10 Psychological Tactics for Successful Crowdfunding

By Theresa Weaver 

If you look up crowdfunding on the internet the definition that first comes up is “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people”. Sounds simple enough, but honestly crowdfunding has a lot more to it than just raising small amounts of money, it takes thoughtful planning to execute a successful crowdfunding campaign. Lucky for you I have compiled 10 psychological tactics to help make planning easier and to set yourself up for success.

Tactic 1: Set your crowdfunding goal. You want to set two fundraising goals, a private goal, and a public goal. Know that smaller is better for your public goal, people want to participate in something they see succeeding. Smaller goals seem more achievable. Set your private goal higher and use stretch goals and the momentum from hitting your public goal to fill in the gaps between your public and private goal.

Tactic 2: Plan your crowdfunding campaign ending date on a day that is memorable, this makes it easier for people to recall. Good examples of memorable days are holidays or the last day of the month, and the first day of the month.

Tactic 3: Craft your story. Focus on your WHY, the impact or problem you are trying to solve. Remember that relationships are powerful, and people connect to people, so focus on one relatable individual’s story and the impact that the product or donation would have on them.

Tactic 4: Use a campaign video to tell your story! Campaigns with visual stories do 400% better than campaigns without. Your video not only can educate your audience but is also a great way to establish a more personal connection with them, this leads us right into our fifth tactic.

Tactic 5: Start your video off with a person delivering an attention-grabbing statement, a nice example could be a statistic of what you are hoping to solve. In the video focus on the why, then present an impactful solution, and provide a clear call to action as to how the watcher can help. You want to start your video off with a person and not B-roll or a photo because people are less likely to ignore people when scrolling through a website. For more tips on your video check out this article!

Tactic 6: Set reward levels at common intervals, $1, 5$, $20, $50, $100, for a good outline to setting these check out this article about reward levels.

Tactic 7: Set daily micro goal deadlines. Achieving your entire goal might seem daunting but by setting smaller goals along the way you not only set the pace to achieve your goals, you create mini successes for your backers and fuel the momentum towards your campaign.

Tactic 8: Soft launch your campaign and strive to get 20% funded. Solicit donations from friends and family before you publicly launch your crowdfunding campaign and aim to get 20% funded through them. When you can launch your campaign with funding already secure you start gaining momentum to continue the success as soon as you launch publicly. For more tips on soft launches check out this article from Indiegogo.

Tactic 9: Bring influencers on board to your crowdfunding campaign to help spread the word. Reach out to more smaller influencers instead of a big influencer. This will be beneficial for two reasons, 1. they are less expensive and 2. By reaching out to multiples you can still achieve the same reach as one large influencer.

Tactic 10: Provide updates. Keep your backers updated throughout the campaign. Send out thank you notes to backers and let them know when micro goals and stretch goals have been met. This communication allows you to continue the relationship and keeps your campaign fresh in their mind likely leading them to share it or donate again.

Learn the skills of crowdfunding, and other digital marketing tactics through the UMSL Digital Program.  Classes enrolling today!

#MDMC19: Rocking Visual Marketing as Non-Designers

By Patricia Knight

Jeff Sieh, Known as “Head Beard” Host for Manly Pinterest Tips and Owner/Creative Director at His Design, Inc. talked to us about visual marketing can be used without being a Graphic Designer. Visual is super important to describe what’s going on in the image that we view or create. Sieh discussed taking the graphics to the next level. He showed us an image of a Barbie doll wearing a shrimp on her head like a hat as a joke to the Australian phrase, “Putting shrimp on the barbie”. A picture of a cannoli dessert on the bottom of the word “I” and top of the word “imagine” to create a pun for the phrase, “I can only imagine”.


  • Collect Consistently


Pixar’s Instagram page is the best example of images that related to visual marketing since they are the best storyteller on their platform. Pinterest is a good place to share images to audiences to stand out your pinboards on your page. Taking photos can help you with ideas of storytelling later. Evernote is a great app to collect ideas for images when you’re out and about. Dribbble app is for designers to go get inspired and get hired as creative professionals.

A mental note is no note at all”

-Ken Davis

Adobe Capture CC app is used for capturing photos and turning into a scalable vector for use in a logo, illustration, animation, and more. You can even find your typography and capture light and color to turn into beautiful color grading profiles for your images and videos. Font Finder is a cool app where you take a picture or upload from your phone, tap the font that you want to identify and test it out with your own text.

http://Depositphotos.com is definitely a timesaver for finding ideas for content with royalty-free photographs, vector images, stock footage and editorial files available to use for customers that you work with. http://www.Ifttt.com is a website that you can visit to save ideas with connecting all of your different apps and devices, like automatically backing up your photos and sharing them online for you. Thanks to Ifttt, procrastination is Jeff’s main power. SPAR! app gets you to create or join a challenge for goals with your friends, make a proof that you achieved your goal(s), and winners get to split the pot.

  •  Condense Construction

The site, http://www.Canva.com is great for quick and easy graphics for social media headers and posts.  Another graphic site, http://www.easil.com allows you to create awesome Instagram story templates.

Templates are very important for creating images for flyers and signs. Photoshop templates are made in Adobe Photoshop program to create image contents that can include words or phrases.

The websites, www.creativemarket.com and www.mightydeals.com are best for photoshop templates. Creative Market-Scene Creator Mockup is great for adding a photo layer on top of an image background. There are free stock photo sites for people who don’t want to pay for anything, like pexels.com, unsplash.com, and librestock.com, while depositphotos.com and www.123RF.com  are the only paid stock photo sites for images that you want to use.

Video templates are created by using Adobe Premiere to create and edit videos with clips. Movable GIF-like ads on Pinterest are the coolest ways to get people engaged like Kohl’s Cash ad that can allow while you’re browsing on Pinterest. The video templates site, videohive.net, and digitaljuice.com have everything that you need to create videos on Adobe Premiere. Wave.video is great for creating Instagram Story with awesome music, watermark, and high-quality video. Slide.ly/promo is a quick video creator whenever you want to share videos to everyone right away.

Free video creator such as headliner.app and Adobe Spark let you create clips and graphics into stunning storytelling videos to share to the audiences on social media platforms. Enlight is a paid mobile app that is used for revitalize colors with two-toned gradients for a retro feel in images and decorative touches with add and customize text, doodle, borders of photos and other cool creative stuff.

Sieh used a self-portrait of himself on one of the image editing apps called FaceTune and use Brad Pitt’s head as a layer image to cover his entire head as an example of using an image layer in a photo. Afterlight 2 have cool filters to edit image brightness and contrast. Instasize app use filters that are similar to Instagram’s filters while you edit photos and videos. Apollo: Immersive Illumination is the only mobile app that allows you to add light sources to your Portrait Mode photos even after the photos is taken.

Enlight Photofox  is an app that I personally use that create sophisticated layers by combining photos and re-edit each layer at any time as well as making stunning double exposures and unique designs with graphic elements. Enlight Quickshot mobile app edits any photo and takes photos with a filter like Instagram, but you get to add neat special effects. Enlight Pixaloop mobile app helps you refresh your photos into life with photo element like adding clouds in the sky to move along with animations in seconds and easily created cinematic magic with your images. This app also allows your image to be animated.

Photoshop CC- Workflow is a program to use on the computer to edit images with special filters and layer images to make them unique for audiences to be engaged to your creation. Enlight Videoleap mobile app has cool features like mixing videos to make them creative, adding text and emojis, visually use Hollywood green screen to make Hollywood-level films, and adding fun & artistic effects. Slider by Word Swag app helps you easily turn your photos into a video story, brand your own posts with logo and colors, and twerking your posts to sing with your own music or exclusive TV-quality tracks. You can get access to over a million free photos in this app. Adobe Rush app allows everyone to shoot, edit, share videos with cool features to social channels.

  • Combine Creatively

Stephanie Liu works for Lights, Camera, Live as a host and she stands out her creativity by using her image on the computer screen for a graphic advertisement for her Facebook Live show. Colorzilla is a Google Chrome Plugin that allows everyone to use any color that they pick for their brands. The website, Paletton.com is great at letting visitors select any color in the color palette for their graphic images. Adobe Rush is similar to Adobe Premiere, but it’s free to use for everyone who wants to create videos.

“90% perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head.”

-Jon Acuff

Sieh also mentioned that image contents don’t have to be perfect, but with excellent quality and having people help you with creating good images can be a good thing. Creating image content can sometimes be hard for some people to do if they didn’t have knowledge of visual marketing.

I learn a lot of different programs that allow everyone to create images and videos to gain audiences to view their social media posts. It was very fun to hear good facts about visual marketing. Go follow Jeff Sieh on Twitter @jeffsieh and connect with him on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/jeffsieh/. You can also visit his website, http://manlypinteresttips.com for podcasts, blogs, and videos about Visual Marketing.

#MDMC19: Shane Barker Reveals Everything You Need To Know About Influencer Marketing

By Sarah Thomas

It is no secret that influencer marketing is extremely successful! I mean with 1 billion monthly users on Instagram spending an average of 53 minutes a day on the platform, influencers have a huge reach! Influencer marketing has completely taken off leaving a lot of businesses’ in the dark on how to use it to their advantage and just not using it at all.

Digital Strategist and Influencer Consultant, Shane Barker shared his influencer marketing expertise with us at MDMC this year. Shane shared everything from his experience consulting influencers, to the best ways for businesses to utilize influencer marketing. Keep reading for answers to your influencer marketing questions!

Influencer Marketing Works

Influencer marketing works because influencers have gained the trust of their audience. When someone you know suggests something, you trust their opinion and recommendations. This is why when an influencer shares a product, their audience is quick to try it! Even I have been guilty of impulse buying the electric toothbrush that my favorite youtuber swears by – haha!


Finding The Right Influencers

Shane shared four tools that can help you find influencers that best suit your business and goals.

  • Buzzsumo – Helps you find trending content ideas and relevant influencers
  • GRIN – Find influencers, and run and track your campaigns
  • GroupHigh – Find relevant bloggers and influencers, track and measure content reach
  • Insightpool – Identify relevant influencers with helpful tools like discovery, activation, and insights

How To Pitch Influencers

Before you send a pitch, you should get to know the influencer you are interested in. Do this by taking the time to follow and engage with what they share on social media. Look for any common interests that you can mention when reaching out. A pitch should be personalized to each influencer you are reaching out to so that the influencer gets the sense you genuinely want to work with them. Influencers are receiving a lot of pitches so be sure to make yours unique!

Successful Influencer Marketing

In order for influencer marketing to be successful, Shane shared a few key components to control.

  • Know your audience – this is the biggest thing to consider before choosing an influencer. Choose an influencer that has the same audience as your target audience.
  • Know your goals – in order to keep things clear with the influencer you should set specific goals and communicate those to your influencers.
  • Customize your approach – Your approach should be customized to each influencer you work with depending on their audience and personality

Now that you’re in the know on how businesses can utilize influencer marketing, take the leap and try it out! Be sure to check out Shane Barker, @shanebarker on Instagram and @shane_barker on Twitter.

#MDMC19: Instagram Expert Jenn Herman Shares How to Grow Your Instagram and Make More Sales

By Sarah Thomas

Here’s the undeniable truth about Instagram at the moment – it is POWERFUL. The engagement rates on Instagram are higher than all social media platforms making it is the best platform to build a community for your brand.

Instagram expert Jenn Herman, who you may know by her Instagram handle, Jenn’s Trends, shared everything you need to know to strengthen your game on Instagram at MDMC this year. Jenn is a social media marketing consultant, author, and speaker with a huge community of followers on Instagram. One thing is for sure, Jenn packed the room during her presentation and captured the attention of the audience with her vivacious personality and humor! Continue reading for a recap of the valuable steps Jenn provided to grow your Instagram and make more sales.

Clearly, you should not want to miss this, I mean look at how packed her session was!

Create a Profile That Attracts Followers

Jenn shared that the most important factors in your profile are as follow:

  • Name & username
  • Profile Photo
  • Bio Description
  • URL
  • Contact Info

These are the first impression of your audience so use them wisely! One thing Jenn stressed is the use of hashtags in your bio – do not overdo this. The only hashtags you should be using in your bio are hashtags that are specific to your brand, otherwise, you are sending viewers to a hashtag that has nothing thousands of photos with no relation to you.

Better Attention with Better Content

Jenn explained that less is more when it comes to content. The quality of your content is much more important than the quantity of content. A couple of posts a week that get engagement are much more effective than posting every day with little to no engagement. To get more engagement with your content, find ways to connect to your audience through emotion, this can be done using humor or relatable stories.

Get More Reach and Followers

Strategies you should be using to get a larger reach include:

  • “Tag” friends – have your audience tag friends in the comments, this gives more exposure to your posts
  • Hashtags – use hashtags that are specific to your brand or industry
  • Resharing to Stories – make sure your audience is able to share your stories to theirs, you can find this option in your settings.

With all of this in mind, you are officially ready to go step up your Instagram game and build your brand’s community! If you aren’t familiar with Jenn be sure to follow her on Instagram @jennstrends, there is no doubt you will benefit from all of the tips and tricks she is constantly sharing with her followers.

#MDMC19: Wilson Raj- Elevating your Customer Experience with AI

By Kyle Eggering

AI has begun to dominate the marketing discussion. Who better to give us a rundown on AI than Wilson Raj!? Raj is the Global Director of Customer Intelligence at SAS. SAS is a world-renowned data analytics company that’s been around since the 1960s. The quality of their company is clearly shown in Raj, a true leader in his field and an excellent speaker as well.

One of the main points Raj tried to emphasize is that AI does not do all the work for you. An example he used an ancient stone tablet of one of the first recorded transactions ever made. On it, it listed everything you would expect a transaction to list. The name of the buyer and seller, what was being sold, how much it was sold for in the end, all data that is easily stored. But what it didn’t have was what Raj called “haggling data.” Haggling data is the human part of the data that machines don’t tend to pick up. How aggressive was the seller? What did the buyer expect to have to pay in the beginning? How much debate was done between the two on the pricing? This is the type of data that would be considered haggling data.

What AI does allow us to do, is worry less about the statistical data, and focus on the human data. By learning what your customer is like, you can turn them from a customer, into an advocate. This is the main point Raj wanted to make, and AI can help with this. By learning data on the customer, AI can help you find out what you need to do to please them. But ultimately, humans know humans better than computers do, and it’s up to you to keep that customer. Just know that AI can give you a little bit of help with that.

Are you interested in MDMC? Be sure to check it out at https://bestmarketingconference.com/en/. And if you want to know more about Raj, be sure to check him out on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilsonraj/.

#MDMC19: World Exclusive: A Sneak-Peek at LinkedIn Live


By Kyle Eggering

On Wednesday, April 17, MDMC attendees got a sneak peek at the next big feature of the social media giant, LinkedIn. LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn’s competitor to other live video services like Facebook Live, will be coming to all LinkedIn users in time, but in the meantime, Chris Strub, author of 50 States, 100 Days: The Book, demoed the service in front of the conferencegoers.

The new service from LinkedIn is only available to a few hundred people right now, but Chris Strub was lucky enough to get his hands on it early. The new service is a little different from other services on the market. It requires a professional, 3rd party app to use, in order to keep the livestreams more professional, fitting the tone of the rest of the website. The streaming service has around 45 seconds of delay now, but this is common for streaming services like this and is acceptable for a more relaxed, person to person style streaming service. The service does have some kinks to be worked out, as the stream went down mid-presentation, but it shows a lot of promise.

Chris also made sure to emphasize how easy the service is to use. Anyone with a smartphone and a 3rd party app, many of which are free, will be able to use the service. LinkedIn wanted to make the service both accessible and professional, and it’s looking like their work will pay off.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn yet, or you want to keep up to date with LinkedIn Live, be sure to register here at https://www.linkedin.com. And be sure to keep up to date with all MDMC news at https://bestmarketingconference.com/en/.

#MDMC19: What You Missed At The 2019 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference


By Katelyn Chostner

I hope you made it to the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference this year because it was every digital marketer’s dream! We saw a rise in attendees with over 1900 people showing up to get their digital marketing on at Union Station in St. Louis.

The mornings started off with keynote speakers that were jam-packed with onlookers. MDMC decided to live stream the speakers in the exhibitor hall so that everyone would be able to hear the presentations. After the keynotes, everyone got up to attend breakout sessions or explore the tables in the exhibitor hall.

The hall was packed with so many different St. Louis companies, like Anvil, UMSL Business, SteadyRain, SLAM! Agency and more. The crowd was able to visit with these exhibitors and speak with them about their company missions. With so many different companies and organizations, there was something there for everyone.

Emily Koehler, an MDMC first-timer, talked about how she was there to learn more about digital marketing. She works for ej4, a training technology company, as a marketing coordinator. Koehler works a lot with SEO strategy and optimizing their website and MDMC was a great place for her to learn more.

“So far I love it. MDMC is a really great mix of people. Everyone is so friendly, and you can just tell that people are here to meet and network with other people and just share expertise… Sessions so far have been really interesting. I just went to a great SEO panel and all of the speakers had different expertise, but they all shared such interesting things that I’m definitely going to take back to the workplace with me,” said Koehler.

Some booths had amazing handouts and attractions for attendees. Strange Cares was giving out some of Strange Donuts’ signature treats, such as Maple Bacon, Rainbow Pony, and Gooey Butter. An even crazier, but awesome attraction was Voltron. Shareable: Social Video Strategy by Coolfire invited people to come and visit their booth in the company of the Legendary Defender. Fans were able to walk around Union Station and grab pics with (the scaled-down-to-size) character who roamed the halls.


Eventually, everyone’s favorite time of the day came around: lunchtime. MDMC provided everyone with some crazy good food trucks to choose from. K-Bop, Locoz Tacoz, UKraft, and Andrew’s Bayou Ribs were just a few trucks out of many that served everyone. Some people were worried about lines, but these trucks showed their skills by getting people their food only a few minutes after they ordered.

K-Bop seemed to be the most popular choice for lunch as people lined down the sidewalk past other trucks to wait for their mouth-watering Korean BBQ in a bowl.

“I love the food selection. I think it’s a great representation of all the food and culture St. Louis has to offer and even though there’s a ton of people here lines are moving so quickly. There’s something here for everyone and the line was a great place to get to know people and network with other marketers also,” said Koehler.

There’s no better way to get to know people than over food and sunshine (or a little bit of rain for those there on the second day). If you missed the chance to network and educate yourself on the latest marketing trend, or even grab some great food, you can always sign up for next year. You know what they say: Don’t make the same mistake twice! Keep an eye out on MDMC’s website for next year’s tickets.

5 Reasons Why Video Marketing is Important in the Digital World


By Patricia Knight

Video marketing is a huge commitment in the business world. Managers think that video is time-consuming, hard to track, and requires a lot of attention to detail. However, video marketing is a lot easier than everyone thinks and it can reap big rewards. 87% of businesses can use video as a marketing tool, according to Wyzowl. Video has been seen as a powerful asset to all consumers with 79% of people mentioned that a brand’s video has convinced them to use video creating app, like Snapchat for filters that a company is promoting. For example, Snapchat users use this social media app to try the len that makes your face look like a taco when Taco Bell is promoting their Doritos Loco tacos.


Video is now the present and the future, and it is absolutely necessary for every brand and company to be using video to its fullest potential. There are so many reasons why video marketing works, but here are five reasons why you and your brand should unambiguously be using video in your marketing strategy.  


1. Social Platforms Love Videos

48% of people said they will be most likely to share video content with their friends, ahead of any other type of content in their social media websites. That means if you want to make an impact on social, you’ll need to be posting videos. The social opportunities for video are growing every day, from posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin to creating live videos, stories, and virtual reality. This flexibility allows you to pinpoint the exact content and distribution method that reaches your audience best.


In addition, video is much more engaging to social viewers than any other type of content. For example, Facebook notes that many of its users who post videos on their pages are a prompt discussion among their followers, as do all the posts that celebrities share in their Facebook pages. In fact, average live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Incorporating video into your posts can drive higher engagement and interactions from a lot of people. In addition to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter videos are also automatically play in your newsfeed and it shows that making videos more eye-catching to followers than just text that we share in social media.

2. Mobile Viewers Love Video


A study recently released by Deloitte shows that Americans are commonly checking their smartphones about 8 billion times per day. Also, more than 75% of worldwide video viewing is mobile, according to JWPlayer. That means it’s required you to reach that giant mobile audience so that the video is the way to go.

“The growing range of content that’s available from on-demand services like YouTube, Netflix or Facebook Watch allows viewers to feel encouraged to watch more frequently on their smartphones and tablets while on the go,” according to Mobile Marketer. Readily available video content makes it easy for users to engage on social media, and the demand for fast content is rapidly growing. Therefore, big companies like Facebook Watch and Netflix are constantly adapting to meet the demands of their audience.

3. Video Commands More Attention

There are so many things in the world that are demanding a consumers attention — and there is only so much attention to go around. Because video uses both visual and aural stimuli, it dominates static advertisements in capturing audience attention. By catching your viewer’s eye, video can raise awareness and possible ROI.

For example, in a heat map study has done that tracking consumer eye movement and attention on the search page videos was shown to be particularly powerful in capturing eyeballs compared to static ads, even when these videos were not the first results according to an article on Moz.com.

On top of this, the average user spends 88% or more time on a website with video. So if you’re trying to use your website to make an impression, a video is a sure way to do it. You can easily track your website metrics by using Google Analytics.

4. Stronger Emotional Connections

According to Entrepreneur magazine, branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies a product from other products.” Then, Emotional branding is creating an emotional connection to one company that separates it from the rest by creating brand loyalty over time.

It is those emotional connections that create higher ROI and audience engagement. According to Medium, 94% of respondents said they would be highly likely to recommend a brand they were emotionally engaged with. You can use video to reach the audience on an emotional level, while it’s also pushing your product or message.

For example, Green Buzz Agency produced “A Boy and His Dog,” which has shown how Cooper received a service dog to help him with his seizures caused by Dravet syndrome with the help of Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic. By interviewing the parents to hear not only about the struggles of raising Cooper but also their gratitude for Finn, we gave the audience an inside perspective into Cooper and his family. Additionally, this video premiered at the annual Evening of Wishes Gala, helping Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic raise over $720,000 to help support local wishes.

While traditional marketing methods are expected by audiences, video is a new experience most of the time by everyone. Most people can still recall a video or commercial that made them laugh or cry, even if they saw it months or years ago. If making an emotional connection is the most effective method to get a consumer to take action, videos are the most powerful way available to deliver the message.

5. Video Drives Organic Traffic

82% of all consumer internet traffic will be from video by 2021. A brand is 53 times more likely to show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website, according to Moovly. Since Google now owns YouTube, there has been a significant increase in how much videos affect your search engine ranking. But, 75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a Google search.

It’s important to put your keywords in your title, description, and in your actual video.

This will help Google rank your video on its relevance to what the user is searching for. Google Trends and Adwords are both helpful tools in generating keywords for your video. Remember to also include the keywords in your actual video, for example as narration at the beginning. Google has voice recognition software that picks up on the words that you’re actually using in your video and determines which keywords it should be ranking for.

You can get a good amount of traffic to your video. You made great content, now share it! You can do this by posting your video on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and including it in any blog posts or pages on your website. Adding a call to action to your post may help others share it, too! You should also try to embed your video wherever you can, whether that is on an outside blog post or website.



All this is to say, if you’re not using video, you should learn how to use videos to attract your audiences. It is one of the most effective ways to reach viewers in this digital era, especially on mobile and social platforms. In the end, it makes the most impact and engagement on your viewers, and that will only help your bottom line. I think that video marketing will still have success in the digital world in the future.

Why Did Hashtags Disappear from 2019 Super Bowl Ads?

By: Dr. Perry D. Drake 

Every year for the past 6 years, I have had my digital marketing students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis do an assessment of the Super Bowl ads regarding their use of hashtags, social media icons and URL’s to help drive a conversation. This year, my students and I were shocked to see virtually no advertiser using hashtags.

Peak usage of hashtags in Super Bowl ads was 57% in 2014 according to Marketingland. Since that year, it has been in decline every year. In 2015, 2016, 2017 usage of hashtags in Super Bowl ads were 50%, 45%, and 30% respectively based on another report by Marketingland.

So why has hashtag usage in Super Bowl ads slipped to virtually none in 2019? Are they just not effective any longer? To prove or disprove this point I decided to examine brand mentions for the top five brands from 2018 and compare that to the top five brands from 2019.

For 2018, we can see in the graphic below, Avocados from Mexico had the most mentions during the Superbowl at 137,000, followed by Pepsi at 38,000 according to Salesforce. And, all five of the top brands used hashtags within their ads. In addition, we should keep in mind this is not really reflective of the true reach which could easily be in the millions for some brands depending on the influence and reach of those that used the hashtags within their posts.


2018 Social Media Mentions, Top 5 Brands (Salesforce.com)

For 2019, virtually no brands used hashtags within their ads. They all had campaign hashtags in play but were only using them in their social media posts. The top five most mentioned brands on social media during the Super Bowl according to Salesforce are shown below. None of the top five used hashtags upon my examination of their ads. And, as a result, we can definitely see much fewer mentions than the prior year.

2019 Social Media Mentions, Top 5 Brands (Salesforce.com)

This year the most mentioned brand was Bud Light at only 31,500 in comparison to the top brand in 2018 (Avocados from Mexico) at 137,000 mentions. A significant difference to say the least.

My students this semester thought that the Pepsi “More than OK” campaign was one of the best executed across the digital channels but felt they missed out on additional reach and exposure by not having the “morethanok” hashtag appear on the TV ad. They also felt that Pepsi missed out by not driving those not familiar with their abundance of fun social media content to their social media channels.

They also felt the Doritos “NowItsHot” campaign was a hit given how they ensured a large audience by mashing up Chance the Rapper with the Backstreet Boys. This is a great way to grab the attention of the broadest audience possible across generations. But they thought the hashtag strategy was a bit weak. Engagement could have been centered around how we eat the Flamin’ Hot Nacho flavor or asking us if we prefer hot or regular.

So why did almost every advertiser not use a hashtag in 2019? Why would you not toss your campaign hashtag (or a new one) at the end of your ad? Why would you not want to drive significant conversation around your brand at a time when it will be seen by 103 million viewers? The benefit of a hashtag is to help evoke conversation and extend your voice around an event, cause, emotion and in that moment. Why would you not want to do extend your reach? It seems crazy to me!

So what happened? Given recent marketing missteps by various brands like Dove and H&M and others were advertisers afraid this year of making a misstep themselves in front of such a big audience. Were they all just playing it safe? Did they lack the resources to monitor the conversation? Not even Anheuser Busch, which had the ever popular #DillyDilly last year, used any this year. I am anxious to see what 2020 brings us, or should I say doesn’t bring us.

Interview With DMN 40 Under 40 Recipient April D. Mullen

By: Katelyn Chostner, Kyle Eggering, Patricia Knight, & Sarah Thomas

UMSL enthusiasts! Ever wonder who helped mold your digital curriculum at UMSL over the last five years? Meet April D. Mullen, an email expert and current Director of Consumer-First Marketing Adoption at Selligent Marketing Cloud. She has been with UMSL since 2014 as an adjunct professor and is a recipient of the prestigious 40Under40 award by DMN! We sat down with April Mullen to talk about her experience in email marketing, industry predictions, and her time with the UMSL Marketing Advisory Board.

You are no stranger to UMSL, can you tell us how you’ve helped shape our digital curriculum?

When the program initially started over five years ago, Dr. Drake asked me to lead the curriculum committee to ensure the program was meeting the needs of the market. I did competitive research and also took a pulse of what CMOs were looking for in terms of filling their rosters. Additionally, having prior brand side experience, I had a good idea of the skills needed to do the jobs. From there, we kept adding courses and even removing some as they became less relevant. While I no longer lead the curriculum committee, I do still participate in conversations about the course offerings. I love what this program has done to bring a digital curriculum to the St. Louis area and that’s why I continue to be a part of it. Our community is better positioned for the future as a result of UMSL and Dr. Drake starting this program.

We could say April Mullen knows a thing or two about email marketing. What’s your story? Were you always an email marketing champion?

I’ve been doing email marketing since the early days of my career 12 years ago. I was more of a practitioner role initially, producing campaigns and coding emails. I have evolved into a strategist over time. I have long been a huge advocate for email marketing because it is the only universal app, which has made it immune to the corporate bureaucracy and limitations that have faced other mediums like social media. (Look at the privacy concerns eroding Facebook.) In fact, The Wall Street Journal just produced a piece on email marketing called “The Hot New Channel for Reaching Real People: Email.” Email marketers like myself have long seen the value driven by email for a long time. I’m excited to see broader respect for the channel now.

In 2018, you were named one of the DMN’s 40Under40. Congratulations! What was that like?

It was surreal. It didn’t feel like reality until I went to NYC to receive the award along with others named to the list. It was then that I realized how profound of a moment it was in my career.

What will be the biggest focus in 2019 for email marketing?

In 2019, we’ll still be focused on things like segmentation and personalization as data ecosystems that power these strategies gain more sophistication. We’ll also be looking at jaw-dropping capabilities like kinetic and interactive features, such as image carousels, in-email conversion, video and other exciting elements that weren’t possible before HTML5. You’ll see more emails in the inbox that operate like a webpage, essentially. I think AI will take center stage as well when it comes to optimizing email’s capabilities. In fact, I’ll be speaking about AI at MDMC this year.

UMSL students typically get a lot of emails, for better or worse. Do you have any tips on managing the inbox?

I am an expert in getting emails to the inbox. I’m afraid I don’t have any advice on how to manage the inbox, though (Laughs). If anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them!


Be sure to check out April Mullen’s interview with DMN News for a closer look at her career and future goals!