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56 Servings of Grits? Someone in Marketing is Not Paying Attention to Basics.

Bear with me on this slightly sarcastic post – it actually does lead somewhere in regard to business!Quaker Grits Serving sizes - for what army?

Whether you realize it or not… customer service is part of marketing for your business, so here is my example of a vendor’s marketing department not paying attention to important basics.

My beef is with the Quaker Oats package recipe instructions.

Note in the image above the serving sizes for Stove Top style cooking – 1, 4, 28, 56!

Not exactly the logical progression I sought. Remember, the serving sizes posted are for side servings. My fam likes a BOWL of grits. And my ever-growing 16 yo son, 6’1″, 195 lbs, likes a BIG bowl. So somewhere between 4 and 28 servings is what I was looking for.

SO why am I posting about Quaker Oats Grits Recipe serving sizes?

  • It’s about knowing your customer.
  • Knowing who you are marketing to.
  • Considering the use of your product.
  • Providing said use in a consumer friendly manner.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I don’t do math - school was over a long time ago! And especially at 6:30 in the morning, my brain is waiting for the coffee and carbs to kick in, not ready to calculate how much I need to cook for 3 cereal bowls-full of grits. I don’t mind some leftovers, but seriously?

So, Quaker Oats, unless your consumer is the Church volunteer breakfast cook or the local Homeless Shelter, WHO EVEN OWNS A FOUR GALLON POT to make 56 servings of grits! And just how old is this recipe chart?

This is about:

  • knowing your customer,
  • understanding your customer’s needs, and YES, the user-friendliness of a product is part of marketing!
  • and marketing to the right customer – make up your mind, Quaker Oats, is this product for singles, families, or the ARMY?

And it’s not just Quaker...How many times have you had to search all over a pasta box to find the instructions to just cook the noodles!@%(*&$! No, they have to fill the packaging with suggested recipes and somewhere in a tiny little hidden spot are size 8 font instructions for how long to just cook the noodles!

That’s my rant of the day… ;)

P.S. Yes, I can tell it’s pretty much a 4:1 ratio – but again, I don’t want to have to do the math! And the Southern way is to substitute 1 part water with milk – creamier…better tasting… mmm. But I digress :)


The Win-Win of Social Media Through Unexpected Uses. Pt.1: The Perks of Pinterest

Pinterest logoI started noticing that Social Media has become a source of everyday personal convenience as well as social! It has completely become a part of my everyday life because of unexpected (to me at least!) uses and applications.

Some unexpected uses I have discovered and maybe you have, too…

Pinterest as a source or reference tool:

Example #1

A blog feed I subscribe to had a post on a slow cooker chicken that rocks!

I love slow cooker recipes because I don’t have to be in the kitchen to cook them ;) and any meat cooked in them is usually incredibly tender! I’m too busy for elaborate recipes and I get tired of basic recipes. So when I stumble on a recipe that I must try, I don’t bother to print it out. I PIN IT! This is great for busy people like me. So, I have a board for food ideas.

Anytime I want to retrieve a recipe, Pinterest has a great visual for me (who remembers recipe names?) and I can just click on my Pinterest app on my iPad or SmartPhone when I am in the kitchen and there’s my recipe (I just have to keep my tech tools out of the way of drips!)

No paper, no ink and always ready to view!

Example #2

I love to buy, but I hate to shop – mostly because the time that it takes is a luxury I can’t afford. I’ve got more speaking gigs, so I need some new professional outfits.

But, like I said, I hate to shop and I also don’t have time to keep up with what’s current. Yes, I buy the humongous Vogue book size editions to try to keep up to date, but…

So when I need to buy an outfit, I cruise the Pinterest “Women’s Fashion” category to see what is current. There are some of the best pins ever that show every piece you might want to create that complete outfit. This is like Garanimals for me and a huge time saver. (see left image)

I am usually inspired to post a quick comment to the pinner and that blogger now also has more exposure since I liked, commented and re-pinned the picture that she posted with her blog that has now been pinned.

When someone clicks on it anywhere on Pinterest, they are now directed back to the original pinner’s source. A win-win for both of us.

Moral to the story? Always provide a picture with your blog content!


Whoever follows my boards may repin one of my pins – giving both me and the source more exposure. They may start to follow my board and maybe my other boards as well.

Anyone who clicked on the photo may start to follow the blogger.

When I get a notice that someone repinned or liked my pin, I will most likely take a look and possible follow them on or at least one of their boards on their Pinterest because since they liked what I pinned, they most likely have other items I would probably be interested in.

My pin will also show up on the main Pinterest board and catch the eye of a browser. Potential new followers from outside of my network for both me and the blogger.

And notice that if you click on the image at left, guess where you’ll wind up…?

Yup, at that Pinterest board. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to sign in or have an account to view it either….

And the holiday ideas? Ah, don’t get me started!

Don’t forget you can also share to other Social networks. And here is a tip: Click “embed” and copy the code, paste into a Facebook post and it will provide the link and a lead in to it. No picture though… still trying to find a way to make that work.

What have you discovered you can do with Pinterest?

Merry Christmas! – It is Christmas Day and So I’ll Say It!

Somehow “Happy Holidays” has never cut it for me. I do use that expression during December when I know that I have a mixed audience.

But December 25th is Christmas Day. Period.  So when I see tweets and posts that avoid using “Merry Christmas,” I just wonder why? It IS Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all!


Being an Entrepreneur Means You Only Sleep When the “Baby” Sleeps

Parent watching baby sleep

I went to LinkedIn early this morning looking for inspiration for my next post. …Early morning is my favorite time for LinkedIn because that’s when you catch the entrepreneurs.

Oddly, I flashed back to my son’s birth while I was noticing these motivated and energetic LinkedIn users contributing their thoughts and sharing their expertise.

I began to think about why successful entrepreneurs usually appear most on social media during early coffee time. I believe it’s because they use their coffee time to catch up on the world. You don’t see them during the day on Social Media because after that coffee, they switch to 100% focus on their business  (unless their business IS social media!).

So that somehow had me remembering how during those first few weeks after my son’s birth, my husband and I thought we might never see the luxury of a full night’s sleep again for a very long time. We were pretty much right! We also coveted the ability to shower as needed, eat a full meal, and yes, even use the restroom when nature actually called and not when it was convenient for our infant son.

I remember telling people how the first 2 weeks with a newborn was a bit like taking the hardest 80 hour work weeks you ever had and multiplying by 3, and sometimes 4. At least on those 16 hour days at work, you got to just “die” on your bed until the next morning! Not with an infant… If the baby is awake, so are you – even if you haven’t  slept. If they are hungry, it doesn’t matter if your own meal isn’t cooked, the baby must eat now… and so on.

But you don’t care. It is physically hard, but emotionally? No. The joy that child brings far outweighs any of the losses of a previous lifestyle. All your previous priorities take a major back seat to the wonder of this new life.

I now know that having a baby was fantastic training for entrepreneurship. The joy from the prospect of success doing what you enjoy as your own business far outweighs the long days and nights, the un-showered mornings, the lost days, even some lost friends who have no patience with your latest obsession.

Your best idea can’t wait until the next morning. Your inspiration for your next article or artwork might be gone after you go out to the movies with friends. The words flowing through your fingertips onto the keyboard won’t let you stop to go reheat your coffee or eat.

But when you’re done, it’s exhilarating! And you can’t wait to get started on the next project or challenge!

Entrepreneurs, just like new parents, can only sleep when their “baby” sleeps.