Author Archives: Michael McCall

6 Fundamental Tips for Marketing Success

Date Posted: February 26, 2015 by


untitledAs Vince Lombardi once said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” I think marketing professionals, if dedicated to winning, must apply these principles to their work. Here are some other fundamental tips that can help guarantee success in today’s competitive marketing arena.

Be on the Right Side:

Be on the right side of big data. With digital media, today’s marketers have an opportunity to forge one-on-one relationships with consumers that generate a limitless supply of consumer data points. To uncover valuable insights into your customers’ behavior, prepare to mine this information and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly. For example, consider using your social media metrics to discover new niche audiences by grouping people based on behaviors and interests rather than traditional demographics.

Be Aggressive: 

Be aggressive and drive conversions, not vanity metrics. Campaign impressions, likes, and followers are great, but lead conversions are paramount in today’s competitive marketing environment. You can define conversions as the number of people who filled out a contact form, made a purchase, clicked on an email link, or signed a petition — whatever action accomplishes your overall goal, says Sara Helmy, CEO of Tribu. “Conversion rate is by far the biggest indicator of whether or not our efforts, as a marketing agency, are successful,” said Helmy.

Be Tough: 

Have tough conversations with your marketing partners now rather than later. For example, does your advertising agency add value to your bottom line? Long-term marketing success depends on having the right conversations with your agency at the right time. Have you established key performance indicators and success benchmarks? Try to develop SMART goals for your relationship. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. Accountability is critical for all the players in your marketing efforts, including your advertising agency. 

Stay Agile: 

Fluidity is a game changer. Gone are the days of duplicating the same media plan quarter after quarter. Instead, conduct smaller, incremental tests that allow for adjustments. Your marketing plan should continually evolve in response to a constant influx of data. Data and analytics allow for these types of definitive metrics today.

Have the Right Game Plan: 

Have the right game plan as it pertains to technology. In today’s digital environment, it is imperative that marketers understand technology and how to apply it to marketing programs. Make sure your team stays apprised of the constant technological advancements in marketing and understands how to leverage it to your company’s advantage.

Don’t be Afraid to call an Audible:

Embrace change; for example consider Omni-Channel Marketing: The term “omni-channel” describes a significant paradigmatic shift: Marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. So what does the omni-channel experience actually look like? In the words of John Bowden, senior vice president of customer care at Time Warner Cable: “Multi-channel is an operational view – how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent. Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution. Making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels must be fluid for the customer. Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!” 

Vince Lombardi also said, “Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible.” Which is good to keep in mind, whether you’re building a brand or building a team.

the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” I think marketing professionals, if dedicated to winning, must apply these principles to their work. Here are some other fundamental tips that can help guarantee success in today’s competitive marketing arena.

Be on the Right Side:

Be on the right side of big data. With digital media, today’s marketers have an opportunity to forge one-on-one relationships with consumers that generate a limitless supply of consumer data points. To uncover valuable insights into your customers’ behavior, prepare to mine this information and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly. For example, consider using your social media metrics to discover new niche audiences by grouping people based on behaviors and interests rather than traditional demographics.

Be Aggressive: 

Be aggressive and drive conversions, not vanity metrics. Campaign impressions, likes, and followers are great, but lead conversions are paramount in today’s competitive marketing environment. You can define conversions as the number of people who filled out a contact form, made a purchase, clicked on an email link, or signed a petition — whatever action accomplishes your overall goal, says Sara Helmy, CEO of Tribu. “Conversion rate is by far the biggest indicator of whether or not our efforts, as a marketing agency, are successful,” said Helmy.

Be Tough: 

Have tough conversations with your marketing partners now rather than later. For example, does your advertising agency add value to your bottom line? Long-term marketing success depends on having the right conversations with your agency at the right time. Have you established key performance indicators and success benchmarks? Try to develop SMART goals for your relationship. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. Accountability is critical for all the players in your marketing efforts, including your advertising agency. 

Stay Agile: 

Fluidity is a game changer. Gone are the days of duplicating the same media plan quarter after quarter. Instead, conduct smaller, incremental tests that allow for adjustments. Your marketing plan should continually evolve in response to a constant influx of data. Data and analytics allow for these types of definitive metrics today.

Have the Right Game Plan: 

Have the right game plan as it pertains to technology. In today’s digital environment, it is imperative that marketers understand technology and how to apply it to marketing programs. Make sure your team stays apprised of the constant technological advancements in marketing and understands how to leverage it to your company’s advantage.

Don’t be Afraid to call an Audible:

Embrace change; for example consider Omni-Channel Marketing: The term “omni-channel” describes a significant paradigmatic shift: Marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. So what does the omni-channel experience actually look like? In the words of John Bowden, senior vice president of customer care at Time Warner Cable: “Multi-channel is an operational view – how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent. Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution. Making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels must be fluid for the customer. Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!” 

Vince Lombardi also said, “Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible.” Which is good to keep in mind, whether you’re building a brand or building a team.

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!