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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

East Coast Living

I have officially been on the east coast for seven months, and I must say that is has been quite an adjustment. Nicholas's residency program is in full swing, and I am finally settling into my role at Local Wisdom

All is well, but the thing I miss the most about Cleveland is the food. I can't explain the torture I feel when I have to set foot into another Chipotle or grab a pizza for another dinner. We are blessed enough that we are only six miles from the train station, so we can get into Philadelphia often. 

The next two and a half years are going to be a challenge, but i'm with the man of my dreams and I would not have it any other way. 

Organizational Apps for to a Digital Workplace

My mother has always made the joke that if she was sitting around the house and doing nothing, there must be something that she is forgetting. Organizational efficiency is important for any business and we have all experienced the pitfalls of a crucial task slipping through the cracks. The feeling of regret washes over us, sending us into a dramatic shame spiral that we feel we can’t escape.

As a full-time marketer and a full-time graduate student, I have worked extremely hard to keep all the balls I am juggling in the air, with the hopes that I don’t miss something crucial. Time management and staying organized has saved my sanity and improved the way that I work and communicate with my colleagues.

My organizational journey has evolved exponentially in the past year. Before starting my career Local Wisdom, I was a chronic hand written list maker and a note taker.  I was one of the only millennials that was not buying into the process of going 100% digital. I remember how uncomfortable I felt when attending my first meeting and everyone was taking notes on their computer or phone app. Using a pen and paper gave me comfort of knowing that I thoroughly understand what is communicated and that nothing was missed when my face was buried in a keyboard.

I decided that adopting the culture at Local Wisdom would require me to try a new approach to multi-tasking. To help with this process, I researched and downloaded five organizational apps that to help me get organized.

Dragon Dictation (iOS)

Dragon Dictation iPhone app removes the typing out of hand written notes, social media posts, and email drafts. Dragon is a dictation app, and the purpose is to transliterate when the user speaks clearly and with accuracy. There are shortcuts to publishing the transcribed text through various social media channels and an email draft, but a shortcoming to this app is that Dragon Dictate doesn't archive notes within the program.

EasilyDo (iOS)

EasilyDo serves as a personal assistant. The user has the ability to link the application to a variety of online services, such as email, calendar, and social media accounts, then the app searches for tasks that it can help you complete. For example, When I received an email, EasilyDo sent a push notification asking me if I would like to add that person to my contacts. I loved how this app helped me take care of a range of tasks rapidly and proficiently.

Dropbox (iOS)

This is a personal favorite. This app is essential if you have a multitude of files all over the place. Dropbox allows you to store files on your office computer, home computer, phone, and laptop on the elusive cloud. You can access the files anywhere you have a cellular signal. Uploading is a breeze and syncing is almost instantaneous across all attached accounts.

Pushbullet (iOS)
Pushbullet is great for the Mac user who also has other operating systems in the mix, like a windows computer. To use this app, you need to download extensions to your web browser. This app lets you push links and images from one device to another with a few simple clicks. Instead of emailing yourself a link, you can send it from your computer to your phone with a simple click. An added benefit, is that the system can send different types of subscribed content and can act as an RSS reader. It is excellent for people who want to move a file from a computer to their phones with ease.

 Evernote (iOS)
Evernote is a note taking without all the extra frills. Evernote surpasses competitors due to robust search feature and the ease of organizing information. This app has received a stamp of approval from me because it syncs all files on a cloud service. Using a cloud service means that when you make a change to a document on your phone, the modifications will be visible when you log into another version of Evernote.

Going digital is still somewhat of an adjustment for me.  There is still something satisfying about crossing a task off of a list of to-do's. Part of growing in my professional career, is learning to adapt to my surroundings, and I am thankful that I decided to give these apps a shot. They have improved my efficiency and saved a couple of trees in the process.

Have you tried any of these apps or have I missed an app that you love? Comment below. I can't wait to hear what you think!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What will marketing look like in the next five years?

“You are competing for every piece of content ever made for every person’s attention. You need to be entertaining. Don’t outsmart. Out entertain.” -Dolf van den Brink, President and CEO of Heineken USA
If I could pick my superpower, I would choose to see the future. Having this ability would make my job a whole lot easier, and my target market would be a whole heck of lot happier. By knowing what they want, before they want gives a marketer the ability to focus on the customer experience rather than spending time trying to understand the customer.
 Back to the Future day has recently passed, and it seems as if Marty Mcfly and Doc are the only two people who have mastered the art of time travel. So as marketers, we are given the responsibility of planning for the future, based on the past.
Luckily, there are trends that marketers can follow to win big with their target markets.

  1. Data is still king. There is a wealth of consumer information in the market, so making data-driven decisions is no longer an option, it is now a necessity. In the past, marketing campaigns were made with gut instinct and few case studies. Now there are marketing analytics software programs to ensure a companies marketing campaign is firing on all cylinders. Using data-driven content can help marketers understand what’s working, and what isn’t.
  1. Make it personal. Consumers don’t hate advertising; they hate bad advertising. According to the results of the 2013 Online Personal Experience study released today by Janrain, nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content that has nothing to do with their interests. The boilerplate template approach isn’t cutting it anymore. Part of the fun in marketing is discovering your market and identifying new opportunities. Making it personal does not mean regurgitating personal information back to your customers, and making them feel like your peeking in their window at night, it means creating a user experience that replicates their past inclinations, buying behaviors, and predicting what they want before they do. By using data and specific content, a company can tailor a message to your ideal customer.
  1. Relevant content = opportunities. Getting the word out about your brand is essential for success, but ensuring that the created material is relevant is crucial. Marketers need to understand that creating content is like writing a story. Don’t just write about the product or service, think about how the target market will align with the content story. By making the content relevant to the buyer, it will add value to the conversation and leverage insight into the consumers needs.

 I can’t predict the future. It’s obvious that consumer taste is constantly evolving, and the future of a marketing campaign is often unknown. But as marketers, we should always be thinking about what’s next but should always stay true to basic marketing principles. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

See, There Are Rules To This Whole Thing...

As you all know, I am a huge football fan, especially of the Cleveland Browns. Along with my insane, almost borderline obsessive love for the game a special ritual comes along with our football filled (sometimes disappointing) Sundays: Tailgating.

Ah yes, for about six solid weeks (I'm a fan, but I cannot stand for hours in below zero weather), most Clevelanders tone down our Saturday nights to wake up at an almost inhumane hour and prepare for the big game. Thousands of fans donning orange and brown flood the Cleveland Municipal Lot for a solid six hours of drinking, dancing (or thinking you can dance with a little help from what's in your cup) and rallying together with the hopes our team will rip victory from the jaws of our opponents.

As we wind down the tailgating season, a dear friend of mine suggested that I write a bit about my experiences this year, rules and some of the people that I have encountered.

Rules? Yes, you read that right. Every location has written regulations that the public must follow, but there are a few things about tailgating that I have come to discover over the past few years. For those of you who have been to one of our tailgates know that my group runs a pretty tight ship. It's fun yet organized because let's be honest, no one wants to show up for a hot dog with no ketchup or an awkwardly silent tailgate because someone forgot to make a game day playlist.

My list could go on and on, but I have probably lost half of your attention by now so I'll go ahead and list my top five things to consider if you want to tailgate like a boss:

1. Don't be "that" person. Yes, you. I am talking to you. Don't be that person that show's up for tailgating empty handed. I mean for goodness sake, you could probably go to the BP on E. 9th street, buy a .99 bag of Cheetos, eat half of the bag, show up with crumbs on your face and be judged less than if you show up with nothing in hand. Yes we put up with you dear friend, mainly because you're the social troll that sees everyone at a party and shows up uninvited. We may initially joke about it after tossing back a couple, but inside we are secretly hoping you drop your iPhone into the port-o-potty.

2. It is entirely possible to have a one too many. Now, I am all about having a good time but when you are gearing up for a long day, pace yourself. Stop and think about those around you and how your actions can affect them. Besides, I like being the center of attention and the more you drink, the less people notice me. Side note: you should always have a designated driver because from what I hear, DUI's are the worst.

3. Show some spirit! It's socially acceptable to drink at eight am on a Sunday if, and only if you're wearing some sort of sports attire. If not, I might mistake you for someone who may have a slight drinking problem or think you are a vagrant. By the way, no one thinks it's "awesome" that you show up screaming "Y.O.L.O." because you decided to stay out drinking all night and show up in the same clothes you wore to the bar. People will secretly judge you.

4. If you've never been tailgating, we can smell your inexperience. You park in my spot, you bring glass bottles, you don't shut down your grill in time. It will take a couple of stabs at it to find your niche, but when you do, you can too be the awesome person who uploads 99 pictures to instagram, facebook, tumblr, google+ ,twitter...documented how great of a time you had, then you can sleep for 12 solid hours when you get home.

5. Please have fun. You might not have a completely pristine, almost flawless tailgating like my friends and I do, but keep striving! There has to be something that drives you to greatness.

Here's to a win against the Bengals and taking the number one spot in the AFC North. Let's go Browns! Woof woof!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You'll Love Me, I Promise

Hi my name is Nikole Fuqua and this is my blog about laughter, friends, fun and well, me.

I hope you enjoy my journey through words, pictures and my propensity for fun.

Feel free to email me at twoonesixxx [at] gmail [dot] com for any questions or inquiries.

Also, check back in a couple of days because these background images can not  possible encompass the awesomeness that is Nikole. I'll be sure to have an updated look and feel.