Category: Technology

How to Advertise to Millennials

BCA Intern Nora Carlblom

By Nora Carlblom

Getting someone under the age of 25 to look up from their phone seems almost impossible. While it is hard for our family and friends to get our attention, a brand or company may really struggle when it comes to figuring out how to advertise to millennial. A simple answer: A sponsored ad on social media.

WHY? Social media is the way to advertise to millennials because we are seriously ALWAYS on our phones.

  • It was found in 2015 that teenagers spend an average of 9 hours a day on social media. That means 9 hours of our day are spent scrolling through Facebook, then Instagram, then Snapchat, repeat. (CNN)

- We pay attention to social media more than things like a billboard or TV because it is often right in front of us
- It is almost guaranteed we’ll notice your product if it shows up in the middle of our Instagram feed.
- When I scroll through Instagram and see a sponsored ad that is a picture of a well paired outfit, it draws me in to the account and I often end up on the stores website.

HOW? The ad needs to be modern and appealing to youth in order to catch our eye. Along with looks, they also need to be relevant to what is currently happening. This is why social media is the way to go. Each social media platform is catered to advertising certain things. Instagram is more successful in advertising things such as clothing or food, while Snapchat is strong in showcasing a variety of things. It can range from the election to a new movie to beauty and fashion, and almost everything in between.

Product Placement
Many brands have celebrities advertise their product for them through product placement on their Instagram.
The post usually doesn’t look like a typical advertisement. Product placement can be achieved by sending someone with a large social media following to something like a music festival in their clothing and simply asking them to post a picture of them there in their clothes. Others have the celebrity holding the product or using it in a setting that is their everyday life, and their caption is them raving about the product.
The way we see it is, if the celebrity is using it and “loving” it then it must be worth the money. While, some people add the hashtags “#ad” or “#sponsored” to their post, it still drives fans to go and take a look at the product advertised.

Sponsor a Snapchat Selfie lens

A selfie lens is a silly interactive filter on Snapchat that adds various effects to your snap. A few examples are a dog that sticks out its tongue when you open your mouth or one that alters your face to make your eyes super big or your head into a pear shape.

The first filter that pops up is the sponsored one. So not only would your advertisement be fun and interactive it would be the first one Snapchat users see.

It is seen that many companies have benefited from sponsoring a filter: (AdWeek):
- Men’s Wearhouse created a filter during prom season and had a 48% engagement rate among 1,800 high schools
- Michael Kors’ put out a lens for #NationalSunglassesDay that received 100 million views and increased purchase intent 2.1 times above normal rates.

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District and County Teacher of the Year educates through teamwork

San Luis Obispo – It’s a typical Tuesday on the Morro Bay High School campus, yet Aimee Burrus’ Algebra 1 classroom is anything but. “I don’t just teach. I’m a facilitator,” she said as students gathered in groups around their Chromebooks. “We’re not just learning math. We’re learning 21st century skills.” Burrus’ enthusiasm in the classroom is just one reason why she was recently named both San Luis Coastal Unified School District (SLCUSD) & SLO County Teacher of the Year. She is now in the running for State Teacher of the Year.


Aimee Burrus

Aimee Burrus facilitates group work during her Algebra I class at Morro Bay High School.

Burrus story is featured in the recently released blog series called “Class Notes,” which SLCUSD unveiled this summer. The monthly profiles feature exceptional people, programs and departments that make the district unique. You can find the articles on SLCUSD Superintendent Dr. Eric Prater’s blog here:


“I never thought I’d like the computer, but now I really do,” said ninth-grader Eli. “Mrs. Burrus is a really good teacher, she’s always willing to help and doesn’t want us to fall behind. She tells us we’re all in this together.” Eli is referring to the unique learning model Burrus employs, based heavily in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, math) program she helped develop at Los Osos Middle School.


To learn more about the program and Aimee Burrus, visit Dr. Prater’s blog for the entire story. A new blog is published each month.

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A New Strategy for Apple

Contributor: Stephen Zehnder

Contributor: Stephen Zehnder

As a Millennial, I have grown up in the digital age and have seen the craze and lines at Apple stores for the newest iPhones, iPods, and Macbooks. However, as years go by, new versions of devices have become less revolutionary, and merely an upgrade. That’s where the new Apple Watch comes in. It combines the abilities of a cell phone with the utility of a pedometer and health tracker. It also has a function called “digital touch.” You can send your friend a pattern of taps or even your heartbeat. The recipient will feel it through their watch as if the sender was touching them on the wrist. This device has all the earmarks of a revolutionary new product that should garner fanfare and pre-sale lines at Apple stores across the country – but it’s not.

Watches are not a sought-after product for many people my age. The fact I’ve worn a watch almost every day since I was 12 makes me an anomaly. The generation who grew up with phones in their pockets has no need for an expensive timepiece many see as outdated.

Apple has tried to bring the glamour of watches back, and use high name retailers rather than their own stores as markets for their new designs. Only six boutiques worldwide currently offer the watches, but online purchases can be made through Apple. Bloomberg Business’s Tim Higgins worries the encouragement by Apple for customers to buy online could harm the perceived scarcity long lines have created for Apple in the past, and the great demand that goes with it. I understand this concern, but the strategy of limiting stores and having a low stock for the first unit made up for the perceived scarcity which lines had created in the past. applewatch

In my opinion, this new item in the Apple inventory is less utilitarian and more aesthetic in purpose. It therefore makes sense Apple is selling it only in select stores around the world known for starting new clothing trends synonymous with glamor. James Peckham from Techradar said, there are only six select stores located in Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Beijing, Paris, and Milan. If Apple had starting selling these watches right off the bat and initially ordered mass quantities, there would have been a risk the supply would outweigh the demand and killed it from the start. Instead, the strategy they went with allowed them to test the waters and adapt. It is by no means mainstream, but the speed with which the watches sold-out online is promising for Apple. Who knows, perhaps Apple will make the Millennials watch-wearers.

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Up Close and Personal Still Counts

Maggie Cox

Contributor: Maggie Cox

I recently attended a presentation by political and cultural commentator David Brooks, the well-known New York Times columnist, book author and PBS Newshour contributor.  He was terrific. No surprise there.

What was a surprise to me was his presentation style. He spoke casually and comfortably in a soft spoken, conversational way. He did not physically command the stage. No big screens showcasing him to the 600+ member audience. No bold hand gestures. Just David Brooks, a podium and a desk lamp. And he held us rapt.

Granted, David Brooks’ reputation precedes him. He is a college teacher and a learned man. His focus that evening – the disconnect between career and happiness – was a compelling one.

Underpinning it all was the sheer power of his personal presence. On the ride home, I thought about how different my personal experience would have been if the same presentation had been communicated in a TED talk or radio interview or video clip forwarded by a friend. The message stays the same, but something is lost.

The takeaway: technology makes all kinds of communication possible, but there is simply no perfect substitute for being in the room. Conference calls, skyping and other modern tools have a place, but they cannot replace human presence. It’s still worth driving across town or flying across country when real connection needs to be made.

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Is your website mobile-friendly? It better be, soon

Katie Ferber, Contributor

Katie Ferber, Contributor

When you don’t know something what do you do? “Google it.” What was once the name of a search engine has now transformed into the act of searching. I even “Googled” to write this Bump about Google. Information not found on Google gets lost in cyberspace, which is why it’s so important for your company to have a strong presence there.

Where a website ranks on a Google search will soon change thanks to something called an algorithm. Starting April 21, if you search from a mobile device, your results will be ranked based on whether a site is mobile-friendly.

BCA’s web developer and designer Aaron Cotton broke it all down for us and said this is the single biggest change to Google and possibly the internet in the last five years. Google has always used only one index for all sites; you were served one result no matter which device you were searching from.

“Mobile” devices are essentially everything other than a desktop or laptop like phones and tablets … what most of use on a daily basis. After April 21, adaptive sites will rank higher than separate mobile sites because they get more combined traffic. Sites that do not have either adaptive functionality or a separate alternative mobile site will be put below sites that do, on a mobile search.

You can see if your website is mobile friendly by clicking here.

So what do you do if your site is NOT already mobile-compatible or adaptive? It’s imperative you get together with your web designer to make those changes. BCA creates adaptive sites for our clients.

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Partly cloudy? Everything you need to know about the Cloud and security

Aaron Cotton

Contributor: Aaron Cotton
January 8, 2015

Even if you don’t quite understand the ‘cloud,’ you’ve undoubtedly used it, if only to check your email online. The cloud is the internet and a network of servers.

A lot of people have an opinion on the cloud and whether it’s good or bad for business. Some people think that it is simply too big a risk for businesses to take, while others would argue it’s the path to greater business success and cost savings. I’d say the truth lies somewhere between the two: The cloud undeniably has the potential to open up a whole new dimension of opportunities to businesses – but only if data security is properly addressed.

First, let’s dispel any misconceptions you may have. The cloud is nothing mystical, nothing whimsical, and nothing to be afraid of. The reason many fear the cloud is its reputation as a dangerous place. The truth is that anything beyond the physical perimeter of your business is also, theoretically, beyond your physical protection. And let’s face it, there are dangers and risks out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay behind a locked door. Instead, with the right security you can stay clear of danger and fully tap into the cloud’s potential.

The cloud and security are intrinsically intertwined, and only when both work together can a business truly grow. There are four main areas where security can team up with the cloud to offer companies the greatest potential to thrive – and it isn’t hard to get it right.

Four reasons to use the cloud

1. Data protection

The data in your business is possibly the most important asset you have. A single breach or leak of sensitive data can cripple your entire business, so a data protection strategy must protect the data itself. The trick is to protect data at the moment of creation, before it moves out of the business or even enters the cloud. Only by doing that can you ensure that any data source is comprehensively protected. See Tips for cloud security below.

2. Scalability and flexibility

The cloud has opened up previously unseen opportunities for organizations to grow and expand quickly, smoothly and with ease. With information immediately available wherever you are, the cloud offers the flexibility and scalability that in the past was an insurmountable obstacle for businesses restricted by their on-site resources.

3. Cost efficiency

This element is two-fold. First, reap the powerful savings by only paying for what you use. The second element is that most cloud computing platforms provide the means to capture, monitor, and control usage information for accurate billing.

4. Access to data anytime, anywhere

The cloud provides remote access to your information 24/7 for your employees. No longer will you arrive for a meeting only to find the materials on your USB stick are a previous version. Instead you access the original file wherever you happen to be. Teams can check customer data in real time. An employee stuck in an airport can still work as effectively as in the office.

But are the business benefits too good to be true? Will you need a whole host of restrictions to be implemented to address safety issues? The truth is, it all comes back to the data. A single framework that comprehensively protects all data from point of creation and throughout its lifecycle can eliminate practically all potential security hazards that could threaten the cloud.

Tips for cloud security

1. Encryption of important data

By encrypting data that is vulnerable to spying at capture and protecting it throughout the entire life cycle wherever it moves, data can be used safely across the business and in the cloud without the need to encrypt and decrypt each time it enters different IT environments. This is a service provided by many cloud providers.

2. Policy controls

By giving users or applications permission to decrypt directly – linking to data access rules and policies – the extension of controls into the Cloud can be enabled and user management is simplified. For instance, an application that can work directly with the encrypted data on the cloud.

When utilized correctly, cloud-computing capabilities offer numerous opportunities to drive business innovation. Recent technology and social connectivity trends have created an opportunity for companies to embrace the power of cloud to upgrade their existing business models. Your company has nothing to fear when the security of your data is managed properly.

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From SEO to PPC: 13 Acronyms to Help You Better Understand Digital Marketing

If you’re superstitious, we’ll count KPI and call it 14


Phil Townsend

Phil Townsend
Sept. 3, 2014

Most industries have their fair share of initialisms. Marketing, in this case digital marketing, is no different. Consider this a primer on the acronyms of digital marketing. There are so many great resources out there on this topic (I’ve provided some here), and it would take waaaaaaaaay more than a single blog post to dig into each. So start here; then continue digging on our site and around the Web.

1. CPM (Cost Per Thousand [Impressions])
This acronym gets a little fancy by using the Latin mille, meaning “thousand” (that’s where the “M” comes from). CPM is a measurement advertisers and ad networks (such as Google and Facebook) use to determine the cost of 1,000 impressions (each time an ad is shown). Depending on the ad network, you can use a variety of parameters to customize your ad or campaign. For example, Rebekah Schelfhout’s article at Search Engine Land highlights the importance of monitoring your campaign’s analytics and setting frequency caps. CPM ad buys are often preferred when an advertiser wants to maximize impressions to increase brand awareness.

2. CPC (Cost Per Click)
This cousin to CPM doesn’t get the fancy Latin title, but it offers a valuable alternative where advertisers pay only when their ad is clicked. This is a better option for those who want to maximize their ad spend to generate website traffic. In other words, you pay only for viewers who click through to your website and, in theory, are actually interested.

To confuse things a little, CPC may also refer to the practice of placing paid ads, as in CPC advertising, either on content sites or on SERPs (that ones in here, too; scroll down), making it synonymous with the terms PPC (see next entry) and paid search—that is, paying for an ad to appear on SERPs (I’ll get to it).

3. PPC (Pay Per Click)
Like CPC, PPC refers to either the amount an advertiser pays for a viewer to click on an ad or the practice of paid search. It might refer to other models of paid online advertising, too, such as a content website charging a fixed fee per click.

4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization/Optimizer)
SEO is the practice of enhancing the various components of a website so that it achieves a high rank on SERPs (almost there). In SEO’s infancy, you could simply cram a website full of keywords and get decent ranking. Today SEO is about what I call the “Four Ty’s of SEO.” You could write forever about SEO, so I’ll sum up SEO as part science and part art.

SEO also refers to a person or agency that offers SEO services.

5. SEM (Search Engine Marketing/Marketer)
Instead of SEM, the simple “SM” for “search marketing/marketer” suffices for many. Both are the practice of or the person or agency that practices marketing through search engines. Some use SEM to mean CPC/PPC/paid search advertising. For others, the term encompasses both paid search and SEO. Another Search Engine Land article, this one by Danny Sullivan, writes in depth about this confusion.

6. SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
See, you made it. This is the page of listed websites that appears after you perform a search query at a search engine like Google or the nonconformist search alternative DuckDuckGo. Organizations conduct SEO in hopes of reaching the first spot on page one of SERPs.

7. SMO (Social Media Optimization/Optimizer)
This is maximizing integration of social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest with a website. It’s formatting a website in such a way that it encourages visitors to share or endorse content by making social activities as easy as possible.

SMO could also consist of integrating social media activity within a website, such as aggregating social network feeds.

These actions help promote the brand, organization or service, acting as a form of word-of-mouth advertising. Deciding which social media platform is right for you is another matter.

8. SMM (Social Media Marketing/Marketer)
Yup, SMM differs from SMO. Whereas SMO focuses on optimizing social media optimization and website integration, SMM consists of marketing efforts done through social media channels, such as Twitter’s new paid video ads or this Facebook post from Taco Bell:





For both SMO and SMM, and really all content marketing strategies, one of the ultimate goals is to produce content that goes viral due to views and shares. And like SEO and SEM, SMO and SMM can refer to the people or agencies that perform these services.

9. A/B Testing (it stands for um…A/B Testing)
Also referred to as “split testing,” A/B testing is obviously not an acronym. But it looks like one and it’s important in digital marketing. You perform an A/B test by creating different versions of the same ad or landing page. These inbound and conversion tools run at the same time and send the audience to the same destination. Then you monitor to see which has the greatest CTR (covered after MVT below) or desired response.

A/B testing compares a single item within an ad: maybe a splash page that has a “register” button next to the headline versus under the explanatory body copy or one CTA (also coming up below) pitted against another in an otherwise identical ad. An advertiser might do one test or several, fine-tuning the ad each time to improve results.

10. MVT (Multivariate Testing)
This is similar to A/B testing but incorporates more variables. For example, an advertiser will create several ads for the same initiative but present the content in different arrangements or omit components of the ad. Then monitor, refine and, if desired, repeat. Whereas A/B testing compares the same, single component, MVT compares multiple variables (hence the name), such as different combinations of headlines and images, producing multiple versions of the ad.

11. CTR (Click-Through Rate)
CTR measures the ratio of clicks to impressions. So a high CTR means that a large number of people clicked the link of a particular ad, email or Web page. This is one of many determiners of a successful ad or campaign.

12. CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization/Optimizer)
Like the other optimization/optimizer acronyms, CRO refers to an activity and a specialist. The activity is a systematic process of designing a website, email or ad to increase conversions (when the audience performs a desired action: e.g., shares or purchases something). It involves a number of tactics, including defining KPIs (key performance indicators; for the sake of time, and because it’s used widely outside of digital marketing, we’ll leave that one be), A/B testing or MVT and analytics. Jamie Smith at Search Engine Watch provides 14 resources for improving your CRO knowledge, one of which is Quallaroo’s informative “The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization.”

13. CTA (Call to Action)
This is a holdover from traditional marketing. If you want your audience to respond to the ad in a certain way, tell them. Present a desired action and call them to it. For example: “Tell us if we missed any acronyms in the comments below.” ;)


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5 Rules for Marketing to Moms

Brooke Pitts

Contributor: Brooke Pitts
May 2, 2014

We’ve all seen the ads: the mom with the perfect hair wearing a cardigan and capris, happily cooking dinner in an immaculate kitchen while her children quietly play in the other room.

Drives. Me. Crazy.

And I’m not the only one. Ads like this are the perfect example of why most mothers feel that today’s marketers and advertisers do not understand what it’s

Marketing to Moms Infographic

Design: Emily Hsiao, BCA. Information Source: Transformation Marketing.

really like to be a mother. The modern mom performs a complex juggling act. She balances a career, her children, and family bank accounts. Women make 85 percent of the purchasing decisions within a household, according to BSM Media. With that kind of buying power, it is imperative advertisers know exactly what this demographic wants to see and how they want to see it.

As a mom, I deemed it my responsibility to offer up some simple tips for marketing toward moms.

1. Embrace Technology

When you’re a mom, shopping by yourself – grocery or otherwise – is like a vacation. Sure, we’d love to spend time with your product while we’re perusing the isles, but we just can’t. My point? We’re turning to the internet to research products and services, so your website must be mobile. Around 9 in 10 mothers report using a smartphone, and 85 percent of moms say they use their phone to purchase products, according to BabyCenter’s 2013 Mobile Mom report.

2. Quick and Useful

If you can make your pitch snappy AND useful, you win. Advertisers should be respectful of a mother’s time on all platforms — be it digital, print, broadcast or in-person outreach. Focus on the time savings benefits of your product or service. Moms are experts at multi-tasking and at the end of the day, they’re craving the ability to do even more in less time.

3. Don’t Stereotype

Too often, advertising depicts moms as either/or: a frazzled, frantic mess or a Desperate Housewives-esque model of perfection. In reality, most moms lie somewhere in the middle. Some moms stay at home, some work at home, and some work away from home. Be careful that your marketing message doesn’t make a blanket statement that would leave someone out.

4. Be Real

Focus on content that’s real, inspirational, relatable, relevant, and useful. We’re not interested in manufactured or retouched.

5. Use humor

Using humor about the reality of parenthood is a very effective strategy. It shows the audience that you get it. You know motherhood is hard but you understand and appreciate what mothers do for their family.

In conclusion, I pulled a couple of my favorite example. This Luvs diapers commercial uses humor to target not just moms, but second-time moms (big difference!), and the brand shows it really gets it.

And here, Coca Cola markets to both moms and dads using a video that is relevant and funny to families experiencing the ups and downs of parenthood. Nice job, Coke.


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Augmented Reality: Connecting Consumers to Print through Mobile Devices

Nicole Smith

Contributor: Nicole Smith, BCA Intern
April 29, 2014

Being milk-free, I don’t normally drink Starbucks. But during Holiday Season 2012, I made one exception – I had to get my hands on the holiday Starbucks cup. No, it wasn’t for the classic holiday flavored Gingerbread Latte, or to catch a whiff of an enticing Peppermint Mocha. It was because of a demonstration in class that my professor showcased, explaining why these cups were so special.

I’m currently a second year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I’m studying graphic communication, a major designed to educate students about the print industry and how technology, design, web and the Internet can influence this field. It was nearing the end of the quarter in 2012 and my professor was wrapping up our lecture about current industry happenings. And that is when she brought out the red cup.

As the class stared blankly at the cup, confused by its significance, my Professor pulled up a video on YouTube created by Starbucks. This video showed that if you downloaded their app, you could hold your mobile device near the cup and the cup would come alive. On your screen, one of five unique scenes would appear, showing classic Starbucks winter cartoon characters dancing, sledding, playing in the snow, and having a wonderful time near this cup. This interactive simulation is called augmented reality. It’s a type of technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. And golly, isn’t it a brilliant way to market an already popular product?

By using this augmented reality on the cups, consumers are enticed to buy cups of coffee or their favorite holiday drink until they’ve seen all five scenes. But what if they don’t get a different one every time they get a drink? They’ll just have to keep buying the cups until they do, creating massive revenue for Starbucks.

So how could this technology help your business today? Augmented reality is on the rise in advertising, and this new form of connecting with consumers is really just starting to take off. Consumers are constantly using their phone. It’s practically another appendage. Being able to connect a consumer with a mobile device to your standard print ad could be very beneficial. You could do this through an app, or maybe a QR code that when scanned, a virtual coupon or deal shows on their screen with the real world projected in the background. Another idea is if your advertisement is in a magazine, and a consumer holds their phone over it, different areas could pop up, and if selected, could take them to a browser page on the web which tells them more about that product. Starbucks used cartoons, but for your brand, the possibilities could be endless.



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Should you use WordPress for your website?

Pros and cons of the world’s most popular blog/CMS platform

Contributor: Aaron Cotton

February 6, 2014

You have probably heard of WordPress. Even if you only go on the Web to check your email and Facebook, the name may sound familiar to you. That’s because WordPress is extremely pervasive; nearly 20 percent of the top 10 million websites use the WordPress platform, and more than 75 million WordPress sites live on the Web right now.

WordPress is a blogging and content management system (CMS) created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It is a free and open source platform that runs on the common Web standard tools, PHP and MySQL. The only competitors that even come close to its popularity are Joomla! and Drupal. But by stats alone, WordPress is the clear winner.

So should you use WordPress for your website? Probably.

But just like any other piece of software, WordPress has certain strengths and weaknesses, and some applications are optimized for WordPress while others will probably serve you better on another platform.

WordPress strengths

- It’s free
- Thousands of freely available themes and several thousand more for less than $100
- Nearly 20,000 plugins/modules available. You can literally find a plugin that does ANYTHING.
- Strongly optimized for search engines right out of the box
- Easy to integrate with social networking profiles via Jetpack
- Manage multiple websites in one dashboard
- Quick and easy to install
- Huge development following
- Very easy to customize

WordPress weaknesses

- Because of its massive popularity, it is a high-profile hacking target
- You must keep WordPress and its many plugins updated because of the above, and updates are released very often
- You can not be assured of the quality of themes and plugins. You may get a secure and well supported one, or you may get one created by an 8-year-old.
- Because it is based on MySQL and most people host WordPress sites on low-performance Web hosts like GoDaddy, very large or complex sites can run slowly.
- Creating your own themes (if you are a Web designer) can be a bit tough. It is typically easier to start with someone else’s theme and customize/modify it.
- WordPress e-commerce solutions are notoriously bad and poorly supported

WordPress is best for certain types of sites

If you plan on running a blog, personal site, home business or even a business informational site, then WordPress will serve you well. Examples of WordPress in these roles can be found at CNN Political Ticker, Best Buy Mobile, IBM Jobs and Mashable.

However, if you have a large business site, an e-commerce site or a site that will not be updated and maintained frequently, then you should think about another solution. I would recommend a custom-developed CMS in that case.

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