By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Google AnalyticsIn a world of technology, digital marketing is one of the most effective ways for most companies to increase conversion rates. But when we put something out onto the web, we really need to understand if it’s effectively reaching our target market, bringing them to our web site and increasing sales.

This is where Google Analytics comes in handy.

Google Analytics helps you understand how your web site or blog is performing and it gives you valuable information such as:

  • Where the people are located?
  • How many people visited your blog or website?
  • Which pages are getting the most visits?
  • What are their demographics?
  • How do you enhance your sites speed?
  • What channels are leading them to your site?
  • How many visits resulted in conversions?

There is no doubt this information can be useful for any business. We use it at MEDiAHEAD. On a regular basis, we monitor Google Analytics to see the most popular pages visited on our website. And since we began blogging, we look at how much traffic each story is getting on a monthly basis. It’s amazing how detailed you can get… you can see mobile versus PC/Mac usage, what browser they are using and so much more.

It’s such an important tool, helping you to track the effectiveness of your online campaign so you may continue with strategies that are working and modify the ones that need improvement.

If you haven’t already, make sure you have a Google Analytics tracking code installed on your website!

If you’ve never installed Google Analytics tracking code on your website, you’re missing out on all the things people do when they go to your website! Even if you don’t understand Google Analytics yet, the first step is to get your tracking code installed so you can start capturing this important information. If you aren’t technical, be sure to talk to the company that developed your website to get started. (They should have already installed Google Analytics, you just might not know about it.)

Google Analytics offers a quick tool or has an eBook for you to download. Or you can  use Google Analytics for Busy People which provides an easy way for you to get this tool working for you, so that your company can effectively achieve its goals.

Gain valuable insight into your business’s online presence today!

Kathryn McDaniel

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

At this point, I’m trying to look at the positive side of winter. Adjusting to colder weather is always hard, but when temperatures plunge and winter sets in, admit it – the cold makes you want to harm others.

There’s just something about the overcast skies, biting windchill and ice flakes hitting your face that seems so much more romantic in the movies… because in real life, it’s just plain painful.

Here are ten signs that you may be sick of winter:

  1. Dog in Sweater During WinterIsn’t it funny how your dog always needs to go for a walk on the coldest day of the year? I do like seeing cats and dogs in funny sweaters and booties, even if they don’t enjoy the humiliation.
  2. POTHOLES! We’ve been driving like drunk drivers for months. Unfortunately, even with all my weaving I still blew two tires and had to be towed to the dealership.
  3. You don’t get out from under the covers until the very last minute. When you do, another snow day is called and you’re home with “cabin fever” kids for another day.
  4. You’ve looked into moving somewhere warmer and have been 100% serious about it. I can’t believe I moved from Florida to Missouri – isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? And worst of all, your friend who moved to a warmer climate a few years back is posting pictures where it’s 85 degrees!
  5. You don’t even try to dress up or look nice – what’s the point? I’ve had on black leggings and snow boots for months.
  6. You’ve probably watched the same movies over and over again AND exhausted every series on Netflix and Hulu. Parents have heard the Frozen video so many times they think they’re going insane.
  7. You avoid going out or making plans on extra cold days – it’s called hibernation. The good news is that you can make homemade soup and cuddle up in front of the fire.
  8. You only feel disgust when you wake up to snow in your driveway. Enough with the snow angels, snowballs and sledding.
  9. You dream daily about Spring and a day when you can finally step outside without your face freezing and your body going numb. It’s coming…
  10. Any day that is even slightly warmer than 40 degrees puts you in a great mood. If the weather is even a tad warmer than usual, I’m completely happy. If the sun comes out, I’m ecstatic!

BUT, one day soon we’ll be saying Hello Spring because no Winter lasts forever. Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party!

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

Personalization using data is much more than simply addressing a piece of direct mail.

By using your data and analytics, and segmenting customers, marketers can craft a personalized piece of direct mail that speaks to the customer. This usually generates a much better response and ROI.

Years ago we encouraged one of our customers, the YMCA, to let us analyze their yearly campaign to attract new members in January.

They dropped hundreds of thousands of postcards after the holidays, hoping to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and participate in the many programs they offered.

We analyzed 10 years of data and segmented their potential members into five categories.

direct mail

They then developed a campaign with different photos, an offer and copy to appeal to each category.

We also matched up the categories with the “most likely to join” people in a 5-mile radius around the centers.

Instead of mailing 900,000 random postcards, we only mailed to 220,000 to very targeted households.

The overall response was five times more than a random mailing.

Even better, the YMCA saved the print cost and postage on 680,000 households!

I’ve always appreciated that the YMCA’s CMO was so forward-thinking and innovative many years ago when not many companies approached their marketing this way.

Using data and analytics in your marketing effort saves time, money, and yields better results.

To find out how we can help you and your company put your data and analytics to work, give us a call today!

Michele Stillwell

Michele Stillwell

Post Author: Michele Stillwell, Marketing Distribution Portal Enthusiast | Marketing Guru | Accounting Shark | Lover of All Animals

Another year has come and gone.

It seems like they just fly by nowadays.

I’m sure you feel the same way.

One day you look up and it’s January, a fresh start to a new year.

And, before you know it, we’re counting down the days until Christmas.

The great thing about the end of the year is it’s a time to step back and reflect on the year that was.

For me personally, I’m so incredibly thankful.

calendar 20182018 Was a Year to Remember

The team at MEDiAHEAD has been wonderful. All of us seem to have grown a bit closer.

That’s due in large part to the incredible strength of our leader…Kathryn.

Her perseverance has shown us all how to keep our heads up and just keep going.

For this, I’m incredibly grateful.

I’m also very grateful for each and every one of our customers and the opportunity to work with so many great partners.

Thank you all for a wonderful 2018.

We look forward to working together in the New Year!

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

One of those small comforts has come to be Fred Rogers’s famous advice to look for the helpers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

I attended the 70 over 70 Awards luncheon recently. This event recognized older adults in our community who are doing good works all over our great city.

The event was put on by the Sheperd’s Center whose mission is to help older adults live healthy, engaged and independent lives.

They honored the many outstanding adults who are passionate people and who give their time every day to enhance our community. Thank you Kelly Jander for organizing this wonderful event!

70 under 70Wouldn’t it be helpful if we all worked to make our community better like these older adults through contributions of talent, funds and most precious, our time?

On a personal note…

I’m engaged to a wonderful caring man who gave up his career at 60 to teach in the inner city schools for five years.

He’s inspired all of us at MEDiAHEAD to volunteer in our community and to help people who are less fortunate than we are.

Just knowing him has made me a better person.

Teaching is hard, both physically and mentally. He writes lesson plans every night to make sure he’s prepared for the next day.

And it can be frustrating because so many children in the school system are far below their grade level in reading and math.

One of the reasons I LOVE our city is because there are so many helpers here who are so generous with their time and money.

Be a helper. Give a little. Give a lot. Change the world.

Michele Stillwell

Michele Stillwell

Post Author: Michele Stillwell, Marketing Distribution Portal Enthusiast | Marketing Guru | Accounting Shark | Lover of All Animals

Have you ever caught yourself asking “What Is A Millennial Anyway?

Millennials, aka Gen Y, are also referred to “echo boomers” due to a major surge in birth rates in the 1980’s and 1990’s and because they’re the children of Baby Boomers.

Millennials are generally noted for their increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Seth Trokey and Emily Alvarez, two awesome Millennials who we’re lucky enough to have at MEDiAHEAD.

Both are graduates from the Kansas City Art Institute and bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to MEDiAHEAD!

Meet Seth

Seth is our Director of Shipping and Receiving.

Seth and Emily

Seth and Emily

He’s done an outstanding job of making the role his own and putting new processes and procedures in place.

He’s learned the software platforms we use and takes a ton of pride in his work.

Seth also does 2D animation and brings this wonderful skill to MEDiAHEAD on the side.

He created our video for the Holiday cards and is working on another video for us (which I’ll keep a secret until it’s released!)

Meet Emily

Emily is our Bindery Production Manager and has learned every piece of equipment we have.

She has an outstanding personality and does a fantastic job of getting things done on time with quality always top of mind.

Emily is also a creative wizard.

If you look around you just might see some of her artwork as she has created some murals (one, in particular, is at Bridge Space in Lee’s Summit.) Emily is also hand drawing the Holiday Card for MEDiAHEAD!

Seth and Emily definitely don’t fit the “ME, ME, ME” stereotype of Millennials. They show up to work each and every day with a smile and bring a wealth of positive energy that’s contagious.

We’re super happy to have these two awesome people on our team!

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

I never came home from school and didn’t see my mother with a book in her hand.

My parents always read in the evenings and on vacations in front of me and my three sisters. They instilled a love of reading in me at a very young age.

My father would take me to the bookstore on Saturday mornings. Each time, I was allowed to pick out one book to add to our library at home. It was never anything I considered fun – he started me on the classics, which were pretty painful to read at that age.

I also worked in the school library and was a pretty shy, nerdy kid – always with a book in my hand. People who know me now can’t imagine that I was painfully shy until after college.

Most of my peers read tons of business books. I just can’t do it. Why? Because I read to escape, to distract, to travel, and to visualize imaginary worlds.

Kat booksMost people will tell you that PRINT is dead, but we still consume books—we just do it differently now.

According to a new survey from Pew Research, about three-quarters of us (74 percent) have read at least one book in any format in the past 12 months.

That figure has remained relatively unchanged since 2012. Most (67 percent) have read a print book. Fewer have read an e-book (26 percent) or listened to an audiobook (18 percent).

I’m currently reading 10 books that Afar recommended about adventurous hikes that people have done all over the world.

My favorite so far is Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn. Thru-hiking is hiking a long-distance within one hiking season.

As most of you know, I have a son that has been a thru-hiker since he was 18. He’s hiked in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, India, the Himalayas, the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Moab and the Grand Canyon.

He also biked through Australia for two years, lived in New Zealand and crewed on a boat in the Pacific.

I wish I’d been brave enough at his age to see all the incredible things he has. For now, I’ll have to be content to hear his stories and read about the incredible hikes other people have done all over this beautiful planet.

What about you? What books are you reading right now? What are your favorites?

Michele StillwellPost Author: Michele Stillwell, Marketing Distribution Portal Enthusiast | Marketing Guru | Accounting Shark | Lover of All Animals

Tennis anyone?

I’m going to be completely honest with you.

I’m REALLY competitive. In fact, I’m by far the most competitive person I know.

My competitive fire is even more challenging when I play my favorite sport against my husband. Yep, we play singles tennis together about three-to-four times per week.

So where did this competitive obsession come from?

It all started when I was a kid, playing tennis with my father. He fueled the competitive drive in me because any game we played, he won! He was a great tennis player. In fact, he was great at everything.

tennis ballPlaying tennis with him was true competition. It was always my ultimate goal to beat him.

I never did.

Tennis is a sport that gets you in great shape both physically and mentally.

It requires you to always concentrate not only on your opponent’s next move but to also focus on yourself (positioning for each and every hit, your opponent, holding your racquet, your swing, etc).

(Pro Tip: It also helps to know the kind of strings your racquet is strung with to ensure your best game.)

So can I beat my husband? Why yes, I can!  We’re so incredibly competitive, it’s absurd! We don’t throw our racquets, (just because they’re so expensive) but we get pretty close to that point!

We also play against other people as well and it’s lots of fun.

If you’re interested in trying a tennis league out, we’re members of the Northland Racquet Club. They have lessons and six indoor courts. They also let you play Pickleball if that’s more your speed.

Any other tennis fanatics out there?

Post Author: Michele Stillwell, Marketing Distribution Portal Enthusiast | Marketing Guru | Accounting Shark | Lover of All Animals

Kat Strong

Half Way, Baby! #KATSTRONG

Remember my blog post titled Kathryn McDaniel – Perseverance Personified?

Perseverance means to not give up.

It’s persistence and tenacity.

It’s doing something and keeping at it, no matter how hard it is. 

With that in mind, I wanted to take a few minutes to bring you up-to-speed on Kat’s condition and treatment.

Kat has been keeping up with her treatments and it definitely hasn’t been easy.

We’ve all watched her come and go, week to week, in and out of KU getting stuck again and again.

I’ll be honest…it made me tear up as I wrote this post.

Anyone who knows Kat knows she’s not a quitter.

She is strong and just keeps getting stronger. We’re so incredibly lucky to have her and we’re inspired by her every day.

The great news is that she is HALF WAY THERE!!! And…. all of her tests keep coming back cancer free!!!

We’re so grateful for this wonderful news and we just had to share it with all of you.

If you haven’t come by to see Kat, drop in sometime and say hello. She’s trying to be in the office more and more.

Even more impressive, she still keeps that incredible smile and keeps laughing, even though we’re sure she’s not always feeling well.

We’re so thrilled to have this great news.

All we need to do is keep encouraging her for the next six months. She can and will do it!

Kat takes PERSEVERANCE to the next level!

Michael JohnsonPost Author: Michael Johnson, Senior Project Manager

With my recycle bin overflowing with empty coffee cups, and my coworkers dishing out their daily dose of ridicule over my obsession with a daily coffee or two, I decided to sit down and let you all know why I love coffee so much.

First off, the smell…I absolutely love how coffee smells. There’s nothing better than waking up to the mesmerizing smell of coffee.

When I was younger, I remember driving in downtown KC near the Folgers plant and always enjoyed the smell of coffee in the air. Back then, I just couldn’t enjoy the taste. I tried and tried and tried…but I just didn’t like it.

My parents always told me it was an acquired taste. And boy were they right.

Coffee, to me, is just the start of every day. It means I’m here and I’m gonna give it my all…for at least one more day….and I’m going to be upbeat and wired.

michael coffee

As I’ve gotten older, I associate coffee with all the things I enjoy doing in life.

Each weekend morning, my wife and I wake up with our two dogs, Gus & Reggie, and walk them down to the coffee shop. Our dogs get a big bowl of water and a couple of dog treats the shop so graciously provides their four-legged customers.

My wife and I each get a cup of coffee and a small bite to eat, sit outside an

d talk about how our week went and the fun plans we have for the weekend ahead.

In addition to the great smell and amazing taste, coffee also provides moments in life where I visit with my dog or join a group of friends, chilling and catching up.

Even better, in some quick online coffee research, I found that coffee has some pretty amazing health benefits.

This includes cutting muscle pain after a workout, lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, fighting depression and lowering your risk of heart disease.

If you haven’t found the love of coffee yet, get out there and visit your local coffee house, get healthy get that cup of coffee!