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JHU AMA Presents: Student Alumni Panel

Earlier this month, the Johns Hopkins University undergraduate chapter of the American Marketing Association (JHU AMA) kicked off its Fall Speaker Series with a panel of JHU alumni working in marketing and advertising capacities. These alumni included representatives from Under Armour, AOL Digital, T. Rowe Price, Stanley Black & Decker, IMRE, and Factory Athletics. Students interested in pursuing careers in marketing, advertising, and digital media fields attended the event to learn more about the various industries represented.

Alumni Taylor Schulte, Tyler Goodell, Claire Sandgrass, Zoe Longenecker-Wright, Dave Carisiti, and Jason Budden speak at the alumni panel.

Alumni Taylor Schulte, Tyler Goodell, Claire Sandgrass, Zoe Longenecker-Wright, Dave Carisiti, and Jason Budden speak at the alumni panel.

The alumni spoke about several topics, most of which focused on breaking into the marketing industry, tips for surviving your first few months on the jobs, and other pieces of advice centered on helping current students make the most of their college experience to prepare for a transition into the real world. Richard L, an event attendee, commented that “thanks to them [the alumni], I feel much more prepared to send out job applications than I had before.”

Some key takeaways from the event:

  • Connect, connect, connect! Expand your professional network by reaching out to people in the industry via LinkedIn. (Note: always send a personalized message when seeking to connect).
  • Try it out. Find an internship, either during the semester or summer, in a marketing-related field, to see if it’s for you. An internship in this field is also critical if you want to land a job at a firm.
  • Clean up. Make sure your social media pages are devoid of undesirable content and make sure your resume is always updated and polished.

The JHU AMA will be hosting multiple upcoming events, the next of which is on Monday, November 10th. Hershey Associate Brand Manager Anthony Criezis will be speaking as part of the AMA’s Fall Speaker Series, and all interested parties are encouraged to attend a very informative discussion!

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Native? Social? Both?

This summer, I interned at SocialToaster, a social media marketing agency that turns a company’s existing social media following into a team of organized brand ambassadors. Part of my job was to create blog posts and other marketing materials that reinforced SocialToaster’s core business concept, and I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned regarding native advertising and social media marketing.

Native Advertising: You’ve probably heard this term if you’ve kept up to date on the latest digital marketing trends. In short, native advertising is a form of communication that smoothly integrates with a user’s experience on a website or application. For instance, if you see a sponsored Facebook post that tells a story about a company’s new product, this is a native advertisement because it is part of the user’s core experience (i.e., not a banner ad). Online brand ambassador programs are also forms of native advertising: for instance, Maker’s Mark offers incentives for its ambassadors to share content about its brand.

Social Media Marketing, though, is the use of social media platforms to market a company to consumers or businesses. Examples of social media marketing are banner ads on Facebook, a company’s Twitter posts, or Instagram pictures with links directed towards purchasing or other landing pages. Social media marketing encompasses the development of marketing programs targeted at a company’s existing and intended social media audience.

Can Native and Social Intersect? Yes. For example, SocialToaster’s Super Fans (brand ambassadors) can earn prizes for posting a company’s message as a status update or sharing its content on Twitter. Native advertising can be seamlessly integrated into social media marketing because people use social media all the time. Therefore, native advertising and social media marketing are not mutually exclusive; rather, they are two effective forms of marketing that work incredibly well together.

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The Numbers: Consider some facts from a recent Gallup poll:

  • 94% of social media users do so to connect with friends and family
  • 62% of social media users do not believe social media influences their purchasing decisions
  • 29% of social media users use these platforms to keep up on product reviews and trends

That 94% is important, because it means that over 9/10 people who use social media connect with people they (hopefully) trust. Now, if you’re part of the nearly 30% who use, say, Facebook for product recommendations, what are you more likely to look to as a source: a friend’s recommendation, or a banner advertisement? If your friend is a Maker’s Mark brand ambassador and posts a picture of delicious bourbon on Facebook, you’re statistically more likely to click on this post than you are to entertain a traditional advertisement.

But do you even realize your friend’s recommendation for Maker’s Mark is an advertisement? According to the study, 62% of the time, you will not.

And that’s why native advertisements on social media work. Companies can employ people you trust to recommend their products, meaning you might not even realize when you’re being advertised to. But you might find some great products in the process!

-David

JHU Graduate Produces Mother’s Day Video.

Ever since I started my graduate school adventure at Miami Ad School San Francisco (a portfolio school for advertising), I have been shown the true value of personal projects.

Personal projects that allow one to freely execute a campaign without being limited by the corporate aspects of advertising; personal projects that encourage individuals to pursue something true to themselves, while having fun playing with social norms.

This is how the idea of “Call Your Mom” came about. Everyday, we walk by so many strangers without interacting with them at all. My team and I wanted to break this social norm and get to know strangers in a unique way – by gaining insight into their relationship with their moms.

We therefore took to the streets of San Francisco and asked people when they had last called their moms. The end result was beautiful, and fully supported a notion we strongly believe in: if you are passionate about an idea, go and execute it. The benefits of advertising don’t just have to come from the professional workplace.

 Jiayi Wang ’13

I hope you enjoy it …

Stumped with Making a Career Out of Your Major? How About a Startup?

At an institution synonymous with its medical school and engineering programs, outsiders are often surprised to hear about the breadth of entrepreneurial ventures Hopkins students are involved in. The school quietly fosters a dedicated environment for students to create business ventures in the real world. The opportunities are quite diverse, from the popular Entrepreneurship & Management minor, to FastForward and JHTT, two groups of Hopkins inventors, entrepreneurs, and investors who aim at bringing technological innovations from the lab to the commercial marketplace.

A student in Professor Kendrick's class dons the sumo costume during the JHU Career Fair.

A MindSumo representative dons the sumo costume during the JHU Career Fair.

In addition to these school-sponsored initiatives, there is an extensive list of unaided Hopkins-born entrepreneurial startups that are just as poised to strike the commercial market. One prime example of such a company is MindSumo, founded by grad Keaton Swett, who majored in History and minored in Entrepreneurship and Management during his time at Hopkins. The vision for MindSumo was to create a unique opportunity for students, specifically in the computational and analytic fields, to showcase their talents in practical scenarios, shifting the focus of a job or internship interview from a single piece of paper (the applicant’s résumé) to a portfolio of proven skills.

Companies sponsor challenges for students to provide their own creative solutions to real business problems. Winners are chosen by the sponsor company to receive cash prizes, interviews for jobs and internships, and accolades to tout in their search for future employment. Since its humble beginnings, MindSumo has already attracted 30,000+ student users as well as dozens of top-tier companies in a vast array of fields (Google, Zappos, and General Mills, to name a few).

Although Keaton has since moved headquarters of MindSumo to California, he remains in close contact with his alma mater. He has lent his time, effort, and his company’s reputation to Leslie Kendrick’s Advertising and Integrated Marketing Campaign class, which is tasked with garnering new sign-ups and awareness for the company on the Hopkins Homewood campus and at other area universities.

Students might feel nervous about starting their careers, but Keaton and the dozens of Hopkins alums who have started their own companies are proof of the limitless opportunities that can come as a product of a Hopkins education.

Learn more about MindSumo at http://www.mindsumo.com. For more information about MindSumo’s campaign on the Hopkins campus, please contact either Lauryn Capers or David White at AdHopcreative@gmail.com.

My Movie Internship: Hollywood Is Just As Business-Orientated As Wall Street.

Many people overlook the fact that Hollywood is just as business-orientated as Wall Street. From a strictly business perspective, a movie is a staggering—and very risky—investment: producers and studios can pour hundreds of millions of dollars into a single production in hopes that the revenue generated from ticket sales, home-video sales, merchandise, etc. will turn a profit. Investing in a movie is precarious because of the underlying notion that no one can predict whether or not a movie will be good, and if it is good, if audiences will want to see it and purchase tickets. In order to dilute the risk factors, then, studios rely on securing high-profile celebrities and creative teams, reverting to known blockbuster genres, remaking classic hits, and making sequel after sequel (Saw 7, anyone?).

Unsurprisingly, box office sales are the primary way a movie earns money, and most movies earn close to 50% of their domestic gross in their opening weekends. The rare exceptions are the movies with strong legs, like Gravity or Avatar, which hold well in the marketplace for continuous weeks. Thus, luring audiences into the theater that opening weekend is especially critical, and consequently studios carefully deliberate release dates and spend huge amount of money marketing a film. In fact, most tent-pole movies (a movie, usually a blockbuster, that ‘holds up’ or balances out a studio’s financial performance, e.g. Despicable Me 2 or Harry Potter; they’re often expected to turn a profit in a relatively short amount of time) can have advertising budgets comparable to their production budgets. That is to say, if a movie’s cost is $80 million, it could have close to that in marketing efforts behind it. Additionally, if a studio knows a movie is going to be a flop, and they generally do, they might increase or decrease the marketing budget, either to make one last push to persuade audiences to see the film or to cut their losses. Securing a strong opening weekend turnout is also the reason why movies with widespread critical acclaim publicize their reviews early, while studios with flops on their hands tend to keep poor reviews under wraps until the last possible moment in order to prevent them from discouraging audiences.

From trailers and posters to TV spots and other publicity efforts such as Comic-Con parties and online presences, creative advertising attempts to both raise awareness about the movie as well as highlight it as worthy of the ten-dollar ticket price to see it on the big screen. A film’s trailer is without question its strongest advocate, and as such, most studios begin creating a trailer months in advance of its release. Studio executives work with the filmmakers as well as with external production companies (known as trailer houses) that specialize in either print (the poster) or audio-visual (the trailer) media to design a campaign that positions the movie in a particular, meticulously crafted light. Everything from the music and dialogue to the font of the copy (text) to the emotion the trailer evokes is highly scrutinized and debated because the trailer is not only the first glimpse audiences will have of the movie, but also, if constructed successfully, the most influential marketing tool.

Executives begin researching the campaign by reading the film’s script and watching trailers for similar movies. They study those trailers to understand what worked well and what did not, but to see how other marketing departments have approached a related topic: what angle on the story did they take? Was the focus more on the visuals or on the story? How much of the plot was revealed and in what ways? While they are researching, executives meet with filmmakers to decide how they want to advertise the film, read the script, and look at dailies. Dailies are visuals (both photo and video) of everything that has been filmed, uncut, on a single day; as filming progresses, the quantity of dailies increases and the executives have more footage to work with. The creative process really begins here, when executives work with trailer houses to select and edit the footage, piecing together the trailer that aligns with their vision about how they want the film to appear. The trailer houses send a number of versions of each cut of the trailer to the executive, each with varying music, copy, visuals, etc. The executive then considers what works well and what needs to be changed, and the trailer houses then make the edits. This editing and re-editing usually lasts several weeks. Once the trailer is ready, and the filmmakers have given their approval, the trailer is usually screened before several test audiences of various demographics. These test audiences comment on not only whether or not they like the trailer, but if the trailer is effective at accomplishing what the studio intended, e.g. was the film’s plot clear? did the jokes work?  When the trailer is finally ready, it ships, or is released.

Timing the shipping of trailers is crucial, as there are often specific movies to which the executives want them to be attached or accompany. Attaching a trailer to a movie means that the trailer will always play before a certain movie in the theater; the term comes from when the actual 35mm film of trailer would have to be physically attached to the film of the movie. Perhaps the most well-known recent instance of this was Warner Bros. attachment of Man of Steel’s teaser to The Dark Knight Rises. Studios can also vary attachment based on theater type, i.e. if you go and see the newest Thor in 3D, you would have been treated to a five-minute sneak peak of the upcoming Captain America. This strategy is more commonly exhibited with IMAX screens, as an added incentive to pay the higher ticket price. If a trailer accompanies a feature, it will often play before that film, but it doesn’t have to. Studios work with theaters to have their trailer shown before a movie, but the theaters have the final say and usually make their decision based on the expected audience of the film playing and the release date of the advertised film. In other words, the theater might not choose to screen a horror trailer before the latest Pixar film. This is why if you see a movie in theaters more than once, there may be different trailers before it each time, or if you see a movie at a different theater, there will also be different trailers.

While premiering a trailer in theaters remains the most common approach, in recent years studios have begun exploring other avenues by which to do so, such as on late night talk show’s (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy trailer premiered on Jimmy Kimmel), during major television events (Universal’s Neighbors, the new Seth Rogen comedy, first aired its trailer during the Roast of James Franco), or at events such as Comic Con. This strategy is becoming increasingly popular, as with certain events or television programs, studios can target a more specific demographic. With the ability to watch trailers anytime online, the timing of shipping the trailer might appear to have lost some of its importance, but the opposite is true. The Internet can create immense hype for a film when a trailer is released and shared across various social media platforms, and studios need to time this hype to prevent it from coming and going too soon.

– Andrew Townson ’14 atownson@jhu.ed

Successful Media Monitoring at maslansky + partners.

In expanding on my internship with maslansky + partners (m+p) from this past summer, I can definitively say that the firm understands the importance of monitoring both social media and the greater media in general.  Founded on the principle—“It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear. ®”—maslansky + partners practices what they preach by making sure they are constantly in tune with the media.  As m+p takes on a project, they make it their responsibility to help a client share their story with their audience.  And part of this responsibility involves knowing what has been said in the past and what is being said in the present, so they can properly help the client tell their story for the future.  This is extremely important, since m+p will only be able to appropriately recommend a strategy if they approach the situation with a complete understanding of the client’s identity, both perceived and defined.

There are several ways in which m+p filers through the media—through Google alerts, a collected ad database, in depth focus groups, and through an analysis process called WireTap™.  Google alerts are one of the most underutilized services available to the public for free.  Provided by the search engine Google, users are able to receive email alerts customizable by their interests, which can range from general news to specific keywords.  The firm also maintains a collection of advertisements, which not only offer an in house resource for m+p staff, but also for the general public (http://ads.maslansky.com/).

Social media monitoring

The advertisements are entered with key information (context, industry, publication, etc.) that allows users to filter through them.  Another way that m+p listens to the general public is through in depth focus group sessions.  These focus group sessions are designed to understand how a particular client is perceived by its audience, which is done through exercises, question and answer sessions, and individual interviews.  Depending on the client, these can be the most lucrative for comprehending an organization’s presence within society, due to the unfiltered nature of the sessions.  The final aspect in which m+p works to understand a client’s target audience, specifically through social media, is through their WireTap™ Analysis.  This is a social media report that helps identify and analyze target language sourced from social media interactions.  In addition, this report allows m+p to understand and hear the specific opinions and conversations being communicated on the World Wide Web.

In a society full of distrust, it is valuable to understand the power of language.  Monitoring and being aware of what is being said through public opinion allows one to harness this power.  Lucky for us, we are fortunate to have many resources today that help aid us in this process.  All that’s left is for us to take advantage of it.

– Kathrin

Rebranding a Fallen Hero: The Orioles’ New Marketing Strategy

Any baseball fans out there?

Wednesday, November 6th, the Baltimore Orioles Vice President of Marketing Greg Bader spoke at the Hopkins campus to an audience of 35 Hopkins affiliates and the Loyola AMA president. The Johns Hopkins chapter of the American Marketing Association hosted the event in Hackerman B17. Bader, who has been with the Orioles for 20 seasons, started his presentation by engaging the audience with a simple question.

“How many of you are Orioles fans?”

JHU AMA Vice President Liz Bagdorf (left) and the Baltimore Orioles VP of Marketing Greg Bader

JHU AMA Vice President Liz Bagdorf (left) and the Baltimore Orioles VP of Marketing Greg Bader

Bader candidly spoke about the Orioles’ historically successful record by noting that the home team enjoyed great success from 1960-1997, holding either the best or second best records in the league for a nearly 40-year period. This set the stage for Bader’s grim account of the Orioles’ not too distant past:

  • From 1998-2011, the Orioles lost 1276 games while only winning 990.
  • That’s 14 consecutive losing seasons.
  • In this period, annual attendance dropped by 2 million fans to just over 1.5 million per year.

The Orioles marketing department had its work cut out for it. Bader noted that “any team in a downward spiral needs to think about what it stands for,” and explained the five principles of his latest marketing campaign for the team:

  1. Fun. The ballpark is an escape from reality, and, at the end of the day, baseball is just a game.
  2. Partnership. “We’re all in this together,” said Bader, referring to the fans and surrounding community.
  3. Family. Stories of the ballpark should be passed down from generation to generation, and an Orioles game is a family-oriented event.
  4. Tradition. “This is a historically great team. We want to remind people that summers in Baltimore wouldn’t be the same without the Orioles.”
  5. Community. Camden Yards and the Orioles have been defining features of Baltimore for nearly 60 years.

Primary Tactics:

  • Re-instate the cartoon bird logo
  • Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park
  • Improve the ballpark
  • Introduce the Orioles Legends celebration series

orioles_logo_2012

The 2012 Season (following the campaign’s implementation):

  1. The team had a 93W-69L record, a winning record for the first time in 15 seasons
  2. The Orioles were in the top 5 in the MLB for social media followers growth
  3. In September 2012, the Orioles sold the third most merchandise in the league (largely thanks to the cartoon bird logo!)
  4. Attendance grew past the 2 million annual attendees mark.

Bader said that the team’s winning season was definitely helpful to the club, but winning is not everything. “Winning is a huge part of a team’s identity, and winning definitely helped us meet our campaign’s goals. But if we had just relied on winning, we would not have been able to reach two million fans again.”

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Bader mentioned that anyone interested in working for the Orioles should “spend as much time there” and get to know people in the organization. Job opportunities with the Orioles are available here, and Bader maintains that the experience has been “an exciting opportunity.” As a lifelong baseball fan myself, the idea of working for a ball club seems more tantalizing than a 4.0 GPA.

– David