technology Archives - d.trio marketing group

The Zen of Unplugging

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Twenty years after my father had quit smoking I would watch him tap his shirt pocket, looking for his pack of cigarettes. The habit was so ingrained in his DNA I’m not even sure he was aware of his actions. Finish a meal, tap the pocket, get in the car, tap the pocket, feel a little stressed, tap the pocket.

Today, I feel as I’m watching something similar, done over and over by nearly everyone, including myself. Pause in the conversation, take out the phone, waiting for an order, take out the phone, at a red light, take out the phone. I’ve caught myself looking at my phone within minutes of having just checked my updates.

So, we’re addicted to our phones. We basically know this. We also know the negative consequences. We know that we should back off, and sometimes we do for a few hours, but unplugging is surprisingly difficult.

This is not about the research and value of unplugging. This is about my experience and how it felt to unplug for 5 days. Actually, almost unplug for 5 days, I cheated once…just had to check that email.

I signed up for a yoga retreat in the mountains of California and there was no cell coverage. (Not unless you got in your car and drove around for 20 minutes trying to find a signal so you could check in and read those emails including the one that slightly derailed you and interrupted your concentration for a day!) But I digress. The one slip not withstanding, this is how it felt.

Day 1. The first night my little group met. We were there for yoga and meditation, unplugging was not our reason for coming, but it was pretty much the topic of conversation that first night. I had been 5 or 6 hours without contact and was already considering going out in search of a signal. I’m pretty sure I was experiencing some kind of withdrawal. I came to the retreat to relax and I felt panicky. The woman next to me, to whom I am forever grateful, tapped my arm and told me that it would get easier. Something in the way she said this told me that could also get better.

Day 2. Sunrise yoga followed by breakfast in silence…with no phone. Painfully awkward. Can’t figure out where to look? Down? Up? Make eye contact, don’t make eye contact? I really miss my phone.

Day 3. Breakfast was much easier. Made it though day 2 with lots of pocket tapping, becoming fully aware of all the times I would have pulled out my phone. Filled the space with conversation or simply paying attention to all that was going on and experiencing the beauty of my surroundings. Broke down and got in the car around 8pm and found a signal. Big mistake, lesson learned. The stress this caused made me acutely aware of how good I had felt before hand.

Day 4. Ok, I was at a yoga retreat in the mountains of California so to say life slowed down and was peaceful sounds pretty silly. But it did, and I will never know exactly how different this experience would have been if I had stayed connected. I vote for no cell = greater experience. I also noticed that taking the phone out of my life left a lot of time in the day. A class starting in 20 minutes meant 20 minutes to fill, not 20 minutes to spend.

Day 5. Time to go back to life. On my drive back to the airport I let the phone sit on the seat next to me for at least an hour. Earlier I thought I would jump on it as soon as possible but I found myself unwilling to get back, just yet. A bit afraid of it, yes. Excited to pick it up and reconnect, yes. Promise made to be more intentional in my habit, yes. Promise broken, sadly, yes.

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

What does your social media activity reveal about you?

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We engage our friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, and random strangers on a daily basis. With the merger of social media into our day-to-day lives, marketers now have vast amounts of data to determine the influence of individuals. What does all that interaction say about you?

Klout measures all your activity across multiple social media outlets to generate a score that they equate to influence. Some companies have been known to review a job candidates Klout score before making hiring decisions.

PROskore and Kred are similar to Klout but use slightly different methodologies to measure and report social media influence.

So, what category are you? Socializer, Taste Maker, Feeder? Sign up for a Klout account and find out.






The Klout logo is ©Klout, Inc


-Jordan Bainer is a senior account executive at 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).

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

Pinterest: 6 Do’s and Don’ts for Marketers

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by Jordan Bainer, Senior Account Executive at d.trio

All the internet is abuzz with marketing bloggers, social media experts, and data research firms extolling Pinterest for it’s ability to draw in users to visual stimuli and then drive them elsewhere to find more information and take action. It’s still considered a budding social channel, and there is no indication that it’s growth and significance will wane anytime soon (if the below rate of unique visitor growth stays consistent).


Source: comScore data and @MDGadvertising infographic

We’ve watched this social channel hit critical mass and provide ripe opportunity for marketers to participate with this engaged audience. To help you decide whether your business should jump into the fray, below are 6 “do’s and don’ts” for Pinterest management:

DO – Spend time following your target audience first to see what resonates with them before you beginning posting. By narrowing down your target’s interest categories, you can save time and effort in how you organize your content.

DO – Post often. As with any social channel, taking a break from sharing content can be a relationship killer. Create a plan to post content on a daily or bi-daily basis.

DO – React to your target. Just posting content to your boards isn’t going to start a trusting, two-way conversation. Narrow down a few target audience influencers (those with a significant following of their own) and regularly comment on their postings relevant to your brand (but don’t go too overboard!). In this same vein, do NOT allow a comment to go unanswered on any of your postings. Use this as an opportunity to connect on a personal level.

DON’T – Expect your target audience to find you. Pinterest does a great job finding and suggesting relevant influencers for users to follow, making users less active in searching out relevant friends. Make a goal of connecting with a set number of your target audience each week, hopefully spreading your influence outward.

DON’T – Oversell yourself. Though Pinterest allow users to link images to relevant retail sites, you shouldn’t be using the medium to only sell your wares. Pinterest allows you as a marketer to capture your brand’s essence through related visuals and images relevant to your target audience. Keep a healthy mix of your original content and shared content.

DON’T – Keep Pinterest to yourself. Put a team together that can manage your Pinterest account in order to keep content fresh and invite various opinions/viewpoints. With the ‘boards’ feature, you can easily separate your content by topic/interest/category- making it easy to divvy up the responsibilities of postings and conversations among different individuals. As with any social channel, put a policy in place to help guide the team’s actions without hindering their creativity.

Keep in mind, Pinterest is only one of many social channels that you can use to interact with your target audience(s).  If your company/brand needs to use visuals to get information across, then it may be worth your time to explore this medium. Just remember with all social channels – you get out what you put in.

Jordan Bainer is a senior account executive at d.trio. New to Minneapolis, he comes from the land of Lincoln (Chicago specifically) where he began as a media planner at Starcom Worldwide and evolved into a account strategist at the higher education focused agency, Lipman Hearne. He spends his time arguing with others on the taste profiles of beer and pretending he’s someone else through improv comedy.

Is comfort good?

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I spent the weekend at an event that took me out of my comfort zones, and it made me think about the role comfort plays in our business and personal lives. During this event, I talked to a woman who wants her business to be at the top of her industry, but doesn’t want to venture into new territory to do it. Nor does she want to spend money on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to help other businesses find her.

She was smart, articulate, clearly had plans and was undoubtedly comfortable with her company as it is – somewhere between the status quo and real success.

Just as author, Jim Collins, says in his book “Good to Great” that “Good is the enemy of great,” comfort is the enemy of success in business. Comfort is lounging on a soft couch in sweat pants, feeding on junk food. Fine for a weekend but bad as a lifestyle. In business, comfort means not challenging the status quo or taking risks. It means doing same things day after day without questioning whether they are the best decisions for your business, product or service to be successful into the future.

If you apply that inertia to your marketing decisions, it’s even worse. You can’t market yourself well unless you find fresh ways to get your name, products or services out there. Different marketing channels can work together to improve how people can find you and you can move the needle toward your goals.

There are many marketing channels that produce results and many that work together to increase business success through increased visibility. Maybe you haven’t changed your marketing programs for a while, or you need help figuring out the steps to take to move that needle in the right direction – that’s what we’re here for. Send us your questions or tell us how you’re doing, here or on our Facebook page.

Coincidentally, I just read a good blog that ties in with this, about getting out of your comfort zones and striving for excellence. I hope it helps motivate you. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/08/six_keys_to.html

Eye tracking basics. Guest blogger: Alexandra Franzen

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What do your customers really see when they read your website pages? Read on for illumination from Alexandra, our guest blogger extraordinaire who has an eye for interesting and pertinent information.

When a customer visits your company’s website, what do they really see?

The truth? A big fat “F.”

Don’t take it personally — it’s not a report card. The human eye literally scans in the shape of the letter “F” — picking up hot zones in the header region, jumping down to the sub-header line, and then skimming straight down the page.



Sophisticated eye tracking tests performed by the Nielsen Norman Group, the Poynter Institute, the Estlow Center for Journalism and New Media and Eyetools provide new insights (no pun intended) into how we interpret webpages.

In addition to unveiling the distinctive F-shape pattern, eye tracking experts have highlighted a few additional techniques for effective web copywriting.

The Whisper Effect.
Ever notice how college professors speak softly to command their students’ attention? Sometimes, small text equals closer reading. As Steve Outing and Laura Ruel of the Eyetrack III project explain, “Smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior (that is, reading the words), while larger type promotes lighter scanning.”

Short & Sweet.
Copywriters instinctively know that short, concise paragraphs work better — both online and offline. Long blocks of dense text often get ignored, because they feel too daunting. As Dean Rieck of Direct Creative notes, “Big blocks of type look imposing and difficult, like reading a Faulkner novel.”

Words for Facts. Images for Stories.
Factual information — like names, numbers and locations — are best expressed through words. But high-concept processes, systems and stories are better conveyed through multi-media methods: graphs, images, illustrations and videos.

1-800-Got-Junk does an excellent job of illustrating their business model in this animated movie, while Rice to Riches — a luxury rice pudding restaurant in New York City — has a fantastic “brand storytelling” intro video on their website.

For more eye scanning insights, check out Eye Tracking, Inc. — a company that measures website usability, and Eye Tracking Update, an aggregate site that pools together the latest findings in the field.

Alexandra Franzen is a writer + editor + organization freak who freelances for d.trio marketing as a copywriter. You can find her blogging at Unicorns for Socialism and tweeting up a storm at @Alex_Franzen.

F-pattern eye scan images via Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox

2010 Resolution follow-up #3 – Get out of the one or two channel rut

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One-channel marketing is dead. If you are stuck on using only one or two channels, you are missing opportunities in today’s market. Marketing strategies to incorporate and maximize all of the new channels are moving at the speed of light. So it’s time to get educated and get on board.

Ask yourself, how do your customers really prefer to be communicated to? What are they comfortable with? This is ever changing because you can’t count on any group to be completely homogeneous anymore – the baby boomers have changed that forever. But what you can count on is people will select the ways they want to be communicated with if you allow them to.

So, if you are thinking of adding a new medium to the mix, choose one and start learning. Let’s take Facebook as an example. There are some interesting insights into Facebook demographics that you may not know. In a 2009 survey by iStrategy Labs (http://bit.ly/jvY0G) it showed:

  • With a 276.4% growth rate over 6 months, the 35-54 year old demographic group is growing fastest.
  • The 55+ segment grew at a rate of 194% over 6 months.
  • Although the largest group is still 18-24, they only represent 40.8% of the users now (down from 53.8% the previous 6 months).

So, even if you specialize in something geared toward the older demographic, it would be good for your company to have a presence on Facebook. Engaging customers and starting a conversation is going to be the focus of new marketing. Consumers are educated users of media and they want to manage where brands go. Brands are no longer defining themselves without input from customers. If they are, they run the risk of alienating their best customers who want to be more engaged with the brands they like.

Setting up a Facebook page does take time, planning and dedication. You can’t go on social media and scream your product promotions or company line. You need to make the site a place where people want to go and congregate, where they can get content that’s interesting, informative and fun – and share ideas. There are many good sites out there to look at. Here are a few:




The best way to learn is by getting out there and doing it. Check out our Facebook page – join in and tell us how you’re doing!


2010 Resolution follow up #2 – Try something new

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Does your marketing plan looking like it did 2 years ago, or have you added some new strategies? Is the year 2010 the year you embrace change? There are so many exciting, new things happening with new media. If you don’t understand what is out there (and why), then first you need to educate yourself. Fortunately, there are many great sources of information available.

Blogs and white papers are full of information and instruction. Social media sites are a great way to keep in touch with friends, trends and attitudes – hear directly what people are saying, thinking and feeling. It takes some time, so set aside a half hour every day and soon you’ll be feeling more connected, engaged and gain an understanding of the what’s happening.

Get on Twitter and try following a few people.  You can start with me (I’ll follow you back): @megand3 and dtrio is @dtrio. This link also has a lot of good, topical information: http://twitter.com/mashable

This one has an ad agency bent but it offers a lot of links and ideas on new business generation: http://twitter.com/michaelgass

If you want to keep up with breaking news try: http://twitter.com/nytimes

Don’t throw out a medium or new idea because you think it doesn’t work for you or you personally don’t see the value. As they say, you are an “audience of one” and if you are not exactly like the consumer or business you are after then your personal beliefs are irrelevant. You can get in the way of your own great marketing opportunities.

As before, here are some Web site resources to help you: For new marketing media – http://www.marketingsherpa.com/ and for a mix of traditional and new media – http://www.the-dma.org/index.php

Try something new this week. We love this stuff so let us know what you’ve learned.  And join our Facebook page for more food for thought: http://www.facebook.com/dtrio