About M/C/C Contributors

M/C/C creates the right mix of communications for today’s audience – from traditional advertising and public relations to highly interactive digital communications, engaging social media and powerful search engine optimization. With such a broad range of communication services, it’s easy to think of M/C/C as the big agency that does. With the passion of the little agency that could.

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Infant or Superhero Status: What’s Your Social Marketing Maturity Level?

As a marketing discipline, social media has reached its challenging teenage years. In terms of strategy, it’s not so young that anything goes. While there are new channels popping up constantly and experimentation is always encouraged, there are established best practices for both B2B and B2C brands. At the same time, it isn’t as seasoned by time as a discipline like traditional public relations.

For most marketers, there are well-respected guidelines about how, where, when and why PR should be brought into the mix. When it comes to social media as a marketing tool, many brands have worked through the awkward junior high years of defining their social identity. Yet while 92-percent of marketers reported in a Social Media Examiner survey that social media is important to their businesses, many are still trying to grow their social media practices into sophisticated, functioning resources of their organizations.


Recently, Meltwater and Forrester hosted a webinar on using social insights to drive business results. In it, researcher and presenter Samantha Nao advocated for investing time and resources into gleaning actionable nuggets from social data. A brand’s entry in the social media world begins when its presence is established on strategically chosen channels and a strategy for activity is defined. But following birth, there is a maturation process from, “Hi! This is our first tweet!” to gathering insights and turning them into business recommendations that can impact operations, customer service, leads and more. Likening the scale to achievements in mobility, Forrester proposes that marketers move along a social intelligence maturity scale from crawling like baby to soaring like Superman.

Here’s how to assess where you’d fit in:

  1. Crawl Stage – The crawl stage is where it all begins. In this phase, marketers are active on their own social media channels and are monitoring topics related to their businesses. They are listening to social media conversations taking place with them, about them, about competitors and about an industry; but they’re not going beyond that. It’s an awareness phase.
  2. Walk Stage – In the walk phase, marketers are taking customer insights and validating them through social data. This could mean taking a hypothesis from the sales team about the most important factor in a purchasing decision and using social data to prove or disprove that. The walk phase is similar to market research.
  3. Run Stage – When you’re ready to run, it’s time to start combining social and traditional customer data through dashboards, scorecards or custom metrics.
  4. Fly Stage – The business value of social media intelligence really takes flight when an organization has advanced to the point of integration. The flying stage includes integrating social and traditional customer data in the customer database through social listening, appending existing records or collecting social information through opt-ins.

Forrester found that most marketers fall into the crawl or walking phases, while only 6 percent have matured to superhero status. Just like in life, everyone starts out on the floor; but at M/C/C, we are experts in helping our clients run the most sophisticated marketing programs.

These are some of our tips for developing your social marketing maturity and getting the most value from social data.

  1. Bring other groups outside of marketing in to join the analysis process of social insights. Collaboration between social marketing, customer service and sales teams can be particularly fruitful for B2B businesses. For example, if you are a data center colocation service provider that has the most engagement on content with a financial industry focus, that could serve as a clue for the sales team to pursue financial leads more aggressively or even elevate that effective content to them through a more personal channel such as email.
  2. Feed recommendations from social insights into real-world operations changes. An example of this could be for a national home auction solution provider who has long established geographic markets flagged as having the highest demand. If a high amount of interest and activity from users in a geographic area that has appeared dormant outside of the engaged social media community, then reconsidering the way properties in that area are organized and presented online could result in a thriving new market and higher number of bids.
  3. Finally, if you want to fly, the key is to make the match between social user names across multiple platforms with the best corresponding record in your customer database. Remember that only 6 percent of marketers are currently doing this. From here you can really begin to document your customer’s pain points and know what is relevant to them.

Don’t be like Peter Pan. It’s time to grow up in social media, and we’re here to help.

Only Seven Months In, “Year of Social Advertising” Doesn’t Disappoint

At the end of every year, marketers gather ‘round in Facebook groups, Twitter chats or comment chains on agency blogs to make predictions about changes afoot in the coming months. Topping the trend lists for 2015 were content marketing as an integrated, company-wide strategy, like Kevin has written about before, and the shift in allocation of digital marketing budgets from primarily social media management and monitoring to paid advertising on social media platforms.

Social AdvertisingIn fact, a study done in partnership between Adobe and the CMO Council found that 53 percent of senior marketers are currently spending part of their digital dollars on social media community growth and engagement. If you’re reading this, that’s probably not news to you. It’s likely that you’re part of the 53 percent. But if you’re also a frequent purveyor of M/C/C’s marketing intel for marketing experts, then you’re well aware that organic community growth and engagement on the largest and most traditional social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, has plateaued and very quickly – like as quickly as you can say, “I-P-O!” – and has become a pay-to-play game.

As a proud Facebook account holder circa September 2004 and an early adopter when it comes to social media (Hello, Ello!), I have two reads on this paradigm shift. The bad news: the best things in life aren’t free, after all. The good news: they’re pretty darn affordable, though! We’ve been strategically planning and implementing paid social media campaigns for a variety of B2B and B2C clients using Facebook and Twitter’s self-serve platforms for more than a year now, and have seen incredible results in every case – including our own.

We’ve implemented unique campaigns with individual messaging to support separate goals such as growing a Facebook page with the right fans during the discovery phase of the funnel and then nurturing the acquisitions with promoted posts during the consideration phase. As long as we’re targeting correctly, these social communities are built of prospective customers whose interests align with our clients’ product and service offerings at every step of the way. Where one client’s average spend on converting a lead through online advertising could swing north of $40, our targeted social media ads were able to get our messaging in front of them for a mere $0.25 a pop.

That’s not to say that one program should be scrapped in favor of the other. On the contrary, they are great complements to each other when running in tandem, work to establish brand consistency and strive to achieve the greatest action that a prospect can make based on the situation and environment in which they’re viewing each type of ad.

With costs as low as a quarter per action, it could be hard to believe that the CMO Council cites eMarketer as uncovering that worldwide social network ad spending reached $16.10 billion last year marking a 45.3 percent increase over 2013. Just to recap – that’s the spending number before we officially entered the year of social advertising! Now that we’re six months in, I bet you’re curious to hear about what we’ve seen so far on that front.

Continue reading “Only Seven Months In, “Year of Social Advertising” Doesn’t Disappoint” »

Working with the American News Media: A Coast-to-Coast Guide for PR Pros

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about targeting niche audiences through all marketing disciplines. Our Media Director Sherie has written about the effectiveness of targeting audiences within varying geographic niches while VP, Creative Todd drilled down even further to talk about targeting within a niche of people who ride around in a certain type of car. On the relationship marketing side of things, our President has even spoken out in the American Cities Business Journals about using bloggers to reach customers who have specific niche areas of interest. It wasn’t so long ago that marketing was tasked with reaching the most people at the same time through one medium. But the intricacies of the Internet and insights that come with running and measuring thoughtful digital advertising campaigns and social marketing programs have narrowed our focus towards speaking to a handful of the right people in an environment and at a time that is right for them.

At the end of last year, we were given the opportunity to give this philosophy a new and different application – by looking at the members of the media we build relationships with on behalf of our clients as niche audiences we were pursuing in different regions. It all began with a Brit.

It’s been a running joke in European PR circles for years: U.S. marketers think of ‘Europe’ as a single, homogenous entity. Of course, that’s nonsense. But, if you asked European marketers how PR practice – especially influencer relations – differs between U.S. regions, it would be a short conversation.”

~Richard Fogg, managing director, CCgroup

Screenshot of the CCgroup's website highlighting the transcreation between U.S. regions.

Screenshot of the CCgroup’s website highlighting the transcreation between U.S. regions.

What Richard’s talking about up there is a little bit of the pot meeting the kettle. Richard is the managing director at CCgroup, a London-based PR firm that decided to find friends across the pond and conduct research to build a resource that would help international marketers understand the idiosyncrasies of running PR campaigns across multiple U.S. regions. M/C/C was honored to represent the West South Central region, joining nine other agencies representing the state of media relations activities in their own respective regions. After collecting input and evaluating their survey results, the CCgroup put together a website that paints an interesting picture of the U.S. media landscape; and we think domestic marketers would benefit from checking out its findings, too. Three areas of interest stood out to the researchers and participants.

Continue reading “Working with the American News Media: A Coast-to-Coast Guide for PR Pros” »

It’s Be-Pinning to Look a lot Like 2015: Social Advertising in the New Year

“Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here. We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest and connect consumers in a very authentic way.”

Joanne Bradford, head of partnerships at Pinterest

Joanne Bradford, head of commercial and content partnerships at Pinterest, made the above statement to ReadWrite in an article that ran on May 30, 2014, outlining her “slow and steady” plan to help Pinterest monetize – a task she’d been brought on to help drive around six months earlier. As the third largest social network helping more than 44.5 million users get crafty, plan parties and organize their wants and self-improvements into neatly curated and stylistically clean, digital bulletin boards, Pinterest has exemplified Bradford’s sentiment by remaining ad-free since it’s 2010 debut, aside from a Beta program that opened to select marketing partners in June. Having promised brands the year before that it would be making its first finely-tuned and tested advertising product available to the public by the end of 2014, the company cut their self-imposed and eagerly anticipated deadline pretty close by announcing the official availability of Promoted Pins to all U.S.-based partners beginning January 1.

Pinterest Search with Promoted PinPromoted Pins will look and feel almost exactly the same as organic pins, appearing in search streams with the words “Promoted by X” below the pin’s image as their only ad identifier. They can be targeted by pinners’ interests and purchased on a CPM model with advertisers only paying for clicks through to their websites – something the Pinterest people also like to promote as “free impressions!” The launch announcement also included some interesting findings from their last few months in beta testing such as:

  • Promoted Pins were repinned an average of 11 times or higher, on par with repin performance of organic pins, and
  • Brands outside of the social network’s core categories, like financial and auto companies, found success in the program. Pinterest’s core categories are crafts, drink, food, home décor and women’s fashion.

Continue reading “It’s Be-Pinning to Look a lot Like 2015: Social Advertising in the New Year” »

A Few Lessons in Integrated Marketing

IMG_3275Here at M/C/C, we’re no stranger to integrated marketing for clients and have experienced great results from converging digital marketing with IRL experiences for clients like FairLease and the promotion of the company’s “Random Acts of Fairness.”

FairLease is not your average car dealer. They’re more interested in helping people which is why M/C/C helped them launch a “Random Acts of Fairness” campaign around Dallas offering free food to the masses. For this campaign, we utilized several tactics that include: spreading the word through FairLease’s social media accounts that we built and managed, teasing the events to influential news sources and nearby businesses, providing event management and onsite support, generating real-time event updates, leveraging popular Twitter users and hashtags, capturing social photos and producing videos from the events. For many, it was their first interaction with FairLease, and thanks to M/C/C it wouldn’t be their last. As a result, more than 1,600 new friends engaged with FairLease like never before, and FairLease received almost 20 leads directly from this successful campaign.


1. Over-Promise and Over-Deliver
Listen to customer feedback and decide what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve what you offer. Depending on your businesses, you can use various social media and review sites like Yelp to hear from customers. Focus on customer service above all; constantly surprise customers with how far above and beyond you’ll go for them.

2. Mix Your Energy with Commitment
Look at the big picture by taking a few minutes to write down what your goals are for the next year. Think about the skills and support you’ll need to attain them and then a few small ways to start working on achieving your goals. Don’t let a little success distract you from working hard on your business.

3. Be Open, Real and Flawed
When it comes to social media and customer reviews, don’t delete what your customers have to say. No company is perfect or has a 100-percent satisfaction rate, so don’t hide the few unhappy customers. Admit your mistakes when they happen, and in general, conduct your company’s dealings with honesty and candor. Your customers will notice and love you for it.

4. Care About the Little Things
Focus on the little things your company can do to surprise and serve your customers. Don’t take an immediate ROI or bottom-line look at this one. Happy customers will lead to gains in the long-term.

5. Stand Out and Find Your Niche
Think about your target market, look at what your competitors are doing and embrace your uniqueness! There’s only one of your company in the world.

Now that you know what others are doing as well as what we can accomplish for you, get up and give us a call! Remember, we’re experts in everything integrated.

Taylor Swift: 1.287 Million Reasons Why Marketing Works


As lines between advertising, public relations, social media and SEO continue to blur, integrated marketing has become one of the best ways to market a brand. Encompassing all four disciplines successfully markets to target audiences both in real life (IRL) and in the bustling digital world. One personal brander and one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time has perfected this practice with the recent release of her all pop album, 1989. Let’s explore some of Taylor Swift’s brilliant tactics that’s leading the artist to break the record for most sold copies of an album in a single week since 2002:

Brand Partnerships

Swift is no stranger to partnering with big brands, but for this release she capitalized on not only one but two! With Swift becoming commonly known as someone who loves cats, especially her two — Meredith and Olivia, she launched a partnership with Diet Coke that features a spot with her and plethora of kittens that begin showing up in her living room each time she drinks her Diet Coke. What’s brilliant about it is that the spot, which appeared on TV a few days before the album release, featured an unheard, new song from 1989, and Swift herself voices a call-to-action to buy her album at the end of the spot. With only about 20 seconds of this new song used, fans couldn’t get enough and were only left guessing what the song was discussing and what more would come. It was simple, cute and very branded for Swift’s personality and interests.


Additionally, Swift partnered with Target through an exclusive Target-only edition of her 1989 album that included three bonus tracks and content. Also, a certain number of this special edition featured a special code that could be used to enter to win the SwiftStakes — a chance to get two tickets and a meet and greet to a future show or one of 1,989 other prizes.

Continue reading “Taylor Swift: 1.287 Million Reasons Why Marketing Works” »

Marketers Watch Apple as Company Takes a Bite out of Wearable Tech

As far as marketing is concerned, Apple events are great feats of show. The buzzworthy extravaganzas and the news they bring with them are rumored about for months on end before invitations with official dates even go out. In fact, at this point, they may have even become a little predictable. Yet while today’s announcement of an Apple Watch may have been expected, the possibilities presented by Apple’s entry into the wearable tech market only reinforces the direction that display and connectivity are taking, and the surprising opportunities that await marketers there.

For the last two years, Wearable Technologywearable technology has been declared the darling of the international SXSW Interactive festival, stealing the dreams of every app developer looking to leave Austin as the next must-have new thing. With such a massive audience at the taste-making technology festival, it’s also become an advertising bonanza; so it makes sense that the next buzzed about and innovative opportunity for marketers would take over the news coming out of the annual event for two seasons in a row. Until today, the most recognizable names in wearable technology have been Google Glass (only ever prevalent in public if you’re standing on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Trinity in downtown Austin mid-March), Oculus Rift, Samsung and a variety of similarly-featured wristband fitness trackers. With the introduction of Apple Watch, the capabilities of the common and widely popular wristband fitness trackers are not only being incorporated into a better device that can do what they can plus some, similarly to the evolution from e-readers to more functional tablets, but the wrist is being turned into a bracelet billboard and data trove for potential advertisers.

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How to Choose the Right Social Platforms for Your Business

As an agency that has fielded inquiries from existing clients as social networks rose to prominence and continues to serve as a social media expert across consumer and B2B struggles, two of the top questions we get the most are, “Which social networks should my company be on,” or “Which platform should I choose to start my business’ social media presence?” While it may make sense for us to claim that the answers to these questions are quickly changing every day as each network evolves – sometimes for better or for worse – and new ones are introduced and adopted, that’s not in fact what we’d tell you. Instead, we’d tell you that social media is not a one-size fits all practice. Then we’d start to grill you on your objectives and your audience. And you thought you’d be asking all the questions, eh?

Social Media Experts Medium

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Get With the Lingo — Native Advertising


Native advertising has developed not only as an exciting new way for digital marketers to engage with consumers, but also as a new source of advertising revenue for publishers. Native advertising has a number of definitions because its meaning lies essentially in the eye of the beholder, depending on the strategic and media objectives of the marketer or brand.

For this post’s purposes, we’ll define native advertising as the following based on the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s The Native Advertising Playbook:

“Paid ads that aspire to be so cohesive with the page content, assimilated in the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that [the ad] belongs.”

Simply put, native advertising is a sub-set of content marketing, meaning the practice of using content to build trust and engagement with would-be customers. Native advertising can be a promoted tweet on Twitter, suggested post on Facebook or full-page ads between Flipboard pages, but more commonly it is about how brands now work with online publications to reach people.

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Facebook and Instagram Video Ads – the Way of the Future?

Late last year, Facebook announced it was beginning to test out video advertisements for brands. Then, earlier this year, Instagram jumped on board this video ads train. (Makes sense considering the photo-sharing platform is owned by Facebook.) If you’re thinking “so why haven’t I seen any video ads yet?” you’re not the only one. The majority of the advertising world is patiently waiting for this new option to be available for their brands. But before advertisers begin segmenting some of their budgets to social video ads, there are a few things they may want to know first:

What will be the parameters for video ads?

The video ads will be 15-second video spots that will automatically start playing as the user scrolls over them. This is similar to how the user-generated videos on both platforms auto play. We know that on Facebook, there will not be sound playing until the user opens it up to a full-screen view.

What will they cost?

A lot of dough! For Facebook video ads, it’s expected to cost between $1 million and $2.4 million a day. Instagram says it doesn’t have a rate card and CPMs are based on factors like targeting, reach and frequency. However, some ad executives are saying that a month-long buy could be anywhere from $350,000 to closer to $1 million.

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