Category Archives: digital campaigns

Crushing This Holiday Season

5 Tips For Crushing This Holiday Season

By | digital campaigns, digital commerce, digital marketing, ecommerce, PPC | No Comments

Twas the month before December, when all through DO, ALL the employees were working, preparing for Snow (Just kidding, San Diego doesn’t get snow).

With the holiday season around the corner, things will be changing. For better or worse, the holiday season defines the year’s performance for most advertisers. Black Friday seems to start earlier every year so we thought we would share 5 tricks to make sure your digital campaigns are ready for action, without having to swap the turkey for a mouse.

Establish Goals

Define what the goal for each channel will be during the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to drive incremental revenue with similar ROAS, or operate more efficiently with an optimal CPA and similar traffic, having established goals is the foundation for success this holiday season.

Planning, Planning, Planning…Did I mention planning?

If you haven’t thought of ways to capture the incremental holiday traffic, then we suggest a brainstorm with account managers ASAP to lock down a plan. Although there’s going to be unexpected hurdles, having all digital initiatives accounted for on one single calendar can help guide strategy for additional keywords, copy, and campaigns.

Decide On Activation Channel Strategy

Let’s say you were looking to increase revenue while keeping efficiency (We’ll use sneakers as a product example). You could set up an RLSA shopping campaign (paid search) for higher ROAS, highlight the top selling sneakers in the weekly newsletter/blog, and utilize Facebook lookalike audiences to go after new users looking for sneakers. Regardless of the product/service being offered, knowing how each channel will be utilized is imperative to being prepared to adapt to ever-changing circumstances.

Utilize Automation

All digital marketers who value a work/life balance are pros when it comes to automation. Utilize rules to set ads live on certain days. In paid search, use custom labels and rules to have your Black Friday ad turn on at midnight without having to fight off the tryptophan (Just make sure to test the ad and have the ad approved by Google/Bing before pausing in preparation for the big day). There are similar options in the Facebook Power Editor and Ads Manager to make your life just a tad easier.

Don’t Make Decisions Based On Small Data

It’s tough not to look at Black Friday/Cyber Monday performance and make generalizations for the holiday season as a whole. If Black Friday/Cyber Monday didn’t perform as well as you’d like, it’s easy to shift budget around and cut back on spend for the remainder of the holiday season. Although BF/CM are big shopping days, there’s still time to hit your goals with many key shopping days falling between Cyber Monday and New Years. Don’t panic, everything will be alright.

So sit back, relax, and capture the incremental traffic this holiday season (After steps #1-4 are completed)!




The Rule Of Three as Applied To A Brand Ambassador Program

By | content marketing, digital campaigns, social influence, word of mouth | No Comments

“The rule of three” suggests that things that come in threes are inherently more satisfying and effective than any other number of things. Whether these “things” be good or bad, we decided to test the theory…and they are right.

Most e-commerce companies know the basics of marketing: content, social and email (see, another rule of three). But, many don’t use one of the most powerful marketing tools at their disposal — A Brand Ambassador Program.

We found that there are 3 main reasons why your company should have a Brand Ambassador Program and also discovered 3 outdoor companies that are already making big moves by having a successful brand ambassador program of their own.

Three Reasons why you should have a Brand Ambassador Program:


#1 Fans

No one will love your brand, like your consumer. They are your number one fan/cheerleader. They are unbiased and love your product for the product. They owe you nothing, so you get a real genuine view of how awesome your product really is.

More Content

Without a doubt this is the best way to get more content. They will help grow your brand SEO and bring in solid traffic, hopefully it will eventually drive revenue as well. They can flood all of your channels with content, whether it be a written piece on your blog or images for your social.


This is the best way to get feedback on all of your products — these ambassadors want to see you succeed. Think of this program as your own personal think tank or focus group. They are there to help you test out new products and help gain traction and excitement surrounding the release of these new products.


3 outdoor companies already using a brand ambassador program:



They have a full page on their site dedicated to their brand ambassadors. Our favorite part is that they have broken up their ambassadors by sport – Climbing, fly fishing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing and trail running. This makes it easy for other patagonia lovers to follow ambassadors with the same interests as them.

Patagonia Brand Ambassador



“Each brings a fresh perspective to their experiences on the trail” – Describes it all on the header of the brand ambassador page. Their brand ambassador program is comprised of those that love their brand and this is something you can tell just from their brand ambassador page.

Zoic Brand Ambassador Program

Teton Sports

Their ambassadors aren’t just for promoting their brand, but for giving back and promoting a charity of their choice. There’s also a specific promo code that is associated with each “Adventurer” tha t allows consumers to help fund the charities each ambassador is raising money for. #GiveBackEndeavor

.Teton Sports Brand Ambassador Program

A Brand Ambassador program is an easy win, so use the rule of three and get out there to find your ambassadors. Don’t know where to start? Drop us a line and we can help you kickstart your own brand ambassador program.

rendezvous - Asheville, NC

Rendezvous 2014

By | Conference, digital campaigns, nonprofit | No Comments

It’s all still a bit of a blur. My brain hurts, my quads are worse and I’m having reoccurring dreams about losing a game of tug-of-war to The Boy Scouts. Let me explain. We had an opportunity to attend the Outdoor Industry Association’s Rendezvous conference tucked away in the dense Appalachian forest just outside of Asheville, NC. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the area, Asheville in October is rightfully considered the most beautiful place on earth, and the Omni Grove Park Inn where we stayed is in my opinion the coolest resort east of the Mississippi. For any millennial reading this blog, imagine a Harry Potter Castle, but with a spa, golf course and unparalleled views of the smoky mountains. You might think that a conference for outdoorsy types would require us to “rough it”, or go “glamping”, but I can assure you that this was nowhere near survival in the wilderness.

The setting allowed plenty of room for two things:

  1.  Getting Inspired
  2.  Meeting Great People.

It’s as simple as that. The OIA picked this magical place, brought together aprox. 400 outdoor professionals and coordinated a series of educational events, activities and seminars that could fill 3 pocket pads from cover to cover with new ideas and action items.

The attendees from Digital Operative, which included myself and BJ Cook (our CEO), decided that the best way to kick-off a long week of brain teasing seminars and intense networking events was to help grow outdoor participation. AKA, we went mountain biking. Our friends at Slyvan Sports sponsored all the outdoor activities for the week, and bombing down single track in the Pisgah National Forest with guides from Bike Farm seemed like the logical choice. By the way, if you want to be a car camping hero, check out the trailers at Slyvan Sport!

After 1,500 feet of climbing, and 15 miles of some of the best, root choked, flowing single track of my life, we were ready to learn and immerse ourselves at the conference. But first we had to give back to the local community.

Timberland sponsored a local river cleanup for the 16th year in a row. A couple hundred outdoor employees dawning garden gloves and trash bags, hit the coastline or hopped in an inflatable raft to clean a few miles of the French Broad River. BJ and I chose to clean with the team of rafts and helped pull out hundreds of pounds of garbage, including some big ticket items like a tractor tire, a wicker dining set, and a container of rotten chicken livers.


I had the proud distinction of being that day’s only “swimmer”, which is short for me plunging backwards over the rails of the raft into icy cold water, and trying to keep a smile on my face for the next hour while my body experienced first stage hypothermia.

The next few days were filled with incredible speakers, educational seminars and more opportunities to network with the variety of brands and employees in attendance. From unique start-up companies like Parks Project to keystone industry brands like The North Face, from Marketing Mgrs to CEO’s, every conversation was filled with enthusiasm, best practices and staying relevant to the ever changing consumer.

At the event, Digital Operative partnered with the Outdoor Foundation to promote a contest built on our Contest Core platform (read more about the platform here), challenging the outdoor industry to Get You(th) Outdoors. When you’re inside the outdoor industry, it’s easy to forget that it took someone, be it a camp counselor, family member or friend, to introduce you to the outdoors. This initiative that launched at Rendezvous will help outdoor industry employees upload and share their inspirational stories, photos, ideas and suggestions for getting more kids outside. Of course there will be great prizes, and 3 $500 grants to local youth based non-profits, as an extra incentive to participate. Being a part of such a great initiative has been a privilege and one that the team members at Digital Operative are proud to support with their time and expertise.

Inspiration Board

Rendezvous culminated in a team building Scottish games festival, where I found myself on the wrong side of an all out tug-of-war battle. OIA employees in kilts, a bag piper, caber tossing fun noodles and of course a bluegrass band and great food made this the highlight of the show. By the time the week was over I felt like I had made real connections with real people. Sometimes (dare I say it coming from a digital agency), e-mail or LinkedIn cannot replace quality face-to-face time.

My brain is still overflowing with new insights into the outdoor industry, conversations with brands facing the real and sometimes scary leap into omni-channel retailing, and ideas for making Digital Operative a better partner in the outdoors. Next year’s Rendezvous in Seattle is already on the calendar, and this time I will choose a non-water activity.



Roll, Carry and Lock – KarmaRu’s Portable Foam Roller

By | blogging, digital campaigns | No Comments

Active lifestyles can be taxing not only on the body, but time, money and equipment, so it’s essential to maximize performance while reducing the risk of injury. That’s why Digital Operative is happy to announce working with a start-up company that has learned how to balance the essentials of an active lifestyle.  Portable, lockable and waterproof – KarmaRu’s durable foam rollers set the standard as a reliable, healthy and convenient addition to your pre and post workout to relieve muscle tension.

With their Kickstarter page up and running, KarmaRu is setting its sights on providing athletes, from casual to professional, the following tenets:

Roll- As a major contributor to muscle wellness, the foam roller can stretch your muscles to keep them nimble and ready for anything. Though it may appear simple, its effects are present in everything an athlete does to actively stay in shape. KarmaRu’s foam roller also has the added benefit of an in-depth pattern that can provide firm or soft pressure for whatever the body needs.

Carry- Having a roller that you can take wherever you go ensures that you’re active routine is never far behind. Thanks to its stretch strap attachment and its light frame, the KarmaRu can be carried anywhere.  Any athlete with an on-the-go mentality will enjoy the easy convenience of putting this over their shoulders and heading out the door.

Lock- Like you’ve never seen before. Put your belongings in the foam roller and know that they will be secure. Anything from phones, wallets, and keys can be locked in one.  And don’t short sell it. This foam roller is waterproof, so feel confident knowing your valuables are not just safe but protected from the elements.

The message behind KarmaRu’s innovation is that many muscle injuries are preventable. But sometimes it’s a little too easy to gloss over in respect to everything else that goes on in an active lifestyle. Dustin Townsend, the founder of KaramRu, knows from years of experience in athletic training that the convenience of his product will change your lifestyle for the better, as he “saw the value first hand in using them pre and post workout.” Check out KarmaRu on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to keep up with the success of the  campaign and if you feel a life well balanced is a life well lived, check out KarmaRu on Kickstarter and pledge today!

If you would like our help starting your own Kickstarter campaign, get to know us here and what we can do to turn your idea into a brand.

Influential puppet explains ContestCore

By | blogging, digital campaigns, digital marketing, Digital Operative, geekery, interactive marketing, video | No Comments

It was a Thursday when BJ and Adam took me aside to their room and informed me that they had a very important assignment for me to complete. The serious looks on their faces informed me that this  was the kind of assignment that separates the wheat from the part of the plant that is not wheat. This assignment would move me up to the big leagues. Opening my notebook, and moving past the pages filled with doodles of hearts and Justin Bieber I began to furiously write down the monumental task that lay ahead of me. My assignment, nay my calling –  was to find a way to find a way to get a puppet to promote ContestCore our new online contest software. It was a difficult assignment – but I knew it was one I must complete. I hit the streets trying all the tricks I knew and was turned down by many famous and semi-famous puppets alike. However just when I was about to give up and my darkest hour was upon me –  I saw him:  Professor Hans Von Puppet. He was  giving a lecture at a local college and knew he was the one. His  professorial jacket, his almost German accent, the way I could pay him to say what I wanted all told me to pursue this puppet. This was it! So ladies and gentleman I present to you Professor Hans Von Puppet giving his thoughts on ContestCore

3 tips your company can use to build an attribution model that works

By | digital campaigns, digital marketing, ecommerce, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

I recently read an interesting white paper about building an attribution model that works.  The paper got me thinking about attribution modeling, and why it is such an important asset for any company (both off and online). As such I thought I would give a brief introduction to attribution modeling and give three tips to help your company build an attribution model that works.

To understand attribution modelling you need to go through a two step process. The first step is to look at the problem it solves, and  the second step is to have a description of what attribution modeling is. The best example of the problem that attribution modeling aims to solve is found here in a blog post by Eric Krell. He describes this scenario:

“Imagine a simple Internet purchase: a $100 transaction from A reader on The New York Times website sees a display banner for Zappos. It makes her think about sandals. She surfs on Zappos and other sites. After a beach weekend, she decides to order the sandals she looked at by typing “Zappos” into Google, and makes a purchase. One hundred percent of this advertising credit goes to the paid brand search ad, which was simply the endpoint before checkout, not the starting point: the ad that first stimulated her purchase. The marketing executive running the Zappos’ Internet advertising budget gets a false read, with misleading data on which advertising expenditure truly drove revenue.”

As we can see the problem in this scenario is the fictional executive at Zappos gives all the credit to the last place the consumer receives and acts upon the message (not surprisingly called “last touch attribution”). The fictional executive completely disregards the multiple touch-points that the consumer encounters before, and because of this has faulty information he provides marketing strategies that are not fully optimized to the real world . “Oh no” you say- how do we solve this problem? Well have no fear because attribution modeling is here to the rescue! Attribution modeling looks to take you away from using last click attribution and to look at the multiple channels and the number of times your customer  encounters with your  message.  By carefully examining data, weighing the different touch-points (including the time between the message and the purchase) and comparing these factors you begin to build an attribution model! Attribution modeling hopes to shed light on questions such as:

1. How much credit do we give to each of the messages before the final purchase?

2. How does time factor in? – was the first message more potent than the others?

3. How do we track these messages?

The  answers to these questions depend on your data set, the channels you use, the customers you are trying to reach as well as a variety of other factors. However, we can give you 3 pieces advice that anyone can use at any company to begin building an attribution model that works:

1.  Don’t only rely on on the last click to give credit for the purchase.  This is the basis for building an attribution model and seems the most obvious to anyone who read the example. However, many companies never even think about giving credit to more than one source. Even Google Analytics is set up for last touch attribution! To learn how to reconfigure GA check out this article from SEOmoz (warning – it gets pretty technical). As we saw in the example, the executive at Zappos gets a false read if he only gives credit to the last click that occurred before the purchase. The idea is to switch your mindset and realize that many factors effect the consumer’s decision to buy. These factors range from the different capabilities of the channels, to the time between receiving the message and the purchase, to the message itself. If you begin by seeing the whole picture then you have a head start.

2. Track, track, and track some more. Your company may not be set up for attribution modeling currently, but when it is you will need a decent size data set to begin. We recommend tracking everything that you can and tracking it all with one tool. Since different analytic tools can offer variations on the same data it would be a disservice not to track the users “apples to apples”. This way when the company is ready to look at the different channels, all the information will be right there and will be uniform. Track as much as you can as often as you can, and you will begin to see patterns that you can compare. These comparisons are the seeds of building an attribution model that works.

3. Know what your data means. Tracking the data is a fantastic start, but to build an attribution model and optimize it you need to know what the data means. There is a lot of work to truly understand data (believe me, at DO we know!). Understanding the nuances in the data and the touch-points the customer interacts with takes can take years of training, and is quite time consuming. There are a variety of great resources to learn about data analysis and I personally recommend going through the official Google videos – they are informative and presented in an excellent way, or read  Avinash Kaushisks’ blog . However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to spend pouring over analytics we have a team of experts here at DO that would be happy to help. Feel free to contact us to help your with data analysis and all of  your digital strategy needs.

DO to design National Foosball League website

By | agency life, digital campaigns, geekery | No Comments

National Foosball League

Digital Operative announces its latest project featuring the National Foosball League (NFL). Foosball is like soccer to the US or “football” to the world, only played on a surface that tends to be 4′ by 2′. There’s no better game that lends itself to family-bonding-time, agency-office-in-between-20-projects-time or good ole fashion college-dorm-room-time. Before we started the project, we took the team through some rigorous historical sessions as well as hands-on-field-training sessions as well. Here’s what we learned about this great game called Foosball.

  1. Typical surface is 4′ by 2′
  2. Some expert players have been clocked hitting the ball at 35 mph
  3. Spinning is frowned upon and in most legitimate games considered illegal
  4. It was invented by Evan Dube in 1921
  5. Balls can be made of plastic, metal, wood and even marble
  6. It carries the names – Foos, Footzy, Baby-Foot, Kicker and from our very own Brazilian star Thiago, “totó”, “pebolim” or “fla-flu”
  7. There is said to be a “Foosbot” that has never been beaten by any human player
  8. It has starred in movies such as Dazed and Confused, tv shows Friends and House
  9. The original concept was conceived using a simple box of matches to form the playing field
  10. Can be played by 2 or 4 players

So obviously there’s a lot of history to this great game. Why wouldn’t we take on a project like this? Think of the celebritiness it could bring. The over-arching ability to launch Digital Operative into the stratosphere as one of the greatest digital agencies ever! How could FAST Company, INC, Harvard Business Review, WIRED, Fortune and any of the other mainstream media outlets not pick this up?!

Well because it’s not quite the whole truth. But we are a digital agency, we do have some good talented foosball players around the office and if we ever got the shot, would love to design a website around foosball. Who wouldn’t?

Happy April 1.

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