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Open House at Spin Games

Published by Christina on January 12, 2015, in Case Studies, General, Recent Projects, Social Media, Startups

NCET STYLE –

And since we’re in gaming, a few games will be on-hand for your entertainment. Winners will receive gift certificates to Squeeze In, Campo and Coffeebar Reno

From NCET – Reno startup, Spin Games, is at the forefront of new gaming technology. Its core technology was developed to address the need for mobile technology for the $200 million for-wager industry; Spin Games is also using that same technology to build applications for the $3 billion social gaming industry. (Yes, you read that right – the social gaming, non-wager gaming industry is much larger than the for-wager industry!)

Join us at Tech Wednesday on January 14 for a look at Spin Games’ new office space at 100 Washington Street. Hear how this small, local company is revolutionizing gaming with HTML5-based technology that is transforming the way gaming content is delivered. Spin Games has created such technologies as (MIG) Multi-player Interactive Gaming TM, multi-level progressives, and new applications that allow players to use their own mobile devices to play community-based games for-wager or social gaming. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the mathematicians, programmers, engineers, graphic artists and the local team that brings these games to life. (Spin Games also has a creative center in Bangkok, Thailand.)

Company President Kent Young will share his perspective on the future of gaming and discuss how casinos are evolving to embrace mobile gaming. He has worked in the industry for more than 25 years and is affectionately known as the “penny slot guy” for his role in bringing the popular games to the U.S. market. His expertise in finding new niches in which to evolve is the driving force behind Spin Games. Learn more about Spin Games at spingames.net Register today – Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 5:30 > 7:30 * $15 – NCET members
* $25 – non-members
* $10 – Children under 18 accompanied by parent or adult guardian NCET events have been selling out! RSVP early so you don’t miss this great event. NCET members receive substantial discounts on NCET events and your membership pays for itself quickly. Join NCET now and save! Spin Games Reno
100 Washington St.,
Reno, NV 89501, USA.

The fine print:

  • We encourage you to pay in advance as there’s a $10 service charge if you pay at the door.
  • No-shows will be charged the full amount of the reservation unless cancelled at least 48 hours before the event.

For more information, contact NCET at (775) 453-0130 or info@NCET.org

 

Ready for the Pitch? Or Just Another Press Release?

Published by Christina on December 4, 2014, in Career Advice, Case Studies, General, Grammar, Social Media, Startups

I stumbled upon this article a few days ago and it resonated with me on so many levels. I hope you feel the same after reading. I’m astounded that when it comes to PR we are still plugging away utilizing old school tactics. Guess what, they work – as long as you work also.

Kate Finley is going to give you a few tips and I will add my two cents by stating that if your intent is to obtain more positive press coverage in 2015, be sure to print this blog and put it on display in your office. To boot, visit another blog from a hip new agency in my hometown http://theabbiagency.com/top-5-tips-writing-perfect-press-release/ and check out their top five tips to writing a press release (beware, you may crave a cupcake after you absorb the sample press release). The synergy between the two is astounding!

One last thought, don’t worry if you’ve already made a few mistakes, we all do. I was guilty of one myself this past fall. Buck-up, take responsibility for your efforts, strive to reach a new level within your media relationships and don’t fret about the past. What’s done is done. Onward.

Kate Finley is founder and CEO of Belle Communications, an integrated communications agency in Columbus, Ohio specializing in PR, social media and content marketing for food, restaurant and startup brands. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists by searching their bios, tweets and articles, and pitch them to get more press.

11 reasons why journalists don’t reply to your pitches

Don’t automatically blame the arrogant reporter for ignoring your pitch. Instead, assume the problem lies on your end. You might be surprised at the ROI of your attitude change.
By Kate Finley | Posted: December 2, 2014
No matter how long you’ve been in PR, there are times when you feel like you pitch into an abyss of silence and rejection. The lack of replies causes you to feel insecure. You question your ability to get coverage for your client.The good news: The lack of a reply almost never means a journalist hates you. Take that off your list. Often no response simply calls for assessing your pitch and making needed adjustments. 

To increase your odds of a reply, use this list of often-overlooked mistakes:

1. You have the wrong contact. Even if you worked with the journalist recently, she could be on vacation. Her publication could have shifted coverage or moved to a different outlet. Her job in her media outlet could have changed. Even after you consult Muck Rack, it’s better to be sure before you send that pitch. Call the receptionist or newsroom to ask if so-and-so is still the correct contact for what you’re pitching. Warning: Don’t ask for “the person who covers news.” You may get stuck with a gatekeeper who promises you he’ll “pass your information on,” i.e., a dead end.

2. You didn’t research. It’s essential to conduct due diligence before pitching a story. I can’t tell you how many pitches I’ve gotten that had nothing to do with our business blog. Warning: Great writing won’t save your pitch if it goes to the wrong inbox.

3. Your pitch is too long. Journalists are very busy. For every relevant pitch they receive, dozens or hundreds of pitches miss the mark and get deleted. Get to the point right away by answering these questions: Is my news tailored to this outlet and its editorial preferences? Is my news unique and interesting? Is my news time-sensitive? Does it have a clear call to action?

4. Your email subject line was misleading or uninteresting. Keep your subject line short enough for mobile. Capture attention right away and don’t mislead. Warning: If you try to use trickery like adding “Re:” or “Fwd:” before your subject line, you risk being pegged as a spammer. You can count on that journalist promptly deleting your emails.

5. You didn’t offer a compelling story. Just because you’ve been asked to “place” a news release doesn’t mean journalists want to cover it. Home in on the story. Humanize your pitch as much as possible. Consider moving beyond the simple facts. Propose potential story ideas.

6. You didn’t create a sense of urgency. This seems basic, but it’s very easy to forget a call-to-action (CTA) in your pitch. You don’t just want the journalist to consider it. Get the idea across that this pitch is on a time-sensitive event or issue. It’s important for her to consider it now.

7. You waited too long to follow up. This trips pitchers often. Don’t wait weeks to follow up. Send your pitch; wait a few days to re-pitch; be sure to add value with each contact. Warning: If you wait too long, your pitch will be forgotten. You’ll have missed a prime opportunity.

8. You didn’t follow up. I’ve heard reporters say that if you don’t get a reply, they’re not interested and there’s no need to follow up. My experience has been quite different. Journalists are busy. Pitches rarely get picked up on the first contact and follow-up is necessary in most cases. If your research has convinced you your idea is a perfect fit, follow up. Be ready to explain WHY.

9. You didn’t allow enough lead-time. It’s November and you have a fabulous New Year’s idea for a national publication. Even better, you see a perfect opportunity in the publication’s editorial calendar. The problem? Lead-time. Particularly when you work with national media, allow four to six months. Check editorial close dates before you pitch. If you pitched without enough lead-time, point out the error in your follow-up email and offer an idea for months later.

10. You pitched like you were selling something. I see this often; it still makes me angry. PR is not advertising. Your pitch must be descriptive, compelling and persuasive, not pushy, self-promotional or obnoxious. Your pitch should be about the reporter and her publication’s needs, not your own.

11. The reporter just isn’t interested in your story . This item is last on my list intentionally. In my experience, if you craft a well-researched, tailored pitch and follow the above steps, you’ll get a reply.

It may not be the reply you hoped for. Often you’ll get a quick reply thanking you for your idea and explaining that it can’t be covered now, but they will keep you in mind. It’s still a no but it’s a reply, which allows you some closure.

A good pitch is a pitch treated as a piece of art created for the journalist you contact. It should inspire an appreciative response, even if she doesn’t cover your story. Pitches like these result in positive, high-quality, mutually beneficial relationships with journalists.

 

Tahoe Rim Trail Association Salutes Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge Sponsors at Official Nevada Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration

Published by Christina on September 16, 2014, in Case Studies, Charitable Giving, General, Recent Projects, Social Media

Coffeebar Reno and Sunshine Tahoe are pleased to host this celebration for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA), their Trail Challengers and the sponsors that have helped to ensure the success of this new and rewarding program.  

Nevada 150 Official Event

Nevada 150 Official Event, Monday, September 22 @ 4:30 Coffeebar Reno

This year over 2,300 miles were traveled by the 452 Trail Challenge members on the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Sixteen sponsors helped make the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge possible these past two years, and on Monday, September 22, 2014 these sponsors will be celebrated as well as the thirty-third anniversary of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA). Members, sponsors and those interested in learning more about the TRTA are invited to join us for this fun evening.

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association in partnership with Sunshine Tahoe and Coffeebar, are hosting a night to honor supporters, showcase a historical display of the thirty-three year history of the Tahoe Rim Trail and the Association that made it happen, and share a brief state of the trail address. This celebration, which is also an official event of the Nevada Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration, will be held Sept. 22 at Coffeebar Reno, 682 Mount Rose St., Reno at 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. with light food and drinks. Please RSVP today, as we want to make sure you are in the loop and able to enjoy all that the party has to offer. Register Now.

The Tahoe Trail Rim Challenge is a family-friendly outdoor adventure which encourages enthusiasts of all levels to get out and enjoy the lush beauty of the Tahoe Rim Trail while supporting the maintenance of the trail through membership. Participants who join will receive special web access to download select maps and hike descriptions which lead to special places along the Tahoe Rim Trail. The program welcomes hikers, bikers, equestrians, individuals, families, teams, hiking groups and corporations who want to get outdoors and help sustain the trail. The cost to join is $55 for individuals and $85 for families (includes 2 participants). Team rates are also available. Existing TRTA members and additional family members can enroll for only $20. In addition to the special maps and hikes participants will receive online web features for tracking and sharing their challenge, a sporty tech T-shirt, invitations to special Where’s McLeod? Giveaway Days and a one-year TRTA membership.

Tahoe Rim Trail

ABOUT THE TAHOE RIM TRAIL ASSOCIATION (TRTA)

Established in 1981, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association is a membership-supported organization that maintains, enhances and promotes the Tahoe Rim Trail, a trail like no other™ The 165-mile,single-track trail is open to hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. The trail encompasses the ridge tops of the Lake Tahoe Basin, crossing six counties, and two states. The Tahoe Rim Trail overlaps with approximately fifty miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.  Programs offered include in-depth backcountry skills trainings, hiking programs and rewarding volunteer opportunities. The TRTA annually recruits, trains and manages approximately 1,000 volunteers who contribute more than 17,000 hours to support TRTA’s mission. Volunteer efforts, individual and corporate donations and grant funding make TRTA’s annual stewardship work and more than one hundred free public offerings possible. Visit http://www.tahoerimtrail.org to learn more or contact TRTA’s Shannon Skarritt, shannons@tahoerimtrail.org, (775) 298-4490.

2014 Trail Challenge Sponsors – We Salute You

CA Technologies, KPS|3, REI, NV Energy, KOLO 8 News Now, Squeeze In (Reno, Sparks & Truckee), North American Embroidery, Coffeebar Reno & Truckee, Desert Research Institute DRI, Nicole Cheslock Communications, Tahoe Mountain Sports, YESCO Outdoor Media, Spin Games, Hometown Health, Tahoe Trail Bar

 

 

SAVE MONDAY SEPT. 22 AND CELEBRATE THE TAHOE RIM TRAIL

Published by Christina on June 18, 2014, in Career Advice, Case Studies, Charitable Giving, General, Recent Projects, Social Media

On Monday, September 22 at Coffeebar Reno the Tahoe Rim Trail Association will celebrate 33 years of Tahoe Rim Trail Stewardship

 

 

Nevada 150 Official Event

 

Official Nevada 150 Event, Celebrating 33 years of the Tahoe Rim Trail

Recognized as an “Official Event” as a part of Nevada’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, Sunshine Tahoe and Coffeebar Reno are hosting a party in honor of the Tahoe Rim Trail Associations volunteers, donors, sponsors, supporters and Trail Challengers. The semi-private event is slated for Monday, September 22 @ Coffeebar Reno from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Mingle with three decades of trail builders, maintainers, Trail Challenge sponsors.

DO YOU LOVE A GOOD CHALLENGE?

Are you ready to get outside?

Enroll now for access to Tahoe’s Premiere trail program, the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge. As a member you are going to enjoy endless adventures, suprising comraderei on the trail, an annual membership to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA)  and a super cool t-shirt (literally, it’s a tech-t so it will keep you cool and the design is simply that – cool).

 

Being a member is also a lovely gift for friends and family, come out on a sponsor giveaway day and we’ll take photos and provide a complimentary gift to you for being a part of a program. The Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge (TRTC) not only encourages a healthy lifestyle and safe terrain for outdoor adventures, this program helps sustain the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Now entering its 33rd year, with government funding down close to 70%, this is a great opportunity for all of us to help take care of the Tahoe Rim Trail and have a great time while doing so.

About the 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge
We invite you to take on Tahoe’s next big challenge, and explore some of the best pieces the165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail has to offer!

As part of the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge, we have selected six premier destinations along the trail, which highlight something unique to Lake Tahoe: Amazing panoramic vistas, alpine lakes and creeks, wildflower-infused meadows, lush waterfalls, unique geology, rich history & much more! Depending upon the trail and season, you can hike, bike, and ride horseback, ski or snowshoe to complete each challenge site all in one year.

New this year! Tahoe Rim Trail Challengers have the option of completing your challenge as either a Trail Blazer or Trail Explorer! Trail Blazers will head out and explore six short (2-6 miles) easy treks while our Trail Explorers are challenged with going the extra mile and can explore (6-12 miles) longer and moderate treks that take you further along the Tahoe Rim Trail!

It’s all up to you and how much of a challenge you’re looking for this year. Completing any or all of the challenges makes you a 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge winner!

TELL ME MORE

Where’s McLeod? Giveaway Days

Have you seen trail mascot, McLeod the Marmot along the Tahoe Rim Trail? This summer, he too, will be taking on the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge and will make a special appearance at each of our six Where’s McLeod? Giveaway Days! Various Saturday’s this summer the TRTA and our sponsors will be with McLeod passing out cool surprises from our sponsors and cheering you on as you take on each of your six challenge treks. Grab your friends and family and see if you can find McLeod and get your picture taken with him. BE SURE TO WEAR YOUR TRTC T-SHIRT TO ALL GIVEAWAY DAYS!

So, how does it work?

1. To start, you will need to enroll in the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge as an individual, family or a member of a team. (Team rates are available.)

2. Once you enroll, click on Join the Tahoe Rim Trail Community at the upper left of this page to begin accessing the six maps and hike descriptions of the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge and to start sharing your experiences and photos.

3. Once you’ve Joined the Tahoe Rim Trail Community Once you’re logged in, you can then start sharing your experiences and photos or edit your profile.

Quick Access for Tahoe Rim Trail Challengers:

To easily access these features of the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge, login to the Tahoe Rim Trail Community and click on any one of these links to access maps, track your challenge and to run team leader reports.

Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge Highlights

  • Who: You and your friends, family, hiking parters, colleagues or go solo.  After all, it’s your adventure.
  • What:  Hike, bike or ride your horse to six premier destination chosen for the 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge
  • Where: Six day-hike locations varying in length from 2-12 miles which all lead you to spectacular views and sites located along the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail.
  • When: Anytime between January 1-December 31, 2014 (snowshoeing encouraged)
  • Cost:  $55 individual $85 family. $20 for current TRTA members and additional family members. Group rates available.

What do I receive when join the 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge?

  • A 1-year Tahoe Rim Trail Association membership.
  • Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge tech t-shirt to sport while on the trail.
  • Access to members-only WebPages and features to download maps and hike descriptions.
  • A place to share your photos and use an online tracking system to record your challenge.
  • An opportunity to enhance your health and well being.
  • Meet new friends and trail enthusiasts.
  • All participants will receive special invitations to our on the trail Where’s McLeod? Giveaway Days this summer! Stay tuned!

 

 

 

The TRTA would like to thank our 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge Sponsors for your wonderful support.

PRESENTING SPONSORS

RGJ logo160x121 NV Energy logo160x121 REI logo large jpeg

CA Technologies Logo 160x121KPS3100x100

MAJOR MEDIA SPONSOR

 

GENEROUS PROGRAM SPONSORS

Sunshine Tahoe200x100SqueezeIn150X100Nicole Cheslock200x100 Hometown HealthTahoe Trail Bar Logo150x100

THOUGHTFUL IN-KIND SPONSORS

Would you like to become a 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge Sponsor? Contact Shannon at the Tahoe Rim Trail Association at 775-298-4485 or info@tahoerimtrail.org for more information. Christina promises to spoil you rotten.

 

 

 

 

Keywords Are It!

Published by Christina on January 3, 2014, in Career Advice, Case Studies, General, Grammar, Social Media

I absolutely love this piece by Titus Hoskins, Hostway  Web Resources or http://www.hostway.com

Seven Powerful and Useful Keyword Marketing Tools

By Titus Hoskins

After years of running Web sites and earning a full-time online income, I am constantly reminded that it all comes down to keywords. Actually, it all comes down to obtaining top rankings for your profitable keywords in the search engines, mainly Google.

And that statement has to be refined even further, it’s all about obtaining top keyword rankings and keeping them at the top. You must consistently keep your keywords in the top spots on that all important first page of SERPs since your keyword rankings can make or break your online marketing.

If you’re targeting extremely competitive and profitable keywords you will have your work cut out for you; unless you have tons of money to buy your way (links) into the top spots, expect to spend months if not years, getting to those top listings. Google has frowned upon link buying and has taken steps to fight it, but this practice is still widespread throughout the Web.

Most beginning and honest Webmasters want to take the proper route and earn those top rankings by providing good quality content that Web users will actually find helpful and useful. They build those links the natural way by offering viral link bait in the form of videos, ebooks, articles, reports… all branded with backlinks to their sites.

Gradually over time, these links will build up and your keyword rankings will go up in the search engines. People will find your content and bookmark it in all the social bookmark sites like Digg, Facebook, MySpace… and your rankings will climb even faster.

However, since keyword marketing has become extremely competitive, you do need a little help with achieving those top rankings. Over the years I have tested and used many keyword tools and I have listed some of the best ones below. (Just Google to find links to these tools and programs.)

1. Internet Success Spider

One of the first keyword tools I ever used was The Internet Success Spider by Neil Shearing which is now free. The Spider is a very simple, yet powerful keyword tool because it shows you the major players in your keyword niche. It slowly works in the background to give you valuable information on your keywords. I realized very quickly, with marketing (like most things in life) that information is what separates the losers from the winners.

2. Keyword Elite

Later, I tried and am still using Keyword Elite by Brad Callen, it remains one of the best keyword research tools on the market. I can directly link many of my keyword successes to my early use of this tool.

Brad Callen simply creates some of the best marketing tools for online Webmasters and marketers. KE is no exception. It will do some very comprehensive keyword research for you and let you easily arrange that information. Keyword Elite has earned a well deserved reputation as a very useful marketing tool.

3. Brainstorm It — Site Build It

Another, perhaps even more powerful keyword tool is Brainstorm It! which is offered through the Site Build It marketing/hosting system run by Ken Evoy. This is a powerful keyword analyzer and finder, which is now in its third version.

SBI run by Ken Evoy creates many tools for Webmasters, and Brainstorm It, Version 3 is simply one of the best. This keyword tool will do both vertical and lateral keyword research to give the most comprehensive array of information for your marketing online. Only negative, you only get so many Wordtracker credits and you have to pay extra when those run out. Actually, Wordtracker should be at the top of any keyword tool list, but I have mainly used it in conjunction with other programs like Brainstorm It.

4. Google Keyword Tool

Then again, there is Google’s own keyword system run through its AdWords program. Like everything Google does, this keyword tool can be very helpful especially for the novice online marketer.

5. MSN Commercial Intention Of Keywords

Not to be outdone, another helpful tool is Microsoft’s Online Commercial Intention tool, which tells the probability your chosen keyword has a commercial value to it.

6. SEOBook Online Keyword Tool

For very quick keyword references, I like using Aaron Wall’s keyword tool on his SEOBook site. It’s quick and gives very good stats for your chosen keywords.

7.SEOQuake

Still yet another SEO (sort of related to keywords) is the SeoQuake Toolbar, which you can run on Firefox. It will slow down your browser but it will cough up valuable information about your site and more importantly, it will give you valuable information on your competitors’ sites. One feature that I find very helpful is the SEM Rank and SEM Price, which tells you how much your Search Engine keyword traffic is worth.

Plus, you must not ignore your Web site stats and traffic logs for they can supply you with your most valuable keyword information regarding your site. Closely examine which keyword phrases are bringing in the traffic and/or sales. Develop these keywords with your marketing, especially any “long tail” keyword phrases visitors are using to find your site or products. These longer keyword phrases have proven to be the most profitable because many times consumers using these phrases already have their minds made up on what they’re going to buy.

Why Am I Using All These Keyword Tools?

Simply because obtaining and keeping top rankings for my chosen keywords is my livelihood. Unless I can keep that focused traffic coming from these keywords via the search engines; it’s game over. Therefore, I use all the tools and information I can gather in order to keep those keywords at the top.

Google is always changing, you really have to stay on your game if you want to keep your keywords at the top. It all boils down to producing quality content Web surfers need and want. The SEO pretty much takes care of itself as long as you keep promoting your keywords with good viral branded content like videos, articles, ebooks, PDF reports… and you must mix up your online link building to include links from such places as Facebook, Digg, Google Bookmarks, MySpace… I have always used the free “AddThis” button to all my important content and this has resulted in 100’s of free links that your visitors will build for you!

I also believe you have to be careful when using viral articles to vary your anchor text (clickable part of a link) so that you don’t have the same keyword phrase repeated hundreds of times across the Web. Just use different versions of your keyword phrase and if you can, get those keyword links in the body of the article, as near to the top of the page as you can. This will make your link building look much more natural in the eyes of the search engines, especially Google.

Overall, you must have hundreds, if not thousands of keywords that you’re targeting with your marketing. You must constantly keep building links for those keywords from related sites on the Web. Sometimes it is helpful to truly view your keywords as organic, something that keeps growing naturally on its own. But you must first build a solid foundation with good quality content and then keep nurturing those keywords with good quality link bait so that others will bookmark, recommend and link to your keyword content.

Over the years, if there is anything I have learned about keywords which always holds true, it is this: you must be persistent. You must keep at it–building links, building content– it will usually take months, if not years, to get those top rankings for very competitive keywords, and it will take some further work to consistently keep those keywords in the top positions. But you will quickly learn keywords are well worth it since they can easily make or break your marketing.

About The Author

The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous Web sites. For the latest Web marketing tools try: BizwareMagic.com. If you liked the article above, why not try this Free 7 Day Marketing Course here: http://www.marketingtoolguide.com.

OTHER RESOURCES
Search Engine Optimization

Stand out in search engine results with expert search engine optimization services.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Drive targeted traffic to your Web site with a fully managed pay per click campaign from Hostway.

 

Minority Report Advertising IS Right Around the Corner

Published by Christina on January 2, 2014, in Career Advice, General, Social Media, Startups

This article was drafted in March of 2010, now we’re in January of 2014 and we’re hardly ever using the word advertising anymore – at least in the true sense of its origination. Now we use keywords such as social media and sponsored media. Speaking of, the keyword machine has exploded and I suspect is now close to self imploding.  I will share more on that tomorrow.  Now, please take a trip down memory lane with me today, as we look back, it’s important to also look forward. I’ll see you back @ sunshinetahoe.com tomorrow (Friday) and give you a little more food for thought.

March 2011 -During a recent visit to Tokyo, the first phrase echoed by my son in a far away land was, “Wow, there’s so much technology.”  This is coming from a young man who spends most of his school day working from a laptop and is consumed with a variety of technical mediums that include Nintendo, iTouch and Wii.

I must admit, he’s right. LED screens are everywhere, selling products and promoting restaurants. Even the local museums display dark booths that once held cashiers, only to be replaced by computer kiosks.  The technology is so vast that you need a user’s manual to navigate the toilet (no joke).

Now, according to a recent CNN Japan story, “Ads that Watch You” advertising is on the move – once again.  Imagine stopping to take a look at an advertisement, all the while the advertisement is looking at you.  The following is from a CNN Japan transcript:

“Here is how this works. When you walk up to the ad, a camera captures your image. The computer figures out if you are a man or a woman and your age. Meanwhile, an age and gender-specific ad rolls. This shows that I’m in my 30s and I like seasonal pasta. The computer then determines how interested you are, how long you will stay. That data is then recorded for the company. NEC engineer Junko Amagai says the facial recognition technology is accurate to within 10 years of your actual age, and the next-gen system they are testing out is even more age accurate.”  CNN Business 360

It sounds as though we can expect testing to begin in the United States this spring. As a marketer, I suspect this new technology will continue to reinvent modern media. As an individual, I can only hope Christian Dior will not ‘guess’ my age to be older. Hopefully the techie’s behind the beta’s will remember the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

 

Let’s Get Real

Published by Christina on January 9, 2013, in Career Advice, General, Social Media, Startups

Four years ago, while walking with a spring in my step after an incredibly informative conference day at AdTech, I stopped at Banana Republic. At that very moment, my phone rang… I was thrilled to see a familiar name behind the ring and then it hit me like a baseball bat – shopping at Banana Republic was no longer going to be a part of my individual freedom. I was about to be swallowed by their future advertising. Suddenly I felt less free and, to be honest, a little paranoid.

The phone I was carrying allowed me to stay in touch with my family and business in a moment’s notice. It gave me directions to just about anywhere in the world and if I had the right model, allowed me to spend ample time shopping on the internet.

What I had just learned was this device was going to be a big part of my future marketing campaigns. Yes, if I was at Starbucks Coffee they would send me a text when I walked in the door offering me a discount on my favorite latte. When I visited Banana Republic I would receive a message letting me know the style of shirt I purchased last spring was available in new spring colors and in “my” size.

My senses were overloaded as I struggled to grasp this next phase in social media, and I immediately wanted to know how I could implement these tools into future programming. Four years forward and we now reference the quickly developing tactic as Real-Time Marketing.

I’d like to share a story of a few examples of this trending tactic in the world of social marketing. As you read the examples, I encourage you to read between the lines. Are any of these tactics one you can incorporate into your programming? Would it behoove you to re-adjust your strategy by doing so? Do you have an upcoming event that would allow you to test a real-time marketing strategy?  How are you measuring your current social media efforts?

This is a guest contribution by Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at Altimeter Group who covers digital advertising and media, an area that encompasses brands, publishers, agencies, and technology vendors. You can follow her on Twitter @lieblink.

How Real Companies Are Leveraging the Power of Real-Time Marketing

That’s all well and good, but in the real world, how are marketers working in real time? There are lots of examples from brands you probably recognize, and most break into one of two buckets: event driven, and customer driven. The former category is what this post will focus on. Event driven real-time marketing embraces public events — think a major sporting event, the Oscars, or Fashion Week. Brand events like trade shows or product launches fall into this category, too. You can even count breaking news in this bucket. Let’s review seven examples of real brands going real-time with their marketing to spark your creativity.

Pepsi During Fashion Week 2011

Pepsi launched their Diet Pepsi skinny during Fashion Week 2011. Rather than advertise, the product was integrated into the event. Pepsi hired a journalist with full press credentials to the event. When she published, Pepsi amplified the content on social channels and also used Twitter and Foursquare to flag notable events. Brand positioning: “get the skinny” on fashion and pop culture.

Pizza Hut & Foursquare Team Up During the Super Bowl

People who checked in to the game unlocked a ‘Super Swarm Sunday’ badge with an offer: “spend $10, get $5 off” at Pizza Hut when paying with American Express. As of 6:20pm EST, 175,365 people had checked in (the number was growing by 1,000 per minute). By the time the badge expired, 303,445 people had checked in.

Oxygen Network Pilots OxygenLive

With over 2 million viewers per episode, “Bad Girls Club” is the Oxygen Network’s top show. Early in its fourth season, the network piloted “OxygenLive” on the East Coast. The show, a “social viewing party” with talent from the show, pulled comments and conversations from social networks into a hub. Ratings for adults 18-49 were up 92% from the previous season in the East, while in the West, where “OxygenLive” didn’t air, ratings rose a mere 14%.

Walgreens’ SoLoMo Foursquare Program

Customer driven real-time marketing tends to be customer service focused. In fact, new research from The Social Habit finds consumers reaching out to companies on social channels expect a response within 60 minutes. That’s why it’s freat that Walgreens’ SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) Foursquare program reaches in-store shoppers. Consumers who check in at a Walgreens location on Foursquare instantly receive a coupon for a special offer. Even more innovative: the coupon can be scanned directly from the phone.

Pretzel Crisps’ “Social Sampling” Program

This real-time program monitors Twitter conversations to identify customers who are “in need of a snack.” @PretzelCrisps offers to deliver a free product sample, often with a follow-up that encourages recipients to share feedback and start conversations about the brand. Pretzel Crisps has garnered over 4.2 million earned media impressions since the launch of the program in July 2010, has delivered some 3,600 free samples to consumers, and the company has seen sales increase up to 87 percent over the previous year.

@ChicagoCabbie Generates Repeat Business With Real-Time

The man managing #ChicagoCabbie proves you don’t have to be a big brand to get a big bang out of real-time marketing. The Twitter handle belongs to cabbie Rashid Temuri, who gets 90-95% of his repeat business through social media channels, primarily Twitter. Customers can follow him and check his location on Google Latitude or Find My Friends. When they need a cab, they know if he’s nearby and can tweet for a ride. Bonus: free WiFi in his cab!

EuroControl Oversees European Air Safety

During the Icelandic volcanic eruption in 2010 that grounded all flights in the region, their homepage featured updated maps of the volcanic ash movement, explaining the implications. They updated their Facebook page, Twitter account, and relevant LinkedIn groups with useful information for travelers. They consistently used Twitter hashtags #euva and #ashtag to inform customers. After introducing the hashtags, customers themselves started sharing stories and tips with them.

Getting Real About Implementing Real-Time Marketing

Larger organizations dedicate significant resources to real-time marketing. Applebee’s has 7,000 employees in 1,000 locations handling real-time at a local and community level. Dell and Gatorade have vast listening centers equipped with sophisticated listening technology to measure brand sentiment. But all real-time strategies, large or small, begin with listening and learning — long before talking or doing. Measuring conversations and sentiment is the first step in determining how real-time programs will develop. You can start with free monitoring tools, or invest in one of the many paid social media monitoring technologies.

The highest cost of real-time marketing can be the team that makes it happen. After all, always-on means 24/7 staffing. Arm teams with the necessary tools, and train them to respond in accordance with social media policies and in the brand’s voice. Most importantly, empower them to work in an agile environment, free of the chain-of-approval strictures that are completely antithetical to real-time marketing.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33696/7-Inspiring-Examples-of-Real-Time-Marketing-in-Action.aspx#ixzz2HWu2tfWt

My head is spinning and I’m excited about the future of our industry. It continues to unravel on a daily basis and I can’t help but think about ways to implement these strategies. As I prepare to head out for a meeting in my car, which is very low on gas, I’m curious – is my car directing me to the nearest gas station?  Or, is it sending me to the nearest gas station paying the car manufacturer to direct me?

It’s definitely getting real…

 

 

By Mikal E. Belicove, Facebook Posting Techniques that Really Work

Published by Christina on August 24, 2011, in Social Media

A dear friend recently published this succinct and interesting article, I find it a fresh perspective to a challenging subject.

There’s a fine line between a scientific approach to marketing on Facebook and a haphazard shotgun approach. For those of you who prefer not to “point and shoot,” a new study from a San Francisco-based social media strategy firm offers an in-depth analysis of the top 20,000 Facebook Pages and up to a quarter million posts in an effort to determine the most useful posting techniques.

In the just-released report called Engagement and Interaction: A Scientific Approach to Facebook Marketing (link opens a PDF file), Momentus Media. provides answers to the seven most frequently asked questions by Facebook page administrators:

  1. When’s the best time to post? While weekends and off-peak hours from 2pm to 5am are the times when page admins are least likely to add a new post, those are the posts that receive the highest interaction rates. Thursdays, on the other hand, shoulder the highest number of postings during the week and the lowest interaction rate. And since a high level of postings results in a lower interaction rate from users, it only stands to reason that posting in off-peak hours means you’ll gain more interaction from fans.
  2. How many times should I post per day? You’d think too many posts would offend your followers but the report suggests frequent posting increases interaction. As you might suspect, fewer posts reduce the chances users will see them. And while unsubscribe rates go up after three posts per day, they level off at higher frequencies. The secret is to find that balance between optimizing interaction and managing unsubscribes, which is going to be different for every business.
  3. What type of content elicits the most interaction? By far, photos generate the highest interaction rate for the six varieties of content, with status updates ranking No. 2. Others — in descending order — include video, music and links. The fact that links are at the bottom is interesting, considering they are posted the most often. Photos rank at the top because they’re visual, easy to digest and they elicit emotion.
  4. Should I ask fans to Like or Comment on my posts? Absolutely. Just by taking advantage of a “Like” call to action boosts your interaction rate by 216 percent. Momentus Media analyzed 49,266 Page posts, comparing interaction rates for posts with “Like” and “Comment” calls to action and those without. And while only 1.3 percent of status messages had a call to action attached, those who used “Like” or “Comment” showed a huge boost in interaction rates.
  5. Should I ask my fans questions? You’d think that by asking questions you’d get a better interaction rate, but such is not the case. However, Facebook page admins looking to achieve the highest comment rate should pose questions and then directly ask for fans to reply with comments.
  6. How long should my status messages be? According to this study, size does matter. While there’s a higher posting rate for shorter posts (especially those that stay within the 140-character limit for cross-posting purposes on both Twitter and Facebook), interaction increases as the length of the status message increases.
  7. How long do my messages remain in the Newsfeed? In the first hour of a Facebook status update, half of the users who will click on the post will have done so, with 90 percent of the clicks occurring within nine hours of the post going live.

What’s your best strategy for boosting interaction with your company on Facebook?

(c)2011 Entrepreneur Media, Inc.

“About the Author: Mikal E. Belicove is an Entrepreneur Magazine Columnist, Contributing Writer & Blogger and the co-author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook.” For more information, please visit www.MikalBelicove.com.”

 

“Minority Report” Style Advertising is Right Around the Corner

Published by Christina on March 16, 2010, in Social Media, Startups

During a recent visit to Tokyo, the first phrase echoed by my son in a far away land was, “Wow, there’s so much technology.”  This is coming from a young man who spends most of his school day working from a laptop and is consumed with a variety of technical mediums that include Nintendo, iTouch and Wii.

I must admit, he’s right.  LED screens are everywhere, selling products and promoting restaurants.  Even the local museums display dark booths that once held cashiers, only to be replaced by computer kiosks.   The technology is so vast that you need a user’s manual to navigate the toilet (no joke).

Now, according to a recent CNN Japan story, “Ads that Watch You” advertising is on the move – once again.  Imagine stopping to take a look at an advertisement, all the while the advertisement is looking at you.  The following is from a CNN Japan transcript:

“Here is how this works. When you walk up to the ad, a camera captures your image. The computer figures out if you are a man or a woman and your age. Meanwhile, an age and gender-specific ad rolls. This shows that I’m in my 30s and I like seasonal pasta. The computer then determines how interested you are, how long you stay. That data is then recorded for the company. NEC engineer Junko Amagai says the facial recognition technology is accurate to within 10 years of your actual age, and the next-gen system they are testing out is even more age accurate.”  CNN Business 360

It sounds as though we can expect testing to begin in the United States this spring.  As a marketer, I suspect this new technology will continue to reinvent modern media.  As an individual, I can only hope Christian Dior will not ‘guess’ my age to be older.  Hopefully the techie’s behind the beta’s will remember the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Social Marketing

Published by Christina on June 19, 2009, in Social Media

sunshine_testA prospectus released at AdTech in April indicated a 53% increase in interactive marketing within the next six months, despite the current economic downturn.

Since the conference, I’ve become a fan of Shelly Palmer’s tweets.  Palmer’s article, “All That Twitters Is Gold … Not” was published May 31, and should serve as a sigh of relief for all of us trying to become “experts” in the world of social media.

What do you think?