Monthly Archives

August 2013

Marketers and cyber security

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If you’ve worked in marketing, especially direct response marketing, for any length of time you are already well aquainted with the need to protect customer data. From locking data tapes in a safe to requiring a badge swipe to enter a secure section of the print room to recommending a reply envelope rather than a reply postcard, marketers have been guarding the personal information of their clients customers for decades.

Technology has forever changed the way businesses interact with their customers and the simple fact is that technology and marketing are chained together forever. We transfer data files over the internet to our printers, we require registration to access information on the company website, we build apps that give customers access to their account data no matter where they are, We develop lists of email addresses and real names in databases for retargeting and future contact, we sell products with the push of a button.

With the rise of new technologies, the cloud, and mobile networks, control of the data infrastructure has moved beyond the control of the corporate IT manager. Hence, new regulations and requirements of marketing companies working with corporations. For example, one of our large financial services clients recently changed their policy and now classifies all apps, whether they have any link to customer information or not, as a high threat to security. Which means the app we’ve been developing for them now needs to be scanned and certified before we can deploy it (even though it connects to no user information and doesn’t even require a registration). The requirement surprised us as well as our client and is based on the recent sensitivity to cyber security concerns. So, that’s what we’ll do. And the next time we start an app project we’ll know to ask the question of any company we’re working for. Like always, marketing moves with the times and develops new skills as we go. Because if we don’t, bad things can happen as demonstrated in a very creepy way in this Belgian ad:

On the flip side, having cyber security in the news so often could be a great thing for one of our other clients. For the last few years we’ve been helping the University of Minnesota: Technological Leadership Institute market and promote their Master of Science in Security Technologies. The program is a leader in the field covering the foundations of security science as well as risk/threat management and policy.

Regardless of which side of marketing you work on, every marketer needs to understand the increasingly complex security demands of the technology they use. Be safe out there.

-Beth Seitzberg is the art director and technology manager at d.trio marketing group

d.trio featured work: Japs-Olson Company

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Tasked with creating new sales material for Japs Olson printing company, d.trio jumped at the opportunity. We wanted to create something that balanced the strength and history of the company that also showcased their leading edge technology. We started with a campaign theme, “Print. Mail. Innovate.” We added a rich deep blue color to the campaign palate, and eliminated some of the more vibrant colors from the JO palette to create something upscale and full of rich tones. The components created include: an equipment list, a folder with pockets, a brochure and an outer wrap to hold samples and other collateral.


Top Inventions

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Several key advancements stand out as particularly revolutionary because of the impact they had on the world.  According to Live Science*, here are their picks for the 10 most important inventions of all time, from past to present:

The wheel
The nail
The compass
The printing press
The internal combustion engine
The telephone
The light bulb
The Internet

Here are the d.trio team’s picks for their favorite inventions, both current or yet to be unveiled:

Jordan wants this invention:
I want a hover board from Back to the Future 2. I won’t rest until I have one.

Victoria wants this invented:
A re-sealable bag, shaped like a tote bag, with handles.  The components should be biodegradable and/or recyclable.

Fred wants this invented:
A charcoal briquette bag that opens easily.  That current darn stringy thingy is a total mystery and works about one time in twenty.

Beth wants these things invented:
String-less corn (no corn silk).  A bagel with two tops. Flying cars.

Megan likes:
The iPhone. Everything I need to keep in touch, in the know or moving to music in one place, and totally portable.

Sheryl enjoys:
My DVR.  You never have to miss your favorite program and you can speed through commercials and rewind if you miss something.

Tina’s favorite inventions:
Coffee, cars, and iPhones. The first one picks me up, the second one gets me going and the iPhone keeps me connected.

Mary’s favorite invention:
The electronic spreadsheet. Prior to that, accountants used green ledger paper and wrote in pencil. Making changes or adding information to a report usually required re-writing everything and was very time consuming so you had to get it right the first time.

Maureen wants this invented:
A Star Trek Transporter

Tim’s top pick:
Ball point pen


Tell us your opinion on


* – March 6, 2012

Following the Crowd to Innovation?

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“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
— Elbert Hubbard

Given the current pace of innovation, this statement certainly rings true. The amazing thing is that it’s from the late 18th century! Clearly everything is relative, but it can’t be argued that the very nature of the innovation process is changing dramatically.

Technology and social networking have given rise to new pathways to “new”. “Crowdsourcing” and “crowdfunding” are spurring new products and features, new companies and even solutions to global health challenges. As author Stefan Lundegaard puts it, “Companies have a different perspective on innovation where sharing is the new norm.” Open collaboration is more often now seen as a viable route to success.

Fast-growing sites like Quirky (fostering new product inventions), Kickstarter (generating funding for creative projects) and Indiegogo (the leading international crowdfunding platform) are fueling innovation at a dizzying rate. Kickstarter alone has funded over 80,000 projects totaling in excess of $40 million dollars. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is crowdsourcing worldwide health solutions from plumbing-free toilets to next-generation condoms.

How about some examples you say? Check out

Following the crowd has traditionally been thought of as the antithesis of innovation. I guess it’s time we rethink the meaning of the phrase. Don’t look now, something new is gaining on you.

Management Perspective

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Years ago, Steve Jobs asked his designers to come up with a portable tablet that would have touch technology and be able to access the internet, and play videos and games. After months (or years) of development, when the prototype was presented to Jobs his immediate reaction was that new device should not be a tablet, it had to be a phone. He was focused on function and user experience and when he saw what could be done, he wanted it do to more.

Such is how the true innovators and inventors think. This mid-stream switch not only made Apple one of the most powerful companies of all time, it was a communication game changer for all of us. We will never know how different things would be if the iPad proceeded the iPhone.

Laser clear focus on the end result is not only an asset when problem solving, or inventing, it is also useful when setting goals. One theory that I recently heard is this; set two goals and you might hit one, set three and likely none, set only one goal and you have the best chance of success.

Invent some marketing, and boost your brand.

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Differentiating a brand is not for the weak of heart. Even established brands can find themselves struggling to create a blip on the sales meter. Too often, the competition is saying the same things you are, or somebody else is first, or says it louder, or – you get the idea. To create a little drama and stir things up, one of the most effective things you can do is invent your own marketing to advertise around. With the help of today’s social media outlets, this additional marketing push can be very compelling.

For example, some years ago, Radio Shack wanted to increase store traffic over the holidays, so they did a little research with women to learn their top ten most-wanted Christmas gifts. Then advertising was created to offer the list to any man who stopped by the store. Anyone who’s ever been desperate for gift ideas knows how tempting an offer like this can be.

To build some advertising buzz, The Toro Company decided to pull a stunt that had more to do with mowing down the competition than with cutting grass. They entered one of their riding lawn mowers in the Baja 500 off-road race in Mexico. In addition to the instant PR created by the spectacle of a lawn tractor rider suited up in full racing gear, the stunt generated a huge amount of additional free press and buzz around the brand. They didn’t win the race, but they sure won the competition for something to talk about in their advertising.

Even in the financial services category, where sameness can be a big hurdle, some invented marketing can overcome advertising inertia. One Australian Bank staged a series of “Honesty Experiments” to promote the honest nature of its credit card business. These included dropping wallets around for people to find, giving people incorrect change and letting money slip from actors’ pockets. Capturing the typically honest response from the Australian public gave the bank plenty of advertising material to work with in both traditional and social media.

Not to be mistaken with cause marketing, invented marketing can be small and episodic, and it can be created to support your chief brand strategy or a business initiative with a shorter life span. Either way, inventing something to talk about that’s uniquely yours can take you a long way toward being different in a branding landscape that’s often filled with too much similarity.

Cage Match: Pie vs. Cake

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Presenting the second in our Cage Match series. An occasional video posting of various d.trio team members squaring off about the little things we find to argue over. This time around Jordan and Tina bicker about dessert. We hope you are entertained and if you’d like to give us your opinions go right ahead and comment, or let us know on our Facebook page.

So here goes the first entry of what we hope will be many: d.trio Cage Match: Pie vs. Cake (link for mobile users)

Brand Reinvention

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Reinventing a brand is a delicate science. It requires careful consideration of current brand perceptions along brand aspirations for the future. The most successful rebrands are rooted in truth (e.g., “are audiences perceptions in step with how we are positioning ourselves?”) In order to get to that truth, you must ask a few key questions when beginning to reinvent your brand:

1. How have audiences’ perceptions of your brand changed?
First place to start in any re-brand initiative is to deep dive into your audience perceptions of the brand. Just like people, brands adapt and change with the times and can mean different things to different generations.

Begin by prioritizing your audiences, revisiting your segment profile details, and redefining these individuals and their motivations. Following that initial audience definition work, conduct primary research including focus groups, online surveys, ethnographic studies, and other qualitative methods to learn about current brand perceptions. Develop a brand audit report that summarizes qualitative research and synthesizes “then vs. now” attitudes towards the brand.

2. How has the marketplace changed?
Since your last branding initiative, how has the market changed? More/less industry regulation? New product/service alternatives? Market oversaturation leading to more competitive pricing?
Conduct an audit of the marketplace through secondary research sources such as Mintel or Iconoculture. Determine how the marketplace has shifted from your last branding initiative. Hopefully, this also leads to hypotheses on where the market may shift next, allowing you to incorporate forward-thinking components into your brand work.

3. Have competitors repositioned themselves?
Similar to the market assessment, dive into your competitor branding work and develop a comprehensive grid. This competitive grid should include articulated brand position statement, tone/voice, main “reasons to believe” their brand position, and other specific brand traits to your industry. This is the time to re-evaluate whether a competitor is still in direct competition with your offerings or if they have focused on a different audience.

Because branding initiatives take time and thoughtful consideration, it’s crucial to start by answering these three questions before beginning a rebrand exercise.

-Jordan Bainer is a senior account executive at d.trio marketing group