SXSW 2011 – App, Schmapp – Pointers for Moving from Web to App

Aaron Forth, from, shared his experience taking his financial planner web application and building a successful app that people actually use. has seen huge user adoption for their app for iPhone, Android (and soon to be iPad). According to Forth, right now 67% are using the iPhone app, and 33% are on Android – but this is growing. Total app downloads have grown 200% in just the last couple of months. One interesting point is that 20% of users actually only use the app and don’t even go to the site. Something, he argues, isn’t a bad thing.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

– Pick platforms carefully. You want to consider device adoption, how apps are available to the consumers, what support you can get when building apps for different platforms, and look for low fragmentation. Yes, one of your potential consumers may be surfing on Blackberry, but you’re going to open up a whole other can of worms for UI, development, QA, support, etc. that just may not be worth it.

– Make your app a companion for your website, not replacement. Think long and hard about what features the App is best suited for. How do people use those devices? Make “on the go” utility – don’t try to cram everything in the phone that the phone isn’t really meant for. Think quick overviews, easy on-the-go decisions and actions, and notifications that require the user to go back to your website to complete more complicated tasks.

– When approaching your app development, think what can you reuse from the existing site? (Answer should probably be, not much.) Then, think about what you’ll need to rethink.

  • Leverage things like branding, data (financial data from financial institutions in this case) and user profile information.
  • Things you need to rethink will most likely be:
  • UI & visual design (gesturing, one button controls)
  • Mobile security features – ( allows you to go to the website and disconnect the mobile app connection in case you lose your phone, and thus important personal financial information.)
  • Skills/development resources you’ll need to code
  • Service layer & architecture (different APIs than using on the web – bursts data, instead of stream)
  • Authentification (encrypted cookie where it times how long you want it to remember your login before you have to login again, ~ 2 weeks – allows for some security, yet ease of use for consumer)
  • QA build & release

Bottom line is this: When thinking about an app, think about use cases and design from there. Gimmicky apps may not stand the test of time and copying your entire site functionality probably won’t suit the device. Consumers are simply looking for something that will make their lives easier. It’s your app’s job to deliver.


SXSW 2011: Marketing Budgets Have Gone Social: Is It Working?

Panel #1 at SXSW 2011: Marketing Budgets Have Gone Social: Is It Working? Important stuff, right? …So much so that it meant I got to enjoy my first ever SXSW panel seated on the floor behind the stage, huddled in with about 15 other interested SXSWers who found out that being 30 minutes early doesn’t always guarantee you a chair. Easy to make new friends when you’ve got the icebreaker, “Yeah, I can’t feel my legs either…”

A unique angle at the SXSW Social Media Panel

But regardless of the fact that we were hearing the message from the backs of heads, the theme was still clear. The answer to Marketing Budgets Have Gone Social: Is It Working, is not a very clear one.

The panelists represented huge companies like PepsiCo, General Mills, Hershey and Samsung. They admitted that gleaning clear ROI stats from social media is still something we’re all trying to figure out. But, it’s also clear that the piece of the pie in marketing budgets for social marketing has grown, and that this is a necessary growth if companies want to communicate and engage consumers in the way they want to be communicated with and engaged.

Though it’s hard for three knowledgeable panelists to make wholly cohesive arguments in only an hour, there were some interesting stats and anecdotes thrown out:

Rough Stats

According to the panelists (Julie Hamp of PepisCo, Kris Narayanan of Samsung, David Witt of Hershey (formally General Mills))…

– eMarketer says that in 2011, social budgets are expected to grow 60%

– General Mills social budget is about 5% of the marketing budget for all their brands

– Across PepsiCo’s 500 worldwide brands, social budgets run from 10% of the marketing budget to 100% (on big campaigns like Pepsi Refresh). On average, the social budget piece of the pie has increased 30% recently

Mini Case Studies

– Sales soar using a POS social promotion

– A promotion linking Foursquare, Hess convenient stores and Brisk, in which users were encouraged to check in with Foursquare at Hess locations and be rewarded with a BOGO deal on Brisk, resulted in a 200% increase in this social interaction at POS and sales went up 141% during that time.

– Using social media promotions that drive users to purchase

– Promo with Brisk and Instagram, users are asked to submit photos using Instagram and 50 photos will be chosen to be featured on a Brisk can. Did your photo get chosen? Better buy some cans and find out. It did get chosen? Better tell your friends and family so they buy the cans. This word of mouth action and the brand awareness surrounding it will drive people to purchase.

– Use key influencers early on for positive word of mouth in the social realm

– When General Mills Fiber One bar was released, it was advocated for on the Hungry Girl email with the line, Fiber One is better than Snickers. Because the product itself was so good and exceeded expectations of the user, this positive word of mouth from key influencers was huge. General Mills saw online conversation to be the 2nd most important driver of sales here, (only second to the product actually being on the shelves). Though it may not be able to be calculated as direct ROI, there was a strong correlation between online conversation, brand experience and sales for a given product.

SXSW Interactive 2011 – Very Cool.

As winter in Cleveland/Akron dragged along and SXSW 2011 got closer and closer, I began to consume everything I could to prepare myself for my first time at SXSW. I checked out the official SXSW website, read the FAQs, sifted through the panel topics. I read tweets, I read blogs, I Googled. And, admittedly, I started to get nervous. Oh no, I thought, I’m not cool enough for SXSW.

This thing is going to have top digital and interactive thought leaders, panels and parties galore, thousands of interactive, music and film fans mulling about meeting and greeting in what looks like an awesome town, Austin, TX. What would I wear, where should I go…could I fit in and keep up?

About 15 minutes into Day 1, my answer came in the form of a sigh of relief, a huge smile and the thought, “Ok, this thing is awesome.”

Austin Sunshine SXSW 2011

The weather was gorgeous (narrowly escaping a March dump of 10 inches of snow in Cleveland and ending up in a place with high 70s and sun…yes, please!), the town was beautiful (a mix of cool restaurants, shops, trees, rivers, bikes, college students, and friendly people) and the crowd and content at SXSW was inspiring. Conversation starts naturally with the people around you, and new ideas and excitement are constantly floating around you (not augmented reality-style (more about that later…), but the feeling is quite palpable.)

So for anyone interested in SXSW, it’s definitely something to experience that will provide you with new ideas for your approach to web and interactive, and get you excited for what is to come in this digital world.

SXSW 2011, Austin, Texas

We’ll be posting a series of blogs on some of the topics presented at SXSW 2011. There were some panels and talks that were better than others, but overall it was an interesting mix of topics, definitely worth some additional thought and conversation.

So, ok, maybe my worries about my lack of SXSW “coolness” were unfounded. I had a great time and felt totally comfortable. But, at the same time, there is an advantage to not being (or at least thinking that you are) the coolest person in the room – you get out of your comfort zone, get inspired by others and definitely learn some pretty “cool” stuff.

Categories: DigitalDay News Tags: , , ,

Sitecore CMS — a Perfect Match for Well-Branded Websites

July 1, 2010 4 comments

Since 1997, we at DigitalDay have developed or integrated a myriad of Content Management Systems (CMS) on behalf of our clients – some have been good, some not so, and others . . . ridiculous.

Finally, through our partnership with Sitecore, we’ve found a robust .NET CMS solution that allows us to maintain a brand’s design quality and integrity while giving our clients the self-help ability to maintain centralized control of brand and web communication strategies – at a very affordable price point.

We Know of What We Speak

Over the years, we had mixed experiences with several different flavors of CMS applications. Some were better than others, but here’s our take:

  • Interwoven – a massively complex and expensive enterprise CMS product implemented for GE Plastics & Sherwin-Williams
  • SharePoint – a difficult to customize to a brand’s look and feel collaboration platform requiring expensive programming resources
  • Ektron – a medium price-point .Net CMS that’s cumbersome to style properly for old-time sites like OE Connection
  • Kentico – an inexpensive, web-parts-based CMS requiring specialized training for the likes of Mars, Inc. and the Transworld Advertsing Agency Network
  • Custom CMS – implemented on a small scale for client’s like Penton Publication’s Fire Protection Magazine and on a larger scale for the J.M. Smucker Company’s Recipe and Product databases across dozens of their brand’s sites

We Love Sitecore, and Our Client’s Do, Too

As a Certified Sitecore Developer, DigitalDay has now designed and developed several Sitecore powered websites with great results.

  • Our .Net developers have been impressed with its flexibility to allow them to customize it in virtually limitless ways for our clients, without having to “fight” it or engineer cumbersome work-arounds.
  • Our designers like it because they have no restrictions in bringing a brand to life
  • Our clients love it because it has such a great variety of features and allows them to manage content in intuitive ways.

We find ourselves recommending Sitecore to our clients over and over again because it’s a powerful, user-friendly and cost-effective CMS.

About Sitecore

Sitecore’s CMS is one of today’s fastest growing and fully supported Microsoft .Net content management software solutions available enabling us to deliver compelling web experiences for our clients.

With Sitecore, we can help organizations create websites that are interactive and rich in functionality, yet easy to edit and update so that Marketing Departments maintain control of their organization’s brand sites.

In addition to a powerful workflow, advanced security, search engine friendly optimization and XML flexibility, some of Sitecore’s other key features include:

  • Rapid .NET Development to minimize time to launch and custom programming costs

  • In-Line editing lets editors simply click on parts of the website to edit, without complications.
  • Visitor profiling and Multivariate Testing to develop a 360-degree understanding of your visitors, campaigns and the performance of your website itself.
  • Real-Time Personalization to dynamically target content delivery based on a visitor’s profile
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) capabilities to identify new and active prospects and nurture leads
  • An Open API with the code completely exposed to eliminate proprietary approaches to content organization and presentation
  • Strict Separation of Content from Presentation so we can style content for desktops or mobile devices with ease
  • Multi-Site Management for marketers with one to hundreds of brand sites, editors or contributors throughout an organization
  • Robust Language Translation Support to tailor messages to the language of global visitors
  • Rich Integration Capabilities to easily tie in to 3rd Party applications such as email marketing services like Silverpop, DigitalDay’s email service provider, or

A Scalable CMS for Small, Medium and Gigantic Organizations

Sitecore’s mix of powerful marketing and business features, rich development support and scalability make it an ideal solution for small business to the largest enterprise class organizations.

With DigitalDay’s strategic counseling, design and Certified Sitecore Development capabilities, we’ll help you create a best-in-class, compelling web experience for your brand’s visitors.

Download these Sitecore resources:

To see examples of our Sitecore designed websites, visit these client sites:, the #1 Bakery Brand in Ohio, the makers of Duck Tape, America’s Largest Swing Set Manufacturer, a 2nd Sitecore installation for our client Backyard Discovery., a Premium Painter’s tape

Compound W for Skin Tags, Canadian Brand Website with French Translation

For more information or personal demonstration, either online or in person, contact:

Mark Vitullo
Partner, DigitalDay

Phone: 330-940-2565

Custom Designed Website Solution for Small Businesses

At DigitalDay, we’re big believers in the power of beautifully designed, well-branded, search engine optimized websites for all businesses, large or small.

We also believe it’s very important to update your business’ website on a regular basis to keep it fresh, current and alive in the search engines while encouraging visitors to return often.

Integrate WordPress to Bring Your site to Life

For small businesses, DigitalDay offers a great solution in the form of a WordPress integrated custom design providing a simple way to manage your content and update your website effortlessly.

WordPress is a free, open source blog publishing application. It features integrated link management; a search engine-friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; multiple author capability; and support for tagging of posts and articles.

But, with the right strategy and design help, WordPress doesn’t have to look like a blog. We work with small businesses to:

  • Define your online marketing and search engine optimization strategy
  • Design your site’s Information Architecture, write copy and create your site’s professional, custom design
  • Develop the HTML templates and integrate the WordPress platform into your site
  • Deploy your custom, content-managed site on our servers or yours

Original Content is the Key to SEO and New Business

When using WordPress for your website, we’ll set up a static front page that doesn’t look like a blog at all, and then have a link to “articles” area on your site, where you can easily publish content rich articles.

This articles area is a list of the blog posts that you create, and the content acts as “spider food” for the search engine crawlers. All you have to do is write and publish the blog post, and the article page gets updated automatically for you, and WordPress lets the crawlers know your site has been updated.

Regularly publishing quality articles and content to your website gives search engines more content to crawl, and provides value to your web site visitors. For example, if you are a Veterinarian, you can publish short articles that address the needs of your pet-owning market, as the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic has done with these recent articles:

The Sick Cat: A Master of Hiding Symptoms

Exercise! Healthy Living for Dogs and Cats

Microchip, a Decision for Peace of Mind

This is a great way to provide value to your visitors, and help your website rank better in the search results. And if your content is good, other people will link to your site, helping you even more.

And when your website is set up with WordPress, it takes minutes to post the articles, and Google finds them within a day or less. This means other people can find them too, and in turn find your website and your business.

How to Get Started

While the WordPress software is free, our services are not . . . sorry. Before you contact us, set aside website design budget of between $5,000 and $10,000. Then, to minimize your costs and the website’s design and development time, organize the following as best you can:

  1. Create an outline of all the navigation sections and pages that you’d want to fully describe your business
  2. Write copy or collect all of the information (brochures, press releases, etc.) that would populate each of those pages
  3. Gather up artwork and photos to support your information – or get a photographer to shoot it for you

The more you do up front, the lower your costs will be. If you don’t have the time or skill, we can do it all for you and we’ll provide a detailed estimate of our costs and manage the entire process.

For more information, contact us today to see if we can help your business get its fair share from online marketing.

Samples of our WordPress Integrated Work

To help give you a sense of how WordPress can look, take a minute to review these recent WordPress integrated sites we developed for our small business clients.

Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

Conte & Company, CPA

Volunteers of Bow Wow Beach

A Cost-Effective Online Coupon Alternative for CPGs

June 10, 2010 1 comment

The jury is in — Printable Online Coupons are a very effective interactive marketing tactic. In addition to a coupon’s traditional marketing benefits (generating trial, demand and increased market share), on online coupon program can dramatically help improve a CPG marketer’s web metrics — increasing new site traffic and repeat visits, encouraging more robust registration, increase email opt-ins and build customer profiles.

DigitalDay Powered Coupon Program
An example of DigitalDay’s Coupon Engine on the R.W. Knudsen & Family brand site.

Study after study prove that online coupon usage, acceptance and redemption continues to increase. In a recent survey, PriceRunner reports:

  • Nearly three-fourths of consumers (73%) used at least one coupon they found online within the past six months. Almost one-in-five (19%) reported using online coupons six or more times in the past six months.
  • Online coupon usage increases with income – 48% of $75k+ households used online coupons at least 4x per year compared to 23% for less than $35k households.

Thanks to consumer demand and better controls, channel resistance to online coupons has practically disappeared. Retailers readily accept bar-coded online coupons and most of the larger CPG brands have incorporated printable coupons into their online programs. Retailers also have the right to reject printed online coupons so it’s important to implement a coupon program that minimizes rejection and, consequently, consumer dissatisfaction.

A unique micro-site for Florida Crystals whereby consumers choose how much to donate and save with the DigitalDay embedded Coupon Engine.

Online Coupon Delivery Options
Like any marketing program, an online coupon initiative should start with an objective-based, strategic plan. An interactive marketing agency, like DigitalDay, can help craft and execute an appropriate online coupon solution, from design to delivery.

To actually deliver the coupons for a client, DigitalDay offers two options:

A. We can coordinate a program with any of large coupon delivery companies like Coupons, Inc. or through affiliate programs like Typically, these larger coupon delivery companies require a significant set up fee per coupon ($2,500 +) and then charge $.10 or more for every coupon that’s downloaded by a consumer. They also require consumers to download an Active-X file.

B. We can license, integrate and manage our proprietary DigitalDay Online Coupon Engine Service which features:

  • No Active-X component to download
  • No additional per-download costs
  • Creating the coupon (graphic design, copy writing, bar code generation)
  • Integrating the DD Coupon Engine into your brand site or hosting the coupon on our servers
    Consumer registration and opt-in
  • Download limits either by consumer, for the entire campaign or both
  • Fraud protection through personalization (consumer’s name is printed on the coupon), print limits, database checks
  • Monthly Reporting (downloads, opt-ins)

For Baco Foil, a UK brand, we embedded the DigitalDay Coupon Engine to drive store traffic

Our typical full-service set-up fee for integrating the 1st coupon into an existing brand site is $3,500 which includes designing and building the branded landing page to compliment your site. Each additional coupon creative is $1,000 with no additional set up charges and no per-download cost. We’ll provide a custom estimate based on your specific needs.

To help launch a new product for American Greetings, DigitalDay embedded a consumer coupon into this brand site

Marketing the Online Coupon
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. It’s important to market an online coupon program just as you’d do any other promotion. DigitalDay can help promote your coupons through a combination of email marketing, banner advertising, Pay-Per-Click, viral tactics or even rebuilding your brand site.

Through our partnership with Silverpop, the leading email delivery service provider, we often promote coupons in newsletters to dramatically increase open and click-through rates and, consequently, site traffic.

To support its seasonal product focus, Reynolds Kitchen's Newsletter promotes a new coupon every month

Retailers leverage DigitalDay Coupons to offer consumers discounts for Store Openings or other promotional periods.

Whether you’re a large national marketer ready to test the online couponing waters or a regional brand with a limited budget, DigitalDay will tailor a solution to meet your needs. For more information or an initial consultation, contact us.

Categories: Online Coupons

Nottingham Spirk Innovation Center

A recent visit to meet a client at the product design firm, Nottingham Spirk in Cleveland.

This is actually more to test how Photo Blogging works through Flickr.

Categories: DigitalDay News