Tag Archives: Chris

Chris Kovac named to 2015 Techweek100 (Kansas City)

Chris Kovac is named to the 2015 Techweek100 for Kansas City. You can find the full list/article at http://techweek.com/techweek100.

About Chris Kovac:

Chris is currently working on: KindBeef.com (early stage agribusiness/tech start-up); mentor/partner at the BetaBlox incubator in Kansas City (http://www.BetaBlox.com) and enterprise digital marketing consulting.

As of June 2015, his portfolio includes equity positions in over 20 different companies and start-ups, including: Custom Trailer Pros (http://customtrailerpros.com), http://www.AirFiltersOnDemand.com, Doc Lerner Quality Goods (https://www.etsy.com/shop/DocLerner), Instaglam Box (http://www.instaglambox.com), http://www.HowToBeHenry.com, Cyrptoempire (http://c-ellc.com), Bespoke Woodworks, CoinPlay.io, RoseSwap.com and others.

Chris Kovac named to Techweek100 (Kansas City)

Chris Kovac named to Techweek100 (Kansas City)

Chris brings 19 years of strategic digital/social influence and marketing experience, working with many F500, national and international brands, including: Hallmark (speaker/trainer 2012 Hallmark Summit), Microsoft, 3M Health Care, Sprint SLCS, SureWest, Silpada, Hilti, Dictionary.com, FMC, TAMKO, Wellmark BC&BS and others.

I speak regionally/nationally on social media/influence theory, strategy & best practices. During the last several years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at the Gallup AIM Institute, colleges and universities, including NWMSU, UMKC School of Pharmacy and others. I also speak at the Integrated Marketing Summit conference (Chicago, SF, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, etc).

About Techweek:

The Techweek100 identifies leaders who have made a significant impact on the technology and innovation ecosystem in which they operate. The Techweek100 includes leaders of fast-growing tech companies, prominent investors, key enablers of the digital ecosystem, creators of new technologies, and other innovators that make important contributions to their field. The Techweek100 is not a ranking, but rather an annual list of 100 most distinguished technology organizations and their leaders selected by the Techweek community, Techweek Advisory Boards, and the Techweek team.

The methodology for the Techweek100 is the same across all host cities, and is consistent each year. To create each list, Techweek reviews five major factors in the nomination process.

  • – Has played an instrumental role in the growth of an accelerating market-specific technology company.
  • – Has led specific innovative technology initiatives for public or private corporations his or her ecosystem.
  • – Has been an active supporter of growth in the community as an advisor or mentor.
  • – Has created a net benefit for the public, such as: invented a coding language or led a civic initiative.
  • – Has been an integral part of companies attaining the necessary capital for success and strategic growth.

Reserving Social Media Profiles for Business

Last night I was editing my presentation for the Chicago Integrated Marketing Summit (going on today) and I wanted to share some thoughts, both for companies currently using social media and those that are just getting started.  The bottom line is: register your company/brand profiles on all (relevant) social media sites, even if you are not going to use them in the near future.  These sites include: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress (blog), Flickr (photos), and a handful of others.  For reference, see Brian Solis’s Conversation Prism (click on the link) for a nicely organized list.

Here’s why…You run a (high) risk that someone, maybe even a competitor or ex-employee, will register a profile and you will have no control (and little recourse) over what they post.  Obviously, that can be very damaging.  There’s risk, but there is also opportunity!  One of the benefits of this is more “relevance” in the search engines.  In short, “relevant” links pointing back to your website (from 3rd party sites), the search engines gives you “extra points” in the search engine rankings.  Another benefit is qualified traffic generated from people clicking on a link that’s embedded in your bio.  Finally, make sure you register common misspellings of your company/brand names — make it easy for people to find you.

Placeholder best practices include:

  • Have a relevant & search-friendly (using relevant keywords) bio within the profile
  • Include messaging that says “Hi..we’re not yet on _____ but you can find more information about us on our website at _____.com
  • Make sure the profile is properly “tagged”with relevant keywords
  • Register your company, but don’t forget brands and product lines
  • Look for opportunities to own an issue (preventing infections, child education, etc)

I’m interested in any comments you may have.  The preso is embedded below the post.  Thanks!


Presentation from IMS Chicago

IAB sets social media guidelines – Chris Kovac quotes

I was quoted in the latest issue of BtoB Magazine on social media ad metrics and best practices.  You can find the article below.

IAB sets social media guidelines
Recommendations seen as essential to making medium “safe and scalable’
Media buyers also said the guidelines will help them in their efforts to develop and measure social media campaigns for clients.“There is a lot of confusion in the marketplace right now because people aren’t speaking the same language,” said Chris Kovac, social media supervisor at Nicholson Kovac, a b-to-b marketing communications agency based in Kansas City, Mo. “Establishing a common language has to be the first step,” he said.

“Once we’re on the same page, then we can define subgroups of advertising. Is it an interactive banner ad, is it an engagement ad, etc.”

One of the most important things to measure in social media is engagement with users, Kovac said. “We want to measure the behavior—not just who’s clicking on what,” he said. “Then we can understand who are the influencers. For example, we look at how many people are commenting on our blogs and forwarding them to friends.”

Kovac said that while measuring social media is important, it is also hard to standardize metrics, particularly for something like influence.

Why you should want to work in social media!

(Live draft)

I work at a terrific advertising agency. My job is to develop and integrate social media marketing into the ad agency model. Introducing all these new social media marketing “tools” internally and externally can be a challenge. It is like drinking from the fire hose; so much new information to understand and digest. How can I introduce these new tools to my company while still making it exciting (and relevant) to learn?

We are trying to integrate social media marketing into the culture of our agency. How is this best accomplished? Obviously, forcing information down someone’s throat usually does not yield positive results. Plus, how do you overcome presentation/information fatigue? These are lessons learned from my experience building and integrating interactive marketing services into an ad agency model. So, why not make it fun? Because it actually is!

So, this weird notion came to me in a dream. Why would anyone not want to work in social media? Therefore I decided to post my thoughts to my blog. I may post my full strategy/plan on this blog down the road. I would love feedback, etc.

Spend all day playing on Twitter

I am sure a lot of people that read this blog are familiar with Twitter. If not, Twitter is a microblog/community where you post “tweets” about what you are currently doing, links to cool web sites/ videos, etc. It is an interesting mix of personal and professional communications. I have become a Twitterholic.

Am I on Twitter a lot? Yes. Am I really screwing around? No. I use Twitter to talk to my peers in social/interactive marketing. It keeps me current on how our industry is changing, current best practices, thoughts from respected gurus, case studies (good and bad) and much more. I am actually going to finish a post about why I love Twitter so much. I have also met a ton of great people in Kansas City and throughout the nation that I would not otherwise have connected with.

Social media peeps are social

Social media professionals tend to be offline social creatures as well. Via social media channels, I have been introduced to a number of super-cool people that I have met in person. There is some kind of strange and intimate bond that I have experienced when talking to people in my social network. In my experience, early adopters of social media are very forward thinking, progressive, friendly, willing to help you in any way possible, and actually care about people in their community, etc. Finally, there is little to no negativity. It is a near utopia (at least for now – hope it stays that way).

Be a trend setter

Social media marketing is truly relationship marketing (one to one) and will not only impact marketing, but the way human communications continue to evolve. How cool is that? There can be only so many ad formats (ads on buses, buildings, etc) so their will be a revolution from the status quo (frequency, frequency, frequency) to less frequency and more relevant engagements. As many have said before me, “as marketers we need to quite talking ‘at’ our target audiences and start talking ‘with’ them.” For me, I find nearly all mass media message intrusive and non-relevant.

Do not need formal training, just passion

IMHO, immersion is one of the most important aspects of being a social media professional. You have to live and breathe this stuff; it is the only way to really learn. The skies the limit! People like @garyvee and others have parlayed their social media presence literally into fame and wealth. You could be next! It is much like programming, if you do not love it, than you should find another calling.

Forward looking

The way humans communicate is rapidly changing and evolving. How cool (and scary)! Soon, the Web and TV (and mobile for that matter) will all be mashed up. This means web widgets (like Twitter) will be on your TV and vice versa. I can only image the changes coming in the next decade, let alone in the next few years. It is our job to stay at the forefront of trends and even help create them! How will this impact the world of social media and marketing in general.

Several opportunities

There are a number of different jobs within social media and a variety of companies that will utilize your skills. You can work in technology, on the client side or work with an advertising/marketing agency. Specific job functions include: strategic planning, project managing, copywriting, web development, e-marketing, graphic design, application development, market research and much more. Does that sound palatable to you? I will expand on social media opportunities in a future blog post.

You could be a billionaire

Well it is a possibility, but not likely. However, this frontier is wide open. You can chart your own path and create opportunity. The cost of entry is low along with the risk; but, the reward can be potentially huge. There are a number of social media start-ups which seem similar to all the new Web ideas in the late 1990’s through the early 2000’s. Where will your path in social media lead you?

Your thoughts?

I encourage and appreciate your thoughts on this subject.  DM me on Twitter if you want (@chriskovac)

My tips for achieving great SEO/SEM

Full disclosure:  I responded to a HARO per “tips to succeed in SEO/SEM.”  I probably run the risk of ruining the HARO (I have not heard back yet) but I took several hours to think through and answer the questions.  Plus,  SEO/SEM is a passion of mine since 1996.   So, I will go ahead and post.  I am happy to take down if the story is a go.  Cheers.  Chris Kovac

Your “claim to fame” in a short sentence.

Professional online and search engine marketing since 1996.

What are your top five tips to achieve great SEO?
1) Networking – Search engines often change the rules (or algorithms) on how they rank a Web site. It is important to network with fellow search marketers to keep up on how the industry is changing. There are a number of discussion forums, blogs and other sites where you can engage your fellow search marketers. My networking tool of choice is Twitter, because you can engage your peers on a 1:1 basis.

2) Attend conferences – There are a number of quality search marketing conferences. I recommend Search Engine Strategies (SES) and SMX. Usually the speakers and panelists are the leading thought leaders within search marketing and provide timely information and advice that can help you achieve great SEO results. Attendees are usually willing to share their thoughts and experiences and most everyone is approachable. It is also a great way to connect informally with your peers at the social events.

3) Test your theories – I encourage search marketers to test and retest your search marketing theories. Part of search marketing is experimenting and then focusing on what is working. With advancements in tracking capabilities, it is easy to set up a simple tracking code to test the results of your search marketing campaigns. I often start with a “shotgun” approach and then refine the campaign to a targeted, “rifle” approach.

4) Stay white-hat – Don’t give into the temptation to try to “spoof” the search engines with link baiting or other “black-hat” tactics. More often than not, you will succeed in generating high rankings until your site/s gets blacklisted and removed entirely from the search engines.

5) Track your campaigns – Before the campaign starts, develop campaign objectives that are measureable and that you can test against. There are a number of ways to track a search marketing campaign. The best practice is to use a tag-based analytics provider. Then you can not only track the visitors to your site, you can also track their behavior and ROI.

What are the three biggest mistakes in terms of their SEO activities?

The three biggest mistakes I see SMEs make include:

1) Beginning a SEO initiative in the middle (or near the end) of a Web site development project. This means significantly more work to: revise the copy after the fact to ensure it is search engine friendly, rename the URLs with relevant keywords, create SEO-friendly Header tags, create relevant Alt text and most importantly, increase the link relevancy or Page Rank on Google.

2) Failure to stay current with SEO best practices. As previously mentioned, it is important to stay current with SEO best practices and how the search engines are changing the way they rank a Web site. This mistake is easy to resolve by subscribing to enewsletters, going to conferences and talking with your peers in search marketing.

3) Finally, not tracking the success or ROI of the search engine campaign still seems to be somewhat common. There are a number of ways to set up campaign analytics. One of the best known (and free) tools is Google Analytics.

How would you explain SEO and SEM to somone who has never encountered either before?

I explain to clients and internal staff that SEO and SEM are just tools in the marketing toolbox. SEM (aka paid search) is a cost-per-click model, meaning you only pay when a user actually clicks on your search engine text ad. SEM is best for driving specific actions, like a purchase or signing up for an enewsletter.

SEO is a longer process to make a Web site achieve high rankings in the search engines for free or “organic” listings. SEO is a good strategy to increase awareness and drive qualified traffic to your Web site, even if they are in the information gathering stage of the sales cycle.

How should business people identify and choose their search advisors/consultants?

I recommend utilizing referrals when trying to find a solid, professional search adviser/consultant. There are so many companies that say they are search experts, but I have found that most are far from being proficient. I would also ask prospective search professionals to provide examples of successful campaigns, case studies and the methodology for developing a search campaign. Finally, previous experience in the industry/category is also a big plus, as this will reduce the learning curve.

What can search really do for a business? Do you have any examples?

Integrated search marketing can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for a number of reasons. The primary benefit is the ability to drive qualified traffic to your Web site that results in an action by the end user. That action can be a lead, sale or even drive call center volume. Often times a solid search engine campaign will produce ROI that will rival any other marketing tactic.

We have a number of successful SEO case studies. I am more than willing to share the results.

What’s in store for search in the near future?

I think in the near-future we will see “virtual personal assistants” that will understand how we search for information and will facilitate that search. The “assistant” will remember every search term we have ever searched for, the Web pages we have visited and the formats of information that we are most interested in. Specifically, those formats could include: text, audio/video and photos. I also think the search assistant will be integrated into our computers, mobile telephones, car navigation and even our home appliances.

Which search resources would you recommend that business people read/follow about SEO/SEM?

There are a number of resources that business professionals can follow to stay at the forefront of SEO/SEM. I recommend sites like: Searchenginewatch.com, Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization – SEMPO.com, Searchengineland.com, MarketingProfs.com and blogs by Danny Sullivan.

DM me on Twitter (@chriskovac) if you are interested in discussing.

NK Announces Digital Offensive in B-to-B Marketplace

This release is the culmination of about 6 months of work for me.  This is phase I of a suite of 10 different social media marketing services.  Please click on the release for more info.  Thanks!

NK Announces Digital Offensive in B-to-B Marketplace
Proprietary Process Underpins Social Media Savvy Suite of Services: Nicholson Kovac Inc., one of the nation’s leading independent marketing communications agencies, today introduced a suite of proprietary social media services designed specifically for B-to-B clients.

read more | digg story

Social Media Club KC – breakfast video

From @jeffisageek Blog:  http://www.jeffisageek.net/blog/2008/11/11/smckc-breakfast-recap/

From Jeff’s blog –

Recently all of us social media types got together for our monthly breakfast and we had a great turn out and some great conversation.

If you are in the Kansas City area and a user, fan, or just interested in social media please join us…its free to everyone, casual and very laid back.

My thoughts:  This is a very cool group of progressive people.  Check out the community page at http://socialmediaclubkc.ning.com/


Chris Kovac

Ad Agencies Expected to Have a Presence in Social Media

http://fuelingnewbusiness.com/2008/10/28/should-ad-agencies-be-expected-to-have-a-presence-in-social-media/ – full article

With 93% of Americans expecting companies to have presence in social media, this article questions whether ad agencies should also engage with social media. Of course they should!

Study: Cone finds that 93% of Americans expect companies to have  presence in social media. 85% believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media.

If this is the expectation for companies, what about the same expectations for ad agencies? Should they not also be a participant? When agencies should be leading you’ll find a significant number of small-to mid-size agencies are not even participating. They are woefully behind when it comes to social media.

Almost 60% of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and 25% interact more than once per week, 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study says.

56% of American consumers feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.
Americans believe that companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%). Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%).
Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%).
Companies should market to consumers (25%).
Men, a much sought-after target in the online space, are twice as likely as women to interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media (33% to 17%, respectively).

“The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” explains Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, “it isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”

read more | digg story

Wow, these numbers are much higher than I expected.  Great article to forward on to clients and peers.

Poker Hand Analysis – $5/10 No Limit Holdem Poker

I went to play a poker tournament at a private club on a Wednesday night.  It was a small game, 22 players and the buy-in was $25.  The group of guys were very cool and it was a lot of fun. I drank my fair share and busted out of the tourney after being early chip leader.  Take it from me, drinking and poker do not mix at all.  I thought it best to go home and play some online poker.  I did vow to play smart and only play one table (I usually play 4-6).  Long story short, I played 1:15 and played awesome.  Played a complete pro style 17/13/5.  That means I entered 17% of all pots, raised pre-flop 13% and I was very aggressive.  We played a full-ring 9 seat cash game @ $5/10 No Limit Hold’em.  There was also at least 2 professionals and everyone had a full buy-in or more. Fun!

Here are the hands:
http://www.pokerhand.org/?33820633-barreling with garbage on $5/10 NL
This is an interesting hand.  I am in the cutoff (right before the button).  The action opens to a raise under-the-gun raise (a very strong raise) and it folds around to me.  I have 5c5h and I opt to call and set-mine.  I have position and this is an easy call with any pair.  Everyone folds (table has been tight, unusual fir these stakes) and the flop comes 10,10,8 rainbow.  Opponent is first to act and fires a $61 bet into $85 pot.  That is a typical continuation bet, on that flop he will fire with any two cards, especially at the mid-high stakes.  Knowing this, I put him on 22-99 and some A high suited hands and maybe down to 10,9s.  He is a good player and he is also aggressive.  He raises 17% of all hands and that is high, therefore his range is somewhat large.  This means there is no way he hit this flop and I have position (the most impt thing in poker).  I decided to float him and call.  I am playing his cards and betting style, not mine.

Turn comes 6, so the board is 8,10,10,6 rainbow.  He checks, as I expected.  He must be concerned, because my call looks very strong.  That brings up another point.  I could have raised the flop on his $61 bet.  But, on that board it looks very suspicious.  If he calls my raise, say to $169, I cannot put any more money in the pot and basically loose no matter what to a good player and that’s a huge loss.  So he checks the turn and I bet big $155 into a $205 pot.  That is a large, it means business bet.  He calls, which makes my heart sink (love online poker). BTW, if he bets out on the turn, I fold nearly all of the time.

The river is a 6 and the board = 8,10,10,6,6 – lol.   My hand (5,5) is dead, I can only play the board.  He checks again.  I think about it and because he checked the turn, a huge sign of weakness after he raised pre-flop.  That is an 80-90% obvious sign that he will not call a big river bet, even after check-calling the turn.  I believe he wants me to check down the river and his Ax or pair of 77s can show down.  I opt to fire a third bullet betting $380 into $520 pot.  That looks very strong to a good player.  If I bet $450 or overbet $575 he would call with A high in a lot of cases or like 77,99,JJ.  My bet screams that I have a 10 and was betting for value the whole time.  He thought about it (as I was kicking myself for loosing $600 on one hand with garbage) and he folded, giving me the pot.  I think I played it correctly, although I could have also folded to his flop bet.

I think given my opponents line, this move (player dependent) works about 80-90% of the time.  So if you bet $380 to win $520 and win 75% your EV = very high and profitable.  Note:  at lower stakes ($10-200 buy-ins), my play would have never worked.  Its easy to call with an A high for $8 or $35, but $380 is different.  Low stakes players typically think everyone is bluffing (most often they are not) and call with the worst hands ever.  Like calling all in pre-flop with J9s and beating KK, it’s sick and wrong and happens all the time.

http://www.pokerhand.org/?3382064Continuation betting with nothing after 3b (rereaising) preflop @ $5/10 NL

I had been playing fairly aggressive, but not out of line.  I had AKo in the small blind.  There was a mid position open for a raise.  It folded around to me.  His raise is standard and he’s a good player that will open (first to act) raise with a very wide range of hands; maybe down to like 6,7s or worse.  This is a tough spot with an unmade hand.  Calling here is really the wrong move, because you have absolutely no idea where you stand in the hand and you are out of position.  I make a standard 3bet (reraise) and he calls.  I’ll take a fold there every time.  His call means he has prob any 55-AA, AKs-AQo, a narrow range.


Flop 55Q two diamonds.  I am first to act.  Because I reraised, I control the hand.  I absolutely have to bet a good sized bet here.  I also have to bet on most flops, no matter what.  If I fold, I loose the hand every time as he bets and I have to fold with nothing.  I fired $205 into $250 (80% is a stronger than usually bet) pot.  Luckily he folded. Given his narrow range discussed above, the only hands I am afraid of were AQ, KK, AA, Ax diamonds.  He has no 5 expect for 55 equaling quads.  My preflop reraise range in the SB is typically 10,10-A,A through AQs-AKo.  I sometimes raise here with 56s and up and that is how you win, you throw people completely off.  My reraise is very strong and most players that open raise (if they are somewhat loose) will fold to a preflop reraise.

This is a spot that will get you into a lot of trouble.  Though, odds are (high) that he did not make a hand.  That board nullifies all his pocket pairs 22-JJ and AK, AJ and he simply cannot call.  If he does, we most likely will be playing for stacks in his mind.  You have to be careful here.  If he calls my bet, I am done, even if I hit a lucky A or K.  Usually, if he checks that flop (a sign of strength given how this hand plays out) and you hit on the turn he has you soooo beat (like he has KQ, better 2 pair) and you loose all your money.

Good Luck at the tables!


Analyst: Half of ‘social media campaigns’ will flop

Adam Sarner, an analyst with market research firm Gartner, has projected that over 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies with Web sites will have undertaken some kind of online social-networking initiative for marketing or customer relations purposes. But, he added in an interview with CNET News, 50 percent of those will fail.

read more | digg story

Interesting story, there is going to be a shakeout in the Web 2.0 space similar to the Internet shakeout of 1999/2000.