Launch Agency was awarded for its digital marketing work on behalf of Promised Land Dairy, by the Dallas-Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association’s (DFWIMA) 2012 Excellence in Interactive Marketing Awards (EIMA). The award ceremony was held in downtown Dallas at Union Station.
Launch made two category submissions for work completed in 2011 for their client Promised Land Dairy, and won second place for both entries. Their work was recognized in the categories of Most Effective Online Brand Awareness, and Most Effective Use of Social Media.
Online Brand Awareness was judged by the look and feel of website creative as a reflection of the Promised Land Dairy brand. It included the site experience, overall design, usability, use of technology, etc. The Social Media category was judged by the execution of a successful online strategy directing users to a specific action. In this category, Launch designed and utilized a Promised Land Dairy Facebook Page to build awareness and track the specific site actions of Store Locator searches and Moo-mail email club signups.
“We’re proud of the exceptional results we achieved for Promised Land Dairy, and honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization,” said Alexandra Watson, Launch’s New Media Specialist. “We are already looking forward to next year’s competiton.”
Promised Land Dairy is a Texas-based premium milk distributor that provides all-natural fluid milk made only from Jersey cows. Promised Land milk is available in a variety of sizes and flavors at major retail grocery stores.
Launch is a full-service advertising agency based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They are nationally recognized for award-winning creative work, and for competitively positioning and marketing both fast-growth and mature companies.
This award-winning work was also noted in the latest issue of Dairy Foods industry magazine.
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This year’s SXSW Interactive conference (held annually each March in Austin, Texas) was especially overwhelming, both in terms of sheer numbers (an estimated 24,000 uber-geeks were in attendance this year) and in terms of the topics covered. In fact, this year Launch Agency got extra coverage on the social media end of the spectrum, courtesy of New Media Specialist Alexandra Watson, who will be providing her take in a second installment of this blog series titled “SXSWi 2012 Conference 3 More Trends Impacting Advertising Agencies”.
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For the third year in a row, Launch sent senior creative team members Richard Wezensky and Alex Slotkin down to Austin to attend one of the world’s premier interactive conferences: South by Southwest Interactive. It was five days of inspiration, information and borderline-overwhelming intensity (especially with conference attendance having swelled by more than 30% over last year).
Naturally, high-tech gadgetry was everywhere, from the brand-new iPad 2 to hot new group messaging apps, QR codes, tweets and location-based “check-ins.” At the same time, the conference covered an even broader swath of subjects, everything from Web coding and design to marketing, social media, gaming and the societal implications of technology.
Despite the plethora of seminars, panels, interviews, workshops, networking sessions and parties, a few recurring ideas seemed to come to the fore. First was the idea that brands are moving from the role of being traditional marketers to publishers. Some are creating original content, others aggregating content from third parties (and in some cases, a bit of both). By building a reputation as a go-to source for information on a specific topic of interest to consumers, brands can better establish themselves as trusted authorities and reach an increasingly marketing-averse audience.
The second big takeaway was the notion that advertising and marketing agencies need to start thinking more like software companies. They need to be less precious with their work, take less time to go from idea to market, and then make constant, iterative adjustments to their work in response to customer feedback. While selling this approach in to clients can be challenging, it helps if agencies start with smaller and less costly initiatives, and then try to grow them over time.
Finally, there was a lot of emphasis on the unique qualities and challenges of social media—specifically, how social engagement has to be an honest, one-to-one conversation with customers. Companies need to give their audience more of a say in the direction their brand will take, and work to create long-term relationships. Whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook or a company blog, brands need to provide more humanity and transparency. These days, being obviously promotional is the fastest path to becoming irrelevant.
There were plenty more nuggets of wisdom, chance celebrity encounters and other fascinating discoveries at SXSW, but those are best experienced in person. Of course, the next best thing is to peruse the sizable catalog of SXSWi 2011 podcasts, videos, notes and other materials, which you’ll find at sxsw.com/interactive. Also, don’t miss the full Launch SXSW photo set at www.flickr.com/photos/launchagency/sets/72157626249293558/, and the Launch Twitter feed, including live tweets from the event.
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While social media continues to grow as a consumer marketing tool, most agencies have yet to appreciate the impact it can have on their own self-promotion and new business efforts. That was the focus of a recent 4A’s seminar entitled “Fueling Ad Agency New Business Through Social Media” from new business guru Michael Gass.
His key insight?
80% of decision makers say they found their vendor, not the other way around. As Michael explained, creating a blog with a distinctive point of view is critical today for new business success. Agency websites can continue to serve as online brochures, but a well-positioned blog can be a powerful outbound attractor.
Michael outlined several best practices for creating a successful blog, including these 10 essential first steps:
Have a clear objective. Are you trying to attract new customers to your e-commerce site? Building a following for a new product? Building a database of customer email addresses? Spell it out.
Identify your target audience. The better you can define and narrow your audience, the more successful your blog will be. For example: My target is U.S. leisure marketing pros.
Compose a descriptor statement: A subtitle that states emphatically what your blog is about (i.e. Your expert guide to finding local deals on designer fashions). The more specific the better.
Create a unique title for your blog. It’s helpful if you can tie in the title with a URL that you own. Copyblogger.com says make it: readable, pronounceable, memorable, unique and concise.
Identify the key words that you want to dominate in Google Search. Consistently include your key words in your post titles, and in the copy of your post.
Start with a simple blogging platform that you can easily switch from in the future. Michael Gass suggests WordPress.com.
Make your blog easy to navigate. Use top posts, categories, tags, and such. Install a search widget that is included in your blog’s sidebar and located above the fold.
Use the inverted pyramid style of writing like a newspaper reporter. Lead with the conclusion and use bullet points, short paragraphs, and an average of 350 to 450 words.
Set a goal for writing 50 posts within 30 days. This will help you to develop your research, resourcing, writing and publishing skills. The discipline of writing the first 50 will help you later.
For lots of other useful ways to leverage social media for agency self-promotion, visit Michael Gass’ blog, Fuel Lines.
Last week, I attended the DrivingSales Executive Summit with longtime Launch client, Rob Sumner of Park Place Dealerships. Besides taking in a little Vegas nightlife, we learned how automotive dealers can differentiate themselves and build their brands online.
Scott Monty, Ford’s Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager (a.k.a. social media guru), shared their strategy and how it helped Ford become Ad Age‘s “Marketer of the Year.” We also heard from Jeremiah Owyang, author of the popular blog Web Strategy – one of Ad Age’s “Power 150″ Top Blogs – and Dan Zarrella, award-winning author of The Social Media Marketing Book, along with several industry experts.
Almost universally, the speakers talked about the importance of being accessible, transparent and authentic online. Woody Allen once said, “90% of life is just showing up,” and the same holds true online – 90% is just being where your clients are, be it Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. As with any relationship, yours should be built on listening and understanding. Listen first and only then respond. Add value to the conversation. Provide support by answering questions and solving problems. (Best Buy allows 200 employees to answer on the company’s behalf.) Encourage dialogue, then advocacy, as you build an online relationship with your clients. Over time, your advocates may help your brand innovate, like Mountain Dew recently did by crowd sourcing to develop a new flavor.
On Twitter, the key is to find and target your influencers, and then personalize your messages towards them. The more fresh and relevant your content is, the more valuable it will be seen – and the more likely it will be re-tweeted. Other tips? For every self-promoting tweet, send 8-12 others about news, useful information, etc. Avoid a negative tone. And for the best odds of your content being read and shared, post on Thursday-Sunday, when fewer people are posting.
Location-based services (LBS), like Foursquare, are growing as smart phones proliferate. 63% of iPhone users are on LBS every week, and the audience is a desirable bunch – almost 40% are considered influencers. You can encourage usage by offering rewards; for example, Starbucks awards discounts to each location’s mayor.
So marketers, take a cue from Ford, Best Buy, Mountain Dew, and Starbucks—join the conversation. Chances are your clients are already talking about you online. By participating in a meaningful way, you can grow your brand and advocates online.
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