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AGENDA / March 2011

Sharing is Caring By Rafael Hurtado

I’ve been visiting with many agencies and brokerages for the last few months which boils down to approximately 20 agencies a week and I’v encountered a mixed bag of successes and failures. I have found inspiration and disappointment and it mirrors the state of our industry. You will hear me and our partners talk about what we’ve experienced. Remember, our goal has not changed in all the years we’ve existed: If you come to one of our meetings or activities, we will give you something of value you can use the next day to succeed, otherwise, we do not deserve your patronage. We know you are taking time away from your business or family to attend or participate and we want to bring you value. Any of you that think that you can just scathe on by, should get out of this industry now. As only the ones that give 100% effort will survive and thrive. Ask yourself this question, Am I in this industry to thrive and build value or just make a moderate living. If you answer is the latter, polish up your resume and contact us to find you somebody to go work for as you are assuming liabilities by being a business owner and not reaping the rewards. If you are in this business to succeed and build value then the LAAA is here for you, the LAAA is NOT a trade group lead by Insurance Company Representatives or a trade group committed to one particular insurance company’s agenda. The LAAA is here for that producer who is seeking innovation and right practices that give positive results for the independent agent.

I want to personally invite you to our meetings and take advantage of all the help we offer. We are an industry of people and we created a community of people that like sharing their successes and failures so we can learn from each other. Our success for over a decade comes from being an organic and dynamic group. The success of this group comes from the individual experiences, why should one of the members experience failure or success and not share? Sharing is caring and we are your vehicle to share. Become part of our group, we are truly here for you like nobody else can.


Are you a Member yet? LAAA Membership Benefits:

AGENDA / March 2011

EDITORIAL

1. Market Information. 2. Networking 3. Education & Seminars. 4. Quality Presentations 5. Representation 6. Tradeshow 7. Monthly Meetings 8. Industry Recognition 9. Qualified Vendors. 20. Strong Leadership. 11. Meaningful Discounts. 12. Preferred Positioning.

LAAA Meeting Calendar

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04.14.2011 L.A. Monthly Meeting Stevens Steak House Commerce, CA Meeting

04.28.2011 Los Angeles Commercial 101 Class Stevens Steak House Commerce, CA Training

04.28.2011 Los Angeles Allstate Benefits (commercial) Stevens Steak House Commerce, CA Training

05.19.2011 L.A. Monthly Meeting Stevens Steak House Commerce, CA Meeting

05.25.2011 Las Vegas Commercial 101 Training National Golf Course Las Vegas, NV Training 12.01.2011 12.04.2011 Convention and Christmas Gala Long Beach Reinassance Hotel Long Beach, CA Convention

For up to date meeting info in your area, go to www.latinagents.com/calendar

L.A.A.A. P.O.Box 4564 Valley Village, CA 91617 (818) 635-4848 rafael@latinagents.com

www.latinagents.com


AGENDA / March 2011

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AGENDA / March 2011

New Regulations and Getting Them Right By Stephen S. Santoro

The devastating consequences of the

tions of large, multi-national financial in-

past financial crises (the Great Reces-

stitutions.  The coy call them “too big to

sion (in my view the Great Depression

fail”.  The intelligent and smart call them

2.0) resulted in trillions of wealth lost,

necessary for America to compete in a

billions of dollars spent, millions of job

global world.  Enacting regulations now

lost along with American confidence in

and attempting to enforce them is plain

finance, insurance, banking and govern-

foolish while the financial markets re-

ment.  The US role as a sole superpower

bound, but are still in distress.  Lawmak-

is now in question on all counts.  The

ers, captains of finance and insurance

intellectual powerhouses in Congress

(that includes reinsurance) should be

and the Obama Administration (that is

included NOT EXCLUDED when govern-

not a compliment to any of them) have

ments devise these proposed and cur-

and continue to create new laws, regula-

rent regulations.  Let me suggest some

tions and judicial reviews of the opera-

mechanisms to make the markets more efficient.

Continued on page 06


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AGENDA / March 2011

Improve regulation and educate regula-

(Comptroller), the Treasury Secretary

tors.  State Insurance Depts., The Na-

and others need to understand market,

tional Association of Insurance Com-

understand they move at the “click of a

missioners (NAIC), the Securities &

mouse” and waiting 6-9 months to ap-

Exchange Commissions, SEC), the Fed-

prove a business filing (like CA’s arcane

eral Reserve Board of Governors (Fed),

and foolish rate, form, rule, underwriting

the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

guideline and class plan insurance filings

(FDIC), the Comptroller of the Currency

for auto insurance, while paying Harvey

Picture of the Month!

We encourage you to send us pictures and the story behind them. Send them to info@latinagents.com

What are you doing to promote yourself in the community that you serve? State Farm is.

Magazine Staff: Editor in Chief - Rafael Hurtado LAAA President - Gustavo Contreras Art Director - Liliana Velasquez Technical Director - Andree Ochoa

Contributing Writers For This Issue: Stephen S. Santoro Greg Mckewen Adam DeGraide Amara Poolswasdi

The opinions expressed by Agenda columnists are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Latin American Agents Association, its Board of Directors or membership at large.


“Tie compensation to performance.... Massive cash bonuses do NOT align management with shareholders.“

are to see prosperity again.  Let’s be

Rosenfield, Esq., an extortionary $450@

this caliber of expertise you have raise

hour fee for opinions that mean nothing

their pay to Wall Street standard (I know

and are at best uninformed and at worst

you may not like that, but markets dic-

foolish while CA suffers with a $28B

tate pay, not us) and then demand first

budget deficit hole) is passé and yester-

class skills.  Trust me they are out there.

day.  The markets imploded in 2008 and

Tie compensation to performance.  I

2009 in minutes, hours and 2-3 days,

have said this since the say I starting

not in 6-9 month intervals while govern-

investing long in stocks in 1988 copy-

ment bureaucrats did nothing but watch

ing Warren Buffett’s trades.  I stand by

in horror and amazement.  Despite the

it today and so does he.  Massive cash

role of risky securities, some of those

bonuses do NOT align management

“packaged products” work well in the

with shareholders.  And contrary to what

“shadow insurance and shadow banking

management may think, we the share-

markets” and must be revised if we ever

holders own the damn company and we

honest and real:  The government cannot regulate and impose regulation on sophisticated and large financial institutions who move billions at the click of a mouse, unless the regulators are just as sophisticated.  In today’s world THEY ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE.  In order to get


tell those characters what to do, NOT

person by his W-2, K-1 or 1099 and his

vice-versa.  (Yes I know I’ll hear from the

heart and minds follows, ESPECIALLY if

PHD’s and the MBA’s about this com-

he stands to loose it and loose it all if he

ment.  The hell with them.  When they

screws up”.

have a balance sheet of any means they

Allow our insurance companies, reinsur-

can talk too or write articles like this one. 

ance companies, banks and others to

Until then, shut up, sit down and listen

remain and be competitive.  Notice due

to your shareholders.  You just might

to Sarbanes-Oxley how many shares of

learn something.)  Structure compensa-

great companies are now listed in Lon-

tion over the long term and preferably

don, France, Hong Kong, China, Brazil

with stock avoiding “excess risk tak-

and even Russia vs. the NYSE or the

ing”.  Not as hard as it sounds, contrary

NASDAQ?  Do you blame firms for not

to what the $1000@hour compensation

wanting to screw around with foolish,

consultants say (all who bore the hell

expensive, time-consuming and un-

out of me).

necessary “knee jerk USA regulation”?   

Make rating agencies independent and

That “Volcker rule” (for example) on

liable for their mistakes to shareholders. 

banks, insurance companies and rein-

No more conflicts like being beholden to

surance companies is unnecessary and

the folks who pay for their securities to

plain stupid.  But Obama allowed it, be-

be rated.  They should be regulated, li-

cause he was “playing to Main Street,

censed and RESPONSIBLE if they screw

beating up Wall Street and really did not

up.  Simple.  Yes they have thousands of

have the intelligence to digest what he

excuses why this should not be done. 

and his minions were doing”.  Yes I am

I subscribe to this philosophy:  Grab a

being very blunt here.  Sorry folks.  Time

Time to cut the

to cut the foolishness and get real.  Budgets are tight in government and steal-

foolishness and get

ing (sorry I mean taxing) from insurance

real. Budgets are tight

get the economy rolling again.  Jobs

in government and

by the way:  Clients of major insurance

stealing from insurance

companies and banks is not the way to will however.  One word:  JOBS.  And companies and banks still will want a range of products like the ones available

companies and banks is

prior to 2007-2010.  Either you give them

not the way to get the

and understand the risks and ACT RE-

economy rolling again.

American financial institutions to set up

to them (assuming they are big boys SPONSIBLY THEMSELVES) or you force


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AGENDA / March 2011 off-shore units or give the business to

trial lawyers to me.

foreign and alien competitors.  Neither

What was worse in the Great Recession

creates jobs folks.  And neither works in

was not just everything I mentioned

he long term.

above.  The worst was the loss of con-

Invoke risk-management systems and

fidence in American economic power

police them at all levels of the market-

which will have profound future impli-

ing channels.  Again, good regulation,

cations on America’s global leadership. 

smart regulation and well paid regula-

While we are preoccupied with defeat-

tion gets first class results.  Control and

ing Islamic extremists, new global dy-

risk management is key to stabile insur-

namics are emerging and new centers

ance, reinsurance and banking markets

of power like China are offering alterna-

on a global basis.  As long as these pro-

tive development models and different

tocols are in place, all types of financial

visions of world order.  Military power

products can be offered.  Don’t let the

alone will not maintain American su-

government wonks fool into thinking by

premacy, nor will it be sustainable indefi-

eliminating them in the USA they won’t

nitely.  (I hope the tea-party extremists

spring up in Japan, the EU, Brazil or Chi-

are reading this and listening carefully.) 

na.

Not only our financial system, but our

Use bailouts, stimulus and regulation

prosperity and even our way of life is at

strategically.  The government should

stake.  I believe in the American people,

look at what China is doing with a $2 tril-

and I believe in truth, honor, dignity and

lion trade surplus, most made from the

common sense of the American people. 

USA.  China uses stimulus funding in a

However, we are at flashpoint for Amer-

smart and methodical way and they learn

ica and should have not illusions about

from the USA’s mistakes.  The world’s

it.  We owe it to ourselves and our future

2nd largest economy (China) is right on

generations to get our act together and

the USA’s rear now.  China built a first

do it now.

class infrastructure, and by 2016 will have more new airports and bullet trains than the rest of the world COMBINED.  What is the USA doing?  Environmental studies for other environmental studies and the allowing federal lawsuits to tie up construction for 25 years.  Who is getting rich here folks?  It sounds like


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AGENDA / March 2011


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AGENDA / March 2011

New Insurance License Requirements & Deadlines by Greg Mckewen

There are several insurance license requirements that will affect a large number of fire & casualty licensee’s. Do any of these new requirements affect you? These deadlines are coming up soon, so pay attention and don’t get caught with your pants down by not getting into compliance and risking thousands of dollars in lost commissions and revenues. NEW! ACCIDENT & HEALTH LICENSE REQUIREMENT DEADLINE: JUNE 30TH 2011 If you are a licensed as a Fire & Casualty agent and you are selling heath or accident insurance you MUST get an Accident and Health license NO LATER than June 30th, 2011 to continue selling health or accident insurance. The process to get this license is simple: FIRST): Complete 20-hour Accident & Health Pre-License Training SECOND): Complete application, schedule and pass state exam. Call 800-600-2550 and mention coupon code 10030 for a 20% discount from our insurance training partner www. infinityschools.com NEW! HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE VALUATION CE REQUIREMENT DEADLINE: JUNE 26, 2011 On or after June 27, 2011, prior to estimating the replacement value of structures or

explaining the various levels of coverage under a homeowners’ insurance policy, California resident agents and brokers who have not previously completed the homeowners’ insurance valuation training, must do so. Completion of this course will fully meet the training requirements. The training requirement is part of, and not in addition to, the agents and brokers’ continuing education requirements. Call 800-600-2550 to order this course and receive the exclusive LAAA special price of only $9.95 from our insurance training partner www.infinityschools.com NEW EXAMINATION SCHEDULING SERVICE PSI Services, LLC, a California-based company providing state-based regulatory licensure services, will begin handling the scheduling of examinations for individuals licensed by the California Department of Insurance’s (CDI) Producer Licensing Bureau starting with examinations that are taken on April 2, 2011. Instructions for scheduling examinations will be posted on PSI’s website at www.psiexams. com (PSI News) beginning on March 7, 2011. Individuals may schedule their examinations with PSI either online or by telephone.


AGENDA / March 2011

Make tax season less taxing for your clients Don’t sell your small business clients short this tax season— talk to them about the great value we can deliver. Like our integrated, coordinated approach to care. Benchmark results in prevention. Award-winning disease management programs. And industry-leading electronic health records. It all adds up to more productive employees and a healthy return for their business. Remember, the new small business tax credit can save eligible employers up to 35 percent on premium costs, making Kaiser Permanente coverage more affordable than ever. To learn more about our wide range of plans and services, contact Carmen Salcido at carmen.p.salcido@kp.org or 562-833-0197.

brokernet.kp.org

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AGENDA / March 2011

Meet Adam DeGraide Founder & CEO of Astonish Results Social media. Internet marketing. Search engine optimization. Today, it’s all about technology – and it’s not optional. But for the average agency owner, these new frontiers can be a little intimidating. But you must either get on board or be left behind.

customers. Don’t let the online insurance marketing revolution leave you behind.”

Helping agencies to navigate the digital waters is Adam DeGraide and his team at Astonish Results. According to their website (www.astonishresults.com), “It is time to adjust your marketing strategy to be in line – and online – with the majority of your

Q: We like to start with a quick bio. Tell us how you first became involved with the insurance industry.

We thought it would be interesting to discuss online strategies with someone Insurance Journal called “the Face of Freakin’ Agency Marketing.”

A: The insurance industry really came to us. After selling BZ Results, which served


AGENDA / March 2011

18 car dealers across the country to ADP in 2006, we started Astonish Results in the mortgage industry. As that industry was declining, our clients were actually doing fantastic. Paul Murphy, who was friends with one of our mortgage clients, said “hey, have you guys ever heard of the independent insurance distribution system?” We had no idea what he was talking about, but we built a system for him and within 90 days he had over 290 inbound phone calls and e-mails. We then realized that not only do we have the right industry, but the right people we could serve and help make a difference in their businesses. Q: How did insurance fit in to your game plan? A: My background is in Internet digital marketing, training, and consulting. I’ve been doing it for over 15 years. As I mentioned, I started out working with car dealerships. Interestingly, the insurance industry mirrors the car business in so many ways. In the late 90’s, people started to go online and build cars, do research on cars, and the local dealers didn’t have a strategy. A very similar situation happened with the insurance industry. People were researching insurance online, companies were selling direct, and third-party lead providers like Net Quotes were popping up everywhere. The local independent agent had no strategy. We did the same thing we did for the car business. We said hey; local distribution channel, we can help you find, sell, and keep more customers profitably by leveraging technology and using the Inter-

net. 5: Let’s talk about Internet marketing for a second. Obviously, Twitter and Facebook have blown up in recent years. Briefly go over the differences and similarities of these two outlets. A: It goes back to how consumers want to shop for insurance. Everything is social. It used to be that “community” was your town square. Now it means Facebook, Twitter, etc. Obviously, Facebook is sharing images while Twitter is more to the point. They are both very positive resource for agencies to utilize. The challenge you have when you are doing any type of marketing, especially social media marketing, is that it’s not just about having the right strategy to communicate with people effectively. Where do you send them? What do you tell them? How do you respond to them? These are some of the greatest challenges in the independent insurance distribution world, because the majority of agency employees are service people and not really “Sales” people. That’s a big problem because the whole world is now social. It involves communication and having fun; and insurance can be boring. It’s all about making it interesting for the customer. That’s the power of Facebook and Twitter. Q: What are people doing right/wrong with regards to marketing through social media? A: People are finally doing it! That said, one of the biggest problems within the industry is the independent insurance distribution system doesn’t believe it is valuContinuing on page 20


20 able. Belief equals behavior, and if you don’t believe something is valuable, you won’t do it. Right now successful agencies believe. They study the best practices of the best agencies in the country to see what they’re doing right. Unsuccessful agencies or agencies that aren’t growing, don’t believe. They try something for a little while, then stop. Social media marketing needs to be continually focused on and updated. If 85 percent of consumers are researching on the Internet, why wouldn’t 85 percent of your time, energy, and efforts be around that? Typically, agencies have not been marketing organizations, but now they have no choice because the customers demand it. Q: If there is one secret to utilizing Twitter and Facebook for corporate branding and promotion, what is it? A: Don’t forget Linked In, You Tube, Foursquare, and others out there. It all goes back to what I just said: Belief. Belief equals behavior, and the secret of agencies making money is they believe they can make money. Therefore, they train their people and themselves on the best practices of communication and motivation of the modern consumer – to visit their website online so they can generate phone calls and emails to their agency. It’s not about the right status updates or uploading the right picture, it’s about belief and the knowledge of how to do it. Q: What social media are people overlooking?

AGENDA / March 2011 A: Agencies in general are overlooking the majority of them. I would say Linked In is underutilized, great for commercial prospecting. You Tube is very neglected, people don’t really realize the power of a video. Other things people overlook are blogging, press releases, and constantly communicating. The challenge is not only to execute these things, but do the right thing. It comes down to an agency starting to do these things. They’re going to fail in the beginning unless they team up with someone who knows what to do out of the gate. But they’re going to do it on their own, they’re going to fail a lot during the process, but eventually figure it out. What people are really overlooking is consistency and the blended strategy of doing all of it better than the rest. Q: Two big buzzwords (buzz acronyms) these days are SEO – Search Engine Optimization and SEM – Search Engine Marketing. What advice would you give insurance agents for helping their agency websites stand out from the crowd? A: Of course, they should hire us! Really, the agency principal needs to value their website and realize that it gets more traffic that their physical location. To not spend energy, effort, time, and money on what is really your primary showroom is nuts. Another question is who in your agency is focused on doing SEO/SEM and making sure your website converts. This goes back to the systemic challenge of the industry. Agencies are not marketing organizations, they don’t have marketing


budgets, and they don’t have marketing individuals. They need to hire a company like Astonish Results that can handle it for them. At some point, someone has to pay attention to their virtual office, because it has more traffic than their actual store. Q: What about basic website design? What do most people miss? A: Most people miss their math. A website is only designed to do two things: Get someone to call you or get someone to e-mail you. If your website does not have a high conversion rate – visitors to opportunities – then it is worthless. An agency needs to blow it up and start from scratch. My advice is to know your numbers. Track the results of any changes you make on the website. As I said, you can get a website for a dollar. It is not the most valuable thing unless it converts at a super high rate. The average Astonish Results agency converts at a 15-25 percent rate. The average website nationally converts at about a 2-4 percent rate. Conversion ratio is all that matters. If you get 100 people to your website, the average is 2-4 phone calls. Where we create sites, you’re going to get 15 to 25 phone calls per hundred. More opportunities, more at-bats, and even with a terrible closing ratio, you’re going to sell more policies. Q: Getting back to search engines, which ones are the big players? How do you feel about paid listings? A: Obviously Google, Yahoo! And Bing are the biggest, plus dozens of others. How do I feel about SEM and spending money on these places? I think it’s insane not to, but only if your website converts. It re-

ally goes back to knowing your math. It doesn’t make sense to drive traffic to your website if it doesn’t convert, or converts at too low of a percentage. However, if you have a predictably high conversion rate; like an Astonish Results customer would have, then it makes sense to drive traffic because you know that for every click you get to your website, 15 or 20 percent are going to call or e-mail you. If you can get to a 50-60 percent closing ratio, with an average commission of $200-$250, then it makes sense to spend that $75 to make $250. It always comes down to math. It’s like rent, only your building is on Google Street. It only makes sense to pay rent if your building attracts customers. Q: Describe a basic Internet marketing plan for someone with a small advertising budget, essentially a guerilla campaign. A: I think that an agency with a small budget should have a website that says “we sell insurance cheaper than anybody.” Have an 800 number and a contact form and that’s it. It’s very cheap and more effective that getting a template site that’s terrible. Use free tools like Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter. It will take a while to figure out how to use these resources and generate traffic from them, but if you stay with it and learn how to communicate effectively via those mediums, you can generate results. The best part of the Internet is you can look as big as you want to look because it’s virtual. Q. How helpful can You Tube be for insurance marketing? How can agents take advantage of this portal?


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A: You Tube can be very effective, especially if you look good. If you don’t, I wouldn’t advise using yourself in a video. Sometimes I see goofy-looking agents with their goofy-looking CSRs. People like to look at people who look good or at least presentable, so you really have to be careful using YouTube. If you have a great self image, if you are neat, well-kept, and articulate, then You Tube can be a great source for communication and interactivity with people you may not be able to see in person. The other thing that is great about YouTube is you can create promotional videos for, say, commercial clients or for yourself. If you leverage humor, for example, that can be a very effective tool to drive traffic. But ultimately, YouTube won’t save you, just like Facebook won’t save you, a website won’t save you. You need a blended strategy and a system to put it together. Q. What about e-mail campaigns? Any suggestions? A: First of all, when was the time to start an e-mail campaign, about 15 years ago? Good job, industry. Actually, we haven’t done a good job at all. I could speak to 1,000 agencies and three of them are doing e-mail campaigns. You just have to do it. At some point, you have to do e-mail marketing. People worry about compliance and ant-spam laws, but it’s just another form of direct mail. If you have a good list, if you’re good at building your database and are good at communication, e-mail is an effective tool. If you’re not good at

AGENDA / March 2011 those things, e-mail is not really going to help you. Q. How about adding texting campaigns to a marketing plan? A: Texting can be very effective, especially with continuing, ongoing relationships. Renewal premium notices, maybe a rate drop in a market in which a customer may be interested. They may want to get that information in a text. Obviously it’s important that you get their permission before you contact anyone, because no one wants to be texted – or even e-mailed – without giving their OK first. In the big picture, it’s not about texting, emailing, having a website, doing SEM or SEO. It’s really about doing it better than everyone else. The best agencies in the country have a system, a strategy, and the right people to handle the modern consumer. Q. Here’s an opportunity for a blatant plug. Discuss what Astonish Results offers agents. A: What we’ve been talking about are all these widgets, trinkets, and gadgets, strategies and tactics. What Astonish Results does better that anybody else can be boiled down to three concepts: We help agencies find a higher quality and quantity of traffic. We help them sell that traffic by converting the visitor to a lead, then converting the lead to a sale. We help them keep the modern consumer by automating the best practices of the best producers in the world – without fail and exceptions 24 Continuing on page 24


24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s about find, sell, and keep. We also have the training and consulting to help Agency Principals and their employees tie it all together.

AGENDA / March 2011 catch a vision, latch on to it, follow it, and improve their personal and professional lives. I love doing this because everyday I get to work with amazing people and we get to change lives. Q. Any final thoughts?

Q. If you could go back five years and talk to Adam DeGraide, what would you say to him? A: I would probably tell him: “You’re on the right track, my man. Keep going!” Q. Now flash-forward ten years, what do you want people to be saying about you? A: It’s not about this individual (me), it’s about a team of amazing players – Tim Sawyer and John Boudreau. I couldn’t do it without them and we couldn’t do it without our people. I would want people to say that those three cats changed the independent distribution channel and saved it from its own self-destruction. Most importantly, I want to know that we did the right thing by our clients and our people. Q. What motivates you – personally and professionally – to succeed? A: Really, it’s about changing lives. I’ve made a lot of money and will continue to do so, but ultimately it’s watching agents fall in love with their businesses again. To see them change the way they personally approach their lives. They go into the office and they’re psyched, they change the culture of their people. They’re selling more premiums, making more money, and having more fun. I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than seeing somebody

A: I think it’s really important to understand that Astonish Results is a team of people and it’s not really about Adam DeGraide. Our president, Tim Sawyer, is one of the most effective and efficient speakers, motivators, and leaders with whom I have worked. John Boudreau, “the chemist,” has mastered all of the technologies and processes. I would not know where to begin to give credit. And obviously, our 65 employees and salespeople nationwide, because at the end of the day, we’re trying to accomplish the mission as a unit; as a team. Naturally, I am very grateful to the carriers who have stepped up in faith and worked with us, and the clients who signed that crazy, five-year, non-cancelable, one-sided, irrevocable contract. They come, they get trained, and they go back and use the system. Utilization of the system is the most important thing. Just buying a digital marketing system it’s not going to change your life. When you take it out and use it, you will get results. It really does take a massive amount of people committed and dedicated to the vision to make this happen.


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AGENDA / March 2011

Spice Up Your Social Media Campaign with Live Video

by Amara Poolswasdi Yes, you’ve heard that social media is important. Community engagement in realtime is also very important. Since time is money, and you have very little spare time to execute your marketing plans, what’s the most effective use of your time? I say ditch the super-polished videos, structured-to-the-nines podcasts, and 500+ word blog entries. Go live and get VOKLE instead. VOKLE is a great live audience interaction platform by which you can host your own town hall, talk show, gripe session, product demo, service pitch, etc. Through it you can also engage with your audience by taking video and text calls, cohost the show with others, bring on guest speakers, chat, and cross-post to your other social media outlets. At the low-low cost of FREE it’s a pretty low-impact way for small businesses and freelancers to add another dimension to current outreach efforts.

The most coveted feature that you won’t find with similar services is the ability embed the show on your very own website. People can log on to your site and participate right away! They can even watch the event without signing up for a separate account -- all they have to do is log in with their current Facebook or Twitter account, which drastically cuts down the barrier of entry for your audience. So, what are you waiting for? All you need is a decent web camera (which come preinstalled with most laptops nowadays), a hard-wired ethernet Internet connection, and a set of wired earphones/microphones. (The combination ones that come with iPhones work great. Skullcandy also makes some great and affordable earphones/mics.) Register for a demo at http://vokle.com. Put the human element back in to your social media campaign!


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RELAX & THINK

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AGENDA / March 2011

NUESTRA MUSICA -VOL. 48

Jorge Celedon & Jimmy Zambrano There are songs that touch you because of their raw truth, “Sin Perdon” is one of those songs. Jorge Celedón & Jimmy Zambrano are some of Colombia’s best. The rest of their music is good to dance to or just listen to. Now that I spend more time in South America I’ve gotten to know their repertoire a lot better and enjoy it. Jorge Celedón also known as Jorgito Celedón (born March 4, 1968 in Villanueva, La Guajira) is a Colombian musician, singer of vallenato music. Celedón was one of the backup singers for the vallenato group Binomio de Oro de America who joined after the death of Rafael Orozco Maestre. In 1998, he decided to create his own vallenato group and teamed with accordionist Jimmy Zambrano Jimmy Zambrano was born in Colombia but graduated from a Venezuelan music school, multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Zambrano began his career after teaming up with Omar Geles in Los Diablitos. Before joining singer Jorge Celedon, Zambrano had the opportunity to work for Latin pop artist Adriana Lucia and local band Los Emigrantes. If you want to lively up a party listen to these guys, if you want to be romantic, listen to these guys!

Discography 2001 - Romántico Como Yo 2002 - Llevame en Tus Sueños 2003 - Canto Vallenato 2004 - Nuevas Canciones del Alma 2004 - ¡Juepa je! 2006 - Son... Para el Mundo 2009 - La invitacion

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