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Vision Graphics Inc. Engaging Marketing Minds

GAME How social gaming is driving interaction INSIDE

#HashtagThis The Big Deal about Big Data Operation Contact

Vol. 4, Issue 1, January/February 2014

ON

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publisher’s letter

Go for it

T

he start of a new year always brings a new sense of hope. You use the change of date as a way to think about what you want, what you will do better and how you can improve your overall situation.

Great marketers know there’s no switch they can turn on to suddenly start thinking strategically and change course. Marketing is a constant process and the best of the best treat every day like it is New Year’s Day. In other words, marketers never tire of building a relationship with their markets, which allows them to adapt in the middle of summer, spring or fall. According to the Chinese calendar, 2014 is the “Year of the Horse.” So, following this premise, it would make sense that we ride into the new year like a bunch of wild stallions and aggressively engage with our communities. As we all know, each day brings new opportunities, and belief in ourselves and our brands can carry us a long way.

03 Publisher’s Letter Go for it

04 The Inbox 06 Game On How social gaming is driving interaction

Don’t sit back and wait for change to happen. This year, don’t just accept change, initiate it.

10 #HashtagThis Does the keyword symbol matter to your brand?

14 Trending with... Digital marketing guru Mike Coughlin

So, let’s not stand pat. Let’s get up on that horse again in 2014 and “go for it.” In fact, you should race to the front of the stampede and lead the way. Don’t just sit back and wait for change to happen. This year, don’t just accept change, initiate it. Sure, things can be a little rough these days, but sitting around waiting for time to pass is not the path to prosperity. Embracing change and “going for it” can be rewarding both financially and personally. Actually, we would submit that it is downright soul-enriching. In this amazing issue, we went for it again! Our cover article, “Game On,” shows how social gaming is driving interaction – the new way to “go for it.” In turn, our second feature, “#Hashtag This,” examines how communication is being somewhat commoditized by all of the new vehicles available. The bottom line is that great marketers take their connections very seriously and are more than willing to “go for it.” Enjoy the issue, Happy New Year, and let’s all go for it!

CONTENTS

15 Operation Contact A look at the most popular B2B marketing channels in the new year

Publisher

Mark Steputis mark.steputis@visiongraphics-inc.com

Managing Editor

Michele McCreath michele.mccreath@visiongraphics-inc.com

Mark Steputis Publisher

Art Direction

Tyson Polzkill Brent Cashman Connect is published bimonthly copyright 2014. All rights reserved For more information contact Michele McCreath at michele.mccreath@visiongraphics-inc.com connect – Vision Graphics Inc. • January/February 2014

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The

Inbox

Big Data is

Big Deal Now

D

o you have your Big Data groove working yet? According to a study by Infogroup Targeting Solutions, 54 percent of marketers already have invested in Big Data solutions, and nine out of 10 plan to do so in 2014. Among those already investing in Big Data solutions, 72 percent also plan to invest in real-time marketing technology, while 35 percent say budget limitations will restrict their use of Big Data for multichannel programs.

Did you

know 4

Smartphones exploiting sensory information and combining it with geolocation services should be a powerful tool for indoor advertising and marketing in the near future, according to an ABI Research report. That sort of “sensor fusion” technology should be a feature of 1 billion smartphones by 2016, the report found.

January/February 2014 • connect – Vision Graphics Inc.


Too many of us spend hours crafting new content only to spend a few minutes promoting it on our social channels. This is a shotgun approach, and it represents a lost opportunity.

BOOK REC

– Todaymade founder Garrett Moon on the importance of implementing a content-sharing plan into your content marketing strategy

Reinventing You:

Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future By Dorie Clark

A

YouTube this A

long time ago, in a generation far, far away, TV used to be the best way to reach the masses. Not anymore. According to CashSherpa, if you’re after 18-34 year olds in the United States, you’ll have more luck reaching the masses through YouTube. Enter your “What Does the Fox Say” moment here. While one video won’t necessarily land you on the “Today” show, marketing experts say creating a simple plan (think five-minute videos) to familiarize yourself with the strategy is a good way to get started. The medium is catching on with advertisers, too. According to eMarketer, total global advertising spend on YouTube tallied around $5.6 billion in 2013.

58

The percent of marketers that plan on increasing their content marketing spending over the next year, according to the “2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America” study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

re you where you want to be professionally? It’s a question you most likely ask yourself all the time. Whether you want to move up the ladder faster at your present company, change jobs or make the leap into a whole new field, your goal is simple: to build a career that thrives on your unique passions and talents. But to achieve this in today’s competitive job market, it’s almost certain that at some point you’ll need to reinvent yourself professionally. Thanks to branding expert Dorie Clark, you now have a road map for that next phase of your journey. In “Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future,” Clark provides a stepby-step guide to help you assess your unique strengths, develop a compelling personal brand and ensure that others recognize the powerful contribution you can make. Mixing personal stories with engaging interviews and examples from well-known personalities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Al Gore, Seth Godin and others, “Reinventing You” shows how to think big about your professional goals, take control of your career, build a reputation that opens doors for you and live the life you want.

connect – Vision Graphics Inc. • January/February 2014

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GAME 6

January/February 2014 • connect – Vision Graphics Inc.


ME

ON How social gaming is driving interaction

By Michael J. Pallerino

A

ngry Birds was Rovio’s 52nd game. The entertainment media company spent eight years trying to find an application that would connect with the masses before one of its designers, Jaako Iisalo, roughed up some sketches featuring swarming dust clouds and a bunch of grumpy looking avians that looked just mad enough to destroy something. That the company was on the verge of bankruptcy before the Angry Birds practically conquered the social world is only part of the story.

Rovio’s first 51 games were created in a much different time. The market was very difficult to get a hold on. For starters, game developers didn’t have direct contact with their audience like they do today. And if developers didn’t have a massive portfolio of games to sell, operators wouldn’t do business with them. By succeeding in the face of impending doom, Rovio not only jumpstarted its brand, but changed the entire face of social gaming. Here’s the premise: Players slingshot disgruntled, wingless birds across a screen, hoping to take down cartoon pigs that stole their eggs. The brand includes cookbooks, theme parks, sweatshirts, plush toys, soda brands and a TV show.

connect – Vision Graphics Inc. • January/February 2014

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Game On for businesses and consumers. Successful And there’s this, too: Social games like Advergames cause players to take actions Angry Birds, Words With Friends, Kingdoms of beneficial to the brand and drive customer Camelot and Candy Crush allow you to contraffic to websites or in-store.” nect with your friends through social media platforms such as Facebook. As the experts say, it’s not really about having a clinical The play is the thing addiction to a game as it is a social addiction. Based on the initial success of a Ford Fiesta Scott Hill believes this. His company, campaign, Are You a Human, a Detroit comPERQ, is in the business of driving interaction pany specializing in game-based verification through social gaming. The marketing tech systems, launched PlayThru. The verification company that specializes in incentive-based ad unit allows advertisers to deliver a brand promotions for businesses recently released message while users play a quick game to FATWIN, a software that allows businesses prove they are human. to brand games and drive traffic both in-store PlayThru not only eliminated CAPTCHA, a or online. program that can generate and grade tests that “Businesses looking to engage more conhumans can pass but current computer prosumers can stand on the shoulders of what grams cannot, but it also created a new brandthe social game giants have shown us and ing environment for marketers. Users interact use social game elements to create powerwith PlayThru units in a variety of ways, such ful Advergames for their brands,” says Hill, as when registering for a site, commenting on co-founder and executive chairman of PERQ. a post or article, resetting passwords, making – Rob Grossberg, CEO, TreSensa Today, a quality Advergame will take your a purchase or sharing links or photos. Once the brand and products, and place them in the branded game is completed, marketers can game so players can learn more about your company. “The desire to deploy a range of call to action options such as launching video, sending play more and get extra features can be used to incentivize players to users to their sites or sharing the game in social media. share their data, answer questions, watch a video [etc.],” Hill says. The Ford Fiesta campaign reported a remarkable success rate, in“Best of all, you can use your own products as prizes to incentivize cluding 133 hours of interaction with the brand, a 97 percent compleplayers to participate even more and create an exceptional experience tion rate and an average interaction time of 8.2 seconds.

“If done right, the upside for brands is enormous – a compelling experience where they have the consumers’ undivided attention for a big chunk of time.”

‘GOTCHAS’ TO AVOID IN CREATING SOCIAL GAME CAMPAIGNS So, you want to make a branded social game? You’ve read all the engagement statistics. You’ve seen how these games can work. You want in. But you can’t just slap a logo on a Candy Crush clone and push it out the door. Phillip Simon, executive creative director of game developer TreSensa, offers five common pitfalls that can trip you up.

Gotcha No. 1 – Chasing trends

Create a game because it helps solve a problem, not because it’s a trend. Clarify your objectives and decide if a social game is the answer. Games developed without a clear understanding of why fail to meet expectations.

Gotcha No. 3 – Making it complicated

People must intuitively understand how to play and engage with the experience within seconds. Once they get past that initial hurdle, they’ll be receptive to deeper experiences. Keep it simple.

Gotcha No. 4 – Believing it will go viral Gotcha No. 2 – Not quantifying success Your game won’t go viral just because it conDetermine your success criteria upfront. Is it total game plays, time of engagement, likes on Facebook or click-throughs? Failure to determine key performance indicators early on leads to poor campaign performance later.

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tains some social game hooks. You still need to market it. To go viral, get a large group of players to get things rolling. Use ad buys, social media and cross-promotion to drive that first wave of players.

January/February 2014 • connect – Vision Graphics Inc.

Gotcha No. 5 – Underestimating ongoing maintenance The launch of a game isn’t the end of the process – it’s the beginning. To keep a social game fresh and compelling customers to return, develop new content and features. Don’t skimp on ongoing support.


5 SOCIAL GAMES YOU SHOULD KNOW Candy Crush

To understand the level of commitment on an individual game basis, consider the Call of Duty franchise. According to Activision, the game’s producer, the average player spends 170 hours a year – the equivalent to one month of full-time work – “working” on the game. Gaming experts say that game play is at the core of what makes us human. “Social gaming is successful because games tap into the human predisposition for the desire or need to compete, achieve a reward or status, and express yourself,” says Scott Reese, CEO and co-founder of blurbIQ, an interactive

discounts to their products in exchange for completing a survey. Many social games provide the opportunity to gift another player with virtual goods that can even be converted to real world value such as coupons or discounts to products.” Therein lies the enormous potential social gaming holds for the future of marketing. Rob Grossberg, CEO of TreSensa, a game development/distribution company that optimizes games for the mobile web, says more brands are using games the way publishers do, but instead of compelling players to buy

“Businesses looking to engage more consumers can stand on the shoulders of what the social game giants have shown us and use social game elements to create powerful Advergames for their brands.” – Scott Hill, Co-founder & Executive Chairman, PERQ

media advertising platform that delivers smart interactive content across the visual web. “People love to have fun, and social gaming presents an opportunity for people to enjoy an activity with friends and family online, and on mobile devices.” Social gaming also is something that more brands are leveraging today. “Brands can sponsor advertising opportunities in the game itself,” Reese says. “They can drive players whom they want to eventually become consumers, to take some sort of action, creating virtual currencies that can be converted to real

Last year, Candy Crush Saga surpassed FarmVille 2 as the most popular game on Facebook – the first game ever listed No. 1 on iOS, Android and Facebook simultaneously. Each level has a gameboard filled with different colored candies with or without obstacles. The goal: swap the positions of two adjacent candies to create sets of three (or more) of the same color.

Pet Rescue Saga

To save the pets, you must match two or more blocks of the same color to clear the level (there are hundreds of them). Features include sizzling rockets, colorful paint pots, exploding bombs, and much more.

Farm Heroes Saga

In helping the Farm Heroes stop Rancid the Raccoon from spoiling Happy World Farms, you must play through more than 100 levels of strawberry switching, carrot matching and mixed fruit madness. Beat your friends to switch your way to the fattest tomato ever.

Criminal Case

virtual goods, they are compelling them to take action – liking the brand on Facebook, signing up for a loyalty program or responding to an offer. “If done right, the upside for brands is enormous – a compelling experience where they have the consumers’ undivided attention for a big chunk of time,” Grossberg says. “The brand is then in a great position to prompt that consumer to take action. The downside is that if you create a game that leaves the player flat, he may be less eager to interact with the brand in the future.”

Join the Police of Grimsborough and you can help solve a series of cases by working crime scenes for clues, and interviewing witnesses and suspects by carefully analyzing evidence to catch the true killers.

Dragon City

Dragon City is a new, exciting game where you breed your own dragons and create a world of magical islands. You also can combat against your friends with your team of dragons.

connect – Vision Graphics Inc. • January/February 2014

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Does the keyword symbol matter to your brand? By Lorrie Bryan

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January/February 2014 • connect – Vision Graphics Inc.

C

ountless celebrities and major corporations do it. President Obama and the Dalai Lama do it. Even Facebook is among the top 50 most popular tweeters. With more than 500 million (and growing) tweets posted daily, Twitter is a big deal. Hashtags – that number sign preceding a word or words – are the key to effectively navigating and utilizing the dynamic information network of the vast Twittersphere.


Learning to access relevant content and furthering the discussion is an effective way to target audiences, serve them better and compete with rivals, advises Tory Johnson, Good Morning America’s small business expert and CEO/founder of Spark & Hustle, coaching programs that help women start and grow small businesses. “I’ve connected via hashtags with thousands of people to promote my business.” Does it seem like those little tic-tac-toes are popping up everywhere these days? In fact,

hashtags aren’t just for Twitter anymore. Every major social network is allowing the use of hashtags, so understanding how to use them is important if you’re a business or brand with any presence on social media. Sue Zimmerman, a social media consultant who Johnson asserts is the queen of hashtags and her go-to girl, advises her clients to watch what other brands are doing with hashtags and then create a strategy of their own.

connect – Vision Graphics Inc. • January/February 2014

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#HashtagThis

“My advice is to approach Twitter in a way that builds relationships leading to benefits, not necessarily to promote a business.” – Social media consultant Mark Schaefer

“Pick the top 20 hashtags that are relevant to your business – and it’s OK to make up a few that are specific to your brand,” Zimmerman says. “Keep an eye on your hashtags so that you can monitor any customer service issues, respond to questions or simply keep up with what’s going on in your industry. Use hashtags to find clients or strategic partners that can help your business grow. After all, I landed an awesome $25,000-client just by my hashtag strategy.” Following is some advice for Twitter newbies who want to use hashtags effectively. Just remember: Don’t chase CASH, be BRASH or RASH; don’t tweet TRASH and tweet with PANACHE.

1. Don’t Chase CASH While hashtag best practices can help you build your bottom line, you must first seek to build relationships by offering authentic, helpful and meaningful content. Mark Schaefer, a college educator, blogger, speaker and consultant who specializes in corporate social media marketing workshops, remembers the person who told him that he had given up on Twitter because after constant promoting, nothing happened. “I told him that was exactly the problem,” Schaefer recalls. “People are sick of being sold to and advertised to.

They are on the social web for connection, not to hear about your latest press release. So my advice is to approach Twitter in a way that builds relationships leading to benefits, not necessarily to promote a business.” Schaefer explores this mindset extensively in his book, “The Tao of Twitter,” which now is being used as a textbook by more than 40 universities.

2. D  on’t Be BRASH and Don’t Be RASH Schaefer says that sometimes businesses overuse or force hashtags in an attempt to be cool. It’s important to know your audience and platform. When used appropriately, hashtags can provide useful context, facilitate communication and connect people with a common interest. Everyone benefits. But when used excessively, they can create annoyance and frustration for your followers, causing them to disengage. Be judicious in your usage – use hashtags only when they will add value. Research the keyword and follow the discussion before you fire off a volley of self-promoting tweets. And then show some savvy and restraint – this generally means avoiding overt self-promotion and limiting hashtags to two per tweet.

YOUR #HASHTAGCRASHCOURSE

5 facts

you should know now

12

Fact No. 1

Fact No. 2

The # is a hash symbol used as a prefix to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. While it originated on Twitter, it quickly is becoming a universal tool that is used with other platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr.

The hash symbol that is added to the beginning of a keyword (#keyword) becomes a hashtag – a searchable link, i.e., a conversation thread that brings ideas together. If you click on a particular hashtag, you’ll be able to see all tweets that also have used that hashtag.

January/February 2014 • connect – Vision Graphics Inc.


While hashtag best practices can help you build your bottom line, you must first seek to build relationships by offering authentic, helpful and meaningful content. Building relationships through social media is not a DASH; it’s a marathon. It takes time to build authentic relationships that will be mutually beneficial.

3. Don’t tweet TRASH In spring 2011 amid the conflict in Egypt, the fashion designer Kenneth Cole’s account tweeted: “Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at…”

cause your account to be filtered from search or even get suspended. Use hashtags only on tweets relevant to the topic. Other practices that are deemed unprofessional and violate Twitter’s rules (support.twitter.com/articles/18311) are: • Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/ hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending higher

Although taking a hashtag that already was viral and co-opting it to gain attention for the Kenneth Cole brand seemed like a clever idea, nearly everyone found it to be in poor taste. The designer later was forced to make a public apology. Adding one or more hashtags to an unrelated tweet in an attempt to gain attention in a search generally is frowned upon. This definitely will get you unfollowed and could

• Tweeting about each trending topic in order to drive traffic to your profile, especially when mixed with advertising • Listing the trending topics in combination with a request to be followed • Tweeting about a trending topic and posting a misleading link to something unrelated

4. Tweet with PANACHE Sharpie is one company that uses its hashtags successfully. With a little research, the manufacturer of writing instruments confirmed that its younger market enjoys self-expression. So it created a Twitter campaign designed to align the brand with artistry and creativity. Implementing promoted tweets with topics such as music, art and writing, Sharpie encouraged its followers to tag their conversations involving creativity as well as their artwork with the hashtag #Sharpie. By using the hashtag, Sharpie not only got people conversing and having fun, but it also promoted brand awareness. Its efforts resulted in a successful campaign that increased its Twitter following by 600 percent, with more than 1,000 new followers a day. So, you’re still not sure about the hashtag how-to? Schaefer says don’t worry about making mistakes. “There are many wonderful and creative uses of hashtags. Just explore, learn and have fun.”

Fact No. 3

Fact No. 4

Ideally, the hashtag you use should contain no more than 10 letters and be highly relevant to both your content and the conversation.

You can insert the hashtag anywhere within your tweet or message – beginning, middle or end. Twitter recommends not using more than two hashtags per message.

Fact No. 5 Don’t use spaces or punctuation marks within your hashtag and avoid using numbers at the beginning of a hashtag. If your hashtag has multiple keywords, you can capitalize the first letter of each word to aid readability. Shortly after the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the hashtag #nowthatchersdead emerged. Twitter users read the hashtag as “NowThatCher’sDead,” rather than “NowThatcher’sDead,” and rumors of the singer’s passing spread across the Twittersphere until it was confirmed that Cher was alive and well. To find out what hashtags are trending, go to hashtags.org. To search hashtag links, go to search.twitter.com.

connect – Vision Graphics Inc. • January/February 2014

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Q&A: Interview with Mike Coughlin

Trending with ... A Digital marketing guru Mike Coughlin

sk Mike Coughlin, and he’ll tell you it’s all about connections. These days, Coughlin and his company, MP Coughlin Consulting, spend time helping companies small and large make sense of organizational or Big Data through analytics tool customization, dashboard reporting and high-level consulting. Coughlin honed his expertise through his work with companies such as Sony Music, Four Seasons Hotels, the Wharton School of Business and BMW, among others. You want marketing? Coughlin has managed campaigns in as many as 15 different languages in 30 countries. Here’s his take on the art of making connections today.

What do you know that we don’t about digital marketing?

Does human interaction even matter anymore?

Attribution-based analysis is a crucial com- When it comes to any form of marketing, underponent to any successful strategy. Managing standing how humans interact with each other digital marketing in silos is no longer suf- and with various media channels will always be vificient. When looking at data, it’s important tally important. While humans have decentralized to examine the entire consumer buying cycle physically, they’ve formed tighter-knit communities process rather than how each through digital networks. I’d argue When it comes person interacts within a parthat understanding their interaction ticular channel. For example, is more accessible than ever thanks to any form understanding how a particular to social media analytics data. of marketing, prospective customer interacts understanding how with your Facebook page is virDoes digital marketing humans interact tually useless unless you can eliminate any redundanquantify the monetary value of with each other and cies and inefficiencies? with various media It eliminates wasteful spendthat customer. This prospective customer may jump from Face- channels will always ing and an elusive ROI. When it book to a mobile phone, to a be vitally important. comes to traditional marketing, search engine and back again. It measurement of performance is is crucial to demonstrate the true value of your difficult to come by. With the onset of the interongoing digital marketing efforts. net and associated analytics data, performance no longer is a mystery, and strategic decisions no How has human interaction changed? longer need to be based on hunches. By integratIt has evolved from consumers using one ing and interpreting data from multiple sources, device or web-based marketing channels to you can eliminate wasteful spending in channels many. When search engines came out, there or mediums that are simply not performing. In were no social networks. There were no mo- the end, making data-driven decisions can greatbile phones, tablets or other devices to ac- ly reduce wasted time, energy and money. cess the internet. With the proliferation of multiple devices and ways to connect with What new job descriptions will the web, people are keeping themselves digital marketing help create? physically separate, but never fully discon- For starters, I see less “siloed” positions like nected from the web or each other. Thus, social media analysts or paid search strateevery person’s social interactions and pur- gists. There will be newer roles such as “cross chasing habits are measured, often willingly channel analysts” emerging. They will have a disclosed, and run through a mesh of chan- sophisticated understanding of attribution and nels and platforms to produce a wealth of how all of the channels work together rather valuable information. than how they work independently.

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January/February 2014 • connect – Vision Graphics Inc.


Before You Go

Operation Contact

85

%

Websites

56

A look at the most popular B2B marketing channels in the new year There is a buzz about the marketing scene in 2014, as many B2B marketers begin to set their strategies in motion. According to the “2013 Marketing Mix Survey Results” study by the Sagefrog Marketing Group, some of the more common marketing channels for B2B professionals include:

72

%

67

Email Marketing

%

Search Engine Optimization

%

Social Media

% 3 2 54 30 %

%

Press Releases

Print Ads

White Papers

Read more at www.emarketer.com connect – Vision Graphics Inc. • January/February 2014

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Vision Graphics Inc. Connect Magazine Jan/Feb 2014  

Connect Magazine is a bi-monthly publication by Vision Graphics Inc.