brand experience. amplified.

Hybrid Digital Marketer/Designer/Programmer/SEO Practitioner

AIM ( an integrated marketing agency has an immediate opening for an experienced Hybrid Web Marketer/Designer/Programmer/SEO Practitioner. 

Ideal candidate has experience in: digital marketing; front-end visual website design and usability; backend programming and coding skills; and a firm grasp of SEO best practices in a post hummingbird environment.Skills:
• WordPress
• Landing Page and Lead Form Creation & Programming
• Adobe CS (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator)
• Keyword Research & Targeting
• Local Search Optimization
• Search Verticals and New Search Protocols
• Online Reputation Monitoring and Management
• Quality Link Cultivation
• Content Marketing (Distribution, Aggregation, etc.)
• Social Media MarketingThis is an excellent opportunity for an ambitious individual to build their skills and resume as a professional digital marketer. Interested candidates should submit their resume and a minimum of three (3) examples of work explaining how it meets the above criteria.
Hiring Organization:
  • Compensation: $2,500/month plus performance-based, results-driven incentives


Facebook’s Flawed and Ultimately Fatal Mobile Miss

Facebook Mobile Icon

Today’s Wall Street Journal Marketplace print edition carries a front page story (digital link here, subscription required for full article) on how the world’s most popular social network has made a giant miscalculation in how it’s going about it’s mobile strategy. I couldn’t agree more.

In fact, I was just posting on Facebook over the weekend about how lousy their mobile experience was and a number of my friends chimed in with their agreement. Why is Facebook neglecting mobile when over half their 900 million users access the network on iPhones, iPads and Android devices and when doing so, get a very limited and extremely slow-loading version of the site? And, might this lack of mobile foresight have something to do with the rather lack-luster performance of their post-IPO stock valuation? After all, their stock fell 11%…a whopping $11.5 billion off their initially priced market value…in the first full day of trading after the totally botched launch Friday.

It’s obvious to even the most casual observer that the extreme over-hype around Facebook’s IPO was setting everyone up for major disappointment. Starting with their stock priced at a price-to-earnings ratio in the neighborhood of 85 times their projected earnings in the next 12 months certainly didn’t help (by comparison, Google currently trades at a stock price 13 times earnings). But, people are starting to notice how truly clunky and unusable Facebook is on mobile devices.

As the Wall Street Journal article points out,  Facebook’s problems with app developers is just one concerning aspect of their mobile situation. For example, CrowdStar, developer of games such as Fishville and Happy Pet, used daily by over 50 million users, last month said they have stopped making games for Facebook.

The reason? You cannot access their games on Facebook’s mobile version. So, in addition to developers having to fork over to Facebook over 30% of their in-app sales for things like virtual goods, they also are loosing a substantial part of their market and sales potential. Instead, developers say they are focusing future development efforts on the iPhone, iPad and Android apps. This puts Facebook on the defense, playing mobile catch up because early on they made a strategic decision they didn’t want mobile users coming to Facebook via apps but instead through mobile browsers.

Facebook’s reasoning was two-fold: 1) they didn’t want to be put in a vulnerable position of relying on the platform lords of Apple and Google; and 2) they wanted to create one version of their site, using advanced HTML5 coding, instead of a version for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc. The only problem with this approach is that it’s going to take HTML5 another two to three years to mature enough to become truly useful as a mobile/browser-based platform. Meanwhile, everyone is using apps to access everything and that includes Facebook, which truly stinks as a mobile app.

Of note recently, Facebook is trying to show it’s mobile savviness by purchasing mobile app companies like Instagram (for $1 billion) and Glancee. Yet Facebook continues to basically ignore handset makers and carriers…all while this year, Apple iPhone sales are projected to hit 139 million devices and Android is projected to reach 364 million units, according to research firm Gartner.

So, is this lack of mobile vision raising it’s ugly head in Facebook’s anemic IPO stock price performance? Rick Summer, Morningstar analyst, listed the company’s potential failure to capitalize on it’s mobile future as a risk factor and pegged the stock price at at “fair market value” of $32 instead of the $38 price at which it launched.

Although mobile is a huge component for Facebook’s future success, it’s really just one component. But this issue also highlights the inherent danger in brands becoming overly-reliant on building their brand outside of their own owned and controlled digital platforms and destinations. You could spend months and tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars developing a Facebook commerce platform and with their limited mobile user experience right now, you’re missing half your audience. Even worse, Facebook, as they’ve done numerous times in the past could change terms of service, making all your plans obsolete and all that invested time and money goesup in a puff of smoke.

The lesson here for brands is just as stark: If digital behemoth Facebook can have it’s value depressed and even threatened by it’s lack of mobile strategy, what do you think will happen to your brand for neglecting the same?

Something to think about as you plan your online content strategy and manage your entire digital presence. And, in case you think Facebook is already past it’s prime, here’s an interesting article from Wired on seven social networking apps that could replace Facebook.

The Most Interesting Post in the World

The Most Interesting man in the world

Dude, Where’s My Data! Video Speed Trap Lurks for Users of New iPad…and Marketers Using More Video!

Dude, Where's My Data

Interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “Video Speed Trap Lurks in New iPad” about how users of the new iPad are discovering beneath the beautiful  new HD retina screen and streaming lots of crisp HD video to their iPads on the blazing fast 4G  AT&T and Verizon networks lurks a nasty little surprise…running through 3 to 5 gigabytes of data…a month’s worth…in just a couple of days! Maybe the article should have been titled “The Money Pit Lurking in Your iPad” because for every 1 gigabyte of data you go over your plan, you’ll be coughing up an extra $10.

I have had two personal experiences with this issue. And, my data choking encounters don’t just involve the wireless 4G network or the new iPad. Just this week, the issue raised its ugly head dealing with overages in my internet cable data plan. Let my sad tales be a warning to you all…

Et tu, iPad?

My first experience with THE MAN coming down on my happy-go-lucky, all-you-care-to-stream 4G wireless data buffet occurred this December while my wife and I had a little weekend get a way in Las Vegas.. Upon checking into the hotel, I was eager to fire up the new AT&T 4G wireless hotspot I’d purchased to replace my old, slow and one-device only wireless laptop modem.

The hotspot fired on, I connected my MacBook Pro, my iPhone, my wife’s first-generation iPad and my iPad 2 and everything worked great – until it didn’t. My wife asked if she should download a couple of TV shows and movies on iTunes to enjoy on the flight home. “Sure,” I said. “Why not?”.

Here’s why not…a couple of seemingly innocent media purchases wiped out my entire data plan for the month. I discovered this after she had departed for home and I, having stayed behind in the hotel to work on client projects, received a dreaded “suspension of service because of exceeding your monthly data limits” notice from AT&T…right before I had to lead a client web meeting, of course. After arguing with AT&T in disbelief that I could have used an entire month’s worth of data…5 GB’s…in just two days…they agreed to give me a 2 GB “grace” credit. But, they sternly scolded me, “You did use this much data and you have been warned”.

Hello, my name is Scott and I’m a Data Hog

My second experience in bumping up against today’s increasingly short data ceiling occurred just this week when I received a notice from my cable company that my internet data usage was nearing my 250GB per month limit. “250 GB’s” I yelled throughout my house, “who in the world is using this much data?!?” Turns out, it was all of us.

Maybe it’s because I insist on living on the bleeding edge of the consumer electronics technology revolution. I have to have the coolest, newest, shiniest objects. We have two AppleTV’s, two Roku players (love ‘em), two Playstation 3′s, two XBoxes, two iPads, three iMacs, four iPhones….my granddaughter has an iPod Touch, which she uses at our house a lot, my other granddaughter has an iPad and we’re all constantly streaming NetFlix; having FaceTime chats with Gram and Gramps and my grandkids; my son is always on World of Warcraft; my daughter is on Pandora all the time and downloading iTunes purchases…and you know what?

All this streaming and downloading and playing adds up to over 250 GB of data every month. It’s clear to me, our data consumption habits are quickly outstripping the abilities of our networks to keep up and surpassing the ability of our wallets to afford it. Something has got to give.

Don’t Mock Me Marketer…You’re Next!

Now, what does all this mean for marketers? Having just finished reading over a couple of industry reports on digital marketing trends…an excellent one from the Altimeter Group on Content Marketing and another from eMarketer on Top Digital Trends 2012…marketers are just now starting to deliver lots of video content. As online video use by marketers continues to explode and mobile consumption of that video by consumers continues on its frantic pace, is this situation going to present barriers for marketers trying to reach their audiences? You bet!

The implications are this: our attention is limited, our data is limited, our wallets are limited. If you want me to pay attention to your content, it better be pretty darn good. It better be able to stand up with the stuff I’m willing to pay for and download…then pay for again with overages on my data plan. But, once a data hog, always a data hog. There is no going back to the days of measly megabytes. I want my monthly terabyte plan and I want it now!

Video is certainly the shiny new online marketing object for marketers and one doesn’t fault them for that. But, video is a bandwidth super pig. And, when you understand that search is still primarily text based, maybe it starts to make a little more sense to focus on creating less data-intensive content.

It will be interesting to see if some big marketers can adapt to these challenges and wean themselves off the video super star into producing more creative forms of text-based content. In the end, that’s really what it comes down to…how good are your consumer insights and how creative can you deliver the answers, information and inspiration your audience is looking for.

What do you think about the data limitations facing marketers?

Do you have a data choking horror story to tell? Talk to us!


These 5 Brands Are Making A Splash Without TV Ads

In our continuing effort to provide you with innovative ideas that can help you amplify your brand experience, we thought we’d share this article from Business Insider that highlights five brands making a marketing impact without spending big bucks on traditional TV ads. Enjoy!”

Aim Increases Facebook Fans, Social Conversation and Experience Engagement for NRG, Reliant Energy and eVgo

NRG Exhibit Consumer Electronics Show 2012 DeLorean electric vehicle

When NRG unveiled its eye-popping energy exhibit at the world’s largest Consumer Electronics Show January 10th, visitors got their first taste on an experience stretching seamlessly into cyberspace and across the state of Texas during 2012.

The exhibit was packed with energy-themed eye candy like the new prototype DeLorean electric vehicle; an electric vehicle charging station; a human-powered “hamster” wheel and specially equipped mountain bikes where visitors generated energy to benefit charities; solar panels, intelligent thermostats and; The Smarter Home on Wheels, a giant, rolling demonstration of today’s top energy-efficient home appliances, home automation and personal energy management solutions.

Custom-designed digital experiences and social media tie-ins enabled CES visitors along with those online to contribute to charities tied to the exhibit’s theme of “The power to change life. The energy to make it happen” as well making possible an entry into a sweepstakes to drive the one-of-a-kind DeLorean electric vehicle.

“CES is the perfect place for NRG to demonstrate how consumers can use smart energy products and services, solar energy and electric vehicles to build a more sustainable energy lifestyle,” said Karen Jones, Chief Marketing Officer of NRG. “Working with our subject matter experts and internal creative teams, AIM has helped us to create a truly unique exhibit.”

“Our goal was to create an immersive experience that would appeal to different customers and be able to live beyond the 4-day trade show,” said Jeff Symon, Chief Creative Officer of AIM, the marketing firm and brand experience agency that created it. “We wanted to not only create an engaging brand experience for those visitors at CES but also be able to amplify NRG’s brands across multiple platforms and multiple audiences.  Through the ability to repurpose the physical assets we created as well as through the social media sphere we were able to maximize NRG’s overall investment.”

The experience is designed to reach a range of potential customers, first as a B-to-B exhibit at CES, and later as a B-to-C event when the core of the exhibit, the rolling Smarter Home on Wheels, travels to fairs, events, schools and retail store locations in Texas as part of Reliant Energy’s, “Your Smarter Home Tour 2012″.

The Smarter Home on Wheels, which includes solar panels and smart energy solutions that demonstrate how home network technologies can work together to put consumers in control, giving them the power to make more informed decisions about their energy usage.

The NRG Power Playground Backyard, including the Human NRG Wheel, allowed visitors and people linked in through social media at the Facebook pages of either NRG Energy, Reliant Energy, Evgo Network or DeLorean Motor Company to use their personal energy to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that provides free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homes of low-income Americans.

The prototype of the first electric-powered DeLorean, plugged into NRG’s eVgo home charging station. The DeLorean’s appearance streamed live during CES. Both on-site and as part of the online experience, participants could enter the Drive Into the Future Sweepstakes for their chance to win a weekend in Houston to tour the Reliant Energy SmartHouse, visit the DeLorean factory and take the car out for a spin.

On-site, a photographer captured visitors as they got their picture taken in front of the DeLorean. They received a unique code to pick-up their pictures online and share them through the Reliant Energy Facebook page after the event.

The unique social media tools enabled fans not present at CES to also participate through:

  • A fangate on the NRG Energy Facebook page and a double fangate on the Reliant Energy, Evgo Network and DeLorean Motor Company pages creating a unique synergy and seamless social media experience across multiple brands Facebook pages.
  • Live video streams from the event focusing on the DeLorean and Human NRG Wheel that include the ability for fans to view, comment and share.
  • A click for charity interface that enables online visitors to contribute to the overall donation just through their clicks and by sharing with their friends, as well as being able to monitor their impact with a real-time donation meter.
  • Online registration and sharing of the Drive Into the Future Sweepstakes.

“We wanted to amplify the NRG brands by getting a much bigger bang for the buck,” said Symon.  “Through close collaboration with our client, we were able to create an on-site experience packed with state-of-the-art energy touch points that could launch at CES and travel beyond to other events along with an integrated social media experience engaging online visitors and their friends.”

Facebook’s Timeline: How to Get It

Facebook Like Button

Earlier this week, we posted about Facebook’s changes and what it all might mean for marketers.  Mashable was kind enough to run an article on how you can implement Facebook’s timline right now. It’s a fairly easy to follow set of instructions but be aware that only other people who have done this will be able to see your changes for now. Once timeline goes out of public beta, it will be viewable by everyone.

Mashable added another article a day or two ago regarding how these changes might directly effect brand pages. We’ve already heard rumblings that Facebook is pushing down brand pages from fan’s news feeds, in preparation for coming back to brands with their hands out for MONEY!

This is a perfect example of why brands needs to focus on building an engaging brand experience on their own site and not put all their eggs in a specific social media service’s basket. If you buidl a storefront in Facebook what happens when Facebook changes their terms of service? It’s kind of like a New Jersey protection racket…”Gee, it would be a shame if you’re nice little store had a fire or somethin’, wouldn’t it. But, if you take advantage of our special policy, I can assure you nothin’ will happen.”

Social media is great, until it isn’t. For years, all brands could do was lease somebody elses media to reach an audience. Not anymore. A smart brand, who knows how to find out the information, education and inspiration needs of their customers can now cheaply create their own media channel and build an audience that they own.

Really, we think the safe bet is for brands to take the later course, viewing themselves as media companies, producing helpful, relevant, engaging and entertaining content that people are already searching for and building an audience they own on their own brand site. This site then functions as a distribution hub for the content to be scattered over then entire web. By all means, post it on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube and any other specific social site that makes sense for your audience. But, don’t for a minute think these social channels will continue to offer brands their services for free forever. It’s only a matter of time before they start flexing their media might and changing for audiece acces.

What Facebook’s Changes Mean for Marketers

Two People Talking Exchange Marketing Ideas

Facebook changed the way their social network works…again. As this article from Mashable points out, there’s changes in store for how marketers use the social network as a result.

Facebook is constantly mixing things up in an attempt to stay relevant and ahead of consumer preferences. Unfortunately, this means more for marketers to keep up with. We’ve been talking about the value of content in your social media presence for some time now and this recent slew of Facebook changes makes it even more critical for marketers to deliver relevant, helpful, entertaining and informative content that serves the information and entertainment needs of their audience rather than pitching the marketers  products or services.

How to do this? We’d like to suggest a couple of simple steps:

First, use your listening platform to mine for insights about topics related to the end benefit your product or service delivers to consumers, rather than the features so many marketers drive their digital marketing around. An example of this is for a camera company to create really helpful e-books, mobile apps, videos or other digital resources to help people take better photos…the reason people buy a new camera in the first place.

Second, get your digital distribution ecosystem in place so that you can get the content out to all the social channels your consumers are using…blogs, social networks, forums and message boards, Q&A sites…you name it. Don’t keep the content behind your walled garden on your web site. Free Your Content!

Third, make sure your content is sharable. You want your audience to help with distribution, don’t you? Sure you do, because the crowd can get it out to the masses like nobody else.  Again, Free Your Content!

Finally, make sure the content has a call to action that links your audience back to your home site for a deeper layer of engagement…a special offer for more content, an incentive for purchase or some other relevant call to action. Think of your content as bread crumbs scattered across the internet, leading the little birds back to your site.

Brands that create compelling content and follow these steps reap substantial rewards, converting consumers who didn’t even know they were in the market for a product or service. When we ask marketers seek first to provide answers to needs rather than shill our stuff, everyone wins!

Image searches ‘poisoned’ by cybercriminals

So, this is pretty scary. This article in New Scientist talks about the growing problem of hackers attacking computers with malware via image searches. I search for a lot of images and this kind of freaks me out.

Computer Frustration Cybercriminal

There’s an ever-escalating battle going on between these bad guys…parasites of the internet…and Google. I think someone needs to develop a malware for malware…a software that attacks your attacker. These guys need to get a real job!

EdgeRank: How to Appear in Your Fan’s Facebook News Feed

Facebook logo trendyThis is a handy little Facebook EdgeRank Guide from the fine folks at Buddy Media. It’s all about how to make sure your brand shows up in your fan’s Facebook News Feed, one of the most effective digital marketing tools for brands, both big and small.

Quick Summary: As you probably already know, the Facebook News Feed allows companies to post branded content to a live stream of information that is constantly being consumed by Facebook users around the world.

The News Feed has incredible power to deliver useful, relevant and informative content to your audience through Facebook and beyond but you also run a high risk of getting lost in the crowd…becoming a needle in a stack of needles…if you don’t know how to optimize your content. Understanding how the News Feed works is essential to ensuring your brand’s content is seen by the people you want to reach.

The Facebook News Feed has two distinct parts: ‘Top News’ and ‘Most Recent.’ A user’s News Feed defaults to the ‘Top News,’ which according to a blog post by Facebook “is based on an algorithm [that] uses factors such as how many friends are commenting on a post, using this formula to aggregate content it thinks you will find interesting.” In other words, it uses relevancy as a signal rather than recency.

Facebook’s term for this algorithm is “EdgeRank”. Anything that appears in the feed…a video, a link, status update…is called an object. Any action taken by your connections with an object…such as a like, share or comment…is termed an edge. Facebook’s formula assigns a different weight value to each edge and it does the same to the type of object on which the edge occurs.

An object’s EdgeRank is based on three factors: affinity, weight and relevancy. When multiplied together, these factors have the ability to push your content to the top of your fan’s News Feed.