(Photo Credit: Wonder cliparts.com)
2007 was a milestone year for SpeakerBox in many ways seven, in fact. So here are the SBX 7 of 07:
7. Strong partner spin-offs Agency co-founder Kristi Hedges successfully started her own leadership communications firm, The Hedges Company
, and long-time senior staffer Reggie Kouba launched RMK Productions
, a full-service meetings and event planning company in 2007. We couldnt be more proud of their successful starts.
6. Exceptional staff We brought Paul Duning
, Piper Conrad
, Mary Drinkwine and Lisa Wells on board. We also celebrated promotions with Julie Buckley (senior director), Erin West (account director), Jennifer Becker (media specialist) and Ali Smith (account executive).
5. Competition Football, cooking and mini golf are just three examples of how SBX employees demonstrated the competitive spirit. Cooking challenges focused on cupcakes, mac 'n cheese and Iron Chef: Battle Pumpkin (Stephanie and Grace are easily our master chefs). Our annual SpeakerBox Day saw heated action atWoody's
mini golf course, with Stephanie claiming a win here as well. On the virtual sports side, our fantasy football league is still underway, with Lisa Throckmorton's team favored to take the prize.
4. Fun We know how to bring levity to any situation. Example: when our building provided significant requirements for an upcoming fie drill, two employees went head-to-head with exceptional campaigns (and elections) to win the fire drill monitor role at SBX. Its been a few months now, and the election is still hotly contested. Annual events like SBX day, and special days like our wear your ugly holiday sweater to work show SpeakerBoxers play as hard as we work.
3. Rewarding client engagements In addition to the start of great working relationships with exciting new clients, we were thrilled to build on key partnerships with long-standing clients, including Cernium
and Arlington Economic Development
. Securing awards
for our work with VIPdesk
was also a significant highlight.
2. 10th Anniversary The date: October 10, 2007. The place: Gua-Rapo
in Arlington. The scene: 150 clients, colleagues, employees and friends of SpeakerBox gather to celebrate ten years in business. It was an amazing night and was the perfect way to celebrate with all those who have contributed to the success of our company.
1. Successful rebrand On March 19th, months of hard work across the company paid off when we successfully rebranded
from the SheaHedges Group to SpeakerBox Communications. It was a fantastic effort by all, and definitely topped our list of 2007 milestones.
Heres to an outstanding 2008!
(Photo Credit: Paramount)
Its possible that you have not heard of Cloverfield
, the big-budget Godzilla-esque flick from Lost
creator J.J. Abrams
. If not, shame on you. Not only does the movie look
poised to reinvent the giant monster genre, but its also doing an amazing job of marketing to the online community. Yes, a few commercials have hit the conventional airwaves, but the most of the advertising dollars appear to be focused on a movie-related alternate reality game, or ARG
, if youre in the know.
What is an ARG? Its essentially a detective game that crosses media boundaries without trying to hide the fact that its just for fun (unlike corporate shill blogs or grassroot Facebook groups). Instead of being confined to just a Flash pane or page on the movies website, Cloverfields ARG spans multiple websites, including some that may seem completely unrelated
to the movie itself. The point? Giving Cloverfields fan base the ability to learn more about the background of the movies events and bringing more consumers hooked by the clue-gathering aspect into the fold.
Cloverfields is set-up particularly well, involving a good bit of social media, including various blogs and MySpace
pages for main characters. If youre looking to participate, a good place to start is at CloverfieldClues
, a game-tracking blog and clue repository.
The concept of the ARG, however, is nothing new. Microsoft started an ARG prior to the launch of Halo 2 with www.ilovebees.com
, which was purported to be an innocuous website being corrupted by alien intelligence. Games mega-producer Electronic Arts also tried to mass-market an ARG with Majestic
, a 2001 counterintelligence computer game that would send you texts, threatening phone calls and even mail. However, the lack of a well-defined plot and poor features, as well as being release just prior to 9/11, shut down the game and possibly the idea of a stand-alone ARG.
This is a solid example of how viral marketing other than shill blog posts and grassroots Facebook groups can be effective
at least in my eyes.
So whats your opinion of ARGs? Are they just lame gimmicks or effective ways of driving interest through social media?
(Photo Credit: Cost Per News)
I'm pleased to announce that SpeakerBox will be continuing its tradition of educational seminars into 2008. Our January 9th event is entitled, "Google Loves Content: PR and Other Strategies to Drive SEO
Our panel of experts includes:Laszlo Horvath
, Active Media Brian Reed
, Boxtone Page Sands
, Digital Marketing Specialist
, R2integrated John Shea
SpeakerBox's own Elizabeth Shea will be moderating.
Our goal is to provide useful strategies on how marketing and PR programs can contribute to overall SEO goals. We're anticipating lots of sage advice from our friends at Active Media and R2integrated. Brian Reed and John Shea will share the secrets of their success - as they're both listed #1 in Google for their top keywords ("blackberry monitoring
" for BoxTone and "telecom expense management
" for Rivermine).
For more information or to register, click here.
If you'd like to add yourself to our Event Mailing list, click here.
Lastly, I'd love to hear from you, especially if you have suggestions for future programs or want to pitch yourself as a speaker. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Media Bistro)
As we rapidly approach the annual ball dropping
in Times Square
(does anyone else cringe when they think of Ryan Seacrest
as the heir apparent to the legendary Dick Clark
?), reporters at seemingly every publication are engaging in their own end-of-year rituals writing top ten lists, looking back at the good and bad of 2007 and making bold predictions for the new year. One of the first out of the gate is BusinessWeeks Jon Fine
who semi-confidently proclaims The future promises loss, revenge, surprise
.or something like that. Fine, BusinessWeeks
media and advertising blogger, discloses that hes not so hot at making predictions but hell do so anyway and with that he presents 12 predictions
for the media in 2008.
Among the most interesting:
At least one daily newspaper in the U.S. drops the daily and decides to forego a Saturday edition.
New York Times Co
. continues to maintain the status quo as if the media landscape werent changing and ends 2008 with slightly slower revenue declines
achieves just middling success
Cell phones remain an undernourished and disappointing media platform in America, being used for calls and texts and not TV shows, movies and ads as some believe
Like Fine, I have long questioned the readership of the Saturday edition of a daily newspaper and it will be interesting to see if any papers have the gumption to ax the edition. I disagree with his prediction for cell phones, however, and think that well see the notion of an all-in-one portable device for email, Web browsing, music, calls and texting expand even further. The iPhone
has certainly taken the first step there and its popularity will lead to even more competition in this area. As for Fines predictions on Kindle and the NYT, I dont have strong feelings either way but Im sure others do so feel free to comment.
(Photo Credit: Technology Marketing Alliance)
Last Wednesday, on the morning of the first snow the region has seen this year, a few brave souls ventured over to the Tower Club
to attend a top-notch program held by the Technology Marketing Alliance
, featuring three prominent venture capitalists here in this region: Gene Reichers
of Valhalla Partners
, Kevin Burns
from Lazard Technology Partners, LLC
and Sever Totia
from Edison Venture Fund.
Brian Reed, Chief Marketing Officer for Boxtone
moderated the panel.
The topic was Straight From The Board: Corporate Board Members Tell What They Really Want From The CMO
There were many interesting takeaways in listening to these leaders discuss what they really care about, and how the role of a CMO has changed over the years. The biggest nod they gave, however, was to the apparent influence and high level of import the CMO has, or should have, on an organization.
The gist of what we heard, was that while the CEO is ultimately accountable for success or failure, the board often next looks to the CMO to drive strategic vision, messaging, positioning, product strategy, etc. Of course, credit and import was given to the CFO for fiscal accountability and responsibility, and to the executive sales VP responsible for sales goals, and to an effective leader of the developent team. But, next to the CEO, the CMO stood accountable for the success in the positioning and strategic direction of the company.
It was great to hear that at the board level there is significant validation for the roles that our clients hold, and the impact they have on their businesses.
Other perspectives shared include:
~ CMOs should own and have the accountability for managing the win/loss analysis, and then be able to learn from the data.
It is a necessity that they know what's happening with customers, prospects, and how to increase the overall sales funnel.
~ The best marketers own a 1-page piece of paper that clearly defines the segmented, targeted customer profile, the problem customers have, and how the companys product or service solves those problems.
Then everything should fall out of that strategic deliverable. Ironically, comments were made that there are many, many companies that dont have anything near that concise as a guiding factor.
~ The most successful companies are those in which the CMO is tightly aligned with the executive in charge of sales
, so much that they mirror each other in their end game, approach, and seem to sing from the same sheet of music.
~ There were many chuckles and sighs around a point made that marketers have an overarching challenge: everyone typically has an opinion on marketing
non-sales people would never tell a salesperson how to do their job, non-developers would never jump in and ask to help write code, but non-marketers (including CEOs!) are constantly providing advice and counsel on what to do on the marketing front!
A special thanks to everyone who shared their time with this senior group of marketers, for our own continued learning!
- Elizabeth Shea
Our work for clients can shift focus throughout the course of a year. One of my clients recently needed us to boost our support for their marketing efforts given the absence of an internal marketing manager. I've stepped up to the plate and I'm excited about this different type of content development work.
In doing more research about various online marketing strategies, I came across a very interesting blog post
that specifically addresses the issue of search engine optimization when it comes to press releases. Lee Odden's Online Marketing Blog
provides a number of suggestions direct from contacts at the major news wire services, including PR Newswire
, Business Wire
We've had a number of internal discussions about the changing value of the press release across our agency and at all levels. It's clear from our discussions, and blog conversations like this, that at least part of the value of the press release lies squarely with search engine optimization.