Amanda Tessier

Marketer & More

Tag: Marketing

More Than A Marketer

Hi, I’m Amanda.I’m a marketer by day, but a lot more outside of that. And I find what I do 5-9 influences what I do 9-5.

Instead of sticking my favorite reads into Evernote for my eyes only, I thought I’d share them with people who want a little more out of their inbox.

Every week, your inbox will get a dose of favorite reads, handy tools, and analytical articles.

If I met you in person, you’d get a high five, and maybe I’d challenge you to a cartwheel contest. I’m just happy you’re here 🙂

Humble Pie at FutureM

Purple moleskin in hand and business cards in my purse, I manage to get myself out the door by quarter of eight and join the street with the professionals, commuters, dog walkers, and college students with eight AM classes. Usually I’d be like one of them–sleepy-eyed (okay, I might be a tad drowsy), mildly grumpy, and wishing to plop myself back into bed. This day is different.

I looked a lot more like everyone else on Boylston Street last year when I hesitantly ventured in the Financial District to see 20/20, a presentation of twenty professional twenty-somethings discuss their recent work. I had been told to download a free ticket and see what had been recommended as Boston’s marketing conference, FutureM. This was the only session I would have time to see (and arguably the only session I knew how to get to–many events were being held in Cambridge) so I walked amongst the skyscrapers and into an eye-opening presentation.

Over the next four hours, I listened to people discuss the marketing of Lady Gaga, the potential of Google Glass, and the emerging field of Neuromarketing. As a freshman in college, I was unaware that marketing encompassed so many areas or had so many possibilities. FutureM not only expanded on what I did know, but it showed me what I had left to learn. It taught me who to follow on Twitter, how to network at events, and how to get involved in the marketing community of Boston. When I saw tickets go on sale for FutureM 2013 this summer, I purchased mine immediately.

On this morning (one year after that groggy day in the Financial District), I’ve got a slightly better grasp on the professional community and a sense of what areas I have an interest in. I’m doing social media and small marketing and advertising projects for local businesses and organizations. My skill set is growing and I’m learning what areas I’m not interested in. I also realize the shortcomings of my education; I’m encountering challenges professionally that I have yet to discuss in classes for another year or two. FutureM fills in those gaps.

This year’s conference was an incredibly humbling experience. Listening to executives speak about their work and research shows me how much I’m unfamiliar with; I love that feeling. College provides a great deal of support and guidance–sometimes too much–and can cause me to overestimate my abilities. I’ll easily grasp a business concept or ace a case study. Those are great feelings (why would I reject a good grade that I worked hard for?) but it gives a false sense of empowerment that doesn’t translate to the working world. I also lack an understanding of what areas I could use improvement in; when everything comes back with a comment of “good,” what can I do to make it great?

Every panel or speaker provides me with greater insights into my work and the creations of others. Hearing the social strategist of Walmart speak provided verification that the way I think about social media–as a reputation building platform and a brand reinforcement tool–isn’t far-fetched. He also elaborated on the technology and the data used to select the best posts; I had never previously considered that. Discussions on the power of big data revealed how calculated everything in marketing from consumer behavior to social media analytics has become. The rise of the mobile platform strengthens the argument that we need fully integrated campaigns across many mediums, not just isolated channels. Finally, the consumers are now part of the conversation everywhere and it’s time businesses learn how to respond.

I keep all of these experiences in my head as I go about my work in the classroom and in the office. I apply them to every situation I see fit and try to learn from the work of others. Most importantly, I aim to observe the emerging trends so when I arrive at FutureM the following year, I’m prepared to engage in conversations and learn from the best all over again.

Radical Marketing

A few months ago (after becoming annoyed with myself for learning about Macklemore just late enough to jump on the bandwagon), I set out to discover new music. I began exploring the Internet and learned that finding talent isn’t so easy.

There’s no single source for finding up-and-coming artists. They’re sprinkled around the Internet, typically on sites such as YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, ReverbNation, and the like. In all honesty, many of the people I found were (in my humble opinion) mediocre at best. Their music videos were more like bad pornography. The rapping was predictable and the auto-tune was overused. Making unidentifiable grunts isn’t artistic, it just doesn’t resonate well from my earbuds. I finally stumbled upon a few acts I liked, one of them being Radical Something.

I sifted through their SoundCloud and found dozens of songs–a dream for anyone who is frustrated by Myspace’s and Spotify’s relentless advertisements. The more I listened, the more I liked it. It combined a beachy vibe with rap that had a positive message and choruses that were sung by a real voice rather than a machine. As much as I love hip-hop/rap music, I grow weary of lyrics that objectify women, glorify violence, and focus on nothing but sex.  This is a Jason Mraz feel crossed with Sam Adams circa 2010 mixed with a little bit of The Script and John Mayer. Essentially, they’re unique.

In my experience, one of the shortcomings of the music industry is creating a true community between the artists and the fans. It’s understandable; if Justin Bieber is pushing forty million Twitter followers, he can’t send personal messages to every single one of them. However, Radical Something has about fifteen thousand accounts that have opted-in to their feed on Twitter alone. They’re able to create far more meaningful experiences via the Internet and they’re utilizing it well.

I received a Ticketmaster alert when they concert was booked for Boston, but many people wouldn’t have set up that feature. Fortunately, the band has repeatedly sent social media blasts with their concert dates. This is smart for two reasons: (1) by tweeting the same message multiple times, they’re more likely that a larger portion of the followers will see it and (2) seeing the same message multiple times can persuade an individual to act. Radical Something then put a phone number out so fans could text and receive information about upcoming albums and tour dates. How do I know it’s legit? I received the picture below from the group’s rapper, Alex Lagemann (also known as Loggy), along with album information upon texting the given number. I’ve since texted with questions regarding the concert and received answers within 24 hours.


All this is important because within a community, there needs to be some reciprocity. People who put in the effort to be supportive want something in return; in regards to musicians, it’s usually some form of recognition. Not only does Radical Something respond to their fans via text message (which is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard of), but they also respond regularly to tweets. I’ve posted information numerous times and received favorites and courteous replies. As a listener, I feel like my interest is of importance to them.

They have also coordinated their efforts well regarding their recent album release. Prior work has been available for free legal download from Soundcloud, encouraging people to put the music on iPods. They established a fan base before releasing the latest work, Ride It Out, which was only available for purchase, not legal download. Ride It Out is a thirteen-track compilation that picks up where their previous work, We Are Nothing, left off. It has a similar sound but expands on their capabilities and further develops the group. They put the album up for pre-order on iTunes, but allowed listeners to access it via SoundCloud. In recent weeks, they’ve created music videos for many of the songs. In a visual society, this is particularly valuable. It’s quite easy to share a music video via social media and visual content gets as much as twice the activity as a textual post. Additionally, I like the music videos; it’s a pleasant surprise when it doesn’t ruin my perception of the song (cough cough “We Can’t Stop” cough cough).

They’ve continued creating music even after the album release (it’s like the cherry on top). One of the opening acts for some of their shows–Outasight is featured on a single called “Ghost Town”, along with Kinetics (the author of the hook for B.o.B and Hayley Williams’ “Airplanes”), which was released on September 17th, about two weeks after Ride It Out became available. They’re generating buzz for themselves and their fellow musicians, mixing fan bases and raising awareness for all groups.

The next challenge will be reaching audiences that may be appropriate but are unfamiliar with Radical Something–such as Jason Mraz or Sammy Adams fans. Radical Something is currently using Jamplify to incentivize fan  for promoting their concert through social media; those who post are entered in a contest to win VIP tickets. By encouraging existing fans to post this content and broadcast it to their followers, Radical Something is increasing the chances of gaining new listeners. However, that reach may not be broad enough.

This is the challenge with music and its promotions–it largely stays in within the same, self-selected audience. The musicians post on Twitter; perhaps they get a few dozen retweets from followers, but even that extended circle only goes so far. It’s breaking through to new groups of interest that can deliver significant results and increase their number of loyal listeners. Translating online activity into physical sales and personal engagement is the meaningful and financially powerful component.

I’m happy to see the success the group has had so far and I’m interested to see how they will promote their music in the future. I hope they’ll continue to be great listeners to their fans by responding to tweets, text messages, and giving us the information about their creative process. Most of all, I can’t wait to see them perform in Boston on Sunday!

The Magic of JT and Britney…All Over Again

This article requires a disclaimer: I’m not, and have never been, a girl who gushed over Justin Timberlake. I was a fan of N*SYNC and Britney Spears during the 1990s, but my adoration of JT has since been limited to respectful admiration of his successful business ventures. Now that both members of the Mickey Mouse Club are garnering the attention of the media and are pinnacles of pop culture, there’s something to be said about how their person-brands are being used to represent corporate entities.

Justin Timberlake beautifully extends the metaphor of the classic black and white suit through his music video for his newest release, “Suit & Tie” (what a surprise) except for one little glitch: the presence of an iPad. In a video that incorporates themes of classic elegance from times past (old style microphones and cigar smoking included), I’m not sure that the iPad is historically accurate.

I wonder how much Apple paid for those few precious seconds in a music video that’s already received upwards of 1.3 million views. This subtle endorsement is likely far more valuable than a paid advertisement because the product is depicted as part of the culture that Justin Timberlake is dually part and representative of. He’s sleek, sexy, sophisticated, and multitalented. He’s an appropriate fit for Apple with his clean reputation and involvement in the technology industry (encompassed by his role in The Social Network and part ownership of the new Myspace). Mr. Timberlake is a multidimensional brand. He began as a child star, rose to become a prominent member of N*SYNC, has had a successful solo career, established himself as a respectable actor through serious roles, and became an investor in the reinvention of a social media platform. Apple strives to be equally multifaceted and also have a level of class. Just like Justin, the company wants to have timeless elegance.

Justin is not alone in incorporating his image with a brand. His former love and friend from the Mickey Mouse club is an equal participant, if not a more active one, in the game of product placement. Britney Spears has made a notable return to the music industry with her collaboration with Will.I.Am in their song, “Scream and Shout.” Even before the song’s release, it was used as part of a Beats Audio commercial, generating enough hype for the song to be ranked number one on the iTunes charts.  The success of the track has only been expanded upon the release of a music video and a remixed version including Diddy (also known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, or whatever he decides to call himself), Hit Boy, Waka Flocka Flame, and Lil Wayne. Britney’s jacket in the music video includes a large design in the shape of the Adidas logo. Although her image is far from that of an athlete, her presence as part of the brand represents the company’s efforts to identify with a culture outside of sports.

Adidas walks a fine line between athletic wear and day-to-day fashion and its brand reflects that combination. Although it is largely known as a clothing company geared towards athletes, Adidas is not as strong as its competitor Nike. Adidas is to Nike as Pepsi is to Coke. It’s the market challenger, fighting to keep and obtain market share while differentiating itself. It seeks to be modern and trendy. Pepsi backs Beyoncé, Adidas back Britney. Adidas’s website features young, attractive models, usually multicultural. The apparel is often intended for street-wear rather than physical competition. Britney’s image from the 90s was that of the girl-next-door turned blonde bombshell and some of that reputation still remains intact for the now young adults who grew up with her. They are the target market, making Britney’s comeback the perfect time to choose her as a representation of a brand that strives to be hip, modern, and fashionable.

These intertwining brands are aligning themselves with other entities that represent qualities of their image. Ironically, the Beats Audio advertisement featured a t-shirt with the Nike swoosh on it. Companies are increasingly trying to get recognition and build an identity, but the media sphere can become so cluttered that they overlap, perhaps unintentionally. If brands hope to stand out against the competition, their images will have to be clear, concise, and succinct to reach consumers. Apple and Adidas chose wisely this time, but they’ll have to keep updating their campaigns to ensure longevity.

Want to see the videos I was discussing? Here are your links!

Suit & Tie:

Scream & Shout:

Beats by Dre Color:

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