Archive for January, 2012

Inspiring Times for Design and Communications

January 26, 2012

“The internet, at this time in history, is the greatest client assignment of all time. It’s offering you a blank check and asking you to come up with something fascinating and useful that it can embrace en masse, to the benefit of everyone” (Koczon, 2012)

Design and Communications are the tools of the modern day farmer. We have the potential to plant seeds of prosperity, impact, and progress or the seeds of complacency, distraction, and destruction.

We are enabled as communicators and powered by design to deliver good. The internet is a platform and not the panacea that some make it out to be. One aspect of the digital landscape that is garnering immense attention is the proliferation of apps.

Take Instagram: it’s one of the most popular services on the “web” and the entire experience is controlled not by some HTML pages, but rather by an iPhone app. Twitter and Facebook are just as popular—if not more so—via native apps for various platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, etc.) than they are on the browser-based web. As “web designers,” we have to start realizing that our job is no longer solely to produce sites, apps, and pages built in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. We have to expand our definition of what the “web” is. More and more, the “web” is not a platform. It’s a service with clients on many platforms. Wired Magazine called it the “death” of the web. I call it an evolution. (Croft, 2011)

“Clients on many platforms” sure sounds like integrated marketing communications.

Those who specialize in bringing orchestration to chaos in customer touch points will enhance experiences and drive meaningful interactions. We as consumers make this a difficult task with our constant motion and desire for that which is fresh, creative, and inspiring.

We can call it the “spring” semester if you’d like…

January 23, 2012

It’s ironic that we’re in the Spring semester, yet, where I live in Ohio just got pounded with 4+ inches of snow this past weekend. The snow allowed me to prepare for Week 3 a little earlier than usual and do some well-deserved relaxing. I’m currently in my last core class, Direct Marketing, and have experienced some of the best discussion board posts I’ve seen since starting the program in May 2010! It is fun to be in a class where a large majority of the names are ones I’ve seen at least once before in a previous course.

The fact that we’re in the Spring semester also has me looking forward to actual spring season which will (hopefully) be here before we know it.

Behind all that snow are my favorite outdoor tennis courts. In just a few months, the snow will be gone and I'll be able to enjoy them once again!

When the weather is bad, are you encouraged or discouraged to get a jump ahead on your schoolwork?

The last assignment

January 12, 2012

It was a nice feeling this week to ignore the fact that IMC classes have started up again…because I’m done! Yes, I finished the Campaigns class at approximately 4:52 a.m. on Christmas Eve and received word yesterday that my diploma is in the mail. As good as that feels, I’ve had one last assignment hanging over my head and it’s one that I gave to myself: a promise to follow-up to my July blog post about mobile marketing. I’m well aware that I’m the only person in the world who remembered that I was supposed to do this, but what can I say? I’m a man of my word. Here goes:

1.5 million smartphones a day were activated in December

from CNET

The march towards mobile continues unabated. The number of smartphone users has increased more than 8 percent since my last post, with 1.5 million new devices activated every day during December and almost 7 million more on Christmas Day. I think it’s safe to say that well over 100 million people in the US now have smartphones. So, what does this mean for marketers?

Back in July, one of my commenters pointed out that mobile has raised consumer expectations for convenience and simplicity. I agreed with her at the time and do so even more now. My experience in IMC 629 – Mobile Marketing convinced me that this is the case and my beliefs have been reinforced now that I’m working as a contractor for a start-up that actually makes mobile survey and audience response software. Consumers take for granted that online services will appear in a mobile-friendly format — either in an app or a mobile browser — and will quickly abandon your service if it doesn’t function as promised.

Another reader commented that marketers must put their best foot forward (my words) and provide an effective, condensed version of their brand and/or messaging for the mobile audience. This is an area where I believe that we still have a ways to go as IMC practitioners. QR codes seem to be everywhere, for example, even though less than 10 percent of consumers are scanning them.

But, I was so busy finishing up the IMC program this holiday season that I probably missed some good mobile campaigns (I started my Christmas shopping on the afternoon of Dec. 24). Please leave a comment if you’ve come across a mobile campaign or marketing app that caught your attention in the past few months.

With that, I can now say that I’ve fully completed everything I set out to do in the IMC program. Phew! I am looking forward to staying on as a blogger and student ambassador for a few more months, though, so I’ll see you all back here again soon.

Cutting Edge of Communications

January 11, 2012

The edge of innovation.

First, a little about me. Now this is not something that comes easy. As a new media connoisseur, talking about myself lies within the realm of shameless promotion but here goes nothing. I believe it’s a hidden rule somewhere to avoid using “I” when engaging in the development of audience centered content. But please humor me while I break all the rules or at least a few.

I recently was invited to become a WVU IMC Blog Ambassador which I am truly excited about. It’s an opportunity for me to practice my content writing skills and share my experience in what is a cutting edge program at West Virginia. (By the way…wasn’t that an awesome bowl game blowout!)

I recently graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s in Communication and am working on starting my own strategic brand consulting agency (HUB 81) aimed at helping clients share their story with the world through IMC. This program gives me the tools and validation to take such an entrepreneurial leap. Being able to attend a school on the East Coast while residing in California is cutting edge in itself but let’s talk about the real reason I’ve reached this point in my professional and educational endeavors.

Consumer touch points are fragmented. Individuals and organizations are tasked with the unique challenge of communicating with people in a variety of settings from mobile phones and printed materials to broadcast radio and digital websites. Everyone has a story to tell. The difficult aspect of communications is choosing the correct channel through which to share your story. The medium might be the message but these days it can be difficult to decide on the best form of audience interaction.

This is exactly why my participation in the WVU IMC program has been so rewarding, insightful, and engaging. With five classes under my belt, filling the shoes of a communications specialist in today’s new media arena doesn’t seem so farfetched. It feels good knowing that course-by-course (or even DQ by DQ) we are building a strong marketing and communications toolkit powerful enough to handle the challenges of the field.

Consumers are constantly on the run but thanks to the knowledge of the core principles of IMC it’s not so hard to keep up.

Many of today’s businesses are playing catch up as they strive to become acclimated with the new school of marketing and communications. Fortunately for IMC students, we are several steps ahead!

Doesn’t it feel great to be at the forefront and cutting edge of communications?

Yes, indeed.