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Allison Tocci

Whether you are new to the advertising industry, or have been working in it for a while, sometimes it can be difficult to bring fresh ideas to the table every day. One of the easiest ways to start each morning with a little inspiration is to keep an eye on what others in your industry are doing. Here are five sites that are fun to read, easy to navigate and chock-full of the latest industry trends.

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AdWeek is always up to date on the latest and greatest tactics and strategies that brands all over the world are using. You can count on it to have updates on technology changes and new industry standards. The best thing about this site? Its writers are not afraid to throw in the occasional industry gossip or write about the more controversial topics.

TechCrunch is one site that we have recommended before, because it is one of the best sources for breaking tech news. It profiles startups, reviews new Internet products and is a great resource for up-to-the-minute industry news. Seeing what is new in the tech world may help you incorporate some out-of-the-box thinking into your next marketing plan.

AdvertisingAge takes a similar approach to AdWeek, but the great thing about this site is the way it organizes its information. You can look specifically at marketing, advertising, digital, media, data, B2B, etc. It provides a different take on industry news.

FastCompany is focused more on small businesses, start-ups and business practices in general, which makes it a little more difficult to find relevant articles. But, you can read about topics like virtual reality, big data, productivity, etc. The articles are well written, easy to read and you might even find an off-topic article that boosts your creativity.

Marketing Land covers all aspects of the digital marketing industry, and is the ideal one-stop information source for any digital marketer. It is, again, easy to navigate, easy to read and has articles from experts across all disciplines.

If you want to read about more marketing sites that we recommend, check out this article: The Six Websites Marketing Professionals Should Check Daily.

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Music has, and always will be, a defining part of the world culture. But how we actually listen to our music is an ever-evolving process. The current flavor has taken the form of “music streaming”, and there are plenty of choices. This article will take an overarching look at some of the major players, while providing some thoughts to consider when picking which streaming service to subscribe to.

1. Spotify

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Spotify is arguably the most well-known music streaming service, offering both a free, ad-supported version and a premium version that costs $10 per month. On top of this, Spotify supports family plans of up to 5 people, with each person costing an extra $5 per month (i.e. 2 people would be $15, 4 people would be $25).

First and foremost, this price nets you access to the 30 million-plus library of songs that Spotify boasts. Spotify also offers all of its users several social features that you won’t find with other streaming platforms. This includes the option to follow your Facebook friends (or even artists) and see what music they are listening to, as well as the ability to build and share playlists that cover all kinds of music.

If you are looking for a large music library where you can also upload your own music collection, Spotify is one of the best choices available. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly option if you don’t mind listening to ads. That, in combination with all of the social features, easy-to-use UI and compatibility across all devices makes Spotify a very compelling option.

2. Apple Music

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Apple Music is somewhat of a newcomer to the music streaming world, but has already cemented itself as a very popular option. Working in tandem with your own personal music collection, Apple Music has curated playlists and live radio stations (as opposed to the “on-demand” stations offered by other services) that appeal to a lot of people. Of course, you can still listen to on-demand stations, but Apple Music is unique in that it offers playlists and radio stations managed by humans (not just algorithms).

Another advantage to Apple Music is price. While it isn’t the least expensive option available (and there is no free option), the family option supports six people and only costs $15 a month. Considering the individual plan costs $10 a month, the family plan is very affordable. Apple Music does come with some drawbacks, however. First, Apple Music only works on desktop computers and iOS devices. Not only does this mean that Android and Windows phones won’t work, but there is no online music player for Apple Music. While you can load up Spotify’s web player on any computer, sign in and start listening, you’ll have to download iTunes to your computer to utilize Apple Music.

Despite these negatives, for many people (especially those heavily invested in the Apple Ecosystem), Apple Music is the easiest and most natural streaming solution available. With a large music library and affordable options for the whole family, Apple Music has proven to be a solid streaming option.

3. Google Play Music

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Google’s solution to music streaming is called Google Play Music, and has been growing in popularity in recent years. One of the main benefits to Google Play Music is that you can upload your entire music collection (okay, well only 50,000 songs) to the Google Play Music cloud free-of-charge. After uploading your music collection to Google Play Music, you can listen to your music library ad-free, for free and from anywhere.

Furthermore, for $10 a month (sensing a pricing pattern yet?) you can seamlessly connect your personal library to Google’s library of streamable music. Similar to Apple Music, Google also offers an affordable family plan for $15 a month, and both the individual and family plans come with access to Google’s new Youtube Red content.

While Google Play Music will work on any computer and almost all mobile phones, it doesn’t have a desktop client, and can only be accessed via the web. Even so, it’s an excellent option, especially for someone who has a very large music collection that they would like to access via the cloud.

4. Amazon Music

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This entry on the list is lesser known than most of the others, but is highly underrated. Starting with the negatives: Amazon’s music offering doesn’t have quite the same depth as the other options on the list, and its user interface leaves something to be desired. But other than that, Amazon Music is the most affordable (while still capable) music streaming option available.

With desktop, web and mobile apps available, you can access Amazon Music from practically anywhere. And you can upload your own music collection to the Amazon Music Cloud as well. What’s more, Amazon has always had excellent algorithms for determining pertinent suggestions, and their music service is no different when it comes to album and playlist recommendations.

The best part about Amazon Music, however, is its price. For $100 a year (roughly $8 a month) you get full access to Amazon Prime, which includes things like Amazon Prime Video, free two-day shipping on purchases from Amazon and of course, full access to Amazon Music. Talking strictly bang-for-buck, this is easily the best value option for a fully capable streaming music service (many people probably don’t even realize they already have access to Amazon Music!).

5. Pandora

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The final entry on my list is Pandora. Pandora is a great and totally free (read: supported by ads) option for streaming music. The disadvantage is that you can’t choose what music you listen to. Rather, Pandora is built entirely around on-demand radios. You can select a genre or an artist and Pandora’s algorithms will create a customized, random playlist based around your selection.

The service is incredibly popular and very good at what it does, though the drawbacks are obvious. Still, for many people who don’t want to be bothered creating playlists, Pandora offers the perfect music streaming solution. Even for someone who subscribes to another service, Pandora can be an excellent source for discovering new albums and artists.

Honorable Mentions:

There are many different music streaming options out there. A few top notch options that I didn’t include in my list are Rhapsody and Tidal. If you’re interested in exploring more about music streaming, I’d recommend starting with the entries on my list, as well as these honorable mentions. And of course, if I missed any obvious contenders in my list, let me know in the comments below.

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Here you are, fresh out of a 4-year (or 5-year, or 6-year) college degree, where you have likely spent a good chunk of time playing beer pong or cutting up sheets for a toga party. And now, you are expected to be a fully-fledged, functioning member of society. Where do you even begin? While not everyone is going to have the same run of luck that I have had, below are my tried and true tips on kicking down the door to my dream advertising job.

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-Get an internship: With zero real world experience and a lot of procrastination, I finally gave in to an unpaid internship during my last semester of college. But let me tell you, internships are the BEST! I wish I had done 100 more. Well, maybe not 100. But, with the ability to ask limitless questions in a low-risk position, my internship opened my eyes to the world of marketing and gave me the fuel I needed to pursue a career.

-Polish your resume: This is your first impression, the window into the soul of what you have accomplished in life. While I had less than a year of marketing experience under my belt when I applied for Penna Powers, previous positions, while maybe not in the field you’re seeking, may bring skills that can translate. For example: Retail experience? Honed in my customer service capabilities. Camp counselor? Adapted problem-solving techniques while supervising. Include volunteer work, relevant courses, important experience. Again, during my last semester of college (I was late to the over-achiever game), I joined our University’s chapter of the American Marketing Association and added that, too, to my resume.

-Take advantage of everything your University has to offer: Utilize your advisors, search through job listings, network with professors and classmates. My advisor was a huge help in reaching out to companies that I was interested in. My business-writing professor wrote me an amazing letter of recommendation. These relationships are key when you are transitioning out of your college career.

-Apply, apply, apply… then interview, interview and interview some more: The fact of the matter is, you are going to be shot down for jobs that you think you are perfect for, you are going to be offered positions in companies where you just don’t fit and a lot of times, you won’t even get a call back for an application that you thought was flawless. I spent hours of my finals week masterfully crafting the perfect presentation for an entry-level job that I didn’t want at a company I idealized. After making it through two rounds of questionnaires and portfolios, I didn’t even get an interview. As soul crushing as that was, I am a firm believer that when one door closes three more open. So, I applied for three more jobs. And three more after that.

-Be persistent with the companies that you want to work for: Develop a repertoire over email or on the phone, and continually express an interest in what you are applying for. Tell them why you will be the best person for the job.

-And finally, weigh your options, be flexible, and always keep your eyes open: While my dream was to work for a well-known ad agency, my first job out of college was as an independent assistant for a woman who did freelance marketing. While, at the time, this wasn’t the most optimal job for me, I gained valuable real-world experience and got to learn and grow in a one-on-one environment. Ultimately, this was what led me to Penna Powers. I started here as a part-time employee and (apparently) proved my worth for a full-time position.

When all is said and done, the most you can do is put yourself out there and try your best. After a 4-month social internship, 5-months in a small firm, and 3 months as a part-time Social Media Coordinator, I am now 1 month in to the best job I’ve ever had. Best of luck to you all!

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Ad agencies are full of young and ambitious people, all aspiring to change the world for the better. So it’s no surprise that we have some of the hottest individuals in the Utah ad agency marketplace…

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…And no, we’re not talking about physical hotness, we’re talking about what roles are most sought-after in marketing. Here’s a list of the top six emerging roles that our clients are asking for.

Social Media. We all know Facebook is huge. Twitter is dying, slowly. Pinterest and Instagram are booming and everyone is secretly using Snapchat. Plus, there are thousands of other niche social channels out there. Social media strategists are abreast of what channels customers are using. Also, large ad agencies have entire departments devoted to future hunting, where they just find emerging channels to advertise on.

Behavior Change. If a company is looking to change someone’s behavior (e.g. stop texting and driving), a typical marketing campaign just won’t work. You’re trying to change behavior, not sell a product. Many of our healthcare, government and nonprofit clients ask for our behavior change experts to be in the room. These people specialize in grassroots efforts, community outreach and know the psychology behind changing one’s behavior.

Digital Media. Nearly everyone consumes digital media, and almost every channel has the option to click through to a website. Digital media includes channels such as Pandora, Google AdWords, Hulu, Xbox and YouTube. We’re seeing trends for these channels to become more programmatic (automated), which means that we’re less concerned with the channel itself and much more interested in the audience. We’re also seeing television ad buying becoming programmatic over the next few years.

ROI Analysts. Ad agencies capture tons of data when running a marketing campaign, and ultimately need to show what worked and what didn’t. Our ROI analysts use advanced software, such as Tableau, to look at correlation coefficients between media channels, campaign flight times and purchase data. This creates efficiencies and learnings. For example, we mapped the correlation between a radio ad schedule to website visits to show they were positively correlated, but when we mapped a television ad schedule to website visits there was little correlation. So we cut television and moved the dollars to radio.

Creatives. I’m not making this title up. Ad agencies have a team of creatives, which include designers, copywriters and production. This is the engine of an advertising agency. These people come up with the messaging and actually create it. You cannot have a good marketing campaign without the marketing content being on-target.

Account Strategists. Yes, it’s important to have someone who can hit deadlines and take your phone calls, but ultimately, clients need a strategist who understands their business. Our account strategists walk our clients’ hallways. They dive into research. They see emerging category trends. Most of our clients don’t know they need an account strategist until they have one, and after they do, they are in every meeting and working tirelessly behind the scenes.

These six roles are the hottest in the advertising industry. Did we miss any? Did you feel this article was just clickbait? Let us know in the comments!

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“How many leads has PR brought in for us this month?” “How are we tracking on those website KPIs?” “Are referrals increasing?”

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It may be a quick discussion with the CEO in the elevator, sitting in a client meeting or working with your team on month-end or year-end reports. The exact situation is unpredictable, but what is certain is that you will be asked at some point by your executives, client or team to demonstrate return on objectives (ROO) and return on investment (ROI) (aka, justify your value, your existence).

Here’s your open to bring in the analytics and other hard metrics that many people still think cannot be measured as part of their PR efforts. Let’s once and for all blow up that misperception. One of the primary principles of PR is setting measurable objectives and determining the measurement criteria for evaluation. Then, as with any assessment, the critical step to analyze, evaluate, retool and repeat.

While many agencies and larger organizations have the luxury of employing one of the sophisticated measurement and reporting tools that are available to help in these endeavors (Cision, Meltwater, Radian6, etc.), for many its not a budgetary reality. Or, even if you do have these tools at your fingertips, here are some terrific ways and what’s to measure that go beyond counting only placements and measuring PR’s real contribution and value to your company’s ROI. Best part, they many of these measurement approaches can be accomplished using existing technologies (e.g. Google analytics) or don’t require any additional hard cost for an additional third-party tool at all.

  • Dream Hits—Peg a few dream outlets and get placed. Include vanity URLs to drive to a particular page on your website, share content on your social channels that link to your site or have sales share directly with prospects. Track your analytics back to particular events to measure traffic, conversions or sales.
  • Key messages—Particularly instances when you are working to educate or persuade people on a particular issue, tracking if your key messages are include and how they are presented.
  • Completed action—Setting up call tracking numbers, unique URLs, hashtags, share, redemption, pixels, referral/lead capture that map back to a particular effort, offer, pledge request can let you know almost immediately if your initiative is performing as desired.
  • Influence—Measuring the percentage of news coverage that includes a spokesperson from your organization compared to those that don’t can give you a month-over-month or year-after-year glimpse into how you are able to influence the telling of your story vs. not being included.
  • Positioning—Whether benchmarking the perception of your product against a competitor, your organization’s reputation, brand awareness or adoption of a behavior, a survey, poll or other research instrument will show you where your currently stack up so you can plan your next move.
  • A/B testing—This can be used with different headlines, images, calls to action so you can measure which is/will perform most effectively.

Whether you’re using a third-party tool or are benchmarking and reporting through originally created metrics, the true measure of success is what, your CEO, CMO or client sees as a win. Start those conversations, set your metrics and then regularly report the true measure of your ROI.

What are some unique measurement benchmarks you have used in your campaigns, programs and publicity efforts? Tell us in the comments below!

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I think we have all heard the horror stories of interns being forced to make endless copies and carrying armfuls of coffee. But, is that REALLY what an intern does? Let’s see:

I have been interning with P2 for two months now, and let me tell you, it has been incredible! I didn’t quite know what to expect coming into a well-developed and successful ad agency, but as a media intern, I feel like I am a part of every team. There is no division at Penna Powers (P2), and the office space is warm, inviting and unique. With its open-door office policy, anyone and everyone are free to pop in as they please. Another nice thing about not having doors is the relieving lack of awkwardness because you don’t need to knock on somebody’s door and risk interrupting a meeting or busy moment.

My first day at Penna Powers, I was directed to my very own workspace, fully equipped with a Macbook, team hoodie and P2 water bottle. I immediately felt like a part of the team. And it didn’t stop there… I was taken to lunch too!

During my first week, I forgot my computer password (oops!). I traveled to the Underground (the creative and web development department) to have it recovered, and BOOM I was shot… with a Nerf gun. As the “new girl in town,” being whacked with that little foam dart not only put me at ease, but it encouraged me to be myself. (There are Nerf guns all over Penna Powers, so beware.)

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As a Social Media Marketing major, a lot of the projects and tasks I have been given have been outside of my expertise. But this hasn’t stopped the team from pushing me into new elements and teaching me a whole new realm of advertising. With a little direction and a lot of freedom, I am allowed room to grow and think for myself (what other ad agency gives their interns that type of freedom?!).

Being a media intern entails many different tasks and responsibilities. Everyday is different and exciting, and brings with it a new learning opportunity. Some days I dive deep into analytics, looking into our current and past campaigns to see how we can optimize them. I have access to all the media specific software, which I am able to learn and utilize to further understand the campaigns. The software helps me to analyze what is working and what isn’t, and then I give my insights and recommendations. Other days, I research and gather information for future or current campaigns. I attend staff meetings to hear and understand the vision of the company, I run different types of media ads, I get to be a part of and participate in brainstorming meetings, as well as other client meetings, I learn and watch how to do media buys and buy TV spots and I also get to join the SEO meetings and learn how to make websites more profitable. And on top of all of this, as you can see, they have now entrusted me in writing a blog post. Everyday is an adventure!

I never feel as if I am being pacified or just given busywork. I never twiddle my thumbs hoping for something to do or feel like I am being a bother. With warm and welcoming coworkers in a stimulating environment, everyone seems to be continually improving and striving to be their best selves. I get to be around these people daily and learn from the best in the industry. That, my friends, is why I have the best internship ever!

And no, I have never made copies nor coffee.

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Now, as the name would suggest, most technological trends simply come and then go. But every now and again, a trend will transcend its simple definition to truly change the way we interact with our devices. Touch screens are an example of this. What was once seen as a passing gimmick is now a staple of the technology we use daily. While it’s impossible to predict what trend is going to be the next one to really stick (though I promise you, it’s not “hoverboards”), here are three examples of tech that look like they might be here to stay.

1. 360 Video

360 video is just what it sounds like: Video that can be viewed in 360 degrees. Typically, this works by either swiping or using a “click-and-drag” motion to swivel your perspective around within a particular video. Facebook and YouTube are the most common places to view this kind of content. While it is still an emerging trend, some of the video that already exists online is intriguing to say the least. Take a look at some of my favorites (for the best possible experience, make sure you set the resolution of the videos to at least 1080p).

Don’t forget to drag your screen around!

2. Virtual Reality

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Now don’t get me wrong, 360 Video is pretty cool on its own, but really, it’s only half of the puzzle. The other half is virtual reality. With VR Headsets becoming more and more available (including Google Cardboard), getting a taste for virtual reality has never been easier. And there are countless VR experiences emerging all the time. Take, for example, THE VOID. The Void is a startup in Lindon, Utah, that has created a digital experience like no other. Participants put on a VR headset and suit to maneuver through a specially designed course. The virtual landscape you see through your headset matches the specially created course, essentially transporting you into another world. You can get more information on The Void here.

On a smaller scale, however, experiences are being curated on virtual reality through apps. While most VR is currently limited to what you can do with Google Cardboard (or a similar product) and your phone, the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets are expected arrive soon that will offer a more immersive experience. So, stay on the lookout.

3. Virtual Voice Assistants

Replace this with Alexa!

Replace this with Alexa!

The final trend in this article isn’t directly related to virtual reality or 360 video (yet), but could one day be used in conjunction with both. Voice assistants like Siri or Google Now have been available on phones for more than a few years, but only recently have these voice assistants really started listening. Take the Amazon Echo for instance. This surprise hit debuted on Amazon a little over a year ago and is an “always-on” speaker that listens for your voice. At any time, say “Alexa,” followed by a request, and you control a variety of things, including your music, your lights, your thermostat and more. On top of that, you can edit an on-going shopping list, ask for tomorrow’s forecast or even request a joke. Alexa is surprisingly useful. But don’t worry, voice assistants aren’t poised to take over the world quite yet.

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True fact: There are currently at least 20 armed Nerf guns at Penna Powers.

Another true fact: Nerf guns are great fun for kids, and also in the workplace.

Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down in a totally non-satirical or sarcastic way.

1. Nerf is great exercise

When was the last time you took 5 minutes to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge around the office? Probably never! Now this may surprise you, but studies that definitely exist (and aren’t made up) have shown that the act of engaging in a Nerf battle is actually very beneficial for work. Not only do you get your heart rate up (more blood flow to the brain means better ideas), but shooting someone with a foam dart is the perfect catharsis to peel you away from whatever demoralizing task you’ve been stuck on for the past hour.

2. Nerf will bring you happiness

Ask yourself this question: Have you ever seen a sad child shoot a Nerf gun? The answer is unequivocally no. Any person (and I stress any person) shooting a nerf gun will feel an almost immediate surge of endorphins directly in their brain cage (scientifically, a not-disproven fact). Did Jerry just steal the last piece of cake from Susan’s birthday celebration? Don’t worry about it! A few foam darts to Jerry’s back and you’ll feel happier than you’ve felt in years.

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Just look how happy this kid is

 3. Nobody bothers the guy with a Nerf gun

Ever since I got a Nerf gun I’ve made it a rule to shoot people who might come to my desk and try to assign me more work. The results have been amazing! Not only are fewer people stopping at my desk, but my work load has been drastically reduced. And why stop there? Take this technique to the next level by approaching unsuspecting coworkers and shooting them before they even have the chance to pester you. If that isn’t proactive work ethic, I don’t know what is.

4. Meetings go smoother with Nerf

When you are presenting an idea or sitting in on a brainstorm, bring your Nerf gun. Not only will others forego interrupting your opinions, but everyone will inherently agree with you and your foam justice. Furthermore, if you need to get everyone’s attention, just shoot the wall (or shoot Jerry again, that guy has it coming). The resonating crack as dart collides with wall will pull even the most listless worker from their daydreams.

5. Everyone can get in on the fun

The final benefit to having a Nerf gun at work is that everyone can get in on it. Nerf guns are much less expensive then a ping-pong or foosball table, but they’re just as effective at raising morale and building team chemistry. Ever since Penna Powers began using Nerf in the workplace, our productivity has been at least 100%. Incredible! So put your computer away and quit worrying. Not even Ralphie could shoot his eye out with these things.

Our personal favorites in the office are the smaller “Nerf Triad” shooters. Not only do these little noisy crickets pack a powerful punch, but they are easy to aim and have quick reload times. Though for longer engagements you might want something like the “Nerf Strongarm” six-shooter (pictured below).

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