Denver Startup Week: Pitch & Presentation Tips

After getting a glimpse into the impressive world of Techstars at their Demo Day on September 9, we were intrigued to hear what their feedback would be when eleven CEOs at Denver Startup Week pitched to them. Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, meant to showcase downtown Denver’s thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The fourth annual Denver Startup Week had over 10,000 attendees across 235 programs aimed at helping people succeed in starting and growing a business in Denver. 


The R&R Partners team was lucky enough to register early and get there early for good seats to watch two week old businesses to well-established startups present in front of Techstars, an accelerator program notorious for producing successful startups. The eleven performances were honed through vigorous, candid, and extremely valuable “pitch practice.” The insightful feedback provided is recapped below and can be applied to any industry, any position, and for any public speaking event. 

  • Have a strong intro that captures everyone’s attention and curiosity
  • Simplify what you’re saying but don’t use vague words
  • Simplify technical language or give real life/relatable examples if your audience isn’t on the same technical level
  • Make sure to state your key differentiator(s) in 2-3 sentences
  • Research the audience in advance to help predict the questions they might have so you can answer along the way
  • Even if you’re a comfortable presenter, practice it 25x
  • Story telling helps people who are not close to the product/industry relate to or understand in easier terms
  • Make sure the story line has structure and isn’t jumping around; don’t go off on a tangent
  • Speak to the whole room vs. the few decision makers
  • Notes – don’t make a scene trying to find where you should be in your notes or swiping/flipping through and don’t read directly from notes
  • Don’t keep the most important facts/statements until the end incase key people need to leave early or you meet your time limit
  • Have “crisp” answers to questions that show you know your industry and understood the question vs. over explaining

Assistant Media Planner/Buyer Katie Fischer co-authored this article. 

Celebrating our independence

I recently attended the Worldwide Partners Inc. (WPI) annual North America conference in Chicago. WPI is a network of independent agencies that have come together to leverage the thinking and resources of 70+ top independent agencies from across the globe. Besides R&R Partners, the network includes fine agencies like BSSP, Mering Carsen, Shipyard, Juice Pharma, Bailey Laurerman, just to name a few. In fact, collectively, WPI ranks No. 10 in terms of billings when compared to other large holding companies.

The conference really shed light on why being independent is really special and unique.


Our clients’ success is paramount – we are all-in for our clients. Creativity is at our core – typically with smaller budgets, we have to find efficient, yet effective and breakthrough solutions for our clients. We are also nimble and quick – structure and process exists, but isn’t a barrier to moving quickly in a fast-paced environment. We invest for our clients – we aren’t beholden to any holding company, so we do what’s right for our clients, not what’s in the best interest of our bottom line. And when needed, WPI agencies come together to scale up to meet the clients’ needs, whether it be geographical, resources or specialty areas.

Independence is at the core of R&R Partners. Our unique experiences and culture, coupled with our candor and empathy, deliver results for our clients. Clients that have been around 20+ years in most cases.


The WPI conference theme was Catalyst, and the diverse programming and content really stimulated some great thinking and new ideas. What follows are 12 things I learned this week:

  1. Programmatic buying is a great way for publishers and clients to take advantage of real-time bidding and traffic spikes due to timely and topical events. But the key to programmatic buying is being transparent to clients, both delivery and cost.
  2. Tongal, a creative, on-demand production studio, not only does great cost-efficient work, but a partner like Tongal could also serve as an alternative to freelancers or help supplement your social content program.
  3. “Your vision is your creativity … but change requires gut and grit … you are the catalyst …” – Jen Spencer, the Humanity of Creativity.
  4. Michael Farmer, author of Madison Avenue Manslaughter, shared with us that consultants have greater value than agencies, thanks most in part to holding company agencies who have squeezed margins so low. Consultants are keen on a desire for client results and shareholder value; meanwhile, holding company agencies are about their own bottom line. He believes big agency brands are becoming more and more irrelevant, and this is good for independent agencies who are similar to the consultant philosophy above.
  5. Doug Wood of Reed Smith law firm has a site called with interesting information on issues facing marketers today – bot fraud, patent trolls, native advertising, programmatic, etc. – all too technical for me to further expand upon.
  6. Vertical networks, particularly in the B2B, but also in some B2C categories, make a lot of sense for clients and marketers. Spiceworks is the top network in IT; Doximity for doctors; Edmodo for educators; Showcase for marketing; just to name a few.
  7. Forbes has put forward the road map for managing, systematizing and optimizing the marketing content supply chain: Own -> Reorganize -> Systemize -> Operationalize.
  8. Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, the incubator space in the Merchandise Mart, knows his stuff! He believes search is out, and answers are in … and data and accessibility is driving this phenomenon. He also says context is more important than what you’re saying; ritual and regular is more important than frequency; reach, resonance, reaction. Raise is a really cool gift card app where you can buy unused gift cards at really low prices and retailers aren’t balking as they would rather get some revenue versus rebating the unused gift cards based on recent regulations.
  9. Mintel talked about the iGeneration, 5−14-year-olds, since we’re all tired of talking about Millennials. Interesting statistics that prove our country truly is a minority-majority: 5−14-yea-olds are 40 percent diverse today, 25 percent Hispanic, 10 percent African-American and 5 percent Asian. We, as marketers, need to wake up to this; or should have woken up to this a while ago.
  10. rFactor showed us some interesting social trends and success stories: social connect to CRM, segment based on sales criteria, and align key sales and marketing stakeholders.
  11. One large consultancy company measures success in terms of its clients’ financial results. An interesting approach that should be considered for clients who are open to innovative compensation structures.
  12. I terribly missed my kids, Hudson and Sawyer. It was a powerfully packed two-day agenda, which I don’t regret being a part of at the very least, but I was glad to do the redeye in and out in order to limit my time away from my kids.




October media trends & insights

Updates to both the local and national media landscape can help shape our marketing strategies and ongoing recommendations for our clients. Take a look at this month’s Trends & Insights as we explore growing and changing media partners, the takeoff of the cable hit “Fear the Walking Dead,” new consumer offerings from Hulu, and a creative launch from our very own MGM National Harbor.


What’s On Magazine Launches Bilingual Format

What’s On magazine, a bimonthly reference guide providing the latest travel information for Las Vegas visitors, has launched a new bilingual format in both its print publication and website.

The bilingual print format features a high-gloss cover with content covering entertainment, dining, shopping, city highlights and snapshots of celebrities. The content and redesign include a long-form cover story, larger imagery and a new type font. Major features in the publication will now be in both English and Spanish.

What’s On additonally overhauled its website, relaunching with bilingual content under the new domain on Sept. 14.

With a circulation of 100,000, What’s On magazine is a free publication distributed via magazine racks and bell desks in the major hotels/casinos on the Strip, as well as in select hotels along Paradise and Flamingo roads. The publication is additionally placed inside Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty rental cars and within locations along the I-15 between Victorville, Calif., and Las Vegas.

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Source: Notified by What’s On via email Sept. 1

iHeartRadio Introduces Las Vegas Hip Hop Station


Real 103.9-FM was introduced to the Las Vegas market in early September. iHeartRadio’s newest hip-hop and R&B station is available on-air and online through the iHeartRadio app and website.

Artists featured on the station include Drake, Fetty Wap, Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, YG, J Cole, Kid Ink and more.


Media General to acquire Meredith Corp.

Traditional media giants Media General and Meredith Corp. announced an agreement to merge into a new, even more giant entity that will be known as Meredith Media General. While Meredith, with some of the best-known consumer publishing brands, gets top billing in the agreement, Media General is effectively acquiring Meredith via a cash and stock deal, putting its outstanding common stock value at $2.4 billion.

Media General is one of the nation’s largest cross-screen, multimedia companies that operates or services 71 television stations in 48 markets, including KRON-MY San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose and KXAN-NBC, KNVA-CW and KBVO-MNT in Austin.

Meredith Corp., a publicly held media and marketing services company, operates national media publication such as: EatingWell, Parents, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Shape and Allrecipes. On a local level, the corporation includes broadcast stations such as Fox 5 Las Vegas.


‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Pulls Largest Audience Ever for a Cable Premiere


The Aug. 23 premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead,” the spin-off prequel of cable’s top-rated series, drew 10.1 million viewers, becoming the top cable premiere of all time. The 90-minute episode also drew 6.3 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18 to 49 demographic—surpassing “Better Call Saul,” the “Breaking Bad” spin-off that debuted earlier this year with 4.4 million—to rank as the top cable premiere in that demo as well.

The flagship “The Walking Dead” premiere drew 5.4 million total viewers in 2010. It has since gobbled up considerably more viewers, ranking as the most viewed series on cable and the most viewed in the 18-to-49 demo in all of TV.

“Fear the Walking Dead” will run for five more episodes leading into the Season 6 premiere of “The Walking Dead” in October. AMC has already ordered a 15-episode second season.

Hulu Announces Ad-Free Service

On Sept. 1, Hulu announced that it will open an ad-free version of its service. At a monthly price of $11.99, users will have the ability to view 99-percent-plus of the service’s content ad-free.

The ad-free tier, however, will still include 15-second pre-roll and 30-second post-roll on shows, including Fox’s “New Girl,” NBC’s “Grimm,” ABC’s “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon a Time” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”


The move should boost Hulu’s competitiveness among consumers picking streaming video services as it tries to expand its subscriber rolls beyond the nearly 9 million people in the U.S. who currently pay for its $7.99-per-month, ad-supported service.

Neither Netflix, which seems to dominate the binge-watching market, nor Amazon’s Prime Instant Video interrupt paying customers’ viewing with ads.

 Hulu expects “a significant majority” of the nearly 9 million people who currently subscribe to Hulu will remain on the paid, ad-supported service, according to Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.

“People who avoid ads at all costs were never going to do business with Hulu to begin with, so now we have an entry point to them,” Hulu’s Senior VP of Advertising Peter Naylor said. And it can now sell advertisers on the notion that the people who access its ad-supported service will typically be more receptive to their ads—because those less tolerant of ads have filtered themselves out.

3 trends from Digital Summit 2015

Hashtags, culture and trends, oh my! The world today is a fast-paced, ever changing marketplace that we continuously strive to understand. R&R Denver attended Digital Summit 2015, and left with these three integral industry trends:

1. “Unperfection”
Long gone are the days of perfect people ruling the planet. Our culture is obsessed with documentation (because if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen, right?), and we have come to accept that not every “in-the-moment” moment is picture perfect. We find failures and flaws to be funny, and encourage behaviors that showcase humanity. Campaigns like #nofilter and the Don’t Judge Challenge succeed because the general public now values hilarity and honesty over posed and processed media. What does this mean for brands? Wrong theory (an intentional asymmetry) can finally be utilized to our gain and, finally, mistakes will be embraced … as long as you catch them on Snapchat and they go viral and they are actually completely hilarious.


2. Everyday Stardom
Consistent with our obsession to share, we also believe that we are the stars of not only our own story, but everyone else’s too. We Snapchat our road rage and Instagram our protein shakes because we think that everything we do is worthy of being shared. The growth of personalization and everyone’s secret desire to become “instafamous” means that brands need to find new ways to make everyone feel like a celebrity. The takeaway? Offer your clients a VIP experience based in reality to ensure that they know they are a celebrity − at least to you.


3. Branded Benevolence
Being a globally conscious brand is SO IN RIGHT NOW. Research shows that young people take a big issue with brands who only value their bottom line. Even more, young talent actively searches for charitable actions in future employers. Our challenge? Find tangible ways to give back that align with our brands’ values. Even better, make these efforts visible, fun and contagious. Now let’s go change the world!
With these insights, we feel armed and ready to reach people in thoughtful and innovative ways. We now understand that 1) unperfection is not only acceptable, but embraced, 2) everyone wants to be treated like a star, and 3) the heart and soul of what we do is now more important than ever. Armed with these insights, we’re ready to connect, understand and conquer!

Recapping the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session

As is the case every two years, R&R’s Nevada GPA team was deployed to Carson City for the Nevada Legislative Session.

And while this in now way comparable to the troops to who protect our freedoms daily, whose service we can never repay – we can in some ways relate to what it’s like to spend several months away from home, on a mission to protect our clients and what we believe in. And we did go through quite a few battles in the process.

The 78th Regular Session of the Nevada Legislature began February 2, 2015 and concluded in the early morning hours of June 2. Throughout the session, the Assembly introduced 498 bills and the Senate introduced 515 bills, for a total of 1,013 for the Legislature to consider.

The 2014 general election had a strong impact on the 2015 session. While the “red wave” caused an unprecedented number of Republicans across the country to be elected, Nevada experienced some of the highest turnover in the nation. For the first time since 1929, Nevada has a Republican Governor and Republican control of both Houses.

The makeup of the Legislature became very important since the main priority of the Governor, most of Legislative leadership, and much of the business community was to raise additional revenue to ensure that education and essential services were properly funded. With a two-thirds supermajority required to pass any revenue or tax proposal, the Senate needed 14 votes of its 21 members, and the Assembly needed 28 votes from its total of 42 members.

During the State of the State speech, the Governor presented his vision for a “New Nevada,” declaring education to be a top priority, outlining reforms and calling for a significant tax increase to fund those reforms. Consequently, the session primarily focused on various K-12 education reforms, including: expanding school choice; improving under-performing schools; increasing English Language Learner (ELL) programs; creating a “read by three” program; enhancing teacher incentives and professional development; reducing class sizes; and expanding breakfast in the classroom, among others. The 2015 Legislative Session was historic due to passage of a nearly $7.4 billion budget with between $1.3 and $1.4 billion in additional revenue with a focus on investing in education.

The Nevada Revenue Plan, the Governor’s compromise tax plan, blended elements of the many different proposals considered during the session. The new plan sets the Business License Fee at $500 for corporations and $200 for all other businesses, increases the Modified Business Tax to 1.475 percent of the total wages paid by businesses that exceed $50,000 quarterly, and increases the payroll tax on mining companies to 2 percent. It also enacts Nevada’s Commerce Tax, applicable to businesses whose Nevada revenue exceeds $4 million annually, but allows a 50 percent deduction of the Commerce Tax for businesses which also pay the MBT.

One of the major issues of the session was whether or not transportation network companies (“TNCs”) such as Uber and Lyft could legally operate in Nevada. Met with strong opposition from the heavily-represented cab companies, the Uber lobbyists were ultimately successful in legalizing TNCs, with widespread support from Nevada residents and bipartisan support from Legislators.

The GPA team hit the ground running, covering several hundred bills for approximately 25 clients during the course of the session.

A few highlights include:

Passing laws to help children…

One of Governor Sandoval’s signature legislative priorities this session was strengthening Nevada’s anti-bullying laws. The Governors proposal created the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment within the Nevada Department of Education, established a 24-hour hotline to report incidents of bullying, and imposes strict requirements on school officials to investigate and report bullying. The budget allocates $16 million for a grant program for schools to provide a social worker in each school to help carry out the new provisions, while a companion bill created the “Safe to Tell Program” which requires the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment to establish a program enabling any person to anonymously report any dangerous, violent, or unlawful activity which is being conducted or threatened to be conducted on the property of a public school.

Passing laws to help animals…

To create consistency with federal guidelines, Nevada limited the state definition of “service animal” to conform to the federal definition under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Only dogs or, under certain circumstances, miniature horses can qualify as service animals under this definition. This prevents people from seeking to bring animals ranging from cats to pythons into hotels and casinos and claiming that they must be allowed to do so because they are service animals.

Even passing laws on ourselves…

The legislature also placed significant limitations on lobbying expenditures. The bill prohibits (effective January 1, 2016) a lobbyist from making a gift to a member of the Legislative Branch or a member of his or her immediate family, whether or not the Legislature is in session. “Gift” is very broadly defined to include “any payment, conveyance, transfer, distribution, deposit, advance, loan, forbearance, subscription, pledge or rendering of money, services or anything else of value, unless consideration of equal or greater value is received.”


Media: Monthly media trends & insights

What trends are shaping media buys and our clients’ industries? We’re taking an inside look at online gaming legislation, Nielsen’s findings on the LGBT consumer, Millennials and their media consumption habits, and a recent press release event hosted by the agency.


California Skies Blue, Online Poker Gray

Currently, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are the only states with legally regulated online gaming. January 2015 saw California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer introduce a bill known as the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2015, hoping to bring California out of the gray area, described as not illegal but unregulated. Simply, the bill would regulate online gambling while ensuring the protection of California players. In the beginning of August, many world-reknown poker players gathered for a tournament in American Canyon Napa to support the initiative “Let California Play.” However, with all the support this movement has gathered, there are still many obstacles in the form of Native American tribes, backlash from opposing politicians, and even disagreement within the pro-iPoker camp. While progress has been made, California still faces an uphill battle.


Millennials, Growth and Media Consumption

Once a neglected and possibly underserved target demographic, the latest U.S. Census data reports that Millennials (born between 1982 and 2000) now outnumber Baby Boomers 83.1 million to 75.4 million. Representing more than one-quarter of our nation’s population, Millennials are more diverse than previous generations with over 44 percent belonging to a minority race or ethnic group.

The currency of the media industry is attention and with media consumption habits varying across different age groups, it is imperative to recognize and then segment the target demographic(s) accordingly rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. The following graph displays the percentage of time spent per day with each medium, comparing Millennials versus the overall population.


Proudly Setting Trends, Nielsen’s 2015 LGBT Consumer Report 

Nielsen recently released its LGBT Consumer Report in honor of this summer’s Pride celebrations. The goal, highlights the LGBT consumer and displays the impact they have on numerous industries. These consumers are described as trendsetters and tech-enthusiasts, showing “unique levels of engagement across various consumption areas.” This update illustrates the LGBT audience’s impact on media combined with their purchasing behavior as consumers in relative fields to the resort/hospitality industry.

Content is key in capturing an audience, cable and network TV and recognize that 72 percent of viewers are watching a show containing a lead, supporting or recurring LGBT character as outlined in the following graph.

















Across all music channels, the LGBT audience shows higher levels of engagement than non-LGBT. Overindexing in subscribing to streaming music services (126 i.e., 26% more likely) and going to see a DJ they know perform (150 i.e., 50% more likely) further solidifies their description as tech-forward trendsetters.

Transitioning from media consumption to a hotel-related consumer field, there was one purchase category (useful for when you have acquired this guest on property) that cannot be ignored − food and beverage. Alcoholic beverage categories within the audience showed a significantly higher household spend when comparing against non-LGBT households. Wine indexed at 148, liquor at 135 and beer at 127, prompting the question of whether there could be an introduction of a more diverse creative and content campaign in the F&B segment.


R&R Resources+ MGM National Harbor Press Release Event 

Former Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford recently announced that his firm R&R Resources+ will lead the brand marketing efforts for MGM National Harbor, the $1.3 billion gaming resort under development in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The project is scheduled to open in the second half of 2016.

Through its status as an independently owned minority business enterprise (MBE), R&R Resources+ will be charged with a specific focus on diversity marketing, corporate social responsibility and workforce strategy, assisting MGM Resorts International (MGMRI) in developing authentic minority outreach and partnerships in the capital region. MGM National Harbor joins the R&R Resources+ portfolio of clients.

As a minority investor in R&R Resources+, R&R Partners will also join the MGM National Harbor project, bringing its unique brand of travel and tourism expertise. In honor of the new partnership, R&R Resources+ joined R&R Partners to host a launch event on the rooftop of the R&R Resources+ headquarters in downtown D.C., overlooking the Capitol Building. Among the guest list of more than 300 confirmed attendees were esteemed members of the media, political figures and MGMRI executives, all who gathered to celebrate the joyous occasion. See photos from the event below.

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Media trends: A look at luxury purchasers, usage and more

What trends are shaping media buys? We’re taking an inside look at luxury purchasers, spot radio and some facts about how dialed in the 18-34 crowd is to radio that could surprise you.


All luxury purchasers (adult consumers age 18+) who bought one or more luxury goods or services in the prior 12 months constitute almost 20%, or about 46 million, of the 239 million adults in the United States. Luxury marketers would be correct in surmising that as household income increases, the proportion of luxury purchasers rises.

Notably, though, luxuries were bought by almost as many mass-market consumers whose household income is less than $75,000 (20 million adults who are not typically classified as affluent by marketers) as by those with household incomes of $75,000 to $249,999 (about 22 million affluent consumers), plus the four million luxury purchasers in the upper-income segment of $250,000 or more. This being so, it’s our point of view that the luxury market is actually much larger than many luxury marketers currently believe.

As might be expected, a relatively large proportion, one in five (21%), of mass-market luxury purchasers bought luxuries just once in the past 12 months. In contrast, more than one-third of very affluent luxury purchasers bought luxuries six or more times.
















Spot radio: Raring for a rebound

Spending and pricing were down in many of the top 10 markets during the first half of 2015, and inventory was readily available and negotiable in most cities. The second half of the year will see increased spending and perhaps higher pricing in a couple cities. Summers are generally tighter on radio, unlike TV, because people can listen while they’re doing outdoor activities such as going to the pool or having barbeques. This spending surge will continue into the fall, with back-to-school spending dominating late summer. Political will also give a year-end boost to a few markets. San Francisco and Philadelphia, for example, are holding mayoral elections this November.


Surprising facts about media usage

More 18-34s listen to radio each week than use a smartphone. Nielsen’s most recent total audience report, a quarterly document that tracks media use by different age groups, shatters a number of misconceptions about new and old media use. For example, it might surprise you to know that more Millennials listen to traditional AM/FM radio each week than use smartphones. Nielsen found 93 percent of adults 18-34 listen to radio weekly, while just 80 percent report using a smartphone. In fact, radio is the most frequently used medium among Millennials. It’s well ahead of TV at 76 percent and PCs at 49 percent. Radio has been a part of people’s lives for so long it’s easy to take for granted. New technology has definitely become a staple of today’s media use, but it’s important to remember it’s not the only option young people turn to. Overall the report found that radio has the greatest reach of all media among adults, with 93 percent saying they use it weekly, compared to 87 percent for TV.