Marketing Food & Beverages to Kids in School: Ethical?

For the past decade, children and teenagers have been a huge market force in the food and beverage industry. Young people have caught the interest of these marketing techniques because of their influence on each other and their parents, overall spending power, and the fact that they are going to be future adult consumers as well. So, the real question is, with the rise in obesity and long-term health problems, is this marketing ethical?

Most foods that are marketed towards children and teenagers are very unhealthy. Many of these marketing companies are focusing on throwing these advertisements in schools, clubs, on the internet, and on products that have well-known brand logos.

Healthy nutrition is one of the most important aspects in growth and development. Eating these sugar and fat loaded foods that have been advertised to these kids can damage them long-term and increase their risk of diseases.

Everybody knows that childhood obesity is a major public health concern these days, so why allow these companies to even attempt to target them while in a public school setting? Shouldn’t their minds be filled with educational information instead of thinking about the greasy cheeseburgers they plan to consume at lunch or the double chocolate rice crispy bar they are going to purchase from vending machine?

It is understandable to assume these companies want to raise brand awareness for their product. Are there any other ways to do so without drilling these unhealthy products in their brain on a daily basis? It’s one thing to have an ad on the screen-saver mode on school computers, but when they are on the school’s athletic scoreboards, gym banners, school newspapers, yearbooks, and sometimes even on the school athletes warm up outfits and school buses, have we gone too far?

It’s quite obvious that the food and beverage industry have used children as one of their biggest driving forces of marketing. Although their goals are to grow in brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand preference, it seems these goals are possibly causing a serious health risk in the United States.

Not only is the marketed foods and beverages unhealthy, but it makes these kids more susceptible to the effects of marketing then that of their parents. These children do not understand that commercials and internet ads are created to sell products, so they cannot evaluate these advertisements truly based on experience or the knowledge that they are supposed to be learning at school.

-Steve the Intern

*The views of the author don’t necessarily reflect the views of Ciconte Consulting.

Mistakes Were Made

When it comes to marketing, there are so many different and nuanced ways to approach it, that mistakes are just bound to happen.

And while learning from your mistakes is just a part of life, we’re right there with you if you would much rather just avoid making them in the first place. That’s why we’re going to let you in on a little secret.

We’re going to let you know the five most common marketing mistakes that all small business owners should avoid.

Make Sure You Have A Plan!

While this sounds like a very obvious mistake, you would be surprised by how many people just decide to “wing it” most of time. Though winging it works sometimes, you can’t really do that before you have a solid structure to stand on.

Though it may not always seem like it, every solid business has a plan. So if you want to be successful, get yourself a solid plan and then you can move forward from there.

Find Your Niche

Though eventually you want advertise and assume that everybody on Earth is a potential consumer, you need to start with a niche.

Narrow your focus to a singular audience, and it will be easier for you to target and figure exactly what those people want or need. Once you successfully are able to figure out your niche, then it should be time to expand and broaden the horizon of your audience.

Pay Attention To The Numbers

There are so many different ways to track your numbers, most of which are built into social media networks or could easily be integrated. So there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be keeping an eye on your numbers.

The reason this is important is because there is really no other way to know if what you’re doing is working. And if you don’t know what’s working, then there is no way to grow.

You’re wasting all of the work you put into your marketing strategy if you’re not looking at the numbers and building off of what works.

Try Some New Things

A lot of businesses are stuck in their ways. This is a possible detriment to them, but it doesn’t have to be for you.

What this means is that you should make sure to keep your eyes on new and upcoming trends, and try and figure out how you could incorporate that into your future marketing strategies.

While it’s good to have a routine, don’t get complacent! Try new things!

Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

It’s easy for people to look at a small business and look it at it like every major corporation, and not actual people working hard behind the scenes.

This makes it easier for people to dismiss your business as some cold and unaware, and that is not good for you as most people find out about a good business through other people. So if someone is having problems with your business and simply providing some costumer service is the way to fix it, then go ahead and do it.

People like to know that you care. People like to know that their problems are being resolved. Don’t be afraid to reach out, people really like when you do.

Now, there are other mistakes that you could possibly make, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All you have to do is learn from them, and grow from them. Just try and avoid these, and you should be on your way to becoming a successful business in the marketing world!

Luis Rodriguez 

E(ffective)vent Marketing

Marketing here, marketing there, marketing everywhere! Event marketing is effective marketing. Simple as that. End blog post. Not really though, there’s many pieces that make event marketing what is and through those pieces make it effective. If the Joker was a business savvy villain, he’d be asking “why so effective?” Fine visual representation through a meme, I’d say.

Event marketing is effective because you or your company are promoting a product/service through in-person interactions. A potential or valued customer gets a hands-on experience with what you have to offer all whilst the relationship between customer and company begins to grow. Like all relationships this business relationship takes time and feedback to help nurture its growth. Insert a stat and beautiful visual here! “According to Forrester Research, events make up for 24% of the B2B marketing budget.” VERY WOW, MUCH STUNNING. (Image from Forrester Research)

What this visual demonstrates is that even with the growth of social media, events will still be some of the most important communication tools in marketing by 2020…and beyond? Even with the growth of social media in the past decade, it’s actually helped with the successfulness of events. Think Facebook, with the multitude of events that pop up in a calendar, seeing who’s interested in events, checking in at locations, and even the use of the live video feature to experience events via technology. YOU JUST HAD TO BE THERE! Continue to grow relationships with your clients through these events and continue to watch your brand grow. Your event marketing is truly effective marketing if properly carried out.


The Traffic You Actually Want To Deal With

In 2018, many people are asking the question of whether or not SEO is important or if it will continue to be important. The short answer would be “yes, it’s still important,” but the longer answer is a little more complicated.

Before we even start, if you don’t already know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s basically the process of driving traffic to your website by organic means through search engines.

In theory, if you optimized your keywords and whatnot on your website, you would appear higher in a Google search. However, with the changes in Google’s algorithm, many people are questioning the viability of SEO – at least in its current state – in the future of marketing.

There are many things that changed the usefulness of SEO, and one of those things are companies now being able to pay to be on the front page of certain searches.

So, what that basically means, is that no matter how well they optimize their keywords, they’re going to land in the top results.

With this change, small businesses are going to struggle, because the people and companies with the endless amounts of money can pay to land higher up in search engines.

Just hearing this, it would seem like SEO is dead-in-the-water, but that is not true in the slightest. There are many different ways to make sure your keywords are landing higher up in those search engines.

One thing you can do is making sure that your brand is focused. What this means is that you want everything on your site to read and be tonally similar. This is especially beneficial in the form of blogs, since they are a longer form of writing that can indirectly drive traffic to your site just by being fresh and relevant to what is going on in the world.

Another way SEO is beneficial is through audience research. If you take a look at the way your audience is finding your content or product – whether that is through specific searches or through social media – then you know how to target them. With this information, you can then angle your focus precisely and plan to reach that audience and extend it to like-minded people.

There are many benefits of SEO that can give you a competitive edge in the business world, but only if it’s used right. You can easily drive more traffic to your website or product, but it only works if costumers are even aware that your website or product exists.

– Big Lou


How effective is your social media strategy? What “works” for you? What are your goals? How do you measure your return on investment (ROI)? Many factors come into play when answering these questions. Ultimately, it’s what you want to achieve. Whether it be increasing traffic to your website via social media channels, revenue from your brand or through social media via conversions (someone responding to your call-to-action), gaining followers, or growing the visibility of your pages; to name a few.

Though these measurements have upsides there’s also the possibility of pitfalls associated with them. Like growing your follower base for instance. Wow, look at all of these followers!! Sure your follower count is up across your social media channels and your reach has grown, but that isn’t what you should solely focus on. How active are your followers? Do they share/like/retweet your posts? Do they engage with your pages? Are they interested in your goods or services? Do they purchase what you have to offer? The answer to these questions can help measure your ROI. If you’re forming and molding a relationship between your followers and brand, then you can be sure they’ll be active followers.

Social media is very complex and its success can’t be defined by a single variable. Different strategies work for different people and companies. So again, it’s ultimately what works for you and how you want to grow your company’s success.

– JC

“That don’t impress me much.” – Shania Twain

One of the most important – and often undervalued – parts of a company is having a good-looking website. It’s like food; you first eat with your eyes and then take in the substance.

It’s an easy thing to overlook, but skimping out on a well developed website can really make or break a company, after all, first impressions are everything.

When creating a website, there are a few things that come into play, but the most important aspects can be placed into three categories. The site needs polish, it needs to be clean and clear, and it needs to be easily navigable.

So what is polish? Well, polish is basically in regards to the actual content.

Let’s say you visit a site and the content is riddled with grammar and spelling errors. Will you continue to use and trust that site, or will you bounce off immediately? Or let’s say that the images are blurry or they’re all sized differently. Will you stay or will you click off the page?

Some people can tolerate a couple of spelling errors or bad images, but most people are out of there once they see some mismatched fonts.

There has to be cohesion to your website. It needs to look like it was reviewed, and reviewed, and reviewed. It can’t look like someone quickly glanced over it once and had it greenlit immediately. Your website needs to look as close to perfect as possible, your site needs to look polish, and it also needs to look clean.

Now, clean has nothing to do with the content itself. Having a clean website is about looks; it’s about presenting you and your company with style and, most importantly, clarity.

People could absolutely love the product you’re selling, but if your website looks like it was made in 1995, people will not want to come back.

Yes, it kind of sounds vain, but that’s just how most people work. Everyone wants to look at something visually appealing, regardless of the product itself. And of course you could always correct this later, but why not get it right the first time?

Speaking of coming back. Along with a visually appealing site, you need to ensure user-experience and site navigability.

First of all, you have to make sure your website is functional. Everything has to work before you even launch. Nobody wants to come onto a broken website, and you don’t want potential costumers on a broken website.

Second of all, it needs to be easily navigable. Nobody wants to click through a bunch of dropdown boxes just to find what they want or need.

And finally, it needs to be quickly navigable. Your costumers should be able to come onto your website and immediately know what you’re about and what you’re selling, or quickly go to wherever they wanted.

Now, if you’re planning on launching your website any time soon, just remember a few things: no matter how well you speak, how much someone likes you, or how great your product is, people will judge you based on your website.

It’s the first impression to your company, and if you’ve ever dated before, first impressions are everything.

– Luis Rodriguez 

The Importance of Events

Whether it’s the launching of a new product, showcasing your business, or just being involved in the community, it pays off to utilize event/experiential marketing. Let’s start with a graphic (see below; 2015) that’ll really open your eyes to the importance of human interaction.

Social media and electronic marketing continue to grow, but event marketing still remains as one of the top influencers in the marketing mix. Why? Humans crave interaction and it leaves a lasting impression. Face-to-face experiences allow consumers to engage directly with employees of a company or even test a product, which in turn generates exposure.

Events create buzz, buzz leads to opinions, and people share these opinions with family, friends, and colleagues. WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING (for better or worse)! These events can be put together based on the budget you have to work with. Another takeaway from event marketing is immediate feedback. The end consumer utilizes your product/service and gives you feedback in real time, thus starting a relationship with your consumer. And this is why you need event/experiential marketing.

– Jeremy Ciconte

Don’t Be Left Behind in the Social Media Race

If you look back about 5 to 7 years ago, many people looked at social media as something that will come in strong but slowly dwindle away, in other words, a fad. But now, social media is bigger than ever, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere – at least not for the time being. So, whether it’s for a personal brand or a business, a strong social media presence is important.

In that regard, it’s surprising that some people continue to look at social media and put it aside as something that’s not important. And to those people, I would tell them to hop on any form of public transportation and do some people watching. Almost all those people on that train or bus will be doing one thing, scrolling through their feeds. And it’s not only commuters either.

Whether on public transportation or at home, scrolling is how many people spend their time these days, so without a strong and consistent social media presence, you’re missing out on a community that is probably more active and vocal than any other market.

With the community being so vocal and active, a good social media strategy and consistent presence basically turns into free advertising for you.

People are more than happy to tweet and/or post about a brand or product that their excited about, which means that their followers are now aware of you, your brand/company, and your product. What’s better than that?

You build a relationship with these people that could be one of the most integral part of your company’s whole marketing strategy, they become loyal to your brand and, like said earlier, will recommend your product to other potential consumers.

However, even with consumers who are loyal to your brand, sometimes posts don’t hit. Basically, sometimes you try something new and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t hit, but since every single thing on social media is immediate, you can switch up strategy immediately, and for such little cost. The cost is literally pennies compared to other forms of advertising and marketing, so the loss is practically nothing and shouldn’t cause any worries. Social media marketing is a constant state of trying new things, sticking to what works, and optimizing absolutely everything, but the outcome is more than worth it.

All in all, we find absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t start pushing your brand much harder on social media. It’s cheap, it’s the most optimized version of marketing, and most people use it as their main source of information.

In the end, social media is going to be here for a very long time, so you better get on it immediately or you’re going to be left behind.

– Luis Rodriguez 

Welcome to the Ciconte Consulting blogspace!

Our blog posts will cover a multitude of content related to the consulting work we do. Essentially a space where any one of us will get on our soapbox and post updates related to the business climate, marketing, event services, social trends, web development, and whatever we feel is relevant to helping your business grow. We aim to keep you informed whether it be our original content or links we share to best accommodate the ever changing marketspace. Feel free to contact me ( or my partner ( for all business inquiries. You’ll also see posts from Luis Rodriguez, aka Big Lou, our awesome blogger. We look forward to assisting your company.

Jeremy Ciconte & Andrew Lee-Gajewski