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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK #7

April 15, 2019

THIS WEEK (APR 15-APRIL 21) – Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts for tax week (and Oregon’s Governor’s Tourism Conference week). As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

 

 

MARKETING TODAY: IT IS ALL ABOUT ONLINE

With the World Wide Web turning 30 this year, 90% of Americans now use the internet, up from around 50% in the early 2000s. Around seven-in-ten use at least one social media site, up from just 5% in 2005. Americans are increasingly connected while “on the go” via mobile devices; 77% of us own a smartphone, up from just 35% in 2011.

DO YOU PIGEONHOLE PEOPLE?

One of the biggest dangers in marketing is pigeonholing: placing people in neat categories for your convenience, which usually fails to reflect actual complexities. That’s why I found this 2018 PEW Study interesting. Most political Independents are not independent. Among the public overall, 38% describe themselves as Independents, while 31% are Democrats and 26% call themselves Republicans. But less than 10% of Independents say they have no partisan leaning. That is one reason why polling today is often wrong. Want to learn more about polling today? I have developed a free presentation for service clubs and others about the “Can You Trust Polls Today?” Happy to share with your group. Contact me.

CONSUMERS NOW CONTROL ONLINE MARKETING

Interesting read from Randy Browning of Deloitte Consulting about how brands can’t control their marketing messages online. Consumers – armed with smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps – Often research, buy, review, and recommend products with no involvement from you. This is a dramatic shift from 10 years ago, when brands largely controlled the marketing message. Consumers are now content creators instead of just consumers, and communications is now happening in real time. The balance of power has shifted. This means you need to rethink your marketing today. Can you market in real time? A good topic for your marketing meet.

CREATING MORE ORGANIC TRAFFIC

Finally, if you are a marketer, you know that organic search traffic is the best source of quality leads across all the traffic channels available to you. Research shows it can be up to seven times more likely to convert a web visitor into a customer vs. a traffic source you paid for. That’s why it’s critically important to keep SEO best practices in mind. The Hubspot.com blog had an excellent article on the eight SEO tips for a landing page. Email me and I will be happy to share it.

Until next week, thanks for reading. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK #6

March 26, 2019

THIS WEEK (MAR 25-29) – Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover. Even better, invite your business friends to get my blog via email. You will find the sign up link (no charge) on the top right of my blog.  

TEST YOUR MOBILE WEBSITE NOW

If a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load, most users will leave it, according to a Google research study. So, I checked my Crater Lake Country mobile website speed with their new Test My Site Tool with competitive benchmarking and analysis. My site took 4.3 seconds. While I work on improving this, I think everyone needs to test their mobile site speed. Email me and I will send you the link

WHAT IS A VISITOR ATTRACTION?

Last week I attended a tourism conference (good job, Travel Southern Oregon) and the Medford VCB introduced a new logo and branding effort. In looking at their material, I was curious that cannabis pharmacies were not mentioned at all. Our research reveals that buying pot is an attraction to some visitors. Research respondents even commented on how many pot shops there are in Medford, “They seem to be on every corner.” So, should buying pot be a visitor attraction? What if an attraction is not socially acceptable to all? Food for thought: In Amsterdam they are ending guided tours of their red-light district (19 million took tours last year). Amsterdam’s deputy mayor, Udo Kock, stated that it’s “outdated” to allow tourists to gape at sex workers’ windows and view them as an attraction. This “attraction or not an attraction” is one reason you need independent research when developing a branding approach. Don’t trust your instincts, find out what your visitors think.

UPDATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA USE

In the most current PEW Study (January 2018), 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook, unchanged from a 2016 study, but up from 54% in 2012. With the exception of YouTube, used by 73% of adults, no other social media platform comes close to Facebook in usage. Around a third (35%) say they use Instagram, while smaller shares say they use Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

HubSpot’s blog asked this question recently. They said there was no perfect answer. Brilliant insight. So, after falling for their “click bait” headline, I continued exploring their post and discovered that there are a dozen research studies by various sources that do provide some insight into the “best time” for posting. Drum roll please. Facebook and Twitter both see high engagement at 9:00 AM, whereas one of the best times to post on Instagram is 5:00 PM. LinkedIn caters to business audiences, with an ideal posting time of 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Pinterest sees high engagement as late as 4:00 AM.

Until next week, thanks for reading. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK #5

February 25, 2019

THIS WEEK #5 (FEB 25-MAR 3) – This week, I am departing a bit and focusing on one theme: Embracing change. As a marketing coach, I see businesses simply not engaging in the research and planning needed to be relevant in the future. I thought I would pull a few headlines from the news to show that no industry can avoid dealing with change.

CHANGE BRINGS TOURISM UNDER ATTACK

Many Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are run by chambers under a city or county contract. Today, many of these relationships are facing dramatic challenges to their very existence because DMOs have not invested in the independent research needed to reassure constantly changing and skeptical elected officials that public money is being spent wisely.

The Roseburg Area Chamber and Visitor Center is in this fight right now. The city council refused to renew a three-decade agreement because, as the Council President stated, “We just don’t know if they are doing a good job or not.” Back in 2012, we were fortunate to be hired by Roseburg to do an independent study that proved that the Chamber was doing an outstanding job. Their contract was renewed. Not sure why they didn’t update this study for this contract round. We are still waiting to hear from Roseburg.

Here’s the flip side to this story. Tillamook County hired us to establish a baseline study five years ago before they launched their marketing effort. They have continued to update this study constantly. The result? New and old officials continue to be confident that public money is being invested wisely because they have an independent analysis. Bottom line: If you are a DMO you can’t afford not to have an independent, professional research program in these changing times. Don’t delay, call us now. Can you justify your existence to constantly changing public officials?

BEING FIRST IS UNIMPORTANT

Just because you’re an industry pioneer, it doesn’t guarantee longevity for your business. Your market is constantly changing. This became painfully clear when Bridgeport Brewing announced that its 35-year run was ending, a casualty of poor sales in a crowded craft beer market. When founded in 1984, America had fewer than 100 craft breweries, now there are 7,000 (and counting). I saw this market change first hand when I was on the marketing team that launched Southern Oregon Brewing. It also closed after a short run for similar reason, hard to get statewide distribution in a crowded market. Remember, in a changing world, if you are only maintaining the status quo, you are falling behind.

HAVING A GREAT PRODUCT IS UNIMPORTANT

Wall St. Journal Reporter Ben Walsh reports that everyone is trying to build electric vehicles—including General Motors and Ford. Walsh stated that one of the biggest pressures that Tesla faces over the next couple of years is the advent of new, fully electric vehicles (EVs) produced by established luxury-car makers such as Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche. Yes, Tesla has a great product. But if you can’t meet demand, at competitive prices (which are constantly dropping), who cares? A great product or service won’t protect you from a changing world.

STAYING RELEVANT IS IMPORTANT

Virtually everyone in America has a cell phone, which makes smartphones a non-growth market. If you led the smartphone revolution like iPhone (June 29, 2007), what do you do in a mature market? You must embrace change. That is why Apple recently announced that they are reordering priorities and leadership across services. Several projects have been put on hold while new managers are given a chance to reassess priorities. This shift reflects Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies. Are you prepared to leave your cash cow product or service behind and embrace a new one?

Until next week, thanks for reading. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK #4

February 12, 2019

THIS WEEK #4 (FEB 11 – FEB 17) – Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

 

 

CUSTOMER RESEARCH – LUXURY OR NECESSITY?

I am often surprised by how many small businesses think finding out more about their customers is a luxury. Tell that to Amazon. Their success is primarily based on knowing more about their customers than anyone. This allows them to customize their offerings to you. The best thing about customer research today? If you have a customer email list, we can conduct a study for you for literally pennies per customer. Our new DCG TIP SHEET outlines the seven major benefits of conducting customer research.

1. Measuring Customer Loyalty
2. Discovering How Customers Find You
3. Learning Why People Buy or Don’t Buy
4. Generating Feedback on Your Business
5. Analyzing Your Customer Experience
6. Helping Create Market Segmentation Strategies
7. Creating Brand Advocates

Click here to see the entire tip sheet. Then give us a call.

CREATING YOUR OWN YOU TUBE CHANNEL

Trying to decide what your marketing team should focus on in 2019? If you have videos, then it should be creating your own YouTube channel. Video content now accounts for over 74% of all online traffic. Five billion YouTube videos are watched every single day. Amanda Zantal-Wiener has prepared a solid “How To” blog post for Hubspot.com providing a quick and easy-to-follow guide to creating your own YouTube channel, from setup to optimization. Contact me and I will link you up to this excellent guide.

WILL 2019 BE BETTER THAN 2018?

Everyone loves predictions, right? Only in America would we accept a weather forecast from a ground hog telling us that Spring will arrive early (and that was just a few days before the biggest winter storms in recent memory hit). So, let’s turn to another unreliable source, political parties, to see if 2019 will be a better than 2018.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, conducted Jan. 9-14 before the partial shutdown of the federal government ended, Republicans and Democrats both see less reason for optimism. About 70% of Republicans say 2019 will be better, compared with 32% of Democrats. In both parties, these shares have declined since last year. If we look at all Americans: 47% say they expect 2019 will be better, 43% say it will be worse. Last January, those figures were 61% saying 2018 would be better than 2017.

Now why is this important? Because in marketing, perception is reality. Numerous studies have shown that if you think it is going to be a better year, you spend more. That’s another reason you must conduct customer research right now. How optimistic are your customers? It could make a big difference in your business this year.

THE BEST SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS?

Ok, I didn’t get many comments about Super Bowl commercials, so perhaps they were as dull as the game? Jacob Oller, a writer and film critic, created one of the better Top 10 lists with video clips. Except for the annoying Bud Light dark-age commercial (this campaign has to go), I agree with many of his selections. Here’s a link to his list, CLICK HERE.

SHOULD YOU STILL WISH PEOPLE HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY?

Finally, this may be a sad reflection on today’s society. Only 51% of Americans plan to do something for Valentine’s Day this week, down from 63% in 2007, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Younger consumers associate Valentine’s Day with their parents, says retail analyst Marshal Cohen. What are retailers and restaurants to do? Ah, why not promote Galentine’s Day, February 13th? This is a female-friendship take on Valentine’s Day spun out of an episode of “Parks and Recreation.” It is becoming popular in urban hip communities.

Until next week, thanks for reading.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK #3

February 4, 2019

THIS WEEK (FEB 4 TO FEB 8) Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

SUPER COMMERCIALS?

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. Kind of the Oscars for TV commercials. Although I personally thought the game was boring, I lost interest by half time, hard-core football fans probably loved it. Now comes the big questions. Did anyone remember the commercials? Is paying $5 million for a TV spot worth it? While I gathered up research of what ads scored the highest with consumers, what was your favorite? Please leave a comment on what commercials you liked.

ARE YOU PLANNING FOR THE RIGHT FUTURE?

I had an interesting discussion with the marketing head for a visitor attraction in Southern Oregon that saw their business drop 50% because of summer fires/smoke. Unfortunately, they were not alone. In fact, two straight summers of fires impacting visitor counts are forcing many to rethink their long-term business model. Why? Because it may not get better. Hot and dry summers with fires could be the new normal, according to Oregon State’s Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. They released their 2019 climate assessment report last week, and Philip Mote (co-author of the report) offered this pessimistic view of the region: “Southwest Oregon is sort of a ground zero for a lot of this with the many recent years with poor snowpack and fires and smoke.”

So, will you ever see the level of business that you had in the past? Tough question. But it is the kind of question you and your team need to be asking yourselves as we head into 2019. From the Oregon Shakespeare Festival looking at alternative venues for their outdoor theater, to local businesses looking to acquire businesses outside the area for growth, to realtors seeing fewer people willing to move into the area, this is the time for serious long-range planning. If you haven’t done a SWOT analysis, you should. If you need help in using this proven planning tool, conducting market research, or help in running a long-range planning session, give us a call. We can help. Time is running out.

WHAT GENERATION OWES $86 BILLION IN STUDENT DEBT?

Surprise, it’s people 60 years and older. Older Americans are being crushed by a mountain of student loans—their children’s and their own. Many of these seniors took out loans to help pay for their children’s college tuition and are still paying them off. Others took out student loans for themselves in the wake of the 2008 recession, as they went back to school to boost their own employment prospects.

On average, student loan borrowers in their 60s owed $33,800 in 2017, up 44% from 2010, according to data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by credit-reporting firm TransUnion. Total student loan debt rose 161% for people aged 60 and older from 2010 to 2017—the biggest increase for any age group, according to the latest data available from TransUnion.

GATHERING DATA IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP

As a marketer, one of your main priorities is getting to know your customers and building relationships with them. As reported by Thinking with Google, this may look easy. Customers in a digital world generate rivers of data. But making sense of the data isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. Sometimes there’s just too much of it. Filtering out the noise to find what matters can be a challenge. Other times, it’s hard to connect the dots. To discover the right insights, it takes quality data analysis. That is why clients turn to us. Using the analytic skills of our VP/Director of Research Dr. Nicholas Lougee, our team can help you review your data and find the marketing insights that you need for growth. Let’s talk.

PREDICTIONS ARE TOUGH

So much for one of my 2019 predictions that Facebook may see a decline in growth. Well, they ended 2018 full of controversy and unflattering stories, but they reported 9% more monthly active users worldwide than a year earlier and 1% more in the U.S. and Canada. So, there is no evidence of mass defections. But it does show that Facebook growth is now being powered by worldwide use. And if marketers were going to delete Facebook, they weren’t going to do it before consumers did. Revenue growth slowed in the 4th Quarter, but ad growth was still 30% higher.

NEW SERVICE

Just another pitch for my new proofing and editing service. Check it out here.

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POWERSHIFTING NOTES THIS WEEK – JAN 28-31

January 28, 2019

POWERSHIFT MARKETING – THIS WEEK – Here are few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

NEW SERVICE – Just another pitch for my new proofing and editing service. Check it out here.

DON’T ACCEPT DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS? It could be time to rethink this approach. The all cash society is definitely on the way out. Roughly 29% of U.S. adults say they make no purchases using cash during a typical week. People who say they make all or almost all of their weekly purchases using cash has decreased to 18%, according to Pew Research. Some businesses are now thinking of becoming cashless establishments. Is this something you should consider? We can help with research to learn if this is wise for your business.

ARE TAXIS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES? The share of Americans who use ride-hailing services has increased dramatically. Today, 36% of U.S. adults say they have used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft, compared to 15% in late 2015.

MORE INSIGHTS INTO GEN Z – Last week, after I predicted that marketers will need to understand Generation Z (people born in 1996 or before), the Wall St. Journal did an excellent article on seven things that make Gen Z different. As WSJ author Christopher Mims points out, members of the most racially diverse American generation ever, share one thing in common: their world has been defined by connecting online via social media and mobile devices. Here’s a quick recap of the seven things Mims pointed out in his January 26th article (just in case you can’t access it).

1. Gen Z doesn’t distinguish between online and real life. Common wisdom today says that young people don’t hang out with their friends in real life anymore. Perhaps, but Gen Z believes interacting digitally is real life.

2. Privacy online? Gen Z expects that everything typed into a keyboard or captured on a camera will end up on the internet. So, the smart ones never let down their guard.

3. Facebook is out, Instagram is in. I’ve commented on this before but Gen Z says that using Facebook to connect with peers is somewhere between never and no way. As reported in the story, “Facebook for my generation solely exists so that other generations can see that I’m still alive.” Now, this might be good news if you want to reach older consumers, but not if you want to reach Gen Z.

4. Social media is how they stay informed. I’ve commented on this too. Gen Z’s find news almost entirely via social media. Many use Twitter and Instagram to get news. For those with iPhones, Apple News is popular because it means one less app.

5. Video is important, but it isn’t everything. YouTube is huge. For those who are into the culture of influencers, many who spend time on Instagram use YouTube too. Twitter’s ill-fated Vine changed the way this generation views content, leading to a market for subsequent short-form video and apps including TikTok.

6. Gen Z thinks concerns about screens are overblown. If you grew up online, you are not concerned about spending too much time online. Some members of Gen Z believe that the media is obsessed with the negative impacts of tech and doesn’t talk enough about how it empowers their generation.

7. But they’re still susceptible to tech addiction and burnout. Gen Z are acutely aware that their level of online engagement isn’t always sustainable. Some take breaks from social media, others wonder how it’s changing their brains. They also report having trouble knowing where the line between healthy and unhealthy use should be.

Until next week, thanks for reading.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK #1

January 21, 2019

THIS WEEK – Took a break from blogging to re-design and launch a new 2019 blog format. Welcome to PowerShift Marketing Notes – This Week.

PowerShift Marketing is the name of my marketing book and workshops I conducted for small businesses.  I thought it was a good name for my weekly blog update. My blog will still focus on marketing trends and research. It won’t necessarily come out every Monday, but it will appear weekly, starting this week.

Thought I would start off with some 2019 predictions.

BUSINESSES WILL TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING – In December 2018 a Hilton Hotel (Doubletree in Portland) made headlines by kicking out a black guest because he was loitering in the lobby while calling his mom. Most customer service training programs are decades behind in understanding the challenge of today’s diverse customer bases. This is even more true in Oregon where rural communities do not have the diversity you find in urban areas. Today’s customers – Hispanics, Blacks, old and young, Muslims, women – they all must be treated with similar respect. That’s why we have added a dynamic new “They Don’t Look Like Us” segment to our 2019 customer service training. Here’s a link to all our current programs. Email me if you are interested in doing some training prior to the start of your season (Mark@dennettgroup.com).

BUSINESSES WILL RETHINK FACEBOOK MARKETING – We still believe that Facebook, if used correctly, is a solid marketing tool. But Facebook has been sailing through troubled waters and a growing number of consumers are not pleased with their use of personal data and how it is uses it to categorizes them. So, Facebook growth is slowing and there is a growing backlash to it. That’s why you need to redefine your Facebook strategy. Our research shows that not all social media generates traffic to websites. Contact us if you want to learn more about changes in social media for 2019 and our ability to help you.

MARKET RESEARCH WILL BE MORE CRITICAL FOR SMALL BUSINESSES – Sure the big guys have always believed in research. But many small businesses think even a modest investment is unaffordable. This will change. Today’s consumer holds all the power. They have already researched your business online before deciding to buy (or visit) what you have. So, you need to know them better than ever. Consider these recent statistics reported by Hubspot.com (their newsletter is excellent):

• 80% of Instagram users currently follow a business account, according to 2017 data from Instagram.

• 75% of smartphone owners turn to a search engine first to address immediate needs, according to 2018 data from Google.

• Emails that don’t display clearly or correctly on mobile devices may be deleted within 3 seconds, according to 2018 data reported by HubSpot.

What can you do to make sure your customers find you early and often? You must understand where your customer is doing their research and what is influencing their decisions. Researching your product/service, target audience, and how you fare in your industry, is not a luxury. It is essential. Our new 2019 research guide outlines the easy and affordable steps you can take to make research a part of your future. Email me for a copy.

BUSINESSES NEED TO GET READY FOR GENERATION Z – Just when you thought you might be getting a handle on marketing to Millennials (now the largest market in America), here comes Generation Z – those ages 13 to 21. To keep the Millennial generation analytically meaningful, and to begin looking at what might be unique about the next group, Pew Research Center (PEW) decided last year to use 1996 as the last birth year for Millennials. Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial. Anyone born from 1997 onward is now part of a new generation. PEW hesitated to give this new generation a name and looked at a variety of names: Generation Z, the iGeneration and Homelanders. But now Gen Z has taken hold in popular culture and journalism. Sources ranging from Merriam-Webster and Oxford to the Urban Dictionary now include this name for the generation that follows Millennials. This year we will be exploring how this generation will make Baby Boomers and Seniors even more uncomfortable with their view of the world.

NEW SERVICE – Just finished proofing and editing a major new website for a highly successful website designer. We have been doing proofing and copy editing for others too. That’s why we decided to officially launch a new service for 2019. Check it out here.

Until next week, thanks for reading. We started this blog three years ago. Since then, more than 10,000 people have read our blog. Thank you. I appreciate it. Always enjoy hearing comments or suggestions for topics.