Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Full Stack Customer Experience

October 26, 2018 Center for Digital Engagement hosted Full Stack Customer Experience at Ann Arbor Spark.

Featured company, Ripple Science discussed challenges and growth of customer experience. Kim Brown, Senior Marketing Manager at Duo Security, led the discussion with Peter Falzon (CEO of Ripple Science), Zvezda Duling (communications marketing manager for Ripple Science and CDE Summer 2018 intern), and Nate Baines (CDE Summer 2018 Intern).

What is Ripple

Ripple is a web-based software solution and active registry that facilitates the recruitment and management of research participants for clinical, translational and social science studies. Built from the ground up by researchers for researchers to truly transform participant workflow, Ripple is an end-to-end research participant management software that accelerates the entire research life cycle. (Taken from Ripple Science)

Peter explains how Ripple is a cloud based suite of tools that allow study coordinators to follow standard tools and processes to be more effective and efficient when recruiting the patient. Also maintaining them so you don't lose them.

Which particular challenges do you face as an organizations?

Visibility among target audiences. “As we build and introduce our services, we have to understand who our target audience is and how do we become known. That is what Zvezda is now hired to do,” said Peter. Continuing with visibility, Zvezda explains that when someone searches for key terms, they need to be found, “becoming the Gold Standard across the industry”. Increasing reach is very important right now added Nate.

To Zvezda and Nate, Kim asked what they had done during this summer as interns to find the target audience and learn who they are.

The customer experience

“We understand you are not trained in marketing and patient recruitment. We’re here to make your life easier. We are the tool you open when you come in the morning to see what's going on with your study and patients. It will make your life managing the whole processes more organized, efficient, and allow you more time on research," Peter said.

“Researchers are speaking a different language so we hired people who speak their language. You won’t have someone just selling you something, you will have someone who has gone through that experience and can speak to what they are going through… We are making the product for them and then giving a team to support them from start to finish,” added Zvezda.

Being a cloud based service, how do you improve the perception of the cloud?

Ripple has a 30 page security write up of their company to ease concerns. Security is a priority for Ripple. The panel explains how cloud service is much safer than servers for many reasons but one is that there are more professionals making it better all the time. 

To learn more about Ripple Science visit their website at 

Peter Falzon on CDE

“Ripple Science experience with the intern program was so positive that one of our interns is now the manager of digital marketing.”

Kim Brown on CDE

“The panel with Zvezda and Nate demonstrates the relevance, timeliness, and strength of the program EMU and Bud are running.”

Monday, October 29, 2018

Expert Advice for Interns: Jenn Hayman, Director of Marketing at Zingerman's

To hear more stories like this and interact with companies such as Zingerman's, Duo Security, Pinterest, Domino's, Google, and more please join us, Friday, November 16, for The Digital Marketing Workshop! Register by October 31 with the code Early for a $10 discount.

Jenn Hayman, Is the director of marketing for Zingerman’s Service Network, a shared service organization supporting the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB).  Zingerman’s is a family of twelve businesses located in the Ann Arbor area. Jenn’s team of designers, illustrators, developers, writers and thing-makers provide the marketing and merchandising needs of the wide range of Zingerman’s businesses, from websites to retail environments and everything in between.

Jenn was the keynote for the Center for Digital Engagement’s Digital Marketing Workshop in 2017, moderator of Accelerating the Sales Funnel, and CDE Summer Clinic Speaker Session. At this year’s Digital Marketing Workshop on November 16, Jenn will be a panelist for the session: Knowing Your Customer (room 310A from 9:10 to 10:30 AM).

As a Marketing Professional, What Characteristics Do You Look for in a Candidate?

Someone excited to share new ideas but knows that they don’t know everything already. As an intern or new employee, Jenn suggests being comfortable with grey areas, and motivated to grow and learn. Also, having “hustle” and a good sense of humor will not only help you get to where you want to go but will make sure you enjoy yourself on your way.

“I look for someone confident but not afraid to ask for help. Optimism is very important, too.”

How do you Suggest Interns Approach Others for Help and Ask Questions?

There should be a culture in place where asking questions is welcomed. “An employer shouldn’t expect an intern (or anyone, really) to have all the answers.” But before asking, the intern (or again, anyone really) should ideally try to figure something out by themselves, to navigate resources. “Taking notes and trying to create processes for themselves to get acclimated to the responsibilities of the internship is valuable.”

“At Zingerman’s, asking for help is a sign of strength. It’s a recognition that you value others’ expertise and won’t allow ego to get in the way of finding a solution.”

How do you suggest interns go above and beyond to leave a lasting impression?

Document all contributions! Showing an understanding of the goals set out in the internship and what you have done to meet those goals. “Journaling all the way through the internship is a great way to capture this!”

Provide an end-of-the-internship summary of what you learned. This could include mistakes made or problems encountered and what you learned from them. List your achievements and new skills you have developed.

Lastly, ask for feedback of your performance—this will not only show you value the work you did with your company but that you value your work. To Jenn, that shows that you are serious about advancing your future.

What aspect of your personality has most helped you succeed?

"I suppose there are aspects of my personality that resonate better with some than others. I think it goes both ways—you have to find somewhere that allows you to be your whole self, not just an edited version for the workplace (though slightly curated, perhaps!). I personally enjoy casual environments. Not just in attire, but in attitude. I want to know about my co-workers’ families and what they did last weekend, to be able to laugh together, and laugh at ourselves. So I guess it has served me well to be authentic and not sell myself as something I’m not, and I’ve chosen to stay with organizations that are suited to that."

Personal Life: What are your favorite ways to spend downtime?

“Ah, downtime, that elusive set of hours in which we get ‘me’ time. There’s never enough of it, is there? I like to spend my time by reading, snuggling my dog (the sweetest and most adorable dog in the universe, if you must know), hanging out with my kids and husband (I like them, too), and exploring Ann Arbor’s and Detroit’s restaurants. I love to see live music, and would gladly teleport to a different country every weekend if it were an option.”

For more information on Zingerman’s go to

Friday, October 19, 2018

Where Are They Now 2018: Zvezda Deuling

To hear more stories like this and interact with companies such as Zingerman'sDuo SecurityPinterestDomino'sGoogle, and more please join us, Friday, November 16, for The Digital Marketing Workshop! Register by October 31 with the code Early for a $10 discount.

Zvezda Deuling, graduate of Eastern Michigan University focusing on marketing and communications. While in the Digital Summer Clinic with Center for Digital Engagement, Zvezda was a digital marketing specialist intern with Ripple Science.

Why CDE Internship?

Zvezda had gone back to school to finish her bachelor's degree. Graduating spring 2018, she wanted to take the leap into marketing. With the number of connections the clinic had to offer, she applied for the internship. Zvezda saw this as a unique opportunity to kickoff her career.

“I was a student of Bud's and hearing about what the clinic had to offer, I knew the experience would propel me into the career I wanted.”

Experience Gained at the Clinic?

The most valuable thing Zvezda learned was how to be flexible. Working with a startup company there are many different opportunities presented and new things to work on. Not focusing on just one project during the internship, Zvezda had to be very self motivated.

She was doing a little bit of everything such as Google Ads campaigns, SEO evaluation (where the company stood and could improve), reporting analytics, writing blog posts, and even tweaking the website for a better user experience. Zvezda fully invested herself into the internship with Ripple Science. Going above and beyond, she spent extra hours each week on her work and growing her skill set.

“You have to be motivated to find the answers and continually educate yourself."

Where Are You Now?

Zvezda's hard work paid off this summer. Ripple Science offered her a full-time position as communications marketing manager. Ripple Science has their sights set on expanding into the pharmaceutical industry, which Zvezda will be assisting in on through her marketing efforts.

"My work entails digital marketing tasks (Google Ads, Analytics, etc.), creating and executing a marketing plan, strengthening Ripple Science's overall message, gaining more leads, and managing social networks."

For Future Interns with CDE

“Invest yourself in your company, what you'll learn in eight weeks at a startup is equal to months elsewhere. Take advantage of all the opportunities around you. Connect with the panelist, professionals and interns in your cohort to develop your own network. They all have amazing, unique experiences to share, that you can learn and grow from.”

A Thank You to CDE

Thank you to the clinic for giving me the opportunity to immerse myself in the real-world of marketing. The clinic encouraged me to push my boundaries, continually learn new aspects of marketing, and navigate unexpected challenges.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Where Are They Now 2018: Alondra Ramos-Herrera

To hear more stories like this and interact with companies such as Zingerman's, Duo Security, Pinterest, Domino's, Google, and more please join us, Friday, November 16, for The Digital Marketing Workshop! Register by October 31 with the code Early for a $10 discount.

Alondra Ramos-Herrera, student at Eastern Michigan University. She is a senior Majoring in International Business and Marketing. While in the Digital Summer Clinic with Center for Digital Engagement, Alondra was a digital media specialist intern with the tech start-up Mi Padrino.

Why CDE Internship?

As a senior, we all need real-world experience in our field. Alondra wanted real-world experience in marketing. CDE partners interns with start-up tech companies in the Ann Arbor area which has plenty of opportunities to get experience in digital marketing. After learning about CDE, Alondra found the best way for her to get that first-hand experience she desired.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to find what area of marketing I would be interested in and give me different options. I also hoped to network and see different companies.”

Experience Gained at the Clinic?

Being partnered with Mi Padrino, Alondra gained experience in vendor selling. "I did a lot of cold calling and emailing different vendors from all over the country." Other tasks included being part of promotional videos and blog writing.

“One of the most valuable things I learned was how important it is to work as a team. A lot of the times, someone relies on you to get stuff done, so that they can get their stuff done. There was a lot of communicating.”

Going above and beyond is important as an intern. Alondra did so by being available for extra hours. Being available when the CEO needs you for a start-up is vital. This helped Alondra continue with her internship past the expected date.

Where Are You Now?

Alondra accepted a position at Mi Padrino following the summer internship. She manages the company social media pages such as Instagram and Pinterest. Other tasks include helping with videos for social content.

Content writing is a skill Alondra is developing. Learning how best to tell a story while keeping all audiences engaged is important for marketing.

“I want to improve on everything. There’s always something to learn and you can always improve on the skills that you already have.”

After graduation, Alondra hopes to continue working for Mi Padrino. 

"This company is growing so fast in such a small amount of time. It’s super exciting"

For Future Interns with CDE

“Put yourself out there, ask questions, and talk to everyone on the team. That’s one of the many things I learned. Tell whoever is in charge, what you’re good at or if there’s anything else you can help with. It’ll allow you to grow and expand your skills. You want to make an impact, and that’s just a couple of ways of doing it. You will be nervous, just like any other intern, but don’t be afraid.”

A Thank You to CDE

I want to thank everyone that was part of the CDE for allowing me to be part of it. A special thanks to Bud, for choosing me to intern for Mi Padrino. I learned so much in such a short amount of time. It was a great experience, I took a lot from it, especially from the guest speakers we had.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Where Are They Now 2018: Gabrielle Miller

To hear more stories like this and interact with companies such as Zingerman'sDuo SecurityPinterestDomino'sGoogle, and more please join us, Friday, November 16, for The Digital Marketing Workshop! Register by October 31 with the code Early for a $10 discount.

Gabrielle Miller, student at Eastern Michigan University. She is a senior Majoring in Communications with a minor in Marketing graduating this December. While in the Digital Summer Clinic with Center for Digital Engagement, Gabrielle was a digital marketing intern with the tech start-up TrueJob.

A Little Back Story

Before the Clinic, Gabrielle became involved with CDE for the 2017 Digital Marketing Workshop as a volunteer. She was offered the opportunity to intern as the Winter Manager for CDE. With having some experience with the organization Gabrielle decided to apply for the 2018 Digital Summer Clinic Internship. She was placed with TrueJob.

While interning with the Clinic this summer Gabrielle’s goal was to improve on her strengths, which she did in, “web and other performance metrics, sales and marketing, written content, graphics content.” She felt that the internship also helped her grow as a professional.

Where Are You Now?

Since the summer, Gabrielle has her plate full. She accepted the Fall Manager for CDE where she is utilizing skills strengthened and learned from the summer as the events manager. She assists in creating awareness for events such as Accelerating the Sales Funnel and Full Stack Customer Experience (on October 26th).

“I design and curate marketing materials, strategically plan and promote materials while increasing the overall awareness of the organization.”

Gabrielle is also the EMU Student Center Marketing Communications Coordinator.

"My favorite thing about working at the Student Center is that I get to be very hands-on and involved with my peers, I have nearly complete freedom over events, and social media etc. This allows me to be creative and productive, as the lead of the student center marketing team."

As graduation is nearing and with all of the experience Gabrielle has gained this past year, she knows marketing communications/ digital marketing is the field she has a passion for. She is looking at positions and companies to apply to for that will work best for her. 

"It is an ongoing process, but I know wherever I end up will be just the beginning!"

For Future Interns with CDE

“When going into this internship you may be nervous, and you may feel lost BUT you will figure everything out and all the pieces will fall into place. The challenges you are faced with during the summer are all growth opportunities. I found that not being afraid to voice my ideas is best. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as well, or be fearful of feedback. The feedback and criticism I have received are all molding me into being better.”

A Thank You to CDE

“Thank you to the CDE, for helping me grow. I am very appreciative of all the opportunities I have been afforded, in under a year and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.  My current mantra is, “Keep going, Keep growing.” I use this for all aspects of my life, both personal and career-wise, no matter what keep going, and you will keep growing personally and professionally.” 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Accelerating the Sales Funnel

To hear more stories like this and interact with companies such as Zingerman'sDuo SecurityPinterestDomino'sGoogle, and more please join us, Friday, November 16, for The Digital Marketing Workshop! Register by October 31 with the code Early for a $10 discount.

September 28th was Accelerating the Sales Funnel, hosted by Center for Digital Engagement.
Featured company, Genomenon, discussed the challenges of moving users from free to paid services. Jenn Hayman, Director of Marketing for Zingerman's, led us along with Bud Gibson, the discussion with Candace Chapman, Director of Marketing for Genomenon and Nicholas Woods, intern with Genomenon and student of CDE.

When discussing how to communicate with users who use Genomenon services, Chapman said, because we are small right now, our sales guy calls almost every person who signs up”. With just over 2,000 users this is a great way to connect with them. Seeing what your audience is looking for and will need moving forward is helpful for a small business that offers subscriptions.

"How do you overcome when somebody says it is too expensive.. How does that conversation work?"

Chapman explains how Genomenon offers a 30 day free trial of their professional level when someone signs up with them. “Gives people a taste, gets people hooked on it, and gives you an audience to talk to,” said Chapman.

Move free users to paid users

Email campaigns are sent to these trial users to update them on what benefits are included with the professional level. This gives value to the service and can move them to become a paid user.

“A lot of people here are to learn about marketing and email marketing, though it has its challenges, it is a great way in today's world to get the word out, and you have to have people opted in”

Tactic to get people opted in 

Go to events, meet your audience face to face. Chapman explained a time they paid for a reception after an event. This gave an opportunity to start conversations and set up meetings. "Go where your target audience is."

Find your audience 

It may need trial and error- talk to the people. "Mark, our founder, is our target audience" the marketing department may ask him “does this message resonate with you?”

Woods discussed how they have found unique approaches to communicate with their target audience. One outlet Genomenon has utilized is Reddit.

Know your audience and go where they are."

Photo credit: Cody Ryan Martell