Jacqueline’s accident happened in January 2015, not only was I new to SoapBoxSample, having joined only three months prior, but I was also new to the market research industry. Seeing her recovery gave me the opportunity to learn much more from Jacqueline than I could ever have learned from a typical boss. I have gained a true passion for research, learned to take ownership of my mistakes, and I believe I am more committed to SoapBoxSample than I have ever been to…basically anything.

So now I’m encouraging anyone reading this, when you need to really dig deep and get something done, think of Jacqueline running on that treadmill with one foot dragging behind her. (Not even sure how that’s possible. If it doesn’t inspire you it might at least make you laugh.)

If you have your own story of resiliency you would like to share, reach out on Twitter @jax_rosales or email Jacqueline@telltaleten.com.

*The insanely part is not hyperbole. She goes after her goals with an almost inhuman focus. (She’s my friend and she knows it’s true so my statement won’t offend her.)

**A message to SoapBox staff: Don’t think you’ll be off the hook for too long. Jacqueline will probably be back in full swing before you’re done reading this article.

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