Category Archives: Trends

The Classroom of Tomorrow is Everywhere

This past Sunday, a group of Point Park instructors collaborated with  a professor at Slipper Rock University and others in the social media community to hold a live twitter chat during the Super Bowl.   With an event like the Super Bowl, we felt that it was a great opportunity to have a marketing and social media discussion in real-time.  The goal was to create lively discussion and allow our students to interact with us as well as each other as they viewed one of the marketing events of the year.

Teaching and learning, in my opinion, is not restricted to a classroom for a set period of time.   When studying a field like marketing and social media, learning in real-time helps the students understand marketing and social media, and how they are applied in real situations.  I am not a fan of marketing or social media books, because they are out of date as soon as they are printed.  A collaboration, however, happens in real-time and I believe sticks with the students longer.

So how did the event go?  Did students interact with each other?  Did we learn anything?  Yes.  Yes.  And yes.

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Using the twitter hashtag #sbmktg101, the discussion generated over 1 MM impacts, 200 people contributed, and reached over 251,000 unique people.  Not to bad for a collaboration between two small schools in western PA.  If you are afraid your students are not willing to interact and learn on a Sunday when they are not in school, the stats above say differently.

Just how far did the discussion go?  Our discussion was retweeted by Fred Graver (@fredgraver) Head of TV at Twitter.

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And this discussion was a lot more than just a few people contributing.   Over 55 people tweeted more than 6 times during the event.

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And contributions varied, but overall were well represented by students in on the discussion.  Some of my students never tweeted before this event, but contributed and shared throughout the night.  I actually tweeted TOO much – my account was locked for most of the 4th quarter!

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Some examples of the live discussion (A small sample – the discussion included professors, Pittsburgh agencies, and students).

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To see the full discussion, visit and plug-in the hashtag #sbmktg101.

My final take aways from the discussion:

1. I am not a social media manager by trade, but developed the strategy and managed the discussion.  THIS WAS NOT EASY.  I have a new-found respect for social media manager – you women and men are rock stars.

3. My pick for best ad in the Super Bowl?  The Budweiser #bestbuds spot.  Why?  It was ‘sssssscute!

4. My pick for the worst ad in the Super Bowl?  The Budweiser #bestbuds spot?  Why?  I think it will not appeal to their target market (men) and drive beer sales.  Budweiser is focused on the promotional era of marketing, and should really focus on the Product portion of the marketing equation, to address lost sales to craft beer makers, etc.  We love puppies, but we love good beer even more.  But heck with hit – lets watch it again!

5. Best Social Media Interaction: Tide.  Tide responded in real time to other brands ads using Vine.  It was a great approach, and P&G did not have to spend $4 MM on an ad – but just respond to them like we all were anyway.

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6. My runner up best ad goes to Goldie Blox.  Great music.  Great message.  Great overall concept to help girls reach their fullest potential and break the existing pressure to act in certain ways.

….and shout out to Toys R Us for showing us Targeted Marketing, while not as flashy, might matter even more (Event tie-in, featured product, clear call to action).

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7. Thank you to everyone who joined the discussion to make it a success, especially the following:

Douglas Strahler, Professor of Communications at Slippery Rock University, @profstrahler

Christina Morgan, Professor of Communications/Social Media at Point Park University, @christinamorgan

Deanna Ferrari Tomaselli, Social Media Manager at Rue 21, @dferrari

Patty Swisher, Professor of Communications/Social Media at Point Park University, @pmswish

Garrett Green, @garrettgreen – for hashtag usage.

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8. Never stop learning.  Never.

Chris Lovett


BMGT 205: Assignment 1, Amazon Fresh

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For Assignment #1, I want the class to read an article from the August 18th issue of Fast Company:



After reviewing the article, please take some time to answer the following questions.  Please answer them numbered, in the comments section of this blog.

1. Why is Amazon Prime so important to Amazon?  What metrics did they talk about to show this importance?

2. Do you think a Amazon Fresh will be successful?  If so, why?  If not, why?

3. Out of the 4 p’s of marketing discussed in week one, which one do you feel is the most important to Amazon Fresh’s success (Price, Product, Place, or Promotion).  Why?

4. If you were a competitor of Amazon, how would you prepare to compete against Amazon Fresh?  How would you position your experience vs. Amazon (Include which competitor you are, and how you would position against this new competition).

I look forward to a good discussion on this next week.

Chris Lovett









BMGT 411: Assignment #4 Direct and Targeted Marketing


In the last class, we took a deep dive into marketing that leveraged mass communications to reach an audience, TV, Radio, Newspaper, Magazines, Billboards, etc.  In Chapter 17, we are going to take a look at methods marketers use to target consumers in a very intimate way, using Direct Mail, email, and targeted interactive marketing.

While targeted marketing is not as glamorous as mass media advertising, it is becoming increasingly popular as brands look to increase their ROI, target their most profitable customers, and measure results.

Good Direct Marketing has a couple of key ingredients:

1. Data. There is a reason you are being targeted.  Whether it be because you meet a certain demographic profile (Age, Income) or you meet a companies desired target based on their goals (Lapsed customer, heavy user, etc) – there is a reason why you are being contacted.  The best Direct Marketers usually have very robust CRM systems to target the right customers at the right time.

2. It’s personal.  Unlike mass media advertising, Direct Marketing is often addressed and communicated in a 1:1 style, with the best Direct Marketers speaking in a way that feels like it is individual for each customer.

3. It has a CTA.  CTA stands for call to action.  Unlike in mass media where the CTA is often unclear, in direct marketing, the advertiser usually makes it pretty clear what they want you to do next.  Use a coupon.  Visit a store.  Call a number.  Good Direct Marketing has great CTA’s.

4. It is measurable.  Direct Marketing has the advantage on the quality of measurement over mass media.  Send an email?  Easily get open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and even heat maps to where customers are looking.  And these results can often come in a few days vs a few months in mass media.

Marketers are also going to extreme lengths to make Direct Marketing more personal – we will discuss next week.  Here is a quick video to see how far you can go:

So you were given examples of Direct Marketing in class last week (if you missed class – grab an email or direct mail from home) and answer the questions below:

1. Who is the brand marketing to you?

2. Who do you think the target was?

3. What data do you think they used to get the name?  Was it external or internal data source?

4. What was the CTA?

5. How will the results, in your opinion, be measured?

This will be a great way for us to get warmed up into the Direct Marketing discussion next week.

Chris Lovett

PodCamp Pittsburgh 7: Build Your Digital Toolbox


I am thrilled to be a featured speaker at this year’s podcamp #pcpgh7.  What is podcamp?  It is a free event where you can learn social media and interactive marketing in a very “un-conference” like environment.  No pressure.  No stuffy suits.  Just real people talking about what they love to do each day.

My session is all about engaging with students using social media.  Blogs, interactive teaching, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  Our role as instructors needs to be, whether we like it or not, to engage with our students on their level.

Would you take your car to a repairman that did not know about cars?  Should students trust instructors that are not aware of social media and how to use it?

The way students are learning is different.  Many high schools are going paperless.  Online coursework is evolving through organizations like Coursera and Venture Lab – giving students the opportunity to learn in new and exciting ways from across the globe.  As instructors – we need to embrace this change and become just as engaged as our students are in social media.

If you know anyone in higher education that is looking to increase their online and social media presence, please join me at podcamp pittsburgh 7 – and start building your digital toolbox!





BMGT 411: Assignment #3 – Social Media Marketing


Thinking about our guest speaker Deanna Ferrari and the great social media examples she provided us in class, please provide your own examples of a company that is doing Social Media Marketing well.

What company, brand, or non profit do you think is doing social media well?

Who is their primary target?

What social media outlets do they use? (Twitter, Facebook, etc).

What is their tone?  (Funny?  Uplifting?  Responsive?)

Is there a person behind the brand personality?  Is that person identified? (Example: @scottmonty at @ford).

Is there a time when they most engage with consumers? (Day, Nights, Weekends?).

Anything else you found as a reason your example does social media well?  Are there any bad examples you can also share?

Chris Lovett

What I Learned This Week, 9.7.12

This one is late, late, late!  But I am still posting.  Still learning.  So here are a few items I learned this week.

1. Others Share My Views on Groupon: I knew I was not alone.  I also saw daily deals as a trend, and not a platform.  Companies have goals of growing profitable, returning, and loyal customers.  While Daily Deals drive trial, they do very little to meet the long term objectives of many companies.  My friend here agrees.

2. Responsive Web Design is Coming: Responsive Web design is much more than optimizing a site for a mobile device – responsive design optimizes web pages by how you are viewing it, on a tablet, a smartphone, even the size of your browser window.  Responsive web design is coming – and it’s a truly customer friendly feature.  Learn more about responsive web design here

3. Coke is Selling Convenience: Coke is getting ready to launch Dasani Drops.  I find this fascinating because of the price concept here.  These drops are probably 4 oz at most, and sell for $4.00 each, a huge premium from the $1.89 cost of a 20 oz. drink.  My guess is they cost less to make too.

True – Coke is not the first player here – but I find it innovative and amazing that a category can be reinvented, often selling convenience over an actual product (Flavor in your purse).  Other companies have been in this space for years (think cereal bars) – but it seems soft drink companies are finally catching up, and will profit from your water even if its not theirs.

Chris Lovett


Is Marketing Dead?

If HBR can use this headline as link bait, so can I.  The Harvard Business Review ran an article last week that I have wanted to comment on.  The article, listed here, spells out why Bill Lee believes marketing is dead.

His first comment: Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead.

The most disappointing fact about Mr. Lee’s statement is this: Marketing is not advertising.  Marketing includes product, price, place, and promotion (and partnerships and people, but that’s just me).  The work that goes into developing a strong brand includes developing the positioning for that brand, and focusing on a core target market to grow the brand.  While I agree that the roles of traditional marketers has changed, it is far from dead.  Marketing like other functional business areas as evolved into a data driven practice, where to be successful, marketers must be laser focused on all elements of the marketing mix, including leveraging social media and advocates to help build their brand.

Marketing is not dead.  It is far from dead.  It has just evolved to be more customer centric.  It has evolved to be more targeted.  It relies on professionals to position products and engage with customers like never before.  Looking at the top global brands from the BrandZ report, most are very powerful marketers.  Their brands are growing because they have increased their marketing investment, and have not reduced it.  Their marketing investment is just more targeted and more digital than it used to be.

I think a good example of a brand evolving their marketing strategy is Ford.  Automotive companies used to be very media focused, often relying on incentives or price and item advertising to increase their sales.  Ford has continued to grow their brand, but has evolved their marketing strategy to include customer engagement as a key focal point of their marketing investment.   Ford is now a highly targeted marketing machine, like most top brands today.

Ford still runs TV ads.  But they are more targeted than they used to be.  They have not advertised on the Super Bowl in a few years, forgoing the “most eyeballs” approach to an approach where they target the most “prospective buyers”.  They have sponsored shows like American Idol, where a young and engaged audience is perfect for their products focused on technology (Ford Sync System).  They even developed original programing, featuring social media influencers like @ijustine with their Escape Routes show as part of the launch plan for the new 2013 Ford Escape.  Do they do TV?  Yes.  Do they do TV like they did 5 years ago?  No.

Social media is also at the heart of everything that Ford does.  Led by Scott Monty, Ford has a very wide coverage on all social media channels, including Facebook, twitter, and even google +.  With 1.5 Million likes on Facebook, Ford can engage with an audience larger than local TV or radio ads at the push of a button.  As a comparison, GM only has 400K fans, showing that a brand that is committed to social media can grow their fan base by engaging with customers and tying it into everything they do.  Ford, like most brands, realize social media is not “free.”  It requires a team of dedicated professionals to bring the brand alive in social media.  It requires taking the brand experience from their stores, and from their advertising, to each channel to engage with customers.

Ford is just one example.  Apple.  Target.  Whole Foods.  Starbucks.  All of the top brands are still marketing, they are just doing it in a way that is very different than it was a few years ago.  And that is okay.  People who work in marketing thrive on change.  If you are not innovating, you are dying.

That’s my take.  I don’t think marketing is dead at all.  I think it has changed, and if marketers refuse to change, then yes, sooner or later, they will die.

Chris Lovett

Using Social Media for Marketing Research

I came across this Frito Lay page this weekend, where they are asking fans to create the next Lay’s chip flavor via a social contest on Facebook.  Pretty innovative idea if you ask me.  Will it work?  Time will tell.  Companies today are getting closer and closer to their customers,  and I see this as an exciting evolution in Marketing Research.  Companies are now getting almost immediate customer feedback and immediate results on consumers tests.  What once took months is now available in days.

In product development before social media, managers would have looked at trend reports (secondary data for my BGMT 311 class), focus groups (qualitative study again for BGMT 311), and other research before launching a new flavor.  New flavors are still risky, even with all of the research done, with the failure rate estimated by some experts on new flavors or extensions at 50%.  While the chosen Lay chip may also fail, the amount of spending will probably be far less than the older traditional methods.

New products and flavors are risky.  There is a lot of research done up front, and then a lot of marketing support is needed at launch to create awareness and demand.  With Frito Lay using social media to help pick their next flavor, what they are really doing is developing a “Virtual Test Market” – running the ideas past thousands of consumers before they make a large investment on product formulation, package design, etc.  I expect to see a lot more of this as social media use continues to grow.

Another great example of a company leveraging social media is Walmart.  Using their new internal social team they brought in, @walmartlabs, they monitor social trends around the clock.  When they discovered a very large amount of people talking about cake pops on Twiiter and other social media outlets, they informed their merchandisers to get them into their stores on a test basis.  The results were so successful, they plan on bringing them back in the future.  

The example above with cake pops is a great example of using social secondary data to one’s advantage – because Walmart was able to react to a market trend almost immediately.  If they would have waited, they may have missed out on the trend and an opportunity for incremental sales.  In the past, this trend would have been reported, at earliest, a quarter after it was established, and it may have just been too late.  Just like technology, food trends are becoming lighting fast (are gourmet marshmallows even a thing anymore?)

I am not a fan of Walmart – but they seem to be really leading the way when it comes to leveraging social marketing research into their overall business model.  Their “Get It On the Shelf” campaign generated over 4,000 product ideas and a million votes.  Walmart announced the first products from this initiative featured recently here.

I have to figure out how to get pies trending on twitter – I have been waiting for that trend for years.