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Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Quick Guide to Your 2015 Marketing Budget

Date Posted: September 30, 2014 by

Fall has officially arrived, bringing Eagles football and pumpkin flavored coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts (not our client yet). Before I go any further though, I should introduce myself: my name is Michael McCall, and I am the Director of Strategic Account Leadership and Development at i76 Solutions. I hope you enjoy my blog, and if you have any questions, such as why my title is so long, please ask James Huth.

Marketers will be faced with many tough questions over the next year. First and foremost, they have to allocate their advertising and marketing budget. Digital, broadcast, event marketing, research—the choices are endless. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula: all organizations are unique, and all business verticals face different challenges. Your competitive landscape, your industry’s growth stage, and your evolving target markets are important factors to consider when in deciding how to allocate your marketing dollar.

However, I’d like to share what I’ve found to be a good starting point for budget allocation, as well as a current trend regarding both online and offline advertising. Based on my research, and recent conversations with CMO’s, this is an estimate of how the advertising pie is currently being divided:Screen_Shot_2014-09-29_at_10.10.27_AM-2

This can serve as a useful baseline when preparing your budget. You can also figure on your competitors doing something like the above, so whether you’re trying to catch up in some areas or trying to zig when your competition is zagging, you now have a reasonable starting point for your planning.

Speaking of planning, I recommend using the 70/20/10 rule. This rule (credited to Morgan McCall, no relation) applies to professional and workplace learning. Although the original model was intended for leadership development and management trainees, many within Learning and Development are applying it to other vocations. The marketing model suggests that 70% of investments should be in established and successful programs; 20% should go to emerging trends that are starting to gain traction; and 10% should go to ideas that are completely untested.

According to the 2014 fifth annual Marketing Budgets Report, published by Econsultancy and sponsored by Responsys, there continues to be a shift from off-line to on-line advertising. This report, a survey of more than 600 company and agency marketers, suggests two things.

  1. Agencies are investing more of their clients’ budgets in digital marketing. In 2014, 50% of agencies plan on investing 30% or more of their clients’ budget in digital platforms, versus 38% in 2013.
  2. On average, 38% of their total marketing budgets are being spent on digital, which is a 3% increase from last year’s figures.Screen_Shot_2014-09-29_at_10.15.48_AM
    My conclusion from this report: if it’s not broken, break it! Technology is changing daily, and you can’t afford to not to be proactive. I would even encourage advertisers to carve out a small portion of their budget (around 5%) to test emerging advertising mediums.

    Where is technology going? How can you acquire greater intelligence to measure ROI? These are the questions that need to be continually asked. Lastly, if you haven’t had it, try the pumpkin flavored coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s worth the trip.

    P.S. Go Birds!


My Date With A.v.a.

Date Posted: September 22, 2014 by

As appears to be per custom here, I guess I’ll introduce myself. My name is Bill Catalutch, but James calls me Dave. I am one of the two new Digital Media Interns here at i76 Solutions. Before gracing this humble abode, I spent the last four years working in the radio industry in various capacities, ranging from traffic and sports reporting, all the way to production and programming. I was involved in numerous debacles, including wearing a cow suit in protest, driving a band of stoners to a show just before opening act, and taking selfies with softball players after a championship win, just because I happened to be on the field. Working at i76 has been a nice change of pace.

What qualifies me to be the Digital Media Intern? Well, while making the rounds in terrestrial radio, I jump started the Facebook and Twitter accounts of over twenty terrestrial radio stations. These responsibilities were bestowed upon me solely based on the fact that I was a teenager who knew how to turn on Facebook. Here at i76, I’m a bit of a fish out of water, working with men and women with years of digital experience between them, coming from a more traditional background. That being said, I welcome the challenge, and am excited for all of the opportunity that awaits me.

My first week here hasn’t been without its own adventures. Most of you remember A.v.a, the flying camera drone Drew so affectionately named in this post. I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on A.v.a. I had only read about such a thing of beauty. Those long, thin propellers and stout little legs. Those high-definition cameras. I was extremely ill-equipped to handle such technology.

We here at i76 Solutions use these advances in technology and others to push the envelope in marketing. People and businesses diversity their portfolio through investing. We at i76 take revenue and invest in i76 labs, our own in-house division that experiments with new was of integrating new types of technology into marketing campaigns. A.v.a. is the newest object of our affections, and at the moment is for hire.

Drew calls me outside one afternoon, cradling A.v.a. in his arms. I don’t know if it was in ego or admiration, but Drew took her up as high as she could go, and just like that, A.v.a. was gone. Nothing to remember her by, other than the pictures she sent back from the sky.

It was at this point that Drew decided to hand me the controls. I never even owned a remote control car growing up (though I desperately wanted one for Christmas), and now Drew was entrusting his third day intern to land an extremely expensive low flying aircraft in the area the size of half a football field, with trees and buildings surrounding each side. I don’t know if the Barney Stinson in me came out at that moment, but I accepted the challenge.

I grabbed the controls and peered up at the bright blue sky. A.v.a. was nowhere to be seen, so I began to bring her down gently. She’s a fighter, A.v.a. is, but I didn’t give up. My eyes felt like they were melting, but soon enough, there was A.v.a. on the horizon, not even remotely close to where I was looking. Things got a little hairy down around the 200 foot mark, when I nearly took A.v.a. into a building, then nearly clipped the top of a tree. Soon enough, I was able to ease her down, and A.v.a. landed safe and sound.

One time with A.v.a. was quite enough for me. At the end of it, I couldn’t tell if I was more exhilarated than ever before, or if I was just having my first panic attack. As much fun as A.v.a. was to fly, I can’t help but to wonder what the future is for civilian drones. Zoning and permit laws are a bit of a gray area right now, as businesses and civilians have never before had access to this type of technology.

I’m pretty early into my tenure here at i76, but it’s hard to imagine that any of my future experiences will be more memorable than my first time with A.v.a. I’ll continue to post sporadically this semester, offering other technological insight and humorous anecdotes from my time at i76. Our other lovely intern Alexa will be the next to take A.v.a. up into the sky, and I wish both of them the best of luck.

User Registration and Personalization: The Truth Feels Good

Date Posted: September 12, 2014 by

User Registration and Personalization: The Truth Feels Good

Over the last few weeks at i76 Solutions (www.i76solutions), we have been trading off summer vacations for in-office stints along with business trips. In August, i76 Solutions was fortunate to send a few of our team to Google as a reward for being selected as a Google Partner Agency All Star. Yes, the Google Partner Agency All Star Summit was cool and networking with other digital marketing agencies was a learning experience, but the highlight was the content and the shared vision amongst both Googlers and other digital marketing agency executives.

The common theme at both the Google Agency All Star Summit, and the conversations with our customers at i76 Solutions more recently have centered more and more around the rising concept of Personalization. As someone who started their career in mass reach media, I was taught to get the brand out in front of as many as possible. Idon’t need to go on about audience “segmentation”, which began on a large scale with the rise of cable nets in the ‘80s. Fast forward a few decades, and segmentation has evolved into personalization.iStock_000013846060Small

So what does Personalization mean? Another digital marketing buzzword? More jargon? Yep. The fact is that with the proliferation of 1st and 3rd party data, we are seeing greater and greater opportunities to deliver personalized messages, whether it’s when a consumer hits a web page, a brand looks to place a user’s name in an e-mail subject, or when someone has been remarketed a series of A/B ads as they journey down the funnel towards converting into a sale, download, or registration. As part of our digital marketing practice, at i76 Solutions we are very much proponents of putting a healthy percentage of our client’s funds into ad environments that are structured around user-registration. The ability to slice and dice user-registration data while building a campaign is about as close as one can get to going door-to-door selling your client’s product, yet with scale and without burning a lot of shoe-rubber. If you looked over our shoulders at i76 Solutions, you would see consumer insights from user registration (lowercase) sites that would make you feel good. The truth is, personalization is where we are headed right now, and that’s good

The biggest, recent affirmation of the concept of personalization was the announcement this week (Ad Age) that Interpublic’s buying arm UM, will invest 9 figures over a two year period in Facebook Advertising. UM’s head of Media David Cohen stated:

“We’ve been reliant upon linear television for 60 years,” he said. “We now have, over the past couple of years, seen online video start to take nibbles of that, but at scale high-quality video is still at a premium. Facebook video affords us an opportunity to reach that same level of audience, with demographic targeting, as television. Access to Facebook’s demographic data based on real registered users (as opposed to cookies), will be a key component of the deal, he said.”

As you plan for 2015, one of the key strategies you need to ask yourself and other business stakeholders is: how do we personalize our brand in our communications, advertising, and overall marketing and how do we personalize the distribution of those messages.