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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #22

August 13, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

DO YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE MORE MONEY TO SPEND? – Not really. Yes, unemployment is as low as it’s been in nearly two decades. But research reveals that today’s real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. Wage gains have mostly been to the highest-paid workers. So, your customers really do not have more money to spend on your products and services.

BUILDING A BETTER VISITOR WEBSITE – Are you considering updating or revising your visitor website? If so, you will want a copy of our new white paper “KEYS TO MAKING WEB VISITORS, REAL VISITORS.” This report shares findings from various website content studies including our six-year study of Oregon visitor websites. While much of the content of our study is confidential (only shared with sponsors) the new white paper reveals what is most important to website visitors in influencing them to become real visitors. Cost of this study is $95. Contact us if you are interested. Our next website study launches in October and we have room for more partners. Join us and the white paper is free.

ARE ONLINE POLLS ACCURATE? – The probability-based phone poll has been the gold standard for public opinion surveys. However, more polls are now using online nonprobability samples, online “opt-in” panels. The “Survey for Good” Jackson County panel that we are recruiting for (www.DCGResearch.com) is an example of an opt-in panel. How accurate are these polls? According to a 2016 PEW Research Center Study, based on over 30,000 interviews, they can be accurate if you apply statistical sampling techniques.

Because online panel members self-select, your samples will not resemble the larger population. Therefore, you need to employ statistical techniques, such as raking, propensity weighting and matching, to make sure your sample is projectable. Bottom line: If you are considering using an online panel, which are available from many vendors (such as Survey Monkey), it is critical to have outside research help in developing questions and applying selected statistical techniques. Contact me if you would like to learn more about our research planning and review services.

Until next week, enjoy summer and have a great day.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #21

August 6, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

ARE YOU REDESIGNING YOUR VISITOR WEBSITE? – As summer tourism season winds down, many Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are looking at updating their websites. You might want to discover the website content insights we have learned from our six-year study of DMO websites. The study reveals what is most important to website visitors in influencing them to become real visitors. Contact us if you are interested in a brief analysis of your website, prior to design work. Our next DMO website study launches in October and we have room for a couple more partners.

WHEN IS A MAJORITY, NOT A MAJORITY? – One of my pet peeves is how people use the word majority. Polls (quantitative research) are based on sampling, not on a survey of the entire (true) population. This reality can create challenges when sharing results. To better appreciate the problem, the Pew Research Center looked at three recent news headlines:

Majority of Canadians would boycott U.S. in response to trade war
A majority of travelers are picking destinations based on food
Majority of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy for the first time

Each headline uses majority, but it does not mean the same thing. In the first one, a “majority of Canadians” refers to 72%. In the second one, “a majority of travelers” refers to 64%. And in the third, a “majority of Americans” refers to 51%. Substantial differences!

In our research reports we never label a survey finding a “majority” unless our margin of error supports it. The margin of error describes the estimated range within which we would expect the answer to fall, if we surveyed everyone (the true population). For example, if a survey has +/- 3% margin of error with a 95% confidence level, and a 51% “majority” is reported, the true population value could fall between 48% and 54%. So, it is not a majority. But if 54% say “yes” – the true population value ranges from 51% to 57%. So, using the majority word is OK.

Question wording can also introduce error or bias. Another potential error is non response bias – i.e. people who respond are different in important ways from the people who don’t respond.

Bottom-line: Even if you are doing your own research, let us review your questions and methodology before you launch your study. Also, we can prepare or review your report and news release, so you do not get into public relations hot water.

MARKETING 101 – THIS DOG WON’T HUNT – Following up my post last week, it looks like MoviePass is finding common sense marketing. They will soon begin limiting customers (who pay $10 a month) to three movies a month. This is a change from its current allowance of one a day. The move will reduce its cash burn rate by more than 60% after it takes effect Aug. 15. They must be listening to an outside marketing consultant, finally.

Until next week, enjoy summer and have a great day.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #20

July 30, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

NEW RESEARCH AND FALL COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS – Just a final reminder that we are now recruiting for our Fall cooperative marketing programs. If you are interested in saving up to 90% on your media expense, contact me. We will also launch our next 6th annual Destination Marketing Organization research study in October.

A BAD (AND GOOD) CUSTOMER TALE – I recently left my laptop charger/power cord at a client’s location (a four and half hour roundtrip away). My first thought was to order one from Amazon, which I did, but it wasn’t going to arrive for two days. I panicked (that is my wife’s view). I frantically tried to locate one that I could pick up the same day. I contacted a variety of local stores. Most had horrendous automated phone systems. After a very long time on the phone with Best Buy, I fought my way through their automated national inventory system – couldn’t talk to someone in the local store – to discover that my local store had a replacement. I rushed off. When I got to the store I was SHOCKED. In-store customer service was great. Plenty of people to help (surprised) and knowledgeable too. I was out in 10 minutes – back in business. What can you learn from this experience?

You Must Make it Easier for People to Call You! Are businesses so afraid of online giants (like Amazon) they are spending too much money on online access and forgetting that many people just want to call and talk to someone? How do you know? Let us conduct a customer service audit for you – we also offer Mystery Shopper programs.

MARKETING 101 – THIS DOG WON’T HUNT – I noticed that MoviePass (you pay $10 a month to see all the movies you want) got an emergency loan to stay in business. An independent study showed that they need to charge $99 per month to break even. They believe their current two million subscribers can be five million by yearend. Are you kidding me? Reminds me of a meeting I attended when I was in the airline industry. A top marketing executive recommended that we lower fares. When I pointed out that the proposed fares would be below breakeven, he added “oh, we will make it up in volume.” Fortunately, someone ended the discussion with “This dog won’t hunt.” Marketing 101: Selling more of a product you lose money on doesn’t work. Why is common sense missing from so many marketing decisions? Is it because you are too close to the marketing process? An outside opinion from a marketing coach (like us) can save time and money in developing winning marketing strategies.

MOST HOMEOWNERS ARE STILL HURTING FROM HOUSING COLLAPSE – Generation Xers (people born between 1965 and 1980) were hit the hardest in the housing collapse of 2008. But a new Pew Research Center analysis of Federal Reserve data finds that Gen Xers are the only generation to recover the wealth they lost during this collapse. The rest of us are still waiting. Are Gen Xers a good target for your marketing? Could be.

Until next week, enjoy summer (stay out of the smoke if you are in Oregon) and have a great day.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #19

July 23, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

FALL COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS – Just another reminder that we are now recruiting for our Fall cooperative marketing programs. For the firms that have joined us, thank you. If you are interested in saving up to 90% on your media expense by sharing these costs with like-minded businesses, contact me. I will send you a fact sheet.

WHEN IS A POLL, NOT A POLL? – Political Blogger Peter Sage is reporting that someone is running a political poll in Southern Oregon right now. They are asking you who you plan to vote for. Once you tell them, they ask you questions designed to discover issues that would push you away or pull you toward a specific candidate. This is called a push-pull poll and it is not a real poll. Legitimate polls are quantitative; they want to learn what percentage of a specific population (universe) think a certain way, without leading them. Push-pull polls are politically motivated qualitative research (think focus groups) designed to help shape mostly negative ad messaging. I hate push-pull polls because they make professional, scientific polling much more difficult by creating a more skeptical public. We don’t (and never will) do push-pull polls. Offering an alternative to push-pull research is one reason we continue to recruit people to our Jackson County online panel (www.DCGresearch.com). This new research tool will allow local firms to do professional polling at an affordable price.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER? – We currently conduct Facebook campaigns for a variety of travel and tourism clients. Marco Mottola of Trigger Digital had some outstanding tips on using Facebook in Forbes Magazine. One I specifically liked, which we also use, is matching your current customer data to potential new customers on Facebook. You take your customer database, upload it to Facebook and build out a Look-A-Like audience from that. Of course, this requires that you know your customer. Want to learn how to do this? Just email me.

FACEBOOK IS NOT FOR TEENS – Speaking of Facebook, as it has become mainstream, it is now less popular with teens. Not surprising. I mean once your parents and grandparents use it, what respectable teen wants to be on it? So, where do you find teens today online? According to current research: YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens. Fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’… scary.

ARE WE BECOMING MORE ANGRY WITH CONGRESS? – In early 2016, Facebook introduced alternatives to the traditional “like” reaction. PEW did an analysis recently of congressional outreach on Facebook since then. Between late February 2016 and Trump’s election day, just 2% of all reactions to congressional posts used the “angry” option. By the end of 2017, 9% of all reactions to posts by Democrats and 13% of reactions to posts by Republicans were angry.

Until next week, enjoy summer and have a great day.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #18

July 16, 2018

2018 - Monday Morning Quarterback GraphicMonday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

FALL COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS ANNOUNCED – We recently completed a round of cooperative print and digital ad programs. For the dozens of firms that joined us, thank you. We are now recruiting for our Fall cooperative ads. If you are interested in saving up to 90% on your media costs by sharing cost with like-minded businesses, contact me. I will be happy to send you a fact sheet.

A REAL-LIFE BRANDING LESSON – Former Papa John’s Chairman John Schnatter is Papa John. He’s tied to their advertising as cheese is to pizza. So, can the firm move forward, pivoting its marketing campaign away from his identity? Yes, but they first need to treat this as a crisis and then redefine what their brand is and what it stands for. Most experts agree that the company probably doesn’t need a new name. Papa John’s could win back customers with a marketing campaign like Wells Fargo, Uber or Facebook’s. Those brands in crisis apologized for bad behavior and explained how they planned to move on. That’s is first key, ask for forgiveness. Americans love to forgive! The second key is having a plan and sharing it.

Cathy Dunkin, a lecturer at St. Louis’ Olin Business School, stated it well, “They might be able to show that new people, new thinking and new practices are in charge.” 5W Public Relations CEO Ronn Torossian also shared good advice when said the brand is not beyond repair. “This too will pass,” said Torossian. “Clearly, he made a mistake and he should be held accountable, but in the long term, this will not be remembered.”

By the way, Papa John’s marketing firm, Laundry Service, and PR firm, Olson Engage, have both cut ties with the pizza chain. Why? I bet the company didn’t want to hear their advice, which I am sure reflected the above thoughts. I know, because I have been in similar situations when I got fried because a client didn’t like the advice given, even when it proved spot on.

THE STATE OF LOCAL TV NEWS – If you by local TV advertising, you probably run spots on local news. It is one of the strongest TV buys you can make. So, here’s a quick look at the state of local news from the annual PEW study of the media. Television remains the most common place for Americans to get their news, with local TV outpacing cable and network TV. But local TV news saw its audience continue to decline. Average audience for morning news decreased 15%. Late night and early evening news also declined (7% for both). Midday news time declined 4%, while evening news remained relatively stable. Most of these declines came from younger viewers (under 40) that now go online for news.

How are local stations making money these days? Over-the-air advertising revenue totaled $17.4 billion. Retransmission fees – the fees paid by cable and satellite systems to carry local channels – over $9 billion. Revenue coming from their websites (digital) was $1 billion (up 3%). Bottom-line: do not be surprised if we deal with more cable backouts. Retransmission fees are critical to keeping local news on the air. Email me if you would like to learn more and the see the data reports.

GOOD OR BAD – POLITICAL DISCOURSE ON SOCIAL MEDIA – Today, social media posts and tweets can define your brand. Nowhere is this power more apparent than in political activism. But do we think this is good or bad? Current research shows that the American public has mixed views about the impact of social media on political discourse and the nature of political activism. Some 64% of Americans feel that the statement “social media helps give a voice to underrepresented groups” describes these political and social active websites very or somewhat well. But a larger share say social networking sites distract people from issues that are truly important (77% feel this way), and 71% agree with the assertion that “social media makes people believe they’re making a difference when they really aren’t.” These findings are from Pew Research Center’s analysis of publicly available tweets using Crimson Hexagon and data acquired through Gnip, as well as an accompanying survey of 4,594 U.S. adults conducted May 29-June 11, 2018. I can share more if you are interest.

Ok, see you next week with some more thoughts.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #17

July 9, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

THE CHALLENGE OF BRAND CHANGING – To remain relevant, your brand needs to be occasionally updated, but there are dangers in changing key elements of your brand. Miss America is dealing with this right now. Miss America started as a swimsuit competition in 1921. It was a tourism promotion to get more people to Atlantic City. Back in the 20s, it was considered modern and liberating for women to pose in bathing suits. Times have changed. So, the Board and Chair Gretchen Carlson eliminated the bathing suit competition. Many volunteers, which run the nearly 100-year-old institution’s state and local competitions, and former Miss Americas vocally oppose this change. The Miss America Organization made a critical error. What was it? They needed to use an inverted pyramid decision-making process. Contact me and I will share this strategy with you. It is critical if you are thinking of making a brand update.

DO YOU USE INSTAGRAM BUSINESS STORIES? – One of the new tools with Instagram are story ads. If you are interested in learning how to create stories, which we are testing with a few clients, let me know. Also, remember, we are now providing digital content development for a variety of clients. Contact us for pricing.

THE DISAPPEARING LANDLINE – If you are considering phone survey research, you are facing some major challenges. First, you need to make sure you are calling more cell phones than landlines. Back in 2010, 68% of the population had landlines, now (2017) only 44% have them. This may be higher than you expected, since virtually everyone also has a cell phone. Of course, there are research challenges calling cell phones since they are portable (so are landlines). That is why researchers are using more online panels, like the one we are creating for Jackson County (www.DCGresearch.com). Are you planning a study? Contact me and I will share some of the tips for data collection in today’s world.

MAKING A DESTINATION WEBSITE A STRONGER MARKETING TOOL – As I mentioned last week, we are now recruiting partners for our 6th Annual Destination Website Research Study. It is super affordable and it provides answers to:

• Who is visiting (demographics) your website?
• Why do they visit your website and where do they discover your site?
• Will web visitors become real visitors to your city (economic impact)?
• What elements on your website are most important for encouraging visits to your area?

Contact me for a fact sheet on the new study. Ok, see you next week with some more thoughts.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #16

July 2, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Missed last week due to a family wedding (wonderful) and travel, but happy 4th of July week. Here are research thoughts that could help you this shortened business week.

HOW DO PEOPLE VIEW YOUR VISITOR DESTINATION? – In September we are scheduled to conduct our third, semi-annual Brand Awareness and Perception Study for an Oregon DMO (Destination Marketing Organization). We have been honored to provide this outstanding organization an independent research view of the effectiveness of their marketing efforts since 2014. What has been the biggest surprise of these studies? Why all DMOs don’t conduct independent research of their marketing efforts.

Literally millions of dollars are being spent in Oregon to brand destinations and attract more visitors. Yet, most rural DMOs do not conduct any independent research to see if their efforts are paying off. Call (541-488-4925) or email me at Mark@dennettgroup.com if you would like to learn more about how to conduct this type of research for your marketing team. We have done these studies for the travel industry, nonprofits, healthcare, financial institutions, and retail groups.

HOW WELL IS YOUR WEBSITE PERFORMING? – Speaking of DMO research, we are beginning the final quarter of our 5th Annual Destination Website Research Study. Ten different DMOs have participated in our study since launching it in 2011. Why do cities and chambers that operate Convention and Visitor Bureaus participate in this study? Because it is affordable (around $100 per month) and it provides answers to issues you need to know to help generate public funding and support:

• Who is visiting (demographics) your website?
• Why do they visit your website and where do they discover your site?
• Will web visitors become real visitors to your city (economic impact)?
• What elements on your website are most important for encouraging visits to your area?

We are now recruiting partners for our 6th study that will begin in October. Interested? Email me at Mark@dennettgroup.com or give me a call for details (541-488-4925) for a fact sheet.

ARE YOU READY FOR GOOGLE’S REBRAND? – Today, if you are not using one of Google’s ad platforms you are not doing your digital marketing job. Google decided to rebrand all their offerings under the Google Ads label. Google’s Senior Vice President of Ads said the company’s complex assortment of products has become confusing to navigate. I agree. But the real goal is to make it easier for Google to upsell those products. Want to learn more? You can join me and others on Tuesday, July 10th at 9:00 a.m. Pacific, noon Eastern, for a live podcast. Here’s a link to register, click here.

IT IS STARTING – A RADICAL CHANGE TO YOUR INTERNET EXPERIENCE – If you don’t live in California, you may have missed this news. California lawmakers passed a data-privacy bill that grants consumers some of the broadest protections in the country, including the right to prohibit the sale of personal data to third parties and to opt out of sharing it altogether. Good news? Perhaps, but the law also allows companies to charge consumers a premium if they don’t share data. Is this the future of internet access? If you don’t allow firms to mine your data for advertising, you will pay more for visiting a website?

WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK OF THE SUPREME COURT? – Stepping away from my marketing focus to celebrate our country’s heritage, here are few facts about the U.S. Supreme Court from the Pew Research Center that you might find interesting. Have a great 4th of July holiday!

1. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) view the high court favorably, up 18 percentage points from July 2015, when only around half (48%) approved.

2. A growing share of Americans (55%) say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on what the Constitution “means in current times,” rather than what it “meant as originally written.”

3. The average tenure of a Supreme Court justice is nearly 17 years. This analysis excluded the current members of the court since their tenure is ongoing.

That is all for this week. Let me know if there are any specific research or marketing questions you are thinking about that I can cover in my weekly update.