Crafty Business - Big Beer May Soon Buy Up Your Favorite Craft Brewery

The craft beer industry has experienced explosive growth in the last 10 years. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer has gone from a 5.9% dollar sales share of the U.S. market in 2006 to a 24.84% dollar sales share in 2016. This growth hasn’t gone unnoticed by the giant “megabreweries”, which have seen sales of their beers flatten or even decrease in recent years. This rise in craft beer consumption has led to a number of major industry shakeups such as the merging of Anheuser-Busch and Belgian beer giant InBev back in 2008, as well as AB InBev’s subsequent purchase of SABMiller in 2016.

Recently the big breweries’ strategy has been to simply buy up popular craft brewers. For instance, AB InBev has now acquired 10 craft beer brands including Goose Island and Blue Point; while Constellation Brands, the makers of Corona, bought San Diego craft brewer Ballast Point in late 2015, and MillerCoors purchased a majority ownership stake of the Terrapin Beer Company in July of 2016. 

This trend has been met with backlash by many craft beer enthusiasts and industry members alike. For example, after North Carolina craft brewer Wicked Weed announced its sale to AB InBev in May of 2017, it drew harsh criticism from numerous customers and was subsequently stripped of its voting rights in the NC Brewer’s Guild. The issue has drawn attention once again as popular South Florida craft brewer Funky Buddha was purchased by Constellation Brands on August 10th of 2017. 

Where do you come down on the issue? Do you think this recent trend in the industry is a good thing? Will it change your view of your favorite craft brewer if they were bought up by the “big guys”? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

John Gironda, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. He can be reached at

The Dramatically Changing World of Retailing


Store based retailing is going through an agonizing transformation with an uncertain future.  Not since the recession of 2008 have we seen numerous store closings, bankruptcies, and consolidations for both retail stores and malls.

Brokerage firm Credit Suisse paints a troublesome picture of the retail sector in a recent report.  Store closings are at an alarming rate with 5,077 stores closed in 2015, 2,056 stores closed in 2016, and an estimated 8,600 stores set to close in 2017.  The current rate of 2017 closings exceeds the closing rate of 2008 during the recession when 6,163 stores were shut down.

The closings affect all types of retailers including Macy’s (15% of stores closed) American Apparel, Staples, CVS, Payless, Guess, Abercrombie and Fitch, Sears/K-Mart, and many others.  Starbucks just announced the closing of its Teavana retail tea stores due to lower mall traffic.  Chains such as Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, Limited, hhgregg, Gymboree, and Radio Shack have filed for bankruptcy.

Several factors account for these issues:

• Retailers rushed to open new stores in anticipation of increased consumer spending and to counter competition.

• As shopping mall construction increased, retailers saw opportunities to locate in new high traffic areas.  The result of the mall overbuilding is a dramatic difference in malls in the United States versus other countries.  According to Zero Hedge, the US has 24 square feet of retail footage per capita versus 16 for Canada, 11 for Australia, 5 for the United Kingdom, 4 for France, 3 for China and 2 for Germany.  This overbuilding compounded by the closing of many anchor stores, has caused a glut and bubble with the prediction by Credit Suisse that 25% of malls will close by 2022.

• The changing consumer and the rise of e-commerce are both a threat and an opportunity for brick and mortar retailers.  Consumers are pressed for time, want convenience, and want an easy way to make a purchase.  Online allows them to sit down in front of the computer or mobile device to find the right product at the right price, in the right place.  According to Berkeley Research Group, excluding the impact of e-commerce which increased 13.4% in 2016, brick-and-mortar retailers increased sales only 2.5%.  Online shopping grew 17% CAGR since 2010 with online sales share newly doubling to 10.6% in 2017.

• Savvy consumers figure out the place to shop.  About half of them do showrooming, that is, go into retail stores check merchandise and pricing, and then purchase the product online.  About two thirds of consumers admit they research online and then purchase at retail.  Online offers 24/7 access to product information and product ordering.  Amazon Prime just reminded me that I saved 15+ trips to retailers by ordering online with them


> For malls faced with this changing environment:
• Large mall owners such as Simon are increasing investment in their A malls, modernizing them and adding new outlets to replace those retailers going out of business.  The new outlets fall into two new categories, innovative retailers such as fast fashion outlets such as Primark, Zara, Uniqlo, and Forever 21.  They have added over 200 restaurants to their malls including Cheesecake Factory, all to enhance their customers’ experience.

• Consumers need reasons to come to malls beyond retail shopping.  Adding an exciting environment with events, special displays, fashion shows, art exhibits, entertainment, and other community activities helps bring in traffic.  Adding nontraditional mall services such as medi-centers, fitness centers, gourmet grocery stores, pharmacies, banking, Apple and Microsoft stores, Tesla showrooms, as well as smaller specialty stores will build traffic for the malls.

• Mall operators such as Simon have divested B and C underperforming malls and placed greater emphasis on high traffic, high-volume malls.  If divestiture is not possible, mall owners are exploring whether the mall can be repurposed into another facility such as a medical center, apartments, distribution center or other types of business.

> For retailers faced with this changing environment:
• Retailers need to continue to rationalize non-productive outlets by eliminating marginal stores.  Productivity metrics must be used to determine the optimum number and location of outlets.  Rethinking store size and merchandise mix may be important for retailer survival.

• The omni-outlet customer requires new services to allow online ordering and home delivery, online ordering and in-store pickup, as well as in-store returns regardless of the point-of-purchase. Major improvements in computer systems and logistics are required to achieve high levels of expected customer service.  In-store service delivery of online orders, handling online returns, and processes for product exchanges require  new in-store facilities ranging from storage space for online orders to be picked up, computer terminals, and well-trained employees to handle the service desk.  Importantly, signage at the store entrances must direct people to where they can pick up their online ordered merchandise.

• Customer experience is key to increasing store traffic.  Retailers must stay current in changing customer lifestyles and merchandise changes that drive altered shopping behavior.  Having high demand items in stock and enhancing the shopping experience as a treasure hunt can increase traffic and the number of items bought.  Surprise customers with a small gift or token of appreciation.  A local grocery chain offers a free cookie to children when they approach the bakery department.  Compete on the basis of customer experience and merchandise selection rather than price.

• Retailer websites must be inviting, easy-to-use, and above all engaging.  According to research cited by HubSpot, 81% of shoppers for high ticket items conduct online research before making their purchase, 44% of people go directly to Amazon to start their product searches compared to 34% who use search engines such as Google or Bing.  Therefore, it is imperative that retailers use search engine optimization and other tools to make sure that their websites and product offerings show on the first one or two pages of search results.  Beyond the inviting website, retailers must develop a strong social media presence and use it to communicate new merchandise and promotional offerings.  Digital media can be used to drive in-store traffic.

• New merchandising techniques need to be added.  Consumers who order online miss the ability to touch, feel, and try on merchandise before they buy.  Several merchants are offering customers the ability to order online several different items, select the one they want, and return the others at no return shipping charge.  Amazon is testing Prime Wardrobe which allows customers to do this. Warby-Parker allows customers to receive up to five eyeglass frames to try prior to purchase.  Customers of Trunk Club and Stitch Fix receive merchandise for selection and return.

• Offering unique or highly customized merchandise can add value and exclusivity.  High quality store brands such as Costco’s Kirkland brand now accounts for 25% of the retailers sales.  Many Costco HDTV and other electronic products have unique model numbers making comparison shopping difficult.  Retailers who can develop unique or customized products can compete more effectively.

• Clarity of brand positioning is critical.  Having the consumer know who you are and what you stand for can differentiate the retailer mean the difference between success and failure.  Retailers such as T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have clarity in positioning as outlets for newly available brand-name merchandise on a regular basis at competitive prices.  Walmart has low everyday prices, but service is low on consumer expectations.  Publix Super Markets are well-positioned for convenience, customer service, fast checkout and helpful employees.

• Using market research and data analysis studying customer behavior can be turned into actionable marketing strategies to increase traffic.  Insight into customer loyalty, what influences them to buy and to buy again, why customers are lost, should be used to enhance marketing decision-making.

• Mobile apps are a critical part of the communications with customers.  According to Internet Research, mobile commerce makes up 30% of all United States e-commerce.  More Google searches take place on mobile devices than computers.  Careful use of mobile apps can help build consumer engagement and the selective use of emails can increase online sales, store visits, increased order size, and should be part of business building marketing strategies.

• Strategies to reduce showrooming must be developed and implemented to turn a shopping customer into a purchasing customer.  Matching online pricing or providing added services such as extended warranties can be used as an added value to the customer to keep them in the store and prevent them from going online.

The world of retailing is changing dramatically from the anticipated growth rates of the past.  Malls and retailer overbuilding have caused issues in this sector.  The changing consumer and e-commerce have had a dramatic impact in industry restructuring.  Both malls and retailers must move quickly and decisively to reconstruct their marketing to be assured of having a profitable future.

Herbert Brotspies, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. He can be reached at

From the New to the Now Economy

There are only two types of companies: the quick and the dead.

           -Michael Dell 

For more than 20 years, we have heard about the benefits, excitement, promise and impact of a digital revolution and a technologically-driven society. Concept albums by iconic rockers such as Radiohead (OK Computer), Rush (2112) and David Bowie (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars) sung about the all-encompassing power of technology – for good and evil -- before the new economy was born. And, a half century ago, Rod Serling relayed ironic tech-based themes in his brilliant television series, THE TWILIGHT ZONE (e.g., Time Enough at Last, Third from the Sun, To Serve Man, and so many more spell-binding episodes).

          In the 1990s, Internet pioneers such as America Online, Amazon, Cisco Systems, Dell, eBay, E-Trade, Expedia, and Yahoo! dramatically changed how consumers and businesses bought products and services in a 24/7 global market space. A seismic shift in the new economy has taken shape over the past ten years led by the FAANGs -- Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google. These digital leaders focus on speed, service, selection, sociability and solutions.  

        What has been the result of this 5-S transformation? Welcome to the now economy! Just as a toddler cannot possibly wait for a chocolate chip cookie and absolutely, positively must have it right now -- today’s consumers are equally impatient and demand immediate satisfaction. Hence, the rise of Amazon Dash, Fresh, and Prime; Apple’s iTunes; Couchsurfing; TaskRabbit; ZipCar; and a multitude of other “I gotta have it now!” business models.

          Strategic differentiation combined with technology and consumers’ interest in choice has led to industry disruption. Marriott and Hilton have sure felt the effects of Air BnB in the lodging industry. Today, target marketing means segment-of-one personalization. Mass promotion has evolved into two-way dialogues with consumers and business users. Customer relationships lead to lifetime brand advocates. The new economy has morphed into the now economy!

           The now economy is service dominant. This includes business, consumer, professional, and government services. Knowledge workers and the creative class turbocharge this economic sector. In addition, digital services (the platform economy) and consumer-to-consumer services have surged in the past 5-10 years. Realize that a strong traditional backbone of manufacturing, agri-business, construction, and infrastructure is still a key economic priority in industrialized nations. And, let’s not forget the trade segment (retail and wholesale), as well as the burgeoning e-commerce marketspace and the rise of smart products (e.g., appliances, energy regulation, and the internet of things) – see Table 1 which summarizes the key components of the now economy.

Table 1.  Key Sectors of the Now Economy


B2B, B2C and Professional Services

Knowledge Work and the Creative Class

Digital Services and the Platform Economy

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) Services/Sharing and Access Economy

Manufacturing +

Customized Manufacturing

High Technology

Emerging Technologies

Agribusiness, Construction, Mining


Retail, Wholesale


Internet of Things (IoT)

            The 24/7 now economy is always-on and always open. Buyers will no longer accept shopping from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.  Online shoppers will expect their orders to be delivered immediately, within the next two hours, or overnight (not in 5-10 business days). Bricks-and-clicks business models allow consumers to pick up their purchases at a neighborhood store. Sub-par customer service will not be tolerated. Buyers expect to be wowed with amazing experiences and will not settle for yesterday’s ordinary store visits. Table 2 summarizes what customers want in the now economy.

Table 2.  What Customers Want from the Now Economy

The 5 - S’s






Customers Value

It now! – Immediacy and convenience

Superb service

Many options and quality products -- goods, services and ideas

Ongoing, long-term relationships with companies that truly value their business

Doing business with innovative, problem-solving companies that are perceived market leaders

Millennials Also Seek

Technology to manage and simplify daily activities – e.g., apps for immediate access

Interesting, enjoyable and memorable experiences

Product access and benefits -- not necessarily product ownership

Emotional connections with companies, brands and user groups via social media platforms as well as supporting organizational/ environmental causes that they are passionate about

Doing business anytime in any location via multiple channels

Consider this example of the now economy in action.

I recently dropped my dog off at a neighborhood pet spa for one-hour grooming services. I visit the Target Superstore down the street to grab a cup of dark roast in the mini Starbucks. The café is sparsely populated but employees (mostly millennials) drop by to consume premium coffee and pricy pastries. Occasional shoppers, largely female, young and old of all ethnicities, stop by to get their caffeine fixes, too. The fresh produce section in the grocery department is right across from me, part of the one-stop shopping experience. A hundred or so yards away is the embedded CVS Pharmacy -- once a formidable competitor and now a strategic partner. Paralleling the unstoppable movement towards online buying, I notice very few shoppers in this cavernous establishment. Is it any wonder that H.H. Gregg, Sears, Macy’s and dozens of other retail leaders have closed stores or went out of business? (The death of retail is a very real threat in the industry). I get a text message from the groomer – it’s time to pick up Maya.    

           The now economy is also about sharing and access. Users are bypassing traditional market structures and business channels to work directly with other consumers to solve individual problems – think about an Uber instead of a taxi. The redefinition of buyer behavior has spawned a vibrant consumer-to-consumer sector and impacts the future of work.

            While most of us would love to be like Tim Ferriss, rich and only work four hours a week, such incredible wealth is unlikely. In the now economy, many individuals are turning to multiple entrepreneurial ventures to pay the bills to survive or thrive. Just as struggling musicians work hard and hope for that big break, many millennials (and others) are juggling multiple gigs such as driving for Lyft, creating apps, writing blogs, posting YouTube videos and starting innovative businesses as they seek the “big deal” and navigate their individual path to success.  


1.      What impact does the now economy have on your personal life?  

2.      What impact does the now economy have on your professional life?

3.      Is your company creating superior value in the now economy? If not, what strategic changes are called for?

4.      Identify 1-2 other companies that may ascend as a potential rival(s) to the FAANG giants.

Art Weinstein, Ph.D., is a Professor of Marketing in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. He can be reached at

Country-of-Origin and its effects on International Marketing

Global marketing studies have proven time and time again that knowledge of where a product is made influences purchasing decisions. The attitudes and perceptions people have in their minds about a particular country are transferred to products and brands originating from that country. If you don’t believe me, think to yourself: would you rather buy electronics made in Japan or in China? According to research from Futurebrand, a brand’s home country ranks higher than traditional purchasing choice drivers like price, availability, and style (Roll, 2014). This bias is what marketing literature calls the country-of-origin-effect, and it is common in product categories such as automotive, electronics, fashion, beer, and certain food products (Keegan 2016).

The country-of-origin effect presents both challenges and opportunities for global marketers. Marketers need to carefully study the markets where they do business and decide where and if they want to prominently associate their brands and products with their home countries through integrated marketing communications strategies.  On the one hand, positive country associations can generate interest, acceptance, preference, and brand equity; facilitate foreign market entrance; and allow marketers to capitalize by charging premium prices. Germany is a case in point. This country has long been associated with innovative engineering and performance. Luxury car brands like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have used these associations to their advantage, developing an image of prestige and quality. These brands make sure that customers around the world know their cars are made in Germany. Country of origin can reduce perceived risks by acting as a guarantee of quality (Adina, Gabriela, & Roxana-Denisa, 2014).

On the other hand, negative country associations can be detrimental to a brand. These perceptions can negatively affect demand and make market entrance difficult. Animosity towards the country of origin can lead to product avoidance and sometimes even hatred (Adina et. al, 2014). Negative feelings and associations can come from a history of questionable product quality or nationalistic sentiments. For example, in March 2017, political disputes between China and South Korea over missile defense produced a spur of violence and restrictions for South Korean brands (Doland, 2017). In a video that went viral on Chinese social media, a man smashed an LG washing machine and a TV set with a sledgehammer in front of a banner that read: “We would rather damage these than sell them.” Coincidentally, Chinese authorities also banned imports of South Korean beauty products citing issues of quality and closed dozes of stores owned by a South Korean supermarket chain citing safety code issues (Doland, 2017).

            Country associations are fluid and can change overtime. There are strategies that both countries and marketers can implement to overcome country-of-origin challenges. Countries can build the nation’s brand by emphasizing and diversifying their sources of competitive advantage, being conscious of foreign policy’s impact on popular global brands, publically recognizing their best brands, and improving health and safety regulations as well as intellectual property rights (Roll, 2014). In turn, marketers can focus on making branding and innovation the center or corporate strategy. Brands must pay attention to the smallest details, ensuring that the customer experience is outstanding and well differentiated. Ensuring a positive response to the brand can minimize the country of origin effects.  

What are some of your personal bias for or against products or brands from certain countries? What has a larger influence on your purchasing decisions, where the product is made or where the brand is from?


Adina, C., Gabriela, C., & Roxana-Denisa, S. (2014). Country-of-origin effect on perceived brand

positioning. Procedia Economics and Finance, 23(2015), 422-427. Retrieved from

Doland, A. (2017, March 17). China Is Lashing Out at South Korean Brands; Here’s What Marketers Should Know. AdvertisingAge. Retrieved from

Keegan, W.J. & Green, M.C. (2017). Chapter 10: Brand and product decisions in global marketing. In Global Marketing (9th Ed., section 10.4). Retrieved from

Roll, M. (March 2014). How nations and brands overcome country of origin challenges. Retrieved


Ivy Velasquez is an MBA Marketing student at the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at

International Business Students Looking to Study Abroad?

Studying abroad is probably one of the most rewarding experiences a college student can take advantage of. You get to see the world, explore, and learn new cultures. Not to mention how AMAZING it looks on your resume. Employers and grad schools really appreciate that experience when they are recruiting for new employees and students. Especially if you are looking to get into global marketing post graduation, you are an extreme asset because you have that experience and knowledge from another country where you may one day choose to do business.

            Over the last few years, Canada has been climbing to the top of the list of destinations where foreign students are looking to advance their education. Many people are looking at Canada because of their immigration policies. Unlike the US and Britain, they offer a post-graduation work permit of up to three years for eligible candidates.  

            New data states that Canada has moved into the top 5 of international study destinations. Typically the US and Britain are the top choices; however, Canada moved into second place last year as a top choice for prospective African MBA students. They also have been creeping up in popularity with students from Central and South Asia, and surprisingly, is a preferred location for students coming from the Middle East and the US as well! It is said that a lot of these changes could be due to the US and Britain’s anti-immigrant policies and the post-graduate restrictions given to foreign students.

            The amazing thing about Canada is that it has also been deemed a safe and secure location for those incoming students. Having been given the option to receive a three year work permit allows enough time for students to apply for permanent residency in Canada. At the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business, two-thirds of the MBA international student population participates in a three-week orientation that allows them to learn about the Canadian culture. Though Canadian schools are looking to capitalize off of the new foreign student interest, they are still encouraged to attend MBA fairs worldwide. The University of Toronto’s School of Management had a 35%increase in African applicants, and they do intend to send recruiters to Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa in the fall.

Image: Canadian Bureau of International Education (2017)


Benefits to Studying Abroad | Study Abroad Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from

International business students flocking to Canada - The Globe and Mail. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Almetia Whitaker is an MBA student in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at

Design Thinking in Global Business

Innovation drives the global business out of stagnation and into continual success in each area of its global strategy.  There is no guarantee on your success, but there are methods to ensure you are on the right track to achieving a specific level of success that outweighs the risk associated with you strategy.

Every part of your global success strategy has to be design oriented.  This means that each goal is a part of a fundamental design process that is applied to your strategy and the innovation that drives it.  It will also give you the fluidity to redesign with ease and timeliness.  This is because design thinking is a repeatable problem-solving protocol that can be applied and proven in each step of your global strategy process.

Design thinking is founded on four elements:

1.      Define the problem

2.      Create consideration options

3.      Refine directions and repeat 1-3 if necessary

4.      Pick the winner and execute

Four of the most common problems when taking a company global are:

1.      Currency fluctuations

2.      Bureaucracy

3.      Innovation

4.      Value Creation

You can create a success path that can be proven and applied for each of your goals, which will give you a better success rate with each of the most common global strategy problems, as well as, any mix of them.

You have to define the right problem to solve.  This means making a list of problems and then defining the real problems.  This will allow you to choose problems that have real meaning and provide a real solution channel.  You have to create numerous solutions, then choose the best one.  You have to create the environment for your solution to be grown and tested, to give you what you want.  If you have a solution that yields a significant probability of giving you the expected results that you want, then implement it.

Image source:, 2017


Fast Company. (2006). Design Thinking… What is That? Retrieved on Jun 04, 2017, from

Naiman, L. (2016). Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation. Creativity at Work. Retrieved on Jun 05, 2017, from    

Jabari M. Daniel-Cox is an MBA student in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University, and can be reached at

Marketing: The Twitter Effect of a President!

Long before President Trump ran for office he had a profound effect on the national media through his use of Twitter and social media. He is the first President to speak his mind freely in such a public forum. This has created a new force for the world in regard to Social Media Marketing. His words, rants, or opinions can be seen at any time and by anyone with an Internet connection. Many people even follow his streams directly, getting instant updates of these opinions and thoughts. Is this the wave of the future, will more presidents, leaders, and dictators take to social media marketing platforms to promote their beliefs as a strategy? It makes sense to a degree since President Trump currently has 28M followers on Twitter. That is a lot of marketing power! He currently ranks #42 in the Twitter stratosphere of popularity. Interestingly enough, Ex-President Barrack Obama is #3 with 87M behind only Katy Perry 97M, and Justin Bieber 93M ( With a few swipes of his thumbs President Trump is able to reach an audience that is larger than the highest rated television show typically drawing 12-15M viewers. His tweets have been correlated to a drop in the S&P 500 healthcare index by .54% causing losses for large pharmaceutical manufacturers. After a tweet about Lockheed Martin’s cost overruns, the company’s stock dropped 2.1%.

Without any controls, the President can type anything at any time. Currently there are no controls on what he is saying or doing in Social Media. Along with the tweets about healthcare he has verbally attacked individuals who oppose him, along with news media and companies.

There is seemingly no limit to what the President might say through social media at this point. Ultimately we are yet to see a major effect from any of these social media postings, but as long as the President has a following he will have a platform to market his opinions openly. If this begins to have a tangible influence on people, companies, and politics, the world will begin to change through Social Media marketing more than it ever has or ever was possible. Many companies turn to Social Media to spread its word, so it only makes sense that any individual with enough followers could have enough influence to create change or wreak havoc!

Image sources:

John Weissgerber is an MBA student in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University, where he majors in International Business. He can be reached at

5 Steps to Better Email Marketing

Google the exact phrase “email is dead” and over 180,000 results are returned. Long has been the debate over email’s pulse - or lack thereof. The truth is email is alive and well and while it has gone through growing pains, the health of this communication channel should not shy you away from developing a sound email marketing strategy. This post will give you 5 steps to building a better email marketing strategy. 
Step 1: It begins at the source
An email marketing program is meant to work in conjunction with all your other communication channels. Start by identifying and documenting all possible lead sources. Some examples of lead sources include your website, the physical store location, social media and paid digital advertising. Once you understand where your leads are coming from, you will be able to control how you collect and communicate with your leads. 
Be nice.
For each lead source, ensure there is a straightforward way a person can request to join your mailing list. Your lead form should collect only the most essential data fields (i.e. name and email address). Depending on the source, set expectations by briefly stating the type of content and frequency subscribers should expect. Use a “Thank You” confirmation message after each form completion. You can also encourage your new contact to add your sender email address to their contacts list to ensure your emails are not be marked as spam. Finally, reassure your audience that their contact information is safe and will not be sold or shared with third-parties.
Focus on quality. Not quantity.
One of the keys to a successful email marketing plan is managing your list of contacts carefully. The sooner you realize you are not going to capture every single contact’s attention, the faster you can focus on creating eye-catching content that will captivate your target audience for each source. When gathering leads, be careful when offering incentives for email sign-ups. Although this can increase your list, you may be capturing leads who will not convert to loyal customers. Offer incentives strategically and sparingly.
Step 2: Invest in the right tools
As a business, if you are communicating with your prospects via email, you must abide to all terms found in the CAN-SPAM Act. The good news is that when you use paid email marketing software, you can easily comply with rules and avoid being blocked by your email service provider. Two common email marketing services are Constant Contact and MailChimp. There are pros and cons to each service and both of them offer email templates, list segmentation, and image editing software, key features to creating branded, engaging, and personalized emails.
Step 3: Develop a communication plan
In this step, you must decide on the 3 Ws: what, when, and who.
This refers to both design and content of each of your communications. Email marketing software will allow you to select a pre-built template of upload your own. Regardless of your method, consider these design guidelines:
• Your Call to Action should be visible within 300px from the top of your email
• Use eye-catching images but avoid image-heavy emails
• Opt for responsive design, whenever possible
• Use web-safe fonts only
Decide and write down your general topics. For example, you can use a welcome email, an eNewsletter, highlight a product/service or sales promotions.
Once you have your topics outlined, determine the frequency of your emails. In most email marketing software, you can also assign nurture plans to specific lists. You can view general trends by industry for best day of the week and time of day where average opens are the highest. This can be a great starting guideline but feel free to adjust to your specific audience. Whatever the case, be consistent.
Email software will allow you to segment lists so you can assign your leads to specific categories. For example, you can segment by source (website, social media, physical store), specific demographics, or any many other indicators. Note that you will have to collect this type of information on your lead form.
Putting it all together.
Once you have your 3 Ws, put it all together in a simple spreadsheet.

You can also take advantage of calendar features offered by many email marketing software clients.
Step 4: Know your metrics
Once your plan is in place, it is time to assign some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These are ways of assessing your efforts. Your email software will provide many performance metrics. Pay attention to the metrics such as click-through rate and unsubscribes. Look for patterns after a particular email topic.
Google Analytics also allows you to generate customer URLs to include additional campaign parameters tying in email campaigns to other paid or organic methods. This will help you see the full impact of your email campaign in conjunction with other efforts.
Step 5: Optimize and repeat
This plan is meant to help you build your strategy. Throughout each step, you may need to make adjustments to fit your resources, market, and/or individual results. Analyze what does and does not work and adjust your plan accordingly.

Image Source: RDM-Rio Digital Marketing, 2017.

Marcia Perez-Del Valle
Marcia is a digital media specialist with 5+ years of marketing experience in the areas of social media marketing, email marketing, website content management, and analytics. She obtained her B.A. in Communication from Nova Southeastern University and is currently pursuing her M.B.A. in marketing. She holds a web design certification and is Google Tag Manager certified. She can be reached at

Five Fun Ways to Boost Social Media Engagement

It would be extremely hard these days to find a company that is not using some form of social media for their business. Well-known platforms like Twitter and Facebook are utilized by big corporations and small business as a way for them to promote themselves. However, just because your business is “on” these platforms, doesn’t mean that you are using them to their full potential.

The key to using social media properly is engagement. If your business is not using its social media profiles to engage with your consumers, then you are really just wasting your time. Engagement allows customers to feel personally connected to your business and builds brand loyalty. Being flat when it comes to social media engagement can truly make or break your business. Here are five ways to boost social media engagement:

1. Talk to your customers, not at them

It is easy to create a post on Facebook. The real talent is turning that post into a conversation. When people post comments on your social media, respond quickly. Give your customers the chance to actually talk to you. Allow your customers to feel like they are talking to a human being, not an automated reply system. You can post all the content you want or send it to them, but if they don’t feel as if they are a valuable part of the conversation, it is pointless.

2. Allow the customer to do the talking:

Sometimes, the best marketing comes the customers themselves. It is perfectly fine to allow people to promote your business. Allow people to share their experience with your business. Whenever you receive a great customer review or testimonial, showcase it or share it to your page or profile. Consumers are more willing to take the word of another people over yours. Welcome the opportunity for customers to comment and share their experience.

3. Host Q &A Sessions:

Giving customers a direct line of communication by hosting a Q&A session is a great way to boost engagement. A great suggestion is to let someone who is higher up in the company answer the questions directly from the customer. Host your sessions on Facebook or Twitter, since those are more than likely your most used platforms. These sessions can be between 30 minutes to 1 hour long. Just be sure to let the customers guide the conversation but not to the point that they are trolling you.

4. Contests

Who doesn’t love winning free stuff? Contests are great ways to boost social media engagement. Contests with great prizes encourage people to participate. Creating a contest that is related to your brand will boost engagement with those who are already followers and can help you increase the number of subscribers by requiring those that don’t follow or like your page yet to do so in order to win.

5. Show your Personality

Not every post has to be about your business. Show that your company has personality. Post a funny picture or video of your employees at work. It’s okay to be lighthearted sometimes. Have fun on social media. Customers will love that you are willing to laugh and that will help them to build a connection to your brand. Just be careful with the content. Make sure that it is appropriate for your audience.

Brittani McCray-Fleureme is an MBA student in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at

The Rise of Creativity

Pin it! Snap it! Like it!

It seems that engagement is of high relevance in businesses nowadays, thanks to social media outlets such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Due to the tremendous growth of e-commerce within the past ten years, businesses have invested more dollars in enhancing their brand’s image to tap into the mindsets of X and Y generations with the assistance of creativity.

First, brands must strategically plot the best approach in developing universal communications and summarize what they stand for (Chow & Baack, 2016.) By providing an accurate image, brands portray the solitary nature of the organization and what they sell. Each social media outlet reaches consumers in alternative ways, so it is imperative for brands to select the method to voice their message and build valued relationships. Snapchat, for example, would be an excellent medium for B2C markets since it is used to share exclusive moments of the present within a matter of ten seconds. From a consumer’s perspective, it is valuable to receive the privilege of visualizing what a company does and how it creates value through Snapchat. It also enhances psychological reinforcement, provides a service, and plays with their purchasing power.

Tumblr, on the other hand, serves as a blog where users can post images, intuitive quotes, short narratives, and videos. Account holders range from mid-teens to mid- twenties which gains branding expansion with the youth who is a primary target market for brand longevity (Gahran, 2012.) Unlike Facebook, Tumblr accounts are visible to the public whether they have an account or not. It is imperative for businesses to use generic hashtags and continuous daily postings of content portraying the business to gain awareness. Overall, organizations must create interactivity, delivery, and shape consumer experiences to heighten creative profit growth.


Chow, K. E., & Baack, D. E. (2016).  Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (7th Ed.). New York, NY:  Prentice Hall.

Gahran, A. (2012). A quick guide to using Tumblr for business. Retrieved February 07, 2016, from

Alysse Llerena is an M.B.A. student in the Huizenga College of Business studying the innovative strategies of Marketing. For inquiries, you may contact her at

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