Cash Mob on Main Street USA

Long lines circled the Chagrin Hardware store as the community staged a “Cash Mob” of support. Photo by Amy Sancetta, AP.

Owning a small business can at times be a daunting task, especially in an economy where “low price” seems to win out over value and service. So when you hear a story of how America rises up to support its hometown businesses, well, it’s something that is begging to be shared.  In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 21, Jim Black, a resident of Chagrin Falls (right here in Northeast, Ohio) sent an email to 20 friends asking them to show support for Chagrin Hardware, a family-owned business now in its third generation. His challenge was to spend “at least $20 to support the hardware store on 21st Street.”  Word spread like wildfire through email and social media channels. Folks starting flocking to the store before it opened.  Long lines weaved through the store throughout the day as small town America proved their support for one of its oldest and dearest businesses. The owners were overwhelmed by the support from their fellow townspeople. It has us thinking, “What if EVERY town were to rise up to the Cash Mob challenge? What kind of a difference could this make for small businesses ESPECIALLY in this economy?”  What’s stopping you from fanning the flames of support for your favorite local store? Read more about the Chagrin Hardware Cash Mob experience in the greater Cleveland area here.


Myth Buster Fodder

Marketing Myths Exposed?

Hubspot’s latest ebook contains  compelling thoughts on  Facebook, Twitter and Email 

Staying current with digital media requires an active time commitment.  Capstone has a mix of sites that we check out throughout the week, some of them daily.  One of our favorite sites is Hubspot.  Capstone Media has been active with this resource for about 4 years – their content and webinars have grown in relevance as well as quality.

Today I downloaded their ebook “6 Deadly Marketing Myths Busted” which, though small, is packed with content that has been borne out in firsthand with several Capstone client marketing programs. The book covers stats for Facebook, Twitter & email marketing.  The research on Facebook is weak (unfortunately) making it impossible to draw an absolute line in the sand.

That withstanding, the book is a short read with compelling commentary as a “food for thought” option.

Step2 tests Social Media tool PowerReviews and Increases Conversions

The Step2 Company, located in Streetsboro, Ohio, is engaging its customers through a variety of Social Media strategies driven through their Facebook Page.


Step2 recognizes that the use of consumer reviews drives engagement with their brand.  One such method employs Facebook Connect, user-generated content which uses syndicated reviews.  These reviews, powered by Power Reviews, use Facebook similar to an online storefront which encourages friend and customer reviews to build credibility. [Read more…]

John Carroll University Finds “Cash Mob” Facebook Ambassadors

Talking About Social Media Requires Trusted Information

Social Media is being discussed among consumers and Social Sites Get People Talking, but Marketers Must Earn Trust,” if you want to engage your customer.

When Harris Interactive gathered research for Online Publishers Association (OPA)’s social media site discussions among Internet users, 39 percent talked about social media, in person.  Despite all these talks, 8 percent of Internet users believe social media sites to be trustworthy.  The highest ranking social media site, with trusted content, is the content-driven Wikipedia, at 77 percent customer satisfaction.

A social media site like Wikipedia provides a support network of nearly 13 million registered users with hundreds of thousands of visitors making edits and adding content, daily.

Applying the Wikipedia concept of content-driven social media is when Laura Klauberg, Senior Vice President of global media with Unilever, learned that 2 percent of women around the world felt pretty (The On-Demand Brand by Rick Mathieson, Amacon, New York.  2010).  Klauberg focused on her “big brand idea” to Dove soap, driven directly from the customer to produce Evolution video (YouTube ranked 73 percent customer satisfaction in that same social media study).

“They’ll post the Evolution video on their Facebook page or their MySpace profile and write on the Dove message board on our site,” Klauberg said.  “They’ll go and create a piece of advertising that is their view of what the brand is about” (p23-24).  On YouTube alone the Evolution video has 11,391,281 views and 5,629 comments (at the time of writing this article).

Social media works when the customer has that platform or avenue to talk about what the product means to them, producing trusted information, and customer loyalty.

Got the Facebook Marketing Blues?

Insights on Facebook Marketing in 2011

Trying to keep up with the latest Facebook Marketing changes?  Join the club.  Seems like every week there is something new to figure out.

It also seems like I spend a tremendous amount of time just shifting through information to find best practices.

Today I was checking out one of my new favorite sites – Social Media Examiner. I came across this great video on the latest round of Facebook changes and how to get the most out of your business Facebook Account.

There’s a wealth of good information in this short informative video so come prepared to take notes.

Some of the marketing tools covered include –

  • Creating a visible call to action
  • Reorganizing links
  • Using iFrames to promote your business
  • Using Facebook Ads
  • Creating FREE Facebook Ads

It’s worth the time and takes about 12 minutes total.  Grab a fresh cup’a  coffee and enjoy!

Cleveland, Ohio Metroparks Finds Outdoor Education Reaches Beyond Facebook “Likes”

These Bald Eagles are tending to their fourth nesting. The last three years they have successfully raised an eaglet each year. The nest may be as large as 13 feet deep, 8 feet across, and weigh 1 ton. Photo and video by Ohio Division of Wildlife bald eagle nest monitor Lisa Romaniuk.

Cleveland, Ohio Metroparks’ Facebook  site receives high “likes” and “shares” traffic from the daily content posted by their Outdoor Education staff.  It’s no wonder since there is plenty of outdoor educational content to share.  Resources include five nature centers, sixteen reservations, 21,000 acres and spectacular wildlife right in Cleveland’s own backyard.

236 likes, 20 comments, and 74 shares were attributed to a March 9 posting: “We have an egg! The bald eagles in Rocky River Reservation have laid their first egg…” The Cleveland Metroparks Facebook posting included the photo at left and a bald eagle nesting video by Lisa Romaniuk. Red-shouldered and Red-tailed hawk postings also observed good engagement rates with 43 likes and 11 shares.

The numbers don’t stop online.  Outdoor Education staff efforts are paying-off in terms of increased attendance rates at Park programs. Naturalist LaDonna Sifford normally had four to seven people attend her winter hikes in the Bedford Reservation. In January this year more than 40 attended, most responding to the hike posting on Facebook.  Popular programs have also filled up at a faster rate because of social media.

“A recent example is the Lithuanian Egg Decorating program, which ran on March 21 at Canalway Center,” stated Cleveland Metroparks marketing associate Eric Barnett. “A second program was added on April 1, which also filled up completely.” “As for web traffic, for all of March Facebook generated 1,793 unique visits to, of which 58 percent were new visits to the website,” said Barnett. “Facebook and Facebook mobile are currently the second and third largest referral pages to our webpage respectively coming in behind the Zoo website.”

Following the first month of collaboration with their Outdoor Education division, Metroparks staff found that their Facebook “People Talking About Us” and “Reach” metrics had improved by 212% and 770% respectively.  “Reach” is a metric that reflects the amount of people who see your post as opposed to the more interactive “People Talking About Us” metric.  “Reach” numbers create greater online and offline foot traffic on other media channels.  After Google, Facebook is the greatest source of online foot traffic to Cleveland Metroparks website.

Because of the success of the Outdoor Education division’s social networking program the Natural Resources division intends to begin updating the public in a similar manner regarding biodiversity, conservation, native plant communities and its relationship with the Outdoor Education division.

Contact us at Capstone Media to discuss how a social media program can augment your marketing efforts and drive your traffic.


Scoop Scoop Yum Yum!

Ruggles New Super Kid flavor is a 2012 favorite!

Ruggles Super Kid is a 2012 favorite flavor!

Have you heard?  It’s that time again – Ruggles Ice Cream time!! The Ruggles tune is playing on stations across Ohio.  We downloaded our free “Ruggles Ringtone” so our phones remind us of our favorite ice cream!  And if you are fan of Ruggles like we are then you are sure to be looking for discount coupons to save extra on those 40+ delicious flavors! Click here to register for money saving couponson your favorites flavors of Ruggles Ice Cream!  Or you can download your free Ringtone and clip coupons on the Ruggles Facebook page – lots of ways to connect!

Everybody – “Let’s sing the Ruggles Ice Cream tune! Scoop Scoop Yum Yum – Ruggles gotta’ get me some – more!”

10 Sites Gone Social with Instant Personalization from Facebook

If you have a Facebook profile your Trip Advisor can be instantly personalized,

In the Facebook world it’s not unusual to have 400 friends who’ve visited over 1,200 cities around the world.  “The Web is better with friends” is Facebook’s way of personalizing the Internet.  It’s also a great way to drive more web traffic to your site, especially for Trip Advisor owned by Expedia, Inc, with reviews provided by everyday travelers.

How it works?

Login to your Facebook account.  Then open another tab for  Remember just because you close a tab or window does not mean you’re logged off of Facebook and instant personalization will still be activated unless you log out.  You will see your Facebook profile picture at the top of the website, this means that you are now ready to read your friends reviews, recommendations, friends’ most popular destinations and “likes.” [Read more…]

Capstone Media, CNN & Election Fever

Tracy Smuts discussing media buying with Martin Savage of CNNI recently had the opportunity to sit down with Martin Savidge from CNN to discuss the influx of advertising dollars into the Cleveland, Ohio region for the 2012 election.  Local sales reps from TV, Radio & online all agree.  Comments such as ““It’s ridiculous.  No one could have predicted this volume.” Or from another 20-year vet in the political advertising realm, “This is the largest expenditure of dollars in a short period of time in the history of Cleveland broadcasting. I am working 14 hours days, 7-days a week.  This election has taken a year off of my life for sure.”

Trying to find an assessment for the current media blitz is almost impossible as stations are doing triage just to get through it.  They plan to assess it later. The spending in Ohio to date has been reported as 177 million and growing.  But not all cities in Ohio are seeing the same expenditures.

Why Ohio?

Some states can be predicted to swing one way or another. So although they have a strong number of electoral votes they are considered “in the bag’ for the preferred party long before Election Day votes have been cast. No so for Ohio. No President has won the election without capturing the state of Ohio for the last 40 years.  Ohio has been described as “the Neapolitan of the United States” with its diverse population swings. The barometer of political choice for the entire country has historically been measured by Ohio

The northern base of cities like Youngstown, Cleveland and Toledo have been shaped for decades by manufacturing, steel and the automotive industry; all three tend to swing to the Democratic party. On the southern end towards Cincinnati, the population is highly conservative and rural with a strong Republican base.  Columbus stands in the middle both geographically and politically with its strong student population and white-collar legislative base.

How much spending?

The amount of money flowing into Cleveland and the state of Ohio is mind boggling at this point.  To date, it is reported that over 177 million dollars in just TV and Cable have been spent in Ohio. Almost one half of those dollars spent just in Cleveland. This year is so tight that expectations are that the week before the campaign all TV, Radio, Cable TV and online options will be totally sold out both with political ad spending and those few local advertisers that have managed to keep their ad programs on the air.

Was this expected?

Actually, no.  Not to this degree.  During the 2008 election when it was clear that Obama would win Ohio, both parties pulled out of Ohio to concentrate their dollars elsewhere.  This election was almost shaping up to be a repeat of 2008.  Then Governor Romney won the first debate by an overwhelming spread.  And Ohio moved from a solid blue to a “maybe blue”, and the weeks since, to what is now considered a dead heat.  What does that mean for Ohio?  It means that the advertising blitz, robocalls and endless campaigning aren’t going to stop until the last voter walks out of the poll booth on November 6th.

Impact on TV Pricing

Broadcast media pricing is subject to many factors although the most important is the reality of supply and demand.  The less inventory that is available, the higher the costs for that inventory. Consider that just one month ago (September 2012) an advertiser buying TV time in Cleveland, Ohio could purchase a spot in the early or late news for anywhere from $800 to $2,000 per 30 second unit.  A month later, those costs are up as much as 420% with a range from $3,150 to $5,000 depending on the station and the time of day. And prices are projected to continue increasing up to Election Day.

Economic Impact on Local Advertising

As media planners and media buyers we can track the effect of ad spending on a client’s business through a variety of methods.  We can measure boots in the door, rings on the phone, peaks in web traffic and increased sales both in store and online.  We can see the spikes in web traffic when ad messages are running. So we know for a fact that when purchased and placed correctly with a compelling and valuable message advertising works.

Both parties talk about small businesses and local economies.  So what is the effect on a local economy when advertising space and time is at a premium?  When local advertisers lose their ability to communicate with their customers?

Those hurt most are seasonal advertisers that depend on advertising during September & October – Colleges & Universities are big losers – they count on being able to market to students & their parents visiting campuses for open houses. Also retailers with winterizing services for cars – tires, oil change, overall inspection. Home improvement – again, preparing for winter – furnace inspection, windows, gutters, roofs. Other advertisers that count on consistent advertising such as Fast Food chains – most owned by local business people – even car dealers suffer.

Interest in the Election by Viewers

There is more interest this election than in 2008. We tracked viewership for Presidential debates which grew with each debate. The last debate ratings, even among younger viewers between 18-24 scored ratings on par with the highest rated primetime TV shows even among younger adults.”

Viewing Patterns

In previous election cycles we would see a decrease in HUT levels as we edged closer to the elections. This cycle viewers do not appear to be abandoning TV HOWEVER they don’t necessarily have to because in 2012 almost 43% of all households have some type of digital recording device (DVR or TiVo).  Of those that use a DVR about one half of them skip the ads.

Wasted Money

Consider that In the Cleveland market alone, it is expected that almost $100 million dollars will be spent on political advertising in 2012. $100 MILLION DOLLARS. How many charities could benefit from that kind of money?  How many soup kitchens could feed the hungry, how many beds could be provided for the homeless, how much healthcare could be provided for those that have none?  One topic that we NEVER hear the candidates discuss is the massive amounts of money that is being spent – make that wasted – on this election.

We can agree on something

Little girl from Colorado crying over election ads Ask just about anyone in the US and certainly in Cleveland, Ohio how they feel about the number of political ads on TV and you will get a variety of opinions. A viral video aired on Thursday, November 1 that shows a little girl from Colorado crying.  When asked why she is crying, she explains that she is crying because of all the political ads of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney.

Those of us in Cleveland, Ohio couldn’t agree more.