07.28.2016

4 Ways Your Business Can Make the Shift into Mobile Marketing

According to a 2016 Mary Meeker Report on Internet Trends, advertisers are still spending most of their marketing budget on print, radio and TV – and not enough on the web, especially on mobile.

In fact, most businesses spend 39% of their advertising on television, 23% on Internet advertising, and 12% on mobile advertising. While it’s still important to use television, print and radio, it’s also necessary to take a look at the amount of total media consumption time. Amount of time spent in television is currently on the decline at 36%, while mobile is at 25% and only increasing usage.

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Get started and nail those mobile ads now, and get a head start before everyone else shifts their spend there.

Here are four simple ways to dominate the mobile market, and prepare for the mobile advertising revolution:

1. Study Your Market. Market research is essential to not only learn who your audience is, but what they do and where they are at any given point in the day. I think as consumers in the digital media age, we are coming around to the fact that these platforms play Big Brother. The more we give away information to sites like Facebook and Google, or update our status to say “I’m sad, who wants to go to Taco Bell?”, the more we browse on our phones with our location settings on, the more we shop online, order Ubers from downtown to our homes, download apps, or overplay Justin Bieber’s new single on iTunes, big data is cracking it’s proverbial knuckles and jotting down our every last move. And this is OKAY to us.

As marketers, it becomes our job to access this information and use it to our advantage. No longer are we paying for billboards to potentially be seen and then forgotten by our target market. No longer should we be dishing out spend on print magazines when more and more people read a majority of their content online on a daily basis. Take advantage of Facebook for Business Audience Insights when determining your audience. Use mobile advertising to target them by how much money they spend online, what they search for, what artists they listen to, what days they are around your place of business.

2. Get a Beacon. Using the Bluetooth low energy signal, small, wireless broadcasting devices called “Beacons” trigger an app to deliver targeted offers that are meant to encourage customers to buy more during their visit to your retail store, restaurant or business. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Beacon marketing can also be used to reward frequent customers and deliver helpful content to consumers while they shop or wait for service.

You may already be familiar with Shopkick, an app that users “opted-in” to receive notifications and deals from their favorite store. When users walk into a business, they are greeted with a mobile notification with an offer from the store or restaurant. As they continue through the store, they can browse the Shopkick app for sales, or can allow them to see products they may have “liked” online. It can even work as a personal shopper providing them with ideas for what to gift their friends and families.

Facebook’s Beacon allows mobile Facebook users to see Place Tips from your business at the top of their news feed, providing increased reach and engagement. Ultimately, if users can see photos that their friends have posted at your business or can read tips from others, then quality conversations can be generated. The usage of the Beacon in tandem with Place Tips will allow marketers and small businesses to determine whether people who saw an ad on its site actually turned up in their store. The wait list for Beacons is slow, as the demand is pretty high, but with the way marketing is moving, it is definitely worth ordering one.

3. In-app Advertising. As consumers, in-app advertising drives us crazy, but as marketers, we understand the value of this strategic marketing element. In-app advertising is enhanced by location data, which is the first step in understanding context and increasing engagement. In-app advertising also allows us to determine which platforms prove to be the most successful in obtaining our goals for online marketing.

In-app advertisements don’t have to be the AdWords Display Ads that pop-up while we are playing Candy Crush (or whatever the trending game is this week!). These ads can be mobile Twitter ads, or Facebook ads built solely for cellular devices. They can also be an ad in the Starbucks app that says, “It’s Free Coffee Tuesday! Click Here to Redeem Your Free Cafe Mocha.” These can be especially beneficial for your business if you can use them in conjunction with Facebook’s Custom Audience Pixels. If you are taking an “inbound marketing” approach on your site, and collecting data such as email addresses, keep track of which devices your signups come in through. Create a “Mobile User” list and advertise your Facebook content solely on mobile to these users. Use this platform to give them incentives and drive online sales from mobile.

4. Interactive Ads. Interactive ads are video ads that require some participation from the audience. Interactive elements make room for viewers to engage with your content beyond just watching your ad and praying it’s short so they can get back to whatever they were streaming. Interactive ads can also drive visits to your site, encourage viewers to download your app or buy your products and drives web visits. This is something that YouTube has taken advantage for awhile now – how could they not? However, in 2016, this is still one of the most underused forms of advertising.

With that being said, YouTube has taken it upon itself to create an app for businesses. Marketers can create their own interactive ad right from their cellular device. YouTube even provides templates to make these videos. Your project can then be uploaded right to YouTube. If you live in a major metropolitan area and have the eye, but not the hands, you can hire a professional filmmaker to shoot your ad for a $150 fee. Download the app and check it out for yourself!

See you guys, it’s that simple. I’ve provided you with the tools, it’s up to you to use them! If you have any questions on where to begin, contact Sparq Designs! Digital marketing is our bread and butter, and we understand the importance of quickly adapting to the ever changing realm of mobile advertising. Email me at adele.stewart@sparqdesigns.com and let’s talk!

 


Adele Stewart is a Marketing Account Manager & Designer at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

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07.13.2016

Behind the Design – Lizz Venanzi

Learn a little more about the crew ‘Behind the Designs’ with our newest Q&A series. Next up up is our NEW Social Media Manager, Lizz Venanzi.

Lizz is a recent graduate of Westminster College where she majored in both Public Relations and English and completed internships with CBS Radio, The Globe Newspaper, and Howard Hanna Real Estate. With skills in writing and media relations, Lizz will bring a new angle to the digital marketing department working with content curation, editing, social media advertising, and Google Adwords.

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Sparq’s new Social Media Manager, Lizz Venanzi

Get to know her a little better!

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!
A: Someone once told me that one’s morning routine can tell a lot about a person. I never thought too much about it until I realized how much waking up and having a cup ofcoffee drives my day. Every morning I wake up and I make myself a cup of coffee with Italian sweet creamer and that’s all I need to feel ready to take on the world.

Q: Three apps that help with your work…ready go!
A: I am an avid “brain-stormer” so Pinterest and Instagram are definitely two apps that help get my creative juices flowing. Buzzfeed is also my guilty pleasure. As much as a quick Buzzfeed quiz can make me laugh, I really enjoy the voice that most Buzzfeed writers take on and it helps me loosen up and get comfortable writing.

Q: What music do you listen to while you’re working?
A: I like to listen to music that I have never listened to before. I have trouble staying concentrated when I am listening to songs that I know all the words to because it makes me want to bust out into spontaneous song and dance. Instead, I like to open Spotify and click “related artists” to the music I normally listen to and then give some new music a try! It helps me concentrate while also expanding my music library.

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =])
A: I would absolutely love to work for Starbucks’ Public Affairs team, specifically in their Corporate Social Responsibility group. I am incredibly interested in how green marketing and cause-related marketing can expand a business, oh – and (if it wasn’t too obvious) I love coffee!

Q: If you could sit down and have an hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be? 
A: Ellen Degeneres!

Q:Who is your idol in the business world? Why? 
A: I am not sure if I have one specific idol. I have many people that have shaped my professional experience in a positive and defining way, specifically my dad and college professors. But, I tend to appreciate and lean towards people who are not afraid to do something out of the box and take risks.


The individuals at Sparq Designs believe in quality, and are huge advocates of setting ourselves apart from the competition. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter approach because we feel it’s more important to stand out in a crowd and we want our clients to do the same. We get excited about turning a concept into a design, developing a web presence, writing and optimizing content, and creating a buzz around a brand. Meet more of the team here.

07.07.2016

Behind the Design – Jenna Sasala

Learn a little more about the crew ‘Behind the Designs’ with our newest Q&A series. Next up up is our Lead Graphic Designer, Jenna Sasala. Get to know her a little better!

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!
A: I’m such a routine person. Every morning I make my coffee & breakfast, do my devotions, workout (usually a couple mile walk or a bike ride), then, no matter how much time I’ve given myself, I’m usually rushing to get out the door. 😉

Q: Three apps that help with you work…ready go!
A: Basecamp is my new obsession! It keeps me organized with my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Other than that, I like to go old school – I’m always am jotting down to do’s, appointments, and notes in my hard copy planner.

Q: What music do you listen to while you’re working?
A: I’m a Disney nerd, so I love listening to soundtracks from “Bug’s Life,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Ratatouille,” and Pixar’s Greatest Hits. Occasionally I’ll throw in some Mumford Sons and/or Relient K.

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =] )
A: This is so tough, I feel like I get to do a lot of work I love to do already at Sparq! Honestly, I’d love to work for Pixar or Disney. I love their emphasis on quality over quantity, storytelling, and the way they value their employees.

Q: If you could sit down and have a hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be?
A: Big surprise – Walt Disney. He overcame so much to find success, I feel like he’d have a lot of wisdom to share. In addition, his creativity was out of this world!

Q: Who is your idol in the business world? Why?
A: This is so hard, there are so many people who I love to follow! Promise Tangeman is one of my favorite web developers, Justin & Mary Marantz are my favorite wedding photography team, and Dave Ramsey is an all around outstanding business man. All of these individuals have a passion for their work and a drive to help people take their own projects and lives to the next level. They truly care about the success of others, which I very much admire.

To learn more check out our team page!


The individuals at Sparq Designs believe in quality, and are huge advocates of setting ourselves apart from the competition. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter approach because we feel it’s more important to stand out in a crowd and we want our clients to do the same. We get excited about turning a concept into a design, developing a web presence, writing and optimizing content, and creating a buzz around a brand. Meet more of the team here.

07.05.2016

Get Gritty With It

As institutions begin to reevaluate their admissions through judging one’s acceptance over another, they are beginning to bypass the common practice and are moving towards what might be considered to some an unorthodox method. However, is it unruly to do so? The main plan has always been to judge a person by their scores on standardized tests or IQs; however, what will that do the institution if the individual is lazy and has no energy to apply themselves?

Artwork by Montague Dawson

Is this process now outdated? How can you measure whether that student or individual will stay with the institution for which they were originally accepted? Retention. Performance. Demeanor. Affinity. These are the items institutions are now working to see within the students for whom they let walk through their doors and enter their classrooms. The answer to this conundrum may be found within Dr. Angela Duckworth’s study on the concept of grit.

When asked to explain the meaning of grit on a Freakonomics podcast back in May, Duckworth described it as, “[a] passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals.” She also enhanced her aforementioned definition of grit in her April 2013 TED talk as she stated that, “grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” So why wouldn’t you want to have students who have a high grit-level? Why wouldn’t you want to have a high grit-level as well?–Are you able to raise your grit score?

So what is ‘your’ grit score? Whether good or bad, there is no worry. According to Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s study titled, Mindset, and Duckworth your grit-level can be improved. One thing is for certain, talent doesn’t make you gritty. Many times teachers and coworkers say, “Good job, I knew you would ace that!” This phrase, though simplistic, touches upon the negativity within Dweck’s mindset debate. Those with a fixed mindset do not have the ease to expand on their qualities and just think they are innate, thus showing that they didn’t or rather wouldn’t have to work hard to accomplish the tasks at hand. However, if your teacher or coworker stated, “Good job, you truly worked hard for that!,” it recognizes your ability to reach a goal of your own and that the effort put forth paid off.

This simplistic phraseology may, in fact, make quite a large distinctiveness in how the receiving party interprets it. I would think that one is more likely to repeat an action or stick to accomplish similar tasks when the individual believes they had worked hard to accomplish the previous task, thus also giving them confidence to accomplish more.

The flaw within this argument is what do you say when someone does the inevitable–FAILS. When asked what their largest fear is in life, fifty percent of the employees at Sparq Designs claimed failure as their biggest fear. Atychiphobia (eh-tee-kah-fo-be-ah), defined as the fear of failure. The fear of failure is doubt; you know you can do it, you’re just doubting each action might be the wrong one. It is always a scary thought, to lose everything you have and start from the beginning.

For example, when you are working feverishly to finish a project and then the worst happens: your Adobe product freezes, your computer crashes, and your work was never saved. Losing everything you had, all the work you put forth. You may say a few unorthodox words, slam the container full of pencils down on your desk because it was an inch from being where you wanted it, and your water bottle lands on the other side of the room. But, then you think, well, this sucks. Then, you go and collect the writing utensils from the floor, rub the mark off the wall your water bottle made, restart your computer and get back to work.

In the long run, failure is not a permanent condition, you start over and keep going. Noting to yourself that you’re going to save your work every fifteen minutes and write an angry email to Adobe, you prepare for these things never to happen again.

Two weeks later, the same thing happens. Failure. Realization. *Purchases new computer.* Continues through life once again.

You’re bound to fail – what’s important is how you handle the failure. So, this small failure may speak to a louder audience. Your perseverance is pressing on and you want to accomplish the task at hand. Sometimes the first time will not be the best, sometimes you will fail time and time again. But, these failures determine your grit and mindset–your ability to fall on the muddy ground, wipe the dirt from your legs, and keep on running.

You score your job on the tenth interview.

You accomplish your first marathon after twelve years of training.

You don’t find your true love until you’re forty-four.

Your ability to rearrange these negative thoughts to motivate you determines your ability to have the wherewithal to further your sticktoitiveness and growth mindset.

Goals are not easy or they’d all be done by now. Failure is important to success. Limits, like fears are all manmade. This may sound like a motivational speech, but shoot, why not?! Grit is just that, finding your ability to stick with the tasks you have outlined. Go out and learn a new talent, ace that project, stick with it and apply these items to your future goals. Now go out and get gritty with it!

 


Andrew Henley

Andrew Henley

Andrew Henley is an intern at Sparq Designs. At Sparq Designs we thrive on our ability to create and foster relationships; relationships between brands and consumers, and the relationships between our clients and ourselves.

Internships are one of the most valuable experiences a student can gain during their undergraduate studies. While classroom work is important, real experience can help get your foot in the door when you enter the workforce. Learn about internship opportunities at Sparq Designs here.