Pinterest Week at 451 Marketing

Our friends are obsessed.  Our co-workers can’t stop. And, our clients have a million questions. Pinterest is definitely THE social platform of 2012 and we couldn’t hold back our love any longer – this week is officially Pinterest week at 451 Marketing.


Via @someecards

To kick things off, we’re debuting our 451 Marketing Pinterest boards.  Our boards are a mix of our brand, industry information, and our company culture – a place for us to share things with one another. They’re pretty straight forward, but here’s the rundown.

451Heat: Things that are hot – take that however you like. Everything from hot peppers to the hot announcement that 451 Marketing was named a Boston Business Journal Pacesetter for the second consecutive year.  This board honors our company’s namesake (Farenheit 451) and it will be a lot of fun to see what people pin.

451 Labs: This is a space for the geek in us all to come out and play.  Infographics, eBooks, statistics that relate to social media, search marketing, and public relations.

451 Eats: This board was a no-brainer.  We are an office of foodies and represent roughly 50 restaurants in the Boston area. In a word, we love food. We’re obsessed with it and like to look at pictures of it.

451 Inspired: This board is reserved for ideas and images that inspire us in our daily work (and life).  Inspirational phrases and images will fill this board.

Boston: Again, a no-brainer.  451 Marketing is based in one of the most unique and beautiful cities in the country – this is a board that pays homage to Beantown.

Furry 451ers: As a pet-loving and pet-friendly office, we couldn’t leave out our four (and three!) legged companions!

451 Book Club: Books we are reading, have read, want to read – including selections from the 451 Marketing Ladies’ Bookclub (aka #451LBC).

451 Hot Sauce: We can’t think of any other companies who have a bottle of hot sauce as their mascot, and we embrace it.  This board will feature images of the our hot sauce out and about – visiting clients, on road trips, at the food trucks.

Check out our boards today and stay tuned for a week filled with Pinterest insights, opinions, and favorites and let us know what you think about this hot tool!


The New iPad & Gronking the Madden Cover Curse


Top Story: The New iPad

The iPad is coming. What? You thought it was already here? Well, technically we’ve had a couple versions. But as was unveiled this week, the new iPad 3 will simply be called iPad. Clever. But was the simplistic new name the biggest surprised about the brand new iPad? While there are some pretty cool features coming with the new version, it may not be enough to get you standing in line or waking up early to jump on the computer.


So, what’s different? The new iPad will have a 9.7-inch display screen with a “retina display” of 2047 by 1536 pixels, compared with the current model’s 1024 by 768 pixels. This gives the new iPad a higher resolution than any other tablet or laptop on the market and will not only look snazzy, but will also be pretty great for gamers.  Another awesome upgrade on this new version is the 5-megapixel camera. Of course, unless you’re the type who carries your iPad around to snap photos, this probably doesn’t mean much to you. Isn’t that what your iPhone is for? It will also be the first iPad to run on 4G wireless networks, if you’re willing to pay a bit more.


Will you be trading your old iPad in for the new version when they hit stores on Friday? The good news is, the new iPad will is selling for the same price as iPad 2 (of course, you can likely get the iPad 2 for a whole lot less now). The bad news is, the third-generation iPad is already sold out for pre-orders, so you’ll have to wait a little bit. As for me, I still have the first edition iPad and think I’ll be waiting for the next one to be announced before I take the plunge again.


Under the Radar: Facebook Timeline for Brands

As of March 30th, the way that brand fan pages will appear on Facebook with change dramatically. Similar to personal pages, brands will now be shown in the new Timeline format featuring a prominent cover photo, enhanced and customizable tabs displayed at the top of the page, the addition of milestones allowing for an interactive display of the brand’s history, and the ability to privately message fans, effectively taking the conversation ‘offline.’



Want more information about the changes to Facebook for brands?  Check out last week’s Labs post or contact a 451 Marketing social media specialist for more information.


Tool of the Week: Getting Loopt into Green Dot

Before SXSW began this weekend, Loopt was already causing a buzz in the LBS world by getting acquired by Green Dot – a U.S. provider of prepaid debit cards. If this news doesn’t shock you, you are certainly in the minority. There are two major reasons this has come as shocking news to most:


Green Dot Who? If all of a sudden one of the tech giants (Google, Microsoft, Twitter, or even Yahoo) had swept in and bought up the nearly seven year-old location-based service, people may not have been quite as taken back. But instead a little known debit card provider has made the acquisition.


How Can Green Dot Use It? Tech acquisitions are not uncommon, but most have more obvious motives than Green Dot’s purchase of Loopt. How can the debit card provider leverage technology like Loopt?


With a slightly deeper look though, it looks like it could make sense. With Google Wallet and similar mobile wallet services becoming popular, Green Dot may be looking to strengthen it’s play at the world of prepaid mobile debit cards in the near future. And because Loopt was one of the original location-based services, it holds a number of important mobile marketing patents that could be used as an advantage, particularly in developing customer retention programs that are already built in to Loopt.


While acquiring Loopt does not transform Green Dot into a game changer by any means, it shows a forward thinking attitude when it comes to the future of mobile payments. Look out for how they may use the location-based service in the next few years, especially since they are retaining core employees on the Loopt team.


Around the Hub: Gronking the Madden Cover Curse

If you are unfamiliar with the “Madden Cover Curse” then it may sound somewhat silly – why would a pro-football player NOT want to be on the cover of one of the most popular video games of all time? Because almost every single player who has graced the cover of the franchise that has generated over $3 billion in sales has had some bad fortune the following year. From season ending injuries to career-worst years, players seem unable to escape the curse.


And here is where it gets really interesting. The player on the cover is decided by an online vote, meaning players can campaign for themselves to win. The curse has stopped most players from going out of their way to get put on the cover, but fortunately for Pats fans, Gronk is not like most players. He spikes a football that hits the ground with force of 650 pounds. He runs over defenders like they are bowling balls. He also campaigns himself to get onto the Madden cover with a hilarious video featuring his brothers (one of which is also a professional football player).


The beauty of his video is it is as low value as it gets. All he uses is a using a flip cam, his parents living room and his brothers. They didn’t even bother to get real props, just his crutch and some plastic bags – all of this makes it even better.


We certainly hope this gets him onto the cover just so he can defy the curse!


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Let us know what you think about this week’s 451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.

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Tips for a Successful Tablet Marketing Strategy

This past Christmas, my parents surprised me with an iPad2. Being the ever-diligent Communications student, I decided to do a little research on the marketing approaches that can be useful when developing a tablet app for your company or product.

According to an article by TechCrunch, there will be an estimated 90 million tablet users in the U.S by the end of 2014.   Of those tablet owners, approximately 61 million will be using Apple’s iPad.  That offers a sizeable opportunity that cannot be ignored.  Logically, marketing strategies are adapting in order to cater to these devices. 

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So how can your company create a successful app?

Here are a few tips:

1.  Your app should be easy to use.  The first is fairly obvious, consumers aren’t going to waste their time trying to understand an app that is unnecessarily difficult to navigate.  I’m sure everyone has downloaded and later deleted an app because it wasn’t as simple as it claimed to be.


2.  Your app should be free of charge.  This is an opportunity for your company to build its brand and to gain exposure, not to make money.  Treating your app as a revenue channel will only deter potential consumers from downloading the app.  When I’m browsing the App Store, I filter my results based on those that are free.  I’ve never paid for an app before and don’t plan to start now.


3.  Your app should be compatible with multiple tablets.  While the iPad continues to be the most popular device, you should make sure anyone who wants to download it has that option.  Don’t limit your brand’s exposure by failing to offer it to everyone.


4.  Your app should offer an additional benefit that your website does not.  For example, I have an app called Nike Training Club, which I use to workout when I’m at home.  Nike promotes use of this app by offering to unveil a celebrity workout plan if you use it for a certain amount of time.  The incentive of receiving my childhood idol (no judgment please), Hilary Duff’s, workout was enough to convince me to use the app more often.

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5.  Your app should be creative.  While this may seem to be a no-brainer, a mobile-marketer article, found that tablets offer a more interactive canvas, which allows creators to be more imaginative in how they connect with consumers.  Therefore users may be more willing to engage with a campaign than they would if it were print advertising or a TV commercial because there’s the added opportunity for interaction.


6.  Your app should take full advantage of the tablet’s capabilities. Tablets offer the functionality of a desktop PC with the mobility of a cell phone.  Magazine and other reader apps are good examples of how to take full advantage of this.  Because the screen is larger than that of a smart phone, consumers are likely drawn to the increased ease of reading.  In addition, the lightweight model allows consumers to bring their entire stock of magazines, books, newspapers, etc. with them without monopolizing any further space.  Apps can also capitalize on the tablet’s capabilities by encouraging direct responses from users through simple feedback channels built-in to the app.


These are some tips that could help promote your brand or product on a tablet.   What are some additional attributes that you look for in an app?  What discourages you from downloading an app?  Which tablet do you have? Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!


-Katie O’Brien, 451 Marketing Marketing Intern
Katie is a senior at Boston College majoring in Communications


Refining and Maximizing Your Pitching Strategy

As media budgets are tightening and new social media sites are popping up left and right, they are varying the ways we can connect with reporters. We as PR professionals are constantly changing our media relations strategy. Tuesday night, three members of our public relations team here at 451 Marketing, attended a panel hosted by the Pub Club of New England, where several members of the Boston media unraveled a part of that equation and lent some insights from “the other side”, about how we can improve our pitching content and strategy such as how to get that elusive product coverage. On the panel were Jim Finkle (@techwriterjim),technology and cyber security reporter for Reuters; Katie Johnston (@ktkjohnston), business reporter for the Boston Globe; Erin Kutz (@erkutz), associate editor for; Lisa van der Pool (@lvanderpool), CBS Boston contributor and reporter for the Boston Business Journal and Joe Roche (@BostonNewsGuy), news assignment manager for WCVB-TV.



 Below, our team shares a few key takeaways:
  1. Deadline Awareness: All the panelists emphasized how important it is for PR professionals to be aware of publication deadlines. While PR professionals are always eager to get news out to media ASAP, even non-breaking news, it’s beneficial to do your homework and be aware of the recipients’ schedules – which can vary based on their type of media.Joe noted that while early morning is the best time to reach him with news for broadcast, the worst times are when he first gets into the office (7 a.m.) and right before they go on air.  As for the print dailies, late morning or early afternoon is the best time to capture their attention.  Lisa pointed out that the Boston Business Journal’s deadline day is Wednesday, so it’s best to avoid pitching on that day. Katie recommended not contacting the Globe at 3 or 4 p.m.  While we always double check the time before sending out a pitch, this is a good reminder to make sure we do that every time!
  2. Product News Pitching –One attendee brought up a good inquiry – since a popular announcement for clients is new product news, what is the best way to entice the media to cover them?   The panelists confirmed something we’ve heard many times: they will rarely cover straight product news.  However, there are a few ways to make the information interesting to the media:Tie the news into company strategy. Does the new product reflect a recent shift in what the company is doing as a whole?Explore other angles related to the company.  Is there an interesting story about the CEO or a non-profit initiative the company is doing?
  3. Going beyond your client list when pitching trends – When asked what makes a really strong pitch, Katie made a great point that a lot of us lose sight of when writing trend pitches. According to her, using examples in your pitch from companies or brands that aren’t your clients not only shows a reporter that you’ve done your research and know the industry, but establishes your pitch as an actual trend; rather than merely news from your client. As PR professionals, we are constantly getting pressure from clients to get media coverage and it’s easy to put our blinders on and only focus on using their examples. Katie’s advice is a great reminder that looking at the bigger picture and staying on top of industry news pays off and gives you a better shot at your pitch becoming a story.
  4. “On Background” versus “Off the Record” – One question that came up at the event was whether or not to advise clients to say things as “off the record.” As PR practitioner, our general rule of thumb is that nothing is ever off the record; however the panel seemed to be much more laid back about that question (or maybe we just had an especially lovely handful of journalists at this event!). Katie then explained to the audience the difference between “on background” and “off the record.” “On background” means that your client can offer information; however, saying upfront that it’s on background means that the journalist won’t attribute them as the source for the information. Depending on the journalist, they’ll either find a different source for the information or leave it as anonymous. When advising our clients, however, we think we’ll still stick with our “nothing is off the record” mantra and play it safe.
  5. Twitter Pitching versus Email Pitching – More often than not, the subject of how social media affects journalism comes up at these types of events. Internally at agencies, Twitter seems to be the “next big thing” when connecting with journalists, and Laura had even been to “Twitter Pitching” seminars. However, we were so glad a member of the audience asked the panelists if they like to be pitched via Twitter because the resounding answer was “no!” They urged PR pros to stick with “old fashioned” email and phone. That’s not to say that they aren’t on Twitter, though – they are there and they are listening. Most panelists use Twitter as a news source and say it’s an especially useful tool for following influencers in their beat’s space. So, note to fellow PR folks, get those execs on Twitter and talkin’!


We would like to thank Katie, Lisa, Jim, Joe and Erin for sharing their insights and helping us to improve the way we reach out to and connect with them and to the Pub Club for organizing such a great panel!


Were there any takeaways that surprised you? If you are on the receiving end of PR pitches, do you have any tips to add? Check out the event with #pubclubofne hashtag and tweet us at @451heat.


-Alice DuBois @aedubois, Meredith D’Agostino @ladymusic, and Laura Christo @LauraChristo


Boston Business Journal Top 100 Women-led Businesses Breakfast

Thursday morning, a few of the 451 Marketing ladies and I attended the annual Top 100 #BBJWomenLedBiz breakfast at the Westin Copley, presented by The Boston Business Journal and The Commonwealth Institute. It was an inspiring morning to say the least with almost 300 attendees, networking, panel discussions, awards and more. We were pleased to be there to witness the fabulous roster of women leaders to be recognized.

What I found to be the most interesting part of the morning was the panel discussion, newly added this year. The panel was moderated by Andrea Cohen, CEO of Houseworks (@house_works) and speaking was Kip Hollister (@kiphollister), founder and CEO of Hollister (@HollisterBoston), Laura Sen, president and chief executive officer, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. (@BJsWholesale), and Shirley Singleton, president of Edgewater.  The panel discussed how to be an authentic leader vs. how to be deliberate in your leadership – a topic I was eager to hear about. The general consensus of the panel was that the key was to make sure that you stick it out when times get tough; “you don’t cave,” said Laura Sen. “When times get tough, you just don’t cave.” Kip Hollister echoed Laura’s sentiment. “Go right through the pain – don’t go around it,” she stressed. “It will make you stronger as a leader.”

The panel also discussed the importance of maintaining office culture as a leader, especially when it comes to retaining talent whose goals align with yours and that of your business to strengthen your mission. Laura Sen stated simply “Leadership is surrounding yourself with the right people.” Kip agreed, saying “Be deliberate in your office culture. Say it out loud. And if people don’t want to get on board, get rid of them.”

In addition to the four companies on the panel, 96 other women-led businesses were recognized in a presentation at the end of the event. Rounding out the top three were the soon-to-be retired Trudy Sullivan, president and CEO of Talbots (@Talbots), Laura Sen of BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Carol Meyrowitz, president and CEO of TJX Co. (@TJXCO).

It was so refreshing to learn just how many businesses in the state are women-led. You can find photos and the full list here.  I can’t wait to see who makes the list in 2012.

Were you at the event? What were some of your favorite quotes from the panel?  Who were you especially inspired by?