Category Archives: Marketing

The Digital Sales Funnel and Saying “Thank You” – Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2018

Last week we had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Marketing World in San Diego – a two-and-a-half day session-packed conference focused on the most relevant trends and information in the world of social media.

Given that South by Southwest Interactive kicks off later this week (stay tuned for daily updates from our two-person team of Jon and Adrienne), we’re going to combine a longer form discussion from what we learned at Social Media Marketing World with our annual SXSW Denver Download in early April – let us know if you’re interested in attending!

In the meantime, here are my three main takeaways from #SMMW18 – with a quick video from the conference to explain some of the concepts as well.

1) The Algorithms Continue to Change Our Focus

Facebook’s shift away from brand and publisher posts in our news feeds toward one-on-one peer interaction has left a lot of brand managers scratching their heads about staying relevant on the platform. The key – according to Social Media Insider Founder Michael Stelzner – will be unique and tailored content with the goal of prompting individuals to share with their peers. In other words, “being human at scale.” Some additional insights on this topic include:

  • Longer form content will be critical – videos, in particular
  • Facebook’s focus on “Facebook Watch” will also mean a shift toward more episodic content. Think about producing various video series that take viewers on a storytelling journey, and make it as shareable as possible
  • The algorithm change combined with Snapchat competition will likely lead to more Facebook Stories from individuals – so much so that we’ll likely see fewer wall posts and more Stories in the near future (the future is 15 second Story videos)

2) Focus on Being More Strategic with Paid Efforts

Moving forward we’re also going to have to be more strategic with our promoted content and paid campaigns on every platform. Some specific examples from the conference include:

  • Be more selective with where you’re spending your money. Promoting content that is already successful will always be more beneficial than forcing a promotion on content that that isn’t resonating with your audience. Think of it as pushing a ball downhill vs. trying to fit a square peg into a round hole
  • Utilize Facebook Custom Audiences and retargeting features more frequently. We spend a lot of time and resources creating content, and we shouldn’t have a “one and done” mindset with our paid campaigns. If a group of people watched your first video in a series, consider retargeting those same people with a paid campaign for the second video in your series. “Custom Audiences are your bank account,” as one presenter commented
  • Make sure you have a hook, ignite emotion, describe your solution and finish with a specific call-to-action with every piece of promoted content you produce. At the same time keep your content as concise as possible – skip the bumpers/intros/bios in your video content to grab attention as quickly as possible

3) Don’t Stop When the Campaign Ends

We often miss the opportunity to follow up or even say “thank you” with our campaigns. Use those custom and engaged audiences to keep the conversation going after your campaign ends (maybe with your next campaign or content effort). And if you have an audience that made a purchase or took some form of action, don’t forget to say thank you in a creative way, and follow up with specific next steps. Spell it out simply so your customers have a seamless, positive experience and understand clearly what happens next.

The Importance of Active Voice for Brands

When you reflect on the highway billboards of yesteryear and brand slogans that have made an impression on you, they were probably succinct, clever and written in the active voice. Clear, concise writing is absolutely crucial in a brand’s marketing efforts. When a message or campaign gets muddled with lengthy explanations and awkward sentence constructions, the small window of opportunity to quickly convey both meaning and value is lost. One of the simplest issues to address during content revisions is passive voice construction.

Woman Typing on a Laptop Using an Acive Voice For Brand Messaging

Read more after the jump…

Netflix’s ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ Announcement Changed the Promotion Process

Sunday night, before the kickoff to Super Bowl LII, movie director Ava DuVernay posted the following tweet:

Ava DuVernay tweet about Netflix Cloverfield Paradox

That surprise turned out to be Netflix’s release of the trailer for The Cloverfield Paradox, the latest installment in the Cloverfield series. The trailer came out of nowhere and with the subsequent announcement that the full movie would be on the streaming service immediately after the game. For years, studios have used the Super Bowl as a jumping off point to sell their summer blockbusters to the masses. Now, a sci-fi movie franchise famous for its mysterious films made the biggest splash on the biggest advertising stage there is. Netflix has created a reputation of making itself into entertainment’s biggest showman and on Super Bowl Sunday, they did it again.

Read more after the jump…

Digital Marketing Lessons from Award-Winning Smart Ashes

Facebook logo

We were humbled to learn earlier this year that our Be A Smart Ash campaign for the Denver City Forester received the annual Kudos Marketing Award from the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). And we were perhaps even more excited to be invited on NRPA’s monthly webinar to detail some learnings about the campaign.

So what exactly is Be A Smart Ash? We’ll let the campaign tagline do the talking:

1 in 6 trees in Denver are ash trees. And if we do nothing, it’s just a matter of time before they’ll ALL be devoured by the emerald ash borer, the most destructive forest pest in U.S. history. But who wants to be a Debbie Downer when you can Be A Smart Ash? Spend some time on our site and learn how you can help protect your ash and our urban canopy by identifying, treating and replacing Denver’s ash trees.

The Denver City Forester, a division of Denver Parks and Recreation, enlisted our help with a five-year integrated marketing campaign that has included naming, branding, messaging, content creation, internal and external communications, media relations, website development, SEO, digital advertising, video production and social media management.

The goal? Raising awareness about a tiny pest called the emerald ash borer (EAB), which has decimated ash tree populations in more than 25 states and parts of Canada.
Read more after the jump…

Denver Startup Week: Life Lessons from Serial Entrepreneurs

Cuban Laughing at Denver Startup Week Session: Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention - A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad FeldI had the opportunity to attend one of the more than 350 sessions that were part of the 2017 Denver Startup Week. Now in its sixth year, Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, and is one of the best resources in the nation for those looking to start or grow a business, or in my case, to learn from the best in business.

One of the sessions I attended, “Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention – A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad Feld,” was highly entertaining and included a candid discussion with successful entrepreneurs.

While admittedly I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m in awe of gutsy business leaders who just go for it and live their dream. Charlie Ergen is the co-founder of Dish Network; Brad Feld runs the Foundry Group, a Boulder venture capital fund; and Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank.”

Read more after the jump…

The Art of Taking a Step Back

Photo credit: @WiredForLego

Photo credit: @WiredForLego

This week one of our account teams held an “Intense Period Debrief” – an opportunity to assess what went well, what could have gone better and what we can do moving forward to learn from experiences once a project is complete. The irony of this particular meeting was that, in taking the time to take a step back, much of what we learned from this particular account was the importance of taking calculated steps back more often.

The marketing world moves fast – new platforms, new products, content trends (this week it’s sarcastic polls on Twitter, FYI), changes in user behavior… the list of things that change actually changes itself quite frequently.

Add aggressive deadlines and high expectations to the list, and we’re frequently working in a world that pushes forward so fast that it’s easy to forget to step back and think strategically once a plan is in place. Ultimately, the best-laid plans don’t mean much if expectations aren’t set, processes aren’t communicated, and those plans don’t evolve based on trends and ongoing data.

Read more after the jump…

The Future of Content, and What it Means for PR

usc-annenberg-logoThe USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism recently released its Global Communications Report 2017, and it offers a number of interesting findings that affect the public relations and marketing industries.

One trend that has profound implications for public relations specifically is PESO – paid, earned, shared and owned – content. Historically, public relations has lived in the earned content box, but more than half of PR executives believe that in five years the average consumer will NOT make any distinctions among content that is paid, earned, shared or owned. Read more after the jump…

Branding & Loyalty: What Are Micro-Moments?


Get ready for micro-moments.

Buyer behaviorists have for a long time relied on the traditional consumer journey funnel to describe how a potential customer starts with a set of brands and through a set of methodical steps, reduces the number of brands down to a small number to make a purchase. The following funnel visually indicates the typical consumer journey:
Read more after the jump…

Thoughts from CenterTable’s 6th SXSWi Denver Download


Capitalizing on in-person opportunities as well as digital opportunities brings us Back to the Future.

Last week we hosted our sixth South by Southwest Interactive “Denver Download” – a chance for our clients and partners who attended the SXSWi conference in March to share the knowledge they gained with other clients, partners and colleagues back here in Denver. This year’s panel consisted of Comcast’s Cindy Parsons (who hosted one of the festival’s on-site social media lounges), Sukle’s Dan Schultz, Children Hospital Colorado’s Elizabeth Whitehead and yours truly. Below is a recap of common themes that were discussed during the event – all relevant concepts to look to as evolving trends in digital marketing in 2017.

Knowing your audience (and segmenting your messaging and marketing plan accordingly) is more important than ever.

Gone are the days of distributing one message to as many people as possible through digital channels. With so many social media and digital marketing platforms, combined with the fact that it’s not “solely Millennials” using Instagram or “only older people” using Facebook, it’s more important than ever to create specific audience personas and speak directly to each one of them with tailored content and messaging. Read more after the jump…

Sources for Social Media Ideas

Social Media Ideas ResearchWhere do you get your social media ideas? When you hear the words “brainstorming” or “creativity,” you may not immediately associate them with science and research, but I do. When I see a calendar invitation to a brainstorming session, I make a note to make time for some research. I’m not talking about what competitors are up to, though that too is important. I’m talking about finding a LexisNexis log in and doing some digging to see what the scientific community says about the topic. You’d be surprised what exists out there to inspire your work.

Most recently, I did some work with a child abuse prevention nonprofit and stumbled across the amazing Frameworks research that studied how people in various demographics responded to different message framing related to child abuse prevention. This research is widely used amongst nonprofits working on this topic. It has great insights like “because so many frames have the effect of lifting support for child abuse and neglect policies, child welfare advocates on this issue have the opportunity to create some synergy across child development issues by using frames that also elevate other areas of child development.”  To translate, there are many ways of talking about child abuse that can be effective, but a few strategic ones will also help everyone else working on the topic. In coming up with ideas for this April, which is child abuse prevention month, we kept that research in mind.

The child abuse example is just one of many. If the topic relevant to you doesn’t have extensive existing research there can be more broad ways to investigate, such as looking for research related to online giving and social pressure for nonprofits. Or even understanding theories related to how people choose what to buy. This study tested whether people offered a coupon for jelly bought more when they could choose between 26 flavors or 6 flavors. More people were attracted to the big display, but more people actually bought jelly when there were fewer choices.

If you want to propel your agenda, build a movement, and change the narrative, you’re going to need some powerful social media ideas for content. Why not start with a Google search to leverage psychology, cognitive science, and the latest social science research to help lead you to success?