Category Archives: interactive marketing

Introducing…c21’s first Vlog

A video blog or video log, sometimes shortened to vlog, uses video to convey a message or story. Vlog’s often combine embedded video with supporting text or images that are eventually posted to a personal blog, or YouTube channel, Vimeo, etc.

YouTube currently ranks among the top three most-visited sites on the web. With over 1 billion unique visits per month, it reaches more Americans ages 18-34 than any cable network. More than 100 hours of video are uploaded every 60 seconds, and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month.
The inclusion of video to a marketing strategy could be the missing link to what connects a business or organization to its target audience.

With that in mind, c21 has launched an in-house video marketing suite featuring the latest technology including a high quality camera, lavaliere mic, state-of-the-art lights, software and more to accommodate our client’s latest video needs.

To see our capabilities, check out our first vlog where we examine, “What makes a video go viral?”

The SouthWiRED Experience – by Telleen Gegner

SWLogo

I spoke at this conference a few years ago (back when it was called Digital Atlanta), so I knew there would be a great variety of sessions that would be interesting to attend. The key takeaway for me and one of the common messages I heard throughout the entire week was…analytics.

data analysisWith all the technology out there, tracking everything we do online, everywhere we go, our preferences/dislikes, our behavior and more, it’s no surprise that figuring out what to do with this data is extremely important, especially to marketers. Here’s the short version of what was discussed:

  • Step 1: Determine your goals. Do you want to increase visitor time spent on your website? Do you want to increase sales? Do you want more Facebook engagement? Knowing what you (or your boss) will consider a success is key.
  • Step 2: Determine what to track. Once you’ve set your goals, review what data you can track. From email open rates, items left in shopping carts, top pages viewed on your website to demographics of your Facebook fans, pick a few and pay close attention.
  • Step 3: Review the data. Determine how often you should be reviewing your analytics data. Is it weekly, daily, monthly? Figure out which format is best to visually assess your data. As Lauren mentioned in last week’s blog, is a huge monthly report needed or would an infographic be more beneficial?
  • Step 4: Adjust your goals and/or strategy. Once you’ve reviewed the data, now is when the important stuff happens. What worked? What didn’t? Make changes, set new goals and try something new.
  • Step 5: Test, test and test. Keep reviewing the data and testing new tactics. If you find something that works, you can always find new ways to tweak it and improve or target another audience you hadn’t before.

Analyzing data can be overwhelming, so start small, develop a plan and work your way up.

I also have to give a shout out to SouthWiRED for their design work. If you didn’t notice it the first time, take a second look at the logo. Hint: The light bulb is very cleverly designed. Spot it?

-Telleen Gegner, c21

INTEGRATE 2014 Recap

INTEGRATE 2014

Each year West Virginia University hosts the INTEGRATE conference for Communications professionals. Next year’s conference will be May 29-30, 2015.

One of the ways the c21 team keeps up with the latest strategies in communications is by sharing best practices with one another. At least once a quarter, the team hosts internal Lunch and Learn’s where we share ideas and concepts gained from conferences, seminars and webinars we’ve attended.

I attended the INTEGRATE 2014 conference hosted by West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. I’m currently pursing my master’s degree in integrated marketing communications (IMC) from the university and each year the WVU Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate program hosts the INTEGRATE conference, where more than 200 communications professionals attend innovative workshops and breakout sessions, and participate in thought provoking discussions about IMC trends in our industry.

The IMC graduate program is offered exclusively online and allows communications professionals to re-align their marketing activities to ensure a constant flow of information to consumers from a variety of media. Most IMC students, like myself, are able to continue to work full-time while earning their degree.

The students earn a practical, customizable graduate education that is designed to equip them with the skills to emerge as leaders in the field and immediately apply what they’ve learned to their professional lives. The program is taught by a diverse faculty – from marketing directors to academics to entrepreneurs – who are recognized leaders in their fields.

During the c21 Lunch and Learn, I shared a few of the best practices and most creative IMC campaigns with the team. Even though I’ll obtain my degree this December, I’m definitely looking forward to attending the conference again next year. CLICK HERE to check out some of the thoughts I shared with the team.

Starbucks Brings Your Coffee to Life

Whether you are a coffee drinker or not, Starbucks has launched a very cool mobile app today that brings its holiday red cups to life. Yes, you read that correctly. Starting today, the holiday red cups come alive with an augmented reality app for smartphones (for both iPhones and Androids!).

Since I’m a green tea drinker myself, I don’t normally frequent Starbucks that often, but I do find myself very curious to try this app out. The app allows you to scan five Starbucks holiday characters on red cups and 47 other in store items, like bags of coffee and displays, and watch as they come to life.

To make it even more interesting, those who activate all five characters can qualify to win an as of right now unnamed prize. If you know me, you know I’m competitive and I like to win, so I just might change up my morning routine and stop in for Starbucks this week to check this out.

What about you? Do you think the augmented app is the wave of the future or a waste of marketing effort and money?

Watch the demonstration video here.

– Telleen Anderson-Lozano

Google+ brand pages – will they be worth the wait?

Ever since the search engine giant, Google, launched its new social media platform in June, c21’s clients have been asking, “How do we get on Google+?”

In the profound words of Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre, “Hold up, wait a minute.”

In July, Google+ opened the floodgates for folks like you and me to compartmentalize our friends, family members and coworkers into those now-famous concentric circles; but Google+ hasn’t allowed companies to take advantage of the new site…yet.

Initially, marketers were anxious to leverage the site for both companies and consumers.  A few brands came out of the gate with profiles, like Sesame Street.  Lacking a policy for businesses, Google+ gave the boot to those early adopters, including my childhood friends, Bert and Ernie.

Google’s product managers responded to booming business interest in a post last month, indicating that we will see brand pages by the end of 2011.  In the meantime, they have granted beta brand pages to a few, select companies, like Ford.

While Google+ perfects its brand pages, anticipation is building in marketing departments across the globe – for good reason.  Interactive experts predict that brands will be able to measure consumer interaction on Google+ pages using the widely acclaimed Google Analytics – providing valuable social media ROI.  In addition, it’s expected that Google will give companies greater search engine exposure by highlighting a company’s Google+ page in search results.  Most importantly, Google+ allows users to segment other users through circles, providing marketers with the ability to hyper-target posts, and yes, even Google Ads.

When Google+ finally raises the veil on its brand pages, c21 will provide clients with a full update on how to establish a corporate presence on the social media site and what the new rules mean for pay-per-click advertising and consumer interaction.  Until then, logon to Google+ and add the c21 team to your circles: Sharon, Marlena, Renee, Anna Ruth, Telleen and Karla!

– Anna RuthAnna Ruth Williams

QRevolution?

QR codes are fun! From bikini bottoms and tattoos to headstones, these scannable images that can be “read” by a smartphone to link to a website are a marketing novelty.  But marketers are going to have to start using these trackable codes more intelligently if they are going to move from a gimmick into a useful marketing tool.

Don’t get me wrong – QR codes are useful.  They allow users to get detailed information in a quick (hence the QR – quick response) manner not before possible, and marketers can track QR code scans directly back to the magazine, direct mail, sign or even body part from which they came.  However, many marketers are using QR codes simply for the novelty and not providing any real value to consumers – running that risk that consumers will grow tired of the codes before smart marketers truly prove their value.

First, many marketers are using QR codes in mediums that don’t make sense.  For example, Email Insider, of all places, suggests integrating QR codes into email content and email signatures.  Please tell me, what value does this provide consumers?  For starters, more than 13% of emails are viewed on a phone (and I’m seeing in excess of 30% for some of my clients!).  How am I supposed to scan my phone with my phone?  I can’t.  And for the rest of the readers checking email on their computers, what’s easier – pulling out your phone, opening your QR scanning app, scanning the code and viewing the content on your phone screen OR simply clicking the link in your email and pulling it up on the screen you’re already viewing? Hmm…

Second, too many marketers aren’t providing any real value with their codes.  Nissan and Home Depot are getting it right, providing videos, buying guides, product details and financial information that a user would often have to spend time searching and going to multiple locations to find.  Far too many others are missing the boat.  QR codes that simply link to your website or Facebook page (I’m looking at you Taco Mac) in most cases don’t provide any value to the customer.  If I’m already in your store, eating at your restaurant or reading your ad, I probably already have a good idea of what you do.  Take the extra step and provide me with a reason to make a purchase, sign up for more information from you or add another beer to my Taco Mac Brewniversity list.  Sure, links to your website and Facebook may increase your traffic and fans – but what does it do for the consumer?  If they can’t tell you, odds are they won’t be back – or will think twice before scanning the next code they come across.

I want to see QR codes succeed – they have the potential to benefit consumers and marketers alike.  So I propose a QRevolution where marketers motivated by strategy, not novelty, implement QR codes into their marketing tactics. Novel idea, right?

Renee Spurlin– Renee Spurlin, director

The B2B Benefits of Social Media

BtoB Magazine released its “Emerging Trends in B-to-B Social Marketing: Insights from the Field” report last month that details how B2B marketers are using social media to engage customers, prospects and even internal employees.

The survey found that 93 percent of all B2B marketers use social media platforms to reach target audiences.  The top channels are:

  1. LinkedIn – used by 73 percent of respondents
  2. Facebook – used by 71 percent of respondents
  3. Twitter – used by 67 percent of respondents
  4. YouTube – used by 48 percent of respondents
  5. Blogs – used by 44 percent of respondents

While all of these platforms have unique benefits and broad audiences, LinkedIn is favored by B2B marketers because of the professional networking site’s lead-generation power.  LinkedIn recently announced that is has surpassed 100 million users worldwide, and is continuing to add one million users per week.

So, why are some companies still resisting social media?  Seventy percent of BtoB Magazine survey respondents cited a lack of resources while 57 percent cited poorly defined ROI metrics, and 44 percent said “lack of knowledge about social media” prevented them from moving forward with social media programs.

Since launching c21i, our interactive practice group, c21i logocommunications 21 has helped B2B clients overcome these hurdles and implement social media campaigns that increase search engine optimization and drive traffic and sales.  For example, after taking over the Twitter account for QTS, the third largest data center provider in Palladium Energy Blogthe United States, followers increased by 30 percent in just three months.  And Palladium Energy, a leading manufacturer of high-performance lithium–based battery packs, experienced a 92 percent increase in views on its blog after c21 began developing creative content that tied to current events.

Check out some of our great B2B clients QTS Twitterand contact us if you’re interested in learning more about our B2B social media strategies.

— Anna Ruth