Bridging the Gap in Digital Marketing

velocity Market Information, Professional Development

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With the prominence and importance of digital marketing in the marketplace today, the #1 question you may be asking about your company’s online efforts is, “am I doing it right?” Your website, social media, email marketing, online reputation, PPC, SEO, ….the list goes on and on…. are all so incredibly important right now that you may be losing sleep. If you are like most businesses you are counting every like, retweet, subscriber, click, follow, and positive Yelp review as an amazing personal victory! As well you should. These achievements are digital currency that can benefit your company in many ways. However, as these transactions become a bit more normative, you – especially if you are the owner of a terrestrial business – need to be thinking beyond your digital assets and begin asking, “how are my online activities translating to offline transactions?”

So many businesses tout their social numbers as a proof of actual currency. The truth is, if you are only interested in social numbers, there are a host of questionable services that will trade you “likes” and clicks for dollars. What results is a hollow following with no potential for any offline transactions. With every resource that you put into your digital strategy you should be able to gauge your ROI by placing equal value on having a prominent online presence AND on how it trickles down to your bottom line. Do not allow your online efforts to simply remain there on the web. Get them in the door!

Here are a few concepts that may help:

  1. Try to devise ways to use your message to incentivise actual visits.

  2. Focus more on the quality of your following and not just quantity. Active local followers are 10 times more likely to turn into a conversion.

  3. Balance your “calls to action” to include both growing your following, as well as, nurture store visits. “Sign up for our newsletter” should hold equal footing with “Visit Us” or “Call Us.”

  4. Pair your online offers with codes that can be redeemed in-store so that you can benchmark your message’s effectiveness. Use A/B testing to see which message generated more in-store traffic.

  5. Make sure your online messaging is consistently worded and branded with any print/radio/tv so that uniform brand recognition exists with all of your outreach.

Of course, you should also be doing everything you can to get your in-store guests to engage with your online presence. We will save that for future posts.

 

Epic Marketing Fails

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Sometimes, you’ll see an advertisement isn’t very well-thought-out. Maybe their placements are unfortunate (or is highly unfortunate), or their logo isn’t well designed (or is poorly designed). Every now and then, you’ll release an advertisement that you’ll regret immediately and will become the butt of jokes all over the internet. Below are some examples of why you should think, really, really hard, about making sure your ads convey the right message.

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Given the picture, 75% sounds like a pretty reasonable discount.

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At least one of these ads had a clear and concise message.

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Let’s be real, the name “mama’s baking” probably didn’t do the design team any favors.

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Definitely a tough choice.

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If you can’t see the joke immediately, look closely at the heads and arms of the dancers.

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To be fair, they didn’t claim to be auto care experts.

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I’m glad we found marketers whose ads don’t beat around the bush.

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Hey, can’t say they didn’t warn you.

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A reminder of how important the ‘space’ key is.

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Halls and Trojan are certainly targeting relevant markets with this one.

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There’s nothing that would make me want to travel via Turkish Airlines more than an image of their plane headed downward in a 45 degree angle.

When Athlete-Endorsements No Longer Make Sense

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Besides playing the sports they love, why do professional athletes want to become professional athletes in the first place? Usually to make money. And in an age where celebrities are used (maybe even overused) by companies to endorse products, there’s no question that athletes expect and get a piece of that pie.

Some of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time are a result of athletes becoming the faces of a company or product. In 1989, Nike aired “Bo Knows,” which features Bo Jackson (who achieved all-star status as both a Football and Baseball player) trying his hand at several different sports, with other all-time greats such as Hulk Hogan and Wayne Gretzky. This led to a wildly successful campaign that has been followed by sequels, parodies, and pop culture references. In the 90s, Michael Jordan starred in a Gatorade commercial now called “Be Like Mike” that featured a combination of a brief highlight reel, playing with neighborhood kids, and drinking Gatorade before and after each segment.  That advertisement was recently remade, only this version features shorts of Jordan in the NBA 2K video game and of current NBA all-star Carmelo Anthony and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton singing to the tune of the song.

In both of those advertisements, the link between the company and the athlete makes sense. Nike is the largest athletic apparel and equipment in the world, and Gatorade accounts for approximately 75 percent market share in the sports drink category. Why do they make sense? Because Bo Jackson actually wore Nike apparel all day every day, and Michael Jordan actually drank Gatorade to aid in his athletic performance.

What’s happening now is different. Now in days, companies endorse athletes even if their products or services have nothing to do with sports. What’s the association between Call of Duty and basketball? Probably none, right? Don’t tell that to Clippers guard Blake Griffin who recently starred in a GameFly commercial that him flying around on a jet pack in a suit. When was the last time you saw a quarterback wearing blue jeans during a game? Never; but that’s not stopping Brett Favre and Drew Brees from rocking out their jeans for Wrangler commercials. Is Sprite a beverage that many athletes would drink, if any, for that matter? Probably not very frequently; even though LeBron James now has his own Sprite edition. And Seahawks’ star running back Marshawn Lynch participating in a Beacon Plumbing commercial is just sad.

Maybe professional athletes just want to make as much money as they can however they can. Maybe companies that find themselves losing market share are desperate to attach a famous name to their products or services. But the truth is that pairing athletes with companies that are irrelevant to the athlete and his/her sport is poor marketing and comes at a cost financially and against the integrity of the brand.

 

Why Non-Profits Should Utilize LinkedIn

velocity Market Information, Professional Development

Oftentimes, a non-profit spending “too much money” will give it a bad rap. This is for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is the argument that non-profits need to limit their overhead costs in order to have more of the donation’s revenue left over to directly help the cause. In English, non-profits take some of the money that one donates (usually most of it) and use it to cover the costs of the business, such as payroll of employees. The perception is that advertising is another cost that will drain the amount of money left to contribute to the cause of that organization.

However, such notions are misguided. First, in the case of non-profits, associating the terms “overhead” and “advertising” would be misleading, because one has nothing to do with the other. Advertising for a non-profit has goals of reaching out for donations and educating the public about an important social issue. That’s not “overhead” by any definition- that’s a fundraising and program expense. But that’s not a common belief held by donors.

 

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(Chart by nonprofitquarterly.org)

While United Way only spends 2% of gross revenue on advertising, Red Cross and YMCA spend far less than 1%. According to a CMO Council survey, the vast majority of business owners spent less than 4% in gross revenue on advertising and marketing costs, and the remaining 42% of businesses spending more than 5%. An interesting point to the contrary is that Wounded Warriors Project spends a reported 35% of its resources in advertising and has become among the most well known veteran services organizations out there, now serving over 83,000 registered members, has offices in nearly 20 locations, and has a line of clothing by Under Armor worn by 3 college football teams. Therefore, if a non-profit (and a non-profit’s donors) is serious about growing for the purpose of raising a greater awareness for its cause, they would advertise more than they are now.

When you think of relatively inexpensive ways to advertise a non-profit organization, and when you think of social media platforms that have more than enough space to facilitate advertising with limited competition, the mind automatically wanders to LinkedIn. The professional networking social media application’s membership has been on the rise in recent years due to the millennial generation setting its footing in the workforce. While its functionality is more limited than Facebook’s, there are reasons why advertising on LinkedIn can make a lot of sense. First, you can “follow” specific companies and non-profits, which will allow you to see their posts directly on your newsfeed. There’s also a “Volunteer” section near the bottom part of your profile page that you can edit to show the broad causes that you’re interested in by editing “Causes You Care About.” For example, if I was interested in “Disaster and Humanitarian Relief,” then Habitat For Humanity could place an ad on my home page the next time I log in.

A user can directly show which causes he/she cares about which will lead to ads of suggested non-profits. And this would have more positive consequences for the organizations than solely fundraising. It would raise awareness of actual hands-on volunteer opportunities and even possibly career opportunities for those interested in the industry. For those concerned about the financial implications for non-profits using LinkedIn to promote itself, LinkedIn also offers the flexibility to set a budget, meaning the maximum amount that the organization would want to spend in one day. Lastly, advertising on this platform will grant organizations exposure to a millennial generation that is career driven and socially conscious, meaning that its users are a good target audience.

Advertising is the epitome of what it actually means to “spend money to make money.” In the case of nonprofits, the phrase should be edited to “spend money to make money to help people”. And today’s digital age allows for these organizations to promote their causes flexibly and inexpensively. While more non-profits hopefully follow Wounded Warriors Project’s model and become less fearful of investing in their advertising campaigns, using LinkedIn as a test run would not be a bad start.

THE WORLD OF WEB DESIGN

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I entered the world of web design by default. A Journalism & English major with a shrinking interest in current events and a growing disdain for poverty, I sold my creative soul to corporate America for a retirement plan, paid vacation and the occasional barbaric rush of cubicle warfare.

I was a copywriter, a butcher of the English language, grinding prime cut prose into chuck for the masses. Branding, call outs, call to action, proof points, tag lines, I wrote the words behind the smiling faces on brochures for everything from timeshares to proper hand washing techniques. I began to view the world in 150 words or less. Life had become a series of tag lines, marginalized and boxed into bite sized chunks, no knife, no fork, no thinking required.

It was easy, it was mundane, it was boring. I had a no sense that what I was doing was ever correct because like any assembly line, productivity was the objective. Keep it short, keep it simple, make it snappy. I had become skilled in the art of compartmentalizing and organizing what would otherwise appear to be gibberish and one day I was asked to expand those skills to content writing. This was my first foray into the world wide web.

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So vast, so unchartered (keep in mind this was 2003), I was in the wilderness with a set of skills I equated to a set of sticks to rub together for survival. Up until this point I used the internet for reference, music and directions. It never occurred to me there were real people writing online. I guess I assumed it was all scanned printed material managed by gnomes.

I had no computer skills outside of Microsoft Office and HTML code was an esoteric language invented by the Aztecs. I started off using text fields (WYSIWYG editors) to upload my content. One day the graphic designer in the office asked me to add some photos and a banner I had written copy for to the header. Seeing my tagline in bold digital splendor sparked a creative volt that had been dormant since my first slice of office birthday cake.

I was interested again, engaged. Here was a medium that combined my new skill in organizing words as calls to actions and quick bits of information within an art form. Organizing blocks of content as shapes rather than simply paragraphs. I learned to utilize HTML and CSS as tools rather than a language. Once I understood how to use these tools to organize the world of web design was illuminated. I was hooked. Here was a way to communicate to the masses with creativity, a way to organize ideas through an ever expanding digital world.

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I went back to school for graphic and web design and found that the years I spent copywriting were integral to organizing web content. As time went on email newsletters, blogs, and social media became the new communication. Its hard to know where a job will lead. What skill is important and what is a menial task. But as long as your world remains large and there is an eagerness to explore it, there will always be a new possibilities.

Snapchat Vibe

velocity Digital Innovation, Market Information, Research

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Most people’s social media experience is limited to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but odds are you have at least heard of the popular smartphone app Snapchat, with over 100 million daily users and 400 million “snaps” made per day. Snapchat is a social media application that allows you to send photos or videos to your friends and family. The app also lets you video chat with friends who happen to be on at the same time as you. It’s a convenient way to instantly connect with people who are probably closer to you than the 500+ friends you have on Facebook. This is because Snapchat friends can only be added through a user’s address book or through an exchange of usernames.

In an effort to become more profitable, Snapchat has recently began to allow big-name brands like People Magazine and Food Network to advertise on their platform. While there have been many complaints about Snapchat’s controversial $750K fee charged to companies looking to buy ad space, everyone agrees that the popular app among teenagers is gaining more and more headway each day. That being said, many major companies are disgruntled with the fact that-like the users’ snaps-their ads will disappear within 24 hours. Additionally, Snapchat mostly targets teenagers and young adults whose income level might not necessarily appeal to big businesses. With these thoughts in mind many companies may choose not to do advertising on Snapchat.

However, many brands still choose to market themselves on snapchat because of the great advertising opportunities the app affords them. Advertising a new product or rebranding an image on Snapchat has been proven to help a company’s profits in the long run. This was the case for McDonalds who recently promoted their “Love is Endless” animated commercial to Snapchat in an attempt to revive its reputation after a reported decline in global sales.

Another example of a brand effectively using Snapchat is Audi’s innovative idea to live “snap” Superbowl XLVIII. Audi strategically collaborated with the Onion to interact with the Millennial demographic. By Audi live snapping the game, the brand was able to bring awareness to their brand while garnering more than 5,500 new followers on Snapchat.

 

Snapchat’s decision to only solicit top-name brands like McDonalds or CNN demonstrates to the “category leaders” that the app’s audience numbers are attractive enough to be on the same playing field as other social media game-changers like Twitter or Facebook. Even with all this success, as with any other global giant, they are bound to run into some pitfalls. A short time ago, Snapchat came under fire after a minor’s nude selfie was dispersed to students at a high school in Chicago. Her boyfriend’s decision to screenshot the image before sending it to his friends revealed the “dark side” of Snapchat. Back in 2011, when the app had first launched, many parents questioned the application’s intended uses. Was it just another social media platform or was it a device that would make “sexting” that much easier? The answer is up to the user. Snapchat can be used for both good and evil, but it is important to remember the consequences associated with the latter.

There are many ways that local businesses can use Snapchat to market their businesses. Although Snapchat is rumored to be “anti-native” advertising, local advertisers can find useful ways to build their brand in a way that’s relevant to users. Companies just need to come up with a creative and dynamic way to get consumers interacting with them on Snapchat. One example of this is Louisiana State University’s radio station, KLSU, who has encouraged listeners to “snap” their song requests to the station.

Our prediction for Snapchat is that eventually users will be viewing “click-through” ads generated in a way that is similar to Youtube’s sponsored commercials. That way, small businesses will be able to market themselves in a way that is both cost-effective and profitable. We’ll be looking forward to see what happens next with the app that has everyone “snapping”.

 

SEO Building Blocks

velocity Market Information, Professional Development

Consistency is the key to success in conducting SEO for businesses, both local and national. In order for your business to succeed in SEO, you must be consistent in the multiple building blocks of digital marketing. Overall, in the early stages of SEO, there are five basic building blocks to follow. Emphasizing and mastering these building blocks will provide a basic guideline and establish a consistent online presence for your business.

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Building Blocks:


k eywords:

Keywords are the most important aspect of establishing your online presence because they allow your business to consistently appear in the appropriate areas of focus. Keywords remain important anywhere from web development to brand awareness. When creating advertisements, you can target your desired consumers via page titles, meta-descriptions, and title/alt image tags.

c ategory:

Along with relative keywords, you must also establish a category for your business. This is easier said than done. This shouldn’t be one of the  broad categories that people use to describe certain products or services; it needs to be tied into the keywords that will optimize search results. Identify a category of business for tools such as Google Places, and use that category to find keywords that will help synchronize consistency and optimization.

l ocation:

The physical location of your business should appear online first and foremost so customers can locate you in person.  But you must also make sure that the addresses of your location(s) are consistently placed online across all third party search engines and websites. Your business can lose out on potential customers if directories feature incorrect location information.

l2 istings:

Referral website listings for a company are crucial to the “networking” aspect of your company and getting your company’s product or service through related sites. The more popular the referral websites, the better opportunity your company has for brand awareness. When establishing an online presence, your company must attach itself to more established sites to better build your online reputation.

i nteraction:

Lastly, once you’ve established your company’s online presence through keywords and listings, you must engage in social interaction. Social interaction is important for the early stages of optimization because of the consumer experience. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding, looking for personalized relationships with not only family and friends, but also with businesses. In the beginning, your responsibility is to reach and out and respond to your customers.

Taking Tips from the Experts: Make Your Youtube Legendary

velocity Market Information, Professional Development

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I know we’re a little late on the game, but the team at Velocity Agency would like to formally wish Youtube a happy anniversary! While Youtube is now well into its tenth year (It shares its birthday with Valentine’s Day), the site has yet to blow out the candles on its celebration. This past week Google continued the festivities and released a comprehensive list of the best Youtube videos, ever.

Over the past ten years, viewers have been unknowingly taking part in a vote for the most memorable and groundbreaking ads of the decade. Millions of views, paired with the opinions of industry experts, have helped to identify the “Top Ads from the First 10 Years of Youtube”. Aside from their remarkable ingenuity, these videos represent a transformation in the world of advertising. Youtube ads have allowed consumers to experience a new level of authenticity, amusement, and most importantly- engagement. Unlike traditional one-sided marketing, consumers are now capable of engaging and responding with their interests and opinions. Consumers are seeing what they want to see. Consumers are actually enjoying ads.

So how can you join the trend and have your consumers pressing replay?

  1. Give yourself some extra time. Advertisements are no longer limited to thirty second clips. Take the time to let your viewer get to know you and your story.
  2. Be epic. Don’t think like an advertiser, think like a filmmaker. Allow yourself room for some creativity and drama. Viewers share content that makes them feel something.
  3. Get people excited. Whether it be for a new product or an upcoming event, publish your ads right before the promotion and keep them running throughout. Not only will consumers be aware early on, the ad will remain relevant for longer.

So watch one of the below videos, get inspired, and start a conversation with your customers. You never know, maybe you’ll be on the list in 2025.



Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/a-decade-of-youtube-ads.html

Top 10 Principals of Great Agency Design

velocity Market Information, Professional Development

1
Details Details Details
Pay attention. Take notes. Understand the scope of the project. Ask many questions. The more you know about the project the better the design will reflect the message.


2
Take Criticism as a Challenge
When a project receives constructive criticism it is an opportunity to make it even better. There is always room for improvement and nothing is perfect.


3
Fonts are our friends
Remember that the font is part of the design and treat it that way. The words in the design are not an afterthought but are equal and part of graphic. Take command of your typeface.


4
Stay technically current
New tools, applications and technologies are coming out every day. Stay current. Learn and grow as much as humanly possible.


5
Don’t have a “Style” 
Each client is unique so your creative needs to be unique. Custom design and ideas are so important for every project. Quality is key.


6
Share 
Knowledge is power. Share technical knowledge and ideas. The stronger each team member is, the stronger the team.


7
Know the trends
Be aware of the trends but don’t be “trendy”. Stay informed on what is popular and know what to use and what to avoid.


8
Just say NO
Say no to bad design or a bad idea even if it comes from the client. Being bold and confident in your creative conviction is a valuable asset.


9
Walk away
It was a great idea in theory but it wouldn’t come together. Ideas need to be concise and clear. If the message isn’t coming through, no matter how cool, the idea needs to be put away. But put it on a shelf, if it truly is cool. It might be perfect for something else.


10
HAVE FUN
If you are not having fun, then what is the point.

 

The Influence of Social Media in Sports Marketing

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Social media has an enormous impact in the sports marketing industry. If athletes aren’t connected and tuned in, they’re not even in the game. All sports have extremely loyal fan bases. Most fans have participated in competition within their preferred sport, whether youth, collegiate, corporate, intermural, or through other avenues. This is why fans support the sports industry. It offers a relatable experience.

Most professional athletes get to live a lifestyle the average fan can only dream about. They are participating in something they love and are given the physical ability to showcase their talents on a grand stage. Most fans will never get the chance to physically interact with their favorite player or sports team, so they use their support as a means to interact and relate to each other. Social media provides an outlet and opportunity for fans and athletes to digitally connect and interact with each other at any time.

Social media can be utilized from many different angles. Not only is it useful for player-fan communication, but for promotions, endorsements, and joint ventures, etc. There are numerous partnership opportunities with companies who are searching for a professional athlete with relatable attributes to become a brand ambassador. Athletes should embrace their celebrity status by strategically making their brand relevant through leveraging their personal highlights and benefits.

For instance, Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer (soccer player) for the Spanish club, Real Madrid. Ronaldo is one of the world’s most renowned Federation International de Football Association (“FIFA”) players. This isn’t just because of his spectacular play and accumulated accolades, but his shocking 33.1 million Twitter followers and 106 million Facebook page likes. His team of strategist are the real deal. They found a niche that relates to the fans and networks, which catapulted him into a super brand. Ronaldo has created his own clothing line and has racked up endorsement deals with Nike, Herbalife, Clear, Novo Banco and more.

Social Media has innovatively revolutionized sports marketing. Every athlete, no matter how popular, should utilize and benefit from the advances of sports marketing in social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are just a few of the unique platforms at their disposal. It is imperative to let the world genuinely but respectfully, get an understanding of who you are as a brand. People want to know you. Give your audience insight. Do so correctly and the possibilities are endless.