All In on Woo Woo, or My Philosophy of Marketing

Disclaimer: I am not a business person. I am an English major turned business school administrator who moonlighted as a baker and is now a writer. Take my advice at your own peril.

A couple of months ago, Adobe Marketing had this great commercial about the hot new thing–Woo Woo. A company scrambled to put all their ducks in a Woo Woo row, but by the time they pulled it together, the hip guys were already on to something else. Quoth the cool guy, “Naw, man, my mom’s on Woo Woo.”

It was funny, in part because saying “Woo” so many times in forty seconds can’t not be funny. It was an interesting message, though.

The marketing guy at my day job just left and, for the time being at least, I’m taking care of our website, the digital monitors in our building, and our social media. I’m tweeting and instagramming and web profile managing. Oh, and designing a whole new set of brochures for our admissions efforts. And then there’s my author website, blog, and social media accounts.

I feel like I could spend all day on this stuff. But I can’t. Because there’s the actual day job I’m paid for and the editing and the writing and the house and the dogs and the partner and all the other things of life. It’s tempting to throw up one’s hands and do nothing at all.

As tempting as that is, I’ve learned a lot in the two weeks I’ve been our stand-in marketing guy. Marketing is important. It’s how you interact with your audience and, perhaps even more importantly, your would-be audience.

So what’s a girl to do? I think it’s about strategy and balance. Give yourself permission to schedule time to tend to your online presence. While there, update Facebook without sliding down a cute dog video worm hole. (It’s hard, I know.)

Most of all, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Eye on the prize and all. And whatever you do, don’t go all in on Woo Woo.

One of These Nights, or Things I Learned while Listening to the Eagles

They say that all the stories have been told. For a writer–or reader for that matter–this is intrinsically depressing. Why do we even bother?

We bother because it’s not so much the story we’re after. It’s the telling. Now before you your get your knickers in a twist, hear me out.

When I say story, I mean the basic arc of a narrative. The archetype, if you will. Sure there are some crazy twists and new takes, but it’s pretty rare that something entirely new will pop onto the scene.

This isn’t a bad thing. Part of what makes stories so powerful is the fact that they resonate; familiarity is what makes that possible. But it’s also because, within the telling, there is still so much room for variation. Limitless possibilities, an infinite number of stories to be told. As a writer–and reader–of genre fiction (specifically romance), I find the whole thing reassuring. I know what’s coming, but I’m still surprised. It’s like having my cake and eating it to.

So, if you’re still with me, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with the Eagles. Well, I’ll tell you.

This weekend, as we so often do in the summer, A and I built a fire and poured some wine.

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The sun goes down. The fire roars. If A has anything to say about it, the Yacht Rock station comes on. Although we are both children of the 80s, she has a 70s fixation. I make fun, but it’s pretty entertaining to watch her get down to Hall & Oates. Who am I kidding? I do, too. But I digress.

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It’s at this point in the evening that the conversations get interesting.And by interesting, I mean seemingly philosophical, but borderline silly. The kind of conversation that comes after a third glass of Cabernet.

Case in point: “One of These Nights” comes on. Great song, right? I’m sipping my wine and singing along and I get to the part where Don Henly says, “I’ve been searching for the daughter of the devil himself / I’ve been searching for an angel in white / I’ve been waiting for a woman who’s a little of both.”  And it hits me. It’s just like when Ludacris says he wants “a lady in the street but a freak in the bed.” I share this revelation with A, who rolls her eyes but laughs heartily and refills my glass.

The moral of the story, other than me thinking I’m super clever? The stories may not be new, but the tellings sure are. And as a reader and a writer (and a casual listener to yacht rock and hip hop) that’s what makes it fun.

Lessons in Compassion

I’m pretty big on compassion. It drives my political leanings, shapes my world view. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve still got a sarcastic streak a mile wide. But I try to make kindness a driving force in my life. That means being kind, and also striving to surround myself with people who strive for the same.

The second part can be tricky. There are the relatives whose politics make my blood boil. There are the friends who would prefer to feel slighted than give someone the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, I can step away and feel better. Often, I get grumbly and irritated. How dare they and all that.

Cue the plot twist. In the midst of angsting about one such person, I met with a student. (My day job is in higher ed.) Based on the information and circumstances going into our meeting, I had a very clear idea of who this person was and what they needed to hear. And then they walked into my office and started talking. My understanding and my feelings about this person were turned on their head.

It was a humbling experience. But as is the way with humbling experiences, it was enlightening. There is always room to be more compassionate. Just like the memes say.

So even as I distance myself from people who leave me feeling sad and/or angry, I’m reminded that they’re probably doing their best, too. Even if I can’t be around them, I can think of them with kindness and wish them well.

This is probably a bit philosophical for a Friday. Not to mention sentimental and self-indulgent. I’ll refrain from exhorting you to go forth and be kind. Instead, I’ll thank you for reading this far. That, in itself, is a kindness to me and I am grateful for it.

Funny, smart, and/or sexy thoughts next week. I promise.