Author Archives for Market Mentors

Blog Contributor Amanda Moyer
09.22.2016
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A Refresher Course in Customer Online Reviews

You may have read our blog about online reputation management back in 2014, since it has been a few years we thought a refresher blog was needed.

In the digital era, a review online can be very impactful to both businesses and customers. These reviews not only influence the ways in which business owners manage their staff, but also which businesses a customer chooses to support.

In a recent Zendesk survey, 90 percent of participants claimed that positive online reviews influenced the customer’s choices, while 86 percent said their decision was impacted by the negative reviews left online.

There are many websites where customers can leave reviews including: Facebook, Google, Yelp, Twitter, Company Websites and many more.

The truth is both positive and negative reviews can directly influence businesses and customer’s decisions on which business to frequent or even try for the first time – here are a few tips to get customers to review your business online in a positive light – besides the obvious task of providing excellent products and customer service:

  1. Ask your customers, simply ask your customers to provide a review of your service, as long as the service or product provided is of value, they won’t be annoyed if you ask for a review.
  2. Make it easy, while negative reviewers will seek out ways in which to review your company, the average customer will not go out of their way to review a business. Provide a link in your newsletter, on your website or create a Facebook page for customers to provide reviews.
  3. “Thank you” goes a long way. If you are able through your website, Facebook, or any other platform – simply thank your customers for the reviews. Staying engaged on social media and online is essential.

Reviews are not a one-way street. If you actively give reviews online here are a few guidelines for leaving reviews:

  1. #Communicate, if you are at a place of business such as a restaurant and unhappy with the service, ask to speak with the manager. Do this instead of waiting to get home and behind the computer. Confronting the manager will help to ensure the next customer is not dissatisfied with their experience and you may even get something in return.
  2. #SharingIsCaring, if you have a positive experience, share it with the world. Doesn’t everyone love some positive reinforcement once and awhile?
  3. #PracticeWhatYouPreach, if you are a business owner and want people to leave reviews for you – leave reviews for others as well. Go through the effort of establishing a login to review sites and start reviewing other businesses today.

We live in an era where we rely mostly on the internet and our smart devices. If you are a business owner there are a few simple ways you can increase your reviews online. Additionally, if you are a customer make sure to not only share good reviews, but approach the management of a store or restaurant if you are dissatisfied.

At the end of the day, behind those computers are real people, just like you and me, who would love the opportunity to hear they are doing well or hear where their business needs improvements.

Amanda Moyer
01.19.2016
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Did You Know We Go The Extra Mile?

Added ValueAs a “full-service” marketing agency, Market Mentors provides a variety of services including advertising, branding, media buying, graphic design, public relations and event planning. Although many of our clients work with us for just a few of our services, we strive to deliver the best results by providing “added value.” Added value is another impression we can create for our client to let them know “we’re here for you”.  In addition, this little “something extra” is a great way for our clients to try a service that they may not have considered before, to strengthen their campaigns.

So what exactly is “added value” you ask? We’re so glad you did!

Added value can come in all sorts of ways:

  • Added spots to a TV or radio schedule at no charge
  • Web ads on station websites
  • News/weather billboard mentions on air
  • Market Mentors staff on hand at events to assist or going to events and distributing client materials
  • And asking for editorial coverage in publications where our clients advertise… and so much more.

Added value is our way of going the extra mile. For example, we recently negotiated an additional month of online advertising for a manufacturing client. We sat at a local tire repair shop and applied stickers to 1,000 bottles of maple syrup, to help the client with a promotional giveaway. We always reconcile invoices and correct the issue when spots are running incorrectly — we call that a “make-good.” Just this past month we discovered an issue where the incorrect spot was running, and we worked with the stations to “make-good” by securing a new spot schedule — free of charge! We also recently reconciled print publications where ad color was out of register, so we worked with production to ensure that our client’s beautifully designed ads run as professionally as we have designed them. Most clients would never know to look for the standards that we look for after placements are completed: high quality production, correct positioning and competitive separation are just a few of the examples of what we look for. That’s just a handful of examples of what we can do for you.

We also know that good things given have a way of coming back to us, too. For example, this week a radio station released their first “Medical Guide” that featured ads by several of our clients. Once the guide was published, our rep from the station stopped by with a display of the guide and each of our clients advertisements. This was a small act of appreciation, but it surely went a long way. We value the relationship we have with our media partners on behalf of our clients because we are able to work with them to get the most for our clients, whatever their needs may be. Business is about forming long-term relationships!

Each day here at Market Mentors, we strive to deliver our clients with added value to show how dedicated we are to seeing them succeed. I often find that it is what keeps our clients with us for so long. We are the agency that rolls back our sleeves for anything that comes our way, and we are always available to lend a hand.

keep calm & wear pink
10.19.2015
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Keep Calm & Wear Pink

We’re seeing it everywhere this month: pink accents on the uniforms of our favorite NFL players; pink frosted doughnuts and ribbon-shaped cookies at our favorite bakeries. Pink, pink, and more pink.

The color pink is used to mark the observance of October’s designation as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

To mark the designation each year, Market Mentors holds an annual “Pink Day” event with local business leaders to raise money for Rays of Hope. Since it was founded in 1994, Rays of Hope has raised over $12.4 million, all of which has been awarded locally throughout western Massachusetts. Last year, thanks to the generosity of many of our clients, Market Mentors was able to present Rays of Hope with a check for $5,000 and this year we hope to raise even more!

This week, Market Mentors will “Keep Calm & Wear Pink” to benefit Rays of Hope, culminating in our “Pink Day” on Friday, Oct. 23. Participating local businesses include: 94.7 WMAS Springfield, Aaron Smith, P.C., Aesthetic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baystate Rug & Flooring, Braman Termite & Pest Elimination, Collins Electric, Collins Pipe & Supply, Excel Dryer, Hampden Zimmerman, Keith G. Roy Construction, ML Schmitt, New York Sound and Motion, Noonan Energy, NUVO Bank, Ondrick Natural Earth, Robinson Donovan, Shatz, Schwartz & Fentin, Springfield Label and Tape, Sturbridge Seafood, The Dowd Agencies, The Spa at New England Dermatology and Laser Center, Westfield News, Women’s Health Associates.

We will once again utilize our social media hashtag, #MMPinkDay, for the event and will share photos of us and our clients wearing pink across various social media platforms. Anyone interested in joining us by wearing pink on Oct. 23 is encouraged to use our hashtag — we’ll share your photos too! Help us raise awareness and money for this worthwhile cause. For more information, call us at (413) 787-1133.

Salvation Army Coats for Kids
09.23.2015
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A Good Deed for Kids in Need

Did you receive a “Thank You” card from Florida, recently? That’s the real estate market from that sunny perch, expressing gratitude for a New England winter so bitterly cold and so long that it blew new life into real estate sales. On those frigid days when the weather dominated water cooler conversation, can you recall passing by someone on your commute who was woefully underdressed for the conditions? It seems likely that there were plenty of people.

2015_1The good news is there is a very successful program that not only helps our neighbors into a warm winter coat but illuminates the generous spirit of this community through our local sponsors. The Salvation Army’s annual “Coats for Kids” campaign collects gently used and new winter coats for distribution to the Valley’s families in need.

The 35th annual Salvation Army Coats for Kids campaign kicks-off the week of September 21st when drop boxes for donated coats will appear at businesses throughout the Valley. Any New Englander will remind you (with a wistful look) that the gorgeous fall weather of late September and early October is just a few weeks ahead of winter coat season. What better time to set aside winter gear that’s too small or simply isn’t going to serve your needs? Adult coats, by the way, are also collected and distributed to qualified recipients.

Sponsors

2015_2How fortunate we are to have the participation of spirited local sponsors and volunteers at every level of the campaign. Year after year, the Samble family from Belmont Laundry has been among the Presenting Sponsors whose participation has been so critical to the success of this campaign as they donated their resources to the sizable job of laundering all of the donated coats. Along with Belmont Laundry, Presenting Sponsors include Berkshire Bank and Market Mentors, and media sponsors Western Mass News, 94.7 WMAS , Sports Radio 1450-The Hall. Presenting Sponsors and Collection Sponsors are happy to collect your coat donations in drop boxes at their respective locations.

The need in our community is growing and as we know, many hands make light work. If your employer is interested in becoming a Presenting Sponsor or Collection Sponsor, please contact us for details at (413) 787-1133.

Now, before the summer melts into fall and the “busy-ness” of life derails your good intentions, make a note on your calendar and help a child in need when you donate those gently used or new winter coats to “Coats for Kids”. Then, enjoy the worthy feeling of having done a good deed and keep your fingers crossed that this winter will be much, MUCH kinder to us all.

For more information, visit salvationarmycoatsforkids.com.

dentist swabbing kids cheek
07.13.2015
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The 7th Annual Kids Safety Expo July 25th, 9 a.m. to noon

DNA Cheek Swab at Kids Safety Expo

DNA is collected from a cheek swab and given directly to parents to use if children go missing. While we all hope this DNA material never has to be used, these identification tools have helped identify more than 300,000 children who have completed the very same MYCHIP program.

As we near the end of July, national make a difference to children month, we urge you to help make a difference in your child’s life, or the life of a child that you know. Summertime is the most anticipated time of the year for children. They are out of school and carefree. However, this can be one of the most stressful times of the year for a parent. Worrying thoughts tend to engulf their minds, “Where are they?” “Did they get to their friends okay?” or “What if something happened to them?”

Parents, there are a few steps you can take to help keep your mind at ease. Market Mentors and many other local businesses are providing resources to help you keep your kids safe this summer. Our annual Kids Safety Expo is in its 7th year at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Alongside 94.7 WMAS, Sports Radio 1450 The Hall and MYCHIP (Masonic Youth Child Identification Program), the Kids Safety Expo has become the must-attend, annual event of the summer for parents across the valley.

Taped Interview at the Kids Safety Expo

This family is completing taped interviews that can be provided to the media and law enforcement officials if these children are missing. The tone, cadence and other identifiable qualities of voice and speech can be very important if a child is lost. No interview is stored in a database – all materials are packaged up and provided to parents to use only in the case of emergency.

We want to help ensure child safety by offering many free services that include fingerprinting, DNA cheek swabs, dental impressions, and a recorded interview with your child that can be easily distributed to the law enforcement and media in the event of an emergency.

This Kids Safety Expo is something you won’t want to miss! Along with these life-saving programs, you will find the Melha Shriners clowns in attendance, K-9 Units, the Springfield police and fire department, the Zoo at Forest Park, Ms. Massachusetts, The Valley Blue Sox, Springfield Falcons and New England Revolution Mascots.

Summer safety can be fun and exciting rather than dull and boring; let Market Mentors along with several other gracious sponsors show you! The Kids Safety Expo offers services that help put parent’s minds at ease and children’s minds at play with the overabundance of stimulating and priceless activities.

KSE3

We can help make summer safe for your family.  Stop by the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield on July 25th, from 9 a.m. to noon. Free parking and admission. Helmets are only available to the first 500 kids and are offered in all sizes!

What you can expect:

  • Bike Safety
  • Free Bike Helmets provided by AAA and Chicopee Savings Bank
  • Water Bottles provided by Libbos Law
  • Fire Safety with Springfield Fire Department
  • Fingerprinting
  • Video Taped Interview with Child
  • Cheek Swab
  • Dental Impressions
  • Stranger Danger Information
  • K-9 Demonstration
  • And more!
Melha Shriners Clowns

The Melha Shriners Clowns know how to have fun while playing it safe! Join us at the Kids Safety Expo.

Even though we are still in summer, it is never too early to start thinking about the Salvation Army Coats for Kids event this fall. Every year, area residents and local businesses work with the Springfield Salvation Army to help keep kids warm by donating gently used or new winter coats. While you are cleaning out your children’s closets of coats they have outgrown, keep in mind this event for the fall to help those children in need stay warm this winter.

Caroline Lee
05.19.2015
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A Hefty Risk with Big Reward

Take a moment to watch one of these TV spots or two (they’re pretty entertaining; you might find yourself watching all three).

 

 

 

What makes these ads so great?

  • Hefty took a risk. While it can be intimidating to bring a creative, “out-of-the-box” idea to a board of directors, a safe approach doesn’t always make an impact. In this party mom campaign, skeptics would say that Hefty ran the risk of alienating some more traditional consumers. However, by taking that risk, the ad really hones in on their key target markets: beer pong champs and moms (who, by the way, make most of household buying decisions). Way to go Hefty, you took a risk and now you’re reaping the rewards. Even the media is picking up on your genius and spreading the message for free.
  • This campaign appeals to emotions. These ads make you laugh! Adding humor is a great way to make an impact. Why? Studies show ads that engage us emotionally work better. This brings us to the next point, in order to set the stage for a laugh it often means sacrificing some time.
  • More time was spent connecting with the target audience, rather than talking about themselves. Hefty branding does not appear in these ads until the last ten seconds. That means the majority of the advertisement (three quarters of each ad) was spent connecting with their target audience.

The bottom line? The next time you consider updating your brand’s creative — think about taking a risk, appealing to emotion and resisting the urge to talk about your business every second of that 30 second spot.

At Market Mentors, we take a full-service approach to marketing for a fully integrated campaign — using a combination of our service areas such as advertising, public relations and social media to name a few. Often times, a great ad campaign and PR pitch that goes viral on social media starts with the same idea. What makes a really great campaign is a small nugget of creativity that we can turn into a multi-dimensional campaign across several mediums. While I spend my days pitching reporters to use our clients as sources for the news — I often find inspiration from the other side of the fence — advertising. If an ad campaign is truly entertaining — like Hefty’s creative “turning ordinary moms into slang-spewing party animals” — there is huge potential for the campaign to go viral on social media and earn media, too. Talk to us about how we can be creative with your brand today.

media buying pull quote
05.04.2015
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To Buy or Not to Buy?

In today’s environment, budgets are limited, and companies are being forced to do a lot more with a lot less. This is very evident in the world of advertising. Often, the best advertising campaign can be lost with an ineffective media buy. Intelligent media buying prevents the ‘throw it at the wall and see if it sticks’ trap that many businesses fall into.

In a small market like Springfield, it’s unusual to have four major TV network (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX). Add to that more than 10 radio stations, a cable interconnect system, a daily newspaper, weekly papers in just about every town, trade publications, interactive Web sites, search-engine marketing, social media, and outdoor advertising among another 10 fingers of options. How does a small to medium-sized business decide on the best way to promote themselves in a local market when there is just not enough money to go around?

When a media representative offers a discount on airtime or added value that sounds too good to be true, it usually is. It’s not because their medium is ineffective; it’s because the package they may offer typically lacks the quality for the individual advertiser’s objectives. You can get a schedule that has low rates, but it’s more important to have an efficient schedule then to have a low rate, although the two can go hand-in-hand. That is where intelligent buying comes into play. Smart buyers have to weigh objectives and complete a cost analysis to yield the best return on investment.

A Rating Point is a Rating Point… or Is It?

A term that is shared both by radio and TV is the rating point.

To most, radio and TV are forms of entertainment. But to an advertiser, it should represent a way to target a specific audience that listens to a particular station or watches a specific show. In radio, a rating point equals 1% of listeners who are listening to a particular station at a given time. In television, it is 1% of all TV households who are viewing a particular station at a given time. To the media buyer, it is a metric that is necessary to ensure the success of a campaign. Someone who is buying a lot of media will want to achieve a specific GRP (gross rating point) delivery, and they will negotiate each point. A GRP represents the percentage of the target audience (eyes and ears) reached by an advertisement, and it is the sum of ratings achieved by a specific media schedule. If the advertisement appears more than once, the GRP figure represents the sum of each individual GRP. Frequency and reach are also critical terms and lend to the GRP delivery; the more options for a viewer to see or hear an ad (frequency), and how many of those target audience members are actually seeing or hearing the ad (reach), the better the campaign. GRPs are derived from the frequency and reach of the advertisement.

In the case of a TV advertisement that is aired five times reaching 50% of the target audience, it would deliver 250 GRPs (5 x 50%). Although this methodology is basically sound, things can get tricky, and may even stir a debate between the veteran media executive and the seasoned media buyer. Let’s say an advertiser is considering three options. Each plan delivers roughly 100 GRPs to reach the target audience. At first glance, 100 GRPs is 100 GRPs, right? Well, not really. Consider this.

Option A: Advertise one 30-second TV commercial during the Super Bowl, which would reach 100% of the target audience one time.

Option B: Reach 50% of the target audience two times. (non-Super Bowl ad)

Option C: Reach 10% of the target audience 10 times. (non-Super Bowl ad)

They all deliver 100 GRPs, but option C would be the most effective because it allows for frequency, or repetition. In the world of advertising, repetition is what drives the message home. It is far better to tell 100 people something ten times than it is to tell 1,000 people something once.

Equal Playing Field

In a world where there are thousands of advertising options, how can one measure the differences in costs between various media forms? While it is still important to rely on reach, frequency, and GRPs as the main basis of campaign delivery, there is also a term that allows for comparing costs with varying advertising media.

The CPM (cost per thousand) is the common denominator. CPM answers the question that TV, radio, newspaper, and internet can all answer: how much is it going to cost to reach each audience of a thousand?

CPM has resurfaced as a valuable cost measurement when a campaign consists of many avenues of advertising. To derive a CPM, one would take the audience/circulation of the advertising medium and divide by 1,000. That number would then be divided by the cost of the media schedule.

For example, we can compare an online campaign with that of a daily newspaper campaign, both costing $2,250. 1f the online media campaign garners 150,000 impressions (impression is the count of times the ad is viewed), you’d take 150,000 and divide by 1,000 to get 150. That represents 150 thousands of impressions. Divide the $2,250 investment by 150, and that would tell you the campaign would cost $15 CPM.

If the daily paper reaches a circulation of 100,000, divide by 1,000 to derive at 100 sets of 1,000. Then divide the cost of the ad ($2,500) by that quotient. The print campaign calls for a $22.50 CPM.

In this example, which is more cost-effective? The online campaign will enjoy 50,000 more impressions for a lower cost per thousand. This is simply a formula of cost measurement to compare varying media platforms within a marketplace. Oftentimes, the campaign goals or objectives will dictate which medium is utilized.

However, one should be careful not to buy media strictly on the cost-per-thousand methodologies. There are many ways a buyer can dissect a media campaign. The real goal should be to maximize the advertising budget and reach the target audience with some frequency. In the end, advertising is just a way to invite people to do business with you, so inviting the people you want multiple times and then reminding them to come is far better than mentioning it to them only one time in passing.

It may be a buyers’ market, but beware of what you are buying. When you maximize your budget, you will be more effective. In the end, media buying can be very confusing, so don’t feel that you must go it alone. Hiring a firm that specializes in media buying can help you spend your marketing dollars in the most cost-effective ways — and likely save the company money in the long run.

*Re-posted

2015 Shrine Circus featuring Bello Nock
04.13.2015
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Melha Shrine Circus opens school vacation week

Every year, the Melha Shrine Circus takes over the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield, providing affordable family-friendly entertainment for western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. For over a decade, Market Mentors has held a behind-the-scenes role in the event, helping the Melha Shriners promote the circus and raise awareness of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, Mass., and we are excited to be back in the saddle this year!

This year’s circus – which takes place April 23 to April 26 during school vacation week – features world renown comic daredevil Bello Nock. Have you heard of Bello? He was included in TIME Magazine’s list of “America’s Best Artists and Entertainers” and was dubbed “the greatest athlete” to ever set foot in Madison Square Garden by New York Daily News.

We’ve got the “Big B” at the home of the Big E! And we’re in for an entertaining few days with Bello as the headliner of our local circus. In addition to Bello Nock’s fearless feats, audiences in West Springfield will be treated to a performance by his daughter, eighth generation circus performer Annaliese Nock.

1503136_CircusBelloNock_032515

Bello Nock

Tickets are on sale now and can be ordered online, anytime day or night and available at the box office during regular business hours, 24 hours after the order was placed, or at the will call booth on the day of the performance. Attendees will need to show a photo ID or present a receipt to pick up tickets. Prices are $14 for general reserved seats and $18 for box seats (no discounts apply to box seats). Children under age 3 seated on an adult’s lap do not need a ticket.

The circus schedule will be as follows:

  • Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m. (Grand Entry, 6:30 p.m.)
  • Friday, April 24, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 25, 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 26, 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

To purchase Melha Shrine Circus tickets, call (413) 205-5087, stop by the Box Office daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or visit melhashrinecircus.com. Discounted coupons are available at all western Mass. Big Y locations.

Proceeds from the circus are used for the benefit of the Melha Shriners and are not tax deductible. Join us at this year’s “Circus with a Purpose” for wholesome family entertainment and help the Melha Shriners continue the work they’re so proud of doing for our region. It’ll “NOCK Your Socks Off!” We look forward to seeing you there!

communication pull quote
03.18.2015
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Communication — What is it and why is it so important?

Whatever your profession, communication is a key component for success. From effectively conveying skills and proficiencies on resumes and cover letters for entry-level jobs to managers organizing tasks for entire teams, good communication is critical at every step of your career. Here are some best practices that I think are particularly important and overlooked:

1. Emailing multiple parties
Often times there are projects that multiple people in an organization are working on together. Those projects are usually executed with many different steps along the way, so it is important to let the people who are working with you know when you have completed some portion of the task at hand. This can be applied in many ways, for example when clients call in or send an email with a question; I find that a simple email reply acknowledging their request is very helpful. This informs the client that the task they requested has been acknowledged and that you will begin working on it — even if you can’t get to it right away. This is also an opportunity for you to ask for a deadline, which in turn helps you communicate to your peers if you need to reprioritize. My best tip for emailing multiple parties is to remember the ‘reply all’ button. Use it, but more importantly, double check who is included so as not to leave anyone out.

2. Follow up with a phone call
While email is a good form of communication, it will never replace the value of a phone call. Emails can sit in inboxes for hours (or days!) — and for a deadline driven industry, every minute counts. An immediate response via phone can alleviate the stress of waiting for that email when you need an answer fast. If you want to be sure you have approvals in writing, then you can follow up with an email after the phone call stating “per our phone call…” A best practice to help determine when to email and when to call is to ask yourself how quickly you need the response, and also how your contact prefers to communicate. Some people are more accessible by email and some by phone. Make a little note of how you communicate best with that person and add it to the ‘notes’ section of your Outlook contacts. When you share that contact with your team members, they benefit from your knowledge and can expedite results. After all… what we do is all about results.

3. Call for an in-person meeting
In a digital world where we all rely heavily on emails, texts, and instant messages, in-person meetings become more and more valuable.  Much like the relationship between email and the phone, in-person meetings retain value despite technological advancements. Miscommunication, lack of tone or inflection and divided attention are all areas of weakness for technology-driven communication methods. In-person meetings force you to pay attention to one thing at a time — and add a personal touch. While meetings do take time, it is time well spent.  And remember, when you are in a meeting — put your phone away and direct all of your attention on the topic being discussed.

4. Full circle
Have you ever had to do something that you didn’t want to do, so you took a shortcut? I bet you found yourself frustrated because it just created more work for you later.  It’s kind of like when you are late for an appointment, so you try to sneak through a side street and get pulled over or you hit traffic. This would be the result of not doing something full circle. If you had planned your day appropriately and left ample time to get to your appointment, you wouldn’t be rushing to get in the door and fish out the first excuse as to why you weren’t here 5 minutes ago. (Yes, I know “things happen” but if you strategize your day you can likely avoid these types of issues 9 times out of 10)

I like to call this doing things full circle.

Full circle can relate to life as much as business. When you try to take shortcuts, something else always suffers as a result. Things in life may not always be easy, but they are a lot easier if you take a step-by-step approach to accomplish each task. Recognizing each part of the planning process will help you execute the entire project more efficiently and without those hiccups along the way.

Salvation Army Coats for Kids
10.24.2014
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Coats for Kids drive ends Oct. 27

The 2015 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac predicts below-normal temperatures for the majority of the country — including the northeast. More specifically, the eastern states can expect an active storm track with several storms producing heavy snow and rain. Predictions of another frigid winter means now is the time to clean out closets and donate new or gently used winter coats for local families in need.

To help those families in the Pioneer Valley, the local Salvation Army has launched its annual “Coats for Kids” campaign.

According to statistics, the Springfield, Mass., distribution count is 233 families in need of 740 coats, while Westfield, Mass., distribution count is approximately 50 families in need of 150 coats. In Northampton, the number of families in need is unknown but about 80 coats are needed. Additionally, 60 adult coats are needed to be distributed to the homeless through the Friends of the Homeless initiative.

Last year, the Coats for Kids ran out of coats and the Salvation Army wrote 32 clothing vouchers for an additional 32 families in Springfield.

CaptureThis year, Market Mentors is once again partnering with a host of businesses and organizations in Western Massachusetts — including presenting sponsors Berkshire Bank, Belmont Laundry and Fireside Design, and media sponsors CBS 3 Springfield, 94.7 WMAS and Sports Radio 1450 The Hall — to keep kids and their families warm. We are just one of a number of drop spots in the region where new or gently used winter coats that have been outgrown or unworn can be donated. Stop by our office on Capital Drive in West Springfield to drop off your coat today!

Other sponsors include A.W. Gifford, Inc., Ambiance Creative Hair Solutions, America’s Box Choice, Berkshire Heating and Air Conditioning, Brain Balance Achievement Centers, City Tire, Curry Printing, Eastfield Mall, Finyl Vinyl, Fuel Services, Inc., Garden’s Dream Farm, Hampden Zimmerman, Kens’ Eyewear, Inc., Ludlow Heating and Cooling, Inc., Luso Federal Credit Union, Planet Fitness, Premier Source Credit Union, Pride, Shop Rite and The Body Shop. Many of these businesses will serve as convenient drop-spots; locations where people can drop off donated coats. For more information, visit salvationarmycoatsforkids.com.

The Coats for Kids drive ends Monday, Oct. 27. Qualified families can register and receive coats Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Salvation Army facility on Pearl Street in downtown Springfield.

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2014 Dates to Vote
08.22.2014
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Political Lay of the Land: 2014 Primary and General Elections

The weather will not be the only thing heating up this summer as we head toward the Primary Election on September 9th and also the General Election on November 4th. The shifting political landscape will have big implications on business nationally and here on a local level. With regards to marketing, election season dramatically increases demand on advertising inventory.

For example, an estimate of fourth quarter political market spending is approximately $2.5 to 3 million (based on previous political races and ballot questions). The past should give us a clear indication as to the impact this election will have on advertising budgets and campaigns. It bears repeating last year’s advice for media buying in a campaign year: plan early and book early!

Moreover, Market Mentors has the pleasure of working with many local business leaders and influential members of our communities. Forthcoming elections will impact business in our region — from Federal, State and County offices to referendums, issues and other ballot questions, what will you be seeing and hearing about that will impact your business?

Federal Offices:

  • United States Senator
  • United States Representative (2 in our DMA)*

*Both Congressional seats within DMA are newly established due to re-districting

State Offices:

  • Governor/Lt. Governor
  • Governor’s Council (all 8 districts)
  • State Senator (all 40 districts)
  • State Representative (all 160 districts)
  • Secretary of the Commonwealth
  • Attorney General
  • Treasurer
  • Auditor

County Offices:

  • Counties in Massachusetts will elect county commissioners, district attorneys and sheriffs.

Noteworthy Elections

Market Mentors has the honor of representing two candidates as we move toward the Primary Election.  Anthony D. Gulluni, candidate for Hampden County District Attorney and Eric Lesser, who is running for state Senator in the First Hampden and Hampshire District.

Hampden County District Attorney

GulluniA note of importance about the District Attorney election is that there are four Democratic candidates who remain unchallenged by Republicans or Independents. This means that whomever wins the primary election for DA will be the District Attorney Elect.

Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni, a life-long Springfield resident, is committed to the mission of community safety through crime prevention solutions and the swift and aggressive prosecution of repeat and violent offenders. Having worked under District Attorneys Bennett and Mastroianni as Assistant District Attorney, Gulluni has tried well over 100 cases in the district and superior courts. Prior to joining the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, Gulluni was an assistant city solicitor for the City of Springfield and a youth program counselor and coordinator for The Salvation Army. He earned a bachelor’s degree and Juris doctorate from Western New England University. Gulluni is active in his community and continues to support The Salvation Army by serving on its advisory board. For more information about Anthony Gulluni, visit GulluniForDA.com.

State Senate: First Hampden and Hampshire District

LesserEric Lesser, a former White House aide, is running for State Senate in the First Hampden and Hampshire District. Lesser was born and raised in western Massachusetts, a graduate of Longmeadow High School, who continued his education studying government at Harvard where he returned for his law degree. With years of political experience, serving President Obama including a position on the esteemed Council of Economic Advisors, Lesser is campaigning to strengthen western Massachusetts’ voice on Beacon Hill. Lesser is a proud Democrat, but vows to work with everyone – Republicans, Democrats and Independents to bring fresh thinking to the challenges we face. For more information about Eric Lesser, visit EricLesser.com.

Governor

Although there are no gubernatorial regulations for the seat of Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick publically announced that he will not seek re-election after his current term. The filing deadline for Major Parties as well as Third Parties and Independents has passed, therefore the candidates campaigning for Governor include:

  • Don Berwick (D) Ex-US Medicare/Medicaid Administrator & Physician
  • Martha Coakley (D) Attorney General, Ex-Middlesex County District Attorney & ’10 US Sen. Nominee
  • Steve Grossman (D) State Treasurer, Ex-Democratic National Chairman, Businessman & ’02 Candidate
  • Charlie Baker (R) Venture Capitalist, Ex-Health Care Executive, Ex-State Budget Director & ’10 Nominee
  • Mark Fisher (R) Metal Manufacturer & Tea Party Activist
  • Evan Falchuck (UI) Attorney & Businessman
  • Scott Lively (I) Minister, Attorney, Ex-Republican & Anti-Gay Activist
  • Jeff McCormick (I) Venture Capitalist

Attorney General

The seat of Massachusetts Attorney General may become vacant if the current Attorney General, Martha Coakley, succeeds in her bid for Governor. Candidates campaigning for Attorney General include:

  • Maura Healey (D) ExAttorney General’s Office Civil Rights Bureau Chief
  • Warren Tolman (D) Ex-State Sen., Ex-State Rep., Attorney, ’02 Gov. Candidate & ’98 Lt. Gov. Candidate
  • John Miller (R) Attorney & Civil Engineer

Ballot Questions

There are four ballot questions of particular importance that voters may be considering. Get ready to hear and see it from all sides!  Want to place a wager on which question will produce the most advertising?

Question 1 aims to overturn a law passed by Beacon Hill legislators last year that indexes the gasoline tax to the Consumer Price Index. According to the summary, the gas tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, will (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon. Advocates for the elimination of this requirement say that it allows automatic tax hikes without legislative votes, effectively outsourcing the legislative authority to levy taxes to the CPI. Vote yes to eliminate this law, vote no to make no change regarding the gas tax.

Question 2 will expand the bottle bill, adding bottle deposits to all non-alcoholic non-carbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption, i.e., water bottles. It will not extend to juice boxes or pouches, or dairy products, infant formula, for FDA approved medicines. The deposit would also be subject to change every five years and pegged to the CPI, just like the gasoline tax addressed in Question 1.

Deposits not collected, due to widespread municipal recycling programs, in Massachusetts will be kept entirely by the state. With the passage of the bill, those unclaimed deposits will go to create a new state Clean Environment Fund to support programs such as proper management of solid waste, water resource protection, parkland, urban forestry, air quality, and climate protection. In 2011 Massachusetts received $35.5 million in unclaimed bottle deposits.

Opponents of the bill charge that the expansion is a thinly veiled tax hike and puts undue pressure on beverage manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Supporters say water bottles are the beverage containers most often found in the trash, since there is no incentive to turn them in for deposits.

Question 3 puts the control of casinos in Massachusetts back into the hands of voters. The question, if passed, will prohibit all licenses for casinos, table games, slot machines, and betting on simulcast greyhound races – even those licenses already awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission – effectively turning back the clock on the casino initiative and making those types of gambling illegal. The citizen initiative poses a challenge to communities, such as Springfield and Plainville, which voted to accept casino proposals and counts on revenue from those enterprises already under construction.

Finally, Question 4 would require employers in Massachusetts to allow employees to earn and use up to 40 hours of sick time annually. The provision would apply to both public and private companies, and also indicates the accrual rate for the sick days, carry over from year to year, prohibits employer retaliation. Employer benefits more generous would not be required to lower their standards under this law, but it would provide a basis for all Massachusetts workers to earn sick time.

Our bet is that we will hear question 3 the most!  (Sorry, we could not refuse)

 

 

2014 Kids Safety Event
08.04.2014
Published by

Summer Safety Expo a Success

As a new mom, I’ve learned that there are a myriad of worries that plague parents with regard to the well-being of their children. Among those worries: How do I keep my son/daughter safe while still giving them a chance to have the same carefree — and fun! — childhood that I had? For those parents looking for ways to keep kids safe while providing entertainment and education to children, there were an abundance of resources available at the 6th Annual Kids Safety Expo held Saturday, July 26 at Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

The Kids Safety Expo featured bike safety (with a free bicycle helmet giveaway and bike education from Libbos Law), fire safety with Springfield Fire Department, stranger danger information, a K-9 demonstration by Springfield and Wilbraham Police Departments, a Bridgestone/Firestone race car simulator from City Tire, health information from Baystate Children’s Hospital and more. Over 300 children completed MYCHIP (Masonic Youth Child Identification Program) and over 550 kids received free bicycle helmets.

We are excited with the turnout and grateful to both our sponsors and attendees for making the annual Kids Safety Expo a premier safety event in the Pioneer Valley. The expo is a great example of many of our capabilities here at Market Mentors, including: event planning, graphic design, public relations, advertising and social media. We place a lot of emphasis on corporate social responsibility and are pleased to work with so many local businesses and organizations who feel the same way about giving back to the local community.

Those sponsors who helped Market Mentors make this year’s Kids Safety Expo a success include: 94.7 WMAS, Anthony Gulluni for District Attorney, Baystate Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, Curry Printing, Doctors Express, Father & Sons, Fritz the Clown, Max’s Tavern, Melha Shriner Clowns, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts, Small Smiles, Sports Radio 1450 The Hall, Springfield Falcons, The Zoo at Forest Park and Valley Blue Sox.

To learn more about how Market Mentors can help you plan your next event, visit our website or let our work speak for itself and take a look at some of the press coverage we received from Saturday’s 6th Annual Kids Safety Expo:

More coverage:

WWLP: Mass Appeal
WGGB
WSHM

 

Candace Kasper
07.25.2014
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I Know What You Did Last Summer

KeepCalmIntern_072214Okay you got me. I missed the Excel spreadsheets too much. We just have an inseparable bond you wouldn’t understand. I couldn’t bear to stay away for much longer, so here I am back for another summer interning at Market Mentors. It’s been a long school year, filled with late nights, scribbled lecture notes, and enough caffeine to outlast the Energizer Bunny, but it’s over and now…

I’m baaaack!

Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane, shall we? This time last year I was fresh off my first year of college, had a new appreciation for Ramen noodles, and was still unsure of what, exactly, I wanted to do with my future. Last summer I didn’t have a declared major, heck, I wasn’t even in the right program at my school. I saw the opportunity to intern at Market Mentors as a chance to explore the field of communications, learn and observe as much as I could about all its aspects, and figure out where I could see myself fitting into the mix. I came out with more new experiences and knowledge than I could have hoped for and a list of lessons learned (not to mention a long-term relationship with spreadsheets).

But that was last year and, believe it or not, things have changed since then. After my summer here, I became enrolled in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (Go Orange!) where I’ve declared a major in advertising with an emphasis in digital advertising. I’ve taken classes that furthered my understanding of the communications industry and helped me get a better sense of what I want to do later on. So now when my co-workers are talking I can think, “Hey! I actually know what they’re talking about!” Ah yes, learning at its finest.

Now I’m back for round two at Market Mentors, “Summer of the Cubicle: The Sequel” if you will (I’m aiming for The Godfather Part II here, people, not Free Willy 2 or Grease 2). Some of the first things that I was asked when I came back were about what I wanted to focus on and what I was expecting from this summer. Basically, the question on everyone’s mind (including mine), is, “Now what?”

That’s a good question.

I guess you could say that I’m ready for a mix of new things that are more focused on what I’m learning about in school with a touch of the old (I’m talking to you, Excel spreadsheets). Of course, I’m still expecting to help out in traditional intern fashion, ready to assist anyone with anything, and trying to make everyone’s lives here at Market Mentors a little easier.

Since I have more of an idea about what I actually want to do in the future, that can help shape what I can be helping with and working on during my time here this summer. Now that I know what I want to learn about and started to learn about during the past school year I can hopefully help out with projects that fall into that realm. They can help me further develop my career path and allow me to flex my school muscles a little bit (all those late nights have to come in handy someday…right?).

But even though I’ve decided on some things, like a major and an emphasis, that doesn’t mean I’m not open to helping out in other areas. If there is one thing I’ve learned since this time last summer, it is to never pass up an opportunity to learn. In fact, closing off other areas to just focus on one will hurt you rather than help you. Everything, especially in this industry, works and flows together; now more than ever, it’s vital to know something about everything. Just like cake or another Netflix episode, there’s always room for more.

It’s fortunate enough to be able to get an internship before your junior year, or even before you graduate, so being able to intern at the same place two summers in a row, before graduating college, is something truly special. It is an opportunity that doesn’t happen often and I am extremely thankful that Market Mentors has allowed it to happen. Not only do I have a chance to be back at the same place to learn from the same people, I have a better opportunity to learn and grow from my time last summer. I’m able to apply new skills to an environment I am already familiar with. It’s a unique chance to be able to take what I’ve learned from this past year, look at it, and say, “What can I do differently? What do I want change and what do I want to keep doing?”

I’ve learned a lot, but there’s still so much to learn. I have no doubt that this summer will be filled with new adventures and experiences that will benefit me for years to come. Bring on the summer, part two!

Jadyn Smith
07.11.2014
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How to Win Games and Influence People

The world cup is in full swing and full of excitement. Surprising comebacks, inspiring underdog performances, and of course, the usual suspects. As the popularity of soccer in America grows so does our understanding of how the game is played, what it takes to win and what makes a remarkable team. In this way, advertising and the World Cup have a lot in common.

The World Cup is a collection of the finest teams in the world all vying for the one spot on top, your advertising campaign is no different. Marketing agencies around the world all compete to be the best, the smartest, the funniest, all in hopes of positioning your brand at the very top. The competition is fierce and not everyone can win. Fortunately, advertising is not a winner take all game. Ideally we all want our clients to emerge victorious but often two brands can occupy the same space successfully.

WorldCup

Jadyn himself!

Advertising, like soccer, is a game of finesse. While some commercials are abrasive and aggressive, truly successful campaigns must be nuanced in order to succeed. It is not merely enough to run at the opposing team full force for 90 minutes (plus stoppage time), you need to have a plan and you need to stick to it. Successful teams have patience and foresight. Many soccer games are won by one point, a very close margin, and it is often the team that had the most grace that wins the game. Not every shot on goal is a rocket from inside the box, many goals are soft touches and heel-flicks set up 60 yards away that come to fruition at precisely the right place and exactly the right time. Robin Van Persie’s flying header against reigning champs Spain is a prime example. While we may not be the Flying Dutchman, we do have the finesse and experience to score great goals in high pressure situations.

In soccer, everyone on the field also has a role, a position specifically assigned to them that they are especially well suited to fill. You can’t have 11 people all trying to score, it’s too large a field to be found defenseless. There are defenders, mid-fielders, strikers, forwards, goalies, hybrids, all performing their assigned task in order to achieve a shared objective. An advertising agency functions in the same fashion, we all have our places and we all work together to accomplish one goal — winning. It is important in any organization to have clearly defined roles, responsibilities associated with those roles, and ways to gauge the effectiveness of the players.

The World Cup is also quite a long affair. A soccer game consists of 90 minutes of regulation time plus stoppage time (whatever amount of time the ball was not being played added onto the end, usually between two and five minutes each half). Should the score remain tied after regulation time, the game will go into overtime, two 15-minute halves. It takes endurance and perseverance to be able to remain competitive for that length of time. The two teams in the final will be playing their seventh games. While this may not immediately sound substantial, consider that it is seven games against the best teams in the world. There are no easy days or casual Fridays. It is guts and glory or go home, every game. Like advertising, it is not the team that starts off the strongest or plays the fastest that usually win, it’s the team that plays well for 90 minutes and then still has the skill, heart and energy to play hard in stoppage time and overtime. Soccer and advertising are not sprints, they demand a maintained presence and consistency that may be difficult for some to appreciate. Market Mentors has been serving our community for over 11 years with superior service and consistency.

Whether you’re playing in the most exciting game on earth, or you’re watching soccer, it’s paramount to understand what sets the successes apart from the failures:

  • Employing the best team possible, with people who know what’s expected of them
  • The wisdom to know where you need to go and what you need to do to get there
  • The stamina to play hard for the whole game while remaining composed and consistent

When you’re ready to advertise make sure you pick a team that exhibits the most essential qualities to put your team on top. If it’s your first time in the big game or you need to substitute your current players out, we’ve got the fresh legs you need. Our team is composed of world class players who have the skills and adaptability to ensure your success.

Jennifer Lopez
07.10.2014
Published by

Content is King

A Brief History of Content Marketing

Click the image to view the infographic larger.

Content marketing. Chances are you’ve heard this relatively new buzzword at some point during your brand marketing discussions over the last few years. However, while the term was coined fairly recently — its inception dates back to 2007 – the idea behind it is steeped in marketing history. For years, marketers have been utilizing storytelling techniques in order to develop a brand identity and sell products.

With the digital landscape constantly evolving as technology changes and as more and more consumers turn to an online market in order to obtain their goods, content marketing is a critical tool that businesses can use to generate interest in themselves and their products. How do companies know that the information they post will reach its intended audience? By employing a content marketing strategy to drive the right traffic to them.

According to a 2013 Axonn Research study of content marketing trends, nine out of 10 companies were building content to attract and engage customers last year. Companies that utilize content to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and promote online engagement ultimately increase brand awareness and create a rapport with customers. By delivering content that provides valuable information, companies are rewarded with sales and customer loyalty.

In order to increase brand awareness, it is essential for businesses to develop a long-term content strategy to distribute important, relevant information across a variety of mediums. This can include online — in blog and social media posts, email newsletters and websites — and in print. Without a strategy in place, content marketing could yield short-term spikes in company awareness, but likely won’t translate to long-term success.

In its 2014 B2B (Business to Business) content marketing survey, the Content Marketing Institute determined that brand awareness has been a top goal for B2B content marketing during the last four years. Additionally, 58 percent of B2B marketers planned to increase their content marketing budgets this year. Currently, B2B marketers spend an average of 33 percent of their budget on developing content. A similar B2C (Business to Customer) survey by the Content Marketing Institute indicated that brand awareness topped customer loyalty and retention as a content marketing organizational goal. This shows that content-led marketing campaigns — especially those with a thought leadership strategy to influence future decision makers — are more important now than ever.

Why? Because content marketing has a long shelf life. If the goal of today’s thought leaders is to develop lasting relationships with tomorrow’s customers by engaging them in industry-relevant conversations, content marketing is the means by which they attain that goal.

To manage their content marketing strategies effectively, more and more companies are outsourcing their content marketing to firms like Market Mentors. At Market Mentors, we are experts at developing solid content marketing strategies. Ask us about how we can implement a content marketing strategy to increase your brand awareness and drive attention to your company or product.