Archive for the ‘Marketing’ tag

3 Key Learnings from Digital Summit Atlanta 2015

without comments

DS2

Digital Summit Atlanta, a gathering of some of the most forward thinkers in digital marketing, took place this week and I was proud to make it my 3rd time in attendance. Each year I have been able to discover new topics and discuss the next trends in digital marketing.

Overall, each year has followed its own theme as digital marketing as a whole evolves so quickly. In 2013, trends in how social media was changing for brands was explored in a lot of sessions. Last year it shifted to a major focus on content marketing and SEO. Now, at #DSUM15, the next stage in UX (User Experience) design seemed to be the key focus.

And with that, here are three key takeaways from the conference as it can relate to what we do in the experiential space…

1. Humanizing UX

Many of the sessions at Digital Summit really focused on UX as we were challenged to think of what was next in the field. For example, how do we run UX more lean and understand better, powered with ‘big data’, how to humanize someone’s digital experience. When we map out the consumer journey – remember that each user is an actual person with problems and needs.

When you look at bring a consumer through a brand experience for experiential this line of thinking makes a lot of sense, right? It is our expertise to bring brands to life in a way that they can interact with consumers as people and not anonymous IP addresses. However many activation designs we see in the field could do a better job from at the ideation stage to keep in mind that once launched, these are people with their own objectives who will walk through our ideas.

So when thinking through your consumer experience idea, map it out. Literally draw out each stage of the activation UX and use this tool to identify where the gaps are or more importantly, where it can be more streamlined.

2. Millennials are mobile-first…and are starting to earn a lot of money

When you hear the word “millennials” – how old of a person pops in your mind? Probably an early-20-something with new student debt maybe? Well consider that millennials are were born starting in 1980 and now are entering their mid-30s. Sure there is probably a healthy amount of debt still lingering – but this generation is now entering over a $Trillion in buying power and loves to spend.

So with all of this data we now have on the ‘Connected Generation’ – what have we learned about marketing to them? It’s a long answer but here are two quick tips from @annieg from StumbleUpon.

First, “6 is the new 60” – as in the 6” phone is more important than the 60” TV. Now that doesn’t mean the generation is consumer less video – in fact it’s more than ever. But reportedly 33% do not watch any broadcast TV.

Second, it seems obvious that millennials are connected to their mobile devices, sure, but how many experiences are being built mobile-first? When we consider social, if you stop to think why they are so effective with the connected generation it’s not just because they are social – but because the most popular experiences are mobile-first. Snapchat, Instagram, Vine…some of the most powerful platforms for the younger Millennials have excelled by being native to the 6” screen. So consider mobile-first experiences to connect and make an engagement that this group wants to use. After all, it is why the younger Millennials are now being known as Social Natives.

3. The Entrepreneur Wants to Solve a Problem

I heard a great line this year and it came during a keynote speaker Chris Brogan, whose content I highly recommend. To summarize:

Stop chasing innovation, which aims to just do something.

Be an entrepreneur, which aims to solve someone’s problem.

While this is absolutely a trap in creating the latest in digital experiences, it is also a trap in experiential marketing. Brands and agencies alike all want to innovate and create and truly great new things are activated in our space every year. But when coming up the ideas for the experience on the front end, don’t just try to chase an innovation for the sake of doing it. Instead, identify an audience’s problem and solve it. That is where the entrepreneurship mindset excels and where experiential marketing can truly make an in-person impact on someone.

If you are ever free in May, I highly recommend Digital Summit. This is only a small snipet of content from the 2-day conference. I still have to go through pages upon pages of notes but in the meantime, enjoy the learnings and feel free to find me @BradMEpstein if you want to go through my timeline where I shared some more real-time leanrings!

Bonus! PowerPoint is where data goes to die!

If you work with data (you should!) treat it as a living, breathing source. PowerPoint it becomes static and if 2015 taught me anything – is that static is kryptonite for the modern marketer. So learn new tools that keep you agile and keep your brand’s marketing velocity as fast as possible.

Share Button

DICK’S Sporting Goods Taps MKTG INC as Agency-of-Record

with 2 comments

dicks BEST

DICK’S Sporting Goods, the largest U.S.-based sporting goods retailer with more than 600 locations has chosen MKTG INC as its Event, Community and Experiential Agency-of-Record. We are tasked with providing strategy, planning, account management, as well as sponsorship activation of the 2015 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, line-of-business expansion development and ongoing integration and positioning of community marketing managers.

“We have been working with MKTG for well over a year on several projects and have been so impressed with how, from strategy through to execution, they consistently over-deliver,” said Mark Rooks, DICK’S Sporting Goods Vice President of Sports and Community Marketing. “This is a really exciting time at DICK’S as we roll out several sponsorships and consumer and business-facing programs that MKTG will help us bring to market. We could not be more thrilled with our selection.”

“We are so proud of our great success and influence within the retail, sports, entertainment and community-building space over the years and have truly enjoyed working with DICK’S in helping them think differently about their sponsorship and engagement executions,” said Charlie Horsey, CEO, MKTG INC. “DICK’S Sporting Goods is loved by people of all ages, which makes developing strategies, to engage consumers and the DICK’S community so exciting by leveraging both digital tools and live activations that resonate.”

The account will lead by Kevin Collins, GM of MKTG’s Chicago office and the core team will include members form across the agency’s US footprint.

Share Button

Guest Q&A: Stephanie Rudnick

without comments

rudnick bw headshot

For this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Stephanie Rudnick, MKTG INC’s new SVP, Marketing Communications. An almost 20-year industry veteran, Stephanie shares her thoughts and expertise on the world of PR and experiential marketing, MKTG and the best advice she’s ever received.

What will your role be here at MKTG INC?
I’ll be developing and managing all aspects of the company’s communication strategy and practice, including media and industry relations, external communications and brand management.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Carpe diem” –  Live each day as if it were your last. It’s something I’ve lived by since learning about it in elementary school from my favorite English teacher.

How did you get into PR?
When I decided on my major, it was WAY before PR was as widely understood as it is today. I spent a lot of time working with non-profits in high school in Chicago and loved when the media would come to our events and publicize our causes. When I learned that I could study journalism with a PR focus, it just felt right. I went to college at USC in Los Angeles because I wanted to study in a major city where my teachers were working professionals in my field, but also because the location would offer me access to a wide array of internships. I was lucky enough to have internships every semester – from beauty to music to technology to entertainment and celebrity publicity – which helped expose me to how different PR can be depending on the client. Since then, I’ve done pretty much every kind of PR across a ton of verticals, both agency and in-house. Now that I’m older, one of my favorite things is to mentor young people who are interested learning how to navigate the business and continue to help them along throughout their careers.

What publications or websites do you find most relevant to your career?
It’s part of my job to read, read, read and do my best to stay on top of what’s going on in our industry and in general. So, I start my day with a scan of Twitter, which helps me get a handle quickly on the news of the day. Then, first thing at work, I go old-school and get my hands dirty tearing through the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.  I also read the hard copy of the Sports Business Journal and the SBJ’s three daily e-newsletters, as well as MediaPost, EM, Adweek and AdAge. The list goes on and on.

What are some of your favorite work experiences?
I’m so grateful that my job has afforded me so many amazing experiences. I’ve been able to travel around the globe, working, and experiencing working in other cultures. One of the craziest experiences was in Beijing, when just hours before a press conference I was organizing, a friend tipped me off that if I wanted the media to actually publish/broadcast something, I had to give them a gift and CASH. For real. That was fun to have to explain to finance why the company owed me thousands of CNYs in cash and for T-shirts from the hotel gift shop! I also have to share that one of my all-time favorite nights at work was in 2012 at the NFL Draft when my client, Andrew Luck, was drafted first. It was so crazy and exciting and anxiety-inducing being backstage with Andrew and his family and all of the other draftees and their families, waiting for “the call” from the teams. Not sure that will ever happen again, unless my son decides that’s the route he wants to take…urgh.

Who have been your favorite clients?
That’s a hard one but I would say that working with the totally courageous and amazing NBA center Jason Collins was a highlight of my career.

What are your favorite apps?
Amazon, Uber, Starbucks, SportsCenter, Swarm, American Airlines, Diapers.com, Fitbit, WeatherBug, WhatsApp, FlightTracker, OpenTable, Seamless, Timehop and Tile.

What are three things you can’t travel without?
Earplugs, a flat-iron and my Philips Sonicare toothbrush

When not at the office, where are we most likely to find you? (Not that we’ll be looking, of course.)
At home in Battery Park or running around downtown Manhattan with my husband Duncan, and kids Charlie (2 1/2) and Matilda (5 months). And probably reading.

Share Button

What’s in Your Wallet, Deb?

without comments

IMG_3933

Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). This column takes a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hears the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of Deb Friar, SVP, Business Development in MKTG INC’s Cincinnati office.

You won’t meet many people who love both technology AND being a beachcomber, but Deb is not known as a person who typically takes the traditional route.
From retail management (Target) to brand marketing (Pepsi) to technology marketing services biz dev (Catalina) and from Minnesota (the tundra) to Florida (the beach!) – my path has been anything but traditional.

That trait is especially clear in how she helps her clients see beyond traditional marketing to adopt bolder, community-driven programming.
Clients take the safe route by doing what they’ve done before. It’s the role of biz dev to remove the risk associated with trying something new. It takes patience and perseverance to build trust with prospective clients. I’m fortunate to work with the best and brightest in the world of marketing!

Just don’t ever try to bury her in the sand.
I’m like other biz dev folks – we rise to the challenge!

Share Button

Movies, Marketing and the Evolution of Man

without comments

evolution

What do movies and marketing have in common? Turns out, quite a bit. While my background is in fiction film and postproduction, after four years making videos in the marketing industry, I’ve realized that movies and marketing share an important common goal: emotions. The goal of marketing or branding is to emotionally connect with people, something that movies have done from the start.

Emotional connection is how innovative brands like Apple or Nike create cult followers. It’s also how films — and all forms of storytelling, really — develop followers, too. That’s certainly how I became such a big follower, fan and, eventually, maker of films.

Never was this made clearer to me than when I recently took a class on branding by Dan Formosa, an award-winning designer and design research consultant. In the class, Formosa talked about branding in the context of the evolution of the species. Just how long has branding been with us?

That depends a bit on how you define branding. One definition of branding focuses purely on the logo or mark that represents a product. By that definition scholars might put the beginning of branding at 1777 with the creation of the Bass beer red triangle. But if we think of branding as any packaged product available for public consumption, we might look back to 1100 BC, with an Indian herbal paste called Chyawanprash. Still, even then, that’s only 3,115 years ago. If modern man has been around for 200,000 years, that means we’ve been building brands for a mere 1.5% of our existence as a species.

In other words, evolutionarily speaking, we’re not built for branding. We did not evolve to love products, companies or brands.

We did, however, evolve to love people. We’re built for connection.

And this is why people gravitate so intensely to stories, because they express the complexities of human relationships. The brands that understand this are the most successful brands out there.

A brand doesn’t win people over by explaining how great its product or service is; it wins people by building human relationships with them and, in turn, humanizing the brand itself. What’s interesting is now, thanks to the omnipresence of social media, brands can engage with consumers in entirely new ways — ways that can truly focus on two-way emotional connection. Marketing can be about building relationships, telling stories and inspiring emotions in both consumers and in brands. Yup, in this new world, brands can have feelings, too.

Imagine if marketers began to think of themselves less as marketers and more as relationship coaches between clients and their consumers; imagine if we spent less time “grabbing attention” and more time nurturing it. What an emotional evolution that might be.

Share Button

New Orleans Rolls the Dice with Risky Rebrand

without comments

130124163710-nba-new-orleans-hornets-pelicans-single-image-cut

(Photo Credit: SI.com)

The New Orleans Hornets have officially announced that they are changing their nickname to the New Orleans Pelicans. Yes, Pelicans. Try to envision it with me: The Timberwolves (arctic beasts with razor-sharp teeth and claws) vs. The Pelicans, (they enjoy a nice dip in the river from time to time).

In the world of sports, striking the balance between what’s marketable and honoring a city’s traditions can be extremely difficult, (and of course, the success of the brand ultimately hinges on the team’s ability to win games).

Obviously the pelican is the state bird of Louisiana, and an incredibly elegant creature, but when put up against the “Bulls”, “Hawks” and “Bobcats” of the NBA, its completely understandable why some find the name a bit underwhelming.

As we all know, the NBA’s ultimate goal is to sell jerseys, but are kids who love Anthony Davis going to feel cool sporting a gold-winged pelican across their chests? The Hornets (because they’re still The Hornets for a little while longer) must proceed with caution, and ensure that their attempt to appeal to their home crowd does not alienate potentially interested fans outside of New Orleans.

If the team’s new identity doesn’t appeal to the national market, it can have a huge ripple effect on the organization. Players won’t want to wear the uniform, the merchandise will sit on the shelves and hometown fans may even begin to lose interest in a team they no longer recognize or accept as their own.

Case in point, when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays unveiled their uniforms prior to their inaugural 1998 season, the Major League Baseball community, fans and media outlets alike collectively barfed at the sight of the team’s clownish, neon themed uniform. Add to that 10 years of last place finishes, and the end result was an embarrassingly empty stadium, dismal TV ratings and unappealing merchandise that you couldn’t get rid of at a garage sale.

When they finally rebranded themselves as the Tampa Bay Rays a decade later, and donned a classy, sleeker midnight blue motif, they found themselves in the World Series for the first time in team history. Coincidence? I have no idea.

I don’t know how talented the New Orleans Pelicans’ team will be. All I know is that if you’re proud of your name, and you like the way you look, you’ll go pretty far in life. But don’t take my word for it (Reading Rainbow, anyone?). Just ask the Tampa Bay Rays.

Written By: Andrew Canlon

Share Button

#Rule40: How Olympic Sponsorship Rules Failed, And What It Means For Marketing

without comments

3000938-poster-942-how-olympic-sponsorship-rules-failed-and-what-it-means-marketingPhoto Credit: Flickr user Charles McCain

The Olympics are over, but the aftermath of Rule #40 rolls on. Check out Charlie Horsey’s take on the subject in his latest piece for Fast Company here.

Share Button

Obstacle Racers

without comments

ToughMudderPhoto Credit: toughmudder.com

In recent years, numerous obstacle races have sprouted throughout the U.S. and have become increasingly popular among Gen Yers. People craving to move away from the ordinary find spontaneous and exciting outlets through Army-inspired activities like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash. Unlike marathons, obstacle races are more convivial and bring a sense of camaraderie. New York Adventure Racing Association (NYARA) defines adventure racing as “…one of the few sports where completing a race is considered a victory. Adventure racing not only challenges the body, but the mind as well. Competitors must always travel together as a team, putting emphasis on teamwork rather than individual achievement.” Weekend obstacle races provide many young professionals the opportunity to unwind from the week’s worth of office stress and to fulfill their “live more” attitude.

However, participating in obstacle racing events can be costly. Costs come from registration fees for the event, performance gear, and course training. The brands that deliver performance, function and style resonate and succeed most with obstacle racers. GoLite is an example of a brand that has been successful in the obstacle racing area. It pioneered the “fast and light” revolution in apparel and equipment by offering products that are fueled for performance while maintaining minimal impact on the environment. Many participants don’t see cost as a barrier. Rather, they see obstacle race as an investment to their self-identity and an addition to their growing collection of experience badges.

Last November, I joined the band of adventurers and participated in Tough Mudder’s Tri-State event. It truly lived up to its claim of “probably the toughest event on the planet.” With the help of my friends and fellow Mudders, I was able to reach the top of a quarter pipe, jump into a dumpster filled with water and ice, and survive a field of live electric wires. 12 miles and many hours later, I’m fortunate to have completed this event with no injuries and to have bonded with my friends. From this, I learned that obstacle races are all about upping the ante on experiences and adding a zing to the weekend.

Share Button

Written by Alayne Luistro
Alayne Luistro

July 25th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Gary DeJesus Shares His Expert Perspective On Online Communities

without comments

DeJesusPhoto Credit: Ryan Beickert

Gary DeJesus, MKTG INC’s Senior VP of Corporate Development, advises how to make your online communities more effective in Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s blog, All Things WOM.

Exactly how do you do it? Click here to get his advice, tips, and more!

Share Button

Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 6th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

MKTG INC’s Intern Max Krauss Shares Experience in AgencySpy

without comments

MAKE THE RULESPhoto Credit: Rob Lotzko

On June 23, MKTG INC’s own summer intern, Max Krauss, attended NIKE’s “Celebration of Sport” at Pier 46 in NYC for the 40th Anniversary of Title IX.  AgencySpy picked up on this and featured Max as their very first blogger for their new column titled “A Day in the Life of a Summer Intern.”  Be sure to read all about his experience and find out the lessons learned when going behind-the-scenes of an event here.

Share Button

Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 6th, 2012 at 5:09 pm