Have you ever opened an email from your favorite brand on your mobile phone or tablet and deleted it immediately because it was unreadable and looked hideous? You’re not alone. With the continued steady rise in mobile and tablet use, it’s more important than ever to provide your customers with a consistent, user friendly experience across all platforms. Web designers, developers, and user experience strategists are constantly working to create a better customer experience, and email marketers and designers should also be working toward this same goal. Responsive email design is a step that all brands and marketers must take in order to keep working towards bettering the user experience.
 
Many paid search (i.e. PPC) marketers wonder how they can improve the performance of their campaigns without having to raise bids and cost. The answer lies in improving your quality score. By improving your quality score you can raise your average position and lower your average cost per click at the same time. Google calculates ad rank on every search performed on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Ad Rank = CPC bid × Quality Score
Ad rank will determine where you end up on the SERP and how much you actually pay for a click. Raising bids may be a quick solution to raising your ad rank if you are looking to get more traffic.  However, quality score has a greater long term benefit to your campaigns because it does not increase cost in your accounts and will increase your account ad rank, with sustained benefits.
 
At some point in your WordPress development career, there comes a time when you ask yourself: “How in the world am I supposed to make that easy for the client to do themselves?!" Of course, by “at some point," what I mean is “your very first project." WordPress is incredibly powerful, but just about every project I have completed has needed some sort of additional customized functionality. Shortcodes are a great way to allow a content writer or client to quickly add a piece of functionality to their post without needing to know html, javascript, or CSS.
 
As part of Zion & Zion’s ongoing efforts to provide leadership in the area of email marketing, I attended The Email Design Conference, put on by Litmus, for the second year in a row. Last year, the multi-city conference took place in Boston, San Francisco, and London, but they scaled things back a bit this year and stuck to their roots in Boston at the lovely Seaport World Trade Center. With intermediate and advanced workshops, two whole days packed full of two-track speaker sessions, plus live email optimization and speed dating sessions, there was an endless amount to learn. Hands down, this conference is the most valuable, resourceful and collaborative conference I have ever had the privilege of attending. Each session appeals to anyone who touches any aspect of email marketing: whether they’re writing newsletter content, designing and coding responsive emails, or analyzing data and testing – this conference really has it all.
 
When people hear the word “branding,” they likely think of something simple such as the Nike Swoosh or the Macintosh Apple. They think of a logo, and not much more. But what many people fail to realize is that a brand is so much more than a logo. A brand is a message, a mission statement, a product, an emotion, and oftentimes, a lifetime memory that carries meaning. It is your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid, your first car when you turned 16 and the mascot of your favorite sports team, and everyone has that one brand they love. When trying to explain the deeper meaning of a brand, one of the best examples I can use is that of the Washington Redskins. Recently, this NFL team has faced some scrutiny in regards to their mascot. So much so that many people have urged them to change it. When this discussion became known to the Redskin’s organization and fans, there was instant backlash. The fans did not want to let go of their beloved mascot, and the Redskin’s organization did not want to let go of their successful brand. Some people agree with the idea of changing the mascot, and others do not.  This discussion is not to take a stance on this controversial political issue. It is however, to try and understand why letting go of that mascot caused such an uproar in the Redskins organization and in the hearts of Washington football fans. To understand how much meaning a brand can carry is to understand how it can make or break your business.
 
Relationships have been a key part of business since the beginning of time. Lobbyists need the attention of their politicians. Public relations professionals need the interest of reporters and editors. And similarly, media sellers need the time and interest of media planners if they are ever to be recommended on a media plan and win a piece of a client’s budget. We would never question that a media seller would give time, thought and energy to connect with his or her prospect. Sellers work hard to book an appointment and gain face time with their potential media planner/buyer, which often means learning what they can about the client, agency and buyer before even reaching out for the first time. But, why is there so much focus on the benefit to the seller? What about the benefit to the buyer, who is acting as the agent for their client? Aren’t there benefits to good relationships for ALL parties involved in a transaction? Twenty-five years in the media business has proven to me that the answer is a resounding YES! These rules are the key to good relationship building that will benefit all parties, but most importantly, advertising agency clients. Media planners and buyers should:
 
User experience is a term that is thrown around a lot in the world of design.  The term can be used in product design, interior design, or industrial design, but I’ll focus on what it means in reference to web design. As websites and technology evolve to be more complex, there’s a push to keep websites user-friendly and ensure your users have a positive “user experience.”  But what does this mean? I’ll walk you through what user experience really is, why you need it, and most importantly, how to get it.
 
Jessica Edwards, Sr. Integrated Media Supervisor, and Bridgette Foord, Media Director, of Zion & Zion just recently attended the 2014 Digiday Retail Summit in Deer Valley, Utah. Brands, agencies, and media companies on the forefront of digital shared the most promising tech and innovations in-store, online, and, in some cases, on the road, that are advancing the new retail experience.