16 important factors to consider before expanding your product or service line

Expanding the line of products or services your business provides can help you remain competitive with — or even get ahead of — others in your industry. But it’s not a decision to be made lightly. If you don’t have the right resources in place or your team isn’t on board, an expansion may bring more frustration than additional revenue.

The Business Journals

It’s essential to carefully and thoroughly review not only marketplace demand but also your company’s structure and capabilities before proceeding. To ensure you and your team are fully prepared when it’s time to add to your product or service line, read the following advice shared by members of Business Journals Leadership Trust.

1. Sustainability
At Sunflower Bank, we are committed to “sustainable growth.” This means we keep a close eye on our markets and customers to help guide where we invest in future expansion. This simply means allocating our resource investments based on customer needs. We look for opportunities to provide solutions or make connections that help our customers. – Mollie Carter, Sunflower Bank, N.A.

2. Customer satisfaction
Understanding your target customer and how the new product or service can enhance customer satisfaction is key. Any business should consider these two factors when deciding whether to introduce a new product or service line. – Sudhakar Puvvada, INDIGO MILL DESIGNS, Inc

3. Potential effects on your current product or service line
It’s important to consider how an expansion may negatively affect current products or services. Expansion that causes a deterioration in the quality of current products or services would be ill-advised. – Marc Vincent, Redstone Advisors Inc

4. Licensing
One factor that accounting firms must consider when determining where to expand their service lines is licensing. Reciprocity is virtually nonexistent where public audit and attestation services are considered. Once you’ve obtained the state license to practice, you are instantly granted access to another market of potential clients. – Anthony Otaigbe, The Otaigbe Group

5. The problem you’ll be solving
Be sure you are solving a problem. If you notice emerging trends in customer conversations, come up with solutions and engage customers to gather feedback. You don’t need full buy-in, but if the solution clearly solves the problem, pursue it. When launching a new service, act as if it were a startup and push hard to get it going, but be sure not to ignore your primary business line. – Lauren Asghari, Alderson Loop

6. Serving existing customers first
When rolling out a new product or service offering, consider making the new offering available to existing customers first. There are two reasons for this. First, an existing customer is far likelier to give you grace and forgive the inevitable bumps of a new offering. Second, the existing customer might not be too happy if they aren’t given the first crack at the new product or service. – Jim Cunningham, CunninghamLegal

7. Your current capabilities
When looking to expand a product or service line, ensure you have the capabilities to do so with your current team, as well as the necessary manufacturing capabilities. Avoid putting too much strain on your staff while focusing on this new service line, and be wary of not giving enough attention to, or abandoning, the core mission of the business. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

8. The target market
The factor to consider is this: Is the expansion’s target market existing markets, adjacent markets or new markets? The cost of taking a product or service line to market can increase dramatically when moving from existing markets to adjacent and new markets — the risk and the probability of failure are increased as well. These considerations should be balanced with the market potential for this expansion line so you make the right decisions. – Pradeep Anand, Seeta Resources

9. The competitive landscape
Understand clearly the competitive landscape in terms of existing products or services that could pose a competitive threat. Once that’s clear, lay out each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and evaluate them against the unmet need — that’s your value proposition. Once you have your VP, test, test and test among a subset of potential customers and tweak before launch. Then, make the launch a splash! – Rodger Roeser, The Eisen Agency

10. Cash flow
Passion is an important factor, but the reigning lens for determining expansion is the impact on cash flow. That’s the reality check for any decisions we make about changes or expansions. Always consider investment — both monetary and your team’s time — as well as potential risks and rewards. Being pragmatic and thoughtful helps ensure you don’t negatively impact cash flow while continuing to generate projects. – Samantha Haney, Waypoint Ventures LLC

11. Your brand positioning
Ask yourself, “Is the extension meaningful to our brand, or not?” Sometimes brand extensions can hurt your brand positioning and value by expanding into territory that is wasteful. Poll your customers, do surveys and host focus groups — whatever you need to do to prove that this is something that your audience wants. Sometimes a strong gut feeling is just indigestion. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

12. Your market share
When you have reached a steady state and you’re looking to unlock the next phase of your growth, it’s time to consider adding a new product or service to enhance your brand and benefit your target clients. Or, if you are at a competitive disadvantage and are beginning to lose market share, you may need to expand your offerings to be at parity with competitors. – Shikha Jain, Simon-Kucher & Partners

13. The impact on customers
At Truliant, we make sure new services match our mission to improve our members’ lives. When there is a product or service we do not have that would allow us to better serve our members, we owe it to them to investigate it. If we can do it well, save our customers money or offer a better experience, then we would consider adding it. – Todd Hall, Truliant Federal Credit Union

14. Current market conditions and demand
The biggest indicator that it’s time for expansion is demand. For instance, before Covid, we limited our services to the local market. As a result of Covid, our services have consistently been requested nationally — so we decided to expand and now have a new service line! – Kimberly Lucas, Goldstone Partners

15. The fit with your value stack
It’s critical to consider expansion into new products and services in order to grow. However, most companies focus too much on revenue potential and not enough on how well the new offer fits within their value stack. Remember, products are tools to help customers get jobs done. Make sure any new tool you bring to market is consistent with your primary promise of impact or you risk brand erosion. – Thomas Miller, Human

16. What your clients are telling you
One definition for marketing is to find a need and meet it. When creating a new product or service, the secret to success is your relationships with your clients. Through frequent meetings and conversations, inevitably a client will express needs, and you can jointly develop a solution. Typically, the same challenges are experienced by other organizations. As you share the solution, a new product is born. – Tony Rossell, Marketing General Incorporated

10 effective ways e-commerce businesses can demonstrate a social mission

In today’s hyper-connected, information-rich marketplace, consumers can easily find out quite a lot about businesses. Many customers search for and choose to patronize companies that embrace a social mission that they believe in, seeking an emotional, personal connection based on shared values.

The Business Journals

With e-commerce playing an ever-expanding role in the shopping habits of both consumers and businesses, companies in the space need to find creative ways to make connections with prospective buyers. If your e-commerce business’s brand involves a commitment to one or more social missions, it’s essential to demonstrate that to your target audience. Here, 10 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share effective ways to do just that.

1. Carefully consider the issues to focus on.
To be successful, an e-commerce business should be authentic, transparent and reliable. Consumers — especially younger consumers — purchase from brands that mirror the values that they hold in their daily lives. They are also influenced by social and environmental issues, and to be relevant, businesses should prioritize which missions to focus on. – Shikha Jain, Simon-Kucher & Partners

2. Display your social mission on your landing page.
Display your social mission on the landing page of your company’s website so it’s one of the first things that a consumer sees when they find your brand. It can help to better communicate your brand’s values and engage consumers in your social mission. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

3. Partner with a nonprofit.
Try partnering with a nonprofit that shares your social mission. This is a great way to give back in a transparent manner while also making it clear where your ideals lie. Also, partnerships like this are great for boosting profiles and even better for special events. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

4. Highlight your team’s work.
Highlight those who work for your business and what they are doing for social impact, rather than what your company is doing. Make it about the power of individual service and sacrifice. People love to hear human stories much more than reading about how much was raised in corporate donations. – Chip Laingen, Defense Alliance

5. Be present locally.
One of the best ways to share your mission is to have a physical local presence. Many e-commerce businesses focus on casting a wide net digitally, but they forget the human element of having an impact on consumers at their local level. These are the causes that often mean the most to customers. – Nathan Scherper, Sherper’s

6. Include your social mission in all communications, and share photos.
Make sure you put your social mission on each page of your site, and include it in all communications. Do not put it just on the home page and forget about it. Also, post photos of checks being hand-delivered to recipients. People look at pictures more than they read written words. – Jim Lane, Lane Technology Solutions

7. Engage in public conversations.
Participating through social media and engaging in conversations about projects you are passionate about helps bring attention to your organization’s “why.” Make yourself and your company a part of the conversations that you care about — discuss the social aspects of what your certifications bring and the impact on the “why.” Make it about the causes. – Jack Smith, Fortuna Business Management Consulting

8. Back up social initiatives with objective data.
Businesses can say they are committed to a social initiative, but they need to back it up with action. Why is the cause important to the company and its stakeholders? What benchmarks have already been hit? What are the goals for the next phase of the initiative? What is the plan to meet them? Without objective data, a company may be accused of “slacktivism.” – Mark Zinman, Zinman & Company

9. Share your mission and service on social media.
Sharing on social media is a great way for a business to demonstrate its social mission to customers. If the mission of the organization is to provide a service, they should provide a form of it for free on social media so that customers have an opportunity to interact and test the service without a commitment. – Mackenzie Toland, A New Leaf Therapeutic Services PLLC

10. Show the measurable impact you’re making.
One of the best ways an e-commerce business can demonstrate its social mission is not only clearly articulating that mission on the website and all marketing collateral but also backing up the statement with the measurable impact, whether that’s related to an environmental or social impact. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.

Nine less common ways to increase transparency through social media

Social media is a great marketing tool that can catapult a business or brand to success if you know how to use it to its full potential. When you take advantage of all the useful tools that social media platforms have to offer and understand how to strategize the content you share, it can be the best and least expensive way to reach a large portion of your target customers.

The Business Journals

There are several ways for businesses to use social media to increase transparency, many of which are still uncommon. If you know what they are, you can make the most of your social media pages. To provide some of these lesser-known secrets to success, nine members of Business Journals Leadership Trust discuss various ways that professionals and brands can use social media to increase transparency.

1. Focus social media content around FAQs.
Focus your social media content around your frequently asked questions. Be proactive in answering your customer’s questions before they even ask. This will help you educate your audience and draw them closer to you so that you can build engagement with them. Also, a great byproduct is that sometimes this will uncover another level of customer misunderstandings that you can address to increase conversion. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

2. Capitalize on negative reviews by owning up.
Positive reviews on Facebook and other platforms can help build your credibility, however, negative reviews can have a huge impact on the perception of your brand as well as your ability to compete for new business. The most reputable brands capitalize on negative reviews as an opportunity to take ownership and turn detractors into raving fans, and prospective customers will always take notice. – Melea McRae, Crux KC

3. Use social media to highlight successes.
Social media can have positive and negative implications. An organization should use social media to highlight company successes. This is great exposure for an organization. Potential clients may be looking at this when considering you for a contract they are procuring. On the negative side, spotlighting key staff successes provides an opportunity for competitors to poach your resources. – Jerry Ramos, Ramos Consulting, LLC

4. Show behind-the-scenes company culture.
A brand can use social media to show the behind-the-scenes of how it operates, share employee highlights and talk about company culture. This can help increase transparency and show authenticity. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

5. Communicate clearly with customers.
Increased transparency helps to drive successful communication. When an organization is communicating clearly with their customers on a public platform, others are able to view that information as well. This creates a culture of transparency within and outside of the organization, giving future customers an opportunity to see what is really inside. – Mackenzie Toland, A New Leaf Therapeutic Services PLLC

6. Cross-market with partners and community.
One way to use social media to increase transparency is to cross-market with partners. Once you start that conversation and dialogue on social media, connecting with partners and your community, your followers will better understand who you spend your time with and your “why.” When you cross-market across partners and platforms, you amplify your effect and your message to both audiences. – Jack Smith, Fortuna Business Management Consulting

7. Promote employee-generated content.
Use social media to promote employee-generated content. Videos on TikTok and Instagram, for example, can really help to give potential employees and customers an authentic glimpse into your culture. – Kenneth Bowles, WilsonHCG

8. Be vulnerable and share personal stories.
Social media provides an opportunity for business owners to be vulnerable and really share their story — the good and the bad. When transparency is present, it is relatable and people respect it and are able to feel connected to you. When someone feels connected, they tend to be more open to listening and supporting whatever it is you are doing. It can be uncomfortable, yet so rewarding. – Amber Duncan, Jackie

9. Release statements and interact directly.
In times of crisis, social media can be a powerful tool. Brands can use social media to release statements, which allows a large portion of their customer base to stay in the know. They can also use social platforms to interact directly with customers who are affected by the crisis. Consider social media an effective community management platform, not just a photo-sharing app. – Lauren Reed, Reed Public Relations

10 Original Case Study Ideas For Converting Tech-Savvy Audiences

Case studies are tried-and-true tools that businesses use to convince prospects to buy their products or services. When it comes to selling to tech-savvy customers in any industry, case studies have long been integral to providing potential customers with the information they need to make a purchase decision.

Forbes Agency Council

However, to effectively engage the most tech-savvy prospects, a case study must be designed and presented with the specific audience’s level of understanding and objectives in mind. Taking a nontraditional approach to creating case studies may help to capture the interest of tech-focused audiences. Here, members of Forbes Agency Council explore 10 original and effective ways to inform prospects about the technological benefits of a product or service and lead them toward conversion.

1. Let Your Customer Speak

Everyone is used to carefully worded case studies written by a marketer trying to sell the product or service. Flip it around and have a satisfied customer tell an authentic story in their own words. Have them speak in the same language that your new prospects do and proactively answer their anticipated questions. Capture that on video, and you’re sure to surprise prospects. – Jim Heininger, Dixon|James & Rebranding Experts

2. Make The Customer The Hero

Make the customer the hero of your case studies, not your company. When prospects read a case study, they view themselves in the role of your customer, not the agency. If you make the case study about yourself, not only will they fail to identify with the content, but they will also think that you are more concerned with your own success than that of your clients. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

3. Make Case Studies Available In A Variety Of Formats

Case studies are business-generation tools. I do not get to decide where my prospects are consuming content; they do. I therefore need to make a case study available in whatever format they choose to consume it. This means that my case study must be available in print, on YouTube, as a PDF or in any other format the people I want to reach are consuming. – Brook Shepard, Mason Interactive

4. Use A Video Capture System To Highlight Your Case Study

I’ve been using Loom for a variety of show-and-tell kinds of conversations where an email or print piece can’t express the concepts or ideas sufficiently. I’d recommend using Loom or another video capture system to highlight your case study and actually walk prospects through a demo via video. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC

5. Tell The Story Through Images Or Video With Voice-Over

Telling the story of a case study through a rotating carousel of images or video with voice-over would be an effective way to portray the success of the study and keep the tech-savvy consumer or prospective client engaged. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

6. Show The Results In A Video Format

When we build our case studies, we like to show the results in a video format. Think of it as a 15-second commercial. We then take this same piece of content and post it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then, I will build remarketing audiences based on the video views. I like to make sure every piece of content is getting the maximum opportunity to drive conversions. – Jerry Kelly, Marketing 360®

7. Personalize Case Studies By Making Them Interactive

Marketing today is about personalization. Therefore, case studies—which are a natural extension of marketing—really need to be similarly tailored. By this I mean put the reader or viewer in charge of what they consume. Make the case studies interactive by allowing them to choose which aspects of the case study they see in whatever order they choose. Let them build it however they want to consume it. – Hamish Anderson, Three Piece Marketing

8. Use A Video Testimonial Created By A Client

Using a video testimonial created by a current or previous client could be an original idea for a nontraditional way to present a case study. Having them outline the benefits of your product or service firsthand is invaluable. While written case studies often aren’t very engaging, it’s easy to convey key points in a relatable way with video content. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

9. Supplement The Traditional Model With A Video

A video case study to accompany the traditional problem/solution model can be a great way to show off your clients’ product. This added visual element speaks much louder than static words and pictures and allows prospects to get a better idea of what the client does and how they achieve customer goals. The videos can then be shortened and repurposed for additional engaging social media content. – Michelle Abdow, Market Mentors, LLC

10. Integrate Forum-Like Functionality Into Case Studies

Combine case studies with forum-like functionality. That is, on case study pages, provide links to Discord channels, Slack communities and other conversational tools intended to enrich the reader experience. These tools will boost reader engagement and lead to better conversations with potential prospects. – Bobby Steinbach, MeanPug Digital

Nine Big Don’ts For Pulling Off A Marketing Stunt

Marketing stunts can garner a lot of attention in the media and among consumers, but if they’re not planned and executed properly, it might not be the kind of attention companies are seeking.

A “stunt” is, by definition, a daring move. Any brand that wants to pull off a successful one as part of a broader marketing campaign must make sure the event is surprising and compelling enough to capture interest without alienating consumers or rubbing them the wrong way.

Forbes Agency Council

The members of Forbes Agency Council possess expert insights into what makes a stunt work and, perhaps even more importantly, what can make them tank. To learn what not to do, see their advice below regarding the biggest don’ts to be aware of when planning a marketing stunt.

1. Not Having A Contingency Plan

Not having a Plan B in place is the biggest faux pas when planning a marketing stunt. For example, if you’re doing an event outdoors, you need to factor in potential bad weather and definitely have a backup plan for the day. There’s nothing worse than canceling an event due to a poorly executed strategy and plan. Make sure that you have access to power, too, if you are doing an outdoor event. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

2. Misrepresenting Sustainability Initiatives

Do not overpromise or underdeliver when it comes to sustainability announcements claiming to be aimed at stopping global warming. Consumers are informed enough to recognize greenwashing: PR spin attempting to convince the public an organization is environmentally friendly when it really is not. Consumers care about these issues and judge brands harshly if they’re found to misrepresent sustainability initiatives. – Jim Caruso, M1PR, Inc. d/b/a MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

3. Putting Your Brand Front And Center

The sheer intention of putting your brand front and center is the biggest “don’t” right now. In a world that feels fragile to many, consumers are demanding authenticity and purposeful campaigns. Slow initiatives are winning the game now. One example is the conscious beauty movement, which is making big waves through constant initiatives striving for healthy beauty. – Melanie Marten, The Coup

4. Launching A Stunt Around A Social Issue

Think twice before using a social issue in a marketing stunt. Time and again, companies have made big blunders while trying to craft stunts around various movements. For example, Burger King created an insensitive ad during Mental Health Awareness Month with its #feelyourway campaign, singling out its competition rather than being receptive to customer needs. Often, it’s better to opt for less risk in these scenarios. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

5. Not Having A Defined End Channel In Mind

One big “don’t” when it comes to pulling off a marketing stunt is launching one without a defined end channel in mind. When it comes to digital marketing, a campaign for TikTok should look entirely different than one for YouTube. The more your stunt aligns with current trends or formats that perform well on your desired channel, the better position you’ll be in to get the most out of your campaign. – Cam Wilkie, func.media

6. Expecting To See An Immediate Impact

Don’t assume your “stunt” will see an immediate impact. Be prepared to spend weeks or months after your stunt promoting reactions on social media. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing your return down the road. Payless Shoes’ Palessi stunt may have gotten early influencer traction, but the real payoff came much later when the story went viral—showing how fashion influencers were fooled. – Bernard May, National Positions

7. Failing To Ensure You Have The Final Say In Contests

When running stunts using votes, make sure you have a way to select a winner from the entries. Online communities can brigade polls and votes to be funny. For example, Taylor Swift once held a contest to do a concert at a school, and the winning entry was a school for deaf children. Make sure you have a way to have the final say on the winner if things get out of hand. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

8. Not Accurately Portraying The Brand Or Its Product Or Service

A big “don’t” in marketing is creating an advertising campaign that doesn’t accurately portray the brand or that inaccurately represents the results of the product or service. Stick to the tried-and-true attributes of your product that can be tested and validated by a number of sources, and then creatively market them with a jingle or dance that will keep your customers coming back. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. Failing To Confirm That The Stunt Won’t Violate Any Laws

Ten-plus years ago, we had just launched our marketing company, and we were located on a busy highway in Loveland, Colorado. To draw attention to our sign, we dressed up mannequins as superheroes. The payoff was huge, as we were branded “the superheroes of marketing.” We eventually had to take the mannequins down though, as it violated city ordinances. Rule of thumb: Check with your local government before your next stunt. – Jerry Kelly, Marketing 360®

5 Performance Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022

From new payment solutions to the continuing convergence of social media and shopping, brands must navigate several purchase paths

AdWeek
Brands that can stay flexible with the current environment while delivering products and services consumers are looking for will always come out ahead, writes Jessica Hawthorne-Castro

As consumer preferences change and the various ways to reach them continue to proliferate, finding the right approach can be challenging. There are generational factors to consider, emerging opportunities to explore and new hurdles to jump along the path to finding the right marketing mix.

To complicate things further, every new year seems to bring a host of new opportunities worth exploring. To help, we’ve whittled down our list of trends to watch to five key points all performance marketers will want to pay attention to in 2022. Here they are:

1. New ways for consumers to pay for their purchases

From cryptocurrency to Venmo to simplified multi-pay financing arrangements like Afterpay and Affirm, your customers expect these and other options to be at their fingertips as they hit “buy now” on your website. They’re also looking for a seamless experience enabled by QR codes, which cut down on the number of clicks it takes to look at, read reviews about and buy a product or service. These and other trends took hold in 2021 and we expect them to continue and even escalate over the coming months.

2. Social media continues its reign

Try as they might, the powers that be have yet to come up with a more engaging and interesting way to connect with customers and prospects online. For now, at least, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube continue to offer marketers the most affordable and direct way to achieve that goal. And because younger generations are among the biggest users of social media, it’s also an effective way to reach Millennial and Gen Z consumers on their own territory. The social media fire has been stoked and 2022 may be the year that these platforms become the go-to media opportunity for a wider range of companies.

3. Marketers are obsessed with monetizing TikTok

Within these social media circles, TikTok stands out as one of the biggest opportunity areas for the year ahead. That’s because marketers spent much of 2021 figuring out how to monetize this platform and, from our own research, some of them have found the right combination. And while TikTok doesn’t offer video creators the opportunity to monetize their videos, it does provide an Ads Manager service that companies can use to choose a goal, select an audience, set a budget and design an ad. TikTok may be considered one of the newer social media platforms, but it’s already proven to be a major competitor by doubling the number of Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter users within a short timeframe. Amazon even created an entire page based on popular products recommended by TikTok users at Tik Tok Amazon Finds.

4. Subscription delivery services evade the supply chain challenges

The global pandemic disrupted supply chains to the point where products lingered unfinished on the manufacturing floor; container ships sat stacked up outside of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles; and stores left entire store aisles empty for lack of product to place on them. Any company that made, sold or distributed products likely managed disruption at some point during 2021, but organizations whose models incorporated subscription delivery services were able to avoid some or all of this strife. Software companies, TV networks, travel services, publications and others all fulfilled orders virtually, thus avoiding the supply chain snarls. We see this continuing during the year ahead as more companies add virtual subscription opportunities to their product offerings.

5. YouTube continues to morph into a shopping destination

In November, YouTube launched a weeklong livestreaming event called “Holiday Stream and Shop.” According to BNN Bloomberg, select social media stars sold their own merchandise and brand-name products directly on the platform. In the weeks that followed, YouTubers could hawk goods from their videos, a concept known as “shoppable video.” The publication says this is all part of the company’s “biggest push yet to become a shopping destination.” This will likely be a game changer for 2022 and beyond, seeing that purchases made on social media exceeded $36 billion in 2021. We can’t wait to watch the continued convergence of video and social media—an opportunity that will be open to both emerging and established brands over the coming year (and beyond).

As we usher in 2022, brands will continue to need to meet consumers’ growing needs with the discussed payment method expansion and reaching them across streaming and social media platform. The types of brands that can stay flexible with the current environment while delivering products and services consumers are looking for to enhance their lives will always come out ahead and succeed.

Hawthorne Advertising Ends 2021 With 50 Agency Award Wins

View some of our award-winning work from 2021! 

 

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Happy New Year! Hawthorne Advertising, a creative, analytics and technology-driven full-service advertising agency, which recently celebrated its 35th Anniversary, announced today that their 2021 ended strong with creative and agency work on behalf of Hawthorne clients earning 50 awards from more than 10 different organizations.

The awards highlight the agency’s innovative creative strategy and results-driven campaigns in pursuit of the outstanding outcomes Hawthorne continually cultivates for its clients. These recognitions honor Hawthorne’s exceptional creative achievements across multiple channels, including wins for TV, digital and integrated campaigns.

“2021 was a remarkable year for Hawthorne Advertising, and it is gratifying to see our hard work on behalf of our clients rewarded with prestigious industry recognition,” said Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne Advertising. “Delivering outstanding, measurable results through accountable campaigns is Hawthorne’s top priority for our clients. These awards demonstrate not only the creativity of our team, but also the success and impact these campaigns have had on the goals of our clients.”

Hawthorne Advertising’s innovative approach balances the emotional and the rational to create meticulously crafted, and expertly executed, campaigns that resonate with clients’ key audiences and produce significant return on investment.

Hawthorne Advertising has secured the following award wins in the second half of 2021, in addition to 25 in the first half of the year:

The dotComm Awards, which honor excellence in web creativity and digital communication, recognized Hawthorne with the following awards:

  • Platinum Award in the category of Paid Media, Online Ad Campaign, on behalf of Zenwise
  • Gold Award in the category of Digital Marketing & Communications Campaigns, Social Media Campaign, on behalf of Zesty Paws
  • Gold Award in the category of Digital Marketing & Communications Campaigns, Integrated Marketing, on behalf of Zesty Paws
  • Gold Award in the category of Paid Media, Online Ad Campaign, on behalf of Zenwise
  • An Honorable Mention in the category of Paid Media, Banner Ad, on behalf of Zesty Paws

The Viddy Awards, which honor video excellence in a digital world, recognized Hawthorne with the following awards:

  • Platinum Award in the category of Marketing/Advertising Campaigns, Digital Advertising Campaign, on behalf of Zenwise
  • Platinum Award in the category of YouTube/Vimeo, Ad/Bumper Pre-Roll, on behalf of Zesty Paws
  • Platinum Award in the category of Broadcast/Non-Broadcast/Web Commercials, Health & Wellness, on behalf of Zenwise
  • Two Gold Awards in the category of Broadcast/Non-Broadcast/Web Commercials, Products & Services, on behalf of LeafFilter
  • Gold Award in the category of Broadcast/Non-Broadcast/Web Commercials, Products & Services, on behalf of It’s Just Lunch
  • Gold Award in the category of Marketing/Advertising Campaigns, Digital Advertising Campaign, on behalf of Zenwise

The MarCom Awards, which honor excellence in marketing and communication while recognizing the creativity, hard work and generosity of industry professionals, recognized Hawthorne with the following awards:

  • Platinum Award in the category of Television (Broadcast & Cable), Single Spot. on behalf of LeafFilter
  • Platinum Award in the category of Television (Broadcast & Cable), Single Spot. On behalf of It’s Just Lunch
  • Platinum Award in the category of Television (Broadcast & Cable), Single Spot. on behalf of Zenwise
  • Platinum Award in the category of Television (Broadcast & Cable), Single Spot, on behalf of Zesty Paws
  • Gold Award in the category of Television (Broadcast & Cable), Single Spot. on behalf of LeafFilter
  • Two Gold Awards in the category of Web Element, Web Advertising Campaign, on behalf of Zenwise

The Davey Awards, which honor the best creative agencies worldwide, recognized Hawthorne with the following awards:

  • Gold Award in the category of Display Advertising & Rich Media on behalf of Zesty Paws
  • Silver Award in the category of Commercials on behalf of LeafFilter
  • Silver Award in the category of Banner, Display or Rich Media on behalf of Zenwise
  • Silver Award in the category of Banner, Display or Rich Media on behalf of Zenwise

The Summit Marketing Effectiveness Award also honored Hawthorne Advertising with a Platinum Award for its work on LeafFilter’s national broadcast campaign. The international creative, marketing and advertising award honors the best web, design, video, advertising, interactive, mobile & social marketing from creative agencies worldwide.

In addition, Hawthorne Advertising’s CEO, Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, received the CEO Leadership Award from The Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing CFO and CEO Awards. The CFO & CEO Leadership Awards recognize C-Suite executives for their contributions and leadership within their organizations, the business world, and the community at large.

Hawthorne Advertising has successfully led thousands of major campaigns for some of the world’s top brands, managing billions of media billings that have delivered impressive results for clients. To learn more about the company and how the award-winning team delivers value by combining creative services with data science, visit hawthorneadvertising.com.

About Hawthorne Advertising:

Hawthorne Advertising, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning, buying and analytics, and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns. With 35 years of proven excellence, the agency combines persuasive brand messaging with best-in-class analytic systems to create accountable, high performance advertising campaigns.

Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target their consumers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize the lifetime value of a brand’s customers, and even drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations. As a leading analytic and data driven, accountable brand advertising agency, Hawthorne specializes in integrated campaign solutions. The company offers a full suite of integrated solutions with creative, media, digital and mobile services. Hawthorne maintains brand integrity and metrics to efficiently and effectively optimize the results of its clients’ integrated media budgets via leading edge and proven data analytics.

Hawthorne has developed successful award-winning campaigns for countless Fortune 500 brands. Please visit www.hawthorneadvertising.com and https://www.linkedin.com/company/wearehawthorne/ for more information.

Media Contact:
Alise Murawski
amurawski@nextpr.com
847-528-2882

14 Smart Ways Marketers And Advertisers Can Leverage AI In 2022

Leveraging artificial intelligence can help marketers predict consumer behavior and improve the buyer’s journey to create the most effective marketing strategies. Companies can lean on AI and machine learning to create more engaging content, analyze data to make better business decisions, automate customer support and more.

Forbes Agency Council

The use of AI in marketing is expected to increase in 2022 as more organizations seek ways to incorporate it into their processes to boost their advertising and marketing efforts. Here, 14 experts from Forbes Agency Council share some great ways that AI can assist industry leaders in marketing and advertising in the coming year.

1. To Optimize Media Buying And Lower Customer Acquisition Costs

AI can help optimize media buying and lower the cost of customer acquisition. With manual optimization becoming more difficult and resource-intensive, implementing AI and deep learning solutions to drive performance at scale can ensure that budgets are being spent as efficiently as possible. – Jeremy Fain, Cognitiv

2. To Drive Conversions Within Existing Mobile Messaging Programs

AI can be used to drive conversions within existing mobile messaging programs by equipping chatbots with natural language understanding capabilities that enable customers to ask questions and even transact, all within the messaging channel. Earlier in the buyer’s journey, brands can use AI to power acquisition campaigns with conversational advertising where customers click through to a live chat rather than to a brand website. – Matt Ramerman, Sinch for Marketing

3. To Make Campaign Optimization Recommendations

Deploy AI for tactical objectives by using it to make small but impactful campaign optimization decisions, including creative, placement and more. As AI systems don’t “care” about the nature of their inputs, they can make optimization recommendations with smaller and noisier datasets than humans. Shy away from using AI for strategic decision making, which requires understanding of the specific roles of different inputs. – Ajay Gupta, Stirista

4. To Automate Internal Tasks And Processes

While a lot of talk about AI is focused on using it within third-party systems, agencies should start thinking about ways that they can automate internal tasks and processes that are necessary for the company but not rewarding work for the employees doing it. Think of AI as a member of the team and find ways to utilize it in that way. – Greg Kihlstrom, GK5A

5. To Personalize The Online Customer Experience

An increasing number of customers expect a personalized online experience. Using AI chatbots, for instance, can push the conversion process along and increase customer engagement, which improves your understanding of what your customers need. When paired with employee contact, the client receives individualized attention and an improved experience. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

6. To Anticipate Consumer Needs And Customer Buying Behavior

Using AI to anticipate consumer needs based on what they have done in the past is a great way to preempt sales data and forecast profitability in the year ahead. We can learn about a customer’s tendencies from their previous buying behavior and predict what they will do in the future. Leveraging AI to generate this information can help us target particular audiences at certain times of the year. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

7. To Improve Processes And Results For Staff And Customers

There are quick, effective ways to use AI via software tools that leverage existing algorithms or build their own. Create a research initiative within your company to identify and test these tools. Put them to use and compare them against current methods or competing tools. You will learn a lot, such as how software might improve processes and results for your staff and customers. – Jim Caruso, M1PR, Inc. d/b/a MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

8. To Automate Service Center And Sales Center Workflows

Chatbots and artificial agents have come a long way, but they still have a ways to go. That said, I think this will be the year we truly see breakthroughs in the quality of service center and sales center AI flows. If those breakthroughs come, get ready for some seriously powerful automated tooling for sales and service. – Bobby Steinbach, MeanPug Digital

9. To Optimize Retargeting Efforts

AI can help with retargeting efforts for your initial marketing campaign by optimizing ads that generated the best response. Then, you can retarget the most engaged audience until conversion rates and revenues increase. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

10. To Identify New Audience Segments And Understand Brand Sentiment

Artificial Intelligence is an excellent tool to better leverage data insights and incorporate more automated analytics. By pooling customer data and information from ad campaigns, you can identify new audience segments and gain a deeper understanding of brand sentiment. AI can sift through massive amounts of data to reveal vital patterns that might otherwise remain hidden to human eyes. – Henry Kurkowski, One WiFi

11. To Assist In Content Creation

Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying AI copywriting apps are perfect, but from what I have seen, they are wonderful at creating first drafts of blog posts and long-form content. As you work with them, they get smarter, but you need the patience and writing skills to manage them. If you have both, they are a great timesaver and can help you pump out more content. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

12. To Maximize Your Ad Budget

Artificial intelligence is now being used by major ad platforms to help show ads to higher-intent audiences. Combining this AI with tools such as campaign budget optimization, dynamic bidding and dynamic creatives can help you maximize your ad budget while letting the AI do the heavy lifting for your ads. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

13. To Model CRM Data Into Customer Lookalikes

With the increasing loss of marketing data, companies must leverage their own data to understand and reach new customers by integrating customer relationship management data. Brands can use AI to model this data into customer lookalikes for the best accuracy and scale. This requires strong communication between marketing and sales teams, a regularly updated CRM system, and two-way integration with media platforms. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

14. To Test And Optimize Paid Media Ad Campaigns

AI will be invaluable for testing and optimizing paid media ad campaigns in the coming year. With the ability (and need) to test a wide variety of ad variations, AI will be critical for pinpointing winners across all areas of search engine and social media advertising. There is a strong possibility that AI will also make “on demand” programmatic ad variations faster and simpler. – Bernard May, National Positions

15 Unique Applications Of AR In Advertising To Anticipate In 2022

Each year, augmented reality (AR) becomes increasingly more integrated with our everyday lives and experiences. Whether through interactive apps like Pokemon GO that blend reality with a fictional digital world, or through interior design apps that allow consumers to virtually create their dream living space, AR has become increasingly prevalent and shows no signs of slowing down.

Forbes Agency Council

In fact, many expect 2022 to bring even more unique uses for augmented reality, especially in the advertising and marketing space. Below, 15 Forbes Agency Council members share their predictions for an application of AR in advertising that they expect to see in the new year.

1. Immersive, On-Demand Experiences

Immersive on-demand experiences within advertising that combine the content with the programming. We can watch teams go into a huddle and sell breath mints through a well-placed ad at the same time. We can watch a reality dating show and provide advertising before and after voting on matchups. – Matt Wilson, Eastport Holdings

2. Virtual Clothes Fittings

I expect to see how shoes, pants, shirts and jackets 100% fit on my body while I’m walking, bending over, running or just lounging. Snap does this to an extent, but it’s more for the look and feel. I want to see how things fit. – Loren Baker, Foundation Digital

3. Augmented Reality Campaigns With Real Humans

I expect to see realistic augmented reality humans. We have seen lots of interesting and innovative campaigns. However, we have not seen an AR campaign with real humans. In order to do this, volumetric capturing is needed, which converts video into animated 3D. This is revolutionary and I expect to see a live stream done like this soon. Imagine having your favorite artist in front of you! – Azad Abbasi, Genius XR

4. Valuable Applications Of AR

In 2022, I really hope we stop seeing bad applications of AR. The entire industry still needs to do some research with users to figure out what actually drives value. “Trying” on clothes is an interesting idea. Home decor, outdoor space, anything where you need to see an object in a location is interesting. But it has to be valuable enough to go through the hassle. Value > Hassle. – Michael McFadden, eAccountable

5. A Hybridization Of XR Experiences

Augmented reality experiences will soon be tied to virtual reality experiences. With the latest announcements from Facebook regarding the Metaverse, people can begin to expect new software, tools and apps to be introduced into the VR world. I would anticipate seeing more hybridization of XR experiences in 2022. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

6. Increased Interested In AR In The Recruiting Industry

I think AR could greatly benefit the recruiting industry. Imagine having a hiring or recruiting event in which subject matter experts can come to life off a physical display to explain benefits, employer culture, etc. Not everyone gets attention at an event like that, so companies lose quality candidates. This way, every event attendee is engaged. – Jeremy Jackson, SKY Marketing Consultants, LLC

7. Interactive Office Tours

With the parent organization of Facebook officially changing its name to Meta, we can all expect to see many exciting advancements in AR. One thing I would love to see is companies offering fully immersive tours of their offices and facilities to prospective job candidates. This will help candidates know exactly what to expect from the position. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH

8. More Companies Leveraging QR Codes

It’s easy to see how augmented reality has a place in digital advertising but now with the resurgence of QR codes, it has a place in direct mail as well. I’d expect to see more and more advertisers leveraging QR codes within direct mail to bring the consumer right into the experience. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®

9. GPS With AR Advertising

While independent, large organizations are deploying augmented reality solutions, I expect that large geographic directory services will begin incorporating AR advertising. Imagine, for example, using a map on your phone while walking to your destination. When you raise your phone, you see interactive experiences all around you from the other retailers, restaurants and companies on the way. – Douglas Karr, Highbridge

10. Full Product Demos

I expect to see full product demos that allow the consumer to test your product in real-time via augmented reality or an app available for download. This would help consumers “try before they buy” and help create a larger purchase conversion. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

11. A Combination Of The Real World And AR

I’ve always felt gaming has the biggest potential for augmented reality. I remember walking on the Santa Monica pier several years ago and one out of every three people were catching Pokemon with their phones. I think when you can overlay the real world with something fun, the advertising opportunities will be endless. People like native ads that have a natural flow to what they are doing. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

12. Location-Specific Augmented Reality

While social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat have increasingly leaned into AR advertising, geo-fenced experiences have still not been given much attention. However, as the world opens up to travel again in 2022, it is likely that we will witness a rise in location-specific augmented reality to drive in-store visits and more affordable experiential marketing campaigns. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

13. AR-Equipped Vehicle Sales

I expect to see more AR when it comes to vehicle sales. With vehicle pricing on the rise, consumers are going to want to experience the vehicle without needing to deal with dealerships. Imagine being able to take your phone, select the vehicle make and mode, and boom—there it is. You could walk around it, tap to open doors and even play with the gadgets inside. This reality is not far off. – Bernard May, National Positions

14. Integration With In-Person Events

One of the most common AR applications many people are familiar with is Google’s Street View. I anticipate an integration that will urge people in metropolitan areas to get out the door and to in-person events by prompting interaction each step of the way—perhaps even rewarding travelers or providing info in real-time about other event-goers as they get closer to the destination. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

15. Educational Interactions

One of the best that I have seen of augmented reality is all of the ways that education can be used to provide a better experience for students. That means allowing them to interact with all of their teachers and know that everything is being handled. – Jon James, Ignited Results

How to Break Through the Holiday Advertising Noise to Drive Q4 Sales

Every year, from October to December, a war for consumers’ attention ramps up significantly as businesses roll out their holiday campaigns. For about eight weeks, brands and retailers will boost advertising to drive sales in hopes that “Black Friday” converts ledger ink from red to black. Throughout all that, media rates for buying ad space increase by about 15 percent to 20 percent, media inventory becomes scarcer, and consumer attention is all the harder to capture.

Total Retail

Holiday advertising can still be incredibly effective and productive for those marketers who figure out how to break through the noise. There is a proven playbook that works — a formula that can help your Q4 efforts compete effectively (and more convincingly) for audience attention.

Audience Segmentation: Do You REALLY Understand Your Customer?

Segmentation isn’t just about determining age or location demographics. It’s about understanding the “why” behind the thoughts, behaviors and actions of your target customers. With digital media, you can go beyond traditional profile assumptions to personalize both media and creative to optimize impact. Through the right segmentation data, you can identify behavioral and attitudinal factors that indicate propensity to buy as well as select the most optimal types and mix of media channels to best capture your target customers’ attention.

Let’s say your brand sells a DIY home improvement product. In addition to factors like age and income, first- and third-party data might indicate that your ideal customer is over indexed on YouTube, so investing in ads there might give your messaging greater efficiency. If you’re specifically targeting homeowners, you can also set geo-location parameters to capture them while suppressing ads for people whose behavior indicates they aren’t in your target group, such as renters.

The right insights and data can give you a deeper understanding of the audience you’re currently advertising to, who you should be advertising to, and who you should not be advertising to.

Be Bold and Strategic: Customize to Cut Through
If you don’t have the budget or resources to allot customized marketing to specific audience segments and across multiple channels, you may consider pursuing strategic partnerships. These are unique co-promotions with complementary brands that share similar target audiences to your own. This approach can help you stand out while also providing added value to your audience. For example, instead of just promoting a percentage discount for your holiday marketing, look at also offering a free trial or product provided by another brand partner. The key is to imprint the offer with like-minded brands and messaging, and then retarget to drive conversions.

“Conquesting” is another way to break through. This approach can be quite advantageous for challenger brands or retailers with limited resources or fierce competition. To implement the conquesting playbook, it’s imperative to understand which marketing channels your competition is using. You can then leverage those same channels to run bolder, more daring creative advertisements designed to leave an impression. Doing this will build brand awareness that capitalizes on the category recognition your competitors are driving. When done correctly, you can see substantial results while only deploying a fraction of the money or time.

Savvy Media Planning: Gain Efficiency
The final and third component of the formula is savvy media planning. These days more and more brands are trying to handle buying media or placing ads in-house. However, many don’t have the expertise or resources needed to effectively do so. When it comes to successful media planning and buying, an outsourced partner can help you understand, navigate and optimize an ever-evolving marketplace, offset premium rates, make the right real-time shifts and pivots, and gain greater efficiency through informed negotiations combined with better, more specific audience targeting.

A Formula That Works for YOUR Brand
While it may seem impossible to break through holiday “noise,” rest assured it’s possible. Start with deeply understanding your audience, selecting the right advertising materials, and devising a strategy that aligns with what your customer is seeking. All of these steps will make your Q4 holiday campaign a success, driving greater return on investment on your marketing efforts and standing out from the crowd.

Cyndi McMaster is a strategic marketing and business development professional at Hawthorne Advertising with vast experience in helping brands grow, shift consumer behavior, and increase market share and revenue.