Zeus of Marketing


How to Maintain Social Media Investment Focus in Times of Hype : Simply Listen

Don't let hype do this to you - Follow your customer - Not the hype

Let’s go back to basics. There’s been way too much “ink” wasted in relating the pros and cons of Google + over the past month. I am as guilty as the next by dedicating my last blog post to the benefits, or lack thereof, of Google’s newest venture. What worries me the most is how fast agencies and consultants are offering new services promising to develop the right strategy for  developing your Google +  strategy and presence, sending social media managers everywhere in a frantic search on how to reallocate their current budgets to include yet one more service.

In reality, if you have already developed a sound social media strategy, you already know exactly how to move forward without disrupting your current efforts. Below, I have copied my recommended five steps (always iterative) for a sound social media strategy including the links to my posts focusing in that specific step as a reminder of what I mean:

  1. Listen:
    Two Ears, One Mouth, Truism for the Ages – The Social Media Age that is.
    January 25, 2011
  2. Monitor:
    So You Are Listening, Now What???
  3. Analyze
    “The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”
  4. Engage
    “Past Dreams are Enabled by the Present to Ensure the Future”
  5. Measure
    “Traffic is Just the Means to an End”

If you have followed these steps, or any variation, you have nothing to fear. Particularly because:

  • You already know what your customers are talking about and how to engage them (even understand any potential ZMOT strategy).
  • You already know where your customers can be reached
  • You can easily identify any shift to new services and understand if you need to follow them

If your customers, particularly your identified influentials or evangelists, are migrating in hordes to a new service such as Google + , by all means FOLLOW THEM.  If not, do not succumb to the hype – you know better. At the end, no matter how influential you think Google is in search and worry from a potential backlash from not having a Google + page, reality has shown that content and relationship trumps SEO. I was further convinced of this by Roger McNamee’s (facebook investor) latest presentation where he states:

Google is a victim of its own success: its search has become polluted by SEOs. What shows that Google has failed is all those “non-search” services that really solve a search problem, like Match.com or Realtor.com. If you add them all up, they account for 50% of searches.”

As always, I invite you to draw your own conclusions and provide feedback/comments to my assertions. I hope that you learn as much from my posts as I do from your comments. Do not go crazy reallocating you budgets. remain true to your initial objectives – your ROI will thank you.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

 

 

 

 

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3 comments July 28th, 2011

To Google: The Plus (+) is so 80´s – You Just Don’t Get It

Where's the beef? I mean the +

Do I know the right people?, Are we in a Time Warp?,  Will Google succeed? From where I sit, the answer to these questions seem to be No, Yes and No, respectively. First, while my contact list includes a wide cross section of successful business people, particularly in the area of Marketing and New Media, none of us have received a direct invite to join Google +. While I may be writing from a scorned lover perspective (poor little me was not invited to the party), I am wondering if Google has specifically singled us out as people that know too much about real marketing to risk a real review about its shortcomings. With that in mind,  I’ll go on to explain my answers to the other two questions because I am sure that I know the right people.

80’s Time Warp:

It was a sunny day, my first day as a Brand Assistant (BA) in Procter & Gamble. I received my assignment, you will be the proud BA in Always Plus - The sanitary napkin with WINGS. Just a couple of corridors from me, one of my best friends was the BA for ERA Plus (improved protein takes out protein), and just next door my new colleagues were working on Charmin Plus and Puffs Plus (paper with lotion). In most cases this was a brilliant flanker strategy which clearly communicated an improved product that could command a premium price and minimize revenue loss and cannibalization by maintaining the parent  brand on shelf. The PLUS product offered a clear and distinct benefit differentiation versus parent AND competition. Now I can explain my answer to the third question;

Will Google + be successful?:

Let’s try to answer the question with questions,

1. Does it offer a strong differentiation versus existing competitor and existing brand? (Please remember the power of a network is directly proportional to the number of participants in that network and facebook is currently estimated to have 750 million users). Additionally, last I checked, Google still stands for search engine, Android for mobile OS,  YouTube, a great video repository, what is Google + a plus of?

2. Does it offer a clear answer to a need identified from a clear customer insight? When was the last time, from a customer perspective, you heard someone say I really need another facebook – Other than Justin Timberlake there were not many rescuers for MySpace and LinkedIN is pretty successful in filling facebook’s gap of a truly professional contacts network.

3. Once tried, does it meet customers expectations? I’ll let you, the one’s that have been “lucky” enough to be invited to the beta trial to be the final judge – although I “hear” that the way it siphons personal data from its members, it makes facebook’s privacy issues look irrelevant.

Advice for my reader’s:

Going back to an unifying theme in my blog: BEWARE of the HYPE. True value comes from following basic business strategies – not PR spins on technology amplified by techies that haven’t taken the time to learn business basics. I beg you for comments on this.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

P.S.: I just got an Invite, Please visit my LinkeIn poll: http://tinyurl.com/5syfjt8


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13 comments July 14th, 2011

Marketing Basics : Want New Business Model Growth? Think as a Customer

I hope that today’s blog is read by publishers and authors everywhere.  While today’s post is not your regular social media insights type, it does bring you insights as to how new business models can help you identify product development ideas and strategies to grow your business. Particularly, when you take on the perspective of the end user – after all – we are not only marketers – we are customers and consumers as well.

Like many of you – I just acquired a shiny new iPad2 – it has not only improved on-the-go productivity but has increased my book readership by over 500%, whereas I used to read about a book a month, now I am reading 5+. Why, you may ask – my favorite time to read is at bedtime (yes I am of those people that now wake up with the iPad next to them). Before the well lighted screen of the iPad, I wrestled with anything that would provide a reading light, including the “itty bitty light” – they never worked well.  And falling asleep with the bedside lamp would only guarantee a restless sleep as I would always fall asleep with the lights on.

At first the whole idea of ebooks bothered me, I couldn’t imagine not being able to fold the page corner – but being a 21st century guy, I did buy a Kindle. While it was good to read in the subway or the beach – I still needed a night light source for my favorite reading time. When I learned that I could download Kindle books to my iPhone and now my iPad, my reading life changed forever. There is nothing like finishing a book in a series (Think The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the Lincoln Lawyer novels by Michael Connelly) at 2:00 AM and being able to instantly download the next one to find what happens next.  Or in cases that you are stuck waiting at the DMV or the doctor’s office, being able to whip out your iPhone and keep reading is “priceless.”

So what is the insight for “product development” in this case:

As an author or publisher:

1. Make sure that there are sequels to the book.

2. Time the sequels as close in time as possible   – you want to leverage the “2:00 AM” download (even consider digital previews over hardcover)

3. Ignore the e-readers versus tablet controversy – as long as you have an open platform like Kindle that can be used across all OS´s – the argument is moot. This is one area where Apple has not gained a proprietary hold.

4. If you have not started publishing digital books – prepare for a quick death  – I recently had to purchase a business book as a pre-read for an upcoming executive seminar and the fact that it was not available for download made me think twice about long term survival of McGraw-Hill.

This is only one example of what I find to be a great digital business model  – I would love to hear from you about your examples and insights in this or many of the other new digital opportunities in this brave new world.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

 

 

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2 comments June 30th, 2011

Write for People – Not Search Engines

Final Exit Before Content Takes Over

I have been struggling over the past two weeks to identify a hot topic to write about. After coming across various blogs and articles with quotes like:

– SEO has no future.
– Constant changes in search algorithm renders real time SEM impractical if not impossible.
– Content farms are taking over search results – commoditizing SEO.
And my favorite – which became today’s blog title:
-Write for people – not search engines.

I came to the conclusion that this should be today’s topic as SEO/SEM should be archived under sciences that have lost steam  – the Alchemy of the 21st Century. My apologies to those that make their living as “key word” picking experts and a shout out to companies still adding this skill to their job descriptions. I also want to provide you with a great resource for staying up to date via State of Search particularly blogs written by Sam Crocker (@samuelcrocker).

As it it always the case, each time a fad fades, a new one emerges. The good news is that in this case the new one is not a mysterious algorithm, new math, “only a whiz kid can do it” kind of fad, but one that can be summarized in the old adage; “CONTENT IS KING.”

In the interest of a “big punch” in the fewest possible words – what is the ONE tip I have for you this week (forget a top 10 list, or even a top 5 or top 3), to truly rank high in results,  just remember:

From now on : WRITE FOR PEOPLE – NOT SEARCH ENGINES

What are the benefits:

1. Focuses on your customer interests not additional steps
2. Helps you concentrate on what you know best – your product or service
3. Frees up time to spend in identifying your customers/prospects interest and sources of information (that’s where you should be targeting your content and links to your content)

I always love when common sense prevails!!!

I would love to hear what is your point of view regarding SEO, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO COMMENT BELOW.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

 

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4 comments June 16th, 2011

Advice for B2B : Social Media Has Been Part of Your DNA Forever : Just Embrace it With the Same Objectives and Passion

LinkedIn successful IPO (I never had any doubts) seems to have accelerated the discussion of Social Media for B2B in the “blogosphere.”  I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but “Social Media” successful execution is based on the marketing and selling principles that B2B has executed since the first caveman bartered tyrannosaurus meat for a stone wheel.  The only difference is that the stone tools have been digitized and are now more efficient, cost-effective and in real time.

Those of you that follow my blog are familiar with my on-going message of “no need to re-invent the wheel,” just make it better. This can not be any truer than today’s topic.  A successful B2B business has reached its position through sticking to simple principles focused on delivering clear, relevant messages consistently over time to carefully selected prospects.

1. Target. Aim your marketing campaigns toward the people who most want to hear from you: Prospects with the same needs and demographics as your best customers.
-Focus on blogs, forums and LinkedIn to Identify where your prospects convene – and Listen (more inexpensive than ear-dropping in far away industry conferences)

2. Relevant. In a noisy marketplace, people tune out messages that aren’t directly relevant to their interests. Know the needs of the business decision-makers you’re targeting and tailor your messages accordingly.
-Identifying the right cyber-water cooler meetings’ locations will get rid of a lot of the noise

3. Consistent. Marketing across all channels – from paid advertising to sales letters, from websites to face-to-face presentations – should support your brand positioning and consistently repeat the same key statements about who you are, what you do, and how you do it better than anyone else.
-Social Media allows you to expand on your positioning and rather than just communicating sales bites you can develop full thought leadership articles on what makes you unique. Remember “Content is King”

4. Credible and Clear. Business prospects need to trust and believe you to recommend you or buy from you. Back up your marketing claims with case studies, testimonials, and statistics to establish credibility and position your company as a trusted provider.
– ibid (for the less literary; see above)

5. Frequent. Prospects need to hear from you regularly and often to keep you top of mind. Be visible to be memorable.
– The ease of publishing and immediate feedback will allow you to afford more frequent and relevant communication as opposed to slaving to your printers or selected trade magazine(s) editorial calendar.

When it comes to Social Media, it is B2C who should learn from B2B. Not vice-versa.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

 

 

 

 

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1 comment June 2nd, 2011

In Social Media: Some of the Best Things are Free

Try Before You Buy

Greetings from Jamaica.  Even Zeus needs a break once in a while. This week I want to share with you a great blog  by Pritt Kallas from Dream Grow Social Media. If you remember my initial blogs regarding the five iterative steps for a successful Social Media strategy execution, the first and more important one is to listen.

In Pritt’s latest blog he offers a list of 48 free monitoring tools in the web. Please take a time to peruse his blog: 48 Free Social Media Tools and start identifying what current and potential customers are saying about you. You can also use these tools to learn about your competitors.

The best part is that once you find out the great information that Social Media monitoring provides, you will be ready and more comfortable moving to the rest of the steps. I hope you enjoy the reading and the resources and I look forward to your feedback.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

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May 19th, 2011

What’s Your Brand “Persona”? Having a Personality is Critical In Social Media

Old Spice: Strong and on point

Various articles this week have mentioned that to succeed in social media an organization/brand has to interact with customers as if it was a person. To tell you the truth, it makes all the sense in the world!!! After all, when is the last time that you found yourself talking to your bowl of cereal? but,  at the same time, how many of you have a warm feeling when you see Captain Crunch, or Tony the Tiger, or for the younger crowd, good old Count Chocula? I considered the Corn Flakes colorful rooster, Cornelius, my best friend, maybe my choice to go to Cornell was a subconscious one. All these icons were most likely an offshoot of developing a brand personality for these products.

Social Media has elevated in importance the whole process in marketing of defining a brand personality. For those of us that have gone through the process, it can be a daunting one, but having participated in it for brands like Woolite, Resolve and Lysol. It helps me understand better how to put myself in these brand’s “shoes” and hold a conversation with my loyal users as if I was the brand. As a quick example,
Woolite would never engage it’s users in a mud fight but would gladly talk about a Victoria’s Secrets fashion show. Woolite is a savvy woman that knows how to take care of her clothes and dresses to the nines. She’s honest and direct and have thousands of tips on how to be like her.

As a recent example, I’m sure that you can identify Old Spice as “that guy” (Suave and Debonair) that every woman wants to be with. If you are the buyer of Old Spice who would you rather interact with, a corporate service representative script or “that guy” that seems to have the world figured out.

It is important that you train everyone in your business that creates content and engages with customers via Social Media to absorb the personality of your brand/business as if they were the best method actors in Hollywood.

The good news for you is that it is not that difficult (click here for a great resource on how to do it). For small business sometime is as easy as taking over the personality of the owner/founder which usually has rapidly permeated into the offerings of the company.

Do the homework recommended in the above link and let’s all start “friending and liking” as well as engaging with our customers as a unique persona. Its more long term and satisfying, not to mention profitable and differentiating (Marketing 101) as customers will engage for the personality  – not for the expected $1.00 off coupon. Which may still be necessary for the initial “like” but the personality will keep them coming back for more.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

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May 12th, 2011

The “Too Much of a “Good” Thing” Rule is Alive and Well in Social Media – 5 Short Tips to Remember

No words necessary

I am sure I am not the only person that will not read one more word about Osama’s death or Price William and Kate’s Royal Wedding. How about seeing Winning!!!  one more time?  Will Lindsay’s jail sentence will finally free us from her media frenzy? While Social Media brings many opportunities to communicate with friends, partners and customers, it also helps creates an unwelcome single topic information-tsunami.  The good news is that when it comes to you, master of your brand/business, you can actively manage the communication and conversation to optimal levels.

Being Latino, I have always relied on my grandmother’s sayings when it comes to my actions (I could write a decade’s worth of blogs just on the ones I remember). I am glad that in this case there’s one in English that applies well in this situation. There’s definitely a boiling point when it comes to excesses (todo en exceso es malo), and the above mentioned subjects have definitely reached it.  When developing your Social Media content strategy please remember five key common sense rules:

1. Repetition can get old fast (another golden rule: more than three times is overkill or probably not true).
2. Change is good (People like new/fresh content).
3. Al Cesar lo que es del Cesar (People like relevant content).
4. A picture is worth a thousand words (Great attention-grabber tactic).
5. Silence is golden – but protracted can be deadly (people forget fast).

Net : Develop your communication objectives which includes a clearly defined target audience, write with relevancy to that audience (e.g., millenials do not care about continence) and try to not over post. Creating a topics calendar (weekly or bi-weekly) can also help you identify the upcoming topic and frequency by aligning it to your upcoming launches, upgrades, specials, etc.

When developing your content and communications strategy, have these short tips in mind and I am sure you will be attracting more bees with honey in no time.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

 

 

 

 

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May 5th, 2011

Back to Basics – Turning Social Media Chaos into Marketing Utopia

For Easter/Spring Break, I want to bring back my first blog which represents the foundation to my writings in Social Media strategy. Referring back to your objectives not only keeps you grounded but also helps you maintain your direction.

It may be closer than you think

Back to Basics:

2011 should bring basic marketing principles and common sense to new media.

If you’re like me, classically trained in marketing and strategy (which includes starting my career at Procter & Gamble), I bet you’ve wondered when the focus of social media development will switch from what’s technologically feasible to what’s necessary to execute real marketing strategies and achieve real marketing objectives.

Remember A/T/U – awareness, trial, continuity of usage?

My advice for all marketers and media suppliers is to focus the development on delivering against these strategies, which are the fundamentals of any marketing effort. For example, why should Facebook focus on developing a smart phone rather than on securing strong tools for marketers and fans that successfully build awareness and community? Why is Google running in every direction and forgetting about search?

Please do not follow the trends without a clear objective. Creating a Facebook fan page or tweeting 24/7 without an objective will mean no clear metrics are set and you‘ll only be wasting your scarce resources. Trust me, this is a topic that deserves its own blog series and I intend to tackle it in the future. A whole business is emerging now on metrics as if fire has just been discovered. The main reason why there are no metrics now is because there were no objectives to begin with.

Come back to the basics. No need to re-invent the wheel!!!

If you want measurable metrics, then review your current marketing strategy and confirm your marketing objectives.

Is your objective awareness? Identify which vehicle reaches the largest amount of your target demo in an environment that is consistent with your brand promise. (Do you have your positioning statement memorized and up to date?)

To date, Facebook has the largest probability of delivering against this objective on a B2C basis. For B2B, I would stay abreast of improvements coming up on Linked In. Also, explore Linked In Groups – chances are that there are some groups already created for your industry. If not, create your own.

Is your objective trial? Identify which vehicle is closer to your point of sale and to your customer. Stay abreast of the players in the location-based, mobile space. Nothing spells trial opportunity better than receiving a high-value coupon for your product as your customer is located at the point of sale. Current players like Groupon and Four Square deserve a closer look.

Is your objective continuity of usage? Most brands are focused on this objective. Only via continuity of usage will you ensure a sustainable and profitable business.

Continuity includes not only repeat purchases, but also referrals from satisfied customers motivating others to buy. Continuity includes all the variables that lead to that cash register ringing, online shopping carts filling up, or contracts being signed. It also leads to that share of pocket increase as brand extensions or improved versions are launched.

Continuity is the result of loyalty – “the Holy Grail” for marketers. This is why CRM has been so important even in pre-Internet years. It’s also THE area where social media can shine (and few, if any, have mastered it). Leveraging social media for loyalty development is the ultimate goal for marketers in this medium, and I predict that it will be the hottest trend this year.

This is my maiden blog entry. My objective is to have a weekly entry where I can share my thoughts on social media based on sound marketing strategies rather than hype … For once, have business objectives drive technology creatively rather than vice versa. I welcome your comments, topic suggestions and questions (zeus@jrgrana.com).

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

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2 comments April 28th, 2011

QR Codes, a marketer’s dream or his/her biggest nightmare?

I have been reading so much about QR (quick response) codes lately that I dreamed about them last Tuesday night. In my dream I had opened a tattoo parlor with a distinct point of difference. I only tattooed QR codes on the back of people’s neck representing their business card information. Was this a nightmare? Thinking of the mark of the Antichrist and its 666 symbol? Or, a dream, where we are making ourselves more green and environmentally conscious by further reducing our need for the printed form?

The truth is that, well used, it can be a very efficient and selective promotional tactic.  Why selective? Consider the demographics of the current Smartphone user:

“Smartphone owners continue to be predominantly male, are 65% more likely than the average mobile subscriber to be between the ages of 25 and 34, and nearly two times as likely to make more than $100,000 a year.”

 

Source: Nielsen

 

Which beer, automobile or financial services marketer wouldn’t drool for this one? The question is, where do I “stick” this QR code efficiently.

The answer, right now – from my point of view – is that QR codes are best tested in a retail environment. I am surprised that I have not seen an explosion of QR codes for store delivered coupons in my local A&P. What’s best but to receive a targeted coupon while I am looking for my favorite frozen pizza in my local supermarket.  What a great trial incentive for Tombstone pizza when I was simply picking my weekly DiGiorno treat,  but a POP (Point-of-Purchase) display that tempts me to look for a QR code which directs my iPhone browser to a $0.75 off online coupon for Tombstone.  Definitely a better use than Bravo’s print ad in the subway station by my apartment – WHERE THERE IS NO CELL SIGNAL!!!!!!  promising to give me more information about Andy Cohen – Really? “Can you hear me now?”

For more ideas and 5 steps to a successful test – aim your Smartphone reader (my favorite is RedLaser) to:


Or click here Mobile Marketing: How to Ensure a Successful Test in 5 Steps.

You can generate you own QR code at http://qrcode.kaywa.com/, try out today and have some fun.  Let me know what is your “dream” use of a QR Code.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

Happy Passover and Easter!!!!!!

 

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9 comments April 20th, 2011

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