9 Reasons to Drink the Marketing Automation Kool-Aid

Marketing automation Kool-Aid

Would you like to reduce the cost of sales, attract more leads and boost revenues? Dumb question. Of course you would. That’s why it’s time to get over the “robots controlling the world” fears, and dive into marketing automation. Now for some motivation:

Cold, hard cash

  1. Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Gartner Research)
  2. 78% of high-performing marketers say that marketing automation software is responsible for improving revenue contribution. (Source: Position2)

More sales. Lower cost.

  1. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research via Pardot)
  2. Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (via Captera)
  3. Lead nurturing reduces the percentage of marketing-generated leads ignored by sales (from as high as 80% to as low as 25%).
  4. The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision makers being involved in the buying process. (via Captera)

Blindside the competition

  1. Marketing automation software only has 3% adoption in non-tech companies. (via Captera)
  2. 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation software. (via Captera)

Ideopia can help

  1. 64% of CMOs have no process, or an informal process, to manage their marketing automation. (The Annuitas Group)
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The Five Commandments of Beer Marketing

Your beer packaging could look like this!

Your beer packaging could look like this!

In between trips to rehab, the beer group at Ideopia has been searching for the ultimate beer client. To fully establish ourselves as thought leaders in the field, we have created the Five Commandments of Beer Marketing: a guaranteed recipe for selling even the worst swill.

1. Carefully pick a name  like “Madtree’s Psycopathy,” “Skull Splitter” and “Rogue’s Dead Man Ale” that zero in on the benefits of your brew. When in doubt, use this time-tested formula [MOTHER’S NAME] + [WORD ASSOCIATED WITH DEATH OR NEAR DEATH]. For example, “Betty’s Woodchopper Pilsner.” Then turn it into a cool bar call, like “Gimme another Bad Betty!”

2. Packaging. The bigger the brewery, the more handmade (trashier) you should make your package look. Reliable standbys include monsters, vikings, maidens, skeletons, ninjas and skulls. Use a sheaf of wheat at your own risk.

3. Don’t forget tons of social media links, and a clever story about your first batch. We’re all about building communities, because that’s where the parties are.

4. By the way, nobody drinks a 12-ounce beer anymore. Not even hipsters. Think cans, and supersize from 22 or 32 ounce to mini keg. Encourage more sloshing at a single sitting, and lower your packaging costs per ounce.

5. Marketing: While your beer has that homey, slightly illegal look, you need to back it up with heavy data mining, and a serious marketing automation system. Goals: Identify heavy users and deliver coupons to them before they run dry. Use social media. And start a conversation by posting their drunken selfies, twerking and breakup pics. (Got one? post it to our Facebook page.)

Pricing: Craft beers should be priced at least 150% more than the common crap beers. That’s how consumers know it’s good. For you big batchers, the general rule is 100% over cost plus the percentage of alcohol.


Remember the Five Commandments of Beer Marketing, and you can sell just about any rotgut that comes out of your basement.

If you need additional help with your beer marketing, though that’s highly unlikely, give Susan Abramovitz a call at 513-947-1444 x10. Planning a tasting? We’d love to come.

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Custom Emoji’s Add Depth to Brands

You know what emoji’s are : They’re the  little, sometimes annoying smiley faces used to punctuate email and social media posts. Their purpose is to clarify the tone of what’s said or to  extend it’s meaning. We believe that custom emoji’s or a set of custom emoji’s will serve a similar purpose for brands.

Logos anchor brand identity over long-spans of time, while custom emoji’s might come and go. A simple example would be a green brand using a tree to along with its logo symbolize environmental consciousness . We’re excited about the  possibilities. So take a look at a giant version of Ideopia’s emoji and see what you think. Quick translation: eye represents our singular vision of creativity, the clouds are ideas while the many hands reflect our hybrid approach. Tell us  what you think? Have tried anything similar? Feel free to post.

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Ideopia Wins 2014 Aster Awards for Creative Medical Marketing

Ideopia, the Hybrid Agency, was awarded multiple Asters for advertising created for its clients in the medical industry. Ideopia won four awards for three separate clients, including print campaigns, blog and email marketing, and web development.

Ideopia received awards in the following categories:

  • Gold in the Magazine Category for its “Legendary Campaign” for Reliance Medical Products in Mason, Ohio.
  • Gold in the E-Newsletter Category for “Blink Blog” for Reichert Technologies in Buffalo, New York.
  • Bronze  in the Magazine Category for Reichert Technologies for its “Animal” campaign.
  • Bronze in the Website Category for Eyefficient, Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, for its website.

Click images to enlarge

“By working together, our creative team and our clients are able to craft exciting and innovative advertising,” said Bill Abramovitz, CEO and Creative Director of Ideopia. “It’s rewarding to see our work recognized by our peers in the industry.”

The Aster Awards is one of the largest national competitions of its kind and recognizes the most talented healthcare marketing professionals for outstanding excellence in advertising. The 2014 Aster Awards received over 3,000 entries from around the world.

Entries for each category are judged by a panel of design and healthcare marketing professionals on Creativity, Layout/Design, Typography, Production, Quality, and Overall Effectiveness. First, second and third-place winners receive Gold, Silver and Bronze awards.

About Ideopia

Founded in 1990 Ideopia, the Hybrid Agency, is an integrated marketing agency that partners with clients to achieve long-term goals through interactive marketing, web development, social media, public relations and advertising. Ideopia is headquartered in Cincinnati but lives in the cloud at ideopia.com.

Visit Ideopia’s portfolio to see what else it’s up to.

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Earth to Creatives: Where are Your Websites?

Web education for students isn't happening.

Student website are missing in action.

This  became painfully apparent over the past month as reviewed more than a dozen portfolios from senior art directors and entry-level. The process was exhilarating, discouraging and, at times, enraging.

Of the 21 portfolios I reviewed, only one showed any digital work of consequence. And now that person works for us.

Maybe we give the younger people a pass on creating for the web, because they’re the victims of their school’s curriculum. But why? Hasn’t the younger generation grown up with all things web and mobile? Why don’t they have the curiosity to explore digital even if it isn’t in the course description?

Working in a web of denial.

One probable explanation: The old fogies are designing the curriculum, and they themselves have not adapted to the new secret ways of the web. Like many students they’ve convinced themselves that digital design is just an extension of print, and thus not worthy of much attention.

Of course that’s not true. And poor slobs like me will spend countless hours explaining why a web page can’t weigh-in at 20mb, how web visitors scan pages, that our pages foldup responsively for mobile devices, and that meaning and accessibility trumps artifice. Even if they can’t execute the basics, they should understand them.

The old salt art directors are another story. They don’t exactly act like the Internet is a fad, but neither do they embrace it. What I saw their work were hobbyist websites that looked OK, but t wouldn’t pass a basic usability or technical test. Their M.O. is to design a pretty interface and hand it off too a developer to make their mess work.

I can’t understand why any creative person wouldn’t dive into digital, poke around, learn, and bring new ideas to the party. We can’t kid ourselves any longer. Knowing the basics of print design and the joys of type ligatures prepares you better for a job in food service than web design.

Hip teachers and students are already embracing digital. If you’re not seriously into web, mobile, app, games and responsive design, get there. Maybe you’ll get a job at a cool, progressive shop instead of serving happy meals.

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Does Your Brand Take Hostages?

Brands and customer experience

Thugs, drug cartels and rogue states take hostages. So do marketers. Yes, you. No judgement. We all do it. But, because the brand experience has become paramount, we need to be more aware of our hostage taking. Every time you deprive customers of freedom of choice, the ability to switch to another competitor’s product, or stealing their time, you’re taking hostages. And, in our touchy feely era of social media and brand experience, it doesn’t bode well annual profits.

Sometimes waiting enhances the buying experience. For me that’s the anticipation I feel waiting for my six shots of espresso at the Starbuck’s drive thru. But, when you spend an entire day trying to get support on the line, a part of your life is stolen outright.

You don’t describe our hostage situation in such intense term, but it does extract a direct or indirect cost. Every time you’re stuck in line, on-hold, bound to costly equipment and exorbitant upgrades. Never mind a getting socked for proprietary replacement parts, like an oddball battery. Or an ad agency that won’t release web files after being sacked. You’re paying ransom.

What does this mean for marketers? We must consider our customer’s time (their life), and any point of friction: a laborious sales process, manufacturing time, customer service, or slow delivery of goods. Time is a precious commodity, which makes speed a powerful brand differentiator.

Hostage taking tactics may be effective in the short term, but they rarely payout in the long run. A ridiculously long mortgage application may still result in a home sale, but the profits generated
They may pay for now. But they don’t like it. And the first opportunity they have to jump to another brand, they’ll do it.

If you’re a competitor of one of our clients, I hope you’re taking hostages. Because and the brands we represent are coming for you. We’ll set your customers free. Compensate them for their rage. Introduce them to a brand that takes no prisoners. And, we’re going to do it fast.

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Danger! Divas in the Workplace.

Divas in Advertising AgenciesIdeopia defines itself as a creative agency. And I’ve been guilty of cutting some creatives a lot of slack – especially the really good ones – about working hours, showing up late for meetings, special office arrangement, accommodating dietary preferences, and gently phrasing feedback. Really. Mea culpa.

That era at Ideopia has ended, so I’d like to share what I’ve learned:

  1. Advertising is a team sport. Don’t hire soloists, egotists or people with fat heads. Divas should work at home and not infect the team with their sense of superiority.
  1. The best ideas almost always surges out of hard work by teams. You don’t own your idea when you have a team of 8 people serving an account, mining the client for information, and, most importantly, selling the creative. You, as a designer or writer, can put the ad in your book and claim it as your own, but we all know better.
  1. A standard interview probe should be “tell us how your team developed a great idea?” Diva warning signs: “The other people in the group weren’t pulling their weight,” or “I came up with the basic idea, and my team did an awesome job polishing it.”
  1. Perceived favoritism is toxic to teams. It places one person above the company’s needs and drops them like metal shavings into the  finely balanced team that creates ideas.

My most important job now is to feed and nurture my team, and abandon my role as creative nanny. So evaluate your divas and decide if their negative affects the performance and productivity of your larger group. If not, let them work from home, or show them the door.

Please feel free to share this column with your favorite diva.

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Pappy’s Gone Missing! Film at 11.


Buffalo Trace Distillery recently discovered that several cases of the premium Pappy Van Winkle bourbon had been…err… winkled.

So to the fine folks at Buffalo Trace: One of your bourbon brands just made it into the news in a (relatively) neutral story. How do you capitalize on the moment and turn it into a positive PR opportunity? Let’s find out.

Pappy is already a hard-to-get, bragging-rights-acquired, top-shelf bourbon with lots of fans among the bourbon cognoscenti, now exposed to a much wider audience because of the theft of a few cases.

“Wow, this stuff is so good, someone heisted it from the warehouse!”

“How much is a bottle?!?”

“It must be wicked awesome!”

“I must have some!”

Instant buzz. But there’s no problem peddling Pappy. People line up around the block to get at this liquid gold when a few bottles become available. But Buffalo Trace distills other bourbons. And they’re special too.

Get some reporters down to the distillery. Look for reporters who enjoy a cocktail or two. This shouldn’t be hard.

When you make the pitch to visit, talk about the bourbon culture in Kentucky that’s now expanding worldwide. Talk about Kentucky’s bourbon mystique. Talk about how there are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than people. And send ‘em some pictures…scenes that’ll make good video. Think in terms of visual interest and what might capture a viewer/reader’s attention.

Once the reporters arrive, show them what makes Pappy special. And talk about your OTHER brands, too. About how the same care and quality that make Pappy so beloved goes into ALL your brands. Make sure you have lots of bottles set out. And glasses. Don’t be afraid to think big–This doesn’t have to be just a local/regional story.  This thing has national appeal.

Get those master distillers talking about the 20-year-long process that goes into a bottle of Pappy’s. And the artisanal process for your other brands. Say artisanal…a lot.  People on the coasts love artisanal. Reference mint juleps, the national media loves those. Mention how Celebrity Chef and Bon Vivant Anthony Bourdain considers Pappy’s the bee’s knees. A little name-dropping never hurts. And don’t forget to  deploy social media to take advantage of all this attention; it can be a great force multiplier, getting you attention in many different spheres.

So that’s how to turn a little light-fingered larceny into a big win for Buffalo Trace. But what if you’re another distillery and want to get some of that limelight? Reach out to the media and talk about your new security upgrades in light of the recent high-end bourbon thefts. How you’re protecting your own specialty bourbon that’s purloin-worthy. And what makes it so darn special. Find ways your brand fits into the story. No matter what your industry is, be aware that a little news nugget can be turned into a gold rush. And when you find yourself getting your 15 minutes, be prepared to take advantage. I’ll drink to that!

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List Segmentation Makes Email Way More Effective

Reasons to segment your email database

Audience segmentation has blasted way beyond simple demographic and psychographic descriptions of markets. Sophisticated email marketing schemes can suck data about your customers from Facebook and other sources and target obscure markets like guys who enjoy pilates, frozen dinners, and Finnish beer. Get started now with basic email segmentation, or you’ll have a nervous breakdown when big data and marketing automation hit your doorstep.

Why email?

Not many small businesses have the resources to use or buy big data to target messages to individual consumers. But you can put segmentation to use in your email right away. Most email platforms, even the bargain basement brands, offer some capability.

Why should I care?

You can send tailored information to small but important parts of your audience and make them like you. Why pitch a $500 driver to a novice golfer, or beer to a self-professed wine nut. It makes your company seem out of touch.

Because your content is more relevant, you can celebrate by kicking back, popping open a can of your favorite Finnish beer, and start raking it in big time.

Better numbers. The positive or negative performance won’t sway the analytics for your entire list. At Ideopia, we can always count on our friends and family list for a 60% click-thru rate with our eNewsletter. Great numbers, but they’re outliers when it comes to the performance of our overall list.

Zero in on the most profitable customer segments, and super serve them with customized content.

If you don’t have the resources to write 6 different newsletters then swap out the lead stories only. Still pressed for time? Reduce the length of your stories, or mix it up with Vine video or infographics.

How do I get started?

Sign up with an email marketing web application that handles segmentation. Here’s a helpful review of the most popular email marketing solutions.

Set target metrics or KPIs for each segment. Determine the most meaningful segmentation of your list. With any luck, your Customer Resource Management (CRM) system has already figured this out. Examples could include distributor / direct, gender, brand preference, geography, mobile vs. desktop, business category, etc. Start slowly; this is a journey, not a destination.

Modify your email address capture system, like web forms, to gather segmentation information.

Consider using information commonly available through your website, like time spent on a specific page, referral source (social media, landing page, search term).

Get help! Recruit the product manager to write stories about their category. Put the people in your company who love your products and want to express themselves writing first-person pieces, or creating Vine Video. Assuming you want to see your family again, you will need a content team.

Stagger your mailings, so the editorial crunch doesn’t hit on one day.

You can do it! This first step isn’t technologically difficult, it just takes the grit to plan and organize. You’ll see unsubscribes go down, and conversions and brand loyalty go up.

Is Segmentation Creepy?

On a sale of 1-10 with Facebook being the creepiest user of customer data, basic email segmentation is a 2. Do make sure that you upgrade your privacy policy, so visitors know exactly what you’re doing with their information.

Learn more about content and email segmentation with these posts:

How Evaluate Your Email Newsletter

Blow the Dust off Your Email Program

Mobile Friendly Email is a Must

Troubleshoot Email Marketing with Infographic

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