INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Steve Radick

March 23, 2015 by

“Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.”
– Steve Radick VP, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh 

SteveRadick

The tweet-worthy quote Steve shared with me in the interview below highlights the quality of thought leadership content that will be shared with attendees at the INTEGRATE conference.

Registration is still open. However, early bird rates end on March 31st.

@Julie_Long_: On your blog you stated, “Integrated marketing involves a lot more than simply bringing the SEO guy to the meeting.” How do you define IMC and who should be attending meetings?

@sradick: There’s this misperception in the industry that integrated marketing means having a bunch of boxes on an org chart. Just because you have a Director of Search, and a VP of Media, a Director of PR, a Senior Social Media Strategist, and a User Experience Czar doesn’t mean that you’ve got an integrated marketing agency. You’re actually more likely to have an old-fashioned game of Hungry Hungry Hippos on your hands – everyone’s scratching and clawing to get more money and power for their respective discipline. Integrated marketing is about more than giving each department a seat at the table – it’s about making sure the people in those seats are more concerned with the business than themselves.

If you focus only on involving people because of where they are on the org chart, you’ll get people who build from the bottom up. That is, the social media guy thinks social media will solve everything. The paid media guy wants a paid media solution. And so on and so on. You end up with a bunch of strategies and tactics that someone then has to cobble together into a single, coherent strategy. Shouldn’t we instead strive to build strategies from the top down? Get the people in the room who are focused on meeting the business objectives first, not his or her line of business. Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.

@Julie_Long_: At INTEGRATE 2015, your presentation will be focusing on the arms race currently taking place in content marketing. Can you tease us with any of the topic areas that will be discussed?

@sradick: Just like the hammer in search of a nail, marketers are spending more and more of their time and energy reducing every conversation, article, and photo to a piece of data, all in an effort to maximize their ROI and deliver the most eyeballs at the lowest price. There was a time wayyyy back when, in 2010, when content marketing best practices were to write a blog post and post to Facebook 3-4 times a week. As more content was created, it became harder and harder to stand out though. Marketers took this as a challenge and figured that the best way to solve this problem was to pump out even more content. The more you post, the more chances there are of people seeing it right? Instead of a world where brands created content that solved problems, added value, or created deeper relationships with customers, we created a world where more simply equals better. That’s why there’s so much spam and so many banner ads. It’s easier to spam a million people in the hopes that 1% of them will click rather than creating something valuable for 50,000 people where 20% will click. Where does it stop?

Content marketing gives us the opportunity to rethink how brands market themselves for the better – if we can stop ourselves from trying to game the system and instead think about how to best optimize our relationships with our customers.

@Julie_Long_: Students/Alums: Submit one career advancement question for Steve and the winning question will be personally answered by him at INTEGRATE.

Post your question in the comments section below.

 

A special thank you goes out to Steve for taking the time to provide his thoughtful contributions to this article.

Advice On Surviving Two Classes Per Term

March 19, 2015 by

Books

The beauty of the WVU IMC program is that you can select a plan that best fits your needs. For me, that was taking three classes a year – one in the spring, one in the fall, and one in the summer. Sure, I had weeks of downtime in between that meant it would take me fours years to complete the program, but that was the best route for me with tuition reimbursement and work schedules. I was pretty happy with my plan and things were going smoothly. Then, I got an email from WVU saying they were changing the course requirements and I could graduate sooner. I was very excited, but it meant taking the capstone in late fall, which would be extremely challenging with work and other commitments. So, I made the decision to take two classes in early spring so I could take the capstone in the summer. It was a difficult decision, but it was the right one.

Taking two classes for the first time can be very difficult. So, I wanted to share a few tips that worked for me and some wise words from our classmates. If you’re taking two classes this term, I wish you all the best and hope that you’ll find these tips helpful. For those of you that are digging in and taking two classes every term – you’re amazing and I’d love to see how you do it, so leave a comment!

Wise Words From Classmates

  • “I have doubled up twice now, and the biggest tip I can offer is time management! Be prepared that you will probably have to work on your classes everyday (or almost everyday). Thus, it is important that you plan ahead and schedule your time wisely, so you don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out. It often looks very overwhelming when your classes first start, but I just take it one day at a time, and do a little bit of work on classes each day. It makes things much more manageable and less overwhelming!” – Jamie Huggins
  • “I’ve doubled up 3 out of my 4 semesters (I don’t take summer classes). Tips: be sure to set aside time for each class during the week. I found I’d write my discussion post for one class on Monday and the other class on Tuesday to keep them separate. I would write down whom I had responded to in each class to ensure I was responding to the correct number of DPs weekly. I also utilized other IMC members to figure out which classes to take together so that I wasn’t completely overloaded. I generally write my papers on Sunday, which makes for a really crappy weekend, but it means Monday I can start fresh on the next week’s assignments. I hope these help others!” – Ashley Noland
  • “ I doubled twice. Time management is key. Alternate during the week and focus on one class per day. Otherwise you can get confused by the discussion post topics. Don’t stress if you can’t read every single class discussion post. Double check your assignment submissions. But if you accidentally upload the wrong assignment to the wrong class, immediately contact your professor. They are usually pretty good about it.” – Kristi Hansen  ( I can attest to this.  I was trying very hard to avoid doing this, but inevitably it happened.  My professor completely understood.)

 My  Schedule

I agree with everything these wise ladies have said. It took me a while to get in a groove with how to balance both classes, but in the end here’s what my schedule looked like:

  • Monday: Write discussion board posts for both classes
  • Tuesday: Start Class 1’s assignment
  • Wednesday: Respond to all discussion board posts for each class
  • Thursday: Start Class 2’s assignment
  • Friday: Finish any discussion posts that weren’t done or work on assignments (In the rare event that there were no assignments that week, this was a treasured night off)
  • Saturday: Class 1’s readings for next week and assignment
  • Sunday: Class 2’s readings for next week and assignment

 

One key element for me was to take a break on Monday and Wednesday nights between working on materials for each class. That would allow me to clear my head so I didn’t get confused. I started the term using Kristi’s method of working on one class each day, but I wanted to keep up with my classmate’s posting on the discussion boards. Doing both discussions on Monday helped me participate more in the conversation. It will be different for every class, but I had some very interactive discussion boards this term! For the assignments and readings I found it very beneficial to work on one class per day, so I didn’t get confused.

If you have more tips on surviving two classes per term I would love to hear them! Also, feel free to check out this previous post on organizing files in case you need a little inspiration for the upcoming term. Good luck with classes this term!

 

Quarter-Life Crisis? Origins Understands.

March 18, 2015 by

Being a twenty-something is tough… on your skin. At least, that’s the connection Origins is making in an effort to reach women in their 20s with its #QuarterLifeCrisis campaign.

 

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Origins is pushing a new skin renewal serum to twenty-somethings through its Quarter-Life Crisis social media campaign.

 

The skincare company has embraced the “tongue-in-cheek quandaries” used by the target market on platforms like Twitter to guide its witty approach to the campaign that is designed to promote the launch of the brand’s Original Skincare Renewal serum.

 

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#QuarterLifeCrisis

 

Scroll through Origins’ Twitterfeed and you’ll find quirky, relatable content with humor that is worthy of a retweet.

Does this campaign have longevity, or will it grow old quickly with millennials?

-R

A 20-Something’s Take on J.Crew Segmentation

March 12, 2015 by

Shopping for clothes online, it’s instinct to immediately find your designated section as a consumer. Women. Men. Girls. Boys. Baby. 

J.Crew’s new take on the e-commerce experience is quite refreshing as the apparel company invites female site visitors to shop “Style At Every Age.” Instead of just shopping by category, women can find inspiration by their age. Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s+, the company has a feature collection of clothing and accessories available for that target.

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J.Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons is quoted on the site: “In my 20s, I wore rollneck sweaters, with short shorts. A lot has changed since then. Some 20+ years later, I still love J. Crew . . . just differently. Here are four women whose style I admire . . . different is beautiful. xx Jenna”

Personally, I found it an enjoyable browsing experience as it almost felt like Pinterest, J.Crew-style. Plus, for each age group, the company features a model showing off her style.  I wonder, however, how well this concept could transition to the men’s section.

Should more apparel brands adopt J.Crew’s market segmentation approach?

-R

 

Content Marketing is the New Black

March 4, 2015 by

There is a fundamental shift in the way that we create, consume and share content. To quote Marc Mathieu from Unilever, “Marketing used to be about making a myth and telling it. Now it’s about telling the truth and sharing it.” With an ever-more crowded marketing environment, it behooves brands to move away from thinking like marketers or advertisers who are selling a product and more like publishers.

To do this, companies must create and curate relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage their target audience. While this is done with the objective of driving sales, it’s not truly advertising or public relations – rather it’s a bit of both. Content must be consumer and not brand-focused. It also must answer customer questions across the buyers journey. Successful branded content is often more effective than advertising because it tells a story that engages the user. These stories help to build stronger relationships. They make people care about a product, brand or cause in a way that sales can’t.

Even the news media is challenged by the increase in content marketing. Upstarts like BuzzfeedUpworthy, and Digiday, to name a few, are creating new news paradigms. In the past four years, nearly every media company has rolled out sponsored content as a new revenue stream, to varying levels of success.

As an example, let’s look at Buzzfeed. One could argue that the front page of BuzzFeed looks like a 21st-century tabloid. BuzzFeed provides shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video across the social web to a global audience of more than 200 million. It isn’t the New York Times, but it may be a new iteration of the New York Times and the future of how consumers get news. Buzzfeed provides newsworthy content to consumers in digestible bites. These bites come in an assortment of styles ranging from listicles to infographics, timelines and more.

In owned social channels, brands must adopt a similar strategy if they hope to keep up. But, the content game is one that all companies must tackle with their eyes wide open. Content creation takes resources, insight, endurance and persistence. It is not about posting once a month and expecting to see sales gains. It takes a lot more time and effort.

Ultimately, there are 3 types of content that brands should try to incorporate into their marketing strategies, these are sometimes called the 3 “C’s” of content production. They are:

  1. Created. This could be dubbed the hardest part of content marketing. Creation happens when a brand or company makes entirely new content to put forth via their owned channels. Hubspot recently posted a blog outlining 44 types of content that can help to get your content creation juices flowing.types-of-content_(1)
  2. Curated. Curation is done when a brand finds pre-created content that engages the target audience, they then collect it and add in their own creativity to it. This could come in the form of offering an original spin on the initial content. The new breed of online publishers (Buzzfeed, Upworthy etc.) is, at the core, clever content curators.
  3. Crowdsourced. Consumers love to share content, whether it is photos, images, videos or content that resonates with them. Ask and you shall receive.

Ready to get started? Many brands have upped their content marketing game in the last year. This article from Outbrain, shares 6 epic examples from 2014.

What types of content marketing have caught your eye thus far in 2015?

The Best of #TheDress

March 3, 2015 by

At this point, who doesn’t have an opinion on #TheDress?

dress

The question of February 26, 2015: What color is the dress?

I’m guessing I wasn’t the only IMC student whose favorite part of the dress debacle involved seeing how brands capitalized on its viral hashtags. You can view some of the best brand tweets here, but I’ve also included some favorites from my Twitter feed below:

ouat

Fans of the ABC modern fairytale show loved seeing character references of Snow White and Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin) connected to #TheDress.

cirque

Cirque du Soleil wasn’t afraid to offer their unique opinion of #TheDress color…

ikea

…and IKEA agreed. Is anyone else on team #blueandyellow?

What are your favorite brand references to #TheDress?

-R

 

Snickers Does IMC Right

March 2, 2015 by

Snickers has done an incredible job with the You’re Not You When You’re Hungry campaign. I think it’s a shining example of integrated marketing communication.

Most importantly, the success of this campaign stems from an authentic expansion of their brand. Snickers has positioned themselves as a solution for being hungry. They are building off of their “hungry, why wait?” campaign and focusing on Snickers being a delicious treat to alleviate hunger.

What I really liked about the Snickers campaign was that it gave customers engaging content that was tailored to the platforms Snickers selected. Let’s take a quick look at how Snickers has expended their messaging across a few different platforms.

Print advertising: In their print ads, Snickers focused on showing regular, every day people doing things that were uncharacteristic for the activity they were performing. The ad below shows individuals that are unable to focus on the task at hand. These normal activities have become difficult and unmanageable because they’re hungry.

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Television advertising: Many of us have seen the Snickers ads featuring Betty White and Joe Pesci portraying individuals who are, again, acting uncharacteristically because they are hungry. This idea furthers the central message of the campaign, but tailors the message so it enhances the medium. The addition of sound and motion means that simply recycling the print ads wouldn’t work.

Super Bowl Ad: In keeping with their celebrity theme, Snickers cast 70 year-old Danny Trejo to play Marcia Brady. The Washington Post considered it one of the best commercials of the game. Prior to releasing the Super Bowl spot, Snickers had a portrait of Marcia Brady painted on a building with the tag line #Whats UpWithMarcia. Over the course of a few weeks, the painters transformed the photo from Marcia to Danny Trejo. Recently, Snickers created a video of the building being painted as a kick off to their new U.S. promotion. According to AdWeek, customers can go to EatA.Snickers.com and post photos and videos of who they are when they’re hungry for a chance to win prizes.

Guerilla Marketing: This is probably my favorite tactic. Snickers put a photo booth on the street in Brazil. Customers entered the photo booth, had their photos taken, and then picked them up as the exited the photo booth. When they looked at the photos they were photos of other people. Again…furthering the message that you’re not you when you’re hungry.

But, did it work?

According to the 2011 Effie Awards, in the first three months of the campaign, Snickers saw global growth. In the United States alone sales volume increased 8% and single sales rose by 13.4%. Additionally, the year-on-year household penetration rose 1.8 percentage points after previously declining by 1.6.

Snickers seems to have found the prefect recipe for IMC. They started with an idea that was central to their core values and then they tailored each message to the medium they needed.

What other campaigns have you seen that resonate with you?

Taking Marketing Beyond the Marketing Department: Web Metrics

February 19, 2015 by

If there’s one thing that I’ve realized since enrolling in the WVU IMC program it’s that IMC is most effective when it runs through the veins of an organization. I hope this series of posts will help you gain buy-in for your marketing efforts across you organization and I hope that you’ll comment and share what is working for you, or what you’re having trouble with.

You can gain a great deal of information from Web metrics and there are many ways in which Web metrics can be used “outside the marketing department.” I wanted to share two things that worked for our organization and encourage you to share your stories.

Which app comes first?

The ID card office on our campus was faced with a challenge. They had the opportunity to develop a smartphone app, but didn’t know which one would be the best choice for the initial launch. When we got together with the department we discussed the possibility of doing a survey. A simple smartphone poll on Facebook would have provided us with preliminary information to make our decision. We have had success with surveys on campus, but we didn’t want to over-survey our audience.

As a solution to the issue, we analyzed the Google Analytics of our overall Web site and the pages that are specifically dedicated to the ID card office. From the information provided in Google Analytics we could see the numbers of viewers that accessed our content on an iPhone or Andriod phone. Using Google Analytics was faster, easier, and provided more information than a survey.

Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 9.08.01 PM

Using Google Analytics helped us show the ID card office the importance of Web metrics, which helped gain support for further evaluating other marketing initiatives including paid advertising.

Paid ads

Again, the ID card office wanted to measure the success of a paid ad that was on the cover of a local publication. We created a unique URL in order to track the traffic. We knew it was not a perfect solution, but we also knew that it would help guide the advertising efforts of the office. The result: There were only two hits on the unique URL. That doesn’t measure awareness of the ad, but it does measure action.

Implementing IMC in your organization can be very challenging. What have you found that helps you take Web analytics “outside” the marketing department and further into the organization?

INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Lisa Nirell

February 18, 2015 by

How many times have you encountered marketing efforts that epically fail to deliver value to customers?

Last week, I came across a promotion from a car dealer that offered free wiper blades with any visit to the service department. When I presented my coupon to the Service and Parts Manager, he advised me that the free blades were of sub-standard quality. Instead, he recommended that I pay for the factory guaranteed wiper inserts. (#marketingfail)

Failed marketing efforts come in all shapes and sizes. Brands that continue to rely on the old bait-and-switch marketing tactic may get customers in the door, but the failure to deliver value will not keep customers coming back for more. As savvy customers, we expect more from brands. Customers, like myself, want brands to be transparent. A smart transparent brand would not even bother advertising a sub-standard product to a repeat customer.

Brands that still rely on advertising or promotional tactics without providing any value-add content need to become more mindful of the wants, needs, and desires of their customers. Otherwise, they simply become irrelevant.

Building content and fostering behaviors customers trust requires adopting a mindful approach. Lisa Nirell, chief energy officer at  EnergizeGrowth®  and the author of the book The Mindful Marketer: How to Stay Present and Profitable in a Data-Driven World, understands the current power struggle taking place in the marketing field between big data and mindfulness. Her advice to marketers is to “Set your intentions so that your best marketing innovations and programs improve your customers condition, and society as a whole.”

Portrait of Lisa Nirell

Lisa defines a mindful marketer as a “leader who influences the hearts and minds of others to improve their condition, or the world at large.” To make better decisions, she encourages marketers to find their Inner Marketing Guru (IMG). Contrary to what today’s technology and consulting providers will tell you, big data and quick promotional wins to get customers in the door will not win over your customers. Instead of encouraging marketers to do more, Lisa suggests you need to be more; to cultivate your inner wisdom.

I highly recommend reading The Mindful Marketer! The book is divided into three sections consisting of twenty-two chapters. The opening chapter titled, “Why CMOs Are Facing Extinction” helps to set the tone of this no-holds-barred book. Within each chapter, Lisa presents contemporary examples that will validate and confirm your feelings on the existing power struggle plaguing many marketing departments. At the close of each chapter, she poses a question to readers to help them to find their Inner Marketing Guru.

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Lisa will be a featured speaker at INTEGRATE 2015. As we wait in anticipation for the event,  I asked Lisa what attendees can expect from her keynote. Here’s what she said:

@Julie_Long_: What can attendees expect from your presentation at INTEGRATE?

@lisa_nirell:  “Get ready to discover new approaches and strategies to help you eliminate the most common mindless digital marketing habits, build stronger customer communities, and create more time to innovate. You will hear fresh examples from my top clients, as well as Miraval, 15Five, Blackboard, and other marketing innovators.”

@Julie_Long_: I am looking forward to Lisa’s mindful session! I would also like to thank her for providing me a copy of The Mindful Marketer, which helped me to prepare this blog post. Be sure to follow Lisa on twitter (@lisa_nirell) and her complimentary book resources and videos here.

Please join us at the INTEGRATE conference from May 29-30, 2015 in Morgantown, WV! Click here to register and learn more.

Online Student Life: The Importance of the Furry Study Buddy

February 11, 2015 by

Student life is a little different at a 100% online program like WVU’s IMC. We connect virtually through Linked In profiles and we might follow each other on Twitter, but there’s no student union to foster classmate comradery. Each course begins with an introduction post – tell us about yourself, what brought you to the program and what you hope to get out of the course? As a common closing statement a lot of students mention their families and furry study buddies. Student comradery bubbles up when we can bond over rescue dogs and typical cat antics.

So this is a post dedicated to the dogs and cats (and even a horse!) that are the loyal, late-night companions of current and recently graduated IMC students.

Add a comment below about your furry study buddy and email me [jvlink@mix.wvu.edu] a photo so we can round up some more photos of furry honorary students.

Stephanie & Roscoe

Stephanie Marchant and Roscoe

Meet Roscoe… Roscoe P Kitty Cat… or as we refer to him around here – RPKC. He has been one of two furry study buddies throughout the IMC program that kept me motivated with purrs of pride, head bumps of encouragement, and the occasional face of disinterest to keep me grounded and focused on school and not how adorable he is. Which is hard, because he is.


Andrea & Kicks

Andrea Blanton and KicksThis is my study buddy, Kicks! I adopted him from the animal shelter almost two years ago and he has been with me throughout my entire IMC journey! He likes to help me with my courses by laying on my books, carefully watching me edit my papers, and sitting right in front of the tv so I don’t get distracted!


Marie, Silas & Jericho

Marie Carly and Silas JerichoThese are my study buddies… Silas (left) and Jericho (right). They’ve helped me through undergrad and now my time in the IMC program! They’re great at distracting and helping me relax when I’m frustrated with an assignment. Oh… and they’re super cute and soft… so I mean- cuddling with them while writing a paper makes the whole homework thing a lot easier.


Rachel & Meeko

Rachel and MeekoThis is Meeko. She insists I get my homework done quickly so I can give her pets, belly rubs & kisses. She also makes me laugh when I’ve hit a wall with studying. Usually because she’s running around the house in a manner similar to parkour.


Sara & Charlie

Sarah and CharlieMeet Charlie, my one-year-old German Shepherd. He’s a rescue smile emoticon I’ve had him for four months now. Charlie makes sure I never go without a break from homework. He gets “paws on,” and he helps me by removing my laptop from my lap and inserting himself. He’s 80lbs, 26″ at the shoulder and still growing. He’s half my grocery bill. Oh, and he knows German commands. Besides the nuisance of having dog hair everywhere, he is the joy of my life.


Kelly & Capt. Jack

Kelly and Capt JackMeet Capt. Jack…as you can tell from the picture he always right there to give me help when I need it! (except when he is in the plants knocking them all over the floor) With that being said, I love him so much and I’m so thankful I adopted him this past November


Tyler & Nyla

Tyler and NylaThis is Nyla. After I finish an assignment, she’s there to offer overwhelming positivity. Although, if the program wasn’t online, I’m sure she’d still try to eat my homework.


Mary & Molly

Mary and MollyFrom 610 through 636 Molly was my constant and faithful companion. I would get stuck into my IMC books and she would be right there at my feet.


Lauren & Nora

Lauren and NoraNora is our little rescue that we adopted this fall. She’s still learning that my MacBook isn’t a pillow so I usually have to keep her in a separate room while doing DPs. There’s no more rewarding feeling than coming out once I’ve turned everything in and cuddling with this little lady.


Kate & Skye

Kate and ShyeMeet Skye, our rescue Aussie mix with bright blue eyes and adorable ears. She spends most nights laying next to me while I pound away at my keyboard only to occasionally close it on my hands as a reminder she needs love too. She’s been with me most of the program, and is pretty excited for me to finish in December so I can spend more time giving her belly rubs and treats.


Brittany & Austin

Brittany and AustinMeet Austin: He may be a little bigger than your average furry friend, but he snuggles just the same!


Carisa & Hodor

Carisa and HodorHodor thinks studying via osmosis is worth a shot.


Julie & Ruby Sue

Julie and RubyMy Boston Terrier, Ruby, is my 12-year-old IMC sidekick as she is my loyal foot-warmer and late-night companion. Here she’s basking in the midnight glow of the desk lamp. She’s survived my single days, newlywed phase, two children and now a Masters degree. Someone get this pup her own jar of peanut butter – she’s mastered companionship and deserves a treat! Any guesses on the movie character for whom she’s named?

Let us know about your furry study buddy!  We’ll post again with some more pics.


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