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March 2015 - Posts

  • 'The Real Don Draper' Celebrates 50 Years in Ad Biz

    Mar 10 2015

    Imagine an ad guy with more than three decades of experience still hitting home runs. How about four decades? Five decades? Howie Cohen is the last of the Madison Avenue legends still practicing today and still going strong.

    March 15 will mark 50 years to the day that Cohen — one of the industry’s original Mad Men — walked into Doyle Dane Bernbach as a copy trainee, beginning an advertising career that is twice enshrined in the Clio Hall of Fame. His Alka Seltzer lines that landed there? “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing,” and “Try it, you’ll like it.”

    But this original Mad Man — whom the Los Angeles Times calls “The real Don Draper” — has jumped the digital chasm, featured with four other icons in Google’s Project Re: Brief in 2012.

    Today, as chief creative officer at Phelps, he’s still creating results-driven, award-winning integrated campaigns, engaging on social media for clients and writing his Mad Mensch blog read by thousands.

    “50 years have gone by in the blink of an eye,” said Cohen. “I consider myself one of the luckiest guys on the planet to still be shooting for the stars in a young, creative business. I’ve learned from the best of them, from Bill Bernbach to Mary Wells to Joe Phelps.”

    Not one to keep his wisdom to himself, Cohen continues to mentor the best and brightest creatives at Phelps, ensuring a culture of creative leadership for years to come. To carry on that leadership torch, Phelps courted creative director Brad Gantt from Dentsu to continue to push the discipline forward with Cohen, and eventually, beyond him.

    One millennial at the agency, copywriter Chloe Cotoulas, is grateful to learn from a legend, and even teaches him a thing or two about social media and popular trends.“While I’m always learning from Howie, it’s our exchange of ideas and experiences that binds our relationship,” said Cotoulas. “There’s 50 years between us, so we often come at a problem from different directions to feed our creativity and unearth better solutions.”

    “I get a real kick out of collaborating with everyone from our writers and art directors to brand strategists, PR, media and social media specialists,” said Cohen. “People ask me when I plan to retire. I tell them to ask me again in another 50 years.”


    Matt Burnam - Public Relations Coordinator

  • Why You Need a Good QA Plan

    Mar 10 2015

    When designing a website or product app, marketers often only see quality assurance (QA) as a tool for look and feel that happens just prior to launch. But QA is much more than that. It’s an umbrella activity that starts with evaluating the business objectives for a software development effort.

    QA strategy is determined by business objectives and target audience research to ensure your website or app resonates across cultures, language barriers, devices and disabilities, as well as how it performs when site traffic is up and bandwidth is limited. You’ll want to include QA from the beginning of the campaign to establish the goals you want to meet when testing against each of these standards.

    Formulating a software QA (SQA) plan is closely tied to how complex an organization’s processes are. Taking this information into account, the SQA plan becomes a living bible for your project’s QA effort. It provides the road map for implementing SQA and is a part of the overall QA strategy that includes why we’re testing and what standards we are looking to meet.

    The essential elements of any SQA plan are to establish standards and ensure that test execution contains these elements:

    • A test strategy defines what types and amount of testing you think will work best to find any defects in the software.
    • A testing plan details the tasks needed to execute to that strategy.
    • Comparative test cases ensure the software will meet its requirements.
    • Test data consisting of both input test data and database test data to use while you are executing your test cases.
    • A robust test environment where you will carry out your testing.

    Saswati Pati - QA Specialist
  • How to Create Success Stories with Data

    Mar 10 2015

    As analysts, we ask various questions to get answers from data. These answers are not composed in binary form or quantitative values, but build out a story that anyone can comprehend.

    Generally, stories have a preface, introduction, iterative chapters and a conclusion. Through a marketing lens, we refer to these parts of a story as strategy, benchmarking, campaign reporting and optimization, and a wrap-up report with actionable insights. Here are three keys to creating a data report that is interesting and actionable.

    1. Understand your audience and focus on one message to influence opinions. Use straightforward language to tell your story. Data is a complicated subject and needs to be presented clearly. Use examples that relate to your audience to drive home your message.
    3. Relate your findings to your goals. Objectives can only be achieved if we have key performance indicators. Focus on one message and reinforce it in multiple ways.  Illustrate your analysis from the beginning to the end conversion point and paint a picture of what happened in between.

    4. Give actionable insights. Information that is “good to know” will not usually increase performance or further investments. Information that is grounded in thought and data that leads to optimizations and next steps will fuel marketing spend and your credibility.

    Shaun Jacobs - Marketing Data Analyst