Author Archives: ryantrott

Media Spotlight: Ryan Trott, Media Buyer

MW2013-139smallEditor’s note: “Media Spotlight” is an ongoing series where we interview the wide range of professionals that make up our growing office. From the traditional media planners to our digital buyers, you’ll gain insight into the many levels that make up Media Works Ltd. This week we interview Media Buyer, Ryan Trott

How long have you been working in media/ advertising?

I have been working in the advertising industry for 4 years. Starting as the Business/Sponsorship Manager at my college radio station (WVYC – York College of PA). In my senior year of college I held internships with the Promotions Department at 98 Rock and the Marketing/PR Department at the Baltimore Arena. After graduating from College a little more than 2 years ago I began my career at Media Works as an Assistant Buyer.

Can you describe a day in your life at Media Works?

Every day has its own obstacles but usually includes a mix of planning, researching, invoicing and looking forward to lunch. One of the upsides to working in advertising is that you are constantly working on several projects in different phases at once. If you get burnt out on one, you can take a break, focus on something else for a few hours and come back with a fresh look.

What are some of the challenges of your position?

The biggest challenge is keeping up with the rapidly evolving media landscape. There are always new options popping up, the challenge is testing the effectiveness of these options and deciding if they fit in our campaign or not.

What’s your all-time favorite ad campaign? What made it special?

The All State Mayhem Commercials. What makes them special? They’re hilarious. They are funny but also effectively reinforce the importance of insurance coverage.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to get into the advertising industry?

Take internships, network and research. There are many niches within the advertising industry and its important to know what your options are. When I interned at the arena, I had the chance to work with promoters, buyers, creative people, public relations teams and account people. It really gave me some insight into where each of these roles fall within a campaign. Also, network and never burn any bridges. In my few years in advertising, I have noticed that everyone seems to know everyone else, so who you know and a good recommendation goes a long way.

What’s something that no one knows about you?

I have never tried a Slim Jim.



Shazam: Taking QR Codes to the Next Level

Shazam has been a popular app for smartphone users for several years now, but recently I have noticed the Shazam icon pop up in several television commercials. When the Shazam logo appears in the corner of the screen, viewers can use their smartphone to be redirected to the advertiser’s site for more information. This is very similar to the way advertisers have been able to take advantage of QR code technology. Since we live in a multi-screen world, this seems like a very convenient way to deliver more advertising content to potential consumers, but I have often wondered, are these means successful or does every advertiser have one just because every other advertiser does?

From the perspective of someone working in the advertising field, this seems like a simple and inexpensive way to deliver more content to potential consumers. But off the clock, I have never seen an advertisement and felt the need to pull out my smart phone, open Shazam/QR Reader, scan the audio/code and view more content. I am more of an “I’ll Google that when I get home” kind of guy. So does this sort of coding produce higher volumes of traffic?

Research from the 4A’s suggests that 1 in 3 smartphone or tablet users have scanned a QR code at least once and a study done by comScore Inc shows that QR codes perform best in newspapers and magazines. I have often wondered if people simply scan these codes because they are simply marveled by the technology or if they genuinely interested in engaging with the brand. A case study I was able to find on Shazam’s website gave the following statistics:

  • Brand interaction – 68% of people who tagged the ad went on to further engage with the brand.
  • Word of Mouth / Social Activity – 55% of people who tagged the ad talked about the brand with others.
  • Bookmarking for later use – 55% of the people who used Shazam to tag the ad cited that one of the reasons they did so was to save it for later.

So it looks like coded messaging has proven to be a successful means of generating more branding opportunities. I feel that the key to a successful coding campaign would be to get the ad in front of the right people. If advertisers are getting their coded message in front of the right people, there would be a higher chance that they would choose to participate.

Death of the Daily Deal?

Could this be the death of daily deals as we know it? This week we heard news that not one, but two daily deal giants are facing serious financial trouble. On Wednesday media outlets reported that DC based Living Social was expected to cut 400 jobs from their US operations. This comes at a time when Groupon’s board of directors is looking to fire their CEO, Andrew Mason. Both companies have seen a quick rise to prominence followed but a subsequent fall from grace. Over the past year the daily deal giants have suffered financial losses that threaten to shut down operations.

Daily deal companies have become very popular in the last few years promoting products and services at a dramatic discount through a convenient medium for tech savvy deal seekers. With many small businesses struggling to compete with larger brands, many have turned to daily deals to increase traffic to their stores. Here at Media Works we collaborated with CBS Offers for a promotion for our client, Jiffy Lube MD. As a result we saw increased downloads of coupons and increased awareness of the brand.

Other companies have begun to question how effective these deals are at promoting a brand and generating repeat consumers. The answer to whether “grouponing” works for your company really depends on the type of service you are providing and how you plan to take advantage of re-targeting these consumers.

These sorts of companies offer a large variety of deals for their subscribers across many different industries. While this is an opportunity to reach potential consumers, many businesses struggle with turning these potential consumers in to repeat consumers. Most daily deals require that products are discounted at 50% and then there is an administrative fee factored in, so in reality these products are really going for 30% of retail price. American Apparel recently sold 133,000 $50 gift cards for $25 but predict that this will generate more than an additional 6 figures in revenue due to re-targeting efforts made possible by obtaining new email addresses. Consumers who purchased these deals spent $70 on average during this visit. Companies must be able to up-sell and re-target these consumers in order to make discounts of up to 70% or more to be profitable.

Another thing a business must look at before deciding if “grouponing” is for them, is to look at who these deals are targeting. Reaching consumers who are looking for low cost products and services may not work for high end, expensive brands. For this reason many businesses have decide to shy away from the daily deal model.

In the end, it remains to be seen if these daily deal sites will outlast the fluctuating demands of consumers. In the next couple of weeks we’ll see just how Groupon and Living Social will respond to the latest news. In the meantime you can always count on getting your deals the old fashioned way with coupons.

Crowdfunding 101: Financial Backing For Modern Entrepreneurs

In a time when banks are skeptical about lending money, entrepreneurs are faced with a hefty challenge when it comes to finding capital to back startups. Instead of selling off ideas or stock in the company, entrepreneurs can now find backing through crowdfunding sites such as or

Crowdfunding is a relatively new strategy for startups, but the concept comes from fundraising techniques common with charities and nonprofit organizations. The way it works is the entrepreneur creates a profile on the crowdfunding site explaining the business concept, financial goal, and why the funds are needed. The concept is to ask a large amount of people for a small contribution that doesn’t have to be repaid, versus asking a bank for a loan that does.

While some crowdfunding sites simply provide the donor with the gratification of helping someone’s dream come true, other models reward donors based on the amount they contribute to the idea. caters strictly to creative ideas (films, music, fashion, and the arts). One of the featured projects was Paz that wants to record his first studio album, “Dubstep in Starbucks” and has a goal of $10,000 to fund this project. Some of his notable contribution reward levels include:

$10 – free digital download of his album once it’s recorded

$2,500 – will fly anywhere and personally perform at your event

$10,000 – will grant you appearances in music videos, opportunities to collaborate with, and lifetime backstage and on stage access at any DJ Paz concert.

While some projects prove to be very successful, more than doubling their goals, others fall short. By featuring a concept on a crowdfunding site, entrepreneurs are able to see the potential success of their idea. Crowdfunding sites collect anywhere from 5%-25% of total funds raised, so sites tend to feature projects that they find more popular. The funds are held in an escrow account until the goal is reached. For projects that “fail” or do not meet their goal, 100% of funds are returned to the donors. Therefore, the entrepreneur is able to abandon the project without the financial woes of bad credit.