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  • 22 May 2013

    Infographic: The History of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services

    When disaster strikes, The Salvation Army is never far.
    Minutes after a two-mile-wide EF5 tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013, The Salvation Army of Arkansas-Oklahoma had crews on the ground, serving meals and drinks to first responders and counseling tornado victims.
    As you read this, relief operations continue in Moore, as well as in other places around the country that have been struck by recent disasters. To follow the news and find out how you can support the efforts in Oklahoma and nationwide, visit, or simply text “STORM” to 80888 to give $10 instantly to the victims in Moore.
    Of course, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services did not begin this year – nor even this century. The EDS has a 100-plus-year history of aiding the victims of disaster all over the world!
    We at Summit Marketing created the following infographic to showcase – and salute – the great and essential work The Salvation Army’s units have done in mobilizing quickly time and again to provide material and spiritual comfort to those in need.
    Share this with your friends, and find out how to give – in times both bad and good – at

    Authored by Jason Harper, Manager of Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Connect with us @SummitSocial.

  • 13 May 2013

    Sign Up for Summit Marketing Portfolio Days!

    Are you a freelance copywriter, art director, graphic designer, production designer or a creative director? Well, we’ve got some awesome news for you!
    Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a well-seasoned veteran, Summit Marketing would like to invite you to our Freelance Portfolio Days, May 22-24, 2013. It’s happening right here in the Summit Marketing Kansas City HQ: 10916 Strang Line Rd., Lenexa, KS, 66215 (map).
    This three-day event will give you the opportunity to spend 15-30 minutes with our team of creative professionals to review your portfolio.  You may also choose to have an optional team critique, where Summit Marketing’s creative staff will point out strengths and weaknesses of your portfolio and give advice on how it might be improved.
    This is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door and potentially develop an ongoing relationship with Summit Marketing. There is only one important rule: As the name of the event suggests, you must bring a creative portfolio to show the creative directors.
    For more information and to sign up, call us at (913) 888-6222. We look forward to seeing you!
    Follow us @SummitSocial and like us at for more job and internship opportunities.

  • 03 May 2013

    Study Shows: CMOs Are Unprepared for Marketing Changes

    CMO Turbulence Report

    Is your marketing strategy ready for the changing tides of social and digital?

    It’s hard out there for a CMO.
    That’s the message conveyed in a new research report from Accenture Interactive.
    And we agree.
    Titled Turbulence for the CMO, the third-annual survey collects responses from 400 CMOs in 10 different countries. It shows an interesting cross-section of the struggles senior marketing officials are facing in a digital/social age where customer interactions are becoming increasingly complex and fragmented. This makes it difficult for companies to deliver a seamless customer experience.
    By way of executive summary: The overall findings clearly show that not only must CMOs shift their marketing strategy to meet customer expectations across all touchpoints, they must also develop a “digitally oriented” internal workforce. The company must adapt to and leverage channel proliferation and changing customer behavior. Finally, CMOs must also choose the right partners to help them manage the new marketplace complexity.
    Let’s take a deeper dive into a few of the findings:
    Not Ready for Change
    Seventy percent of CMOs are certain that a paradigm shift will occur in the fundamental operating model of marketing over the next five years. But how many feel ready for this change? Surprisingly few. Nearly 40 percent of the CMOs surveyed expressed a decrease in preparedness over the previous year.
    These CMOs believe they don’t have the right people, right tools, or right resources to meet their marketing goals. This is especially true in digital, where 66 percent of CMOs are expecting to allocate more budget dollars to these resources, which leads to another problem…
    The Digital Divide
    Even with more investment in digital, the report indicates a disconnect at work on multiple levels.
    While CMOs recognize the need to ramp up digital marketing efforts, those surveyed rated digital’s importance and performance lower in 2012 than in previous years.
    Why the drop off? According to the report, one in five CMOs described their company’s digital focus as below average, citing factors such as “inefficient business processes, proliferating channels, and talent gaps.” Nearly 20 percent believed that a lack of internal integration of digital is hurting their business, and 22 percent cited organizational inefficiency as a cause of digital underperformance.
    Solutions? Having a digitally up-to-speed workforce is crucial as the market becomes more and more complex, as is choosing the partners who understand the new connected-customer journey. Are you incentivizing your employees to keep learning and improving their skills? Are you working with the right agency partners who understand your marketing objectives and can fill in the talent gaps?
    Where’s the ROI?
    Meanwhile, as channels proliferate, CMOs feel they are getting farther away from quantifying marketing ROI. Twenty percent scored themselves as below average in their ability to measure multichannel attribution. Given an increasingly complex marketing mix – one that ranges from direct mail, to TV, to smartphone interactions – this anxiety is understandable. With so many customer touchpoints, it gets more and more difficult to measure where sales came from.
    Yet, despite this challenge, the vast majority of CMOs still try to manage customer data (67 percent) and ROI (71 percent) internally. But if you don’t have an internal team who can effectively manage and understand customer analytics, how can you place the right message before the right customer at the right time – and on the right channel?
    Solution: Developing a measurement strategy is critical in building a multichannel approach that makes sense for your company and meets customer expectations while driving sales. Remember, all channels may not be right for you. For example, before investing in the “hot new thing” in digital, take a look at what’s working and not working on other fronts first. For decisions like this, data analytics – and people who understand it – is your friend.
    Conclusion: Turbulence to Transparency
    It’s definitely a turbulent world out there for CMOs. Building new skills internally, choosing the right agency partners, and delivering consistent customer experience across all touchpoints – these are all important objectives in preparing for success in an increasingly chaotic marketplace.
    But we’d like to offer one more solution: Why not make your customer part of this mix?
    There’s never been a more open environment in marketing than right now, and customers are more willing than ever to engage with your brand and tell you what they want from you. Social media is a great platform on which to have this dialogue. (Note: the CMOs in the survey showed a clear weakness here. Only two thirds believe social media use is important, and fewer than half think they are engaging effectively!)
    If all this turbulence is stressing you out, maybe one of the best things you can do is listen.
    Authored by Jason Harper, Manager of Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Connect with us @SummitSocial.

  • 18 Apr 2013

    Is Social Media Right for Small Business?

    social icon collageAccording to a recent social media small business study in USA Today:


    • 61% of small businesses don’t see a return on investment on social media activities
    • 49% of businesses spend more time on social media than last year. 7% spend less
    • Small businesses cite Facebook as the hardest social media network to maintain


    So what should small businesses do?  First, is your product or service really that interesting that people want to learn more about it through social media?  It’s okay if your product or service isn’t that sexy.  Audiences expect certain industries to be on social media, think restaurants, retail, sports, and entertainment.  But what about the B2B business structure?  Perhaps all you need is LinkedIn and an established blog strategy on your website.  Or if your business is somewhat complex, perhaps you maintain informational videos on your YouTube channel.


    Second, know your audience.  Is your audience on social media and if so – how often are they on, and are they just on Facebook to keep up with family and friends, or do they follow and engage with companies?  Keep in mind that just because there are several social networks available does not mean you need to be on all of them.  Be discerning and match your social media strategy to your audience.  And most importantly, do not use social media as a blow horn.  Truly engage and speak with your audiences.


    Third, put social media in its place.  Social media is one form of getting your message out.  Focus on your business objectives, then create strategies that achieve those objectives.  Social media will likely be a part of the strategy, but the key is reaching those objectives. Don’t lose sight of your goal.




  • 04 Apr 2013

    Class Action Lawsuits & Zip Code Marketing

    Interesting and more importantly – scary – article regarding class action lawsuits being filed against retailers/advertisers that are zip code targeting residents with their direct mail efforts.  Apparently Massachusetts passed a consumer privacy law that makes it illegal for retailers to ask for your zip code, when you make a purchase within their stores.  Retailers are not allowed to ask for customer zip codes and then use those zip codes for direct marketing purposes.  First Michael’s was taken to the cleaners and now Bed Bath & Beyond is facing a similar suit.

    You can read the article yourself at: Bed Bath & Beyond Lawsuit


  • 29 Mar 2013

    Google Services Won’t Always Be Free

    As noted earlier this week, Google is getting rid of Google Reader.  Yes, that is due to privacy reasons, yet ideas of Google charging for currently free services, are already being floated out.  Be in the know of the changes that are bound to come by reading this article:

    Google Services Won’t Always Be Free

    Of note, YouTube, Google Analytics, Gmail, and Google Drive, will at some time, require payment for use.  Search however, will continue being free and this is what comprises 75% of Google’s revenue.




  • 05 Mar 2013

    Union Station: Viral Marketing in the Land of Oz

    Summit client Union Station is bringing the Emerald City back to the land of Oz.

    We’ve heard the term “viral gold” when it comes to web content that spreads like crazy.

    But viral emerald?

    That phrase could very easily describe the attention our client Union Station has been getting the past two weeks.

    For those not familiar, Union Station is a 100-year-old train station that has, in recent years, reinvented itself under visionary new leadership into a destination for tourists and local families drawn to attractions like the KC Rail Experience, the Science of Rock ‘n Roll exhibit, Science City, and big events like Maker Faire. Civic initiatives like the Digital Sandbox and Launch KC have also brought in new, previously untapped crowds: local tech entrepreneurs and business leaders.

    Keeping up with this atmosphere of innovation, in recent months Summit has helped Union Station revisit and revamp its digital and social efforts to drive engagement around its cycle of unique and inventive attractions and offerings.

    The latest event we’ve helped to successfully promote lands not too far from our shared Kansas heritage.

    OZ-some Energy

    Our most recent social-digital work has been geared toward a bigger push to drive awareness and attendance at Union Station’s newly renovated Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre.

    An IMAX-like 80′x53′-screen with high-tech digital 3D projection, the Extreme Screen is opening this week with showings of Disney’s new 3D movie Oz The Great and Powerful.

    A 3D movie in a train station, you say? It’s all a part of the new Union Station. And audiences are catching on — just like they did 64 years ago, when the original Oz changed cinematic history.

    But this time, the methods are different.

    Viral Emeralds

    Over the past week in particular, we’ve worked to leverage Union Station’s social and digital tools to harness the energy online, connect it to local events, and ultimately drive ticket sales — all on a quick-turnaround timeframe.

    Glinda, the Good Witch

    Glinda was a hit with Facebook fans.

    1. Facebook Ticket Giveaway

    First, a week out from the opening, Summit helped Union Station conduct a ticket giveaway on Facebook that did more than generate likes.

    Because of Facebook’s strict promotional guidelines, we had to be careful about asking fans to enter directly via Facebook. Instead, we created excitement by posting an image from Oz tied to an enticing message about a giveaway the next day.

    This image of Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams) got nearly 800 likes, more than 60 shares, and was viewed by an audience of 13,812 — just over Union Station’s 13,000+ fanbase. Then, with awareness at a high, we posted another image the next day with instructions to enter via a third-party platform.

    The result: In addition to reaching more than 22,000 users, Union Station collected 440 entries, with 287 people (65%) opting to receive future emails.

    After all, getting likes is great, but the real value of a Facebook promotion must transcend intra-network virality — in this case, by growing Union Statin’s email subscription list.

    All of this buzz was driven organically, by the way, without paying a cent toward ads or paid post promotion. (It’s also worth noting that it took place while a record snowstorm effectively shut down the city, forcing everyone involved to work from home.)

    2. Emerald City

    As we got closer to the movie premiere, Union Station reached even more people in a faster period of time.

    On the day before a sneak preview, we posted a breathtaking Facebook album featuring professionally shot photos of the building lit up green in celebration of Oz.

    Emerald City

    Union Station's green turn was fit to be shared on Facebook.

    Not only did the album itself rack up shares and likes by the hundreds over the ensuing evening hours, individual photos within the album also drew buzz.

    Without spouting too many stats here, this single content maneuver engaged 3,116 users, or about 23% of Union Station’s fanbase. In a time when Facebook allows business pages to reach only 1-2% of their fans with any given post, this is a triumph. And thanks to some paid ad support, this number will only grow.

    Additionally, every photo includes a trackable link to buy tickets at the box office — because, as any good marketer knows, that’s where the real action takes place.

    Not including the time spent setting up the lights and taking the photos, this entire mini-campaign required only a few hours’ work and yielded great ROI.

    Click to check out Union Station's new homepage

    3. A New Look

    Last but definitely not least in the grand scheme, Summit launched a brand new look for Union Station’s homepage at

    Not unlike the social media surges that came before it, this entire reskin was also completed in a matter of days, from final design tweaks to go-live.

    The new homepage skin also prominently features Oz and the Extreme Screen, so that when Facebook fans land on the website, their excitement is greeted and amplified by Union Station’s fresh and dynamic branding.

    Though box office data will ultimately determine the impact of these campaigns, it’s been rewarding to work with such an imaginative and bold partner in Union Station, giving followers some fun and engaging viral gems to share with their friends.

    Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Connect with us @SummitSocial.

  • 01 Mar 2013

    When It Comes to Choosing a Restaurant, Age Matters and Local Drives (Food & Fuel Report, part 5 & Conclusion)

    Money in the tank.

    Rising costs at the tank could hit restaurants in the bank. Make your messages count.

    In case you’re just tuning in, all week long here at Summit Social, we’ve been dissecting the results of research we conducted into how rising gas prices are impacting restaurant business.

    Specifically, we wanted to know what makes customers choose to go out to a restaurant when it costs so much extra money to fill up the car for the voyage.

    The Food & Fuel Report has produced some surprising insights. They paint a picture of how people’s dining habits are being shaped by economic instability.

    • • $4 per gallon is the tipping point at which people indicate a decrease in dining out
    • • With $4-per-gallon prices in effect, “availability of a coupon/discount” was the leading motivator among women, but men chose “previous positive experience”
    • • 75% of dining-out decisions are made by women in family/couple situations
    • • Only 15% of respondents had taken advantage of a kids-eat-free deal in the past three months
    • • 21-to-29 year-olds were most likely to decrease dining expenses in a $4/gallon environment

    Findings like these should be of use to restaurant owners and marketers looking to protect against would-be cocooners and keep a fresh stream of guests through the front doors.

    Before we conclude this weeklong series, we have two more findings to share.

    F&F Finding 5: Age Matters in Choosing Whether to Dine Out

    Given the $4/gallon scenario nearly all age groups in our survey ranked “Entertainment” as the first expense they would decrease to save money. That sounds like good news for restaurateurs.

    But wait.

    Among the crucial 21-to-29 demographic “Dining Out” was reported as the first expense they would cut back on. This group values something higher than Dining Out. Can you guess what it is? Yep: Entertainment.

    What lesson can we apply from this to your marketing messaging? It may seem that younger diners and their older peers are at odds – one seeks practical value, the other seeks entertainment. However, with the right messaging, you can appeal to both.

    • • Insight: Remember that your older customers were once young, and while they may be older and wiser now, entertainment is still important.
    • • Takeaway: In your marketing, how much emphasis do you place on the experience?

    Great entertainment, great value — that makes for a great proposition to customers struggling with the daily stresses of cost of living.

    F&F Finding 6: Locally Driven Messages Motivate

    As an agency with experience working with both local restaurant owners and multi-unit frachisees, we’re always interested in marketplace perceptions of the local vs. chain debate.

    With Food & Fuel, we wanted to find out how $4/gallon gas affected those perceptions.

    Quantitatively, there was an even 50/50 split when it came to preference for a national chain vs. locally owned. However, when asked in person, those who responded “National Chain” showed a noticeable pause

    What does this indicate?

    • • Insight: Though customers were split between local/national, given the context of economic anxiety, an empathy factor for local business will likely emerge.
    • • Takeaway: If your brand is associated with a national chain or franchise, how are you communicating community involvement? Are you talking about the number of jobs, service hours, or charity contributions you give to the community? Are you letting your employees speak? Communicate locally about what your business is doing locally and how much you appreciate the loyalty of your — yep — local customers.

    That’s Local Store Marketing at its purest.

    And with that, we conclude our week of Food & Fuel at Summit Marketing. We’re jumping in the car and heading to the nearest burrito joint.

    In the meantime, you can browse past blogs below or download the entire Food & Fuel Report here.

    Also, let us know how we can help. Gas prices are definitely going up this year. At Summit, we’ve done the research, and we know how to craft messages that resonate in times of economic turmoil. Call us today at 1-(800)-843-7347.

    Other Food & Fuel Posts:
    Part 1: How Do High Gas Prices Affect Dining Out?
    Part 2: How Do Men and Women Differ in Choosing to Dine Out
    Part 3: Parents Not Impressed by Kids-Eat-Free Deals
    Part 4: Happy Hour Makes Young People Happy

    Post Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Follow us @SummitSocial.

  • 27 Feb 2013

    Happy Hour Makes Young People Happy. But does it need to feel the squeeze in economic uncertainty? (Food & Fuel Report, part 4)


    What can happy hour teach you about making all your customers happy?

    Who doesn’t like happy hour?

    As a famous American poet once noted, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”

    But from a restaurant marketer’s perspective, how do happy hours work? Do they drive visits? Do they build loyalty? Do they enhance experience? How about converting to dinner sales?

    Add in the factor that fuel prices are on the rise — up to $4 a gallon in some areas — and many customers are having to choose between saving up by staying in or paying up just to get themselves from one place to another. It has become a daily internal debate.

    As a restaurant owner or marketer, you’ve got to be sure that your messaging and in-house efforts are keyed to resonate with consumers who are seeking stability and value in a time of economic uncertainty.

    All week on Summit Social, we’ve been unpacking the results of our Food & Fuel research report. Food & Fuel’s goal was to find out how consumers are adjusting their dining-out choices in light of rising fuel costs and economic anxiety.

    In previous posts, we’ve looked at overall impact of high fuel prices on dining out, how men and women differ in choosing to dine out, and whether kids-eat-free deals motivate parents.

    Today, we’re focusing on happy hour.

    And we have happy news! Mix up a Manhattan and read on.

    F&F Finding No. 4: Happy Hour Specials Are a Strong Hook for 20-Somethings

    First of all, the young folks have it. Food & Fuel found that 71% of 21-29-year-old respondents had taken advantage of happy hour specials in the previous three months and plan to continue in the future.

    Happy hour is particularly popular with women, who took advantage of the deals at a 10% higher rate. Further investigation pointed to the popularity of “Girls Night Out” deals.

    What about when it came to choosing where to have that after-work cocktail?

    Deals and discounts, plus a “follow my friends” mentality trumped brand loyalty when it came to choosing where to go. By the same token, respondents were more likely to indicate a favorite grouping of restaurants/bars than one single, go-to place.

    Although 21-29-year-olds were the most likely age group (36%) to say they would decrease dining expenses in the face of high gas prices, they were also the highest percentage of respondents to indicate that rising fuel costs would not impact their dining out budget. If that sounds contradictory, that’s because it is.

    This disparity is likely a reflection of how happy hour really is about the “happy.” More than just a meal out, happy hour satisfies a latent need for entertainment and social engagement.

    Remember: Consumers are all looking for safe harbor in the face of rising economic stress.

    • • Insight: Take a lesson from the young. For 20-somethings, happy hour combines value and entertainment to create a unique experience. Your messaging will work best for all ages when it portrays your restaurant as a place where customers will feel better for having visited.
    • • Takeaway: Does your messaging present your full mix of price, entertainment, and increased feelings of satisfaction?

    Closing thought: As you plan your happy hour strategy, it’s worth considering how you might combine the draw of after-work drinking into staying to dine. Tap into your guests’ enthusiasm for happy hour and motivate them to stay for dinner . . . or make it a seamless transition that’s barely noticed.

    If you’d like more insight, download the free Food & Fuel Report.

    Let us know how we can help make your customers happy. Call Summit Marketing at 1-(800)-843-7347.

    Previous Food & Fuel Posts:
    Part 1: How Do High Gas Prices Affect Dining Out?
    Part 2: How Do Men and Women Differ in Choosing to Dine Out?
    Part 3: Parents Not Impressed by Kids-Eat-Free Deals
    Part 5: Conclusion: Age Matters and Local Drives

    Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Follow us @SummitSocial.

  • 27 Feb 2013

    Most Parents Not Impressed by Kids-Eat-Free Deals (Food & Fuel Report, part 3)

    Kids-Eat-Free promos are the least important factor in parents' choice to eat out.

    When was the last time your kids ate free in a restaurant? (That is, a restaurant that you don’t have ownership stake in?)
    The Kids-Eat-Free deal is a longstanding tactic to get families into booths, and, if all goes well, hook future generations of patrons. But is it relevant to today’s consumer? Does it actually impact a parent’s choice to gas up the family car, load up the kids, and head out for dinner?
    Throw in $4-a-gallon pricing, and the answer becomes clear.
    Restaurant discounting aimed at parents of children is one of the issues we at Summit Marketing explored in our Food & Fuel survey, conducted late last year. All week long on this blog, we’re diving into the lessons learned from our extensive research into how escalating gas prices are affecting consumers’ decisions to eat out. You can also download the full Food & Fuel whitepaper.
    Monday, we learned that $4+-a-gallon fuel prices impact 72% of customers in their decisions regarding dining out. That’s why, in times of economic anxiety, restaurateurs need to communicate stability and value.
    Next, we learned that men and women differ in their dining-out decisions. We gave research-backed reasons why it’s essential to turn customers into outspoken advocates for your brand.
    Today, we’ll focus on the kids.

    F&F Finding No. 3: Kids-Eat-Free Doesn’t Significantly Sway Parents in a High Fuel Price Economy

    Only 15% of respondents in our Food & Fuel survey had taken advantage of a Kids-Eat-Free special within the past three months.
    Most telling of all, none of the participants identified Kids-Eat-Free as “the single most important factor” impacting their restaurant selection.
    In fact, 42% marked it “least important.” {Note: 49% of survey participants reported having kids at home.}
    While respondents with children were almost twice as likely (28%) to have taken advantage of a Kids-Eat-Free promotion in the preceding three months, they still ranked it “single least important factor” in choosing to dine out. It tied with “Happy Hour Specials” among moms and dads.

    • Insight: Don’t expect a Kids-Eat-Free proposition to powerfully resonate. However, if you are already running one, make it part of your larger message of consistent and committed value. Remember that consumers are looking for certainty.
    • Takeaway: How are you communicating stability, value and high experience satisfaction across all of your messaging?

    Social media and in-store are the easiest vehicles for delivering combined messages. At Summit, we can help with both – and we understand that your kids need to eat, too. Call us at 1-(800)-843-7347.
    Previous Food & Fuel Posts:
    Part 1: How Do High Gas Prices Affect Dining Out?
    Part 2: How Do Men and Women Differ in Choosing to Dine Out?
    Part 4: Happy Hour Makes Young People Happy
    Part 5: Conclusion: Age Matters and Local Drives
    Download the complete Food & Fuel Report.
    Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Follow us @SummitSocial.