Join the Conversation


Conversations with Tomorrow’s Marketers.

As a community-focused agency, we are always looking for ways — big or small — to engage with and support the people around us. That’s why when we were recently invited to share our knowledge and expertise at the University of St. Thomas’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter meeting, we jumped at the opportunity!

We spoke about Fusion Hill, our culture and the variety of paths to take in the agency world. As an intimate group of eight, we were able to get to know the students on a one-to-one basis and cater our conversations to their needs. As we covered everything from ethics to academics to work-life balance, these students were eager to learn and listen to advice from people in the field.

The conversation truly represented the PRSSA mission — to enhance students’ education, broaden their network and launch their careers. Moments like these make us happy and grateful for the invitation to share our insight, build connections and hopefully help the next great marketer find their own path in this creative world.

| Culture

Call For Interest.

Each year we release trend reports on topics relevant to our work – such as Millennials & Money, Generation Z and The New Foodie. To inform our 2016 topics, we’re seeking submissions on areas of interest from our clients and partners. Send your suggestions to edongoske@fusionhill.com.

| Research

Things We Love.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we can’t help but reflect on the love and happiness that surrounds us. Our colleagues, clients, families and friends bring a tremendous amount of joy to our lives, and we are thankful for the culture and community that surrounds us. That’s why we want to take this time to share a few things that make our hearts pop.

  • Travel – Our research team is racking up the airline miles. This year we’ve already been to New York City, Dallas, San Francisco, Denver and Phoenix. Bring on the adventures and the in-field insights!
  • Snap, crackle, pop – whether it’s Chicago Mix or Sea Salt Caramel Drizzle, we can’t get enough popcorn. We even sent some of these sweet treats to our clients for Valentine’s Day. We couldn’t resist.
  • Super Bowl 50 – As marketers, we love the Super Bowl commercials as much as the game. From Hyundai’s hilarious “First Date” commercial with Kevin Hart to NO MORE’s domestic violence awareness ad, we appreciate great creative that delights us with laughter or gives us reason to pause.
  • Seeing our work – When you work on front-end, confidential initiatives, it’s not often you get to see your work displayed. But when it’s up on a billboard for public consumption, we can’t help but gawk as we slowly pass by.
  • Learning – Our creative team presented design principles and creative exercises they learned at the Delight Conference in Portland. We focused on falling in love with the problem instead of the solution and what it means to truly “let go.”

Our hearts are so full we could explode. It makes us wonder, what do you love? What are your favorite things? Tell us on Twitter – and look for more things that make our hearts just a little bit happier each and every day.


Fusion Hill #ThingsWeLove

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Ad Fed MN and Ad2 recently presented the 4th annual Women’s Leadership Panel and it. was. awesome. Moderated by Nora McInerny Purmort, author of the book “It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool, Too)” and hilarious marketer from Minneapolis, the evening was engaging, informative and definitely one to remember.

While the title of the event says “women,” it was about much more – as evidenced by a few men in the audience. It was about being a leader, being inspired and influencing change. The panel, made up of six women from agencies, Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, spoke candidly about their experiences of being working women in the world. They touched on everything from the art of the strategic “no” to Jennifer Lawrence to feminism to wine. It was filled with great conversation and advice from some powerful and inspiring women. We couldn’t help but leave feeling excited and energized that we live and work in a special creative community with the potential to influence the national women’s leadership conversation.

Some of our favorite quotes from the night?

  • “Find the leaders in your life and surround yourself with them.” – Emily Pritchard, co-founder & COO at The Social Lights
  • “Nothing great ever comes from being comfortable. Stay uncomfortable and you are going to be remarkable.” – Margaret Murphy, president & COO at Olson
  • “Modern literacy is the ability to learn and unlearn. The degree to which you can do that throughout your career is important.” – Mahtab Rezai, Principal & CEO at Crux Collaborative
  • “If you say no, provide a solution.” – Margaret Murphy, president & COO at Olson
  • “Know the difference between a job (keeps you going) and a vocation (why you’re here).” – Mahtab Rezai, principal & CEO at Crux Collaborative
  • “Don’t be nice, be good.” – Jill Gutterman, digital transformation leader at 3M
  • “The best investment you can make is yourself. Bet on you.” – Margaret Murphy, president & COO at Olson

| Culture

Getting Personalized: part two.

In one of our recent blogs, we talked about the benefits of personalization. While personalization can be a powerful way to increase engagement, it’s important to understand the fine line between creating a unique customized experience and invading consumers’ privacy. In our increasingly digitized world, many people (though perhaps not Millennials) are apprehensive about giving out data and are highly sensitive about keeping personal information protected. While this can be a greater issue for financial and medical institutions who are dealing with highly sensitive personal data, it can also be relevant to retailers and other seemingly innocuous businesses that people engage with day to day.

Getting a Little Too Personal

Target decided to tap into the highly lucrative market of soon-to-be parents and developed an algorithm that analyzed customers’ purchases to determine if and when they were expecting a baby. Based on this data, the company began sending coupons in the mail to expectant mothers for baby-related items to try and gain their business in the crucial pre-baby period.

Much to Target’s surprise, this effort had an unexpectedly negative effect — some consumers received the baby-oriented communications before they had told any family members about their pregnancy. In one case, a 16-year-old’s father irately complained to Target before finding out that his teenage daughter was, in fact, pregnant. Target quickly learned that they needed to change their strategy: “If we send someone a catalog and say, ‘Congratulations on your first child!’ and they’ve never told us they’re pregnant, that’s going to make some people uncomfortable,” said Andrew Pole, a statistician for Target. “Then we started mixing in all these ads for things we knew pregnant women would never buy, so the baby ads looked random. We’d put an ad for a lawn mower next to diapers. We’d put a coupon for wine glasses next to infant clothes. That way, it looked like all the products were chosen by chance. And we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn’t been spied on, she’ll use the coupons. She just assumes that everyone else on her block got the same mailer for diapers and cribs. As long as we don’t spook her, it works.”

The takeaway? It is a privilege to receive customer information. People put inherent trust in a company when they choose to supply personal details about themselves, and they expect that it will be used in a respectful way that will enhance their experience with that brand. Personalization can be fun and beneficial for all involved, but it’s important for marketers to take a step back, put themselves in the customer’s shoes and imagine how communications will be received — will this be fun and intriguing, or does it feel like it crosses a line into becoming too personal? If the latter, it’s probably better to rethink your strategy and make sure it’s hitting the right note.

| Creative, Research

A Dozen Years.

January 7 marks a special place in our hearts — it’s the anniversary of the start of Fusion Hill. And this year we turn 12! It feels like just yesterday we had our 10th anniversary — time flies when you’re having this much fun!

Twelve years of incredible experiences, landmark projects, humbling successes and unmatched partnerships. Thank you to everyone who has helped make these first dozen years so enjoyable and rewarding.

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The Best From Across The Pond.

As marketers and champions of all things creative, we don’t hesitate to spend time outside of work enjoying another piece of the industry, especially if it involves British humor. Each year during the holiday season, the Walker Art Center hosts a screening of the best commercials in Britain, and we’ve made a little tradition of our own by attending.

The British Arrows Awards honor the top-tier commercials — the best of the best. With brands such as Lynx, Oral-B, Levi’s and Nike, there’s quite an array of themes, and the ads hit home with audiences in more ways than one. Whether silly, dramatic, a tearjerker or celebrity-packed, they are attention-grabbing winners in the television world.

Thanks for another fantastic show, Walker. Already looking forward to next year’s picks.

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Have you ever seen children search for their names on toy license plates or pens at a souvenir shop? There’s a sense of joy that comes with seeing our names in print — and it’s not just for kids. Many of us also experience a sense of surprise and delight as adults, when our favorite brands use personal information to make our experiences and interactions more relevant.

Over the years, we’ve been tracking the rise of personalized, multi-channel communication and exploring its impact and effect upon consumers. From our favorite retail stores to banks, restaurants, car companies and more, businesses are tailoring their communication to better suit our needs, enrich our brand experience and grow their knowledge of us as their customer. By using personalized marketing, they’re creating a dialogue, rather than a one-way conversation, with their target audience.

Brands That Are Succeeding with Personalization

Possibly the most recognized personalized marketing effort recently was the “Share a Coke” campaign, when Coca-Cola customized its classic soda cans with people’s names in place of the Coke logo. It generated international awareness, inspiring people to search store shelves for cans featuring their name or the names of people they knew. The campaign was a number one global trending topic in July 2014, with nearly 700,000 posts across all social platforms. To connect the social media world, Coca-Cola created the #ShareaCoke hashtag where people could share their stories and photos for the chance to be featured on interactive Coca-Cola billboards across the country and online. In its second year, Coke and Mediacom teamed up to expand this concept into “The World’s First Fully Personalized TV Campaign” — a video-on-demand campaign that surprised 4 million viewers with their very own personalized digital TV ads in their homes. Both waves of this campaign were extremely successful: campaign awareness was 17% higher than previous benchmarks, ad recall was 71%, purchase intent increased 24% and social reach of #ShareaCoke peaked at 11 million. Overall, Coke attributed a 2.5% gain in sales, following a decade-long decline.

In an effort to better target Millennials, Macy’s generated a campaign using personal URLs (PURLs) aimed at college students. Each PURL housed information from peer style experts and trendsetters that the students knew and respected, creating a unique online experience where brand participation and engagement was trusted and valued.

Personalization & Customer Retention 

It’s clear that personalization can yield huge lift for marketers — in fact, 94% of companies agree that personalization “is critical to current and future success.” However, while many marketers are highly focused on achieving greater customer acquisition, data reveals that customer retention and conversion often yield a much higher ROI:

  • Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% – 95%. (Bain & Co)
  • Attracting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one. (Lee Resources 2010)
  • Globally, the average value of a lost customer is $243. (Kissmetrics)
  • 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service. (Kissmetrics)
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. (Marketing Metrics)
  • 82% of companies agree that retention is in fact cheaper than acquisition. (eConsultancy’s Cross-Channel Marketing Report)

The New Frontier — Personalized Video

Video is the latest tactic to hit the personalized airwave and is already yielding great results. Personal videos are less invasive and more effective than traditional video, and with Cisco reporting that video will make up 80-90% of digital consumer traffic by 2018, they have the potential to reach more consumers than ever before. Marketers using this tactic are already seeing a better ROI — they can earn up to 10 times the engagement, according to Forrester.

While video is more expensive than other tools such as email and direct mail, its effectiveness may still make it the next must-have for content marketers.

The Key Takeaway

Personalization can play a key role in increasing profitability by engaging current customers. When people feel valued and receive a unique experience from a brand, they are far more likely to spend their hard-earned dollars, not only on repeat purchases but also on entirely new items/experiences. The key is to take your consumers on a journey and use their information intelligently and creatively. Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll discuss the fine line between creating a unique customized experience and invading consumers’ privacy.


  • http://www.wired.com/2014/08/4-kinds-of-bad-advertising-millennials-have-killed-off/
  • http://consumergoods.edgl.com/news/Coca-Cola-and-E—-J–Gallo-Winery-Win-Innovation-Awards101790
  • http://www.adweek.com/news-gallery/advertising-branding/why-brands-coca-cola-and-bud-light-are-making-packaging-personal-167340
  • http://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/news/personalized-video-boasts-better-roi-than-traditional-digital-tactics/
  • http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/
  • https://econsultancy.com/blog/11051-21-ways-online-retailers-can-improve-customer-retention-rates

| Creative, Research

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