Category Archives: Expert Series

TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series, feat. Tom Edwards

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Tom Edwards, the executive vice president of Strategy and Innovation here at The Marketing Arm, was recently invited to be a guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insight on the digital marketing landscape. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner, explores a variety of business and technology verticals through conversations with industry leaders.

Edwards joined Buckner to discuss modern day digital, social, and mobile innovations, the importance of bridging technology and marketing, and the four core elements that bring a campaign to life.

Below are a few of the highlights from the conversation:

TA: Tell us about what life is like at TMA and some of the projects you work on every day.

Tom: At The Marketing Arm, we’re really a consumer engagement agency, so that touches a wide range of project types – everything from digital to promotional to talent to production. A number of different types of projects come across my desk on any given day.

I’m a part of the digital engagement division and we service about 16 core clients, everything from ExxonMobil, to GameStop, to name just a few organizations. So over the last 15 years, my role within the industry has really shifted from starting more on the technology side, and really kind of incorporated being that bridge between technology and marketing.

As digital continues to progress, we’ve seen it all: the end of the dotcom boom, massive portals, the rise of consumer social. All of these different types of trends we’ve seen definitely had a hand in touching and guiding different project types across multiple platforms and different routes of sale. It’s been a fun, interesting ride and it continues to get better. 

TA:  What suggestions do you have for a team trying to compare and find the right marketing automation vendors? What should they be looking for? 

Tom: Portability. If I’m able to either leverage a tool that can aggregate content, redistribute, visualize – things where there is a seamless flow, whether that’s through an API or through an SDK or whatever it may be, that’s what I’m ultimately looking for now.

I’m looking for, “How can this one piece fit into the larger strategy that I’m trying to deploy and continue to add value without adding additional barriers or additional layers?” That’s really the key piece for us as we’re moving forward, because we’re touching so many different channels, everything from top line awareness via digital all the way down to shopper and point of sale. 

So, making sure that we can have programs that can work in scale. Scale is another key piece for us, too, and the data considerations depending upon local versus global, so there are a lot of different pieces that we look at when we’re evaluating. But for me, it’s how can whatever tool that you’re leveraging best provide value for everything as a whole, versus just one specific piece or one specific function.


Connect with Tom on Twitter @BlackFin360 and follow his blog at Be sure to also follow @TheMarketingArm.

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear the full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.


This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.

SMWNYC: Day 2 Recap

Written by: Sarah Shapleigh
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“The New Millennial Model for Business: Under-30 Leaders Sound Off on This Generations Impact”

This session featured a panel of millennials from the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was moderated by Randall Lane, the editor of Forbes Magazine. The panelists were Elise Andrew, the creator and editor of I Fucking Love Science, Jeremy Cabalona, a community manager at Vine, and Rachel Gogel, a Creative Director at The New York Times. Each of the panelists brought a different perspective because they each had a different path to lead them to the position they have today.


It is predicted that by 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will be comprised of millennials. As more and more millennials are becoming leaders, they are bringing tech-savvy ideas and changing the way business is done. Each panelist stressed the importance of technology in their personal and professional lives. Elise Andrew talked about how she created a Facebook Page so she could share articles and funny things she found on the Internet without clogging up her friends’ News Feed with science posts. Similarly, Rachel Gogel discussed how technology and social media are transforming businesses from fashion to publishing. Gogel has worked at companies such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Travel and Leisure, and GQ, and she now works at The New York Times. Her experience spans many industries but digital played a large role in each.

A common question in recent years has been “How do we manage millennials in the workplace?” With millennials making up such a large portion of the global workforce, people are now beginning to wonder about Gen X. Jeremy Cabalona stressed the importance of treating them like a peer because there is so much you can learn from them. He even said he has recommended hiring a 15-year-old consultant for Vine because they really have become the experts on that platform.

One of the most interesting responses from the panel came as a question from the audience. An attendee asked a classic interview question: “What is your five-year plan?” All three of the panelists had the same basic answer: A five-year plan doesn’t work anymore because the landscape is constantly changing. With the rise of social media and advances in technology there will be jobs in five years that don’t even exist today, so it is impossible to plan that far ahead in today’s world.

“Is Social Media Just Media? The Future of Paid, Earned and Content”

The second session I attended was with Matt Britton and Lisa Weinstein, and moderated by Mike Shields, senior editor of The Wall Street Journal. Matt Britton is the CEO and Founder of MRY, the creative agency that was one of the first social media marketing stewards. Lisa Weinstein is the President of Global Digital, Data, and Analytics at Starcom MediaVest Group, the largest media shop in the world.


Weinstein and Britton discussed how social media marketing is currently at a crossroads because Facebook has stressed that brands will have to pay to get visibility for any of their posts, and most social platforms have rolled out “promoted post” ad models. This shift causes brands to have to pay to play in social. In addition, both Weinstein and Britton agreed that there really isn’t such thing as a USP anymore. All brands claim their product works and is the best – so nothing is unique. This is where content comes in. Creative briefs need to shift from focusing on a USP to focusing on content and the unmet needs of the consumer. Brands will have to be more selective in the content they produce – as Britton said, “The days of ‘Like this if you like Wednesdays!’ are gone.” If a brand can deliver on that unmet need and provide compelling content, then they will be successful.

Matt Britton brought up dark social and his views on whether social networks such as Whisper, Snapchat, and Yik Yak were a good solution for combatting the zero organic reach on Facebook. He argued that brands don’t really have a role on these platforms and that consumers don’t want brands to be there. On Snapchat for example, brands think they have a role in branded stories and events, but consumers may not. Similarly, Discover on Snapchat is not set up for success. Facebook and Twitter naturally integrate sponsored content into the overall user experience, but for Snapchat it is on a completely separate page. Many teens and other users are using the app daily but not even going to the Discover page because it is not an integral part of the user experience for the platform. Weinstein added that from an ad model perspective she loved it, but from a consumer perspective Snapchat hasn’t fully figured it out yet.

Britton and Weinstein also brought up an interesting point – “brands are people, people are brands” and that most times brands don’t influence audiences, people do. This is evident in Marc Cuban having more followers than the Dallas Mavericks or Bill Gates having more followers than Microsoft.

Overall, it was a very interesting discussion about the challenges that marketers face in getting their message across to consumers. In an increasingly crowded space, brands need to act as publishers and develop focused content that meets the unmet needs of their consumers, with an emphasis on quality content over quantity.


“Networks of Influence: Hosted by Translation, Elite Daily, and Crimson Hexagon.”

My final session of the day was my favorite session of the week. It included a presentation by Marcus Collins, Head of Social Engagement at Translation, with an overview of a social analytics tool by Mitch Brooks, a Senior Research Strategist at Crimson Hexagon. The session ended with a Q&A with David Arabov, Co-founder and CEO of Elite Daily.

First, Collins shared a presentation on networks of influence and how important they are for marketers today. He defined networks as groups of people that exchange information, experiences, data, and knowledge. Networks have shared beliefs, unwritten rules, rituals, and social rules. Essentially, our networks significantly impact our behavior. Collins explained that our brains are wired to imitate people and we are most likely to imitate people that are like us.


The rise of the connected class and the social web have made it theoretically easier to reach target audiences but more difficult to forge authentic connections with consumers. Traditional methods of demographic-segmentation will no longer work, because demographics fail to fully describe people. For example, a person who lives in a certain area or falls into a particular age range does not tell you much about their interests or behaviors. Marketing to the connected class will require a deeper understanding of human behavior and to see consumers as complete human beings. This can be done through leveraging networks of influence.

As marketers, we need to understand that we are in the business of behavior adoption. Broad demographic information does not help us anymore, so “target audiences” are useless. Instead, we need to be focusing on target networks, which have social norms and can influence the rest of the people within that network. This will completely change the dynamic of how we target consumers, and if done correctly can help us reach consumers more effectively in order to impact their behavior.

How To Make Trends and Influence People

Written by: Eric Fransen
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One of the proverbial Holy Grails of social marketing has been to get your brand to trend on Twitter. It signifies scale and social value of your brand, it’s easy to explain, and not everyone can do it. Or can they?

First, let’s begin with some definitions.

What does it mean to trend on Twitter?
It means appearing in the top trends box on Twitter’s home page and mobile app. The trends are tracked and viewable at a global, national and city level.

What are trending topics?
Trending topics represent what people are talking about the most at a given time. But it’s not just a traditional word cloud, tracking individual words — rather, Twitter uses an algorithm to identify the larger conversations related to topics and distill them down to hashtags and keywords. By clicking a trending topic, you can see all related tweets, profiles, and headlines.

How does something become a trending topic?
The most certain way to trend on Twitter is to pay for it using Twitter’s Promoted Trends product. These opportunities are offered once per day at a fixed rate — typically $100,000 – $200,000 for 24 hours. While this is a surefire way to get your brand in front of the massive Twitter audience, what we’re discussing today is how to do it the old fashioned way: organically.

There are a few things to note about organically trending topics. 
First, there’s no telling how long or short their time to trend is going to be. I’ve seen trends last less than 20 minutes and up to a majority of the day. It really comes down to the size and nature of the audience that’s engaging — that is, fans of One Direction and Justin Bieber are incredibly passionate and show up in the millions to create organically trending topics quite frequently.

Second, a big part of the algorithm that causes content to trend is based on two things: frequency and volume over time. That is, the more people are tweeting about a given topic in a shorter amount of time, the more likely that content is to trend. This is why you see topics related to live television like sports and The Voice trending — the viewership is so massive and active on social media that, at any given time, thousands upon thousands of conversations are occurring about these cultural events.

So, what does this mean for me and my brand?
When it comes to trending topics, there’s a lot to do with chance — right content, right time — but there’s an equally important part that can be affected with the right strategy to put your best foot forward. Here are a couple thought starters that should get you on your way to your first trending topic.

1) Live Events
What better way to replicate the momentum achieved by a live television or sports event than to create one of your own? I’m not saying you need to produce a television show or host the next Dodger game. Quite the opposite, in fact. You can create an online event targeting a smaller but passionate audience. The most common example of such an event is a Twitter Party — an event hosted by a popular Twitter personality, centered around a hashtag, and designed to get their audience talking about a topic. Another type of live event that I have personally seen success with is a live trivia event. Working with a gaming client, we devised a program that offered up high value prizes to the first Twitter follower to answer each of a series of increasingly difficult trivia questions using a designated hashtag. We hosted a similar event for four weeks and organically trended three of the four times.

2) Mass Appeal
Don’t have the means to make an event of your own? You can try appealing to the masses with something that holds a universal truth or can be entertaining to everyone. A program I created for the same gaming client was designed to tap into the passion around nostalgia for a particular franchise and the result was the topic trended within the first 10 minutes of publishing the original tweet. It comes down to understanding your audience and their motivations. What are they passionate about at scale?

#SelfieRevolution White Paper

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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Say what you will about the term, “Selfie,” but whether you hate it or love it, odds are you are doing it. Not a day goes by where millions of us aren’t snapping photos of ourselves with the intent of capturing the moment or the location using the front-facing camera on our smartphones.  Did you ever wonder why we do it? And, if you are a marketer, are you curious about how your brand or your client’s brand can benefit from this so-called #SelfieRevolution?

Olga Kraineva, one of our superstar account executives at Fanscape / The Marketing Arm Digital, wrote an insightful White Paper that dives deep into the psychology and the marketing case uses for the Selfie.

Download a copy of the #SelfieRevolution White Paper HERE (click ‘Save’ to take it with you).  It’s free, you don’t have to sign up for anything, we just want you to enjoy it and we hope that it helps expand your knowledge on the Selfie!

Say cheese!

Social CRM: Leveraging Peer Pressure

Written by: Michael Fein
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Your best friend is the best marketer in the world.  It’s true!  Don’t believe me?  Did you see the movie she suFeinFamggested?  Could your best friend convince you to buy a new wardrobe?  Lease a new car?  Join JDate? Without a doubt, the people who are closest to you are more influential than a Google search or a banner ad.  Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is arguable the most powerful form of marketing.

As the smartest person in your organization, you are probably asking yourself the smartest question: how should you invest your money to increase sales?  As a company, it is difficult to make the case to write a check to your best friend.  Or at least it used to be.  With the amount of big data floating around, it increasingly makes sense to leverage your friends to market to you.   Social networks allow analysts and marketers to eavesdrop on those influential WOM conversations.  Certainly the depth of measurement varies on Facebook, Twitter, and others such as SnapChat.

Quick aside: this is why the multi-billion dollar valuation of SnapChat makes sense.  Yes the photos disappear, but SnapChat knows about your connections.  Since people generally send snaps to their closest friends, marketers will pay a lot to advertise on that network.  Now imagine integrating that same data with your existing CRM databases.

socialcrmSocial CRM is here.  Many companies already grab data from social networks to understand what you, the consumer, are likely to purchase.  The more advanced are customizing your web experience based on your friends’ purchases.  Such bullies! Is this nothing more than peer pressure?  Your friend Bobby bought a new video game so you should too… by clicking on this red button that we A/B tested with copy to ensure the strongest CTA… 

Despite my dramatization, I am in no way cynical of Social CRM.  On the contrary, I view social media as the lens to true consumer insight.  There is no other medium that moves so quickly and rewards marketers with such immediate response.  In my capacity as Director of Insights, Analytics, and Measurement at Fanscape/The Marketing Arm, I oversee a cross-vertical team of analysts whose task of proving business value begins with understanding people, their relationships, their passions and their conversations.  We look at the Social Graph, the Knowledge Graph, and all the other “Graphs” to turn social media data into predictive analytics for our clients.

Let me level set as there is no value in overstating capabilities.  Politico reported that social media can be used to predict senate elections with more accuracy than traditional polling.  Others have shown they can predict personality or even intelligence.   We work with our more advanced clients to provide recommendations to R&D for new products, track B2B influence within private social networks, and make product recommendations in-store at the point-of-sale.

At its best, Social CRM allows for integrating measures of social media influence into existing CRM databases for real-time omni-channel marketing.  Unfortunately, on the agency side, I frequently see three challenges impeding organizations from moving towards Social CRM: money, time, and a lack of vision.  If vision is your issue, put your glasses on.  Anyone who struggles to see this wave of marketing probably struggles to understand why digital content now has to be “thumb stopping.”  As for the issues of time and money (i.e. technology), this seems to go back to the same question: how should you increase your money to increase sales?

Let me try to convince you:

  • 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media. (Nielsen)
  • 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. (Nielsen)
  • 81% of U.S. online consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts (Forbes)
  • 49% of U.S. consumers say friends and family are their top sources of brand awareness, up from 43% in 2009. (Jack Morton)

Still not convinced.  Then start small.  Start with trying to understand how you gather information. Forget the micro-pieces of data for a moment.  Even at a macro-level, understanding the clusters of influence in online WOM will provide direction insight for your marketing and, if executed properly, provide a self-evident business case for larger Social CRM integration.  If you’re still skeptical, let me help you earn your bonus by challenging you.

Be the person with the vision.  Be the game changer.  Will it be easy to get there?  No.  Social CRM requires a data-driven organization that uses evidence-based decision making to get results.  It is not a technology issue that is stopping you, it is a cultural issue.  And hey, we’ve all been there.  Surely you have faced that moment when you believed something was so good, so right, that you knew you could be influential.  You know, like that time you recommended that movie.


Excerpt from my keynote on Social CRM: Connecting Word-Of-Mouth to Sales, presented on February 4th, at the Digital Analytics Association’s Los Angeles Symposium to address the importance of Social CRM.   You can follow me on Twitter @DigitalStats.

Expert Series: Influencer Marketing – Blogger Tips Pt. 2

Written by: Allie Wester
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The following is part of our ongoing Expert Series and features Allie Wester, Fanscape’s head of Influencer and Blogger Outreach marketing.

I recently spoke at Freutcamp, a 2-day creative boot camp for bloggers run by Leah Bergman of Freutcake. From Photoshop skills to tips for better social media usage, Freutcamp covered everything it takes to be a successful and savvy blogger.

Leah invited me to speak about making brand collaborations organic to your blog and content. What follows is part two of the top tips I shared with the bloggers at Freutcamp. You can find part one here.


I’m thrilled when a blogger I’m working with goes above and beyond what we’ve outlined in our contract, and it pretty much guarantees that I’ll continue to work with them in the future. Going “above and beyond” can be something as seemingly small as an extra Instagram or tweet, but it goes a long way!

How else can you get on a marketer’s good side? Send all coverage links. Gather every tweet, Instagram, Facebook update and send it my way.

I like to think I know the blogs I work with well, but at the end of the day, no one knows your blog better than you. Send a recap at the end of your brand collaboration that includes benchmarks and insight like, “This blog post performed on par with other sponsored recipe posts. It received X comments, most of which focused on Y. Pinterest Influencer Z pinned it on Pinterest, which led to over X repins, thanks to her X followers.” Any insight you can give me is GOLD when I’m putting together the final recap. It saves me time and puts you top-of-mind for the next opportunity!

Lastly, consider doing a reader survey. Find out who your readers are – ask when the last time they purchased something from you was. Ask what their favorite types of blog posts are, etc. This info is a great tool to show to brands to help prove your worth. Furthermore, it can also help you shape the strategy of your blog and inform the types of brand collaborations to pursue in the future.


I often find new bloggers to work with via features in traditional media. To help expand your audience and create legitimacy for you and your blog, pitch yourself as an expert or source to outlets and other blogs via services like Help a Reporter Out.

When a blogger has been featured in traditional media outlets, it helps my clients understand just how big and influential s/he is. Blogs are still new to many clients, so if I can say, “Blogger X has been featured in Good Housekeeping, was named a top blogger by Glamour and has done cooking segments on the TODAY show,” it gives the blogger instant clout and credibility.


Think about other ways you can add value to brands beyond blogging. Many of the skills you have are in high-demand now that brands are content creators themselves. From recipe development to copywriting to photography – these are separate revenue streams that you can create alongside blog integrations. Case in point: I met a blogger at a blog conference last year, and took notice of her photography skills. Six months later, I hired her to help with the social photography for a CPG brand I was working on!

To get these gigs – network, network, network. You can do this via local blog events, on Twitter and Instagram, or at conferences. To catch the eye of recruiters, make sure your LinkedIn profile is entirely filled out with applicable keywords. You can also submit yourself to creative/advertising recruiting agencies. And finally, adding your services to your blog and media kit is a good idea, too! Put yourself out there.

Expert Series: Influencer Marketing – Blogger Tips Pt. 1

Written by: Allie Wester
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The following is part of our ongoing Expert Series and features Allie Wester, Fanscape’s head of Influencer and Blogger Outreach marketing.

I recently spoke at Freutcamp, a 2-day creative boot camp for bloggers run by Leah Bergman of Freutcake. From Photoshop skills to tips for better social media usage, Freutcamp covered everything it takes to be a successful and savvy blogger.

Leah invited me to speak about making brand collaborations organic to your blog and content. What follows are a couple of the top tips I shared with the bloggers at Freutcamp.

It's ok to say no

As a blogger, it’s absolutely okay to say “no” to brands that approach you – in fact, to maintain the quality of your blog, you should! Although a paycheck might be tempting in the short term, if a brand isn’t a right fit for you and your blog, you shouldn’t work with them.

Working with a “wrong fit” brand is bad for you and the brand in the long term. It will alienate your readers, and on top of that, you can be sure that your readers are not going to be convinced to buy said brand. It just won’t be an effective post for either party. By saying “no,” you’re doing both yourself and the brand a favor.

Quality is number 1

The quality of your blog should always be #1, so you need to be incredibly strategic about the brands you partner with. Readers are savvy when it comes to sponsored posts and can sense when something isn’t a genuine fit. Ideally, brand content should integrate seamlessly with your usual, non-sponsored content. If you don’t stay true to your usual content when you do sponsored posts, you will lose the very thing that drew brands to you in the first place – your readership!

It’s a delicate balance, for sure. A good guideline to follow is 70% non-sponsored content and 30% sponsored content. Of course this will vary from blog-to-blog and month-to-month, but it’s generally a good rule of thumb.

focus on content copy

Don’t overthink sponsored posts. Focus on the content and story first and foremost, then lightly weave the brand into that. I always tell bloggers to take a step back and think about what they would write about if it wasn’t a sponsored post. Ideally I want the brand integration to be very light and natural. I want the post to tell a story. In fact, sometimes I even tell bloggers to tone down the brand in their post, because it’s too overt! I truly believe that this is key to a great sponsored post. If a brand is too “in your face,” readers will simply skim over the post.

Each and every sponsored post you create should have value for your readers. Let’s be real – no one wants to feel like they’re being marketed to. Your readers should get some sort of utility in a sponsored post, whether it’s entertaining tips or a new recipe to try out.

Not sure if you’re hitting it quite right? Think about if you yourself would want to read the post and share it with your friends.


Read Part 2 HERE.