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!

Exciting Video Marketing Trends for 2018

By: Lysa Young-Bates

Increasingly, marketers are turning to total experience immersion, allowing consumers enticing opportunities to “step into” a brand’s adventure. Whether through fantastical experience or real-time video-based feedback, the ways companies produce and buyers consume is rapidly evolving, and video provides an experiential medium for meaningful brand-client interactions.

Projection Mapping
Only a few years ago, video projection mapping (a.k.a. spatial augmented reality) was primarily a playground for artists. However, brands are increasingly embracing this powerful medium for high-impact, breathtaking visual presentations. Unlike conventional flat projection, projection mapping turns any building or dimensional surface into a distortion-free canvas, combining motion graphics, animation, and 3D to re-contextualize a structure’s “built” geometry, creating fresh opportunities for massive visual scale and illusional interplay.

VR Video Marketing
Virtual Reality (VR) offers another rich-video experience where consumers can “participate” with brands. According to Marketing Tech News, “VR content has been found to elicit higher emotional and longer engagement than traditional 2D.” Further, Goldman Sachs anticipates that within the next decade, VR will bypass TV, generating revenue of $110 billion. Brands including Merrell, Adidas, Coca Cola, McDonalds, Volvo, TopShop, Patron, and the New York Times have incorporated VR into marketing campaigns, upping the ante on inspiration, engagement, and impact with their consumer-base.

360 Videos
The appeal of 360 video stems largely from consumers’ ability to control their perspective while viewing content. Google recently compared a 60-second 360 video ad against a standard format video of the same length. Neither ad was listed or promoted, appearing strictly via in-stream campaigns or through peer-to-peer shares. Also, both ads ended with the same measurable call-to-action. While full-watch view-through rate was lower on the 360 ad, it out-performed the standard video on overall view, shares, and subscribes. These metrics support 360 video’s benefits of immersion and engagement, increasing the “storytelling” quality of a video experience where customers can manipulate and interact within the view. Psychological studies further indicate that users’ affinity increases in situations where they feel greater control, offering compelling support for brands to consider meaningful ways they can incorporate this technology in their customer interactions.


Study Abroad with UMSL Business

“In Your Business”, which is an UMSL Business’s podcasting series yet again featured people who are experts in their areas, eager to offer guidance to prospective audiences on matters affecting them. In the recent podcast, UMSL Business talked with Dr. Joseph Rottman, Dr. Ekin Pellegrini, and Cassie Philip about the Study Abroad Program at UMSL.
Dr. Rottman is the Director of the International Business Institute and a professor of Information Systems at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He also coordinated the Study Abroad programs aimed at UMSL business students. Dr. Pellegrini is an Associate Professor of Global Leadership and Management at the College of Business Administration at UMSL. She also teaches “International Business” and “Women and Leadership” classes in Bremen, Germany. Finally, Cassie Philip is a student at UMSL majoring in Accounting, who studied abroad in Germany in summer 2017.
At the beginning of the interview, Dr. Rottman spoke about the countries and universities which partner with UMSL and offer study abroad classes for business students. UMSL currently has partnerships with schools in Germany, China, Japan, Finland, and the Netherlands. He also talked about application deadlines and when the courses are offered. When it comes to costs, Dr, Rottman explained that they vary depending on the courses and travel fares. However, Dr. Rottman advised applying for scholarships that are available to reduce the costs for prospective students.
Dr. Pellegrini talked about the available classes which students can take, such as, for instance, Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Information Systems, Cyber Security, Digital Marketing, International Business, as well as Entrepreneurship. She explained that the structure of the program is very efficient, which allows students to complete six credit hours in less than four weeks. The program also entails field trips to businesses such as the Mercedes Benz factory to get a hands-on feel for the international business environment.
During the interview, Cassie Philip confessed that taking part in the study abroad program was beneficial for her personal and professional development. She spoke about the dynamics of the classes she was attending, as well as the cultural diversity of students there, that enabled participants to have a deeper understanding of various cultures across the globe. She also stated that taking part in the study abroad program was an opportunity for her to travel and see other countries.
When speaking about the benefits of studying abroad for future employment, Dr. Pellegrini highlighted that the program places students in an advantageous position since current employers prefer employees with a global experience of business and cultural diversity. At the end of the interview, Dr. Rottman also gave insights into the evolution of the study abroad program within the College of Business which now includes new partnerships in the United Kingdom and Asia.
The interview was generally very insightful for business students who intend to study abroad. Listen to the full interview here.

The Hands Movement On Social Media

By: Isela Sanchez
The hands-focused social media movement is on the rise! Hands have always been a big part of films and other on-screen productions, but recently they have started to play a huge role in social media. Hands are the symbol of artisanal craftsmanship and entrepreneurial zeal. What exactly is zeal you may ask? Zeal is a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone eager or determined to do something.
The number of videos using hands as the “stars of the show” is increasing at large rates. Thus, the trend of using hands as the focus in many cooking videos took off in 2014 with the rise of video sharing on Facebook. “A quarter of video views on Facebook pages of media companies go to these sorts of instructional videos. No faces. No bodies. Just hands,” writes Amanda Hess in her article for New York Times.
One of the most successful social media channels using hands-focused cooking are Buzzfeed’s Tasty and Proper Tasty, which feature short, fast motion videos that suck the viewer in. The hands which are in the focus of the attention, take the viewer on a journey through the cooking process. It makes you feel as if you are cooking the food yourself, which contributes to the high popularity of such videos with the audience. In August, Tasty reached more than 800 million viewers on Facebook, as well as 58 million more on YouTube. Buzzfeed’s DYI channel Nifty is another popular channel for those who are into various home lifehacks.
Hands go viral on YouTube as well. Honda released a hands-focused commercial called “Hands”, which was a tribute to the company’s automotive and technology innovation. By taking the viewer on an adventure and keeping in suspense for 2 minutes, the video shows the company’s innovations over the past 7 decades.
So, what is all the hype about? The hand is the most demonstrably human part of the body after the face. By using hands (which should be presentable and well-groomed) it is possible to capture the attention of large audiences and express the message in a convenient way. Hand are the drivers of modern communication: it is a new opening to social media, and its possibilities are endless.

Why Marketing Is The Right Career Path For You

By: Afnan Tahir
Many people question whether marketing is a right career path for them to choose as they consider a degree in marketing.
Studying marketing presents various career opportunities that include advertising, public relations, brand management, and market research. A degree in marketing has proved to be essential as it equips students with knowledge that will enable them to contribute excellently to the business world and the development of the community. The marketing department is one of the most critical elements of every company, and students who pursue a marketing degree have career opportunities in corporations from varied fields. Therefore, career choices in marketing are limitless.
To succeed in a marketing sphere, a person requires a combination of various personality traits, such as creativity, self-motivation, optimism, being goal-oriented, and the ability to work in a team among others. Moreover, studying marketing equips students with communication skills, the ability to solve problems, and enhances their capacity to strategize. The market and the consumer needs are ever-changing, and good marketers should learn to respond timely to these changes and the associated problems.
UMSL College of Business Administration is committed to delivering exceptional marketing programs that prepare students for fruitful careers and responsibilities in the corporate world. The University of Missouri – St. Louis offers different marketing classes for students to choose, namely, international marketing, digital marketing, marketing analysis and many others. The faculty includes competent scholars that are committed to ensuring that the institution produces graduates who will contribute to the improvement of the society, and who will be successful in the business world.
A career in marketing is an excellent choice for those looking for creativity and dynamics as it offers exciting experiences with boundless opportunities. Marketing is vital to businesses, and all sectors need it.

Snow Factory: How To Be A Student Entrepreneur

By: Gabby Sealy and Pablo Romero
The idea of owning your own business and being a full-time student at the same time may seem like an impossible feat. While most people do not think this is doable, UMSL Alum Van Liu can prove otherwise. For the podcasting series “In your Business”, UMSL Business interviewed the owner of the Thai-styled ice cream shop known as Snow Factory, to talk about what started it all, and how it got to the place where it is now.
In case you are not familiar with Snow Factory, it is a Thai-style ice cream shop located on the Delmar Loop that specializes in rolled ice cream. This technique is basically that ice cream is made fresh right in front of you on an ice cold surface that freezes the ingredients until it’s ready to be rolled into a cup. Van Liu first came up with the idea while visiting Thailand, where he stopped at an ice cream shop that was notably different from the rest. A huge line attracted his attention and after waiting for roughly an hour in line, an idea sparked in his entrepreneurial mind. What if this concept was brought to the U.S.? Well, to his benefit, he saw a second rolled ice cream shop in New York, which indicated a new trend in the U.S. and an opening in the market. That is when he decided to bring it to St. Louis.
Although St. Louis has a variety of ice cream shops such as FroYo and Ted Drew’s, there was nothing in comparison to the flavors and style of rolled Thai ice cream. Snow Factory offers flavors that most St. Louis natives have never heard of, like, for instance, Avocado Rhapsody. Each flavor is different in its own way, but it wasn’t easy for Van Liu to find and create these recipes. As a matter of fact, after searching and asking similar shops around the United States and Thailand, Van Liu came up with a recipe that would work, and it came from one of his close friends in Atlanta. The result was a healthy ice cream, made with fresh milk, organic fresh fruit and starting at 230 calories.
Bringing a new concept to untested markets is not an easy matter. There are many things that have to be learned and tried and Van knows this. As a sole owner, Liu holds all responsibility and liability for the business. Starting it off by himself while being a full-time student at UMSL is a hard job, but he did the research, crunched the numbers, did his homework and finally got a loan to get the business started. After spending some time looking for the perfect location for over a year, he finally found it and closed the deal within a week. The smooth start hit some roadblocks after Van had to learn how to file documents, deal with landlords and solve day-to-day operating issues, such as, for example, broken ice cream machines. Solving all the problems by himself has been a learning experience which helped him gain confidence, and he credits receiving help from family who carried him through hardships and supported him emotionally and spiritually.
Business has been booming ever since. The cultural atmosphere in the loop has allowed Snow Factory to establish itself as one of the best culturally diverse treats among hipsters, college students, and the general Loop crowd that likes to try new things. Van says the best part of all of this is watching his business grow, and the moments shared with customers and employees. The growth has been pretty good and he is planning on expanding to over 10 locations nationwide before 2018. He has three under construction at the moment, two of them in the works and he is sure the rest will happen. He has even thought about expanding to Madrid, Spain.
It has not been an easy ride for Van, but it has been worth it. Being a full-time student and a business owner is a feat few achieve, but he is one of them.  Now after graduation, he is planning on focusing on his business more. Hopefully, we will be seeing more Snow Factories around, and a trend starting in the US.
Listen to the interview with Van Liu here

UMSL Business Presents: Cyber Security Concerns Facing Businesses

By: Jordan DeMars

Please select the podcast “Cybersecurity Concerns Facing Facing Businesses”

In today’s world, everything is going digital and with that comes some security problems. With so much business done over the internet, on top of all the personal information people store online, it is important to have excellent cyber security. UMSL Business students had the honor of interviewing Dr. Dinesh Mirchandani, Chair of UMSL IS Department, and cyber security faculty members Dr. Maurice Dawson and Dr. Shaji Kahn for the podcasting series “In Your Business with UMSL Business”. They talked about the importance of cyber security and how cyber security aficionados work to protect your identity online. The podcast team did a great job in structuring their questions in a way that the answers would be beneficial to all listeners who are looking to strengthen their cyber security.
During the interview, Dr. Mirchandani, Dr. Dawson and Dr. Kahn discussed the importance of cyber security in the digital age. We consider our personal information to be the most valuable asset, so it is essential that people want to protect the confidentiality and integrity of that information. When it comes to the cyber security of companies, the difference is that individuals only really have to worry about themselves, but companies have to worry about everyone. They have to worry about every employee, and every device that enters their building, because every one of them could potentially lead to a breach in security.
Dr. Mirchandani talked about the cyber security certificate program that UMSL offers, which is accredited by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a center of academic excellence in cyber defense education. He went on saying that UMSL is the only school in St. Louis that has that form of recognition which is very impressive.
One of the most popular questions nowadays is if there is a need to use an antivirus on a smartphone or would that be a need in the future. Dr. Maurice Dawson highlighted that everyone needs an antivirus on a smartphone now. He went on explaining that since the size of a mobile device screen is much smaller than a computer’s screen, it is more difficult to investigate links in emails. Without the ability to investigate the links, you might click on something that might contaminate your phone.
These were only a few of the questions asked during this interview. Go here to listen to the complete podcast.

3 Things You Must Do To Be Successful On Instagram

By: TJ Sheffer
Califia Farms is a business that offers consumers “the most delicious, good-for-the-world foods” by applying creativity and innovation. They believe in beverage products that can be healthy and delicious at the same time. This company is known for its iconic bottles and superior taste. In addition to being tasty in terms of products they produce and cool in terms of their brand positioning, Califia Farms has recently been ranked one of the best brands on Instagram by HubSpot.

Here are three things that Califia Farms is doing right on Instagram:

1. Targeting a younger generation:

They post creative, fun, playful pictures, GIFS, and videos. This is appealing to the younger people, who are very “visual”, and it keeps their page relevant. They also offer videos on ‘How to’, such as, ‘How to use steamed non-diary for a coffee cocktail.’ They use emojis to help create a fun, playful post and spread positive emotions.

2. Tagging people involved/use of geo locations:

For many of Califia Farms post, they tag people within the caption and use the geolocation feature. Tagging people is important because it will not only be shared with your followers, but the person being tagged as well. This can double the engagement of your post. Geo Location is important too, as users make use of this feature to find things that are being posted in that particular location. For example, Califia Farms often say that their location is Los Angeles since they originate from California.

3. Posting frequently:

This is very important on Instagram because it keeps the page in their follower’s feed. Posting frequently helps stay relevant to followers, and grow the following by staying active. Being relevant and active is crucial for the success on Instagram.
Posting relevant, fun and playful content can boost your audience on Instagram, and Califia Farms took advantage of some of the best practices. By doing this, they have created a big following, more than 68K followers to be exact. If you are someone looking to build an audience, these and other best practices should be used to help achieve it.

How To Master LinkedIn Like Coca-Cola

By: Brittney Hager
Coca-Cola Blog Post Photo.jpg
LinkedIn is a social network that has been around for a while, but has recently become an important professional networking site for companies to share much of the content that they create. It is important that you do not get LinkedIn confused with other social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, because LinkedIn is a very different story.
LinkedIn is known for their professional setting and goals. They expect their customers to use their pages to advance themselves or their brands in a career-oriented setting, instead of posting the latest selfie to rack up some likes like it happens on many other social networking sites. One company that is doing this well is The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola, which was rated #1 on Hubspot’s “12 Businesses With Fantastic LinkedIn Company Pages”, has mastered how to use their LinkedIn page to push out great content and increase their workforce. Here are a few ways how Coca-Cola is mastering LinkedIn.
Clear and Recognizable Profile Page
The Coca-Cola Company’s profile page includes their famously recognizable logo as their profile picture, and a cheerful collage of Coca-Cola pictures for their cover photo. Their “About Us” section includes a well-written description of the company and some goals that they strive to maintain. Also included in this section is affiliated and showcased pages. Information on the location of their headquarters, company size, and the company’s website can also be found here. All of this information gives viewers a clear idea of what this company is about.
Interesting and Informative Content
Coca-Cola does a great job of including posts that highlight the future of their company and fun information for upcoming product launches and campaigns, such as their “Share a Coke” campaign posts. This type of content is great for consumers that are interested in the company’s successes, future growth, and potential new products.
Including a Career Page Tab
Having a “Job” tab creates a great opportunity for consumers to become a part of your company. On The Coca-Cola Company’s Job tab, there are links for “Jobs that match your skills” and “Jobs Recently Posted”. This makes it easy for potential applicants to see what positions that they might be good at, or what new positions are there to be filled. There are also “Employee Insights” on the same page which include information such as places where the company offices are located, seniority and education levels, and some job skills that are required to work for the company. These things are all very convenient for potential applicants to know before diving into the hiring process.
Utilizing these areas of LinkedIn could increase awareness and keep consumers connected on a more professional level with your company. It could also increase your chances to find potential employees that may be a great fit for your company.

#MDMC17: The Opening Night Party Recap

By: Gabrielle Sealey
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After a long day of activities, guests of the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC17) were invited to continue the fun at Momentum Worldwide for the opening night party. Not only was it a celebration of the conference, but it was also the opening of Momentum’s new office space, located downtown St. Louis.  In one of the rooms attendees could virtually play tennis with Maria Sharapova, in other rooms there were video game controllers set up for guests to play against one another and try various VR widgets. During this event, UMSL Business sat down with Momentum’s leadership represented by Elena Klau, Mike Clark, Melissa Hamilton, Donnalyn Smith, and Chris Weil to discuss the world of gaming and their newly released paper “We Know Gamers”, as well as their general insights about business, leadership, and technology. The interviews were later released as part of the podcasting series “In Your Business With UMSL Business”.
UMSL Business first had the chance to talk to Chris Weil, Momentum WW’s Chairman and CEO. As an optimistic leader of the company, Chris Weil explained to UMSL Business how important the role of a leader is and what the three key areas of a company’s leader are. The first area of importance, as Chris Weil highlighted, is strategic vision and leadership on the strategy side. The second key area is the company’s clients, new and old: it is crucial for any business to maintain mutually beneficial relations with its clients and keep them happy to ensure successful partnerships. The third area of importance according to the CEO is HR, i.e. making sure the right people are on the right places throughout the company.
The second person interviewed by UMSL Business was Donnalyn Smith, President of North America at Momentum WW. Donnalyn’s interview shifted gears in regards of questions, which revolved around her role as a leader, and what she looks for in potential team members. According to Donnalyn, when you have great ideas you have happy clients. With that being said, she values smart strategic thinkers, because when you start with a super solid strategy it is almost impossible not to land with an idea that is appealing to a client.
Mike Clark, the current VP/Director of Creative Technology, and Melissa Hamilton, VP/Director of Integrated Productions, were interviewed in a tandem. Having worked for Momentum WW for a number of years, they both have been involved in the release of the company’s recent paper “We Know Gamers”. During the interview, Mike explained what type of technology Momentum WW uses to enhance its brand to clients and partners. Melissa, in her turn, highlighted the relevance of their recent study to the industry and spoke about her personal take-away from the series.
Elena Klau, Senior VP and Director of Strategies and Insights, NA at Momentum WW, was the last person interviewed by UMSL Business. Elena is known for her many accomplishments. She is a strategy lead in the company responsible for working with high profile clients. Elena’s main reason for attending the MDMC17 was to speak about the recent paper “We Know Gamers”. During the interview, she gave a brief summary of the paper, and explained what the goal of the research was. Elena highlighted that the company believed that there was more to the gamers’ universe than what meets the eye, and that was what drove them to research more on this topic.
Those who attended the opening night party can agree that not only does Momentum WW have an amazing new office space, but that this is a company that is very intuitive about the future of technology and marketing. Listen here to the whole interviews with the company’s leaders