Effective Marketing: Driven by Math and Creativity

Ah, yes. The old left brain versus right brain argument when it comes to effective marketing. The question of what truly drives effective marketing attempts to pit actuaries against Mad Men. Madison Avenue against Number Crunchers. Artists versus Scientists. It is an interesting debate, and one that I have seen probably since the very first day I entered the business world. So which one rules: creativity or math, design or analytics?

I, for one, am tired of this debate. I think it is an outdated and irrelevant conversation, quite frankly. If there has been one thing that the digital age has taught us is that marketers need both skill sets. They don’t just need a passing interest in both, they actually need to LIVE in both areas. I believe the days of being a really good direct marketer, or numbers person, OR a high-flying studio executive at a major ad agency are gone. Marketers, and especially good Chief Marketers, need to own both personalities and skill sets.

The reason I believe this so strongly is that digital marketing, done via the internet, mobile devices or social media, presents an amazing opportunity to create marketing that is supremely visually appealing and impactful, yet steeped in analytics and measurement. I’m not simply referring to impressions, clicks or sales. The ability to measure how people interact with your advertisement, what they really think of it and what happens after they interact with it exists like never before, and as technology evolves even more, math, science and creativity will intersect on a much greater scale.

Think about it this way: twenty years ago, advertisers could run billboards in Times Square or place a great ad on top of a taxi. The advertiser (or agency) really had no way of knowing how people view the ad, much less how they interacted with it. Sure, there have always been vague (at best) techniques for measuring advertising done outdoors, on TV, or on radio. But largely, advertisers were left in the dark when it comes to really knowing without a shred of doubt what the real impact was on the millions of dollars they were spending. Professionally, this was me for many years.

On the flip side, you had direct marketers, direct mailers and direct response infomercial marketers who were less concerned with aesthetics of their ads but almost wholly consumed with numbers and metrics. Anything that moved, they measured. A few creative tweaks here and there were necessary for most marketing campaigns, but largely those tweaks were made in order to measure the impact of the changes and how those related to direct sales. Professionally, this was also me for many years.

Enter the age we’re in today which is far more digitally-based, and I believe we are on the verge of a marketing utopia. One indisputable fact is that a lot more investment from marketers and advertisers is getting put into interactive channels (online, mobile, etc). This is because it is where consumers ARE these days. They are online. They are on Facebook. They are blogging. They spend most of their time in front of a computer screen, and good marketers always want to be where their audience is.

It is a burgeoning marketing utopia because marketers that were on either side of the two scenarios I painted above are being forced to merge together and intersect. And why not? Creative folks most consumed with a compelling design and execution now actually have some more data at their fingertips to stoke their creative fires even more. I fail to see how that is a bad thing, in fact it should be embraced. Number crunchers have the benefit of technology at their backs, which allows them a lot more creative license to become more, well, creative rather than spending a majority of time or energy plowing through spreadsheets or figuring out how to slice and dice their list or database differently. Automation is a great thing for the direct response types because it provides speed and ease; think of all the time they can now spend on creativity and messaging.

The truth is that if you’re a marketer who wants to have a long career in your profession, you need to be masters of both domains. You need to be more creative than the next marketing professional. You need to have a deep grasp of numbers, analytics and all the metrics available to you. As people’s lives become more and more digital, possessing one set of skills but not the other will leave you behind the competition. My advice? Embrace the right and left brains and understand that they intersect now, and will forever, for truly effective marketers.

Cooking With Craft Gin

What is craft gin and what are the benefits of it

The benefits of cooking with craft gin can include a unique flavour and aroma that cannot be replicated by any other type of liquor. Craft gin can add a fresh new element of taste to your favourite dishes.

Recipes for appetizers, entrees, desserts, and more using craft gin as an ingredient

Here are some recipes to make some glorious tasting dishes using craft gin.

Appetizers:

Thai Green Curry with Shrimp – First clean and shell your shrimp, then marinate them in the gin for ten minutes. Then add them to a Thai green curry that has been simmering away on the stovetop and stir well. Add some chopped cilantro leaves just before serving it out onto plates with jasmine rice or sticky rice alongside it.
Lobster Bisque – Lobster bisque can taste sensational when made using a bit of craft gin. First make a roux using butter, flour and gin. Then add some onions to the mixture for flavour before adding your fish stock along with chopped lobster meat. Stir well until boiling point is reached, then let it simmer away gently on low heat for twenty minutes.

Entrees:

Pork Chop Oreganato – This is one tasty Italian classic that you can cook using gin. First marinate some pork chops overnight to give them extra flavour before adding garlic salt, black pepper, chopped oregano leaves for taste, along with generous amounts of olive oil. Grill away over medium heat for five minutes each side or until golden brown before serving garnished with fresh lemon wedges alongside your choice of salad vegetables if desired.
Pan Seared Scallops – Clean each scallop by removing its brown end then dry them off very thoroughly using paper towels, before placing them into a bowl of craft gin marinade that has been sitting overnight in the fridge. Leave this mix to sit at room temperature while you make your risotto as they will be ready just about when your risotto comes out of the oven. Season both sides of each scallop with salt before cooking.
Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich using craft gin is made by infusing the milk with the gin and onion, then adding this to your base before you finish off by melting cheese into it.
Cheese & Craft Gin Fondue – Stir in some fresh lemon juice for an extra kick of citrus flavour to go along with a basket full of bread cubes, apple slices and dried apricots at the end when everything is melted together.

Desserts:

Raspberry Lemon Cream Pie – You can use some gin to make this delicious dessert by adding it to the raspberry mixture.
Gin & Tonic Panna Cotta – Add a few drops of gin into this panna cotta for an added zing that will have you coming back for more.
Pecan Pie with Craft Ginger Beer Syrup – The sweet, caramel flavours in both pecan pie and ginger beer pair nicely with craft gin, so it is no surprise these ingredients are featured together here.
Cheesecake – You can infuse your cheesecake base by adding some craft gin or even use it as part of the topping by whipping up some cream cheese frosting infused with it.

How to cook with different types of gin

There are different flavours of artisanal gin in the market, so what kind of dishes should be made with each different kind? Here are some suggestions:

Bombay Sapphire Gin is great for cooking Asian cuisine. Use this to make a Thai-style soup or an Indian curry with some rice that features ginger, coriander, cumin seeds and green chillies.
For European dishes try using the classic London dry style of Tanqueray Gin instead, which has notes of juniper berries combined with lemon peel.
If you love fresh herbs than go ahead and use Hendricks’ Gin’s sweet floral flavour made from rose petals in your cocktail by mixing it up with sugar syrup infused honeydew melon cubes.
Spice flavoured gins are great for making marinades with. Try using Old Raj Gin which has distinctive flavour of black pepper and coriander to marinate chicken or lamb before cooking on the BBQ.
For dessert, why not try something different like making a raspberry gin sorbet? Simply mix together fresh raspberries, caster sugar syrup and some pink grapefruit juice then place in the freezer.
Fruit flavoured gins are better to make desserts with. Try using Moniack Gin which has a blend of strawberry and raspberry to add an extra dimension when cooking desserts such as pavlova or fruit salads.
Old Bakery Gin is best used for marinating seafood.
Archangel Gin can be used to make dishes such as venison, beef and lamb even more tasty.
For barbecues try using Rich Tea gin which has a touch of Ceylon tea leaves added to the mix; this will add an extra dimension when cooking meats on your barbecue.

If you have little bits of gin remaining in bottles after festivities or parties, you can use these for your cooking, and you can be sure of some delectably flavoured dishes that will elevate your cooking to the next level.

Book Review of Stock Market Cash Flow

I still wanted to learn more Options winning trades to add into my arsenal. When I was at MPH bookstore, I saw a Rich Dad Advisors book called “Stock Market Cash Flow” by Andy Tanner. I remembered Robert Kiyosaki always emphasized about cash flow in any investment compared to capital gains. I decided to flip the book to find gems. I only bought the book on the second browse after I found that I could learn and practice some of the concepts taught.

To be a great investor, we must first be a great student to learn all there is about an investment in order to be an expert. This is the first time I am being introduced to two learning measurement systems; 1) The Education Continuum helps us to measure how well we had learned and applied the concepts of our financial education. The levels are Ignorance, Awareness, Competency and Proficiency. 2) The Cone of Learning, developed by Edgar Dale, shows how much we retain through different ways of learning, be it active or passive learning. With these two measuring systems, we can measure how good a student we have been in investing.

Andy introduces us to the four primary classes of assets. They are business, real estate, commodities and paper asset. He gave a good comparison of the different asset class to allow each individual to assess which asset class is best suited given their circumstances. Since this book is about Paper assets, Andy gave more reasons why an investor should consider having Paper assets in their investment portfolio.

Next, Andy introduces his 4 pillars of investing. The subsequent 4 chapters dive deeply into each pillar. Personally, I find the 4 pillars very useful and guide the investor, no matter which level he/she is in, to make better decisions. The 4 pillars are:

· Pillar 1 – Fundamental Analysis

· Pillar 2 – Technical Analysis

· Pillar 3 – Cash Flow

· Pillar 4 – Risk Management

Fundamental analysis allows an investor to determine the strength and value of an entity (sovereign, corporate, personal) by understanding its financial statement. Basically, how the financial statement will look for each entity is governed by the policies implemented. Policies need to change in order for the fundamentals to change. One of the best investors of our time, Warren Buffet, is a guru in determining the fundamentals of any company. Gurus like him have a set of important fundamental ratios to rely on in order to determine if the company is worth investing in. His company Berkshire Hathaway has implemented excellent policies that have seen his company achieved huge growth and exponential increase in his company stock prices. Andy has provided similar ratios (and definitions) for investors to make stock comparison. I find them really useful and have used them in my stock analysis.

Technical analysis help investors determine the strength of the market based on supply and demand of price movement. The stock chart is used by investors to see if there is a trend created by the historical price movements. This trend or pattern that is identified by the investor will tell him the likely movement the stock will take. Andy gave a pretty good introduction to technical analysis, explaining the essential basics like Trend types, Support and Resistance and a few commonly used chart patterns. I found that, this is all you need for any investor to get by if they really become proficient at them.

Cash Flow helps an investor better position themselves in the market. Andy uses the concept of Options to illustrate this point and emphasizes the opportunity how this instrument allows the investor to profit in any market direction. Andy explains the many properties of an Option contract. Understanding the basics of a Call/Put and combination of both options allows the investor to have many ways of positioning themselves in the market.

Risk Management teaches us three ways to deal with risk, 1) Avoid risk 2) Take risk 3) Manage risk. Risk is related to control. An investor with more control in his investment will have less risk. The same is true when an investor have less control in his investment will have more risk. Those with no control are gamblers. It is also wise to know the maximum risk in an investment.

How we end up in future all depend on the choices we make today and who we surround ourselves with. How good a student we are today will determine our financial future.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as Andy is a great teacher, explaining the concepts in very simple language. This allows me to understand and retain better what was taught. Hope you get a copy of his book and be enlightened.