Tag: marketing

Midwest Digital Marketing Conference Returns to St. Louis

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Events.

The Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (or “MDMC”) returns to Union Station in downtown St. Louis on April 12 & 13.

Background

In its first year in 2013, known then as the State of Digital Media Marketing Conference, the conference was a half day event hosted at the J.C. Penney auditorium on the campus of University of Missouri St. Louis. Now in its fourth year, event organizers UMSL Digital are hoping to reach over 2,000 attendees! This will be the second year that the event is held at the historic and expansive Union Station.

Midwest Digital Marketing Conference

Spry Digital are proud sponsors of this year’s conference. You can get more information about our digital platforms and sustainable tech for business from company representatives at our table in the exhibitors hall, so come by and say hello.

Speakers

Last year’s event included more than 50 speakers from digital leaders like BuzzFeed, Pandora, Refinery29, Pinterest, Under Armour, Johnson & Johnson, Eloqua, Ogilvy One, Google, Yahoo, Nielsen, eHarmony, LinkedIn, and more. This year’s event will once again have top speakers in areas of data, digital, e-commerce, creative, social media, tech and innovation.

Spry Digital’s Creative Director, Joe Duffin, will be on a panel discussion titled “Layers of Content: The Nuances and Evolution of Today’s Content Marketing Universe”.

We hope to see you at MDMC for what promises to be an inspiring two days of talks, networking, fun and digital!

For more information about location, speakers, schedule and tickets, visit the MDMC website.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2016: Week 5

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

We’ve finally made it back around to another Friday, and the upcoming weekend is extra special! Before jumping into the Mardi Gras celebrations and festivities for the “Big Game”, relax and enjoy the past week’s biggest news!

The “Big Game”

Need some last minute ideas for creating the perfect party dish this Sunday? Check out these insane snack recipes.

While watching Denver & Carolina duke it out this Sunday, follow the action with Geckoboard and get stats on everything from social media hype & trends to advertisement returns.

While the long-awaited “Big Game” means the end of another long football season, no season is truly complete without a brilliant NFL edition of bad lip readings.

Apps

Looking for the next big thing in B2B marketing? According to Gary Vanderchuck, don’t be surprised if you see more and more businesses taking advantage of Snapchat as the app & it’s crowd begins to age & mature.

Tired of your Android smartphone dying before the end of the day? Evidently, by simply uninstalling the Facebook app, you can save up to 20% of your battery life.

Design

Over the year or two, Uber has successfully made a place for itself in the transportation market. Celebrating and solidifying its newfound staying power, the company has created and rolled out their new logo & identity.

No two brains are identical, thus there is no single design that caters to every human. So, be sure you learn up on how to design for autism.

Web Development & Design

Skip the headache of constantly searching for digital ad sizes for each platform with the one-stop-shop, Adsvise.

Catch up on everything CiviCRM related with the recently released video sessions from CiviCon London 2015.

For those who are curious, Ashley Nolan has outlined both how to use and the benefits of using Sass with PostCSS.

Understanding Git is an integral part of digital development, so home in on your skills with Git for Humans by David Demaree. Don’t stop there, though. He has also written an extraordinarily helpful piece on the benefits and art of crafting the commit.

Misc.

Directors Nick DenBoer & Davy Force will be showing their newest short-film, The Chickening, a masterfully remix of the Stanley Kubrick classic, the Shining, at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. BEWARE: The video is both mind-blowingly bizarre and NSFW (not-safe-for-work). You have been warned.

Taking a shot at Hollywood’s terrible portrayal of the Boston accent, as well as the accent itself, Late Night with SNL’s Seth Meyers released a brilliantly hilarious (and fake) trailer of Boston Accent.

Holding onto one of the oldest traditions and celebrations in the US, people flocked to Pennsylvania this week in search of meteorological prophecies from the ever popular Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day.


So, with the promise of an early spring and plenty of delicious takeaways this week, enjoy the weekend of celebrations!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2014: Week 35

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Tips.

Welcome to Friday! We’ve collected some of the best links from the web this week for your clicking enjoyment. Sit back, relax, and check out what got us chatting this week.

Design

Some lovely graphic designs from The Project Twins. We especially like the A-Z of Unusual Words.

Dev and Web

If you’re curious if your website needs a content audit, chances are, it does. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it and why it’s awesome.

What would we do without our Chrome extensions? A cheatsheet for Git provides our developers an easy way to grab the most common Git commands.

Marketing

How Millennials are changing the long-held consumer model. Out with the old, in with the new.

Social Media

Twitter

Acura takes the cake for Twitter marketing. Configure your dream Acura (verdict is still out whether that is a thing) from right within Twitter.

We told you last week about some changes to your Twitter feed – mainly forcing “favorites” into your tweet feed. Popular Mechanics observes that a covert algorithm is no match for actual user behavior.

The team at Twitter have been busy as this week they have also announced brand new Twitter Analytics, you know, to get your analytics on. We’re fans of the insights it provides, like common interests.

Instagram

Etienne de Crecy's Hashtag My Ass Instagram Experiment

We’re already fans of the French house label Super Discount, but what Etienne de Crecy has put together for his new single is truly epic… Your Instagram photos as LP covers. Try it out… just be warned of excessive booty shaking in tight spandex. #HashtagMyAss

Speaking of Instagram, they’ve rolled out a new app this week. Create time-lapse videos with ease with Hyperlapse – it even stabilizes your videos much like a $15k Steadicam, but with a zero dollar price tag.

Quick Hits

Nonprofit, Zidisha, is changing peer-to-peer microlending with the support of Y Combinator.

The Double Bind. What’s the one word that’s frequent in negative women’s reviews, but not in men’s? And they say there’s no glass ceiling.


That’s it for this week and we hope you enjoyed SpryHive! We’ll catch you after a well-deserved holiday weekend.

Dispatches from the SpryHive 2014: Week 28

Posted by spry & filed under Tips.

It was a bad week to be a Brazil fan.  One of the saving graces for us this week was having the World Cup on in the background on our “big screen TV” upstairs (spoiler: it’s really just a projector plus the white wall).

So far, Microsoft’s artificial intelligence – Cortana – has accurately predicted every match in the World Cup. That’s a track record better than Paul the Octopus.  Though Paul did out-predict Goldman Sachs. There’s also Shaheen the Prognosticating Camel in on the mix this year, but his success rate is …lackluster. Seriously. We couldn’t make this up if we tried.

Anyway, Cortana is predicting a Germany/Argentina matchup in the World Cup final. For what it’s worth,  Google’s data analysis predicts the same outcome using different metrics.

We’re betting on Germany, but we don’t have any psychic animals to back that up.

Design and Marketing

This look at the Brazil World Cup logo is a nice peek at improving the creative process on a VERY visible brand.  It’s a logo that has faced some design criticism and it’s impressive what a few small tweaks can do to make it better. When the entire world has their eyes on you, sometimes it worth a few revisions. Or there’s this version that a lot of people on the internet are feeling right now.

Speaking of logos, some sarcastic genius has re-imagined some well-known logos to say what were were all thinking.

Audience and Social Media

In the world of digital marketing, there’s a lot of conventional wisdom (not to mention platform pressure) to put your money behind sponsored content to get your brand in front of a wider audience.  However, audience behavior studies show that people are more skeptical of sponsored content and most feel deceived by it. In the end, it comes down to the lingering impression you want to leave with your audience. If it damages trust, is it worth it?

Another interesting discussion this week centered on A/B testing and the role of quality content. A lot of people believe that design and calls to action are the real selling points that make the difference between version A and version B. This article produces and interesting argument that high quality content matters just as much, if not more, than design. Of course, knowing when to test your copy is the sticking point. What do you think?

Developers

We covered the highlights of Google I/O a couple weeks ago.  This week, we wanted to zero in on the nuts and bolts of the upcoming Android L and what it means for developers. In short, Android L (no clever dessert moniker yet) will follow up Android 4.4.2, also known as Kit-Kat. L offers a completely redesigned interface built on new Material Design principles – meaning it will be more user-focused while embracing upcoming technology. Google’s also putting a LOT of stock in to Android wearables like watches. Could we be working toward using biometric data as user authentication next?

All of these changes are bound to create new headaches and enticements for developers. L comes with 5,000 new APIs and a 6-bit support. Mashable’s Ask a Dev feature has a nice rundown for you.

Miscellaneous

Quick hits that don’t fit anywhere else but we thought were awesome enough to share:


That’s it for SpryHive this week. Let us know if you come across a squirrel with winning lotto numbers or a dog that knows who’s going to win the World Series. There might be some money in that. Or at least 15 minutes of fame.

Catch you next week!

 

Dispatches from the SpryHive 2014: Week 26

Posted by spry & filed under Tips.

Happy Friday, all! We’re past the summer equinox as of last weekend and the days are slowly getting shorter. This week marks the midpoint of the year on the calendar as well.  To celebrate, we’re bringing you yet another edition of SpryHive. We know you just couldn’t wait.

Developer News

Quick Hits

Google I/O

Google’s annual developers conference, Google I/O, kicked off this week. Packing more news than anticipated in to Wednesday’s conference, Google covered the bases of highly technical web, mobile, and enterprise technologies. The biggest takeaway from this year’s keynote was ANDROID. Android Everywhere. Android Auto. Wearable Android. Android TV.

Seriousness aside, they also branded cardboard. No joke. Google Cardboard is a cheap, DIY version of the Occulus Rift.

In other news, Google’s Project Ara could be the next big thing. By completely reworking how the smartphone is structured, Google is hoping to change how we interact with our phones. Imagine a free, open hardware platform to create a modular phone that does exactly what you want, upgrading individual pieces rather than swapping out the whole phone.  It could be a revolution in next-gen UI.

Coding for the Future

There are more and more clever ways to get kids engaged early to learn code. The next generation will grow up knowing how to write a string of code just as intuitively as the previous one could get online (or the one before that knew how to program a VCR). From board games for children to robots for toddlers, companies are finding ways to raise bilingual kids – fluent in their native language and code. More importantly, these companies are figuring out how to market their pricey products to parents.

Marketing News

Audience Behavior

Not to reopen the bloody “gif or jif” battle, but it seems there is a wide variety of accepted pronunciations and words for common tech terms. Find out how your audience uses them. On a similar vein, we also have a statistical analysis of common smiley emoticons. What does this all mean?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Social Media

We helped you out recently to create banner images for the new Facebook company pages. Here’s a great resource for creating engaging Facebook ads.

Miscellaneous

Finally, a mobile game app based on Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. No Spam yet, but we can still hope.

If you like visualizing information, this brilliant site will show you the relative scale of the everything from the tiniest atom to the limits of the known universe.

If that information has you reeling, try this refreshing summer cocktail. While we just missed Negroni Week, this variant won’t disappoint.


That does it for this week’s SpryHive.  Kick back, relax, and rest up. Next week we get to start it all over again. Try to keep up!

 

Dispatches from the SpryHive 2014: Week 25

Posted by spry & filed under Tips.

Happy Friday, everyone and welcome to SpryHive. It’s summer vacation season and a lot of people are out and about on road trips. One of our favorite ways to pass the time is catching up on the backlog of podcasts I’ve missed during, well, LIFE.  If you’re going on the road and looking for some new audible treasures, here are a few of our favorites.

A quick survey of the Spry team recommends:

Let us know what you think!

ICYMI this week, Spry Digital Partner, Ken, treated us to a blog post about protecting your security online. There’s more to come but it offers a great first step toward making sure your data stays in your hands. Check it out.

Enough small talk. I know you’re really here for a quick hit of the latest. I saved you all the best. Pull up a chair.

Social Media Sound Bites

Proving that they are hip with the youths, the FBI made a hilariously bad list of “current Internet slang“. The hefty tome clocks in at 83 pages and treats the reader to more than 3,000 terms that no self respecting internet dweller has even considered using. Given that one of the new frontiers of terrorist recruiting is the internet, we don’t doubt they had the best intentions. Whether the end result is actually…. useful is probably lost in translation. IDK what they were thinking, but it made me ROFL.

We were treated to an accidental teaser a couple weeks ago and Facebook’s newest messenger app is now live officially. Meet Slingshot. Obviously designed as a competitor to Snapchat, Slingshot lets you send photos and 15-second videos to one (or more) friends you’ve recently “slinged” with. Like Snapchat, the content is promoted to be ephemeral.  Unlike Snapchat, the app boats a “reply to unlock” feature that could set it apart assuming people want to do that much work for a fleeting message. 

In a heartwarming coming of age story, it’s being argued that Reddit, the massive forum-based crowd sharing platform, has finally earned the self appointed title of “the front page of the internet”. After a few rough starts and some rough instances of vigilante journalism, Reddit is being taken seriously as a breaking news source. Reddit engineers developed a moderated live-thread system that aims to keep the site at the forefront of live-news sourcing and reporting. If you’ve spent any time on there lately, you’ve likely already seen the benefits – news stories appear on Reddit sometimes days before national news picks it up, usually with more depth and cited sources.  Is this the future of journalism? I’m sure you’ll find that answer on Reddit before you see it anywhere else.

Developer Delights

What do you get when you put a server, a workstation, a PC, and a phone in a room with a little candlelight and some Barry White? Ok, it’s the internet. I’m sure there’s some variety of porn for that. But really, what you’d get is is HP’s newest offering, called simply (and slightly ominously) The Machine. Based on a completely unique and highly specialized design, The Machine can process 160 petabytes of data in 250 nanoseconds. Excited yet? Hold on. Samples won’t be out until 2015 and products won’t be rolling out for another three years after that. But it’s pretty shiny to think about.

Unicode added 250 new emojis to the latest Standard Update. Given that many major software platforms make use of Unicode, this means there is now a beginning of support for new emoji to arrive on smartphones soon. It sounds like Apple has been working closely with Unicode for this update, especially. Look for the Vulcan salute, a hot pepper, and a chipmunk to be headed to your text messages soon.

Speaking of new, Firefox 30 appeared last week and with it, some tips and tricks for developers. However, if Firefox 30 is, like, SO last week. don’t worry – the Firefox Beta channel for 31 is already up for Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android. Developers will happily note that Firefox is pretty much giving everyone an early birthday present a bunch of features that will make dev life a lot easier like a canvas debugger and an eyedropper tool.

Another great release for developers, ZURB has rolled out Foundation 5.3, or Foundation for Sites. ZURB promises that they’ve closed hundreds of issues and Sites is virtually bug-free. They’ve also included some new features to make dev life simpler, like an icon bar and a newly revamped switch component that doesn’t require JS.  Check out the full stats in their announcement.

Adobe’s got it in for your apps. The latest major update to their Creative Cloud includes a software development kit for mobile devices, potentially allowing third party developers to embed select Adobe technologies within their iOS apps. Making that Instagram selfie look flawless could be getting a lot easier.

Marketing Mayhem

Verizon’s new #InspireHerMind campaign is not only beautiful, it’s hoping to get more parents and caregivers invested in encouraging young girls to pursue STEM programs. Along a similar vein, Google’s Made With Code initiative is trying to address the obvious gender gap in tech by getting girls involved in elementary. We readily approve of both of these developments.

When marketing is good, it can be really, really good. But (and the nursery rhyme says), when it’s bad, it’s horrid.  This week, the Mexican government did some major backtracking after public outrage over it’s latest campaign to encourage breastfeeding, The campaign needlessly sexualized women while simultaneously addressing concerns that don’t actually exist for the average new mother. Demonstrating an epic fail of understanding your audience, marketers admitted the concept was a little premature. The campaign has been scrapped and sent back to gestate a little longer.

If you’ve ever seen a fast food ad that made your mouth water only to be disappointed in the real life results, this cuisine crusader’s project is for you.  Frustrated at the lackluster presentation and misleading marketing rampant in the fast food industry, he politely asked for a do-over. Turns out, with a little more effort, that burger and fry can actually look pretty appealing.

 Neat Things

Science may be nearing the ability to rebuild bones based on beer byproducts. Drink up for happy hour. You’re doing good in the world.

AMAZING things we bet you didn’t know you could do with Google Spreadsheets. Not going to lie, this is way more exciting that it should be. I’m a sucker for a sexy spreadsheet.

Hold on to your butts. The Steam Summer Sale just started. If today’s your payday, kiss that check goodbye.


That’s it for SpryHive this week. If you need us, we’ll be drinking a beer and pwning n00bs until Monday.

Making Sense of Facebook’s New Company Pages

Posted by spry & filed under Solutions.

What digital marketers should know about the new design

Back in March, Facebook announced they would be updating the look of their business pages – providing a more “streamlined” appearance.  The changes were promised to go out on a rolling basis with every business page forced to adopt the new layout by June 13, 2014.

If you’re a company page admin, this means that your tools and analytics will be front and center but still uncluttered. This is designed to let you drill down for the information you find most relevant rather than having everything open all the time as with the previous set up. Additionally, information on Facebook ads, Likes, and reach will be more prominent.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the new addition: Pages to Watch. Taking a cue from many independent social media monitoring platforms, Facebook has incorporated an easier side-by-side comparison into their native client. With a few clicks, you can customize your Pages to Watch to keep an eye on how your company page stacks up against selected competitors.

Got more questions? Check out Facebook’s Pages Update FAQ.

Spry Digital’s blueprint for a sleek Company Page banner image

If you have sharp eyes, you’ll notice that the dimensions of the banner image and profile icon have changed slightly. If your company page’s banner image has relevant text or images in it, the new layout might… complicate things for you. Never fear. We took the headache out of it for you.

Please see below for the Spry Guide to the new Facebook company pages banner image:

Spry branded 614 FB dimensionsSo what do you think about the new pages layout? Bad? Good? Indifferent? We’re going to give it a few weeks to ride it out and see if they really can deliver on all those promises of convenience and streamlining.

Until then, happy Facebooking!

Dispatches from the SpryHive 2014: Week 22

Posted by spry & filed under Tips.

It is dangerous to go alone. Take this SpryHive post.

In case you missed it, last night Spry Digital hosted the first DevOps meetup. It was a great success and we’re already looking forward to the next one.  If you want in on the next one, add your two cents to the discussion for a recurring date. In lay terms, DevOps (a mashup of Development and Operations) is a development method that focuses on collaboration and communication between software developers and IT operations. DevOps helps standardize development environments ensuring that products are delivered efficiently and easily tracked.

We know what you really came here for – the links. Without further ado, here’s our roundup of the week’s highlights:

Digging in for Developers

Emmet

Emmet is a plugin for many popular text editors which greatly improves HTML and CSS workflow. Our front-end developer, Phil, swears by it. Simply put, it really speeds up writing code. Instead of having to type background-position: 0 0; all you have to type is ‘bgp’ and return. That line of code is expanded. What will you do with all that extra time?

Variance

Recommended by our developer, Ellen, Variance empowers engineers, designers, and analysts to build elegant bespoke data graphics for the web using only HTML and CSS. You never need to touch JavaScript. Plus, they look quite lovely.

Some more love for St. Louis Startup Scene

You might have noticed that St. Louis has been going through a bit of an innovation Renaissance lately.  Last week, funder Arch Grants announced it’s 2014 class of entrepreneurs, seeking to bring new and innovative startups to St. Louis. In this Medium article, a local entrepreneur shares why St. Louis is awesome for startups from a personal perspective. He has some glowing words for the city of St. Louis, both for it’s innovation capital and for the city itself. There are so many people in the St. Louis region working toward creating a better culture for entrepreneurs. Call us biased, but we’re pretty thrilled about that.

Marketing Madness

For some, the 21st century promises a brave new world of digital marketing. Our technology is rapidly evolving, and with it, our attention spans are decreasing just as quickly. Marketers are looking for the next big thing to cash in on both. Will marketing departments soon have a viral video position or start cranking out ads in .gif form?

Miscellaneous Shenanigans

Internet Citizenship Test

For those of us lucky enough (or should we say ‘old enough’) to remember the heady, Wild West days of Internet 1.0, this test of early internet virals is for you.  No word on if these whippersnappers with their LOL Cats and Cinnamon Challenges can get grandfathered in.

The OG Knight of Badassery

Christopher Lee turned 92 years awesome this week. The actor celebrated by releasing a symphonic metal album – his third. Lee started his career of professionally kicking butt working in the British Special Ops during WWII. Since then, he’s moved on to Hollywood, starring as Dracula, and in Bond movies, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. He transitioned to metal as an octogenarian. Proof that you’re only as old as you feel.

Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

You might have caught some of the media attention around the #YesAllWomen hashtag trending in the last few days. It’s a nuanced conversation and one that needs to be had. There have been a flurry of articles and thinkpieces put out this week on the topic, but one hit close to home. What do we do when a toxic cultural “norm” bleeds into a subculture? A dissection on how the narrative we’ve been ingesting in geek culture actually hurts women.

Binge Responsibly

Curious how long that marathon of Mad Men will take? Good thing there’s an app for that. Hope you have Dominoes on speed dial. You’re not going anywhere this weekend.

That’s it for SpryHive. Have a great weekend!

Dispatches from the SpryHive 2014: Week 21

Posted by spry & filed under Tips.

Are you ready for the long weekend* as much as we are? Yeah, thought so.

This week saw the announcement of the newest class of Arch Grants recipients here at home.  We are thrilled that a new batch of promising entrepreneurs are joining our city and that St. Louis continues to foster new growth and innovation.

But we know what you really came here for. The links. Without further ado, here are the best links and news appetizers from our week. Happy reading!

 Social Media News

Facebook has finally started listening to the millions of people who use it and adding more transparent (to the user) security settings. With every “improvement” to Facebook’s service, the lines of privacy have gotten more muddled and convoluted for the average user to understand exactly who is seeing which updates.  Starting soon, every one of Facebook’s 1.28 billion users will be prompted through a “privacy checkup” featuring a cartoon dinosaur. This checkup promises to walk users through their settings and explain how their posts are being seen. For a company who’s consistently been dinged on how it handles users’ privacy, is this a step in the right direction or just spinning some PR? You’ll have to ask the cartoon dino about that one.

Tech Innovation News

It’s not often that a really awesome tidbit of information comes out of a patent lawsuit. The latest Apple v. Samsung battle shows exactly how Samsung managed to get ahead of Apple’s technology by listening in on the complaints of Apple’s iPhone 5 customers on social media. Using a data aggregation strategy to collect information and feedback, Samsung was able to identify the top weak areas in Apple’s flagship phone performance. Once they had the hard data for what customer’s really wanted, Samsung was able to both produce the product that beat Apple’s stats as well as market directly to the consumer concerns. Lesson learned: Know your enemy and know your audience.

Programming Nuggets

It’s no secret that coding is a high-demand skill in the current job market. While each industry and function has it’s own preferred language, here’s a quick rundown of the major code languages and their uses.

One of the hottest trends in education is the gamification of learning. We’re seeing studies that show learning through immersion and play actually helps children learn faster but it also helps adults.  If you’re thinking about learning code, we highly recommend Code Hunt. Code Hunt lets you select between Java and C# and coaches you through the learning experience by unlocking achievements. We ran one of our non-development members of SpryFam though it and they agreed it was a great introduction (even for the non-technically inclined). Give it a try. You might learn something.

Infographic of the Week

Information is Beautiful brings us Codebases, a visual representation of the millions of lines of code that make up our favorite programs, apps, and games. Turns out it takes more lines of code to run World of Warcraft than it does to run the Mars Curiosity Rover. That might explain the dreaded lag time.

Quick hits of general nonsense:

Is your swizzle stick a wrench?

Not going to lie, everyone at Spry was pretty tempted by the Barobot Kickstarter. Who wouldn’t want a robot bartender? As Ken said, “It’s like the high tech version of the still in M*A*S*H*!” (High praise, in my book.)

Great for travel or for deciphering that taqueria menu.

A handy, real-time sign translator is available for Glass, Android, and Apple. Word Lens features a slick interface, and a super intuitive experience. Plus, it’s pretty darn accurate.

Lookin’ good for being 4.5 billion years old.

Remember when NASA asked for submissions during #GlobalSelfie Day? Here’s the end result (and it is spectacular)! Hello, planet Earth.

Spry, OUT! *mic drop*

That’s about it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend, one and all.

*Remember: This weekend isn’t about having that third hamburger and drinking too much (because ‘MERICUH!). It’s really about saying thank you to the fallen men and women who sacrificed all so we could enjoy freedom. Because America. While you enjoy your extra day off of work, pause to be grateful for those who fought so we didn’t have to. Maybe raise a beer in their honor.