Tag Archives: branding

Artificial Intelligence: The Holy Grail of Digital Marketing

Entrepreneur published an interesting read on Artificial Intelligence last week.  AI, short for Artificial Intelligence, “is the ability of a computer or computer-enabled robotic systems to process massive amounts of in-depth data and produce outcomes similar to the thought processes of humans in learning, analyzing, decision making, and problem-solving.”   We are seeing more and more applications of AI in marketing, especially with the growth of digital advertising.

Head on over to the Entrepreneur Website to read the article and learn how artificial intelligence could be added to your current marketing mix.

The article also shared a staggering estimate: “The global AI market was worth $7.35 billion in 2018, where the largest portion of revenue was stirred from enterprise applications. The market is expected to catapult to $89.84 billion by 2025.”  Read the article to learn more about the role of artificial intelligence in marketing.

7 Ways to Make Content Mobile Friendly

At NLT, we spend a good bit of our time focused on how content appears on mobile devices.  Forbes published a great article written by Brian Sutter earlier this year detailing seven ways to make your content mobile friendly.  I’m sure you’ve heard the term “mobile first”, but what does it really mean and how do you get there?

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Sutter’s article is easy to understand and gives great tips on how to “put your mobile users’ needs first.”  Read it by clicking here.


7 Tips for Mastering Instagram for Business


Are you using Instagram to grow your business?


If not, you may want to consider integrating it into your 2018 strategy.


Instagram has over 700 million monthly active users. It’s a great platform to use your creativity and “show” vs. only tell your audience about your business.


If you are unfamiliar or unsure if Instagram is right for your company, click here to read Sendible’s quick 7 minute Instagram tips and give us a call.

Great Business Tip!

On a recent vacation road trip from Texas to South Carolina, we ran into some car trouble along the way and were forced to find the nearest car repair shop.

The place we happened upon looked like the last place you would think to look for some business insight.  But there on the wall was a sign that said the following:

“If you don’t do something to promote your business, something terrible happens.  Nothing!!!”

October 2011 Thoughts

The October 2011 Thoughts That Count from NextLevel Thinking: What Should You Be Doing? “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing” {John Russell, President, Harley-Davidson}

Supporting Your Local Community is Good Marketing!!!

My daughter is a member of her high school dance team, the award winning Langham Creek Bailadoras (www.bailadoras.com
). Last week for the second straight year, I participated in something called Donation Quest. My job was to chaperone and drive five girls to various local businesses. The girls asked these businesses for donations to be used at their annual Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction.

As I drove from business to business, I started to think about how important it is for these local businesses to participate in the various fundraising activities that inevitably present themselves each year. After all, the communities where these businesses reside support them with their wallet and are an important source of sales../p>

We visited restaurants, watch shops, electronics stores, custom frame shops, beauty parlors, yogurt shops and car garages just to name a few. Most were locally owned with a few national chains sprinkled in the mix.

The responses to the girl’s requests were varied. There were a few “We were wondering when we were going to see you this year, let’s see what we can do for you” or “We really like participating in these local events, here is a gift certificate for you to use”. Our team always felt positive about our interaction with those businesses. You got the feeling that they conduct business like this every day.

Some of the local businesses and all of the national chains said they needed to talk to their home office. How weak is that…it’s just an easy way for them to not participate? Only a few businesses actually said no!

So, if you are a local business supported by your local community, my advice is to put community participation into your yearly marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be expensive and you can be creative in your ideas. Working with your local community brings a wide range of benefits that really have to do with creating good will for your company.

So, the next time a group of girls from the high school dance team comes into your place of business with an opportunity for you to highlight what you do, be prepared to help them out!

Building a Brand…Starts with Knowing Who You Are

When NextLevel Thinking began building a brand for OGsys, an oil and gas accounting software provider based in Ft. Worth, the first thing we noticed was that nobody knew exactly what to the call the company. The company’s official name at the time was Oil and Gas Information Systems, Inc. – a mouthful that was often shortened in a variety of ways.

During our investigation phase, we interviewed OGsys clients and employees alike and found that no one was sure of the right name because a solid brand had never been established. Even though OGsys had been a pioneer in the oil and gas accounting software industry for 30 years, they hadn’t been telling their story in a consistent way.

And, what a story they had to tell! Upon interviewing their founders, we learned they were the first company to develop an oil and gas accounting application for the personal computer. And, that they were one of the first in the industry to provide an automated alternative to manually processing data – saving their clients hours and hours of time.

“It’s hard to talk about yourself and sing your own praises,” said OGsys President, Chuck Blanton. “Until we started working with NextLevel, we didn’t truly realize some of the amazing accomplishments we should be sharing with our clients and potential clients.”

These little nuggets of information are what distinguish companies from their competitors, but no one knows it unless you tell them. Back then, OGsys spent the majority of their time talking about their products in a very technical way. We called this approach– “software centric” and found that most of the companies in the industry fell into that category. Everyone was touting their products, but no one was talking about how they benefited their clients. After all, it’s people who buy the products!

During the visualization phase, we determined that the key component missing from the OGsys strategy had been communication. They had innovative products, world-class service and support teams and a great story, but they weren’t communicating it in a strategic way.

In addition, OGsys had a database of clients who used their products and services on a daily basis who were hungry for information about how they could better utilize their software. Many clients didn’t realize there were product upgrades available that would make their jobs easier. They didn’t know there were upgraded support options or services that could benefit them. All OGsys needed were the vehicles to easily communicate all of this information.

NextLevel Thinking developed a new communication model for OGsys that allowed them to establish an ongoing dialogue with their clients using monthly email blasts, a monthly e-newsletter, an interactive on-line client forum, online survey functionality to easily solicit client feedback and a redesigned, interactive website that is more search engine friendly. In addition to the design and communication elements, we also identified key areas to target for growth that would funnel new business into the pipeline and upgrade existing client contracts.

The toughest part for our clients is determining how they are going to execute these complex new strategies. Like many companies who have remained successful in this difficult economic climate, OGsys has a lean operation that doesn’t include an in-house marketing staff. As a result, they don’t have the manpower to devote to executing their new strategy. To bridge the gap, they are taking advantage of NextLevel Thinking’s Marketing Leadership offering – which in essence means we have become the virtual marketing department for OGsys.

We work with their staff on a daily basis to execute all facets of their communication strategy, including email blasts, web content management, newsroom articles and advertising campaigns. If they’re thinking about developing a new product or application, we survey their clients for feedback. If they want to invite clients to a user group meeting, we coordinate the communications and develop the presentations. When it’s time for a trade show, we develop the booth display. All of this frees up OGsys to concentrate on day-to-day operations with the confidence that NextLevel is handling their marketing and communications.

“Since we’ve teamed up with NextLevel Thinking, we have a revitalized energy and a new vision for how we’re going to grow our company,” said Barbara Schweitzer, Chief Operations Officer at OGsys. “They push us to move forward and stay focused.”

Today, there’s been a shift in culture at OGsys. Their clients are more informed, more interactive and more likely to talk about OGsys with other industry professionals. Internally, the OGsys staff is more engaged and more empowered to share ideas.

In short, the word is out and OGsys is a name to remember!

NextLevel Thinking Wins Prestigious Marketing Award

HOUSTON, TX (May 25, 2004) — NextLevel Thinking, one of Houston’s premier strategic marketing firms, announced today that it received a Crystal Award from the Houston American Marketing Association (AMA) for Campaign of the Year.

Crystal Awards recognize various categories of marketing projects that have used creativity to achieve exceptional business results in a best of class manner. The award presented at the 18th Annual AMA Crystal Award banquet was for Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Commit for Life campaign.

“Winning a Crystal is a big honor for us and more importantly for The Blood Center,” says Eric Poerschke, managing partner of NextLevel Thinking. “The panel of judges comprised of former AMA chapter presidents represents some of the best marketing minds in the country and we are proud of this achievement.”

The objective of the television campaign is to redefine what it means to be a regular blood donor. It turns the dreaded needle into the face of a loved one. It focuses on life. It pulls at the heartstrings of those that do donate and those that would donate.

The simple spots are very specific in their message, but the emotion and the appeal to donate blood once a quarter is very compelling. The pictures are of actual donors and recipients from our region and they are the focus of this campaign. In simple terms, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is getting out of the blood business and into the life business.