Monthly Archives: August 2010

RedRock Micro DSLR Rig

Recently I’ve used the RedRock DSLR Field Cinema Deluxe Bundle for a lot of my work, and it into my demonstrations for the Canon DSLR 5D & 7D Boot Camp. This particular rig is a shoulder-mount which allows you capture a steady video. This is designed to be able to be used with an external monitor, and with this rig, a follow focus is included.

Why I would recommend this rig:

-This particular Canon DSLR 5D rig is extremely well balanced and is quite comfortable. Not only is it easily put together but it can be mounted very quickly as well.

-This rig is extremely durable! It is made out of machined aluminum and is very strong. So far I haven’t encountered any problems with any of the parts breaking off. I would highly recommend it for a video production crew because of how sturdy it is.

-Another great feature this particular rig has is that it is extremely adaptable. Not only does the rod system work with various manufacturers’ products, but you don’t have to worry about buying a new follow focus. The one that is on-board works perfectly fine.

-Jerry rigging and customization is also another awesome aspect that this rig provides. For example we swapped out counterweights on the rig and mounted an Anton Bauer.  A Marshall 7 inch screen is hooked up to this battery pack, which allows for long lasting life and gets rid of the necessity for a battery pack on the back of the monitor.

If you’d like to get practical experience using this rig with the Canon DSLR 5D or 7D, be sure to sign up for the next Canon Camera Class.

Visual Content is Vital for eCommerce

Ever considered incorporating video as part of a corporate social media campaign? These days it’s easier than ever to create your own video, and even easier to upload it online for display. My experience with social media so far has shown me that visual content is an important tool, as it can create lot of engagement.

Video doesn’t have to be professionally done, and sometimes it’s better if it isn’t. A super polished video of customer testimonials could be suspect. The best is a rough video from an actual customer, as it has realism you just can’t beat. But when getting into advertising, there is an expectation of some polish. Here’s an example of a video produced by one of our directors, Snehal Patel, for the game Loaded Questions, starring Eric Schwartz, aka Smooth-E:

Loaded Questions video produced by Snehal Patel, starring Smooth-E (Eric Schwartz)

While you might not be prepared to launch into a custom video production today, it’s a good idea to at least include it in your market development strategy. By spending some time with an experienced production company to outline some ideas, you will be a few steps closer to creating great visual content. A good video backed by decent market research data collection can go viral, and be passed around to hundred and even millions of people for free.

If you have a product that customers like to see before they buy, video is going to be crucial. If YOU are the product, photos and video could play a big part in your success. Potential customers appreciate the chance to meet you online prior to meeting you in person. Besides, it can save you a lot of time too, as customers who have already met you online, probably have already decided to work with you by the time they request an in-person meeting.

Most social media sites allow videos to be posted.  Social Media is a great place to start posting customer testimonial videos. Facebook business Pages allow fans to post their own video. Consider providing an incentive for clients and customers to post a video describing their experience with you, etc. At the very least, incorporate taking photos relating to your business, and get them posted online with a caption or description. Since Google can’t “see” the photo, it has to have some text describing the photo to index it properly.

Topic Optimized Marketing: An Overview

Free tools abound on the internet for marketers. It’s great that pretty much anyone with a will to learn and an internet connection can bootstrap their way to higher income by using free tools.  It really levels the playing field in a lot of ways.

But there is a risk involved. Free tools mean you have no rights other than what a company is saying you have. If you violate their terms (and even if you don’t), any social media presence you’ve “created” online can be taken away from you at any time.  Because of this, I have been searching for a solution that was both easy to use, and provided a majority of “ownership” for the user. This isn’t a solution for the faint of heart.  It’s real enterprise social media at its best. We call it Topic Optimized Marketing.

Benefits and drawbacks of PPC and SEO for effective marketing plans

Topic-Optimized Marketing software is an easy to execute platform for targeting large numbers of keywords and ranking them on organic search results. It allows a company to do the following:

  • Target keywords for a business in organic search to win more traffic
  • Decrease cost per lead, and increase the efficiency and productivity of content creation
  • Drive qualified traffic which in turn increases website traffic
  • Frees up as many people as possible to create content (or we can create it for you)
  • Leverages content across a network of keyword-based blogs, not just one blog

It also provides the following benefits:

  • Unlimited use of keywords (represent as many as needed)
  • Search engines put high value on pages that are frequently updated SEO right out of the box, no expert knowledge of SEO necessary.
  • Conversions of 3%-18% (websites are 1.5%-3% if they are really good)
  • Admin security allows multiple authors to create content while keeping brand messaging consistent
  • Metrics on a weekly basis to track success and ROI
  • Scalable, able to target as many keywords as you want
  • No software to maintain or update
  • Workflow built for busy professionals
Because Topic Optimized Marketing titles each blog to match a keyword search term or phrase, allows unlimited post volume, and creates links to websites, we are able to maximize the chances of the blogs ranking well on Google.  Adding carefully done long tail keyword research helps create relevance and a much higher conversion rate.

Of course, don’t just dump your Pay Per Click campaign.  If it’s working, keep it unless you can produce more leads for less money with something like the above. Keep in mind that any marketing campaign that “doesn’t work” might be suffering from a lack of some kind of consumer analysis. There is no replacement for really understanding and speaking to your customers.

Topic Optimized Marketing might not be the right solution for your company right now, in which case feel free to use whatever free tools are available. Just be aware of the risks, and as soon as you can, work in some online real estate you can “own.”

Can’t Find Prosperity? Make Some of Your Own!

Waiting for prosperity to strike your pocketbook? We decided to take matters into our own hands one fine day. It was a blend of three of the luckiest events on the calendar; two traditional and one new event.

We wanted to reward our hard-working friends so we decided if the government can give billions away to lame Wall Street firms and bumbling automakers, surely we could give hundreds away to the hard-working, productive people we know. And since the government seems to have no problem with printing money we decided to hurry up the trickle down process and print some ‘money’ for our friends and have a little fun.

We took St. Patrick’s Day, the Vernal Equinox and yes, the idea of the ‘Stimulus Package’ and created our own holiday! We had live shamrock plants, $25 gift certificates, gold chocolate coins and green M & M’s. We gave out hundreds of dollars! (actually promissory notes good for any work done by The Association) backed by the full faith and credit of The Association whose credit rating is substantially higher than the Fed.

But of course it was also a party so we had some fun games: Joke Telling, Speed Scrabble, and guessed it…Charades! And for those of you who still like to gamble, some ‘can’t lose’ Poker was provided by the luckiest Irishman we know, Jim Killeen.

All in all, everyone had a great time as usual. What does this have to do with custom video production or direct response TV ads? Nothing, really. Just a demonstration that to create prosperity, all you have to do is decide to have it. And you will.

Business Expansion is a Team Sport

I am often asked how it’s possible that The Association’s marketing campaigns are so successful. While I would love to take credit for the results we get for our clients, it is a team effort. In fact, a really, really big part of the success of any campaign is the client themselves. After all, we can only help a business owner who is committed to the success of the campaign and the success of his or her company.

The Association: Creative Film, Video and New Media Solutions

From past experience, the main goal of most business owners is to expand their business, ideally without also expanding the headache of having a business (of any size). While we can’t guarantee there won’t be any headaches, there are ways to painlessly increase leads, which of course would lead to more sales = expansion.

Accordingly, The Association team created a Business Expansion Program.  The first step is to conduct an extensive Business Development Survey in order to focus on the problem areas that need to be addressed in order to achieve a more ideal situation. This survey is a proprietary list of questions developed over 24 years in business.  We know what to ask. And we really listen.

Gearing For Expansion
Armed with your information, we set up an Expansion Program that is tailored to achieve the results that you want for your business. Quite often this includes addressing key business elements that would prevent the success of a marketing campaign that would bring in more leads. What good would more leads be if the company fell apart under the stress of more leads?

Generally, the next step is usually market research data collection, which tell us what we need to design a Market Development Strategy to reach your audiences and get them to take action. With this data, our creative team comes up with solutions which not only fits your budget but also pays back your investment.

Businesses are individual and unique, and require solutions tailored to those needs. While all of our tools might be applicable for most companies, the application of these tools often requires a nuanced understanding and careful observation of the existing scene, from outside the business.  And a cookie cutter solution isn’t enough.

Whatever you are trying to accomplish, find a success partner who has any skills you may lack, who is interested in helping you succeed, and who can be part of your winning team. To start, this might be as simple as getting an intern proficient in new computer skills, or as advanced as hiring a direct response advertising agency.  Good luck!

Marketing for Small Business

The Art of Marketing

There are several ways to go about creating an effective marketing plan. If you are a small company considering some kind of consumer analysis, sometimes it’s best to just market from the heart.

What is marketing from the heart? It’s developing a visual identity and recognizing and establishing the emotional impact that this identity has on you, your business, and your clientelle. Independent business owners and independent professionals benefit from this kind of marketing the most, and it doesn’t take long to do.

Larger corporations may still want to rely on primary and secondary research for their market development strategy, but in our experience, Optimized Market Research wins out every time.  Smaller mom and pop businesses, more nimble with their customers as a general rule, can get away with less work, but enough research to hone their message to something more effective.

Tracy E. Locke
Tracy E. Locke, our writer and market research specialist, is here to help you implement methods used by esteemed, thriving companies in order to develop your brand and unique market development strategy. There is more to discovering your niche than a hopeful guess.

Develop a heartfelt focus of your business and create an identity that people can relate to.


Marketing From the Heart: Creating a Brand Your Audience Will Love

Marketing from the Heart

Your visual identity and its emotional impact is a seldom-understood concept in the world of consumer analysis and marketing. However, your brand is a commodity with real value!

Market research specialist Tracy E. Locke is a brand developer and professional writer who is available for private workshops at The Association. These workshops help to to assist business professionals with implementing an effective marketing plan using the same successful methods The Association has used for larger corporate clients.

“I enjoyed it, I thought Tracy was wonderful. I really enjoyed her spirit… that heart
centered place she came from, that focus, I think is really key to where I’m coming from
in my business.”  Philip Horowitz- Phlip ‘N Nick Corporation

You can invest in developing a brand that is the basis of effective promotion and the heartfelt focus of your business.  In fact, you ARE the brand of your own business if you are the only person in the company. Don’t neglect to develop that brand by assuming it will develop all by itself. By seeking out a trained professional who can draw that brand out, and create a brand equity you can use for years, you can achieve success in business faster.

Marketing Consultant Joins The Association

Charlie Hodge of The AssociationThe Association added Charlie Hodge to our team as a Marketing Consultant. Charlie is the perfect addition because he’s a “hybrid” – he understands internet marketing tools as well as traditional marketing tools. Charlie was Director of Sales at Earthlink but also has extensive experience in non-internet marketing, i.e. printing etc.

So, Charlie is “bi-lingual”. He speaks internet and traditional. Charlie’s a pleasure to work with and the ideal person to escort people through the transition from traditional marketing tools to internet marketing tools such as corporate social media.

“What a breath of fresh air this is,” Charlie says. “Social media is very relevant and a part of everyone’s lives. But a lot of people just need a simple way to start.”

“Social Media has advanced to the point where companies and the individuals responsible for marketing are no longer asking whether it should be part of their marketing mix but how and where they should participate.”

“Most companies that are “awake” to the changing business climate know they need to look at new ways to attract new clients/customers. We are factually helping them do this! We are helping business owners craft and get started on implementing an effective marketing plan using social media that will leverage the power of this new way of creating.”

“In a nutshell, you know how business owners don’t take action with social media even though they know they should? We get them over the hump with an effective ‘word-of-mouth’ strategy, plus our one-on-one implementation service that also empowers them to take control. Part of that service is to get them pretty immediate results that shows then a demonstrable return on their investment.”

Marketing and Business Digi-Techno-Strategist-Provocateur: John Brewer

fbd3cdabf571e1b198c79bf2f44b3f56The Association has added John Brewer to our team as a Marketing Consultant. John has over 20 years of senior management and marketing experience in technology with a focus on software and Internet industries. His management and marketing blend have involved him in a wide range of engagements, from some of the more premier sites on the internet to technology start-ups.

John’s teams have rolled out leading edge web technologies. His strengths as a product developer and marketer range from strategic to tactical and have resulted in industry awards in very crowded markets. He was an exclusive speaker at Unix Expo `96 on the subject of commercial web servers. John has been involved in Internet focused companies and Web marketing since 1994. He co-founded one of Southern California’s earliest Web site development companies.

With experience in all aspects of marketing-from primary and secondary research to collateral and packaging development to managing campaigns in print, online and trade shows-John’s teams have created one of the most well known brands in the early Internet product industry. John placed some of the largest online ad buys in the first years of the internet advertising explosion.

He has a passion for the cutting edge and has developed business plans and go-to-market strategies for Smartphone applications, streaming video, digital-out-of-home advertising, music and entertainment portals and was a pioneer in the digital music revolution of the last decade with innovative technology for the use of MP3 files.

To take advantage of what The Association has to offer, visit us at our site or feel free to give us a call!

Lemon Law TV Spots Pull 216 Leads After 5 Runs

We’re smiling about a new set of TV spots we produced for local Lemon
Law attorCorporate Video Production Services for Norm Taylor and Associatesney, Norm Taylor. In their first run, the spots aired 5 times and produced 216 leads for Norm in the Los Angeles area.

So we averaged about 43 leads each time a spot ran.

The cost per lead (CPL) is at a low, low $13.88.   Amazing when you consider some law firms pay $350 and up for a lead!

How did we achieve these fantastic numbers?

Well, it starts with knowing the target audience using a very through consumer analysis.  Our research specialist, Tracy Locke, in her surveying of the target audience, discovered unbelievable intellectual AND emotional data.  Thus, our Creative Director, Rick Rogers, was able to use this optimized market research to conceive TV spots for our TV Commercials Production Unit that connect with the viewer not only on an intellectual level, but on the emotional level as well.

Effective Marketing Plan makes for a happy phone
Connecting on an emotional level is what triggers people to take action. We motivated them emotionally and intellectually. The phone rang. It’s that simple.

If you want your phone to ring, if you want leads coming in the door, pick up the phone and call us.

Or email me at

Don’t let 2010 get the better of you. Take action right now.