Digital Marketing Boot Camp: Lessons Learned to Connect with Your Online Audience

By Nick Mattar

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s inaugural Digital Marketing Boot Camp, held on Feb. 15 at the College for Creative Studies’ A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, brought together more than 200 attendees for a half-day of dialogue on improving the digital marketing footprint of their businesses.

Keynote speakers and panelists provided attendees with recommendations and to-dos that could be implemented immediately.

View key takeaways from the event below and check out the Chamber’s recap of the day.

The Evolving Social Media Landscape and What It Means for Your Business

  • Before embarking on a major social media campaign, consider the overarching “why” as much as the tactical “what” and “how.”
  • Don’t fall for “shiny object syndrome,” which is the desire to have the latest and greatest tech or social media capabilities (i.e. don’t rush your company onto Snapchat if you cannot answer the “why.”)
  • Your company’s website is its home – it must facilitate the campaign’s end goals, so it needs to be user-friendly and mobile responsive.
  • Instagram is the social media platform with the highest engagement rate, whereas Facebook reaches the lowest percentage of followers.
  • Email marketing is the digital marketing platform with the highest conversion rate, such as sales, event registrations or anything else that involves turning a lead into a customer.

Trends and Tips to Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Your company’s message should be adjusted to resonate with the audience that is being targeted.
  • When it comes to social publishing tools, do not “set and forget” but instead keep an eye on your posts at all times to monitor conversations and remain authentic.
  • Data and research are necessary to evaluate user behavior; your (the employee’s) experience is not the same as the user’s experience.
  • “Dark social” media is the social media conversation occurring without a hashtag or is otherwise difficult to find – more than 70 percent of your brand’s discussion could occur in this space.
  • If you are targeting millennials, you should probably be on Snapchat.
  • To combat Facebook’s decreasing engagement, set a budget for your Facebook page rather than depending solely on organic engagement.

Putting the Human Touch Back Into Your Online Presence

  • A brand’s online presence is a reflection of the brand’s story, thus it should not be solely focused on selling products and making money.
  • Successful online brands and names are rooted in the ability of viewers and customers to relate to the brand.
  • Your social media posts should not always focus on selling products, but rather writing materials that your audience wants to read.
  • Social media is the essence of speaking – use your voice and don’t try to “deliver” the information.

Looking for more facts and analytics to bolster your digital marketing strategy? Check out MLive’s Digital Marketing eBook, produced exclusively for the Digital Marketing Boot Camp.

Plus, learn more tips and read a full recap of the Chamber’s Digital Marketing Boot Camp here.

Nick Mattar is the director of marketing at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Lear Innovation Center, Detroit’s Latest Automotive Design Incubator, Opens Downtown


By Daniel A. Washington 

After a little more than eight months of renovations, a former cigar factory in Capitol Park is now home to Detroit’s newest example of renewed spirit: Lear Corporation’s Innovation Center located at 119 State St. The space is expected to house nearly 100 employees and will serve as an incubator for automotive and nonautomotive projects in design and research.

“We are very excited to be opening a new innovation and design center in downtown Detroit,” said Lear Corp. President and CEO Matt Simoncini at the grand opening on Tuesday. “We plan to leverage the rapidly developing infrastructure in the central business district as well as the concentration of arts, science and technology assets in the Capitol Park area.”

With Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson and College for Creative Studies President Rick Rogers in attendance, Simoncini announced a new partnership between the two schools and Lear to develop next-generation vehicle interiors and connected and alternative energy vehicles.

“We are honored and happy to be positioned to help give our students the chance at gaining real-world experience by working with an industry leader such as Lear Corp.,” said Rogers.

As of now, close to 25 employees work in the six-story building, each school will be granted the chance to provide 10 paid interns to learn alongside full-time Lear employees.

“Lear’s investment in this new center is another example of how Detroit is building on its history of innovation in automotive design,” said Duggan. “Thanks to their partners at Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies, Lear will be able to provide young Detroiters with practical hands-on experience to prepare them for careers in this cutting-edge field.”

View photos of the Lear Innovation Center here.


A Fresh Perspective

Students are fueling innovation at Henry Ford Innovation Institute

By Noah Purcell

Page 22

A tight focus on routine and procedure is critical to delivering quality health care. However, that focus can lead to the need for a fresh set of eyes to enhance the patient experience.

With that in mind, the Henry Ford Innovation Institute (HFII) invited students from the College for Creative Studies (CCS) to sit and watch the goings-on of operation and waiting rooms in hopes of capturing a new spark for the latest innovation.

“We brought the students in to actually see the procedures take place and walk through our simulation center and talk with our docs. It’s really interesting to get a fresh set of young people’s eyes that aren’t poisoned by the way things are always done. They can look at things very freshly,” said Mark Coticchia, chief innovation officer for Henry Ford Health System.

The location of the HFII allows for ease of collaboration with partners at CCS or Wayne State University. CCS students involved in the collaboration are enrolled in a Henry Ford sponsored class; during their time within the health care environment they are tasked with improving on existing processes or even helping to craft new procedures.

“They took us to a room and said ‘What can we do to make this room more comfortable for people; what can we do to make this experience easier?’ said Guercy Eugene, footwear designer and CCS student who spent a semester at HFII.

The partnership with CCS has led to several innovations including: a better patient gown that allows easier access and increased patient comfort, a system of intubation products to simplify the neonatal intubation process and a therapeutic cabinet that uses the principles of color and aroma therapy and feng shui to create a more holistic healing environment.

“One of my favorite days is going over and listening to the projects from students because if they come in with any sense of intimidation, they certainly shed themselves of that quickly as they go through the process. It’s one of those moments that you just enjoy because you’re listening to certain ideas and you give yourself permission to feel stupid and say ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ and it’s a good thing,” said Robert Riney, president and chief operating officer of Henry Ford Health System.

Eugene’s work at the HFII found him designing a networked bracelet capable of monitoring patients’ biometrics, such as heart rate or blood pressure, as well as acting as a communication device between the wearer and doctors or nurses. He envisions his bracelet allowing patients who are not in immediate danger to be monitored from their own homes and avoid prolonged hospital stays.

Even as the experience at the HFII is enriching in and of itself, the exposure to the world of health care holds the potential to open doors down the line for students.

“It also rounds out the student’s experience because whether or not they are going into an entrepreneurial arena or whether or not they end up migrating into health care or whether or not they migrate to a traditional design role within the auto industry, the experience of really understanding the intersects between different industries is really invaluable to them,” Riney said.

As a direct result of the partnership, graduates from CCS have been hired on within the health system to assist with design sketches and rapid prototyping.

“As you move ideas through you need to develop a prototype, you need to do a university prototype, you need to do a commercial prototype, you need to get it into the marketplace, on and on and on,” Coticchia said.

Ecosystem for Medical Innovation

Launched in October 2012, the HFII is based at the Henry Ford Hospital New Center campus in Detroit. HFII’s operating philosophy is simple: Use innovation to improve health care and the patient experience. The Institute is organized as an independent scientific research and educational entity, allowing it to operate flexibly and rapidly.

HFII provides a forum where physicians, engineers, designers, artists, scientists, educators and business gurus come together to collaborate and create change to improve the delivery of health care and the health residents throughout the region.

“One of the things that we anticipated when we launched the Innovation Institute was that we were going to have an opportunity to be a convener of many different stakeholders that all have energy and interest around innovation and that we’d be able to create a multitude of paths moving forward for the innovation space and that has proven to be true,” Riney said.

With approximately 1,200 physicians and researchers in more than 40 specialties, the Henry Ford Medical Group is already a major innovator in the field. However, HFII provides stimulus and seed resources for multi-industry teams to jumpstart development of new medical devices, products and therapies. More than 30 projects are in process at HFII, including innovations in technology and procedures for treating congestive heart failure, diagnosing and treating cancer and applying radiation to tumors.

“I think we underestimated how much pent up interest there is in creative ways to bring what might be considered nontraditional partners to the table and create innovation that not only improves processes that are used in our organization or improves products that are used in our organization — but in some cases it can help create a path forward for the entrepreneur in terms of an economic catalyst for the region,” Riney said.

Even as students ply their eye for design, National Institute of Health scientists are exploring advances in cancer detection and treatment. While this leading-edge research hums with the promise of tomorrow, Henry Ford executives are also enthused about the institute’s ancillary benefits.

“Part of a byproduct of this Innovation Institute is unleashing the innovation DNA through all levels of the organization. It’s interesting how a housekeeper can read about what we are doing with the creation of this Innovation Institute and all of a sudden go to their front-line manager with a very creative idea on how to improve process in their own area that they might not have felt empowered to do until they saw our focus and our desire to enhance that whole innovative experience,” Riney said.

Taking a true big picture approach, Riney sees the HFII and similar efforts as being integral pieces of a rebuilt and diversified economy in the region strengthened by the cohesive, innovative approach.

“We [can] create economic activity by these partnerships [which can] create jobs in Southeastern Michigan that are particularly attractive to the young professionals that will define our urban environments across the country going forward,” Riney said.

Noah Purcell is a metro Detroit freelance writer.