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Funny Business

I’ve been a fan of stand-up comedy for nearly as long as I’ve been in sales – over 20 years. Ever since I discovered Comedy Central in the late ‘90s, I’ve watched every comedy special and stand-up showcase possible and have gone to dozens of clubs to see comedians perform. But it wasn’t until recently when I tried doing stand-up myself that it dawned on me how much comedy and marketing have in common.

Throughout my sales career, business development has been an integral part of my job description, and it is where I have focused the majority of my efforts over the past several years. What drew me in that direction was the creativity of developing things such as the messaging for a print ad, a TV commercial or a radio script, and the connection that takes place between a marketing professional and a company.

My approach for my first open mic performance was similar to my approach when managing any marketing project for a new client.

Preparation: Identify strengths

Develop Content: Define message, tailor for audience

Delivery Method: How to best reach the audience


After watching the video of my first performance, it hit me like a lightning bolt. What I was doing was simply marketing the message that I had prepared, where my jokes were the product, the audience was my target consumer base and the laughter was my sale! I was able to see which jokes worked, which jokes didn’t work and what adjustments I needed to make on timing, delivery or content for my next performance to get more sales… I mean laughs!

Marketing is similar to stand-up comedy as well as other forms of art or entertainment. You put together ideas and concepts into a variety of formats to communicate your message to people you think will be interested. It’s a fun process when done with some creativity, courage and a sense of humor.

Keep it Simple with Your Grammar on Fleek if You Want Millennials to Pay Attention

Diversity Friends Connection Global Communication Concept

By Jeff LeBeau, President, WRL Advertising

I have seen some amazing marketing campaigns with bells, whistles and even flashing lights complete with the latest tools to share everything a company can say about its brand. They can certainly be eye-catching, but not necessarily effective. In today’s world of advertising, public relations, graphic design and overall marketing strategy, less is more rings true for the next generation of buyers. And of course, content is always king.

Forbes reports that beginning next year the Millennial generation aka Gen Y (made of up consumers ages 17 to 34) is predicted to begin spending $200 billion annually throughout their lifetimes. That equates to a whopping $10 trillion! As companies seek to attract this generation of buyers, there are a few things to keep in mind.

This is the selfie generation. Millennials have grown up with computers, apps and smart phones. They document a mundane trip to the local coffee house through photo journaling. The most tech savvy generation in history values reviews and buyer feedback. These multi-taskers can be found with a smart phone in their hands at almost any given time. Yes, that includes when they are eating out, watching television, and beyond. In order to capture their attention, your message must be simple and concise.

Mobile-apps are fully ingrained as an integral part of the Millennial way of life. These handheld communications tools naturally provide a 24-hour shopping opportunity as well as a means to communicate and see influencers’ opinions. Do not be fooled by emojis and LOLs. This generation views themselves as highly educated and holds themselves to higher standards, especially when it comes to proper grammar. Yes, they have “zero chill” when it comes to letting improper grammar fly. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, “Millennials are annoyed when your grammar’s not on fleek.” So proofread your content before you post.

I must disclose I, too, am a Millennial and when talking with our other Millennial staff members at WRL I find this group of consumers are cost conscious and loyal buyers. They actively seek opinions and reviews and are not necessarily impressed with bling and catchy ad campaigns. The more online content and positive reviews available about your product or service, the higher the likelihood that Millennial purchases will increase.

I asked a couple of WRL staffers their thoughts about major considerations when making a purchase and found their responses to be strikingly similar.

“When I buy something, I consider whether I can find a better price for the same quality, which I value in a product. I do as much research as needed to make sure if the amount of money I’m spending on something is justified,” said Olivia Tharp, WRL social media strategist.

Interestingly, when I posed the same question to WRL website developer, Randal Pope he said, “Can I get this cheaper online/elsewhere? Is there a better/less expensive alternative?”

When putting together your next campaign strategy, a great opportunity exists to capture the Millennial audience. By keeping your message simple, concise and grammatically correct you may develop a lifelong customer.