future of marketing Archives - d.trio marketing group

Google Glass and Me

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I’m not someone who is normally considered an early adopter of new technology. Technology and I have a sort of mutual respect for each other, meaning we, (or more accurately, I) keep a respectable distance until new and technical becomes easy and less complicated,  mainstream with most of the bugs worked out. When Google Glass was announced, I took my typical “stay away from me” stance and could not imagine anything that I would ever want less in life than to walk around tethered to the internet day in and day out. Never. Ridiculous idea. Not to mention the obvious driving and zombielike walking issues. So, what happens when this tech-averse human finds herself unexpectedly at Google headquarters and some very excited, very nice Google Glass ambassador hands over a pair? WOW. To summarize my experience: it really is all that cool. It understands you and answers questions and commands in a manner that will make Siri pea green with envy. The itty bitty little screen up in the corner of your right eye is actually pretty easy to see and unless you lock onto it, or ‘glass-out’ in Google speak, it might not always impede your vision. moglasses My love affair was short lived as there were others waiting in line like school children eager to take their turn. Will I buy them? Not likely. But will I view them on others with the same disdain? Honestly, probably not as much. I can see now that they actually might have some purpose for some people, but the obvious human interaction problems will be hard to eliminate. Google has just put out a Google Glass Etiquette guide in an attempt to help users understand how to behave while wearing the Glass. It makes for some pretty hilarious reading with advice such as…’respect others who have questions about the Glass and don’t get snappy with them’ and ‘how to avoid being a glasshole.’ For more information, check out the Daily Beast.

Real time marketing makes for a pleasant surprise.

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Patrick Bettenburg is currently working with d.trio as an Account Executive.

A radio commercial I heard recently is a great example of how marketing in the moment, done well, can be very memorable. I had just read the ADWEEK article Real-Time Rules that highlights several national successes of this marketing trend, and here I was listening to a fun example of it right here in Minnesota.

The radio campaign promotes the Ely tourism group. Now there’s really nothing new about fall travel in Minnesota; it’s the second largest season for tourism. But the ads break through the clutter and make a connection. They created a timely importance with a fake, breaking-news style that gave some urgency to the moment in a humorous way. An effective example of marketing in the moment, which many brands are still learning to do.

Real Time Marketing, or RTM, is about tying your message to the most current realities of your audience in a timely manner in order to create relevance. The closer your content relates to what’s on your audiences’ mind the easier it is for them to connect with your message. It’s that stuff that content creators dream of. Everyone remembers the Oreo ad about dippin’ in the dark that ran after the Superbowl blackout.

The ADWEEK article by Tim Nudd does a great job of reviewing several RTM examples, as well as laying out the risks of not getting it right. These days many brands are cranking out content just to get some attention and some are facing unintended negative consequences.

The successful RTM campaigns are skillfully done and surprisingly well planned. They seem to be born in the moment but are actually well crafted to connect with the brand and appear to be freshly created. To really ‘market in the moment’ today you need to have a well-stocked content creation tool chest of brand messages and creative ideas in order to be ready when the right moments come. That way you will be prepared to respond to the completely unexpected, such as the Superbowl blackout.

Is your brand ready for the next opportunity to market in the moment?

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

Proven Attention Getters – Management Perspective

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In spite of many reports to the contrary, marketing through traditional channels is still very much alive.  Clearly, newer channels (digital, web, social etc.) are being successfully employed throughout the marketing landscape, but proven methods of marketing communications continue to grab prospects’ attention and drive marketing results – often in conjunction with their more “shiny” brethren.

Companies continue to have tremendous opportunity to reap low hanging fruit using more traditional methods.  Newer tools now at our disposal are great in appropriate situations, but may not outshine campaigns based on sound strategy and execution of time-tested methods.

Whether you’re doing new customer acquisition, activation, cross selling, product launches or brand-building, utilizing traditional channels can often be your best bet for success.

And it doesn’t have to be a choice between old and new.  In our experience, integrating channels is a great way to engage your audience.

Many programs launch with direct mail and include a call to action to visit a website, campaign micro-site or landing page, scan a QR Code, click a video link or PURL or interact on a Facebook page.  Add online banner ads, display ads and coordinate with blog content and you’ve got a truly integrated program.  (For a great integrated campaign example, check out our case study for the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute –TLI at http://www.dtrio.com/fbcontent/UMTLI.pdf ).

So don’t automatically reject your old marketing friends in favor of the new kids on the block.  You’d be surprised how well they play on their own – and with others.


Intern Series II: Starting an internship at d.trio marketing group

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Starting a new internship is like opening a present on Christmas. You are ready for something new, nervous that you might not like it or it doesn’t fit, you don’t know if batteries are included, and you are excited for the opportunity to learn new things.

Beginning my internship with d.trio marketing group I felt like I was opening a Christmas present. This is all totally new to me. Although I have had two internships before, I have never had one with a marketing agency. I have always wanted to get this experience and going into my first day I felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

So far I could not be happier with this opportunity. Everyone that works here has been so welcoming and helpful with all of the trillion questions that I have. I have been interning for d.trio for two weeks so far and I am already sitting in on client meetings, meeting with everyone in the officeand learning about their position in the company and learning about the company as a whole.  And, I totally got the best gift during our White Elephant gift exchange (a used bowling pin).

I am really looking forward to a few different things in this internship. I want to learn how an agency works. How are clients found, how are projects distributed, who are our clients and what kind of projects are we working on, and how does a small agency with large clients compete with other agencies? Next, I want to see what kind of skills are needed to succeed in the agency environment and what skills do I already have and what things I can learn from everyone at d.trio?  Finally, I want to be able to work on a team on an actual client project.

I know that everyone is expecting big things from me and I am very motivated to exceed their expectations. I am looking forward to this experience and opportunity!

Marketing Intern
d.trio marketing group

Marketing in a tech-driven world

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We’re all aware of how much marketing has changed in 5 years and as a marketing company, d.trio’s looked for ways to marry traditional, paper-based tools and channels with digital counterparts. We’ve started seeing the term “Marketing Technologist” used to describe the tech expert in a marketing company or department, but we believe that instead of having a separate position in a company, technology integration strategy should be a skill set of all marketing employees. Technology is no longer just a vehicle, it’s an integral part of marketing and user experience. Technology is driving many projects from internal business tools that help with sales and customer interaction, to apps and mobile Web for easy access/viewing on smartphones, to collateral and other content management online.

Being problem solvers at heart and having always embraced technology has helped us find great ways to help our clients migrate their collateral and publications to bridge the gap between paper and digital experiences. Technology helps clients take their paper documents to reader-friendly electronic delivery on computers, tablets and smartphones. As people become more mobile oriented, they expect companies to provide the content they need – wherever they are, whenever and how they need to access it. To this end, we provide the technology of content delivery in different ways to maximize the reader experience.

Page-turn technology is one of these tech tools. It helps deliver publications in a reader-friendly manner with realistic page-turning graphics. You can zoom in, embed video, use links from the contents page and also link back to information on your own website all within the PDF document. It’s a great way to present your magazines, white papers or brochures. Here’s an example (not our work).

UX Design Principles

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Recently, d.trio has worked on a number of client projects with a strong user experience component. This work has acted as a reminder of how the laws of UX design tie into influencing customers’ brand preference. Here are a few principles of UX design that marketers should incorporate into their project planning and execution:

Consider the whole interaction a person has with a product, process, or service. UX design and strategy considers not only the end result but also the whole process to get to that result.

Warby Parker is a good example of a brand that considers the whole consumer interaction. Through a simple website, you can order frames to try on at home or you can try on virtually. Your postage is taken care of, you can get your Facebook friends advice on selected styles, and your finished glasses come to you in less than a week. The process is designed to be easy and valuable throughout.
UX Design Principles

You have to read between the lines. Consumers won’t always tell you why something seems difficult or undesirable. Marketers must glean insights from consumer interaction and synthesize that into noticeable process improvement.

Google has built their philosophy on understanding how to make things better for their users (without their users telling them to do so). They state in their last philosophic tenet “For example, when one of our engineers saw that search worked well for properly spelled words, he wondered about how it handled typos. That led him to create an intuitive and more helpful spell checker.”

Show. Don’t tell. To create the simplest user experience, it’s best to explain a desired consumer response through visuals and concepts your consumers are familiar with. This familiarity will help develop brand preference.

Infographics are helpful tools used to break down complex ideas and serve them up to viewers in terms they can easily process. A relevant example is this infographic talking about the specifics of the U.S. fiscal cliff (a topic many individuals don’t clearly understand).


Though these are just a few ideas that come from UX design, they’re important principles to remember when marketing to consumers.




Intern Series Finale: What College Doesn’t Teach You

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Note: Today is Laura’s last day at d.trio. She’s done a great job and we’ll all miss her. Good luck in school, Laura!

by: Laura Gorder, marketing intern

Walking into my internship on the first day, I knew I had a lot to learn, but never did I expect to learn so much in only eight weeks.

This summer, I have been exposed to a number of things that our college professors and curriculum tend to leave out. Things they don’t write about in textbooks. Things I’d likely only discover by being a part of the industry. Things I didn’t know that I was missing. I learned plenty about myself, about the industry, and about being a part of an account services team.

About Myself…
I’m far from an expert in anything. I have come to understand that I have a lot to learn. Being an intern exposed me to a variety of professionals, many of which are experts and incredibly knowledgeable in their industry due to their years of dedication and experience. As a soon-to-be college graduate, I have realized that in order to be successful, I must never stop learning.

Using my eyes & ears. I have also learned the importance of listening and observing at this stage in my career. d.trio marketing group has been wonderful about including me in their meetings – from brainstorming sessions, to giving creative direction, to presenting final work to clients. I have watched ideas grow into campaigns, criticism strengthen design, and executives sell their work and the rationale behind it. By observing these activities, I have a much better understanding of what works, what doesn’t and how to manage people in order to reach a final goal.

Tight Knit. This internship has reinforced my preference for small dynamic environments. Eleven professionals make up d.trio marketing group, providing an environment that’s open to collaboration and teamwork. Because of the agency’s size, I was able to be a part of projects throughout their entire lifecycle – a great fit for someone who likes to have control and stay involved from start to finish.

About the Industry…
It’s not all glamorous. That’s because until I was behind-the-scenes, I didn’t realize the amount of critical thinking, management, and re-do’s that creative work requires. I have learned that the marketing industry relies on trustworthy relationships not only with clients, but also with vendors. There is a magnitude of other businesses that work collaboratively, from commercial printers to specialized agencies, and play an important part in producing awesome work.

It’s not all the same. There are many types of agencies out there – marketing, advertising, design, digital, small, large, specialized, full-service. It’s all actually very different. My time at d.trio marketing group has helped me understand these differences and prepared me for interviews and opportunities with other agencies in the future.

About Account Services …
The art of communication. Whoa, I had never realized how important the role of communication is for an account executive. Nearly every person associated with a project takes direction from the agency’s executive, and if that direction isn’t clear, the project has potential of turning into a muddy mess. A good account executive is able to read between the lines of a client’s communication – verbal or non – and then pass it along to right-brain dominant creatives and so forth. Being able to master this task is something I know will take practice.

Constructive compliments. d.trio marketing group does an awesome job at giving compliments. I have learned that as a member of an account team, pointing out the positives in a situation builds morale and boosts collaboration. Giving credit when credit is due has proven to be a secret to successful teamwork.

My eight-week journey at d.trio marketing group has been very significant in my pursuit for a career in marketing. I couldn’t possibly share everything that I have learned, but look forward to fueling the path ahead with the knowledge I gained this summer.

Huge thank you to d.trio marketing group for a successful summer internship experience – I owe ya! 😉

Stop Hating on Millennials

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by Jordan Bainer

I’m getting a little tired of all the Millennial generation hatin’. Boomers say that Millennials don’t take things serious enough; Xers say that Millennials won’t stop talking about themselves (which ironically, I’m currently doing). We Millennials just can’t seem to find the love.

Below are several common complaints that people bring up when talking about the Millennial generation.

Millennials all have a misplaced sense of entitlement

Before jumping on the “all Millennials have a sense of entitlement” bandwagon, just remember that this generation has been recently knocked down a few rungs of the success ladder (much more than other groups). Because of several years of poor employment conditions, many Millennials have delayed major life decisions:

  • 44 percent will delay buying a home*
  • 28 percent will delay saving for retirement*
  • 27 percent will delay paying off student loans or other debt*
  • 27 percent will delay going back to school/getting more education or training*

Sure, we have a bit of an entitlement complex, but maybe it’s just us having a positive outlook on life even if trends show us behind our parents when it comes to major life events. As long as individuals are willing to work to make those high aspirations come to life, so what if we sometimes come off as snooty?

*Source: Rob Bluey, How the Debt and Economy Are Reshaping Millennials’ Life Choices, The Foundry – represented from research conducted by Generation Opportunity

Millennials can’t make decisions on their own

We’re bombarded with research saying that Millennials can’t make a decision without buy-in from friends and family. For example, research states that 84% of Millennials rely on user-generated content when making purchase decisions versus 70% of Boomers.**

Some construe this as lacking individual leadership and decision-making ability, but shouldn’t this illustrate that Millennials understand how to make INFORMED decisions. Just because you can pull the trigger on a decision doesn’t mean it’s a good or valid one. We just like to collect the appropriate data before making a decision. To me, that screams collaborative learning – something progressive institutions have been advocating for quite some time.

**Source: BazaarVoice Report: Talking to Strangers: Millennials Trust People over Brands

Millennials don’t have a long attention span

Well, this may be a complaint I can’t defend very well. When writing this article, I stopped to change my Pandora station three times and checked my email five times. I think many of my Millennial brethren have a similar problem when it comes to focusing on a single task. For example, a recent study (through Time Warner’s Time Inc. and conducted by Boston’s Innerscope Research) found that consumers in their 20s (“digital natives”) switch media channels about 27 times per nonworking hour. That is about 13 media switches during a standard half-hour TV show.***

We have more information at our fingertips than any previous generation. To not constantly explore that information through social media, blogs, content sites, e-readers, etc. would be ignoring what makes our generation special.

***Source: AdAge, Brian Steinberg, Study: Young Consumers Switch Media 27 Times An Hour

I’m not saying that Millennials should be pitied because of their situation; I just think it’s important to remember what we grew up with and how that shaped our attitudes, aspirations, and choices.

Gamification and Millennials

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by Jordan Bainer, Senior Account Executive at d.trio

Video games were a huge part of my childhood. As a kid, I was obsessed with finding all the hidden whistles in Super Mario Brothers 3 to skip to the last world. The ability to defeat challenges and “level up” was (and is still) a huge motivational driver for me.

I seem to share this trait with my fellow millennials and businesses know this. Companies are using the core principles behind this “level up” strategy to foster my generation’s continued loyalty and brand advocacy. People have coined this strategy gamification, the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging (as defined by Gamification Wiki). Social media has encouraged this trend, setting the rules and allowing for instantaneous “play.” Below are a few steps to consider if you want to build millennial loyalty through gamification:

Ultimate Goal: encourage continued loyalty among current users/consumers

  1. Promote the game via social and owned channels – Describe the rules, what users have to do, and what they get in return.
  2. Define the game’s value to the end user – Communicate what they get out of the game. Nike+ motivates individuals to exercise more by tracking results, building points, and allowing Facebook friends to offer words of encouragement.
  3. Share achievements with friends – Provide social value to users/consumers by communicating achievements to a user’s friend base. Foursquare uses badges to reward an individual’s actions, which are then pushed outward through social channels.
  4. Encourage recruitment of new players – Reward current users/consumers for recruiting new players. USA Network’s show “Psych” rewards its Club Psych players who share with friends by giving away prizes like Nintendo Wii Systems. Not a bad prize given the nature of the program!

Gamification is not for everyone. You have to consider both your audience and product to decide if it’s a correct promotional strategy. If it is determined to be the right move, keep it simple. Games that have unclear rules and don’t allow users to level up quickly are abandoned (which explains my past addiction to Super Mario Brothers 3).


Sources: Gamification Wiki

How Three Businesses Scored Big with Gamification