Back-To-School Tips For Working Parents

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 71 percent of women with children under 18 in the United States work full or part-time.

At Hoffmann Murtaugh, we are very proud that 60 percent of our team are working moms. Knowing that 75 percent of moms are the primary household shopper, while 80 percent make healthcare decisions, the insights our HM moms bring to our business are extremely valuable.

Now that summer is ending and back-to-school preparation is in full swing, we turned to some of our resident experts for some tips for working moms.

  • Mornings are hectic in my house, so I try to have everything set out the night before – lunches, snacks, clothes, toothbrushes, backpacks. The more I can have ready the night before, the smoother the morning! – Amy V.


  • My kids are early risers, so we have plenty of time to get everything done in the morning, but the challenge is that they constantly need reminded about what they haven’t done yet.  We put up a little white board on the back of their bedroom door with a little reminder and coordinating picture for crucial tasks – get dressed, brush your teeth, make your bed, check your backpack. – Jess A.


  • Despite the vision I have in my head of back-to-school looking like flannel shirts and jeans, the reality is that we still have two weeks of August when school starts back. Plus, who am I kidding, my son only wears athleisure. This year I’m planning to hide away some new summer clothes so that we have fresh inventory without popsicle stains. The actual act of getting ready and having breakfast may take about 20 minutes.  But in sloth mode, we will need an hour.  In my experience, it is better to just accept things will happen very slowly, but peacefully.  I will try to lower my expectations for meaningful conversation after school.  As eager as I am to hear about his day, he tends to need time to unwind before he feels like chatting.  So, I will try not to make him feel guilty if he just says his day was “good” and I’ll reserve extra time before bed for actual conversation to happen. – Aimee B.


  • I always made sure my daughter decided the night before if she was buying or packing her lunch for the next day.   If packing, I did it the night before.   I also set out the breakfast dishes the night before school.   When my daughter starting taking longer and longer in the morning to get ready, I took her breakfast into her bedroom on a tray so she could eat and dress at the same time.  (I know – hover mom – but it made my life easier in the long run!)  Any clothes that needed to be ironed were done the night before.   I finally put the ironing board upstairs – we were tired of coming downstairs to the laundry room to iron every morning! – Adele L.


  • I’m a big planner and list maker. I find it easier when I plan meals out – both lunch and dinner – just on paper. I’m not great with full-on meal prep, but just the act of planning what I need to do makes for one less decision that day. I also review my planner and our shared Google calendar each Sunday to keep after-work and school activities organized! – Brandi B.


  • I have three morning timesavers: 1. Put clothes out the night before and challenge them to walk out of their room already dressed. 2. I put drinks on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, so the kids can just grab in case I’m running late. 3. A basket of cereal bars within their reach in case breakfast needs to be on the go. – Melissa W.

8 Tips For The Class of 2018

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May marks the start of graduation season – for both college and high school students. As we reflect on our own graduation, we asked our team for their best advice for those entering the real world.

Eight Tips for the Class of 2018

You don’t have to have it all figured out the day after you graduate.  Take a breath, work hard, and fail forward often! – Shea M.

Always be yourself. During the interview process, most often, a company is not only looking to see who is fit for the job but who can also fit in with the personalities/dynamics of the team. – Christina T.

Invest your time in internships. When I interviewed for my first job at a local TV station, my interviewer was so impressed that I knew one of his good friends – a man who owned an ad agency I interned for. – Amanda W.

Clean up your social profiles.  Social platforms serve almost as a digital reference; it is something that employers check when making hiring decisions. – Amy V.

Clean up your social media. While party pictures may be fun, they might prevent you from landing your dream job depending on how scandalous that they are. – Karl C.

Apply. Apply. Apply. A friend once told me that for every 10 resumes you send, you receive one call. Don’t be nervous to apply for a job if you don’t meet every requirement on the listing. Companies recognize that some skills are teachable if you have experience with the other duties outlined. Finally, don’t give up. I applied for 111 jobs before I landed an internship at a global PR agency. I kept the list as a reminder that persistence will help you achieve your goal! – Brandi S.

Networking is key. Build strong relationships. Always act professional. You can only make one first impression. – Melissa W.

Don’t stress out when you don’t hear back from a job right away, and don’t be afraid to reach out to family friends or acquaintances if they are currently in the field you’re interested in. Any advice helps! – Paige K.


Good Ideas Start With Great Coffee

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As the saying goes, good ideas start with great coffee. This quote holds true for our team. With a flexible work environment, many of our successful meetings with clients and colleagues happen over a great cup of joe.

We consider ourselves connoisseurs of Pittsburgh coffee shops, so we rounded up our favorite spots in the city to work, meet or drink!

  • Coffee Tree Roasters in Shadyside is great for a real relaxed coffee shop atmosphere. Crazy Mocha on Ellsworth has lots of seating, abundant power outlets, and many beverage options to choose from. When it comes to the most important aspect- Starbucks has the most reliable Wi-Fi – Paige


  • Panera is a staple, because no matter where you happen to be, there is bound to be a Panera nearby. The Wi-fi is normally reliable. I’m not clear whether it’s encouraged, but I like to help myself to coffee refills.  It’s a decent, quick lunch and generally clean.  The only downside is finding a table close to an outlet to keep the laptops charged up when we meet for an extended period of time.  – Aimee

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  • For me, it’s not so much about particular places, but they must have the following: plenty of available seating with outlets nearby, a few bigger table options, no overly loud music jamming from the ceiling (or if there is a room or nook nearby to have a call in when necessary). That being said, the newer Crazy Mochas in or around town usually have this all available. – Johanna



  • On a nice day, I’m a big fan of working outside at Coffee Buddha in the North Hills. The cold brew on tap is amazing and be sure to check the biscotti of the day! Convive Coffee in McCandless Crossing is a fantastic place to work inside. Almost every table has its own outlet. The store has an awesome pay it forward system, so you can give or take a cup! In the Strip District, 21st Street Coffee has great tables to meet, but be sure to check the store hours in advance. – Brandi

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  • You have to go to location level on this question. Some Panera locations are great, while others try to freeze you out by cranking the AC.  Some Starbucks are great, but others blast crazy music making it impossible to take a call.  I love the Crazy Mocha at 309 Smithfield Street downtown – it’s always empty and they have a big table to meet with others to work and lots of outlets.  The negative – having to get a key for the bathroom. – Amy

Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork: Team Building Activities in Pittsburgh

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When you hear that your company is planning a “team building activity,” what is your first reaction?

  1. Roll your eyes
  2. Run
  3. Have horrible flashbacks to a trust fall exercise gone wrong
  4. All of the above

Whether you’ve been working for five or fifteen years, you have likely encountered a yawn-inducing team building exercise. However, not all team building activities have to be painful. Especially in Pittsburgh where Hoffmann Murtaugh is based.

Here are some ideas to encourage bonding and get your team out of the offices!

  • Hands down our top recommendation is the pizza making class at Enrico Biscotti, which was recommended by several employees! Jess A. put it perfectly, “Wine and dine while you learn some history of pizza and even make your own pie! You can get creative and competitive with your coworkers too.”

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  • There are Escape Rooms popping up like crazy all over the city. They offer a great chance to harness all of the team brainpower and skills to work together.  They are challenging, but fun!  Since most rooms can’t fit an entire group, it’s fun to split into teams to see who can escape and do it the fastest. – Amy V.


  • A group fitness activity, like yoga or a cycle class can be fun. Especially if it’s followed by a happy hour to hydrate! – Brandi


  • A sporting event, like a Pirates game, with a mini tailgate party with significant others! – Christina


  • Two words – trampoline park!! Haha, okay, maybe not, but Flight Pittsburgh has a Ninja Warrior course you can do as a team. – Jess Roz


  • Around the holidays, bake cookies together! Have everyone bring a different recipe and then create a mini-recipe book for everyone to take home. – Mel



  • For a twist on the typical happy hour, a “meow-ting” at the Cat Loft! – Aimee B.



25 Books To Read This Summer

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There is nothing better than reading a good book during the long days of summer. Whether it’s on the beach, traveling to a new destination or outside on a gorgeous day, summer provides many moments to dive face first into the pages (or screen) of a new novel.

If you are searching for a new book to read, we asked our team what books were on their summer reading list or some of the best books they’ve read to help give you some inspiration!

    • I read Peter Pan by Sir James M. Barrie on repeat.  At least once a year.   It’s a good reminder that if you try, you may fly and that life is our greatest adventure. – Jessica A


Four Things You Should Know About Programmatic TV Buying

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Have you heard about Programmatic Buying? Nope, not Digital Programmatic- but you’re close.

Lately it seems like all we’ve been hearing about is Programmatic Broadcast Buying. About time, right? We consume our TV differently than we did 50 years ago (I’m looking at you, Smart TVs), so it certainly makes sense that the methods by which we analyze, plan, and buy media should start to change as well.  A few years ago, the word “Programmatic” was being thrown around by media buyers as a solution for the future. Fast forward to today, and it’s no longer a whispered taboo subject, but a real way of buying. So, let’s break down the details:

  1. What exactly is Programmatic Broadcast Buying?

Programmatic Broadcast Buying is simply the term used to define buying that is done in an automated, hands-off way that requires no additional support from local TV stations.

When a campaign is set up, the impressions are bought through algorithms that the programmatic buyer sets.  You can take data from Nielsen/Scarborough to shape media plans and begin to layer in specifics data about what a client’s target demo might look like. This would go way deeper than age and gender. The data from Nielsen would target interests like sports affiliation, or purchase behaviors such as amount of money spent of athletic shoes. This targeted research is the key difference between what makes a buy good and what makes a buy perfect.

  1. Does more automated mean less expensive?

The biggest benefit from buying broadcast programmatically comes  not from lower rates, but rather the added metrics which allow for a more precise buy. The Trade Desk reports that buyers may begin to see their costs rise as TV metrics increase in accuracy. “Programmatic buyers have to be willing to pay a higher CPM for better targeting and higher performing campaigns.”

But first, let’s take step back. Why are these metrics so important to the campaign? Think about when you see an ad on your phone for Payless the same day you were in DSW shopping for shoes. Those Programmatic ads are targeting you, their preferred audience. So why can’t TV get in on this action?  Programmatic Broadcast Buying attempts to use this same tricky technique by utilizing metrics (thanks, Nielsen!) to increase the probability that your commercial is being served to someone who is the most likely to buy. It’s always important to remember your end goal. If you view cost effectiveness as the only measure of success, then Programmatic Broadcast Buying may not be for you.

  1. How does Programmatic Broadcast Buying change the way things currently work?

Instead of placing buys through various TV stations (i.e. local ABC, CBS, NBC affiliates), the entire buy gets placed through a single Programmatic Broadcast Vendor. In theory, this should mean increased efficiency; if all spots are placed through one company instead of individual sales reps, then makegood summaries and reports come through one contact instead of several. However, eliminating local reps from the equation comes with certain sacrifices.

  1. Let’s go into more depth about those sacrifices I mentioned:

For an advertiser that doesn’t like to relinquish control, programmatic buying would not be a good fit. There are many restrictions that get placed on Programmatic TV buys that are not placed on Traditional local buys because this process is so new. Specifics like cost, traffic deadlines, and creative limitation will of course vary depending on the Programmatic Vendor.

Due to the small number of local advertisers who currently buy programmatically, anyone who took the risk today would be a guinea pig for a high price tag. This is a new method that is more inclined to support national advertisers over local advertisers, since national advertisers make up the bulk of the current programmatic population.


Overall, is this a fading trend or the future of buying?

Programmatic Buying started in the digital realm, and is now making its way over to the broadcast end of the spectrum. The success of Programmatic Buying in digitial is a key indicator that longterm growth in Broadcast is also possible. An article from Digiday said it best when addressing the need for TV to be purchased in a more modern way.  “ TV is just one of the screens, and the only way we can get all of it to work together is if we’re able to systematically research, plan, buy, optimize and report on all of the screens — together.” It’s great to be able to work with Digital. And it’s also great to be able to work with Broadcast. Too long have we complained about needing to find an effective way to measure all our various media sources in one cohesive outlets! Programmatic Buying will be our solution to come together and measure campaign effectiveness across platforms whether it be TV or mobile. The more access we have to better data, the easier it will be more us to create precise advertising campaigns that are relevent and have a long-lasting effects on advertisers.

This post was written by Amanda Wetick, an Associate Media Buyer with Hoffmann Murtaugh. 


4 Exciting Updates From Google’s Marketing Next Event

Google Marketing Next

During Google’s Marketing Next event last week, the tech giant made several exciting announcements—from enhancing current products to unveiling brand new offerings. We’ve compiled some of our favorites.

1. Life Events Targeting

Available  on YouTube and Gmail Ads. Think targeting a consumer based on a life event, such as graduation, marriage or buying a house. If an advertiser’s product/service can help the consumer at a particular life stage, the advertising benefits them (and the brand)! The example shared during the event was for Sonos, a large smart-speaker company. When life targeting was implemented, the brand saw a +50% lift in ad recall, a +35% lift in purchase intent and a 5x lift in search. The takeaway is clear – relevancy drives strong metrics.

2. Bye-Bye Last Click Attribution

For some time now, the medium that “touched” the consumer last before completing an action received all the credit (last click attribution). Why? Because attribution can be a challenge and takes time and resources. While Google has had attribution for some time now, they are now rolling out a more accurate and faster (and free) version of attribution aimed to help small and mid-sized businesses to optimize their media mix. The tech giant is touting this attribution is all possible through machine learning, a buzz word that almost every speaker at the event used.

According to Babak Pahlavan, Senior Director of Product Management for Analytics Measurement at Google,  “It creates a prediction model that learns by weighting a set of touchpoints on how likely a user is to purchase something. The presence and absence of marketing touchpoints across channels and across campaigns will either decrease or increase the likelihood of a conversion.”

The new attribution is currently in beta and the company plans to release it to the masses later this year. They also announced a paid attribution product, Attribution 360 (starting at $150,000), for agencies that execute large campaigns with both online and offline tactics.

3. Hello In-Market Audience Targeting

Brands can finally target in-market audiences (i.e. in-market for a new car) on the search network. In-market audiences are extremely valuable to a brand as these consumers are nearing the end of the buying cycle.  Built through search query data and online activity analysis (another machine learning technique), the tech giant is now able to identify these key audiences on the search network. In addition to the traditional keyword targeting, consider the inclusion of in-market audience targeting.

4. Google Surveys 360

A powerful survey tool that allows advertisers to create a survey, deploy the survey to a targeted audience (across the Internet) and receive results quickly. This tool matters because Survey 360 will make A/B testing easier by allowing advertisers to gain feedback from customers – Why did you click on the ad? What is working? What is not working? –  and then make these changes to help strengthen campaign performance. 

Click here to watch the event for all updates.

This post was written by Jennifer Dixon, a Digital Media Supervisor with Hoffmann Murtaugh.