Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category



June 11, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts that could help you this week.

IT’S OFFICIAL – HAVE A BURGER – Last Tuesday, June 5th, the IHOP breakfast food chain — International House of Pancakes — announced on Twitter their plans for a name change to IHOb. Well,  the b stands for burgers (it is official today). Not sure why someone would want to rebrand into a burger joint, but the marketing news here is that they got tremendous media coverage and exposure by using social media for a stupid no news story. Social media is becoming the 24/7 go to media for sharing PR news. Why? Because today most people (93%) say they get some news from social media (see the next story) and you can publish what you like – no gate keepers here.

STATE OF THE MEDIA – Pew Research Center has issued an annual report on U.S. news media since 2004. Their latest report is being released via a series of fact sheets, starting with public broadcasting and digital news. This is quality research and it is worth the time to review. Here’s some of the more interesting findings from their digital news fact sheet:

Roughly nine-in-ten American adults (93%) get at least some news online (either via mobile or desktop).

A slight majority of high traffic news outlets (57%) use apps. However, websites are moving away from apps because most website today are mobile friendly. Is your site mobile friendly?

News outlets are adopting many engagement methods. About eight-in-ten (83%) offer newsletters, and 86% have an official presence on Apple News. A large majority (71%) release podcasts, and 63% allow comments on their articles.

Web news outlets use social media. Nearly all have official pages or accounts on Facebook (100%), Twitter (100%), YouTube (94%) and Instagram (89%). However, only about one-in-ten (14%) have an official channel or account on Snapchat, down about 10 percentage points from 2017.

I could go on and on… but the fact sheet is too lengthy for presenting here. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing information from them. Here’s a link to the Digital News fact sheets.

WANTING TO SAY THE RIGHT THING – If you are conducting consumer research, here’s a term you should know: Social Desirability. This is when users feel the need to shift their opinion to provide an answer based on societal standards they feel more comfortable with. One of the reasons we review surveys or conduct them for clients, is because we know how to avoid social desirability bias. If you would like more information on this survey danger or other survey challenges, we would be happy to provide it. Contact me.

THE IMPORTANCE OF “NEAR ME” SEARCHES – Google recently shared some facts about the use of “near me” searches. Beyond the typical “restaurants near me” or “gas station near me,” Google is seeing growth in “near me” searches for almost every kind of items. From “cowboy boots near me” to “where to get a facial near me” and “tarragon near me.”

If you want a crystal-clear example of purchase intent, “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown over 500% over the last two years. These include things like “where can I buy stamps near me,” “places to buy scrubs near me,” and “where to buy vinyl records near me.” Today’s impatient consumers want things the moment they need them — which is typically “now.” Google has also seen more than 200% growth in mobile searches. for “open” + “now” + “near me” (for example, “stores open near me right now” and “pharmacy near me open now”).

The challenge for marketers is to make sure you’re giving people the answers they’re looking for as quickly as possible. This research clearly shows why yellow page advertising is practically dead, especially for consumers under the age of 50.

STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE – As I’ve mentioned, Peter Sage runs a well-written political blog. If you love the world of political marketing, Peter has some interest takes. I found his recent post (Friday, June 8th) on Congressman Greg Walden spot on. Peter points out at that language and tone are more important than political reality. Totally agree. In marketing, what you say is NEVER more important than how you say it to your target audience. This is why research today is so important for shaping messages. Here’s a link to his blog if you want to read more. 

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.



June 4, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Welcome to June! Here are some marketing and research thoughts that could help you this week.

FORGET FACEBOOK IF YOU ARE TRYING TO REACH TEENS. As mention in previous posts, Facebook is now a great way to reach parents and grandparents, but not teens. I mean, why would any self-respecting teen use something that their parents use? Want to reach teens, shift your advertising eye to: YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Those 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’… a bit frightening.

According to a new PEW survey, half (51%) of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they use Facebook, notably lower than YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat. This shift in teens’ social media use is just one example of how the things have changed for young people since PEW’s last survey of teens in 2014-2015. For the most part, teens tend to use similar platforms regardless of their demographics, but there are exceptions. Lower-income teens (living in households that make less than $30,000 a year) use Facebook more than those living in higher-income households of $75,000 or more a year. If you want to learn more, click here for the complete story.

SAY YOUR SORRY, BUT DON’T OVER DO IT. The Roseanne and Samantha Bee comments and then apologies, points out that we live in the age of apologies, sincere or otherwise. As reported by the Wall St. Journal, companies are spending millions of dollars to make their mea culpas a part of their ad strategies. Once confined to a full-page newspaper ad at best, apology campaigns from Uber, Facebook and Wells Fargo have expanded from print to digital, billboards and TV.

“The cost of a crisis campaign can now be up to 20 times what it was in 2000,” said Edelman PR firm’s Harlan Loeb, global chair of crisis (can you believe they have a title like that?). Facebook had spent $30 million on TV commercials. But there is a danger of apology fatigue. So, yes, tell consumers you were a jerk, but then move on.

ARE PUBLIC OPINIONS BASED ON FACT OR FICTION? In my marketing book, I point out that public opinions are created by events. People simply do not have an opinion on most things until something happens (an event) and then they form opinions. But in this age of fake news, does that event have to be real? No.

For example, there is simply no truth to “Spygate,” the President’s belief that someone was planted as a spy in his campaign. Yet, by just making a public accusation (the event), most people now have an opinion on it. Public opinions of men that have been accused of sexual misbehavior have changed because of the charge (the event), not necessarily the facts. Another example, accepting refugees. A PEW study shows that half of Americans (51%) say yes we should accept refugees. However, 62% of Republicans say no and 74% of Democrats say yes. Today, public opinion is being created by the 24/7 partisan stories shared on social media. That is why researching people’s opinions today is far more challenging. It is also why we are doing far more awareness and opinion studies for clients. If you need to know what your customer things of you, we can help.

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.



May 29, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Here are some marketing and research thoughts that could help you this week.

IS FACEBOOK A GOOD MARKETING TOOL FOR YOU? – Today, most businesses have a Facebook (FB) page. Here are three questions you need to answer YES to, if you want to use Facebook as a marketing tool.

(1) Is your company ready for social engagement? – Facebook is a customer engagement tool. It is social media, which means users want a personal connection to your company and what you are doing. Your fans will see your page as a reflection of you, the company, not an advertising space. Can you share relevant and interesting tidbits often? If you hardly ever post, your customers might think you don’t care about them. And if you are facing a PR issue, you can bet your customers will post on your page – and elsewhere, too – about it. If you don’t have the staff or tools you need to respond in a timely way, Facebook is not for you.

(2) Do you know your customer? – Various studies have revealed that people spend a lot of time daily on social media: YouTube (40 minutes), Facebook (35 minutes), snapchat (25 minutes), Instagram (15 minutes) and Twitter (1 minute). Kids and teenagers spend 6-8 hours a day on social media (texting is number one). Interesting, as parents and grandparents have joined the Facebook generation, the under 30 group has shifted to other social media. But are your potential customers on Facebook? That is why every company needs to conduct customer research to know the social media habits of their customer base. We can help do this.

(3) Do people want engagement with your company? – Some industries are ideal for Facebook marketing. Travel and Leisure is one of them. People love to travel and they love sharing experiences on social media. But other industries like plumbing and banking are not good FB candidates. Do you really want more social connection with your banker or your plumber? A simple way to judge your engagement potential is to check your FB Likes. Are they growing? Likes, introduced in 2009, are not as valuable as they once were (I will cover this in a future post), but if your Likes are not growing, Facebook might not be the tool for your business. Sure, FB can be a useful online informational platform for you, but it won’t be a proactive marketing tool.

Have questions or need help with Facebook? We can conduct the research needed to discover your customers’ social media habits and we can also run your FB campaign. Let us know if you need help.

ARE YOU PART OF THE LOST GENERATION? – In an examination of household wealth, researchers have defined people that were born in the 1980s as the “lost generation.” For the analysis, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis researchers estimated typical life cycle wealth trajectories using the 1989 through 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. Two stories emerged, and only one had a happy ending.

Here’s the story with the happy ending: By 2016, the net worth of older Americans (born in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s) had recovered from the Great Recession (2008).

Here’s the other story: By 2016, the net worth of younger adults (born in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s) had not recovered. Those born in the 1960s were still 11% short of their expected net worth in 2016. Those born in the 1970s were 18% short. Those born in the 1980s were 34% short.

Housing debt explains the shortfall for the 1960s and 1970s cohorts. But few in the 1980s were homeowners during the housing bubble, so the shortfall is caused by other types of debt – student loans, auto loans, and credit card debt, said the researchers. There is still hope. People born in the 1980s have higher educational attainment and many years to catch up. But, the report concluded, “the 1980s cohort is at greatest risk of becoming a ‘lost generation’ for wealth accumulation.”

WHY CAN’T WE ALL GET ALONG? – It has a lot to do on where we live. In our research studies we have found that people that live in urban, suburban and rural counties see the world far differently. A new PEW Research survey also found that most urban and rural residents feel misunderstood by those who live in other types of communities.

While classifying counties as urban, suburban and rural is useful in helping understand how the country is changing, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a great deal of diversity within community types. To understand how these changes are playing out in your own community, you can use PEW’s interactive feature on their research, which has data on the nation’s 3,142 counties and county equivalents (such as parishes and independent cities). It is a fun bit of research to look at, click here

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.



May 21, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts that could help you this week.

CAN FACEBOOK INCREASE WEBSITE TRAFFIC? – For the past six years we have been running a visitor website study. Six different DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations) have participated. It is still going on and we welcome new partners. This study reveals that social media often doesn’t drive much website traffic. So, we have been testing ways to improve social media referrals using our Crater Lake coop marketing website I believe we may have solve the puzzle. Social media referrals have gone from less than 5% to 55%. Can the tools we tested help build traffic to your website? Contact me ( if you are interested in getting a better return from your social media efforts.

A BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE TOOL – For years, restaurants have used customer comment cards. Unfortunately, in this age of instant online reviews, hand-written comment cards have limited appeal to customers. Is there a better way to get comments? We think we have created one. Our new system lets customers instantly go online via their smartphone to complete a survey and win a gift. Now, we want to test this approach. We are looking for restaurants (or retail businesses) that would like to Beta Test this tool. If interested, contact me (

WHY DO WE, GOOGLE EVERYTHING? Before making almost any buying decision, people love to “Google It” – whether it’s taking a vacation or going out to dinner, people today are research-obsessed and want input into their buying decision. Why? Lisa Gevelber, vice president of Google marketing, says their research shows that we do this for three reasons: (1) It helps us get excited about what we are going to purchase, (2) It helps us feel more confident and less anxious about spending money, and (3) It makes us feel like we are getting the most out of every moment in our lives. Interesting, especially if you apply these factors to your marketing or website. Does the information in your marketing effort make people feel more excited about your product, feel more confident in buying it, and make them feel they are getting something that will make their life better? Food for thought this week.

CAN YOU STILL TRUST POLLS? – After Donald Trump’s surprise victory, as well as the shocking British decision to leave the EU, public confidence in polls has been shaken. As we bid on polling projects, we are often asked: Can you trust political polls? Well, things have certainly changed since we did our first political poll for the Mail Tribune and KTVL in 2004. But polling still works. The challenge is polling the right people. PEW Research has produced a very good video explaining polling accuracy today and why well-designed polls can still be trusted. If you are considering conducting a poll, it is worth watching. Click here to watch.

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.



May 14, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts that could help you this week.

DEADLINE NOW: COOPERATIVE MARKETING STILL SAVES MONEY – I strongly believe in co-ops as a cost-saving marketing tool: i.e. the idea that a group of companies share the cost of marketing to increase their exposure (bigger ads, more impressions, greater reach) for a fraction of the cost of running their own ads. I am closing three digital co-ops this week: An online video campaign focusing on Oregon’s Willamette Valley and two native ad campaigns focusing on Oregon and California (you pick the markets in each one that best meets your needs). Campaigns will launch this month. Call or email me today for details and pricing (541-488-4925 or

ARE YOU READY FOR DEMAND PRICING? – Demand-based pricing, also known as customer-based pricing, is a technology-based pricing system in which prices are altered for different customers, depending upon demand and their willingness to pay. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival shifted to a demand pricing model a few years ago (i.e. tickets are more expensive for popular shows on the days where there is most demand, but cheaper for other shows and days). Airlines and lodging have used this model for decades. Is there any limit to demand pricing? Perhaps not. Spirit, one of the worst “bare fare” airlines in America, is installing wi-fi in its fleet by summer 2019. The cost will be around $6.50 per passenger with the exact price rising or falling depending on the popularity of the route.

Is it time for you to look at demand pricing? Might be a good discussion for this week. We can help you explore with research to see how willing your customer base is to accept demand pricing.

DO YOU NEED A CUSTOMER SERVICE TUNE UP? – I just finished updating my popular customer service workshop. If your team needs a re-fresher, cost is as low as $20 per person. Let me know. Here’s a link to more information on my current talks.

IS SEARS DYING BECAUSE SOMEONE COPIED THEIR APPROACH? I found this story on the rise and fall of Sears interesting because it shows that somethings haven’t changed much. In the mid-1880s, Richard Sears and Alvah C. Roebuck, both in their twenties, decided to compete with brick and mortar businesses by creating a mail-order catalog. Sure, they added retail locations over the next 100 years, but their brilliance was making it super easy for anyone, anywhere, to shop. There really isn’t any difference between mail-order and online as a business model: both made shopping for anything easier no matter where you live. So, why is Sears failing? This story shares the reasons if you are interested.

WHAT DIVIDES AMERICA? – Tomorrow is election day in Oregon, so, I thought this story from USA TODAY would be of interest. If you want to meddle in an election via social media, what is America’s rawest political division?

USA TODAY reporters reviewed each of the 3,517 ads that were created by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency designed to impact the 2016 Presidential election. While ads focused on many topics, most were designed to inflame race-related tensions. A University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher who published some of the first scientific analysis of social media influence on campaigns said the Russians were attempting to destabilize Western Democracy by targeting extreme identity groups. If you are a political junkie, you can read more here.

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.



May 8, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Ok, it is Tuesday again; it seems like I am not good with Monday deadlines. Here are some marketing thoughts and research that could help you this week.

CUSTOMER SERVICE STILL MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE – My wife Marty needed to buy walking/hiking shoes. So, we headed for REI. Why? Because their brand reputation is so strong. But the shopping experience was not. We could not find a sales associate that had time to help. The person helping her was somewhat knowledgeable but showed no real empathy in solving a difficult shoe issue. He seemed overwhelmed with dealing with 2-3 shoppers. But he never called for backup. When we left, one of three people at checkout (not busy at all) said “Oh, you should have come up here and asked for help.” That’s right, it is our job to help you sell us something. Gee, sorry, I forgot.

Still needing shoes, we headed over to Dick’s Sporting Goods. What a difference. Her sales associate, Alvin, was fantastic. This giant of a man (semi-pro football player and now a coach) appeared genuinely interested in solving a small woman’s footwear challenges. He was extremely knowledgeable, caring, and a good listener, and my wife and I were impressed. When other shoppers arrived, and he could not handle them, he quickly called others to help. Alvin not only searched the store inventory but went online to check the company’s entire inventory. We ended up special ordering shoes, at a price 20% less than REI. The lesson: sales is still a people business… and empathy is a secret weapon today. That is why I teach customer service. Does your team need a customer service tune up? For as little as $20 a person we can help you. We may even hire Alvin as a special guest at your training. He was that good. Contact me at

ARE WE FACING A LOOMING SOCIAL MEDIA PUSH BACK? – Most Americans think the internet has had a positive impact on their personal lives, according to an ongoing PEW Research Study. But now Americans are beginning to question the value of connectivity on society. While 70% still believe the internet has been a good thing for society, this has declined by a modest but still significant 6% since 2014. You can read more here. So, do not depend on social media for all your marketing. Sure, it is very important, but some of your customers are not happy with it. Contact me if you would like a link to the study (

FUTURE PROOFING YOUR BUSINESS – I attended a Rotary conference this past weekend where I had the chance to finally hear Jim Teece’s popular “Future Proofing” talk. Jim (the owner of several businesses including Ashland’s Project A) gave a great presentation. Of course, I might be bit biased, since some of his thoughts were similar to the philosophy I shared in my 2010 Powershift Marketing book. It was nice to learn I wasn’t crazy at the time. I loved a couple of his word images (“Millennial mudslide,” “Honor the past, change the future”). Good tips. By the way, my book is still available and relevant. Contact me if you would like a FREE copy ( 

SELF-INTEREST VS. BAD CONDUCT – Because this is election day in some states, I thought the latest PEW Research was fascinating. As of May 1st, 80% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree with Trump on many or all the issues, up from 69% in August. Even 42% of Democrats agree with his policies. What’s happening?

The majority of Americans support Trump’s policies. What they don’t support is his conduct. Democrats remain critical, with 85% saying they don’t like the way Trump conducts himself, but 62% of Republicans don’t like his conduct either. Bottom line: many people are willing to overlook conduct, if they perceive it is in their self-interest to buy into or support a policy. Contact me if you would like a link to the study (

That is it 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.




May 1, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Ok, it is Tuesday, but I thought May 1st was a good day to highlight market research that could make your marketing efforts stronger in May.

SURVEY FOR GOOD – We are still inviting people who live in Jackson Country, Oregon to join our new Southern Oregon research panel. Check it out right here.

KEEP THOSE TOURISTS AWAY FROM ME! – This week is the annual Oregon Governor’s Tourism Conference. It concludes today in Bend, Oregon. While Oregon still has the welcome mat out, some popular areas are struggling to cope with the growth of worldwide tourism. Venice has come up with a new plan to cope with visitors that strain its infrastructure: segregating locals and tourists. The Italian city will restrict the movement of visitors and turn away some motorists. The extraordinary move is the latest step by Venice to manage high levels of tourism that in recent years have led to calls to ban cruise ships and restrict visitor numbers. You can read more here. 

Our studies with several destination marketing organizations (DMOs) show that there is growing concern about having more visitors, especially if they are ethnically or culturally different from local residents. Perhaps Venice is a cautionary tale for the rest of us. It might be time for some local research on how your residents look at visitors?  We can help.

FORD IS NOT GOING TO SELL CARS? – This might be the biggest marketing news from last week. So, why would a pioneering car company stop selling cars in the U.S.? It’s a great marketing lesson – the need to be constantly evaluating your market. It shows the importance of research and data today. This is a good story if you think your market is changing. Read more here.

DO AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GOD? – Yes, 90% believe in a higher power. But only a slim majority believe in God as described in the Bible. About half say that God or another higher power directly determines what happens in their lives. Younger people have less of a belief in God. Higher educated Americans have more questions about God. This PEW Research story recap shows six key takeaways from the PEW Study.

THE PROFILE OF UNMARRIED PARENTS IS CHANGING DRAMATICALLY – If you market to adults with kids, you need to be aware of this new PEW Research Study. Some of the highlights: Single moms – those raising a child with no spouse or partner in the home – no longer dominate the ranks of unmarried parents. In 1968, 88% of unmarried parents fell into this category. Now, it is 53%. A growing share of unmarried parents are cohabiting now, up to 35%. Click here to see recap of the study.

MILLENNIALS GET MOST OF THEIR NEWS FROM? – According to a 2018 survey from the University of Chicago, most Millennials now get their news from the internet. So, where are they going on the internet? Are they going directly to a news site, or to a news aggregator (such as Reddit), or to social media (such as Facebook)? According to this survey, the answer is yes to all three. Among Millennials who get most of their news from the internet, there is a fairly even split among the three types of news sources. If you are a marketer and you want to reach these people, you need to be in a lot of places.