Derek Mehraban Ranked Among Top 67 Marketing Professors on Twitter

Derek Mehraban, Professor of Michigan State University’s New Media Driver’s License and CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing in Ann Arbor, Michigan has been ranked as the #23 Top Marketing Professor on Twitter by the Social Media Marketing Magazine.

About the Top Marketing Professors on Twitter list:

The magazines Co-Publisher Kent Huffman, CMO at BearCom Wireless compiled the list as an exclusive for the magazine. To be considered as a top marketing professor on twitter, the professors, located all around the world, must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least 500 followers on Twitter
  • Provide useful information and actively engage with those followers
  • Demonstrate that they understand the best methods for social media marketing outlets such as Twitter

Derek Mehraban and the New Media Driver’s License at Michigan State University:

Derek Mehraban (@Mehraban) started this venture as a professor at Michigan State University in the spring of 2009, with the kick-off for the New Media Driver’s License class. He and Co-Instructor Dr Richard Cole, Chairman for the Department of Advertising, Public Relations & Retailing worked together to develop the class as an opportunity for students within the college to gain exposure to new media and its effect on marketing and advertising.

According to Mehraban, “The goal of the New Media Driver’s License is to certify students in new media so that they can go on after the conclusion of the course and use new media and digital marketing in their career, job search and everyday life. The course has proven itself as a great learning experience for college students, which is why we also offer it as a life long education course and for corporations.”

The semester-long class meets twice physically during the semester, with weekly assignments due on the New Media Driver’s License website. The assignments are submitted in blog format and teach students the ins and outs of blogging, rules for online public relations, digital presentation skills, search engine optimization techniques,  and how to build you personal online profile.

An innovative digital marketing professional at Ingenex Digital Marketing and new media professor at Michigan State University, it is no wonder that Derek Mehraban has the twitter following to place him in the ranks of Top Marketing Professors followed on Twitter.

A Special Thank You to Kent Huffman and the Social Media Marketing Magazine for publishing the Top Marketing Professors on Twitter.

Check out the New Media Driver’s License website,

Follow Derek Mehraban on Twitter, @Mehraban

A Taste of Ann Arbor at a Great Value- Weber’s Inn and Restaurant

This week’s A Taste of Ann Arbor took us outside of our typical walking distance to Weber’s Restaurant and Hotel, located on Jackson Avenue in Ann Arbor, MI. The boutique hotel, well known for its overnight accommodations in Ann Arbor added its restaurant to the mix in 1937, and has remained a landmark Ann Arbor hotel and restaurant, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, for over 70 years.

Weber’s Ann Arbor restaurant features a daily lunch buffet offered at an affordable price. Today’s buffet options included salad, sandwiches, kielbasa, sauerkraut and soup – all of which many guests in the main dining room, where we were seated, seemed to be enjoying. However, to get a true feeling for the affordable lunch menu, each of us (Megan, Tiffany and myself) ordered from a variety of menu options.

Our very kind and attentive waitress started our meal with a warm basket of bread, the perfect beginning to any fine dining experience. Our menu choices included, french onion soup, walnut chicken Gorgonzola salad, chicken picatta and a french dip sandwich. All of which were delicious, and served to perfection.

That atmosphere created within the walls of Weber’s Restaurant and Hotel is peaceful, and unique. After enjoying our meal in the main dining room, complete with monogrammed place mats, glasses and a variety of beautiful chandeliers that complete the interior design, we gave ourselves a tour of the area and found these other seating locations:

  • Ventura Bar -the perfect place for wine tasting, fine ports and after dinner drinks
  • Habitat Ultra Lounge – a spot for enjoying dancing, bands and entertainment in Ann Arbor
  • Outdoor Terrace – next to the Habitat Ultra Lounge, this outdoor dining area allows up to 50 guest to experience beautiful annual flowers while seated under designer shade umbrellas

Weber’s Restaurant and Hotel has created an all inclusive experience for all of its guests. One of the top ranked hotels in Michigan and Diner’s Choice winner at for 2010, Weber’s also offers banquet and conference property to its guests. So whether you are nearby, or across the country on a business trip or a vacation, Weber’ Restaurant and Hotel is the perfect Ann Arbor destination. We all enjoyed it, and we hope you will too.

Follow Weber’s Inn on Twitter, or visit them on Facebook.

Ann Arbor Art Fair takes on iPhone App

With four art fairs in one, it is almost impossible to remember all the different locations, events and artists that are present for the well-known Ann Arbor Art Fair. Jumping on the digital bandwagon, Art Fair has launched the A2ArtFairs Application for iPhone and iPod Touch. With mostly rave reviews on iTunes, this app is sure to be a hit for this event that takes place every year on the streets, just outside of Ingenex Digital Marketing Headquarters.

While, I can only access some of the features from my iPod touch (no GPS option) I found this app to be very helpful. Followed by an artistic introduction, the Art Fair staff has broken the application into seven sub categories.

  • Map – Features a color coded map outlining each of the four art fairs – the map can also point out your location if geo-location is enabled on your iPhone.
  • Artists – For those of you on a mission at this year’s Ann Arbor Art Fair, this is the feature for you. Sift through the large list of artists and types of art that they have on display. Once you have found what you are looking for, click on the booth number, and the map will show you how to get there.
  • Entertainment – What is an event in Ann Arbor without a little entertainment? View the list of entertainment, and filter through the performer name, stage and genre. This feature also shows you how to reach the entertainment destination on the art fair map.
  • Get Here – Not from the Ann Arbor area? Well the Get Here option is perfect for you! Learn about the A2 Art Trolley, park and ride option, downtown parking and more. This feature outlines the steps for different option of getting to the art fair and the rules and prices that go along with them. Find driving directions on your iPhone by clicking on the Google Maps button.
  • Sponsors – Every major event has sponsors, and the perfect place to recognize them is on a feature of the iPhone app!
  • Businesses – Ann Arbor is a busy city with a lot of business. Use this map to find all of the great Ann Arbor Restaurants, stores and more. (Also, check out the A Taste of Ann Arbor Posts)
  • Trolley – Experience the convenience of riding the trolley from art fair to art fair thanks to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. This feature on the application will tell you where to pick up each trolley, and then where it will take you.

With all the information it features, the simple A2ArtFair app has the potential to be your art fair sidekick. Whether you plan to leisurely stroll through all the booths or look for one particular type of art, the application is your digital map, trolley guide and calendar of all the art fair events.

Get the App Here!

A Taste of Ann Arbor visits the Prickly Pear: Southwest Cafe

Ann Arbor Art Fair week, it is here. A five day stretch of the art fair brings in individuals from all over the great mitten shaped state. With all the preparations, the atmosphere surrounding Megan and I thought it would be a great idea to pick an Ann Arbor restaurant that has outdoor seating in the middle of the action. We chose to dine at the Prickly Pear, a southwestern style cafe on Main Street, just a few doors down from Ingenex Headquarters.

Use Google Maps to find your locations virtually - check out the walking directions - perfect for the downtown area!

As is the trend, we had a FABULOUS meal. Ann Arbor sure knows how to satisfy everyones taste buds. Today was the perfect day for a outdoor seating lunch, not too hot and not too cold. The Prickly Pear has a great team of employees, our water glasses never went empty and they brought us a basket of chips and salsa to enjoy before our food arrived. Great customer service all around!

Megan went for the House Specialty Beef Burrito, and for me, the Red Pepper Pesto Glazed Chicken Breast Quesadilla. I think that it is reasonable to say that we would both highly recommend BOTH of these choices from the Prickly Pear menu – original and tasteful, southwestern cuisine.

Since we chose to dine outside, we did not get the opportunity to check out the inside of the restaurant, however if I can tell anything by the outdoor seating, I am sure it is quite comfortable. The Prickly pear uses colorful napkins and dishes giving it a fun image. The seating was covered by umbrellas. While this may not be preferred by all, I enjoyed being able to sit in a reasonable distance from those dining at the next door restaurant, Gratzi. You can take in the visual elements of two dining experiences at one time – the wonders of downtown Ann Arbor!

Be sure to check out next weeks blog as well – we have an exciting destination planned!

A Taste of Ann Arbor – The ORIGINAL Cottage Inn Pizza

Five blocks or so from Main St. down E. William St. is the home to a landmark restaurant. An Ann Arbor Italian cuisine location that opened its doors in 1948 and in 1986 expanded into the pizza franchise market. The Original Cottage Inn was the destination for this weeks Taste of Ann Arbor Experience.

Excited to get to the roots of the franchise pizza spot in our home college town of East Lansing, Megan and I took off for the journey through Ann Arbor sidewalk construction. Tucked into a brick building near the campus of The University of Michigan, we were without a doubt impressed. The inside of the building is beautifully decorated with painted leaves that can be located throughout the inside and outside of the building, grapes and more giving an elegant – yet cozy environmental feel.

From Flickr user: Robert Blackie

Jordan, our waitress, was kind and personable, yet not overbearing – adding to the relaxed environment. After we made our preliminary menu choices, Jordan was helpful in helping to make the final decision. Megan tried the wheat penne pasta with pesto based sauce and minestrone soup, I opted for the lunch special, a BBQ Meatball pizza, recommended by Jordan. And while we waited for our food, we enjoyed fresh bread and oil.

I have found that recommendations may just be the best asset to a restaurant. I personally always find myself having a hard time making a decision, but with the help of a waiter or waitress that barrier is crossed. And I have yet to have an experience where I did not like the recommendation. So a thank you goes to Jordan, for keeping that streak going – our meals were delicious!

While the franchise locations offer some of the same great food, The Original Cottage Inn is a different experience. Hidden in the streets of Ann Arbor, the restaurant is a delicious dining experience that can only be gained at the original.

I would hate to jinx it for the future, but Megan and I have yet to experience a distasteful restaurant or meal. Thank you Eric for the suggestion, we loved it!

Common Craft: Simplifying Explanations

Social Media, Twitter, Blog, RSS, many words and phrases used today to describe components of digital marketing. But maybe you are wondering what these words and phrases mean, or maybe you are having a hard time explaining it to someone else.

If that is the case, I introduce you to, Common Craft, a company based out of Seattle, Washington that produces simple, short and informational videos “in plain english.” Each video features paper cut outs, increasing the ease of comprehension.

Simply put,  Common Craft, is a simple company, that gives perfect explanations, and that is all there is to it. This video is one of the many technology related videos on the website, and will explain “Blogs in Plain English:”

Now that you have see the Common Craft explanation of a blog,  visit other Ingenex blog pots:

  • The Digital Bus, to learn about digital marketing from the professionals at Ingenex
  • Eco-Friendly Internship Blog, to find out what is new in digital marketing and eco-friendly from the interns at Ingenex
  • New Media Drivers License, will feature posts by students as they learn about new media in the course instructed by Derek Mehraban, Ingenex CEO

Twitter Using Trending Topics for Digital Marketing

Twitter, the simple 140 character status update social media site is experimenting with more opportunities in the realm of trending topics to advance their availability of digital marketing opportunities.

Twitter trending topics allow Twitter users to see what other users in their chosen geographic location (country or well-known city) are talking about. By clicking on the topic, users can see all updates that contain that topic.

Recently Twitter confirmed that Pixar paid for a trending topic placement for the recently released Toy Story 3. The topic was marked as “Promoted” taking away any potential hidden issues.

Thank You Flickr User: tsand

There is no doubt that somewhere in the release of Twitter updates there is a hidden potential for high volume advertising media placements. The question I find myself asking now is if paid trending topics is the answer. A few things to think about:

If trending topics are paid for, does that take away the relevancy and uniqueness of the feature? It is possible that followers of trending topics will lose interest in the feature all together if it is overly populated with paid placements.

As an advantage, keeping the ads in the trending topic field may discourage growth of ads within the Twitter updates field and crowded banners, taking away from personalized Twitter backgrounds.

The company sponsoring the promoted tweet has an opportunity to take control of their reach on the social media platform and increase conversation, but only to a certain extent. What happens if the topic is negatively tagged and  revealed upon following the trending topic updates? This presents itself to be more of a problem for competing brands than for “Toy Story 3,” but a concern all the same.

Will this earn enough revenue as an ad source? Currently, the program requires a double-click for payment, which means that the twitter user has to click on the trending topic, and then on the link within the actual tweet. Do enough Twitter users follow the link to make the program worth the potential of losing the relevancy of trending topics? And is there more opportunity for Twitter to attract competing brands to this platform?

It may not be a bad idea for Twitter to limit who has access to the trending topic spots, like movies, non-profit organizations or other less competitive companies.

Twitter has shown its potential, now it is up to them to decide what to do. The idea of promoted trending topics as a use of digital marketing is growing on me (possibly because Toy Story 3 was a pilot promotion to the idea) as a way to make Twitter users aware of things that may have been outside of their radar. However, if not well thought out before implementation, Twitter could have quite a mess on its hands.

Apple iPhone 4 hits the shelf! But what about the iAd?

They are on the news, optimized over the web and one of the most talked about manufacturers of the modern day computer. Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, California  is a leader, innovator and money maker.

With the recent release of the iPhone 4, Apple is under the radar and often the topic of technology conversation. Some choose to praise the addition of FaceTime messaging and multitasking features, while others highlight recent issues with the antenna and mobile service, however there is one new component to the Apple name that has yet to be the main topic of conversation, the iAd. It’s a mystery, that is slated to unfold today.

With a passion for the world of advertising, the iAd falls right into my area of curiosity. Yes, I have heard mention of the iAd, but before researching the component of Apple’s digital marketing, I had not a clue of the features it would offer.

Rumor has it that today will be the official roll-out of the Apple iAd, and according to Apple this program is what brands have been waiting for, “Access to the global audience of iPhone and iPod touch users.”

The iAd will be featured in Apple’s App store and as a component of third party applications. Ads will be marked with the iAd logo making iPhone, iPod and eventually iPad aware of the advertisement. The apparent goal of iAds is to create a user friendly, interactive advertisement that allows a user to act on the ad, (make a purchase, save a coupon or share with friends) without leaving the application that they have open. The ads will follow the trends of digital marketers on other platforms, such as Facebook and Google, that use demographics to determine what ads each user will see. iAds will make it possible for Apple and third party developers to make money while eliminating cost to the consumer.

With the release of the iPhone last week, and iAds this week for iPhone and iPod (The iPad iAd release has been delayed until Fall) the Apple news will continue on this steady stream. The popularity of Apple products is sure to speak volumes for the hopeful success and reach of these ads, but for now we wait to see what will come about over the iAd in the next few days, weeks and years.

I am excited to see what the iAd does for advertising campaigns, it has the potential to be an important component in the future of advertising and digital marketing. Now for all of you readers, what do you think about the iAds? And have you had the pleasure of coming across any on your iPhone or iPad applications?

A Taste of Ann Arbor- The Jolly Pumpkin

What better than the first day back to work from a week off then a visit to a well-known Ann Arbor restaurant to continue our Taste of Ann Arbor!  This week, for our return Megan and I ventured across the street from Ingenex headquarters to The Jolly Pumpkin, and as luck will have it, we were accompanied by Tiffany as well.

Now, I know that we missed out on some great eats and extraordinary prices as both Megan and I happened to be on vacation during the bi-annual Ann Arbor Restaurant week, but The Jolly Pumpkin still managed to excel as an eatery and satisfy each of our taste buds at an affordable price!

Christy, our friendly and energetic waitress was a great component to our experience at The Jolly Pumpkin. She offered suggestions, and was not afraid to tell us her honest personal taste opinions of each menu option we asked about. She knew each menu item, and what it tasted like, and if she had not tried it just yet, she was honest! With Christy’s guidance, Megan tried the Margherita pizza, Tiffany had one of their lunch specials, and for me, the Not Just a BLT. Each menu item featured a unique flavor, for example, my Not Just a BLT contained different ingredients such as mozzarella cheese and salsa verde. Maybe not what you would expect on a BLT, but they gave the sandwich a unique Jolly Pumpkin flare.

I think it is safe to say that each of us would recommend these menu items to anyone looking for fine Ann Arbor cuisine. For all of those that do not have a visit to A2 planned in the near future, check out The Jolly Pumpkins other locations in Michigan, Dexter and Traverse City.

A Taste of Ann Arbor – Logan: All American Restaurant

Today marks the beginning of eco-friendly interns take on Ann Arbor cuisine, a taste if you will. Ann Arbor is full of small get away restaurants that are certain to impress. The question is, how to choose?

This week, Megan V Meade and I chose to take a suggestion from Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing, and visit Logan, an American restaurant, located at 115 West Washington Street, with the hopeful expectation of a good meal in the Ann Arbor lunch environment.

This first experience at Logan was nothing less than delightful. The warm inviting atmosphere was a great beginning, to a wonderful meal accompanied by high quality customer service and delicious meals. Our water glasses never went empty, and never once did our waiter make us feel as if we were forgotten, or as if he was overbearing on our dining experience.

Our meals, Penne & Gruyere cheese and Oven-dried Tomato Pasta were served in the right portions, at the right price and within the right amount of time.

Needless to say, our next “Taste of Ann Arbor” destination has giant shoes to fill. Just one question, where will the next Ann Arbor lunch spot be?