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Good thinking sparks action.

What is Blue Flame Thinking? It’s a different take on solving today’s marketing challenges, ours. You’ll find it infused in the articles below—the type of kindling that will keep your intellectual fires burning brightly.

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Data Detective: Are You Afraid of the Dark (Data)?

Carrie von Rosen | Mar. 14, 2017

A quick web search on the term “Dark Data” will give you chills. You’ll come across articles outlining its high cost and the security risk it poses, along with sensational statistics, like those quantifying 90 percent of all data as Dark Data. It’s understandably terrifying. But what exactly does it mean and more importantly, how can you use it to your firm’s advantage?

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Springing Forward

Steve Schmieder | Feb. 22, 2017

We’re happy to introduce you to the latest additions to the BFT team.

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4 Ways to Beta Your Way to Better

Gayle Ronan | Feb. 13, 2017

We believe considering our work as “done” is not as helpful to our clients as it is to think of it as a journey toward even better. We call it our beta way of thinking, and it’s what drives us as marketers, co-workers and as individuals to find our better. 

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Monday AM Quarterbacking

Team BFT | Feb. 06, 2017

When it comes to football, the sign of a good Super Bowl is when the game is more exciting than the ads. Overtime win, comeback story…now that’s not just compelling content, it’s shareable! Fortunately, it didn’t distract us too much from our ad watching.

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Game On!

Gayle Ronan | Feb. 03, 2017

Are you ready for some football—and advertising—this Sunday? We are. Our pregame prep has already started, as we’ve been watching the commercials and teasers released so far by some of this year’s advertisers. While we’ll reserve judgment until after the big game, we are already struck by the tactics three of the brands have found to ensure they rise above the fray.

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Data Detective: Digging for Analytical Treasure

Carrie von Rosen | Jan. 20, 2017

You’ve created great content, crafted a compelling call to action (CTA) and built a special landing page. But, do you still lie awake at night wondering if your campaign is bulletproof?  Will users find your most valuable content? Will they engage sufficiently to become your next customer? It’s through the application of analytics by data detectives that you can determine if your new campaign is working hard…or hardly working.

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Other Voices December 16, 2016

Steve Schmieder | Dec. 16, 2016

With an industry that is heavily influenced by newsworthy and timely events, there's always a lot to catch up on at the end of the week. Introducing BFT's "Other Voices," a feature that shares what you need to know now. Read below for more.

5 Ways To Build A Thicker Skin So You Can Go Through Life Smiling

Thick skin is not easy to build, but it’s important to look in the mirror daily and remember who you are and your worth. Darius Foroux reminds us all to avoid taking things personally, to stick up for yourself and others and to keep life in perspective. He also says being liked by everyone is an impossible mission.

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Other Voices December 9, 2016

Steve Schmieder | Dec. 09, 2016

With an industry that is heavily influenced by newsworthy and timely events, there's always a lot to catch up on at the end of the week. Introducing BFT's "Other Voices," a feature that shares what you need to know now. Read below for more.

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Other Voices: November 18, 2016

Steve Schmieder | Nov. 18, 2016

With an industry that is heavily influenced by newsworthy and timely events, there's always a lot to catch up on at the end of the week. Introducing BFT's "Other Voices," a feature that shares what you need to know now. Read below for more.

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Other Voices: November 11, 2016

Steve Schmieder | Nov. 11, 2016

With an industry that is heavily influenced by newsworthy and timely events, there's always a lot to catch up on at the end of the week. Introducing BFT's "Other Voices," a feature that shares what you need to know now. Read below for more.

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Other Voices: November 4, 2016

Steve Schmieder | Nov. 04, 2016

With an industry that is heavily influenced by newsworthy and timely events, there's always a lot to catch up on at the end of the week. Introducing BFT's "Other Voices," a feature that shares what you need to know now. Read below for more.

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Fanning Brand Affection: 5 Key Considerations in Virtual Merchandising

Josh Stauffer | Oct. 27, 2016

How do you translate offline brand affection into an online destination when retailing isn’t your main business? Focus on giving your website’s visitors reasons to spend time and money by capturing the virtual reflection of your physical community with these five essential design and development moves.

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The Fresh Faces of Blue Flame Thinking

Steve Schmieder | Sep. 30, 2016

We’ve recently enhanced our client services roster with some fresh faces and even fresher thinking. Meet the newest members of Team Blue:

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The Smart Stranger: How an Outside Perspective Boosts Creativity

Steve Schmieder | Sep. 15, 2016

The truth is familiarity can lead to familiar solutions. Sometimes, you’re just too close to the subject to see beyond the obvious answers. That’s why including a fresh perspective can help lead to a more creative result.

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Data Detective: Building the Big Picture with Analytics

Carrie von Rosen | Jul. 06, 2016

Dream big? Start small.

We’ve all been there: an annual or quarterly meeting, a state-of-the-organization address, a corporate debriefing. Leadership carefully reviews where the company has been and boldly plots the course for where it will go. Visions are shared. Goals are set. Then, the rallying cry goes out to the troops:

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Know Your Audience: Why Personas Are More Important Than Ever

Gayle Ronan | Jul. 01, 2016

While programmatic media buys can help pinpoint where targeted audience members are likely to be when they are looking for the solution you are selling, you first need to be able to recognize these targets. That requires knowing what their interests are and what they care about. To do this, you need to understand the emotional drivers that will lead these individuals to take action in your favor.

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Content Marketing: Where Marketing, Customers and Your Bottom Line Converge

Gayle Ronan | Jul. 01, 2016

I recently had the opportunity to attend the NewsCred #ThinkContent Summit 2016 in New York. This year’s theme, “Convergence: The New Marketing Imperative,” put content at the center of that convergence, supporting NewsCred’s assertion that it’s through content that you’ll find a reliable way of reaching and attracting attention to your brand, products and messages. We heartily agree.

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Mythbusting: 3 Mobile Misconceptions

Steve Schmieder | Jun. 17, 2016

Nobody likes to be labeled. Being painted with broad strokes rarely captures a true likeness and can lead to false impressions about mindsets, values and communication preferences.

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Beyond Words: How Businesses Use Visual Social Channels to Connect With Customers

Kate Bayer | Jun. 10, 2016

For many businesses, having a social media strategy means posting to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. All are highly effective channels for communicating with current and prospective clients—both on a B2C and B2B basis. But with the use of Instagram and Pinterest soaring, these visual channels shouldn’t be overlooked when planning an integrated marketing campaign, especially now that Pinterest offers brand analytics to help measure the impact the channel has on marketing campaigns.

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Clients Love What We Craft: Results

Steve Schmieder | Apr. 29, 2016

Blue Flame Thinking Crafts Ideas That Make Results Happen

You’ve probably heard all of these industry trends that promise eye-popping results—predictive analytics, demand generation, marketing automation. Who doesn’t love results? It’s what we thrive on as marketers. But, making results happen isn’t so easily prescribed.

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Programmatic Solutions Continue to Generate Impressive Numbers

Dave Niemi | Apr. 21, 2016

Are your campaigns beating their benchmarks by reaching higher click and conversion rates at a lower cost per acquisition? If not, perhaps you’d like to get more out of your investment. Our recent collaboration with a national retail client is a stellar example of programmatic media buying in action. The campaigns we’ve launched over the past year continue to post strong metrics across the board. All data points we monitor, from total clicks and click-through rate to conversion rate and cost per conversion, have improved year over year.

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The App That's Making a Splash

Steve Schmieder | Apr. 20, 2016

Pentair and Blue Flame Thinking are proud to have our collaboration—the Pool IQTM app—recognized as a finalist in the world’s most coveted digital communications competition: The Webby Awards. This year, we’re up for a People’s Voice Award in the Professional Services Category. And, the voting is online, of course.

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Farewell, Right-Hand Side Google Ads

Tyler Nall | Mar. 28, 2016

If you’ve spent some time browsing Google over the last few weeks, you may have noticed something’s different. The ads that previously appeared on the right side of the page are no longer present. No, this doesn’t mean advertisers are less interested in reaching you. Instead, you’re seeing a pretty big change Google recently made to their paid search product, AdWords. If you’re running a paid search campaign, or thinking about one in the future, it’s important you understand this change and what it could mean for your brand. We’ve put together this guide to help you do just that.

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Data Detective: Find Your Answers in Analytics

Carrie von Rosen | Mar. 04, 2016

Spying on People

Recently, a post went around Facebook wherein your kids answered questions about you. I decided to do this with my daughter and when we got to, “What do I do for a job,” she answered, in part, “You spy on people.” After collecting myself, I had to admit that, yes, in its simplest form, Web analytics is effectively “spying” on people—but only insomuch as an astronomer spies on the universe, a chemist spies on a reaction or a sociologist spies on a culture. It’s all about learning everything we can about an area of focus. In digital analytics, that would be user behavior.

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The First Question Every Marketer Needs to Answer

Dave Niemi | Feb. 12, 2016

Let’s take a step back…

Before you schedule your kick-off meeting, before you approve your creative brief, before you place your media buy, answer this question: What challenge are you trying to solve?

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A Payback With a Payoff: How a Timely Rebate and Targeted Strategy Led to Rapid Growth

Mike Meyers | Feb. 08, 2016

We all know that in the world of marketing, timing is everything. This is especially true when you are developing a digital media strategy—or when you want to showcase a special program. Brands can move the revenue needle with a smart mix of highly targeted digital media and the right offer at the right time. A combination of paid search, targeted display and retargeting can result in high click-through rates, strong conversions and impressive cost-per-lead metrics.

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5 Tips for Marketing to the Next Generation of Decision Makers

Tyler Nall | Feb. 01, 2016

My friends and I have noticed a change in our offices over the past few years. More and more, we’re seeing members of our own generation rising into management positions.

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2015 in Review

Steve Schmieder | Jan. 19, 2016

 “Sometimes you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”

— Yvonne Woon

In the spirit of reflection, we’ve curated the following articles that were the most popular in 2015.

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Flashpoints: Triggering Action

Gayle Ronan | Dec. 10, 2015

Going through the exercise of creating personas is not new. We all do it to gain insight into what motivates our target. But, it’s what is done afterwards that can make the real difference in how well we apply our understanding to our messaging.

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Finding Their Better: Three More Clients Garner Awards

Dave Niemi | Dec. 10, 2015

We are here to brag on behalf of our clients. After all, they deserve all the recognition they get.

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Pentair Dives Into 3-D Experience

Mike Meyers | Dec. 10, 2015

At the 2015 International Pool, Spa and Patio Expo (IPSPE), Pentair Pools wanted to make a big splash with their introduction of new products and innovations for the upcoming season.

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Business Blockbusters: Exploring the Possibilities of Video

Dave Niemi | Dec. 10, 2015

What can video do for you? The statistics are very compelling:

  • Websites with videos are 50 times more likely to be ranked on Google’s first page.
  • Video keeps prospective customers on a site up to two minutes longer.
  • Posting videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%.1
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Two Questions Every Product Launch Should Answer

Dave Niemi | Nov. 09, 2015

It’s not often that you can introduce an entirely new product category to the marketplace. Unless what you’ve developed is truly a breakthrough, you’ll be entering a market with established competitors and existing expectations. The challenge is to stand out and claim a niche that describes your strengths and appeals to your target audience.

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Putting the “Info” in Your Infographics

Dave Niemi | Nov. 09, 2015

When you think of infographics, you probably think of them primarily as visual elements. But when you get right down to it, the real value of an infographic stems from the factual data and emotional insight it conveys. Yes, the visual presentation is essential to grabbing attention and communicating your thoughts, but at the heart of any effective infographic is a strategically sound marketing objective. With that in mind, here are a few tips for generating infographics that carry their weight in terms of advancing your marketing strategy.

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Blogging for Debt Relief

Gayle Ronan | Sep. 15, 2015

For over 60 years, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC), the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization, has had a mandate: help provide debt relief and financial empowerment to whomever seeks it. What it’s found is that more of those seeking relief these days have student debt issues. Through its website, StudentLoanHelp.org, the NFCC now offers assistance specific to student loan borrowers.

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Will Student Debt Ignite the Next Financial Crisis?

Steve Schmieder | Sep. 15, 2015

Creating a better-educated workforce doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the amount of student debt currently outstanding is close to $1.2 trillion…and rising. An estimated 40 million Americans—many of whom are Millennials and their parents—make up the borrowers. It is estimated that the average member of the recently graduated class of 2015 owes more than $30,000. As such, the cost of higher education is increasingly the subject of public debate.

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Flashpoints: The Influence of Emotional Drivers

Gayle Ronan | Sep. 15, 2015

As humans, we like to think of ourselves as logical, rational thinkers. Yet, we really are of two minds…literally…when it comes to decision-making.

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Pertinent Posts: Crafting Social That Hits the Mark

Dave Niemi | Sep. 15, 2015

The B2B space has many examples of successful marketing campaigns that integrate social media into the mix. But, there are still many firms that are reluctant to post sales messages or product information via social media because of sensitivity to legal or security issues. They’re uncertain about what they can say while remaining within the boundaries of often-strict corporate disclosure requirements.

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Mobilize Your Sales Team With a Custom App

Mike Meyers | Aug. 27, 2015

Mobile apps are everywhere

With the swipe of a finger on your incredibly smart phone or tablet, you can turn off your lights at home, order a pizza, transfer funds to your checking account and call for a ride almost anywhere in the world. Thanks to apps, your personal life has never been easier or more empowered.

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Build a Community and Strengthen Your Brand Loyalty

Andrew Swanson | Aug. 27, 2015

For social community managers, it is always important to find inventive ways to engage existing followers and entice new ones. Strengthening social community ties is crucial to creating passionate and loyal members. But, how do you find that right approach? Pentair, a global pool and equipment manufacturer, decided to test the waters, and Blue Flame Thinking helped them implement a unique strategy that united customers and reenergized the brand. Here are some of the ideas we kept in mind as we were building.

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Flashpoints: The Point of Impact for Marketers

Gayle Ronan | Aug. 27, 2015

It’s our goal as marketers: find the right message to spark the shift from inaction to action on the part of prospective customers.

What it takes is more than a clever message or a brochure chock-full of features and a list of benefits. It requires context that resonates with the emotional aspects of that decision—the emotions that hold buyers back from committing and those that propel them forward. More than a desire to fill a need or solve a problem, your prospects have to truly want what you have, and they need to want it more than what your competitors offer.

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Blue Flame Thinking Account Team Finds Its Better x 6

Steve Schmieder | Aug. 27, 2015

Thanks to a busy and productive year with current and new clients, we’ve added some bright, fresh faces and brilliant strategic minds to our account management team. Allow us to introduce them to you:

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Collaboration Is Key to Differentiation and Success

Steve Schmieder | Aug. 27, 2015

Successful launches of new products hinge on the combination of insightful strategy, innovative creative and intuitive digital experiences, particularly in an already-saturated market. Throw into this mix social media acumen and smart, targeted delivery, and you have a recipe to elevate your campaign and differentiate it in a sea of sameness.

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Making New Connections

Gayle Ronan | Aug. 27, 2015

The National Foundation of Credit Counseling® (NFCC) has a simple proposition for people with debt: Get relief now.

“It’s a proposition our member agencies deliver on daily, through some 600 offices, nationally. They get real results, really fast, for consumers from all walks of life,” explains Dana Dolan, NFCC’s interim chief communications officer. But, many more consumers could benefit from this nonprofit’s brand of relief than are aware of it.

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Success Story: 4 Basics for Improving Efficiency in Paid Search

Tyler Nall | Aug. 27, 2015

While paid search may be one of the most efficient paid media tactics for capturing purchase intent, tracking results in the most illuminating way can be difficult. Reliable insights that might drive future decisions can be elusive.

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5 Considerations for Choosing a Programmatic Partner

Tyler Nall | Aug. 27, 2015

In our previous article on this topic, we explored how financial marketers might find intriguing possibilities for the use of programmatic media. In this article, we’d like to point out several issues you should consider if you’re thinking about a programmatic campaign and looking for a firm to partner with on the strategy and implementation of your campaign.

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Is Your Website Keeping Up With Evolving Google Search Algorithms?

Josh Stauffer | Aug. 27, 2015

Google constantly evaluates online behavior data to update its search algorithms and deliver quality information and excellent user experiences. How does your website stack up against some of these recent updates?

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Byline Bank Leverages Social Media to Keep Connected With Customers

Andrew Swanson | Aug. 27, 2015

With its new brand identity, Byline Bank is ready to author the next chapter in its 100-year-long connection to the Chicago neighborhoods it calls home.

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Choosing Between Heart and Mind

Lynne Gallegos | Aug. 27, 2015

12 Ways to Find the Right Balance Between Emotion and Intellect in Your Marketing Messages

Winston Churchill once observed, “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.” The British prime minister and orator may have been speaking with more than a hint of hyperbole, but his comment endures because some still believe—many marketers among them—that emotion and intellect are separate states of mind.

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Blue Flame Thinking Clients Bring Home the Gold

Steve Schmieder | May. 06, 2015

The solutions and results we create for clients are highly unique, but the acclaim they receive is strikingly similar. Just ask the two Blue Flame Thinking clients who were recently honored at the West Michigan Addy Awards.

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Lincoln Financial Goes Social to Win Customers

Steve Schmieder | May. 06, 2015

When Lincoln Financial wanted to pull new customers through its sales channel, they leveraged the high engagement potential of social media to cultivate richer dialog and build closer relationships among wholesalers, advisors and individual investors.

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Identify Your Target’s Flashpoint to Get Your Message Heard

Gayle Ronan | May. 06, 2015

Being able to pinpoint and understand the mindset of decision makers, what really leads to that critical moment when your target is ready to commit, can make or break a campaign. This insight enables you to channel your efforts—creative, digital, content and media placement—more effectively.

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Can Programmatic Media Help You Click With Investors?

Dave Niemi | May. 06, 2015

Now that programmatic digital advertising has arrived on the scene, it's garnering more attention and attracting more media dollars. When you have mainstream financial services companies like American Express contemplating the shift of their entire online ad budget to programmatic media, you know you're on to something.1

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Using Analytics, Data and SEO to Maximize Your Returns

Josh Stauffer | Apr. 02, 2015

Are you getting the most out of your marketing data? Do you wonder if your digital efforts measure up to companies, like Amazon, who have limitless data to mine?

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Buying Under the Influence

Lynne Gallegos | Mar. 31, 2015

Why Word of Mouth From These Four Groups Is Too Important for Manufacturers to Ignore

In the early 2000s, Malcolm Gladwell famously predicted we were entering “the age of word of mouth.”1 More than a decade later, it is safe to say that age has fully arrived. Today’s expanded channels for peer reviews, recommendations and referrals make word of mouth an independent driver of purchase decision-making. McKinsey research has found it’s a primary factor behind 20%–50% of all purchase decisions.2

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It Takes More “Pull” to Drive Your Channel Today

Lynne Gallegos | Jan. 29, 2015

Five Essential Steps to Attract End Customers to Your Brand

Selling directly to the consumer or business end market isn’t for everyone. Product manufacturers of all sizes have long embraced the use of channel partners to expand their reach, grow revenue and better meet the needs of consumers and business end users. Statistics show more than 50% of manufacturers in the U.S. use independent sales reps either alone or in combination with direct sales reps.1 Many others go to market through a combination of independent distributors, dealers and/or other channel partners.

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Financial Marketing Is Changing Rapidly

Steve Schmieder | Jan. 22, 2015

Our New E-Book Helps You Ride the Crest of the Wave!

A new generation of financial clients awaits—connected, independent and empowered—and with vastly different expectations than those who came before them. Meanwhile, the enormous potential of online and social channels continues to grow, rendering your old lines of communication obsolete virtually overnight.

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Holiday Service and Cheers

Andrew Swanson | Jan. 08, 2015

This past December, our Chicago and Grand Rapids offices took time to volunteer and give back to the local community. This year, our team members spent time packing, painting, decorating and contributing to support local charities and individuals.

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‘Tis the Season for Sharing Inspiration

Steve Schmieder | Dec. 17, 2014

What Made Life Burn Brighter for You in 2014?

Author and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimension.” It’s a belief we at Blue Flame Thinking take to heart.

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Mobile Use Patterns Across Generations

Steve Schmieder | Dec. 11, 2014

Four Ways Age Can Matter in Your Mobile Strategy

This article is part three in a special three-part series on why you must build your mobile marketing platform now.

Millennials continue to lead the surge in mobile adoption, as 81% of 25- to 34-year-olds now own a smartphone.1 Research firm eMarketer says Millennials are “young enough to value smartphones but old enough to be able to buy them, suggesting that they will be smartphone power users for years to come.”2

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We’re All Technology Companies Now

Steve Schmieder | Dec. 04, 2014

Financial Marketing 3.0 is upon us. It’s not a matter of if disintermediation is coming to the financial services industry, but what our response to it should be. In this series, we explore how the needs and attitudes of our target audiences are changing and what financial services companies can do to adapt and thrive in this new environment.

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Responsive Web Design: Today’s Best Route to Mobile Optimization

Steve Schmieder | Nov. 21, 2014

Three Keys to Ensure You Get RWD Right

This article is part two in a special three-part series on why you must build your mobile marketing platform now.

Online retailing has hit the “mobile tipping point” Internet Retailer reported in September. The magazine cited technology and digital measurement experts who said more than 50% of recent online retail activity had been conducted on mobile devices, the first time smartphones and tablets accounted for more than half of online retail activity.1 

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Blue Flame Thinking Award Hot Streak Continues

Steve Schmieder | Nov. 14, 2014

Blue Flame Thinking continues to make its mark in 2014 marketing award competitions, adding top Davey, W3, WebAward, and Tower awards to earlier Gold and Silver FCS Portfolio Awards. CEO Steve Schmieder says the award-winning performance reflects the agency’s uncompromising drive to resist the usual and demand something better.

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Go Mobile or Go Home!

Steve Schmieder | Nov. 12, 2014

Eight Keys to a Successful Mobile Launch

This article is part one in a special three-part series on why you must build your mobile marketing platform now.

Are you missing the chance to capture today’s mobile-empowered customers? Are competitors already using mobile marketing to win customers over? Some important facts to keep in mind:

  • 58% of American adults now own a smartphone.1
  • 42% own a tablet.2
  • 2 billion smartphones will be in use around the world by the end of 2014.3
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New Media Channels Add Power to Chemical Communications

Chris Beaudoin | Nov. 04, 2014

Chemical industry marketers have much to gain from the enhanced audience knowledge and message targeting that can be unleashed through digital and social media. If you do the basic upfront homework to frame your audience properly, you can use these technologies to achieve greater precision and reach than you may have thought possible.

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Is the Millennial Mindset Spreading?

Steve Schmieder | Oct. 24, 2014

Financial Marketing 3.0 is upon us. It’s not a matter of if disintermediation is coming to the financial services industry, but what our response to it should be. In this series, we explore how the needs and attitudes of our target audiences are changing and what financial services companies can do to adapt and thrive in this new environment.

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Your Marketing Must Address Four Stages of Decision Making

Lynne Gallegos | Oct. 09, 2014

Match Energy Marketing to Needs Across the Buying Journey

This is the final article in a special three-part series on marketing to today’s energy industry.

Expectations for marketing in today’s energy industry have been raised. It’s no longer enough to create awareness and generate leads for sales follow-up. Marketing is now expected to contribute to top-line revenue growth, providing clear evidence of ROI. But to increase the impact on overall business success, the role of marketing must expand to support each customer’s total buying journey and overall experience with the brand.

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Social Media for Firms of All Shapes and Sizes

Andrew Swanson | Oct. 02, 2014

What does social media mean to your business?

Do you see it as a powerful component of your overall marketing strategy? Does it strike fear in the minds of your PR and HR departments at the possibility of an information leak or failed compliance?

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Are You a 3.0 Marketer?

Steve Schmieder | Sep. 24, 2014

Welcome to the brave new world of Financial Marketing 3.0. It’s a world in which the products and services we represent are increasingly being challenged by the financial apps users download and the social communities they choose to join. This shift is transforming what we market from a thing or a place into an action or experience—from a noun into a verb.

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Launching Disruptive Technology in Today’s Energy Market: Seven Ways to Build Demand for Solutions They Have Yet to Imagine

Lynne Gallegos | Sep. 24, 2014

This article is part two in a special three-part series on marketing to today’s energy industry.

Not 10 years ago, many in the energy industry believed North American production of hydrocarbons had peaked. Yet in 2013, the U.S. produced 35% more natural gas than eight years earlier.1 Driving this remarkable comeback is a wave of innovation that continues to transform the industry today.

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Millennials Are Taking Control in Oil and Gas: Three Ways Your Marketing Should Change to Win Them Over

Lynne Gallegos | Sep. 03, 2014

This article is part one in a special three-part series on marketing to today’s energy industry.

The energy industry is being transformed from within by the “Great Crew Change”—the influx of a new generation of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers and managers who are seizing opportunities created by the shale boom.

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Make Your Website Feel Like Home

Mike Meyers | Aug. 20, 2014

The Best Websites Are Built Like Homes, Designed Around Brand
A marketing colleague of mine stopped by to see our new office in Chicago. After I gave him the grand tour of our open, collaborative and creative space, he smiled and said, “I feel like I’ve just walked through your website.”

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Unicorns on the Moon

Dave Niemi | Jul. 22, 2014

Please Read the Prospectus Carefully
Everyone's talking about behavioral finance these days. As marketers, we know how important it is to pay attention to these biases when rolling out a new product or initiative. The same is true when it comes to investing: We all have emotional biases that influence our decisions. But looking at the financial news in recent months, I had to wonder: Is lunacy considered an emotional bias? That seems to be a potential explanation for situations like this:

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The Threat to Net Neutrality: How Worried Should CMOs Be?

Josh Stauffer | Jun. 30, 2014

As data-heavy content like streaming videos and other rich media becomes more prevalent, Internet service providers (ISPs) are looking for ways to offset the higher cost of the bandwidth necessary to deliver that content to consumer and business audiences. Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and others who control the so-called “last mile” of the Internet want to be compensated by heavy data users for the high proportion of bandwidth their content requires. While that may seem only fair from a business perspective, the effort to establish tiered pricing has triggered a firestorm of concern over the concept of “net neutrality,” the principle that access to the Internet should be freely and equally available to all.

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The FUNdamentals of Incorporating Play Into Work

Carrie von Rosen | Jun. 03, 2014

Everyone knows the adage about Jack having no time to play and, thus, becoming less than sharp-witted. Yet, have you ever thought about how this saying might apply to your organization? "Work" and "play" are not mutually exclusive. In fact, work and play are nearly identical in both effort and action, with the exception of one key characteristic: fun.

Play = Work + Fun
So, what exactly is this magical thing called "fun," which has the power to transform a job into a joy?

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Blue Flame Thinking Honored for Helping Clients Find Their Better

Steve Schmieder | May. 22, 2014

Call it a case of Better2.

First Blue Flame Thinking delivered impressive business results for two national clients, then its efforts were further rewarded with Gold and Silver Awards from the financial services industry’s prestigious FCS Portfolio Awards. The agency received a Gold Award for a print advertising campaign developed for Cetera Financial Group of Los Angeles and a Silver Award for a website created for a second national broker-dealer.

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Don’t Let Big Data Inertia Hold You Back: Five Key Thoughts to Help You Get Started Now

Lynne Gallegos | May. 07, 2014

Is "big data" the 800-pound gorilla that keeps you awake at night? Confronting how to apply all of the customer information your company is currently compiling—and imagining all of the data you could be leveraging—can be paralyzing. But, experts say the longer you wait, the more you risk letting others gain competitive advantage.

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Future Tense: Bridging the Gap Between "Now" and "When"

Gayle Ronan | Apr. 22, 2014

With public concern over retirement readiness extending beyond the Baby Boomers to include Gen Xers and even Millennials, the majority of the American workforce seems to find itself on the wrong side of the finger-pointing.

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Look Who’s Talking, and Where

Bob Northway | Apr. 01, 2014

Take Advantage of New Channels to Capture the Voice of Your Target Customer
Today’s customers are empowered as never before. But, the channels that fuel customer independence can also provide unprecedented access to the voice of the customer—or VoC—enabling marketers to gain deeper customer insight and create more powerful marketing.

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Nurturing Insight: Switching on the Next Great Idea

Chris Beaudoin | Mar. 11, 2014

How often have you wished for that unexpected moment of insight when a jumble of information suddenly coalesces into a solution for an impossible problem? In fact, this is a skill that can be cultivated to help us better understand our markets or develop vastly improved products or services. Here are some thoughts on how to harness the power of perceptiveness.

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Make It Understandable, Not Simple

Gayle Ronan | Feb. 18, 2014

How often do you hear the complaint, “It’s too simple; make the message more complex”? Close to never, right? We want our headlines concise and our content short.

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Shh! Do Not Disturb—Disruptive Thinking Going On

Dave Peterson | Jan. 28, 2014

More and more, the marketing world is discussing the concept of disruptive thinking and how to apply it in their organizations. This requires a revolution. Luke Williams, well-renowned innovation strategy guru, comments on his website, disruptive-thinking.com, “In a business world of nonstop change, there's only one way to win the game: transform it entirely.”1

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Light a Creative Fuse

Steve Schmieder | Jan. 01, 2014

Getting to better. Welcome to the first installment of getting to better from your friends at Blue Flame Thinking. In our never-ending pursuit to help our clients challenge their brand, their industry and themselves, we look forward to sharing ideas and solutions that help all of us get closer to the ultimate goal to find your better.

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Millennials and Money: Redefining Wealth

Gayle Ronan | Dec. 18, 2013

Money With Meaning

Despite their reputation, Millennials do not appear to be maturing with the same attitudes they expressed when they were still teenagers living off their parents’ dime.

When it comes to their own money, the focus is not so much on shiny objects and the latest technology but on achieving:

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The Ultimate Defense Mechanism: Financial Advisors

Gayle Ronan | Dec. 04, 2013

Beyond Behavioral Finance

Much has been written about investors panicking in times of market volatility. In fact, behavioral finance experts pinpoint our instinctive biases as the primary cause in emotion-driven trading—the main culprits being our aversion to realizing losses and the comfort we find in staying with the herd.

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Why Seeing Leads to Believing

Gayle Ronan | Oct. 24, 2013

Beyond Behavioral Finance

Social science studies confirm what many advisors witness firsthand when they attempt to hold number-based discussions with clients. Eyes glaze over and motivation for financial planning and decision-making visibly withers. Often, behavioral biases kick in as clients instinctively seek a quick escape to a fast conclusion. Why this happens has much to do with how we process information.

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How We Really Choose

Gayle Ronan | Sep. 11, 2013

Beyond Behavioral Finance

Behavioral finance has helped identify the key cognitive shortcuts we tend to take when making decisions while armed with limited information and faced with time pressure, such as in times of volatile market conditions. The rapidity with which a decision to buy or sell needs to be made causes even professionals to resort to inherent biases when deciding. It’s these shortcuts that lead to:

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