Good Ideas Start With Great Coffee

national coffee day final

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

tema building 2

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.”

Pizza Making


  • 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

books to read this summer

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

programatic buying


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.   

Moms Know Best: How Our HM Moms Juggle Work & Life


happy mothers day

As Mother’s Day approaches, we wanted to shine the spotlight on the working moms on our HM team. In fact, just over 50 percent of our team are moms!

More than ever children are growing up with a working mom in the house. The U.S. Department of Labor revealed that 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 work either full or part-time.

Knowing that juggling children and a career is not easy, we asked our resident moms for some advice for other working mothers. Here’s what they had to say!

DSCN1707.JPGJess teaching Stephen ABCs and SEM!

  • Let go of any guilt. You are providing for your family and things are different than they were 50 years ago.  You need two incomes nowadays to make it work.  Change your thinking, change your life.  Have a positive perspective on things is the best answer. – Jessica R.


  • Make your kids an asset, not a hurdle to your career by transferring the skills and benefits they bring to your life to your job. Let them train you to be a better leader. Kids force us to be problem solvers, decision makers and peace-keepers.  They teach us to listen, to be patient and to have empathy.  – Amy V

IMG_1306Lennon is learning the importance of using hashtags from Brandi

  • Set up for success on Sundays! If you plan your lunches and dinners ahead and stick to the schedule, you don’t have to worry about brainstorming meal ideas. Also, focus on what you get done each week vs. what you didn’t complete. You’ll be surprised at how much you actually accomplish! – Brandi S.


  • It helps us stay connected to have sit-down family dinners without technology during the week so we can talk about our days. My 6 year old son takes the ‘no technology’ rule very seriously.  He won’t even tolerate our phones sitting on the table during dinner! I also I try to talk to my son about work with him so he better understands what is taking up my time outside of him.  At this point, he most relates to mommy working with the “previews” that he sees on TV and YouTube! – Aimee B.

20170214_185055Melissa teaches her kids the importance of a good networking dinner!

  • Pinterest is your best friend. Keep emergency boards for all holidays. Those kid holiday parties will sneak up on you and valentine’s day isn’t just a shoebox wrapped in paper with paper valentines in it. The competition is fierce. – Melissa W.


  • Have a code word your kids or husband can text you in case of emergency. This way, you can excuse yourself and take the news in private vs. catching a glimpse and reacting in a meeting or professional company. – Jessica A.

PicMonkey Collage

  • Don’t beat yourself up over the day to day struggles of a working Mom.  Children grow up and they DON’T remember them. Love from your child(ren) isn’t determined by whether you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home Mom; It’s what’s in the heart!- Lisa Q. 

  • Work for a company that understands you can have it all…Being a great mom and a great employee! – Shea M.


Our HM moms asked our children if they knew what we did at work.  Visit our Facebook page to hear their responses!


Top 5 Nielsen Changes In 2017



You may have heard about Nielsen’s local market transformation and have wondered what it is and what it means for your television campaign. Hoffmann Murtaugh has the answers you seek. Below is a rundown on the transformation of their collection methodologies and how it will be beneficial for all advertisers. As the transformation evolves Nielsen will continue to improve and update their processes.

Top 5 Nielsen changes in 2017

1. Out with the old and in with the new & improved:  Until now, diary markets (yes, actually asking people to write down what they are watching), were still the measurement system in place for 140 out of the 210 DMAs and provided poor reporting, unstable sample sizes and inconsistent ratings. In 2017, Nielsen will be replacing all paper diaries with Set Top Box (STB) Data, (data collected via a return path, i.e. cable system information).

The STB data will provide for 12 months of electronic measurement and on average there will be 20,000 households per market. The benefit to this yearlong view of ratings is the more accurate reporting for specials and sports.  In the past, certain specials and sporting events may have shown inaccurate, and often very low, ratings if the special ran outside of one of the four sweeps months, (Feb, May, July & Nov).

2. Wherever You Go, Nielsen Goes: Nielsen will begin using Portable People Meters, (a.k.a – PPMs) in 44 DMAs. The PPM is the exact same device used in radio measurement and Canada is already using it to measure TV.  Whether you are in a hotel, airport, bar or office, your viewing can be traced if wearing a PPM.

3. Have device, will travel: Starting in 2017, Nielsen will introduce the addition of Nielsen Digital in TV Ratings, (DTVR), which is the measurement of content consumed through digital devices with programs and ads that match those on linear TV. This will measure local TV stations viewing via the station’s site or app.  It will only account for the “live” viewing of a station and will not read any time delayed video plays.

4. Layer Up: Nielsen will be expanding its Scarborough Measurement to all 210 DMAs. The markets will be measured 1x per year via the 32-page survey which covers the categories of demographics, auto, media, technology, lifestyles, sports, financial habits, dining, retail and more. This data is used to provide targeting intelligence at the local level.

5. Better really does mean better: Nielsen has plans to beef up their sample sizes in all markets through the expansion of panel based measurement and doubling the current sample size in all Local People Meter and Set Top Box markets.

More consistent ratings plus better representation in the market can lead to better television buys for you. However, it takes the experts in the field to fully grasp these changes, what they mean for your business and how to capitalize on better data to provide the best ROI. At Hoffmann Murtaugh, we know the power of this data to best understand the nitty gritty nuances of the markets we play in, the targets we need to reach and the stations/programs and platforms we buy to always go beyond a rating point.

This post was written by Jessica Rozwood, a Senior Media Buyer with Hoffmann Murtaugh.