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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

May 8, 2020

THIS WEEK AT HOME – As many of us continue to shelter at home, here are a few more marketing tips and research thoughts. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

ARE YOU READY TO REOPEN?

What reopening challenges will you be facing? Will people feel secure in going into your business? Many of these questions can be answered by research. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is a great time to do online research. People are home, bored, online a lot, and have the time to share their opinions. We are exploring many of these issues right now with studies we are doing for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs). Contact me if you have interest in your own study.

HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

Numerous research studies are showing a major change in consumer media habits due to the COVID-19 lockdown. There has been a major increase in viewing online news and local broadcast TV. Increased demands on streaming services have led YouTube and Netflix, among others, to reduce video quality in an effort to reduce bandwidth usage. Whether these habits are long-lasting or temporary remains to be seen. Do not assume these habits will remain once the world opens up. Old media habits are hard to break.

WILL YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS RETURN?

As someone that helped create the first frequent flyer program, I want to urge you to protect and reach out to your frequent user members if you have a program. With airline travel down 95% or more, many airlines and hotels are giving members an extra year to accumulate the points that result in free upgrades, breakfasts, club access and other perks. Delta, American, Southwest, United and Alaska Airlines have all announced status extensions into 2022.

Major hotel companies are also ensuring their most valuable customers keep their perks. Hilton Honors elite status is extended through March 2022; Marriott Bonvoy through February 2022; and World of Hyatt’s tier membership is extended through February 2022. The companies are also delaying the expiration of earned rewards — like suite upgrades, club access and free-night certificates — to the end of 2021.

So, if you have a program, what are you doing to make sure your most loyal customers still see value in your program and will return once it is safe? Definitely worth a discuss and a plan.

THANKS, BUT NO THANKS

One sign of Americans’ anxiety about the virus: Even in some states that have started to reopen, many people have said, in effect, no thanks. In Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina — all states that have removed some restrictions — there has been little increase in the number of small businesses that are open or the amount of time people spend at work, according to an analysis by economists. Consumer spending has risen, but not by much more than in states that remain shut down. Mental health will be far more difficult to rebuilt than physical health.

NO SURPRISE HERE

The sharing economy—sharing cars, homes, and anything else you can think of – is not faring well in the pandemic. Uber is planning $1 billion in cost cuts, including reducing marketing and cutting staff 14%. Lyft’s cost-cutting efforts will lower expenses $300 million this year. And home sharing services (VRBO, Air b&b, HomeAway, etc.) are all looking at months before they are acceptable to virus concerned travelers.

Stay Safe. Stay Health. Stay Positive.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

April 28, 2020

THIS WEEK AT HOME – As many of us continue to shelter at home, here are a few more marketing tips and research thoughts. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

GOOD TIME FOR RESEARCH?

It may seem counterintuitive, but this is a great time to do online research. People are home, bored, using the internet a lot, and have plenty of time to share their opinions. Here are three more reasons you should be doing research right now:

REMIND PEOPLE YOU ARE ALIVE AND WELL – Let your people know that even during this time of social distancing you are thinking of them… that you care about their safety and look forward to their return.

SHARE A POSITIVE MESSAGE WHEN PEOPLE NEED IT THE MOST – Reassure everyone that even during this period, you are preparing to welcome them back. A survey is a nice way to invite them to tell you more about how you can do a better job of meeting their needs in the future.

STRENGTHEN BRAND LOYALTY – People love to talk about themselves. That is why customer surveys increase engagement and loyalty. By telling people they have value by asking for their opinions is a great way to build your brand.

We are doing several studies right now. We are gaining some great insight into post COVID-19 behavior. Contact me if you would like to explore conducting research. It is cheaper than you think.

ZOOMING IN ON COMPETITION

Family and friends have made Zoom a household word. The video communications firm has seen their usage go from 10 million to 200 million. Yes, they have experienced a host of video quality and security issues (Zoombombing), but their stock price is up 142%. It is no wonder that the elephants in the room have made them a target. Last Friday, Facebook announced a new service called Rooms that would let their 1.6 billion daily users run video gatherings for up to 50 people. Google has added a new viewing option for its Meet service that mimics Zoom’s popular Gallery View (pictures of everyone in the group chat). And Microsoft is adding new video capabilities to its Teams platform. I predict that video connecting will decline a bit once we are open, but it will become a part of our new normal. So, ask your kids how to use it!

THE NATIVES ARE RESTLESS

Native ads are ads that look like stories. I recommend them often to clients. The internet’s two largest content-recommendation firms, Taboola and Outbrain, both generate “promoted stories” and “around the web” sections that appear next to articles and videos online, including sponsored content and native ads. They typically use click baiting headlines like “The Best Way to Stop a Barking Dog (It’s Genius)” and “She Had No Clue Why the Crowd Started Cheering.” The Justice Department is now examining whether a deal to merge the two will hurt competition in a product that generates significant revenue to publishers and ads that marketers use because they have a much higher click thru rate than banner ads. Stay tuned. The world of native ads is about to change dramatically.

NOT IN THE SAME BOAT

Its popular today for COVID-19 marketing to echo the message, “We all in the same boat.” Not true. Yes, we are in the same storm, but every boat is different. If you are a retiree, your boat is pretty much the same as it was before the lock down (assuming you have time for your portfolio to bounce back). If you are in the 1% boat, you are fine too. America’s billionaires have increased their wealth in less than a month by $282 billion. But if you are in the lower-income boat, PEW Research reports that roughly half in this boat report that they or someone in their household has lost a job or taken a pay cut, compared with 43% of all U.S. adults. And only 23% say they have emergency funds that would keep their lower-income boat afloat for three months. So be kind, there many be a lot of people that are in boats not has shipshape as yours.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

April 21, 2020

THIS WEEK – There is nothing like staying home to find more time to write! So, I am back after a six month break. Wow, how the world has changed. As various guidelines are released for getting the country back to work, now is the time to explore what you need to do to regain marketing strength and restore your business in a post COVID-19 world. I shared the following thoughts with my partners in my cooperative marketing program, Crater Lake Country. While they are focused on the visitor industry, they are universal.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Customers have a very short attention span. It has been 30+ days since the public has been told to “stay home, stay safe.” In marketing terms, that is a lifetime. What have you done during this period to maintain top of mind awareness; to keep current and future customers engaged? Fix it now.

STAY POSITIVE – There is plenty of negativity in the world today. You need to keep your message 100% positive by sharing public service information, good wishes for people to stay healthy, and what you and your employees are doing for the community during this difficult time.

  • Increase your use of Facebook and other organic channels (like your blog) to leverage your exposure.
  • Continue to post YouTube videos, Instagram updates, and photos and stories on social media.

KEEP YOUR WEBSITE UP-TO-DATE

It is easy to think of your website as just an online brochure. It’s not. It can be a dynamic marketing tool that can share current realities. Unfortunately, few companies use it that way.

On your website share the latest information as well as any details on what is open. Your site must continue to be a trusted source for information and travel inspiration.

PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU – HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing resource, is currently reporting data from their 70,000+ client companies to understand what people are looking for in this crisis. Their most recent update (last week) revealed that:

People are seeking out and interacting online far more today than a month ago. While this certainly reflects the moving of more transactions online, it also shows that for now, people are still looking to engage. If you have a message to share, look for websites and organic online channels to share it.

COOPERATIVE EFFORTS ARE IMPORTANT

Look for partners that can help spread your message and reduce your costs. The best way to make your money go farther is to spend someone else’s money. There are plenty of cooperative campaigns and resources to help you market. Reach out now.

CONTINUE EMAIL MARKETING

Yes, maintain an active email marketing program. But be careful not to sound self-serving by only dialing up deals (promotions and discounts) – an approach that may look insensitive. Instead, focus on nurturing long-term relationships. Look for ways you can help your customers today, without asking for anything in return.

Again, people want to hear from you. HubSpot data reveals that the percentage of people that open a business email (open rate) has increased. People want to stay informed, but they may not want to buy right now. You need to share positive messages that things are going to get better.

EMPATHY IS MARKETING

Way before COVID-19, many marketing leaders have been urging a brand message shift to customer empathy. If you are not already on the empathy bandwagon, you are late. Showing empathy and concern for your customers will be critical in a post COVID-19 world.

Need help understanding how you can make your team more empathetic? There’s plenty of help online. This Inc.com story (click here: https://www.inc.com/marc-lore/the-4-things-every-leader-needs-to-know-about-empathy.html) and this Tim Cook presentation (click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3nFe7EpWAY) are excellent introductions into the role of empathy in marketing. Watch and listen, then act.

DISCOUNTS ARE A TWO EDGED SWORD

The public will be expecting discounts. A good portion of them may be hurting financially, so they will need discounts. That said, those who discount may take longer to recoup their lost income and it might be difficult to reestablish normal rates. If possible, don’t discount basic pricing. This will lower the quality perception of your brand and make it harder to return to pre-COVID-19 rates. Instead, promote offers that seem driven by longer stays, stays on specific days, rewards to returning customers, and other discounts that do not appear to be COVID-19 related.

CONSERVE RESOURCES

There will be a rush to advertise immediately to meet perceived pent up demand. Media outlets will be offering special deals. But don’t spend all your marketing dollars immediately. Develop a six-month marketing strategy.

DCG Research, which is currently conducting a DMO study, has discovered that it may take months before people feel safe again. While 3 out of 4 respondents say they are eager to travel, few plan to travel within the next 30 days because they are unsure of what they can expect.

DEMONSTRATE A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Business as usual will not return. COVID-19 has changed the rules of customer interaction. You must demonstrate this reality when you reopen your business.

  • How are you going to change your business practices to give customers a greater sense of health security and confidence?
  • How are you going to visually demonstrate these changes? Customers will increasingly demand that they see actual physical changes reflecting your concern for their safety.

LAUNCH FRONTLINE STAFF RE-TRAINING

Again, business as usual will not return. Not only do you need to make sure your staff feels safe in serving the public, they need to fully understand the systems you have installed to make your customers feel safe too. Start re-training now.

Stay safe, stay home, stay positive!

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

October 31, 2019

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

BIG SPLASH, LITTLE RIPPLES

As you heard, Twitter is banning political advertising, taking the opposite position of rival Facebook. The timing of Twitter’s announcement, minutes before Facebook posted its quarterly results, highlighted the two companies’ diverging positions. “Paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,” stated Twitter’s Mr. Dorsey.

Now, it’s kind of easy to make a “big announcement” when it really doesn’t impact your business. Political ads represents a small portion of Twitter’s overall $2.11 billion annual Ad revenue. Marketing lesson: You can grab headlines by making statements that really don’t impact your business. On the other hand, I do believe that online political ads will be a giant issue in 2020.

LOVE BEER AND WINE, SKIP THE SMOKES

Just finishing up our Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Website Study #6. Since 2012 we have been working with various DMO’s to learn more about the people that go to travel websites. We added a question last year to find out how important Oregon’s wine, beer and cannabis industries are to visitors. Craft beer and wineries (in that order) are VERY IMPORTANT to visitors. Both are far more important than purchasing cannabis on vacation. The full study will be released in November. If you would like to participate in Study #7, contact me and I will share how you can be a part of this low-cost study. 

APPLE ENTERS THE BATTLE

Tomorrow (Nov 1st) Apple plans to launch the Apple TV+ video service, its contender in the battle for people’s streaming dollars. Apple TV+ is slated to start with nine programs. But that is just the beginning. With $100-billion cash hoard and fat profit margins Apple can afford the costs of developing and distributing new content. With 900 million iPhones and 500 million Apple gadgets in use, they have an enormous built-in base of potential TV+ customers. So, pop quiz, I am curious how many people are now paying for streaming and what service? Please leave me a comment.

LESS TARGETING COMING TO FACEBOOK

I used Facebook (sponsored posts) often for my clients because you can really target audiences by demographics and interests. But Facebook has now removed age, gender and ZIP code targeting for housing, employment and credit-related ads as part of a settlement with advocacy groups and other plaintiffs.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

When something is working, most firms double down on it. That is not always a good idea. The auto industry is a good example of this. The Wall St. Journal reported that the number of crossover and sport-utility models has steadily climbed from 70 (2014), to 96 (2018) and is expected to rise to 149 models by 2023. “This is a very significant trouble spot for the industry,” said John Murphy, an auto analyst with Bank of America. “The pendulum is swinging too far in the other direction.” If trends continue, he estimates the profit premiums auto makers have long enjoyed on these models will fall, eventually matching the lower margins now earned on sedans. Marketing lesson: What worked in the past does not always work in the future. What changes in your product or marketing are you planning for 2020?

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

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THIS WEEK AT POWERSHIFT MARKETING – NOTES

July 8, 2019

THIS WEEK (JULY 8-14) – Took a bit of a break to move and sell a home… but I am back. 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.

IS THE FAMILY VACATION DISAPPEARING?

As family vacation season hits its full stride, you need to be aware that research (including ours) reveals that the percent of people traveling with kids is declining. The number of young Americans who are single, now more than half (according to a study released recently) has reached its peak since at least the 1980s. It has drastically increased in just the past 15 years. That’s according to data from a General Social Survey that showed in 2018, 51% of Americans ages 18 to 34 said they didn’t currently have a “steady partner,” up from 33% in 2004. How much do you know about your current customer? Give us a call, we can help.

BUSINESSES NOW NEED TO MONITOR TEXT MESSAGES

Messaging apps aren’t just for friends and family anymore. People are using them to communicate with businesses too, doing everything from learning about a business to making a purchase. According to Google research, more than 66% of people who use text messaging say they have messaged a business in the past three months. Why?

  • Convenient. Messaging gives customers the flexibility to reach out and respond on their own time.
  • Simple. Messaging is a communication channel that is familiar to people and intuitive to use.
  • Personal. Messaging allows you to connect one on one with customers.

THE STATE OF DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Ad spending is increasing, and it should grow 19% this year. But only 8% of people remember seeing an ad that is relevant to them in a given moment. Even more significantly, 30% of internet users are expected to be using ad blockers by the end of this year. That is why we are running more and more native ads. If you are not using these online ads, we can help set up a program for you.

GENDER NEUTRAL AIRLINES TICKETS ARRIVE

I’m sorry, but this whole bathroom debate about who can go where, is just humorous to me. Let’s face it, most of us grew up in gender neutral bathrooms. Of course, my big sister and I never really liked sharing our Jack and Jill bathroom, but it was no big deal. Airlines have offered gender neutral bathrooms forever. But now, the airline industry has final come to its senses and are now offering gender-neutral tickets. You can identify yourself as M (male), F (female), U (undisclosed), or X (unspecified) as well as selecting ‘Mx’ as a title. Just one more thing you have to worry about when traveling, how are you going to identify yourself?

Until next time, 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 #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.

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