digital media agency

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How KitchenAid’s Social Media Team learned a valuable lesson

During last night’s presidential debate the president mentioned how his grandmother relied on Social Security and Medicare as her safety net retirement plan. His grandmother that helped raise him passed away three days before he was elected president. Now, nothing in the above makes me think great mixers and appliances…so why is KitchenAid in the news today regarding politics?

Well, someone on their social media team was clearly using Tweetdeck and let their personal political views fly

This is the nightmare of everyone that uses Tweetdeck and manages multiple Twitter accounts.  This PR problem from a corporate tweet isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.  The content of the tweet, while insensitive and politically controversial, isn’t the issue from my point of view. The issue here is choosing the right people to be on your Twitter and social media teams, providing adequate training and managing them as seriously as you manage the engineers that build your amazing products. (Seriously, the mixer is my standard wedding gift. Brides are always very happy to see me at the wedding.)

The only course, publicly, that KitchenAid could take was to issue a retraction and apology.

Here’s the issue. Brands take to social media because it’s where their audience is and they want to reach them in new ways and engage with them and develop brand evangelists through social media. That’s all good stuff. But, the problem is they don’t take it seriously. A lot of brands have interns tweeting for them or adding it a laundry list of responsibilities for another employee that’s already overwhelmed. Or the worst part, is you don’t vet your vendor and you wind up hiring a group of people that wowed you with a beautiful proposal and fancy graphs and talk about their technology and you get impressed and sign a vendor contract.

We don’t manage Twitter accounts for our clients. We train them on how to take this seriously, how to engage with their users and mentor them in the curvy road of social media. It’s something we ask them to take seriously or just don’t do it. I’d rather they feel left out of Twitter than ruin the brand equity they have gained over generations of moms teaching their daughters to bake because some untrained and unprofessional employee/vendor decided to tweet something without thinking.

Yes, brands need to engage on social media. But, for the love of Pete…take it seriously. Here is one free tip from me to you, when you dedicate someone to be a Twitter user for your brand make it a requirement that they do not also have a personal twitter account. Their entire life of Twitter should only be on behalf of the brand. That way you’ll never get a tweet like this one.


By | October 4th, 2012|digital media agency, social media|0 Comments

The fake boogeyman of ad retargeting

A good rule of thumb is to not watch TV News. It’s geared to the education level of a fourth grader and the tactic of scaring a viewer is their bread and butter. “What you’re having for dinner may kill your family…find out if you’re in danger tonight at 6!”  I won’t use this to continue my rant on local TV news, but rest assured there’s one in me.  My rant is based on the package in the morning news about retargeting advertisements on the internet. Shocker! Websites were delivering different content to users based on their browser, their geography and all sorts of secret private information the scary computer has on you!

What the article did not mention is that a.) all advertising targets an audience. Some, more successfully than others. Yes, radio, I’m talking to you. And, yes, direct mail, kudos to you! b.) there is no such expectation of privacy when you are visiting public websites and then, of course, c.) you can always opt out of everything.

Ad retargeting worksBut, I’d like to take a moment to discuss this fake outrage over retargeting and how people call it an invasion of privacy and creepy. Fact is, if it were not for advertising there would be no content for you to look at, read, or watch online. There would be no television to watch, no radio to listen to and no daily newspapers to read. There’d be no golf tournaments or concerts in the park, either. Advertising pays or subsidizes all of these things and without them we wouldn’t have them or we’d be paying for all of the cost of those things…and much more.

Nobody says advertising is not annoying sometimes or even intrusive.

Retargeting allows advertisers to spend their dollars more efficiently by reaching their target audience without having a lot of waste in their budget *cough* TV, print, radio *cough* and so as budgets shift from less effective targeting mediums there is bound to be rancor as lost revenues sink in. Hence, TV news packages on the boogeyman of internet retargeting!

It’s in our interest for advertising to work-not just because I’m speaking as an agency-but as a consumer of media and a consumer of products and services. When my favorite content gets advertising revenue they can produce more content and more quality content so I win. I pay for that content by watching their commercials or responding to advertising on their site. If the ad is relevant to me, all the better!

As an advertiser, it’s also important to know that retargeting advertising is not the end all be all for your budget and media plan. While it can be a good idea for some, it’s a terrible idea for others…or it simply won’t work. You have to have a big enough audience to target once, much less again. And, if you don’t put a frequency cap on your campaign you are going to annoy everyone with how many times they see your ad over and over. Now, that is not only creepy but amateurish and annoying.

Broad Street to join Charleston Digital Corridor for Digital Marketing Seminar

The Charleston Digital Corridor presents a monthly seminar for their member companies and the business community in Charleston and we’re pleased to join Blue Acorn for the June event on Digital Marketing and eCommerce.

As the adoption rate of new technologies soars exponentially, consumers are offered a multitude of platforms to share and consume information. With such transformation in media consum

ption habits, new technology and market segmentation, companies should evaluate their marketing strategies in light of this evolution of consumer behavior. At the June Fridays @ the Corridor, Charlie Ray of Broad Street Interactive and Scott Buck of Blue Acorn will share some of the new trends in Digital Marketing, as well as what your company should be doing to stay relevant in the fast-paced world of digital marketing.

This one hour presentation, held at the Flagship on June 15, 2012, begins promptly at 8:30am. Parking is located at the Gaillard garage on Alexander Street. Please contact Amy Lawrence if interested in attending this event.

This interactive forum is meant to engage and inform Charleston’s knowledge-based community.  Attendance is limited to 25 guests, with priority seating for Digital Corridor members.  The non-member fee is $20.

Hope to see you there!

Charleston, My Charleston!

Broad Street Interactive has its beginnings in the beautiful city of Charleston. In 2007, when we started our agency we knew right away choosing a name would not be hard to do…we wanted to honor our roots and the city our CEO, Charlie Ray, loves so much he never shuts up about the place.  It was with sadness that we closed our Charleston office at the end of 2009 and our goal has been to return to the Holy City ever since. This summer we are excited to announce a tentative step back into the warm embrace of Charleston.

We are the newest members of the Charleston Digital Corridor and will office in their building beginning June 5. We are eager to join the great member companies and bring our experience in digital advertising to Charleston. These companies have specific needs that are addressed by the Digital Corridor, an initiative to attract, nurture and promote Charleston’s entrepreneurial community.

Don’t fret, Austin, we still love the Live Music Capital of the World and we’ll be here for a very long time.



Video beyond the pre-roll

Online video viewing has increased exponentially in the last year. People are spending more time watching online video, watching more videos and publishers are producing more content. As online advertisers embrace new content and more long-form video we often get questions about where is the right place to put pre-roll video and what type of video we should be placing online in the first place.

We have always said we have to move beyond cutting broadcast commercials down to :15 pre-rolls in order to truly get a powerful online campaign with video to work. We are starting to see creatives and agencies pitch online first for video and thinking about online video differently that broadcast video. This is good news for those of us in the digital space.

One of my favorite ways to build online video is branded original content. While there are many ways to do this online, including partnering with original content shows, this video produced by Funny Or Die in conjunction with the awareness campaign is brilliant.

Our agency has discussed this very type of original content for some clients and I’m glad to see more of this type of content available. I think it’s a great way to stretch your advertising dollar and have video that’s going to live online for a longer time than a simple pre-roll campaign. Good show! And, thanks for bringing back the characters of one of my favorite shows.

By | May 7th, 2012|digital media agency|0 Comments

San Antonio, here we come!

I’m thankful to the sponsors of the iMedia Video Summit for the invitation to attend this exclusive industry event. The iMedia conferences are among the best events I’ve ever attended. They are well organized and provide great information and even the opportunity to meet new vendors to do business with for future campaigns.

These events, where the sponsors underwrite my attendance costs, allow me to be ahead of the curve in a very competitive industry. I get to spend time with vendors that I work with on a regular basis and meet new vendors and hear about the latest trends and technology that otherwise I’d be reading about the same time as my clients.

This is the first video summit produced by iMedia and it will be held at the Lost Pines Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort in San Antonio. A beautiful location and thankfully one that requires very little travel commitment on my end.

I’ll be posting blogs over the two day event in addition to following the #imediaconnection hashtag on Twitter for updates from attendees.

If you’re planning a video campaign and need some inspiration, we’ll have it in spades come Wednesday when we return to the office!


By | March 25th, 2012|digital media agency|0 Comments

Amarillo By Morning…well, late afternoon anyway

I was asked to speak to the Ad Fed Club of Amarillo about how people consume media online and how advertisers can reach them effectively and affordably. I have given this speech at the American Ad Fed Winter Leadership Conference, the Austin Ad Fed and the For Worth Ad Fed luncheons and now I’m on my way to the panhandle of Texas.

I’m excited to visit Amarillo and look forward to a great lunch with the folks out there. I’ve been singing George Strait all morning while I’m packing for my afternoon flight, so I may or may not be wearing Wranglers and boots when I get back to Austin.

By | July 26th, 2011|Business Travel, digital media agency|0 Comments

Test, but verify. Not every new digital offer is worth it.

We spend a lot of time educating our clients on the best ways to spend their digital dollars. There are tons of new ways to reach out and engage customers, generate new leads and meet their marketing goals, however just as the client expects ROI so do their customers.

Here is a perfect example of using something new, Chili’s offered free chips and salsa to people that check in using Foursquare. We think this is going to be a great way for retail outlets to reward their fans in the very near future. As location-based check in services and smart phone penetration increases, these types of offers are going to be affordable and commonplace not only with companies like Foursquare, which took off like a rocket during SXSW Interactive in Austin last year, but also with Gowalla and Facebook’s new “places” check in feature.

We have a lot training to do in the retail space before these types of offers don’t backfire on the advertiser. For example, point of sale systems need to be upgraded to accept non-traditional coupons. There is also a big training curve for servers or retail staff that must occur. These are big upfront expenses for large chains like Chili’s. You don’t just send out a memo from corporate to give away free chips and salsa to customers and expect it to go flawlessly.

Kate Buck Jr excitedly tweeted “Free chips and Salsa” as she checked in on Foursquare to her local Chili’s. Clearly, Kate was expecting a special offer.  When she showed her phone to her server, he/she replied that the coupon really needed to be printed. Really? This wasn’t just a missed opportunity, it created negative buzz—the opposite of what the company was trying to achieve.

Do you think she’ll return if she sees another “deal” for that restaurant on Foursquare? Will her nearly 28,000 followers? Probably not. Some companies “do” check-ins right: They train their employees to track check-ins, customers simply have to show up and mention the “deal” on Foursquare, and not only is the coupon honored, but the company or retailer has a method of tracking ROI when they offer deals on check-in applications.

We ran a campaign late last year for a retail client that asked users to print out a coupon because of this very problem. The point of service (POS) system could not recognize any “code” or result that could be delivered on a smart phone. While we were enthusiastically prepared to launch something creative like SMS short codes and location based check-in services offers, we had to conclude that the idea just wouldn’t work. It would be a logistical nightmare. The client was a little disappointed that they couldn’t be “sexy” with something new, but appreciated how well thought out our strategy was for their campaign.

Sometimes the answer really is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” for an advertising campaign. Think of all the training of staff and confusion and hurt feelings (and potential damage to credibility) we saved our client. Poor Chili’s…if only they had called us first.

Lesson learned, hopefully. The takeaway here for companies eager to jump on the “check-in deals” bandwagon is to think your strategy through first. If you don’t have a way to train staff to honor a coupon, a method to avoid abuse of a deal, a method to track ROI for offering that coupon—whether your goal is to bring in new customers or bring back old ones—put on the brakes and think it through. Check-in deals can be a great tool for your business, but only if it’s done right and with foresight.

Things I’m liking at iMedia’s Breakthrough Summit

I’m having a great time at iMedia’s Breakthrough Summit this year. It never ceases to amaze me at the speed in which new technology presents us with so many new and exciting ways to reach our client’s audiences. First of all, it is a special honor for me to even be in the room with the attendees. VP’s of Ogilvy & Mather, Brand Managers for Kraft and Best Buy, and the media buyers for some of the world’s leading brands. I feel smarter just being here.

This year’s focus has been on “Mobile” and I have to admit, I’ve long been a naysayer when it comes to spending a lot of money on mobile. I still believe it isn’t right for every client, but I have to fess up that I’ve changed my mind about mobile on some levels.

In addition to Mobile, here are a few things on the list that I can’t wait to share with our clients (and prospective clients) that I believe will help them generate great results on their upcoming campaigns.

  • Mobile “Location” Advertising–Both in GPS systems and on mobile devices, this technology serves relevant ads to a relevant audience when a user is nearby. Wow! Can  you imagine looking for an ATM and having a map pop up and tell you your bank has one nearby? Or how about for political candidates using it to advertise early voting locations? Those are examples for the types of clients we work with but the possibilities for retail, travel, entertainment clients are outstanding. I look forward to the opportunity to include this in an conversation with you.
  • Mobile “Click to Call” Advertising–Just like it sounds, mobile ads can now include a “click to call” or “click to email” option within the banner itself. Talk about getting an immediate response from your media. I love this idea.
  • Music Video Content Advertising–I especially like this for awareness campaigns trying to reach the young male audience. The fact that it can be targeted like nobody’s business also impresses me.
  • In-Game Content Advertising–What if your food brand could be the ingredients in a game where you run your own bakery? Kooky, I know, but what if I told you Moms 25-40 were playing these games for 45 minutes on average. Still Kooky?
  • Original Content Production–I enjoyed the vendors that talked about creating original content and distributing that content for your client. My first thought was, “That would cost a million dollars.” But, I was pleasantly surprised at the affordability.
  • Reaching the Frequent Traveler–There are now ad platforms that reach travelers in airport by sponsoring wi-fi hotspots, wrapping display around wi-fi and OOH (Out Of Home) video displays inside airports. As a frequent business traveler I actually pay attention to these ads out of sheer boredom.
  • Social Media Apps Advertising–I really liked this idea for the hard to reach male 18-34 demographic. What a great tool to use in-content advertising geo-targeted and reach an audience for an awareness campaign.

All in all, iMedia this year has given me great additions to the toolbox for our client solutions. I still believe my favorite quote is “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I apply that logic to a lot of the latest technology and drill down targeting capabilities with online advertising, however, there are some exciting new ways we can reach your audience with affordable solutions that make sense.

I cannot wait to talk to you about them. What are you waiting for? Let’s schedule a meeting.