Building a School in Kenya!!

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ImageToday marks a new beginning.

It is a day that I finally am doing something that brings complete feelings of happiness, joy, and gratitude into my life. It is a day where I have not let the fear of failure control what I want to do. Today is the day that my cousin and I can make such a big difference in the lives of children somewhere else in the world.

Our campaign to build a school in Kenya through Change Heroes and Free the Children is officially here!

I became familiar with Change Heroes when the Sauder School of Business featured a story about Change Heroes and its founder, Taylor Conroy. I was instantly inspired. It was one of those “everything happens for reason” or “perfect timing” moments. I was just about to graduate from Sauder and still had no idea what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to do something that makes an impact in this world.

After reading the article and doing a bit of research, I knew I wanted to run my own campaign one day. It was amazing to realize how simple it was to do something that I really believed in and to be a part of something that truly moved me.

Now that time has come! This is the time for all of us to come together and become everyday heroes in the eyes of children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to empower themselves through education. Together WE can be the change we wish to see in the world. Together WE can say we were able to give children a chance at a better life. Together WE can make a difference!

Hopefully all of you will feel the same level of excitement and passion as I do and join me in this campaign to educate thousands of children.

Take a few minutes out of your day to get inspired!! Here is the link to my campaign and a video explaining everything you need to know!

https://www.changeheroes.com/c/karolina-nowaks-school/#/

It’s an exciting time..

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It’s been a long time since I have contributed to my blog. I guess it’s because I have sort of felt lost in where I wanted to take my career and what was important to me. During my studies I found a passion for marketing. I loved every aspect of it.. the creativity.. all the different areas where you can apply what you have learned.. the countless brands, companies, and people to work with.. But as I was experiencing a growing passion for marketing, I felt an inner struggle with where I wanted to apply that passion. That inner struggle started with the first sustainability class I enrolled in and continued to grow with each additional class I took to get my certification in sustainability.  The struggle really came down to the fact that I knew I couldn’t contribute to the endless cycle of consumerism if I truly wanted to find what I loved to do.

So, there I was about to graduate and deciding not to go into the corporate world, not to become the marketer I thought I was aspiring to be during my studies. It was all a very eye-awakening experience because I had finally taken a step back and asked myself what was important to me. I said what is it that I want to do? And all that came to me, all that has ever come to me, was that I wanted to help people. I wanted to make a positive impact on the world we live in. I truly wanted to “be the change you wish to see in the world” as Gandhi once said.

I looked at my life and really felt grateful for every experience and every opportunity that presented itself to me because it all shaped and continues to shape who I am. During my last semester of school I got to work for my business school’s marketing department. I was fortunate enough to work around individuals who were both motivating and inspiring. I got the opportunity to delve into the business world and research so many different industries and industry leaders. During this time I became familiar with an amazing organization: Change Heroes. (Change Heroes is a non-profit organization that works as an online platform for people like you and I to raise money within our network of friends and family to build schools in developing countries.. truly amazing stuff).  Not only did I become familiar with this organization, but I got to meet the founder and the team. I had never felt so inspired and driven to follow my dream of helping people. It gave me true goose bumps and really moved me.

Now I am beyond ready to combine my passion for marketing with my passion to help people. I am excited, full of joy, and full of gratitude to start my journey. The only thing I want to say is thank you to everyone who has come in or out of my life and thank-you for everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. It all has helped me find this moment in my life.

Let’s do this thing.

The Flurry of Shoppers on Black Friday

Apple announced its annual one-day sale for hot ticket items. These items include MacBooks, iPads, iPods, and iPhones. But what is the true reason for this sale? Is it a bargain for consumers or just another traffic booster for storefronts?

In a recent article in Forbes, the author highlights past sales and mentions that Apple’s deals are very modest in comparison to the “Big Box” stores, like Best Buy. But year after year, Apple has experienced line-ups at its store and a whopping number of sales.

I personally have never lined up at a store for a deal because I simply do not have the patience to do so. But, countless numbers of shoppers do. Malls fill up and parking lots are unbearable. The power of Black Friday is endless.

Marketers really hit it big during this time. Apple, for example, experiences steady and growing sales throughout the year. The demand for its products is truly high. At this time of the year, the company markets a sale that isn’t as good as other stores but still experiences a large volume of customers. One could ask, Why?

The intensity behind this shopping phenomenon lies within its brand. Apple has built an impeccable reputation around its brand. It is reliable and it is constantly pushing the envelope with its new technology. Christmas morning joy is spread all around the world with new Apple products being shown on every social media channel available. The message sent isn’t about how each family got the best deal, but how they were able to give a sought after gift.

Though Apple may not need this awareness via social media, it makes me wonder how many people plan ahead one year to stand in front of an Apple store, so that their families and loved ones can spread their own Apple joy on Christmas morning. The force of social media coupled with a powerful brand is a pairing that can really transform a company’s sales.

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Where to Start?

When looking further into the analytical side of online marketing, I began to question where would I start? How would I choose the right metrics to use or what approach for digital marketing is the best one for a potential client?

As I started doing some research, I came across another one of my favorite bloggers, Avinash Kaushik. My e-Marketing professor, Paul Cubbon, first introduced me to his work in class. In this particular blog that I found, Avinash takes the reader through a Web Analytics Consulting process. He stresses the importance of building frameworks to encourage thinking and brainstorming.

By building frameworks and models, one is THEN able to build digital marketing campaigns. But before all of that, Avinash recommended using a simple framework to begin and recognize what the client really wants to get done. He split the framework into three categories and pointed out what would be expected within each:

Data Capture

  • Do an Audit and/or update data capture mechanisms
  • Javascript tag implementation
  • Capturing internal site search data (Google Analytics) and/or setting up goals and goal values for the company
  • Job for an Implementation Specialist

Data Reporting

  • Reporting on paid search performance
  • Access to SiteCatalyst of CoreMetrics
  • May be in charge of doing the company’s analytics via Nextanalytics 

Data Analysis

  • Analyze what to measure, what the data is saying, and what the next step should be.
  • Create own models and frameworks
  • Create custom reports
  • True Web Analyst and experienced!

Here is a picture, courtesy of Avinash’s blog, that depicts the 3 categories in a potential contract setting. 

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One must really ask the client what they want to accomplish within each of these categories to decide whether or not your skillset matches what the contract requires. If the contract is right up your alley, you can begin to build an appropriate framework to help launch a digital marketing campaign.

To tie it all together, you can’t start out by asking yourself what metrics do I use? What strategy do I use? It is all about knowing what the client wants from you and then structuring a model around that. By building frameworks and models, you can structure your thinking around the real purpose of a campaign and align it with the ultimate goals of the company.

Two frameworks that Avinash built are the Digital Marketing & Measurement Model and the Clear Line of Sight Model. They can be viewed and shared by clicking on the links. 

Power of e-Marketing

When I came to class on the first day, I did not know what to expect. I had met with the Senior Vice President of Blast Radius just months prior. He had encouraged me to take a course in e-Marketing and really delve into this new type of marketing, which he referred to as our future. I had prior experience in Brand Management and in Event Marketing, but never in the digital side. I was really excited to broaden my horizons.

One of the most important take-aways I will take with me is that our world is changing. The way we communicate, the way we connect, the way we go about our daily lives is changing. Technology is evolving and we are at the cusp of it. We are in a position to learn with the changes and take advantage of the great opportunities that come our way. According to Neilsen, 22.5% of our time online is spent communicating and making connections with other people, companies, and brands online.

Brian Solis  blogged about this change and posted this remarkable picture about how Facebook has evolved:

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This evolution of online activity reaches people from different age demographics! It is the platform for our future. Things like shopping have become so simplistic. Seeing where your friends and family are spending their time and money is a click away! Seeing what the trending hot-ticket-items are available at a daily rate via your own email account!

So what does this all mean? It means that companies can track all of this information too. They can leverage all of their traffic online using different metrics, such as conversion rates. This can help them build campaigns, strengthen what is working for them and eliminate what is not. The online community is powerful and influential! To ignore it, is to walk along the plank. To embrace it, is to open a new world of learning and connecting!

This course has taught me to embrace this change and has given me the building blocks to ignite my own learning process in this industry.

Social Media? What’s the Point?

Companies often ask their marketing team, what should we do next? How can we increase our brand awareness? How can we make consumers brand loyal? How? How? How?

When marketers answer with setting up a presence on social media channels, company executives shrink in their chairs. Uncharted territory, they mumble. A risk for the company, they whisper. How can they do this and see results, they finally verbalize.

For many companies that are not yet online or do not utilize online platforms, an unsettling feeling comes about when social media is mentioned. It is very difficult for a company to set the right tone and right image that resonates with their brand online. So of course, they may seem hesitant.

But, as mentioned in previous posts, online is the future. Consumers speak and influence each other online at remarkable rates. There is a two-way communication channel that reacts quickly to any buzz about brands.

So, it is evident that an online presence and social media is beneficial for a company and its brand. But, how does a company measure its success in terms of finances and reap its benefits?

One of my favorite bloggers, Brian Solis, mentions 5 factors to monitor that “define the progam’s ROI”

1. Number of Touchpoints

  • Marketers can track how many people view their content through likes-per-fan and retweet ratios. Beauty of online marketing is you can really see how customers are coming to your page and what they are doing with the content.

2. Time

  • There is research available to see how long fans are digesting the information they see and spread. The more time spent and more content being viewed, the better.

3. Trust

  • People trust their friends and their followers online. A company can see if this trust resonates with their brand by looking at shares on Facebook or even comments. They can also look at retweet-to-tweet ratios as a sign of trust among the community.

4. Sentiment

  • Companies can really research what people are saying about their brands online. The words that are being used can form sentiment around the brand. If a company finds that a negative connotation to the brand is being made through the words being used, they can put in place an action plan to alleviate the damage.

5. Income 

  • The information about the demographic of fans and followers is available through social media. This is crucial for campaigns to be successful when they target a certain demographic.

It is not an easy task to interpret the results from social media. There are various analytic tools and ROI calculations out there to help make this task easier. Each company can set up their own measuring tools that are suitable to use. In the end, as many companies have proven, if done right, it can be very beneficial.

Facebook Launches Job Search!

ImageHoly! What else is Facebook going to do? Today the company announced their new Facebook App that allows people on Facebook to search for jobs. On the App’s homepage, it shows just over 1.7 million job opportunities.

Facebook claims that it is not attempting to enter the job recruiting market, so what is it attempting to do? Well obviously it is giving its users access to employers, but more importantly it is givng employers access to 1 billion potential employees!

So how does it actually work?

Positions that are posted come from the following recruiting companies: BranchOut, DirectEmployers Association, Work4Labs, Jobvite, and Monster.com. They are sorted by location, industry, and skill. The applicant can apply right on the Facebook jobs page and has the choice to share it with their own social community of friends.

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What does this mean?

We all know that technology has drastically changed the way we do business and the way we connect with people. But is it too far to use social media to connect with a possible job? Should Facebook cross into a professional market?

I’m on the fence. My presence on both sites is drastically different. I use LinkedIn to connect with industry professionals, work colleagues, communities that share my interests, and possible job opportunities. It is a professional site and on the site I am just that, professional. I use my Facebook page to connect with my friends and see what is going on in their social lives. My social life is depicted through various albums, status updates, and friends’ comments.

So is mixing the two really beneficial? For some it can be, but for others it may be a negative thing. Regardless, I think it is safe to say that everyone should start cleaning up their Facebook pages!

Problem? Tell Everyone Via Social Media!

In class, we watched “The Break Up” video that represented how consumers are changing but the way some companies are interacting with consumers hasn’t. The video depicts the traditional ‘one-way’ communication a lot of companies have used in the marketing approach. More importantly, it shows how the consumer is no longer happy with this approach.

Well thanks to social media, one-way communication channels have opened to two-way customer interaction. Brian Solis recently blogged about how customers are using social networks for customer service. In his blog , Solis goes on to say that social media is part of the consumer’s everyday lifestyle. The ‘connected consumer’ now has an expectation to have their problems resolved quicker. As a result, companies have responded with an increased customer service presence via social media networks.

In order to effectively connect with the online consuners, companies need to hire teams to listen to the activity surrounding their brand and products. They need to learn how to respond to relative problems and implement a plan to deal with them. And finally the teams need to adapt to the information they receive (good or bad) about their products or services. The ‘connected consumer’ is really changing the way companies respond.

This blog post hit home. My friend always turns to social media as the first reaction to a negative or positive experience with a product. In one example, he had received a Swarovski wallet with a minor chip in one of the black diamonds. After several trips to retail locations and a handful of bad experiences, Adam went to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction. He tweeted at the company and had said how upset he was with a brand he had held to a higher standard than he had personally experienced. He went on to tell his 600 Twitter followers never to buy from Swarovski because their customer service was horrible. Later that week, Adam got a direct message with contact information to the regional director of the Chicago-land stores. Long story short, because he reached out to the company via social media, the company responded right away and was able to eventually solve the problem with a full refund and a new wallet.

This was a perfect example of how a company dealt with a problem that was made apparent on a social media channel.