Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Taking Marketing Beyond the Marketing Department: Web Metrics

February 19, 2015

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?

5 Reasons to Use Twitter Lists

January 28, 2015

What did I spend my Saturday night doing? Well, in between class readings and discussion posts I decided to re-organize my Twitter feed by updating my lists. I’ve used Twitter lists in the past, but my feed needed a mid-winter cleaning. I felt like I was seeing content from the same accounts all of the time and was missing great information.

If you’re new to Twitter, afraid of Twitter, or just need a reminder…Twitter Lists are a fun little feature that allow you to organize the people you follow. Twitter Lists make your life easier for a variety of reasons and my top 5 are listed below (in no particular order).

  1. Looks out for the little guy – The median lifespan of a Tweet is approximately 18 minutes. It is absolutely unrealistic to read every Tweet that flitters across your stream. Lists help organize content so that you have an easier time seeing content from people who Tweet less than every 18 minutes.
  2. Helps you find good content – A great feature of Twitter lists is that you can subscribe to lists other people make. Subscribing to the lists that your trusted contacts create helps you find more valuable people to follow.  Here’s a great WVU IMC list by Thomas Armitage.
  3. Organizes the people you follow – If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for Twitter accounts that share valuable information. I often see articles that featuring the top 50 people to follow for this reason or that reason, but after I follow them I forget why I did. Organizing the people you follow by content area allows you to easily remember why you’re following someone and what content they bring to the table.
  4. Bridges online and in-person relationships – You can also create Twitter lists for conferences that you’ve attended so that you can better manage how and where you meet people off-line. I have a list of Higher Education colleagues that I’ve meet through various conferences and events.
  5. Helps with Twitter chats – Twitter chats are a great way to build relationships online and learn more about a particular topic. Twitter lists can help organize contacts so that when you’re participating in Twitter chats it’s easier to filter information.  You’re never going to keep up with ALL the Tweets, but lists can help make the content more digestible and less overwhelming.

I will admit Twitter doesn’t necessarily make it easy to build lists. I had to go through all of the people I was following and add them to lists individually. You can do this by clicking on the gears icon and selecting add to/remove from lists. After a while, I had to take a break because I was repeatedly given error messages. The process is a bit time consuming if you’re trying to organize a large number of accounts. I highly recommend creating and adding to lists as you go.

 

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To view your lists, click on your icon in the top right corner of the screen.

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Twitter is a great resource and knowing how to manage it will help you get the most out of your Twitter experience.

What are some lists you’ve subscribed to?

Taking Marketing Beyond the Marketing Department: Market Research

January 15, 2015

If you’re in a position similar to mine, you’re lucky enough to be part of the marketing department, but people don’t always understand or buy into what you’re trying to accomplish.  I still struggle to share the significance of marketing with our entire organization.  I strive to make marketing something that is seen as an overall asset to our organization – instead of a department I supervise.    IMC and branding are the keys to success for the entire organization.   As members of the WVU IMC program we know the importance of market research, but how do we get the ‘higher-ups’ on board with it?  I want to share with you my ideas and experiences on how to share the value and importance of marketing, specifically market research, with your colleagues and I hope you’ll join in the discussion, too!

One of the areas this has been essential to our organization was in our employee engagement area.  Over the past three years, we’ve been able to get every department on board with creating IMC campaigns.  (My IMC binder is the proud owner of 10 marketing plans.) This year we decided that we wanted to create a section of our target audience analysis specifically dedicated to achieving a better understanding of our student employees.  One of our organizational IMC goals is to increase brand awareness in our student employees.  We have approximately 100 students employees and they tend to graduate on a regular basis.  They’re an essential target audience of ours and we didn’t have the best understanding of who they were.

In order to remedy to this situation we conducted a survey of our student employees and learned a great deal of information that helps us not only better market to them, but also schedule events that better meet their other obligations. Our HR department was concerned with the attendance at their events. The information from the survey showed that 88% of our student employees are otherwise engaged on campus (student organization, other campus positions, or both). Knowing how busy these students are helps the department better gauge a realistic attendance number for their events. It also provides the marketing department with essential tactics that improve our internal communication.

In addition to marketing and program benefits, market research can improve the value of products in the lives of consumers. Market research helped to improve the Ford Escapes by developing the kick-activated liftgate. The commercial explains that the engineer on the project grew up on two continents and noticed that people always had their hands full. So, they created a kick-activated liftgate that made loading the vehicle easier. This essential information changed the features of the vehicle to make it more appealing to their target audience. Innovations such as this helps c-level executives see how, what is traditionally viewed as “marketing information”, can be beneficial for the entire company.

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As marketers, it’s essential for us to showcase the value of marketing throughout the organization and its impact on products, services, and ideas. What have you done to help show the overall company benefit of market research?  Any advice you would like to share?

The Designful Company

December 29, 2014

A few years ago I was introduced to a fantastic book called The Brand Gap. Since then I have been making my way through Marty Neumeier’s other fantastic books. A while back I read Zag and have been picking up a book here and there between classes. I just finished The Designful Company and am very excited to start The 46 Rules of Genius.

As usual The Designful Company did not disappoint. These books are fantastic because they’re written in a causal tone and designed to be read on a short flight. They also come in very handy when working with executives on a project. Our entire staff read The Brand Gap when working on our branding study a few years ago. They’re small books, but pack quite a punch.

So, without ruining the reading experience for you, I wanted to share a few things from The Designful Company that I found very valuable.

First, let’s start with what differentiates a “designful” company from the rest.

DesignfulCompany

 

Next, it’s important to understand why this type of atmosphere is essential to business success. Neumeier talks about a “designful” company as one that can unleash their creative collaboration skills and tackle a company’s most “wicked” problems. What’s a wicked problem, you ask? “A wicked problem is a puzzle so persistent, pervasive, or slipper that it can seem insoluable.”

Neumeier discusses how imperative it is to redefine the word “design” and think of it not as a function of the marketing or graphics office, but rather viewing everyone who tries to change an existing situation to an improved one as a designer. Being a “designful” company means creating a culture with innovation at its foundation, rather than trying to make innovation something that a company does.

The same can be said for a brand. Too many time I’ve heard companies say “we’re going to take 20 minutes to talk about branding” instead of making it the core of their organization and integrating it into all of their daily activities.

When I talk to other marketers inside and outside of higher education, I find one concern always shows up – how to get buy in from people “outside” the marketing department. How can we break down silos in order to enhance collaboration and increase productivity?   That’s the battle of IMC, right? How do we integrate all of our efforts and make a customer experience so compelling that our customers tattoo our logo on their bicep? (That might be going a little bit far, but you have to aim high.)

I think that creating a designful company helps to break down those silos. Again, it doesn’t fall into the “something you do” category, but rather the “who you are” category.  In The Designful Company Neumeier talks about connecting those silos and exploring opportunities for “cross-fertilization and creative collaboration.” The most exciting idea was that positions such as Chief Brand Officer, Chief Design Officer, or Chief Innovation Officer could be titles that those of us in this program could one day hold.

He shared the importance of adding a seat at the table that helps facilitate this collaboration and way of thinking. I am not a fan of creating absurd titles just to differentiate a company, but that’s not what this is. Creating these types of positions are paramount to enhancing a company’s culture and yielding the greatest productivity and innovation. Neumeier said, “While revolution must be lead from the top, it rarely starts at the top.”

I could write a few thousands words on the importance of creating a designful company, but I’ll share a few last words from Marty Neumeier and encourage you to pick up a copy of the book. If you do, let me know what you think!

  • Companies don’t fail because they choose the wrong course-they fail because they can’t imagine a better one
  • In a company with an innovative culture, radical ideas are the norm, not the exception
  • When the left brain and right brain work together, a third brain emerges that can do what neither brain can do alon
  • Designful leaders reject the tyranny of “or” in favor of the genius of “and”
  • Design drives innovation; innovation powers brand; brand builds loyalty; and loyalty sustains profits. If you want long-term profits, start with design.

It’s Not Just Business; It’s Personal, Too.

December 15, 2014

What differentiates one company from another? Services, characteristics, location? One of the top distinguishing factors is the company’s brand image. It’s not just about what the company does and what they sell; it’s about how customers view them. Some companies have customers that are so loyal they tattoo the company logo on their bodies!

If branding is so important, why is a personal brand often forgotten?

Below is a favorite quote of mine that applies not only to a company’s brand, but also personal branding.

BrandingQuote

Just like a company’s brand image, a personal brand image is not built over night. You can’t stay up all night coding a new web site, designing business cards, and reworking your resume and think that you suddenly have a brand. Like Michael Eisner said…these things are built over time.

Your brand encompasses everything about you – your skills, characteristics, personality, resume, online presence, etc. If all of those things are communicating different personalities to viewers, what does that say about you?

The two most essential things to know when starting to look at your personal brand are:

  1. You already have a personal brand
  2. You don’t get to completely determine what your personal brand is

Your brand is what other people think of you, so it’s important to put your best foot forward and make every encounter and interaction you have consistent with who you say you are. In addition to keeping that in mind, below is information I’ve collected over the last few years to help people enhance their personal brand.

 

Step 1:

Determine how you want to be viewed. When people think of you, what do you want them to think? Ask yourself some foundation questions.

  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • What are your values?
  • What do you get complemented for the most?
  • How do you do what you do? Is it different than other people who are doing the same thing?
  • What do you want to do? What are you most passionate about?

 

Step 2:

Structuring you brand

  • Research
    • Who else has your name? What are other people with your name doing online?
  • Register your web site
  • Develop Social media platforms
    • How much time do you have to dedicate to building your social media presence? It’s better to do fewer platforms well.
    • Try to keep your URLs and user names as consistent as possible
    • Use one or two photos across all platforms

 

Step 3:

Personal branding toolkit

  • Resume
  • Business Cards
  • Social Media
  • Portfolio
  • Blog
  • Wardrobe
  • Email Address

 

Common mistakes in personal branding

  • Thinking your social media posts are protected or having more than one account per social media site
  • Posting the same thing to all platforms at the same time
  • Not updating social media accounts regularly
  • Placing greater emphasis on logos and imaging and not who you are and what you want

 

Again, your personal brand encompasses all aspects of your skills, personality, digital presence, and attitude. When looking at everything from the way you dress to the Facebook profile photo you have, do you like what it’s saying about you?

Essential Productivity Apps

November 25, 2014

I use technology every day at work in order to increase productivity in our office. Though it assists us everyday, we use it in conjunction with face-to-face communication – not instead of face-to-face communication. Technology has streamlined our processes and allowed us to spend more time focusing on brainstorming and creativity.

Our Graphics & Marketing office has gone through many changes over the last four years.  We’ve gone from not having a graphics request form to carbon copy forms, to paper forms, and now we’re digital.  We’ve increased the number of graphic request forms by 8% and the number of projects we created by 44% in the last fiscal year alone. These apps are not solely responsible for these increases in productivity, but they have been an instrumental component.  Here are just a few of the tools we are currently utilizing in our office to help with productivity.  I should mention that we are avid iPad users and lovers!

iAnnotate: As I mentioned, we’ve gone from paper graphics forms to digital forms.  We developed a .pdf check sheet for any graphics project requested from our office.  When a client needs a project, we sit down and fill out the request form on my iPad.   Using iAnnotate, we are able to mark up the .pdf with all of the customer specifications. We do require everyone in our organization to set up a meeting prior to filling out a graphic request form. This helps us establish buy-in and makes the department feel more invested in their marketing efforts.  (This is the only app we pay for)

Downside to iAnnotate: No spell check

 

Our Graphic Request Form

Our Graphic Request Form

Trello: (I absolutely LOVE this.)  After a client and I fill out the form, I take a screenshot and upload it from my iPad into our project management system, Trello.  Each student has their own “slot” in the program and we can add “cards” that contain all of the information needed to complete the project.  We can assign the project to multiple people, pass “cards” back and forth, and upload documents and revisions to Trello.  When students have a draft for me to view they can put the card (with the draft) in my “slot” and I can make comments and return it to them.  It saves an enormous amount of time, energy, and confusion for our students.

Upside to Trello: FREE apps!

 

Our Trello Board

Our Trello Board

Evernote: I realize this has been around for a while however, I love how easy it is to use.  I no longer have to carry around notebooks or file information.  I can take notes, minutes, and photos and easily organize them in one area. You can also integrate PenUltimate with Evernote so you can write notes and incorporate them into your Evernote notebooks.

Easy Note: This is a great to-do list app.  I can write down all of the different things I need to get done and carry them with me all day.  You can setup different lists for personal, professional, departmental, etc.  It is very easy to use and keeps me very organized.

Dropbox: If you’re not using dropbox, sign up now!  It is so easy to use and allows for easy document storage and updating.  I can access files on my phone, computer, and through the website.  Plus, you get additional storage the more you share the program. We use Dropbox to pass large files back and forth between clients and our office to ensure no one is getting upset that their inbox is constantly full.

As I mentioned before, technology assists us in our daily tasks, but it doesn’t replace face-to-face communication. We still meet regularly as a staff to build relationships, brainstorm ideas, and discuss projects.  These apps are just tools to help keep us organized.  Nothing takes the place of good conversation and relationship building.

I hope you found some of these apps helpful! As I mentioned, we use a great number of apps in our office, but these are the ones that have been instrumental in our solving some of productivity and communication challenges. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments section!

Do You Agree With the Judges?

October 29, 2014

DVRs, Hulu Plus, and HBO Go have all made tuning into our favorite TV shows on our own time and without commercial interruptions much easier. Our favorite half-hour sitcoms are now 20 minutes and we can watch a half-hour show and an hour long show in just 60 minutes. Why sit through commercials when you can get 10-20 minutes of your life back?

Is there anything that can be done to draw viewers back to watching their favorite shows in real time? It looks like there is. A guilty pleasure TV show of mine recently introduced live polling and voting during their 12th season. Project Runway utilized second-screen interactivity to urge fans to watch the show in real time and vote for their favorite designers, ask audience members if they agree with the judges, and determine who fans thought had the strongest or the weakest design.

Circle-Thumb-DownCircle-Thumb

Many shows, including Project Runway, have tapped into second-screen interactivity by encouraging viewers to use hashtags specifically for the show, vote for contests, and select activities or challenges that would be featured on the show. America’s Next Top Model has a (not very well defined) social media score from viewers that impacts a contest’s chance of winning the contest. Chopped has special episodes in which participants have to create dishes from basket ingredients selected by show viewers, and Bones has a fan of the week that is determined via social media.

What makes me wonder about the live polling is what impact it has on the show overall. Live polling allows the producers to see what people are thinking as they watch the show. Do they like a specific designer? What would happen to the viewership if the judgers sent a specific designer home? If you’re familiar with the show you know that host Tim Gunn has a “save” in which he can bring back an eliminated designer. Live polling is a great tool to use in attempting to make decisions based on audience reactions.

What do you think? Would you base scripting decisions off of audience feelings, or do you think you would move forward with the show as planned? What else would you do what that audience information?

WiFi Advertising

October 15, 2014

During a recent vacation we encountered an unwanted interruption in the McDonald’s drive-through. Our navigation was interrupted by a McDonald’s ad. Luckily we were at the drive-through and we were not at risk of getting lost, but this wasn’t the first time this has happened. My friend said that he often has troubles with his phone automatically connecting to business WiFi and prompting ads that interrupt the use of his phone even after he set his phone to not automatically connect to WiFi.  Simplying driving by business downtown has interrupted his navigation and displayed annoying ads for different products and services.

With the phones settings aside, is it acceptable to automatically disrupt what the user is doing in order to display ads from a business that supplies free WiFi?  The business is paying for the use of WiFi, so why not? When you check into a hotel, you have to visit a page on the hotel web site in order to agree to terms and conditions before logging onto the internet.  Is this different? I would argue yes, because driving by a location that offers free WiFi is enough to prompt an ad.  With cell phones, navigation, and other distractions, drivers need to focus on paying attention and not backing out of ads from local business while they’re worrying about where to turn.

So, how do you entice people to visit your business and take advantage of the WiFi (and other wonderful products and services)? Oddly enough, McDonald’s also had a very interesting way to solve this problem.

McDonld’s has also used WiFi to entice nearby wireless users to stop by and use their WiFi. Brilliant Ads shared the photo below on Twitter. The difference here being that the customer was seeking out the use of WiFi and were encouraged to visit as they tried to connect.

 

I think the second ad campaign is an interesting and unique way to advertise the fact that McDonald’s offers free WiFi and the campaign encourages customers to visit a McDonald’s.  I think it also matches the image McDonald’s is trying to create.  I remember walking into our local McDonald’s a few years ago and seeing a rage of newspapers offered, updating seating and colors, TV screens showing news stations, and a cozy fireplace instead of outdated booths and ketchup stains.  I’m not sure the new restaurant image fits with their food image, but that’s a discussion for another day.

The second tactic brings people into the store who are seeking out their services. If driving by and connecting to WiFi is all it takes to disrupt navigation or other cell phone function, shouldn’t businesses be more conscientiousness about this? In my opinion, it only makes the user more irritated and potentially less likely to use their services in the future.

What do you think? Have you found these ads to ever be useful? Are there differences between opt-in and auto-generated ads?

Let it Go, Let it Go…

September 24, 2014

Not one sentence into this post and you’re already finishing the lyrics to the catchy and, admittedly, sometimes annoying song from Disney’s animated movie Frozen. Less than a year old, the phenomenon is already Disney’s highest-grossing animated film of all time.

frozen1

The longevity of movie’s popularity registered with me recently while I was shopping at Target and a young girl carrying a Frozen toy a few aisles over had the sound effect on repeat. As the phrase “Let it go, let it go” played continuously for at least five minutes, I could hear her sing along.

Is it the music, unique storyline, or endless marketing that has kept the movie a cultural phenomenon? Considering ABC fairytale show Once Upon a Time features Frozen’s Queen Elsa in the new Fall 2014 season, the movie is likely to garner even more attention.

Frozen 2

What do you think has been Disney’s secret to success in not only maintaining, but growing a “Frozen” brand following?

-R

 

The Ballpark Pup

September 22, 2014

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park.  I was thrilled to be back and a little sad that it could possibly be my last game of the season. (I only made it to two games this year, but grad classes will do that!)  As I finished up the tailgate and headed for the stadium, I noticed a white furry creature had joined the parade of Famous Racing Sausages headed through the parking lot.  I was surprised to see Hank, The Ballpark Pup, marching alongside Chorizo through a field of tailgaters.

MillerPark

The Ballpark Pup

In case you’ve missed it, the Milwaukee Brewers have added another mascot to their mix.  Hank, The Ballpark Pup, first entered the lives of the Milwaukee Brewers at Spring Training this past year.  Hank was a stray dog who wandered onto the field and befriended the team while they were in Arizona.  Now Hank is a fully signed member of the Milwaukee Brewers, complete with the first Majestic Athletic authentic canine jersey.

There is no question that fans and Wisconsinites love Hank.  He has overwhelmingly won hearts all over Milwaukee including the Milwaukee Brewers players and coaching staff.  He does live with a family, but “belongs to the city of Milwaukee.”

Hank_in_his_new_mobile_Dog_House_2014-04-26_08-27

Mixing It Up

The Milwaukee Brewers have no shortage of mascots running around Miller Park.  There are five racing sausages (occasionally mini-sausages as well), Bernie the Brewer (his lady-friend stops by from time-to-time), and now Hank.  The marketing and PR challenge of managing that can be exhausting.  Not only do you manage the appearance schedules for the players, you have to add seven mascots to the mix as well.  Merchandising and appearances have been very lucrative for the Milwaukee Brewers, but is it possible to do too much?  Marketing and PR professionals for sports teams need to be concerned with players lives on and off the field (The NFL has learned that the hard way this week), the storyline of the team and mascots, and the overall fan experience.

There are not many organizations that can say their loyal customers tattoo logos and team symbols on their bodies.  With that loyalty comes great responsibility to the fan base.  Adding a new mascot to a mix that has been with the Milwaukee Brewers since the early 90’s has advantages and disadvantages.  While a shiny new mascot brings in a new crowd (especially animal lovers) and freshens up the stadium experience, it can leave die-hard fans feeling like adding another mascot is a cheap trick to increase attendance.

 

Sausages_Race_April_2012

Why Hank Works

I believe the benefits of sharing the Hank story outweigh the disadvantages.  The story of Hank has resonated with people all over the country and the Brewers are doing great things with that attention.

Hank now has his own bobble-head, promotional products, mascot suit, children’s book, t-shirts, and more.  Twenty percent of these sales benefit the Wisconsin Humane Society.  In a pre-game ceremony on Sept. 13, the Wisconsin Humane Society was presented a check for $130,000 from the Brewers Community Foundation from merchandise sales and other donations.  Yes, it’s advantageous for the Brewers because in only the first three months of the baseball season the team sold more than 12,500 K-9 jerseys. (How do you think baseball stars Ryan Braun and Johnathan Lucroy feel about being outsold by a pup?)  But, this partnership is also great because it raises awareness for homeless animals in addition to the Wisconsin Humane Society.

The Milwaukee Brewers have paid close attention to Hank’s endorsements and appearances.  They want to focus his engagements on events that benefit a charitable cause or the fans.  The Brewers executives want to make sure he’s not exploited and put his health and well-being before appearances.  While some could argue that having a dog endorse anything involving baseball could be exploitation, this amazing story happened to the Brewers and Hank’s life is better because of it.  Sure, he won’t be around forever and they may eventually retire his mascot suit, but it will forever go down in Brewers history as a significant and life-changing event for all parties involved.

What are your thoughts? How many is too many mascots? Have the Brewers added one too many?


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