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Strategy

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Singing Milk Boxes and Dancing Cheese

Jen Casson, July 17, 2014

“What if the cheese twirled the macaroni around as rainbows and hearts fly out?”
“Would it be ok if the peanut butter sandwich cracker took a little lick of himself?”
“Can I put a top hat on the milk box and give him a dancing cane?”

It’s ridiculous statements like these made during the course of a project that make one pause to ask “are we really getting paid to do this?”. A recent job for Horizon Organic was just one of those projects. They asked Room 214 to create a fun animated video to help launch their new line of Mac & Cheese and Snacks (grahams/crackers). To do this, we teamed up once again with the talented musicians Jeff Kagan and Paige Doughty and create these spots with an incredibly catchy tune. Fair warning – these will get stuck in your head.

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Interactive Video - Digital Marketing by Room214

Interactive Video: The Evolution of Video Marketing

Jen Casson, June 18, 2014

Video is a must-have component of your digital marketing strategy and the stats prove it. If you still haven’t bought into that… well, this article isn’t for you. What I’m interested in sharing is the next evolution of video marketing – the Interactive Video (or “IV “ for the character averse).

Let’s briefly revisit web videos’ history. As more and more marketers began using video to promote their brands online, it was inevitable that they’d want to make their videos clickable.  Video for video’s sake?  Don’t be ridiculous!  They wanted viewers to do something – visit their websites, download a whitepaper or fill out a lovely form.  Like, follow, subscribe, pin, or stalk them.  Or better yet, to make a purchase (annoyingly referred to as V-Commerce).

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A Hot 100 Revolution: Digital Investing & The Music Industry

Michael Kwolek, May 13, 2014

Which artists have the longest-charting songs on the Hot 100? The Beatles? Michael Jackson? Mariah Carey? Nope. Not even close. Read on to find out which under-the-radar artists are changing our perceptions of longevity in the music industry, and learn about the power of “digital investing” (introduced in a previous post) for artists and brands alike.

First, a quick refresher on digital investing: we believe that unlike traditional marketing alone, the cultivation of long-lasting digital content allows campaigns to have a much longer shelf life than was previously possible. So let’s dig into how this applies in the music industry.

Traditional media no longer leads

Let’s face it: magazines, billboards and terrestrial radio have become all but irrelevant for supporting new artists. We now have access to iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, SoundCloud and myriad other ways to find, share and indulge in music anytime, anywhere.

These innovations have made charts and reporting more complex. New ways to experience music mean extra data points, thus complicating how we gauge artist popularity – it’s no longer just a measure of how many CDs a band sells at big box stores. And this phenomenon has finally begun to influence the most mainstream of outlets – traditional radio playlists and the Billboard charts.

Counterintuitively, many songs are actually finding greater longevity in this new environment. With always-on access to songs, videos, articles, interviews, remixes and other content, tracks can remain popular for years instead of weeks. And these new ways to listen are changing traditional media – radio and TV no longer set trends, they now often reflect what music fans have already discovered online. Consider the case of the song “Sail” by relative unknown AWOLNATION.

“Sail” takes a long voyage

“Sail” is the first song in the Hot 100′s 55-year history to climb to its peak position after a year on the chart. It ended its run in March 2014 after logging 79 weeks – a streak that began over 3 years ago. In fact, it is now the 2nd-longest charting song ever.

After a modest showing on alternative radio in 2011, the song soundtracked a trailer for the History Channel series “Vikings”, clips of which have since garnered over 1m views on YouTube.

And it just took off from there: continuous touring, additional TV syncs and aggressive promotion by label Red Bull Records, along with a continuous stream of online conversations, videos and playlist sharing, led to “Sail” charting on and off for the next 3.5 years.

The track’s downtempo aggression initially met with little interest from mainstream radio, but programmers were eventually convinced after months and months of fan support. This support is best exemplified in the collection of fan-made videos on YouTube, one of which has garnered over 100 million views – a practice supported by the band.

And it’s not just one song…

“Sail” is not the only example of this recent outsized longevity. As of April 29, 2014, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons spent its 86th non-consecutive week on the Hot 100 (at #48). In fact, 8 of the 10 longest-charting songs on the Billboard Hot 100 have been released since 2005 (5 of those since 2011).

This phenomenon is thanks in no small part to digital investing – by establishing a base of easily shareable content (YouTube clips, song streams and even remixable tracks), artists allow fans to enjoy music on their terms. They also give new listeners plenty of chances to find emerging artists and take an active part in boosting their visibility.

According to Billboard, the “Hot 100 formula targets a ratio of sales (35-45%), airplay (30-40%) and streaming (20-30%)”. This streaming component, though relatively small, cannot be underestimated as tracks often generate millions of online listens without any commercial radio play. By nature, online sharing can have a longer-term impact than any single radio play as peers are much more likely to pay attention to what their friends are digging versus what happens to be on the radio. And again, they’ll have the instant ability to share those finds with their networks.

So what does this mean for artists?

The rules are changing – major labels and radio conglomerates no longer dictate what we listen to. Now that anyone can write, produce and release music essentially for free, it’s all about which tracks spread the most online. Here are a few tips:

  • Encourage friends and fans to share, share, share to build an audience. Offering free downloads and easily-shareable streams is essential.

  • Think long-term – a marketing plan for a new album should last more than the month of its release.

  • Embrace fan-created content – where once it was viewed as copyright infringement, most artists now see this practice as free publicity. Fan videos, artwork and remixes can all extend the life of a song way beyond an artist’s expectations.

And what does this mean for my brand?

The same ideas can apply to any brand looking to make a long-term impact online. The key is to think of the web as a repository for useful, inspiring and entertaining content that will be searchable for years.

Consider supplementing the digital ads and social posts you’re already doing with content that can continue to have an impact. Here are a few types we’ve seen generating awareness, leads and search visibility for years:

  • Blog posts with useful tips from an expert

  • Detailed responses on Quora to pertinent questions about your industry

  • Video tutorials that simplify complicated tasks

  • Interviews that express a controversial stance on a commonly held belief

 

In short, whether you’re an independent artist or a global brand, you can still make a real impact without billboards, glossy magazine spreads and mainstream radio play, and you just might cultivate more impassioned fans in the process. Keep checking back in the coming weeks as we continue to explore strategies for digital investing.

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Digital Marketing: Spending vs Investing

James Clark, April 1, 2014

From many conversations with CMOs and Marketing VPs, I’ve found there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between the value of digital marketing tactics.

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Learning Resources from the Room 214 Creative Team

Austin Redd, March 28, 2014

Here at Room 214 our account team is often tasked with creating images for our clients to post on their social networks. The design team doesn’t always have the bandwidth to take on these smaller tasks. In an effort to increase efficiency, we’ve gathered a few resources to help our account team create quality images.  Read More

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Improve Your Social Media Strategy with Google Analytics

Matt LeBeau, March 27, 2014

At Room 214, our favorite way to measure the activity and effectiveness of social media is with Google Analytics. It’s free, extremely versatile and customizable, and it helps compare the performance of each social media platform over time.

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Is Your Brand Ready for Global Pages on Facebook?

Libby Turner, March 26, 2014

Though the Facebook Global Pages functionality launched in 2012, it was not met with massive adoption by brands. It seems as though Facebook introduced this feature slightly early, as the global conversation is just starting to pick up steam. Many of our clients have started asking, “Can we do this? How do we do this?” and have had increasing interest from their local businesses worldwide.

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Wearable Tech: What’s it going to take?

Laura Oxler, March 20, 2014

Will wearable tech ever leave Silicon Valley and migrate into our own lives? To many, “wearable technology” strikes up images of nerds wearing clunky Star Trek visors and talking into industrial-size watches.

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Marketing Automation Tool Comparison

Brandon Whalen, December 5, 2013

As far as investments and acquisitions, marketing automation as a business sector is on fire. In 2013, the marketing automation sector had its first IPO — marketing automation leader, Marketo, raised $79 million in May and jumped over 50% on its first day of trading.

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