Category Archives: Martino Flynn

Soft-Selling Your Technology Services Through Thought Leadership

From cloud connectivity to cyber security, it seems like almost every technology company is expanding their communication services. However, having the most extensive fiber route or the most customizable cloud configuration simply isn’t enough when it comes to landing new customers. Speeds, feeds, lines and features may sound like strong differentiators to service providers, but IT decision makers know all too well that solution capabilities, and their own business needs, change rapidly. In this fast-paced industry, C-Suite and IT professionals aren’t likely to jump at the latest solution to hit the market, rather they are more apt to make purchasing decisions based on brand affinity, reputation, and loyalty. With this in mind, we often recommend our clients consider executing upon a strategic thought leadership program to better position their company as a strong business partner.

How do thought leadership programs work?

After a company identifies the correct company spokesperson for its program—often based on factors such as the individual’s industry knowledge, product expertise, authenticity, and likeability—the next step is to identify and implement a series of communication tactics to position him or her as the company’s Subject-Matter Expert (SME). This can include setting up a speakers bureau so that the SME can speak at trade shows or customer events, pitching that SME for media interviews in targeted trade, regional, and national outlets; authoring a blog series portraying the SME’s opinions on various topics; or executing a social media engagement effort to build the SME’s personal brand.

With the right mix of communication tactics, a thought leadership program can help a company:

  • Evangelize company culture by using an SME who embodies brand values
  • Establish credibility through the expertise of their employees
  • Develop stronger rapport with customers/prospects by humanizing the brand
  • Deliver value to a topic and steer the direction of an industry conversation
  • Sell products and solutions through storytelling

What type of thought leadership content resonates the most?

Despite common misconceptions, audiences are not looking for your SME’s opinions to be all that differentiated from the industry standard. In fact, many SMEs who cover topics like cyber security will naturally emphasize the same key advantages of implementing network and cloud security solutions. However, audiences want to find the best answers to their questions; and if you have the right SME—one who is well-respected, knowledgeable, and trustworthy—your company will be able to do just that. By addressing customer pain points, industry changes, and the latest trends, your SME can become the “go-to” authority.

From the public relations perspective, thought leaders can play a valuable role in “soft selling” products and/or services without ever hinting at promotion. The best SMEs are those individuals who are respected within the industry and trusted by customers and prospects alike; therefore your target audiences will find value in hearing what they have to say. SMEs can talk about solutions in terms of capabilities vs. features and dance on the line of vendor neutrality when discussing “hot” topics. Company thought leaders are not your salesmen, they are your influencers; this is a subtle, but important, distinction.

To learn more about creating a thought leadership program, contact Jenny LePore at Martino Flynn.

Our Take: Super Bowl 51 Commercials

From the big game to commercials and the food, Super Bowl Sunday always brings a lot of excitement to the employees of Martino Flynn. We asked our experts to recap the commercials that aired during Super Bowl 51 and share “Our Take” on this year’s spots.

John Marianetti, executive producer

Every year there is great hype and anticipation surrounding the new Super Bowl spots and every year I seem to be left feeling slightly underwhelmed. I think that most brands just try too hard to make their spots memorable.

I prefer the simpler, yet flawlessly executed, spots. As much as I really enjoyed the cinematic styles and almost mini-feature-like qualities of Budweiser’s, “Born the Hard Way”, 84 Lumber’s  “The Journey Begins,” and Pepsi’s “Life Water”, I was equally impressed by the simple, conceptual  approach of the Skittles “Romance” spot. Good TV commercials don’t always equate to big budgets or complicated productions.

And when you cast Justin Timberlake reacting to Christopher Walken’s spoken word performance of NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” for Bai, well that’s just gold from a branding and name retention perspective. It’s hard to imagine anyone drinking a bottle of Bai without singing “Bye, Bye, Bye” out loud!

Tim Downs, executive creative director

Initial observation: I was struck by how many advertisers chose to address some of the issues that are currently affecting our country today. While there were plenty of ads that were entertaining and used humor to gain consumers’ goodwill, it’s the advertisers who used their spots to align themselves with bigger issues that stood out for me.

My favorites being the Audi spot that addressed women’s rights in a great storytelling way. And Budweiser—while still self-serving—acknowledged the role of immigrants in our country. The Honda yearbook spot not only employed great production techniques, but delivered an uplifting message.

As advertising professionals, we preview a lot of the spots online and read many trade articles analyzing them. For each spot, we break down the marketing strategy, the production techniques and special effects, art direction, and the copy. It makes it somewhat difficult to view the commercials objectively—as a pure consumer.

So as a consumer, I appreciated those spots that used humor and entertainment in a relevant way. I thought advertisers that reinforced their brands well and in interesting ways were Bai, Coca-Cola, and Mercedes Benz. All of them demonstrated that they understood their audiences and, more importantly, how their brands relate to them.

At the end of the day, what resonated with me were the spots that combined great storytelling, awesome production, and a message that was relevant to current social issues and their brand.

 Matt D’Angelo, digital creative director

I think the pinnacle of creative, widely engaging Super Bowl spots are in the past. The annual Super Bowl broadcast is a huge global stage where advertisers can really flex their muscles, but I have to say that this year the spots were a bit weak. I’m looking for some really sharp comedy, a clever twist, a super catchy jingle, or a deeply moving humanity piece. In light of our current political and social climate, the low-hanging fruit were spots leaning on cultural diversity. It seemed like a lot of brands jumped on that bandwagon— although, some were more creative than others.

While there were no “Wow” moments, raucous laughter, or tear-jerkers in my viewing experience, I did enjoy Ford’s “Go Further” spot. Set to the tune of Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” and narrated by Bryan Cranston, the commercial is a bit sappy, but it did the trick. Ford will help us “Go Further” and make our lives “faster, easier and better” in the future.

I’m a sucker for fail videos. If done right, there’s a charm in showing the limits of humanity. I liked this spot for the simple tune and a nice payoff on how Ford is there for its customers. It’s not a groundbreaking spot, but it is one that’s cute and replayable—kind of in the vein of the Humans campaign from Liberty Mutual.

Jenny LePore, public relations and social media senior account supervisor

I’m all about good storytelling; I love when a brand not only draws in your attention through a compelling storyline, but also pulls at the heartstrings. Brands take big financial risks when they opt for the “soft sell,” but when it works, oh man, does it work. When Audi boldly took on the gender pay inequality issue in its 60-second “Daughter” Super Bowl ad, it did just that.

From a PR perspective, Audi made its brand relevant by associating itself with one of the most significant social issues of today. “Daughter” addresses the challenges  that many parents face when it comes to discussing issues such as, the gender pay gap and provides a solid metaphor for what can happen inside the workplace. As a working mother of two daughters, I have to say this topic hits close to home.

The best part is that Audi continued to engage its target audiences beyond its TV spot through its #driveprogress hashtag and its YouTube page where it noted that “a 2016 report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee found that women were paid 21% less than men on average.” Props to Audi for thinking this through in terms of digital integration and, of course, for keeping the conversation alive.

While critics argue that Audi took the soapbox theme too literally or, worse, called out Audi for only having two female top executives, it’s important that these conversations happen from a cultural level. Plus, here we are, post-Super Bowl 51, still talking about it. Are we talking about the latest car? No, but for many, they now have a new emotional connection to the progressive-luxury brand. And if you know anything about successful branding, emotional connections often lead to true brand loyalty.

Well done, Audi.



Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Expect in 2017

The online marketing industry can be difficult to navigate. It is constantly changing, growing larger and more complex each day. However, one marketing aspect that won’t change is visibility. How customers see your business has been the basis of marketing since day one. So how do you stay current and competitive in this ever-changing space? Anticipate and plan ahead! To help you, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 marketing trends we can expect in 2017.

1.  Augmented Reality

Launched in early July, the wildly popular Pokémon GO taught us two important lessons; it’s shown that users are ready for Augmented Reality (AR) experiences, and it proved that there is significant earning potential within this new technology. At its peak, the app recorded earnings of $10 million a day in new revenue. Users are craving experiences that give them the feeling that they are doing more than just staring at their screens; they want to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Nostalgia also greatly played into Pokémon GO’s success. Emotion is still an integral component of a successful marketing campaign. We should expect to see more games, ads, and apps that provide this higher level of interaction in 2017.

2.  Native Advertising

Native advertising is certainly not new, as brands have been using the trend for years as a way to get natural-looking visibility on related sites. Now, as more and more consumers ignore, or even block, conventional digital ads, native advertising offers a stealthy, yet effective, way to get in front of them. With this increase in popularity, you can also expect to see new forms of native advertising offered by major publishers. Business Insider predicts that native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.

3.  Data Visualization Tools

Data is fundamental when it comes to marketing campaigns. As marketers, we need quantitative information on consumer behavior as well as ad performance. Measuring marketing has been an ongoing struggle and even Facebook has admitted its data doesn’t tell a complete story. Technology is now catching up to the “interpretation” part of data analysis, and we are already seeing dozens of data visualization tools on the market today. These tools use sophisticated technology that helps users interpret data. If a business doesn’t have plans to utilize these tools in 2017, it will be at a significant disadvantage.

4.  Live Video Streaming

As mentioned above, users crave that higher level of interaction, and social media platforms are responding. Facebook Live launched in April, which allows users to broadcast themselves and connect with a large audience in real time. Facebook Live Reactions allows users to interact with their audience and gauge how the broadcast is going. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, followed suit and launched its own live video streaming in November. This feature gives brands an opportunity to connect and engage with consumers in real time, which is essential in today’s fast-paced society.

5. Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

Providing a positive customer experience is key when it comes to savvy business practices. Many of today’s successful companies embrace customer-centric philosophies to establish positive relationships and customer retention. One way to provide this experience is to leverage the power of technology with chatbots and Artificial Intelligence. Suppose you are looking for a place to dine in a new city. Asking locals is one way to get ideas, but they probably don’t know that you have a gluten allergy and prefer spicy food. Now imagine a chatbot that knows your intolerances, likes, and dislikes, and can guide you to places based on this knowledge. Chatbots can use AI, deep learning and data crumbs from across the web to understand and guide consumer behavior.

It is important for brands to be aware of these trends in order to stay ahead of the competition and appeal to the right audience at the right time. If you’re ready to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level, contact Martino Flynn at or give us a call at 585.421.0100.

Using Research-Driven Insights to Launch a Successful Digital Campaign

Everyone knows that moms today are expected to have it all and do it all.

And as they juggle their careers, kids, spouses, and households, their own needs often sit on the back burner. Our research from Mintel tells us that moms like to be reminded that they are not alone in their parenting journeys and that they appreciate brands that truly understand the hectic demands on their lives.

In general, moms frequently put others’ needs ahead of their own, namely their children, and are less likely to be purchasing products for themselves. And with cough and cold season upon us, we know that many moms are looking for products that will help them care for their kids, while making their own lives easier. When kids are sick, busy moms need every hand they can get.

Vapor rubs can help relieve and soothe coughs, but 63% of moms cited mess/greasiness as the #1 reason why they don’t use them. With this information in mind, The Mentholatum Company tested a wide variety of forms of vapor rub and introduced “No Mess Vaporizing Rub” to retail shelves in September. Martino Flynn then created the concepts and assets for the digital campaign, which launched October 3.

Martino Flynn’s digital campaign included two 15-second videos, one 30-second video, animated banner ads, and the launch of a Facebook page; each tactic honed in on the message of “Giving moms a hand this cough and cold season.”


The digital campaign highlights the benefits of the innovative No Mess Vaporizing Rub product, including the 100% natural active ingredients, and the maximum strength cough relief provided in a roll-on applicator that’s convenient and easy to use. Thousands of moms have already reacted positively on Facebook and provided comments such as: “Yes, I’m willing to pay the extra dollar to get the roll-on version” and “Where has this been all my life??!! No more sticky, gooey fingers!”

Within the first week of launch, the digital campaign saw:

  • A 91% increase in Facebook fans
  • 73,393 viral impressions
  • 7k video videos
  • 2,216 engagements

And, best of all, as compared to last year at this time, The Mentholatum Company saw a 174% increase in traffic to the “Where To Buy” page on its website.

If you’re interested in building an integrated digital campaign based on research and consumer insights, reach out to Skylar Jameson at And if you’re a mom, don’t forget to give yourself a hand and stock up on No Mess Vaporizing Rub this cough and cold season.




Tips for CMO Success In The Digital Age

It’s no surprise that today’s Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are facing new marketing challenges in an increasingly data-driven world. The days of simply overseeing branding projects, market research, and sales initiatives have now evolved to include managing video and mobile technologies, analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), and social media. Regardless of the industry, these additional tasks have expanded the responsibilities of the CMO beyond its traditional role.

A recent article from CIO outlined attributes of a successful CMO in the Digital Age and based on our agency’s experience, we’re weighing in on the topic. We’ve identified which of the top attributes we believe will better your role as a CMO and help enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns moving forward.

  1. CMOs must be tech savvy

We couldn’t agree more—many of the best CMOs of companies are now acting more like chief marketing technologists, embracing the latest marketing software, social media and mobile platforms, and website design tactics. Don’t shy away from marketing automation, ecommerce, or digital marketing. If you’re unfamiliar with the territory, find an agency partner that can help to lead the way. We’ve helped our clients manage Marketo systems, websites, social media channels, and digital ads that rely heavily on customer and performance analytics. We often tell clients that data and analytics need to become your friends, fast.

  1. CMOs must maintain a customer-centric focus

According to Forrester, we’ve entered the age of the customer. Today’s most successful companies focus closely on the customer experience throughout the customer life cycle, rather than just the top-of-the-funnel interactions. Competition is often steep, and—in some industries—driven by pricing and/or innovations. To deepen customer loyalty, we recommend that brands engage customers through various touch points on an ongoing basis. Stay fresh. Stay relevant. Stay visible.

  1. CMOs must be analytical

Our marketing campaigns always rely on strategic planning and analytics. Marketing metrics can directly impact a company’s growth and revenue goals, so sticking tight to a marketing concept without analyzing the results won’t likely win in the long run. If a tactic isn’t working, pivot your strategy based on real-time data. Be sure to utilize research on customer trends and develop that strong business insight before implementing a campaign—and remember, don’t be afraid to change campaign direction if performance calls for it.

  1. CMOs must be open to new ideas and channels

Long gone are the days when print and TV advertising were the only ways to market your product or service. While it’s important to experiment with new marketing channels, don’t take on the world. The “everything but the kitchen sink” approach can often be worse than being narrow-minded about your tactics. Test out a few channels, gauge performance, and allocate spending to whatever tactic works best for your brand.

  1. CMOs must work closely with sales and IT teams

We always encourage CMOs to collaborate with other departments and stakeholders. It’s important to talk with sales teams to determine the appropriate content needed for the customer lifecycle (for example, which materials are not effective and which ones customers are dying to receive) and check in with finance and operations to see what additional insights they have to share about your customer prospects. It also never hurts to talk with IT and web departments about incorporating more advanced technologies into your customer experience and marketing campaigns.

Great CMOs need to bring a strong business mindset to everything they do—but they can’t be afraid to ask for help. Extending your team to include an agency partnership means that you have more feet on the ground to help you create the most innovative marketing strategies for your brand. Contact Martino Flynn today to get started.