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seven habits_infographic_2.ashxMcKinsey & Company recently pointed out that companies need to approach digital marketing differently, on a fundamental level. Among their points in “The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective Digital Enterprises” McKinsey notes the ineffectiveness of companies that assign digital marketing to a staffer or set up an internal team. They suggest it is a skill set to be acquired through external resource.

Let’s look at this another way. Social media is the latest marketing touchpoint. Advertising, public relations, direct marketing, web development, and sales promotion are among social media’s predecessors. How many companies attempt to assign those duties to a staffer? Very few. It is arguable that very few companies execute these marketing touch points well internally.

The missing ingredient? The creative talent.

Why creative talent largely resides outside companies is a discussion for another day, but the work of very few in-house departments approaches that of outside agencies. The same applies to social media. Like the others, social media is a distinct and separate marketing skill. Creative acumen is a critical issue in social campaigns as well. Companies that simply push social media off to someone internally run counter to historical precedent and risk falling behind competitively.

The Bootcamp is a collaborative effort between the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Georgia and Guest Relations Marketing.

The inaugural seminar in February was well-received by a full house. If you are looking for tips, techniques and understanding of how to use social media in your business, then this is the one-day learning seminar for you.

Click here to learn more and sign up for the next scheduled events on March 20 and April 24.

Further questions? Call 404.343.4377.

In the wake of continuing digital media changes, CEOs are re-examining how they engage management in marketing. McKinsey recently advised CEOs to engage their boards to a greater extent in marketing. In particular, McKinsey recommended three key points:

1. Consider a customer-engagement planning day to take stock of the broadest strategic implications of changes in the marketing environment and of the company’s position with customers.

2. Consider expanding expertise of the board, given the fast-changing nature of marketing. For example, including more board members with public-sector experience—including political-campaign skills—can provide valuable counsel to today’s ever-more-exposed CEOs.

3. Keep board involvement strategic in nature and clearly aimed at governance issues and not the day-to-day management of marketing activities.

GRM has historically conducted customer/prospect research aimed at uncovering engagement points and how to be distinctive from competitors. Lessons, even for smaller businesses, as the digital-marketing revolution continues to unfold. Are you mapping customer engagement? Customer engagement is a CEO directive ultimately. To be effective and encompassing, operations, marketing, sales, customer service, R&D and now – IT – all need to be on the same page.

Quicken and Warren Buffett put an audacious prize out there. The fact that it is almost totally unlikely to be won makes it all the more brilliant.  He is offering $1 Billion for a perfect March Madness bracket.images

A perfect example of creating buzz, viral media, massive following, whatever jargon you care to use. The trick: it’s not the $1 Billion prize – that is not the rub – it is likely insured for far less than the actual prize. The real answer: a company with the juice to put something out there that is not simply copying what someone else has done. No, win two tickets to the next Super Bowl is not likely to garner ESPN’s attention or develop viral action.

You gotta go big, bold and unusual. Which is why creativity is still a fundamental keystone of great marketing.

Read More.

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Looking for a quick primer on how to use social media in your job? The Bootcamp seminar will give you the steps and confidence to jump into the social media arena. Whether social media is an area that is a part of your responsibilities or you simply want to be more knowledgeable on how to manage staff, vendors or marketing programs, The Bootcamp offers a superb learning opportunity.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 5.01.49 PMThe Bootcamp is a collaborative effort between the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Georgia and Guest Relations Marketing. Each seminar is limited to 20 participants to ensure personalized learning. Seminars begin promptly at 9:00 am, at the Terry College of Business Executive Education Center in Buckhead, and concludes at 4:00 pm. Lunch and parking validation is provided. Participants are encouraged to bring a wireless laptop computer or tablet as real-time applications and examples will be explored.

We have limited spots for this program, but ask you to share with those who might benefit from this program. The Bootcamp is offered:

Tuesday, February 18th
Thursday, March 20th
Thursday, April 24th

Click here to learn more or register for The Bootcamp.

According to the hair care company, Pantene, 70% of men think that women need to downplay their personality to be accepted in the workplace.

Other alarming statistics have been published recently by PEW Research Center that involve working mothers, stating that women are much more likely than men to experience family-related career interruptions and that these interruptions hurt their career progression.

Additionally, the Stanford Graduate School of Business has published a gender related study that addresses the perception bias of men and women in the workplace. In the research, a case study of Heidi Roizen, a successful venture capitalist was shared with a group of students. Afterward, the students were surveyed, and though Heidi and Howard were found equally competent, the students found Howard much more likeable.

This commercial, created by Pantene, addresses the issue that women face when they refuse to give in to the labels that hold them back. “Because when you stand strong, you shine.”

What do you think about these double standards that Pantene has addressed?

Guest Relations created a program in September 2009 to honor the courageous fight of children with cancer.  CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time initially featured the personal story of 30 children.  Promoted in social media and other online communications, the program has grown over 5 years to feature nearly 400 children.   The campaign has raised to-date  $1,017,291 towards research aimed at solving children’s cancers.

The Atlanta Journal-Constution recently featured the program.

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BY MARK DAVIS – THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

For 30 days, they shared their stories: the athlete who didn’t let amputation keep him off the lacrosse field, the kid who inspired people even as he lay dying, the sisters who share a bond more profound than blood. Their stories were different — the same, too. Each is young, and has cancer. Some have licked the disease, and are in remission; others remain in a literal fight for their lives. A few have lost that fight.

In September CURE Childhood Cancer, a Dunwoody nonprofit, featured nearly 100 youthful cancer patients in a month-long fund-raiser, Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time. People who visited the organization’s web site could read each child’s store and make an online contribution.
The goal: raising $200,000 to fund childhood cancer research. What it had raised by month’s end: $214,000.

The money will help bridge the funding gap between fighting adult cancer and childhood cancer, said Kristen Connor, CURE’s executive director.
“We don’t (spend) anything to prevent childhood cancer,” she said. “I think that’s wrong.”  Less than 5 percent of the federal government’s annual total funding for cancer research is dedicated to various forms of childhood cancer, according to the National Institute of Health.  At the same time, said Connor, cancer is the No. 2 killer of American youth, defined as newborns to 21-year-olds. Only accidents claim more young lives.
Childhood cancer often isn’t the same as that afflicting adults. Grown-ups, for example, may contract cancer of the lung, colon, breast. Children are more apt to develop cancer in soft tissues, or in growing bones.  About 14,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 1.6 million men and women will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

For Connor, the numbers are more than an abstract. Twelve years ago, physicians diagnosed her son, Brandon, with neuroblastoma, a cancerous growth on his spine. The boy was a month old, and she was terrified.  The cancer has been in remission for nearly a decade, and Brandon recently celebrated a birthday. But the experience so profoundly changed his mom that Connor gave up her career at an Atlanta law firm to lead CURE.  “Brandon was lucky,” she said. “But a lot of others haven’t been.”

Some struggled against a disease that proved too much for their young bodies. Silas Edenfield was 3 when physicians diagnosed him with type IV hepatoblastoma, liver cancer. The boy, who lived near Savannah, underwent six surgeries over a 16-month period. He faced chemotherapy, blood tests and hundreds of nights away from home. In May, 10 days short of his fifth birthday, Silas died.  His is one of the stories on CURE’s site. By then end of September, people who’d read his story online had contributed more than more than $2,000 in donations in his name.

Other stories show that cancer is not insurmountable. Sean Dever was 11 when he developed osteosarcoma, bone cancer, above the knee. Surgeons removed the cancerous segment, then reattached the ankle and foot to his knee, rotating the joint so it serves as a new knee. Colleges are recruiting the Marietta resident, now a high school senior, for their lacrosse teams.

Consider the stories of Olivia and Elena Tate. Gwinnett sisters, each was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnoses came five years apart, and on the same day.

April 2, 2004: The Tate family was on vacation in Florida when Olivia’s parents noticed their 2-year-old daughter was tilting her head to one side. She stumbled when she walked. When the child started holding her head and vomiting, the Tates rushed her to a hospital. A CAT scan revealed a brain tumor. A helicopter took her from Florida toChildren’s Healthcare of Atlanta where Olivia underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Eight follow-up visits showed no recurring tumors, and the Tates relaxed — until a ninth checkup in 2008 revealed another tumor.It was removed, too.

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April 2, 2009: Elena, 10, had been complaining of severe back and leg pain. Leukemia, her doctors said. Since then, Elena has run the gamut in care: chemotherapy — her hair fell out — spinal taps, blood transfusions. She underwent a bone marrow transplant last year and is in recovery.
Their stories, shared online, had raised $4,200.

In an interview last week, both girls said they feel great — happy to be at home, and in school. Olivia, now 11, is in the fourth grade; 14-year-old Elena is a ninth grader.  School, Olivia said, is “good. I think I need to study a little more.”  Elena, who wants to be a marine biologist, has her hair back.  It’s a red tangle. She also has regained something else.“I’m feeling confident again,” she said.  “Everyone has been there for me.”

Dear #hashtag user,

I’ve noticed recently that you are quite the fan of this clever linking device. However, I think that you misunderstood its purpose of functionality. You see, the hashtag was created as a method to “tag” tweets, essentially adding organization to the clutter that consumes the Twitter-sphere.

For example, if I were hoping to connect with people in the fashion industry, I could search #fashion and, immediately, thousands of tweets would show up that include the same hashtag. By searching #Obamacare, I can access the opinion and news results of all who are discussing the controversial matter.

Upon conception, the hashtag was (and still is) a brilliant piece of digital creation.

However, I have noticed that you, Mr./Mrs. hashtag user, have used this tool completely out of context. The hashtag is no longer a method of organization, but is now a form of language that is substituting complete thoughts.

Examples include:

“Looking forward to my trip to the Bahamas. Is Friday here yet!? #excited #cantwait”

or

“This weather is killing me! All I want to do it go for a run, but I can’t in this rain. #RainRainGoAway”

What, on Earth, has the use of these hashtags accomplished? Personally, I am a fan of how GIZMODO phrased its frustration, stating, “But at their most annoying, the colloquial hashtag has burst out of its use as a sorting tool and become a linguistic tumor—a tic more irritating than any banal link or lazy image meme.”

Now, I’m not calling you lazy. No, this annoying use of the English language is not lazy. However, these simple misapplications of a hashtag have turned into a much larger infraction.

Recently, you have begun using hashtags as a way to self promote, hoping that the more hashtags you use in a post, the more likely you will acquire new followers. Your thought is similar to the practices of SEO – use key words and hopefully show up in search results.

A word to the wise? When you do this – people like me will ignore your post completely.

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This is merely a desperate attempt at being seen. Seriously? How many people are searching the hashtags #orange or #thegreatpumpkin?

So, I beg of you, Mr. or Mrs. hashtag user. Think before you # it.

Don’t believe me? Then check out this video of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. They have no qualms about showing you how stupid you sound when misusing hashtags.

A truism of branding – just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you necessarily should do it.
Meaning, you can extend your brand way beyond what it stands for or what makes it valuable to consumers.

Conversely, just because you are not comfortable with a media – specifically social media – doesn’t mean your company should not use it.

In a conversation with a friend who heads an interactive agency, he agreed that the hardest sell is a company CEO who doesn’t understand social media or believes it can be handled by some “interns.” We agreed such businesses are never successful at social media. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. To their detriment.

Because of the amount of time spent on the Internet and the sheer numbers on a computer or digital device daily, it simply is a foundational media.

According to eMarketer, adults now spend more time with digital daily (just over 5 hours) versus television (4 and 1/2 hours).  In case you are trying to figure out how that adds up in a day, here’s how.  Over 50% are using a digital device while watching television.  And, this increases to  74% for smart phone users.   Televison viewing is not declining, it has held stead over the past four years.  Clearly, though, multi-tasking is happening at home, just as it does for many at work.

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