GameTime-Gives-Thanks-Holiday-Event-Flyer

I Tend Toward Modesty; But Let Me Explain.

 

In October of 2013, I was challenged to create a one day event at the GameTime – Tampa venue. The goal, as assigned by the CEO, was to get as many people possible in venue, on a single day. The underlying problem, as the CEO saw it, was the GameTime – Tampa venue was still unknown in the area, and too many potential customers were unaware the venue existed. My mission was to create, develop, promote and organize this one day event, with an “as needed,” and “case-by-case” budget.

As the Director of Marketing, with a single, part-time graphic designer working under me, it was my responsibility to first research the demographic near the GameTime – Tampa venue. While researching and analyzing the data, a concept began to emerge.

With the end-of-year holiday season quickly approaching, I realized a tie-in would be beneficial. The concept I began strategizing, was to piggyback upon Black Friday; with a twist. As Black Friday is a day when consumers are encouraged to spend, GameTime would have a day encouraging guests to save. The promotion became known as “GameTime Gives Thanks,” and was held the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday. For an entire day, GameTime – Tampa would offer unlimited and free video arcade game play for all guests. The promotion centered its messaging around the idea of: “being thankful for all the guests that visit and pay to keep GameTime’s doors open, and GameTime would like to give back with a day of free video games.”

As Director of Marketing at GameTime, my responsibilities are vast and multifaceted. I solely manage Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. I manage, edit and create all content for the website, utilizing a WordPress CMS. I develop, create and implement daily and weekly promotions, design marketing collateral and write all copy. I manage the sole, part-time graphic designer; along with supervise the sales/event coordinators at each of the six GameTime venues. And to succeed with this particular marketing campaign, I had to include each of these responsibilities.

In one month, I designed the GameTime Gives Thanks logo, tagline and description. Utilizing a creative brief I wrote, along with a series of mock-up designs I created in Photoshop, I assigned the graphic designer to develop content for: posters, social media posts, emails, in-store collateral, flyers and direct mailers. I used this artwork to schedule and send daily/weekly social media posts and emails. Facebook promoted posts and ads were used to increase impressions and engagement. I wrote and submitted a press release. A street team was created, under my supervision, to distribute “Golden Ticket” die-cut flyers, promoting the event. A Google AdWords campaign was implemented to promote targeted keywords in the geographic area. A direct mailer was designed and distributed to over 25 thousand local residents. All work was created, designed, scheduled, organized, supervised, written and promoted by me.

As a result, on Saturday, November 30, 2013, GameTime – Tampa saw an increase in guests of over 1000%. Despite all video games being free for the day, sales of food and drink were higher than comparable days, along with an increase in birthday party bookings. In fact, there was a line of over 100 people waiting outside the door before opening. This has never occurred on any other day in GameTime history.

Overall I am abundantly proud of what I accomplished, with little outside assistance. I was provided an open-ended challenge, and went above-and-beyond with success. But I  tend toward modesty, so let me explain. I did not accomplish all of this by myself. The graphic designer played a big role in creating the final artwork. Constant Contact made emailing a targeted list simpler. The sales/event coordinators, along with street team members worked the phones and streets to interact and promote the event face-to-face. PRWeb helped distribute the press release I wrote. Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest all assisted with attracting and engaging an audience online. And of course the CEO and COO provided funds and guidance. Without any, or all, of these people, groups and platforms, the “GameTime Gives Thanks” event would have never succeeded.

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How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

1st World Digital Marketing Problems

 

In essence, we must fail to succeed. – Daniel M. Christensen

What can you learn from reading LinkedIn updates? That everyone is an expert. Regardless of their field, every professional is convinced they must prove they have all the answers. Because of the inherent self-promotional attitude necessary, marketing professionals suffer from this “guru-mentality” at much higher percentages. Every marketer, especially in the digital realm, is convinced their methods will lead to success. They’ve tested, perfected and out-performed all of their peers.

The truth is, however, most digital marketers simply pick-and-choose segments of data, test results and insights to “Frankenstein” their own personal creed. No marketer likes to admit they’re still learning.

Luckily this method works. Too many executives, bosses and decision-makers know too little about the industry. They hear their business must exist online, but don’t know how truly make it grow. They understand social media is culture’s latest “fad,” and believe simply existing on Facebook will grow their business.

They want success, but don’t always believe in investing in true talent. True success comes from true talent. Talent’s the offspring of competition. To compete is to fail. And to fail is to learn. In essence, we must fail to succeed.

But before one can succeed, it is necessary to teach the inexperienced. In today’s corporate environment, all people, regardless of title, must keep social media in their mind. Today, no business-related action lives in isolation. It is crucial to include marketing teams in most business decisions, since each decision affects customers. And marketing teams are often the first point-of-contact for many customers. Whether through social media, email, or online review, customer’s opinions are often first heard by marketing teams.

Unfortunately, too many people are still unsure what digital marketing entails. It’s time we discussed today’s most common misconceptions.

1st World Digital Marketing Problems:

What my Boss thinks I do…

How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Co-Workers think I do…

Hamster-on-a-Piano-Derek-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Accounting Department thinks I do…

The-Joker-Burns-Money-Stack-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Web Designer thinks I do…

Zoolander-Files-in-Computer-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the I.T. Guy thinks I do…

Hackers-I-Want-a-Cookie-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Google Search thinks I do…

Cats-and-Kitties-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Customer’s Inbox thinks I do…

Hoarding-Burried-Alive-Newspapers-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Grandmother thinks I do…

Iron-Man-2-Touch-Screen-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Friends think I do…

South-Park-World-of-Warcraft-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Optometrist thinks I do…

Clockwork-Orange-Treatment-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Teenagers think I do…

A-Night-at-the-Roxbury-BecauseYouGoogledMe

Mayweather-vs-Maidana-The-Moment-Mike-Tyson's-Punchout

Recruit Redditors for Your Marketing Needs

The next-great marketer is more likely to come
from Reddit than Harvard.

Whoever created the first The Most Interesting Man in the World meme deserves a cushy job from Dos Equis. Sure, the commercials, created by Euro RSCG Worldwide  went viral themselves. Similar to Chuck Norris, The Most Interesting Man in the World is known for achieving unachievable greatness. With enviable swagger, and perfect poise, The Most Interesting Man in the World is exactly as his name implies.

 

But in recent years, the commercials have trended second to the popular meme. You can’t visit a 9GagCheezburger, or Tickld , without seeing a The Most Interesting Man in the World meme. The setup and punchline are so easy to understand, replicate and share. The meme is likely selling as many Dos Equis beers as any commercial advertising.

Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World-Best-Example-Paradoxes

Viral marketing is the next evolution of marketing. And similar to other forms of evolution, it occurs gradually, without anyone truly noticing. You may know it better as content marketing. Or social media marketing. But the goal is the same; create memorable content that is shared across the web. In effect, creating brand advocates who actively and openly endorse your message. All the great companies are participating.

From GoDaddy

 

to Old Spice

 

and Taco Bell

 

even Sprint.

 

Their approach is simple. “See our content. Like our content. Share our content.” It’s (relatively) cheap marketing. Turning viewers/users into brand advocates. When a consumer shares a brand’s content with a friend, the brand is receiving a word-of-mouth endorsement, along with forging an additional advertising channel.

Every marketing firm and advertising agency is looking to become the next viral thing. To create the next internet sensation. Unfortunately for them, it usually comes organically.

Like from some sinister looking cat,

 

or an innocent kid on drugs.

 

But sometimes brands have success. Gangnam Style wasn’t an accident. The record label perfectly calculated their marketing strategy. By first building a Korean audience, then gradually promoting Psy on American media networks, they were able to turn Gangnam Style into the most viral video of all-time

 

Devil’s Due, a horror movie, which by all accounts, bombed in the theaters, succeeded in their viral marketing. Unfortunately the movie couldn’t hold up to the “scares,” of their prank video. But the buzz for the opening weekend was huge.

 

In the very near future, it will be the creators of viral content that will become the most successful marketers. These creators understand what the internet is looking for. How to develop it. Promote it. Optimize and share it.

You won’t hear me claiming to be on the level of any of the content creators above, but I do understand the importance of honing the craft. Experimenting. Practicing. Testing. Failing. Learning.

Today I created some content, a gif, to promote an event. SHARE if You LIKE.

Mayweather-vs-Maidana-The-Moment-Mike-Tyson's-Punchout

Chum-is-Fum-Patrick-Star-SpongeBob-SquarePants-Marketing-Campaign-BecauseYouGoogledMe

It May Be Stupid, But It’s Also Dumb

Don’t suffer from the Sprint Framily syndrome. Common symptoms include “wtf,” “ok?” and “uh-huh…”

When asked about his advertising strategy, celebrated marketer, and brilliant slogan-ist, Patrick Star, stated, “well maybe it is stupid, but it’s also dumb.” If you recall, Mr. Star is the creator of the vastly viral marketing campaign, “Chum is Fum.”

We should all heed Mr. Star’s advice, and keep it simple, and stupid.  As long as it still “kinda” makes sense.

Sprint’s new marketing campaign, known as “Meet the Frobinson Family,” has decided to take a slightly different approach. Can anyone explain exactly what this commercial is about?

 

 

The advertising industry is racing to develop commercials ideally suited for recycling as digital content . My history may be off, but Old Spice was the first one. Or at least the first-best-one. I see this commercial as a turning point in advertising:

 

 

This commercial, with its silly premise and attention-grabbing quick-edits, went viral. Quickly. I’d wager as many, or more, people saw this commercial online, than on television.

And since then, every company has tried to replicate its ridiculousness. In today’s digital culture, it’s become more important to create viral content, than quality content. Unfortunately the two are rarely the same.

It’s only a matter of time before companies begin making commercials, in an attempt to pander to the web, specifically about cats…

 

 

Sprint is now hopping on the viral bandwagon. Falling significantly behind Verizon and AT&T in customers, they’re throwing an advertising “Hail Mary.”  The problem isn’t that the commercial is dumb and stupid (it is). It’s that the commercial isn’t clear whom they are targeting.

Is Sprint explaining, via the Frobinson family, that any type of person can be on your plan? Probably. But to whom are they attempting to target? Heads-of-households generally make these types of purchases. Are the dynamic characters resonating with these decision-makers? Can they relate to any of them?

Or is Sprint’s goal to simply create a uniquely confusing commercial? When Old Spice made their “Man on a Horse,” commercial, they were targeting two groups. Young males (with humor), and Mom (with a good-looking male actor). These two groups make up the majority of deodorant purchases. Sprint, however, doesn’t seem to be targeting any person in particular. Not the head-of-household. Not Mom. Nor Dad. Not even teenagers.

If anyone, they seem to be targeting social outcasts and outsiders. And how many friends and family will they have to add to their Framily plan?

A Professional Introduction

Remember when marketing and advertising was simpler? Buy a commercial during primetime, or in the Sunday paper, and rest assure you’ll have eyes on your message. Try that today and risk your target audience fast-forwarding through your commercial, or asking, “what’s a newspaper?” The options were not only narrower, but more popular. Netflix, Pandora and RSS Feeds have essentially killed the market-saturation approach. The internet has created a segmented market, and having all eyes on your message is, if not impossible, at least improbable. There are simply too many entertainment options competing for attention. How can Mr. or Mrs. Business tell the world they exist?

Every day the industry shifts closer to inbound, and away from outbound marketing. The consumer, if not actually smarter, is at least more clever about filtering messages. People, in general, spend much of their day trying to avoid advertisements. The shift is leading to companies utilizing a “branding” approach. Pushing the “brand,” rather than the “product or service,” prevents the consumer from instinctively tuning-out. A beneficial result of this shift is how creative possibilities expand. Focusing on “brand” broadens the businesses’ message. The objective shifts from, “buy our product,” to, “like us.”

Diversification has long been the safety net of investing. Even marketing strategies have incorporated the concept. Rather than focus a budget on a handful of media formats, spread the dollars across several. Not only does this allow for better market testing, but increases the likelihood of reaching your target audience. This isn’t a groundbreaking concept. Traditional marketing has prospered with this strategy for years. What is new, however, is the depth at which this concept is no longer a suggestion. Diversify or perish.

Today’s top marketing talent will be diverse. They will understand how to design quality content. How to create and curate. What it takes to build social engagement. How to turn a Like in to a Share. And a Follow in to a Customer. They will test and optimize as second-nature. Their ears and eyes will always be open to the latest trends, industry news and the competition. Most importantly, they will be capable of managing all of these concepts simultaneously. Top marketers will understand how to produce a commercial, upload it to YouTube, promote it on Facebook and Twitter, compose emails linking to it, edit blog entries about it, develop keywords for PPC advertising, and how to craft titles and alt-text for organic optimization. The segmentation of marketing disciplines, into specialties, is a diminishing necessity. Diversify or perish, in business, and professionally.

Internal corporate synergy is no longer an appealing business model, it’s an absolute mandate. The decisions of one department can no longer live in isolation. The consumer can now take their complaint directly to Twitter, for the entire world to see. Handling issues exclusively in-house can be detrimental in today’s culture. To succeed in marketing, all business divisions must communicate and collaborate. And the only way to truly foster this cooperation is to assure your marketer(s) understand the bottom-to-top concepts thoroughly. Today’s marketer(s) must understand the depth of systems, be they platforms, media formats or devices, because they all intersect. SEO, social media and advertising must all connect, and success depends on acquiring the talent that understands it all.

Today, more than ever, creativity is the key to marketing success. Digital marketing is such a new and evolving industry, that profit depends on equal parts “best practices” and “outside-the-box thinking.” The goal of every marketer should be: experiment, test, learn, and repeat. Follow the successes of industry leaders and expand upon their insights. However, as a wise man once said about obtaining knowledge:

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know, you know?”

~ Daniel M. Christensen

Behold the Wacky Twerking Inflatable Tube Girl

SHARE if You LIKE – Wacky Twerking Inflatable Tube Girl

Today’s SHARE if You LIKE featurette, is brought to you by the letter “K.” As in:

Me: “Hey I found some super sweet articles to curate today”

You: “K”

Behold the Wacky Twerking Inflatable Tube Girl

Behold the Wacky Twerking Inflatable Tube Girl

Great Skills. But whether they’re great knife-throwing skills, or CGI-type editing skills, is the real question.

Let the “Old English” meme-fodder begin

Let the “Old English” meme-fodder begin

Big Brother is disgusted by how much you touch yourself on webcam

Big Brother is disgusted by how much you touch yourself on webcam

The fountain of youth comes in a bottle. It’s called Photoshop

The fountain of youth comes in a bottle. It’s called Photoshop

If I were a veterinarian, I’d prescribe cuddles for everything

If I were a veterinarian, I’d prescribe cuddles for everything

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, believes we’re all “creative and unpredictable special snowflakes.” #Comforted

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, believes we’re all “creative and unpredictable special snowflakes.” #Comforted

King’s Cross Station is looking kinda grimey

King’s Cross Station is looking kinda grimey

Go home, Seahorse, you’re drunk

Go home, Seahorse, you’re drunk

You can now build your own Flappy Bird game. But I can’t be friends with anyone that does.

You can now build your own Flappy Bird game. But I can’t be friends with anyone that does.

The Voice of A Working Progress...

The Voice of A Working Progress…

I hate the sound of my voice. I still have no idea how my own voicemail sounds. I don’t want to hear it. The reality of my voice isworse than whatever it is I hear when I speak. To anyone that’s ever heard me, I apologize.

Regardless how it sounds, I’m glad I have one. My limited hand dexterity wouldn’t allow me to hold a full conversation in sign language (sorry ladies).

Hearing your voice is one thing. Finding your voice is something else altogether. What should your voice sound like? What will it say? How will it say it?

As I started my journey through the un-filtered landscape of digital marketing, At first, I simply wanted to be present. I hoped to experiment. Learn, Evolve. Improve. So I started creating and curating. Spreading content across as many platforms possible. I was a machine possessed. On a mission to spread like a virus.

But, as I look back at my work, I notice the mistakes. The gaps in optimization. The lack of quality engagement. I see all the content I marketed, and understand it had no voice. Not unifying message. My voice sounds terrible.

One post was a self-created gif. Another was a link for better SEO. I wrote about a trending sub-reddit one day. The next was about networking on LinkedIn. I’d gain a follower because of a meme I created, then lose them because my next curation had nothing to do with what interested them in the first place.

In the process, I’ve learned my content needs a voice. And it won’t involve speaking to anyone specifically.

My day-to-day responsibilities are overwhelming in scope. I’m a hybrid-marketer. I practice, research and implement a multitude of marketing components. Webmaster. SEO. Social media. Content creation. Content curation. Copywriting. Networking. Email marketing. Direct marketing. Digital marketing. Traditional marketing. Guerilla marketing. Promotions. Public relations. Google AdWords. Social media advertising. Print advertising. And so on. And so on.

As I compiled a list of articles I read, presentations I download, pages I shared, media I created, accounts I followed, etc., I heard my voice.

I’m A Working Progress…

I represent the evolution and growth of a digital marketer. A trial-by-fire experiment, from creation and curation, to implementation and optimization. My hat collection is expansive, and I wear all of them daily.

My guess is I’m not alone.

I can’t focus on any one of these aspects. Not for long, anyhow. My mind, like my to-do list, jumps from topic to topic. I’m the profile of a multitasker.

So follow me, as I experiment. Share the things I like. Curate the content of interest. And if the voice you hear today isn’t interesting, understand it’ll talk about something else tomorrow.