January Board Member Spotlight – Ginelle Howard

A Look Inside:

Q&A (unedited) with AZIMA Director of Member Benefits Ginelle Howard

Ginelle Howard, Independent marketing consultant and Arizona Interactive Marketing Association’s Director of Member Benefits, has worked both the agency and corporate side of marketing and has befriended Fortune 500 brands ranging from make-up to pet products over the past 10 years. Currently, her expertise in brand planning, marketing strategy and business development has led her to independent consulting.

Why do you think the world needs more women in leadership roles within the industry and in entrepreneurship?

Mainly, because I believe that women make fantastic leaders and are incredibly creative, intelligent, resourceful, intuitive and beyond capable. I’ve also never met a woman that wasn’t brave and I think that great leadership demands that of any individual.

Beyond that belief, I think it is important for women to continue to strive for gender equality in the workplace and one of the most significant ways that women can work together to achieve this equality is to take a seat at the leadership table. Of course those seats can be hard to come by and that’s why entrepreneurship provides such an enriching and empowering option for women in business to carve out their own leadership and creative path.

How would you describe what the industry is like for those considering a marketing career?

In marketing there is never a dull moment. It’s not a routine field. It can be like riding a rollercoaster without always or (maybe more like never) having a seatbelt. The industry constantly changes and requires you to be a relentless and avid learner, which I love. What I enjoy most about the industry is that it involves an incredible convergence of worlds that in other fields you wouldn’t get to always experience so heavily. Art, science, psychology, sociology, technology and pop culture are all such major influences in a way that is very unique to the industry.

How is adapting technology changing the frontier of your industry?

In some ways it has changed everything and in other ways nothing has changed. There are more niche areas and the overall marketing umbrella is becoming much more expansive then it was in years past. Our ability to reach consumers is certainly much faster and we are able to connect with people on a significantly larger scale. And sure, the mediums and platforms we use to communicate are more varied with the advanced development of mobile technology, app culture, the continued boom of social media, and the vastness of opportunities the web presents, but these technologies do not create great marketing. Good copy is good copy in and of itself, not because it was shared on social media. Brilliant brand strategy isn’t brilliant, because it was put on a landing page using key SEO search terms and followed by a hash tag. Creative ideation and strategic insights will always be the pillars of the industry’s frontier and I don’t think any adapting technology will ever change that.

What is a tip that has helped you stay on top of your game?

I learned a lot from my first job. I used to observe everything I could from the CEO of the company. I learned that you have to be able to talk and understand all aspects of the business and stay very knowledgeable on a wide variety of industries. He taught me that it’s not enough to know marketing and to be able to talk marketing. You really have to be able to understand the nuances of many other businesses. No one can be the expert in everything, but always increasing your knowledge outside of your world as much as possible will help keep you in the game.

Any advice for someone looking into a career in this field?

Find a mentor. Heck, find five. There is nothing else I would recommend more highly. Also, I’d say to become clear and poignant about your own brand. I think developing and portraying a strong sense of who you are and what you stand for as a creative talent and overall human being is so important. It allows your distinct point of view to flow out naturally and authentically. I think when those things are very clear within you and you can articulate them well, that other people take notice and want to be a part of it. The most successful brands in the world do that and when someone starting out in the field can do that too it’s very powerful and will take you places.


Ginelle Howard
Title: Director of Brand Marketing for Yandy
Contact: [email protected]

Helping Small Businesses Manage Marketing in the Digital Age

The November 2015 AZIMA event invited Cory Elliot, VP of research at Borrell Associates, to share some useful and interesting research about small- to medium-sized-business owners and their perceptions of current marketing trends. For those who missed his presentation, here’s a recap with all the highlights.

Borrell Associates conducted a survey among SMB owners at 110 of its partnering entities in Q1 of 2015. This survey asked about spending on marketing now and in the future, as well as which tactics these business owners were most interested in using. The results pointed to a few common trends and challenges.

Overall Trends

According to the research, it seems SMB owners are overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels and options available in today’s landscape. They are interested in digital tactics, and there seems to be an increase in focus and spending on online marketing and advertising. In fact, digital ad purchasing exceeded print in quarter 1 of 2015, and the research suggests digital media will account for half of all local marketing efforts in 2016. Online and mobile tactics are also predicted to have the greatest increase in interest, while directories and local newspapers are expected to see the biggest decrease.

Based on the survey, it seems the hottest digital marketing opportunities for SMBs might not be ads. While search and social ad use are on the rise, small businesses are spending the most of their digital budgets on the following services (in order):

  1. Website design/hosting
  2. Social network support
  3. Lead generation programs
  4. Graphic design services
  5. Event marketing

Segment Trends

While many SMBs are increasing spending for online and digital tactics, some industries are doing more so than others. According to the survey, morticians, pet stores and government entities spend the very least on digital marketing. On the contrary, the automotive industry is quickly taking advantage of digital channels, as 66 percent of auto marketing budgets have been spent online and on mobile so far in 2015. Health care businesses are also beginning to spend more on digital marketing this year, with additional planned budget increases in the near future.

SMB Challenges

By far the greatest challenge noted by those surveyed was a lack of time. With so many options and how quickly channels change, staying on top of all of a small business’s digital assets is hard to do. Additional challenges included keeping up with social media trends and technology, as well as measuring marketing efforts.

Working with SMBs

To make this and other challenges easier to manage, Elliot suggests digital agencies and media companies consider the following when partnering with SMBs:

  • Establish ROI parameters first
  • Create “social” campaigns
  • Invest in social media management capabilities
  • Respect the SMB owner’s time and budget
  • Read up on beacons (fast – it’s the next big thing)

The insights provided by Elliot’s research provide marketers a better understanding of the perceptions the owners of small- to medium-sized businesses might have. We thank Cory Elliot for sharing his research with AZIMA and giving an interesting and valuable presentation.

A special thanks to Jessica Ropolo for her expert help with writing this post. 

We Like it When they Give us Big Data: Forecasting Campaign Success With Staffan Hulten

First impressions are everything. When thinking about the elements needed to make a great advertising campaign, many start off with contemplating messaging, visuals and platforms for distribution. But the Vice President of Research and Analysis of Media (RAM) Staffan Hulten takes a different approach. He recognizes if you don’t catch the attention of the audience within seconds, the campaign is in jeopardy of failure. This makes understanding each member of the client’s audience from an independent level essential for campaign success.

We’re excited to highlight Staffan as our expert speaker for the October monthly AZIMA event and pick his brain about what it really takes to forecast the success of any ad campaign.

Using big data to create meaningful and memorable campaigns for audiences is key according to Hulten. As a founding partner of RAM, he works closely with traditional and digital media clients to develop robust research panels that truthfully mirror their client’s viewers, readers and listeners. This helps to dig down into the roots of the media medium and determine the most effective ways to reach their key audiences with their campaigns.

According to Hulten, with over 75 million interviews locked in and an additional ½ million interviews being added to their database every month, RAM is the Ikea for media data. This data gives RAM the ability to identify industry fallacies to provide valuable consultancy and education so their clients can focus on what matters most: generating results.

“A code that is placed on print and mobile ads can be monitored to measure different individual aspects of a user,” said Hulten. “Not many people want to know that they are being shadowed, but we can see exactly what they do and how frequently they do it.” That information is helping analysts and big brands learn.

Hulten notes that not everything users do online is being watched. Select things are examined to better understand consumer habits. Another big change in the industry is the ability to evaluate device preference. RAM evaluates their panel members by listing out the devices they use, which allows them to ensure a more accurate representation of preference and frequency of usage for devices and browsers.

Hulten stresses how important it is to get information from the individual level rather than the browser level. Tracing something like “reach” which is measured differently for every channel is not as accurate as measuring memory traces. Asking panel members and people if they remember a campaign and gathering data on that is much more relevant.

“If I let go of 1 million balloons outside of my hotel, I would have a reach of 1 million,” said Hulten. “But if no one sees it or resonates with it, it won’t have any impact. There are often huge campaigns with no impact at all.”

Staffan grew up in Sweden, moved to East Africa for several years then moved back to Sweden, where he attended University and currently lives. He and his partner founded RAM after noticing a big hole in the media evaluation market. What surprised them most was even though they were focused on print, any other form of media was simpler to provide feedback on. So they set out to make a system that made monitoring more lateral.

When he is not advancing campaigns with tactical data, you can find Hulten enjoying guitar music festivals and practicing his juggling skills for laughs. He advises colleagues and individuals entering this field to be open and very quick to understand and adapt to what really counts. Traditional measurement evaluation is still important, but analysts should be aware that they should monitor the things that result in impact or change

If you are interested in learning more about the world of marketing, be sure to attend our monthly events by signing up as an AZIMA member here: http://joinazima.org/join-azima/

Email Is the New Direct Mail

Direct mail can target people by region and can count conversions with a specific phone number, coupon code or URL. Sounds like the perfect marketing tactic, right? Maybe not.

While some marketers swear by it, direct mail is no longer the end-all, be-all of direct marketing. Nowadays, anything important (paying bills, shopping, etc.), can be done online. “Junk mail” is often synonymous with direct marketing, and may create more annoyance than positive brand awareness.

Email marketing is the new direct mail. In a world where digital devices are an integral part of our lifestyle, it makes sense to try to reach people through those devices.

But that’s not email’s only appeal. Below are three reasons why email is the direct marketing tactic of today.

1. More Specific Targeting

Email marketing allows users to opt in or out. With direct mail, you can’t do either. If someone goes to your website and signs up for your newsletter, you already know they are interested. If they opt out after receiving your email, they may not be your target market.

Email marketing software can also help you tailor your campaigns based on other factors. Not only can you target by location, but if you have been in contact with them before, you can target by where they are in the buying cycle. Email lists can also be segmented based on purchase behavior.

2. Lower Costs

If you are a small business owner, the cost of running direct mail campaigns can be quite high. You may have to hire a designer, pay for postage and purchase high print volumes. Then, when it’s time for a second round, you send just as many because you don’t know who actually saw the first one. Even if you receive more responses from a piece of direct mail, some testing has shown the ROI is often higher on email marketing.

3. More Intelligence

You can gain so much more intelligence with email. You can tell how many people have opened the email, clicked on links and unsubscribed. If you sent them to a page on your website, you can find out what they did there as well. This way you know if the email actually led to a sale, in addition to creating more brand awareness.

When you can track online user behavior, you can optimize your next campaign for better results. If you are aware of the recipient’s response, you can make adjustments to elements like subject lines, CTAs, overall messaging and email layout. You also have the ability to test these variables by sending out two versions and seeing which one performs better.

In Summary

While email campaigns are an improved way to reach your prospects and customers directly, they should only be part of your marketing efforts. In some cases, it might be beneficial to use both direct mail and email as part of your integrated marketing plan. Either way, every situation is unique and if you aren’t sure what the best strategy is for your business, seek out the help of a professional.

Ryan Smeets Shares UX & UI Optimization Tips for the Masses

Ryan Smeets HeadshotAs our use of digital devices grows, the quality of our digital contacts and content become increasingly important. How do we create web interactions that are intuitive, informative and worthy of a user’s time and attention? All marketers are faced with this challenge today. At the last AZIMA event on July 23, Ryan Meeks the Director of Client Strategy at Brushfire Interactive shared his perspective and advice on facing the UX & UI conundrum with wit.

Ryan is responsible for how content and technology will strategically shape overall strategies for clients across the country. Ryan brings to Brushfire more than 10 years of experience in strategic marketing and consulting for various clients in varying industries including: professional sports, healthcare, automotive, agriculture, and non-profit organizations.

Ryan earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and his Master’s degree from Georgetown University, however he divulged with the nearly 100 AZIMA attendees that his proudest achievement was winning the “Showcase Showdown” on CBS’ The Price is Right. Yes, clearly Ryan and Bob Barker have a close relationship. 😉

Understanding the Difference Between UI & UX

For those of you who aren’t as fluent in nerd as I am, I’ll briefly define the two key terms at hand in Ryan’s presentation for context. UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their close relationship, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different parts of the process within the design discipline. Whereas UX Design is a more analytical and technical field focusing on human behavior principles, UI Design is closer to what we generally hear referred to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex.

An analogy I’ve heard used before describes it like this:

  • UI is the saddle, the stirrups, and the reigns.
  • UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse, and rope your cattle.

Despite how simple it sounds, they do have a complex relationship which Ryan didn’t delve too deeply into in his AZIMA presentation. Mr. Smeets did, however share a few little nuggets that stuck with me. He began with this phenomenal Da Vinci quote.

Da Vinci Quote

And These Gems

In Ryan’s light and entertaining presentation he shared with us what he calls the “trifecta” for UI.

Photo of slide on Trifecta

Ryan gave props to the designers in the room and declared, “Good design is frictionless, inviting, and familiar.” He noted “the recent big rise in the ‘C-level’ design director. It’s proof that design and detail matter.”

As part of his discussion on the way we as humans interact with our environment and the internet today, he added that “if it’s not mobile, it doesn’t exist.” The audience seemed to agree.

He used this imagery, and suggested that this highly integrated, ubiquitous state is where the web will be soon.

This will be the web

Mr. Smeets also explained how “one of the biggest challenges in software is that it’s never done” and went on to share a couple of short case studies about recent work that Brushfire Interactive had done.

He displayed some good examples of “intentionally low fidelity” wireframes and explained that “the goal of a wireframe is to facilitate conversation around features and functions.“

He went on to share how in some cases his team has found it useful to overwhelm the client with all of the suggested features and functions that might be useful in a product. They throw the proverbial kitchen sink at them, and then refine from there. This helps reach an understanding about the importance of simplicity and the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is a term used most often in the field of product development. It refers to the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. The term was coined and defined by Frank Robinson, and popularized by Steve Blank, and Eric Ries.

See it for Yourself

For a look at Ryan Smeets’ AZIMA presentation deck in its entirety you can find it on slideshare.

[slideshare id=50973925&doc=humaninteractionkeynotebrushfireinteractivejuly2015-150727150029-lva1-app6892]

After the presentation Ryan fielded a few questions from the crowd and spoke easily about his experiences and successes in software development. Based on the Twitter response (#azimaevents) the crowd was pleased with Ryan’s humorous and compelling presentation and are all looking forward to next month’s AZIMA presentation on August 20 by Jordan Koen on Using Data to Build Content. I hope to see you there!

Is SEO Dead? Danny Sullivan Reports on the State of Search

Danny Sullivan- AZIMA SEMPOAZ event Scottsdale

Once upon a time search engine optimization (SEO) wasn’t even a term and the main search-related challenge for a web developer to reach the top spot was simply wording websites with the desired keyword phrases and maybe sneaking some colored text on a matching colored background. However, as internet growth surged and new search engines flooded the landscape, being search savvy became a thing and discussions about being at the top of the search results became a brass-ring challenge.

The Harmonious Collision of Search Engine Marketing and Targeted Display

Targeted Display vs Search Engine Marketing

Although not quite as contentious a rivalry as Android vs. iOS or as entertaining as Bear vs. Shark, there are many heated battles taking place in marketing forums and conference rooms all over the country regarding the statistics, user privacy and budgets for this latest rivalry: Search Engine Marketing vs. Targeted Display.

Since they often compete for marketing dollars and are both victims of subjective statistics that favor one or the other depending on the mindset of the analyst, SEM and targeted display efforts are commonly bantered as marketers continuously try and refine their campaigns for the golden goal of higher conversions.

Last Thursday, November 20, the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA) hosted the witty and sharp David McBee, director of training at Simpli.fi, who presented his experiences, anecdotes and thoughts on the SEM vs. Targeted Display rivalry.

David started his presentation with statistical, sidebyside comparisons that highlighted these marketing tasks as separate, standalone campaigns. These comparisons solidified the notion of SEM and Targeted Display being competitors, but David’s presentation of a rivalry quickly rebranded itself as the stories and metrics illustrated that the two worked better in tandem.

Most of us have been involved in the bashing of display ads because CTRs are practically nonexistent as hardly anyone clicks on them. “Only 8 percent of internet users account for 85% of display ad clicks,” David pointed out. Most of those clicks are not from the targeted audience, but rather the very young and old. The 2065 age group simply doesn’t click on ads. Display ad CTRs average a dismal 0.08%. Furthermore, according to GoldSpot Media, 50% of those clicks are accidental.

On the other hand, SEM, specifically PPC, often have CTRs averaging 4%.

There are a few reasons for this difference. First, a display ad is a passive visual thrown out to a wide audience. Even though display has some great targeting abilities, for the most part it relies much more on volume visibility than PPC. The web surfer is usually doing something completely different than what the topic of the display ad represents. PPC ads are the result of a specific search and the likelihood of that ad engaging the user is obviously much higher. “SEM is actionbased. Display is visual,” David said.

Although it’s easy to see the differences and it’s mostly common knowledge that these two have different goals, it’s not common enough to combine the efforts. For truly better PPC, it’s critical to consider incorporating display. “Display impacts search. A good targeted display blends tactics and a display can increase brand searches by 38%,” David said. Since the best kind of search is a brand search, blending these tactics significantly improves the campaign.

On the surface, poor display ad metrics seems to be enough to deter the allocation of marketing dollars. However, David pointed out that the metrics are not representative of their effectiveness: “Compared to SEM, CTR can be a deceptive measure.”

According to ComScore, the average person only does 4 searches per day, spending about 10 seconds per search. “How much opportunity do you have when a person only spends 10 seconds?” David asked. This represents a limited window of opportunity and is clearly a better medium for a calltoaction campaign. Now consider that the average person spends 4 hours online. This chunk of time offers more opportunity for branding via display ads.

This greater awareness opportunity of display ads increases the effectiveness of PPC campaigns. Although David and Simpli.fi represent team Display, he offers a compelling marriage of the two as a tandem effort that seems to appeal to team SEM.

Mindy Weinstein, SEO Manager at Bruce Clay, Inc. offered her thoughts on the event and the rivalry. “I am very focused on the SEO side of digital marketing, so I learned quite a bit of new information from David about targeted display. What stood out the most to me about David’s presentation is that doing targeted display doesn’t have to be in lieu of search engine marketing. You can and should still do SEO and PPC. Targeted display should be an addition—that’s how you maximize your results.”

While the Android vs iOS fans will never find peace and the Bear vs. Shark battles will forever live on, David’s concept of SEM and Targeted Display as “better together” clearly makes the most sense.

View entire presentation

Inbound Marketing – What it brings “IN”

Dan Tyre from Hubspot

Some 75 guests attended AZIMA’s October program where they learned about the role of inbound marketing and the latest trends in the segment. Dan Tyre, who is a founding team member at Hubspot, an inbound marketing and sales platform, shared his insights into the marketing trends. He started with trends in days of yore, and pointed out how the average customer considered the salesman as “He-Who-Knows-It-All” and was the go-to person for shopping insights.