Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Surveys


Faux Feedback – Are you doing customer surveys wrong? outlines the do’s and don’ts of customer surveys.  Jay Baer, the most retweeted digital marketing expert, outlines the best ways to solicit customer feedback in his current blog post.

Customer surveys provide insight into the minds of the customer that could benefit your business. When is not done well, it might be nothing more than a waste of time and money.

How to Sell Yourself in 5 Steps

After you’ve mastered selling yourself, it’s time to take your marketing to the next level and learn to Growth Hack ANYTHING.

Whether you’re looking for a new job, a promotion, or honing your skills in your current role, developing your own personal brand will help you keep your eyes on the prize – getting the most out of your career.

  1. Establish your personal brand.

Your brand is the sum total of your reputation, the quality of your work, what you stand for, and how you represent yourself to the world. Your brand can build on itself in a positive way, if you play your cards right.

Brand Loop


Who you are and what you stand for will come across in the quality of your work. Assuming you’re producing high-quality work, this builds trust and confidence in you from your employer and peers. This increase in trust and recognition can generate rewards, such as promotions, accolades, awards, or bonuses. And these, in turn, may elevate you in the eyes of others, build your confidence, and continues to grow your positive brand image.

  1. Identify your target “customers”.

Since you’re marketing yourself, your “customer” will be your future employer. So identifying the target customer you are after will help you hone in on what position and/or industry is the right fit for you. Then, you can highlight the skills and qualities you have that make you the best fit for that industry or position.

Know your audience:

  • What industry do you want to work in? (i.e. Technology, Transportation, Government)
  • Does industry matter to you or are you looking for a line of work that will transfer across industries? (i.e. Project management, Communications, Purchasing)
  • What are the skills you bring to a particular industry or position that make you the best fit?
  1. Develop a strategy.

Now that you know who you are and who your target “customers” are, it’s time to develop a plan of action for getting your name out there. Just like any company would work to differentiate themselves from other companies, you can set yourself apart from all those other job seekers out there.


  • Be consistent – Find ways to build your reputation in the field you’re passionate about and politely decline those that take you off course.
    • For instance, if grant writing is where it’s at for you, find volunteer opportunities or apply for positions having to do with grant writing. It can be easier to tell your story if connections from one experience to the next are clear.
  • Reinforce your brand – Join professional associations and other groups to find networking opportunities and practice telling your story. Reinforce your brand by telling your story in these places as well:
    • LinkedIn
    • Personal website or blog
    • Facebook
    • Twitter


  1. Gather intelligence.

Doing your market research, your homework, or whatever you want to call it is critical for success. How will you know who’s hiring or what skills are required for a particular line of work if you don’t do your research? You can get a lot about where your skills and those of your dream job align or learn what you need to do to brush up to things to meet the requirements of your next job, just by looking around or asking:

  • Check job postings on specific company websites
  • Read job descriptions on job boards
  • Meet industry “insiders” for informational interviews
  • Go to networking events
  1. Be You!

Most important – be the authentic you. People can tell when you’re faking and it doesn’t feel good either. So be genuine and honest and let your true self come through. It’s the best brand there is!

Knowing yourself, what your strengths are, and what you want from your career will help you develop your own personal brand. Now get out there and brand yourself!


What is Growth Hacking? Take your marketing to the next level and learn to Growth Hack ANYTHING.

Niche Marketing on a Budget

There are many niche populations that companies market to. The difficulty can be how to reach them and do it on a budget with little or no formal marketing training. An article written by Jack Simpson at the Climbing Business Journal talks about how they recommend climbing gyms market to their population of current and potential users. These businesses usually do not have large marketing budgets which usually means they develop their own marketing and advertising strategy. So, how can these businesses start to market and optimize their the effectiveness reaching their intended market???


The first question to ask is what market do you want to reach and why?

In climbing and in climbing gyms specifically there are two main markets to reach, parents/kids and climbers. Parents/and children drive a large amount of volume but their return rates aren’t as high. But they return for camps which drive a larger amount of profit for the gym. The climbers don’t necessarily mean the hardcore climber, actually you want to target the newer climber that wants to try it. Knowing where these people are will drive a large amount of visits and hopefully return visits. College campuses, schools, online platforms (Facebook, Search Engines, Trip Advisor, etc.), local media (See video attached of Stone Summit in Atlanta, GA)


Stone Summit, Atlanta, GA


The Circuit Bouldering Gym Portland, OR


What differentiates your brand and how can you keep them coming back? 

This is one of the hardest questions to answer for any business. Based on a small population gym that about 50% of customers who try climbing for the first time will return for a second time. 10% of the original population will return for multiple sessions. Of that 10% about half will take an introductory class offered to help them with technique and conditioning. Making a connection between the new climber and the community such as offering a class that will have them return will help make that connection. This gives them a sense of belonging that will have them coming back for more!



(Showcasing the community feel that climbing has. It is more than a workout or sport, but an community that spans the entire globe.)


Many gyms like Stone Summit and the Circuit Bouldering gyms offer workout equipment, yoga, pilate, among many other offerings. These diversified offerings can attract different types of clients that may become cross over clients. So think about your business and other industries that are close to them. Could they add to your current business or bring in a different type of market?



How to get everyone involved?

Many gyms offer climbing competitions of different varieties (climbing difficulty, ninja warrior, volume of routes, etc.). These aim to bring together a large community from beginner to advanced climbers at one time. Some are more serious than others but this is another way to get people in the door and having the sense of belonging that would bring them back.




These points are only a few simple ideas for getting into a niche population, which is something the climbing industry has been working through as it grows. But you have to reach them first. Find them and keep them coming back for more! You can market to the niche population you are seeking, so take action now!


Marketing Your Climbing Gym

Of These Advertising Marketing Agencies, Which Industry Leaders Have Name Recognition?

Team Ruckus

This is a digital marketing experiment by Team Ruckus with Willamette University’s MBA for Professional Program.

Of these advertising marketing agencies, which names do you recognize?

Ogilvy & Mather, Wieden+Kennedy, 72andSunny, IDEO, iProspect, Razorfish, Ruckus, Edelman, Interbrand, Wunderman

Copy and paste the survey link to choose.






Social Advocacy & Ayra Stark??

Imagine how exciting it was for a social media novice and a huge Game of Thrones fan to find a blog about marketing that included parts of the story line for Arya Stark. Plugging in a popular television series  was the perfect way to draw my attention. I wanted to thank all the gods, from the many-faced  to the old gods of the north.  Staying away from the lord of the light as that one is a little frightening and don’t even want to be a blip on his/her radar. 

Ben Green @ oktopost does a great job in a four minute read explaining what social advocacy is, and how to create the necessary emotional connection that is often lost through the use of social media.   Powerful and long term relationships are built on something more than just a slick twitter account or witty blog.

This article suggests incorporating any company’s greatest assets; its employees, and begin an employee social media advocacy program.  Employees who are actively encouraged to use their social media accounts can help bridge the emotional void of social media, and help put a face to a brand name.   Authentic, genuine and personal stories shared by employees create bonds between the customers and the brand.

Putting a face to a brand is the whole tie in to Ayra Stark and the Game of Thrones, she may not have a name but she certainly has a story to tell.



15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice

In response to my first post 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following I received a lot of questions about what stretches I did to get my splits. So, here you have it!

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.51.15 AM

15 Stretches: How I Got My Splits in 65 Days

  • Disclaimer: I am not an expert on flexibility. However, these are all stretches I learned from certified personal trainers, yoga instructors, and contortionists and the order that I did them for 65 days.
  • Warm Up: Spend 10-15 minutes warming up. Do not stretch“cold.”
  • Questions? I’ve hyperlinked to video tutorials from professionals for most poses.

1) Downward Dog (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)

Press into the ground with your hands and draw your hips back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.03.44 PM

2) Cobra Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)

Press into Cobra Pose from Downward Dog. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.05.55 PM

3) Downward Dog Leg Extensions

Raise each leg, while maintaining Downward Dog form and pulse the leg 10 times. Then, pull the extended leg forward for Pigeon.

downward dog, leg extended

4) Pigeon Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)

Keep your ankle bent to protect your knee and draw your hips forward to keep them squared forward. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.07.37 PM

5) Warrior One Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)

Keep your hips squarely forward, while tucking your pelvis (avoid just sinking into this stretch). Hold for 30-60 seconds. Drop the back knee to get into a Runner’s Lunge.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.09.41 PM

6) Runner’s Lunge

Do not sink into this stretch. Press your hip forward for your back leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Then, draw your hips back for the Hamstring Stretch.

runners lunge

7) Hamstring Stretch

Fold forward with a flat back and front foot flexed. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

forward runner lunge

8) Lizard Pose (Yoga by Candace, 2014)

Press forward and drop both elbows to the inside of the forward leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.11.17 PM

9) Seated Modified Hurdler Stretch (Strong Runner, 2012)

Hold for 3-5 breaths, reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.11.41 PM

10) Frog Stretch (ehowhealth, 2012)

Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Keep your hips in line with both knees.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.12.30 PM

11) Pancake or Straddle Stretch (GMB Fitness, 2014)

Hold for 3-5 breaths and reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.

forward fold

12) Side Reach in Pancake or Straddle Stretch.

Add a side reach. Rotate your torso to the sky and look up, while reaching with the opposite hand as leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

other side reach

13) Wall Lunge (Charlotte PoleFit, 2016)

Feel free to use yoga blocks to help with balance. Similar to the Runner’s Lunge with the added resistance of the wall. Hold for 30-60 second intervals.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.13.37 PM

14) PNF Hamstring Stretch (Brian Abelson, 2012)

You’ll need a theraband or friend to create resistance. Watch the hyperlinked video for best practices. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat 3-5 times on each side.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.14.18 PM

15) Try Your Split

Quick tip: Put on calming music and focus on your breathing. Try to get out of a place of fear. Listen to your body and never push past extreme pain to get your split.

From your Runner’s Lunge, slowly slide forward into your best split. Hold for 5 deep breaths or 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times on both sides. Feeling bendy? Try to roll through to the other side, like this:

How often to stretch?

I did the stretches listed above for 20-40 minutes daily for 65 days until I got my first split. To maintain that flexibility, I stretch a minimum of 4 days a week for 20 minutes. That said, I am not a naturally flexible person so it may take you less or more to maintain.

Tips for Sharing Your Practice

Before creating this post, I sought out advice on developing “How-To” posts. As an instructor, I am used to verbally queuing students. Writing about my own flexibility practice has proved to be much more challenging. Ali Luke (@aliventures), author and blogger, shares great tips in “How to Write a How-To Post: 7 Simple Steps” for creating a written tutorial:

  • Step #1: Pick a Good Topic and Goal
  • Step #2: Work Out the Steps from Start to End
  • Step #3: Write the Introduction
  • Step #4: Write Instructions for Each Step
  • Step #5: Add a Conclusion and Call to Action
  • Step #6: Tweak the Title
  • Step #7: Edit Your Post

Step 4 really resonated with me. As I began writing this post, I found myself just listening poses. Being both a student and instructor, I know that is not actionable. I think this blog does a great job of identifying not only the steps of how to create a tutorial but how to make it engaging. Following her steps made writing this post much easier for me, I encourage to check out her blog here.

Share Your Practice!

Our community is build on sharing. Having success with a new pose, strength, or flexibility? I encourage you to share your journey too and use the seven tips from Ali Luke.

Happy bending!

Melissa Barker

Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

Surviving a Beer Fest    |     Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon


Luke Ali (2011, December 12). How to Write a How-To Post: 7 Simple Steps. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from:

Yoga with Adriene. “Downward Dog – Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 12 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Cobra Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 16 January 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Pigeon Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 April 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Warrior One Yoga Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 20 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga by Candace. “How to do Lizard Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 15 September 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.

Strong Runner. “Seated Modified Hurdler Stretch is One of The Most Important Stretching Exercises For Runners.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 11 October 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

ehowhealth. “Pilates Exercises : How to Do a Frog Stretch.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 25 February 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

GMB Fitness. “Stretching for Super-Stiff People – How to Get into Position.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 April 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.

Charlotte PoleFit. “Wall Lunge & PNF Flexibility Technique.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 5 January 2016. Web. 14 July 2016.

Brian Abelson. “PNF Stretching For Your Hamstring Muscles – Kinetic Health.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 6 August 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Dunkin’ Donuts in NYC

When you are in west coast of united state it is incredible to see how many Starbucks are around. As soon as you landing in New York City you will see Dunkin’ Donuts in each block.

Some Dunkin’ Donuts branches would put a person a couple feet ahead with a sign in hand to encourage people to go ahead and get a donut or beverage for refreshment.

Here is the Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the map from Dunkin Donuts website.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 6.28.47 PM

Base on Observer website Dunkin Donut has 568 stores compare to Starbucks with 220 stores in New York.








Pokémon GO as a Marketing Tool?


Pokémon GO has been the topic of discussion recently in a lot of circles, including marketing and social media. Why is it such a conversation piece in marketing though? The idea is simple – use the location-based feature of your smart phone and search for Pokémon creatures while walking around. When you find them, you can catch them digitally on your phone with a PokéBall. But is it simply the phenomenal rise of Pokémon Go from a Google April fool’s day joke, to a full-fledged app that is taking the world by storm? Or is it something more? Pokemon go influencing marketing local business by Conrado Langer on eludes to something more. While this app has created an insane amount of value for Nintendo’s stocks, there is more to it. As a small business owner, there is a form that can be filled out to request a PokéStop at your business location. There are actually many methods to use Pokémon GO as a marketing tool. This article is a nice step into the world of using location based gaming platforms as marketing tools and lists just a couple.

Conrado Langer, 15 July, 2016.


Are you failing to plan for your next employee?

Team Ruckus

Since January 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports a growing chasm between the number of jobs available and the limited talent pool. For some employers, if this continues, the future does not look rosy.

The Manpower Group 2015 Talent Shortage Survey states a staggering 1 in 3 employers currently have difficulty filling positions and 33% of employers report they are unable to fill jobs because of a lack of applicants. Nearly half of employers believe the shortage of talent will have a medium to high impact on their ability to meet business needs in the future. A June 2015 article in The Guardian newspaper headline reads:

“Growing skills gap: 80% of small businesses can’t find qualified staff”

Have I scared you yet? Good. Here is some good news. It is not always about pay alone that attracts the top talent.

Look outside your usual recruitment channels to attract employees.
Look outside your usual recruitment channels to attract employees.

Think of your customer. What do you know about your customer? Do you meet your customer’s current and future needs? What would you do if your customers started walking away from your company and new customers were not offsetting the loss of your old customers? How would your company react to that? If you are finding difficulty hiring qualified employees, they are not applying for your posted positions or your retention rate is high; you need a new strategy. If the same were happening to your customer base, you would take evasive action. You would refocus your marketing and find what attracts new customers. Why is that? A competitive sales market is virtually the same as a competitive employment market. Either you can be a leader in premium wages, in creative differentiation or in employee satisfaction. Choose your strategy.



Yelp and Zynga: Big Business capitalizing on our desire to connect to our communities

The best way to reach customers in today’s digital world is through social media. How, though? One commonly believed differentiator is whether the company helps people connect or now.

Connecting people

Does simply connecting people really help the success of a company though? If the company’s revenue stream is generated simply through advertising, then yes. The more people you connect, the more advertising you can pump through. If you are selling a product or service though, it is more complicated than that. Let’s compare a couple companies: Yelp and Zynga.


Since 2004, Yelp has grown leaps and bounds. Yelp was founded to help people find local businesses. In 2016, Yelp had a monthly average of 21 million visitors through the Yelp App, and 69 million visitors through the mobile web. Yelp is a stand-alone app that provides this connection between people and businesses while selling ads to local businesses. So they make money off of advertisements, but the core of their business practice is around connecting people.

Zynga creates social media games. Their mission is to connect the world through games. Zynga primarily makes its revenue through selling virtual goods in-game. Current worth of Zynga is estimated at around $500 million, putting its worth at less than that of its office building in San Francisco. Yelp on the other hand is worth $3.5 billion. Both companies operate in industries where there is a fair amount of competition. So what is the difference?



Maybe it’s not as simple as helping people connect. Both of these businesses do that, just in different ways. Maybe it’s how they connect people that is important. Zynga connected people already using social media platforms, just with a different service. Zynga now has its own platform, yet still can’t seem to realize the revenue stream that they once had. What gives? Why can’t Zynga recover? Maybe it is the customer service aspect? Yelp on the other hand connects people to a service, through their own app. Yelp also seems to have great customer service. Maybe the key is connecting people to strangers. Only time will tell…