R+K Media Team Advances in Media Buying and Planning

Debbie Cozzi - Media Buyer and Sarah Sikorski - Digital Media Planner/Buyer
Debbie Cozzi - Media Buyer and Sarah Sikorski - Digital Media Planner/Buyer

R+K Media Team Advances in Media Buying and Planning

Agency continues to advance digital development for clients through tech expertise

Rhea + Kaiser has added Debbie Cozzi to its Media team as a Media Buyer and promoted Sarah Sikorski to Digital Media Planner/Buyer. 

Debbie Cozzi - Media Buyer

Cozzi is a veteran media planner and buyer who has spent parts of the past two years as a freelance media buyer for the agency. Prior to joining R+K full-time, Cozzi was a long-time media planner/buyer for Brian Keith Advertising.
“Debbie is a seasoned media professional and a real asset to our media team and the R+K family,” said R+K Media Activation Director Michael Hurt.

Sarah Sikorski - Digital Media Planner/Buyer

Rhea + Kaiser also congratulates Sarah Sikorski on her promotion to Digital Media Planner/Buyer. Sarah began at R+K in April 2017 as a Digital Media Coordinator. Since then, she has grown the digital media department to own R+K’s in-house expertise and knowledge around digital ad specs, capabilities and available formats for clients. She will be responsible for assisting the agency’s planners and analytics team with client campaign analysis and recommendations, as well as supporting plan strategy and recommendations.

“This promotion results from a clear need to recognize Sarah’s great work, obvious smarts, amazing productivity and the very high value we place on all she’s done for the agency,” said Associate Media Director, Grant Cassiday.

R+K Welcomes three to growing roster

Three new hires at Rhea + Kaiser
Three new hires at Rhea + Kaiser

R+K Welcomes three to growing roster

Agency talent continues to develop

Rhea + Kaiser welcomes Account Supervisor Cheryl Winkelman, Senior Copywriter Ryann Flynn and Public Relations Assistant Account Manager Erica Ballmer.

Cheryl Winkelman

Agency veteran Cheryl Winkelman has returned to R+K as an Account Supervisor, Account Management + Planning. Cheryl Winkelman will oversee the agency’s Indiana Soybean Association and Indiana Corn Marketing Council accounts and select brands of the Bayer CropScience business. Cheryl began her career with both R+K and Bayer shortly after graduating from the University of Missouri. After four years here, she transitioned to positions with Leo Burnett and Gyro, before returning to Missouri. She has been in agricultural sales for the last several years with Timac Agro, gaining additional experience in the seed treatment market. Cheryl will be based remotely in Alexandria, Missouri.

Ryann Flynn

Ryann Flynn joins R+K as a Senior Copywriter. An award-winning creative with a background in ag marketing, Ryann was previously a copywriter with Bader Rutter and Jacobson Rost. She has worked with clients including Comcast Sports Net, MillerCoors, Pfizer Animal Health and Dow AgroSciences. Ryann has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and is a certified art director from the Chicago Portfolio School.

Erica Ballmer

Erica Ballmer joins R+K as an Assistant Account Manager, Public Relations. Erica is responsible for coordinating projects, managing timelines, creating content and communicating with clients. She is working with Bayer CropScience, the Indiana Soybean Association and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. Prior to joining R+K, Erica was a graduate research assistant with the Purdue University Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication. She completed internships with the Office of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Representative Amy Loundenbeck, CNH Industrial, and the University of Wisconsin Extension: Wisconsin Dairy Youth Program. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a master’s degree from Purdue University.

Decision maker? End user? Deal killer? Who’s who in the crowd of equipment purchasers

how to reach equipment purchasers
how to reach equipment purchasers

Decision maker? End user? Deal killer? Who’s who in the crowd of equipment purchasers

How to use Personas to organize and prioritize segments within a large buying group

I recently stumbled upon a startling statistic. According to the CEB webinar, Rethinking Customer Understanding, the typical B2B purchase decision involves an average of 6.8 people. Let’s just round that up to seven and say, holy cow! In the age of customer lifecycle marketing, that’s a lot of folks to attract, educate, convert and retain. Especially in categories like heavy equipment where the needs of audience segments vary greatly.

Consider the potential players in the purchase of a front loader for a construction company. From the corporate office to the field to the repair shop, you’re sure to find different brand loyalties and purchase motivations. How do you know what buttons to push and with whom, to start the conversation, let alone to make the sale? More importantly, how do you know who’s ultimately making the decision versus who’s just weighing in?

You can find the answers through the creation of Personas.

Who’s who in the crowd, and more

A carefully crafted Persona is your guide to who’s who in the buying process. Who initiates the purchase? Who signs the check? Who has the potential to kill the entire deal? The answers are clear when you invest time and effort in organizing, analyzing and understanding all parties involved. But roles and responsibilities are just the beginning.

Because Personas are also built around buying behaviors and mindsets, they provide a snapshot of the journey taken to make a decision, including the category biases and beliefs that influence along the way. All of this rich information makes Personas an incredibly valuable, strategic tool for crafting multiple narratives for both marketing and sales.

Beyond demographics and data

According to Tony Zambito, the father of buyer persona methodology, understanding what motivates customers is crucial to establishing rich brand-customer connections, now more than ever before. In his post, Human-Centric Insights: A Matter of Survival in 2020, he states, “Living in a data-driven world day in and day out can make it easy to lose sight of the importance of understanding human elements that do not show up in data alone.”

He goes on to stress the importance of understanding individual decision-making when many stakeholders are involved. All the more reason to really dig into each audience segment and learn the why’s that drive their decisions.

Start smart, dig deep

So, how do you dig into the CEO’s omni-operational POV on cost versus the fleet manager’s focus on efficiency? Well, first you have to have the right questions to guide you through your research. At R+K, we use our own B2B Persona Questionnaire as a framework.

Next, get your hands on as much information as possible about each audience segment. For this, there are many formal options, including primary and secondary research. Of course, there are other paths to learning that require less budget. If a full-blown segmentation study isn’t in your current plan, here are a few ways to spark conversations, gather feedback and gain customer insights.

Customer Surveys
Mail Chimp, Emma and SharpSpring are great email platforms for probing buyer behavior, especially immediately after a purchase

Customer or Dealer Interviews
One-on-one engagement between sales reps and current customers or dealers can reveal valuable insights while also helping to strengthen relationships

Customer Advisory Board
Loyal customers are usually pretty candid with their feedback and can provide you with plenty of category, brand and product insights

Sales Rep Feedback
Who better to provide input on the anatomy of a sale, and its many players, than those who live it every day?

Social Media Listening
LinkedIn groups are a great way to track who’s talking about what, while Cision, Buzzsumo, SEM Rush and Google trends can also provide insight into trending topics and search terms

Creating strong Personas is a process that requires curiosity, rigor and a good amount of critical thinking. When done well, they are an invaluable tool for OEM marketers facing the challenges of engaging multiple purchase stakeholders.

Martha Porter Fiszer, SVP Executive Creative Director at Rhea + Kaiser, upholds that great ideas start with rich customer insights

Better healthcare communications improves interaction between consumers and providers

What Healthcare Consumers Want
What Healthcare Consumers Want

Better healthcare communications improves interaction between consumers and providers

Understanding consumers’ healthcare needs facilitates greater connection

What do consumers want from healthcare providers and systems, and how can better communications help?

A perusal of articles, recent surveys and studies will reveal several consistent consumer desires to any reader.

Consumers want and expect personalized everyday experiences.

Consumers want ease of access to their provider and to helpful information.

Consumers want to have cost transparency.

In one recent study, the Urgent Care Association of America and Solv surveyed 1,386 Americans about their needs and attitudes when engaging with the U.S. healthcare system, to understand more about these issues.

Some of the findings:

  • Three out of four consumers will not choose a doctor who can’t see them within one week.
  • Providers need to make costs understandable. Consumers want to know how much they’re going to pay for care before the bill comes and exactly what medical services they are paying for.
  • Consumers want to book online. The top technology requested by consumers is something that restaurants, airlines, hair salons and yoga studios have had for more than a decade—easy online and mobile booking. 

One of the conclusions of the study is that consumers today expect a level of service and convenience that does not often exist when engaging with healthcare.

In addition, other studies have concluded that consumers are very comfortable engaging with their physicians digitally.

So, what kind of communications do consumers want in healthcare and when do they want to interact with their providers?

The average consumer only spends about three hours in healthcare service a year, so it’s probably not when they are in the provider’s office. More than likely, it’s not when the provider pushes out their marketing efforts either. Outbound marketing efforts will not enable healthcare providers to own the consumer experience.

But they can own the moment of interaction. That, however, requires the brand to be present and available when the consumer wants to interact.

What are some ways healthcare providers can adopt and follow the same aggressive communications consumer brands have adopted?

  1. Be present in the platforms that consumers use. Marketers need to focus on the most relevant and high-use platforms their customers use like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Snapchat and Instagram, among others. Every tool is different and needs a sub-strategy for their use.
  2. Be consistent in all forms of communications. The consumer needs to see you in these platforms before they will trust your engagement. Have patience.
  3. Be transparent, which also means be responsive. The healthcare industry is not known for their responsiveness and transparency, which is critical to building trust in communications.
  4. Provide quality, easy-to-understand information and speak directly to the customer’s needs. The communications can’t all be about pushing out information. Learn what is important to the consumer and deliver that information in a compassionate and meaningful way.

Just as in all other consumer segments, in healthcare the consumer defines the relationship. The brand’s job is to deliver on it.

Additional Source: Modern Healthcare Strategic Marketing Conference 2018

Rob Merritt is the Director of Public Relations and Digital Services at Rhea + Kaiser and is committed to serving the healthcare industry through strategic consumer marketing.

Dogs and driving don’t mix, unless the pets are safely confined

Pet Distractions while driving
Pet Distractions while driving

Dogs and driving don’t mix, unless the pets are safely confined

Pet safety is an advocacy and marketing opportunity

Picture this: You’re in Iowa heading east a smidge over 80 mph on I-80. You look to the right, and there, in a 1974 Corvette going the same speed, is a perky little poodle-like dog (let’s call it Poopsie) hanging out the driver’s side window. Not just its head, but its two front paws and nearly half its torso.

Don’t worry about Poopsie, though. That wind-blown poodle is being safely secured by the driver of the Corvette, who is grasping the leash with one hand while driving with the other.

Actually, we should be very worried, and about more than just Poopsie. There’s also the distracted, now one-handed driver of the Corvette, who may or may not be able to react to traffic, much less protect Poopsie. And what about the rest of us on the highway?

Unfortunately, this is an everyday occurrence that’s distracting and dangerous for everyone, especially Poopsie, whose 10-pound body becomes a 500-pound projectile in the car at a mere 50 mph, according to AAA calculations.

Nearly 60 percent of dog owners surveyed in 2011 drive with their pets in their vehicles at least once a month—and the number has likely grown significantly since that study. Yet, 84 percent do not confine or restrain their dog while driving.

We know what that 84 percent looks like. Every day, several times a day, we see dogs of varying sizes hanging out car windows, sitting on the driver’s lap, jumping from side-to-side and back-to-front. They are nudging the driver’s arm, or calmly riding shotgun in the pick-up truck with nothing but the driver’s reassuring reach across the truck to hold Rover, while suddenly breaking hard. And don’t forget about Fluffy the cat, sleeping in the back window or clinging to the steering wheel.

None of these scenarios are good for anyone, especially the pet. When I see these and many more situations of drivers distracted by unconfined pets, I am not only irritated and anxious, I also question the logic and genuine concern of today’s pet parents.

Multiple studies report that most pet owners consider themselves to be pet parents and will go to great lengths and expense to ensure Poopsie or Fluffy are healthy, happy and safe. Yet, they won’t confine or restrain their fur babies in the vehicle. Which begs the question: If pet parents don’t care about their own safety or that of other drivers, why won’t they protect their fur babies in the vehicle?

Here are a few more shocking statistics from the same 2011 survey, which was jointly sponsored by AAA and kennel and pet carrier manufacturer Kurgo:

  • 83 percent of dog owners know the dangers of driving with their pet unconfined in the vehicle.
  • 65 percent admit to engaging in at least one distracting activity with their dog in the vehicle.

Ironically, while the awareness of smartphones and distracted driving has soared through the roof in the last several years, there are limited conversations about pets and distracted driving. It’s time to turn up the volume on this issue. Pet parenting is on the rise, as are pet passengers.

Whose job it is to advocate for pet safety in the vehicle?

We can suggest any number of organizations that should, ranging from veterinarians, groomers and shelters to automobile insurance companies—all have the potential to be well-allied associations. It’s a no-brainer to suggest that manufacturers like Kurgo should again seize on this opportunity. Perhaps, pet supply retailers can credibly advocate for pet confinement or vehicle restraints.

Advocating for in-vehicle pet safety (or reducing pet distractions while driving) is a year-round content and promotion opportunity for retailers. In a recent survey by TripAdvisor.com, nearly half of the respondents travel with their pets. Rover will be traveling to Grandma’s house for the holidays, whether for Easter, Mother’s Day or Hanukkah, as well as running errands and going to the Farmer’s Market with the family. Poopsie and Fluffy are going on Spring Break and summer vacations. They need a sturdy kennel or carrier, comfortable harnesses and leashes, plus lightweight, yet durable, kennel cups.

The real opportunity for retailers is to reach these pet parents through advocacy and content. Pet parents want to know that marketers have their and their fur babies’ interests at heart. They expect your efforts to be sincere and valuable. And they need objective, informative advice on how to ensure Rover and Fluffy are safe, healthy and happy while traveling.

At Rhea + Kaiser, we believe marketing and advocacy can co-exist credibly while serving an important issue with objective, usable content at the cornerstone of these efforts. We also believe that dogs and driving don’t mix and all pets should be confined or restrained in vehicles. Their lives depend on it, as do yours and ours.

Diane Martin is President/CEO of Rhea + Kaiser and loves pets and pet safety almost as much as she loves marketing pet products and services.

7 things your grandparents would have never done for their pets

Millennial pet parents
Millennial pet parents

7 things your grandparents would have never done for their pets

How generational differences are reflected in our relationships with pets

Our relationships with pets have changed dramatically in the last 20 years.

Things that are now mainstream in the care of pets were simply not done when our grandparents of the Silent or Baby Boomer generations were young – or these things were reserved for crazy cat ladies, lonely weirdos or wealthy eccentrics.

While much has changed between then and now, there are seven things we know our grandparents would have never done for their pets.

  1. Treat the pet like a member of the family, referring to a pet as a “fur baby” and themselves as “pet parents”

Nearly half of pet owners surveyed in the 2017 Trupanion pet owner study, call themselves “pet parents” and refer to their pets as “fur babies” or “fur kids.” Millennials are two times more likely to refer to their pets as fur babies than Baby Boomers. As we’ve seen in numerous reports, Millennials take their pet responsibilities very seriously, and more are choosing to have pets than babies.

Our grandparents thought of their pets as friends or companions, but often considered pets dirty and unwelcome sofa or bed mates. And if they were like my grandparents, the pets had chores. The dog’s job was to protect home and family from human and animal threats, while cats earned their keep and dinner by controlling the rodent population.

  1. Buy calming medicine for their pet

Our grandparents simply accepted and often cursed the dog that quaked, cowered or howled during a thunderstorm, and they relocated the cat that inappropriately urinated in the house to the outdoors.

In the most recent American Pet Products Association Pet Owners Survey, 7 percent of dog owners said they give calming medication to their dogs. Yet in the same study 10 years prior, pet owners did not report giving any calming medications to their dogs.

There are now several FDA-approved treatments for a wide range of pet anxiety and behavioral issues. For example, there is Clomicalm (clomipramine hydrochloride) from Elanco, used for treating separation anxiety in dogs, and Zoetis introduced Sileo (dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel), which is the first and only FDA-approved medication for noise anxiety in dogs.

For an added dose of complexity, pet parents have numerous OTC remedies – everything from supplements, essential oils, herbals and yes, even cannabis-derived products – to administer to their anxious pets.

  1. Take leave from work to care for a new pet

In an early 2018 survey of Millennial pet owners sponsored by TD Ameritrade, 68 percent said they would take leave to care for a new pet if their employer offered it.

Grandpa is rolling over in his grave on that one. When he and Grandma got a new dog, they fed it, set a fresh bowl of water by the outdoor doghouse, chained the new pup near said doghouse, gave it a pat and went to work.

  1. Take a pay cut so they could bring their pets to work with them every day

Grandpa could not imagine bringing a dog to work with him unless he was a policeman or rancher. And he certainly wouldn’t have taken a pay cut to do it. But today, it can be a valuable perk.

A 2018 study of Millennial pet owners sponsored by online retailer zulily revealed that 71 percent of those surveyed would take a pay cut to bring their pet to work. Startlingly, 21 percent said they would take more than a 20-percent pay cut to bring Rover or Fluffy to work with them.

  1. Use monitoring devices to track their pets’ whereabouts or to check-in while they’re at work to see what their pets are doing

Granted, GPS trackers, pet cameras and the Internet weren’t available when the Boomers were young. But they would be stunned to know that among pet owners surveyed by the Consumer Technology Association, 27 percent own GPS trackers and 19 percent own pet cameras.

  1. Regularly buy gifts for their pets

Sure, Grandma probably bought a special treat at the butcher for Rover or she gave Fluffy a wind-up mouse to help keep those hunting instincts sharp. It’s doubtful, though, that Grandma spent $90 per year on Rover or $65 per year on gifts for Fluffy, which is what Millennial pet parents spent in 2017.

In contrast, more than half of Millennial pet owners in the zulily survey buy gifts for their fur babies once a month. And on average, they buy their pets four gifts per month.

  1. Have a rat for a pet… ever

According to a study by RightPet with 17,000 pet owners, children between the ages of 10-17 prefer pet rats, finding their relationships with pet rats more satisfying than with any other type of pet, including dogs and cats. (By the way, according to a post on RightPet, rats like to be tickled.)

For our grandparents, rats were for cats to control. Rats were not pets, at least not for normal people like themselves… maybe for that creepy kid up the street.

While these generational differences in relationships with pets have and will continue to represent significant upside for marketers, veterinarians and retailers, they also tell us one more thing.

We don’t want the mindsets of our grandparents (and probably not our parents) managing the marketing and messaging to the spare-no-expense-for-my-fur-baby Millennial pet parents. Though more pragmatic, Grandpa and Grandma were less empathetic about their pets and would be even less so with the needs and expectations of the highly engaged pet parents of today.

Diane Martin is President/CEO of Rhea + Kaiser, an avid lover of pets, and enjoys marketing pet products and services to those of all generations.

R+K Expands Creative and Media Teams

News - Melissa Sears and Paul MacNerland
News - Melissa Sears and Paul MacNerland

R+K expands creative and media teams

Agency continues to flourish with new additions

Rhea + Kaiser welcomes the addition of Associate Creative Director Paul MacNerland and Media Assistant Melissa Sears.

News - R+K hires Associate Creative Director Paul MacNerland

An alumni of agencies JWT and Element 79, R+K Associate Creative Director Paul MacNerland has produced and executed advertising campaigns for clients including Ritz Bitz, Lunchables, Cricket Wireless and Harris Bank. In addition to his design and illustration talents, Paul has also received gold-medal recognition for his work in interactive design. Self-described as “a creative unicorn with an indefatigable attitude,” Paul is a graduate of DePaul University.

“Paul is a keenly insightful thinker and elegant craftsman. Everything he touches comes to life with a spark of humanity and artistry,” says Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director Martha Porter Fiszer.

News - Media Assistant Melissa Sears

R+K also welcomes Media Assistant Melissa Sears. Melissa comes to R+K from Public Media Marketing Inc., where she was a traffic coordinator. Prior to that position, she held a variety of communications internships with Kathy’s House, Moon Landing Inc. and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium. As a Media Assistant, her primary responsibilities include generating media orders, gathering media kits and managing media close dates and reconciliation spreadsheets. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

R+K Promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor

R+K Promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor
R+K Promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor

R+K promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor

Rhea + Kaiser congratulates Marcy Miller on her promotion to Media Supervisor.

Marcy joined R+K seven years ago and has been an exceptional asset to the media team ever since. Her contributions to the agency’s Bayer and GROWMARK accounts include leading data-driven media strategies and guiding clients on the fiscal choices with the greatest opportunities for success.

“Marcy has her client’s interests in mind, and that’s why she is a champion,” said R+K Executive Media Director and Head of Media Services Allison Saegebrecht. “She’s smart, kind and collaborative, and that’s what makes her an irreplaceable asset.”

R+K holds Farm and Food Kids Camp

Farm and Food Kids Camp logo
Farm and Food Kids Camp logo

R+K holds Farm and Food Kids Camp

Camp features learning sessions and activities led by R+K staff.

R+K held its second Farm and Food Kids Camp in August. The camp teaches the younger family members and friends of R+Kers about the importance of agriculture in the world, where food comes from and how it is produced. The R+K staff-led camp included sessions on the production of corn and soybeans and their many uses. There was also a learning session on the water cycle. To complement their learning, the kids made slime and corn putty from corn starch and dish soap; ate edamame and planted soybeans with crystal soil; and made their own version of a water cycle. The day ended with a pizza party and gift bags filled with snacks, coloring pages and soy crayons.

R+K welcomes two new interns

Interns Marissa Kurtock and Lydia Matteoni
Interns Marissa Kurtock and Lydia Matteoni

R+K welcomes two new interns

Both will have applied learning opportunities as they participate in agency projects.

Marissa KurtockMarissa Kurtock comes to Rhea + Kaiser as a Video Production Intern from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. A 2018 graduate, Marissa majored in telecommunications with a concentration in digital video production, and minored in creative writing.

At R+K, Marissa will assist Video Production Specialist Patrick Barkley with filming, video editing and motion graphic design.

Lydia MatteoniLydia Matteoni also joins the agency as a Public Relations Intern from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). She is a dual baccalaureate in journalism/public relations and marketing, and will be graduating in August 2018. Prior to starting at R+K, she worked as a digital media assistant for Gazette Media & Marketing and was previously a social media intern for 535 Media LLC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

At R+K, Lydia will assist the PR department on content development, social media and creative writing.

“An internship is a great opportunity to enhance your skill set in a real-life environment. Sure, you want the work experience to add to your resume when looking for that first job. Use it also to learn more about the industry that interests you or the type of work you want to do,” said Greg Lammert, internship supervisor and Senior Account Supervisor, PR. “More than that, an internship can help form the foundation of your professional career. Developing a work ethic, learning how to work with others, showing initiative. Those are skills you can take forward into your first job and beyond, and that type of experience is immeasurable.”