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July 2014 - Posts

  • The New Interview - Fostering a win-win scenario

    Jul 30 2014


    Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported a 7.4% unemployment rate in California, which means that there has been a recovery of essentially all the jobs lost during the recession. With that being said, excuse the following cliché: the war for talent is raging more than ever.

    Gone are the days of employer power over the job market— the ball is back in the candidate’s court. In the interview scene, it’s not uncommon for candidates to concurrently meet with more than one company while trying to determine who has the best role and who will pay the highest salary with the greatest perks.

    In a market like this, the candidate is interviewing the company just as much as the company is interviewing him or her. Here are my top three tips for companies looking to make the best impression on the candidates that walk through the door:

    1. Time.
    Mr./Ms. Candidate has made an effort to make it to your scheduled appointment on time so reciprocate the effort and begin promptly. You probably wouldn’t want to be late to a meeting set by your CEO, therefore treat your candidates with the same level of respect.

    2. Attire. Candidates are expected to dress professionally in order to make a first impression. In turn, the employer should do the same. I’m not saying that a suit is necessary, but certainly leave the workout gear in your gym bag.

    3. Attention. If a candidate’s phone rings during the interview and answers the call, it’s safe to say the interview is effectively over. Same could be said for the employer, which is why it’s important to turn your phone on silent and leave the tablet at your desk in order to provide the candidate your undivided attention.

    The job market is competitive again. To recruit the best talent, you must keep in mind that the interview process is designed to facilitate a cohesive match for a long-term partnership, and must be observed by both sides.

    Gabby González - Talent Coordinator

  • Three Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn from Big Brands

    Jul 25 2014


    This piece is a collaboration with Kimberly Barnes, a freelance writer, who reached out to us with the idea for this story.

    No matter the size of your budget, the success of social marketing campaigns or tactics depends on creativity, dedication and in many cases, your team’s ability to be agile and think on their feet. Big budgets do help, but there some lessons we can all learn from brands that are using their large budgets creatively.

    Michael Kors: Take the lead.

    Michael Kors was the first brand to jump on Instagram when the photo-sharing site opened its doors to advertising in 2013. The fashion house’s first sponsored post earned it 16 times the number of followers as any of its non-sponsored posts.

    The Takeaway: Being first can have its advantages. And if you can’t be first, at least be willing to take a few (calculated) creative risks – try something that’s never been done. Social media lends itself to companies who desire to push creative limits, and this leadership can have high payouts.   

    Verizon FiOS: Use events to your advantage.

    To promote FiOS during the heart of football season, Verizon recruited Joe Theismann, Terry Bradshaw and eight-year-old Ella for its #fiosfootballgirl commercial. The video has more than one million views.

    The Takeaway: While your business might not be able to employ celebrities for your advertising campaigns, you can use video to support marketing campaigns that have appeal to your audience if you plan ahead. Choose an event with relevance to your crowd and use the media you have available – email, social media, etc, to direct people to your content.

    Tide: Monitor in real time.

    Tide got it right when it capitalized on 2013’s Super Bowl blackout, when the lights in half the stadium went out for more than 30 minutes. Tide cleverly tweeted that it “couldn’t get the blackout, but [it] could get your stains out."

    The Takeaways: It only took the brand four minutes to get up a tweet – which was re-tweeted more than 1,000 times. Small businesses can do the same by monitoring social media, especially during high impact events for your audience, and leveraging real-time events to reinforce relevancy to their customer base.

    These brands acted fast. They recognized the value of the speaking to their customers via the social channels where they spend their time. They created relevant, timely content that was not overly promotional. And with a commitment to leverage the power of social media, backed by the support of social media monitoring tools, small brands can have similar success.

  • Building Better Banner Ads

    Jul 23 2014


    We’ve all experienced many types of digital banner ads. From content heavy rich-media units that actually entice you to engage to cute but meaningless banners to eyesore banners with ugly and hard-to-read fonts.

    If you ask a digital marketing professional what the average click-through-rate (CTR) for a banner ad is, you'll most likely be answered with "it depends on the creative elements, the industry and goals of the campaign.” In terms of overall benchmark figures, for basic flash or HTML banners,  you can  expect .2 to .3% CTRs.  This may seem low but depending on the goals of the campaign and how much is paid for the impression, it’s possibly for a marketer to meet required metrics given these average engagement rates.  

    Remarketing campaigns – retargeting prospects that have visited an advertisers’ site with subsequent banner impressions – can help to increase CTRs.  This makes sense because the prospect is now pre-qualified as having expressed interest in the product or service.  Benchmark remarketing CTRs generally range from .5%– 2%

    In contrast, pre-roll video (:15 or :30 units) or content-packed rich media units can enjoy 1-3% click rates and sometimes higher.  

    So, many marketers are left thinking that although there are many opportunities to serve flash and HTML digital banners to an appropriate audience and within relevant content, with such low engagement rates, banners  just don’t work. By the way, did you know the first banner ad had a CTR of 44%? Now, think about your CTR again. Those high CTR days a long gone, but, with some creative best practices and a solid digital media strategy, banners can provide acceptable performance metrics and be an important part of an overall campaign.

    There are a few simple rules to running banner ads and getting better than average results:

    1. Use an attractive image or animation to draw attention.
    You’ve heard “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s an actual fact that our brains react to images faster than text. The challenging part is that your banners will be on webpages that often have more than one visual component, so, competition for the prospect’s  attention is high. Use an attractive image or animation so that the potential customer’s eyeballs see your ad first.

    2. Be engaging.
    While delivering an adequate amount of impressions to a given campaign’s best prospects is important, the delivery of an impression doesn’t guarantee that it is either viewed or acted upon.

    Measuring true engagement comes from analysis of a banner campaign’s performance analytics. From a prospect mousing over and deploying an ad, to clicks within a banner to deploy expansion panels or video content, to clicks through to the advertiser’s website – all of these “engagement” points can be tracked, analyzed, given a specific value and also correlated with the ultimate goals of the campaign.  

    How interesting and innovative does an advertiser need to be to garner engagement? As it turns out, being extremely interesting is required. Test this on yourself right now by browsing a website for five seconds and gauging how much you remember.You were most likely exposed to numerous banner ads and only briefly looked and probably didn’t engage with, any of them. But the ads you didn’t notice will still record impressions for the online publisher and be charged to the advertisers. Even though your campaign may be delivering high impressions, without measuring engagement, you will not be able to accurately determine the success of your marketing campaign.

    So, how can you be engaging? Once you’ve captured the prospects’ attention, it’s important to pique their interest as well. Prompting action in fun ways, asking prospects to use their imagination, play a competitive game or solve a problem are all good strategies. Here is a list of 50 incredibly creative online banners. Check them out and you will see that they all share two simple rules: attention grabbing and a reason to engage. Basic banners aren’t ineffective or dead, they just need to be executed in the hands of advertisers that understand how to connect with their target audiences.

    Deniz Kahriman – Digital Media Specialist