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Vintage Letterpress Whats Old is New Again
Vintage Letterpress Whats Old is New Again

Vintage Letterpress: What’s Old Is New Again


Vintage Letterpress: What’s Old Is New Again

In a world where marketing technology is advancing faster than humans can absorb, savvy marketers are discovering that what’s old is new again and that a return to vintage media can showcase a brand and have a powerful impact on how consumers engage with and remember it. They are also discovering that sensory experiences, especially those based on haptics—the science of touch—can shift the brain and create a deeper level of engagement.

Marketers looking to stand out and create a sensorial experience might consider letterpress printing. Hatch Show Print, one of America’s oldest letterpress print shops, established in 1879 in downtown Nashville, is a testament to the power of vintage techniques and the experiences they can create. The shop, which attracts 50,000 visitors annually, offers a fully immersive experience. The walls are lined with letterpress show posters spanning from 1928 to today, and the same presses that were used more than 125 years ago continue to delight a new customer base with both vintage re-strikes and newly designed posters. Visitors to the shop listen and watch as every print is hand set, hand inked, hand cranked, hand trimmed, and hand wrapped. The shop serves as a working museum and a tribute to the heritage and craft of design.

“Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms,” says Jim Sherraden, Master Printer and Curator at Hatch Show Print. Historically, letterpress posters were used for advertising special events, but they also came to be a treasured commemorative item—something you could take home as a piece of memorabilia. As Sherraden explains, “It’s an organic style of printing and design technology considered to be a touchstone to the way posters were made in the old days.” The tactile feel and unique look has been appreciated now for generations, and the glory days of letterpress are once again being realized by designers both young and old.

Celene Aubry, Print Shop Manager at Hatch, explains that their shop is seeing an increase in demand for letterpress posters. This is partly because Nashville has become a popular destination for meetings, conferences, trade shows, and events, and marketers want to commemorate their events with something special, something that has a tie to the city’s history and culture. Since Hatch Show Print’s history is closely intertwined with Nashville’s musical history, their posters have become a popular promotional item and giveaway.

While the ties to Nashville are important, Aubry says that they are contacted by marketers and designers from all over the world who are interested in letterpress, people who want to recreate a vintage feel for a new project. The letterpress poster, which was commonplace in its own era, now stands out as something different, something special and handcrafted that connects audiences with a larger experience. In a lot of ways, the posters and handbills of the past, which were once thought of as obsolete, have become modern again, and both the process and the end product make a strong physical impression. “When it comes to digital, our experiences are flat. There’s a screen or glass separating us from the image, and we can’t feel the paper or the impression or the ink. With letterpress, you can feel the print; there’s a texture and a relief of sorts that comes from the buildup of ink,” Aubry explains.

While the multisensory aspects of letterpress create the tactile feeling that has been proven to create a deeper connection, there’s also the depth, dimension, and vibrancy of color. The process of making a print is fully physical—every letter, image, and color is hand rendered, and every poster is created one at a time.

But Hatch Show Print has stumbled onto something more than just the physical benefits of letterpress. As part of their commitment to preserving the history of print, they offer a variety of tours and workshops. Anyone who goes on the tour not only is afforded the opportunity to learn about the process, but also is invited to apply it to their own print—a souvenir of their letterpress experience.

And while most participants love taking home something they made themselves, Aubry suggests that they are really taking home something much deeper. “We’re training people about design, and they’re learning about the fundamentals of communication,” Aubry explains. According to Aubry, designers and marketers are especially in awe of the process. It demonstrates how every decision and movement impacts the end-result, reminding them to consider things such as negative space and how it relates to the image and the message. Aubry believes that original tools such as letterpress can improve someone’s overall design abilities and sensibilities, while also creating a heightened experience for the recipient as he/she feels the tactile elements of the final printed piece and connects it to the moment and the message. Letterpress may be vintage, but when it comes to rich, fulfilling experiences, it still rules.

Carey Bradshaw Creative Butter Hooster Holster
Carey Bradshaw Creative Butter Hooster Holster

Q&A with Presentation Delivery Skills Expert Carey Bradshaw


Q&A with Presentation Delivery Skills Expert Carey Bradshaw

Creative Butter, Workshop and One-on-One Coach for C-Suite Execs, Nonprofits, and Start-ups in Presentation Delivery Skills


Bringing the Secret Sauce to Presentation Delivery Carey Bradshaw is president and co-founder of Creative Butter, a marketing agency that brings on the “secret sauce.” Among many other hats, she’s on a mission to eradicate bad PowerPoint by coaching executives on presentation delivery skills.

Q: You work with C-levels, nonprofits, and start-ups to perfect their pitches to VCs and angel investors. Those are pretty important moments. What are the risks for executives who deliver average to awful presentations?

CB: Loss of credibility, for one thing. And it’s not just about the physical presentation deck. How you say it is just (if not more) important than what you are saying. Having a poor deck is bad, but it can be overcome with a stellar presentation style. Unfortunately, I rarely see this. It’s all too common for presenters to rely too heavily on their deck or (gasp!) notes. By the way, notes are strictly verboten when presenting in my coaching sessions.

Q: There are so many ways presentations can go wrong. What mistakes do you frequently see?

CB: Too many to count! Death by PowerPoint is a big one. There’s nothing worse than watching a presenter read slides to the audience. Usually this also involves lots of text or graphs that are too small for the audience to read. Another pet peeve is when presenters go crazy with transitions and fly-ins.

Q: Content overload just seems to be getting worse, in spite of it being an acknowledged bad presentation practice. How do you convince people not to cram so much into their slides?

CB: I abide by the 5×5 rule—no more than five bullets per slide and no more than five words per bullet. There are lots of versions of this rule, but I find that this allows enough information to impart the meaning of the slide, while not overwhelming the audience. A well-chosen graphic with a few words, combined with eye contact, confidence, and a rehearsed message, are much more impactful than watching someone read their notes to the room.

Q: How do you evaluate a client before you start working with them?

CB: I have to see a commitment to the process. I tend to work with executives, and I cover the process and time commitment in the initial meeting with them. Presenting in public is a huge fear for so many people. I like to think my process is a fun and effective way to overcome any fears or bad habits to become a more effective, credible, and authentic presenter.

Q: What does a good coaching process look like?

CB: With me, there’s homework involved, and I really push clients out of their comfort zones. I use a number of tools and activities, and many are uncomfortable for executives. I’ve been known to use everything from improv to children’s books to move people away from their habits into becoming effective presenters. I am a big fan of TED Talks and use them often as examples.

Connect with Carey at:
Read Carey’s blogs at:


Brand Building Storytelling Marine Corps Veteran
Brand Building Storytelling Marine Corps Veteran

Brand Building Storytelling Marine Corps Veteran

by Tim Sweeney


Lessons in Brand Building and Storytelling from a Marine Corps Veteran

Building a personal brand and learning to tell stories is not easy. Marine Corps veteran Dan Evans taught himself to do both. The lessons he learned along the way might help your brand—even if that brand is YOU.

While serving as a social media director for the US Marines for the last few years, Dan Evans also had an eye toward the future. He had joined the Marine Reserves in 2003 as an infantry rifleman and in 2005 was asked to work as a recruiter. He took the leap and was augmented to active duty, serving in various escalating recruiting roles until transitioning to civilian life in late 2016 so he could spend more time with his family. Today, Evans lives in Texas with his wife Stephanie and their three young children—Brooke, Brighton, and Boston—and he recently accepted a position as Director of Social Business Strategy for USAA Bank. “Oddly enough, what I was doing in the Marines was social business, weaving social media into culture for employees as well as customers,” he says. “This role is exactly what I’ve been doing, and I have an opportunity to grow and be challenged in a similar line of work.” 

As a Marine, Evans saw the importance of establishing a personal brand firsthand when some of his peers struggled to transition professionally to civilian life. “It wasn’t that they didn’t have relevant experience,” he says. “They didn’t have the street cred of showing what they’d done.” To avoid experiencing the same fate, he bought a domain name ( and started to create content. He also recognized, “If I wasn’t Google-able, I was nobody,” and he set about becoming just that. His brand awareness increased greatly when he wrote an article about how the Marines used 21st-century media for recruiting. The article was a hit online and on LinkedIn, which led to a podcast and speaking engagements. To tie his growing content together, Evans hired a web designer to help improve his “horribly ugly” website.

“At first, I was just talking about my social media work, and then I realized I was on to something,” Evans says. On his final day of active duty in October 2016, Evans posted a photo with his family on LinkedIn, saying he was transitioning to civilian life and looking for his next opportunity, and thanked his supporters and mentors. The post was shared 250 times and received more than 23,000 Likes and 3,000 comments. It also drove people to his website and LinkedIn profile.

He had done the legwork up front, starting his podcast, getting recommendations on LinkedIn, and producing quality content that made people willing to vouch for him. “You are saying and doing all of these things, but how do you prove it?” he asks, rhetorically. “By using online tools such as blogs and podcasts. Showing, not telling, that you have the skills to do these things. I proved that I know how to do online marketing by doing it not just for the Marines, but also for my own brand, earning trust with professionals outside of the military.”

Evans learned many of these skills while recruiting for the Marines. Early in his career, he worked in Provo, Utah, a notoriously difficult place for the Marines to recruit. He and other recruiters found themselves visiting high schools with only the phone numbers of potential recruits, which were becoming increasingly useless. “We built a Facebook business Page and took a couple photos of new Marines that had come back from boot camp,” Evans explains, “and I saw an opportunity to start a recruiting conversation around that.”

Soon, Evans was training recruiters on presentation and consultative selling skills. Along the way, he noticed that a number of them were using social media, just not to its full potential. He saw an opportunity to use social media to tell each recruit’s story and to use that as a catalyst to start a recruiting conversation. “I built and implemented training for recruiters to move these conversations from online to offline and turn them into recruiting business,” Evans explains. “It was also an opportunity to showcase the young men and women who made the decision to serve, share these stories with their spheres of influence, and garner support for their decision to serve.”

In 2013, Evans was offered the chance to run the recruiting efforts for the Western U.S. region, and he and his family were off to San Diego. Recognizing that it was important to tie metrics to the social media efforts he had implemented previously, and knowing that the most feasible way to do so was to create clarity around where posts were to be published, his team created Facebook Pages for each of their 180 recruiting sites in the Western region, each with three to seven recruiters creating meaningful content around the local citizens who had chosen the Marine Corps. “It was one way we could associate the brand message with local people and make an impression we couldn’t from a national standpoint,” Evans says.

Storytelling played a large part in the training he administered. He urged recruiters to think like a skilled marketer by asking, “What is the story?” Small things, such as posting a Facebook photo of a new recruit who was heading off to boot camp (and tagging that individual), could lead to more conversations. “The fact is, many of them weren’t telling people about their decision to join,” he says. The swearing-in photo became a way to activate the sphere of influence around that individual by drawing a relevant customer base, because people who click the Like button are more interested in joining. “It creates conversation that otherwise wouldn’t have been had,” Evans says.

He also empowered recruiters to publish on media channels owned by the Marine Corps, on behalf of the Marines brand, which took some getting used to by leadership who were concerned over what recruiters were posting and felt communications should be vetted through PR. “That wasn’t realistic,” he explains. “Most recruiters had been using social media for recruiting, but they were doing it solely from personal profiles.” Even now, Evans looks at brands and sees a missed opportunity to leverage employees and customers in their marketing. Most, he believes, are afraid of letting employees create content around what they do, despite the reality that they are already talking about the brand. “We saw it with our recruiters and thought, ‘Let’s train them and show them how to do it,’” he says. “As long as there are systems and training in place for people to post on behalf of the brand, I’d say to put it on an owned media channel, where it can be tracked and you can see the effectiveness. People trust human-to-human interaction; they don’t necessarily trust brands.”

“In one three-month stretch, we had 600 recruiters generate 2,800 posts, which generated 50 million impressions on Facebook,” Evans adds. “If you do that on a Facebook business Page, it’s really hard to get that kind of reach. By setting up lists and adjusting your privacy settings on Facebook, you have a lot of power over who can see your stuff. The secret to that organic reach is to make it personal, like being able to tag individuals on a business Page. For us, using ambassadors was a great way to contact like-minded talent.”

Creating these personal and local stories led to conversations and, ultimately, advocacy and trust. Recruiters were then taught to monitor these advocates and conversations and take them offline through a phone call or by reaching out via a mutual connection for an introduction. “The people we are bringing in today are smarter and know exactly what they are getting into,” Evans says. “Social media has helped us create transparency like never before, so I believe this helps us bring in the right types of people.”

A major lesson Evans learned from this, and something he later used to build his own personal brand, was that having a great product and advertising on big media channels doesn’t mean a thing if your online personality doesn’t match who you are offline when you reach out to someone. “My point to recruiters was that when people sign up, they are buying you. They see something in you that they like,” he says. “I don’t think there is any secret—you repel the people who don’t want to be like you and attract the ones who do. Being your authentic self is important. Being honest and transparent sells more than anything else.”

Evans would later apply the same lessons he taught to recruiters when he launched his own personal brand, understanding that if people felt comfortable when they viewed his profile, they’d feel comfortable reaching out with other opportunities. His podcast—interviews with military veterans who took the leap into entrepreneurship—is a prime example. When he realized it could be difficult to get interviewees on the phone for a conversation, Evans created a product that would help build his guest’s brand and name through the interviews they’d do with him. “I created value for the mentor to potentially help other veterans who listened to our interview, and I gave them a venue to promote their product or service as well,” he explains. “Not to mention building a great relationship with them, too!”

How Many Hars Can One Marketer Wear
How Many Hars Can One Marketer Wear

How Many Hats Can One Marketer Wear?

by Carro Ford


How Many Hats Can One Marketer Wear?

The days of having one, two, or even three marketers on staff and feeling like your bases are covered may be gone. The exciting new reality is that marketing disciplines have evolved beyond what many marketers will admit they can learn, implement, and manage. We have new platforms, new technologies, new apps, new software, and the advanced use of data. We’re seeing no slowdown in mobile, augmented, digital, Internet, social, print, and even virtual marketing technology. Every day across the globe, communication and engagement ideas are being developed into apps and software platforms at an unprecedented rate. They may not all be in it for the long haul (e.g., Twitter’s recent shutdown of Vine), but part of demystifying marketing is trying to figure out which new disciplines and technologies will be effective and should be included in your own marketing strategy and how you’ll execute on them.

The flip side of this exciting new reality is this—an overloaded marketing group or solo marketer with little time to take on more initiatives or learn new skills. You fall behind on techniques and updates. You can’t thoroughly research new strategies and opportunities. And the resulting scenario is that attention is divided across your marketing initiatives, with limited effectiveness and frequent fire drills. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to consider outsourcing certain marketing tasks.

Outsourcing opens immediate doors for skills, platforms, and programs you can’t easily ramp up internally. Whether it’s testing new channels with less risk, improving your content strategy, or implementing an email marketing campaign, partnering with a professional can deliver immediate and better results.

Going Hybrid: Fuel Marketing Success with the Right Outsourcing Formula

“You don’t always have to choose between all-internal marketing or all-external marketing,” says Jayson DeMers, contributing writer to Forbes. “In fact, hybrid marketing strategies are becoming more and more common, especially in small- to medium-sized growing companies. And while a small- or mid-size business might not justify a full-service agency, many good boutique firms and freelancers are readily available.”

In a recent Hoover’s study, it was revealed that an estimated 44 percent of small- to medium-sized B2C companies are now outsourcing part of their marketing tasks in an effort to gain outside expertise. Still, it’s a big decision to outsource even one function. You may feel you’re losing control, that your boss may question your performance, or that the cost cannot be justified. Think again. Today, you can find every level of marketing assistance, including virtual marketing assistants! A wide array of talent and services can be found that can fit within every budget and complement any marketing team, filling gaps in areas where skills are lacking or where time constraints limit productivity.

Kay Kienast, head of marketing operations for GE Power Digital, has led hybrid marketing teams at a variety of technology firms and frequently outsources. “If you choose the right partner, you may get to market with good results faster,” she notes. “I’ve found marketing outsource partners mostly through word of mouth from other marketers whom I trust and who’ve successfully used the people they recommend.”

Who Gets Your Business?

Only you can decide if outsourcing is right for your organization. Nobody knows your company, product, or services as well as you do, and there is always a learning curve with any new partnership. Start with an assessment of your workload. Ask your marketing team how they spend their time, how those tasks rank for value to the business, and their level of expertise in each task. Going through this exercise identifies where your time is being spent versus where it would best be spent. It may make sense to outsource simple tasks such as scheduling your posts across your social platforms or entering data into databases. Outsourced marketing has traditionally been thought of in terms of big-ticket items such as SEO and link building, telemarketing, or lead generation. While these are commonly outsourced services, clearing your plate of smaller, nontraditional marketing admin tasks can return valuable time to your day as well.

In addition, Kienast suggests working with a partner who:

  • Supports your work hours and is available for emergencies.
  • Has sufficient technical talent to assess and correct issues between systems.
  • Can hone reports to correspond with your key performance indicators daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
  • Wants your business and works to improve it. “Remember, it never goes right for the first few months,” she adds.

At some point, you’ll need to justify the expense, so ask for proposals showing what the outsourcing would look like, cost breakdowns, expected outcomes, goals, and success milestones.

Keep an open mind about outsourcing. You might find it offers the space you need to grow and the edge you need to compete. Lack of marketing bandwidth turns serious when the missing skills are critical to a revenue-generating initiative or a new market opportunity. Then it’s not just about an overloaded team. It’s about loss of customers and revenue. However you look at it, outsourcing can be an important strategy for marketers.

6 Influencer Marketing Facts
6 Influencer Marketing Facts

6 Influencer Marketing Facts

6 Influencer Marketing Facts

  1. On average, for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, brands are making back an average of $6.50 in earned media value.

  2. Consumers under the age of 32 spend 30% of their social time digesting peer-written content.

  3. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations: 33% trust ads.

  4. Marketers rated influencer marketing as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition tactic.

  5. Giveaways and sweepstakes earn higher earned media value and engagement than any other tactic in influencer marketing.

  6. The most effective platform for influencer marketing is blogs, followed by Facebook.

How to Find Your Influencers

Lynzee Jablonka’s advice for finding the influencer that’s right for your brand.

  1. Know your audience: If your audience is down-to-earth and fascinated with DIY tips, look for bloggers who speak to those topics. Maybe it’s a mother of three who writes about easy life hacks or someone who frequents the crafts store and writes about various projects.
  2. Determine your goals: Need to drive coupon sales? Find a blogger who talks about deals and giveaways. Looking for strong graphics? Find an Instagrammer whose pictures are Nat Geo worthy. There are influencers out there for every benchmark you’re trying to reach. The key: knowing what success looks like to you.
  3. Invest in software: A number of platforms can help you find the right influencer for your brand. We sometimes use GroupHigh when we’re looking for a very niche group of people. These platforms often allow you to search with parameters such as location, blog topics, keywords, etc.
  4. Determine your budget: Social media is pay to play, so you’ll have to spend some money to get results. In this day and age, influencers who will work for free or solely for product are hard to come by. Figure out what you have to spend, then base your search off of that allowance.
  5. Consider outsourcing: Can you source influencers on your own? Sure. Do you have the time to dig into each one of them and make sure they’re a good fit? Maybe, or maybe not. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to the experts about your needs and budget. Contact a reputable agency, learn about their process, and ask about successes they have had with clients similar to you. What we do, in short, is basically like, but for brands and bloggers!
Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

by Tim Sweeney


Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been around forever, really. From sports-marketing pioneers such as Arnold Palmer, to celebrity endorsements for presidential candidates, the idea of using people with influence to promote products is not a new concept. Thanks to social media and the proliferation of content marketing, today’s influencers can come in a variety of formats, with social media bubbling to the top as a leader. Sure, with the right budget, you can still turn to NFL quarterback Tom Brady in his UGGs, but nowadays, your influencer can even be a mom with a blog.

“Those are influencers!” says Lynzee Jablonka, Influencer Marketing Manager at Everywhere Agency, a social media agency in Atlanta. “Influencers can be someone with hundreds of followers or someone with a million. If people are listening to what they have to say, they are social media influencers.”

It should not be a news flash that, according to research, consumers trust a referral from their personal network at a 90 percent rate. Eighty-one percent of referrals are found online. What’s more, 92 percent of consumers also say they rely on referrals from people they know above all else. And the power of influence doesn’t end with B2C relationships. According to LinkedIn, 84 percent of B2B buyers begin the process of making a purchase with a referral. Jablonka says influencer marketing is the modern-day word of mouth. “Influencer marketing campaigns involve a select group of individuals who have a certain influence over their community,” she explains. “When used correctly, these influencers can help a brand drive sales, encourage conversations, and build awareness/loyalty. Today, we see advertisements everywhere; it’s such a saturated market. With influencers, it feels like we’re sitting in a coffee shop having a casual conversation with friends. It’s authentic and refreshing.”

But what is it exactly, and how can influencers help you? Influencer marketing involves partnering with people who have an audience and influence within a specific segment of consumers. They can help you —usually via the content they create—reach and engage with audience members that your brand might not reach normally. Often, they are experts on a particular subject matter. They can be bloggers, speakers, or authors with an audience that values their opinion on their subject matter of expertise. And they can be at their most effective during new product launches and store openings, in building new followers for your brand, and even as an advocate for you in the event of a public relations crisis.

If you’re reading this thinking: “Yeah, all that sounds great, but what if I can’t afford to get a ‘real housewife’ to use my product?” there’s good news. Influencer marketing is a table just about anyone can get a seat at. “It all depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to work the Kim Kardashians of the world, of course that’s going to require a big budget,” she says. With a smaller budget, you simply have to be a little more strategic. She cites the work that Everywhere Agency is doing with OshKosh B’gosh. “We don’t have bottomless budgets—everything we do is very thought out,” she explains. “We choose micro-influencers—influencers with more targeted audiences who will generate more meaningful conversations around your brand—to take photos of their kids wearing OshKosh. It’s as simple as that.” The campaign was so successful that the agency just won a PRSA Georgia Phoenix Award for excellence in PR.

For John Melican, who held sales and marketing leadership roles at Nike and then Callaway Golf, what he learned by using athlete influencers to drive brand and product awareness was still quite applicable when he went to work for a small start-up brand. “At Nike and Callaway, we used these big athletes, schools, and endorsers as visible signs of the brand, because it gave us broad visibility and awareness with consumers and in their sport,” he says. “We partnered with them to show how our products are authentic to that sport, while also driving emotional attachment.”

When Melican went to a small sport-technology start-up company that specialized in connecting everyday golfers to their own statistics via their phone, he called on a different type of influencer. In the golf landscape, there is a certain pyramid of influence in which advice trickles down to the masses from teaching professionals and even the best players at a country club. “If the influencer in a regular foursome uses the product, the students or other foursome members will have an interest,” he explains. “Hopefully, that interest will lead to trial and then adoption. What I learned at Nike was that putting the athlete first is key to the equation. Once you have the right influencers using your product, this leads to gaining awareness, which leads to trial. Once you have trial, you usually gain acceptance and use of your product.”

If you’re ready to dive into the deep end of influencer marketing, or at least dip your toes in the water, Jablonka says to start with identifying your goals. Specific ones. Start with your area of interest, location, and the voice you want to portray. “Do you need fitness enthusiasts nationwide, or do you just need fitness enthusiasts in Denver, Colorado?” she asks. “If you’ve established a quirky voice, working with someone who takes themselves very seriously probably won’t be the best option. Do you want influencers with amazing photography or someone who can push a coupon? The list goes on and on, but it all comes back to what your end goal is.” You should also have a thorough understanding of your own social strengths and weaknesses. What channels are your followers or potential customers using? Perhaps you want to step up your game on Instagram or reach a slightly older demographic on Facebook. It sounds simple, but deciding what channels you want to be seen on is critical. Whether it’s only one or two, or many of them, that will influence whom you recruit to influence. Once we talk social media marketing, the natural next question is how you might measure success if you decide to rely on influencers. The answer: it depends. Jablonka says the way influencer marketing campaigns have been measured at Everywhere Agency has depended greatly on the client’s needs, and yours should, too. “With OshKosh, we were tasked with tracking the sales associated with a specific coupon,” she explains. “With Macy’s, they track traffic in the store at specific events. No matter what the goals, the agency always tracks number of social media posts published, engagement rates, sentiment of the conversation, locations of interactions, and total number of impressions.”

Melican and his team at the small start-up company had a slightly different goal. They were attempting to rely on coaches to help introduce the product to golf students who wanted to get better. It was a different approach than, say, using a big-name professional golfer to promote the product so it gains visibility. Of course, at a start-up, budget has a way of shaping strategy. “Hopefully, an approach like this leads to content that we can build and then push out via social media and in videos,” Melican says. They also found influencers to be helpful in another manner—product development. “We did a beta test panel of golfers, teaching pros and other influencers, and we learned a ton. We took the information we received and put it back into the product.”

The difference between a brand spokesperson and an influencer can often be found in the way they tell the story. Using your influencers creatively means avoiding leaving the bad “sales” taste in a consumer’s mouth. In short, that means letting them tell their own stories. Language, pictures, and posts that are too “salesy” in tone—as opposed to delivering value to the reader/viewer/listener/follower—can have a detrimental outcome. “With our OshKosh campaign, we are ultimately driven by sales from a coupon, but does that mean that our messaging is purely promotional? Absolutely not,” says Jablonka. “In fact, it’s the opposite. We weave intricate story prompts for the influencers to create their posts off of.”

In a back-to-school shopping campaign in 2016, they challenged the influencers to create five outfits from OshKosh using one staple piece. Within their post, influencers touched on points of affordability, quality, and the trendiness of the brand’s clothing. “We let the influencers tell their own story in a way that would be relatable to their readers, so as to encourage them to visit OshKosh and purchase clothes for their own kids, using the coupon our influencer provided,” Jablonka explains.

If, based on your audience, you’ve chosen the right channels to be active on, it’s a good idea to allow your influencers to post on your branded channels, too. Jablonka sees great opportunity in allowing influencers to be part of the brand for a campaign. She points to a Gap campaign called “” in which influencers created outfits for the everyday person, which were then displayed across Gap’s social media channels. She says the influencer program that uses is another innovative approach. “They allow self-proclaimed fashionistas to create an account and send their followers to the stores where they purchased their clothes from,” she explains. “If their readers make a purchase, the influencer gets a cut of it. It’s basically an affiliate program, and it seems to really be working because it doesn’t seem ‘salesy.’ Rather, it’s like shopping through your friend’s closet.”

Unfortunately, just having a great product is hardly ever enough, especially if nobody ever hears about it. Melican falls back on the original universal truth—people believe one another. “Even if you have a great product, you need these types of people to test, use, and promote your product,” he says. “Word-of-mouth influence is huge for most people. Learning about something from someone you trust opens up the possibility for consideration. For a small company, this is especially true. People want things from people they trust.”


Consumer Journey Redefines Email Marketing
Consumer Journey Redefines Email Marketing

The Consumer Journey Redefines Email Marketing

The Consumer Journey Redefines Email Marketing

Like the rest of the marketing landscape, the world of email communications is evolving rapidly. It’s no longer enough to deliver commercially focused emails judged solely on sales, open rates, and click-throughs. For starters, today’s consumers seek stories, which means brands are challenged to deliver emails and newsletters that provide content of value around their products and to do so when consumers want to receive it.

The right copywriter, a tone that is “on-brand,” and relevant content are merely the baseline. “We are all trying to provide authenticity and content around our products that our consumers will continue to enjoy,” says Jocelyn Bonhomme, Global CRM Manager at Salomon. Speaking the same language as your customers, especially when it comes to technical or specific content, is essential. That’s why an outdoor-sports brand such as Salomon uses writers who are outdoors lovers, mountain guides, and former athletes with strong copywriting or journalism skills.

Soon enough, that language may be even more personal. Bonhomme—who previously worked in digital marketing in Patagonia’s European office—believes that it won’t be long before hyper-personalized emails will be the primary way companies communicate. The reason? Data management tools are changing how brands create, target, and deliver their message. “We are living in a hyperconnected world managed by data,” Bonhomme says. “I wouldn’t say that it’s easy, because it’s more and more complex to analyze this amount of data and to track customer behavior. But one result is that we, as brands, care very much about not overcommunicating or being too intrusive.” With more and more data available, companies can create solution architecture that is increasingly global, which sounds great, except that privacy policies are becoming increasingly stringent and less global.

Regardless of the constraints, the goal should be to support the consumer journey at the right moment with the right service, whether that consumer is sitting at their computer, looking at their tablet on the subway, or standing in a store aisle, looking for more info on their mobile phone. Digital insights on where a consumer is browsing and when he or she is close to making a purchase allow brands to interact with consumers and provide them with the most appropriate message at the best time. “A strong digital relationship is very similar to the person serving you in the store,” Bonhomme says. “A good salesperson can read the consumer in the store, see his or her body language, and respond to their needs. When it comes to sending an email to a consumer, we now know when to send it. It’s a matter of building a relationship so that we converse with them when they want to converse with us.”

As you’ve likely noticed, brands are also becoming very good at merging social media and email marketing on the consumer journey. In fact, Bonhomme regularly has calls with both social media and email marketing experts, something a job like his might not have entailed just a few years ago. “From an on boarding journey, we advertise on Facebook to register for our newsletter, welcome them with an email, and then send them one or two additional emails with content on our website and consumer events in their area,” he says.

In the future, Bonhomme says that brands might be less inclined to influence consumers to buy one way over another and instead will try to support consumers with the best, most well-timed service, whether online or at retail. “We are already there in terms of people checking online for prices, comparing product offers, checking opening hours, and looking to see if a product is available in a store nearby,” he says. These are just a few ways that micro-moment marketing is influencing email marketing and consumer journeys.

The consensus among marketers is that these same practices will translate into other industries outside of retail, such as fundraising, conference attendance, or recruitment for colleges and universities. We will be taken beyond the traditional experience of triggers and automated emails into hyperpersonalization of content, offers, and timing.

Pantone Color of the Year 2017
Pantone Color of the Year 2017

Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year…

Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year…

Should It Affect Your Marketing? Depends on What You Do.


“ Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate. Greenery is nature’s neutral.” – Pantone


The 18th annual Pantone Color of the Year has been announced— Greenery #15-0343. It was decided in a secret meeting held somewhere in Europe, attended by anonymous representatives from a number of nations. They observed and tracked trends and influences across several industries (fashion, film, technology, art, travel) for months, presented and debated the options, and finally, made their choice. Although the Color of the Year becomes more influential every year in manufacturing, home, and fashion, that secrecy doesn’t win them much support with people such as Lauren Labrecque, Ph.D., an associate professor of marketing at Loyola University Chicago, who has authored several papers on the importance of color in marketing. “I don’t put too much stock into it, mainly due to the fact that there is little transparency,” Labrecque says. “That said, I think the color of the year is important for some people and industries—those who follow trends.”

Labrecque’s extensive research has led her to conclude that color is crucial in marketing and that it can be used strategically to help craft and reinforce brand personalities— a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name and allow the consumer to better relate with the brand. There are five main dimensions of brand personality that are commonly used: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Labrecque’s research examined the relationship between these brand personality perceptions and color— specifically hues, saturation, and value. She found that they are all important for communicating brand personality.

Colors, in fact, influence us all on a daily basis. We’re just not always aware of it. “Color tells us if a strawberry is ripe, if food has gone bad, or if something may be poisonous, such as snakes,” Labrecque says. “Some of the early color work in psychology examined physiological effects and found certain colors can raise or lower blood pressure or brain activity.” She cites an article detailing how some railway stations in Japan have changed their lights to a more calming blue in an effort to curb suicides, and saw an 84 percent decline.

With all this research on colors, why might a designer or creative director look at what an anonymous committee says is the “it” color? For Bryan Torgerson, a freelance creative director who has worked on brands such as CVS/pharmacy and Bose, “the Pantone selection is interesting, but I also look for color trends, specifically on Behance, Pinterest, or Coolors.” is a website to showcase and discover creative work, and is an online color-scheme generator. Both Labrecque and Torgerson say knowing your audience is the first step to deciding how “trendy” you can be with your brand colors. “If you are going to be the designer who brings the 80s color palette back, that product or brand better be known as cutting-edge, or your decision to go with those colors will be perceived as old and dated,” Torgerson says.

Labrecque also authored a paper examining color norms for various product categories and found that whether a brand should be distinct or follow category trends really depends on the category and whether there is a dominant leader. “If a brand already has a strong color identity, I wouldn’t let it be impacted by the Color of the Year,” she advises. “While a brand may choose to offer bags or packaging or product variations in the trending color, I wouldn’t change anything at the core.”

So if you aren’t sold on adopting the Pantone Color of the Year into your brand profile, what steps should you take to decide on a color scheme? Start with competitor analysis within the industry, and don’t be a follower. You can also peruse one of the many studies that explain the physiological meaning of colors and how people feel when they see them.

“I think creatives should be aware of it, but it shouldn’t overtake other factors,” Labrecque says of Pantone’s yearly choice. “I also believe that its importance varies on the context. The Color of the Year is much more important for hedonic categories, such as fashion, than for utilitarian categories, such as cars or kitchen appliances.”

Marketing in the Micro-Moment
Marketing in the Micro-Moment

Marketing in the “Micro-Moment”

Marketing in the “Micro-Moment”

We live in a world of micro-moments. The life of an average tweet is about 18 minutes. We make decisions in milliseconds, from speed dating to deciding what’s for lunch. According to Google, we check our phones 150 times per day, spending an average of 177 minutes on mobile sessions that average 1 minute and 10 seconds each. Yes, we’re speed dating with stores, restaurants, online merchants, exercise-tracking sites, and even our doctor’s office and health records, all on our phones. And we’re doing it in micro-moment bursts, at the moment of need. Author Malcolm Gladwell, in Blink, noted that we only use a few seconds to make most decisions, even important ones. He calls it “thin-slicing”—using limited information from a very narrow period of experience to come to a conclusion. Marketers, take note. Sometimes it only takes a moment to market, too.

Micro-moment marketing can refer to the size of an audience, the size of a message, or the length of the marketable moment. As a micro-engagement, it targets the very specific, focused interest of a buyer, or a moment in time that has meaning for that one person. Think of small moments that carry a big impact. For example, Red Roof Inn used mobile location targeting and customized creative to reach travelers with canceled flights. These people needed last-minute lodging, and Red Roof stepped into the moment faster than their competitors, resulting in a 375 percent increase in conversion rates.

Tiny Screens. Tiny Moments. Big Opportunities?

Mobile devices have created a wider stage for micro-moment marketing. “Because people have a computer in their hands at any given second, the individual moment they’re in is now the most important part of the customer journey,” says David Edelman of McKinsey & Company. Micro-moment marketing is about helping people accomplish what they want to in that particular moment. Maybe you are planning to check into your hotel. Starwood Hotels has an app that recognizes you through the use of beacons the moment you enter the property. After verifying your identity on your mobile device, the app assigns your room number, and you can even use your phone to gain access to your room. Whether it’s insight, knowledge, offers, discounts, maps and directions, real-time updates, or exclusive user experiences, the moment of engagement needs to have value for the consumer.

We Love Google’s Micro-Moments Guide!

Micro-moments can happen anytime, anywhere. “The I-want-to-know moments, I-want-to-go moments, I-want-to-do moments, and I-want- to-buy moments really matter,” says Sridhar Ramaswamy of, adding that they’re game changers for both consumers and brands. “They are intent-rich moments, when decisions are made and preferences shaped.” We found several great examples of micro-moment marketing in this guide from Google. Download today at:

Geo-Targeting: Apps and Maps in Micro-Moment Marketing

The growing use and benefits of geo-targeting, personalized maps, and customized offers in micro-moment marketing can be extremely useful for businesses that depend on walk-ins or other physical action from customers. “Consumers are comfortable with visual formats—they translate well into different media—and the call to action occurs in milliseconds. Readers understand what to do right away,” explains Randy Hardy, North American Representative of LOCR Maps.

  • Retail: Draw retail customers into a store for flash sales, demos, and special events.
  • Trade shows and conferences: Provide news and updates, instant offers, schedule reminders, and exclusive invitations.
  • Hospitality: Search for a local restaurant or hotel and make last-minute reservations.
  • Health care: Communicate up-to-the-minute wait times and nearby locations of urgent care clinics.
  • Insurance: Enhance the customer experience when contacting, reporting, and filing claims on the spot.
  • Travel and tourism: Provide maps, directions, booking, immediate help with service problems, open hours, reviews, and recommendations.
June Steward
June Steward

My Working Day by June Steward


My Working Day by June Steward

June Steward is a not-for-profit marketing strategist specializing in fundraising, development, strategy, and copywriting.

Q: You help nonprofit organizations increase income and improve donor retention through direct response channels. What are the three toughest challenges these organizations face today?

JS: 1. Poor understanding and fear of fundraising from CEOs, boards, and leadership. 2. Poor public perception of fundraising. Donors will complain they receive too much mail and they think a charity is “wasting” their donation. People who work in nonprofit fundraising and communications should be aware that the most effective direct mail can also generate the most complaints. The more compelling and emotional the proposition, the more complaints you may get—but you also raise more money. There are great ways to handle complaints and turn the situation around, but to take donors off mailing lists negates the need your organization fulfills—helping homeless children, disabled veterans, abused animals, victims of domestic violence, etc. 3. Short-term thinking around fundraising. I encourage leadership to stop thinking only in terms of immediate ROI on appeals and campaigns. ROI on single appeals can easily be manipulated. (Reducing the number of donor letters mailed by leaving out lapsed donors results in lower mailing costs and higher response, delivering a higher ROI.)

Q: What is the most frequent advice you give your clients about marketing strategy?

JS: 1. Direct mail success is not just about the copy, but also about your specific offer and call to action. Besides your list, improving the offer or CTA is the best thing to work on to improve direct mail fundraising results. 2. Corporate communications, marketing communications, and journalism are not the same as fundraising communications. Direct mail fundraising and writing for donors is a very unique skill set for writers. 3. Plan out the financial needs of the organization over the next five years and set realistic targets for fundraising. 4. Improve the online donation experience for your donors. 5. Yes, longer letters work better than shorter ones, most of the time.

Q: You are a copywriter and journalist with experience in public relations, marketing, and IT. Why specialize in nonprofit marketing?

JS: I couldn’t get excited about marketing gadgets or clothing as a full-time career. I ended up working for a major charity in Australia in communications. I had no idea about fundraising at the time and was horrified to see this charity sending out huge volumes of direct mail each month. Then I saw the appeal results and was amazed to see how much money they raised—millions! I thought, “Well, these donors are giving, but they must hate all this mail”. Next, I did a stint on the phones in the call center to help out with an appeal and, I kid you not, the majority of donors I spoke to were amazing, and they welcomed our direct mail appeals! When I started my own business, I was originally going to do copywriting for both for-profit and nonprofit. I did my first nonprofit job as a freelancer, and the client doubled fundraising income for their appeal! I loved it, and I realized I love helping great causes.

Q: Direct mail vs. digital marketing?

JS: It’s not either–or. It should be both. Many charities are delighted at the idea of getting rid of those expensive donor newsletters and just moving to online. This is the worst possible thing you can do. The nonprofits with the most successful fundraising programs are the ones that are successfully integrating both direct mail and digital channels. What we’re finding is that, although many donors
may be donating online, their gifts were prompted by a direct mail letter, newsletter, or even a small publication they received. Also, response rates for direct mail are much higher than for email appeals. Typically, you’re looking at 3–15% response rate for direct mail, depending on the quality of your list and what segmentation you use. Email appeals to the same list can generate response rates below 1–3%, if you’re lucky. By response rates, I mean people who actually donated, not email open rates or click-throughs. That doesn’t mean you should not do email appeals. You should do both.

Q: What is the best part of your day?

JS: Apart from hugging my husband and daughter—I love it when I finish a strong direct mail pack. I love it when the client tells me we’ve exceeded target or a major donor has given $200,000.

Q: What do you love most about writing?

JS: The most creative part of the writing is actually not the writing. It’s the thinking before the writing—gathering all the research and the case studies, understanding the donors, and then coming up with the creative idea that will drive a good direct mail appeal.

Q: Marketing to Millennials can be a challenge. What is the best way to appeal to this generation for fundraising?

JS: For most organizations, targeting Millennials for fundraising is not a good use of resources. The traditional charity donor across all sectors (overseas aid, health, environment, animals, arts, etc.) is a 60+ female. We have found that Millennials make good advocates, e.g., they will sign petitions or participate in peer-to-peer fundraising such as fun runs or cycle challenges. But in terms of long-term donors giving year after year, Millennials are the wrong cohort to approach. When we do actual donor profiling or surveying of a nonprofit’s donors, typically, the largest group of donors is 60–69, with a reasonable number of donors who are 50–59. After that, there is a big drop in the groups 40–49, 30–39, and 20–29. You have to do donor profiling and know your own data. Often, senior leaders in
charities will say, “Our older donors are dying! We need to attract more Millennials!” My response is: “Yes, you do need younger donors, but the younger donors you need are not in their 20s. You need to be looking for donors who are in their 40s and 50s.” Read more at June’s blog:

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