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What’s a Twitterment?

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

We came. We planked. We golfed. We Twittered.

The 1st EVER Golf Twitterment has come and gone but not without a lot of conversation, amazing memories and hilarious stories from participants, sponsors & organizers of the event.

You might ask the question, “What’s a Twitterment” or “Why a Twitterment”. Two fun questions that I love answering. First the what.

Twit·ter·ment/Twih-Tuhr-Mehnt/ [1] A non-traditional Golf Tournament that creates powerful conversations & lasting memories through social activities, challenges and the sharing of unique business and personal stories through social media.

The Why.

Because social media makes it possible. The Golf Twitterment was born out of a conversation between 5 individuals on twitter. We asked, “What if we were to create a Twitter-only golf tournament? One that breaks the mold of a traditional golf tournament with sponsors, participants & stuffy receptions. What if we gave sponsors the opportunity to run a fun, unique and interesting challenge at the hole they sponsor that connects directly with their brand and the products/services they offer? And finally, what if we we further ‘Gamified’ the tournament by assigning point values to each challenge, developing bonus challenges that teams can complete on to accumulate points & be proclaimed the winning Twitterment team?”

Giftopia Twitterment Twitterment Twitterment

At first we thought we were crazy. Fellow organizers initially thought that securing 100 golfers much less selling out the tournament would be challenging and take considerable effort & resources. With good reason. Not only was it the first time this was ever going to be attempted anywhere in the world, we had just over 6 weeks to put everything together. That meant finding prizes, securing sponsors, inviting attendees and scheduling volunteers to assist during the day.

We had all of the pieces of the puzzle – and we used twitter to help us reach our audience and create interest and awareness for the event. Within one week of promoting the event we had 10 teams registered and 10 sponsors confirmed. We knew we were on to something.

The sponsors kept coming and so did the participants & networking dinner guests. By the time August 22nd rolled around, we had nearly 25 sponsors, 20 reception-only guests and just over 100 participants for golf!

Special thanks to our GOLD Sponsors: ORYX Advertising, Charcoal Group, Groundhog Divers and Galt Country Club. You and our silver sponsors helped to make the event an unbelievable success! Just check out some of the quotes overheard from the day:

“This is by far the most fun I have ever had at a golf tournament” – Katie C.

“I’ve been to a lot of golf tournaments before, but this is by far the best” Avi M.

“The sponsors’ challenges were so much fun! It was great to meet so many business owners in Waterloo Region.” Max S.

“Whoever thought of drinking the grape juice as a challenge from The Wine Expert is genius. Sick, but genius!” Brittny S.

The list goes on. A local tech startup, GooseChase Adventures helped us keep track of all of the points with their mobile application (For BlackBerry & iPhone) GooseChase. Here’s a video that they put together from all of the pictures that were submitted during the event:

We awarded prizes for atypical ‘winners’. Individuals who tweeted the most. Teams that tweeted the most. Highest GooseChase score and most sunburned. Our amazing sponsors helped us secure great prizes such as Diving lessons from Groundhog divers, Gift Cards from the Charcoal Group, Home Theater System form Gibson’s Sound & Vision, brand new smartphones from Wind Mobile, and so much more. Participants not only walked away with great memories from the challenges and the event, but they actually walked away with something of value as well!

Of course, no Twitterment would be complete without recording every golfer’s attempt at re-creating the famous Happy Gilmore golf swing. Here are some of the top videos:

Here is a look at Scott M’s #WINNING Video:
Scott M. ID# 227 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happywinner
Here is the runner up Top 5 list:
Brent F. ID#234 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy2nd
Avi M. ID#174 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy3rd
Alex K. ID#239 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy4th
Krista H. ID#198 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy5th
Robert S ID#247 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy6th
Celebrity appearance by:
MOOSE W. ID#212 http://bit.ly/wrgt11MOOSE

As you can imagine, we heard a lot of comments such as, “I can’t believe I missed this” and “Count me in for next year”. Count you in is exactly what we intend to do. Now that the First Golf Twitterment to take place anywhere in the world is in the books, we have no doubt that it will be bigger and better next year. Make sure you don’t miss out on this next year as we’re already starting to plan the #WRGT12 to see how we can top this year’s event. Follow us on Twitter and visit our fan page on facebook so you don’t miss out on the action! (if you have pictures from the event, post them on our facebook wall as well!)

Cheers!

Your Waterloo Region Golf Twitterment Organizers
(Matt, Michelle, J.R., Karl, Alex, Greg, Amanda

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Why Mobile Marketing needs to be a part of your mix – Now.

If it’s not currently a part of your company’s marketing mix, start now. Start thinking about how you will stay ahead of your competitors by reaching the increasing number of smartphones & tablets being carried by your target audience. Is your website optimized for mobile? How about your blog? Is there a customized application you could develop that would provide additional value? How can mobile marketing be integrated into your existing marketing mix?

“Consumers are 25% more likely to respond to advertising, (print, billboards, bus shelters, etc) if they are able to do so via a mobile response” ~ BusinessWorld

“Based on 74 campaigns during Q4 2009, and with a huge 69,854 respondents, the research revealed that on average, 22% were aware of a mobile advert — leading to a purchase intent rate of 5.4%” ~ Brandchannel

Together, these two data points indicate that consumers are not only responding favourably to mobile advertising from an awareness standpoint, but that this technology is translating into genuine purchase intent and sales. It comes down to making it easy for your customers to buy your product/service. Each step in between your customer and that customer purchasing your product decreases the likelihood that they will buy from you.

So, what can you do now to improve your mobile marketing efforts and increase your conversion rates in print and traditional advertising? Try playing to a person’s curiosity by adding a QR code to your ad. Link it to a customized mobile landing page. Provide them with a means of discovering what makes your product or services, awesome. QR Codes are very robust and can be used to store links to websites, videos, audio files, images and even SMS messages, so think about how you could integrate these into your existing advertisements.

Recently, we ran a small, local promotion designed to raise awareness for QR codes, local businesses and most importantly, to have some fun with mobile marketing & communications! Over the course of 5 days, we hid prize baskets at 5 different businesses across the city. Using social media (Twitter, facebook and a customized blog), we shared a QR Code clue as to where the prize basket was hiding that day. The first person to arrive at the secret location, claimed the prize. We also installed ‘digital ballot boxes’ at each location in order to reward subsequent visitors for playing along. This ballot entered them into a draw to win some amazing grand prizes including, VISA gift cards and a Blu-Ray player.

After the promotion, we analyzed the data and developed a report that outlined the success of the mobile campaign and how similar campaigns could work in the future. Here are the results of the case study:

QR code

QR Code Project

We learned that not only is awareness for QR codes high, integrating them into existing marketing and advertising activities is an excellent way to add a layer of interactivity on top of your ads.

Adoption of smartphones will increase exponentially in the next few years so you need to begin allocating resources to mobile marketing. Email me: matt@oryxadvertising.com to chat about how we can work together to develop a successful mobile marketing strategy for your business. For starters:

  • K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, SIMPLE. It’s not just about making a QR code link to your Web page or your Facebook page. Even if those pages are optimized for mobile, chances are the content isn’t. Mobile content needs to be easy to access, to appreciate and to easy to share. If it fails the user on any one of those counts, it won’t create the reaction you’re hoping for.
  • See. Scan. See you later. I’m a big fan of integrating QR Codes into existing activities because taking a picture is faster and easier than looking up a twitter handle or keying in a URL into your mobile browser. Other technologies will arrive making things even easier (See NFC), but right now, QR Codes are king as they’re readily available & easy to use.
  • Let context dictate content. Make sure your mobile content is useful to consumers in the same location you expect them to experience it in. Don’t offer them videos in a location where they won’t be able to watch them right away.
  • We’re still early in the cycle. People won’t buy anything or fill out long-winded forms via your mobile site. It’s just another touch point in a series of consumer touch points designed to keep your message consistent. Great mobile sites serve up awesome content and create a means for your customers to connect with your brand through their desired platform – later if they wish. Your mobile site is a powerful medium for you to wow your audience, raise awareness and keep your brand top of mind for when your customers are ready to buy.

Content from list derived from “How to blend mobile marketing with Social Media” article. Credit: Jesse Stanchak, June 15, 2011

SO you’ve un-boxed your Playbook. Now what?

May 25, 2011 5 comments

Following is a review of my first few hours with my new BlackBerry Playbook.

What are you going to use that thing for?

It’s a common question from my wife in regards to anything technology-based. Since I like shiny new pieces of tech, I usually come up with a really geeky response. The truth is – I’m not really sure just yet.

Based on what I know about tablets the moment I un-boxed my PlayBook, I made the following assumptions of what I would use it for:

For Fun: Movies & HDMI out, Twitter, browsing, writing entries in my blog, music, pictures, downloaded/YouTube/recorded videos.

For Business: Client presentations (go completely paperless), creative approvals and meetings.

Arguably, you can do all of this with a laptop – and that’s completely true. But what a laptop cannot do is offer all of this with the level of portability that BlackBerry can.

I have had my Playbook working for less than 12-hours at the time of writing this post. After un-boxing it, updating the software and registering the device, I started using it immediately and pushing it pretty hard to see what it was capable of. Here’s what I can tell you so far:

What makes it AWESOME: 

  1. Flash: It may be a small point to some, but there’s something to be said for experiencing the Internet as it was intended. I can watch episodes of Fringe (big fan) online, in HD..on my Playbook because it runs Flash.
  2. File Transfer. Transferring files wirelessly over WiFi. This is as easy as drag n’ drop into a folder from my PC to PlayBook.
  3. Power: I was pushing almost 4GB of files over WiFi to the device, running YouTube in the background, ESPN.com on the browser, the Facebook App, AppWorld and my wife was playing Sudoku. There was no degradation of performance & she had no idea I was uploading files to the device.
  4. WiFi: With Playbook, you don’t need a separate data plan. Great for consumers, bad for carriers. It also works really well on WiFi or through BlackBerry Bridge.
  5. BlackBerry Bridge: Without a native Calendar or Email App, the BlackBerry Bridge makes it possible to have both on your PlayBook. It was easy to setup and these applications work very well on the Playbook.
  6. Screen Shots: Ability to take screen grabs of the device’s screen (found this by accident).

What I won’t use it for/What I didn’t like:

  1. Writing long messages (emails, blog posts). Unless you have a bluetooth keyboard, I wouldn’t recommend this. I found even Twitter posts to be challenging.
  2. Facebook & Twitter. These two Apps need work for the Playbook. If you try to open them in the browser, they default to mobile sites which aren’t as feature-rich. One way to get around this is to open up Hootsuite or Tweetdeck in the browser as these seem to work fine. I wanted to see how close these two platforms were to a true browser experience. There is also no native spell-check which is a problem for me as I seem to have breakfast sausages for fingers. Also, when in the photo application, you cannot automatically send pictures to twitter. You need to add them in Hootsuite or with plixi/Lockers which is a little annoying.
  3. Search Sensitivity of AppWorld: This is NOT a PlayBook issue but an AppWorld issue that I’ll address here. I spent some time searching for PaperPlane, which is a very popular game on the Playbook. I tried variations – Paper Planes, Paper Airplanes but I couldn’t find it in AppWorld. Finally, I googled it – and noticed that it was actually called, “PaperPlane”. Tried the search again in AppWorld and it came up right away.
  4. BBM: Not a huge deal to me, but when evaluating the overall experience, I wanted to see if BBM would work. With the new software update – it’s supposed to, but I haven’t been able to get it to work through the BlackBerry Bridge yet. UPDATE: Installed new version of AppWorld and upgrade to BBM. Now works perfectly!
  5. MyWorld Apps: If you have BlackBerry Apps that you’ve already downloaded and paid for, chances are they will not be available for Playbook. I found this frustrating.
Also, if you’ve just un-boxed your Playbook, you’re probably wondering what to do with it. Try these to get you started:
  1. If you have a blackberry, connect with the blackberry bridge. Use your calendar app, contacts, mail and browser.
  2. Visit your favourite flash website. try: www.espn.com
  3. Enable Video chat on the device & call someone you know with a playbook.
  4. Play Need for Speed!
  5. Turn on file sharing to transfer music/movies over wifi from you PC (Settings – top right > Storage & Sharing > File Sharing ON)
  6. Try watching streaming flash video. Here’s fringe: http://www.watch-fringe-online.net/
What’s exciting about the playbook is it’s sheer power and sexiness. The accelerometer is very responsive, multi-touch on the screen is amazing and it feels great in your hands. The high resolution display makes watching videos/movies and viewing photos amazing and it’s incredibly intuitive. I also like the HDMI out, although I haven’t used it yet. You can shoot in HD, and watch in HD on your TV. There is also a lot of potential with the QNX browser and the most exciting applications are likely the ones that have not been released or invented yet. I’m really looking forward to discovering new uses for my Playbook each day from a business and personal perspective.
Although it’s lightweight and portable, it’s not durable or practical enough to take it out during a concert to shoot HD video or take it mountain biking with you. But you can say this about any tablet – or laptop.  Even though I’ve only had the device in my hands for a short while, I’d have to say that if someone asks me if they should buy a Playbook – I would definitely say yes.

Canada 3.0: Creating Engagement and Collaborating With Digital Tools

During this week’s Canada 3.0 conference in Stratford, I was asked for my thoughts on how ORYX uses digital tools to collaborate with other individuals across our company as well as how we use these tools to engage our external audience. I’m not sure if it was simply a lack of preparedness on the topics or the on-the-spot nature of the video interview, but I feel like I gave a terrible interview – Hopefully it doesn’t make it off of the cutting room floor! I’m going to provide additional thoughts around these questions since I don’t feel that I was able to articulate my thoughts clearly and the possibility of you seeing my performance in this video worries me.

How does your company use digital tools to collaborate and share information?
With offices in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, and clients from Vancouver to Miami, connectivity and collaboration are two important keys to ensuring our projects are kept on track and our clients are kept informed. We use Skype’s Video chat feature to hold weekly status meetings between offices to discuss current projects and deliverables. We also use Skype to hold regular update meetings with clients who are out of province or out of country. With gas prices soaring higher each day, Skype not only enables us to feel like we are meeting face-to-face, it also helps us control our travel expenses.

ORYX has deployed Salesforce.com internally as well. We use this cloud-based solution to stay on top of our new business leads, opportunities and to manage all of the contacts that flow into our business. Salesforce mobile enables us to keep a finger on the pulse of our sales pipeline and the stages that our clients are in within our sales cycle on the go. We have access to more timely information and can assign specific tasks to individuals across our organization no matter where we are.

At ORYX, we are also very heavy users of Google Docs. Google docs help us to collaborate on client projects, create and work inside project workflow documents in real time, create status updates and more. With Google docs, we not only feel like we are more connected on specific projects, it also helps us to keep on top of document versions, update in real-time and reduce our paper usage.

How does your company engage external audiences using digital tools?

The point I was trying to get across here during my video interview is that we are huge advocates of using social media platforms to engage our external audience. Through our personal and company blog and twitter accounts, we extend the marketing and advertising conversation to a wider audience, listen and respond to individuals who have questions or are looking for information on specific communications topics. As a company, our goal is to engage in conversations on twitter with at least one new person per day, and responding quickly to those who have questions for us individually, or as a company. The net result of this level of engagement has been increased awareness for our company, referrals, leads and even new business. Comments and questions on our blog have even resulted great conversations, and have led us to explore new segments of the market that were identified as being under-served.

How does your company use digital tools to collaborate across your organization and what tools do you use to engage your external audience? Keep the conversation going and visit our blog and Twitter accounts:

Matt Duench’s blog: mduench.wordpress.com

Matt Duench on Twitter: @mduench

ORYX Advertising on Twitter: @ORYXadvertising

ORYX Blog: oryxblog.com

QR Code Egg Hunt – Location Four: WeSellIt

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Congratulations to all of those in KW who used their QR code scanner on Thursday to find the fourth secret location, WeSellIt in Waterloo! Krista, Will and Barry at WeSellIt offered up some cool prizes in addition to the hidden Easter basket. For finding the secret location, several people were rewarded with an electric weed wacker! Perfect since gardening season is just around the corner!

Congratulations to Caryn who was the first to find WeSellIt’s store location in North Waterloo by using her QR Code reader to scan the secret clue:

QR Code Easter Egg Hunt

Secret Location

Here’s a picture of Caryn with her prize:

QR Code Easter Egg Hunt
There were also three others who found the secret location and walked away with special gifts from WeSellIt:

The final KWeggHunt location will be revealed on Friday! There are chances to win a Blu-ray player, $25 Visa card from ORYX Advertising, or a signed jersey from the Kitchener Rangers! Happy hunting!

QR Code Egg Hunt – Location Three: The MUSEUM

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Congratulations to all of those in KW who used their QR code scanner to find the third secret location, The MUSEUM in Kitchener! Included in the gift basket was a Nike Golf umbrella from BlackBerry, which proved to be a great prize as it has been raining quite heavily in KW over the past week. The clue was shared at 11:15 AM and was swiftly found and claimed by Jason less than 15 minutes later!

Here is what the clue looked like:

QR code egg hunt

QR Code Clue

Here’s a picture of Jason with his prize:
QR Code Egg Hunt

Jason with his KWeggHunt prize

Here’s a look at all of the goodies inside of the basket:

QR Code Egg Hunt

Easter Basket

Also, Jason had this to say about The QR Code Egg Hunt:

Jason's Status

QR Code Egg Hunt

Response to the promotion has been excellent and people around Waterloo Region are definitely tech savvy, having no trouble finding the secret location using QR code readers on their smartphones.

Friday marks the last day that a #KWeggHunt basket will be found & the secret location will hold a draw where someone will win a Kitchener Rangers Jersey, Blu-Ray player or $25 Gift Card from ORYX Advertising!

Why Twitter is Awesome

April 27, 2011 1 comment

“I know them from Twitter.”

I’m finding myself saying this more and more often these days. Twitter for me has become much more than just a source of information on the topics I’m most interested in. It has become a tool for creating new & meaningful relationships with people who have similar interests as me – especially locally. I now think of it as a steroid-infused-hyper-networking tool.

Let me tell you a story of virtual hitch-hiking or electronic carpooling complete with digital thumbs. One where otherwise complete strangers collaborate to schedule a carpool together to attend a marketing conference in a far away city.

To anyone not on twitter, this concept sounds completely ridiculous and unbelievable. Some may even be intimidated by it. You’re very likely to hear, “You’re doing what?” and  “What do you mean you haven’t met these people?” from your close friends and family.

Today, I was lucky enough to take part in just such an activity. Besides being an incredible Insurance and Technology hub and a great incubator of up and coming business and engineering minds, Waterloo Region boasts an extremely robust and well connected community that leverages each other’s strengths both online and offline.

Twitter helps to accelerate this.

I learned of a Marketing event called, “Marketing Exposed” that featured Scott Stratten from Unmarketing and Corey Vidal – a YouTube superstar, through Julia Rosien. Besides being very well connected in the KW community, Julia is very much in the know when it comes to SEO strategies and Social Media events. Scott Stratten is a sought after speaker and evangelist for social media (talking) and I’ve been looking forward to having a chance to hear him speak for some time now. After registering for the event, I thanked Julia for sharing the link and she mentioned there were a few others from KW attending and that we should carpool. So we did. Meet @ladycarni and @DanPolischuk.*

And so, these complete strangers who had no prior relationship other than being connected to one another on twitter, met bright & early and carpooled together to Oakville for the morning. As a result, my perception of carpooling with people I’ve never met in my life went from this:

Scary hitch hiker!

Scary hitch hiker!

To This:

No Hipsters were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Happy Carpooling

The point is that Twitter is a great source for information. What makes it awesome is the conversations you have with people within your network and the relationships that develop as a result of these connections and conversations.

*Due to an alarm clock malfunction, I ended up missing the morning departure time and location. In spite of this, I was able to connect with them in person during the speaker intermissions and breaks at the conference. 

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