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crafting brand experiences
for the modern audience.
We are Fame Foundry.

See our work. Read the Fame Foundry magazine.

We love our clients.

Fame Foundry seeks out bold brands that wish to engage their public in sincere, evocative ways.

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Platforms for racing in the 21st century.

Fame Foundry puts the racing experience in front of millions of fans, steering motorsports to the modern age.

“Fame Foundry created something never seen before, allowing members to interact in new ways and providing them a central location to call their own. It also provides more value to our sponsors than we have ever had before.”

—Ryan Newman

Technology on the track.

Providing more than just web software, our management systems enhance and reinforce a variety of services by different racing organizations which work to evolve the speed, efficiency, and safety measures, aiding their process from lab to checkered flag.

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Setting the pace across 44 states.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

The sole of superior choice.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

The contemporary online pharmacy.

Medichest sets a new standard, bringing the boutique experience to the drug store.

Integrated & Automated Marketing System

All the extensive opportunities for public engagement are made easily definable and effortlessly automated.

Scheduled promotions, sales, and campaigns, all precisely targeted for specific demographics within the whole of the Medichest audience.

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Home Design & Decor Magazine offers readers superior content on designer home trends on any device.

  • By selectively curating the very best from their individual markets, each localized catalog comes to exhibit the trending, pertinent visual flavors specific to each region.

  • Beside the swaths of inspirational home photography spreads, Home Design & Decor provides exhaustive articles and advice by proven professionals in home design.

  • The art of home ingenuity always dances between the timeless and the experimental. The very best in these intersecting principles offer consistent sources of modern innovation.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

  • Post a need on behalf of yourself, a family member or your community group, whether you need volunteers or funds to support your cause.

  • Search by location, expertise and date, and connect with people in your very own community who need your time and talents.

  • Start your own Neighborhood or Group Page and create a virtual hub where you can connect and converse about the things that matter most to you.

December 2016
By Kimberly Barnes

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

Loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.
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Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

article-thedistance-lg It’s easy enough for a customer to join your loyalty program, especially when you’re offering an incentive such as discounts. All your customer has to do is give out some basic information, and voila! They’re in the fold, a brand new loyalty member with your company. From there, it’s happily ever after. You offer the perks; they stand solidly by you, bringing you their continued business. Simple. Or is it? In reality, just how many of those customers are act ively participating in your loyalty program? Do you know? Sure, loyalty program memberships are on the rise according to market research company eMarketer, having jumped 25 percent in the space of just two years. However, that figure may be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while loyalty program sign-ups may be more numerous, active participation in such programs is actually in decline. At the time of the study, the average US household had memberships in 29 loyalty programs; yet consumers were only active in 12 of those. That’s just 41 percent. And even that meager figure represents a drop of 2 percentage points per year over each of the preceding four years, according to a study by loyalty-marketing research company COLLOQUY.

When discounts just aren’t enough

So what’s a brand to do? How can you make your loyalty program worth your customer’s while—as well as your own? After all, gaining a new loyalty member doesn’t mean much if your customer isn’t actively participating in your program. Consider this: Does your customer loyalty program offer members anything different from what your competitors are offering? Chances are your program includes discounts. That’s a given. And what customer doesn’t appreciate a good discount? But when every other company out there is providing this staple benefit in comparable amounts, it becomes less and less likely that customers will remain loyal to any one particular brand. Frankly, it’s all too easy for customers to get lost in a sea of loyalty member discounts. They’re everywhere. In fact, just under half of internet users perceive that all rewards programs are alike, according to a 2015 eMarketer survey. The key to success, then, is to differentiate your business from the crowd. If you can offer your customers something unique and valuable beyond the usual discount, chances are they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand. Here’s some inspiration from companies who get it.

Virgin: Reward more purchases with more benefits.

That’s not to say you need to get rid of discounts entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still love a good discount. The goal is to be creative in terms of the loyalty perks you offer. Take the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, for example. As part of its loyalty program, the airline allows members to earn miles and tier points. Members are inducted at the Club Red tier, from which they can move up to Club Silver and then Club Gold. Here, it’s not just a discount. It’s status. And people respond to feeling important, elite. Still, even where the rewards themselves are concerned, Virgin is motivating loyalty customers with some pretty attractive offers. At the Club Red tier, members earn flight miles and receive discounts on rental cars, airport parking, hotels and holiday flights. But as members rise in tiers, they get even more. At the Club Silver tier, members earn 50 percent more points on flights, access to expedited check-in, and priority standby seating. And once they reach the top, Club Gold members receive double miles, priority boarding and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can get a drink or a massage before their flight. Now that’s some serious incentive to keep coming back for more. Discounts are still part of the equation – but they are designed with innovation and personal value in mind, elevating them to more than just savings.

Amazon Prime: Pay upfront and become a VIP.

What if your customers only had to pay a one-time upfront fee to get a year’s worth of substantial benefits? It may not sound like the smartest business idea at first glance. But take a closer look. Amazon Prime users pay a nominal $99 a year to gain free, two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase. And that’s just one benefit of going Prime. It’s true that Amazon loses $1-2 billion a year on Prime. This comes as no surprise given the incredible value the program offers. But get this: Amazon makes up for its losses in markedly higher transaction frequency. Specifically, Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year on Amazon.com, compared with $625 spent by non-Prime users, a ccording to a 2015 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Patagonia: Cater to customer values.

Sometimes, the draw for consumers isn’t saving money or getting a great deal. The eco-friendly outdoor clothing company Patagonia figured this out back in 2011, when it partnered with eBay to launch its Common Threads Initiative: a program that allows customers to resell their used Patagonia clothing via the company’s website. Why is this program important to customers? And how does it benefit Patagonia? The company’s brand embraces environmental and social responsibility, so it was only fitting that they create a platform for essentially recycling old clothing rather than merely throwing it away. The Common Threads Initiative helps Patagonia build a memorable brand and fierce loyalty by offering its customers a cause that aligns with deep personal values. OK, so their customers get to make a little money, too. Everybody wins.

American Airlines: Gamify your loyalty program.

If you’re going to offer your customers a loyalty program, why not make it f un? After all, engagement is key to building a strong relationship with your customer. And what better way to achieve that goal than making a game of it. American Airlines had this very thing in mind when it created its AAdvantage Passport Challenge following its merger with USAirways. The goal: find a new way to engage customers as big changes were underway. Using a custom Facebook application, American Airlines created a virtual passport to increase brand awareness while offering members a chance to earn bonus points. Customers earned these rewards through a variety of game-like activities, from answering trivia questions to tracking travel through a personalized dashboard. In the end, participants earned more than 70 percent more stamps than expected – and the airline saw a ROI of more than 500 percent. The takeaway: people like games.

Stand out from the crowd.

Your approach to your customer loyalty program should align with your overall marketing approach. Effective branding is about standing out, not blending it. Being memorable is key. To this end, keep in mind that loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.

624 Creation vs. curation

Keep your followers educated, entertained and engaged with a healthy balance of original content that you create and interesting content that you curate from around the Web.

775 Boost email open rates by 152 percent

Use your customers’ behavior to your advantage.

774 Feelings are viral

Feelings are the key to fueling likes, comments and shares.

September 2009
By Jeremy Hunt

The "No Duhs" of Social Media

Social media isn’t the magic bullet some would lead you to believe. But a little common sense goes a long way toward turning the promise of social media into reality.
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The "No Duhs" of Social Media

Ah social media. The latest golden goose to grace our world with promises of untold riches, a slimmer waistline and the perfect tan. The one every girl wants to go home with and every dude wants to be. The prom queen, the rock star and the cult leader all in one. Getting the picture yet? If you listen to the hype, social media is the answer to all that ails you and your company. It will increase your sales, touches and impressions by 800%...if only we could figure out how it all works. Truth be told, so much of what’s happening in social media is simply the infiltration of the same sheisty individuals who have previously occupied the world of infomercials and used car lots. If I had a dollar for every time that a “social media expert” followed me on Twitter, I wouldn’t have written this article, since I’d be chilling in Hawaii as the youngest retiree in the islands. But I’m not, so here we are. Given the omnipresence of social media these days, surely there’s something to it, right? The answer is yes, but it’s often light-years away from the hype and hyperbole. So how do you drill down to the real benefits of social media? You get back to basics. Hence the “no duhs.” There aren’t any quick fixes to make social media work for you. That’s why I don’t consider myself an expert in the field. I’m a social media grunt. I get in the trenches and get the work done, and that’s ultimately where you’ll find success. Without any further ado, the “no duhs” of your social media strategy:

Know your purpose

Before you ever set foot in the shared space of social media, you absolutely have to establish why you’re doing it:
  • What’s brought you to this point?
  • Do you have a specific product or line of products that you’re trying to sell?
  • What’s your brand?
  • What’s your mission statement?
  • How have you presented yourself in other media up to this point?
  • What do you expect to achieve?
Get the idea? Before you spin your wheels creating a Facebook page, setting up a Twitter account, broadcasting via a YouTube channel or utilizing whatever else pops up on the scene in the future, you need to have a good grasp of what you or your company hopes to accomplish. Define your expectations before you take the plunge.

Learn the platforms

Not all social media outlets are created equal. This may be the biggest “no duh” statement of all, but you can’t do the same things on Facebook that you can do on Twitter. You can’t run a YouTube channel the same way you create a music profile on MySpace. Do your homework. Each of these sites is like visiting a new country, or at least driving across the border to a new state. Each one does things just a little bit differently. Not all social media outlets are created equal.For example, I love good southern barbecue. For those of you who know BBQ, you know that I just made a sweeping generalization. What kind of southern BBQ? North Carolina or Kentucky? Western Carolina or Eastern Carolina? The same is true of social media. There are shades and variations of capabilities and opportunities, so you have to know what you’re dealing with before you can properly engage. Learn the culture of each of the various social media platforms. This will help you make good decisions about where to make your presence known and give you the understanding to make your efforts more effective. Facebook might be a great place for you to create a page about your products or services, while Twitter could be a waste of your time unless you have solid, regular bites of news and information to share.

Know your audience

This goes hand-in-hand with familiarizing yourself with the social media platforms and knowing your purpose. In the same way that you need to learn the culture, you also need to learn the language. When I moved to France as a teenager, it was one thing to pick up on the fact that there was a good bus system (culture) but quite another to figure out how to purchase tickets to ride across town (language). Learn who your audience is and how they communicate. Don’t assume that they’ll understand the jargon that you and your coworkers use to discuss your products or services. If you try using that lingo without some form of translation, you’ll end up alienating the very people you want to reach.

Be authentic

Of all the “no duhs,” this is probably the most self-explanatory. Just be real. Be real about your identity as a representative of a company; be real about the products and services that you provide. Don’t oversell or overhype who you are and what you offer. People can see through that, especially in the world of social media. It’s generally very easy to pick up on who’s legit and who’s not.

Be patient

This really gets back to the root of setting expectations. Unless you’re marketing the next iPhone or the next search engine (and good luck with that if you are), chances are you’re not going to have thousands or millions of people beating a path to become your fan on Facebook. It’ll take time for your company ad to get some traction on YouTube. Growing your Twitter following won’t happen overnight, unless you’re Ashton Kutcher. And honestly, does the world need another Ashton? Be realistic, and let your presence on these sites develop organically. Much like the language/country analogy, it takes time to get acclimated to a new culture and to become more effective at communicating according to the social norms of that culture.

Have fun

Admittedly, this final ”no duh” might seem a little goofy. But let’s be honest. Any time someone comes in with plans to formalize a previously underground environment (i.e. big business entering the world of Facebook), there can be a vibe of killing the party. Social media has taken over our lives for one very good reason: It’s fun! Take the time to invest in the lives of others.It’s fun to play silly games that measure your brain capacity versus your friends’. It’s fun to discover a new band or movie that your friends haven't heard about yet. It’s fun to retweet a good joke from a comedian you like. It’s fun (usually) to reconnect with old friends after years of being out of touch. Social media is, at heart, social. It’s meant to connect people. We form and build relationships (whether in person or online) because it brings joy and meaning to our lives, so don’t let the business of doing business via social networking sites rob you of that. Take the time to invest in the lives of others, and the riches that you reap will be far greater than can be measured in balance sheets and ROI calculations. By the way, if you’re just not a very social person, that’s all well and good. But maybe you shouldn’t be the one managing your company’s social media efforts. Seek out those who truly enjoy the medium, and allow them the time and space to explore the various “countries” of social media. Let them learn the languages and the cultures that go with each. Final word? A successful social media strategy depends on good old-fashioned hard work and common sense. Stay alert, and stay engaged.
March 2014
By Jeremy Girard

The Who, What, When, Why and How of Successful Email Marketing, Part I

Nailing these fundamentals will make the difference between a campaign that captivates and motivates versus one that is ignored and condemned to the trash folder.
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The Who, What, When, Why and How of Successful Email Marketing, Part I

email-marketing-article In today’s social media era, email marketing is hardly the newest, most popular kid on the block, but it still remains a powerful weapon in any marketer’s arsenal, as it’s a highly efficient and cost-effective way of communicating with your existing customers as well as new prospects. It’s also simple to execute. With options ranging from online services like MailChimp, Constant Contact and Emma to customized, cloud-based platforms that can be integrated with your CRM system, you can easily create and manage your own email marketing campaigns. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the land of email marketing, however. Because of the low barrier to entry (specifically the aforementioned cost and ease of use), many companies dive right in without fully developing a sound long-term strategy. Yes, getting started with email marketing is easy, but doing it well is what will make the difference between a campaign that captivates and motivates versus one that is ignored and condemned to the trash folder. In this two-part series, we’ll cover the fundamentals of successful email marketing – specifically what you should be saying, how you should be saying it, when and why you should be doing so, and to whom you should be speaking.

The Who

Taking these points in reverse order, let’s start with the who. When it comes to email marketing, the quality of the list of recipients to whom your campaign will be targeted is a make-or-break factor in its ultimate success. There are no shortage of companies that are all too eager to sell you lists of addresses. However, even if these are “opt-in” lists of people who are supposedly willing to receive such emails, a purchased list will always be far less effective than one you have assembled yourself. People who have interacted with your business before – even if their encounter was as brief as a visit your website or your trade show booth – are much more likely to want to hear from you again and, as a result, will be more receptive to your message. To provide you with an example, I have recently done some email marketing work for a company that runs a series of zombie-themed adventure races. Participants sign up to run these 5k races and be chased by actors dressed as zombies, while others sign up to be the zombies doing the chasing. The company does use email marketing but not to find new participants; those generally come via word-of-mouth, social media sharing and advertising links from other websites. Instead, they rely on email marketing solely to communicate with people who have already signed up for a new race and those who have participated in the past. The messages that are sent either provide important logistical details for upcoming events to registrants or advertise future races and promotions of interest. Because all recipients are already familiar with the company, these emails are not perceived as an unwanted inbox intrusion. Rather, they are welcomed as valuable and welcome communication from an organization with whom they have already established a relationship. As a result, the company’s email blasts are typically opened by over 60 percent of recipients, and some boast open rates in excess of 80 percent. Anyone who has ever done any email marketing with tell you that an open rate of 60+ percent is incredible. By contrast, the expected open rate for a campaign to anonymous recipients on a purchased list is 5-10 percent at best. The difference is clear: people who recognize and appreciate your brand are more likely to open your emails. They are also more likely to read your message and take the action you desire.

Beyond open rates

While the percentage of people that open your email is an important metric to consider, it isn’t the only statistic you should concern yourself with. It’s also to critical to examine how many of those who read your message take the next step and engage in some fashion, such as by clicking on a link. Someone who simply opens your email, gives it a quick cursory glance, then immediately deletes that message is not a success story. Yes, they clicked on the email, and they will be counted in your open rate statistics, but they did not engage with your company in any meaningful way, and they will likely forget about you as soon as that message hits the trash heap. By contrast, someone who knows your company and has interacted with your business in the past will not only be more inclined to open and read your email but to take action after they have read it, whether that comes in the form of visiting your site to read the full text of a blog article or press release, downloading a whitepaper, registering for an event or making a purchase. And isn’t that the ultimate goal? After all, you’re not going after simple opens; you want people to take steps that further solidify their relationship with your business, and a better quality list will yield these more meaningful results.

Quality over quantity

Let’s look at some numbers: if you email 10,000 people whose addresses were purchased and who have no prior connection to your business, you will get a fairly low open rate – say 5% (a common figure for these types of lists), which means you should expect that only about 500 of those 10,000 people will actually open your message. Next, we take a list of contacts that you have careful curated over the years from customers you have done business with and connections you have made. The list will certainly be smaller – let’s say only 1,000 names in total. If you see an open rate of 30% (which is about average when you look at open rates across all industries), about 300 people would open your message. Yes, you would get more opens from the bigger list, but again, quantity does not mean quality! The majority of those 500 opens from the purchased list will junk the email immediately, while very few will engage in any way. By contrast, the 300 people who opened the email in our second example will, in the end, yield a much higher rate of engagement, which is the true measure of a successful campaign.

The Why

Even if you are communicating with contacts who know your company and have done business with you before, you cannot violate the cardinal rule of trustcasting, which holds that any and all efforts dedicated to the promotion of your business must be founded in building trust. When it comes to email marketing, the way you build trust is by demonstrating to your recipients that you respect their time and attention. Never send a purely self-promotional message; only communicate if you have something of real value to offer them. That value can come in any number of forms, whether it’s a great discount offer or a highly informative bit of content. Of course, the recipient’s perception of value is tied closely to the frequency of your communication. Email too often and you will become an annoyance, no matter how great your offering is. At best, people will begin to ignore your emails or see them as white noise. At worst, they will unsubscribe from the messages altogether. On the flip side, if you do not reach out often enough, you run the risk of slipping out of sight and out of mind. The trick is to find the balance between these two extremes by devising a plan that allows you to email frequently enough to provide value but not so often that you become a bother. Establish a schedule for your emails that will act as a guideline. I use the word “guideline” for a specific reason here – because this schedule should be flexible and not written in stone. If you insist on sending out an email blast simply because your schedule dictates that it’s time but yet you don’t have anything of true value to communicate, your emails will be ignored because while they will be reliable, they will not be important. Again, the schedule is just a guide; you must use your judgment as to whether it’s right to send an email or whether it’s best to wait.

A case study in scheduling

During the first week of every month, my company sends an email to our entire list of contacts featuring all of the events that we have scheduled for that month. Because we run upwards of 10 or more events each month, it would be impractical to send a separate email promoting each one (that would quickly put us in the “annoying” category). In addition, we also send two different newsletter-style emails – one that goes out to our clients on a monthly basis and one that goes out to our partners and vendors on a quarterly basis. However, there have been many months where we do not have enough relevant, valuable content to justify sending a newsletter to our clients. If this is the case, we simply skip that particular month. For our vendors, who already receive our emails with less frequency, we usually delay our blast by one month rather than let an entire quarter pass with no communication. In both cases, whenever we decide to skip a planned release, we make a concentrated effort to find something of value to send the following month to ensure that we stay on the radar with our readers. In addition to these regular emails, we sometimes send important, time-sensitive communication, such as service disruption alerts based on planned downtime or impending storms. In the event that circumstances necessitate sending these one-off emails, we adjust the timing of our other monthly blasts accordingly to ensure that we do not send too many emails within too short a timeframe. As this example shows, each month may be slightly different in its execution, but with a sound plan in place, you can make sure that you maintain an ideal balance of timely, non-intrusive communication.

The When

As with almost every form of marketing communication, timing plays a key role in determining whether your message is received. There are many conflicting reports on what day of the week and time of day are optimal for sending email blasts, but here are my findings based on extensive experience: Mondays and Fridays are the worst weekdays to send emails. Unless there is an urgent reason why you need to send your communication on one of these days, it’s best to avoid them altogether. This trend is easily explained, as inbox traffic tends to be exceptionally heavy on Mondays, and by Friday, everyone is primarily focused on tying up loose ends before the weekend. Instead, I find that mid-week emails (Tuesday through Thursday) have much better open and engagement rates. When it comes to the time of day, I have found that early is better than late. Emails that land prior to the start of the business day – say at 6:00 a.m. – seem to perform best. These emails greet readers in their inbox as soon as they arrive at the office (or during breakfast if they are checking email prior to heading in) and seem to perform better than ones sent even just a few hours later. And as a general rule of thumb, blasts sent in the morning outperform those that are sent after lunch or towards the end of the workday. When scheduling your next email blasts, I recommend planning an early morning, mid-week delivery, but within this window, try playing around with some different day/time combinations to see which ones work best for your particular audience.

More to come

So far we have taken a look at the quality of the recipients to whom our campaigns are sent and we have solidified a strategy for when and why to send them to ensure that we do not overwhelm those recipients with messages that are unimportant or unnecessary. In the next installment of this series, we will explore the remaining two fundamentals of email marketing success – what we will say and how we will say it.