Why Marvel should bring back the Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four are Marvel’s first family of Silver Age superheroes. Created by legendary comic book writer Stan Lee and published on November 8th, 1961, this series also saved his career. He was wanting to leave the comic book industry, but thanks to a new assignment from his publisher and a confidence boost from his late wife, Joan, he created the Fantastic Four in response to DC Comic’s Justice League.
My name is Mark Murry. I’m a 25-year-old college student at IUPUC, and I’m very passionate about superheroes. When I was a little boy, superheroes were one of the things that got me through my struggle with my autism. The Fantastic Four is a personal favorite comic book series of mine. Yes, in the world of social change, shouldn’t we have superheroes that represent what being a family truly means?
By Mark Murry, English Major – IUPUC.

Hot Chicks, Guns and “Bad Words” Sell Merchandise!

By: Cody J. Giordano

Gary Vaynerchuk is a media expert. Vaynerchuk recently said in a Facebook video that he does not want to make a conventional video. He would rather make something people enjoy watching with cues, such as logos and objects or merchandise within those commercials. All forms of advertising have a place, but newspapers and inkblots, alone, will not cut it in our technology-driven society. Advertising styles have changed dramatically.

Black Rifle Coffee Company does an amazing job at selling products without directly advertising them. The veteran-owned and operated company makes funny and outrageous videos on YouTube and Facebook. The videos depict attractive women (hot chicks), guns, extreme sports, nice cars and everything else guys, like me, can’t get enough of. Below are three videos from BRCC.

John Willis, the owner of Special Operations Equipment (SOE) and James Yeager, the “MFCEO” of Tactical Response, have gotten famous by being unapologetic business owners. SOE makes gear like gun belts, chest rigs, rifle slings, etc. Tactical Response is a firearms-fighting school. Both Yeager and Willis speak their mind. When someone doesn’t agree with them, they will fan the flames. This gets the customer fired up. That customer then runs to forums and social media outlets to complain about either businessman. This draws supporters, like myself, to defend Willis and/or Yeager. Willis says that this model works because it is like a traffic jam. Everyone stops to look at the car with a flat tire. This slows down traffic, and more people see the flat tire (his name). The people then flock to his page by the hundreds to buy products. Yeager uses this model to get new students to sign up for classes at Tactical Response. They call this firing customers. By not wasting time on one bad customer, they can help two or three good ones. Both can be seen on YouTube and Facebook doing this very well.

Times have changes, and so have advertising styles. Rather than try to convince you why their product is better or tell you all about their products/services, they give you entertaining content that has subtle hints towards their business.

Marketing Through Blogging

5 Minute Read

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs… They are everywhere and you may not even realize it. Blogs are the marketing tool of the time and blogs are giving newspapers and radio advertising a serious run for their money. In order for a company to effectively use blogs as a marketing tool, a company has to have a solid understanding of what social media means for businesses today and how they can utilize the social media world and blogging to benefit their long term strategy.

Blogging has broken out from the conventional blog hosting sites and is now on all of our social media platforms.  If the criteria for a blog is: regularly updated articles, one or more authors and typically focused content written in an informal or conversational style then blogs populate Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pintrest and many other platforms. When you like and share an article or a post you are GVessentially marketing for someone and perpetuating a blog. Today, social media and the internet allow companies to have direct relationships with their consumers that were not possible in the past. Companies can now interact and engage easily with their consumers just as consumers can now easily engage with their favorite companies. This dynamic has some companies scratching their heads while it has other forward thinking companies developing strategies around it.

Two forward thinking companies I think that are effectively utilizing blogs as a marketing tool are Coca-cola and Gary Vaynerchuk with Vaynermedia. Both have set up an amazing web of blogs and social media content that keeps the attention of their consumers and maximizes interaction and impact.

Both companies realize that the use of blogs as a marketing tool is a long play. The effectiveness of blogs relies more on the quality of its content and the relational depth a company has with its readers than the number of followers alone. A good blog should not push sales, it should give value to the reader. Nobody wants to read blogs that are always pitching a sell to them. A reader wants value from the content in the form of entertainment or knowledge. Essentially a blog is a marketing expense that is used to give your customers value in the form of entertainment or knowledge. That sounds like an awful play but if you consider the blog as a relational investment in regards to the integrity of your consumer base then it makes sense. Effective blogs are relationship and trust builders. Gary Vaynerchuk once said, “If you give more than you take then you have leverage for life”.

CokeCoca-cola has positioned their blogs as a form of engagement and interaction while providing stories and product updates through their blog “Unbottled”. The content is not overwhelming or pushy and articles can be easily searched and found through filtering. Coca-cola wants to reach and keep the attention of as many consumers as possible in order to fabricate a lasting loyalty from them. Their focus is rooted in retention through attention and Coca-cola quickly cycles numerous pieces of content that are broadly appealing and shareable.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the CEO of Vaynermedia, a 600 employee media and strategy company that boasted over $100 million in revenue last year. He is a pioneer in the digital and social media world and an incredible entrepreneur to say the least. Gary started his career after he graduated college in 1999. He took over operations at his father’s wine company and increased the annual revenue from $3 million to $60 million annually through the use of an incredibly effective e-commerce and e-mail marketing program. He started one of the first online video blogs in 2006 called Wine Library and in 2009 he and his brother started Vaynermedia. Gary hustled his way toG.png the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see what they want is the greatest gift anyone can have. With that gift all you have to do is deliver and Gary understands that today’s generations require interaction, online relationships and above all else… attention. The social media climate is driven by attention. That is why we have like buttons and share buttons. It is why we post pictures and stories for people to read and tell us how great our lives are. We crave attention and Gary is a deliverer of attention, value and motivation. Gary also blogs to maintain his personal brand as an industry leader. His blogs means more followers which result in credibility. Credibility sells books and authors get paid to speak. That type of notoriety can lead a company such as Vaynermedia which sells various media products and provides services such as social strategy and social media management to many fortune 500 companies.

As you can see blogs allow a company to be more up close and personal with their consumers than ever before. If a company understands what they want to achieve through blogging they can begin to develop a strategic plan and begin the long game strategy. The first step is to create shareable content that readers will find value in. Then listen and be empathetic to their needs and deliver to those needs. Interact and keep their attention and the number of followers will increase. If a company can remain consistent and present, then they will gain the trust and loyalty of their followers and that is the goal of any company or blogger.

-Brent Devers

A New Business Environment

2004 was a year in innovation that everyone should remember. This is the year that effected nearly every human being either directly, or indirectly. It is said as of 2010 “one out of every dozen people on the planet has a Facebook account” (Grossman, 2010). Whether you realized this transformation or not, it plays a vital role in our economy. Some of us love it, others hate it. I have heard it called a gold rush, networking tool, and the demise of humanity. Which side you choose to be on is your individual filter of reality.

Yes, it is one of the most used social networking sites in the world today. Facebook.com. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s owner is valued at “$55.9 billion dollars” (Wikipedia, 2017). The site works by allowing users to build profiles of anything that can assume an identity such as a person, pet, or business to name a few. Once the profiles are built, the user has now agreed to the privacy statements herein the agreement you accept for using the company’s service, which is social networking. In return for using this service, you agree to allow them to use certain aspects of your profile for marketing purposes, which is also a way that they make their money. Since nearly two billion have profiles, Facebook has a vast array of human assets that can spread viral content, making them one of the best ways to advertise in today’s economy.

The aspect of collectively networking so many people through a social platform that allows for individual personalization continues to drive growth and innovation throughout the technology community. This platform practice is a template for many to learn from and grow with

On the other side of the business websites, we have a local plastic engineering firm that makes their money from manufacturing goods rather than the internet. C&T Engineering, Incorporated was founded in 1986 and their practice is to provide tooling and engineering expertise. They may not be an internet minded company, but they do have a website with a dot com domain thus making them a company represented with an online presence.

After reviewing their webpage, the main objective of the site is to inform potential customers of their background, location, and capabilities. The site does not allow for individual personalization, but offers the ability to inquire about servicing a need in this industry of tooling and engineering.

In comparison, both web pages have dot com domains and are representative of their comparative knowledge of how users interact with their respective online content.

In contrast, Facebook allows users to build personalized accounts and socially network with their community in exchange for the information you provide on that account. This site is monetized, meaning that they use your demographics to sale to companies that are in the market for someone like you. Because they have so many accounts connected, they have an enormous field of assets to sale, making them the leader in this style of business webpages. C&T’s website on the other hand, is built to inform you about the certain information hoping to attract your business. From what I have seen, they do not have personalization or social networking capabilities directly on their web portal thus they do not monetize their online content.

After reviewing both sites, it is my determination that having the ability to personalize an individual profile drives users to want to be at your web site and the internet is a vast forum of content that everyone wants to share. As color tv was to black and white broadcast, the internet is the new age of advertisement compared to traditional news applications. Keeping this in mind, you have to decide if you want to your website to be a marketing tool or just a plain informative page that barely generates viewership.

In conclusion, websites that just offer information on their services are missing out on opportunities to increase capital by not generating the ability to network and personalize. Networking and sites that generate wanted content, will continue to share a multibillion dollar advertising industry.

A Selfie is Worth a Thousand Comments: How Kim Kardashian Turned Herself into a Media Mogul.

Whether you love the Kardashians, or love to hate the Kardashians, chances are you know the famous family’s name. The family first came into the public eye in 1995 when the late Robert Kardashian Sr. was apart of O.J. Simpson’s  defense team representing O.J. in the People v O.J. trial. The family resurfaced again in 2007 when the hit reality show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” first aired, giving a glimpse into the lives of the Kardashian-Jenner family. Ten years later the show is still running and has turned the family into pop culture icons.

The most well known and fiscally successful Kardashian is Kim,with an astonishing 89 million Instagram followers and 49 million Twitter followers. Kim’s personal brand, that keeps her social media followers satisfied, is her actual image. Everyday people, magazines, and talk shows are fascinated by Kim’s ability to accentuate her famous features, through posting controversial selfies, promoting her husband’s clothing line, or snap chatting her beauty routine. Kim created this image by living by the mantra: there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Kim turned a sex tape “leak” into a playboy cover, from there the controversy continued and so did her magazine appearances, along with a growing following from the public.

Today a key part of Kim’s marketing strategy is communication with her audiences. Kim can instantly share what products she loves (Kardashian can see profits up to $300,000 for products she endorses online), give her followers glimpses into her elaborate vacations, and post an endless stream of selfies. Why this constant communication is a key to her success is because she has forged a platform and a following to share what she’s doing or what she endorses.

Key business lessons that are components of Kim Kardashians continued success are her ability to turn scandals into positive publicity opportunities, allow constant communication with her supporters, and utilize social media. Objectively speaking, Kim’s ability to capitalize on basic marketing techniques to become one of the most recognizable figures, makes her nothing short of admirable. To see what scandal Kim will capitalize on next, we’ll just have to Keep up with Kim, which is exactly what she wants.

 

Author: Nicole Bodi- Student at IUPUC

Sports Illustrated’s Target Audience

 

Have you ever paid attention to the ads in your favorite magazine? What are the products one would see? Majority of the advertisements in magazines or other publications relate to their target audiences. Sports Illustrated, the profound sports magazine, follows suit. SI’s advertisements seem to have a direct audience of mostly men, with money to afford brand name products, and who like sports.

These generalizations would be hard without understanding or knowing what ads are placed in SI’s magazines. Going through SI’s issues for December 2016, and January 2017 they both contain similar ads. The two issues’ promotions include men’s grooming products for razor blades and shaving cream. One issue’s ad had a two page spread on how baby boomers chances of having Hepatitis C is one in 30. Flipping through a couple pages, there is a heart burn pill ad, then a couple of retirement companies. Some promote liquor brands and the first has a middle-aged man in his back yard with his dog sipping on America’s finest vodka. The next sells a tequila that ages in bourbon barrels. Continuing on, the next few spreads are for the latest in men’s apparel, footwear and accessories. One particular ad features two gents in the new and improved flannels that are perfect to be worn untucked.

With understanding the material being promoted to readers, there are generalization to be made.The first observation that I notice is, that SI’s advertisers know their target audience is mostly older men. I would say this due to the liquor and retirement ads. Secondly, one could acknowledge that these ads are aiming for men who have the finances to buy these products. With the brand name products, the price will increase as well.  Next, these endorsements are for men whom enjoy sports and keep up to date with professional leagues. This generalization is pretty self-explanatory with the magazine being all about sports and the world’s top athletes. These three are the observations that first came across my mind about SI’s ad selection.

By reviewing all of the ads in SI’s December and January issues, one can understand the generalizations being made.  The company knows its target audience is men, thus promotes mostly men’s items, to men whom will have the money and are willing to spend it, and lastly  are fans of sports.

By Kyle Behymer. Communications Major – IUPUC

Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Promotional Publications

As I flip through various issues of the widely recognized publication, Sports Illustrated, certain components of the magazine stand out to me. Most prominent of course is the reasonably consistent pages that appeal to a reader. In today’s day and age, marketing and advertising is crucial to a company’s growth and development. That being said, businesses and publications alike are strategically placing ads that appeal to a reader in their magazines that will generate a response.

After I learned I would be writing this blog, I gathered all of the Sports Illustrated issues laying around my house and also made a trip to the local high school library at which I work on occasion. Between the two, I was able to accumulate a hefty stack of issues sufficient enough to satisfy a Doctor’s office for a few months. I began to dissect the magazines page by page and quickly saw my expectations were accurate: Sports Illustrated directs its ads to young adults and athletes.

After close scrutiny, a reader could generalize that the ads in Sports Illustrated are directed towards the younger generations of our society. Empirically speaking, the ads typically appeal to readers who want to be “hip, stylish and trendy” while also maintaining an athletic appearance. In terms of gender, the ads are most certainly geared towards young to middle aged men. With repeated occurrences of ads from companies like Viagra, Gatorade and Nike, I believe it is safe to say that our target market is quite apparent.

In conclusion, Sports Illustrated is able to provide an interesting publication while also providing applicable ads that a reader can relate to. That being said, it can be concluded that the ads in Sports Illustrated are directed towards, but not limited to, young to middle age males that have an interest in sports and also directed towards an athlete of any age.

By: Josh Davidson, Business Major, IUPUC