A Marketer’s Guide to Pokémon GO

By Melinda Hudgins Noblitt | 7.25.16

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or hiding from political debates and taking a sabbatical from all forms of media), you’ve undoubtedly heard about, participated in, or said the words, “Pokémon GO.”

Pokemon Go 2

In just three weeks, it has completely taken over the world by storm. Sure, it has resulted in uncovered bodies and accidents, but more importantly, Pokémon GO is getting folks up and moving. They’re going outside and together.

The game has done most of the heavy lifting; now all you have to do is get these Pokémon-crazed consumers into your business.

As someone whose only familiarity with Pokémon was “Pikachu,” I sat frozen with my cursor blinking judgingly at me until I finally composed a Facebook status that didn’t blatantly expose my lack of knowledge.

In all fairness, I was posting for a teen retailer whose Pokémon merch was on sale. These kids were going to see right through me.

Pokemon Go 1

Thank goodness for fellow NAMA member, David Waldron, who posted a blog article about this very topic.

Learn How to Use Pokémon GO for Marketing and start making Pokémon GO work for you!

Key Takeaways From ‘The Science of Marketing’ Sessions

By Knight Stivender, Guest Blogger | 5.31.16

Marketing and advertising folks are increasingly called upon to prove an ROI on our craft, which is why we were delighted when Tim Earnhart of Werkshop Branding asked Alcott Marketing Science CEO Jim Alcott to speak on the science of marketing at Werkshop’s DIG Seminar Series event.

The topic: How to use statistics, analytics, and data to help clients and creative agencies refine marketing strategy and measure campaign performance.

For those who couldn’t make it to the DIG event – especially our awesome clients in Portland, Ore., and across the country who’ve helped us create a fantastic body of analytics and data insights work – here are some key takeaways:

1. “Half my advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.” Still true?

John Wanamaker, whose Philadelphia and New York department stores were print advertising pioneers in the 1880s, coined this well-known adage in our industry. But while that may have been true in 1880, it’s not so much in 2016. Most of us are familiar with metrics used in measuring the effectiveness of the campaigns we’re running – particularly in a digital environment.

But can we predict in advance of the campaign – before we spend any money on it – what is likely to be most effective? Yes! If we use science to identify the right audience, we can predict with statistical accuracy whether we’re directing our advertising campaign to people who have the propensity to buy. We’re not talking about people who live in a particularly desirable zip code or census tract among other people who seem to look like people we think are our buyers. We’re talking about individual people who actually share hundreds of statistically significant, rank-ordered attributes of the very same variables of those we can prove are our customers. It’s math, and it’s what analytics teams do for creative teams every day.



2. What if we want a different kind of customer than the ones we currently have? As Jim pointed out in his seminars this week, we get this question quite regularly – particularly from clients who are working hard to diversify their customer base. When marketing analysts mine customer data to understand existing customers, they’re using that as a baseline to generate opportunities for future growth. What if you want your growth to come in audiences different from where it’s been in the past? The answer is to do something different. Consider a new product or service line. If you’ve already done that, you either need to market to them differently or reconsider them as viable prospects.

3. The WHERE is as important as the WHO. Let data – rather than conventional wisdom – reveal the best trade areas. When considering location-based decisions, science-minded marketers and consultants will advise clients to consider a number of variables, including population density, demographic traits, traffic patterns, commercial development and density, etc. An overly generalized trade area chosen by drawing a 3-mile or 5-mile ring around a location is not precise enough.

Trade area polygons

The map above shows trade area polygons drawn around three client stores (trade areas are the black shapes and the stores are the red dots). Notice how much variance is in the polygons.

Hollywood Reporter

3. Know the CPA. Jim loves Shark Tank, and even though he agrees that Mr. Wonderful is kind of a jerk, he respects that he often asks contenders about the CPA – cost per acquisition (or CPO – cost per order). If you don’t collect enough data, it’s sometimes a challenge to know the lifetime value of a customer when customers drop in and out and vary on how much they spend and what they purchase. But it should always be possible to answer the question of CPA. How much are you spending to acquire a new customer? Knowing the answer to that will help you determine your marketing and advertising spends, and will keep you focused on selecting the right product lines and services when you begin to launch new ones. Knowing the CPA/CPO up front is another way to use science when making marketing decisions, and it will ensure a good return.

4. What’s the ultimate success metric? The key to measuring performance is you have to track the right KPIs. Jim gave a great example of this at the sessions this week. We tested an email campaign wherein we used two different subject lines with two different “friendly from” senders to see which combination would have the highest open rate. “You’re invited from Sue Rogers” got the best open rate. People were curious who Sue Rogers was, and why she was inviting them to something, so they felt compelled to open the email.

But when they opened the email and saw that it was a daycare center asking them to RSVP to tour a facility, they felt tricked. The click rate on the invitation RSVP was actually down 25% on that “winning” open rate combination. And the rate of those RSVP’ing for center tours was even lower.


The takeaway on that particular example: Be transparent and clear in addition to friendly and welcoming.
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Alcott Marketing Science’s Blog, Marketing Matters.



Automated Marketing: What’s next?

Melinda Hudgins Noblitt | 1.26.16

NAMA has spent the past month examining marketing automation. In fact, if you attended the January Power Luncheon (or read about it on the blog), you heard from local experts themselves.

The question now begs: What’s next?

If we had a crystal ball, we’d be millionaires – like those lucky folks who split the $1.5 billion lottery jackpot.

Unfortunately, we don’t.

What we do have is a list of resources that can help explain where marketing automation is headed and how to determine which course of action is best for your individual needs.
AWS_Simple_Icons_On-Demand_Workforce_Amazon_Mechanical_Turk.svgMarketing automation has evolved throughout the years, from its beginnings of basic email marketing to a more complex process of tracking online behavior. Irv Shapiro does a fantastic job of explaining that evolution in The Future of Marketing Automation, calling it a three-generational process that will become a much more integrated “cycle.”

It’s no secret that companies are utilizing marketing automation more and more.

According to Jordie van Rijn’s The Ultimate Marketing Automation statistics overview, an average of 49 percent of companies are using some form of marketing automation, with more than half of B2B companies (55 percent) adopting the technology.

In fact, he breaks down usage, cost, and benefits into digestible data. Check it out; the numbers speak for themselves.

Retailers are at the forefront of the marketing automation train with omnichannel brands tracking shoppers’ every move in-stores, online, and everywhere in between.

Foursquare released a report showing shoppers spent an average 4.9 hours at storefronts on Black Friday. Brick-and-mortar sales were down, but Internet sales skyrocketed yet again last year, surpassing the $4.5 billion mark, according to Ingrid Lunden‘s TechCrunch article. What’s more, 34 percent of all online sales were made on mobile devices.

An estimated $4 trillion worth of merchandise abandoned in online shopping carts last year alone. That means retailers’ main focus is now converting those “browsers” to “spenders,” which is possible with automated marketing, says Ashley McGregor Dey in her article Win Back Revenue with Automation.

There’s no doubting the obvious need for marketers to stay up-to-date with trends. But with thousands of automated marketing options, from apps to CRM systems, how exactly can marketers stay ahead of the curve?


UK-based Brandpipe answers this very question in The future of Marketing: 11 Technology trends for 2016.

While you probably can’t afford to do them all, focus on what’s right for your company, and make it work within your budget.

Do your research. Ask your colleagues what they’re using and what they like (and dislike) about that particular program.

G2 Crowd offers a software comparison program on its website that easily defines marketing automation so you can decide which suits your company’s strategy best.

Ten Things You Should Know about NAMA

By Jamie Dunham, NAMA President-Elect | 12.29.15

top 10

I am a sucker for Top Ten lists, and 2015 has been a good year at the Nashville AMA chapter, so I thought it would be helpful to reflect on the Top Ten Things You Should Know About NAMA:

  1. Informed Marketing Insights
    Our members say that learning the latest marketing trends is one of the top member benefits. To ensure that learning continues, our NAMA Programming team spends hours juggling calendars, contacts, hot topics and research to bring us programming from informed leaders in their fields.Some of the topics from 2015 Power Lunches have included Experiential Marketing, Video Innovation, Non-Profit Marketing, Marketing to Women, Social Media experts and Sports Marketing leaders. Each speaker provided current information and insights not found by just reading blogs or reading books, and they were very generous in sharing their current experience in their fields.After the 2015 Super Bowl, we heard from Nissan on its approach to the Super Bowl campaign from enlisting top bloggers early-on to actual advertising and social media, and we were able to hear first-hand results.
  1. Shared Expertise
    At NAMA, we have hosted member-only events that provide shared expertise in a variety of subjects from how to hone your presentations to how to deal with clients. Karl Sakas, an agency consultant and business coach, met with us this month to provide his insights on creating great client relationships and how to deal with difficult client situations.
  1. Category Knowledge
    We have several special interest groups within NAMA that provide excellent programs targeted at specific categories – Business to Business, Healthcare Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing, Technology Marketing and our newest group Research. Our Healthcare group regularly brings in market leaders like Rebecca Climer, SVP of Marketing and Communications at Saint Thomas Health to discuss their marketing strategy. Research hosted a round table as their initial event this year.  And our B2B group brought in Gannett to talk about marketing strategy.
  1. Relationships
    NAMA is an extremely welcoming group. With the growth in the Nashville marketing community, NAMA provides a home for marketers where they can make peer relationships not available elsewhere. Getting involved, attending meetings and working on committees provide opportunities for marketing relationships that live beyond your current job.I have several close friendships with persons I have met through NAMA. These relationships have made my life richer and my professional life more relevant. I count on these friends for important advice, special insights and referrals to specialists I might not know.
  1. Inside Scoop
    I have a friend who always says, “What’s the scoop?’ Well, when you are involved at NAMA, you have inside information on business changes, corporate changes and new jobs. This information makes your cocktail conversation richer, and friends will look at you as the “person in the know.”
  1. National Perspective
    NAMA is part of the American Marketing Association, a national organization that provides an array of resources (also a top member benefit). Its website provides excellent resources, events, webinars, publications, and content helpful to marketers. Take a minute to read The AMA’s Top 10 Marketing Stories of 2015.
  1. Local Leaders
    Where else are you going to meet some of Nashville’s top marketing leaders? We host top leaders across all disciplines and brands. In our friendly and inclusive environment, we encourage NAMA participants to learn from these leaders. And, many times, these leaders are looking for talent. Win-win!
  1. Experience and Career Growth
    We encourage all volunteers and board members to add their NAMA experience to their resume and LinkedIn profile. NAMA is a great way to gain leadership experience and to build competency in a different marketing discipline. Prospective employers are always interested in your passion for your industry and participating in NAMA is a great way to exhibit that passion.
  1. Valuable Partnerships
    NAMA has been asked to participate in several other marketing events throughout 2015. We provided volunteers to Emma’s Marketing United Conference and the Fuel Lines New Business Conference.In exchange, discounts were available to our members. These conferences were highlights of the marketing year in Nashville and were enjoyed by our members.
  1. Networking
    I left networking for the end of the list. Most people say networking is an important benefit to participation in NAMA; however, I think participation is the key to networking.Just showing up at a meeting, collecting business cards, and pestering people for coffees and lunches is not effective networking.Networking comes from really engaging with fellow members, getting to know about them on a personal level and working/learning together provides the foundation for real and sustained networking. I’m confident that many of my fellow members will join me in this insight.Getting to know folks at NAMA is easy. We provide many venues – monthly coffees, monthly mixers, breakfasts, lunches and parties. So jump in!

If you are not currently a member of NAMA, 2016 might be a good time to join so you can enjoy more NAMA benefits. By the way, 95 percent of our members say they are satisfied with the NAMA membership.

Celebrating Nashville’s Creative Class

Celebrating Nashville’s Creative Class

By Samantha Spector, Director of Operations, The Nashville Technology Council

There are tons of events in Nashville and more awards ceremonies than we can name. Some are thrown to benefit a cause, some exist for a certain industry and some may or may not be organized for self promotion (not that that is always a bad thing). Awards ceremonies are nothing new but given the landscape across industry in this community, there is a definite need to highlight the creative class. The Nashville Technology Council (“NTC”) Awards strives to do just that.

Every year the awards have a certain hype to live up to; words like “fast paced” and “fun” get thrown around. Videos go viral, onstage cameos get attention. But at the center of it all, we are always so proud to get the chance to stand up and applaud the movers and the thinkers and the innovators and the architects of the technology sector that has allowed our economy to flourish.

Think about all of the industry moving to Nashville within the last year. Think of the Under Armour’s and the Eventbrites and the Warby Parker’s and yes, the Barettas. We toasted the Music City Center and opened up the #1 new hotel property in the country. And the backbone of all this attention lies in the IT industry. Because let’s face it, it’s all tech. Even I, a non-tech girl living in a very tech world (the irony of that statement has never been overlooked in my circle) cannot overlook the importance of data, software, product, hardware and everything else this relatively new form of industry encompasses.

So, in addition to awards for Company of the Year, Innovator of the Year, CTO, CIO and all the standard categories the NTC highlights at our awards, we have gone and changed things up a bit. This year we added two new categories: Data Scientist of the Year and Marketing Innovator of the Year.

First, in a shamelessly biased act (I was in marketing prior to coming on as Director of Ops for the NTC), we will discuss Marketing Innovator. No longer are marketing departments foraging budgets for small Facebook ads or Google clicks. According to CMO Council, “US marketers spend an average of 2.5% of their total company revenue on digital marketing activities.” How effective those strategies are will directly correlate to the bottom line. Shining the spotlight on those that do so effectively within Middle Tennessee was a no brainer.

On to Data Scientist of the Year. If you have done any listening in to hiring trends in the past three years, you will be fully aware that both large firms, boutique operations and early stage companies employ data scientists. The trend started within big industry where the utilization of, natch, big data began. The ability to communicate findings through big data to IT and business leadership is the key component in the evolution of the role of data or business analyst to data scientist. Truthfully, we were aware of this trend but had a light bulb moment the NTC sold out its’ 2014 Data Analytics Summit in September 2014, and turned away a waiting list of 50+ people.

So what’s next? Well as any smart marketer or scientist or innovator or leader will tell you: never assume.

The NTC Awards will be held at the Country Music Hall of Fame on January 22nd, 2015. Click here for more information or contact Samantha at: Samantha.spector@technologycouncil.com

An AMA Webcast Review – “Online Optimization Through Behavorial Analytics”

by Sara Kemp

Sara Kemp

Last year, I was faced with looking for a job for the first time since 1999. Excited about new opportunities, but knowing I needed to step up my game, I joined the AMA and NAMA. AMA webcasts have helped me identify areas where I needed additional training and discover new interests within the marketing field.

A recent AMA webcast, Online Optimization: How to Optimize Your Website for Critical Success, presented by Shmuli Goldberg of Clicktale and Hannah Paramore of Paramore, offered a great introduction to behavioral analytics. While Google Analytics offers helpful statistical data, it cannot report what a customer does once inside of a webpage.  Clicktale offers heatmaps which anonymously track every mouse move, click, and keystroke made by website visitors. Who wouldn’t love an opportunity to look over your customer’s shoulder and see how they view your site?

Paramore detailed how they used Clicktale in the redesign of Gatlinburg.com and found that the data helped them develop navigation wording and call to action placement. With Clicktale technology, they were able to distinguish between a “hard bounce,” a visitor who arrives accidentally and leaves immediately, and a “soft bounce,” a visitor who arrives for a few seconds to get information. Those distinctions matter when determining the success of a website.

The AMA has dozens of webcasts available on demand on topics such as branding, social media, and content creation.  Take advantage of these resources that can help you in your career and keep you current in this fast-paced marketplace.

Sara Kemp is the Director of Marketing and Co-Founder of Tennessee Voices for Victims, a non-profit, crime prevention organization created in 2012.  She serves on the communications committee for NAMA.





Creativity Blog: Growing Your Business With Cost-Per-Click Advertising

By Frances Rivera 

Frances Rivera

Gone are the days when marketers could rely solely on traditional media to influence consumers. In today’s world, consumer behavior is very different compared to a decade ago. The Internet has radically changed the way we think, talk, and behave as consumers.

Not a day goes by that we don’t take a trip to the online world. It’s almost like going to Wal-Mart. The retail giant boasts of being a one-stop shopping destination. The online world invites you to a “one-stop, get-what-you-need” experience at the click of a mouse.

So, if the Internet shopping experience mimics shopping at a mega-retailer like Wal-Mart, how do marketers stay ahead of the current trend and maximize revenue through the Internet? How can we help customers navigate the Internet and entice them to shop at our virtual stores?

As a marketer for LKQ, (www.lkqonline.com) one of the largest online retailers of new and used automotive parts in North America, my main focus is to utilize cost-effective methods to bring in traffic to LKQ Online. LKQ Online carries a nationwide selection of alternative new and used replacement parts for just about any vehicle.

One way we’ve reached new customers and grown revenue is through Google AdWords. Google’s online advertising program has expanded LKQ’s reach with contextually targeted display ads. And there are similar programs available, such as Bing and Yahoo AdWord Center.

There are benefits to advertising with Google, Bing and Yahoo. For instance, companies can reach potential customers precisely at the moment they are searching for the kinds of products and services they offer. When a customer does a search on Google for an LKQ engine, an ad about LKQ engine is triggered to appear beside the related search results to connect them with our products. Those who click on our LKQ ad are more likely to go through the sales funnel to make a purchase 0n LKQ Online. Advertising through Google AdWords gives LKQ a competitive advantage to reach potential buyers through storefront visits.

With cost-per-click bidding, there is no minimum spending commitment, so marketers can easily manage advertising campaigns by deciding how much or little to spend monthly on these ads. Limits can be set as to where your ad appears; on which specific websites and in which geographical areas (states, towns, or even neighborhoods). Your account gets charged only when someone actually clicks on the ad, not when your ad is displayed.

Another way to control spending is to schedule the ads to appear during the day when traffic is at its optimal level. Determining traffic peak hours helped LKQ Online stay within budget by turning campaigns off when traffic was low.

According to Google, its AdWords service reaches 80% of Internet users in the United States. To measure the impact of LKQ’s ads, we carefully monitored their performance through reports on Google Analytics and AdWords. These reports gave us insight as to who our customers are, where they are coming from, and how many new customers connect with our business through related keyword search terms. As our online business grew, we set metrics to understand click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate (CR), return on advertising spend (ROAI), and other useful information to determine which ads were driving sales activity to LKQ Online.

There is much more to learn as customers get better acquainted with online shopping. Who would have imagined the impact the Internet would have on behavioral consumer shopping or how valuable this medium would become to our businesses?

Frances Rivera is Multi-Channel Marketing Manager for LKQ Corporation, one of the largest distributors of new and used auto parts in the United States. She also serves as Hospitality C0-chair for NAMA.



Branded Content: A Soft Sell that Really Works.


The Soft Sell of Branded Content


Nowadays, most companies are looking to get new fans and customers thats an unobtrusive, soft-sell. Branded content. It’s the idea of creating content that tells a story to an audience and as a second priority includes a brand. Branded content

Branded content is a relatively new form of advertising medium that blurs conventional distinctions between what constitutes advertising and what constitutes entertainment. Branded content is essentially a fusion of the two into one product intended to be distributed as entertainment content, albeit with a highly branded quality. Unlike conventional forms of entertainment content, branded content is generally funded entirely by a brand or corporation rather than, for example, a movie studio or a group of producers–Wikipedia.

Many companies–such as American Express, Gatorade, Red Bull and smaller ones too–are now using branded content as a way to connect with their audience.  It’s a shift in thinking from advertising in the way the brand wants to communicate to the way the consumer wants to hear the message. It makes more sense as many people tune out the sales-only messages. Leading with the soft sell instead of the sales pitch may be the right play if this is your goal.

Looking for a Bigger Bandwagon

With so many channels and video outlets, and with how much video helps SEO and how easy it is to track video, it seems like more companies should be jumping on the brand content bandwagon with video. However, we’re hearing from marketing folks that branded content often gets lost in the overall discussion of marketing strategy with a client unless a few people have a passion for it.

Why we wonder? We know marketing professionals are making the best decisions for their clients and brands with the information that they have. But we do run into a couple of misconceptions about video and branded content:

The brand’s message will be lost.

In fact, many people are investing in branded content because it creates a stronger emotional connection for the brand. In a recent FastCoCreate article, Linda Boff, Executive Director of Global Marketing for GE said that for GE, branded content had a much greater impact on consumer perceptions than standard display ads.

They’re worried about the cost.

But since branded video is often unscripted storytelling, it is usually less expensive than a traditional commercial, or scripted corporate video … and for gosh sakes, branded content is more fun.

Since, we’re doing a lot more video branded entertainment at Gamma Blast lately– specifically for some of our national clients, we’re here to give a few tips. We hope this helps your company’s brand become stickier and more profitable.

Some thoughts about branded entertainment:

  • The brand has to fit the story to make the best connection.
  • While the brand is integrated into the story, you don’t want the piece to feel like the brand is first priority. That makes it feel, “icky”.
  • Many people, especially Generation Y and younger, accept a branded message as long as they get something that they want. I could care less about the GE stove shots in Top Chef since I get to watch these chefs.
  • Whatever branded entertainment you create, it has to be something that you’d want to watch.

Is your company using branded content? How is it going? NAMA would love to hear from you.

Post written by Liz Denning, Gamma Blast, a video production boutique