Credit: https://www.sobpedro.com/pedros-blog/classic-south-of-the-border-billboards

South of the Border: Billboard

Established in 1949, anyone that has driven the I-95 corridor has seen at least 20 South of the Border bill boards. Present day, there are around 175 billboards north and south from the Virginia/North Carolina state lines to the South Carolina/Georgia state lines. At one time there were more than 250 unique billboards from Philadelphia, PA to Daytona Beach, FL. Many of these billboards are on I-95. They are also north and south on Highway 301/501, east and west on Highways 9 & 17. There are a few billboards on I-20. Here are more examples of the billboards.

Alan Schafer, had a vision similar to “build it and they will come”. That’s true, if they know about it. With billboards lining the the east coast, it was impossible to not be curious enough to stop at South of the Border in an extremely unassuming location. If not for the 100 foot tall statue of “Pedro”, no one would stop in Hamer, South Carolina. If you blink, you miss it. Even on the way to the beach.

Although Myrtle Beach is on the way, it isn’t that close to the location of South of the Border. However, using a beach name that was visited by people around the United States, Schafer was smart enough to market items people would use at the beach.

Objective: Attract visitors
Target Market: Kids, adults, vacationers
Call to Action: Visit South of the Border to buy gifts and food
Value Proposition: Save money. Beach shops near the beach can be expensive. This advertisement is attracting beach goers to stop at this store for more bang for your buck.

Auto Zone: Window Decals

The store is located off of a busy street located in Durham, North Carolina. There is car traffic, but there is also foot traffic (sidewalks leading to city trails makes it accessible to pedestians). Accessibility to pedestrians is perfect because if you are having car trouble and your car won’t stop, maybe Auto Zone has what you need!

This set of side windows displays 5 window clings of combination specials for like products. Bundles are a great way of attracting customers to your business because most people want to feel like they are getting more than what they are paying for.

These color advertisements on the window are great because while you may be attracted to the bright colors, you can still see in the business.

Objective: Sell auto parts
Target Market: Mechanics, Do It Yourself People
Call to Action: Make a Purchase
Value Proposition: Save money

Pressure Washing: Yard Sign

This is the face of small business or “side hustle” marketing. Yard signs are cheap, but can yield much success. If it works, it is a great return on investment.

This simple white sign with black writing on the end of the natural area was strategically placed this sign on the pathway to the Main Street from a Lowes Home Store.

Objective: Attract home owners
Target Market: Homeowners
Call to Action: Purchase service
Value Proposition: Low price on low cost advertising

BoJangles: Yard Sign

BoJangles is no stranger to yard signs. I have seen them advertise products this way before. They probably even had this one (not so) tucked away in a closet. It’s relevant now because the unemployment rate is currently as high as it has been in decades. Businesses with dining rooms are also experiencing challenges in the current economy. More people are staying at home, thus more people are cooking.

There are some; however, that cannot deny the savory taste of BoJangles. This sign does two things: it tells us that the company is still open for business and they are looking to expand their team.

Objective: Apply for a job
Target Market: Unemployed citizens
Call to Action: Seek employment
Value Proposition: Employment opportunity

Latino’s Diner: Street Menu Sign

The street menus are so effective. There are some people in this world that are creatures of habit and will go to the same places over and over. When you are in a new city or a new country, that’s not always possible. You can look on review apps like Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc. to see what other people are saying about the best places in town to eat or you can simply take a chance.

I have stopped at new places to eat strictly off of seeing the street menu sign and what they were serving/offering. This approach is hit or miss, but the restaurant got the business regardless!

This method is great for the business, even if it isn’t a sign like this, because it allows customers to see the menu without having to wait for a table or even go inside.

Objective: Attract customers to eat in their restaurant
Target Market: Hungry People Walking By (Foodies)
Call to Action: Come inside and eat our food
Value Proposition: Value. Most companies are going to list menu items that show that they have variety or moderately priced food options.

(B) Great Marketing Campaigns: Television

OVERVIEW: I was doing my daily unwind and watched a little “tv” on Hulu. I’m not much of a television person, but I do have several networks and/or shows that I will spend time catching up on. I noticed that the ads that were running on the different networks shows seemed to be different. I don’t think that I noticed that before.

Carvana: “Keep Moving”

Carvana has gotten my attention more than once. I always wondered how well they were doing as a company to sell cars without having people test drive it before the click “purchase”. Most people fall in love by driving it.

This time in life couldn’t be more perfect for Carvana than this. With the stay at home orders in place all over the country, buying a car (if you can’t wait – just like the ad says) is as simple as browsing models and names that you know from the comfort of your home. They assure viewers that this process can be done 100% from home, provides a touchless delivery (as the customer care agent is putting on gloves), and they give potential buyers the assurance regarding their 7-day return policy.

They end by saying “Check out Carvana, the safer way to buy a car”.

Television Show: Fixer Upper (HGTV)
Objective: Sell cars
Target Market: Adults in the market for cars
Call to Action: Purchase a car now, not after the pandemic.
Value Proposition: Convenience. Buyers do not have to leave their homes and risk their lives to test drive cars that may have COVID-19 residue on surfaces. They are advertising a “touchless” process.

Apple: “Creativity Goes On”

Apple does it again, this time in 1 minute and 37 seconds. They pay to your emotions and remind you why your Apple device(s) are a major part of your life. The commercial shows real consumers using their products to stay connected and stay creative during this global pandemic.

The ad begins with still images depicting people “staying home”. Eventually they integrate in videos that make you smile and relate – a photographer capturing life milestones, someone reading a book to a child, a child playing chess with a digital opponent. They even used footage of Oprah to talking to her audience, on an apple device, about what we are currently experiencing.

The commercial ends with the simplicity of white words on a black background reminding us that “creativity goes on”.

Television Show: Blackish (ABC)
Objective: Sell Apple devices
Target Market: Everyone (including kids, even if their parents are the buyers)
Call to Action: Keep being creative, with Apple products
Value Proposition: Make connections and capture memories even in rough times. This is when you need it the most. Apple products help you do that.

Duke Health: “You’re Why”

The Duke name holds a lot of weight in North Carolina, even if you are a Tarheel fan! Sometimes major corporations can feel distant and out of touch with their customer and patients. With this commercial, Duke Health reminds us that the patient is the “why”.

The commercial starts with a nurse asking herself “why do I do what I do?”. The visuals go on to show us why as she and the Duke Health family, also tells us “why”.

Television Show: Blackish (ABC)
Objective: Sell a service
Target Market: Adults, Parents
Call to Action: Choose Duke Health
Value Proposition: Compassion. They want you to remember Duke Health when you are making those healthcare decisions.

Progressive (Insurance): “Motormouth”

This commercial, like most Progressive commercials, is relayed with humor. While having insurance (or not) is a serious conversation, Progressive has found a comical way of telling consumers that their insurance is the best insurance.

In this commercial the progressive agents are “communicating” with a bike. Although the bike doesn’t actually speak, they know what the bike is saying. It actually took me watching this commercial several times to get it. It’s a commercial about motorcycle insurance. This motorcycle speaks to one Progressive agent about an “emergency”. The first agent stops what he is doing (because of the motorcycle) to help the second agent – whom only needs change for a dollar *insert humor*. The second agent is in the middle of the desert.

This commercial advertisement is telling us that progressive motorcycle insurance is reliable in two ways: (1) they will help you wherever you are and (2) no emergency is too small.

Television Show: Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!)
Objective: Sell a service
Target Market: Adults that drive (motorcyclists)
Call to Action: Buy insurance with Progressive
Value Proposition: Safety. If you are ever in an accident, you want to know that you have insurance that will cover you.

Milkbone: Goldfish Jogging

Sex is normally the seller. Humor is a close second. This commercial actually had me laughing out loud. It starts with a man jogging. At first he was jogging alone. At 0:12 we see that he is jogging with a fish…in a bowl. Water smashing everywhere. That clearly wasn’t working for him! The look on his face: frustration.

Approximately 10 seconds laters the company name flashes on the screen and the narrator says “Life’s more fun with a dog”. In the next frame he is running with a dog. The look on his face: happiness.

The dog made the man happy and at the end the man makes the dog happy with a Milkbone.

Television Show: Dr. Pimple Popper (TLC)
Objective: Sell a product
Target Market: Dog owners/lovers
Call to Action: Buy a dog and/or Milkbone
Value Proposition: Man’s best friend.


How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Authors: Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

Taking Ownership to the Next Level

Nothing builds loyalty faster in employees than showing them you trust them and empowering them to learn and produce. Ross and Lemkin say “You need to shake things up with yourself and your people: both (a) where people physically sit and (b) what they do for their job…When an employee excels at a job, you want to keep them there…By keeping them doing what they do best (today), they’ll excel in that job (today)…But if they get stuck there, at some point it’s going to stifle them and you’ll miss out on who they would become and how they could contribute in even bigger or broader ways.”

Let’s unpack that! Almost 100% of the prospective employees I have interviewed over the last 5 years have said their number one reason for exploring new employment opportunities was for opportunities of growth. At times they couldn’t specify what growth opportunities they were looking for, but they knew they wanted to be able to grow with a company.

The best thing you can do in that case is set that person (all of them) up for exponential success.Challenge them in new ways that stretches them beyond their current position. In some cases you can stretch them towards their interest, in other cases you can stretch them towards their strengths.

Ross and Lemkin describe four (4) types of employees (+1)

  1. (Mini) CEO: natural internal entrepreneur that isn’t afraid to take charge and push a program forward. They are highly motivated and also highly agitated. Give these employees bigger challenges even when they resist. If they do resist, educate them on why the assignment is important.
  2. Careerist: People that are content with climbing the ladder. Capable. Problem Solving. Trustworthy. Dependable. Come up with new goals and opportunities for them to own – otherwise, they may become clockers (spoiler).
  3. Clockers: Someone who Is there only for the paycheck, clocking in and out and doing little else. To get you money’s worth, clearly define job expectations and embrace hard conversations about what is expected in meeting them.
  4. Complainers: Great at identifying problems, but either don’t know hot to fix them, make excuses, or are just plain stuck. You have to dig for the truth with them.
  5. Toxic: They are abusive to work with or for. There is nothing you can do to change them. You can either (a) suck it up, or (b) quit.

The authors recommend focusing on the CEOs and Careerists. My experience is that those people will take pride in what they are doing and work hard to move the company forward. Those around them will either remove themselves or you can put measures in place to performance manage them out (when necessary).


How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Authors: Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

Success Isn’t a Straight Line

This is probably the first thing that any pursuing entrepreneurship needs to read and know. This chapter (19) opens with the statement “Overnight success stories make for great news, but how people achieve – and perceive – success can be complicated in reality. Have a plan, but hold it lightly.”

I could technically stop the reflection right there because that is a whole message! I hate to be like the rest of the world and blame everything on the internet, but perceived overnight success is so relevant. It’s empowering, but it can also be misleading to believe someone gained their success overnight.

If you go back far enough in an overnight success Youtubers videos, you can see that their success wasn’t literally overnight. In some cases these online personalities have YEARS of content before that first viral video. We truly have no real idea what it took for them to get there. Some level of anxiety and depression was probably a part of the equation.

We don’t talk about metal health enough. I am so glad that they included a section about Depression and Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs just think differently and all the time. It takes a lot for me to turn my brain off. Sometimes I’m thinking about marketing, brand development, product development, customer services, or the biggest one success.

Reviews can be one sided – leaning towards the negative side. This can be detrimental to a business owner’s mental state. One way to reduce overthinking is a great quote from Ross and Lemkin:

“Don’t obsess about getting to success so fast that you ignore your inherent interests.”


How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Authors: Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

To recap, in week three I reflected on “Nailing the Niche“. Nailing the Niche is all about finding what works best for your company. You will not succeed in hyper growth if you do not have a specific focus.

Week four I reflected on Nets-Marketing. Once you find you niche, strategize your marketing plan (inclusive of a Revenue Team).

In Part III of From Impossible to Inevitable, Ross and Lemkin covers (6) break out topics:

  • Learn from Our Mistakes
  • Specialization: Your #1 Sales Multiplier
  • Sales Leaders
  • Hiring Best Practices for Sales
  • Scaling the Sales Team
  • For Startups Only

I have decided to hone in on Hiring Best Practices for Sales because boy oh boy, hiring the wrong people can kill your business faster than a terrible product or service.

Let’s start with talent acquisition. In order to know what you are looking for, you have to know the job. Ross and Lemkin say in the opener of the chapter that Throughout All Phases “The CEO and all cofounders need to be selling. Even if one of you is “the main salesperson,” everyone needs to participate in sales cycles and talking with customers.”

Mastered predictable outcome? Now it is time to outsource. Anyone can have a “great resume” and spew sales numbers, but can the do it for every company? Start with hiring a Sales Development Rep (SDR) that supports you (the CEO). Coach them carefully for at least 3 months while ramping up and figuring out their system. This is great advice. Dropping someone in the deep end to see if they sink or swim doesn’t always work because everyone’s learning curve is different.

Simple Hiring Tricks (page 149)

So how did you find that perfect fit or first SDR? Recruitment. I love how Ross and Lemkin correlate recruitment to being another form of sales and marketing. To attract the best you have to market the best. How are you describing your company or work environment? Is it communicated in a way that makes the best and brightest talent want to knock down the doors and join the team or is it a place where employees will come just to earn a pay check?

Hiring and building a team is also about building people (professionally). Don’t just hire the established professional, “hire people who show past success as well as people with untapped potential”. Here are a few things that the authors want us to consider:

  • Coachability (#1!)
  • Prior success
  • Work ethic
  • Curiosity
  • Intellegence

Don’t be afraid of doing it all yourself.

Final Advice from Paul Fifield.


How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Authors: Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

In my week three reflection I talked about Part I of my chosen book. This week I am reflecting on Part II: Creating Predictable Pipeline.

Creating predictable pipeline is the ultimate goal because if you can control where and how you are generating revenue, you control you financial growth/success. Here is how Ross and Lemkin say to do it:

  1. Seeds – Customer Success;
  2. Nets – Marketing;
  3. Spears – Outbound Prospecting;
  4. What Executives Miss.

“The Painful Truth: Overnight success is a fairy tale. You’re not going to be “Discovered” with a viral video, post or product that makes all your lead generation problems magically disappear.”

Of these four sections, #2 stood out the most to me because ever business needs marketing, but not every business knows how to do it.

Chapter Six – Nets-Marketing

If a company is struggling with marketing, Ross and Lemkin informs readers that inbound marketing works for every. “The idea is creating marketing that customers love or learn from, inspiring them to want more from you, eventually buying your stuff.”

To put it more plainly for those that are still unsure about what inbound marketing is, here is how Wikipedia defines inbound marketing: Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding.

With that being said, be careful. I have seen some terrible inbound marketing. Doing it just to say you did it is almost as bad as not doing it at all. In my profession (membership organization) we have chapters. Each chapter has their own social media platforms because they are interacting with their service areas (a specific city, county or state). Not all chapters are equipped with members that are social media gurus. The other issue is, not all chapters have the resources (revenue) to hire someone to manage their online presence (social media accounts).

Those challenges are the same challenges that small or start up businesses may face. For a business, it’s worth the investment.

Marketing success requires a team. There is a really great graph on page 68 of the book that depicts what your Revenue Team (for marketing) should look like.

This team is headed by a “Revenue Lead”.
Under that lead is a VP of Marketing and a VP of Sales.
Under each VP is a manager – Marketing and Sales.
After this the structure begins to show more clear separation.

On the marketing side there is a Senior Designer.
On the sales side there are Ads (Account Executives).

Each side has an outbound team:
Marketing – Demand Gen Marketers
Sales – Outbound SDRs (Sale Development Rep)

Last, each side has an inbound team:
Marketing – Content & Social Media Marketing
Sales – Inbound SDRs

Without marketing, a business relies only on word of mouth. That is not a sustainable model and your business will never cross the gap.

(B) Innovation on a napkin

I write on napkins for everything. The first time I wrote on a napkin, I was telling an ex boyfriend why he was insane for breaking up with me. Funny, but I still have that “letter”.

Most recently, I went back to my roots. I wrote my plan for this project on a napkin. I wanted to stay true to the idea. Plus I was at my kitchen table when it came to me and that was the closest thing to paper that I could find.

For this project, I wanted to innovate a way to save money on furniture by creating it. Creating it doesn’t always mean building it from pieces of wood. Sometimes it’s a matter of going to a consignment shop (Durham Rescue Mission is my go to place) and finding a piece of furniture that just needs a little love.

As a young professional, I couldn’t afford to buy brand new furniture and I didn’t have the credit to “pay for it later”. So, I had to get creative. This blog features a few of those projects that I have completed!

Here is my animation for the project.

(E) Make It Better

I am often reminded how much I love video production when I get an opportunity to produce videos or even when I get to shoot and edit the footage.

I have watched countless product review videos and I have to say, some people make it look so easy. It is not! I recorded (blurry), recorded (coughed), recorded (background noise) and recorded again. Whew! Through it all, I had fun doing it.

My review is lengthy, but I didn’t want to cut out the genuine response that I had to the product.

I chose the Google Chromecast for my product review. Try to power through (more) of my bad jokes and personality flare.

This is me, making it better.

INNOVATIVE LEADERSHIP: Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Procrastination at its finest.

As you can see, I have turned my website into my posting area for my masters coursework for the class I am currently taking. I have to say that I am really enjoying the creativity that is unloading from my brain with these assignments.

This assignment – “Innovative Leadership” is right up my alley because it required me to record a podcast and well…I love talking!

Hopefully you make it past my bad jokes and really see the point of the recording. In this podcast I am reflecting on a video that I chose called “The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers” presented by Adam Grant.

I truly enjoyed this TED talk and I hope you enjoy my thoughts.

The Original In Me (Elaina Hamilton – podcast)

A Chat with Colin Croat

Colin Croat (2020)

Outside of taking the same course work in the masters of entrepreneurship program, Colin Croat has been a stranger behind a GroupMe message, Blackboard post, or class email. I always speculated that we had similar thought patterns because of our reactions to class activities (group work can be so much fun!), but my thoughts were truly speculation. I had nothing real to base my thoughts on.

It wasn’t until recently that I heard Colin’s voice for the first time. In a brief interview about himself, it was his quote from North Carolina native hip hop artist J. Cole that made me reconcile that my initial thoughts about Colin were pretty much on point – we are very similar in more ways than we are different.

I asked five questions that are similar to questions that I ask applicants in job interviews to understand who they are as potential staff members. This time my goal was to understand who Colin was as an entrepreneur. He surprised me with a few of his answers, but I am always up for a challenge.

What is your background?

Colin describes his education interest and professional background as mixed. He holds a bachelors degree from Western Carolina University in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. His interest when it comes to public relations is crisis control because it allows one to understand communication on a deeper level.

As a student and young professional, Colin had several internships and jobs in student affairs. This has led to opportunities where he is responsible for overseeing undergraduate students.

This question evolved into the natural conversation about what is in store for his future. He has set goals for year five, ten, and twenty, but there is no direct path to how he will get there. Colin (pleasantly) surprised me when he said he once aspired to attend law school. I was surprised mainly because he’s currently pursuing a masters in entrepreneurship and innovative leadership (MILE). That doesn’t really scream attorney to me! The reason for not pursuing law school made perfect sense for me – going to law school wasn’t the most fiscally responsible decision for him.

See, we do think alike. That is one of the main reasons I took so long to further my education – more student debt, if I didn’t do it the right way. I figured out the “right” way for me, just like Colin.

How do you see what you are currently doing as preparation for your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Colin shocked me again. The degree he is currently pursuing (MILE) is more for the leadership aspect. I found that extremely interesting because I would assume most students are the opposite (pursuing the degree for the entrepreneurial gain).

As he continued telling me more about his plan, his decision started to make more sense.

Colin has an interest in politics. This degree – the leadership aspect – allows him to hone his networking skills. The readings and articles that are assigned in the coursework are transferrable in meetings and committees that will be essential in building communities.What do you believe are the essentials to a successful business?

Colin referenced the Surfers Rules of leadership. This was new to me. I would have never correlated surfing to leadership – but after looking up what those rules are, it works! Two other essentials that Colin feels builds a successful business are passion and impact.

“The hard part isn’t starting, the hard part is stopping.”

Relatable! Anyone that has ever been passionate about something knows first hand how true this statement is.

This was the question where Colin referenced our mutual lyrical connection with J. Cole. As a matter of fact, before writing this interview, I had to take a listen to “Love Yourz” on J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive, even though I have heard it more times than I can count.

Paraphrasing J. Cole’s lyrics “…the good news is, you came a long way. The bad news is ….. you went the wrong way…”. Impact. Colin believes that re-evaluting his/your impact that you are making is essential not only to business, but life experiences.

What does retirement look like to you?

Colin talked more about his interest in politics. His fluid path was still prevalent in this question as he spoke about maybe one day being a mayor or governor to build communities. One thing he was sure of was his desire to be the youngest person ever elected as President of the United States.

Swoon. Suddenly I felt inadequate (in my goal setting – ha!) and then almost immediately I was inspired. There are obvious selfless reasons Colin aspires to be President of the United States of America, but his retirement vision doesn’t end there.

Colin hopes to be in a position, “at retirement age”, to look forward to waking up to what he enjoys and loves, even if that means waking up at 8:00 AM.

“It is important to always keep working”.

What truly defines you as a leader?

This question was somewhat impromptu after speaking with Colin about his background, goals and aspirations. I loved the vulnerability of his answer because it wasn’t a “cookie cutter” response. 

He said “A year ago I wouldn’t have known how to answer that question and in a week my answer may be completely different.” While some people may find that statement wishy washy, it makes perfect sense in the grand scheme of leadership – you have to be flexible.

It is clear from our short conversation that Colin has not only an entrepreneurial spirit, but even more so a leadership state of mind.

He describes himself as a motivator and supporter, which is backed up with the the last quote he left me with: “(I) unfill my cup for someone because I know I can fill it back up.”