DMC 2017: Welcome to Moe's!
If you know me or follow me on any social media, you've probably noticed my recent fast casual Mexican food craze, and you're probably thinking: okay burrito lady, what's going on?
Okay, here's the deal: This semester I'm competing in a digital marketing competition alongside three other Angels and one lucky guy named Connor. We are all seniors at UGA studying either digital marketing, public relations, or international business. I could sit here and tell you how great everyone on the team is, but instead I think you should just watch our intro video and see for yourself. I present to you, Connor's Angels:
I hope you enjoyed my burrito juggling, and well, if you didn't watch the video, you should. Because I juggled burritos.
The digital marketing competition, hosted by the Terry College of Business, offers students an unbeatable hands-on experience where we get to work in teams to find solutions to real-world marketing problems for real-life clients. Jen Osbon, the mastermind behind the competition, created it to look a lot like the tv show, The Voice. The competition started off with 30ish teams, and each team was assigned a coach. The coaches, who are all badass Atlanta marketing professionals, are mentoring us throughout the competition.
This year's client is Moe's Southwest Grill, (hence recent burrito obsession), and they presented us with the challenge of coming up with a holistic digital marketing strategy to increase their in-store traffic, grow brand awareness, and boost digital engagement. While I can't share all of our secrets on the web, I will say Connor's Angels has a pretty rockin' idea to accomplish this.
Fueled by queso, Connor's Angels has put months of hard work into the competition, and it's only about to get spicier. We are one of six teams heading into the final round where we will represent Team Todd and pitch our idea to Moe's. In two weeks, we will compile all of our brain blasts into a single pitch, and as Mackenzie put it, "take home the digital marketing competition gold" (and by gold she means Golden Gate Bridge). If Moe's likes our idea, Connor's Angels will be hitting the West Coast on UGA's bill, and after putting in all this work, I'm sure you can imagine how much were going to need a vacay.
But, win or loose, I can honestly say that signing up for this competition was one of my better decisions in college. Not only does it add a nice touch to the good ole' resume, but it's providing all of us a glimpse into agency life and pushing us to put everything we've learned in school and past internships to the test. Even though this isn't for a grade, Connor's Angels is working damn hard to win this thing. And if we win, we promise everyone free burritos for life (jk, we wish!)
Falling Into Place
Have you ever experienced a light bulb moment? A moment of enlightenment, when everything just clicks and starts to make sense? For me, this semester has been packed full of light bulb moments. Maybe it's because I have rockstar marketing professors who make coming to class everyday worth it. Maybe it's because I joined AMA, a group of supportive, creative, like-minded beings. Maybe it's because I gained multiple mentors who are selflessly helping guide me toward my post-grad journey. Maybe it's because I'm watching all of my best friends find their niche, land their first jobs, and determine their own paths in life. All of this is SO cool. I mean SO SO cool. I can truly tell that everything is starting to fall into place, right as it should.
It's an incredible feeling to wake up every day excited to go to class and learn about a subject that genuinely interests you because you know the subject matter is going to be beneficial to your future career. That's just one of the many reasons why I love my SM Marketing class. Everything our professor has us do is for a reason. That 22 page brand comparison that I lost too many hours of sleep over? Worth it. The weekly blog posts that may or may not be read by a single person? Worth it. That $50 mandatory digital marketing conference in Atlanta? Absolutely worth it. Although I face challenges and doubts every single day, I'm finally starting to feel like my classes and assignments are meaningful, and everything I'm doing is finally starting to make sense.
If you're not quite experiencing the same feelings that I'm feeling, that's okay. You will have your light bulb moment. Everything will fall into place for you eventually. I'm just excited to share that mine is happening. Right now. And to whoever is reading this, thank you for being apart of it. Each day, I learn something new and fall more in love with what I'm doing. I cannot wait to see what next year, next week, and even tomorrow have in store for me because I am so excited to experience life as this epic story unfolds.
Key Takeaways from SPARKsouth 2016
Ever since the SPARKsouth conference on October 14th, I've been reflecting on, acting on, and absorbing all of the spicy tips and advice I gleaned from some of the top industry professionals. If you weren't there, well you probably had some serious FOMO, so here's an infographic that provides a brief overview of what I thought was the most noteworthy advice:
My personal advice? Attend SPARKsouth at all cost--even if you are just a sophomore or a junior. I wish I had gone to an event like this sooner so I would have had a better understanding of the industry. If you're not sure whether or not you want to work agency side or client side, SPARKsouth will clarify that for you. Take advantage of these types of opportunities, you won't regret it!
Is Facebook Eavesdropping?
The first time it happened, I thought to myself Siri is a secret spy, but now I'm starting to think that Facebook is the true culprit. Several months ago, a sponsored Facebook ad for Chewy Sweet Tarts appeared at the top of my News Feed. On a normal day, fine. Perhaps I'm in Sweet Tart's target market, and I was the chosen one to receive their ad that day--moving on. However, I immediately became suspicious because at the same time, I was talking to my friend Josh about why he was so obsessed with, you guessed it, Chewy Sweet Tarts. So either this was a major coincidence, or Siri had been listening to my conversation at that moment.
Ever since, I have been skeptical and keenly aware of what I search for and say in front of Siri. The same thing has happened several times since, and each time I consciously think back to the last time I ever searched for X keyword; yet, I can only remember ever saying the keyword, usually moments before seeing the sponsored ad on Facebook. For example, my roommate got a paper cut while studying last night and asked if I had a bandaid. I replied, "No, but I have some Neosporin." After settling the paper cut crisis, I opened my Facebook app and this sponsored ad (pictured below) is at the top of my News Feed. WTH! This is blog post worthy, I thought to myself. So, I did some digging.
A recent Forbes article highlighted Facebook's response to a University of South Florida communications professor who conducted a simple experiment to illustrate this phenomena:
“Facebook does not use microphone audio to inform advertising or News Feed stories in any way. Businesses are able to serve relevant ads based on people’s interests and other demographic information, but not through audio collection...We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.”
Similarly, a Reddit thread went viral after a user posted about a time when he was talking to his girlfriend about killing a cockroach and a sponsored ad for pest control appeared at the top of his News Feed. The post has since been removed.
Clearly Facebook is not happy with people making these claims (sorry Facebook, nothing personal!) and they are aggressively defending their policies. As a marketer, I think this stuff is fascinating, so I'm not turned off by it--I'm just curious! How does it work? How did a Neosporin ad appear at the top of my News Feed moments after I said the word "Neosporin"?
Have you ever encountered a similar experience? Do you think this is a good tool for business or do you think it's just straight up creepy? Let me know in the comments!
REGISTER TO VOTE: No Excuses
It's no shocker that social media and the Internet are changing the political campaign game. Today, it's easier than ever for young people to keep up with the latest drama, errr I mean politics, through social channels. However, young people sometimes think that they are not informed enough to vote, or even worse, their excuse is that they aren't registered to vote. Over the past few months, I've noticed many companies making a push to encourage their millennial audiences to register to vote. See how these companies are getting young people to check the ballot this November:
TheSkimm's Skimm The Vote campaign is making it simple for Skimm'rs to stay informed, verify voter registration status, and even register to vote right there on their website. Seemingly, when a person uses theSkimm's registration tool, they are also asked if they want to sign up for theSkimm's daily e-newsletter. It's a win-win.
On their Skimm The Vote page, they break down the facts and make it easy to understand each candidates' position on the hot topics (aka gun control, the economy, and immigration). By just clicking on this site and "skimming" the infographics, readers are instantly more informed than they were before accessing the site. As you can see below, theSkimm wants to provide it's readers with an unbiased opinion and even makes a point to highlight the third party candidates (yeah, it's not just Hillz & Donald).
DoSomething.org is a global organization that inspires and encourages young people to "make the world suck less." This election season, DoSomething.Com launched their "Loose Your V-Card" campaign, encouraging young people to register to vote. Through their witty social media tactics, they are able to appeal to their target market. One might wonder why DoSomething.Org is promoting loosing your v-card, only to find out that it's really a voter registration campaign.
3. Rock The Vote
Rock the Vote is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that has been a driving force in registering new voters since 1990. Since the 90s, their marketing strategies have changed dramatically. TheSkimm's "Skimm the Vote" site and registration tool are actually powered by Rock the Vote (hey there partner!). With social media, Rock the Vote is able to promote their events, like the one below featuring a performance by The Black Eyed Peas and TY Dolla$ign. Hosting events like this appeal to millennials and offer excellent platforms to encourage young voters to register.
Have you registered to vote? There's no excuse. CLICK HERE to check and see if you're registered. If not, sign up, it's not too late!
UGA's Alumni Association has chapters in many of the major cities all around the country. Jenny, my mentor, advised me to connect with the chapters via Facebook in all of the cities I'm considering working in. Basically, these groups serve as a liaison to connect UGA grads in different cities. Often times, active chapters will organize socials and events where Dawgs of all ages will gather to watch the games, network, and bond over drinks while reminiscing about their glory days. Like us, these members bleed red and black and are going to be more than willing to help another Dawg out. Did a spontaneous interview pop up in a city where hotels are pricey and you don't have any family or friends? Post an S.O.S. on that city's Alumni Facebook group page asking if anyone has a couch you can crash on. Want to get your foot in the door at a certain company? Post in the group asking if anyone has a connection there (of course, make sure to provide your LinkedIn handle and add in a little "Go Dawgs" at the end). Even if you're not a UGA student, surely your university's Almuni Association has similar groups. Knowing that these groups exist make moving to a new city a little bit more familiar and will surely result in great connections, new friends, and maybe even a couch to crash on.
Which city are you headed to post-graduation? Check out some of these alumni groups below & connect with them: UGA Alumni website to find a chapter!
Earlier last week, mylacroix.com took the Internet by storm. Okay, maybe not the whole Internet, but La Croix fanatics were most definitely freaking out over this ingenious La Croix flavorizer--blowing up Facebook and Twitter feeds with their customized La Croix .gifs. Think: Lay's annual "Do Us a Flavor" contest, sans the $1M incentive and the chance to have your product actually roll out on the production line. Mylacroix.com is a user generated website allowing fans to customize La Croix cans and flavors and then share images of their creations on social media. The disclaimer at the bottom of the site reads " We're not affiliated with La Croix, we just like to treat ourselves."
You see, La Croix's fan base is loyal. Like really loyal. I can honestly say that I drink between 3 and 9 La Croixs per day. It's kind of like the cilantro of beverages. People either love the stuff or they hate the stuff--there's no in between. So, props to you La Croix for building a fan base so loyal they break the internet with a .gif producing flavorizor website.
For those of you who aren't too sure about the whole La Croix craze, let me break it down for you. It's a drink that is known for what it doesn't have: sugar, sodium, calories, funny business. It's literally just water with carbonation and natural flavor in a can that is reminiscent of your glory days (aka the 90s). Although La Croixs have been chilling in the back of corporate fridges for years now, the fandom is starting to pick up heat and they are taking over the social mediasphere with parody accounts and satirical videos. Fans are driving La Croix's marketing and tbh, I think it's working.
User generated content (UGC) and customization are major keys in today's digital marketing world. What are some other brands who are doing UGC right?
Podcasts: Joining the Conversation
As more and more brands adopt content marketing into their strategy, the need to engage in two-way conversation with consumers is becoming increasingly important. Social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook are making these conversations easier. Podcasts, "the digital medium built on the power of conversation" are often times over-looked and unexplored by marketers; however, findings from a recent study may change this trend.
"Podcasting is the digital medium built on the power of conversation."
Jason Hoch, Chief Content Officer at HowStuffWorks
Jason Hoch, Chief Content Officer at HowStuff Works, recently wrote an article for Adweek highlighting the the findings from a recent poll from about 1,000 podcast listeners. Approximately 65% of listeners reported that podcast ads increase purchase intent. Marketers and advertisers, time to join the conversation. Podcasts are all about stimulating ideas and many listeners have conversations about the conversations they are listening to with their peers. It's important to note that the people who listen to podcasts are smart, and "podcasts respect consumers intelligence and work hard to gain that respect from them, especially if they expect them to be listening for the long haul." Podcasts are simple. People listen to them on their work commute, before bed, or even while getting ready for the day. Listeners are engaged and are consciously thinking about the ideas presented in the episode.
Like this infographic? Get content marketing advice that works from Copyblogger.
Brands don't necessarily need to make their podcast ads blatantly obvious and in-your-face...and, they shouldn't. Like content marketing, brands can integrate and position themselves within a conversation. Associating BIG ideas with products and services will allow listeners to think deeply within the context of the brand--into unexplored areas that would otherwise be overlooked.
Is your target market listening to podcasts? In what ways would could your brand join the conversation?
Despite the countless times you've told your mom she can't zoom in on Instagram, she never fails to try--ultimately leading to disappointment and a screenshot so she can view the picture at maximum pixel distortion. Recently, Instagram released an update allowing users to pinch the screen to zoom-in, and moms could not be happier. Like moms, some brands are taking full advantage of this "new" feature. Well, new for Instagram; not new to the rest of the social mediasphere. So, why did Facebook owned Instagram just decide to allow users to have a closer look?
I have two predictions: One, I suspect the latest Zoom feature is a result of the outrage induced by teenagers who have taken to social media to complain about their moms who inevitably want to zoom-in on Instagram pictures. And two, as smartphones step up their pixel game and more and more people add photography to their LinkedIn skill set, Instagram is feeling the pressure to revamp their platform. For the everyday user, the new Zoom feature will enhance the overall experience while using the app. For brands, it's a new way to interact and engage consumers with their social media content. From digital scavenger hunts (think Where's Waldo) to incorporating small writing into their images, brands are learning how to take this "new" feature and use it to their advantage. See how these brands are zooming in:
While Instagram is a bit late to the zoom game (*cough* and the "stories" game *cough*), it's embracing these changes and revamping its image to tell a person's or a brand's entire story rather than various distinct moments. How might Zoom reflect their new image? What are some other ways brands can use Zoom to interact and engage? Share your thoughts below in the comment section!
Skimm'd while road tripping home from an epic weekend in Louisville, KY feat. 21st birthday shenanigans and DJ Glittertits
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"People come up to me like, 'Man, that's right. Take down Taylor.' Bro, I love all, y'all. That's why I called her." -Kanye's two cents at Sunday night's VMAs regarding the TSwift drama fueled by KimK's Snapchat story and his latest song "Famous".
TheSkimm is a daily email newsletter that is sent out M-F to millions of subscribers around 6:00 AM. The goal: to help people start their mornings off with a quick recap of what's going on in the world--keeping you in the know and making elevator small talk less awkward since 2012. Geared towards chicks in their 20s and 30s, theSkimm's voice is witty, concise and v relatable. They cover all the latest topics ranging from the latest Kimye drama to Germany's current trade situation with the US (ps they also provide wine suggestions!!). And if you haven't already guessed--this blog post is set up exactly like the email you will be receiving early tomorrow morning.
Basically, theSkimm is a brief overview of the latest current events. They read the long articles so you don't have to. In about 150 words or less, theSkimm summarizes trending news in a humorous and to-the-point kinda way. Mornings are tough, and theSkimm founders know that. What they also know is that the first thing we all do in the mornings after struggling to turn off the snooze button is begin the inevitable scroll through our Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter feeds. TheSkimm wants to change that. They are "disrupting morning routines and information consumption" by ensuring the timed delivery of an info-packed email every weekday morning at 6:00 AM. Because most Skimm'rs are on-the-go early in the morning, their e-newsletter is primarily suited for mobile. After a few mornings of reading theSkimm, whether your laying in bed getting those five extra minutes or riding the train into work, you'll get hooked. There is something about knowing what's going on in the world that will give you a rush--especially during break room coffee talk.
WHAT'S THE LATEST?
TheSkimm recently introduced their new subscription based mobile app, Skimm Ahead. For $2.99/ month, you are able to see when upcoming events are (ie. the Bachelorette premier or the next election), so you don't miss out on the important things in life.
REPEAT AFTER ME
WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU HAVE TO EAT RAMEN NOODLES FOR DINNER...
Help me, I'm poor. For most start-ups, like theSkimm, the first few years are far from glamourous. Think: long hours and lots of ramen noodles. With dedication, persistence and many bottles of wine, theSkimm was able to build their readership to 3.5 million in under 4 years. Say what?!
WHAT TO SAY WHEN SOMEONE ASKS YOU WHAT THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE LIKE...
I'm a vegan. Skimm'rs are no different. TheSkimm encourages readers to "Share that Sh*t" with friends through their Skimmbassador program. Each reader has a unique code and every time someone new signs up with it, you get cred! Once 10 people sign up using your code, you gain that Skimmbassador status. Perks include Skimm swag, a birthday S/O at the bottom of the newsletter, and other fun Skimm events.
Here's an example of what this conversation might look like:
Skimm'r: "Omg, did you know that Brazil is probably going to impeach Prez Rousseff?!"
Friend: "Um, no...how do you even know about that?"
Skimm'r: "I read the theSkimm every morning! Do you not? You have to sign up for it right now. Here, I'm texting you my code!"
WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU THINK THE SKIMM IS SOMETHING YOU CAN GET DOWN WITH...
Sign me up. And it defintiely is something you can get down with. All it takes is a few morning reads and you'll be hooked. Click on the "Share That Sh*t" button below to sign up for theSkimm (using my code, obviously) and begin receiving emails like this blog post every weekday morning. Cheers!
I am a digital marketing student in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia keeping up with the latest in social media marketing. Enjoy, share, comment, connect!