UCSC Silicon Valley Extension has partnered with SVI-HUB accelerator to bring entrepreneurs a proprietary, step-by-step marketing ‘template’ to actualize ideas into valuable offerings, then market them, for profit. Students will learn the three stages of marketing a business to thrive, from developing a unique product, service, or [nonprofit] message of value, to creating campaigns that brand the business and sell their offering/s:
Ever wanted to be your own boss and startup?
Want to make your business marketing work to SELL your offerings and brand your business?
Had an interview for a Copywriting contract that required a ‘test.’
Here’s the ‘test:’
Create five (5) YouTube Channels that can “go viral,” which, according to this ‘digital marketing agency’ was “20 million views in one week,” with these prompts:
Create a “Seek and Find” YouTube channel.
Create a “Mouse Maze” YouTube channel.
Create a [tween] YouTube channel: “Imagine you are 13 and develop a superpower…”.
I stopped reading the “Test Deliverables” after that because this agency asked for a total of 5 unique YouTube channel ideas, their only instruction to create channels to “go viral, with 20M views weekly.” I hope the absurdity of this request is not lost on you, since about .03% of all YouTube Channels get 1M+ views on any given video.
And remember, this is a Copywriting ‘test,’ not a product development gig, which, seemingly, this marketing agency does not know a BRANDED YouTube channel actually is a product offering, and should be developed and marketed accordingly.
Five, free, viable YouTube channel ideas requiring little copy—this agency did stress an ‘attention-grabbing’ visual—including thumbnail layouts and storyboard drawings. Oh, and they required I sign an NDA saying that whatever I came up with on their ‘test’ was theirs to keep. Five (5). Free Channel ideas. Per applicant.
Their ‘test’ gave no OBJECTIVE for creating these channels—no sales goals for any company, or the channel itself to realize profitability. No reason for asking applicants to create these brain dead types of channels, other than the unmentionable of making the user the PRODUCT by selling their data, then slamming those same users with pay-per-click ads on every webpage visited forward.
The prompts in their ‘test’ were pulled from the latest trending crap on YouTube. The agency asked applicants to pile on more intellectually void baseline garbage to these senseless trending channels, following the Fire, Aim, Ready marketing method of business failure. Clearly this ‘marketing’ agency doesn’t really understand, well, marketing, assuming they were really looking for a copywriter, and not just garnering free content ideas. There are three business MARKETING reasons (not personal, ego-building social sharing) for a YouTube Channel:
As a marketing/branding channel for a business.
As a data collection tool for tightly targeting future marketing campaigns.
Selling collected data to Affliate Marketing brokers.
Applicants for this copywriting gig were not asked to market an offering of value, nor to build a marketing campaign (or YouTube channel) for any specific targets, nor did they instruct applicants to actually create and MARKET (i.e. BRAND) a YouTube channel for any specific business. They are under the delusion if they just get “views,” they’ll get sales, which data shows is a lie (https://freakonomics.com/podcast/advertising-part-2/), promoted by these very ‘digital marketing’ agencies to get clients. (https://www.ippglobal.org/post/truth-about-data-science)
Of course, after reading their ‘test,’ I turned down the prospect of consulting for them. I felt angry though, that they were not only asking for free, unique IP, but also the IP they were asking for was truly thoughtless, flat out bad marketing, sure to put more ‘digital’ garbage on the ever mounting pile of crap already on YouTube. To quell my anger, with my rejection of consulting for their agency, I included an answer to their first prompt:
Create a “Hide & Seek” YouTube Channel:
A Year of Free Beer for Finding NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER.
AR (augmented reality) game to find the bottle of famous IPA BEER (or any other idiotic thing that’s trending). Everyone 21 or older with mobile can play. AR has NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER bottles in places around each major cities, but also standard beer bottles, and area sports team logos, (even cross-sell with image placements) that ‘lead’ you to the ‘right IPA.’ First to find NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER (in any given round, which may be a week or more per round) to collect all that global data, (which then can be sold to screw us all further), wins the free beer for a year, every month getting new IPA flavors.
The TARGET USERS of this YouTube Channel will be:
Lowest hanging target is the sudo-intellectual, over-educated ivy-league crowd, mostly White men; Christians, Jews, Agnostics—higher education levels; MMORPG, FPS, and MOD gamer; Software, Marketing, Admin, Finance; STEAM; democrats; mid – upper income; 21 – 60.
Lazy, generally fat, FPS gamers, beer and sports-loving men. White mostly. Conservatives. Apatheist, Christians; low – mid income; blue-collar job; pensions; 18 – 65.
I’ve been looking for a home to purchase on REDFIN in the Seattle area for over 5 yrs with no luck. The homes I want are either too expensive, a flat out rip off, or an offer is accepted within 24 hrs of listing, which we can not do being in S.F. We’ve bid on 5 houses up there, and were ‘out bid’ 4 times.
I’ve defaulted to using REDFIN.COM almost exclusively, as they released MLS data within minutes of the broker’s listing. ZILLOW, REALTOR.COM, and their like get MLS listings hours, sometimes days later.
I assumed that REDFIN was helping me find a home. But what this SaaS offering is really doing is supporting the 1% wealthy, while screwing most potential home buyers. Making MLS listings available to everyone online, which is just about everyone with any money globally, does NOT level the playing field for buyers. It introduces 50+ interested buyers at every doorstep, jacking up housing prices with fierce competition for the same property.
Real estate brokers love this software! They now give you access to their MLS site (Matrix), knowing we all get it from REDFIN anyway. Promoting “competitive bidding” makes them richer with every sale.
Book a trip on HOTEL.COM or EXPEDIA lately? Ever? You’d get a better hotel rate if you call the places you’d like to stay, and talk directly to the front desk. I’ve booked family vacations for 21 yrs, and every single time, without fail, from Victoria, Canada, to Venice, Italy, the rates are cheaper if you call the places you plan to stay. The original idea with travel apps was they’d buy in bulk and sell at a discount. But like Pets.com, these sites quickly learned the destinations were not very flexible on their rates, so they ‘pivoted’ their SaaS with marketing. They sold users on ‘Packaged Deals,’ but you’ll be locked in to their ‘deals,’ which often aren’t ideal, and your vacation will cost more booking through them, even though they advertise that they save you money. Travel apps offer you no real value, and often rip you off, adding charges to cover the cost of maintaining their business.
Same goes for most middle-men SaaS offerings. It cost money to run their platforms, and they pass that cost on to their paying customers.
Ever use ANGIE’S LIST, or DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE to get recommendations for services from contractors to dentists? Their ratings are a LIE because the VENDOR PAYS to have their name on these lists. DCR says they reach out to the vendor’s customers by phone, which they likely do, with numbers the business gives them. Maybe they get the wife of the vendor on the phone, and of course, she just loves his work! And this is all the checking they do. Then they give the business a 5-star diamond rating, so you’re more likely to hire them. And the customer is more likely to keep paying DCR to appear on their lists.
Developers and marketers of these types of SaaS apps will argue they are “doing good” for the world, whatever that means. (Doing good for them?) They are ‘setting information free to form an egalitarian society,’ you’ll hear Silicon Valley types batting about this hype. But I’ve already established that these apps, and their like jack up the cost of goods and services, as IRL middle-men do. Creators of middle-men software will tell you they are offering you a ‘convenience.’ OK… first, with a few clicks you too can book flights, hotels, car rentals, excursions online, and do, even using most travel apps. Do the research and you can find all kinds of information about a company or vendor, including ratings across a broad spectrum, not just paid for ratings on ANGIE’S LIST. And how convenient is it being robbed of your money and information each time you use these self-serving ‘services’?
Ever wonder why entertainment events had gotten so expensive (before Covid)? The only way to buy tickets was through an online ticket broker. And good luck getting a refund if you needed to cancel, or the event was cancelled. You’ve purchased through an APP, which generally provides little to no customer service that is easily accessible.
Want to know why you can’t afford the home you want today? Partial thanks to MLS Listing apps like REDFIN. These apps are not only valueless, they are dangerous. The ripple effect of their ignorance is almost as expansive as the socioeconomic damage from their continued existence.
I keep putting marketing projects in front of me to avoid fine writing.
Writing fiction is HARD.
It’s the second hardest thing I’ve ever done beyond raising my kids, and husband.
Marketing, helping companies, especially startups grow is engaging. Working with entrepreneurs, especially engineers, to find their targets, and create campaigns that sell their stuff is empowering.
But it ain’t like writing fiction.
My muse comes out and plays with me when I write fiction. She and I intertwine, not just intersect like with marketing. We make love. We fuck. She drives me harder and harder…to THINK, imagine, create. One idea follows another, in rapid succession at first, then quicker, breathtakingly fast the story stings itself together, not like beads or pearls, but a continual stream of light energy. I’m riding it as it illuminates each character in their own dynamic colors, some blending harmonically, others clashing grotesquely.
I’m never bored, or lonely making it with my muse.
So, WHY do I keep taking on marketing projects when I passionately LOVE writing fiction?
It’s not a money thing. Not anymore. I spent 6 yrs writing fiction, produced four full length novels and a short story series, and haven’t made enough to pay for a family vacation to [pick your favorite vacation spot]. Marketing has always paid the bills. At this rate, at my age, money isn’t the driver preventing me from writing fiction like it was when I gave up fine writing to focus on my ‘real career,’ over 6 yrs ago now.
If it ain’t money, then I’m thinking it must be my ego preventing me from writing fiction. Beyond paying bills, making money is very validating! So is helping moms looking to become CEOs, or to coders developing their latest SaaS, it’s fun turning entrepreneurs onto the knowledge they need to make their marketing work to grow their business.
But it ain’t the challenge of writing fiction.
Fiction requires my full attention. Total immersion into another space, another place, not the real one I’m in. So the real world needs to be VERY QUIET, so it doesn’t pull me out of the world I’m creating. And as I write this I’m watching a truck back up on the street, BEEPING and BEEPING as it backs into our driveway to deliver drywall to the studio we’re building out behind our home. The dog is BARKING and BARKING cuz there are installers outside, crossing back and forth through her yard. Then there is our neighbor across the street cutting down huge cedars that take over properties here in the Great Northwest. And the tree cutters tossing branches into the crusher RUMBLING and GRINDING the limbs to mulch. And our next door neighbor installing a new fireplace, after drilling out the old one all last week.
Real hard to travel to virtual places when the real world is so invasive!
Yeah, I’ve tried noise-canceling headphones, and those squishy orange ear-plugs, but they both irritate, and are distracting.
Three months ago, we moved from the overcrowding and noise of East Bay, S.F. to Woodinville WA. The name perfectly describes this place. Densely wooded. Being far from towns and freeways, with acres between homes, I’m hoping once the studio is finished I’ll have a quiet place to write fiction. But I feel scared, anxious about committing to fine writing again. I’m afraid I won’t have the focus, the stamina I’ll need to create cohesive, complex story, and characters that will linger, stay with the reader long after the read. Quiet or not, writing fiction is HARD.
I’ve committed to January 2021 to begin fine writing again.
But between commitment to some future reality and actual reality is the Grand Canyon…