A New Quarter, A New Blog.

I feel as if the title of this post is a bit misleading, since I have never technically written a blog before. Nevertheless, it is a new quarter, and this is a new blog.

My name is Stephen. That’s Stephen pronounced like “Steven”, not like “Stefan”. The common mispronunciation of my name is easily my biggest pet peeve. That being said, I am currently a senior at Western Washington University, pursuing a B.A. in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. I’ve already finished a minor in Psychology, although since I am probably going to try and focus on marketing research as a career, I’m not sure if that minor will be as useful as I had once hoped. I’m from a rural part of Kitsap county (Olalla, if you are interested) where the “big attractions” are an old house where a doctor starved patients to death in the late 1800’s and one of the biggest bluegrass festivals in the country. Plan your vacation today!

I’m taking Digital Marketing for a few different reasons. For one, if they don’t already maintain an online presence, any business that wants to be taken seriously will at some point move online. The digital marketplace allows for a larger audience to notice the company and potentially give them their business. However, with so many small companies online, how can one stand out from the other? Digital marketing plays a huge role. Also, I heard good things about this class from my adviser, as well as students who have already taken the class.  I hope to learn how to help a company stand out from others online, and how to maintain that presence, through search engine optimization, as well as through mobile devices.

On to the bulk of this post. The first article about traits and skills that employers are looking for comes as no surprise to me, especially the part about where the jobs are. Being a college student on the verge of graduating, I have spent quite a few hours looking for jobs online, or at least seeing where most of them are, and what it is employers are looking for. The fact that most of the marketing jobs are tailored to the local industry is not that surprising, and very economical, although I would imagine it could hinder smaller companies in the area. Also, it’s nice to know that of the five cities surveyed, it seemed as if Seattle had one of the worst job outlooks for entry level positions.

Always Sunny- Jobs

Besides that point, I was reassured by the article. It’s nice to know that most of the skills that are desired by most employers are “common sense” things, such as Oral/Written Communications, Presentations, and being Ethical. I mean common sense, insofar as it makes sense that a job industry where you present a company to the public, or to other business to buy their products. As far as the technical skills go, I was reassured because I am confident that what we learn in our classes (MS Office, SPSS, etc…) will be a sufficient amount to at least land an entry level job. Also, after doing some research, an article on Forbes listed the top marketing/advertising jobs, their median salaries, and their job outlook. (http://tinyurl.com/n23hhu4)

The article that forecasted the growth of interactive marketing also seemed to be somewhat like “common sense” to me, probably because in the past I have had classes that have discussed that trend. Although the bulk of the forecast discussed why interactive marketing was becoming a very important part of the industry, one particular section did get me thinking. Mobile marketing is a fast growing division of digital marketing, and one of the most interesting aspects of it is how difficult it is to avoid mobile ads. On a computer, there are extensions for browsers that block all ads (I haven’t seen any ads on YouTube for the past two years. SUCK IT VEVO ). As far as I know, there are no apps that block ads for your phone, and even when I do have to endure mobile ads, they are at least for things that are based on my Google searches, or for things that are nearby. No other platform can really utilize GPS like smartphones. The other interesting point made was the growth of tablets. Tablets are very useful, especially for students who want to take notes, or play games, in class. Most tablets, especially the Microsoft Surface, are comparable to laptops, but are more portable. As far as I know, all of the most recent iterations of tablets have the capability to use Bluetooth technology, and through that, connect to a keyboard.  Essentially, tablets are what net-books wanted to be, only they usable and successful.

The final article that we had to read was a hard one for me to stomach. The references made by the author to Game of Thrones were not necessarily bad. That being said, anytime there was an allusion to Game of Thrones, I had to cringe, due to my loyalty to both the show, as well as the books. The article did bring up several interesting points, in regards to how tech companies are competing with each other, despite how old the article was (only a year, but there were several changes for all of the companies throughout 2013). I’ll talk about the Big Four companies discussed in the article (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon) in order of how little news they made in 2013, starting with Apple. I should start out this section stating that I am not the biggest fan of Apple products. I feel as if they are harder to use (from my perspective), and the amount of customization is not as high. That being said, there were not too many big news events this year for Apple. They released a new phone  two new phones this year, each with a few new minor innovations, although nothing as groundbreaking as the original iPhone. That was probably the biggest news for Apple this year, looking back…

Except for iOS 7.

Oh, iOS 7. Deemed the “Fischer Price” of operating systems throughout circles in the web, it was a new direction Apple took, going to a more bare-bones approach. Upgrading your phones/tablets operating system is never that big of a deal, and in fact is usually met with lots of enthusiasm. Especially after the new update has been downloaded. One of the biggest complaints that I heard about the new OS was that, for users with older phones, the transfer was not so smooth, with a few kinks in the upgrading process, such as losing all of the contacts, pictures, videos, etc… Not that bad. Besides that, Apple had a rather low-key year. http://tinyurl.com/l2lltqs

The next company to be discussed is Facebook. 2013 was not especially kind to Facebook, especially their stock prices. Again, there was not a lot of news made by this company. Many of the topics discussed in the article did not necessarily come to fruition, such as integrated buying, although I may not see that with my ad blocking program. One of the biggest issues Facebook faced this year was the whole “NSA is looking at everything we’re doing online” fiasco, although Facebook claimed to have no part in that.

Had I done this section based off of solely my memory, this is when my section on Facebook would have ended. However, there was one more newsworthy Facebook event to be covered: The Facebook Phone.

The Facebook phone was Facebook’s attempt to burst into the mobile game, so that they would no longer have to rely on another party, such as Android or iOS, to support an app to run Facebook. On its face, it seems an interesting idea. A phone that is primarily used for Facebook, with a secondary use for a phone. With a sleek design, and outrageous price (initially at $99, later dropped to $0.99), the HTC One, or Facebook phone was considered to be one of the biggest tech flops of 2013. http://tinyurl.com/ose4mco

Treadmill Fail

The next company to be discussed is Amazon. Again, there were not too many big changes for the company, EXCEPT THAT DRONES MIGHT BE DELIVERING YOUR PACKAGES IN THE NEAR FUTURE. Called Amazon Prime Air, Amazon plans on using drone technology to begin delivering packages as early as 2015, as long as they get the proper certifications. Although they would only be able to deliver packages within a 10-mile radius of the launching pad (?),  and be able to carry packages that weigh 5 pounds or less, it would drastically cut down on the cost of delivering packages. Whether or not Amazon will be able to launch this new innovation is yet to be seen. http://tinyurl.com/mwtxo9x

The other major “news event” of 2013 was the continued growth of cloud storage services. The three largest purveyors of these services are Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. While Google offers a free service, it isn’t as straightforward, at least in regards to uploading a document that was not made in Google Docs. They also offer a paid service that is comparable to Amazon’s Web Service. Amazon is probably considered to be the most popular, since they are known to drop their prices rather regularly. Microsoft offers a paid service as well, although it is not used as much as Amazon’s. Predictions for 2014 suggest that cloud storage services will continue to innovate how they store their data, as well as adopt new technologies. http://tinyurl.com/lwekljl

The final company I’ll be taking a look at is Google. 2013 was an interesting year for Google, mainly because we all found out that the NSA was watching everything that we were doing at all times online. Google is still trying to make a case to show how much they reveal to the government, although whether or not they will be able to reveal secret government information to the public remains to be seen. Google also launched a few new products in 2013. Beta testing began for Google Glass, potentially the first mass produced augmented reality device. Testing is still being done. http://tinyurl.com/p45sjob

Google also had a few social networking blunders, i.e. the implementation of G+ into the YouTube commenting system. Google had been asking users to switch their account name of their YouTube account to their G+ account, however in mid-November, the switch became “mandatory”, as in, you had to now link your YouTube account with your G+ account, but if you wanted to keep your original username, you could. You just had to set up a G+ account with that name. That’s not too confusing is it? After a week or so of backlash from the community, Google made a few minor changes, but they did not budge on the integration of G+ into the popular video sharing site. In my opinion, it wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, the execution could have been pulled off a bit smoother though. http://tinyurl.com/mb72sdh

Overall, I think that these Big Four companies are going to have a lot more fighting to do. It is pretty much impossible for any of these companies to go into business together, because there will be at least one conflict of interest. I would say that in the end Google will come out on top, at least until the anti-monopoly laws break it up. Then things will truly become messy.

Oh Dear We Are In Trouble

The North Remembers

Looking forward to a great quarter!

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