There’s a new Account Executive in town!


Just a small town girl….

She took the… train (her car actually and definitely not at midnight…) to Zone 5 in Albany….

(to become the newest team member as an Account Executive)!

And we’re thrilled to welcome Brya Emery to the Zone 5 team!

What to know about Brya:

  • Born and raised in the small town of Dummerston, VT… and yes, it’s real. Grew up with farm animals including her pet sheep, Cumulus.
  • She was named after a woman who worked at a shoe store in Vermont with her mom…. also true.
  • Pronunciation: BRYA(N) or BRY-AH! (Totally forgiven if you get it wrong… as long as you try)!
  • Went to college early, attending Vermont Tech and graduating with a B.S. in Business Management & Technology in 2007.
  • Prior to Zone 5, Brya worked in College/University Admissions at Norwich University, Lyndon State College and most recently as the Senior Associate Director at Southern Vermont College.


  • Shoes
  • Cooking/Eating
  • Smiling
  • Learning the Outdoors
  • Crochet


  • Always something new to learn
  • Using her experience to make the process enjoyable
  • Still working with colleges
  • The wine!


5 Takeaways From the 2016 Higher Education Analytics Conference


Did you miss last week’s #HEA16 conference? No worries, we did too! Though here at Zone 5, we make a point to keep our eyes and ears open to valuable Higher Education information, trends and conference highlights, even when we can’t be there in person. With that in mind, here are (Z)5 things to takeaway from the 2016 Higher Ed Analytics Conference:

  1. Reevaluate your SEO.
    Using Google Analytics benchmarking data, @karinejoly showed that organic search is still the primary driver of traffic to higher ed websites. And you’ll reap an additional benefit: those who reach your site via organic search spend more time there—a strong case for devoting resources to your on-site Search Engine Optimization.
  1. Don’t throw darts at the wall.
    A balanced approach to analytics, according to @joshuaddodson, is intentional, contextual and deliberate. It’s important to define where you are and then use the data to identify next steps. “Vanity” metrics — traffic numbers devoid of context — have no place in an effective marketing plan. Balanced measurement is key to implementing your social strategy.
  1. Tell a story with your data.
    Getting campus departments on board with analytics can prove to be a difficult task. Stakeholders are busy; to get their attention you need to create a captivating narrative when presenting your data. Follow @chase_baker’s example: reports should be structured in a clean, simple fashion to highlight key performance indicators, allowing your team to easily spot trends that affect your overall strategy.
  1. Integrate web, social and email analytics.
    Your college’s digital presence extends far beyond your own web site, and that combined wealth of data can lead to insights that can’t be gleaned from a single source. Channel Alec Baldwin’s Glengarry Glen Ross character and “Always Be Measuring.” @lizgross144 advocates using custom URL parameters for additional tracking on social posts. Use Facebook’s Power Editor to manage ad campaigns and create custom audiences from your website. In short, take advantage of the wealth of tools and data at your disposal. Yes, it’s a big attention investment, but a big ROI is the result.
  1. Utilize Google Tag Manager.
    Another great tool from Google that is being used by only 16% of Higher Ed sites, according to @UVMWebTeam. GTM gives you fast, flexible way to future-proof your site analytics — changes to tags and new tags can be made through GTM and do not require changes to website code. Get universal event tracking, better Youtube stats, debug options and version control. There is a bit of a learning curve, but the reward for that effort is the ability to collect granular data about specific user actions with a minimum of effort.

Check out the #HEA16 Storify for more advice on how to make data-driven decisions to help advance your school.

The Tale of Two Fish

The Tale of Ansel and Adams:
The Heartbreaking Story of One Fish’s Unrequited Love for Another (and It’s Tragic Outcome)
In memory of Ansel I, written by Dave Homsey
Ansel and Adams had swum happily together in their bowl at Zone 5 for ages (well, ages in goldfish terms.) They were best friends who, quite literally, never went anywhere without the other.

But, there lingered a secret in their humble bowl, one that would ultimately doom them both. One to his watery grave and one to a lifetime of guilt and remorse (and a bout of nasty indigestion.)

You see, Ansel didn’t simply like Adams. He loved Adams. I mean he LOVED Adams. To Ansel, it was a forbidden love. Under the scrutiny of the outside world, swimming peacefully in their little bowl, he couldn’t fathom living his life as his heart desired.

When the lights in the office were turned off the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, something in Ansel was turned on. (bow-chicka-wow-wow) (no! not like that!) When they awoke Thanksgiving morning and feasted upon the bounty that had been sprinkled into their bowl the night before, Ansel was bursting inside. He couldn’t live another day without letting Adams know how he felt. Life wasn’t worth living if it couldn’t be lived fully.

He chose a particularly quiet moment near the bottom of the watery sphere, and confessed his undying love for his bowlmate.

Sadly, Adams did not share Ansel’s feelings. In fact, he rejected them wholly. “Ewww. Dude!” said Adams “That’s NOT cool!” and he swam as far away as he could (approximately 5 inches), warily eyeing Ansel, whose little heart he’d just broken.

Ansel swam to the surface. He desperately wanted to fly out of the water and fall to the tastefully carpeted office floor. How could he live in this bowl now that he’d revealed to Adams how he felt? Oh, how he wished he’d kept his little mouth shut. What was he thinking?? His microbrain swirled with black thoughts. He saw a clump of floating food and gobbled it down. He saw another, and did the same. He was in a little goldfish feeding frenzy! The water was churning like a piranha attack, but the food did nothing to ease his pain.

Ansel kept eating until all the food was gone, food that was supposed to feed the both of them through the long Thanksgiving weekend. He didn’t do it vindictively, mind you. No. He wanted nothing but the best for Adams, who he could not bring himself to hate. He just binged like heartbroken lovers do. Unfortunately, his tiny body could not handle the mass he had consumed, and he slipped gently into a food coma, never to awaken.

Adams watched the disturbing scene from below. As his long time companion ate himself into oblivion, he experienced feelings he never know he had. He wanted to swim to Adams and comfort him… maybe even embrace him! And after that, who knows. I mean, it’s a long weekend, and the lights were down low.

But, alas, it was too late.

What’s more, in his despair, Ansel had eaten everything… all the food that had been lovingly scattered in their bowl to tide them over until Monday was now in the bloated and distended stomach of his little friend, floating belly up, above.

Adams heart broke as he thought about the lonely days ahead without his best friend. And his stomach ached as he thought of the hungry days ahead with no food.

He struggled with the thoughts that popped in his head…terrible, dark thoughts. He looked at Ansel, who was now beginning the slow descent to his final resting place in the fake weeds at the bottom of the bowl.

“I’m famished,” he thought.

“All the food is gone and no one will be back until Monday’” he pondered.

“Ansel was my best friend, and he wouldn’t want me to starve,” he reasoned.

“Ansel looks kinda tasty,” he contemplated.

Maybe just a little nibble. And another. And just one more. And another.

The horror.

Ansel didn’t sit well in Adams stomach. Adams felt terrible, for many reasons.

He burped, and watched forlornly as the bubbles rose to the surface, freeing Ansel, at last, from his torment.

The End.


It was the best of times…


It was the worst of times…


Another Semiconductor fab for NY – ams!

On August 20, 2015, New York’s semiconductor cluster grew yet again, with the announcement that ams, AG would be building a new fab at the Marcy Nanocenter, investing $4 billion and creating 1,000 new jobs. AMS product graphic
AMS is an Austrian integrated device manufacturer that produces analog devices and ASIC’s for the communication, medical and automotive markets. Their 2014 revenue was $464MM and they have fabs in Austria and Plano, TX. AMS has a cool video that you can view here.

Here at Zone 5, this is great news, as the folks developing the Marcy Nanocenter, Mohawk Valley EDGE, have been close friends and clients for almost a decade now.
In fact, when EDGE first decided to go all in on the semiconductor industry, we helped build the MNC brand, developing the logo, MNC_SUNYPoly_logowebsite and collateral and providing strategic support and guidance on business development.

As with any project like this, there will be many people that claim credit, but we saw firsthand the work put in by Steve DiMeo and Mark Reynolds at EDGE to tell the semiconductor industry why Upstate NY was the right place for semiconductor manufacturing. Behind the scenes, we watched Lamar Hill advise Steve and Mark and introduce them to all the right people in the industry as they built out a world-class site for manufacturing.

And for a long time early on, Zone 5’s own Tim Dunn was VP of Marketing and Business Development for EDGE, guiding both the brand development and global marketing efforts for Marcy Nanocenter.

So we’re awfully excited and proud that our friends at EDGE can claim a huge victory by landing AMS as the anchor company at Marcy Nanocenter. Tonight, we raise a glass to you guys! (I’m guessing it should be a Saranac?)

Resolving To Be Better In 2015

z5_NewYears resolutionsMany of us make resolutions this time of year. And while we may personally think about eating less or exercising more, the New Year isn’t a bad time to refocus your marketing efforts and lay down some new ground rules for the year. Here’s what a few members of the Zone 5 team resolve for in 2015 — for themselves and their clients.

Dave Homsey, Creative Director
Be simpler, shorter, more to the point.

Earth-shattering revelation: “The attention-span of my clients’ audience isn’t getting longer.” My creative must follow suit. That doesn’t mean I’m going to dumb it down. It’s smarter to be direct — simple is usually harder to do but easier to understand. Clever is dumb if it complicates the message, or worse, hinders its digestion. I resolve to aid in the digestion of my client’s message — to be a Legume of Marketing Communication!

Spencer Raggio, Web Strategist
Think like a user.

Too often we forget that our clients/customers/audiences don’t know our company or sector as well as we do. This is especially important on the web, where we need to ensure that new visitors can easily find what they need. But it also applies to all our marketing and communications efforts, where industry jargon and acronyms can easily obscure our intended message.

Victoria Barbeisch, Account Executive
Reinforce that positive action can result from less than positive perspectives.

Since joining Zone 5 this summer, I have conducted a variety of focus groups both in and outside of our facility, ranging from shopping preferences to health care initiatives. In these focus groups, client often have one perception of their organization and learn that their audience may have a much different one. That may be difficult to hear, but in many ways is a great thing.

Even negative feedback can provide better insight; drive needed change, and foster an environment that will result in something better. It’s important to understand that all feedback is important and can improve your organization.

Timothy Dunn, Vice President
Focus on strategy, not tactics.

“I NEED A BROCHURE!” That’s the frantic request I get regularly (or swap out brochure for website, bannerstand, press release, or Twitter handle). While the specific deliverable can vary, the request is the same — “I need ‘x’ tactic.” And while we believe the client is always right, a request for a specific tactic can often come without a strategic look at the core aspects of making an impact in marketing, specifically — what message am I trying to deliver to what audience… and what action do I want them to take?

Brittany Gilman, Account Executive
Bigger isn’t always better.

When it comes to your digital audience and performance, remember to weigh quality over quantity. Sure, having a ton of fans, followers or impressions is great, but what really matters is how much engagement is taking place. In other words, you can have an enormous audience to market your messages to, but it won’t make a difference if they’re not contributing any feedback.

On the other hand, having a smaller, more targeted audience that’s more engaged — and more likely to advocate for your brand — is much more beneficial. Likewise, when analyzing your digital performance, remember to look at the bigger picture. Of course a high number of impressions is great for visibility, but take it further. Of those who saw your message, how many actually took action?

All too often, marketers try to cast a wide net and reel in whatever they can. Instead, understand that bigger isn’t always better. Target your niche audience and benefit from a more passionate, engaging group of those who can help leverage your messaging and advocate your brand or services.

Ray Witkowski, Vice President
Be a partner, not a vendor.

I too often hear the term “vendor” when it comes to how prospective clients refer to agencies that they are seeking for a new website, branding campaign, etc. I don’t think they mean anything negative by using the word vendor but it’s still a pet peeve of mine. The work that we do as an agency is built on collaboration and is a partnership, not a “vendorship.” I often say when meeting with prospective new clients for the first time that “every great partnership begins with a conversation.”

So, this year, my goal is help prospective clients appreciate the value of what it means to be in a partnership focused more on interaction and less on transaction. Let’s make it personal.

Alyssa J. McClenning, Director of PR and Social Media Strategy
Put the bullhorn down and listen more.

Press releases, press conferences, tweets, Facebook messages, blog posts… These are all important pieces of a comprehensive public relations roll out. However, it’s easy to get so focused on getting your message out that you forget to listen and dialogue with your audiences! Real conversation and message osmosis happens when you build an engaged community. Sometimes you need to come down from the mountaintop from where you are shouting and put your ear on the ground.

You might be surprised at what your customers and followers say and how that will positively affect your future message development. Therefore, it is my resolution to encourage my clients to listen more.

All told, pretty solid resolutions to drive toward more impactful marketing in the year to come.  What’s your marketing New Year Resolution?