Good Marketing Blogging: Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics is an online marketing firm that helps firms optimize, track, and analyze their digital marketing campaigns. They also run a helpful, insightful, and popular blog covering digital marketing topics. In learning about successful digital marketing the Kissmetrics blog has been a treasure-trove of information.

I’m going to analyze one blog post that stuck out to me: How Brands Can Take Advantage of Snapchat (infographic).

The post is written by Zach Bulygo (@zachcb1), the blog manager for Kissmetrics. This blog post is a very good example of a basic informational post. Writing about the basics of a topic can be difficult, especially for someone who knows a lot about how it works. Zach combines helpful text with an excellent infographic.

The Text:

Zach starts off by defining the audience that snapchat advertising is useful for: young adults 18-24. He also lays out some basic statistics about why Snapchat is a viable digital marketing medium, and should be part of any social media portfolio. Zach also sums up an important point to end the text:

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The Infographic: 

The infographic steals the show. As a visual learner, it was pleasing, helpful, and entertaining. The infographic relays demographic information already discussed in the text, and adds more data. It gives examples of successful implementations of Snapchat from major companies such as Acura and Taco Bell. Thirdly, it gives the readers some examples of Snapchat uses: Contests, New Product Sneak Peaks, and targeted videos, among more. Finally, it sums it up with the best practices a company should undertake when starting a brand communication on Snapchat.

Critique:

My one critique of the blog post is that the infographic felt buried. It was at the bottom of the post and I had to scroll down to find it. The infographic is visually appealing and interesting. As a frequent blog reader, it is possible that I could have missed it, because the extra step of scrolling through the post is one I often don’t take. Luckily this time I did however, because I was impressed with the visual representation of the blog.

More Marketing Insights from TEAM MONEY:

Steph Curry and Kevin Durant Can Play of the Same Team and Still Sell Sneakers

5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following

For me, flexibility has never come easily. Two years ago I could barely touch my toes or press up into a backbend (wheel pose) without help.

Today, I can sit comfortably in a split, while enjoying my morning coffee.

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Jokes aside, when I decided to commit to flexibility training, I learned some big lessons. These lessons were not only about flexibility but about building a following on social media.

1) Take progress photos. And share them.

When I started working on flexibility, I took a contortion class where my instructor made us take progress photos. Sharing these photos (while uncomfortable at times) on Instagram kept me accountable.

I stumbled into a subculture dedicated to flexibility through sharing progress photos. “Today you’ll find a flourishing crowdculture around almost any topic” because subcultures are amplified in the age of social media (Holt, 2016). This community became my primary source of motivation. I received comments of encouragement from people I would never meet in person – my digital family.

Two years later, and I’m still sharing progress photos.

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2) It takes 30-days to form a habit.

I HATED stretching. All of my fitness instructors told me if I really wanted flexibility training to become a habit, I would have to do it for thirty days. To jumpstart my flexibility training I took on a 30-Day Split Challenge. My challenge was simple: do 20-40 minutes of active stretches for my splits every day for thirty days. Sounds easy, right? It wasn’t at first.

I shared weekly progress with hashtags like #30daysplitchallenge to tap into a community of people who were working towards similar goals. The positive affirmation I received from these posts really kept me motivated to keep going. I ended up extending the challenge to do a second month. Stretching had become a habit.

And on Day 65, I got my first split.

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Before I knew it, I had also gained almost 4 followers for every 1 person I followed. Why does this ratio matter? Because it showed me that being authentic in my content was the reason people followed me, not to get another follower in return.

People love an underdog.

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3) Flexibility is mental.

So, what is really happening when you’re stretching? The truth is this: you’re training your mind, “Exercises such as reaching for your toes train the nervous system to tolerate a greater degree of muscle extension without firing off pain signals.” (Ghose, 2014) Sounds silly – but you can’t deny science.

Each time I stretched, I knew I was training my mind to go a little bit further. If someone had told me, “one day you’ll put your head between your feet,” – I would’ve laughed.

Looks like the joke is on me.

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4) Gains come at the most unexpected times, don’t give up.

You never know when gains will occur. There will be weeks (and even months) where you don’t feel like you’re making any progress. That’s normal!

For me, when I am injured (ironically) is when I have the biggest gains in flexibility. Weird, right? Earlier in 2016, I hurt my left wrist and had to rest it for 3 months. During that time, I had my first center split roll-through and stood up from a back bend with one hand.

The video doesn’t lie – note the wrist brace.

5) Stay hydrated.

Muscle flexibility is highly dependent on your hydration. “If you’re looking for a quick fix for just about anything that ails you, water is it. And that goes for flexibility as well.”  (Kita, 2009).

Drink water, osmosis is not the way. Trust me.

 

Parting thoughts…

Don’t be afraid to show weakness, failure, progress and success on social media. Authenticity is the key to finding and building your community.

Happy bending!

Melissa Barker


References

  1. Holt, Douglas. “Branding in the Age of Social Media.” Harvard Business Review Mar. 2016: n. pag. Print.
  2. Ghose, Tia (2014, November 13). Does Stretching Increase Flexibility?. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from: http://www.livescience.com/48744-how-does-stretching-work.html
  3. Kita, Joe. (2009, April 14). Drink Water, Boost Flexibility. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from http://www.coreperformance.com/daily/one-small-change/drink-water-boost-flexibility.html

 

Kim K On The Forbes Cover

Did you see the cover of Forbes Magazine this month? Kim Kardashian is on the cover! What was your reaction? Were you shocked? DId you roll your eyes? Where you slightly irritated that a seemingly “talentless” reality television personality made $160 million off of a mobile game app since it’s launch in June 2014? The face of “Mobile Moguls” is changing and those who know how to capitalize are winning BIG! When we think of old school media moguls we are used to names like: Hearst, Spelling, Turner and Oprah. In the digital realm that we will in now, we think of iconic names like: Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. But, there is a new breed of mobile moguls that are taking advantage of both. Love her or hate her, Kim Kardashian is a indeed a modern Mobile Mogul and she is a force to be reckoned with.

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How dysfunction in Congress is devastating rural communities

 

by Team Ruckus

Willamette University Atkinson School MBA for Professionals

Capitol

Remember the days when smoke filled back-room deals were carved out for members of Congress so they could take promises of money back to their communities and campaign upon those promises.  I miss those days, but likely not the for the reasons you think. I want my pork barrel spending back. Ok I said it out loud, even though every one of my conservative friends are cringing, I will say it again. BRING BACK PORK BARREL SPENDING!

 

Now that I said it, hear me out. These sweetheart deals were traded between members of Congress for votes on locally important projects for another member of Congress. It is reciprocity at its finest and the basis of any positive relationship. One member votes in favor of another member’s pet project with the expectation that a return vote for your project would happen through the appropriations process. It is a give and take relationship through genuine politics and the ability of each member to be able to influence another. This congressional appropriations encouraged constituencies to continually vote to keep stability in their government and money flowing back to their districts. This reciprocity gave members of Congress a reason to talk, negotiate, and consult with each other across the aisle, across chambers, and find solutions that were right for their own communities, big and small. In 2010, the House Republicans effectively banned earmarks in the appropriations process. Guess what, we have not had a fully appropriated budget pass since then. Budget extensions, government shutdowns, debt ceiling threats, omnibus spending bills and continuing resolutions which are little more than extending the previous year’s budget are the new norm.  At this point, we have dysfunction and no real reason for any member of Congress to work together at all. Imagine that scenario in your workplace trying to get anything done.

 

What does this have to do with rural communities? So let’s ask instead, what has happened with all that extra money Congress is saving by effectively banning congressional earmarks in the appropriations process? Nothing. The money is still there to be used. It is not distributed to multiple federal agencies to administer, while at the same time Congress has not increased the funding for staffing.  Now, small rural communities have to compete with all the cities across the U.S., through lengthy grant applications, through multiple different federal agencies, after completing multiple feasibility studies, by hired consultants, to show the need and justification for such grants and then they are asked to pay for a significant portion of the projects themselves.

 

So you ask, how do these small communities in rural America effectively compete in this environment? Rural communities cannot do it without significant human and financial capital. This is why the current granting system makes little sense. Rural communities with few resources are shunted through grant processes to satisfy their basic needs. At least with earmarks, small communities did not have to jump through so many hoops, satisfy seven different federal agency grant requirements and they could go to a handful of sources to get help with expensive infrastructure projects such as water and sewer infrastructure. Without these costly infrastructure investments in rural communities, they continually become less attractive places to live. This perpetuates an increased urban/rural divide where urbanites get grants for art installations while rural communities cannot afford to install, repair or replace decaying infrastructure such as water main lines and provide basic sanitation for their residents at a reasonable cost. As the population expands and housing becomes more expensive, resource intensive elements get pushed to the lower cost rural communities where resources are already limited. A couple of months ago, I was at a meeting and the rural community was concerned that individuals with mental health issues are moving to their community and that anytime a mental health emergency occurred, their rural volunteer fire department had to respond without resources to get that individual help.

Pork Congressman

For rural communities sake, bring back the pork barrel spending. If it is a ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ is what a struggling rural community needs to survive and thrive, lets help them do it without having them spend years satisfying federal grantor requirements. I would rather have wasteful spending in rural communities than the loss of the American rural lifestyle.
Returning to the regular order for congressional appropriations is the most valuable constitutional function of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Rural communities have a vested interest in this. To my rural friends, ask your Congressional members to get back to the regular order appropriations process and lift the earmark ban so the funding of important locally controlled projects are not hindered by bureaucratic red tape. Rural communities stand to benefit much more than they contribute into the federal tax system through the earmarking process.

Chasing My Dreams, Realizing My Power

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“Why are your knees covered in mud and your heels bloody?”

“Why are you in grad school?”

“Why would you try to do that?”

“Why?”

Hi. My name is Lauren and awkward social interactions are my specialty. Like, even more so than Dory from Finding Nemo. You know, that fish who forgets she is talking to you mid sentence? Loses her family because she forgets she even has one? Yeah, even more awkward than THAT fish.

(case and point: comparing myself to an animated fish – and meaning it. Publically.)

The above questions are just some of the brutally honest questions I have been asked in the last three months. No, I’m not recently pregnant, married, or attempting to get to Rio in 2016 for the speed walking competition, either. All I am doing is working towards my MBA at Willamette University, while working full time, and training for my first half marathon.

Not even a FULL Marathon; just a half! 13.1 miles of constant motion; during which all I will be uttering in-between gasps for air is I-havent-been-fit-since-I-was-16-years-old-what-the-hell-was-I-thinking.

This is my story. Well, one of my stories. This is my story right now – as it is happening in real time – all of the mucky, defeated, determined, yes I just shit my pants a little on that last run parts of it.

If you’re on board for the honest and gritty truth of trying to do something you once was impossible, stick around. This is the story of my journey to finishing this half marathon and documenting the experiment for my Marketing class. This is the first in  a series of posts chronicling, through various digital marketing methods, my trek to the half marathon.

It’s bound to get interesting. Some people argue that is already has!

My current goal is to finish the Disneyland Half Marathon on September 4th, 2016 in under three hours.  While dressed das a fish that has a terrible short -term memory, but damn is she committed! Just. Keep. Swimming. Lauren.

Current Stats:

Motivation for my last training run:  the sheer curiosity of if my body can stay in motion for two hours straight.

Length of last training run: 2 hours 18 minutes

Song that got me through my last training run: Donald Trump, by Mac Miller

Longest continuous distance ran (to date): 4 miles

Days to Disneyland Half Marathon: 50

PokemonGo – A Possible Marketing Tool?

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Before you think this is crazy, just hear me out. My wife found this article on NPR and it compelled me download the app to my IPAD. I admit, I wanted to hate this app. Even though I was a huge Pokemon fan as a kid and thought at the very least, I could re-live some nostalgic moments, a huge part of me felt this wouldn’t work.

When the app finished downloading, I skipped pass the tutorials and jumped right in. As soon as it started, right away it showed me that there was a Charmander Pokemon somewhere in my room along with other Pokemon in my immediate area. I held up my IPAD, moved a few feet to my dresser and there Charmander was!  As my PokeBall emerged on the on the screen, I threw it out using my finger and BAM, caught my first one. I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I wanted to go to catch the next one. I did experience the excitement of wanting to catch more – the #gottacatchemall mentality. Oddly enough, I think there is something to this, and not just the fact that it has all the makings for an addictive game.

As surprisingly addictive the game turned out tobe, you will also be surprised that this has huge potential to be a great marketing tool in the future. It is collecting a tremendous amount of customer data that can be used by other companies to target players for ads. Also, since the app pretty much tells, or entices, the players where to go, it’s not unreasonable to predict that advertisers will utilize the #gottacatchemall mentality to lure you into their business. Therefore, what you have in this app is a great future tool to get people through the doors of your business.

In terms of the ability of Pokemon Go to market itself as a product, the app is addressing three of the 5C’s in Marketing Strategy: Company, Customer, Context. This app still fits in with the brand image of its original company, Nintendo, as playful and non-offensive. The customer, or player, gets to experience a fun game and keeps them coming back for more, for free, and in terms of context, PokemonGo offers a scavenger hunt type of game right at a point when these types of scavenger hunt apps are starting to trend. PokemonGo hit the market at just the right time, perhaps Nintendo planned this all along!

The Fight For Summer Superhero Movie Domination

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Will DC stay alive with Suicide?

Marvel vs DC, in the fight for movie supremacy, Marvel is winning. Not only did they exceed expectation with Captain America: Civil War, they brought with them an unusual, straight out of left field home run with Deadpool. The wise cracking, antihero psychopath that breaks through the third wall and cannot die. Its also an R, that’s right, R rated superhero movie. Marvel has in one way created a new kind of market movie alternative for those getting sick of the same old superhero movies and those just getting older with the Marvel Brand. With all this, can DC make a come back? Batman vs Superman started off great but can they keep the momentum. There next hope is their upcoming movie Suicide Squad.

Marvel vs DC, in the fight for movie supremacy, Marvel is winning. Not only did they exceed expectation with Captain America: Civil War, they brought with them an unusual, straight out of left field home run with Deadpool. The wise cracking, antihero psychopath that breaks through the third wall and cannot die. Its also an R, that’s right, R rated superhero movie. Marvel has in one way created a new kind of market movie alternative for those getting sick of the same old superhero movies and those just getting older with the Marvel Brand. With all this, can DC make a come back? Batman vs Superman started off great but can they keep the momentum. There next hope is their upcoming movie Suicide Squad.

This movie may give DC a fighting chance for two reasons: one, great marketing with the trailers and two, bringing back the Joker. DC needs to play to their strengths and a huge one to their brand’s credit is the clown price of crime. The Joke is by far DC’s greatest Asset, if they play him right of course. With his shady backstory, haunting laugh, and sometime terrifying persona, it’s hard not to be intrigued. The Joker keeps loyal fans happy and brings new ones along for the ride.

I love the way DC is marketing this because I feel it keeps to the brand of DC. Branding has a lot to do with emotion and how a customer feels. DC’s brand brings up feelings of empowerment and dark. DC’s brand is epic powerful characters like superman that stands for truth justice and the American way, while the Joker is the dark sinister character that haunts your nightmares. These are feelings Marvel does not stir up.

 

Socially Sorted: Hints, tips and techniques to help WIN this DMC

And we’re off!  The 2016 Willamette MBA Pro DMC (Digital Marketing Challenge) is underway with fierce competition that spans the valley and teams dedicated to becoming #1.  But, how will they do this? Read on to find out, especially if you are interested in having your post solicit others to do your work for you (after all, aren’t we earning MBAs to figure out how to optimize resources?).

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Donna Moritz gives MBA Candidates a plethora of suggestions and strategies that are worth a try.  @SociallySorted, who herself has 33.2K (yes, read that THOUSAND!) Followers and 48.2K (DITTO!) Tweets, offers seven real-world and timely (in light of our Marketing Class Professor’s content) techniques for driving your market strategy directly into the line of your customer or potential reader’s eyes.

If you are a visual person (which a lot of us are), consider theCapture blog2 first tip to pin tweets to Twitter profiles.  Imagine getting twice the amount of eyes on your words with a few quick steps! Building on this strategy, a second tip is to create and post some amazingly interesting image that people just can’t resist.  Images that capture the imagination, take us to our Avatar or Pokemon Go sites are sure to encourage repeat tweets and pins.  As with other sections of this blog, @SociallySorted provides options on accomplishing this (check it out!).  One really cool aspect of these options is the brief discussion of tools that can help make pinning and tweeting even easier (Shutterstock Editor or Relay, as examples). Donna’s fifth suggestion (GOTCHA! yes, this is written out of order) expounds on optimizing images or blogs for links or posts to Facebook, again with a few options. Option 6 provides similar advice for Instagram.  Apokemon cagen interesting experience was we were writing this blog:  in an attempt to make this blog relevant and timely, thought we would inject images of the latest Pokemon Go craze to support our attempts at satire.  So, astutely, we entered “Pokemon Cages” in the search line on Google, which gave us animated images of Pokemon with Nicholas Cage’s face on them.  So, if using any of these image-based recommendations, use caution.

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MBA Candidates world around should take heed of Donna’s third tip: post your blog to your business page! In our class last night, one of our team members is a Willamette U employee and she encouraged us to use our Willamette U MBA page!  What an awesome idea that confirms Donna’s recommendation! (Have you done this yet?)  Of course, from here, it’s easy to leap to LinkedIn, Facebook and other popular sites.

For all the YouTube crazies out there, @SociallySorted includes recommendations for a short video or Facebook Live (and all this time I thought those folks were fictional!).  Too cool for those of us who still remember Super 8! (Okay, how many of you reading this know – or remember – Super 8?)  And last but not least, Suggestion Seven explain
s how to set up Twitter Cards, complete with examples of the process to help even the most luddite of us perform this task.

Donna’s siCapture pic 7te is easy and quick to read, contains a zillion (yes, I counted them – an even, round ZILLION) links and helpful step-by-step details for improving your chances of winning this competition.   Digging in, she encourages folks to use and share site content, which just made us appreciate this content further. So much for the Endowment Effect.

For those of you who are simply admiring all the chaos the competitive classes in this competition have created, one of the coolest things about Donna’s 7 Ways to Effortlessly Drive More Blog Readers with Visuals site is how encouraging it is: these tips lead you to believe even YOU can do this!

We were sure fooled into believing it!

So, have fun, check out the links, let us know your thoughts and read on for the next adventures in the 2016 WUDMC!

Black Andy

Black Andy: A thought process on descriptions of individuals

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Unless you have zero access to social media or even general access to current affairs, you have seen and heard about the Black Lives Matter movement, which is generally considered a left aligned political idea. The counter argument of All Lives Matter is generally seen as the politically right leaning voice. These two “sides” are what have inspired this thought discussion.

I am currently in an academic program and there are two Andy’s in my program. However, one is a male and one is a female. To further the discussion, one is also black and one is white. When people reference one of the Andy’s, it is almost always in the context of Male or Female “Andy”. But why do people inherently refer to gender first instead of race?

I myself am not a white male, but I am also not black. I work in a professional environment that is made up of mostly Caucasian males. In my general circle of friends and associates, if someone were to reference someone with my same name, I am often referred to as Asian “Name” as a general descriptor. But in the same situation, people are uncomfortable to refer to an individual as “Black” Name. Is there an inherent fear that just saying Black becomes a possible racist comment?

What I am proposing is that the inherent fear of describing someone as black is an issue in itself. If there is a fear to describe someone by race as a possible racist act, then doesn’t that mean that just the idea of being non-white has become inherently a negative connotation? There is nothing inherently wrong in being Black, Asian, Mexican, Arabic, Indian, etc. However, our society still appears to imply that using race as a descriptor will have a negative backlash on the speaker because race is still related to a negative opinion in the general populace of the Unites States.

When it is ok to describe me as Asian “Name” when trying to make a simple clarification of individual, but it is not ok to say Black Andy, are we just furthering the concept that Black has this negative connotation by Asian does not? It’s ok to say female, male, blonde, tall, big ears and other descriptors, and no one bats an eye.

So I am asking you, when I am trying to clarify if I’m talking about Andy, how should I describe them to clarify the situation? Does this concept apply to Andy also if he or she was skinny or fat (another current ongoing argument in the general public)? I would love to hear your feedback, the good and the bad.

 

*Names have been changed to keep cited individuals anonymous. No scientific sources are cited in this general discussion.

 

How to answer trolls when they’re just worried about their loved one.

There are unique challenges to marketing in health care. As a hospital, you aren’t selling a product, and many of your services are not based on traditional notions of demand. Social media marketing in health care is frequently focused on community education and outreach, which makes negative comments extra jarring. A comment about somebody’s son waiting in an emergency room for nine hours stands out starkly against a cheerful post of recommendations for managing your sodium intake this holiday season.

Ragan, a respected voice in health care PR, communications, and marketing gives some great basic tips for responding to negative comments here, but is that enough? Negative testimony speaks loudly against a service experience that many people already resent. Marketing professionals in health care have the opportunity to continue to educate—there’s a reason you may have to wait in the emergency room—as well as use the feedback to inform patient satisfaction initiatives. Indeed, some negative feedback must be addressed, to prevent a snowballing blow to community health. Visible negative comments can lead community members to delay care, or avoid trips to the hospital, which undermines the benefit of having locally available care options.