Spark Rocket Has Babies! — A social marketing experiment

We just gave birth at Mission Command! Well, sort of. We’ve had “babies” as a social marketing experiment. Yes, egg babies.


Remember that low-tech teaching tool of giving adolescents eggs to carry around to teach them responsibility?


Well, we’ve decided to have a similar social marketing experiment at Spark Rocket. You see, we’re great at advocating for our own technology and start-up clients. We’re all about creating engaging content for games, security, real estate, prosthetics, cosmeceuticals, aeronautics and other technology markets and teaching clients how to share it via social marketing to build a following.


But it’s giving ourselves the same social marketing love that we kind of really stink at. We forget to pay attention to our own needs and, as a result, neglect to share via social networks some really valuable marketing information. This not only reduces our own self-promotion, it keeps us from engaging with the start-ups and entrepreneurs we adore helping! And it’s pretty hard to stand by our teachings if we’re not following them (that “the cobblers children have no shoes” saying wears thin after a while!)


Oh — and we want to be better stewards of our personal health too. After all happy, healthy Spark Rocketeers means better service for our clients!!!


So in that vein — our core team had babies. Raw egg babies. (Uhm, as an aside, we are amazed that the first question people ask are if they are raw? I promise, we have NO plans to eat our babies at the end of the experiment. Just sayin’.) Two of them. Each. And each baby has a series of “feeding times” and we have to keep them with us at all times as a physical reminder that taking care of ourselves is important.

Social Marketing Progress: How are the babies?

Thus far, in three days of our social marketing experiment, no one has killed cracked their baby. So that’s good. And at “feeding time” we have done things like:

  • Written several blogs
  • Updated our social accounts
  • Done training in new social media best practices and analytics management
  • Added a REALLY NEAT software script to our Twitter account to boost engagement!
  • Cleaned up our emails
  • Practiced self-care: stopped to mediate for ten minutes, drink an extra bottle of water, chat with co-working office members (who are really enjoying seeing how this experiment is going!) or take a walk around

So, we’ll let you know how on this blog and via our social channels how things go (of course, if we don’t — you’ll pretty much know the results!).


Meanwhile — wish us luck with our babies. Feel free to ask us YOUR questions about them (and tell us they are the cutest raw egg babies you have ever seen), and feel free to share what crazy practices YOU use at your office to stay on top of “entrepreneurial self care.”


Happy entrepreneurial technology marketing from the gang at Mission Command!



No F***s left Friday: Guerrilla doesn’t always mean “good”

We LOVE guerrilla marketing campaigns. We can’t get enough of them. We build flash mobs, send out flying pigs, create dragon costumes, give away cute plush puppies…


…here’s ADORABLE DIXIE with her Prempoint BUDDY? “Buddy” was a promotion that helped drive up our client’s web traffic by 230% for three days and made them hugely successful at an industry tradeshow!


Our campaigns are fun, engaging, memorable, socially shareable and really stand out in an all-too-often BORING technology market.


BUT, all of our guerrilla marketing campaigns would be a WASTE. OF. MONEY. if they didn’t have solid, strategic thought behind them. Because none of them would yield measurable ROI if they didn’t build on a solid, strategic path.



So, here are a few of the strategic “musts” you have to consider when building an effective guerrilla campaign.

Know your customer profile

Before you determine the creative part of the campaign, where you plan to execute it. the choice of offline or digital and so forth, you have to know your customer profile. This is more than the demographics of gender, education, income and location — but is rather the delving into “a day in the life” of your customer. Where do they get their coffee — Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or the office sludge machine? Do they bring lunch from home, dine with office colleagues or use lunch to run errands? Do they have dinner at home  All of this MATTERS when you’re building incentives, determining if your target customer will respond to everything from the music you use for your flash mob (Liz Phair for security industry guys? Uhm, NO!) to the prizes you offer for your contest.


Campaigns are for people — not companies

When you go to create that incentive, if you’re thinking of offering a FREE unit of the business to business product you sell as a reason for someone to enter your contest, engage with you at a tradeshow or make an appointment with you — think again! If I win a free printer for my company, well, how does that really help me personally? I’d be more enthused to join your mailing list if you offer a happy hour for me and 10 of my friends! Or if you have a swath of Mom-types who are the purchasing managers for the companies you target — might they love a mother-daughter pedicure? The point is — at least in the business-to-business marketing we are known for — it’s easy to forget you’re building a relationship with your customer as a person. And that goes beyond how your widget may help their company improve. You’re selling to a person, and appealing to their wants and needs.


You’ve about a nano-second to tell the story…

This one’s simple. If you have to explain it in more than a breath. Kill it.


…You’ve got less to connect to your product or service

And just in case this follow-on isn’t obvious. If it’s hard to tell WHO the promotion is for. Kill it.


Those are the basics. We’d love to tell you more about the importance of strategy when developing creative campaigns! Contact us before you plan your next promotion, advertising, event or show!

No F***s Left Friday: An unplanned post

We had a completely different post planned for today, but in light of the events of the past three days, we decided to take a different tactic.


With a large part of our team based in Orlando, we’ve been through the wringer in the past month. And yet the devastation keeps on coming in our country. Like many small companies, we feel challenged to soldier on when feeling so very helpless to “fix” things.


But we’ve come to a conclusion based on a few conversations with each other, friends and clients that what we can do, is to keep doing what we are doing. Yes, we can post to social media our frustrations about lives that matter and laws that seem to fail at protecting those lives. Yes we can join organizations or contribute money. Yes, we can even use our skills and network–having been able to help connect a victim from the Orlando shooting to PR resources who are helping her navigate the media and find financial resources to help minimize the devastating impact her medical bills will have.


We have to keep doing WHAT WE DO EVERY DAY for two reasons. (1) The cliche’d reason of if we don’t carry on, the bad guys win. (2) Because what we do has impact because of WHO WE DO IT FOR!


You see we are instrumental in helping companies who are literally changing the world by using technology in a new way. We find these companies via important programs like NSF I-Corps, Florida Venture Forum, The Kaufman Foundations’ 1 Million Cups and other organizations committed to promoting start-up technology. We might not create the nano-particle that delivers bio-actives to give burn victims relief, but we help the company that does garner customers and sales. We may not develop the laser technology that gives stand-off detection of chemical weapons, but we help build the case to the commercial world as to why they need to implement that tech. We may not develop the software that will launch next-generation security designed to keep you safer, but we provide the strategic marketing direction and content to help that company find partners and users from the first day they launch.


So, to honor that “keep doing it” drive–when really, we kinda of want to curl up in a ball and cry, or hit something, or drink way too many martinis–here are some of the teams we’re proud to support and a quick summary of how their technology makes the world a better place.


Prempoint: Prempoint is advancing next-generation security through a new approach to social networking. Using a combination of premise and proximity combined with a private, secure communications network, Prempoint allows property & site management professionals better serve the security needs of their clients. We are jazzed every time we hang up from a call with this dynamic team who came out of IBM with their caps set to change the world of security!


Burnout Game Ventures: Did you know game technology impacts not just entertainment, but training for our military and medical advancements in surgery? Burnout Game Ventures is a company who helps developing gamers take their skills out of the coding room and into the commercial sector, helping to grow this industry that has a $102 Billion (yes, with a “B”) future.


IROH: We met IROH via our mentoring I-Corps student groups. We see a big future for this team! They’re approaching prosthetics in a new way that uses 3D printing for a more custom fit for prosthetics, enables less expensive development which will allow kids with growing needs to change their prosthetic more often as they grow and generally allows for customization never before attainable.


Sensatek: Another I-Corps graduate and first place winners at MegaWatt Ventures clean energy competition, Sensatek is developing sensors designed to withstand extraordinarily harsh environments in combustion applications. This means longer lasting safety-components in critical places like airplane engines. This impoves the safety of those monitoring the equipment, reduces downtime issues resulting in dramatic cost savings and, of course, reliability in places where reliability is mission, asset and life-critical!


And one to watch…Alula Aero: We met the Alula team at Florida Venture Forum and know they are poised to change the aviation industry. Limitations of today’s black box technology mean greater threats to aviation. For example, in the recent Egyptair crash, the ability for authorities to determine mechanical mishap versus a terrorist attack was still in question 12 hours post-event. Using Alula’s real-time telemetry, the ability to garner intelligence regarding potential threats still in-air flights after an event would provide critical information for other planes still in the sky. And gaining much forensic evidence would no longer take a recovery of the black box.


So we’re going to “keep on doing what we do” — by supporting these teams and other technologies that WILL change the world — because that is how we heal, how we help and how we keep our belief in hope!



We like the following post from Heidi Cohen. We’re planning a future post to help technology business builders by providing our view on the differences between marketing, marketing communications and the many marketing sub-categories. We think it can be incredibly challenging to know the difference when your day-to-day revolves around inventing and building advanced technologies. But if building your advanced technology into a viable business is important, you’re going to want a foundation in the terms so you can best select the marketing resources and activities–like content marketing, branding, promotions and public relations–that you need!

We think this article is a pretty good pre-tutorial to that, so it’s our Rocket-Fueled Read of the Week! Thanks Heidi!

What Marketing Is NOT – Heidi Cohen

My recent post of marketing definitions with contributions from seventy-two different sources generated a lo . . .

Copyright © 2015 by Heidi Cohen, some rights reserved.



Superstition realized…

So my mother had a superstition. On New Year’s day, beginning as early as 12:01 a.m., you should DO the things you want to have occur in that year and avoid the things you don’t (like chores, busy work, unpleasant tasks). So, in that vein, I spent yesterday doing some most pleasant things like:

Reconnecting with friends!

Reconnecting with friends!

  • An exercise trifecta: yoga, swimming a few laps (yes, Spark Rocket is in FLORIDA!) AND weight-training
  • Working on a new,super-fun start-up endeavor launching in 2016
  • Promoting a current client whose mission for the year aligns with ours
  • Reconnecting with some long-time, too-long-missed friends
  • Having a very long conversation with a love who lives too far away
  • Writing creatively: I finished a long-in-the-works Zombie short story!
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