Summer in Chicago

One of the greatest joys of summer in Chicago is sitting at Wrigley field on a warm, sunny, Tuesday afternoon with a hot dog in one hand, and a cold Old Style in the other.

beer

It almost makes our slow sales worries disappear. 🙂

Mike and I are pretty excited to see what kind of response we get for the pregancy pack. We’re hoping that we generate decent enough sales from that to offset the decline in regular pickle of the month subscriptions. I guess we’ll see!

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Standard deviation

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve deviated from last week’s preliminary timeline for rolling out our latest product offering and subsequent advertising. If anyone at my new employer happens to be reading this and fears it’s indicative of my abilities as a Project Manager, be not alarmed. POTM isn’t an urgent priority at the moment (while getting up to speed in the new job most definitely is) and the slip was hardly unanticipated. It’s all about prioritization.

I have made some gradual progress though. The staging site has the new product bundle (minus a good picture of a pregnant person – Dubs, I’ll be emailing you shortly to get that last piece taken care of). I also think I’ve identified the last component for the Proud Parent Blast – it’s a bib with a “lil pickle” on it. It’s cute, functional, and the right size for our packaging needs. My initial thought is to resell the one I found online, then create our own version if this proves to be a popular offering (and thus increase our margins).

Pickle sales are what one might label as slow, and by slow I mean Slowsky slow, so we’re hoping the new offering and the incremental advertising pays dividends. If not, we’ll just try something else. Afterall, we’ve got plenty of ideas

Is this great or what? Combine this with a Big Papa and Hot Mama pickle, and you have yourself baby gift nirvana that’s fun for the whole family.

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How to kill time the fun way

This blog is being penned from Gil’s Cafe on Milwaukee’s East Side. How does Milwaukee have an East Side, if it’s bordered on the east by Lake Michigan? A fascinating question. I think it’s because the direction is relative to the river, not to downtown. But I digress.

I’m here because I’m killing time while my wife goes to grad school. As it turns out, killing time is a lot of fun at Gil’s, mostly because they have two of my favorite beers (New Glarus Spotted Cow and Texas’ own Shiner Bock) and some rockin spinach artichoke dip. I learned to appreciate Shiner Bock while spending time in Houston as an Accenture employee. My advice to other first time visitors – enjoy the beer, but avoid sucking any crawfish heads. Trust me on this.

The aforementioned delicacies (beer and dip, not crawfish heads) were perfect complements for my detailing out the list of changes necessary to push ahead with our pregnancy-themed offerings. 45 minutes of web surfing tells me the pickle+pregnancy+baby market is horribly underserved (much like the monthly pickle market). With that in mind, here is my plan:

Step 1, itemized list of what needs to change (did this tonight)
Step 2, create the copy and upload the pictures to our staging site (Thursday).
Step 3, promote to the real site and test (Friday).
Step 4, sign up for Google AdWords advertising and see what happens (Fri-Sun)

I’ll do a separate post on Friday explaining our use of AdWords, because we think that’s a pretty powerful (and quantifiable) means for little guys like us to advertise like big companies.

Hopefully, our pickle pregnancy offering will be less controversial than Shiner Beer’s “Get Caught with Bock” campaign, where this image was found.

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Changing it up

There are a couple things worth noting in today’s blog regarding change. For one, I am changing jobs at the end of this week. Though this change is the right move career-wise, it’s no less difficult saying goodbye to the people I’ve worked with the last 5 ½ years. However, it does mean great news for POTM. My plan is to use the week off between current job and new job to bring the pregnancy theme to POTM. This means determining the new product bundles and branding, taking and editing product photos, updating the site copy for the new offering(s), and possibly incorporating a new pickle pregnancy t-shirt. I’m excited to finally have time for this, as it seems blog entry and pickle shipments are about all I had capacity for the last few months.

Another significant change will be the migration of our current site to the much-ballyhooed RoR implementation, which Doug will be managing. This will totally rock. Why? Because it will enable us to change themes, design, features, and copy much more efficiently than our current platform allows. My vision has POTM’s look and feel changing with each significant holiday – and even more than a few insignificant ones (Casmir Pulaski Day, anyone?). This variety will help keep the site fresh and different for recurring visitors, and make things a helluva lot more fun for us to change whenever we decide to get creative.

More to come this week about the results of our NCAA marketing endeavor…

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Bradley Braves, Beers, and Bellys

For all you Bradley fans out there in Chicago, we will be congregating at Belly’s tonight for the game. Click on this link to see where it is. First person to recognize Mike or I that doesn’t know us yet gets a free pickle.

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POTM loves BU

I write this blog during commercial breaks of Scrubs. The second episode on tonight is absolutely fantastic. If I spent the next 48 straight hours watching Scrubs and reading online articles about Bradley Braves basketball, and if every commercial was a different version of that new VW “Unpimp my ride”, I’d consider it 48 hours well spent.

But back to Bradley basketball. Un-BU-lievable! Not sure if we ever mentioned it in the blog before, but Doug and I both are Bradley alums and are self-admittedly addicted to reading every bit of news we can about our team at the moment. I’m losing my voice just thinking about all the yelling I’ll be doing Thursday night when they play…who’s that team again? Nashville? Whatever – doesn’t matter. If this article in a Detroit paper doesn’t make you an instant fan then don’t even bother seeing Hoosiers, Rudy, Field of Dreams, or any other heartwarming tale of sports glory. My San Francisco cousin Kate even emailed and said she had a floor ticket to the Oakland regional game if I could find a flight out there. After some quick research, I realized that was too pricey a proposition. But then an email from friend Sean got me thinking: what if I don’t fly out there, but POTM does? I.e., cousin Kate sports some blatantly pro Bradley/pro POTM gear and we bank on a CBS camera man giving this smartly clad super-fan a second or two of national tv time. That would be the best (and coincidentally only) advertising $$$ we’d ever spent!

Doug found a vendor, The Tshirt Deli in Bucktown, that did sameday shirts. I swung by this evening after work, and got two seriously pimpin shirts made for the princely sum of $40 each (you pay by the letter – here I thought our URL was just a pain in the ass to type). I’ll next day ship them to Kate tomorrow morning and keep my eyes glued to the TV Thursday night for them. Hey, it’s well worth it just for the 20,000 fans to see, let alone a shot at the whole nation.

Here’s a couple pics of the beauties, along with one of the forthcoming SI covers. I love how they come wrapped in butcher paper like deli meat. Great gimmick, and really nice people that work there. I have a feeling they thought “GO BU” was some sort of cute motivational phrase (Go, be you!). If you could design and order their stuff online they’d be shipping shirts like hotcakes…

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Don’t Hate Little Pepe

Comments trickled in over the last couple of weeks that people didn’t appreciate the Little Pepe pickle as much as his pickle brothers.

pepe_medium_extracted

Why hate Little Pepe I ask? Just because he’s a bit smaller, and a bit spicier, does not mean he doesn’t try just as hard to be a great pickle. Maybe the fault lies not in the pickle, but in the pickle preparation?

I thought that very thing Monday night as I bit into Mr. Little Pepe, and then the idea struck. Why not include this little spicy number in one of my favorite foods – turkey burgers! Without further ado, I happily present Pickle of the Month’s very first pickle recipe!

Little Pepe Spicy Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

  1. One package ground turkey
  2. 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  3. 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  4. 8 shakes of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  5. 1/2 Litte Pepe, finely chopped

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients together in bowl
  2. Form delicious turkey burger patties
  3. Take a swig of the beer you’re drinking (you should be drinking, you’re making pickle burgers for goodness sake)
  4. Grill delicious turkey burger patties
  5. Enjoy! I like to have mine with ketchup and mustard, some enjoy barbecue sauce.
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