What Businesses Can Learn From Donald Trump’s Email Marketing Failures Lauren Nelson | July 18th, 2016

The Trump campaign made waves last week with the release of a poorly designed new logo. Like, really poorly designed. Like, begging for all kinds of jabs and jokes of a NSFW nature. And as some pointed out, there really was no excuse for the selection.

It took the team 24 hours of online ridicule to realize their mistake and pull the logo out of circulation. Frankly, I can’t believe it took them that long.

Will the ill-fated design have any significant impact on the campaign? Probably not. If we’re being honest, there have been a slew of PR and marketing missteps made by Team Trump in the election cycle thus far, and none of them have had the impact one might expect.

But there is one arena in which poor marketing strategy is have a deleterious effect on the campaign: email marketing.

It was the 2008 election that really propelled email marketing to the status of a core component of an effective campaign, serving as a huge driver of campaign donations. By 2012, the numbers were astounding. As MarketingLand reports:

One statistic that still jumps out: Obama’s 2012 campaign cost $690 million, a staggering kitty. What’s more impressive is how the majority of those dollars were raised through email.

Approximately 4.5 million people donated, with an average gift of $53. Toby Fallsgraff, who directed the 2012 email program, told MarketingSherpa, “You can do the math and figure out a lot of people gave more than once.”

It wasn’t solely because of their passion for the incumbent or their love of the process. Fallgraff’s team used an email model that was beautifully orchestrated and integrated.

The candidates in this election cycle learned a lot from the success of email campaigns, and have poured extensive resources into email marketing this time around. Well, most of them have. Donald Trump has not, and it’s showing. As AppBoy writes:

Last month, following media reports that Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, had fallen significantly behind his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in fundraising, the Trump campaign sent out its first email soliciting donations. Now, normally there would be nothing notable about a political campaign using email to ask its supporters for donation: it happens all the time. But the way that the Trump campaign handled that first fundraising email was so problematic that it’s spurred multiple complaints to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and an international incident involving legislators in at least five countries.

Ouch. Talk about a disaster. Where did he go wrong? More importantly, how can businesses avoid making the same mistakes? Here’s the low down.

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Monday Motivation: Getting It Right Lauren Nelson | July 18th, 2016

Good morning everyone, and welcome to another Monday! You’ve got five full workdays ahead of you to make the most of, and we’ll be grinding right alongside of you. As you get ready to put rubber to the road, we thought we’d offer up some excellent reads that’ll get you focused on problem solving.


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Weekend Reads: Impressions Lauren Nelson | July 15th, 2016

It’s that time of the week again: time to begin the commute home on your journey towards the bliss of the weekend. As you make your way toward the luxury of downtime, we thought we’d give you some reading material to keep you entertained.



And because an end of week giggle is just delightful:


How Crowdsourcing Can Function as Marketing Lauren Nelson | July 14th, 2016

When we talk about crowdsourcing, a lot of emphasis is placed on the immediate value associated with the approach. You get a great deal of ideas at a reasonable price, freeing up resources internally to focus on issues where your organization already has talent. But there’s another benefit to crowdsourcing that doesn’t get discussed often enough: the marketing value in promoting your contest. 

The idea that crowdsourcing contests might be used to generate interest and excitement around a brand is not necessarily new, but there’s now a growing field of academic research to back up the hypothesis. In 2015, for instance, researchers Drogosch and Stanke published their findings after analyzing consumer responses to a crowdsourcing initiative performed by McDonalds, writing:

[B]rand awareness and brand loyalty proved to be the dimensions which were significantly linked to crowdsourcing. The study verified that non-participants tend to have a higher awareness for crowdsourcing brands and tend to be more loyal towards them compared to non-crowdsourcing brands. The researchers were surprised that particularly these two [consumer based brand equity] dimensions turned out to be significantly affected by the company’s activity in crowdsourcing […] because they supposed that especially brand awareness and brand loyalty require a longer period of time in order to get stimulated compared to the remaining dimensions, considering in particular the artificial set up of the study.

Referring to the second linkage in the model, which could also be confirmed, the created connection between the company’s implementation of crowdsourcing and CBBE is mediated by the factor of brand familiarity. […] According to theory, the surprisingly strong effect of brand familiarity does not only influence the extent to which brand perceptions and behavioral intentions are stimulated, it can also result in higher levels of trust and satisfaction with the crowdsourcing brand in the long run (Perera & Chaminda, 2013).


Some of the study’s insignificant dimensions still contained significant single items. One of these is the brand personality trait of being exciting, which showed a strongly significant effect and thus, reinforced the in chapter 3.1.5 stated findings of Djelassi and Decoopman (2013). The results let assume that crowdsourcing campaigns are still not expected by the majority of customers nowadays, which makes the campaigns appear as an exciting and new tool for differentiation. Furthermore the crowdsourcing activity significantly influenced the willingness to pay a premium price of respondents. […] The fact that those two single items, excitement and the willingness to pay, were significantly stimulated by crowdsourcing can be considered as a first indication of crowdsourcing campaigns being an engagement tool that can possibly stimulate the brand personality and behavioral intentions, if applied correctly.

These findings are important for a few reasons. For starters, it indicates that crowdsourcing initiatives can have a significant impact on not only individuals participating in the campaign, but on those who see it taking place. This suggests that campaigns, when promoted heavily by the brand responsible for them, have the potential to reach a pretty wide audience.

Second, the message sent by crowdsourcing to that large audience is positive and well-received. Those crowdsourcing initiatives not only deliver needed assets and ideas but make a solid impression on those who know about your efforts. That means your ROI on the investment in the initiative is likely much higher than you might have assumed when checking out the pricetag. The fact that this positive impression is correlated with greater willingness to pay a premium price means that ROI isn’t abstract; it’s something you can track.

Finally, the research suggests that the benefit of crowdsourcing initiatives as a strategic marketing tool may not yet be fully realized. The authors concede that the existing literature base on the subject is rather small. Pair that with the fact that companies effectively using crowdsourcing initiatives to gain publicity is still a relatively new trend, and it’s not unreasonable to believe the impacts could potentially be even greater than this study found.

In other words, maybe it’s time to stop thinking about crowdsourcing as just another means to an end, and start thinking about how this could be an opportunity where you spend a little to make a lot.

Fresh from the SPRING: glamaz0n Audree | July 14th, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for glamaz0n. Check out more great work on glamaz0n’s profile page.

Nicely done, glamaz0n, nicely done!


Startup Marketing: The 4 Building Blocks of Brand Identity You Can’t Ignore Nick Bowersox | July 13th, 2016

Building Blocks

First impressions are everything for a startup. When offering a new product or service it is important for a business to quickly demonstrate value to prospective customers and differentiate itself from the competition. In some situations the product or service itself can accomplish these goals, but often it is great brand identity that can make the difference between your first customer or a lost lead.

Though most startups know the importance of brand identity, it can often take the back seat to more pressing matters such as product development or finances. It’s hard to argue against this; without a finished product or the money to make it, what does the brand identity matter anyways?

Well, a lot. As graphic designer Scott Pokrant puts it:

“Research shows that the average user spends a length of about 10 seconds on a website before deciding if they are interested in sticking around or not. These initial 10 seconds are made entirely of visual first impressions, and will have an enormous impact on how the customer feels about your business and remembers your company in the future.”

To make sure the crucial first impression is a good one, we have broken down the foundation of brand identity into four building blocks so that you can quickly establish essential branding and get back to core business.
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Six Reasons Your Logo Might Need a Makeover Lauren Nelson | July 13th, 2016

We ask a lot of our logos. We expect them to be the visual representation of everything our brand stands for, to be the recognizable “face” of our companies, to be the picture worth a thousand words every day for so long as our business persists. So it’s really not all that surprising that logo design is one of the most difficult challenges a young brand will face. It’s also not surprising that more established brands are reticent to change that logo once it’s been embraced.

It can also be risky territory. Don’t believe us? Ask Gap about what happened when they tried to move away from that iconic navy blue box in 2010. And then you’ve got stories like the one about JCPenney changing its logo twice in two years… only to revert to its old one in the face of collapsing company performance.




Change is hard for most companies. Logo change? Hard to fathom. But despite the cautionary tales, there are times when a new logo makes a whole world of sense.

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Want to Boost Your Search Performance? Invest in UX Design Lauren Nelson | July 12th, 2016

The world of SEO is an inherently volatile one. For a while it was about having all the keywords in all the places all the time. Then it was about links — any links at all, anywhere you could get ’em, in any context you could secure. Then it was about making sure those links were quality and the keywords weren’t stuffed. With every Google algorithm update, conventional wisdom on SEO has crumbled and risen anew from the ashes. And even when it takes on a new form, it’s still mostly guess work.




But does it have to be? Are companies chasing the wrong thing as they shell out cash for the latest and greatest SEO tacticians? Are they possibly missing the forest for the trees?

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Why Your Company NEEDS to Start Playing Pokémon Go Lauren Nelson | July 12th, 2016

Everyone and their fifth grade cousin are playing Pokémon Go right now. Maybe it’s because it’s trendy. Maybe it’s because it’s a stupid amount of silly fun. Maybe it’s because it keeps them active. Maybe it’s because, like me, they were that kid who used to get caught playing Pokémon Blue on Gameboy Color in the back of their sixth grade math class.



But regardless of whether or not you’re trying to catch ’em all, Pokémon Go should be spurring some major conversations in offices across the country, particularly in terms of marketing. Because those conversations might be difficult to engage in if you’re not sure what the hell is going on, we’re here to answer your questions.

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Promotional Products: the Most Durable Marketing Money Can Buy Lauren Nelson | July 11th, 2016

When we talk about marketing these days, it’s all about the digital. Is your social media game on point? Is your website on fleek? Is your mobile advertising on fire? On and on and on it goes, and with good reason. It’s estimated that 81% of all consumers look to the web before making a purchase, alongside 94% of B2B customers. Of course you have to have your digital strategy firing on all cylinders.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you should forgo all other forms of marketing. Even if 99.9% of your business is happening online, 100% of your customers live offline, and meeting them where they’re at can help keep your brand at the forefront of their minds when it’s time for them to click into a purchase.

But where should you direct your time and money? That’s the million dollar question, and the answers often vary depending on the size, scope, and trajectory of your company, not to mention the makeup of your audience. There is, however, one offline option that’s pretty much a good idea for companies of all sorts: swag.




We’re talking, of course, about promotional products. Think t-shirts, stress balls, water battles, pens, etc. with your logo on it. This is not a new form of marketing by any stretch of the imagination. Your grandfather was toting home swag from conferences to give to your parents as a gift when they were kids. But there’s a reason it’s endured as a marketing tactic in this digital world.

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