Tag Archives: joy

A 10-Step Marketing Plan for Beginners

Recently, I was tasked with the challenge of creating a 10-Step Marketing Plan (non-proprietary), with no strings attached. After some thought,  I created this short, but informative, 10-Step Marketing Plan that outlines the basic steps that need to be addressed in order to create a successful marketing plan, targeting beginner marketers:

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YouTube Video Link:  http://youtu.be/dyttbfuLXgo

This little-ditty of a presentation is reminiscent of videos shown in college, but it is clear and to the point. I also created a static Slideshare sidekick  for those who like a no-nonsense info show, sans music.

Whether these original Videos are well-received or not is not the “take-away” for me. I enjoyed the process…it was fun to create both medias using a mix of comics created with a  Pixton app, Powerpoint and Slideshare. And I was able to use a bit of creativity to explain basic marketing steps. A win-win situation.

A good way to spend an afternoon indeed.

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A New Direction…

It’s time for a New Direction. I am ready to venture out to advance my Marketing Communications and Business Development career. Jumping in with both feet to showcase the value I can provide to a new company is exciting to me. I am confident and prepared to take on the challenge!

WILDER MARKETING CHAT

Moving in a New Direction is the most important step in my advancement plan. I have worked very hard, especially over the last three years, to prepare for this move forward.

If you are still reading this, then you probably know me and what I like. If you don’t know me, please connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, read my blog or view my video. We may have much in common and your input may steer in which direction I travel.

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With diverse tastes, many passions and vast experience, my Marketing Communication and Business Development skills can transfer to any industry. By continuing my consultancy efforts through Wilder Marketing and staying sharp and on top of trends and technology, I am more than ready for fresh opportunities.

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Today all the help one can get to advance in life is just as important as what one can do. If your company is looking for a Marketing Communications or Business Development Professional in the Greater Boston or Southern NH area, a $500 finder’s fee applies if I get hired through your lead!

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I strongly believe that with a little help from my friends, perseverance and a genuine love for what I do, I will continue to be very successful and happy. What I would like is for all of you to be a part of it.

Let’s go in this New Direction together…

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Come on…connect with me today.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

“Challenge, Change and Creativity for Life!” ~ Michelle A. Wilder

 
       

Hershey’s Nuggets Dilemma

Hershey’s Nuggets Dilemma 

Recently, two friends of mine opened a bag of Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment, looking for their personal favorites. I listened to the two of them as they had a hard time finding their much-loved chocolate nuggets, which was intriguing. This is where the ensuing dilemma unfolded over the next hour or so about Hershey’s marketing flaw, and ultimately, their packaging mistake.

My two friends were a (albeit small) focus group for this particular Hershey’s product. Set out on the table was the contents of the Hershey’s Nugget Assortment bag, with four little piles of nuggets clustered together. There are four different types of chocolate nuggets in this assortment bag: Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds, Milk Chocolate with Almonds, and Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds.

For almost an hour I listened to the two of them talk about the quality of the chocolate, their favorite flavors offered and what they would like to see in the assortment, as well as why Hershey’s decided to put such similar wrappers on the four different chocolates in an assortment bag. This is where my marketing ears really perked up and I had to see for myself what they were talking about.

Upon closer inspection, they were right. The two girls separated the chocolates into piles because they could not discern between the flavors by simply looking at the wrapper.  A marketing flaw was being exposed: the company did not do enough consumer research to know that the packaging was confusing and not well-liked, as least not by these two Hershey’s lovers. My friends stressed that the chocolate is awesome, a great two-bite piece of joy, but finding her favorite flavor wasn’t easy when looking into the bag. Here’s a photo of the four different nuggets:

                                         HERSHEY NUGGETS ASSORTMENT

As you can see, three of the chocolates are in gold wrappers, with the Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds and Milk Chocolate with Almonds almost indistinguishable from each other, unless you carefully inspect the tiny writing up close. Only the silver-wrapped Milk Chocolate is discernible from the rest.

Looking at both my friends sitting with their glasses at the edge of their noses, trying to read the wrapper to put the chocolates in the right pile…what a site! I thought to myself, this is a packaging mistake that came out of a marketing flaw. Even the colors associated with the chocolates on the exterior bag didn’t match the chocolate’s wrappers on the inside…see Red, Orange, Silver and White on the exterior of the bag:

HERSHEYS BAG

Unless the consumer speaks up and lets the company know that they love the chocolates, but the wrappers need to distinguishable (without offending them), how can this mistake be changed? What a dilemma.

I chose to go the proactive consumer route and write this to let Hershey’s know that their Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment chocolates are loved, but their packaging is not. And as a writer of the Wilder side of marketing, I suggest adding a bit of pizzazz to the wrappers:

Milk Chocolate:

METALLIC SILVER

Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds:

METALLIC GOLD

Milk Chocolate with Almonds:

METALLIC BLUE

Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds:

METALLIC RED

Once the color scheme (whether it is with these four metallic colors or four other easily identifiable colors), the color theme needs to be carried through onto the exterior packaging as an assortment bag or when sold separately so everything is cohesive. Confusion gone, consumer happy.

In the end, my two friends will not stop buying or enjoying Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment bags, but until the packaging is changed, consumer confusion will remain.

Wilder Whimsy

My name is Michelle A. Wilder. I am a Renaissance woman. Lover of all things creative, practitioner of all things loved. I live where I grew up, in the house next door to my childhood home, previously owned by my Grandfather Armando, a Renaissance man.

I just earned my Master’s degree in Marketing with a Master’s certification in Social Media Marketing. My educational background also includes  Business Administration, Marketing-Communications, Fine Arts, and Event Planning.  I drifted back to marketing to make a living doing something I not only love, but at which I excel.

My Grandfather Armando mentored me in gardening, cooking, painting, ceramics and frugality. I am a self-confessed foodie, geek for sci-fi and B-movies (which make my friends roll their eyes) and deeply passionate. With a vast expanse of tastes for music, food, art and opinions, I am rarely at a loss for words. Family is extremely important to me, as well as honesty, integrity, self-reliance, responsibility and respect, all of which my parents instilled in me through old-school, old-fashioned ethics and lessons.

By nature, I am an entrepreneur. I have owned several successful businesses throughout my life, which include a catering business, a wholesale bakery, a landscape and gardening business, and a masonry business. Working with non-profit organizations and volunteering for causes that affect me add value to my life, for I like to give back when I can.

My Italian heritage lends a hand in my expressive and outward personality, strong bonds with family and friends, and a penchant for talking with my hands (a sometimes hazard for martinis and people close-by). I am an and old-souled person, who believes with her whole heart in true love, kisses and romance, imagination and the goodness of the human spirit, as well as the power of exceptionalism, hard work, excellence and high standards.

This blog was a a new venture for me when I went back to school to get my MBA. I enjoy gleaning and analyzing tidbits and organizing opinions on traditional and social media marketing trends, branding and advertising. I wrirte about things I like or find interesting and how well or not the companies out there are faring with their messaging. I will post it all here, with a “Wilder” view.

Enjoy!

The Happy in 21 Challenge

My Social Media Marketing professor at SNHU, Leila Samii, told me about a campaign her undergraduate class created called “Happy in 21”. The concept is simple: It takes 21 days to make positive changes. Their mission is “spreading happiness through positive vibes in hopes to create a happier world, one person at a time”. The campaign focuses on happiness habits, encouraging quotes and motivational reinforcement themes, all with the intention of making the reader happier. The campaign has a twitter feed: @HappyIn21 and a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HappyIn21 with a good following for a new campaign #HappyIn21, with active participation.

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I liked this movement since I already practiced daily affirmations with the theme of “Every Day is a Gift”. On April 15, 2013, the city of Boston suffered a terrorist attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I was deeply affected by this horrifying act. I did not know any runners or victims of the bombing, but after listening to the heartbroken words from Krystal Campbell’s mother after she learned her daughter died from the blasts, I knew right there and then that I should be thankful for what I have and to hug those I loved.

Two other people died that day: Lu Lingzi and Martin Richard (extremely sad situations) and another man was shot and killed (MIT officer Sean Collier) during the manhunt. The way I looked at life changed that day. I was going through a very difficult time in my personal life, but my problems were not as massive as the people touched by the terrorist attack. I decided to change my outlook.

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Every day when I get up, no matter how bleak things may seem or how problematic times may be, I am thankful to be alive (it certainly beats the alternative), and I try to find the gift of the day (something to be thankful for or happy about). The gift can be small, like a ray of sunshine after a rainy morning, a smile from my granddaughter, a well-written blog, expertly made sushi for lunch, a good-hair day or few minutes playing with my dog. Or the gift can be big, like the good health of my family, a promotion at work, the great friends in my life or the stable relationships I have. This declaration seems to be popular with millions of people, and I was happy to be on board.

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I bring all this up to get to the Happy in 21 Challenge I decided to take on, which expanded my daily affirmation to include 3 positive thoughts PLUS one genuine “thank you” to one person a day. To say out loud what the gift of the day is was very different than writing them down. For 21 days starting on April 3rd, I wrote down my 3 statements and my 1 “thank you” on my calendar. At the end of the three weeks, I felt happier, more optimistic and less stressed out. I decided to continue the challenge for 2 months. The  results are amazing! Check out my CHALLENGE CALENDARS.

I am a very positive and confident person in general, with an optimistic outlook on life. Although this past year has been one of the most difficult in recent years for me personally, this challenge has helped me put things in perspective. By changing my internal voice to always chant a strong motivational mantra and by reinforcing what gifts life offers in writing and in my thoughts, I can definitely say that I am a better person and happier for it! Every Day is a Gift!

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Bravo Avocado!

 I love avocados. They are my favorite fruit. Creamy and buttery with a subtle but complex earthy flavor. Delicious. When I was younger, I used get so excited when the dark, ripe fruits were available in my local market, after waiting months during the winter absence. Oh the joy of those first few fabulous fruits of the season. That was twenty years ago and a lot has changed since then. Today, thanks to the year-round growing season in Mexico and the creation of the Haas Avocado Board in 2002, these tasty little darlings are available to the average shopper any time of year.

Although I am a big fan of the succulent fruit, not everyone enjoys eating them.  It has been a challenge creating new ways of incorporating the wonderful avocado into my weekly meal plans that are appealing and tasty. Usually avocados are relegated to the role of guacamole side-kick or chip-dip. The new animated commercial from the AvocadosFromMexico.com created a cute dancing avocado TV commercial to show that avocados can be eaten for BREAKFAST:

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7fte/avocados-from-mexico-rise-and-shine

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Now, I have been eating avocados for breakfast for many years, like millions of people world-wide. But for those who never thought of eating avocados in anything else but guacamole, this sticks-in-your-mind, pretty ditty sends home the message to try something simple like avocados on wheat toast with a little salt for breakfast. It is just wonderful marketing.

At the end of the 15 second spot, the call to action is to visit avocadosfrommexico.com website, which I did to check out their other marketing efforts. They have nutritional information, extensive recipe listing, prep tips and delicious celebrity guest shots (read: Mario Lopez), all promoting the greatness that is the avocado.

If this short but sweet TV spot can change one person’s mind to try an avocado, either for breakfast or by itself, then it has done its job. I personally think that this type of marketing will broaden the reach and awareness of the amazing avocado, and sharpen focus on the Avocados from Mexico brand. Bravo avocado!

I was motivated to write about the effective ad and post my favorite breakfast recipe in solidarity with other avocado lovers everywhere. These easy to make Popeyes are delicious and good for you. ..give them a try!

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Scrumptious Avo Popeyes

  • Per person:
  • 3 slices fresh, ripe avocado
  • 2 slices cooked bacon (preferably maple flavor
  • 1 slice of your favorite bread
  • 1 large egg, 1 slice ripe tomato (preferably plum)
  • A few baby spinach leaves
  • Butter spray
  • ———————-
  • With each piece of bread, remove a half-dollar size hole (set aside holes for another use).
  • Put some spray in a skillet and turn up to medium heat.
  • Put the bread (with a hole in it) in the skillet to toast.
  • While the bread is toasting, crack open an egg and gently drop it into the hole in the bread.
  • Once bread is toasted, gently flip over to cook the egg on the other side.
  • Remove from the skillet when the egg is done and place on a plate, egg side up.
  • On top of the egg, put a few baby spinach leaves.
  • On top of the spinach, place a slice of tomato.
  • On top of the tomato, put 2 slices of bacon.
  • And the best part…place 3 slices of avocado on top of the whole Popeye.
  • Eat and Enjoy!

 

Dine Out Boston! Restaurant Week Continues

In Boston and surrounding suburbs, 200-ish restaurants take part in the Restaurant Week promotion run by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Twice a year, for two weeks of weekdays in March and August, participating restaurants offer fixed-priced meals. For the last 13 years, this promotion has run successfully. According to the sponsored website for Boston’s Restaurant Week, after a much-needed makeover, the name changed to Dine Out Boston.

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This year, a new feature was added to the promotion. Three pricing tiers are offered: Lunch $15/$20/$25 and Dinner $28/$33/$38. This expands the promotion’s reach into a larger consumer market with more affordable choices at Greater Boston top restaurants. That is good news for participating restaurants to get greater exposure, and good news for foodies that can now afford to sample some of Boston’s finest cuisines.

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Dine Out Boston has also joined with the Freedom Trail Foundation as a charitable partner. All participating restaurants donate $100 gift certificates that are auctioned off through DOBauction.com to benefit programs run by the Foundation which creates the “most successful ideas for how to experience American history”. A copacetic arrangement.

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One other benefit for diners is the American Express bonus offer. Each enrolled card receives a $5 credit on any purchase over $21. An easy task with a lunch for two at one of the many choice restaurants participating. Offerings include many different cuisines in Boston and surrounding towns, all of which are sure to delight.

Getting word out about the promotion is spread through the Restaurant Week Boston website, a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, a  very funny YouTube video, Google +  and Instagram accounts, Pinterest interest and a huba-huba blog.

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This blog links readers to frequently updated content and encourages comments and interaction. Since the promotion is currently ongoing (March 16-21 & 23-28), the social media penetration is deep and engaging.

For all those who always wanted to get a taste of spectacular cooking from some of the finest chefs in Boston at can’t-pass-up prices, give Restaurant Week a try. Dine Out Boston!

 

Loon Mountain Message: Drive North!

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As I was driving home Tuesday night from work on Route 495 North near North Andover, Massachusetts, a digital billboard was alit on the left-hand side of the highway, high above the traffic below, blazing the message to “Drive North”. This was a curious call to action phrase, and the marketer in me immediately tried to scan the ad, but merging into traffic forced me to pay attention to the road.

In a flash, the digital message changed to advertise another company’s business. Again in 20 seconds or so, a third ad was beaming from up high, and was difficult to miss. The colors emanating from the billboard were brilliant and flashy. Finally the first ad reappeared, and I was able to view the entire ad, which stated: “Winter Storm Coming” at the top of the billboard and “Drive North” under it, with a glowing image of a winter wonderland. A Loon Mountain logo was prominently displayed in the right-hand corner of the ad. Nice, I thought…a snow storm was indeed coming and due in the next day.

This is a glorious, shining, ingenious piece of targeted marketing, pertinent to the soon-to-be-weather, and what Loon has to offer, in a 20-second very hard-to-miss digital billboard ad. Yes, Loon Mountain is approximately 110 miles from where the billboard was displaying the ad, but it certainly put a seed of thought connecting the impending storm with coming to Loon, and what they have to enjoy. The traffic was moving along so I didn’t catch a third viewing, but I absolutely wanted to check out Loon when I got home. And I did.

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What I learned was that Loon Mountain has an involved social media presence. Loon invested in several sites:

Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Foursquare   YouTube   Pinterest   Blog

They promoted their awesome ski and snowboard facilities through photos, video, daily tweets, daily posts, blogs, and stories. Their website is decent, with easy to navigate links. The Ice Castle is featured as well as supporting “Loon-raised” Annalisa Drew, who is going for Gold at the Sochi Olympics.

Lodging, lessons, events and activities are all found on the home page. Curiously enough, though, I had to go several clicks in to find their non-downhill ski/boarding activities which include Tubing, Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing. Very cool, very fast downhill Zip-Line activities are also offered. Little about these activities are promoted on their social media sites, which surprised me since it does attract people who likes to visit mountain resorts but who doesn’t ski/snowboard. Which brings me back to the digital billboard ad.

It was refreshing to see Loon Mountain grasp traditional marketing concepts as outdoor signage. I do wish more promotion of their non-ski/boarding activities is done to broaden their market share, but what they did with the outdoor signage was fantastic. Their call to action to “Drive North” drove me to check out their website and various social media outlets.

Using a mix of traditional marketing techniques and new media tools that includes an interactive social media model has helped strengthen their brand and promote the greatness that is Loon. I would not have looked up Loon at all if it were not for the strategically placed digital billboard.

When I see Loon commercials on TV, they don’t motivate me to check out what Loon has to offer, but the billboard did. That is a goal of marketers, to get action from their advertising, and ultimately, to increase sales. I may just visit Loon to use their non-downhill activities, and they may eventually get my money, all because of a successful digital billboard ad.

Medtech Marketing and the Mountains

Rolling range

Marketing medical devices and products is a challenging and tricky job. Oftentimes the medical products I promote help save lives or assist medical professionals with their surgeries and procedures, but can be a dry subject to broach. It takes an enormous amount of creativity to make medical merchandise look exciting enough to entice a client to want to learn more (or ideally) purchase the product, no matter which marketing methods are used.

Recently, the Medtech distribution company I work for adopted a marketing campaign to spread the good word about the products we offer using social media. This is a daunting task since we have to start from scratch. Not only does starting a social media marketing campaign require substantial time and effort, the planning and effective execution of ideas and initiatives tend to have a brain-draining effect. The mind is always on trying to tweak a proposal, think up the next, best slogan or how to expand brand awareness.

I am always willing to learn techniques and tips on how to make our social media marketing campaign better, and sometimes I overwhelm myself with information overload. My weekends are usually filled with chores and homework and marketing campaigns, and this weekend was no different. However, while in the mountains this past Saturday, I learned a valuable lesson concerning social media and Medtech marketing. This is the story about that lesson.

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Early Saturday morning, slivers of sunshine shone through the trees as we drove up the hill to my Conway NH mountain dwelling, brightening the day enough to unload a heavily-packed pick-up. After the 2-hour ride from my Massachusetts home, I was eager to get out and get started. The agenda was pregnant with many tasks, including yard clean-up, anti-freezing our pipes and getting the place ready for winter, not to mention the marketing campaign I needed to work on that night. I dropped out of the truck burdened with what lay ahead while my husband whistled and cheerfully undid rope-ties and bungee cords.

Billy 4-wheeling

My dog jumped from the backseat of the truck to sniff out the property and hunt down fragrant possibilities. The supplies needed to perform our duties were set on the picnic table in our front yard while the food and warm clothing we brought was taken inside. Lastly, our 4-Wheeler was driven off and gassed up ready to transport firewood to the pit. So began our day.

Happy Zebo by the Saco

First-things first: our dog needed to trek a block away to the Saco River to dip into the cold, rushing water. This has become a habit since he was a puppy and barely tall enough to swim. Ooooh, the swish and feel of the river water made my dog smile (yes, smile), and the joy of his happiness made us laugh out-loud. Ten minutes turned into twenty, then sixty, and before we knew it, more than hour and ½ went by. I snapped a few shots with my camera, soaked in the warmth of the sun (which had now risen over the tree line), and sat arm-in-arm with my husband on a drift-log abandoned on the beach. I felt better already, less stressed and lighter. We both knew we had work to do and we reluctantly went back to the house with the intent of getting our chores finished.

Camp Fire

Once back at camp we started a fire to dry off our dog and burn the trash. With the temperatures now rising to an out-of-the-norm range of 50 degrees on an early November morning, we were tempted to abandon our chores and take the 4-Wheeler for a scoot around the trails. We promised ourselves that we will take advantage of the empty grove once the yard was cleaned and home winterized, but a small jaunt wouldn’t hurt, would it? We let the fire burn down and secured our pet before succumbing to the call of the 4-Wheeler. Fighting against guilty urges for abandoning our original plan, we quickly packed a picnic lunch and headed off down the groves trails and out to the expansive fields behind our property.

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As each minute passed, our guilt became a distant memory. The 4-Wheeler whizzed through the tress and over green fields. The sun glared down heating up to an unseasonal 70 degrees. It was a treat be able to strip down to a t-shirt and jeans in November in the mountains. My face beamed with delight as we took turns racing through the woods, jumping over berms and getting air, screaming “Wahoo!” like a kid.

Secret hiding place

Finding a resting-spot was easy since we had (what seemed like) the whole mountain to ourselves since we have been riding for a few hours without seeing another human. We chose a sunny spot at the edge of a field with the beautiful White Mountains in the background and the Saco River at our side.

Lunch wagon!

We ate, drank a few beers, laughed, kissed, told stories we both heard many times to each other and laughed some more. I snapped a few shots of the scenery and of us and embraced the moment. What joy!

Milk pods, river beds and grassy hills.

By the time we made it back to our home, our dog was ready for another swim in the river. We decided to take him back down to the water and set up on the beach so he can be as happy as we were. For the first time all day, we ran into other people. Our neighbors were also up North to winterize their camp, and they had two energetic pups our dog engaged with, much to his delight. Seeing my 10-year old dog play like we was a young puppy was just blissful.

With the sun setting quicker than we wanted, the air cooling off quicker than expected and the beers disappearing quicker than we anticipated, we decided to get back to the house and settle in for the night. We trudged back to the house, made a fat-belly dinner, ate like kings and made plans for doing our chores on Sunday. The sun finally set behind naked trees and called to the on-coming night. Our bodies were simply exhausted from the day’s activities, but our minds were (oddly) completely refreshed! We decided to get to bed early and start at dawn in the morning to deal with the tasks at hand. And we did just that.

View from camp

What does all this have to do with Medtech marketing and social media?  Absolutely nothing! But don’t fret, I did say that I learned a valuable lesson, and I did. When one is over-worked, stressed out and has what seems like an insurmountable amount of work to do, sometimes a bit of goofing off does wonders for the soul. We did our chores on Sunday with vigor, I worked on my marketing campaign with a fresh outlook, and I am now writing this blog to show just how much a little unplanned joy can change attitudes and mindsets.

I truly believe that if we did our chores on that warm November Saturday instead of taking time to enjoy the day, I would not be writing this blog, I would not attack my marketing work with a clear mind and I wouldn’t be ready for the week’s work ahead. So the lesson is to take time to enjoy the simple things, like 4-Wheeling, hanging out with your dog and beers by the river, before tackling the challenging tasks in your life, like Medtech marketing using social media. Good lesson indeed!