Posts Tagged ‘WVU IMC’

Build Your Influence With Micro-Content

July 14, 2014

I finally joined the Twittersphere (@Julie_Long_)! In my short time on the platform, I have complained to a brand, participated in my first tweet session, and most importantly followed others. As I continue to learn and navigate the intricacies of tweeting, I am reminded by the fleeting nature of communication. With just 140 characters at your disposal you have to tweet succinctly. Less is truly more. What I have found to be both an opportunity and a curse is that Twitter forces you to think differently about how to construct a call to action. The idea of finite content is not a new idea by an means. The gray area surrounds the integration of content across channels. Everyone can tweet and tell a story, but only those who truly understand integration will be able to realize a return.

One person that seems to understand finite content is Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vaynermedia, who is a proponent of “micro-content.” The micro-content revolution might just be around the corner. Thankfully, I joined Twitter, which affords me the opportunity to “micro-blog.”  Being able to build campaigns around the “micro” and the “macro” point of view will help to make me a diversified IMC practitioner.

Not only do you need the writing and strategic mind to master the art of micro-content, but you also need the confidence. Fortunately, thanks to Twitter, I learned about a free webinar that will help you build your online confidence.

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Make sure that you sign up! Gary Vaynerchuk just happens to be one of the presenters and you will be a first hand witness to his dynamic presentation style!

There’s Adobe in my Instagram.

June 30, 2014

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I never realize the boundaries we set for technology until they are crossed.

Adobe’s new mobile devices software development kit allowing for third-party developers to embed select Adobe technologies into their iOS apps could translate to popular creative apps like Instagram.

As Adobe has not yet announced who it is partnering with to develop these apps, expect even more surprises from the company.

What Adobe-platform partnerships would you most like to see?

-R

A Little Advice from Scott Stratten

June 30, 2014
One of my first blog posts for the IMC program at WVU was a gentle demand that you listen to the UnPodcast.  Hosts Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer provided a no holds barred approach to marketing.  Having been a fan of their work for a while, I was ecstatic that I would have the opportunity to meet them at ImComm (a marketing conference for the UW System) at which Scott was speaking.  I was thrilled the committee booked him because I felt this audience could really benefit from his message delivered in a very honest and blunt way…and I was right.  As usual, the content had the audience laughing out loud and questioning their marketing tactics in minutes.

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Scott was nice enough to answer a few questions after the presentation.  I racked my brain for days to try to come up with something to ask him.  So, with the knowledge that we are dedicating our lives to IMC and trying to sell it to our employers, I asked the same question I’ve asked 100 times to every IMC professional I’ve ever met.  I asked, “What does it take to get buy-in?”  Scott communicated the importance of finding what motivates people and connecting your selling points to what is important to them. There are no shortage of personality and character tests that are quick to put us into boxes and provide us with a precise bullet point list of tactics for working with each other.  “Personality type Q will best respond to charts, graphs, and 100 page documents outlining all possible solutions.”  Each test has their place, but are we really invested in finding out how to build relationships with our coworkers?  Knowing that many of my friends and coworkers had tried this tactic before I finally asked, “what it if it still doesn’t work?”  To which I received the very honest answer of “get out”….run.

 

If that last line scares you….good.  I always hoped that would never be an option, but for some companies it is never going to happen – and you can’t waste your time and energy.  The uphill battle to sell all of the right people on IMC might not be successful in your organization.  There are some people that will never buy in.  If that’s not something you can live with, you may need to get out. It’s tough to identify the companies that are receptive to IMC, but thanks to great advice by Elliott Nix, we at least have a place to start.

 

I also asked Scott what was important for us as IMC students to know.  He said, “Never stop asking why.  The reason we can’t do things the way they’ve always been done is because we’re dealing with things we haven’t had to deal with before.”  For me, this was an enormous take away from the conference.  We’ve all run head first into the “this is the way it’s always been done” road block, but Scott is right – the issues and challenges we are facing today are different than issues we’ve faced in the past. (Another great conference quote from a different speaker was, “You don’t have time to plan because you’re not planning,” which I thought was perfectly stated.)

 

IMC is not an easy thing to initiate at any company.  It is frustrating and, at least for me, can make you feel crazy at times.  The conference reminded me that we can make a difference, it just takes strategy and patience.  There will be times where the company culture and IMC just don’t mix and we have to move on.  That’s not to say it will never work for that company, but maybe just not right now.  It’s ok for IMC professionals to pick a different battle.  I’ve made it my personal goal to try to ask “why” at least once a day.

 

Are you asking why? What great “why” stories do you have to share?

Pay When You Hit Play.

June 23, 2014

YouTube has become much more than the land of viral cat cuteness and cringeworthy-yet-catchy music  videos. Today, both content creators and subscribers have different relationships with the platform. YouTubers like beauty guru Zoella and gamer PewDiePie earn a living from their content thanks to the millions of viewers who watch their channels every day.

But what if you had to pay a fee to access YouTube?

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Would you pay to watch YouTube videos?

As Google recently confirmed plans to introduce an ad-free subscription music service for the platform, things are moving in that direction. The fee-based service will be limited to music for now, but it could eventually apply to other popular categories like beauty and gaming. If so, YouTube uniquely challenges Netflix and Hulu for paid content subscribers by being a medium for creators of any skill level to publish content. Netflix and Hulu libraries feature movie and television shows, but YouTube is all about, well, you.

It will be interesting to see how Google, content creators, subscribers, and competing subscription services handle the shift.

Will YouTube successfully evolve its brand or is the move destined for failure due to established consumer expectations of the platform?

-R

INTEGRATE2014 Recap: Pam Didner

May 31, 2014

Day two of INTEGRATE2014, and our first session speaker energized the room with an engaging presentation filled with excellent content.

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Attendees enjoyed Saturday’s first INTEGRATE session, “Global Integrated Marketing Best Practices.”

Lessons learned from Pam Didner:

1. You can do integrated marketing by thinking big or thinking small.

-The integrated marketing quadrants include this big/small scale in relation to traditional and new methodwith a focus on product launches, a technology-driven customer experience, regular/routine marketing, and starting with content or one idea.

2. Understand your objectives, and start with a creative and simple idea.

-Everything you do has to come back to business and marketing objectives. While a business objective may be growth, a marketing objective involves channels for leveraging that growth.

3. Test, test, test your ideas. 

-Keep trying! It takes time to develop ideas that lead to the idea that will work.

 

Another thing to keep in mind: Think of integrated marketing from your current role in the company.

How do you approach creating integrated marketing ideas?

Seven things I wish I had known when I started the IMC program

May 1, 2014

It’s hard to believe that I started this journey to get my Master’s Degree three and a half years ago and it’s about to end in less than two weeks! I have learned A LOT in the last 3.5 years — about marketing yes, but also about endurance, time management, writing, research, and myself. Some of these lessons I picked up early on, and others only more recently. But all of them are things I wish I had learned a bit sooner. So here it is. For all of you who are just getting started in the program (and even those of you who have been with it a little while), here are seven (because five was too few and ten was too many) things I wish I had known when I started the IMC program.

1. Time management takes on a whole new level in the IMC program. No matter how good you think you are at time management, you will find yourself hitting that submit button with only seconds to spare at least once per semester. At first I thought maybe it was just me. But then I started connecting with some of my classmates offline and found out I wasn’t alone! Even the most dedicated and disciplined of classmates has had a week or two (or 9) when they have found themselves working feverishly on Monday night only to click that upload button at 11:54 p.m. I don’t recommend doing this a lot (I personally have had way too many close calls), but cut yourself some slack if it happens every once in a while. And know that Murphy’s Law will prevail and those assignments that you think won’t be such a big deal will end up taking you twice as long to get done! So try and start early as often as you can to save yourself the stress.

Calvin and Hobbs on procrastination

We all find ourselves hitting the submit button at 11:54 at one time or another.

2. Quality sources make all the difference! As I progressed through the program I learned from each professor which trade publications and sources they favored for quality information when doing research. Some of these I subscribed to early-on and used throughout the course, others I only discovered late in the game and I wish I had thought of them sooner. So, here are a few that I recommend you sign-up for now: AdAge, AdWeek, PR Week, DM News, Pew Research, and MarketingProfs. I also highly recommend you take advantage of the online library databases for accessing journals and competitor/industry information. They’re free and they will give you information you will not find in a Google search. I’m sure there are more that classmates can recommend, but those are the gold standards that have helped me through many a discussion board post and weekly paper!

3. INTEGRATE is awesome. Seriously. You should go! At least once. I almost didn’t go last year and changed my mind at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. Not only were there some great sessions, but it was the first chance I had to meet classmates and professors in person and see the WVU campus. It made me feel so much more connected to the program. I only wish I had gone sooner.

Evernote on an iPad

Evernote helps me work on school work from any place or device.

4. Empower yourself to be mobile. I think I was about 3 semesters into the program when I read a blog post by Kevin that talked about some of his favorite tools that helped him find success in the IMC program. It was the first time I had ever heard of Evernote. It has since become one of my favorite go-to programs for school, work and personal life. Using a tool like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote allows you to save your research, and even write your discussion board posts or papers in one place, but access it from any device. So whether you’re in your office at your desk, sitting on the couch at home with your iPad, or even on your phone while waiting for your kids to finish their piano lessons, you can sneak in a little work and pick right back where you left off at the next opportune moment.

5. Every professor is different. It’s true. No matter how consistent the program is (and trust me, it’s pretty darn consistent compared to others I know about), or how standardized the syllabus, each professor is going to communicate differently and grade differently. They are human, after all! Yet for some reason I’ve seen a lot of classmates get very upset by this fact. Were your undergrad professors all the same? I highly doubt it. I know mine weren’t. You will have favorites and some that kick-your-butt! And there may not be consensus on this by your classmates…so just because your friend said they loved Professor so-and-so doesn’t mean you will. All I can say is accept this fact now and it will save you a lot of disappointment and frustration down the road. For my part (and I have nothing to gain by saying this since I’m pretty much done with the program), I found all of my professors to be reasonable and fair.

6. Connect with classmates outside of Blackboard. It wasn’t until very recently that I got invited to a Facebook Group for IMC students, that was created by a classmate (and is not officially affiliated with the IMC program). This has been one of the best discoveries of the last 3 years because it has allowed me to “meet” people I’ve never had class with, ask for suggestions, tips and recommendations relating to certain classes, share ideas, commiserate about our lack of a life on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, and just in general talk…you know that thing you did in the hallways when you were in undergrad? The stories that got shared around the lunch table or in the lobby of your dorm room? That stuff is missing when you’re in an online program. But thanks to social media there are ways to connect with colleagues outside of class. Whether it’s through Facebook, LinkedIn or even email, I highly recommend you get connected to other students outside of the Blackboard classroom! In fact if you’re interested in joining the Facebook group let me know!

7. At some point you will want to quit. OK, maybe this won’t happen to everyone, but I know that a good majority of the people I’ve met through the program have contemplated it at least once before they finish. And some even do quit…for a semester or two. Whether your personal life changes, your work life gets too hectic, or you just plain need a break, at some point you may find yourself wondering – “Can I really keep doing this?” The answer is YES! Yes, you can, even if you have to take a break — don’t give up! You will be so glad when you cross that finish line.

Database Dangers?

February 20, 2014

IMC students who have already completed IMC 616 – Direct Marketing will know how big of a role database marketing can play in a business’s marketing and communications mix. Using database marketing can drive great success when the savvy marketer leverages its capability to target the perfect customer. Renting a list can be a great way to put direct mail into the right homes and acquire new customers.

But do we take a risk when we use databases to market? In this day and age, there is more and more information being logged about customers, especially with the proliferation of comprehensive CRM systems. What happens when more information than just a name and address are being collected? Additional information makes it possible to segment lists or perform predictive analytics. Or, it might provide a customer service representative with guidance for a specific customer or situation. However, customers might not always be happy about some of the information being collected about them. Mike Seay is the perfect example.

OfficeMax placed the blame on a data broker when Seay received a letter addressed to “Daughter Killed in Car Crash or Current Business.” Seay tragically lost his daughter in a car crash a year earlier, resulting in an upsetting incident for him and a very public blunder for the office supply company. Seay couldn’t have been happy to receive the letter or to know anyone was logging this information about him. It seems likely that someone entered this information into a CRM record to alert his or her colleagues to be sympathetic, but it should never have been part of the information set provided by a data broker. Do these types of incidents make companies reconsider list rental, or at least which brokers they work with? It should, as their reputation and public image are at risk.

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This isn’t the only high profile incident of this nature to occur recently. Bank of America and the Golden Key Society had to apologize in early February when mail pieces were directed to “Lisa is a Slut Mcintire.” Certainly, no company wants to be calling their prospective customers “sluts.” This incident received attention on social media when Lisa shared the letters. The story ended up gaining attention from national news outlets.

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CRM systems are very powerful and allow us to interact with our customers in incredible ways. However, any company that is in the business of sharing their customer data, or borrowing data from others, should do so cautiously. Otherwise, they could have a similar PR disaster on their hands.

Who can forget all of the trouble Dwight Schrute got himself into on The Office when he attempted to use Michael Scotts (albeit rudimentary and index card-based) CRM system? Dwight stole the written information Michael had kept about his client, but failed to use it tactfully (or in accordance with the confusing color coding system). How are any of us (besides the original record keeper) supposed to know why certain pieces of information are being logged in a database and how that information is to be used?

What are your thoughts? Are the risks worth the rewards? Are these isolated incidents or just the tip of the iceberg?

OfficeMax has already indicated that it will perform keyword searches to avoid more incidents like these. I think any organization leveraging database marketing would be well advised to take similar precautions. With such an approach, businesses can continue to realize the substantial benefits of database marketing, while minimizing their risk.

VHS is to BlueRay as Blog is to Vlog?

February 17, 2014

If the VHS tape turned into the BluRay disc which revolutionized video entertainment, what will revolutionize the Blog as a communications medium?  Video blogging or vlogging has been rumored to be just the revolution that blogging enthusiasts need.  However, online video has been around for more than a decade and vlogging still struggles to achieve a preferred status among the masses.  Vlogging has gained popularity as devices used to create and consume content continue to lower development costs, but many consumers still feel they read faster than a video can present information.  Additionally, online video content is still considered by many to be difficult to optimize for search engines. So what will it take to make vlogging a success?  Is it a great tool that will end up underutilized…reminds me of betamax but that’s a whole other topic.  Do we even need to worry about how valuable vlogging can be to marketers?  Have a look at existing video consumption statistics from Caterina DiIogia, Cargill Communications, Forrester Research and Nevin Thompson. 

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What can be done to help vlogging take off?  How about these three suggestions:

Provide a brief overview as an introduction.

With the amount of traffic generated by people viewing online video, transitioning to video-based blogs seems like a natural transition.  For those concerned about speed of content presentation, maybe a short introduction could be beneficial.  If the vlog is presenting the top three steps in creating better SEO for your website, spend the first 30 seconds telling what the steps are and then 5 minutes going into detail on steps presented.  This will give viewers the opportunity to drop out of the video but still feel good having gained some new information without a big investment in time. 

Optimize for search.  Yes, it is possible.

Speaking of SEO, what are the SEO affects around vlogging? SEO is always a touchy subject and one that changes dramatically every time Google decides to update their algorithms.  According to AJ Kumar of Entrepreneur.com, there are a number of tactics that can be implemented with video content to improve search results across Google and other search engines. 

First of course is creating great content.  If content is not engaging and providing value, even the best SEO will not generate loyalty and shared links.  Content should help people solve problems, make the laugh, stimulate thought, or provide some other value.  Value will spur sharing and that has greater value for bloggers as it adds visibility without any added cost.

Next, determine what the relative keywords are and use them in multiple places.  Add them to the title tag, to description text, categories, keywords, and even captions and subtitles.  These keywords tell the searches engines what the video is actually about.  It helps the search engines rank the video properly when presenting searchers with results form a query.   Videos without keywords are just another packet of uncategorized data clogging up the internet. 

Post the video clip on as many video services as possible.  YouTube is the biggest player but don’t underestimate other services like Vimeo. Services like Vimeo have their own loyal following so discounting them can be a costly oversight.

Use analytics to see how videos are performing.   YouTube offers free video analytics that help owners see the number of views their videos are getting, total viewing time, dropout times, playback devices, demographics and much more.  All of these insights provide valuable data in creating new videos that will better resonate with audiences and make videos even more successful. 

Finally, the video should elicit some kind of response.  Viewers should be asked to take some kind of action.  Click a link, “like” the video, share the video.  Interactions help build online credibility and authority.  YouTube tends to reward better performing videos so the more interactions generated the better. 

Show readers some love too.

For those who still love to scan text and pull out nuggets of information, a transcript of the video is a great option.  Add a brief overview statement or abstract and some bulleted data points and then provide the full text of the video.  It is a bit labor intensive but these transcripts can be a big win for vloggers looking to attract more traditional blog consumers.  There are a number of services and software applications available to help with transcription like Inscribe and Lionbridge just to name a couple.

With proper implementation of the suggestions, vloggers can help gain visibility through search and bring broader audiences to their vlogs.  With greater visibility, easier access to content production tools, and more adoption of vlogs from traditional blog consumers, maybe this media can evolve into the next great information channel.

How Superheros Get More Awesome

February 10, 2014

I saw this yesterday and could not help writing about it.  This video has essentially restored my faith in the world.

In case you’re going to watch the video later, here’s the short version.  A mother was having a difficult time getting her son to wear a hearing aid.  The son said that superheros don’t wear them, so she emailed Marvel Comics looking for some semblance of a Superhero with a hearing aid.  Marvel sent her a picture of Hawkeye, who only had 20% of his hearing and used hearing aids.  In addition, they sent her son, Anthony, a one-of-a-kind drawing of “Blue Ear,” a superhero modeled after Anthony.  Now, Anthony is wearing hearing aids and will never look at them the same way again.

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This image is from Fox 43 Central Pennsylvania

Marvel wasn’t required to do this – they didn’t look at the boy and say, “Wow, what a great marketing opportunity.”  They saw a need and knew they could help.  They created that sketch, something that probably took one of their artists an hour, and changed Anthony’s life forever.  This is what makes Marvel a great company.  Yes, they make awesome Superhero movies and comic books, but it’s actions like this that build brands.  This one action has more power to build relationships with customers than 100 Captain America movies.  Honestly, isn’t this what being a Superhero is really about?  Look at X Men, they all have something about them that differentiates them.  Because Marvel took action, Anthony will never look at his disability the same again.

When you’re a great company, that does great things like this, other people tell your story for you.  While watching the Super Bowl last weekend, I noticed a lot of Budweiser commercials.  (The Puppy Love commercial is amazing.)  One thing that made me take a step back was the Hero’s Welcome commercial.  It was a beautiful commercial, but it was Budweiser saying, “Look at this awesome thing we did.”  Instead of allowing others to generate the attention for them.  Their actions were amazing and very meaningful to that individual and his hometown, but that’s what makes people want to talk about it.  Let your customers talk for you.  Marvel didn’t create Blue Ear for the press coverage, or for their own ad campaign.  If you do good things and create great content, people will share it for you, and that’s the best marketing available.

Hello from Connecticut!

February 6, 2014

Hello everyone! I’m very excited to be writing to you today as one of the newest contributors to the IMC Student Blog. I am just about halfway through the Integrated Marketing Communications program at WVU and I think that this new chapter in my journey through the program will be a fun one.

My name is Robert (you can read more about me on the IMC Student Ambassadors page) and I’m writing to you from my home in South Windsor, Connecticut — part of the IMC program’s New England contingent! Thanks to the IMC Community page, I can see that some fellow New Englanders are part of the program, and I hope blogging for the IMC Student Blog might help to connect me with more of them!

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Born and raised in Connecticut, I also received my undergraduate degree here, studying Environmental Interpretation at Central Connecticut State University. I’m a huge UCONN fan, but am making some room in my heart for the Mountaineers now that there is no longer a Big East rivalry with my Huskies. I am told that as long as I’m not a Pitt fan, I can peacefully co-exist with my fellow Mountaineers even though I bleed blue — that’s good, because one of my favorite moments in life is still when Kemba Walker hit a buzzer beating, step back jumper, while Pitt’s McGee struggled to keep himself off the floorboards. There is no love lost between Pitt and I, so it looks like I am in good company at WVU.

Currently, I’m an Associate of Marketing and Outreach at the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), a quasi-public agency in Connecticut. I’m involved in general marketing and outreach, but focus much of my energy on hyper local outreach and marketing campaigns as well as on the coordination of social media efforts. I’ve learned a ton of great information in the IMC program that I’ve been able to start using immediately at CEFIA. Strategies and information I learned about in IMC 641 – Social Media and Marketing (one of my favorite courses so far) are informing the decisions I make on daily basis and the insights I’ve gained in other courses are improving my work product as a whole.

If I’m not busy at CEFIA or working on my latest IMC assignment, I’m probably rooting for one of my favorite sports teams, tinkering with my DSLR, or spending time with my dog, Quinn. This is me, my dog Quinn, and my cousin Lisa taking a hike up Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire this past summer.

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Beautiful hike with my dog and cousins!

It’s nice to “meet” you all and I’m looking forward to writing again and sharing more about my IMC experiences!

- Robert


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