Top 4 Meesh Merch Picks for Christmas from Redbubble

In case you haven’t heard, Meesh Merch has come to Redbubble.

This made-to-order Merch features squeezable Meesh in a variety designs, on a variety of products.

Here are my Top 4 Picks for Christmas.

 

1. “Angry Meesh” – Mug

One side is Angry, one side is Happy.  Show the Angry side depending on your mood and warn your friends, family, or coworkers when it is not safe to approach you.

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2. “A Little Rowdy”

Pretty much sums it all up.  The “lightweight sweatshirt” version is perfect for these colder months.

 

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3. “Money Meesh” – Tote

The work tote.  Literally.  Keep on hustling.  Great for bringing your lunch or transporting books.

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4. “Cool Meesh” iPhone Case

In a vibrant yellow-orange color with a Meesh as cool as you are.  The “tough” case version is very solid and will keep your device protected during those clumsy moments.  There’s also a comfy “soft” version for iPhone XR/XS if you’re fancy and have either of those models.

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Startup Training in Denver

Last week, I flew to Denver to train an awesome startup on how to leverage website analytics and social media data for product development.

 

One of the best things about startups says it right in the name: things are starting up.

When it comes to any type of marketing strategy, the deeper the roots go, the more likely it can be successful.

Using marketing and advertising as a “band-aid” never works out well in the long-run.

That’s why, for startups, the somewhat clean slate provides a wonderful opportunity to get set up for success.

It’s very easy for people to get “stuck in one lane,” and it’s even easier for a company to do so.  For startups, getting the product or service right is crucial, but that doesn’t mean the right product today will be right a year from now.

Product development should always be an ongoing process.

Even for myself personally, navigating my career path has been a series of trials and errors.  The point is to keep experimenting, keep optimizing, and keep innovating.

Data is the backbone for these experiments.  It is what can help you to navigate the murky waters of personal bias vs. realistic expectations.

When you lay a solid foundation, set clear goals, and understand how to adapt a strategy on an ongoing basis, you can make informed decisions on the direction to take your company and be prepared for changes in the marketplace.

Also during my time in Denver, I met with Masha from Coding Blonde!

Masha is part of a new generation of female tech influencers who are passionate about breaking gender barriers in tech and encouraging women to pursue careers in all fields related to technology.

The power of the Internet is making self-learning a possibility for all – we need only have the courage and the dedication to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones!

Traits of the Best Marketers

You realize you need help with marketing.

That is the first step in achieving success.

That being said, how do you know where to turn for advice? Should you trust an agency or an individual? Which qualities should you be looking for when you hire someone in-house?

As a Google-Certified marketing consultant, I’m a little biased myself. So, bear with me as I try to deliver useful information that you can use in your quest for digital marketing stardom.

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I think one of the biggest differentiators among marketers is not their number of skills, it is their level of passion.

Our drive to succeed is fueled by our desire to achieve.

In the two-factor theory (also called Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory), those with a high preference for achievement go beyond the usual realms of success: their desire for success is a key motivator in all of their behaviors.

They can be star students, or those who actively apply for awards. They can be those who always have their head in a book, or those who always seem to be “doing too much.”

Look for someone who does more than is required, just because they can. 

Why does this matter when it comes to marketing?

Wickes Results Matter

If you’ve been in business for some time, you know that “years of experience” is typically a key indicator of quality. I challenge you to downplay this mindset when it comes to marketing.

We have all met those people with 20+ years in marketing who cannot deliver results. Similarly, there are those still in high school who can grow an online audience like it’s nobody’s business.

Keep in mind that Facebook advertising launched in 2007.  Similarly, Instagram itself launched in 2010, with advertising really only taking hold within the past few years after Facebook’s acquisition of the social media megastar.

The exponential growth of social media demonstrates that the number of years is not the key, it is the quality of the efforts behind them.

Wickes-High Achievers

The future rests with those who continually push the boundaries.

Those who are actively learning the newest trends and technologies.

Those who face challenges head-on, are flexible in their approaches, and don’t approach marketing with a one-size-fits-all mentality.

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Whether you want to hire a consultant, agency, or in-house marketer, your long-term goals are what ultimately matter.

Are you focused on driving traffic today, or do you want to understand how your brand will fit into the long-term reality of the digital age? Maybe it’s a bit of both?

Do you want the prestige that comes with a big-name agency, or are you looking for a customized, one-on-one approach with a single individual?

There are many “on-paper” considerations when evaluating a marketer/agency, but I urge you to also examine their willingness to change with the market demands.

Just as the marketing landscape today is vastly different than it was five years ago, our reality today will be vastly different five years from now.

When looking for the best marketer or agency,

Surround yourself with those who will grow with you.

Sticker Packs for Consumer Engagement

In today’s digital environment, things are crowded.

It’s hard to stand out. It’s difficult to keep customers interested.

However, a plus to the technological age is the availability of new products to help bridge the gap between intangible interactions and meaningful connections.

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Consumer Engagement is an emerging avenue of marketing that has quickly taken root over the years.

Companies and agencies alike are asking questions:

How can we build organic growth with our online brand? How can we keep our brand awareness sustainable after the advertising campaigns stop?

When designing a strategy to engage with consumers, it is important to remember one key fact:

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It is often the “value” component of consumer engagement that gets lost in translation.

In my opinion, the most valuable item you can give someone is something that is useful. Even better, something they enjoy using (and can use) everyday.

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The future is mobile. You only need to take a look at your Website Analytics to see that mobile is on par with and, most of the time, outperforms desktop traffic in terms of volume and conversion rates.

A stroll through the airport makes it clear that mobile devices are now engrained in society. It is how we communicate. It is the cornerstone of our friendships and relationships. Texting, iMessaging, FaceTiming… the list goes on and on.

I think most people understand the importance of having a mobile-compatible brand and website.

However, when it comes to apps, many get cold feed.

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Unlike a full-scale mobile app, a sticker pack is an excellent addition to a brand strategy that is affordable and provides immediate value for consumers.

The future of consumer engagement will require companies to find ways to blend their brands with consumers’ everyday lives.

By delivering valuable experiences and products that consumers can use in their everyday, mobile-driven lives, brands can transcend traditional engagement and become truly connected with their target audience.

5.5-Inch iPhone Landscape

 

 

How to Get Conversions

Digital marketing’s ability to deliver quantifiable results has ushered in a new benchmark for online advertising…

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But how exactly do those conversions happen? What kinds of conversions should a business be aiming for?

When it comes down to it, a marketing strategy should be successful.

But, what does “success” look like?

Before embarking on an ROI strategy, it’s important to understand what the goals are and why they are important.

There are many stages that occur before a customer hits the “buy” or “subscribe” button.

Without understanding how a business can be successful, a marketing campaign can only bring a brand so far.

When focusing on long-term success, every company should aim to….

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No matter the industry or the size of the company, a marketing strategy should seek to engage and inspire its audience.

Why should someone subscribe to your email list? Why should they spend time on your website?

While making money is no doubt a crucial piece of the puzzle, there are other important conversions to consider:

  • Consumer Engagement
  • Email Subscribers
  • Brand Awareness
  • Positive Reputation/Reviews
  • Market Share
  • Social Media Followers/Shares
  • Time Spent on the Website
  • Pages Viewed on the Website
  • Return Visits
  • Phone Calls

When creating a new marketing strategy, all of the conversion goals should help to guide a company’s entire focus.

Too often, marketing is thought of last.  To make a successful and sustainable strategy, marketing must be at the forefront of every business policy and product.

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It is generally agreed that everything about a business impacts how consumers perceive and regard a brand: from its website to the person who answers the phone.

With that idea in mind, is money really the only concern with a marketing campaign? Are “impressions” really the only goal?

The benefit of our digital age is that all of these conversions are now traceable.

The secrets to understanding the best types of conversions, their importance to the bottom line, and how they are transforming a brand, can all be found in data.

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What do consumers do on a website? Which pages do they view? Are they subscribing to emails? What are the steps they take before they subscribe? Which websites are referring them?

Quantifiable data directly relates to conversions and can be crucial in uncovering how consumer behavior is impacting the bottom line.

This data can be used to create products, strategies, and experiences that cause consumers to respond naturally.

In order to obtain conversions in the digital age, we must strive to understand all of the components that come together to make success a reality.

Losing Your $10,000 Google Grant

It’s a new year, and new changes are happening to the digital advertising industry…

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1. Accounts must maintain an overall 5% CTR
2.  Each campaign must include 2 Ad Groups
3. Sitelinks and Geo-location targeting must be used
4. Bidding on single-word and competitor keywords is not allowed
5. Keywords with a QS of less than 3 will not be shown
6. The $2.00 Max CPC is waived if utilizing CPC (cost-per-conversion) bidding

The changes to the AdWords Grant for Nonprofits Program have caused quite a stir within the AdWords community.

Many nonprofits are getting their accounts suspended and some agencies are removing Grant Management from their services altogether.

(If your account has been suspended, you can contact me here for a free evaluation)

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The Grant itself, entitling nonprofits to $10,000 of free AdWords Search advertising per month, has been a favorite of agencies in the past due to a high level of spending and relatively “no strings attached.”

Many agencies limit the amount of time spent managing an account, and pocket the monthly fee with doing little to no work on the account.


Google knows this.
  Since the search engine giant implemented the generous Grant program, the company has promoted several incentives to keep nonprofits managing their own Grant.

Some of these incentives include the user-friendly AdGrants Express, which just underwent a new overhaul to make the interface even more user-friendly.

However, as with any digital marketing strategy….

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With using the basic AdGrants Express, nonprofits will lose out on potential traffic. On the other hand, the new policies make it even more difficult for a nonprofit to manage a regular Grant account on their own.

While these new policies may lower the amount of Grant Dollars an account is able to use each month, it’s important to understand why the new policies are a good change.

In the past, the “no strings attached” mentality of the program has been taken advantage of.

Many Grant accounts are filled with unrelated keywords and sloppy ads, resulting in a high bounce rate on the website and little to no conversions.

While being able to use the full $10,000 a month in free advertising is an ego boost to anyone, it is crucial to understand how it can also be harmful to a brand.

Just like with aggressive remarketing, serving a consumer with ads that are unrelated to their search can create a negative association with your brand.

(clickbait isn’t fun for anyone)

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The new updates are the perfect time to examine your Grant’s performance.

How does your account align with the new policies? Are you driving quality traffic to your website? What types of conversions is your Grant delivering?

A grant that is being ethically managed should be able to conform to the new policies.

On the other hand, if you are concerned about your performance moving forward, it might be time to seek a second opinion.

Does Remarketing Go Too Far?

In our modern age of data, digital marketing has ushered in a new era of targeting…

Re-marketing

But, like with all marketing, some are wondering when it goes too far…

When does influencing consumers cross the line and, to be frank, become creepy?

Depending on your marketing strategy, your efforts may end up falling into two very different categories:

Influencing Forcing

Aggressive tactics can get the job done, make no mistake. Television advertising is proof of the power of a consistent, in-your-face, buy-our-products, type of marketing.

But, with aggressive marketing, what are the long-term effects on your brand?

Are the conversions you obtain with remarketing worth the risk of deterring other valuable customers?

When it comes to creating a remarketing strategy, it is important to consider the impact of your efforts and how your performance relates to your goals.

As companies become more aggressive in their targeting, consumers will become more guarded of their privacy. It’s no wonder that Apple recently announced that they are imposing a time limit on how long you can track consumers for advertising purposes.

Are we really surprised?

How many of us actually like receiving 5 emails per day from a company? Or enjoy seeing our shopping history plastered all over our morning news?

The answer:

Spammed

A remarketing strategy is crucial to the long-term success of a brand, but it is also equally crucial that it is created and implemented correctly.

Every target market will respond differently to retargeting. The data and performance of remarketing campaigns should be constantly monitored and updated based on how the audience is responding.

Metrics such as CTR, bounce rate, and conversions, measured against your performance benchmarks, can shed light on how your target market is responding to your re-targeting efforts.

To create a valuable remarketing strategy in our consumer-driven market, you cannot afford to offend or annoy your audience.

Spending Time

Spending time with your data is the key in preventing your remarketing efforts from “going too far” in the minds of consumers.

And, of course, having a qualified professional build and manage your strategies is the ideal way to ensure that your re-marketing efforts deliver sustainable success for your brand.

Does Digital Matter?

When, in the last few years of advertising, traditional methods have been turned on their heads, then turned back again, it begs the question…

Say “AdWords” to pretty much anyone, and you’re bound to get a response

Just like Internships, it seems that everyone has an opinion on digital advertising.

  • You can do it yourself!
  • You can’t do it, hire us.
  • Why are you even trying, when you could be doing ____

Advertising in general is complex, but I think the biggest difference between digital and traditional media can be summed up in one word:

Oh, Data.  Data is beautiful.  Data will tell you everything you need to know about anything, ever.  If you have Data, you have the world (just ask Mark Zuckerberg)

So, why do we shy away from data?

Data is like that friend you have, who knows you better than anyone else.  You earnestly seek their advice because you know you will get an honest response from them.

But sometimes, you find yourself seeking the advice of a more “complacent” friend.  Maybe it’s because their words sound sweeter, or maybe it’s because they allow you to continue on doing what you’ve always done.

Whether you go to your sugar-coated alliance or rough-as-nails comrade, it’s important to remember that the facts do not change.  The difference is how you are going to change.

Data will give it to you straight.
And, just like your friends…

It is the relationship behind the numbers that holds the key to all of your pressing questions.

With digital advertising, there are no estimates that may make you feel left in the dark.

There is no “estimated reach” or “household demographics.”  You can forget about “circulation” numbers and calculating attention span rates of people watching TV commercials.

With digital advertising, you have it all right there.

Exactly how many people interacted with your ad, exactly how many did not.

Exactly how many people watched your ad, and exactly how many couldn’t wait to skip over it and get on their way.

You will know exactly which ads people prefer, and which ones they won’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

And, do you know what you can do with all of that wonderful “exactness?”

Find out what people like about you, find out what you need to change.

Find out what you’re doing well, and find out how you can become even better.

After all, what good are we if we do not strive to better ourselves?

While it’s true that digital data can be misconstrued and misrepresented, is that really anything new in the world of advertising?  “Those guys” will always be around.  The ones who sit behind closed doors and hope that you don’t come knocking.

What is new is the tangibility of data.
You can see it. Right now. Your real performance. In all its glory.

So, the next time you find yourself (or anyone else) tip-toeing around Brutal Bettie in favor of Suck-up Simon, just remember that when it comes to the performance of your advertising campaigns,

That raw, steadfast, unwavering honesty is why digital advertising matters.

 

Internships: A VIP Party

The following was a contribution post to the Colorado State University – Global Campus blog. Read along here, or visit the University’s blog and read it there

1- Internships are a VIP Party

How do you gain experience with no experience? How can you embark on your new career before you graduate? An internship.

That seems to be the mentality these days. No matter where you turn in the job market, you are being bombarded with information on internships. The best ones, the worst ones, the legalities, and enough statistics to fill a textbook. There are countless websites dedicated to helping degree-seekers find their perfect fit, and even more that paint an internship as a golden ticket to a dream job.

While it’s true that an internship can most definitely land you a job with your dream company, I believe that internships have an even more valuable outcome.

This asset is worth more than a good resume, and some say it is worth more than your industry experience: 

Internships can provide you with connections and a professional network.

2- The best doors to open

Internships are much like gluten-free foods or adult coloring books: some people swear by them, while others think they are not worth the hype. For many internship fans, the proclaimed positive qualities surrounding internships can take on a one-dimensional point-of-view, that an internship will:

  • Improve your resume
  • Get you a great job
  • Make you a millionaire

…the promises go on and on. However, being truly successful in any industry means helping others and forming connections that enable you to contribute to the bigger picture.

You have to learn from the best before you can become the best. What if we viewed internships not as golden tickets to a dream job, but as golden tickets to a VIP party with industry leaders?

3- Connect

Participating in an internship gives you the opportunity to be recognized for more than just your skills as a potential employee. More importantly, it puts you in contact with people who recognize your passion to learn, and motivation to be a part of their industry.

While it is true that being an intern may sometimes give you an overflowing plate of assignments, it also has the ability to expose you to people whom you may never have met in a regular job.

Your internship will eventually end, but the relationships you form don’t have to.

Getting the most out of your internship doesn’t mean completing as many projects as you can. It also means connecting with established role models in your industry and having a willingness to learn from them. 

After all, many of them were in your position at one point or another.

4- Paying it forward

The next time you’re looking for an internship, don’t pass one up just because it pays too little (or nothing).

Sometimes those are the internships that truly value your help, and can provide access to people who can grow your career in more ways than dollar signs. Unpaid internships can also be more flexible and understanding when it comes to your time, which is always a plus for those that are balancing school, work, and everything in between.

Being a student at CSU-Global, you already recognize the value of academic knowledge and attending a university. When done correctly, internships can be a kind of career university with social perks of meeting your industry’s celebrities.

Although an internship might not always pay you in the traditional sense, it can most certainly pay off in connections and experience.

…and that, my fellow CSU-Global friends, can be worth more than gold.