Nine Unique Client Campaigns (And Lessons Their Agencies Learned)

When company leaders come up with ideas for marketing and advertising their businesses, they will often seek the guidance of agency partners to help them craft the best strategy for implementing an original campaign. Over time, refining the unique concepts their clients come up with can help agency leaders build deep expertise, creative agility and an extensive knowledge base.
Forbes Agency Council

Below, nine members of Forbes Agency Council discuss unique campaigns they have helped their clients execute and the lessons they learned that others in their field can benefit from.

1. Marketing A Privately Owned City

We are working on a campaign to market a privately owned city. It’s a tourist attraction, but the city also has several successful businesses with e-commerce channels. Maintaining the brand for a city as well as its many businesses is, in our opinion, rather unique. This is a great chance to learn how to create one brand with several niches that all need to be marketed in somewhat differing ways. – Jayant Chaudhary, JLB USA

2. Working For Local Nonprofits

Working for local nonprofits and hospitals that focus on a particular patient population, such as children, is gratifying not only from a “greater social good” perspective but also as a local market experience. You can become part of the community and expand your reach via all mediums, from digital to out of home. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

3. Creating A Unique Influencer Partnership

My agency was charged with developing a new way to handle influencer marketing for Arizona tourism. We created an influencer partnership with Mattel using Barbie. It was tremendously successful and became one of the top five social media campaigns that year at the Webby Awards. The lesson for brands is that they need to look beyond what everyone else is doing and explore the craziest of options. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

4. Live-Sketching Concepts During A Focus Group

One of the most unique projects we worked on was character development for a video game design company. Rather than simply using player feedback in the process, this project involved live-sketching concepts during a focus group as feedback was given. Projects such as this are a great reminder that creativity extends beyond the creative outputs and into the strategic design as well. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

5. Prioritizing People Over Profit

A home decor client asked us to team him up with high-profile charities and celebrities for give-backs while leveraging that for media exposure. We partnered him with Megan Fox, Amber Heard, Lance Bass and others, which not only raised millions of dollars but also got all of them on major TV shows (“The Kelly Clarkson Show,” the “Today” show and more) for free. “People over profit” goes a long way! – Zack Teperman, ZTPR

6. Cultivating Local Brand Awareness

Local brand awareness is big for many businesses and professions. However, not every industry appears to be the right fit from the outset for “shop local.” With creativity, you can make it work! For example, an accounting firm may not be thought of for community content, but promoting and sponsoring local initiatives helps spread the brand name, which makes it more likely for businesses to turn to it. – Lisa Montenegro, Digital Marketing Experts – DMX Marketing

7. Working With A Young Client

We landed a very unique client: a 14-year-old soccer athlete. While working with her, we have had to develop creative ways to explain the impact of image, the timing of campaigns and the long-term goals. We realized that explaining marketing in ways she could comprehend aided in her success. It’s become a standard across our whole agency, whereas we used to stay reserved. – Logan Rae, Argon Agency

8. Delivering A ‘Shoppertainment’ Campaign

We have been working with a client who produces and sells high-end flatware. In a very saturated market, they needed an “out of the box” idea to really differentiate their product line. We delivered a “shoppertainment” campaign for Facebook and Instagram—basically doing a live social version of a QVC-type pitch that sent sales soaring. The lesson? Everything old is new again! – Bernard May, National Positions

9. Creating Overarching Messaging For Diverse Applications

When a technical company’s product or intellectual property can be used in many diverse applications, it can be challenging to market. We solve this by first creating overarching messaging that can be used as a base along with an arsenal of differentiators. We then launch industry-vertical campaigns that leverage this messaging along with application-specific language, examples and imagery. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

15 Affordable, Innovative Ways To Get Graphic Design Talent On A Budget

In today’s world, it’s more challenging than ever for businesses to cut through the noise and content that exists online and promote their own products or services. Having a great marketing campaign helps reach those customers and pull them in, but to do so, you have to have a professional, eye-catching graphic design.

Forbes Agency Council

For smaller companies or startups, graphic design costs might be out of reach, but there are many other ways to get affordable, innovative designs on a tight marketing budget. Below, 15 Forbes Agency Council members offered their best tips for finding high-quality graphic designs on a budget.

1. Start With A Vision

Creativity can happen anywhere. What’s important is vision. Once you have a vision, aligning with graphic design is all in meeting someone. It’s valuable to build a brand identity so any derivative creative work can reflect the true nature of the brand. Whether you use a service like Canva or Picmonkey or find a freelancer, always remain consistent in the pieces that make your brand stand out. – Ashlee Piga, Lotus Digital

2. Use Candid Shots

The humanity of a brand or the noble purpose it serves can rally communities to support a shared mission. Commodity services and products will have a hard time gaining this type of traction. I have also learned that homegrown pictures and candid shots often gain more engagement than those of high polish. So sometimes a little “real” can go a long way. – Joe Becker, twelvenote

3. Connect With Freelance Designers

Expand your team by simply adding freelance designers! Websites like are a great way to connect with talented designers at a much more affordable rate. Another unique way to tap into the design world is with services like, where you can run a logo contest and gather logo ideas from experienced designers. – Nate Reusser, Reusser Design

4. Find An Agency Creative Team

Using crowdsourcing sites like Fiverr or 99designs can be a mixed bag — you get access to many creatives for fairly competitive rates, but getting revisions can be challenging, especially down the road once work is complete. I’d recommend finding an agency creative team willing to take on projects. You know they’ll stand behind it and continue to support you down the road. – Dan Kahn, Kahn Media, Inc.

5. Work With Community Colleges

Community colleges are a great, untapped resource for accessing affordable top talent. For those colleges that offer technical and work skills development like MiraCosta College in San Diego, CA, they strive to connect students with industry partners so it would be a very easy ask. Given the geographic proximity, it would be a real win-win for students and businesses to connect through the college. – Crystal Sargent, Invested Advisors

6. Try Visual Communication

Good design doesn’t need to be expensive. The experiential design needs to be clever, and its usually produced iteratively through contextual exercises, user testing and best practices. The original design that extends company authenticity, voice and tonality is a key to staying on brand. Visual communication is one of the easiest ways to connect to the user base and create user experiences. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion

7. Contact A Local Marketing Association

The American Marketing Association is national and has a presence in numerous cities and on college campuses. They would be a good source of information and likely provide member referrals and other suggestions — even if you’re not a current member. There are also many talented freelancers, depending on your need, so post your requirements on LinkedIn. – Megan Devine, d.trio marketing group

8. Get Pre-Approved Concepts Through RFPs

Submitting a Request For Proposals (RFP) to a group of designers will make sure that not only are your interests aligned but that you will be getting the best talent for your budget. With pre-approved concepts from the RFP process, there wouldn’t be as much time spent brainstorming, but rather going straight to campaign execution. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. Hire A Professional Designer

The best way to get top-notch, professional graphic design is to do it with a professional designer. There is no other way around it. Fitting it on a tight marketing budget requires staging: creating a tailored brand book reflecting small business values and key moments first and leveraging existing automated design services to develop creative variations for social, display web and mobile after. – Oksana Matviichuk, Performics

10. Collaborate With Technical Schools

If you want to save money on design work, consider building a relationship with your local university or technical school. You can provide learning opportunities for design students and bring a fresh look to your collateral work. Instructors are frequently looking for real-world opportunities for their students and will appreciate the exposure to actual business situations. – Sara Steever, Paulsen

11. Hire Someone Part-Time

Before investing in graphic design, I’d look at internal marketing support. Small businesses need to start with a marketing manager as they’re essential for helping brands see the bigger picture and make strategic decisions on investments. I’d then recommend the brand hire a part-time graphic designer to save on freelance fees, invest in the team and set the foundation by developing brand assets. – Kathryn Strachan, Copy House

12. Rely On Free Services Like Canva

Canva is a great tool because it provides pre-sized documents, tons of templates and all of the necessities to make a brand’s logo and iconography stand out. Canva is free to sign up and very user-friendly. Though there is a premium version available for a fee, the program also has free templates that you can use and plug in your own information, or just use as inspiration. – Durée Ross, Durée & Company, Inc.

13. Draw Inspiration From Fans

Asking fans and followers to participate in a #FanArtFriday about your brand is a great way to bring some life to your feeds and give young artists some exposure and love. You never know, you might find a graphic talent in your price range among those dedicated fans! – Samantha Reynolds, ECHO Storytelling Agency

14. Leverage White-Label Agency Partners

Companies without the budget to hire a full-time graphic designer can leverage freelance graphic designers or white-label agency partners to deliver professional graphic design. Typically, these projects can be as-needed, depending on the number of deliverables you need in a given timeframe. This approach will help you save on costs while still delivering high-quality results. – Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions

15. Develop A Creative Collective

We have a creative collective through the production studio within our agency where we provide packs of graphics on a monthly or quarterly basis. Freelancers are also a great way to go. There are a ton of libraries like Creative Market, Envato Elements and others that have templates too. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B

Luxury Goods Are Becoming as Attainable as Fast Fashion

How marketers are bridging the gap between millennials’ and Gen Z’s love of upscale goods and desire for economy

AdWeekAdweek; Getty Images

Millennials and Gen Z walk a fine line when making decisions between whether to buy affordable, fast fashion options that may not make it through more than a handful of wash cycles, and items that may cost more upfront but last longer and stay out of the world’s landfills.

Environmentally aware and well educated on the value of sustainability, these younger consumers view fashion through a different lens than their predecessors, and marketers have taken notice.

These realities are pushing clothing makers to rethink their manufacturing process, how they go to market, and even reusing and recycling their products, with sustainability top of mind. It’s also encouraging companies to emphasize the pre-buying process and offer try-before-you-buy services to generate less waste.

In a world where acquiring a few different sizes and colors of the same item and discarding what didn’t work is the norm, these smart fashion brands are focused on Coco Chanel’s mantra of “less is always more.”

Blurred lines

For now, it looks like younger consumers are divided into two camps, although the lines are blurring.

The first group enjoys purchasing from retailers like Shein for its low-cost and trendy options, while the second would rather invest a bit more in luxury goods that could last a lifetime (and even become inheritable, heirloom goods for the next generation).
To meet these various needs, some companies are serving up luxury that’s attainable for a wider group of potential customers. Gucci’s experimental Vault ecommerce shop, for example, has the option to buy now, pay later through Affirm, putting bags, accessories and other goods within reach for younger buyers. Through Vault, the company offers a curated selection, an interactive virtual experience and the written assurance that each order is “100% carbon neutral.”

Rent the Runway is another company whose business model aligns well with what younger generations have come to expect from their fashion retailers.

The ecommerce platform allows users to rent, subscribe and buy designer apparel and accessories. And while the company was founded in 2009, long before Gen Z began demanding that the world pay more attention to environmental sustainability, its wide variety of styles appeals to everyone from the high schooler looking for an expensive prom dress to the executive in need of a full suite of professional attire (but who can only be seen in those outfits one or two times at most).

Like Gucci, Rent the Runway appeals to millennials and Gen Z’s desire for high fashion at a price they can afford. It also supports good reuse and recycling of clothing and accessories through a “borrowed” model that platforms like Rebag, The RealReal and thredUp also use to successfully resell items that could otherwise be headed to a landfill. The approach truly exemplifies the “one man’s trash” idiom, and it appears to be working.

Secondhand fashion drives growth
Secondhand fashion is also bringing the younger generations to luxury goods. They’re experiencing it, enjoying it and finding the quality they’re seeking.

As more millennial and Gen Z consumers are introduced to luxury brands, they’re also appreciating those brands’ sustainability. This will surely increase their love for luxury items and lead them to outlets like Vault, which we’ll likely see more of in the near future.

While fast fashion has its place, luxury brands are coming up with new ways to meet younger consumers where they are, both in terms of financing and social responsibility. They meet these buyers’ fashion needs, developing sustainable approaches that hit those customers where their hearts are.

“As more millennials and Gen Z shoppers come into their peak purchasing power, luxury brands have an opportunity to capitalize on this growing wealth,” according to ecommerce solutions site Scalefast, noting that younger shoppers have specific buying preferences that brands have to factor in—from sustainability to personalization to social media influence—and adapt to if they want to provide the ecommerce experience that these generations expect.

This purchasing power is digitally driven and reacts to digital content and messaging. A recent eMarketer report highlighted that “Gen Z is getting older and steadily moving toward becoming the most digitally connected generation. In 2024, U.S. Gen Zers will surpass millennials in regular internet use, and they’ll do the same with smartphone penetration in 2026.”

The eMarketer report also addresses the purchasing power of this younger generation, which will only continue to grow. “In 2024, when U.S. Gen Z internet penetration will jump to 99.1%, Gen Zers will be between 12 and 27 years old. Millennials, who will be fully into adulthood (ages 28 to 43), will stagnate at 97.4% penetration.”

And these younger generations are having a significant impact on older consumers too. “These trends are not limited to millennials and Gen Z shoppers. Their preferences continue to influence older generations,” Scalefast added. “This means luxury brands should cater to younger buyers sooner rather than later to avoid missing out on the significant growth opportunities coming by the year 2035.”

5 smart, tested strategies for building an effective email marketing campaign

Marketing emails may be an “old school” method of digital advertising, but they can still be quite effective. Additionally, an email campaign is often a competitive, cost-effective choice for smaller businesses that have a message to share.

The Business Journals

Still, getting someone’s attention through email is challenging, especially considering the volume of both personal and business emails most people receive. Creating a successful marketing email campaign requires careful planning and thoughtful personalization along with compelling, attention-grabbing copy.

Even though creativity can help carry the day, it’s still important to turn to tested methods to craft a truly effective email marketing campaign. Here, five members of Business Journals Leadership Trust discuss smart strategies for creating and sending marketing emails that can cut through the noise and gain your audience’s attention.

1. Stay in touch with monthly emails.
Monthly emails are a great way to keep in touch with your customers. I always appreciate it when a company takes the time to send a short newsletter, especially if they’ve got something new to share! The email should be short, informative and to the point — a good extra touch is to include images of products you’ve been working on. – Shaya Attaei, Aria Signs

2. ‘Tease’ an announcement with a few details and let readers ask for more.
Our firm launched a new service, and we communicated it through email marketing. Rather than overwhelm our clients with too much information at once, we streamlined the email so all they had to do was review our brief description and reply with “I’m interested.” We personally contacted those who inquired about learning more to explain our new service in greater detail. We saw great results! – Teresa J.W. Bailey, Waddell & Associates

3. Send reminder emails about products the reader has shown interest in.
Emails that remind you of a particular product or service you’ve previously searched for are eye-catching to the consumer. It’s even better if it has special pricing or offers to help loop the consumer back into the engagement step and complete the sales cycle. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

4. Send short, info-packed daily mails.
I was doing research on the most effective email newsletter formats and noticed that ones that were short, packed with usable information and sent daily worked best. So I changed our own newsletter from a weekly to a daily one and increased our open rate by over 10%, which was shocking. It has never dropped since then and continues to build. So don’t be afraid to try a daily email! – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

5. Have a clear CTA and encourage engagement.
Our best-performing emails are ones that have clear calls to action and encourage engagement. Whether we’re collecting clients’ feedback through satisfaction surveys or getting readers to vote for their favorite nonprofit as part of our holiday give-back program, the very best emails have well-curated lists, engaging copy and a simple, clear path to the action you want the reader to take. – Melea McRae, Crux KC

9 simple ways to manage your energy, not just your time

Many leaders and professionals who want to be more productive put a lot of focus into managing their time and looking for ways to trim their workweek. However, many overlook the importance of learning how to manage their energy.

The Business Journals

No matter how well a person manages their time, if they’re wasting energy, they won’t be able to reach maximum productivity. Below, nine members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share their best tips for anyone who needs help managing their energy, not just their time.

1. Tidy up your workspace.
Author Gretchen Rubin said, “Outer order contributes to inner calm.” As an architect, I am keenly aware of how much our environments impact our well-being. When I’m feeling drained, I take a few minutes to get my workspace in order, and it makes all the difference. – Michelle Mongeon Allen, JLG Architects

2. Set aside time for your physical and mental health.
For me, it’s important to dedicate time to maintain mental health and exercise. Give yourself an hour a day to work out. Between meetings, get up and walk around, stretch a bit or grab some chips. Take a break for lunch, and do so away from your work; it will help with energy and maintaining your focus. Also, I feel it is very important to sleep seven to eight hours on a regular basis to allow for a clear mind. – Michael Ayjian, 7 Wonders Cinema

3. Develop a healthy morning routine.
Start your day right. A healthy morning routine will help you get focused, organized and in the right state of mind. Wake up at the same time each morning, exercise, meditate and set your intentions for the day. These are simple (and fast) tasks that can impact your energy levels exponentially. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

4. Find ways to reduce the time you spend on enervating tasks.
We all have tasks on our plate that give us lots of energy and others that drain our energy. Evaluate which category you are spending your time in, and identify ways to reduce the time spent on activities that drain energy. Delegate or just stop doing as many of the things as you can that drain your energy to ensure you can build your energy while you work. – Laura Doehle, Elevation Business Consulting

5. Avoid multitasking.
Multitasking drains a lot of energy, so try to avoid changing your focus repeatedly throughout the day. One great technique is task batching. It’s everywhere now, and it’s really helpful. Sort your tasks during the day by similarity so you don’t get pulled in many directions at once. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

6. Practice mindfulness meditation.
Meditating has been my most valuable superpower in corporate leadership. By adopting a mindfulness meditation practice, I can better control my mind and how I react to everyday situations — even stressful ones. If you can control your mind, you can control how you react to whatever happens in your life and in your business. Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. – Jack Smith, Fortuna Business Management Consulting

7. Start the day by reading the previous day’s emails.
A top way to manage your energy and time is by going through all your emails from the previous day so that you start each day fresh and ready to tackle whatever comes at you, instead of potentially already feeling behind if you are playing catch up from yesterday’s emails. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

8. Build a personal ‘anti-burnout toolkit.’
Many of us are used to going from “0 to 60,” but we need to flex our “60 to 0” muscle, too. I recommend building a personal “anti-burnout toolkit” that includes physical, mental and social tactics. Yours might include exercise, meditation, asking your social safety net for help or getting out of your day-to-day routine by learning a new skill. Sometimes, it’s just about learning to say “no.” – Brantlee Underhill, Project Management Institute

9. Tackle your most challenging tasks during your most productive time.
Prioritize and work on the things that are most challenging in the time that you know you are most productive. If you’re a morning person, try to do tasks that require focus, creativity or critical thinking at the beginning of your day. If you’re someone who is energized by meetings or discussions, that may look like blocking time on your calendar right after a meeting to work on bigger projects. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group

The Great Consumer Reset

Lady using mobile phone
Credit: Getty Images by Elena Noviello

2022 is in full swing, and while marketers are “innovating” with applications of new dressings on old sales models, many are missing the paradigm shift that’s also upon us. The machinery of consumerism is in disrepair: supply chains are broken, prices are rising on household goods and other items thanks to inflation, the U.S. Postal Service is intentionally slowing down, and many shelves are quite simply bare. Strong headwinds, to put it mildly.

It’s important to realize that it’s not just the mechanics of efficient supply and demand that’s been disrupted. There’s a psychological component that has been building for years, and a seismic shift in the way people think about buying goods and services has already occurred. This year, the “Great Consumer Reset” may show up in unexpected ways, and marketers need to be ready.

The Shift in Consumer Thinking Was a Long Time Coming

We experience earthquakes as sudden events, but in reality, pressure builds slowly and almost imperceptibly until tectonic plates shift in a sudden release. Similar pressures are at work in the Great Consumer Reset, which has been building for more than a decade. Millennials and Gen Z experienced the Great Recession and the failures of previously solid institutions and economic ideals during their formative years, which made a lasting impression.

Unsettling political and socioeconomic events sowed seeds of doubt about ingrained cultural concepts, including immediate gratification for consumers, globalism, and capitalism itself. Climate change is another pressure that’s impossible to ignore. Add the devastation and confusion of the pandemic to the mix, with the resulting global economic dislocation and social isolation, and millions are rethinking how they’ve ordered their lives.

This resetting of priorities may be what’s prompting record-breaking numbers of Americans to leave their jobs. People are questioning what they need and want, and they’re reassessing what they’re willing to do and how much they’re willing to spend to get it. And it’s all happening as millennials and Gen Z are stepping into their peak purchasing power as consumers. A general theme that seems to be emerging is simple: less is more.

That doesn’t necessarily mean people will spend less this year, though inflationary pressures will affect budgets. Marketers need to keep in mind that the purchase consideration timeline has lengthened, making impulse buys less likely. People are taking more time to think about the necessity of a purchase, considering DIY options and assessing brand values before clicking “proceed to check out.”

Marketing After the Great Consumer Reset

So, what does this mean for companies that produce goods, and marketers who sell them? Products will need change to meet emerging consumer expectations. Sustainably sourced and ethically produced goods have already gained mainstream traction. That trend will accelerate, affecting industries like fast fashion and other sectors with a reputation for toxic production processes and negative environmental impact. Inflation will drive price sensitivity, but consumers will also take time to evaluate their needs and assess production processes and the impact of their purchases.

The Great Consumer Reset could lift up companies that focus on small-batch production, hyperlocal products, artisan goods and farm-to-table ecosystems. The shift in mindset opens up new opportunities for companies that stay in sync with evolving expectations and marketers who tell a compelling story that aligns with customer values.

Turning Customers Into Brand Advocates

For marketers, the most salient fact is that the purchase funnel has changed. There’s now an extended consideration phase. Broken supply chains forced consumers to wait, but now waiting and taking the time to consider broader priorities has become a habit. Marketers can adjust to that with a sequential messaging strategy that goes well beyond product features and instead becomes a timely and honest narrative during the extended consideration phase.

Features and benefits are still important — potential customers need to know that the product provides what they need. But now, there’s an opportunity for marketers to address consumers’ other priorities by talking about what the brand is doing to create a greener, more just world, whether through sustainable sourcing, ethical business practices, or contributions to charitable causes.

Marketing in general after the Great Consumer Reset will be different because priorities and expectations have shifted. Marketers will need to give people a deeper reason to buy and a true, verifiable story that builds trust in the brand, turns customers into advocates, and drives long-term value and return on investment.

Christian Jones is currently the head of marketing at Hawthorne Advertising and brings over 15 years of proven success in business development and sales, creative digital media, and technology to his role.

Nine tips for building a top-notch employee development program

Most people don’t step into a job role expecting to stay in it forever. Developing skills, progressing and evolving to bigger and better things is typically the name of the game.

The Business Journals

Investing in the development of talent can benefit both employees and employers. Below, nine members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share their best tips for building a top-notch development and learning program for employees.

1. Start simply.
Start simply, and don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Identify a cohort that you want to deeply engage in your business be it young professionals, a department or those with high potential. Pinpoint respected influencers, identify three topics relevant to the organization and put together an hour of education for each topic. If you commit to doing this well, you will find immediate traction. – Michelle Mongeon Allen, JLG Architects

2. Pause to listen.
Team members are your No. 1 asset. Everything at your core has to ultimately be about what is best for your team. One of the first steps we always take before developing programs to support our team that ensures we get it right is listening. If we jump into action without first taking a pause to listen, engage and learn from our team about what their needs are, it’s easy to miss the mark. – Michael Chavira, Axiologic Solutions LLC

3. Be deliberate.
Instead of implementing a development program as an afterthought, be deliberate in setting your development strategy for the company. An example is setting up core training and continuing education training paths. One important thing most employers fail to do is allocate the required time for training, even if it means reducing “work” hours to encourage employees to invest in their development. – Vic Peram, Veritis Group Inc.

4. Customize.
A learning development program ideally needs to be customized for each employee and their needs on their growth path. It also needs to support high performers to ensure all employees get the training and development they need instead of putting them into a box. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

5. Have a purpose.
Effective training occurs when purpose drives the solution. Too often, the solution is selected before the purpose and metrics of the training are known because it’s cheap, easy, cool or new. Knowing how to do something isn’t the same thing as being able to do it. Would you trust me to fly a plane with you as the passenger if I had only read, discussed or watched videos on how to pilot a plane? – Kim Baker, Vivid Performance Group

6. Have them set goals.
It’s important to have your team members set their own training and professional development objectives. This way they own it! You can support them with dollars, time and encouragement, but the development is up to them. It can be part of their annual performance plan, but it has to be their idea in order for it to work. – Kimberly Lucas, Goldstone Partners

7. Hold stay interviews.
Focus on stay interviews. This will allow you to identify where employees are, what they desire and what skills and attributes they would benefit from further developing. Responding to actual needs lets your team know you hear them, you care for them and that they are highly valued by you and your organization. Do your part to unlock the human potential that lives inside your employees. – Mike Sipple, Talent Magnet Institute And Centennial

8. Provide needed tools.
Ensure that your teams always have access to training and professional development tools and courses. Also, encourage them to learn new skills and apply them in their roles. We use Litmos Learning as an internal training tool with access to thousands of courses. It also allows us to build custom courses for specific positions, for example, if we have individuals moving management roles. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group

9. Prioritize training.
Prioritizing development and training is one way to make sure that the program is taken seriously. Adding a minimum amount of training or specific courses to someone’s goals will let them know that you think it is important and that you care about them improving. If they believe you believe it is important, it will likely be much more successful. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

Five effective tips for setting user-generated content guidelines

“Content is king” – in the age of e-commerce, remote work, and social media, the statement couldn’t ring truer. Creating and sharing high-quality content is one of the best ways for businesses to build an online presence, strengthen their brand’s story and become an authority on their chosen area of focus. However, not all content is good content, which is why businesses need to be especially careful when sharing user-generated content.

The Business Journals

Many businesses have taken to promoting user-generated content as an effective way to mingle with the customers who use their goods and services. While there are many benefits to this approach, it’s crucial for businesses to set content guidelines for user-generated content. Here, five members of Business Journals Leadership Trust discuss the best ways for businesses to approach setting such guidelines.

1. Implement gamification.
In addition to creating content guidelines, a good way to get users to put more thoughtfulness into their content is to incentivize them in some way. Implementing gamification allows customers to make content sharing way more rewarding and entertaining. Hosting online contests is powerful because most people love to compete. Businesses can offer discounts and products for the best brand advocates. – Indya Wright, Artiste House

2. Provide guidelines and samples.
Provide guidelines and samples to your customers. You can really have a lot of control over this via a brand ambassador or brand loyalty program where you can set the rules, monitor the UGC and reward accordingly. This is a time-consuming cycle but worth it in the end. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

3. Set an approval process.
Businesses can set brand and content guidelines for those creating user-generated content. Set up an approval process with a quality check to ensure consistency in content before posting it online. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

4. Create a feedback loop.
Brands serious about user-generated content should create standard guidelines, a rigorous review process and most importantly, a feedback loop to inform and guide UGC efforts. While external guidelines can be helpful, internal guidelines maximize quality. Providing regular feedback to those interested in creating content for your brand increases quality and quantity. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.

5. Leverage unique hashtags.
User-generated content authentically showcases your product or service in action, allowing prospective customers to better see themselves in your brand story. Whether you’re a new restaurant, an IT services company or a nonprofit looking for donors, create a unique hashtag campaign that encourages community and removes as many barriers as possible for your raving fans to participate. – Melea McRae, Crux KC

Get More Bang for Your Buck with Offline Media

Offline Media Examples

By Fletcher Pickett, VP Account Director, Hawthorne Advertising

Are the days of offline media numbered? Maybe not! Digital media like ads on websites, mobile apps, social media and connected or over-the-top (OTT) TV are often relatively pricey in comparison to other marketing options. Perhaps obviously, these channels of media are incredibly effective among younger demographics while producing data that can help marketers target and retarget consumers with high propensities to buy. This is a big answer to the question “Why? as brands are increasingly gravitating toward digital channels for ad campaigns.

That said, offline media is still highly effective, so marketers shouldn’t overlook its capabilities. “Offline media” generally includes everything else that’s not digital, such as ads on linear TV (i.e., scheduled network programming), terrestrial radio, billboards, print, etc. Offline media is mostly very efficient upon reaching large numbers of people, especially linear TV, which often outperforms other offline media categories.

Specific Use Cases for Offline and Online Media

Because it reaches many people efficiently, offline media like video ads on linear TV and audio channels such as non-digital radio are great options for businesses that are launching a new brand or expanding from a regional presence to a national footprint. Offline tactics are somewhat not as targeted as connected TV ad campaigns in comparison, but brands executing in these channels will yield more efficient impressions and often reach more people on a dollar comparison basis when they run on linear TV.

Another great use case for offline media: rolling out a new product from an established brand. If the company is already well known and has a popular family of products, offline media can be the best way to get the word out about a new product while leveraging the brand’s strength. Offline media also works incredibly well to introduce a new product type for the same reason it makes sense for brand launches: it reaches large numbers of consumers for less when compared to digital media.

That said, in some cases, a digital media-first strategy can make more sense. Indeed, if the marketer needs to reach a highly specific group of consumers — people who might be interested in buying a specific truck bed liner, for example — online media’s targeting capabilities are valuable. But for broad product categories, like adhesives, offline media is cost-efficient and highly effective.

Another use case where online media is a marketer’s best bet is when the product is targeted to younger consumers. To reach people in the 18 to 34 age group, digital media like connected TV is highly effective; people in that age range typically watch less linear TV and make up more than half of the connected TV audience. However, for reaching viewers in particular for aged 35 and up linear TV is a great option.

Offline media is also an excellent option for marketers who want to drive traffic to brick and mortar retail outlets. For example, a company that sells a product online through an ecommerce platform but also has a national distribution channel via retail partnerships and prefers to drive customers to those channels may have better luck using both strategically booked local and national offline media for that specific objective.

Think “Both And” Instead of “Either Or”

Online and offline media each have distinct advantages, and most marketers find success with a campaign that combines the two. For example, an established brand that is rolling out a new product might invest in offline media to announce the product launch and advertise on digital channels too, using the data generated to retarget likely buyers.

It’s more difficult today to reach the youngest consumers with offline media, but non-digital channels are enticingly efficient relative to other options for targeting older demographics. The bottom line? Keep in mind the value that offline media delivers, and tailor media buying strategies according to campaign objectives and consumer demographics. Think “both and” instead of “either or” because in many use cases, offline media still delivers more bang for the buck.


Fletcher Pickett has been at Hawthorne Advertising for 10 years, managing campaigns in excess of $250 million in total expenditures.

How 10 Agencies Are Adapting To Recent Market Shifts

Business leaders expect to make many difficult decisions to help their companies succeed. What they can’t anticipate, however, are the actual market shifts their organizations will inevitably face.

Forbes Agency Council

Unforeseen circumstances—such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation or even the ever-growing social awareness of a younger generation of consumers—can present real-time challenges that companies must address quickly and in the right way to ensure their continued survival.

Below, members of Forbes Agency Council explore different ways agencies are adapting their outreach and offerings to better accommodate market shifts in 2022.

1. Shifting To Digital Marketing Techniques

In the B2B space, more and more decision makers are becoming younger and younger. So there is a huge shift from traditional marketing techniques to digital marketing techniques in the B2B space that is far outpacing the B2C space. – Scott Miraglia, Elevation Marketing

2. Deepening Social Impact Through Partnerships

We have doubled down on our paid digital service offerings and deepened our partnership with our sister agency, Ethos Giving, which focuses on supporting companies to do good in the world through social impact efforts. – Nathan Miller, Miller Ink, Inc.

3. Developing Systems For Attribution And Visibility

Working heavily in a B2B/software as a service space, we’ve had to adapt to this industry expecting and needing attribution and data visibility in terms of revenue impact. Clients need to see the true revenue or customer impact from every effort—even trickle-down ROI from upper-funnel channels. We’ve had to develop data services that build out the systems to do this at scale and go beyond just pure ads execution. – Brian Walker, Statwax

4. Ensuring Evolving Employee Needs Are Met

An agency or brand must constantly be adapting and evolving with market trends, from employee needs such as remote work and work-life balance to the physical machinery and tech platforms that will ensure they can perform their jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

5. Focusing More Heavily On Paid Media And E-Commerce

Over the past five years or so, we have adapted to market needs by focusing more heavily on paid media and e-commerce. While we were built on SEO, pivoting has been necessary in order to drive results faster. These two channels allow for greater flexibility when it comes to dealing with short attention spans and growing competition. All demographics want valuable information fast, so these channels bridge the gap. – Bernard May, National Positions

6. Offering A Full-Service Experience Within A Campaign

We’ve always offered a full-service experience, with strategy, content creation and platform management included. Now, we’re focused on that experience within a campaign. We know that all of our ideal clients need landing pages, transaction (checkout or sign-up) pages and content to funnel leads through, so we designed packages and programs around that. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B

7. Constantly Tracking Where Consumer Attention Resides

We are constantly adapting as we work in the social media space. We have one North Star, and that is to ensure that we understand where consumer attention resides. Recently, for example, consumer attention shifted away from platforms such as Facebook and moved to TikTok. Attention shifts all the time, but if you track where attention is, you can smartly adapt your offerings and channels. – Aliza Freud, SheSpeaks, Inc.

8. Keeping Up With Current Events, Industry News And Platform Updates

We have adapted to market demographic shifts by remaining informed of current events, industry news and platform updates. This keeps us aware of where our clients’ customers spend time and the content they engage with. For example, we onboarded a client who had a primary audience segment of 15- to 20-year-olds, so our team recommended a 20% budget reallocation from Facebook Ads to Snapchat Ads. – Tellef Lundevall, Accelerated Digital Media

9. Paying Attention To Target Clients’ New Pain Points

We have paid attention to the new issues and problems our target clients are experiencing, with most of them being in the creation of video content and/or making sense of TikTok. With that understanding, we have not only developed services that help educate our audience as to best practices but have also created services that would help alleviate these concerns. Open your eyes. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

10. Grouping People Into Audience Segments By Behavior

We are shifting away from grouping people into audience segments by demographics. Instead, we are focusing on how people behave, such as their stage in the sales cycle or propensity to convert. By integrating first-party customer relationship management data with media performance and site engagement data, we can run our own analyses to determine how to group and target individuals beyond just their demographic info. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures