Alex Olcott

The Ever-Changing World of Google

From a small logo tweak on the homepage to a new sweet treat named version of the Android operating system, Google embraces change. For those of us who use Google’s services, this can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand we could be familiar with an old version of a Google product, but are now faced with a new version that we have to learn or adapt to; or a new modification could add valuable features or increase the reliability of a product which is beneficial, but requires valuable time to reacquaint oneself with the product. Here at LC we use many different Google products, and on the Analytics Team we use Google Analytics extensively.

Since we use Google Analytics on a daily basis, we quickly notice any change or modification that Google makes, and sometimes these changes can have substantial impacts. One of the most significant changes that Google Analytics has implemented recently is the reduction and eventual elimination of organic keyword information, these are the non-paid keywords that bring up your site in Google’s search results. According to (Not Provided) Count, Google is currently no longer providing over 80% of the data in Google Analytics for organic keywords and will eventually hit 100%. This was a valuable source of information that we frequently included in reports, which we no longer have access to. Luckily Google has blogs for most of its services, including Analytics, that notify you of upcoming changes or modifications. Due to this, the Analytics Team was able to prepare for the change, notifying clients and updating reports to acquire data from organic landing and exit pages, the pages that users from organic search traffic land on and exit from, as well as information from Google Webmaster Tools to compensate for the removal of organic keyword information in Google Analytics.

What many would see as a huge inconvenience can actually be a blessing in disguise. Although Google took away a key metric that we utilized, it forced us to get creative and think of solutions to the problem. It also resulted in our team adopting another one of Google’s products, Google Webmaster Tools, which allowed us to provide our clients with additional valuable information.

Ultimately, change is not a bad thing; it keeps us on our toes, compels us to learn more, and doesn’t let us get too set in our ways. So the next time you’re dealing with change, don’t think about the inconvenience, think about how the change could possibly benefit you and your team.

Samantha Smith

“Who You Know” Isn’t Enough

In business they say, “It’s all about who you know.” While making the acquaintance of certain people is an advantage, I’d argue that it’s all about something a little more specific – who you learn from.

It’s one thing to know someone – to be connected on LinkedIn or to exchange the occasional email with a pro, but it’s much more valuable to find someone in the industry with whom you can have a more substantial relationship. I’m talking about someone you can learn from – who can show you the ropes and root for your success. A mentor.

I’ve worked with multiple mentors over the past few years and I’ve found those relationships to be incredibly rewarding.

The mentee benefits from:

  • Learning from the mentor’s experiences (and mistakes).
  • Bouncing ideas off of a pro. (If you find a good mentor, he or she will help you to uncover and polish your own ideas – without spelling the answer out for you.)
  • Being held accountable. (Setting goals with a mentor gives that extra push to work toward achieving them.)
  • Increased confidence. (It’s comforting to have a pro in your corner willing to review your resume, cover letter, project, etc. before you submit it.)
  • Connections. (Odds are, your mentor will introduce you to others who can help with your progress. And if all goes well, they’ll put in a good word for you, too.)

But the bright-eyed, advice-seeking mentee isn’t the only one who can find value in a mentorship.

The mentor benefits from:

  • The opportunity to practice leadership skills. (Your mentee already views you as a leader. Here’s your chance to act like one.)
  • Cultivating a strong team. (You can turn a go-getter into a rock star that could some day join your team – if he or she hasn’t already.)
  • Gaining insight and a fresh perspective. (Your mentee may have a few things to teach you, too.)
  • Reflecting on past experiences. (While sharing a story from your past with your mentee, you might just find it contains the answer to a current business problem you’re facing.)

One perk of working at LC is the opportunity to take part in the agency’s mentorship program, which pairs VP+ level employees with employees of all levels, from all departments and offices. But less formal mentorships can offer just as much value to everyone involved. The important thing is to find someone you respect in the industry and convince that person you’ll make most of the time that he or she is willing to put toward helping you grow.

Have you benefited from a mentor-mentee relationship? Share your story in a comment below.

Mark Carlson

Help Me Highlight You

While scanning through a pile of resumes recently, I was surprised to see how few really stood out from the crowd.  How few were formatted in an approachable way.  How few made me want to take the next step to meet the person behind the sheet of paper.

I am not a HR professional; I don’t claim to understand all the nuance of searching and finding great people. And I know that resumes are passé; in today’s world, your website, or your blog, or your book all tell a story about you that is more personal and insightful than words on a piece of paper.  But here’s the catch – for me, your resume is the gatekeeper to all of that rich content.  If you don’t catch me at the resume stage, I may not take the next step to find out more about you in any of those more creative constructs.

So, at the risk of stating the obvious, here are a couple of pointers for helping us (those who are doing the screening) find you (those who want to make it to the “yes” pile.)

  1. Format matters.  Your resume is my first measure of your communication skill.  I assume that how you present yourself to me is the same way that you might craft a presentation to one of our clients.  Take a look at your resume in “whole page” view.  It should be pleasing to the eye – it should invite me in, rather than make me feel I have some work ahead of me.  Is there any breathing room or white space?  Are the sections clearly broken out and easily identifiable?  Think of it as an artful presentation rather than a data sheet, and you’re likely to have more of the content consumed and appreciated.
  2. Edit, then edit some more.  Understand the description of the job that you’re seeking and use that as a guide to make your resume sing.  What are the two or three things that you really want me to take away from your experiences?  Help me find them – don’t make me hunt for the nuggets among the mundane.  Show me that you have the experience to merit consideration, but don’t belabor projects and experiences that blend in at the expense of those that should stand out. I’m going to read your resume with a highlighter in hand.  (That’s right, I’m actually going to print it out.)  Help me quickly find those things that you think I should mark in bright yellow.
  3. Find a way to inject some personality.  There are many ways to do this, and some are better than others – but I need to get a sense of you the person, beyond titles, dates and degrees.  Don’t get too cute here, but once again, give my highlighter something to grab onto.  Give me something to attach to your name – “Oh yeah, she’s the one who ran away with the circus.” (Don’t use that one, unless you know, you actually were a circus runaway…)
  4. Details matter.  It’s really hard to imagine, but I saw typos, grammatical errors, and formatting problems.  Proof your work – there is no excuse for not being meticulous here.  One bad typo, and you could end up in the “maybe” pile.  And do not rely on spell check alone, have a friend read it over with a critical eye.  Save it as a .pdf – you do realize that not all computers have the same font libraries don’t you?  When I open your resume with Word or Pages my computer might just do some auto-formatting, and all of your hard work perfecting the look could be out the window.

Some final points:

  • One page is an ideal length, but two pages are acceptable if your work history merits the second page.  Once again, this should be an exercise in sacrifice and editing, but if you’ve been in the workforce for 15 years, then a second page is understandable.  Do not include a second page to tell me about your paper route, or your role as social chairman of the fraternity.
  • And finally, please realize that cover letters are most often used when a resume is physically mailed to a HR department.  In most cases these days, a resume is attached to an email.  Therefore, your email IS your cover letter – treat it accordingly.

I wish you all the best in your search and career.  I know that there is a fascinating person behind this piece of paper.  So please make it easy for me to place your resume in the “yes” pile.

Anna Curtis

The Top Ten Moments Of #MUISS

Laughlin Constable was proud to sponsor the 2014 Insight Summit Series Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit, held at Marquette University on 3.19.14. There were many moments that made this year’s event special, but here are our top ten favorites:

  1. LC Shines – Who can resist an opening keynote that includes Beyoncé, Elon Musk, and Flappy Bird? Or a UX presentation from a former punk rocker. Or workshops that unlock the secret to SEO success and how to get the most out of Google Analytics? Many thanks to Paul Brienza, Sean Barry, Trisha Krautkramer, Erin Ebert, and the rest of the LC team who made this year’s Digital Summit a success.
  2. Tweeting Up A Storm – The Digital Summit was a success, and attendees let everyone know via Twitter. Within hours, #MUISS was a trending topic in Milwaukee, generating 1.5 million potential impressions and @LaughlinOutLoud was mentioned hundreds of times – a  perfect representation of the digital world we live in.
  3. AOL Gets Programmatic – Michael Treon, VP Platform Solutions at AOL, discussed programmatic advertising and how it will shape the future of marketing, merging creatives and engineers to come up with time-saving solutions.
  4. Google Rewind – With the massive search engine changing almost every day, it was entertaining to walk down memory lane with Jen Keller, SEO Specialist, and see what Google looked like in the late 1990s, mid 2000s, and just last week.
  5.  #SketchNotes – Jennifer Torres (@jentorres) stole the #MUISS Twitter show with her creative and visually engaging SketchNotes
  6.  UX Drunk Test – Laughlin Constable’s User Experience Strategist, Brady Pierzchalski, highlighted how UX shouldn’t make users feel stupid by showing this video of a person using Windows 8 for the first time.
  7. Tell a Story – Closing speaker Susan Sachatello, from CUNA Mutual Group, encouraged brands to focus on what they stand for, and tell that story to your audience well. She also urged marketers to recognize who your audience is, but who they aspire to be and meet them there with your brand story.
  8. Embrace the Chaos – Taulbee Jackson from Raidious talked about real-time marketing and how advertisers must embrace the chaos. “You have a real time focus group happening all the time, whether you know it or not.”
  9. #SwipeRightForFun – Did you know? The dating app Tinder was originally going to be called Matchbox. And co-founder Jonathan Badeen has indeed been on a Tinder date.
  10. Sell out! – The Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit, including pre-summit workshops, sold out for the second year in a row. Don’t miss the next Insight Summit Series event.
Ceara Milligan

Creativity: Unplugged

Once upon a time, human beings existed without spending an average of 8-10 hours a day staring at screens. Behaviorists are learning that clutter is the enemy of cleverness. Sometimes our brains just need a bit of quiet time to sort things out. That’s why our “Aha!” moments usually occur when we’re not in front of a glowing rectangle. That very well might explain the cliché that it’s between rinsing and repeating when the big idea hits. So, I’m thinking, why not take a brief “tech timeout” and explore more opportunities to stay creative sans pixels?

Here’s my baker’s dozen to get started, but feel free to make your own:

  1. Write. With pen and paper. Buy the most durable notebook and longest lasting pen you can find. Bring them with you wherever you go. Jot down ideas, dreams, stories, or things you need to remember.
  2. Get up. Take a small walk around the office every hour or so. Better yet, venture outside. The fresh air and natural surroundings will reenergize your mind and body.
  3. Attend concerts. Fewer things are more invigorating than seeing a live show.
  4. Exercise. No excuses. Just do it.
  5. Drink. Lots. Of. H2O. Coffee is a miraculous pick-me-up, but water is the best thing you can feed your body.
  6. Take a 15-minute power nap to boost your memory, cognitive skills, and energy level.
  7. Strike up a conversation with a stranger: your cab driver, a tenant in the elevator, the person walking next to you on the sidewalk. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.
  8. Travel. Expanding our knowledge of foreign places and cultures is one of the best ways to gain respect for the world in which we live.
  9. Wake up and smell the roses, literally. Our sense of smell can bring on a flood of memories, influence our mood, and even affect our work performance.
  10. Read a book. A wise man once said, “Reading is good. Can we start the story now?”
  11. Meditate. We all can feel overwhelmed by the stressors life throws our way every single day. Allow yourself to regain a sense of tranquility no matter what is happening around you.
  12. Dig through old artwork, projects, and photographs. Taking a walk down Memory Lane lets you to realize how far you’ve come over the years.
  13. Surround yourself with creative people. Hint: Look around.

When your brain switches gears, even just for a few minutes, it will feel refreshed as you return to the task at hand, and you will feel more productive, more inspired, and, yes, more creative. In the end, it seems the best app for that is no app at all.

Rick Daggett

Insight Summit Series: The 2014 Digital Summit

I’m excited to announce that for the second year in a row, Laughlin Constable is partnering with the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University to bring about the Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit.

Last year’s Digital Summit featured some of the industry’s top digital minds, including thought leaders from brands and organizations such as McDonald’s, Master Lock and the Obama Re-election campaign.

This year’s Digital Summit, held on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014, will carry that tradition forward by featuring speakers from Harley-Davidson Motor Company, AOL, Tinder, Rockwell Automation and Turner Broadcasting, just to name a few.

The Digital Advertising + Marketing Summit, part of the Insight Summit Series, is designed to cover the topics that are most relevant to marketers in the digital age: from strategy to user experience, content, e-commerce, SEO, mobile, integrated campaigns, online advertising, analytics, the “internet of things” and more.

Beyond providing a venue for professionals and practitioners to come together to share ideas and insights, the Digital Summit also seeks to support the next wave of digital practitioners. Proceeds from the Digital Summit benefit a scholarship fund for students at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. In addition, the Eisner Creative Foundation is providing scholarships for students to attend the Digital Summit to learn firsthand about the latest trends and challenges in digital marketing.

For more information, and to register for the Summit, visit

Laughlin Constable’s Paul Brienza, EVP, Digital and Sean Barry, VP, Digital will kick things off the day of the Summit by taking the stage for the opening keynote address. Paul & Sean will speak to how digital practitioners can bridge the gap between marketing and technology.

In addition, LC’s Brady Pierchalski will lead a session speaking to how UX is your customer and consumer’s best friend (and therefore yours, as well.)

The full lineup of speakers is impressive. Check out the schedule for the Digital Summit and be sure to register today. Last year’s event sold-out, so don’t wait. Make it happen. Be a part of a full day’s worth of insights, strategies, best practices and networking with some of the folks leading the charge in today’s digital world.

We hope to see you there.

Michael Jeary

Where have all the silos gone?

Not long ago the advertising business was characterized by a landscape of fiefdoms populated by silos. It was a place where marketing disciplines such as: public relations and promotion, direct marketing and strategic planning, creative ideation and media, were each housed in separate companies and, if not, were certainly grouped in discrete divisions within an agency. Each discipline was isolated from the other; focused on perfecting its own response to a client’s business challenge and motivated by garnering a larger share of a client’s budget.

Today, compelled by shrinking revenues/margins, pushed by consumer-empowering technologies and demanded by impatient CMO’s, those fiefdoms have morphed into sandboxes and the silos have given way to open floor plans where interdisciplinary teamwork is the culture and a fully integrated strategic plan is the common goal.

At Laughlin Constable, we consider ourselves lucky to have forecasted early the impact of these prevailing winds. Today, LC is an independent, fully integrated, mid-size agency. We work with clients of all sizes; across many sectors and disciplines. Our defined and repeatable processes are employed on every client engagement. They are designed to identify the ideal “organizing concept” which is then translated into every element of the integrated marketing plan. Our objective is consistent messaging that connects with the consumer at every step along his or her decision journey.


What this means for our clients is a unique agency partnership, where we team seamlessly and efficiently between and among brand strategy, creative, PR, social, digital, media and tracking analytics to develop and consistently execute integrated marketing program in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.


Adam Fiul

Recruiting in the Digital Age

Landing your first gig at an integrated advertising agency is like solving a Rubik’s Cube puzzle. Different factors must align in order to find a solution to the question: “How do I get my foot in the door at an agency?” If you’re one of those people who doesn’t know where to begin, have no fear.  Here are some tips to get you started.

Let’s start with the almighty resume and cover letter. Draft them, proof them, have a professor, mentor, parent, friend or colleague proof them, then repeat that process, again and again. Doing this will not only help free your resume of costly spelling and grammatical errors, it will also help you discover your strengths and what areas you need to improve on.

After reaching out to your favorite professors, mentors, parents, friends and colleagues, it is time to network with them. Leverage their connections, just like you leverage your friend’s knowledge to win a game of trivia.  See who they can put you in contact with, ask for tips and advice, learn from their mistakes, and stay connected with them throughout your career. With the rise of social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, it’s easier than ever to connect and stay connected with your peers and colleagues. As the saying goes, “there is strength in numbers.”

The digital age also provides job seekers with a unique edge not seen in previous generations. Now, with the advent of niche social media sites and a multitude of other free multimedia tools, it is easier than ever to share your creative work and past experiences with potential employers. For example: you can upload your creative pieces to free online portfolio sites, upload your broadcast material to YouTube, showcase your writing skills by creating and maintaining a blog, or show off the latest coding tricks you’ve learned by designing your own website. Including links to these sites when applying for jobs will demonstrate your creative abilities and will increase your chances of being noticed.

Setting yourself apart from the pack is an important part of landing a coveted job at an integrated agency, and leveraging your support network, creative material, and social media tools together will greatly increase the likelihood of getting noticed. One commonality our employees share is their ability to stand out from the rest, because as we say at Laughlin Constable, “Our business creates ideas, and our ideas create business,” and in order to create those award winning ideas, we must employ the top talent around.

Looking to land a job at Laughlin Constable?  Check out the career section on our website, connect with us on LinkedIn, and see what we’re all about over on our Facebook page.

Jenny Futrell

3 Facts About Email in 2014

2013 was quite the year for email. It seems that more emails than ever are being sent. (16 million to be exact for the LC Email Marketing team — one of its busiest years on record.) Additionally, more emails are being opened on mobile devices, quickly making email the number one activity performed on mobile devices and the second influence on mobile shopping.

Looking ahead in 2014, marketers should anticipate how this effective channel will continue to grow and change in the New Year.

47 percent of emails are opened on a mobile or tablet device, according to Litmus, with mobile opens predicted to reach 50 percent by early 2014. How can marketers capitalize on this trend? Two words: responsive design. Two of my favorite emails that embrace a mobile-first approach include the:

  • Wisconsin Traveler email: See the completely responsive email, re-designed by the LC team, as you move the corners of your browser in and out and watch the design move and change to best fit the size of your screen.
  • ESPN Fantasy Football email: This weekly email’ outdated template was updated to utilize mobile-friendly design techniques, such as large call to action buttons and a single column layout. View the before and after and be wowed at the difference these design elements make.

Testing can make a difference, in millions. Through more and more testing, emails will continue to be improved and optimized in 2014 — improving the experience for subscribers and the results for marketers. Continue A/B testing different elements of your campaign, such as offers, send days and times, subject lines, call to action placement, and other design elements to maximize your results. Just how big of a difference can testing make?  According to this Business Week article, A/B subject line testing by the Obama email team brought in an additional $2.1 million — for one email.

It’s email, not e-mail. You’re going to be seeing more email and less e-mail in 2014. It was just announced that the New York Times has updated its stylebook and joined other hyphen-less supporters like the Oxford English Dictionary and the Associated Press. Merriam-Webster, however, still supports the hyphen. While less business-oriented than my first two facts, it’s one that hyphen haters (like me) can appreciate.

2014 Media Trends

Does the fast-paced digital ecosystem make your head spin?  Do you feel it’s impossible to keep up with the next industry buzzword?  Laughlin Constable can help.  Here at LC, we work hard at staying on top of these trends and applying them to our daily practices.  We enjoy seeing where the industry is heading and what that means for us as marketers.  We are optimistic about the future and look forward to exploring it together with our clients.

Enjoy the chart below, which takes a deeper look into four topics you’ve likely heard about but still might be unclear on… native advertising, online viewability, big data and programmatic buying.

[click the image to enlarge it]