Tag Archives: social media

Food For Thought: Businesses Need a Marketing Plan

Life is a series of $64,000 questions. Here is one for your scrutiny: “Can you sell steak to a vegan?” Try this one: “Does Your Business Really Need a Marketing Plan?”

Think about this. No matter what it is, things function better when they are planned. If a course of action is ineffective, correcting it is navigable because options are anticipated and already planned — introducing effective solutions negate potential business setbacks.

A formal marketing plan is a smart move because it can prevent wasting valuable dollars chasing the wrong customers with the wrong message. Statistics reveal that around one-half of small businesses do not have a formal marketing plan. Careful attention to marketing can be critical to your business’ success.

We in the creative field will hammer clients senseless with the fact that business plans aren’t as important because they are static. Business plans are goals and objectives: “This is what we want to do in this particular market.” It assumes that variables will not factor into the growth of the business. Well, that’s wrong because every day there’s always a dog waiting to pee on your pants leg. On the other hand, marketing plans are organic and flexible.

Thus, a business owners attitude becomes, “I will achieve my goal, as adjustments require.” Small businesses survive if they can advertise to consumers that will likely purchase a brand and create revenue. This doesn’t happen by accident. A good creative agency researches casual factors of market penetration. It should combine a strategy statement with a solution-laden marketing plan. For us, it’s an art form, not pure chance.

Every business can benefit from a formal marketing plan in the following ways: Marketing plans force intentionality; Clear brand messaging; Measurable results. Data is compiled regarding marketing results, weighing the benefits of multi-layered marketing and advertising. Marketing plans expose the “good,” the bad,” and “the ugly.” They are without personality and emotion, yet give insight, and direction regarding market penetration and growth. Informed decision making.

As a business grows, marketing plans are useful in measuring staff performance and is the common denominator when it comes to who should be promoted, as well as what strategies need implementing.The mistake business make is to go for what’s popular instead of what works. If you own or manage a business, remember, waste is avoidable. Marketing plans are conduits to success because they are preemptive.

Bernard Alexander McNealy, President

CDM Digital Advertising Agency LLC


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With Every Pro is a Con: Social Media

In recent decades, society experienced a cultural paradigm shift in social interactions. This new, but prevalent approach is social media. While technology is at the height of its momentum, we have to remember that moderation is always key and with every pro is a con.

In the business world, social media has become the leading source of communication between a company and its audience. Due to recent inventions of social media sites such as Google +, Facebook, Tumblr, and Linkedin; many have become fixated on in its advantages, while deviating themselves away from reality. Yes, social media creates an exponential profit for companies, but it does have its limitations.

The most effective use of social media is to integrate its advantages with human interaction. We have to acknowledge its disadvantages and create preventative meaurements, in order to save valuable time, money, and credibility.


  • Customer Service:

Great customer service involves humans, not mechanical devices and tools. Customers appreciate a face to face interaction, instead of a tweet or a message.

  • Fraud:

With networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook readily available, It is now much easier to steal someones identity. Although this may not ruin an individual’s finances, it does ruin their image and credibility.

  • Criticism:

When a company creates a Yelp or Facebook profile, they are vulnerable to negative feedback, which may tarnish their credibility.


  • Establish a Brand:

Creating a company image then spreading word through Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter is a productive use of networking sites.

  • Conduct Research:

Tracking and listening to an audience’s likes and dislike enables a company to adjust their product and/or service.

  • Advertisement:

Profit driven sites (ie. Facebook) inevitably turn to advertisements to increase revenue. Nowadays, these sites filter an individual’s advertisement to their preferences. For example, if 20 something year old recent graduate frequently visits a clothing store’s profile page, apparel based advertisemnts are published on their home page.

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Every business is predicated on a model. Carson Dunn Media is partly based structurally on mythic firms of old Madison Avenue, and on an agency birthed in Boston in 1999: Modernista.  Unfortunately, that shop closed in 2011, but we  learned from it while it was around, and although it is out of business, we will continue too.  It is important to study the factors leading to Modernista’s demise and avoid similar pitfalls.

Modernista began as a blank canvas. It was started by two creativities visionaries. The bygone Madison Avenue was a fresh ghostly imprint, but they desired to be different. Perhaps that was a concession that they could not replicate the Masters — David Ogilvy –Leo Burnett — and J. Walter Thompson. Who could? These are Olympian giants that no one is worthy to stand it their shadows. But, Modernista took on its accounts with fervor, producing time expanding work.  I developed CDM with imitation in mind.

Starting an agency is relatively easy. Survival and growth are another story all together. Do you start small – that is pursuing small accounts? Or does an agency demonstrate boldness by setting its sights on the big accounts? That requires a nimble sales force. Modernista had that. CDM did initially, but that dissipated.

When Modernista came along the dot-com madness was waning. In 1999, no one cared or understood digital marketing because big television, print were in vogue. There were signs that these media were waning, but the tip of the sphere had not been reached. It was in that era Modernista was birthed in 2000.

Drawn by its creative vision Modernista’s work force seemed flock to them. It was cross-cultural with people from 30 different countries. 13 languages spoken at the shop. Clients came fast. Within a year, Gap hired them, followed by Hummer, MTV, Napster, Cadillac, TIAA-CREF, Converse and Project (RED). Nice. Our similarity is a cross-cultural bent. However, measured solely by the size of the accounts our client roster is not as impressive.

We cannot be complacent. Our clients have been a law firm, health spas, two publishing companies, a trucking company, a tax service and other small businesses. An eclectic mix of small businesses. Honestly, Carson Dunn Media has not arrived and it is imperative to change gears. Thinking about doing good work is no longer acceptable. We must have the right clients. If I claim different, it is a blatant lie

My creatives have come into a shop rooted in an the past. Yet, they are savvy smart as hell folk raised on digital-marketing, social media and the internet. Rather than hold them back, they guided to share our creative vision with our clients. Truthfully, this is where the ad dollars are.

Modernista did something typical of Ogilvy by passionately encouraging its staff to be creative. They also brought a modern spin to Burnett by creating equally memorable advertising that may stand the test of time.  To a degree, CDM should portray the newness of our agency because a directional change should allow our freshness to be evident. Maybe its time because CDM started in 2002 — our creative pedigree should be national by now.

We don’t intend to create a party atmosphere with the ‘oo-hooo’ fun gadgets and do-dads. No, Carson Dunn Media wants to create admirable work. Timmy the Trapeze Dude or Bozo the Clown can’t do it, but the people at CDM can. We are struggling to arrive; and we have no intention of being confortable.

The industry has changed a lot. The internet is now an advertising source to an inexhaustive consumer base. We also have a sophisticated communications world laden with smart phones — another advertising medium. These are beasts that can be conquered. I looked up one day and came to the realization that our agency must adapt. Our repertoire must expand.

Certainly, we have a great foe in the recession, as well as client bankruptcies. Yet, I am more convinced than ever that there are more companies hellbent to stay in business than those want to go under. These may be companies with smaller marketing budgets, but they are there beckoning for our services. CDM would love a few million dollar clients; but there is business out there among the lesser budgets. Some of them want to be national brands.

Here is the essential thing. We need to work hard because that is our corporate mentality. We have big ideas and can deliver them using the mixed media of triplication. No matter our size, CDM is relevant. Here are my final points. If people and business trickle out, we will not see it as a source of defeat – or a portend of disaster. No, we will see it as an opportunity to free ourselves from a mistake laden past while adding to our client base and staff.  We want the spirit of Modernista to invest our walls.

Everyone that worked at CDM has something great to offer this industry. CDM itself only will grow and keep doing what we do for as many clients as possible. That’s why we are changing gears.

Bernard A. McNealy, President

Carson Dunn Media

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