Final Project: A Gift For Teaching Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

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Section A: Client Information

Company Goals

Part of A Gift For Teaching’s mission is to demonstrate how impossible it is to ask students in need to try to write without a pencil, read without books or dream without the tools to put their ideas onto paper. It’s a situation that’s tough to even imagine, but it’s one that a huge percentage of students have to go through every single day. A Gift For Teaching envisions a future where no child ever has to set foot in a classroom without being equipped with the necessary tools needed to better their education and their future. They work towards a future where no child is at a learning disadvantage because a parent or teacher is simply not able to provide them with the supplies that they need. A Gift For Teaching serves almost 400 public schools with the vision of improving the education of over 65% of students in Central Florida who can’t afford lunch, not to mention school supplies.

Company Overview 

A Gift For Teaching is a nonprofit organization that helps provide surplus supplies to teachers with high-need students. Teachers can get free supplies at the physical store, the online store (Pencil Boy Online), or the traveling store (Pencil Boy Express). It is ideal for providing necessary supplies to teachers so that their students in need can be prepared for class and not have to worry about not being able to afford supplies or be at a disadvantage. A Gift For Teaching is different from other supply stores not only because it is free for teachers, but also because it offers a free online supply store and a traveling store that deliver supplies directly to classrooms. Since more than 50% of teachers that A Gift For Teaching surveyed said that they are providing their students with supplies several times a day, A Gift For Teaching can help remove the financial stress that teachers encounter so that they can put all of their focus into educating their students.

Target Audiences

A Gift For Teaching focuses on targeting two main audiences: local public school teachers and local corporate executives. Below are the consumer personas used in the week 4 exercise:

The main audience that A Gift For Teaching targets is made up of eligible public school teachers that are interested in utilizing A Gift For Teaching’s services. The A Gift For Teaching brick-and-mortar free store, Pencil Boy Online, and Pencil Boy Express benefit them and the students in their classroom. This is why they take interest in what supplies A Gift For Teaching has to offer them: they know that the supplies that they get can boost their students’ self-esteem and classroom performance.

Executives working in local corporations are a secondary target audience for A Gift For Teaching. This is because they are able to benefit from a mutual relationship with them. The executives are interested in improving employee morale and making sure that their perception of the company is a positive one. By taking on the social responsibility of donating to or volunteering at a local nonprofit as a group, a sense of community is created which positively impacts the company. A Gift For Teaching obviously benefits from receiving their volunteer hours or supply/monetary donations.

The Importance of an IMC Plan

A Gift For Teaching should utilize an integrated marketing communications strategy because coordinating all brand messages on multimedia channels allows a brand to have synergy. Since it takes 7 touches for someone to take notice or act upon a call to action, (Week 2 Lecture) making sure that all brand messages are synchronized can make it easier for customers to remember and recognize a brand. Furthermore, by utilizing this integrated strategy spread across different types of media, a wider audience can be reached. While it is obvious that Millennials are tech-savvy and research products and services online, it is less known that the top source of coupons and deals for Millennials is the newspaper. Just because a certain demographic mainly utilizes digital media, doesn’t mean that they are not drawn to nor seek out more traditional marketing methods.  Having an IMC plan can cover all of the bases and reach audiences over varying multimedia platforms.

Section B: Website

Evaluation

Utilizing Best Practices

While using best practices for social media profiles allows businesses to improve their SEO and have locations for informal connections and brand building, social media sites aren’t actually owned by individual companies (Week 5 Lecture). Meaning that all of those great opportunities mean nothing if a business can’t bring users back to what they actually do own online- their website (Week 5 Lecture). A Gift For Teaching has very visible, static social links on their site, and has their website link on their social profiles.

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They also share content from their website and blog directly on their social profiles, encouraging users to visit their main website.

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As another method to further integrate their social sites and website, their latest Tweets and Instagram posts are embedded at the bottom of the page so that a visitor and simply scroll through their most recent updates.

The information and images on A Gift For Teaching’s current website are easy to consume because the website is easily navigable. Not only is the menu essentially set up for their two main target markets and related action words, making it simple for first-time visitors to navigate to their desired page, but the homepage offers any information that a site visitor might need no matter what their purpose for visiting is. The organization’s URL makes it easy for a user to identify that they’re on the right site, and the URLs of the site’s pages are related to the page and easy to remember. According to HubSpot, the homepage contains features that make it a good website homepage design. It quickly and clearly answers what the visitor can do on the site, who the organization is,  and what the organization does in a fluid way.

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The homepage resonates with the desired target audiences because the menu of links is catered to them. It is mobile optimized, includes call-to-actions with very vibrant, eye-catching buttons asking visitors to donate, get involved with A Gift For Teaching, and join the email newsletter list.

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The homepage design is consistent throughout the website and the theme matches the organization’s purpose of working with and helping kids with childlike font and bright primary colors.

Room for Improvement

A Gift For Teaching’s website doesn’t meet all of the requirements on HubSpot’s list. It doesn’t really communicate the value proposition very well. While the homepage does showcase that A Gift For Teaching is involved in providing kids with the tools that they need for school, it doesn’t communicate the mission very obviously- in order to read the mission, users have to click on the About Us link in the menu. Since it doesn’t offer the site visitor a USP upon arrival, there’s no easy way for a visitor to quickly determine why A Gift For Teaching is a better option than its competitors. The site also has a few broken links and lacks a search bar, making it less accessible than it could be, and the Contact Us page could use more visuals, as it is quite text-heavy. Another aspect of the site that’s really lacking is that it is not constantly changing; only events are added to the slideshow at the bottom of the homepage. By incorporating some updates and even uploading higher quality images in place of the ones already on the site, its content could be improved, making it look more official.

The site could also benefit from an increase in SEO strategy. By creating a flickr account and linking photos uploaded there to the website, dates and tags in the uploaded photos can make it easier for search engines to find the photos on the main site. Also, by actually having a meta description and including title tags in the code, their site’s SEO could improve exponentially and would appear more professional. Additionally, by integrating content communities like Pinterest on their social links, theycould incorporate additional useful channels that their target market is interested in, improving their visibility.

Content

Provide 5 keywords or phrases they should focus on during the campaign to help with SEO and overall search engine results:

    1. teacher appreciation week
    2. thank a teacher
    3. give local
    4. spa package
    5. Orlando

These keywords are related to the campaign strategized in this project based on the national event going on (Teacher Appreciation Week), the hashtags used throughout the duration of the campaign (#ThankATeacher & #GiveLocal), the contest (Spa Package), and the location of the contest and of the A Gift For Teaching’s stores (Orlando).

Provide examples of competitors’ websites with suggestions on how to mimic success:

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The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County is a local competitor whose website has some features that A Gift For Teaching could mimic and benefit from. The first thing that I noticed on their site was a Top 50 badge in their header.

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It is impressive and makes the site seem more prestigious. While A Gift For Teaching is nota part of the Top 50 Education Foundation’s, they could either apply to become part of it, or make a badge of their own celebrating their 18th year helping kids in need or their $100 Million worth of school supplies that they’ve distributed since their conception. Having a badge that says something as simple as Helping Kids in Need Since 1998 or something similar can add a touch of expertise to the website, making them seem like the authority of this type of organization. The Education Foundation’s website also includes an Amazon Smile social link that leads directly to a sign-in where Amazon members can automatically donate to that charity whenever they make an amazon purchase. Since A Gift For Teaching is registered with Amazon Smile, having this button readily accessible on their website could benefit them. Furthermore, the Education Foundation’s website contains a general contact email and phone number at the bottom of the page.

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It eliminates the need for users to click Contact Us and have to fill out a contact form like on the A Gift For Teaching website. This would make it easier for site visitors to contact them and have their inquiries forwarded to the right person without making visitors search the website for the right person to email or call.

 

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The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is another local competitor and their site also has aspects that A Gift For Teaching could mimic to increase success. It includes stories and a case study on the homepage, creating both a pathos and ethos appeal to site visitors who are looking to see how the Second Harvest Food Bank helps others either through personal accounts or through hard data.

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The organization provides detailed accounts and stats to make users aware that they are the experts in this field. A Gift For Teaching already has some accounts and stats saved, and could benefit from sharing them on their website like the Second Harvest Food Bank does. They could also take some pointers in the event department. The Second Harvest Food Bank has a calendar of events which creates a visual of upcoming events for users. A Gift For Teaching could incorporate a calendar of events on their website and link those to specific Facebook Event pages, which would keep users back linked on their social sites and main website.  Lastly, the Second Harvest Food Bank’s website has a search bar incorporated which makes it easy for users to search for a specific topic and find what the need quickly. A Gift For Teaching could benefit from having a search bar to make their site more user-friendly.

Section C: Blog

Evaluation

The structure of the A Gift For Teaching WordPress blog is organized in list form. It is formatted with blog images on the left and a few sentences of the post introduction on the right. The blog content includes tips for teachers, discussions revolving around teaching, upcoming A Gift For Teaching events and recaps on past events, and relevant class projects based on upcoming holidays.

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According to the Week 7 Lecture, professional blogs like the A Gift For Teaching blog are generally of a high standard, produce content several times a day and focus heavily on news and features. While the A Gift For Teaching blog is not technically revenue-oriented, the blog posts are still written with the idea that users will want to donate time, money, or school supplies to the organization. This makes the blog oriented towards an end goal of profiting off of users, even if it’s not requiring them to purchase a product or service.I would also consider them a professional blog even though they only post a few times a month, simply because their posts get seen by a large portion of their 20,000 email newsletter subscribers and their social media followers.

Suggestions for Improvement

A Gift For Teaching’s blog could increase subscriber numbers or views by incorporating share buttons on each post so that users can easily share posts on social media or via email with their friends. They could also benefit from creating guidelines for featured images so that the images are not all different sizes. Even more cohesiveness could be accomplished by incorporating guidelines where maybe the font styles on the featured images are the same or some similar colors are used. That way the posts actually flow together and look like they belong on the same page even though they’re written by different contributors. The blog could use some stylistic updates as well to make it more appealing. For instance, the Hootsuite blog has all of the posts arranged in what almost looks like  a collage, making it more visually appealing than the list format the A Gift For Teaching currently has.

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Content

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Here you can find an example blog post for A Gift For Teaching. It’s an example of a post that could go out describing my campaign idea to partner with the Rosen Centre for teacher appreciation week. The target audience is public school teachers in the Orlando area.

 

Section D: Social Media

Evaluation

Is A Gift For Teaching using social media channels to their full capabilities?

A Gift For Teaching utilizes some best practices on their social media sites, but they definitely don’t utilize all of the social media tools at their disposal. They do always include imagery with any post or status update, which is great considering that social media posts with visuals deliver 180% greater engagement than those without imagery. They also recently started to take advantage of new features like Facebook Live. They use it for live coverage of events, like their annual all-day telethon, to encourage others to participate in events by attending them, donating, or spreading the word about them. Other helpful strategies that they use include @ tagging companies and organizations when relevant and using flipagram for photo slideshows. They also update their cover photo often to reflect upcoming events or related information and have their business information set up in their About section to help improve SEO.

However, they have never used any Facebook features like Polls, Countdowns, or Facebook Ads. Their hashtags are sparse on all of their social media accounts, which doesn’t really allow them to reach a wider audience. They also don’t utilize helpful tools like Twitter lists to categorize followers or Twitter favorites to reflect their brand image by strategically liking certain tweets. While they do have some messenger replies saved, they’ve never been used because they’re not catered to any specific topic; they’re very general “How can I help you?” messages, and that question is usually irrelevant because people message their question or inquiry immediately as their first communication with A Gift For Teaching.

What relevant channels could A Gift For Teaching add to their mix that they are currently not using?

Snapchat

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A Gift For Teaching would benefit from creating a Snapchat account because they could use it to engage with young volunteers. Since they’re already using it while they’re volunteering at A Gift For Teaching to communicate with their friends, it makes sense for the organization to make an account where volunteers could interact with brand. A Gift For Teaching could create interactive snaps like a scavenger hunt where they have to find and send the letters AGFT to the organization while they’re volunteering around the free store. Alternatively, A Gift For Teaching could challenge users to dress up Pencil Boy on Halloween like Sour Patch Kids did with their Snapchat. They could also interact with volunteers during teacher appreciation week by having them send a snap with their favorite teachers so that A Gift For Teaching could feature some on their Snapchat Story. There are so many creative ways for brands to engage with users on Snapchat, and A Gift For Teaching could benefit from creating an account.

 Pinterest

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A Gift For Teaching could take advantage of content communities like Pinterest by adding them to their marketing mix. Their main target audience consists of teachers, and since 87% of teachers already look for class materials on Pinterest, it is the perfect channel for A Gift For Teaching to reach this target market. Since the Content Communities assignment from a few weeks ago where I only made two A Gift For Teaching boards with absolutely no activity since then,they have still already gained WeAreTeachers, another education related brand, as a follower. Imagine how many followers A Gift For Teaching could gain with their own Pinterest account and boards. They could also establish themselves as an education/teacher authority by creating their own helpful and relevant pins as well as repinning others.

 Proximity Marketing

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A Gift For Teaching could benefit from proximity marketing tools to engage volunteers and teachers in the free store. New volunteers and teachers could be prompted with a store tour when they walk inside. Volunteers could also use beacons placed around the store as a cheat sheet or refresher in case a teacher that’s shopping asks them a question about certain items or sections in the store. Teachers could use it to answer their own store questions or use a live chat to communicate with more seasoned volunteers or staff. Recurring volunteers and teachers could be prompted with a page to leave a review of A Gift For Teaching or a page with premade social media posts that they could share to spread the word about the organization.

What are their competitors doing effectively?

Both the Education Foundation and the Second Harvest Food Bank share clear, crisp photos on all of their social media accounts. A Gift For Teaching could benefit from sharing higher quality photos along with their posts to make their accounts appear more professional. The Second Harvest Food Bank also has Twitter lists and makes sure to post on all of their channels multiple times per day. A Gift For Teaching only posts several times per day when there’s an event going on. To increase the frequency of their posts, they could make sure to have daily scheduled posts ahead of time and have a few ready-made posts about volunteers, teachers shopping in the free store, or donors who stopped by to drop off supplies for slow social media days.

Content

Facebook Posts

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Twitter Posts

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Section E: Email

Evaluation

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This email was sent out to all of A Gift For Teaching’s subscribers in August while the Back-to-School Drive event was going on. It was called Pick up the phone and call Pencil Boy! in reference to the telethon information at the bottom of the email. While that title is eye-catching, it is confusing because the email doesn’t start off with any telethon information. The email fails to have a header preparing the reader for what the top half of the email, the first thing that they will see, is about. While there is a large image at the top of the email, it has no indication that it is related to the Back-to-School Drive or Opening Day, as it is just a photo of five teachers who are not mentioned in the email. There should be a Back-to-School Drive logo at the top of the email and a separate telethon one at the bottom so that it is easy for the reader to distinguish each part of the email. The email should also be less text-heavy and include more visually appealing and related imagery. Visuals are memorable and effective, because they help people process, understand, and retain more information more quickly. Since people process images up to 10 times faster than text, it is important to include more related imagery and keep text concise. The top portion of the email could have been composed of a brief intro and a link to a blog post that went out that same day sharing the same stats given in this email. The bottom half of the email could have been shortened and a link to the Facebook event, which contains the exact same information, could have been put there in its place. A Gift For Teaching’s email strategy could also benefit from including social media share buttons so that emails can be shared directly by users.

How can A Gift For Teaching increase new email clients and inquiries via Facebook?

A Gift For Teaching could increase email clients and inquiries by adding an email newsletter Sign Up button or Send Email button on their business page.

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A Gift For Teaching could also use Facebook Campaigns to create ads targeted at locals in the area interested in education to attract public school educators to the website and eventually the free store. I created an example ad that offers teachers a promo code for free pencils if they enter their public school email address.

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Clicking on the ad would lead to a submission form like this and once submitted, an A Gift For Teaching staff member would be notified.

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Once that email is put in the A Gift For Teaching system, a staff member can send the user an email with the promo code, a link to the A Gift For Teaching website, and an invitation to ask any questions or attend an upcoming Show & Tell event where they can learn all about the organization while enjoying a free lunch provided by Olive Garden. A Gift For Teaching can also make sure to be prepared for incoming inquiries by saving premade messages in Constant Contact or within Facebook Messenger in order to have a quick reply ready for common questions.

Content

Automated Email Response for General Inquiries

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The embedded video is a brief introduction on what A Gift For Teaching does and can be viewed here.

Facebook Messenger Automated Responses 

 

Section F: Goals & Metrics

Evaluation

What suggestions do you have for analytics or planning tools?

Currently, A Gift For Teaching uses a combination of various analytics and planning tools. They use Hootsuite and Scheduled Posts on their Facebook Business Page to plan posts ahead of time. To collect data on how their social media is performing, they use a combination of Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, & Twitter Analytics. Since they don’t use any tools to measure their Instagram metrics, I recommend incorporating that into their data collection. A Gift For Teaching could start using Instagram Insights and/or other analytical tools tailored to Instagram like Iconosquare to measure success on this platform. I think that would be a mistake to overlook how this platform is performing because Instagram is their least successful social media site and using an analytics tool could really improve their follower base and engagement rate.

What are your metrics for ROI and success?

In addition to the analytical tools mentioned above, I use a handful of other tools in order to measure ROI and success on social media. It is important to incorporate a variety of third-party platforms to gather more data. For instance, while the competitor’s landscape can be seen briefly on Facebook Insights, more detailed analytics about one or multiple competitors can be found on other platforms like RivalIQ. Tracking hashtags with Keyhole and URLs with Google Analytics can also be helpful when measuring success because they can retrieve data on the user who is engaging with either the hashtag or link.

What goals or milestones do you hope to accomplish?

With the Teacher Appreciation Week social media campaign, I hope to increase A Gift For Teaching’s followers on Facebook and Twitter by at least 200 users in the week of the contest (Up to 2,953 on Facebook and 3,777 on Twitter). I also hope to improve brand awareness by increasing audience reach through hashtags and as contest participants share the main contest post with their friends. With this growth in brand awareness, I hope to reach eligible teachers that have never taken advantage of the free supplies that A Gift For Teaching has to offer them and encourage them to come in or shop for it through Pencil Boy Express or Pencil Boy Online.

By creating a Snapchat account and adding volunteer beacons around the store, I hope to increase A Gift For Teaching’s amount of engagement with young volunteers. I also hope to further engage teachers by creating a Pinterest account and placing beacons with teacher information around the store to make A Gift For Teaching a trusted, reliable source for them.

Closing Remarks

A Gift For Teaching has a strong multimedia presence covering most of the important online platforms and traditional media channels. The purpose of this plan is to create synergy amongst all of those channels to achieve an Integrated Marketing Communications strategy.

 

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Content Communities

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What are Content Communities?

Content communities are essentially websites where users can share online multimedia content. This includes sites like Pinterest, Flickr, Shutterfly, YouTube, Vimeo, and SlideShare. Users from around the world are bound together on these sites by the common interests that they share via the types of content that they post. Businesses can use content communities to their advantage by sharing images, videos, and other relevant and engaging content on established communities that are related to their brand.

A quick overview on content communities and how they can be used for a brand can be found here:

Content Communities that A Gift For Teaching Would Benefit From

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Pinterest

One of A Gift For Teaching’s target audiences is the teachers in our area that shop at the free supply store. Data shows that the majority of Pinterest users are female, that about 76% of public school teachers are also female, and that about 87% of teachers already look for class materials on Pinterest. Since this specific target audience is already heavily using this content community, A Gift For Teaching could use this information to target this demographic via Pinterest. I made two boards to demonstrate how A Gift For Teaching could engage this demographic on Pinterest: One giving teachers ideas on how they can reuse any items that they picked up in the Bonus Section of the A Gift For Teaching free store, and another providing developmental and classroom tools for teachers.

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Teachers would be able to open up the the Bonus Items board on Pinterest at any time, but it could be particularly helpful when they’re shopping in the free store so that they know which items they’ll want to take to their classrooms. They also have the option to look at the board ahead of time and pin which items they want to remember to take from the Bonus Section so that they’re able to make their shopping trip quicker.

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Teachers would also be able to engage with the Teacher Tools Pinterest board by repinning and using the resources available in their classrooms. While the board doesn’t give ideas on what teachers can do with their supplies, it offers free resources to teachers on Pinterest, which is A Gift For Teaching’s target audience. This board would interest the target market and engage them while maintaining A Gift For Teaching’s brand image.

 

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flickr

A Gift For Teaching could benefit from sharing their event photos on another content community: flickr. For the purposes of this assignment, I created a flickr account with three photos albums.

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Although photo album organization can easily be done on Facebook Pages, there are a few advantages to uploading them to flickr as well. In addition to having them all on one photo-sharing site where individuals go in search of images, picutres uploaded on flickr can be easily edited with photo enhancements. Furthermore, photos and albums have access to easy sharing buttons on various social media platforms and they can also be tagged by location. What’s really great about this community is that the site ranks high on search engine results, which would increase search visibility and potentially improve A Gift For Teaching’s blog, website, and social site traffic. By simply including a summary hyperlink in the image description, tags, and backlinks on photos, their SEO will improve greatly. Lastly, flickr photos and albums can be shared in certain groups that are essentially sub-communities within this content community.

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In this case, A Gift For Teaching could tag photos in the Teacher or Nonprofit group in order to engage with like-minded individuals that are a part of those groups.

 

Final Thoughts on Content Communities 

Content communities are the perfect place for people with mutual interests to share images, videos, and other content related to those interests. Communities like subreddits, Flickr albums, Pinterest boards, and StumbleUpon shares give these users a place for them to explore topics that they like while conversing with people who share common ground.

Proximity Marketing

Proximity Marketing Benefits Businesses

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Proximity marketing tools that function through channels like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth benefit retailers by enticing customers to make a purchase at a brick-and-mortar business. Businesses can offer coupons, rewards, and free gifts to new customers so that they enter their store or restaurant to use them, or tempt existing customers to purchase a specific item tailored to them based on their previous visits.

Proximity marketing works because it is the epitome of relevance. The more contextually relevant a message is, the more likely a person is to interact with it (source), and a user being prompted when they’re near or in a location is relevant to them in that moment. Businesses can benefit from this type of marketing because they learn what products their customers are interested in, and ideally, by offering on-the-spot coupons, promotions and special offers, the technology will drive shoppers to make a purchase at the store rather than later from an online merchant (source).

 

Proximity Marketing Benefits Consumers

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The data that is collected through proximity marketing can allow businesses to cater to each specific customer’s needs. A customized shopping experience can be created after a customer’s shopping habits are documented. Retailers can use beacons to get data such as overall time spent in the store and the dwell time at particular product aisles (source) to give product specific coupons depending on what the customer browsed and bought. Proximity marketing can also benefit restaurant-goers because when their information is collected, restaurants can adjust menus and promotions to correspond to their guests’ needs and wants (source).

Proximity marketing can also help consumers receive a VIP treatment. For instance, when a beacon recognizes that a consumer that has already opted in to proximity marketing features has walked into a first class lounge, they can be met with a welcome message or have their favorite drink or snack brought to them right away. Virgin Atlantic has already found a way to pamper their guests via proximity marketing by alerting the outdoor lounge staff at Heathrow Airport of the temperature outside and prompting them to offer blankets to guests when it gets chilly (source).

 

Wearable Technology and Proximity Marketing

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Wearable technology is making its way into our future, and it could really influence proximity marketing strategies. Channels such as Swarm and Facebook Check-in will have to accommodate to Smartwatches, Smartglasses, and whatever Smart tech is current to allow users to check-in and receive promotions via that technology.

This tech already benefits proximity marketing strategies by making it easier for consumers to receive messages. Since smart watches use haptic feedback, when a user is prompted via a proximity marketing method, the notification alerts them to look at it right away. This eliminates the need for a user to get their phone out of their pocket or a bag in order to view the notification. It makes the business’ message reach the consumer much quicker. And with it, customers can glance at their wrists to view their updates or to interact with beacons, such as requesting assistance or checking the back stock of inventory on an item (source). Functions like these bring proximity marketing engagement closer than ever to users, making it accessible and appealing in a way that encourages heavier use (source).

 

Real Life Example 

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There used to be a local coffeehouse near UCF called Boston Coffeehouse. Since it was only about a 15 minute drive from campus, I used to go there to study all the time. The first time that I logged into the Wi-Fi with my computer, it redirected me to a page that gave me information about their SpotOn rewards program. Since I was in their proximity, they targeted me by sending this info when I logged on to their free Wi-Fi. I signed up for SpotOn and downloaded the app to see what rewards I could get. Since Boston Coffeehouse was cheaper than the on-campus coffee options, offered me a comfortable place to study with Wi-Fi and outlets, and I got a free coffee every 5 trips there with SpotOn, I went there at least 3 times a week instead of passing by Starbucks or  Dunkin’ Donuts on campus.

 

How Could A Gift For Teaching Benefit From Proximity Marketing?

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A Gift For Teaching (AGFT) could take advantage of proximity marketing to engage volunteers and teachers. When recurring volunteers and teachers connect to our Wi-Fi every time that they come in, they could be redirected to a page with a link to leave a review or even a page with ready-made fun social media posts that they can share with friends to spread the word about AGFT. Those who are connecting to the Wi-Fi for the very first time, likely new volunteers and new teachers, can be prompted with a store tour. AGFT can put beacons in each section of the store and they can connect to them via Bluetooth to learn about the products in that section and how the check in and check out process works. Then, if the teachers have any questions while they are shopping in the free store, they can instantly use the beacons as reference.

 

3 Creative Ways for Brands to Use Snapchat

How Brands Can Use Snapchat

Brands can use Snapchat strategically to tell a narrative that interests their followers. The following are just a few creative ways in which brands can engage their audience via Snapchat.

 

Entertainment

Sour Patch Kids is known for their entertaining Snaps. In this story, they created a fun narrative featuring Sour Patch Kids playing tricks on their friend, social media entertainer Logan Paul, to go along with their slogan: First they’re sour, then they’re sweet. They’re similar to their TV commercials where a life-sized Sour Patch Kid does something mean (sour) and then something nice (sweet). This Snapchat Story successfully reinforces the brand image and slogan from the commercials while also entertaining users.

 

Interactive content

Brands can make their Snaps interactive to further engage users. In this example, Lowes gamifies their story by allowing users to tap in certain spots so that they can learn step-by-step instructions for a DIY project. The interactive nature of this story allows users to learn something while tapping through the story.

 

Brands can also use Snapchat to their benefit during Holidays. Sour Patch Kids added a Snap to their story asking users to screenshot a picture of the Sour Patch Kid and draw a costume on them. After the received snaps that users had drawn costumes on, they shared their favorites to their story, allowing users to have a chance to be included in the company’s story.

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Backstage Coverage

Giving users a sneak peek into what goes on behind-the-scenes can help to include and engage them with a brand’s snaps. Brands can do this to humanize themselves by sharing what employees are doing in a fun way. It allows for users to see the people behind the the business name in a fun, entertaining way. Everlane, a retail brand, uses their Snapchat as a way to showcase employees, products, and factories in this manner.

 

 

Sponsored Features

Snapchat has incorporated sponsored lenses and ads to benefit companies wanting to advertise to users via the app. When users tap through their stories, ads can pop up and uses can choose to watch them or just swipe past them. Snapchat also allows businesses to purchase Snapchat lenses. These are sponsored filters that users can put on their faces and play with, showcasing the brand’s name in a fun filter for users to share with their friends. Gatorade and Taco Bell are just a few companies that have taken advantage of this feature for promotion.

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A Gift For Teaching Snapchat Campaign Example

 

 

I decided to create a story detailing the A Gift For Teaching Telethon. This would have been implemented in our recent efforts to raise $12,000 in donations to help over 210,000 Central Florida students in need of supplies by holding an all-day Telethon on News 6. I incorporated the donation hotline number into the majority of the Snaps so that users would have exposure to the number. I also added call-to-actions like “Call Now” to encourage them to act. I made sure to include a behind-the-scenes Snap and an entertaining Snap about a volunteer who was barely awake for his 4 AM shift in order to engage users and humanize the selfless volunteers who gave their time to help others. I utilized all of these aspects so that the story could appeal to users and to encourage them to call in and make a donation.

 

Final Thoughts

I’ve used Snapchat before for personal use, but I mainly use it to see how my best friend is doing, as she loves the app. I personally prefer Instagram or Facebook because I don’t like that I can’t keep any videos that people send me. I also don’t really see the point of using a separate app when Instagram and Instagram Stories exists in one, convenient platform. Furthermore, and most importantly, Snapchat isn’t that user friendly- it has plenty of hidden features that users have to search for or stumble upon. Final verdict: I personally prefer other applications, but in order for brands to stand out and have a wider audience reach, they can use Snapchat to their advantage to appeal to whatever portion of their audience utilizes the app.

 

Sources: ExamplesIdea Guide

Blog Analyis

According to this week’s lecture, although the Oh My Disney blog contains more informal content, both that blog and the Hootsuite Social blog are considered professional blogs. This is because they are both revenue-oriented organizations, they post at least two times per week, and they have a high number of subscribers. These are my favorite blogs, and while they fall under the same category, they produce very different, yet equally engaging, content.

 

Oh My Disney (OMD)

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The purpose of the OMD blog is to share short, entertaining posts that are linked to Disney movies or characters somehow via content, photos, or videos. It is very much like Buzzfeed because users can take personality quizzes, read list posts, and just read short, entertaining content revolving around Disney movies, shows, news, parks, and food.

What makes this blog unique is their ability to reuse old images to refer back to old Disney movies and make it new again with funny or cute blog posts. Disney has an incredibly large following that most companies and brands don’t have. It is a household name that both kids and adults can relate to, so whether they’re referencing The Little Mermaid or Zootopia, they know that different age groups will be able to relate to the posts. They brilliantly do this by creating new content based on content that they already have and refreshing it by including it in a post. It’s an incredible marketing tactic that requires extending content that already exists in a silly, entertaining post- which reflects Disney’s youthful and fun brand. The fact that the blog is high on the search engine results list is probably a key factor in driving traffic to the blog. In addition to that, the Disney Facebook page sometimes shared OMD blog posts, which probably also increases traffic to the site.

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It is a very successful blog according to this week’s lecture. Not only are new posts published often, but they provide links to all of their social sites, create original content, and make it easy to share and subscribe to content.

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The blog has been around for a few years and continues to prosper due to following these rules. In my opinion, I honestly don’t think that they blog is missing anything. It has all of the criteria of a successful blog, makes a profit off of advertising space on the site, and has generates traffic to the site in more than one way.

Do yourself a favor and watch this adorable video posted on the OMD blog

 

Hootsuite Social

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The purpose of the Hootsuite Social blog is to share relevant social media news and information while linking to other internal posts and promoting their revenue-earning services like paid accounts and certificates. Hootsuite is unique because in addition to providing consistent, informative posts like other social media blogs do, they also provide more in-depth guides to help those new to social media management with helpful templates and links to other posts. Furthermore, they promote Hootsuite webinar dates for professionals to learn about relevant social media topics. Their posts reflect Hootsuite’s brand because they reinforce their Social Media expertise to the reader with each post. In addition to being high on the search engine results list, Hootsuite also promotes their posts on Twitter, ensuring traffic to the blog. The IMC between all of their social sites and their main website is consistent and makes the user experience better overall.

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            According to this week’s lecture, it is a pretty successful blog. Not only are new posts published often, but they provide links to all of their social sites, create original content, and make it easy to share and subscribe to content.

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This blog is missing something to really set it apart from other blogs, though. While their content is informative, organized, and extremely helpful, it is content that can absolutely be found on other blogs. It is also missing out on an opportunity by not having advertising on the site. They could benefit monetarily by including ads and similar sites like Buffer and Sprout Social could benefit from placing ads there.

Everything You Need to Know about WhoSay

tl;dr

This Prezi is a brief introduction on WhoSay. The information shared is based off of sources used in this post. Click the button below to watch it:

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What is WhoSay?

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WhoSay is a social networking site designed for celebrities to retain ownership rights over their posts (source). It is an interesting concept because it is the combination of a social media site and a celebrity news site. It works for stars because it allows them to have control over what information is shared about them and to see analytic information on what they post. Celebrities can share updates for fans and because it’s shared through WhoSay, the copyright of the content belongs to the celeb. A copyright claim is even stamped at the bottom of photos and videos uploaded to the site (source). The service is by invitation only, authenticating the identity of every celebrity on the site (source).

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The site also benefits people interested in celebrity news because the news is conveniently provided for them in one place in the form of a customizable digital magazine. It’s like a more sophisticated and reliable TMZ or Perez Hilton. News updates come directly from celebs or from only a handful of writers at WhoSay. The features that this site provides celebs are also available on the WhoSay mobile app. From there, they can monitor their account, post content, and reply to fan’s comments.

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tl;dr: So, what exactly is WhoSay? It’s an exclusive, invite-only community that provides a space via a website and app to over 2000 celebs. In this space, they can publish content, seek editorial support for their projects, and find opportunities to make money off of their online brand with social campaigns (source).

How Does it Work for Fans?

Fans can sign up easily and quickly with an existing Twitter or Facebook account.

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Once they’ve made an account, they can add specific influencers to their tailor-made feed to receive celeb updates or just view the main page for the most recent news. The fact that fans can create their own personalized feed with celebs and pages of their choice makes the WhoSay website and app a completely interactive space catered to each user. It is much more engaging than celebrity news sites that don’t offer a customized dashboard.

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How Does it Work for Celebs?

WhoSay is essentially a HootSuite for the stars. With it, they’re able to manage their social media presence and make that sure that their photos and videos are posted on a page the stars themselves can control and eventually monetize (source). They can monetize their personal brand by working with companies that WhoSay matches them with to create ads like this one:

 

 

History

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WhoSay was founded in March 2010 by Steve Ellis, with a goal of returning ownership of celebrity content back to the stars (source). Ellis received funding for the startup from notable investors like Amazon, Creative Artists Agency, Comcast Ventures, Greylock Partners, High Peaks Ventures and Tencent in China (source).

 

In September 2013, an app was launched just for fans to follow their favorite celebs (source).

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In October of that same year, Rob Gregory joined WhoSay as the CRO (source). Today, over 6.5 Million monthly users use WhoSay to post, share, and view celebrity content.

Easy to Use

WhoSay appeals to celebrities because it allows them to easily reach their large audiences through various social media channels by sending out just one post on WhoSay. Social media sharing is not just integrated for celebs, though. Fans can also share celebrity posts on their own social media sites, allowing all users to share content easily. The WhoSay site is also mobile-friendly, making it easier for both celebs and fans to utilize it. It’s so easy to use, that stars like Zac Efron, Tom Hanks, and Chris Rock use WhoSay to share their own updates, allowing their posts to rise above all the tabloids and gossip by being the primary sources of their own stories.

Data

Target Audience

The majority of monthly users that are engaging with the content content on WhoSay are female. To be exact, 51% of them are female and 70% of them are between the ages of 24 and 55. Furthermore, 56.55% of users live in the United States and 70% have an income over $70K (source). So, WhoSay’s target market can be personified with a consumer persona like Courtney:

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User Numbers & Growth

As of April 2016, the amount of estimated monthly page views has grown by 3 Million. WhoSay’s monthly traffic reached an all-time high of 6.5 Million last month (source).

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Facebook Carousel Ads: Why You Should and How You Could Use Them to Promote a Campaign

Benefits of Using Carousel Ads

Facebook Carousel Ads are not only interactive, but they also promise multiple images and relevant information. Because of these features, they engage potential consumers more than traditional Facebook ads. In fact, carousel ads are 10 times better at getting people to click through compared to static sponsored posts on Facebook. One company found that their click-through rate increased to 72% when they used carousel ads instead of a single-image ad. You can use carousel ads to create step-by-step visuals of how a product or service works, to display details about a blog post, or to promote a company website, like in the example below.

 

Example: Carousel Ad to Increase A Gift For Teaching’s Click-Through

While A Gift For Teaching (AGFT) has seen a successful increase in followers and relevant Facebook Page engagement in the past few months, keeping AGFT fresh in the minds of followers and introducing new potential followers to the nonprofit is a huge goal of ours. Since increasing brand awareness is one of AGFT’s main goals, I created an ad which demonstrates what AGFT does in the form of a brief narrative. The top of the ad has an overview of what AGFT does, and the images and captions very basically show how AGFT can turn supplies into tools that students in need can use to improve their classroom performance.

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Why Did I Create the Ad This Way? 

Since AGFT has never utilized any kind of paid advertising, I decided to start small with a $5 daily budget for one week to see how the ad performed compared to its estimated 3 to 6 clicks per day. This Facebook Ad campaign is mostly targeting females, aged 25 to 44, that live in Central Florida and are interested in topics related to education. Since our current following consists of a demographic similar to that, targeting like-minded individuals is a key strategy in this campaign. This AGFT campaign revolves around using Facebook Ads to integrate the Push Marketing technique of a banner ad on a social media site, where Pull Marketing techniques prosper. Its purpose is to spread the word about AGFT what we do what others can do to help kids in need, and that’s why I formatted it this way.

 

Final Thoughts

The Carousel Ad format is a great way to engage potential and existing followers. It allows for targeting specific audiences, so appropriate messages can be sent to the target group based on their interests and/or demographics like sex, age, and location. Its interactive and image-based format is an attractive feature that engages a target audience, making these types of ads even more effective than static Facebook ads.

Website Evaluation

When it comes to analyzing the strengths and weaknesses your own website, it helps to analyze, compare, and learn from competitor websites. Below is an analysis of A Gift For Teaching’s (AGFT) website compared to two other nonprofits with similar missions: Give Kids the World (GKTW) and The Salvation Army (SA).

 

Homepage

In order for a visitor to have the optimal experience from the second they land on a site, the home page should be able to answer a few key questions within about 30 seconds of visiting it. The first pieces of information that a visitor should see are who they are, what they do, and what visitors can do on the site. If visitors can’t identify what it is an organization does within seconds, they won’t stick around long, so it’s important to offer this information from the get go and then present them with an easily navigable website to answer all of their questions and give them everything that they need. All three websites offer this information quickly, briefly, and with a striking visual.

Mobile-Friendly

Since 88% of local search engine searches are done on a smartphone, it is essential for organizations to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. All three nonprofits have a mobile-friendly version of their website to make it easier for smartphone and tablet users to navigate through the content.

 

Onsite Marketing

The sites for A Gift For Teaching and The Salvation Army prompt website visitors to subscribe to their email newsletter with either a popup or a very visible banner ad. They use a Push Marketing technique here to grab the attention of the user and encourage them to voluntarily provide their information. Give Kids the World doesn’t really take advantage of this onsite Push Marketing technique. Instead, their email signup button is integrated organically in the same format as the rest of the information on the Homepage.

While they don’t all take advantage of online Push Marketing strategies, these nonprofits optimize the user experience with similar Pull Marketing techniques. They update their websites with relevant information and events, like current campaigns, and integrate that into their social media with posts and cover photos. Here AGFT shares how many dollars worth of supplies they’ve distributed to promote during their Back-to-School Drive event, GKTW shares a #GivingTuesday cover photo to promote donations, and SA changed their cover photo to promote their #RedKettleReason campaign. These cover photos are accompanied by posts on all of their social media channels and backed up with information on their websites.

Their most user-friendly Pull Marketing strategy is their website organization. All three sites have their information split up based on its users. They all have menus with options for volunteers, donors, and for those just interested in learning more about them. And to complete the integration of their online presence, all three sites provide all social links in an easily accessible location.

 

 

Offsite Marketing

 

Below are just a few examples of offsite Push Marketing that these organizations worked on to push on to their target market.

A Gift For Teaching promotes itself Offsite through in-kind donations of TV slots, radio time, signage, and physical flyers. For instance, Moira from Real Radio 104.1 promotes events via her radio show and commercials on Bright House Networks, which is another corporate donor. News 6 promotes AGFT’s impact with stories in between other news, and AGFT promotes their mission with flyers when tabling or during events, like on this supply donation bin in Starbucks.

Like A Gift For Teaching, Give Kids the World and The Salvation Army use direct mail and local businesses for Offsite promotion. Orlando Locals receive letters giving them information about Give Kids the World and asking them to join their efforts. Give Kids the World also markets in local Perkins Restaurants. At the restaurant entrance, they will find a tall glass container filled with change and cash with the Give Kids the World mission, logo, and a donation call-to-action on it.

Similarly, The Salvation Army sends out direct mail pieces in hopes that people will donate, volunteer, or simply spread the word. They also ask local businesses, like this pizza parlor, to advertise for them free of charge to spread the word about their mission and campaigns. Lastly, and most recognizably, they have volunteers wear red Salvation Army aprons or shirts and ring a bell while collecting donations in a red kettle next to a sign with their slogan. While this is done as part of their brand, it ends up pushing their message out to their target market, making it another successful Push Marketing technique.

Room for Improvement

The A Gift For Teaching site is comparable to the Give Kids the World and The Salvation Army sites. While it has many good characteristics in common with these sites, there is always room for improvement. IMC-wise, the messaging and related imagery is the same or very similar across channels. While the website header photo differs from the social media cover photos, all of A Gift For Teaching’s online sources that have the ability to have a header have one related to the nonprofit. Their online presence is very consistent because across all of their online sources they have the same logo, tone, and mission statements. In addition to that, all of their social sites link to the main website to send traffic to it, creating a seamless online integration.  While the majority of the sites pages have a balance of photos, links, and text, there was one page filled solely with information. The page that has details of A Gift For Teaching’s programs is very text-heavy and only contains one photo. The explanations of the programs are brief and descriptive, which is a good thing, but the lack of photos about the programs or helpful infographics to present the data, it is unappealing to the eye and not easy to read over.

Consumer Personas

Benefits of a Consumer Persona

Figuring out a few consumer personas for your organization can feel a bit like playing guess who. You’re trying to figure out who does what and how that could affect your game in a positive way so that you win in the end.

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While this may be a bit tricky, creating consumer personas is an essential step to take when your organization is trying to target their ideal consumers. By creating user profiles, your organization obtains in-depth observations about the people in your intended audience in terms of aspects like demographics, psychographics, lifestyle choices, and purchasing behaviors. These observations can be used as a locus that allows organizations to maintain focus on their target market, and allows them to pick and “choose the most relevant messages for that audience and present them in a way they’ll be understood.” It is ideal to be able to reference as a cheat-sheet or a “comprehensive how-to guide for reaching” consumers and making sure that the messaging that your organization is sending out will appeal to them.

 

A Gift For Teaching’s User Personas

A Gift For Teaching has many different target audiences. Through channels like email, social media, and direct mail, we send tailored messages to each one to ensure that they’re relevant, timely, and clearly understood. Below are three examples based on consumers of A Gift For Teaching’s messaging. We make sure that each message sent to followers, volunteers, financial donors, supply donors, and public school administrators are relevant to each target market so that they are receptive to our brand messages.

Teacher Teresa

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Teachers like Teresa are interested in utilizing A Gift For Teaching’s services because it benefits them and the students in their classroom. A Gift For Teaching’s mission appeals to them as a community conscious person and as a teacher who can take advantage of our services. Our Bonus Section– which is full of recycled materials that can be reused in the classroom- appeals to teachers like Teresa because they are creative.

 

Executive Eric

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Executives like Eric that work at corporations in the area are interested in what A Gift For Teaching can provide as a nonprofit. Having a social responsibility that has a positive impact on our community boosts morale at a corporation like the one Eric works at. It also creates a sense of community amongst employees when corporate groups volunteer together at A Gift For Teaching and work towards a certain goal.

 

Administrator Ashley

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Superintendents and other Administrators like Ashley are interested in what A Gift For Teaching can do to improve the schools that they supervise. They would mainly be interested in contacting A Gift For Teaching to see how to get supplies into the schools that they manage. Since Ashley and teachers like her are proponents of the green movement, they would be excited by the Recycled Electronics Program and the recycled materials in our Bonus Section.

 

 

Source for Information in Consumer Personas: http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/10575.pdf