Archive for the ‘vacation’ tag

MKTG Rewards Winner Valerie Morales: Viva l’Italia!

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The MKTG Rewards program is designed for MKTG employees to recognize and nominate fellow team members each quarter for their outstanding work at MKTG. At the end of the year, quarterly nominees become eligible to win an all-expenses paid international or domestic experience. 2015’s winners were announced in June, and lucky recipients have spent this summer taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Valerie Morales is a Senior Payroll Analyst at MKTG NY, and Italy was always on her list of travel destinations. Her wish came true when she was elected one of our three international winners. Valerie toured Italy from August 9-18, accompanied by her Mom who flew in from Puerto Rico for the special trip.

MKTG: What was your initial feeling when you were chosen as a MKTG Rewards winner?
VM: Total shock. At the MKTG Rewards ceremony I saw my face appear on the screen and blanked out.  After that I was actually shy about it- and for those of you who know me- I am not shy! I was so humbled by the fact that I was chosen for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Why did you choose Italy as your destination?
VM:  Italy’s history has always fascinated me. I love art and studied the greats: Michelangelo, Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello etc. Sadly, I don’t have the talent to draw but loved learning about them and always appreciated the beauty of their work. I also wanted to visit a country where the language would not be a barrier. I speak Spanish which has a similar foundation to Italian, so I felt that I could communicate in some way with the locals.

What was it like touring with a group, and would you return to Italy again?
VM: Most of our tour guides were from the cities we visited, and I loved how passionate they were about the history of their hometowns. We pretty much had a tour each day but were also given a day per city to independently explore, so that was fun. I would love to go back as I found it very easy to get around and there was so much left unexplored- such as Lido di Venezia, Milan and Sicily. Even the cities I did visit- Rome, Florence and Venice- left so much to be seen.

How did each city distinguish itself for you?
VM: Rome has a metropolitan feel, and I was surprised by the abundance of graffiti. Rome’s history is remarkably well-preserved and a wonder to experience. Naples is a calmer city, which came to my surprise as it is still threatened by an active volcano, Mount Vesuvius, which is the same volcano that buried Pompeii under ash over 1,500 years ago. Visiting nearby Pompeii was sad but impactful.  The city was indeed ahead of its time and the abrupt loss of their vibrant people was tragic. Florence was my favorite city, as its metropolitan area is both urban and rural. I was able to explore the city’s history, enjoyed some shopping from local vendors yet also visited a local vineyard. The cuisine and gelato were amazing, too! Positano was very congested and felt like the buildings and roads were sandwiched on top of each other. That made for breathtaking scenery and everyone was so outgoing and friendly. Venice was a marvel of a city, and an architectural wonder. We enjoyed the history, getting around by speedboat and learning how their famous Murano glass is made.

Did the Italian way of life appeal to you compared to the 24/7 NYC lifestyle you’re accustomed to?
VM: The typical Italian way of life is certainly appealing, but again, it depends on where you go-  it’s either laid back or the usual urban hustle and bustle.

Italy is defined by its food. What were some of the best meals you had… and some of the most exotic?
VM: The food was very tasty yet I kept it simple trying pastas and pizzas. Each city had their own way of preparing these dishes, but I must say, I love my NYC pizza above all!

What was one moment on the trip you will never forget?
VM: I could not have won this trip at a better time. I purposely chose to go during these dates as I was turning 40 on August 11. For my birthday, we spent the morning in Vatican City enjoying the art that I’ve always appreciated, followed by an evening dinner and moonlight tour of the Colosseum. It was an amazing experience and the tour group really added to it. Apparently my Mom spilled the beans that it was my birthday and the group were so sweet making the night more special. They even added a candle to my dessert to wish me a happy birthday!

 

–Contributed by Valerie Morales, MKTG NY 

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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

August 31st, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Blogs Are Better Than Banner Ads

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hj 2Photos courtesy of DustinNikki Mommy of Three, Wannabite, thefoodhussy.com

After working in advertising for the better part of 10 years, I’m still amazed that people click on banner ads. I mean – really – who clicks on those ads for “Hot Singles in Your Area”? Instead of spending money on another media buy with a 1% click-thru, I decided to check out a different form of advertising that is much more subtle … and also more effective.

(First: a disclaimer. In addition to my work at MKTG INC, I’m also a blogger at thefoodhussy.com). Blogger marketing is an evolving form of word-of-mouth marketing, and bloggers have a built-in audience that trusts them and seeks out their opinion on products and services.

At MKTG INC, we have partnered with bloggers on a variety of programs, from toilet paper to hair color, to find out what real women think of these products. At Food Hussy, I’ve done campaigns for deli meats, vacation destinations, restaurants and more.

I love that every blogger puts their own spin on a product and can create new uses for your product. Most people think of Dr. Pepper as a drink, but this blogger used it in a recipe. You may not regularly drink Dr. Pepper – but can you honestly say you don’t want to try a Dr. Pepper Donut?

The question is – does it work? The proof is in the pudding. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented that they tried something after I shared it. Recently my husband was at an event I had promoted and someone came up to him and said, “Hey – I know you – you’re the husband of the Food Hussy!” Turns out, they not only recognized him from my blog, but they purchased tickets for the event because of my post.

Bloggers are influencers who have a built-in trust factor and an audience. By working with them, you’re getting an honest opinion on what you have to offer that is then shared with all of their online “friends” – which goes a lot further than a simple banner ad.

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