Author Archives: Apprentices

“Weird Al” Wins the Internet

Weird Al Yankovic just got his first number one album. It’s his best performing album since he started making records in 1983. You may not have noticed, but it’s been a while since Huey Lewis or Cindy Lauper topped the charts, and when they did, they weren’t beating out Justin Bieber and Jason Mraz for the top spot. So how does a semi-obscure 80s accordion player end up at the top of the Billboard 200 in 2014? By figuring out viral media marketing, that’s how.

The fact that this man understands how the internet works shouldn't surprise you.

The fact that this man understands how the internet works shouldn’t surprise you.

The world has changed a lot since the 80s, and Weird Al has adapted. More importantly, he realized what didn’t change. Where teens were once on MTV, they now watch YouTube, and the same love for his parodies still exists. His audience didn’t change, but the most effective way of reaching them did. As Al puts it, “MTV is not music television anymore, the internet is essentially the new MTV. The Internet consumes things very quickly” He figured the best way to raise awareness was to release a new video every day of release week. In a landslide of hype and engagement, Al released eight music videos in eight days, and by doing something that had never done before, he found media attention that only fueled the viral frenzy he started.

Of course, his content had to be worth watching and sharing, and whether it was intentional or not, his album is full of diverse, relatable content. There’s everything from a Crosby, Stills & Nash parody about corporate jargon, to an Iggy Azalea tune about home improvement. Whether your favorite tune is being lampooned, or the subject matter hits close to home, almost anybody has a reason to tag and share.

It isn’t rocket science — by understanding how to reach his audience, and delivering a relevant product, an artist was successful. What makes this newsworthy is who did it. It wasn’t Jay-Z or Kanye that dropped a new chart-topping album, it was the author of My Bologna and White and Nerdy. He was able to rocket past other artists simply by posting his videos online strategically. That’s the power of social media in full force. Weird Al Yankovic, of all people, managed dominated the internet and the music industry in eight days. In releasing a string of viral videos for his album, he did something that had never been done and it paid off in attention and album sales.

Don’t act like you didn’t see one of his videos, which one was your favorite?

Calls are the New Clicks: Seven Secrets to Beating Competitors

MarketingProfs recently held a webinar called Calls are the New Clicks: Seven Secrets to Beating Competitors.

This informative webinar had so many interesting take aways, that we thought we would share.

  • More smartphones means more mobile searches
  • These will pass desktop searches by 2015
  • Tapping on a click-to-call link is easier and faster than filling out a web form on a smartphone
  • Google says 70% of mobile searches have clicked “call button”
  • 61% of mobile searches result in a phone call
  • Clicks are easy to track and manage

Secret #1: Track the Source of Inbound Calls

Track calls back to the exact source that originated them- and through to revenue; works for any marketing source.

Knowing what keywords, PPC ads, and landing page variations lead to calls and sales improves bidding and ROI

Secret #2: Assess your expected traffic for most appropriate segmentation

Evaluate what kind of traffic you are bringing in and by what means

Secret #3: Measure revenue from PPC not just conversions

Not all calls are high-quality sales leads

Optimize campaigns on sales, not clicks

Measure ROI by revenue generated, not raw lead totals

Secret #4: Segment your data to identify key insights about performance

Secret #5: Analyze Clicks and Calls Together in Universal Analytics

You can add mobile analytic data to Google Analytics

Secret #6: Messaging to Improve Call Response

Ad Copy = The gateway to your customers

As you continue with your tests, whether testing your creative or your landing page, segmenting your call traffic allows you to make a fuller comparison of actual call performance.

Secret #7: Marketers Should Control How Calls From Search Are Routed

What are you doing to make the phone ring?


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The Inbound Marketing Department is taking flight.

We have been posting all about Keely’s fabulous trip to Russia, and now I have some news of my own to share.

I am off to San Francisco! Just last night, I won a ticket to the 2014 Real Estate Connect San Francisco Conference next week.

This conference is mainly for Realtors, but will be a great insight for a marketer, like myself, as well. I am extremely excited to listen to the likes of speakers from Hubspot and Basecamp.

I won this ticket, thanks to my dad, the real estate agent. I am excited to come home and not only share my experience with my peers but also my family.

Feel free to follow my adventures on twitter.

@MaryCateDuffy #ICSF

Divergent Branding

As the NBA playoffs continue, several ads from Kia (the official sponsor of the NBA) have caught my eye. This one in particular sticks with me:


All of the ads in this campaign do a good job of making the viewer wonder if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but the commercial raised a bigger question for me. Can a brand be successful with two opposing brand messages?


Usually, consumer perception of a brand cannot be changed by flipping a switch, running an ad or making a fancy car. The most successful companies spend billions carefully crafting and maintaining their single brand image. For example, every aspect of Coca-Cola’s marketing is designed to reinforce their altruistic, refreshing family-friendly brand image. Currently, Kia is not associated with “luxury” because they have crafted their image to be a bit more informal:
I’m willing to bet you knew that wasn’t an ad for Mercedes well before the logo appeared at the end. Brand perception and image are important, and Kia, though they have a strong brand image, might not have the right street cred to launch a luxury line. Their modus operandi has been to make the cheapest Korean imports possible, with customizable colors and flair. Part of a luxury car is perceived value, and not many luxury brands can say they’ve had a buy one, get one sale on their cars. I’m interested to see how this will work out for Kia; to market high-end sophistication and low-end trendy under the same umbrella, especially when they’ve established themselves as hip and cool, not refined and sophisticated.


It isn’t impossible for Kia to become a player in the luxury car game. Japanese automaker Toyota cranked out inexpensive cars and was the Kia of the ’70s. When they wanted a piece of the luxury auto market, they had success spinning off their new brand, Lexus, in the ’80s. As a new company,  Lexus did not inherit the Toyota brand image and was able to make a first impression as a high end contemporary. Separating from Toyota and its brand message allowed Lexus to enter the market place without carrying the “budget” stigma that  goes with the Toyota badge. Kia might hope to add value to the current line of Kia cars, but will more than likely end up devaluing their luxury line. Can Kia transition from inexpensive street machines to high-end luxury? Yes. But I think any brand will have it’s problems trying to be both at the same time. As their hamsters say, “you can get with this, or you can get with that,” but Kia needs to pick one and focus on maintaining a unified brand image around it.

Inbound What?

When I first met Keely, I could not even tell you what the phrase “inbound marketing” even began to mean. Now, it is the only way I can function. Inbound marketing is so different from the traditional, “old” form of marketing. It really should penetrate the way everyone looks at marketing.

I have never been great at explaining things, I am more of a just get it done person. Instead of trying desperately to help you understand exactly what inbound marketing is, I found this awesome infographic from Mashable.

Enjoy and hopefully you can learn something awesome! :)