NEWARK, N.J. — As the saying goes, you can’t fire the players. So New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero did the next best thing and sacrificed head coach John Hynes on Tuesday evening.”John has done a really good job here over past four-plus seasons in terms of establishing things both on and off the ice,” noted Shero approximately 90 minutes prior to puck drop against the Vegas Golden Knights at the Prudential Center. “Everybody had higher expectations; but collectively as a group, our team, I don’t think there’s any one player that is performing even at the level — let alone above — that we expect or maybe they expect but that’s the thing that’s disappointing.” The Devils started the season a disastrous 0-4-2, which the GM called a “head is spinning” beginning as they “lost every way imaginable, it seemed.” It was a shocking turn of events considering the addition of P.K. Subban, 2019 first-overall draft pick Jack Hughes and a healthy Taylor Hall and Cory Schneider. After the team’s 4-3 loss to Vegas, the team stands 9-14-4 and Hughes is hurt, Schneider was sent down to the minors, Hall is reportedly on the trade block and Subban hasn’t registered a point in 15 games.”There’s opportunity for them to find out where we are here and where we’re going to go because in term of being where we are this season . . . no one has really gotten to the level we expected or they would probably expect,” noted the GM who hired Hynes in 2015 in New Jersey, five years after hiring him to run the Penguins’ AHL team bench. “Over the course of some time here hopefully that’s going to happen to really find out what we have here in terms of our players and where we’re going to go.”NHL trade rumors: Four possible landing spots for Taylor HallWhile the Devils have struggled to produce — 29th in the NHL in goals-per-game (2.50) before Tuesday’s game — they’ve also allowed a staggering 3.62 goals-against in their first 26 games (second-worst in the NHL). Over the first four seasons of Hynes’ tenure, the team was averaging 2.57 goals-per-game — so they’re not far off that mark this season; however, they were at 3.02 goals-against-per-game, which makes this season a mind-boggling rise. “It’s because of us,” said captain Andy Greene after the game. “Someone losing their job because of the way we were playing, the way we haven’t been executing. Hynes was a real good coach, a great coach, great person. It’s always sad when you see that.”The scoreboard results this season have surprised because on paper the Devils have a solid squad with the players mentioned above, combined with 2017 first-overall pick Nico Hischier, Sami Vatanen, Greene and newcomers Nikita Gusev, who led the KHL in scoring last season, and Wayne Simmonds. Yes, a bunch of new faces can sometimes take time to gel but this team never seemed to find its mojo under Hynes, which grew more evident in the last few days. So on the second night of a back-to-back, Shero felt the sand had run out on Hynes’ timer after the team lost 4-0 to their Hudson River rivals, the New York Rangers on Saturday and an abysmal 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres Monday night.”It goes down to execution . . . some of you saw the game last night, I mean, we can’t make a five-foot pass. I mean that’s — I don’t know,” noted Shero, who couldn’t find any other words for the loss the Sabres. “At the end it’s always about the players, at the end we’re on the ice . . . have to take responsibility on that,” said Hischier, who netted a goal, after the game. “Nobody in here likes where we’re at, what we’re doing right now but it’s not that we’re not trying. We know we’re a better team than that — we just have to figure it out.”Despite another loss to Vegas, the team played well for the first 40 — and actually went into the third period up 2-1 — under new interim bench boss Alain Nasreddine. He takes the helm from the man he worked under for more than nine seasons and stressed that considering “everyone in that room has been underachieving,” it’s a clean slate.”I don’t want to live in the past and what happened first 25 games,” Nasreddine commented postgame. “Tonight, you know it’s a new beginning and we had to lead, yes, going into the third but it was more about what we did and what we didn’t do.” Opportunity is now knocking not only for these players to turn this season around — quick reminder, the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues were in last place on Jan. 3 — but the head coach. Shero said that he will begin to keep his eye out for a new bench boss for next season, with this staff getting every chance to prove themselves too.”I think we’re better than this,” Shero said. “When you’ve got 23 players that aren’t playing at their level nearly that — I don’t think I’m sitting here saying something that’s not true — I think they’re better than this but we’ll have to see. Usually, it’s five, six guys that are having down years or three guys are doing great and other guys are pretty [good]. I don’t think it’s hard to see after twenty-something games this year that we’ve had that from anybody. So, it’s a big challenge but something that [Nasreddine is] going to embrace and certainly, we’ll see where it goes.”The Devils have Wednesday off and will get back to work on Thursday before their next matchup Friday when the also underperforming Chicago Blackhawks come to town.
Grand Gedeh County Representative Zoe Emmanuel Pennue has blamed his defeat in last month’s special senatorial election on “juju” (African science).Pennue, an independent candidate and Unity Party sympathizer came second to rival Marshall Dennis of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) with 3,273 to 6,148 votes.Addressing a news conference in Monrovia over the weekend, Pennue said although there was low turnout in the polls, Juju was largely responsible for his defeat.“This is the first election (in which) I was participating and the process didn’t end and news broke out about my death. I was busy campaigning in the county while rumors had it that I had had a terrible car accident and died in the process. That alone is the work of African science. Many of my supporters were overly zealous to vote during campaign time, but on voting day for no reason, thousands of them declined to go to the polls. As I speak to you now, many of them are regretting their action and still wondering what was really behind their weakness to vote on that day. I have participated in three elections, 2005, 2011 and 2014 and this is the first time such a thing has happened in the county.“Even with the irregularities in the election process in Grand Gedeh, I would have still beaten the ten candidates in the race had it not been for juju,” declared Pennue.However, ZEP, as he is widely known, announced that despite being in possession of substantial evidences of voting irregularities, filing a lawsuit in protest is the least on his mind.Grand Gedeh County is bigger than his political ambition, said Pennue, adding that he “welcomed the results and pledged his unflinching support to the leadership, no matter who won”.He praised his kinsmen for expressing their desire through the ballot box, adding, “I am grateful that I came second in the race of 11 candidates.”What that means, he pointed out, “is that the people of Grand Gedeh and my district in particular, still love and want me to continue to represent them in the National Legislature.”“I am happy that no one won me in my district, which means that I remain popular among my people,” asserted ZEP.He called for unity among the citizens and politicians of the county, stressing, “Election is over and it is time to work in unity and with one voice in pushing the agenda of Grand Gedeh at every level.”Interestingly, before the election ZEP bragged of defeating anybody that stood in his way in the county. He boasted of having the key to the county and it was only a matter of time before he was named senator.When asked what went wrong that caused him to go down that fast, Pennue again said; “I still have the popularity, but this election was a surprise.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Go back to the e-newsletterSecure the best seats in town to experience this year’s Vivid Sydney, 27 May to 18 June, at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.Enjoy uninterrupted views of the colourful projections across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House from the privacy of one of the hotel’s harbour view rooms or suites.Stay just a minute’s stroll from the Light Walk around The Rocks and Circular Quay, with Four Seasons Hotel Sydney’s special Vivid Sydney Package, including overnight accommodation, buffet breakfast and a complimentary signature cocktail in Grain bar, starting from AU$330 per night.Before heading out and exploring Vivid at street level, dine at the hotel’s award-winning Pei Modern restaurant by Executive Chef Mark Best.Mark and his team have created a series of special Vivid menus on offer each night, Monday to Saturday, with two courses for $49 or three courses for $59 per person.What’s more, make a dinner booking from 5.30pm to 7pm Monday to Thursday and receive complimentary valet parking at the hotel for up to three hours, as part of Pei Modern’s Park Pei Play offer.Sip a pre or post dinner drink at Grain, overlooking George Street and Circular Quay, choosing from an extensive drinks list of creative cocktails, premium spirits, craft beer, and local and international wines.Four Seasons Hotel Sydney’s façade will also feature as a backdrop to a major Vivid Sydney light projection across the cityscape, illuminating the building each evening from 6pm to 11pm.Go back to the e-newsletterPei Modern restaurant by Mark Best
Too often, marketing managers and entrepreneurs lose track of their top assets (their creativity, low brand profile and agility) when determining how to best utilize the event marketing channel. They often see the cost of hosting, participating, exhibiting and/or sponsoring national and regional industry events and user conferences, and immediately assume that the costs of these activities are prohibitively expensive. They then make the mistake of discounting the potential value of the event marketing channel in their company’s overall marketing strategy. What these managers neglect to realize is that startups feature some of the most creative and forward thinking minds around. If asked to do so, they can often come up with some clever and inexpensive event marketing tactics to help their companies take advantage of an event without actually formally participating or sponsoring it. These managers also fail to consider local event, conference and user group options. The cost of not considering or de-prioritizing these event marketing opportunities can be tremendous, as events are one of the easiest ways to initially contact a potential buyer and introduce them to your company. Here are 5 cool, but inexpensive event marketing ideas to help jump-start the brainstorming process for how your company can best utilize the event marketing channel and maximize the return on its marketing budget investments:1. Host competitions or contestsConsumers love competitions, contests and prizes. Just look at the amount of time individuals spend playing Zynga games online for valueless social currency or the increasing purchase levels at McDonald’s and Subway during their Monopoly and Scrabble promotions. Consumers also love to talk about these competitions with their friends, colleagues and families, so games offer a very viral platform to build product brand recognition and loyalty around current consumers.There are many great examples of contest marketing in the B2C space. For example, uTest, a crowd-sourcing company in the software testing space, invented a very creative way to build-up its pool of testers. Every quarter, they sponsor a bug battle on a selected website or group of websites that is open to all member of the uTest community and reward the top bug catching stories with a monetary prize. Similarly, Yahoo! hosts a free annual NCAA bracket picking contest during March Madness called the Tourney Pick’em Contest to attract new users on its Fantasy Sports platform.Although easier to construct in a B2C market place, B2B games can be extremely effective as well. What makes this tactic more difficult in a B2B market is that the user for a product or service may not be the same person as the buyer. For a B2B company, a great way to integrate a contest into its marketing strategy is to involve the companies in the product planning process by hosting a contest whereby customers are asked to submit new product feature recommendations or name a new feature or product and rewarding the top recommendations. For example, Boeing successfully hosted a product naming contest for its Boeing 7E7 aircraft in 2003 to generate some much-needed buzz around its newest aircraft carrier that had undergone extensive criticism for being selected over a much sexier and faster sonic cruiser. Similarly, B2B companies can also offer a contest whereby users are asked to submit top use cases for a product or service where the top case is rewarded with a prize. The most effective contests are usually scheduled around a major event, so that the event can help the host company draw additional buzz around the contest or competition.2. Sponsor and/or participate in meet-ups or user groupsSponsoring national and regional conferences and events is often prohibitively expensive for startup companies. Generally, sponsoring a meet-up or user group is much more affordable and can sometimes provide more bang for their buck, as many of these events will provide intimate access to potential buyers and users. Oft times you can become a sponsor of these organizations by providing meeting space, supplying food and beverages, or paying for group T-shirts. Also, meet ups and user groups are great places to meet and get-to-know industry influencers that can help you build a buzz around your product(s) and/or brand. The key to success is in identifying an event that offers your company access to potential buyers or users that are key influencers in the buying process. You can find most local meet ups or user groups on Meetup, LinkedIn, Facebook or Tumblr.3. Host an unaffiliated pre-party or after-party for an industry eventOne way your startup can get involved in an industry event without paying to be an official sponsor is to host an unaffiliated pre-party or after-party for the event. This is a great way to expose event participants to your company’s products and brands at a fraction of the cost of sponsoring or exhibiting at the show. Event organizers will generally not interrupt you as long as your party does not compete with the event schedule or promote rival products and services.4. Host a party or networking event during a competitor conferenceStartup competitors are generally prohibited from speaking at or participating in competitor user conferences. As a result, hosting parties and networking events that coincide with the timing of competitor events is a startup’s only means of interacting with event participants. This is a very aggressive marketing campaign that can be extremely rewarding, but it can also lead to reactive behavior from the larger competitor.One of OpenView’s portfolio companies, Instructure, took this risk earlier this year when it hosted a party in Las Vegas during the Blackboard annual user group conference in an attempt to introduce Blackboard users to the Canvas Learning Management System. The key to success with this tactic is finding the right means to publicize the event to ensure that it attracts as many potential buyers as possible, but also doesn’t overtly interrupt the competitor’s user group conference. This requires identifying the correct messaging that will resonate with the user persona and/or buyer persona for your product or service.5. Volunteer as an industry speakerEvent, user group, meet-up and conference organizers are always looking for qualified speakers who are active in the industry, and they love to feature a diverse mix of companies in regards to industry and development levels. This represents a great opportunity for startup company executive teams to educate buyers or users about their industry or peripheral industries and the evolution of these sectors. Doing so helps align your executive team leaders with the industry and create brand recognition for the business.Oft times these opportunities at mid-sized national or regional events are free of charge, so the real cost is in developing your presentation materials. However, these opportunities are generally reserved for serial entrepreneurs and thought leaders who have established themselves through years of content marketing (blogging, guest-posting, Q&A and forum participation, and social media), so it is imperative that your executive team sticks to a regular content marketing schedule if you hope to pursue these types of opportunities. Also, be proactive and let event organizers know that a member of your executive team is interested in speaking at one of their events.Just remember: the key to a successful event marketing campaign is to identify the correct target audience and find a place where you will have a chance to interact and build lasting relationships with current users and future buyer prospects. A few quality prospect interactions will generate higher sales returns than lots of poor quality prospect interactions almost 100% of the time. The more creative marketing event tactics tend to generate a market buzz, which will increase the number of quality prospect interaction opportunities, so it’s worth investing the time to come up with a clever event marketing tactic. If you are interested in learning more about event marketing tactics and strategies, then I highly recommend reading Inc Magazine’s article on the new rules of event marketing. Similarly, if you’d like to learn more about creative marketing strategies, I also suggest that you check out my blog post on cause marketing. Please share any clever marketing tactics that you have seen with the OpenView Blog Community in the comment section of this post.Photo by: 401(K) 2012AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis