The Proposed DOL 2015 Overtime Rule Changes in Minimum Salary

first_img1.       The employee must be paid a minimum weekly salary;2.       The employee must be paid on a salary rather than on an hourly basis. This means that only certain deductions are permitted from the employee’s pay for time not worked and no deductions are permitted based on the quality or quantity of work; and3.       The employee’s primary duty must be exempt in nature.The DOL proposed changes are to #1. They have asked questions about #3 (which we will address in another post) and left #2 alone (at least for now).What are the changes being proposed to the minimum salary?[Jonathan] Currently, the minimum salary is $455 per week for most white collar positions. No minimum salary is required under federal law for some positions, such as medical doctors. Note: a minimum salary may be required under state or local law, even where not required under federal law.Under the proposed regulations, the minimum salary will be equal to the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried employees as determined by the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. That amount is projected to be $970 per week in the first quarter of 2016, more than double the current minimum salary.Plus, the minimum salary will be indexed ‘to guard against the erosion’ of the salary threshold. The DOL has suggested two options for indexing, inviting comment on the different approaches. Option one would be to increase the minimum salary so that it remains at the 40th percentile. The second option would be inflationary increases.What do you think the rationale is for proposing automatic adjustments to the minimum salary?[Jonathan] The reason for the proposed automatic adjustment is, as the DOL has said, to ‘guard against the erosion’ of the minimum salary requirement. Although the proposed increase itself is quite substantial, to be fair, the reality is that the minimum salary from 2004 is extremely low relative to today’s labor market.On the other hand, the proposed automatic adjustments may be too much for some employers too afford. The DOL sometimes does not appreciate fully how businesses work. If the number is too high, an employer simply may convert the employee from exempt to non-exempt and not permit overtime.The DOL has suggested that the employee still ‘wins’ even if  this occurs, because they may have more time off. The DOL entirely misses the employee relations aspect of this change.Most employees are dedicated, hardworking and take pride in their jobs. Some are upset when they feel their value is reduced because they are reclassified as non-exempt. When some employees were reclassified in 2004, the last time the regulations were modified, we saw this phenomenon take place in many workplaces.Rather than automatic increases, I would hope the DOL would consider periodically proposing increases. That’s why submitting comments to the proposed regulations is so important. None of us knows what the future will bring. What if there had been an automatic minimum salary increase in 2009 at the height of the Great Recession?Why should employers care about the proposed changes to highly compensated employees (HCE)?[Jonathan] It is important to remember the highly compensated employee is not a separate exemption. Instead, if an employee is a highly compensated employee, under the current regulations, it is easier for him or her to meet the primary duty test.Currently, the minimum salary for a highly compensated employee is $100,000 / year. The proposed change would increase the minimum salary to the 90th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers. Under current statistics, that would be $122,148 annually.This is a considerably smaller increase than the increase in the minimum salary: approximately 22 percent compared to more than 100 percent. Of course, the DOL has proposed that this amount be subject to automatic adjustments, too.How important will this increase be? Well, I hate to sound like a lawyer, but ‘it depends.’ It depends on what happens to the primary duty test, because the higher level of compensation is relevant only to meeting the primary duty test. More on this issue in the next post in this series on the DOL’s proposed changes.What is the impact of the proposed changes on state or local laws?[Jonathan] It is important to keep in mind that employees always get whichever is better for them under federal, state or local law. So no matter what the DOL does or does not do, employers still must check to see if there are any areas where state or local law imposes additional requirements or restrictions.What should employers be doing now in light on this action?[Jonathan] It is really hard for the employer community to plan until we know what the DOL will do with the primary duty test. If the DOL implements or proposes changes to the primary duty test so that it is quantitative rather than qualitative, then employers are going to need to re-evaluate an even larger universe of positions.More specifically, the DOL has asked whether it should adopt the California approach—the employee must spend more than 50 percent of his or her time performing exempt duties. If the DOL were to adopt this approach, I am not sure it will mean more money for employees. There actually could be less money available after employers pay lawyers to defend the inevitable flood of legal challenges that a percentage requirement all but invitesFor now, employers should focus only on cost issues associated with the proposed minimum salary increase. Employers will need to assess whether they can pay the minimum salary to employees below the minimum knowing that the minimum will keep increasing. In this regard, it is important to note the final number could be the proposed number or it could be lower or even higher. Let’s not forget that back in 2004 the final number for highly compensated employees was higher than initially proposed by the DOL.But, even if an employer can make the necessary minimum salary increase, whether it should may depend on what happens with the primary duty requirement. That’s why this is so frustrating—we don’t know whether and what changes the DOL will propose, if any, with regard to the primary duty requirement, the subject of our next blog post.Many thanks to Jonathan for sharing his knowledge. If you’re interested in keeping up with this topic, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_HR_Law or read his blog at Duane Morris. As he mentioned, we have another post in the works on the primary duties test. Stay tuned for more on this important change. On July 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its proposed changes to the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The changes are significant and fall into two categories: salary basis and primary duties test. This post will focus on the minimum salary part of the proposal. We’ll address the primary duties test in a separate post.  To help organizations sort this out, I’ve asked Jonathan Segal, a partner with the firm Duane Morris LLP to share his knowledge of the subject. Please remember that Jonathan’s comments should not be construed as legal advice or as pertaining to any specific factual situations. If you have detailed questions, they should be addressed directly with your friendly local labor attorney.Jonathan, let’s start with a little refresher. Currently, what are the requirements for an employee to be exempt under one of the FLSA’s white collar exemptions (such as, administrative, professional and executive)?[Jonathan] An employee must meet three (3) requirements:last_img read more

Commercetools’ Kelly Goetsch: Think ‘spokes,’ not ‘hubs’

first_img Posted on 15th September 2018Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Commercetools’ Kelly Goetsch: Think ‘spokes,’ not ‘hubs’You are here: HomeDigital MarketingCommercetools’ Kelly Goetsch: Think ‘spokes,’ not ‘hubs’ Go headless and best of breed.That’s the key advice from Commercetools chief product officer Kelly Goetsch for large enterprises looking to expand their e-commerce. (He will dive deeper into this topic in his presentation on “How IT and marketing can use microservices to peacefully co-exist and serve the needs of customers” at our MarTech Conference next month in Boston.)Founded in 2013, Commercetools provides function-specific cloud-based mini-applications that operate with the help of about 300 APIs. If you want to add a function to check inventory before making a sale, add that component. If you want a new kind of checkout, add that one.This best of breed “Lego bricks” approach works well for e-commerce, Goetsch told me, because selling products is a series of discrete steps that a brand might want to customize for its unique approach.[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]The post Commercetools’ Kelly Goetsch: Think ‘spokes,’ not ‘hubs’ appeared first on Marketing Land.From our sponsors: Commercetools’ Kelly Goetsch: Think ‘spokes,’ not ‘hubs’ Related postsThe California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019Lytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019last_img read more

Young European eels may use magnetic fields to guide them home

first_img Eels make remarkable migrations. Adults from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean swim to the Sargasso Sea to reproduce, and their offspring take a few years to return the 6000 kilometers to their respective coastlines. How they get there has been an enduring mystery. Many biologists have assumed these newborns drift aimlessly until swept up into the Gulf Stream, but like a few other marine creatures, they may actually use Earth’s magnetic field to guide their course, marine biologists have now discovered.Some researchers question whether this sixth sense exists in the very youngest eels found in the Sargasso Sea, but if it does, “this study adds to the growing body of evidence that the magnetic sense may be an important component of fishes that make long migrations in the ocean,” says Michael Miller, an eel biologist at Nihon University in Fujisawa, Japan, who was not involved in the work. And if it holds up that newborn eels do more than drift aimlessly, the study paints a new picture: These young eels “may be the ultimate swimming machines,” he adds.Over the years, researchers have found that a magnetic sixth sense exists, perhaps even in people, and is important in salmon, sea turtle, and trout migrations. And some work indicates that adult eels also sense magnetic fields. But proving the same was true of juvenile eels was quite tricky, as these fish can be quite erratic in their behavior. That makes it hard to discern any patterns in their orientation, and thus they are difficult to test.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To better quantify whether eels did tend to swim in a particular direction in response to a magnetic field, Lewis Naisbett-Jones, a marine biologist at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Nathan Putman, a marine biologist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory at the University of Miami in Florida, designed a 25-centimeter-wide underwater arena: a central chamber connected to a dozen outer sections, each representing 30° on a compass. They tested so-called glass eels, which is what the juvenile eels transform into when they arrive in Europe. A movable wall kept the eel in the center until the magnetic field was turned on and testing began.The researchers simulated magnetic fields from different parts of the migration route, and the fish responded as if they knew where they were going. In the magnetic field that was the same as in the Sargasso Sea, most of the eels headed southwest, showing they did head in a particular direction in response to the magnetic field. In the test using the magnetic field found in the Atlantic off North America, the eels turned northeast, showing that slightly different magnetic fields caused them to orient in a different way, the researchers report today in Current Biology.“We were not surprised to find eels have a magnetic map, but we were surprised to discover how well they can detect subtle differences in magnetic fields” Naisbett-Jones says.At first, the orientations were confusing—the eels weren’t headed the most direct way home. Yet a computer model showed that the headings taken by the juvenile eels in the experiment would in fact make their migration more efficient, as they got the fish into the Gulf Stream faster and kept them in this current so that they headed to Europe.“Swimming the ‘wrong’ direction for a bit gets them into the Antilles Current, which connects them to the Gulf Stream,” Putman explains. “So, with a little bit of work they can get a mostly free ride to Europe.”The oceanographic model “strengthens the overall findings,” says Miguel Baltazar-Soares, a marine biologist at Bournemouth University in Poole, U.K., who was not involved with the work.However, the study has a major flaw, several experts say. Eels undergo several major transformations. Newborns are not very eellike at all, being more like flattened gelatinous ribbons than rounded elongated fish, so it’s not clear that these newborns would have the same sensory capabilities of the juveniles tested, says Caroline Durif, a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway. “I would also like to point out that none of the authors are recognized eel experts—the paper’s main authors have not focused on eels before in their research. Otherwise, they would have realized how absurd this study is.”But Putman doesn’t think the use of older eels is a problem and assumes even newborns have this magnetic sense. Instead, he thinks that the novelty of finding a magnetic compass in eels “might rub some people the wrong way” because they had not discovered it before.Next, he hopes to demonstrate that adult eels also use magnetism to find their way to the Sargasso Sea. Lewis Naisbett-Jones Young European eels may use magnetic fields to guide them home These 2-year-old eels sense and respond to magnetic fields, but the question remains whether newborn eels do as well. By Elizabeth PennisiApr. 13, 2017 , 12:00 PMlast_img read more

What Marketers Can Learn from Improv Stars

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Improv Asylum, a comedy theater located in the North End of Boston, is widely known for their improvisational comedy and trust-fall-free corporate training. Eager to learn how techniques used at Improv Asylum could help strengthen our own marketing team, Hubspot joined Chet Harding, Improv Asylum co-founder and original cast member for a night of creative collaboration.It may not seem that the same rules and techniques used on stage during an improvisational sketch comedy show could apply to your marketing team. However, improv instructors teach their actors how to be confident, natural content creators with good listening and collaboration skills — qualities that just so happen to make an inbound marketing team successful.Your Company’s Story Belongs to Everyone on Your TeamImprov groups use exercises that help develop skills useful on stage. As part of our corporate training, we took part in a similar word play exercise where we took turns building a cohesive story one word at a time. We found that for our story to grammatically make sense, we all had to contribute functional words (the, and, a, etc.) to keep the momentum going. However, from time to time, we were also called upon to contribute a place name (ex. mountains, park, Atlanta) or a verb that could change the direction of the story altogether.As marketers, it’s important that we all work together to perform the daily tasks which keep the momentum going, and also answer the call when offered the opportunity to have a more visible role. Remember, in the improv world there are no leading roles. Everyone on stage during a successful show can take credit for their contribution to the story or collection of stories they’ve presented to their audience.Say “Yes And…” More OftenAn improv cast member can’t keep saying no to a fellow cast member if they expect to move a story forward onstage. The same goes for the creative process. If your fellow coworkers come to you with an idea that is somewhat incomplete, try to say “Yes and…” instead of “no” and build off their idea.Marketer 1: We should write a blog article about our experience at Improv Asylum!Marketer 2: ….yes and it would be really helpful if it drew constructive comparisons between improv and marketing.Marketer 1: …yes and I can highlight 3 tricks that would help marketers work together more creatively.Marketer 2: ….yes and you should include the portion about “Yes and…”  because I believe we could all learn how to build off of ideas more effectively.When you think in “Yes and…” it’s easier to strengthen your fellow marketer’s ideas early on in the creative process. If you want to help your marketers brainstorm effectively, run them through an exercise where they each go around a table and share one idea in a few sentences. Then instruct everyone else on your team to try to build off that idea using the “Yes and…” exercise. After everyone has shared their idea, discuss which ideas people thought grew stronger throughout the brainstorming process. Remember, it’s about quality of ideas, not quantity.Listen, Don’t Just Wait For Your Turn To SpeakIf two actors were on stage during a scene and Actor 1 refers to Actor 2 as “Grandma,” but Actor 2 starts playing his wife instead, the audience would probably be very confused. Listening is a huge part of what makes improv successful; actors will play games that test their ability to listen, respond quickly, and relate naturally to one another. At Improv Asylum, Chet lead us through a word association game. After completing this exercise, Chet pointed out that people tend to react to the word that came before the word they had to associate. For example, in our exercise, the flow went something like this:Person 1: New York City -> Person 2: Statue of Liberty -> Person 3: BusAs you’ve probably guessed, Person 3 wasn’t associating Bus with his prompt word (Statue of Liberty), but with the previous word offered (New York City). Of course, Person 3 was most likely anticipating their turn to speak rather than deliberately ignoring their prompt, but at Improv Asylum, actors use this exercise to learn how to turn off anticipation and really listen to their fellow actors. Performing these exercises regularly can teach your marketers to live in the moment, tune in, and listen instead of just reacting.If you’d like to see for yourself how Improv Asylum can help your marketing team work together more creatively, check out their free invitational corporate training session at their North End theater location on Thursday, November 12th from 4:30-6:30pm.Webinar: RethinkingMarketingTake your team to the next level. Learn how you can use inbound marketing to better grow your buisness.Download the free webinar to learn how to turn yourwebsite into an internet marketing machine. Originally published Nov 1, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated March 21 2013last_img read more

Did Email Marketing Offers Drive 2010 Holiday Buying Season?

first_img and research director at Holiday Marketing The outlook for holiday retail sales in general is pretty good compared to the last two years, with the National Retail Federation forecasting 2.3% growth. As usual, online sales will grow significantly more quickly, with the majority of retailers expecting sales growth of more than 15%, according to Online sales—and offline sales to a lesser degree—will be spurred by higher promotional email volume from retailers. Currently, email volume per subscriber is trending about 30% higher year-over-year. What do you think?  Did you buy something this season because of an email you received for a discount, free shipping, or other offer? , references to Black Friday are more than double what they were last year at this time—and that’s after the number of Black Friday references doubled last year. So there’s been a bigger push to generate holiday sales in November this year. , answered three questions I posed to him last month immediately prior to Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Shopping online is more convenient, provides greater price transparency, and gives shoppers far greater access to more products and brands than are available locally. Plus, during the holidays, free shipping offers make that additional line item a non-factor, and should the weather turn nasty, the convenience factor skyrockets. With consumers searching for the best deals to stretch their holiday budgets in recent years, more of them are signing up for retailers’ promotional emails. What is the outlook for online holiday sales this year compared with recent years? Topics: Retail Email Blog Black Friday Originally published Dec 22, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Responsys . Why do ecommerce sales grow at a higher rate than total retail sales? With most consumers not feeling the recovery yet, their mind-set is similar to what it was last year. On the upside, for retailers, that means that the tactics that worked last year are likely to be effective again this year. For instance, the perennial favorite free shipping is already coming into play, with some retailers like Eddie Bauer and J&R committing to a single free shipping threshold for the entire holiday season. That consistent message may resonate with consumers who are frustrated by free shipping offers coming and going throughout the holiday season. Retail Email Blog Chad White Superior deals is the No. 1 reason consumers sign up for email offers. Email marketing is certainly one of the engines that’s driving ecommerce sales higher. , tracker of retail email trends and tactics, author of What is the mind-set of consumers and retailers this holiday season? Despite the fairly rosy forecasts, retailers aren’t taking any chances. They’ve been pretty aggressive already this holiday season. In addition to higher email volumes, the biggest trend so far is the “graying” of Black Friday, where retailers are making Black Friday deals and pricing available in the weeks leading up to Nov. 26. Among the retailers that I track via thelast_img read more

The Ultimate Guide to Using Animated GIFs in Your Marketing

first_img Originally published Sep 7, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 American Apparel Uses an Animated GIF to Announce a ProductYou can use animated GIFs to announce new product releases. This is something American Apparel did this summer with its Sheer Nail Lacquer. The company featured an animated GIF of nail polish pictures on its Tumblr blog, accompanied by the caption, “They’re just here for the summer! Introducing American Apparel Sheer Nail Lacquer, our limited-time line of six vibrant-yet-sheer colors, inspired by and named after some of our favorite beaches in Southern California.”Uses of Animated GIFs in Email MarketingAnimated GIFs display in email the same way a regular image does. That means you can experiment with replacing one of your still pictures in an email with an animated one! In fact, according to an A/B test conducted by BlueFly, emails featuring an animated GIF pulled in 12% more revenue than their non-animated version. In reponse to this test, Tom Buchok, co-founder of Bannerflow, explains that by using animated GIFs in email marketing one leverages the element of novelty.Tiffany & Co embraced the novelty aspect of GIFs with its animated email that changes the text it displays.Harry & David is yet another company that took advantage of animated GIFs in email marketing. It used this format to show the movement of snowflakes in one of its Christmas email campaigns.Dogfish Head Showcases its Product With Animated GIFsAnimated GIFs can be used to document and highlight key functions and features of your product. You can use a series of animated GIFs to create a short tutorial, or illustrate a step-by-step process around your product or service.Here is how Cinematographs used animated GIFs to show the making of Dogfish Head’s new strawberry-and-honey-flavored Tweason’ale:HubSpot Features an Animated GIF on a Landing PageWe are always looking for ways to increase the conversion rates of our landing pages. That led us to test a landing page of an ebook with a still image versus a landing page of an ebook with an animated GIF.While the results of that test weren’t statistically significant, we intend to conduct a few more tests with animated GIFs on landing pages. Consider testing it out as well, especially if you’re trying to keep people on your landing pages longer and increase conversion rates.How to Create Animated GIFsAfter browsing through all these examples, you’re probably eager to create your own animated GIFs. So how do you go about it? Luckily, it’s not very difficult and you have a few options!First, you will need a series of still images (frames) that will come together in a single file. So before you even start following any tutorials, make sure you know what set of images you will be using to convey your message. If you’re going for the funny tone, for example, the images you pick can be drastically different (like a mashup of characters from different movies). If you’re going for a subtle and elegant message, the images can be part of the same photography session (like the works of Cinematographs).If you have Photoshop and some basic design skills, use that software to your animated GIF. Here are some detailed instructions on the steps you need to take. There are also some online tools that make the creation of animated GIFs easier and possible, even if you don’t have any Photoshop skills; try Make A Gif and Gifninja. Finally, you can also take text and animate it with a tool like TypePop.So are you going to experiment with animated GIFs in your marketing? Did you get any ideas that you want to try out?Image credit: jonny goldstein Topics: Video Marketingcenter_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Animated GIFs. Think they’re just for internet geeks? Think again.The fact is, animated GIFs have dominated the world of online memes for some time now, going viral across social media and blogs many times over. And when something’s around long enough and gets enough attention, you can bet marketers will start experimenting with ways to turn them into a new tool to add to their marketing toolkit.If you’re still not sure what the heck we’re talking about when we say “animated GIF,” it’s really just a series of still image frames coded into a single file. Or if you’re more of a visual learner, here’s an example of one we whipped up for this blog post:Now you know what we’re talking about! Since we’re all on the same page, let’s talk a little about the history of the animated GIF, how you can make one of your own (it’s easy, promise!), and how you can implement them in your inbound marketing.A Brief Introduction to the Animated GIFThe original GIF specification was introduced by CompuServe in 1987. According to Patrick Davison of MemeFactory, some of the first popular animated GIFs were simple things like flames and waving flags. But in the 2000s, with the growing division between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, the animated GIF started to lose its initial popularity. “The idea of using GIFs became way less fashionable,” explains Davison.A few years after the evolution of Web 2.0, however, people started realizing that they could use animated GIFs in a lot of different ways and feature them in a lot more places, like blogs and social networks. The tools for GIF creation, Davison explains, also became more widespread. Thanks to this fortunate combination of circumstances, the animated GIF has now experienced a powerful comeback in the ecosystem of online content.The Benefits of Animated GIFs for MarketersAlright, so animated GIFs are cute and cool … but does that mean they can be used in marketing? Absolutely! They actually present a few key benefits to marketers:Animated GIFs are easy to consume.In the attention economy, it’s tough to capture someone’s attention for more than a minute or two. That’s why online video is such a challenging medium to master. Yet, we all know that video has the power to tell a story in a different way than still content can … which is why the animated GIF presents the perfect middle ground!Think of the animated GIF as a hybrid between a still image and a video. Photographer Jamie Beck of Cinemagraphs describes an animated GIF as “a photograph that is still alive.” This means people can engage with this format quickly (like they would with a still image), yet they can extract a lesson from the highlighted movement (like they would from a video). As Christopher Price of Tumblr explains, GIFs are short and have a low barrier to entry. No doubt, this is great news for marketers!They can serve as calls-to-action.The animated GIF is guiding the viewer’s eye along a specific path without being obtrusive. The format zooms in on a specific moment in the bigger picture. “Whatever that one thing is that is alive is what your eye is going to go to,” says Beck.Such eye guidance is the essence of a good call-to-action. As a marketer, you should always be considering different ways in which you can capture the attention of your audience through effective (and creative) use of calls-to-action. Animated GIFs might present the perfect opportunity for you to try something new.They can have emotional impact.Cinemagraphs’ approach to animated GIFs borders on the magical by mesmerizing the viewer with its elegance and simplicity. Their animated GIFs build an image of the world that people wouldn’t have necessarily noticed in still images. That’s why picking the right moment to focus on when creating an animated GIF is a big creative decision for Cinemagraphs.The potential of the animated GIF to connect with people emotionally is tremendous for marketers. An emotional message, for instance, can bring people inspiration, laughter and harmony. Such an emotional impact, thanks to its immediate value to the user, certainly extends the reach of the format to new audiences.Some Real-Life Uses of Animated GIFs in MarketingNow that we’ve gained a conceptual understanding of the animated GIF and how it can be used in marketing, let’s look at a few examples of how this format can be implemented in your marketing. Here are some companies that have made clever use of the animated GIF in their marketing collateral.Note: We tried out best to embed these GIFs in a reader-friendly way. If you’re having trouble seeing any of the animated GIFs in this section, click on the link we’ve provided in the explanatory text to visit the company’s site!Jive Uses an Animated GIF on its HomepageWhen done well, animated GIFs instantly capture the attention of visitors with their novelty. That’s why it might be smart to use them in select places across your business website where you’re trying to drive visitor attention. For instance, consider using them on your homepage or on your “About Us” page to keep readers engaged.For inspiration, check out the homepage of Jive Social Business. It features a still image of four employees in an office and elements of the picture are animated. When you visit the website, you will see the gentle rustling of the blond lady’s burgundy skirt as well as the soft movements of the window blinds and the water cooler.Verizon Uses an Animated GIF on Google+Animated GIFs are native to the social media world — they thrive on networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. In fact, Verizon has done a great job of using animated GIFs in its Google+ profile. The profile picture consists of five small images that come together to form a message.last_img read more

How Anchorman 2 Became Kind of a Big Deal [SlideShare]

first_img Originally published Jan 2, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Anchorman 2 Changed what it Means to Be a Movie from Gary VaynerchukThe movie has only been out for a few weeks, so we haven’t seen whether these wild marketing ploys have paid off just yet. Still, it’s important to learn from it for our own marketing purposes.The reason the whole Anchorman 2 campaign went viral was because each stunt was delighting its hardcore fans — you know, those people who would be thrilled to see the movie and tell others about it. So even if you don’t have a billion gagillion dollars to spend on Dodge ads or buying up colleges, you do have the ability to delight your biggest fans — which could get you on your way to having that billion gagillion-dollar budget. What did you think of the film’s promotional strategy? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Image credit: Anchorman Last week, one of my coworkers mentioned that his friend hadn’t heard about Anchorman 2.My jaw dropped. “WHAT?! How is that possible? Will Ferrell has been everywhere!”Seriously, it’s been near-impossible to avoid him. The trailer has been played non-stop on TV, and news outlets have picked up story after story about the movie’s promotions. So what’s so special about the promotions that every news outlet is clamoring to publish about a movie sequel?Will Ferrell, in character as Ron Burgundy, has been surprising folks all over the world with creative promotional stunts. He’s starred in hilarious Dodge commercials, hosted real news shows, and took over Emerson College (among other things) to become one of the most talked-about movies in the past year. Besides being a viral box office hit, Anchorman 2 has also changed marketing — at least according to a SlideShare presentation by Gary Vaynerchuk.In the presentation, Vaynerchuk breaks down the campaign, including what made it so successful, and gives us some of his takeaways for the future of marketing campaigns. Check it out:center_img Marketing Campaigns Topics:last_img read more

Budget Planning, Hiring, Training & More: The Complete 2017 Marketing Strategy Kit [Free Download]

first_imgIt’s almost the end of the year — which means marketing leaders everywhere are in the throes of getting organized for a fresh and successful new year.You’re setting goals, managing your budget, reading up on how inbound marketing is changing, and figuring out which positions you can hire for. What’s more, you’re finding yourself creating a whole bunch of PowerPoint presentations to package this information nicely for your team, your managers, and other key stakeholders.To help you stay organized and focused through all of your 2017 priorities, we’ve gathered together a complete collection of executive templates and guides in our latest kit: The 2017 Marketing Strategy Templates & Guides. It includes:The 2016 State of Inbound Marketing & Sales Report8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend29 Job Descriptions for Hiring Excellent MarketersTop Training Needs for Marketing TeamsHow to Create Beautiful PowerPointsUse the 2016 State of Inbound Marketing and Sales Report will help you communicate your goals with valuable insight from a diverse collection of global marketers. Then, try out our 8 Budget Templates to take control of all the moving pieces of your expenses on a monthly and quarterly level.As you finalize the focus of the department, use our collection of 29 Job Descriptions for Hiring Excellent Marketers to identify what positions you might be missing, and then easily copy-and-paste these descriptions into your next job listings. Then, check out our Top Training Needs for Marketing Teams report, where we’ve compiled the questions marketers miss most from our Inbound Marketing Certification test and provided a refresher for the sections that proved most difficult.And as you prepare your decks for the training sessions, use our beautiful PowerPoint templates to ensure your presentations are engaging and impactful.Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. For access to all of these resources, download our 2017 Marketing Strategy Templates & Guides today.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Business Skills Originally published Dec 19, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

The Complete Guide to Starting a Podcast for Agencies

first_img Originally published Mar 16, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 How to Podcast Don’t forget to share this post! In a rapidly changing digital landscape, marketing agencies need to be ahead of the curve. Providing a diverse range of high-quality content is an integral part of a sustainable competitive advantage — but agencies also need to be frugal and clever with where and how they invest their time, money and energy.Although blogs are still very popular, audiences are somewhat limited in how they can consume them — you can’t read a blog at the gym or while driving, for instance. With this in mind, podcasting is a great way for agencies to connect with their audience and personify the brand while simultaneously diversifying their content channels, thus allowing audiences to engage with content in their preferred manner.This post details everything you need to know to start a podcast — from the equipment and technical aspects to the promotion and distribution. Why Start a Podcast?There’s a plethora of research to back up my own personal belief in the power of podcasting. Edison Research’s 2016 Infinite Dial study showed a significant year-over-year increase in podcast listenership, with monthly listenership increasing from 17% to 21%. Research in the UK and Europe has also shown an uptick in the popularity of podcasts, with the Winter 2016 Rajar Midas Audio Survey reporting 4.7 million podcast listeners.While these statistics are promising, let’s be clear from the start: Podcasts don’t typically open the floodgates in terms of leads. However, as a lead nurturing content channel, they’re incredibly powerful. Much like having an established blog with a good following, having an established podcast can help you to stand out as a thought leader in your industry — which will then help you generate leads. Podcasting is by no means a quick fix; you need to be willing to put time into building it up the same way you would a blog. But if you can dedicate the time and effort, it can be incredibly rewarding in terms of increased engagement with your existing customer base and also in elevating your agency’s visibility and reputation.How Agencies Can Start a PodcastEquipmentSome people would have you believe that in order to podcast, you need to have a full recording studio setup, complete with expensive, difficult-to-use equipment — but that’s not the case at all. You could start a podcast this very second just using your cell phone and a free SoundCloud account! It really is that simple, so don’t be deterred by overthinking things the technical side of things.If you’re going to be podcasting regularly, I would advise investing in a USB microphone. A Blue Yeti works perfectly fine and isn’t too expensive at approximately $130. If you visited the podcast booths at INBOUND 2016, you’ll have seen them first-hand. These and other USB microphones plug right into your computer without the need for a pre-amp to control/convert the voltage — necessary to connect some of the higher-end microphones, like a Rode NT1A.If you’ll be conducting interviews for your podcast, the Zoom H1 portable recorder, featuring built-in unidirectional microphones, is a lightweight option to carry in your bag or your briefcase. It retails for approximately $100 — not exactly breaking the bank.ContentNow that you have your equipment ready to record, what should you talk about in your podcast? A while ago I came up with what I call the “C.A.S.T” content creation model, which stands for Content, Audience, Subject Matter, and Time. Here’s how it works: The Content should be relevant to your Audience; your Audience should be able to relate to the Subject Matter; the Subject Matter should be Timely (and preferably, Timeless). You know your customer persona well — put yourself in their shoes, think about what they would be interested in, and you’ll soon have a list of topics to speak about. Better still, directly ask them what they’d like to hear!Also, think about repurposing. Do you have a successful webinar that you could easily take the audio from? That can be a podcast episode. You could also turn it into a blog post and an ebook — or vice versa. Scaling your content in this way maximizes the ROI you receive and helps to disseminate your most powerful messages through more than just one channel.RecordingWhen you’re ready to hit record, there are a few things to consider. If you don’t want any background noise, be sure that you research or maybe even reserve a quiet space to record in. On the other hand, if you would like ambient noise or a specific auditory “setting” for your podcast, like a café, check that it doesn’t over power the conversation. One handy tip I often share for the recording process is taping your list of questions to the wall or table to avoid rustling paper in your hands. Also be aware of things like a clock ticking in the background — if you need to edit the audio, these background sounds can easily get distorted, which is distracting for listeners.HostingThere are several well-known hosting options available to you, such as SoundCloud, Stitcher, Podomatic, Pandora, Libsyn, and iTunes. My personal top two are SoundCloud and iTunes. SoundCloud is very straightforward to navigate and to review statistics in. It takes just seconds to start a free account, where you’ll have three hours of upload time to work with — a good amount of time to test and then consider spending money on a paid hosting platform. For example, let’s say you start a marketing tips podcast, and each episode clocks in at 10 minutes. Your free SoundCloud account will allow for 18 episodes; by which point, you should have an idea of how things are going, and can make an informed decision of whether or not to pay for the platform of your choice. Even if you decide to move away from regular podcasting, you’ll still have an audio library of content you can share with customers and potential leads for months to come.Hosting on Libsyn is an affordable option with some good benefits to it — particularly if you use their ‘On Publish’ option, which will auto-post your podcast to various channels of your choice. This saves you the effort of having to login to various platforms each time you want to release an episode. Again, this isn’t really necessary when you’re just testing the waters and starting out, but it’s worth researching if you think you’d like to keep your podcast going long-term.EditingWhen it comes to editing — like learning anything new — it takes practice. Starting with a simple-to-use software like Audacity will enable you to see how the process works, but don’t leave it until the last minute — record a few minutes of test audio and edit it in Audacity to learn how it works before you’re on a time-crunch with your podcast. When you’ve built up some confidence, move on to using Adobe Audition, where you’ll have a much broader selection of options for editing, and you’ll be able to ensure a professional standard. There are several YouTube tutorials for both of those editing platforms, which are really helpful. Recording in WAV format is generally best, as it’s a larger file size that allows you to retain the quality of the audio throughout the editing process.PromotionPromoting a podcast is similar to how you might promote a webinar or video channel. Your weekly or monthly email newsletters provide a perfect opportunity to draw attention to your podcast. A persuasive CTA with an action verb is a great addition to your general company news email sends. A blog sidebar CTA for your podcast might also help drive traffic. Another excellent way to promote your podcast is co-marketing. Think of successful YouTube creators who regularly have guest spots on each others’ videos as a form of cross-promotion. We can apply that same theory to podcast promotion by partnering up with an already established podcast and co-promoting each other’s work. Working with someone who has already been running a successful podcast will also allow you the opportunity to learn more about how to get your own podcast off the ground.Measuring SuccessMeasuring the success of your podcast depends, as always, on your definition of success according to your own goals. Podcasters typically measure success by the engagement relative to the reach (how many listens we see in the podcast’s statistics vs. the number of people our content can potentially be heard by). Each platform/host will have their own ways of displaying statistics, but it’s important to remember that building an audience for a podcast takes time, so you’ll need to be patient and continue to promote.What Are You Waiting For?The most important thing about getting started with a podcast? Actually going ahead and hitting “record.” Start with your cell phone and a free SoundCloud account and see how it goes. If it doesn’t pan out, there’s very little investment other than time — and if it goes really well, you can take the next steps to make it a strong content channel for your business. If you take away anything from this blog post, I hope it’s that setting up a podcast is something that you can do easily. So what are you waiting for? Go and hit record! Topics:last_img read more