Thursday, January 18, 2018

This Isn't the End!


Two posts.

Wow.

I managed to only write a whopping two posts in 2017. Now that the dawn of 2018 has already passed, if I were to make some claim about doing better this year, I feel like you would see right through it.

I wouldn’t blame you.

So let’s not even go there. I haven’t accomplished enough to bow out as graciously as the Birmingham Blogging Academy but I’m here to tell you that life certainly gets in the way, man.

This won’t be my last entry but you and I should temper those expectations of an increased frequency of posts. Working, trying to be a helpful spouse, parenting, yard work and other to-dos really eats up the hours.

I feel good about getting this off my chest. I don’t want to stop blogging but blogging can’t be a priority for me these days. Being in this situation makes for a good opportunity to revisit the reasons why I began this blog.

First, I felt (and still feel) that posting regularly keeps one’s writing muscles nimble. I believe that well-written content is extremely valuable, even though video seems to be the go-to for quick, self-education. If you are a marathoner, you need to stay in shape for the next race, right? Writers need to have that same mindset, in my opinion.

Secondly, I wanted this blog to share my observations about communications with employers and colleagues – sort of a way to say I know what’s useful and what’s pointless. More often than not, I found it easier to critique than compliment (what does that say about me as a person?!). In fact, if I could dive into some research, I’d love to answer:

  • Why are radio station websites are so poorly designed? 
  • Is that Addiction Network cable TV commercial tacky or pure genius? 
  • Who are the consumers that sustain the need for robo-dialers and telemarketers? 

I have so many other weird questions on my mind, too.



Remember when using Twitter was referred to as a micro blogging? I’ve always tried to mask my late timing and lack of cleverness with scheduled tweets about digital advertising. If I can no longer blog regularly, maybe I can be a more spontaneous tweeter? I’ll give that a shot. I’ll try to give my followers a true look at me and scale back on the boring work-related stuff. Hold me to this claim – look for the changes at @Nick_Baggett.

Thank you very much for reading and please do drop me a line sometime. I’ll be back!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Existing Assets used for Brand Boosts


Everyone can agree that hard work goes a long way towards achieving success. Simply doing the right thing also does wonders for the public persona of individuals or companies – and doing the right thing often doesn’t require hard work. 

Nothing seems to topple perceptions of corporate greed than stories of companies using existing assets to help others. In this post, I want to share a few examples of companies putting aside their sales goals to do the right thing.

Anheuser-Busch | Water in Crisis 

The severe flooding in Houston brought about by Hurricane Harvey has created the ultimate irony: water all around but not one drop is potable. Anheuser-Busch paused their normal production at a facility in Georgia to create thousands of cans of water to distribute in Houston.



The media has (rightfully) praised the brewer for doing the right thing but this is actually a common practice for Anheuser-Busch. They provided similar assistance during the peak of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. 

Was it hard for Anheuser-Busch to do the right thing in these cases? Probably not – they already had the supply of water for their normal production and the specialized cans didn’t require a lot of graphic design or ink. At most, transporting the cans of water would be the pain point but in dire situations, I imagine there are groups or individuals willing to take on that burden.

Panera Bread | Day-End Dough-Nation 

Across the country, Panera Bread serves hundreds of thousands of customers each day. But, that’s often not enough as many of their locations have baked goods remaining unsold on a daily basis. These leftovers could be sold the following day but at the risk of violating health codes or serving food that is lower than Panera’s standards. Instead, Panera partners with area shelters and charities to provide this unsold food to those that need it most.



Is it hard for Panera Bread to do the right thing? Again, probably not. The alternative to this program is hauling all of this food to a dumpster. People from all walks of life can appreciate efforts to reduce waste and the above video shows that there are plenty of groups willing to take (and transport) this food. 

By the way, click here to register your group for a Day-End Dough-Nation. 

Sports Apparel of Losing Teams | Donations to 3rd World Countries 

These days, as soon as the final whistle blows on major sporting events, the victors are quickly clad in the official champion’s gear. From hats to t-shirts, this gear features the logos of the winning team. Details such as these can’t be simply whipped up in an instant, right? Well, apparel companies plan for both outcomes for the games. But the losing team’s versions never see the light of day – at least not in the USA. 

Here’s a video that explains what happens to the loser’s gear:



I don’t know how the destination of the loser’s gear is determined but, the apparel companies that follow the practice are definitely doing the right thing. Is this difficult to accomplish? I’d say “no” again. The items feature date and location-sensitive printing and, let’s face it, no fan of the losing team wants to wear a “false” shirt. The people that come into possession of these clothes probably have no tie-in to the teams and value them more for what they are – quality clothing. 

Here’s an article that details just how tricky the agreements between apparel companies and sports leagues can be. 

Doesn't it seem that when companies do the right thing, they also receive a favorable Brand boost? In today’s world, we can sure use more stories of companies putting financial gain aside in order to help others. Are you aware of similar examples? If so, let me know in the comments section or tell me on Twitter

Thanks for reading! 

{Top image: Courtesy}

Sunday, February 26, 2017

What New Skills Would I Apply at Past Jobs?


The years are starting to pass faster and faster but this old dog is still learning new tricks. I'm glad to have the opportunity to constantly add new skills (while gaining a better understanding of old skills).

It seems that each time I gain a new skill, I catch myself imagining how great it would have been to have that knowledge in the past. With that in mind, here are the 3 things I know now that would have gone a long way towards helping me perform better in past roles.

UTM PARAMETERS

In the past, I conducted a lot of email campaigns and always used Google Analytics to gauge the traffic produced by the emails to my employer's website. But, that was done a very high level. I now have a better understanding of how tagged URLs (aka UTM parameters) can provide very granular details about the clicks from a button, link, image, etc.

Using a URL builder is pretty self-explanatory but there are a lot of helpful videos on YouTube that explain how these types of URLs work.

PUT THE FINISH LINE ONLINE

Because of technology limitations, the customer journey for many of my past digital campaigns did not extend beyond a visit to a website. The call-to-action in search ads or banner ads was most often something along the lines of "click for more info". I now know the value of having an online "finish line" that will enable shoppers to carry out their purchase online.  Not only does this provide a more satisfying, productive experience, it also makes it possible for marketers to report all the way to the end of the shopping journey and show the impact of the digital campaign. Which leads me to my last point...

TARGETING AND TAGGING

I learned early on about the default targeting options associated with most digital tactics - such as geographic location, gender or age. I've since learned that online targeting capabilities can go much deeper...to scary levels, actually! In more recent roles, I've benefited from more precise targeting as well as tagging digital campaigns that help monitor ad performance from the beginning to the end of campaigns. To me, targeting and tagging go hand-in-hand.

I didn't write this post to knock my former employers or harp about how limited my knowledge used to be. The fact is that I continue to learn each day and I'm thankful to all of the people that have helped me along the way.