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To NING or Not to NING

We have been a paying NING member for many years.  We feel that social media is about owning engagements.  We used NING to build private label websites with built in social communities.  Our sites have been some of the best in their category.  This success is a blessing and curse at the same time.  We have some of the biggest fan networks that you can build on NING.  

Why would I call that type of success a curse?  Because the effort put into building a successful network on NING on helps NING.  You are building a community full of content that benefits NING over the network creator.  So after 400,00 photos, 300,000 videos, 450,000 blogs from over 64,000 members we are leaving NING.

Our new communities will launch with http://www.shane-carwin.com.  The new Carwin Community will be similar to the NING community but will encompass some of the features we love about NING. The entire network has been ported over so if you are a member of the NING site you are a member of the new site.  The migration wont be easy as we have over 13 NING Pro accounts to move.  However our super talented team have already begun the process. 

Exciting times ahead!

 

Jason Genet


“ABSOLUTELY NO FIREARMS, AMMO, HUNTING OR KNIFE COMPANIES WILL BE PERMITTED AS SPONSORS IN ANY ZUFFA PROMOTED EVENTS.”

The announcement came down this morning, and some will say it’s just “Another way big bad Zuffa is screwing the fighters”. In reality, it won’t be long until there comes a day that no sponsors will be allowed. Why? Mainly because these companies are not “sponsors” per say. They are ambush marketing televised events. The athletes are paid based on the televised exposure not based on the athlete.

Our company has an athlete that is pro-firearm and has an endorsement deal with a small firearms training center. He is paid a monthly salary to endorse the brand and no logo placement is required. This is a true sponsorship to athlete relationship.

MMA is full of great athletes with amazing stories to tell. The UFC is providing them a platform like no one ever has. It is not what you do on that platform, it is what you do with that overall opportunity that matters. How much of the interest generated will you retain?

That is what managers need to be doing for the athletes they work for. They need to build platforms that enable them to sustain revenue and sell value to brands without the UFC exposure. You cannot guarantee the exposure in the UFC but you can guarantee leveraging the relationship and the exposure that may come.

For the most part MMA sponsorships are about logo placement on televised events. The athletes and brands rarely have a connection let alone an activation strategy. Aside from a few pre and post fight mentions there is not much (if any) activation. Even the biggest names depend more on discretionary bonuses than endorsement deals. They are making more because they are at the top. When they begin to descend it will be interesting to see how many actually end up with a brand of their own that they own and can create revenue from. Very few boxers ever converted their brand as an individual and MMA has a long way yet to create an Ali or Foreman.

It is not too late and these changes from Zuffa will only force the issue more. Stop just selling logos on shorts and start selling a brand building experience.


Ingrained Media – Search Engine Optimization Now Offered

Ingrained Media would like to announce that their specialization in Search Engine Optimization is now being offered to our client base. Our team of Search Marketing Directors, SEO Analysts, SEO Copywriters, Keyword Strategists, Link Builders, and SEO Managers are available to help your brand and website achieve the organic search engine ranking you desire. Our proven methods and strategies have given customers prime rankings for a variety of keyword searches. The Ingrained Media SEO Approach provides you with an economical approach to achieving high ranking search engine results and a measurable return on your investment.

- Jordan McCreery, Sr. Vice President of Ingrained Media


Jamey Jasta and Ingrained Media Partner Up to Help Promote the Hatewear Inc. Brand and the Release of the Album “JASTA” Through The Sport of MMA

Jamey Jasta and Ingrained Media Partner Up to Help Promote the Hatewear Inc. Brand and the Release of the Album “JASTA” Through The Sport of MMA

Promotion will include exposure at UFC 131, MFC 30, and a large scale Internet Marketing and Social Media Campaign.

Santa Barbara, CA (PRWEB) June 09, 2011

Jamey Jasta and Stillborn Records team up with Ingrained Media to help promote and revitalize the Hatewear Inc. Clothing Brand and promote the release of Jamey Jasta’s upcoming solo album “JASTA” which is set to be released on July 26th, 2011. Ingrained Media will secure promotional opportunities, coordinate and manage social media marketing, as well as managing other Internet based marketing campaigns through the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Jason Genet, President of Ingrained Media said, “We are pleased to be working with such an established artist and brands such as Jamey Jasta and Hatewear. Our team has already established a great game plan to help spread the word.” Genet continued, “Initial plans are as follows:

  •      Prime placement at UFC 131 on Shane Carwin’s Shorts and Banner announcing the release of Jamey Jasta’s album “JASTA” to be released July 26, 2011.
  •      Ad placement on over 100 Mixed Martial Arts Websites generating over 10 million impressions promoting the Hatewear Inc. Brand and the release of the “JASTA” album.
  •      Blogs and Exclusive Video from Shane Carwin & Brian Cobb promoting the relationship
  •      Prime placement at Maximum Fighting Championships 30 on Brian Cobb in the Co-Main Event Shorts, Shirt (Hatewear Brand Tee) and use of Jamey Jasta’s new single “The Fearless Must Endure” as the walk out song.
  •      Creation and Execution of a Custom Social Media Platform
  •      Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing

Jamey Jasta said, “It is exciting to partner with a like minded media company such as Ingrained Media. I believe that the Mixed Martial Arts community is the right step forward to expand the Hatewear Brand outside of the music community. I am a huge Mixed Martial Arts fan, so associating the Hatewear Clothing Brand with the Mixed Martial Arts lifestyle is a natural fit.”

The goal of the partnership is to re-introduce the Hatewear Brand to not only the masses but particularly the MMA market which has very similar ties to Metal music and the music industry in general. All of this will occur helping Jamey Jasta and his label increase their social media reach in connection with the release of the new “JASTA” album. “Not every MMA athlete that wears Hatewear will use Jasta’s music and vice-versa” said Genet. “For instance, the Shane Carwin Partnership is related to the release of the new album and not related to the Hatewear Inc. Brand and the Brian Cobb Hatewear deal has the album release, the music, and the Hatewear brand of clothing tied in.” concluded Genet.

About Jamey Jasta and Hatewear Inc.: 
Jamey Jasta is an American musician from New Haven, Connecticut, best known as the lead vocalist of the Metalcore band Hatebreed and sludge metal band Kingdom of Sorrow. Jamey was the host of MTV2’s Headbangers’s Ball, a television program consisting of Heavy Metal music videos, for over 3 years.

Jamey Jasta owns Stillborn Records, a hardcore and metal-based record label from New Haven, and “metal music apparel” line called, Hatewear. Hatewear was once in all of the Hot Topics across the United States and Canada. In 2007, he presented the Metal Hammer Golden God awards. Jamey is the artist that wrote and recorded Andrei Arlovski’s walkout theme song, “Onward To Victory”, which can be found on Icepick’s Violent Epiphany release (Stillborn Records) and Electronic Arts MMA video game (2010). Jamey has just finished his solo album titled “JASTA” which is to be released July 26th, 2011. Learn more about Jamey Jasta at http://www.JameyJasta.com. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JameyJasta and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JastaHQ.

Hatewear Inc. was established in 2005 and continues to offer it’s metal music branded merchandise online and recently at various metal and rock music festivals such as Ozzfest, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem and UPRoar Festivals. Hatewear has been seen on such major networks as MTV, MTV2, VH1 and E! Entertainment’s Holly’s World. Follow Hatewear on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Hatewear and on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/HatewearInc.

About Ingrained Media: 
Ingrained Media is a boutique marketing firm with a specialization in sports marketing. Unlike traditional agencies Ingrained Media offers a hybrid of services with a specialty on athlete development and social media marketing. Ingrained Media has been responsible for the development of both brand and athlete social media presences reaching hundreds of thousands of users on a daily basis. Ingrained Media also has a strong interest and specialty in the fields of Advertising, Promotions, and Public Relations. Learn more about Ingrained Media athttp://www.IngrainedMedia.com. Follow them on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/IngrainedMedia and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IngrainedMedia.

# # #

Shane Carwin UFC 131 Fight Banner

Shane Carwin UFC 131 Fight Banner

Shane Carwin UFC 131 Weigh-In Shorts

Shane Carwin UFC 131 Weigh-In Shorts

Brian Cobb MFC 30 Fight Banner

Brian Cobb MFC 30 Fight Banner

Brian Cobb MFC 30 Fight Shorts

Brian Cobb MFC 30 Fight Shorts


Forget Cheese Your Cracker Wants a Social Community

Social Networking about Crackers?

I what we would call a stroke of genius Kraft Foods decided to build a Social Network for the Cracker brand Triscuit. Right about now you are probably thinking who in the world would join a Cracker brand on a Social Network?

Home Based Farmers is who. Kraft research showed that there is a growing focus on eating better and organic and home gardening tends to be earning a lot of shelf space at the grocery stores today. The Cracker industry is no no longer just a battle between Ritz, Saltines and Triscuit. The Triscuit brad alone has at least 6 different varieties available at most grocery stores.

They also discovered that a lot of home based farmers are the same people responsible for going tot he grocery store and make the food purchases for the household. They wanted to engage with this consumer.

Kraft quietly launched homefarming.com, homefarming.com currently claims about 14,000 members. The site features information about recipes related to farming, as well as information on the “home farming movement,” which will be celebrated on April 12 a.k.a. Home Farming Day. The site contains some branding but is really focused on home farmers.

How do you sell a box of Crackers on a farming website? According to a rep for Kraft, Triscuit has sought over the past year to align itself with the “real food” concept. “The effort taps into the trend of people getting back to basics in a tough economic environment and wanting to grow their own food,” the rep says, adding that “it’s a perfect fit for Triscuit.”

Other brands are focusing on “healthier” foods and snacks all the way to Frito-Lay’s healthier potato chips. Triscuit is using it’s in store packaging to promote the social network. They recently rolled out over 4 million “home farming” Triscuit boxes. The brand intends to double that number this year.

We commend Triscuit for going against the grain and building their own social community. Many brands set up a Facebook account and call themselves socially integrated. Tricuit is connecting and engaging with 14,000 potential consumers who see Triscuit as providing them a useful toll. This same consumer likes rapidly flips past the Triscuit magazine ad and likely pay’s $5.00 a month for DVR functions that allow them to skip the Triscuit commercial that paid for the production of the magazine and television show.

Triscuit has always been my personal favorite cracker and now that I know about homefarming.com I have them in my top 10 of Brands that get Social Media. To put things in perspective when Wal-Mart (the worlds biggest retailer) attempted to do something similar it failed to even get over 5000 members. Our biggest niche social community is at 45,882 members, 33,727 blogs, 9,159 videos and 452,966 photos in just over 2 years time. Holy Unique Content Batman.

What this tells blog should tell you is that if you are listening to your target consumer you can engage them . You can effectively communicate with your potential consumers without some third party social platform in between you and your consumer.

Jason Genet
http://www.ingrainedmedia.com


Can Real-Time Scoring Solve the MMA Judging Crisis

We have seen fight after fight go the the wrong way. The Judges still use old fashioned score cards and need to tally the scores after the fight. This seems like an archaic approach to judging the fastest growing sport.

So it begs to question what is the solution? A lot of times a fighter may feel he is ahead on the score cards and try to fight conservatively in the final round. Could a solution like Rob Dyrdek’s Street League’s real-time scoring be the solution? The fighters know where they stand on the judges score cards as the fight progresses.

What about just using retired fighters or having a “certified” MMA judging program. The program would make sure that judges understood all aspects of Mixed Martial Arts and they all use the same judging criteria. This allows fighters and trainers to know exactly what is going to be scored.

MMA is such a unique sport where winning is a very important part of the sport. Forget about the fair weather nature of the typical MMA fan just take a look at the economics of the sport.

The typical MMA gym charges $80-$150 a month. This fee is merely the entry fee. You will need private lessons that can cost as much as $100 per session. You will need your supplement and meal program, your personal trainer, equipment and likely a standard gym membership to do your strength training These are all up front expenses.

THen you have find the time to train. This can consist of several training sessions a day at various locations. The average MMA athlete trains 4-6 hours a day 4-5 times a week.

All of the above is really just a small part of what it takes to get to the fight you agreed to take. You are only going to be paid if the fight happens. Most promoters pay a “show” and “win” bonus. So loosing a fight based on a bad judges call can affect 50% of the money the athlete earns.

In the NFL or Baseballt he bad calls by referees don’t cost the players 50% of their wages. They are paid to train and compete. MMA Athletes are independent athletes and the judges are costing them more then a win with these bad calls.


Influencers vs Viral Marketing

In the good old days of marketing it was a widely accepted belief that if you could reach 10% of the population through print or a 30-second ad spot you could influence the mass’s.

Now you would be lucky to reach 2% of your target audience with any of those mediums and that small percentage you reach are very cynical about having to hear your “pitch”

Today you can reach millions of people through a properly placed video on YouTube.com or building your own social community and feeding the content hungry consumer. A great example of this is HeadBlade who recently released their videos introducing their “Shaving Helmet”.

The video production is simple and the response was an EPIC viral hit with over a million views on YouTube.com and the following third party coverage:

“Who Knew the World Needed a Shaving Helmet” – GawkerTV
“Terrifying Shaving Helmet is a Skull-Scraping Hard-Hat” – Wired
“Shaving Helmet Creates Web Sensation” – Todayshow.com
“If only The Shaving Helmet were real” – CNET
“Shaving Helmet Gets You Bald In 20 Seconds, Doesn’t Kill You” – Huffington Post
“The Shaving Helmet will idiot-proof your crew cuts” – Geek.com
“Shaving Helmet Creates Stir” – FOX
“Head-shaving helmet nicks minutes off grooming regime” – Daily Mail, UK

This is a great way to reach consumers and get global exposure for pennies on the dollar.

What do you think about this type of advertising? Effective or not it sure seems like the target audience is sharing this video and the branding received is measurable.


Napster Kids

Now that the Napster kids are now a big part of the media buying population one has to ask are they responsible for the decline in sales?

This is one of the most connected generations ever and they grew up without the cost of media. No saving for a single they just download it. At the same time they are educating us “old people” on the many ways to access content. None of which include renting DVD’s.

I even find it in cumbersome to browse the titles at a RedBox. I am ready for new releases to be streamed to my internet connected TV. My 13 year old thinks my wife and I are old school for using our DVR to watch TV. She streams her favorite shows to her laptop from HuLu or Netflix.

The delivery of content is changing and BlockBuster is for sale. Whose buying it?


The Death of Retail or The Evolution of Retail?

Is this really the target for your product?

After I got out of the Army I entered the world of retail. The malls were like communities within communities and there was a lot of money to be made. The halls were filled with stories of large commission checks and the purchases that followed. Sales people talked of home ownership and car leases. This was before the Internet boomed and PC’s were a luxury’s not a commodity. Cell phones were still in bags and our mall even had a home phone store. Go ahed and click the link if you do not remeber what a home phone is.

I remember the day I got my first Packer Bell home computer and my AOL Dial up. I was in front of my machine for hours on end and then I realized you could walk away while it is trying to connect to the Internet. Not too long after this I got a job offer that would take me into the heart of technology. Or I should say, I was being tossed into the deep end of the pool.

I remember arriving in the office complex that had 3 sales people, four executives and over 40 IT professionals. The company was finalizing the Y2K software they had built (for no reason as they would later find out) and everyone had computers or laptops. It was like I had time traveled. The fact was this was the middle of the revolution. We began working on payment solutions, mCommerce and a whole host of things that currently drive many commerce transactions.

As a young executive I was very vocal about how so many really depended on the sales person to help them make a decision. How in retail the looks, feel and the science of the sale was all a part of the process. A computer that needs time to connect and search around would never replace the immediate gratification of the instant purchase. In my mind there was no way you could ever compete with the Nordstrom experience. I did feel that mCommerce could be a part of retail but I never felt as if the big box would crumble.

As we began working on payment systems for the likes of First Data and its subsidiary Western Union, PayPal (was named Confinity at the time), and CardServices I began to see the end goal. Giving the consumer the power to chose how they wanted to show and where. Information on products and pricing. While eBay was still in its infancy the future was becoming more clear.

Soon you began to see the evolution of commerce and technology converge. Companies like eBay became giants and valuations soared. Company’s like Home Depot began to shed it’s industry expert sales force, Nordstorm began to do away with it’s liberal return policy and the net began to surge in growth. Consumers were more willing to spend then ever and sales associates became clerks.

Now fast forward to a few years and long gone are the days of commission sales people filled with product knowledge and a desire to help you (let alone an incentive). We now have self check out, sales people that point to isle numbers and raving fan service is a thing of the past.

With the world taking to the net like never before, with Internet speed slike never before we are Begining to see the empowered and connected consumer. Social selling tools, peer reviews of products and so much more just with the click of the button.

Want to know the best price just google the products name. Visa, Master Card, AMEX, PayPal, eCheck and so many other options at the consumer finger tips.

Need a few outfits with shoes to match for the special day? No problem Zappos.com will send you anything you want and shipping is free. Send back what you don’t wat and shipping is free. Need to wear the outfit to know? No problem Zappos has a 365 day return policy no questions asked.

This is just one of many examples of how the net is replacing the brick and mortar stores. The cost of connecting with the actual customer is a lot lower on the net and you are not responsible for an over priced lease. The consumers want service, price and security and right now the brick and mortar retailers are failing on all three points. Consumers have less and less time to shop and have higher demands then ever before.

With this change has come a new era in online shopping. Social selling, direct to the consumer interaction with feedback, no shelf space competition, no co-op or MDF spends that do not help you or your brand and no more annoying “sales” people that either do not know or care enough to know about what their jobs are and how important we the consumer is to their job. Consumers get what they want, when they want it and at a price they want to pay.

As more and more people connect to the World Wide Web it has truly become World Wide. Without an active Internet based marketing and selling solution your brand will likely become a dinosaur and fade away in the history of what was selling.

We need to embrace the consumer at the places they like to shop and interact. We need to adopt our business to fit their needs and wants. The consumer knows they have choices and they expect us to react and provide them what they want when they want it. Brick and Mortar Retailers are failing every day. Borders put the mom and pop book store out of business and the Internet put Borders out of business. Brands like Circuit City have closed their retail locations and are attempting to rebuild their presence on line. Blockbuster has given up market share to kiosk and Netflix.

I can go on and on about the evolution of retail. The fact is the Internet is the future and present. Ignore it and you will fail.


Intersting Youtube Facts

I found this to be pretty interesting. Credit to Mashable.com. YouTube has really come along way. It has as many viewers if not more then some of the most watched TV Channels. Yet do not expect your video to be an instant YouTube hit or for you to become the next internet sensation overnight. You have to be creative and insightful.

YouTube is huge. Humongous, even. More video content is uploaded to YouTube in a 60 day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.

The average YouTube user spends between 15 and 25 minutes a day on the site, but how much do we know about the world’s largest video sharing website? Do you know what the most watched YouTube clip is? Can you name all three founders? Do you know how many times per minute a YouTube link is tweeted?

There is a ton of interesting data, info and stats to be learned about YouTube — we’ve delved deep to find 10 fascinating facts. Have a read and let us know which ones you didn’t know in the comments below.

1. PayPal’s Role in YouTube’s Creation

YouTube was created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim in 2005. The three founders knew each other from working together at another Internet start up, PayPal. In fact, Hurley designed the PayPal logo after reading a Wired article about the online payment company and e-mailing the startup in search of a job. YouTube was initially funded by bonuses received following the eBay buy-out of PayPal. You could argue that if there was no PayPal, there would be no YouTube.

For the rest of the facts read here


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