strategist

I’m excited about the new Facebook Search!

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Screenshot of the Facebook Search bar

The new Facebook Search feature is a pretty robust tool that we should be excited about as both marketers and users. Here are a few thoughts, as well as a few predictions around where Facebook might be going with this.

As a regular Facebook user, I was really impressed by the amount of content I was served up when I did a simple search for “cough.” The results were divided into 3 buckets: Pages, Friends and Groups, and Public Posts – and the key word was highlighted in each of the posts. There is also a sub-navigation that lets users filter results by Top, Latest, Photos, Videos, Places, and even Apps and Events. Having immediate access to relevant posts that were outside my network was really refreshing, and it was cool to see who was talking about coughs within my network specifically. It will be interesting to see how the results will update during a political event or a big game. In many ways, it reminds me of the way current events can be followed on twitter.

For users who have privacy concerns, this new feature should raise red flags. Facebook provides users with privacy settings in the actual post window that allows them to choose who can view their post. Those rules will continue to hold true within the search results. If your post is only visible to your friends, then it would only appear in the search results of users in your immediate network. If it is a public post, it will be visible outside of your network. The same applies to comments on posts, as well.

As marketers, we should be excited about the role that brands can play within this new space. Since this is new to all of us, we don’t yet understand the rhyme or reason behind the order of the posts that are displayed when a user searches. That being said, this is a great opportunity for brands to ensure their social engagement strategy is buttoned up. Brands need to be ultra-focused on creating relevant content on their feeds that is keyword-rich, and that includes image and video descriptions.

It will be a matter of time before we are able to advertise in this space. Like Google, media buys will likely dictate your brand’s rank within the search results in the Pages section, with native advertising appearing throughout the Public Posts. When we factor in the Buy Products feature, it’s easy to see how Facebook can begin to position itself as a direct competitor to Google and Amazon, although I think that’s still some ways away.

Visit http://search.fb.com/ to hear all about it from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

At the crossroads of health, wellness, technology, and marketing

2015 Marketing Summit Template

It was a privilege to attend the 2015 Marketing Summit hosted by Ogilvy CommonHealth and eConsultancy. As the producer at the event, I was able to spend some time with each of the presenters. I was also able to hit the 10,000-step mark on my Fitbit by 3pm – I’ll circle back to wearables later. I was most impressed by the diversity of speakers that are playing at the crossroads of health, wellness, technology, and marketing. The people I met and the messages I heard made me extremely excited on two different fronts: as a human-being, and as a marketer.

As a human-being, I was excited about the ideas surrounding personalized health that we heard throughout the day – especially since I moonlight as a fitness instructor.

Among them was Jeff Arnold from Sharecare, who is empowering consumers to take charge of their health by delivering personalized resources and expert advice through their online health profiles. Melissa Bojorquez, of Physicians Interactive, talked to us about technology’s unique power to help people connect with each other, and in doing so, defying the isolation and fear that accompany serious health conditions. Bill Evans from Watson Health showed us how Watson is changing the face of medical research with its ability to “read” thousands of medical journals and white papers in unimaginable speeds in an effort to increase the safety and efficacy of clinical trials drugs.

Our Healthcare Startup Sharktank brought innovative thinking to the forefront of consumer health. Movi Interactive is incentivizing fitness tracker users in unique ways by gamifying their experiences to drive usage. Through their platform, Medprowellness is connecting consumers with clinicians, nutritionists, and personal trainers to provide a personalized layer of accountability to their 360-degree approach to health and wellness.

The marketer in me was excited about all the new ways data will continue to fuel our insights. Finding new ways to visualize data is critical, according to David Davenport Firth, particularly since 75% of physicians admit to not understanding the statistics in journals. Back to the topic of wearbles… For a while now, marketers have been talking about the endless data streams being collected from wearables. Patrick Henshaw and his startup, Strap, can aggregate data from wearables, smartphones, and other apps, allowing marketers to draw insights from real-time human data. On similar note, there was Pranav Yadav, whose company Neuro-Insight can help marketers and brands optimize their creative by analyzing the neuro-responses of their consumers.

We are at the crossroads of health, wellness, technology, and marketing. Ryan Olohan from Google reinforced the fact that like all successful companies, healthcare brands need to innovate or die. Companies like Kodak and Blockbuster didn’t, while companies like Uber and Expedia have changed their respective industries forever. As marketers in the healthcare space, we all need to look beyond our comfort zones. We need to encourage our brands to look beyond, as well.

My Journey From Architect, to Designer, to Strategist

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It’s taken 19 years to get here.

My journey started in college. For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be an architect. After 4 long years at the NJIT School of Architecture, and 2 equally long years as an intern, I finally realized that a career in Architecture was not for me. As luck would have it, opportunity knocked, and I welcomed it with open arms.

It was the dawn of what would later be called the internet bubble… and I was given a chance to jump in feet first. All I had to do was learn HTML, and I’d get hired as a freelance programmer at Edelman Interactive Solutions – the first PR firm with a presence on the “world-wide web.” They even had a CD-Rom brochure! VERY cutting edge.

This was the first time my fairly linear path took a sharp turn. I left the dorm life so I can focus on my school work while learning HTML. I had 2 weeks to do it, and with the help of the O’Reilly HTML book (1st Edition, with the koala bear on the cover) and plenty of Cuban expressos, I joined the team at EIS. 3 months later, I was hired as a junior programmer, and I quickly realized that my design background was allowing me to visualize things in ways other programmers couldn’t. With a few electives left in school, I loaded up on “computer design” classes at Rutgers University, where the credits were cross-honored at NJIT. As they say, the rest is history.

With some solid agency experience and digital design skills, I left EIS to join a small company that specialized in employee recognition programs. As the art director at Special Recognition, I further sharpened my skill set, designing AND programming web sites for fortune 500 companies. I transitioned from a “programmer with design experience,” to the more valuable “designer that knew how to program.”

It was after this that I took the next sharp turn, joining the marketing team at Clear Channel Entertainment (now called Live Channel.) I was hired to provide graphic and presentation support to the sales team at CCE, and created campaigns for T-Mobile and Boost Mobile, to name a few. It was my first exposure to PowerPoint…and it set me down an entirely new path.

It was at Tim Hunter Design that things started to take shape. I was a confident designer, but THD allowed me to grow as a visual story teller, a marketer, and a leader. I played an integral role in the growth of the company and in the acquisition of new business, and managed multiple accounts as a creative director. I worked alongside brilliant designers, marketers, and entrepreneurs, and absorbed as much as I could every day that I spent with them. I learned the importance of storytelling from Tim Hunter himself, one of the best in the business. I learned that ideas are formed with a pen and paper, and that all the tools I’d learned how to use were just that… tools to tell your story. I matured professionally at THD, and will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to work there.

When I joined Ogilvy CommonHealth, I was brought in as a presentation specialist, and I very much looked forward to applying the skills I had acquired. I brought a foreign approach to presentation design – I came to meetings with sketchbooks instead of my computer; I offered insights and suggestions along with the PowerPoint skills. I became the visual storyteller… the pitch guy… the visual presentation strategist. I had the privilege of working alongside managing partners, presidents, EVPs, SVPs, brand planners, and of course, the digital strategists. Once again I was blessed with the opportunity to learn from the very best in the business, and I soaked in as much as I could.

Ivan Ruiz: Budding StrategistAs I write this, I am 6-months into my newest adventure as a Digital Engagement Strategist – still at Ogilvy CommonHealth – and what an adventure it has been. I chose digital strategy because it made sense to me: I’m a designer, a story teller, a marketer, and I have a foundation in digital design and development. Once again, I am surrounded by a team of brilliant marketers and strategists, thought leaders – and I’m literally learning something new every day. My new career as a strategist is still budding, but I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish in my short tenure with the Digital team, and look forward to what’s ahead.

I share my experiences because I truly believe there are a lesson or two to be learned here. Never settle… be nimble, and flexible. Surround yourself with amazing people… learn from them as much as you can. Be proactive with your career… nobody will hand you opportunities – you have to be willing to risk it all to take them.

In the immortal words of Jay-Z… “Can’t knock the hustle.”