2014 Akron Digital Savvy Award Winners


We’ve made some notes about some of our findings below.

You can find the nominees and the criteria for ranking on this page.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

The complete Top 10 List of the 2014 Akron Digital Savvy Awards

  1. Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board
  2. Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
  3.  Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau
  4. Akron Zoo
  5. Summit Metro Parks
  6. Summa Health System
  7. The Summit
  8. Akron-Summit County Public Library
  9. Akron Symphony Orchestra
  10. Luigi’s Restaurant

Honorable Mention:

Honorable Mention:

These 2 deserved a place on the top 10. But I ran out of numbers:

 Akron Children’s Hospital

Greater Akron Chamber

Some notes:

The people that won truly deserve to win. They are doing amazing things at a world-class effort. I strongly encourage you to spend time looking at the people listed above and be inspired by what they are doing. How can you implement the ideas that they are doing?

I feel that others that should be doing great, weren’t.  I’m tempted to say, “Well, we’re just small little Akron in the Midwest. We shouldn’t be asked to live up to the standards of the best companies of the world.”

That is terrible thinking! 

We live in a global society. We all need to be the best that is possible (not simply the best we feel we can be).

We can’t be conservative and slow in our adaptation of modern-day business practices.

If you say to yourself, “my customers aren’t on social media,” you are wrong. Plain and simple. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Maybe you don’t want to use social media. But that’s another story.

We all need to push ourselves to be great. We need to become students of business greatness. We need to study it intensely. And then we need to adapt what we have learned and implement the ideas into our own businesses.

I’m not saying this because it’s a nice idea. I’m saying it as a matter of survival.

Here’s what a cell phone looked like in 2001:


Here’s what a cell phone looks like in 2014:


Those two devices are not even in the same realm of existence. Yet they are only 13 years apart.

If you are still running your business like you did in 2001 please consider yourself as valuable as a Nokia 8250.

Responsive sites, people! 

I’m a little surprised I saw so few sites that had a good mobile presentation. Next year I hope to see more mobile work.

But overall picking who deserved what position in the top 10 was not easy. There are some really engaged people in this community.

It got really hard picking just 10. That’s why I gave honorable mention to Ferriot (responsively designed!) and APV. They are doing great things as industrial companies. Their sites are beautiful. I’m so impressed with what they are doing. I can’t wait to see what they do next year.

And then I really struggled with Akron Children’s and the Chamber. They both are doing really great things. I wanted to make new numbers so I could get them on the top 10 list. But I just couldn’t this year.

I gave Luigi’s the 10th spot because they have a mobile app and an online store. Really impressive.

As for number 1: Summit County Development Disabilities Board. They set the bar for everyone:

  • Responsive site
  • Gorgeous design
  • Strong calls to actions
  • Highly engaged on all social media they are using.
  • Beautiful videos on YouTube
  • YouTube is consistently updated and has a lot of videos
  • Actively using Pinterest

They just blew me away.

The bar is set with Summit County DD. That’s where we all need to be striving towards.

Keep pushing, people! Don’t stop innovating. Don’t rest. (I mean take some vacations. You don’t want a heart attack.) Keep working.

We live in an amazing time in history. In 200 years it might be seen as the most amazing time. Don’t let the opportunities, that are before us all, slip away.

Be great. Your great work benefits your community, your country and your world.

See you next year for the 2015 Akron Digital Savvy Awards.


2014 Akron Digital Savvy Awards Nominees


Akron Digital Savvy Awards 2014


Akron Digital Savvy Award Trophies

SageRock is a proud Akron-based company and has been so for many years.

As Akron fans, we thought it would be cool to create the Akron Digital Savvy awards.

These awards will go to the companies located in Akron proper. Sorry CAK and Diebold… you are very cool. But you can’t play in this contest.

The criteria for being an Akron Digital Savvy winner will include things like:

  • Web site sophistication
  • Web site attractiveness
  • Mobile responsiveness of Web site
  • Web site usefulness for existing customers
  • Web site calls to action to generate new business
  • Overall use of social media
  • Engagement within social media (You don’t need the most followers. You just need to love the followers you have.)
  • Online video
  • Innovation in new online tools

We will rank the top 10 most digital savvy companies in Akron.

The requirements are simple:

  • Your headquarters need to be in the city of Akron


We intentionally left out marketing agencies, ad agencies and Web developers in this list. Our thought was that they have a much easier time producing this content than others. We felt they had an unfair advantage. This also keeps SageRock out of the running, which might complicate things.

Plus, agencies have plenty of other awards they can pursue. If there is interest next year maybe we can come up with an agency category or something like that.


This year’s list of nominees were hand-selected by Akron marketing thought leaders.

It’s quite possible we missed some. To that point, next year we will be accepting nominations.

Use this form to nominate yourself or someone you know for the 2015 Akron Digital Savvy Awards: Akron Digital Savvy Awards

The great thing about being digitally savvy is that it doesn’t take much money. In fact, you can be really digitally savvy pretty much for free. You just have to be committed and have the desire to be great online.

The purpose of this contest is to inspire digital greatness within Akron. We have many companies, big and small, doing really great things. We need more companies continuing down that greatness path.

Here are the organizations that were entered into the competition for 2014. They are in no particular order. The top 10 winners will be announced Monday December 15, 2014.

The TOOLS Show: Email Marketing with Mailchimp


Now that we told you last time (sorry about last week’s technical difficulties!) that you should be gathering your fans in your own mailing list (as opposed to just Likes on Facebook), we figured we should tell you what to do with them once you have them on your list!

So here is the “quick and dirty” version of getting setup with Mailchimp for email marketing. Sage has kindly put together a full ONE HOUR of training that gets into more nitty gritty on Udemy, which you can check out here for free!

Why Mailchimp?

Well, besides the fact that there is a super-cute monkey as a mascot, Mailchimp has some advantages over other “big name” tools that allow you to spam send valuable content to hundreds of people at a time (which, incidentally, your plain ol’ email program can’t/shouldn’t do). If you’re interested in tire-kicking, a couple other big guys in this space are Constant Contact and AWeber.

{Oh, and by the way, don’t actually spam your list–they won’t like you for it, and you can get in deep doo-doo. Not sure what constitutes spam? Check here.}

One of the biggest advantages for a small business just building a list is that it’s FREE for your first 2000 subscribers. Once you get more than that, and are sending more emails out on a regular basis, you can upgrade to a paid account, which is still pretty reasonable.

Also, they have TONS of integrations with other apps and programs and websites, as well as being pretty intuitive once you’ve got the hang of it. And they are constantly adding new features, making it easy to do all the kinds of stuff you need with your list.

We will quickly go through the main parts of the site, to get your familiar with how it works.

 Mailchimp dashboard

You’ll find all three of these options along the left-hand side of your dashboard. Here’s mine as an illustration.


The coolest thing about Mailchimp’s templates is that they are all responsive, as in they will be optimized for whatever kind of screen they are being read from: tablet, phone, or computer screen, without you doing anything extra or special. Makes you look like a real pro!

There are ton of good designs to start out with, to give you some ideas so you’re not just staring at a blank screen, without any kind of coding ability required. It’s all simple drag and drop!

Basically, just pick a design and go town! Start playing around with what’s there; add some of your own images to personalize it. If you add a picture, like a logo or something, then need to adjust the size or something, Mail chimp will tell you the perfect size right in the Image Editor. There are also cool effects built right in, like filters, stickers, frames, and text.

When you’re done, be sure to “Save & Exit”!


You’ll see up in the top right corner, there is a “Create New” button. This will take you to the setup screen, where you can auto-post your exciting news to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Give it a name you’ll remember.

Then you can use your saved template, and begin to add whatever little widgets you need to make up your newsletter. Use the tiny buttons on each section to add or take away what is already populated in your template, to really make it your own! Don’t forget to “Save & Close”!

Preview mode lets you check your work and test out the new fledging, showing you what it will look like on mobile as well as fullscreen.

Schedule your post (bottom right of page), and hit Send!


Create a name for your list that describes who is on it (Customers, Friends, etc), but a nice one since your subscribers will be able to see it!

Then you can import your subscribers from a spreadsheet or from an app (like Wufoo, where you can create cool forms), or just type them in if you have to!

You can also create sign-up forms for your website, Facebook page, etc. in Mailchimp. It’s super easy to copy the code and put it where you want it on your site.


Other key features that we don’t have time to get into today are:

  • Reports, that give you all the analytics of your subscribers: how many people opened it, what percentage of your recipients did anything, and comparing them to your own averages as well as the industry average
  • Automation, where you can set up drip campaigns, have an email sent out when someone signs up, etc.

Don’t forget, if you want more detailed instruction, check out Sage’s FREE Udemy Mailchimp course!

A Conversation With Lee Odden


I got the opportunity to talk with Lee Odden. He is a significant thought leader in the space of online marketing.

His perspective and understanding of the online marketing space is sought after by some of the largest brands in the country and he is asked to speak at countless conferences around the world.

He shares his insight in the trends of online marketing in this very interesting conversation.

You can find Lee at these places online:

Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing: Lee Odden: 9781118167779: Amazon.com: Books

leeodden on Instagram

TopRank® Online Marketing – Digital Marketing Agency in Minneapolis Minnesota

Lee Odden (@leeodden) | Twitter

The full discussion is below:

Photo from here:
Lee Odden: When It Comes To Content Marketing, Better Is Better – YouTube

The Moron’s Guide to Setting Up Google AdWords API

I am not a programmer.

I am not some fancy backend server guy that typically tries to accomplish great technological feats.

But I’ve always been curious about the Google AdWords API. We have our developer token from a previous project. (I should say, this tutorial is  not about applying for your developer token. This story picks up after that rather involved process.)

As a person who is not familiar with the ways of programming I found there were some holes in the process that weren’t particularly clear to me as I trudged through getting things setup.

I thought I’d put together a post walking through the steps I took to get to the point I’m at today: producing pretty cool reports on a Web browser using PHP.

If someone who has more experience than me finds I’ve said something incorrect or misguided please feel free to let me know.

But this is primarily for us uninitiated,  non-programmers that want to venture into the world of the AdWords API.

I’m calling it “The Moron’s Guide to Setting Up Google AdWords API” not because I feel you are a moron but because that’s the level of ability I put myself at as I did this work.

I’m pretty sure that if I can do this you can do this.

Here we go:

First, you might find it helpful to know where I’m starting. I have never ever worked in an object oriented language. I’m pretty good at html and passable at css.

While I can look at templates in WordPress and struggle to move things around a little bit, that’s where my PHP understanding stops.

That said, I recently worked my way through an online class of PHP at Codecademy.

I originally began studying languages because Learn Python the Hard Way was recommended to me. I didn’t finish the whole thing. But I will say it is awesome! While Codecademy is funded and has fancy online interfaces, Learn Python the Hard Way was a better experience.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think I had an easy way of porting my Python work to the Web. I didn’t really want to configure a server.

PHP is just more available online. While I haven’t done it yet, I feel pretty confident I could take my reports I’ve created in the AdWords API in PHP and upload them to GoDaddy.

PHP, in general, is not as nice to work in as Python. Python feels more systematic. The error codes are much clearer. I hope to get back to Python again some day.

All this said, I think having a minor understanding of the programming language you are going to be working in is probably helpful.

While there are a lot of good example codes available, they are only examples. They are not going to do exactly what you ultimately want to achieve.

By no means am I some PHP expert.  But I can read it, for the most part, and vaguely understand what it’s achieving.

Learning a programming language is a cool achievement, any way. You will be proud of yourself for doing it.

I’m pretty proud I made it through all the quizzes at codcademy:

PHP   Codecademy

That’s where I entered the world of the AdWords API.

The door to your new adventure is here: AdWords API — Google Developers.

This is where you are going to spend the next 20 hours of your API life.  And you are probably going to be reading a lot of stories here:  AdWords API Forum – Google Groups.

While all the answers to your questions reside in those two places, my hope is that I can give you a little more insight into things that I struggled to find.

Going forward, this is all going to be about using PHP to interact with the API. That’s the only area I have looked into.

The more you read and watch the videos from AdWords API — Google Developers, the better experience you will have.

But here are two things I strongly recommend going forward:

  1. Get PHP running on your machine at home. Don’t try doing this on some server you don’t control.
  2. You need to be able to run PHP from the command line. You simply will not make this work without doing this initially.

I am running Windows 7 on a PC. I Downloaded XAMPP as my Apache server and PHP platform.

There are others of these types of programs around. But XAMPP worked great for me. It is easy to install and get running.

From here: googleads/googleads-php-lib · GitHub – the requirements say you need these things:


Build environment

What I can tell you is, all the PHP requirements are automatically running in XAMPP.

You can double check, if you want in the XAMPP admin panel:

XAMPP 1.8.3

If you have more questions about XAMPP just let me know.

As for Build environment

I couldn’t figure these things out. I didn’t look at them that closely.  I might have worked around them using XAMPP. But I can tell you that I’m happily working my way through all of this without either of those two things.

The next thing you are going to want to do is get your Client Libraries & Code Examples.

They come in many different flavors. But I’m using PHP.

You are going to want to get your “Distribution”:

Client Libraries   Code Examples   AdWords API — Google Developers

Fancy programmers can’t just “zip” things. They have to “tar” them.

When you click on your distribution you will be taken to another page. You want both the library(lib) and the examples:

Releases · googleads googleads php lib · GitHub

Once you download that, if you don’t have a program that automatically opens it you are  going to need to get one. Just Google “How to open a gz file in Windows” and you’ll find a bunch of them. 7-Zip is popular one.

Under my htdocs folder in xampp I created a new folder called ‘adwords’ and moved the lib, build_lib and examples folders to it. Like this:

xamppgoogle(you can click on all these pictures to see a bigger version, btw)

OK. Now everything is in place.

If you open the readme file that comes with all the files you downloaded they say to get start go here:

googleads/googleads-php-lib · GitHub

If you scroll down that page a bit you will find a “Getting Started” area.

Step One: Register an OAuth 2 application.

Here, my friends, is where it all gets interesting.

This trips up a lot of people, from what I’ve seen on the discussion forums.

And the biggest issue, from what I’ve seen and experienced, is you must, must, must do this on the command line. The file you need to use simply will not work on a Web browser.

If you are new to this whole world this is a big black hole of mystery. They just say, “and do this in command line.”

That took me about 3 days to figure out.

Here’s the deal, you need to set this up in Windows to get it to work. This blog post solved my problem: Running PHP using Windows command line with XAMPP | Shi Chuan’s blog

The site seems to be down at the moment. But these are the steps:

If you have installed XAMPP, and want to use command line to run PHP on Windows, here is how you can do so.

1. Right click on the Computer icon on your Desktop and choose Properties option.
2. In the System window click on Advanced system settings in the left pane as highlighted below
3. In the System Properties window select Advanced tab and click on Environment Variables… button given at the bottom of the window as highlighted below
4. In the Environment Variables window you will notice two columns User variables for a Username and System variables.
5. Under System variables there is a Path variable, click edit
6. At the end of the line, add where you installed your xampp, for my case it is: ‘;C:\xampp\php’
7. Click OK.
Now you can start running Windows Command Line


Now you are going to want to open ‘cmd’. Just open your Start button and do a search for cmd. Like this:


Personally, I’d recommend getting that all setup before you proceed to “Step One: Register an OAuth 2 application.”

But you may be some programming genius and have already figured that out. If so, I wish I was as smart as you.

They tell you to go here:

Using OAuth 2.0 · googleads/googleads-php-lib Wiki · GitHub

I have found that this process does indeed work. There are other solutions out there, primarily from Ewan Heming (who I’ve had the opportunity to work with and is awesome): Getting AdWords API Tokens from the OAuth Playground

But this works fine: Using OAuth 2.0 · googleads/googleads-php-lib Wiki · GitHub (as long as you have the whole command line thing setup).

You need to go visit Google Cloud Console (I always think of “Cloud City” when I’m “visiting” Cloud Console.)

Do everything on this page: Using OAuth 2.0 · googleads/googleads-php-lib Wiki · GitHub

Step 5 is a key here:

  1. Choose either Installed application or Web application depending on the style of your application
    • If you wish to use our sample code GetRefreshToken.php to generate a refresh token, then you have to choose Installed application.
    • If you choose Web application, you will also need to write your own web application that can complete the OAuth 2.0 flow.

If you are at my level of ability I would recommend using “GetRefreshToken.php” because writing your own web application sound terribly impossible to me.

But installed applications work fine on the web. I’m running my stuff online as an installed application.

Something they don’t mention is the “Consent Screen.” This need to be filled out. It’s right below “Credentials” on the left navigation:

Google Developers Console

I feel like things get a little vague in the documentation at this point.

After you get your credentials you are going to need to start working in the GetRefreshToken.php file.

I personally use Notepad++ which is a tip I got from “Learn Python the Hard Way.”

In all that stuff you downloaded above you will find it here:

/ examples / AdWords / Auth / GetRefreshToken.php

And in my XAMPP setup the full address is:


You are going to eventually run that file in command line. But not before you fill out auth.ini.

In my xampp set up it is here:


In auth.ini you need to update this:

developerToken = “foundinadwords”
userAgent = “thenameyouregistered”

To find that, log into your MCC account (you have one of those, right? If not you need to solve that issue first) It’s under “Account Settings” then go to “AdWords API Center”.

You’ll find that information here:

AdWords Account Preferences


If you don’t see this make sure you have already signed up for the API access here: Signing up for the AdWords API – AdWords API — Google Developers.

It doesn’t just come with the account.

Your auth.ini file looks like this:



Of the 3 areas that need to be filled out, the last area is what you are going to get from running the GetRefreshToken.php from the command line.

But the first two areas need to be filled out first before you run GetRefreshToken.php.

Does that make sense?

OK. Here’s where the magic starts to happen if you’ve gotten this far.

You are going to run GetRefreshToken.php from the command line.

If this is your first time running a command line script this is how you do it:

  1. Open up command line like I showed you above:
    Click on Start and in the search bar type: cmd
    You will see it there and click on it. It’s going to look something like this:
    The first problem you are going to have is that you aren’t in the right directory. You need to get to a place like: C:\xampp\htdocs\adwords\examples\AdWords\Auth\GetRefreshToken.php
    But you are some place like: C:\Users\Yourname>
    To get back to the start type: cd c:\
    Hopefully you will be here: C:\
    That’s perfect!
  2. You now need to make your way to this directory: C:\xampp\htdocs\adwords\examples\AdWords\Auth\
    Just type: cd xampp\htdocs\adwords\examples\AdWords\Auth\
    With any luck you will see on your screen:
  3. If you’ve done everything up to this point you should be able to type: php GetRefreshToken.php
  4. You are going to see something that says:
    Log in to your AdWords account and open the following URL:https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/auth?response_type=code&client_id=233867888761
    Fadwords&access_type=offlineAfter approving the token enter the authorization code here:
  5. Take that url: https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/auth?response_type=code&client_id=233867888761
    and paste it in your browser.
    Incidentally, that can be a challenge in itself. I right click on the command screen window, click “select all” and then press ‘Enter’.
    I then copy and past all of that into notepad and get the url from all of that content.
  6. When you log in you will get an authorization code. Copy that out of your browser, go to your command line window and then right click in there and click “paste.”  You should have gotten that code from windows that look like this:
  7. You are going to then take that code (the refresh token) that is produced in the command line and paste it back into your auth.ini file:
    It’s the last lines of that file:
    ; If you already have a refresh token, enter it below. Otherwise run
    ; GetRefreshToken.php.
    refresh_token = “adsfasfdasfadfadfjjdfjadkj”

    Just put it in between those quotes.

If you’ve done that you are golden.

That process took me a bunch of hours. And really was the reason for me writing this post. Hopefully it will have helped you.

I did run into another hurdle along the way, however.

I couldn’t get the examples to run in a Web browser. I thought maybe there was an additional step I needed to take or possibly my token wasn’t setup to work on a Web browser.

That’s not the case at all.

For some reason, that I still haven’t figured out, the example scripts have a line that reads:

// Don’t run the example if the file is being included.
if (__FILE__ != realpath($_SERVER[‘PHP_SELF’])) {

Another person on the forums had this problem and found that if you comment out that line the script will work. So I just did this:

// Don’t run the example if the file is being included.
//if (__FILE__ != realpath($_SERVER[‘PHP_SELF’])) {
// return;

Suddenly my stuff magically appeared in a browser when I loaded it like this:


If you notice, I have taken to moving my scripts to a folder like this:


You will find that the reports won’t run at the level. The init.php file needs to be updated. When you are working in the example files, you will find it in a place like this:

You’ll want to look at these line:

$depth = ‘/../../../';
define(‘SRC_PATH’, dirname(__FILE__) . $depth . ‘lib/’);
define(‘LIB_PATH’, ‘Google/Api/Ads/AdWords/Lib’);
define(‘UTIL_PATH’, ‘Google/Api/Ads/Common/Util’);
define(‘ADWORDS_UTIL_PATH’, ‘Google/Api/Ads/AdWords/Util’);

The thing I need to change was: $depth = ‘/../../../';

I just moved init.php to this folder: C:\xampp\htdocs\adwords\init.php

and updated the line to this:

$depth = ‘/';

That structure should work fine for me going forward.

I think that’s enough for this post. I have a few other little things I’ve discovered on my journey. But they may not be useful to everyone.

This process that I’ve laid out here is pretty much mandatory to go from nothing to getting a working setup of AdWords API.

Best of luck and have fun!



If you are working with reports, which is my interest, you will find a cool list of available reports, date ranges you can sort and that kind of thing here:


These are the date ranges you can run:

(That list is always hard to find, for some reason.)