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Our Blog

#InspiredBy Opening Day

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Apr 9, 2018 5:30:00 PM

Baseball is back! Today was supposed to be the opening day for Wrigley Field, but with the snow that fell this morning in Chicago, the Cubs decided to postpone the game, while the White Sox found a pretty ingenious way of dealing with the snow on their field to still play their home opener.

As the Cubs were prepping for Opening Day, I'm sure they wanted to get as many people as possible in the stands. In the days leading up April 9, I came across Facebook ads in my feed reminding me that Opening Day tickets were still available.

The ads themselves are simple: nine words, the Cubs hashtag for the year, and a couple of photos with stadium seats. But there's so much communicated in such a simple ad that it should act as the template for your future social ads.

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Topics: #InspiredBy, Social Media, Advertising, Photography

#InspiredBy Foodies // Chicago Restaurant Week

Posted by Sparkfactor

Jan 25, 2018 11:30:00 AM

What's the one thing you've always wanted to eat? A steak at Morton's, Indian-Latin fusion from Vermilion, tapas from Nacional 27? Or maybe it's about where you've always wanted to eat: seated under the skylight ceiling at Summer House Santa Monica, see the inside of one of Rick Bayless' restaurants.

No matter the reason, the eleventh annual Chicago Restaurant Week is the time for all food-lovers in Chicago. Take advantage of the fixed price menus from over 350 restaurants around the Chicagoland area from January 26 to February 8 and eat your way around the city for as little as $22 a meal. Go to locations you've never even heard of and places you've always wanted to try.

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Topics: #InspiredBy, Restaurants

Make Your Content Marketing Explode Like Fireworks

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Jul 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Every year, we celebrate our national independence with breathtaking displays of fireworks. Some are colorful and dazzle the night sky with fantastic colors, others shoot out high-intensity brightness, while others form patterns in the sky. No matter what kind are your favorite, we can all recognize that fireworks burst through the black background of night and then slowly fade out to make room for the next bright display.

Content marketing should work similar to fireworks. Views right after publication cause a post to shoot high in the ranks, but with quality keyword usage, the fade out to zero views should never come. While some posts' views might come crashing down quite quickly after publication, most posts should still be able to fade to the background while still gaining traffic. To maintain quality traffic coming to a post, relevant keywords are absolutely crucial.

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Topics: Marketing, Holiday, #InspiredBy

#InspiredBy J. Crew

Posted by Andrea Garcia

May 1, 2017 4:45:00 PM

Every once and a while, an ad catches my attention. Once, it was a Bears billboard that got me excited for the season; a while ago, it was an Esurance ad on Spotify; and yesterday, it was a J. Crew ad at a bus stop.

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Topics: Advertising, #InspiredBy

The Space Station Has A Virtual Tour. You Should, Too

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Mar 13, 2017 4:30:28 PM

With all of the movies about space that have come out recently—or are on their way to a screen near you—it's easy to say our fascination with space is a trending topic. While we might not all be able to take part in Space X or Blue Origin, now we can take a virtual reality tour of the International Space Station.

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Topics: Google Maps Business View Photography, #InspiredBy

#InspiredBy Letter Writing

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Dec 13, 2016 9:28:48 AM

Letter Writing Day was last week and full disclosure: I'm the worst pen pal ever. I like the idea of writing to friends and family, and keeping the arts of hand lettering and writing by hand alive, but I'm just the worst at keeping in touch with people. My mom sends her friends cards for their birthdays, major holidays, even anniversaries. I'm lucky if I remember to send one card or letter a year.

While social media posts might seem to allow us to think we know what's going on in our friends' lives, there's something about a hand-written letter that sends out a completely different vibe. It's mail that's not a bill (always a plus); it has a for-your-eyes-only type of secrecy that's the complete opposite of a social media post. It's exciting to learn first-hand what's happening with the people we know and love.

So while it might not be feasible to write hand-written notes to every customer or subscriber, you can take some tenets of the art of writing letters and apply them to your next email or direct marketing campaign.

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Topics: #InspiredBy, Inbound Marketing, Marketing

The Phenomenon of Binge Watching TV: Lessons for Marketers

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Nov 30, 2016 8:45:00 AM

Binge: an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence; an act of excessive or compulsive consumption

"Binge watching" has become quite the phenomenon in the last few years, thanks mostly to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon that allow users to watch episode upon episode of their favorite TV shows, past, present, and originals. This past weekend after Thanksgiving, for example, Gilmore Girls was supposed to break the internet with the amount of people who were going to watch the revival episodes. Or maybe Crown is more your speed, or Mozart in the Jungle. Whatever show it may be, I'd be surprised if there was anyone with access to a streaming service who hasn't fallen subject to the lure of "the next episode starts in 5 seconds."

With studies claiming that attention spans are down to eight seconds in our always-on culture, binge watching defies that trend, with 29 percent of respondents of a recent survey saying they wait for a show to be over to specifically be able to binge watch the show. With binge watching consisting of three episodes or more, that could be anywhere between an hour to three hours, depending on the length of the episodes.

So, what does all of this have to do with marketing?

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Topics: Business Lessons, #InspiredBy, Marketing, Inbound Marketing

Friday Face-off // Open House vs Open House

Posted by Sparkfactor

Oct 14, 2016 9:00:00 AM

This weekend you have a mere 16 hours to tour 200 Chicago architectural jewels.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation's annual Open House is so big that it competes with itself. So this Friday Face-off asks: What building, or two, or five, will you tour this weekend?

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Topics: #InspiredBy, Friday Face-off

Behind the Spark // Crosstown Tree Service Website

Posted by Sparkfactor

Apr 29, 2016 11:00:00 AM

During the first Arbor Day in the United States in 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted. Now, all 50 states celebrate the day dedicated to learning about the role of trees in our lives, and the care and planting of trees.

What better place to help you plant and care for trees than Crosstown Tree Service? Over the past few years, we have helped Crosstown, now Crosstown SavATree, redesign their website, make it mobile responsive, and create a myths and facts downloadable sheet to educate clients about tree care.

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Topics: Web Design, Marketing, #InspiredBy, Behind the Spark

4 Reasons You Should Take Your Kid to Work

Posted by Sparkfactor

Apr 25, 2016 1:00:00 PM

According to HolidayInsights.com, Thursday is Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day. About 37 million parents participate in this "holiday" every year. Depending on the age of your child, it might be tempting to set them up with markers and some scratch paper and let them go to town. Instead, leave the coloring as a back up activity, and show your child what you do. Here are four reasons you should take your kid to work this Thursday.

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Topics: #InspiredBy