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!

How Crowdfunding Changed The World: Interview W/ Ryan Brennell

UMSL Marketing recently talked to Ryan Brennell, founder of Gladitood, and how the era of social interaction has re-shaped the way we give! Ryan will also be teaching an exclusive ‘Crowdfunding 101 ‘ class as part of the revamped UMSL Digital curriculum!

We live in the era of social organizing. How has Crowdfunding been a part of this trend over the last five years?

I think crowdfunding is a natural progression of social organizing. We’ve been using Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, or Reddit to talk with like-minded individuals about shared interests, and I know it’s easy to connect the dots looking back, but it just seems like Crowdfunding was inevitable. We’re making it so easy for people to connect from all over the world, it was only a matter of time before we started using this medium to raise money. Now we’re seeing it on a scale that is changing our culture. Bernie Sanders just ran the most successful political crowdfunding campaign in history during the last election. Startup founders aren’t at the whim of venture capitalists who held all the power. Now they can find their audience and let the market decide if they should be funded. Thanks to social organizing, we have crowdfunding. And thanks to crowdfunding, new opportunities exist for us all.

Crowdfunding services such as GoFundMe are everywhere. From school supplies, family tragedy’s, to lifelong dreams. How has this changed fundraising culture?

I think that the many crowdfunding platforms that have popped up, especially those like GoFundMe where anyone can raise money for nearly anything, has increased competition for fundraisers and also increased an individual’s awareness of fraud. Crowdfunding has completely democratized access to funding. If you can tell a compelling story and execute a clever promotional plan, access to a wealthy network isn’t necessary anymore. It has also made fundraising a very real piece of pop-culture. The subjects of viral campaigns become overnight celebrities, and this perpetuates the biggest myth in crowdfunding – “If you build it, they will come.”

Despite the abundance of crowdfunding campaigns, many generate zero dollars. Why is this?

The failures almost always come down to that crowdfunding myth. The idea that crowdfunding is internet magic is the reason why the vast majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail right out of the gate. You have to put in the work.

Crowdfunding campaigns can be very difficult to dissect. We see the success, but we can’t get a good look under the hood to see what’s driving those results. This makes it very difficult for those new to crowdfunding to figure out where to begin. After years of helping hundreds of campaigns succeed, and seeing plenty fail, we’ve recognized the patterns and formulas that lead to both results. Frankly, 90% of the work for a successful campaign happens before it even launches.  Realistically, there were several weeks – sometimes months – of planning ahead of a successful 30-day campaign.

Basically, crowdfunding is not a magic ‘Easy’ button. It takes work. How can someone approach this?

I like to approach it by creating a two-part plan. Part one consists of everything you need to get in place in order to put the campaign together and set yourself up to execute successfully. Part two is the actual execution.

Part one is about crafting your story, strategically planning your reward levels, identifying and building relationships with your audience, and lining up distribution channels for your campaign. This means making a video and creative graphics, coming up with creative and unique “up-sells” that don’t dip into your profits, figuring out which social channels and forums to engage, and creating a PR plan. It sounds like a lot, but if you tackle these, you are in the top 10% of your competition. If you take part one seriously, part two is a breeze. If you half-ass part one, those 30-60 days might be the most stressful of your life.

What will your new Crowdfunding course be touching on? Who is this course for?

The course is for anyone who wants to learn how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign from day 1 of planning through day X of follow up after the campaign has ended. Nonprofit organizations, startup founders, marketers, and inventors, I’m talking to you. My goal is that my students leave with not only an understanding of how to run a successful campaign but with their own concrete plan of action.  We’ll cover how to craft your story to include the four key ingredients for virality, how to identify and engage your target audience, how to utilize distribution channels to increase your reach. We’ll go over creating a great video – even without access to a professional production team, building an email and social campaign to accompany your fundraiser, and how to capitalize on the momentum of success after your campaign to keep backers engaged for your next fundraiser. The course will include a number of case studies that break down some of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history, including successful campaigns from right here in St. Louis!



2015 St. Louis Design Week Preview: September 19-25

11902468_882834898431459_8219912847161200264_nSt. Louis Design Week originated from a want to inspire and promote the practice of design in St. Louis. From September 19-25, you have 45 chances to “Learn something. Make something. Do Something.” With events all over town, every creative or non-creative can find something up their alley. Here is a small sampling of some of the events you can attend. For the full schedule, visit http://stldesignweek.com/.
St. Louis Design Week Opening Party | Converge with all of the creatives, designers, principals, entrepreneurs, and design fans to celebrate the unfolding of an entire week of all things design! Join us for music, interactive exhibits, installations in the space and schmooze with design luminaries from the community at World Chess Hall of Fame. More Info.
The Sunday Story | The Sunday Story breathes life into one person’s untold story, bringing to life the important lessons and meaningful impacts. The storyteller partners with a team to elevate their story through design, public speaking coaching, and experiential event planning. Think of it as a blend of a religious sermon (with all the lessons but without all the religion), TED (with the same emotional impact but less speakers and data), and an Apple keynote (without the sales pitch). Join us for the Sunday Story and connect with St. Louis’ untold stories. More Info.
The Business of Creativity Panel | We’ve assembled a panel of leaders from a spectrum of design-related businesses to discuss the joys and hangover-inducing challenges of running a creative company. Panelists will share stories of their successes and failures related to attracting new clients, defining expertise, growing a successful business, hiring disgruntled liberal arts majors and more. More Info.
Design’s Role in Social Innovation Panel | Although design’s role is so prevalent in society through day-to-day interactions and global innovations, it can be argued that design is one of the most invisible fields of innovation. Through design thinking and social entrepreneurism, design has the potential to improve global difficulties and challenge human rights and social justice issues. Hear local designers and entrepreneurs discuss how design entrepreneurship can change the social sector, redefine the notion of social entrepreneurship, and be a catalyst for social innovation. More Info.
Women in Design Panel | How does the female perspective help define design today? Join us in celebrating and discussing the many roles women take on in the world of design, from creators to consumers. This one hour panel will bring together several local women from a variety of fields, including fashion, interiors and digital strategy, who will share how their diverse backgrounds, experiences and disciplines have helped shape their careers, their local community and their creations. More Info.

3-D Printing: A Brief Overview

By: John Schmitt

In August 2015, the FDA gave approval to Aprecia Pharmaceuticals to start distributing the first 3D printed pill. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Company, a Chinese construction firm, used 3D printed materials to construct the walls for a five story apartment block this past Spring. Currently Local Motors Manufacturing is producing 3D printed car bodies. Drawn is
print1a French furniture company which only designs and sells products that are 3D printed. And if you see your dentist and need a tooth repaired, the repair material will likely be 3D printed.
This article provides an introduction and overview to 3D printing, a subject that covers a broad range of technologies and equipment. “3D printing” and “Additive Manufacturing” (AM) are terms used to describe the same process that is, fundamentally, using a machine to build an object from a series of added layers. This is a distinctly new form of manufacturing since traditionally objects were created by a subtractive process. Subtractive manufacturing starts with a material that is then cut, drilled or shaped into the finished product. 3D printing adds material as needed to create the product. To accomplish this, designers and manufacturers use different types of 3D printers and various types of additive material.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS4Xw8f9LCc?list=PL1_l433M5-L1a43UuwgiqvMhftDf9eCsd]
A current list of additive manufacturing processes include:

  • FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling
  • EBM – Electron Beam Melting
  • DLP – Digital Light Processing
  • LOM – Laminate Object Manufacturing
  • SLS – Selective Laser Sintering
  • MJM – Multi Jet Modeling

The different types of additive process relate to the variety of materials that can be used to print. Plastic is the most common substance, but ceramic, metal, wood, concrete, food and skin cells are all being used to make 3D printed objects. Some of these printers are small enough for a desktop environment while some need the space of a large factory to operate. Price aligns with the scale and sophistication of additive manufacturing machines. Desktop printers start around $1,000, while large factory printers can cost millions of dollars. The variety of machines allows for adaptability to the needs of a work flow. A small design firm could use a mid-range priced in-house printer ($2,000-$8,000) to make an initial design and print it in plastic. After several iterations when the final design is ready, the files can be uploaded to a service bureau with more expensive machines to complete the finished design in whatever material is needed.
3D printing is an exciting and rapidly developing field with a wide impact on design, manufacturing and marketing. One of the main advantages is that it allows the designer to go from concept to actualization quicker and more directly. For example, Nike has greatly shortened the time from the concept stage for a new shoe design. To quote a Nike designer, “A new shoe design has been reduced from years to hours”. It’s not just the speed of the 3D printer that allows this, but that there are less steps between the idea and the mnewbalanufacturing process. The impact of faster product design and finished manufacturing results in a more responsive marketing environment. In addition to images shown to focus groups, hand-held, fully functioning 3D printed prototypes can be utilized. Also, the same 3D designs that are used for printing can be used in commercials and in web and mobile sites for review and modification.
A good analogy of the impact that 3D printing will have on product marketing and sales is what happened with the music industry and the introduction of digital file formats. Instead of sharing digital music, people will be able to share object files; files that can be modified to an individual’s desire. Companies will have the advantage with specific customization of products tailored to an event or promotion. A dynamic between the consumer and company can be established. Say you’re looking for a new watch to purchase. You bring up a company’s mobile app, browse their basic selections and pick one to start. At this point, using a 3D design interface, you modify the design to your specific needs. That file you create is used in a 3D printer to produce the new watch. The watch company could then share your design with others and promote it on social networking sites.cereal
The buzz about 3D printing is not unwarranted. It is customization at lower cost. Distance between design and production is shortened. Leveraging open source software and social networking to build an engaged community. An almost unlimited choice of printable materials. This impact will effect both large and small producers. One hope is that production of parts will become more localized. I cannot imagine any industry that will not be affected by additive manufacturing.
For more information:

Digital Profile: LaunchCoderGirl

By: Kathryn Todd

launch1So, what is LaunchCoderGirl?

LaunchCoderGirl is an all-women’s coding meet-up. LaunchCoderGirl is part of LaunchCode, a non-profit aimed to create “pathways to economic opportunity and upward mobility through apprenticeships and job placement in technology.” This program allows women to network, learn and create. LaunchCoderGirl offers participants from all skill levels access to mentors and other learners.

Can I be involved without an IS or IT background?

Most of the women attending LaunchCoderGirl are completing Harvard’s CS50 Introduction to Computer Science Course. As the most dropped class at Harvard, this class is available for free and completion shows employers a willingness and dedication to learn. LaunchCoderGirl helps those who complete this course obtain apprenticeships, which usually last 3 months and often result in employment. For those who don’t have a background in IS, this program can help show employers their potential. This meet-up helps those who need help doing the problem sets for CS50, final projects, or those who just want to learn from other coders. Mentors help attendees explore Java, Hardware, SQL, web development, and web design.

How do I learn more about applying existing or newly acquired coding skills?

Every other week, CoderGirl features a speaker who either shares knowledge on coding or speaks about their IT based company. Asynchrony’s CTO Nate McKie recently gave guests an idea of the layout at his company, the general attitude of the company, how to get hired and information on the company’s products. These products include projects for firms like Emerson, Famous Footwear and Warner Brothers. Their project portfolio includes a military mobile field kit that assist troops with communication and problem solving, along with a project titled Navihealth that streamlines Urgent Care patient check in and monitoring.
Check out LaunchCoderGirl on Social
Twitter: https://twitter.com/launchcodergirl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/codergirlstl

Interview with FocalCast Cofounders Devin Turner and Charlie Beckwith

By: Kathryn Todd

I sat down with Devin Turner and Charlie Beckwith, co-founders of FocalCast. This new app is available in the Google Store and App Store and is designed as “a catalyst for learning in the classroom allowing students and teachers to annotate and give presentations from their mobile devices while sharing the newly created information instantly through the cloud.” The Capital Innovators accelerator program brought this business to St. Louis and this interview explores what goes into making an app and what makes St. Louis unique.
Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 3.05.51 PM

What do you think sets FocalCast apart from other apps?

FocalCast was the first app that allowed users to conduct a wireless presentation from a phone. Now the app is the only one that goes cross-platform and is in the testing phases of connecting two devices to both annotate together on the same slide or whiteboard.

Tell us about the Capital Innovators accelerator program in St. Louis?

This program helped Charlie and Devin improve by requiring them to put in an incredible amount of work in a short time and forcing them to hear constructive criticism. Although they didn’t appreciate it at the time, looking back they realize the benefits. In three months, they created an entire iOS application. The program also helped them connect with wonderful mentors such as Dan Kish, the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Panera Bread, as well as Carl Turza, a VP at Granger.

What inspired you to start FocalCast when your background is in aircraft technology?

Charlie and Devin met over Skype after being introduced by mutual friends. They noticed a gap in the wireless technology world and wanted to take advantage of it. Both wanted a career outside of the traditional corporate environment. They saw their age as advantage, saying “We’re so young. This is the time where you’re supposed to set your own path.”

How have you educated yourself on app development and business?

The two referenced Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman and co-Founder of LinkedIn, who stated “Starting a company is like throwing yourself off the cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.” With backgrounds in computer engineering, Devin and Charlie had the technology aspect of this business down, but didn’t know much about running a business. After taking part in the Rice Business Plan Competition in Texas, the two started working to grow their business outward instead of tailoring their business to their personal needs. One eye opener for this duo was when they realized they had 7,000 users and none of their email addresses. This didn’t allow the company to get information, feedback, or funding.

What brought you to St. Louis?

Capital Innovators reached out to the pair after their competition in Texas landed them the Gimmal Outstanding IT Prize. There had been other potential investors but none had terms they could agree to. They enjoy St. Louis as it is a growing tech hub and the “largest small community you’ll ever see”.  Residents see the same entrepreneurs at many events, which are small enough to avoid confusion, but large enough to make a difference. These co-founders enjoy St. Louis’ mid-west charm and see opportunity in its many funding programs.
The two have found that people in St. Louis are willing to help and want FocalCast to succeed. Other professionals give up a lot of time and resources without asking for favors in return. This small community really proved beneficial after they spoke at a local Microsoft office in Creve Coeur. An executive approached the pair and asked if they would be attending Infocom, the largest professional AV trade show in North America. When telling the executive financial constraints would prevent them from attending, the executive offered to buy their tickets. While at the conference, the executives showed Charlie and Devin around and introduced them to other companies like Google.
Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 3.28.00 PM

What advice would you give to students interested in technology?

Do it! They say if there’s any time to take advantage of St. Louis’ resources, it’s now. Charlie and Devin were lucky to find partners who shared the same motivation and drive, and appreciated not having to take the traditional route of working up through a company. From the business side, this pair recommends finding either 10 people willing to donate $100 or 100 people willing to donate $10. This way, you know your product will have support and you have funding.
Entrepreneurs should also have a thick skin. Charlie and Devin were laughed at in the beginning, when this type of technology wasn’t as popular. They realized it wasn’t a reflection of their business or product but rather a lack of understanding of the growth of technology. They recommend knowing when to take feedback and when to stick to your vision.

Digital Marketing for Non-Profits: An Interview with Emily McNew

emily mcnew

By Kathryn Todd
emily mcnewWith the 2015 State of Digital Media Marketing Conference taking place at UMSL Campus next week, we began to think about all the amazing marketing talent residing in our hometown of St. Louis. One St. Louis marketer who is blazing the way for how non-profits leverage digital and social media is Emily McNew. Emily is currently the Digital Marketing Manager at United Way of Greater St. Louis, where she is responsible for implementing the overall vision for United Way’s digital experience; including website and mobile, social media, email marketing and other digital and online marketing. In addition to her work at United Way, Emily is also the Marketing Communications Manager at STL Up Late, St. Louis’ only live late night talk show featuring the most talented and engaging guests that St. Louis has to offer. Recently we had the chance to catch up with Emily to discuss digital marketing, St. Louis, and more! Check out the full interview below: Continue reading “Digital Marketing for Non-Profits: An Interview with Emily McNew”

10 Common Pitfalls of Mobile Marketing


By Jake Bauer and Paul Eschen
mobile-marketingThere are currently over 1.8 Billion mobile users globally and with mobile marketing being the most intrusive of all of the platforms (I mean who doesn’t their phone with them at all times), it is very important to utilize mobile marketing as part of your marketing portfolio to better reach the target market. To be successful in the mobile marketing realm, it is important to avoid the common mobile marketing pitfalls listed here. Continue reading “10 Common Pitfalls of Mobile Marketing”