Did you ever wonder what life would be like without technology?
Well, before you answer that…since everyone else on my team decided to introduce themselves at the top of their first blog post, I’ll do the same. I’m Drew, co-founder of this fun little agency we call i76 Solutions. I run point on the technology and operations for the business…in addition to replacing the hand-towels in the bathrooms when they’re out…Now, back to the initial question. What would you do without that smartphone? Your laptop? Headphones? SmarCar? Television? In some ways, life would be much simpler. But we’re beyond the point of no return – and now, we need to keep up the pace to stay relevant.
This isn’t my first attempt at a blog. The wildly popular (cough, cough) “Tones in Your Headphones” was born back in 2009 and hasn’t been touched since 2011. Maybe I’ll get back to it someday. Thank God I have our awesome intern Rachel to keep me on schedule with this one. I feel good things coming…I’ve always had an obsession with technology—computers, video game systems, the internet—and have followed their innovations and advancements from a very young age. I wrote my first “application” at the age of 12 (okay, it was a “basic” programming app on a Commodore VIC-20 but it worked. All 1,811 lines of code!). Like some of you, I was on AOL when it had no GUI and was just a glorified bulletin board. At age 15, I figured out how to connect my modem directly to my friend’s computer across town so we could chat by typing to each other. I’m pretty sure I invented peer-to-peer chat before AOL did. Okay, maybe not. But, yeah, I was a geek…Fast forward to my adult years, and I’ve never been more excited than about where the world is right now—from a technology perspective, anyway (we’re severely lacking in common sense). Innovators much smarter then I could ever hope to be are constantly challenging the universe with advancements that offer new ways to communicate, interact, and live.
First, I have to say, I love what I do—helping people navigate the ever-changing landscape of marketing and technology. What was once, for the most part, single-layer solutions to accomplish a client’s goals and objectives (although sometimes multiple single-layered solutions were run parallel to each other) has now become multi-platform, multi-channel, multi-device insanity! And the best part about it all is that when you know what you’re doing, you can pretty much ensure that you’re getting a return on your investment. Running lean and efficient—and EFFECTIVE.
So I thought I’d use my maiden post to tell you about one of our latest toys here at the office.
Meet “A.v.a.” (aerial video agent), the i76 drone. You might ask, “Why does a digital media agency need a drone?” My answer is why the hell not! Actually, this amazing little piece of technology has tons of real-world applications outside of being super fun to fly! Equipped with a hi-definition, 14 megapixel camera, the still shots and HD video that A.v.a. beams back to earth are spectacular. Looking at the world from a whole new perspective—literally—keeps my creative juices flowing and helps my agency to stay relevant by coming up with new ideas and strategies that could generate buzz and awareness for our clients. We’re not the first company to adopt a drone and begin to integrate the technology into our thought process, but we do think exposing the technology to some of our clients allows us to stay ahead of the curve and promotes the forward-thinking conversations that can help differentiate our strategies from the rest. Think about the real estate vertical, the commercial and residential home services industry, photographers, event and entertainment companies. The list of possible applications goes on…
Now of course, there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to flying drones. Some states are passing legislature to limit drone flying—and we’re keeping up with the latest news and information. If and when we have legislature governing what we can and can’t do with A.v.a., we’ll be sure to fall in line. But until then, we’ll practice safe flying and keep our eye on the communications from the FAA.
So how does the title of my blog post and an introduction to A.v.a tie together? Well, personally, the “technology obsessed” part absolutely refers to me as an individual—however, I use it in terms of referring to the majority of the world. A.v.a. is just MY latest little obsession; however, when is the last time you sat through a meal where you or someone you’re dining with DIDN’T check their smartphone (See “23 Signs You’re Addicted To Your Smartphone“)? Get it? This obsession applies to us personally as well as in our business life. If people don’t respond to emails within the hour of them being sent it’s almost considered ignorant. That being said, the majority of us can probably agree we’re constantly connected—and it’s hard to disconnect.
Smart marketers realize that in order to penetrate an “obsessed generation,” they need to talk to you through your technology—by way of advertising in your apps, on your lockscreens, embedded in mobile websites, through direct email and using text / SMS messaging. The “marketing challenged” part of the blog title comes in here. Which platform or content channel is most effective? How successful are in-app banner advertisements? Does a higher CTR (click-through rate) on a mobile banner campaign mean that people are truly more engaged with your brand—or are our fingers just too fat to click and browse on those small screens? That’s where we’re focusing much of our time as an agency when we deal with the marketing and media placement portion of our business. We have great relationships with our partners in the mobile marketing space (Google, MoCentric, to name a few) that have enabled us to really have some fun and do some real-world testing with the latest mobile marketing technologies. Mobile marketing needs to be a core part of any marketing campaign in order to ensure success. It’s where the people are…. The tough part is navigating through the options. My agency loves that challenge and I believe it’s something we do quite well. We are a technology and marketing company—so we narrow down the options and turn the best into opportunities for our clients.
But mobile marketing is only one piece of the puzzle.
In my next post, I’m going to spend some time taking a look at the process involved in building and executing a strong digital marketing strategy.
But before I sign off…take a look at some video A.v.a. shot of the i76 campus:
Bring the Customer to Your Front Door with In-Bound Marketing!
James here from i76 Solutions, a digital marketing agency and technology firm located just outside of Philadelphia. At i76 Solutions, we call ourselves a Think and Do shop: we THINK strategy and we DO it with technology.
Welcome to our first blog entry, which uses a brand new set of content publishing tools from our friends atHubspot. We’ll initially explain the ins-and-outs of how in-bound marketing works, and some key data points we’ll start to track.
Why In-bound Marketing?
As a group of professionals working in marketing and interactive roles at large media corporations for many years, we at i76 Solutions knew that outbound marketing and brand building were important for any company or organization in defining their spot in the marketplace. However, we began to realize that those practices were only half of the equation—the other half was about bringing current and prospective customers to your front door.
So What is In-bound Marketing?
In-bound marketing is a method of marketing whereby you develop and create compelling content that attracts and re-attracts well-qualified prospects on a 1:1 basis throughout the entire buying cycle. It’s about personalizing messages to prospects across different channels such as blogs, social media, or search. Think of in-bound marketing as bringing the right people to your party by telling people how great your brand is! We will do in-bound marketing with technology and our partners at Hubspot!
As part of any inbound marketing and content creation program, you begin by building your in-bound marketing efforts, which are primarily driven by content strategy. From there it is important to establish key performance metrics (KPI’s). Some of the KPI’s and sample data that should be tracked are as follows:
- Overall blog visits
– Traffic source breakdown
– Blog Homepage visits
– Number of posts published
– Top viewed posts
– Average in-bound links per post
– Average comments per post
– Average views per post
– Social Shares per post
– New blog leads
– Top Lead Customer / Customer Gen
– Lead source breakdown
– Conversion Rates
– E-Mail Subscribers
Whether you are a Philadelphia-based digital marketing agency and technology firm like us or a food manufacturer based in Kalamazoo, the most efficient and best qualified customer is the one that has raised their hand and has expressed an interest in the product or service you have to offer. As we begin our journey using Hubspot and implementing inbound marketing strategies here at i76 Solutions, we will be blogging about our experiences with this tool, along with providing insight into the other services and projects we do, such as website development, application development, video production, digital media creation and investing.