Team Gonzos’ Lessons Learned

Team Gonzo had a number of learnings over the course of our Digital Marketing Competition over the past month:

Content Creation

We were proud of our content and felt we developed solid digital marketing and social media posts. Our titles could have been more enticing, we could have formatted content more effectively with more use of images and white space, and we could have given ourselves more time for content development and promotion.


With the varied content on the blog, we felt it was challenging to determine the right audience for promotion of our posts and didn’t post as broadly as we could have. Part of this was due to discomfort using our own personal brands and social channels to promote content we didn’t have complete control over. Among other issues, we had technical issues creating the links, didn’t utilize best practices in timing of posting and promoting.

Google Analytics

It look us most of the length of the competition to figure out how to use Google Analytics. It was helpful to look at past posts to determine patterns for success and explore what our competitors were up to. With more time, we could have learned to better track our views, identify patterns in differences between channels, and apply our additional learnings.


The 5 Cs of Personal Branding: The Most Important Story is Your Own

If you’re like me, you’re far more comfortable talking about others’ success than your own. You’re focused on marketing your company, understanding the benefits your products offer, tailoring your messages perfectly to the right audience, and delivering them through the right channels.

But, there is an important element to your work that you may not be considering: your own personal brand. Taking time to curate your reputation as a marketer can yield returns in the form of career prospects, effectiveness, and influence in your field.

I attended the Digital Marketing Summit in Portland recently (which, side note, also included a hilarious keynote from Chelsea Handler), where I heard Monique Hayward, Intel marketing maven, speak about using your storytelling skills to build your brand. Here’s my recap of Monique’s 5 Cs of personal branding:

    1. Competence: Clearly, a foundation of competence is key. To build your reputation you must be authentically skilled at your craft. Master the principles of marketing and sustain an intellectual curiosity to keep learning as much as possible.
    2. Cachet: Your skill and competence will drive your cachet; as you build your brand, others will come to trust your expertise. Your personal brand is the currency you trade for influence, and you must carefully and intentionally build and cultivate it.
    3. Coaching: Seek out and learn from mentors and coaches, both inside and outside of your field. Collaborating with others is a great way to learn and build your network. Identify leaders you admire, reach out to them and create a relationship.
    4. Connections: Work your network. Create authentic connections to build your cachet and advance your reputation. Make strategic connections and ensure you’re visible in circles where it matters.  
    5. Communication: Flex your storytelling muscle to tell your own. Identify what differentiates you and makes you unique. Think about what you have to say, who cares about what you have to say, and why it matters that you’re the one who’s saying it. From this, create your 60-second elevator pitch and practice it. Use personal and professional conversations and social media to share your story and build your brand. 

Thanks to Monique for sharing her presentation with me for this post!

— Jessica Bowersox

For further reading:

3 Things You Need to Know About Digital Marketing

We sat down with Kent Lewis, president and founder of Anvil Media, Inc., a Portland-based agency specializing in search engine marketing, social media marketing and analytics, to ask about the top three things digital marketers should be thinking about. Here’s what he had to share:

  1. Understand the Entire Customer Journey: Reaching customers online is an important step in the customer journey, but it’s not the only step. There are many other places  offline where customers are engaging with your brand. Think about these touch points: what is the first, and what is the last? There are more places to interact with customers than you’d think, including customer service and support opportunities. Consider the full customer life cycle, and learn to optimize each touch point to increase conversion rate, reduce sales cycle and increase profitability across the entire life cycle.
  2.  Create an Attribution Structure to Measure the Customer Journey: A digital marketing strategy is nothing without being able to measure its effectiveness and impact. Digital marketing is very measurable by its nature, but it’s not a completely accurate representation of the full customer journey that also includes offline touch points. Map the customer journey and determine how to measure and give credit to each touch point, from the first to the last, to understand your impact.
  3. Think of Technology as an Enabler, not the Solution: Of course technology is key in the digital marketing game, but think of it as a means to an end — not an end-all-be-all solution. Understanding the fundamentals to why certain digital strategies work and when to apply different solutions is an important ingredient to success.  

Thanks to Kent for sharing his time and expertise with us. Enjoy!

For further reading, check out:

Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and the IV Vitamin Drip: The Celebrity Effect on Social Media Marketing

What if there was a product that could offer a quick fix for the common cold, cure the dreaded hangover after a long night out, give you an energy boost after pulling an all-nighter on your presentation, or just generally help you feel better and younger?

Sounds too good to believe, right? Then, add the celebrity endorsement power of Rihanna, Madonna, Adele, Kim Kardashian, Simon Cowell, along with many other talented athletes and artists who have been seen using these products and espousing their benefits on social media, and these factors combine to create a powerful strategy for IV vitamin therapy companies to promote their services.

Why does it matter if celebrities are seen on social media using your products? Let’s explore the celebrity effect upon companies.  

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What is IV Vitamin Therapy?

First off, what the heck is the IV Vitamin Therapy? Intravenous (IV) therapy delivers liquid substances into a vein and is the fastest way to deliver medication, vitamins and fluids throughout the body. IV therapy began in the 1830’s and became widely used in the healthcare industry after the 1950s. IV vitamin therapy is also referred to as vitamin drips. Typically, only 40% of over-the-counter vitamins ingested orally is absorbed into your body while vitamins administered intravenously will absorb at 99.9%.

Over the last few decades, companies have begun to offer IV vitamin therapy at spas specifically designed to provide these services and with mobile services at homes or concerts. Originally marketed as a hangover cure, these companies have now expanded the appeal of their product to include remedies for allergies, anxiety, depression, fatigue, colds and flu, along with being heralded as one of next big beauty treatments.

Incredible, right? These are amazing claims, but alas, scientific research has not quite caught up to validate these claims or to evaluate the safety of regularly receiving these treatments. You should consult a medical provider prior to jumping on the Kardashian IV Therapy bandwagon.

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The Celebrity Effect

Does seeing a celebrity using a product affect a consumer’s purchasing decision? Yes, it does. One Taiwanese study showed that consumers remembered products associated with a celebrity better than other products. If you happen to be a fan of that celebrity, you’re more likely to place a higher value on that product. Your subconscious suggests to you that using the product is a way to emulate that celebrity’s desirable traits.

Does this mean that I’m going to run to the store to get one of the newest endorsed product by Ryan Reynolds, Aviation Gin? Not necessarily. Seeing your product used on social media by a celebrity mainly builds consumer confidence, preference and brand awareness through social media — especially when your target may include the social media savvy Generation Zers and Millennials.

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It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Remember Rihanna’s backlash at Snap Chat on Instagram? Stock prices dipped after the backlash but the company regained its losses later that week.  While this only had short term effect, it does not help the company’s image in the court of public opinion, especially with losing support of an influential celebrity in Snap Chat’s targeted market segment.

Does it work?

Yes, celebrity social media endorsements do contribute to the perceived value of a product or service. According to a report from Marketwatch, a simple brand signing of a celebrity or athlete can increase sales by an average of 4%. The social media presence of a celebrity using a product contributes to consumers’ trust and brand awareness, and promotes your product while influencing consumer purchase intentions.

Is this another Kardashian endorsed prepaid credit card? Will we see a resurgence in Trump Steaks and be happily grilling them over Labor Day weekend? Or brushing our teeth with a Justin Beiber singing toothbrush with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen AquaFresh toothpaste? Hold on… having a celebrity endorsement does not guarantee your product or marketing strategy is successful.

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Keep in mind that celebrity endorsements are not enough to guarantee success in attracting new consumers or gaining acceptance in an emerging market. Gaining the endorsement of Justin Beiber or Rihanna may not necessarily matter to the consumers in your targeted market segment.  Companies must continue to demonstrate their value to consumers and show them how they’re providing benefits and value in real and tangible ways.

Free Social Media Tools to Try in 2018

As we covered in Just Because You’re a Millennial Doesn’t Mean You’re a Social Media Wizard,  social media is ever changing and so are the tools we use to express ourselves. Here are some outstanding free tools that set your social media presence to the next level.


Usage: Create new images for your web and social media presence. It has thousands of templates and millions of images to choose from.

Features: Animate designs with Crello for free. Whether you have a design team or not, faster is better.


Usage: This is an editing tool to create stories on Instagram and Snapchat, allowing you to add text and upload videos. You can make stories in advance, email them to yourself, and post them when it’s convenient for you.

Features: Keeping a publishing schedule is a challenge. I like this tool to prep stories in advance.


Usage: Are you sending blogs and newsletters on Facebook Messenger? Are you running a campaign with a strong Facebook presence? Now you can send up to 1000 messages a month for free.

Features: Like many new marketing tools, you can track and review your performance in the same place.

For additional reading, check out:

Digital Marketing Tips for Digital Natives

Gifs and Memes: The New Art of Marketing



The Gen Z Frontier: Digital Marketing for Digital Natives

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Born roughly from the mid-1990’s through the mid-2000’s, Generation Zers are the first true digital natives. They’ve grown up in a world filled with computers, mobile phones and online video.

Raised in an era where so much of their lives are visible online, they understand the impacts of their digital presence on their reputations and job prospects – as a result, they carefully curate their online identities.

Standing 60 million strong, Gen Z’s influence and purchasing power is growing. According to Fast Company statistics, Gen Z will account for 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. According to a study by sparks & honey, they represent $44 billion in annual purchasing power in the U.S. Impressive, right?

With Gen Z’s size and influence, marketers need to know how to tailor their strategies to this audience. Here are four ways to help your digital marketing efforts resonate with Gen Z:

  1. Leverage multiple channels: These tech-savvy, connected individuals are using multiple channels and devices to interact with companies. Lead with social media and video strategies that are optimized for mobile. Reinforce these messages through your website and email marketing strategies.
  2. Make it mobile: Gen Zers literally don’t know a world without mobile phones. Digital marketing strategies must seamlessly incorporate and be optimized for mobile. Think shorter videos, less text, and compelling (correctly sized) images.
  3. Show your values: Gen Z is socially minded and wants to see that companies are making a positive difference in the world. Tell them about your values and how you’re giving back.  
  4. Use the eight-second rule: Accustomed to being constantly inundated with information, this generation appreciates communication that cuts through the noise. Capture their attention with direct, concise messages tailored to them, and say it in eight seconds or less. 

For additional reading, check out: 

Shoulders of Giants: 5 of the Most Popular Posts So Far

Isaac Newton was a pretty smart dude. But when he said “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants,” we doubt he thought it would be co-opted centuries later by marketing students grasping for a blog theme. Nonetheless, here we are.

This post bought to you by Sir Isaac Newton and the Amazing Gonzos, a group of MBA students with excellent taste in Muppets. (Wikimedia Commons/

As we prepare for the outpouring of content the next four weeks of this class exercise will generate, we thought it would be prudent to look back at some of the most widely read posts produced by previous participants. We’ve packaged the popular pieces here for your perusal, and we promise to pause alliterating presently. Probably.

Post #1: KD, Steph, and the Brands

When Kevin Durant made the move to Golden State, the Warriors immediately became the most talent-rich team in the history of the NBA. It also meant two sets of signature sneakers on the same bench, Durant repping Nike’s KD line and Steph cooking up Chef Currys for Under Armour. Read the post to learn more about how these superstars and their super-sponsors divide and conquer in the marketplace.

Post #2: Stretching for an Audience

Social media has made it easier than ever to build a network of support to help you achieve your goals. Whether you’re a maker looking for advice from experts or, as in this post, embarking on a new exercise program and looking to engage with like-minded folks and supporters, social engagement provides another dimension of interaction in your quest. And, hey, if you want to do the splits too, just follow the same stretching plan that she did!

Post #3: Selling Out in Portland is no exception to the pervasiveness of basketblogging, as shown by our second piece devoted to hoops in our all-time top views list. But instead of arguing the merits of 3-and-D wings and examining salary cap minutiae, this post takes a close look at how the Portland Trail Blazers (and their marketing department) have built a loyal and passionate fanbase in one of the NBA’s smallest markets. RIP CITY BABY!

Post #4: Pokémon GONE?

If you were alive and had a mobile phone in summer 2016, you likely played Pokémon GO. Businesspeople wandered the neighborhoods on their lunch breaks, diners dropped lures at cafes, and youngsters swarmed parks and plazas in search of those rare pocket monsters. While it lives on with core of devoted players, Pokémania at large quickly waned. This post examines whether Pokémon GO can be revived, or if Niantic needs to choose a new hero.

Post #5: Getting Great

Some people walk their dog or take a hike for a bit of outdoor time. This guy climbs rocks. And cliffs. Really difficult climbs. No simple tasks, and they require preparation and dedication. Learn about goal-setting and maximizing your potential from someone that has used these techniques to approach the top of the world.