Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Haunting

Be sure to watch all of Halloween Haunts on WHRO and listen on WHRV. Also available via iTunes.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

People Aren't What They Seem: Using Market Research To Figure Out What Really Makes People Tick.

American Marketing Association, Hampton Roads Chapter

People aren't what they seem.

Using Market Research can help you figure out what really makes them tick.

Which can come in pretty handy when you're trying to understand people, and why they do the things they do. Understanding how and why people buy stuff – their stuff, or somebody else’s stuff, will make you a marketing genius. Knowing that, and more importantly, using it, will help you or your clients sell more stuff.

Join the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Marketing Association as we listen and learn what makes people tick.

Frank C. Martin, III, CEO of Martin Research, Inc., the company founded by his father in 1970, and Martin Focus Group Services will share his insights and expertise. Martin Research, Inc. is a full service marketing research company specializing in qualitative research, such as focus groups, small group interviews, and IDI’s (one-on-one interviews), also telephone surveys, intercept interviews, and Internet surveys, but those are nowhere near as much fun.

Want Native Americans in Montana?
Vietnamese Cognac drinkers in DC?
Deep Sea fishermen who are gear intensive?

Come to HRAMA’a Marketing Research Event on Thursday, November 8, 2007 to learn how and where to find them.

Thursday, November 8, 2007
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Founders Inn and Spa
Madison Room
5641 Indian River RD
Virginia Beach VA 23464
NON-MEMBERS: $35 DAY of the EVENT: $40

RSVP by Monday, November 5th
Register on-line at . And, please bring a friend!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WHRO Film takes a fresh look at Fort Monroe

On the evening of October 15th, I sat next to a very nice young man from the Daily Press who was as interested in the future of Fort Monore as the rest of the crowd at The American Theatre in Hampton.

The WHRO documentary, produced and directed by Amy Broad of Rock Eagle Communications, debuted and a panel discussion led by WHRV's Cathy Lewis followed.

October 16, 2007
HAMPTON - — A new documentary on Fort Monroe takes a step back from recent debate and concentrates on long-term planning, National Trust for Historic Preservation attorney and regional director Robert Nieweg said during a public discussion Monday.

The documentary allows people "to get away from the wrestling match and on to the marathon," Nieweg said.

The local PBS affiliate, WHRO, held an advance screening Monday night of its half-hour documentary "Kingdom by the Sea: Fortress Monroe" followed by a panel discussion about the fate of the military base. Fort Monroe has been a military base for centuries. That historic designation ends in 2011, when the Army will vacate the premises.

The screening and discussion at The American Theatre in Phoebus drew hundreds of people who packed the theater, and many of them lined the aisles to ask questions of the panelists.
The wrestling match was back on.

The much-discussed issue — whether to make Fort Monroe a national park — was raised, and that led to questions about whether that is feasible, and how to make it a destination that is economically sustainable. That raised the question of money and how much of Fort Monroe — if any part — should be open to private development.

"We are not dealing with a blank slate, and developers love a blank slate," said Conover Hunt, interim executive director of the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, the panel charged with plotting Monroe's future.

Hunt said she agreed with fellow panelist, Daily Press reporter Kimball Payne, who said the fort's future will be defined by its characteristics — historic, natural and architectural.

People in Hampton and across Virginia see Fort Monroe as one of the most important historic places in the state, if not the country. As the Army's departure nears, there has been increasing disagreement about what should happen to it.

That's where the documentary comes in — both as a history lesson and as a way to further the dialogue about the base.

The documentary tells the history of Fort Monroe, which goes back to 1609 when Fort Algernourne was built as a defense for Jamestown. The island in the Chesapeake Bay just off of Phoebus was a strategic military location through the Civil War. It is also considered the place where "the story of emancipation begins," as University of Pennsylvania history professor Robert F. Engs says in the documentary.

"Kingdom by the Sea" premieres on WHRO-TV 15 and WHRO-HD 15.1 at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 24.
Panelists at the event included Hunt, Payne, Nieweg, L. Preston Bryant Jr., Virginia's secretary of Natural Resources, Steve Corneliussen of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, Hampton Mayor Ross A. Kearney II and Jason Sweat of the Defense Department's Office of Economic Adjustment.

In discussing the military's responsibilities and perspective on Fort Monroe, Sweat said, "The Pentagon wants to see what's best for the community, what's best for the commonwealth."
There are options other than maintaining the area as a national park. Bryant said Monroe can't become a financial burden on the state or the region. Bryant said Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has three goals in planning the future of Fort Monroe: to respect the history, to allow unfettered public access and to make it economically sustainable.

Found this great aerial shot on a Russian website. Hmmm....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sharing Thoughts # 7.5

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history. We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In the Shadow of the Moon

I had every intention of writing my own synopsis of this movie after seeing it at the local arthouse theater, the NARO. But after reading this, why bother?
All I can say is "ditto". Go see it!

Inspiring 'Moon' is the kind of film we need now
By MAL VINCENT, The Virginian-Pilot
© October 6, 2007

There is a moment in the stirring and informative documentary "In the Shadow of the Moon" when a French woman is interviewed on the streets of Paris. She looks in awe up at a television screen and says, "I always trusted the Americans, and I knew they couldn't fail."

We don't hear that often today, do we? Whether within our borders or around the world, it's not a common statement.

"In the Shadow of the Moon" is a film that is much needed right now - a reminder of a time when we did things right and at the right time. More than just a chronicle of America's moon voyages between 1968 and 1972, narrated by the nine surviving astronauts, it is a suspenseful and moving depiction of the pioneer spirit that once was such a major part of America's image.

The footage from archival NASA photography, much of it never seen by the public before, brings the moon up close, especially in that first landing. What we have here, at least outwardly, is the drama of nine men who went to another world and called the moon home for three days.

More than anything else, this film, directed by David Sington, humanizes for us a drama that still, after all these years, tends to seem quite mechanical and preordained - as if it were a triumph of machines, not men.

We hear the astronauts tell us what it was like, and, even now, we are surprised that they seem like ordinary guys. They talk about looking out the window and knowing that "death was only a half inch away" if that glass collapsed. They describe their mission in a spiritual sense, and at least one says he feels there must be a force greater than all this, whatever it is. Here, we realize that only 24 men have seen the full circle of the Earth from space.

It is history experienced at 26,000 mph.

The film, you might say, brings it all down to earth.

There is also the well-known historical outline. Yuri Gagarin's flight in 1961 was followed by Alan Shepard's suborbital flight a month later. President Kennedy's eloquent speechwriters helped urge America to take the lead.

Most impressive, though, is the sense of wonder and humility that still possesses the astronauts. There are, for example, James Lovell and Buzz Aldrin contrasting today with their early worship of outer space.

"What a hell of a ride she gave us," they say of the space vehicle.

They saw the moon as a hostile place as they approached. Who wouldn't?

It is not all triumphant. There is the tragic fire during testing in which three astronauts died. There is the quite sobering realization of seeing President Nixon actually rehearse a speech that was planned in case the men didn't get back from the moon.

The producer is Ron Howard, who must still be shocked that he wasn't even nominated for directing "Apollo 13" and that the film lost its Oscar to Mel Gibson's "Braveheart." He may be compensated in this year's race for best documentary film.

Amid the many traumas of today's world, here is a 90-minute reminder that, yes, we can be pioneers and that we can win.

Yes, we are a good people, a people who have every right to our pride.

Why is it that we need a film to remind us of that? In any case, we do, and this is the film.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sharing Thoughts #7

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why I'm Good in Sales...

Here are some snippets of an interesting article re: why some people thought they were good in sales during an interview.

When the sales applicant was asked, “Why do you think you’d be good in sales?” he/she replied:
“Because I like to talk.”
“Because I like people.”
One of my favorites is when one applicant said they'd be a good real estate salesperson was because they liked to look in people’s homes.

Their answers aren't wrong, but they never got that second interview. In sales, we know how to interview because every sales call we make is an interview. How we do determines if we’re invited back or not.

When former President Bill Clinton was asked in an interview why he thought his wife would be a good president, he had a reply salespeople should give: “She listens to the problem, she comes up with a plan – and then she delivers.”

How many business owners and sales managers wish they had a team of salespeople who would do the same? Listen. Identify the problem. Develop a plan. Deliver.

A sales manager said when he runs an ad for a new salesperson, he gives the candidates a number to call for an appointment. When applicants call they hear this message. “Thanks for calling. After hearing the rest of this message, I want you to hang up, get yourself together, and then call back and leave me a 30-second message of why I should invite you in for an interview.”

That sales manager eliminated countless salespeople wannabe’s while stocking his sales staff with excellent salespeople who know what sales is about.

In interviewing for a new salesperson, throw out a real problem every company has and listen to the response. “We need new customers. What’s your plan for finding them?” The second interview rides on the response.

If a sales manager asked me why I’d be a good salesperson for the company and why I should be invited back for a second interview, I’d reply something like this:

“You need to find new customers. I have a referral plan that I’ve worked for years with tremendous success. And, I developed a cold-calling schedule to find new leads and get in front of decision-makers. Here’s my proven plan to position myself to be the next salesperson my propsects call when they're ready to change vendors, i.e. to stay top-of-mind (insert here). I always say, if you can't be #1, then be #2. And, here are several creative techniques I’ve developed in solving problems for my past customers (insert here)."

But, the bottom line response from every salesperson should be, NOT that they like to talk, like people or like to look in other people's houses, but:

I like to help people discover their problems, learn about them, develop a plan to provide solutions and then deliver results. For them and for my company, today and in the future. Win-win. Period.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Sardonic Wit of David Sedaris

It was our infinite pleasure to meet David Sedaris on Sunday, October 7th and hear some of his stories read by the man himself at Chrysler Hall in downtown Norfolk,

that's pronounced...

Nor·folk [nawr-fuhk; also nawr-fawk; or more commonly by locals as naH-fuhk] -noun 1. An independent city of southeast Virginia on Hampton Roads southeast of Richmond. Founded in 1682 and today the largest city of Virginia, it has been a major naval base since the American Revolution. Population: 232,000.

If you don't know who David is, then shame on you...get to it! His wit is truly sardonic,

that's pronounced...

sar·don·ic [sahr-don-ik] –adjective characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering: a sardonic grin.

Hearing him tell his own stories, in his own voice and pronunciations, was absolutely side-splitting, such as

that's pronounced...

Nic·a·ra·gua [nik-uh-rah-gwuh] –noun 1. a republic in Central America. 4,386,399; 57,143 sq. mi. (148,000 sq. km). Capital: Managua.

And, the antics when he visited a nudist trailer park....well, you'll just have to read it for yourself. (see the Amazon link on the RH sidebar or click HERE)

David can be regularly heard on:

and on:

And, check out his audio books, etc. available on iTunes. David was gracious enough to stay VERY late to sign EVERY one of his books brought to or bought at the Chrysler after completing his readings. And, I found nothing sar·don·ic [sahr-don-ik] whatsoever about that! He's a gem, even if he wouldn't like me to say/write that.

But that's ok, and, by the way, AVOID fudge-colored towels at all costs! ;-)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Taste Tests

Dr. Brian Wansink in the Cornell University food lab. Ithaca, New York.

Article in TIME Magazine By JOEL STEIN / ITHACA 9/27/07

I know I'm being experimented on. In fact, I've read the results of these particular psych tests. But I still feel like a jerk as I dip a teaspoon into the applesauce jar yet another time and fill up a tiny saucer, trying to serve myself exactly as much applesauce as I did when I used a big spoon and a big plate. As predicted by previous results, the bigger spoon caused me to serve myself almost 15% more, the big plate 25% more. I also overestimate--by 50%--when I try to pour a shot into a wide glass instead of a tall one, a problem even professional bartenders can't overcome. And when given a full gallon of orange juice, I indeed pour almost 10% more than when given a half-empty gallon.

All of this delights Brian Wansink, the marketing professor who runs Cornell University's food lab. That's mostly because everything delights him. Though he looks a little like the actor Aaron Eckhart, Wansink has all the nerdlike characteristics you'd expect from a mad professor: he has a brain-slammingly loud laugh, overuses the word cool and may be the world's most excitable 47-year-old. He uses this energy to keep about 50 food experiments going at various stages. Most of these studies underscore the lack of conscious decision making that goes into how much, and what, we eat. Wansink called the book he wrote Mindless Eating. (order the book via the WHRO Amazon link on the RH sidebar)

Wansink's knowledge impressed me, until I saw the back of his car, which is covered with empty soda cans and McDonald's cups. Which is even stranger, since Wansink passed the first level of tests to be a professional sommelier and his wife was trained as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu. It's as if after all his studies, Wansink has determined that there's no point in trying to keep all the applesauce off the big plate. In his book, he advocates acknowledging how powerless we are and then taking steps to create a healthier eating environment: use small plates, keep junk food in inconvenient places, avoid eating directly from a package, be the last one at your table to start eating, and--if his own life is any guide--gross yourself out with piles of refuse in your backseat.

To get his message out, Wansink conducts some of his lab studies in unscientific, attention-grabbing ways that many of his academic peers find showboaty. Some dismiss his work as "Happy Meal studies." Wansink counters that his approach hits people where they live--and eat. "Once you're in a bar giving people chicken wings, people say, 'Oh, I can relate to that,'" he says, referring to an experiment in which he showed that subjects watching the Super Bowl at a bar ate 28% more chicken wings when the waitresses cleared the bones from the table than when the bones piled up. "That's the only one real people are going to talk about. They're not going to talk about your lab study." Starting this month, Wal-Mart is encouraging its employees to use an online program Wansink developed in which he offers diet tips based on psychological profiles as part of the retailer's new health plan.

About a third of the time, Wansink's experiments produce results that surprise even him, as happened with a study on students who buy lunch with debit cards instead of cash--a system many schools are starting to use to take the stigma out of government-aided school-lunch programs. Wansink's team thought the kids would save as much cash as they could for other purchases. "We thought if you have the cash left over, you can spend it on crystal meth or condoms or whatever high school kids buy," he says. Instead, when they had cash, the kids spent the same amount of money on food, but they spent more on junk food.

Although I love being around him, I find almost all of Wansink's results depressing. Apparently, I'll eat more M&Ms if they're in 10 colors rather than seven because I'll crave the variety. And unless I'm a real foodie, or French, flowers at my table will make me eat more, even though they clash with the smells of my meal, making it less appealing. Maybe I should just give up and gnaw on soy bars all day. But Wansink doesn't see it that way. He figures there are plenty of meals where he's really focusing and enjoying the food, and that's when he calorie-splurges. The rest of the time, he just tries to keep the junk away. Which, in all of life, not just food, isn't that bad of a plan.