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Reddit Ads

Reddit has grown from a small community forum to one of the top influential news sources online. Because of its passionate audience, Reddit has the 5th largest website audience in the United States with the most influential community online. Because of Reddit’s nature, many users often ask for advice in areas that are not their expertise. Using Reddit ads, your brand can provide the answer to their questions.

Reddit’s advertising platform is simple. Advertisements may redirect to a Reddit thread (subreddit) or redirect to a website. You can narrow the funnel depending on interests and also by location. Sponsored advertisements appear in a native content form, which blends well with organic content.

Bidding works similar to other content platforms, such as Facebook, and offers daily or campaign max spends. The platform also offers a creative preview, so you can see exactly how your advertisement will look on the website.

For our client Nevada Health Link (NHL), we saw an opportunity to reach the 18- to 35-year-old male demographic through organic and paid advertising on Reddit. This demographic is often hard to reach, especially on a topic such as health insurance.

For organic advertising, NHL will utilize the popular Reddit “Ask Me Anything” series. The feature has hosted everyone from an appliance repairman to the President-elect of the United States. It allows Reddit users to ask questions based upon a host’s knowledge and experience. These series are often successful and receive thousands of organic impressions.

For paid advertising, NHL will extend the longevity of the “AMA” series by linking advertisements to the subreddits. Advertisements before the “AMA” series will increase brand awareness and drive enrollments to their website.

With many of the health insurance questions on Reddit already focused on millennials enrolling for the first time, Nevada Health Link will be able to get on 26-year-olds’ radars and assist them with their first health insurance enrollment process. Be sure to look for our Reddit ads and “AMA” series during open enrollment from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

Reddit Ads

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Writing a request for proposal (RFP) for your company’s marketing needs can be daunting. You want the best firms to respond, and you want to really get a sample of what their work is like. But having to summarize the entirety of your organizational goals, target audience, invoicing process and a million other considerations into a succinct document is nearly impossible. Here are some tips when writing your next RFP:

  1. State your expected budget. Too often, RFPs leave off a budget, usually on purpose to see what the agency proposes. But, there is a big difference between a $100,000 marketing budget and $1,000,000 marketing budget. If you want to see what the agency proposes at different cost levels, then tell them the different cost levels. The best RFPs say “for the sake of this RFP, our expected marketing budget next year is ____.” Personally, I review a lot of RFP submissions for digital media, and it’s impossible to compare them if they’re all different budget amounts.
  1. Only include references if you’ll use them. Obviously, the references a marketing firm will give will all be positive and won’t really help you in the evaluation process. Consider alternate ways to get references – ask around, have them list a client they no longer do business with, or just consider having specific letters of recommendation in the proposal (e.g. how often do they provide proactive recommendations?). Just like when you’re interviewing someone for a job, you need to be able to get useful information from the references.
  1. Don’t ask “yes” and “no” questions. If you’re asking the question, it must be important. Instead of asking “Does your agency use do video in-house?” you could ask “Please describe your video capabilities and the expected cost of a 30-second spot.” This will yield superior answers and help you to better compare the submissions .
  1. Steps to writing a marketing RFPInclude target audience information. If your target audience is residents who live five miles from your store, then say it! Too often, RFPs keep this hidden or say they want submitters to define the target audience. Wouldn’t you rather have proposals that outline what media channels your target audience uses, what drives them and what messaging would resonate better with them?
  1. Proof your RFP. We’ve all seen a Powerpoint presentation that was obviously put together by more than one person. It has different font sizes, a different layout and just doesn’t look professional. It reflects poorly on those presenters. The same goes for a marketing RFP – even though it’s easy to change your fonts, is the message consistent? As a firm that submits many marketing proposals, usually the questions we ask after reading it have to do with this: Do you want the target audience as you stated in the background section or the scope of work section? You’ll get better proposals if your RFP is consistent and error-free.

A good way to gauge how well-written your RFP is would be to see how many questions you get. If there’s few questions from submitting firms then it was a success, but if you get lots of questions then you missed some crucial pieces. Oftentimes good firms will read over an RFP and choose not to submit based on the quality of it. You don’t want that to happen to you.

As a bonus, most marketing RFPs follow this format.

Marketing RFP Format

Purpose of RFP – Why it’s being issued (usually contract expiring).

Background – What your company or organization does and the challenge or opportunity faced.

Question & Answer Period – Details how to ask questions and the deadline to submit questions.

Restrictions on Communications – Don’t allow firms to communicate or wine and dine your employees.

Submitting a Proposal – How to submit a proposal with the deadline.

Length of Contract & Terms & Conditions – All the legalities.

Interviews – If you want to interview the top submitting companies, this is where you put that.

Qualifications – Ask for proposals to include related work, business license and bios of employees.

Scope of Work – This is the most important part. It outlines what you want done (e.g. PR, media buying, a website, etc.) and gives details about your target audience and your goals for each.

Technical Response – Details how you’ll evaluate the response. Most firms use a point value, for example: references are worth 100 points.

Proposal Format – Outlines exactly how you want proposals laid out (e.g. page 1 is the title page, page 2 is the executive summary, etc.).

Proposal Evaluation – Shows who will evaluate the proposal and the expected timeline.

Obviously, this format would change based on the scope of the RFP, but these items are typically included. We hope you will consider these guidelines for your next marketing RFP to get the best responses. Now that we’ve helped you make your next RFP easier, please make sure to invite us.

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Advertising agency internships are tough to get. Whether it’s an account management internship, designer internship or public relations internship, there will always be more applicants than openings.

One important note – there’s a reason why there’s a surplus of applications. Ad agencies are fun places to work, fast-paced and generally cater to younger folks already. There are big budgets and the work is high-profile. What that means is the people who work in advertising are stretched thin and generally have less structured internship programs than large brands. An advertising internship will be one of the most fun jobs you’ll have but you’ll have to really stand out.

Here’s a list of four unique ways to land a coveted internship at an ad agency.

Agency Tour

Most ad agencies won’t even post their internships online. They ask professors for their best students or have someone’s second cousin’s niece lined up. Call up an agency you want to work for and ask to talk to a manager/director of the department you’re interested in working for. Tell them you’d be interested in a quick tour. Bring your resume along, ask good questions throughout the tour and ask them if they’d like an intern. You’ll be blown away with how many say yes and you’ll likely be the only one to interview for the position.

Send a Pie

If you want your resume to stand out, instead of submitting it via email, send it along with an item of food. I recommend pie, because everyone loves pie, but you could also try a pizza, fruit basket or doughnuts.

I once interviewed for a position and instead of sending a thank you note, I sent a pie with a note that said “It’d be a real treat to work with you.” I got the job offer the next day. Once again, everyone loves pie.

Edgy Cover Letter

Remember that real people are reading your cover letter. They, like you, want to learn something, be entertained or just see something different once in a while. Ditch the standard cover letter format and remember you’re applying for a job at an advertising agency. It’s a fun place, so make your cover letter appeal to these fun people. One of my favorite examples is this brutally honest cover letter.

I received a portfolio recently that had the applicant’s zombie plan. It was, “There are only two kinds of people in this world. Those who have a zombie plan and those who don’t. I like to refer to the second group as dinner. Of course I have a zombie plan.”

Know the Different Departments

Odds are you are not both a designer and a media buyer. They are both very different jobs, and even if there’s an opening for both at an agency you shouldn’t use your same resume for both. Here’s a rundown of what jobs fit in to which department:

  • Creative – designer, copywriter, videographer
  • Production – trafficking
  • Digital – web developer, web designer, user experience
  • Account Management – account coordinator, account manager
  • Media – media planner/buyer
  • Public Relations – PR professional, social media
  • Administrative – HR, finance, billing, administrative assistant, IT

In my experience, there are less internship applications for production and media, as those are the lesser-known departments discussed in school. A production job requires high attention to detail and gets to work with everyone in the agency (although is not client-facing). A media job is very data-driven and works with many media vendors. To learn more about media you can read what a media planner does.

Understanding the different departments is helpful when you’re crafting your resume or setting up a tour (first recommendation in this article).

Overall these four tips will set you up for success as you start to apply for internships. If you’re looking for an internship in Salt Lake City or Las Vegas, please send us a pie!

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Alec ABC 800 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says, 1 in 9  Americans work in sales. And as Daniel Pink pointed out in his 2013 book To Sell is Human so do the other eight. We are all selling in some form or fashion regardless of our profession whether it be a product, an idea or a pitch to your husband to spend your next vacation at Sundance Mountain Resort instead of yet another cruise. [Full disclosure: Sundance is a Penna Powers client but I couldn’t resist the product placement. See? Always selling.]

So if we’re all in sales, shouldn’t we take it easy on salespeople?  Since advertising and PR aren’t too far away from used car salesman as among the most despised professions, I tend to have more empathy for what they go through. As a media director, much of my job involves working with salespeople. Oftentimes people think we’re supposed to be at odds with them, to protect ourselves and clients from their oily ways.  But as long as you know where you stand, a great salesperson can always make you stand taller. There are plenty of bad sellers out there so here’s a checklist to make sure you’re one of the good ones:

1) Know what you’re selling – This seems pretty straightforward but I don’t know how many times I’ve spoken with TV reps who hadn’t the slightest clue what programs ran on their station. And I often had to conclude that they never watched their own station. You should be living and breathing your product. I better not know your product better than you do.

2) Believe in what you’re selling – I love it when salespeople are passionate about their product and actually believe it will work for you. Take the below scene in the underrated movie In Good Company, where young buzzword-dropping tech upstart Topher Grace becomes veteran magazine account executive Dennis Quaid’s sales manager after a merger. I was working at a large New York agency when AOL bought Time Warner and remember the awkward sales calls where overly confident and snarky AOL reps lacked any kind of chemistry with their polished but old school magazine counterparts. It was fun to watch but painful for them. This clip shows Dennis Quaid making the big sale with his veteran know-how and his genuine belief and love for what he sells. There should always be honor and respect for what you do and what you represent.

3) You work for me, I don’t work for you – Sometimes we’ll get sales reps who believe that we are the ones who should be doing them the favors. They want to turn the tables on you and bully and guilt you into buying their product, knocking you off from where you stand if you let them. I actually had a rep call me after I placed an order, asking me to add $1000 more to the buy so he could win his sales contest and earn a trip to wherever.  Don’t ever ask, “How can I get more business from you?”. Instead you should be asking, “How can my product help you meet your goals?”.

4) Seek to understand before being understood – I may be stealing this from a Stephen Covey book, but it works especially in sales. If you open up your meeting and immediately launch into your sales pitch, the mood subconsciously becomes one about transactions instead of two sides coming together to make something great. Be flexible, understanding and solution-oriented rather than transaction-oriented.

5) Play the long game – Salespeople who only work in the short-term, wanting to get the business right away are practically telling me that they won’t be around for very long and need their commissions now. If you’re a short-termer, so is my relationship with you.

6) Always be closing – No article about sales would be complete without a Glengarry Glen Ross reference. While this line is uttered by a hideous human being played by Alec Baldwin, it’s mostly true. The best salespeople aren’t afraid to sell, to back up their product and be its biggest champion. Yes, there are pushy slimeballs (see #3), but there are probably more salespeople who are simply afraid to sell and shrink after the first objection. If you’re confident in what you’re representing and not an a-hole, then it’s worth listening to you.

7) Play to your strengths – You don’t have to have a yellow personality to be good at sales. I’ve worked with introverts and extroverts and both can be great salespeople. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you lack social skills or don’t like people – it actually can be more helpful. Introverts feel more comfortable when they are prepared and knowledgeable about a subject before engaging.  Extroverts can often forego preparation and over-rely on their ability to talk their way out of a problem, only to look like a fool.

 

 

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Here’s what the Penna Powers people were reading in 2014:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – Read this as the companion piece to Tina Fey’s hilarious Bossypants. Yes, please, we want more of Amy Poehler.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Beautiful story about a blind French girl, set during Nazi-occupied France in World War II.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – Hilarious novel about a brilliant genetics professor with Aspergers who sets out to find himself a wife in the most unusual, awkward and comedic way possible.

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero –  This is not the Twilight of plastic surgery adventures.  Nevertheless, we loved this clever and absorbing gothic ghost story/treasure hunt of a novel.

Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull – Ever wonder how Pixar consistently pumps out brilliantly original (well, besides Cars 2) animated films? We took away several great ideas in our continual quest to stay creative and fresh.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley – We can never get enough of Bradley’s 11-year old chemist detective Flavia de Luce. She makes Encyclopedia Brown look like Elmo.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek – If you’ve been captivated with Simon Sinek’s inspiring Ted talk launching the “Start with Why” business philosophy (and book – read that one first), you’ll love this one.

The Troop by Nick Cutter – If you like your boy scout literature mixed in with some gnarly horror, this book’s for you.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – It’s better that you don’t know much about this novel before reading. But trust us, it will grab you. Mr. Carey is a prolific comic book writer, having written for both DC and Marvel.

Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte – This should be required reading for all of us and our clients. Read this if you feel like you don’t have enough time to do your job, or at least do it well. Schulte compares time to a “rabid lunatic” running naked and screaming as your life flies past you. Give time the rabies shot it deserves and download this one to your phone so you can read it in between all of those emails.

What books did you enjoy this year? Please let us know in the comments. And be sure to read our past picks from 2013, 2012 and 2011. Also check out what movies, television and music we liked in 2014.

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Back in October, The Guardian wondered aloud whether 2014 would mark the death of the platinum album.  “Going platinum” used to be a normal thing. Now the prospect of selling one million albums is a near impossible feat.  So did anyone do it this year? Technically, only one did if you don’t count the Frozen soundtrack, which came out in 2013. Who was it? None other than Taylor Swift, who’s not only racked up the sales but also the YouTube views (now routinely going over 200 million views per song). Here’s what we think should have gone platinum, if it was still 1994:

Weezer, Everything Will be Alright in the End – Speaking of 1994, look who’s back! After so many fans writing them off over the past decade, they’ve dropped an epic album that many critics are calling their best since the Blue album.

 

AC/DC, Rock or Bust – We have a few Angus Young wannabes in our midst and they are all singing the praises of this geezer band’s new album, and not in an ironic way.  Maybe they made a Robert Johnson-like deal with the devil, but these guys recently returned from hell and wanted to tell us about it. They sound really really good.

 

The Black Keys, Turn Blue – Sensing a pattern with our love of rock? In reality, there are very few real rock albums being made, but whatever The Black Keys turn out, you know they got the bonafides to do it with the authenticity that real rock requires. Turn Blue was an amazing record.

 

Spoon, They Want My Soul – Frontman Britt Daniel could have had a decent career as a Mick Jagger sound double, but we’re happy that he chose to dedicate his life to impeccable song craft. After a 4-year hiatus, Spoon is back with an album that will seriously grow on you.  I could hit repeat on singles “Inside Out” and “Do You” forever and die happy.

 

Michael Jackson, Xscape – The second posthumous Michael Jackson album, this one brings back his early 80’s sound, with singles like “Love Never Felt So Good”, which sounds like something Diana Ross would have knocked out of the park. But Justin Timberlake makes a great Diana Ross stand-in.

 

Hozier, Hozier – This Irish crooner took us to church so many times this year, we’re getting honorary sainthood status. His video has been seen over 50 million times. Now that’s nowhere near Taylor Swift levels, but for an Irish Joe Cocker (RIP), this is as good as it’s gonna get.

 

Ed Sheeran, X – The hardest working red-headed Englishman in show business today, Ed Sheeran capitlized on his Taylor Swfit and One Direction guest appearances and made serious head way into the river that runs through popular culture.  He’s a pretty great singer-songwriter too.

 

Manchester Orchestra, COPE – These guys have been recording and playing great indie rock for years, but 2014’s release of COPE has finally brought them the attention and respect they deserve.

 

Taylor Swift, 1989 – Ms. Swift single-handedly saved 2014 from becoming the year without a platinum album release.  She’s almost sold 4 million albums in only two months time which makes her music’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.  Her pop chops are undeniable and 1989 is a testament to her ability to make anything she touches turn to gold (or platinum).

 

Honorable Mentions: A Great Big World, Is There Anybody Out There?; Pixies, Indie Cindy; Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour; Meghan Trainor, Title; Coldplay, Ghost Stories; U2, Songs of Innocence; FKA Twigs, LP1; Train, Cadillac, Cadillac; Maroon 5, V; Damien Rice, My Favourite Faded Fantasy; Lindsey Stirling, Shatter Me; Pentatonix, Vol. III & That’s Christmas To Me; Circa Survive, Descensus; Royal Blood, Royal Blood; Miniature Tigers, Cruel Runnings; Jenny Lewis, The Voyager; St. Vincent, St. Vincent

What music moved you in 2014? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to check out our picks from years past: 2013, 2012 and 2011.  Also read our picks for this year’s moviesTV and books.

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