March 10, 2018

First, I want to thank the more than 9,000 people who have read my blog since I started it years ago. I’ve taken a break from posting on my blog (since 2017). During this time I’ve been exploring how best to use my blog to share marketing information. As my business has shifted to a greater focus on market research, I’ve decided that a weekly update or report on current research and small business marketing trends would serve my readers better than random comments on marketing. So, starting on Monday, I will begin weekly “Monday Morning Quarterback” posts – a review of marketing ideas and research that I have discovered during the past week. I will be focusing on information that can help you, the small business owner, do a better job of marketing with limited funds and resources. Let me know if you like this new approach.



May 3, 2017

My firm conducts ongoing website studies for DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations). Our research provides insights into who is visiting a DMO website and what they value most on a website. While travelers over 53 years old (baby boomers and seniors) remain the largest segment visiting DMO websites, there has been a dramatic increase in millennials engaging with travel.

A lot of marketers are shifting their media to reach this growing segment. But they are not changing their pitch. They are running the same ads/spots for a millennial audience. THAT IS A BIG MISTAKE. The millennials have a very different expectation when it comes to travel. A recent post by Columnist Leah Swartz for MediaPost did a great job of outlining those expectations. Here are five insights from our research and Leah’s recent post.

1- For millennials, travel is a vital experience that helps them understand, grow, and continuously reinvent their sense of self. Baby boomers and seniors consider travel a luxury. Millennials view travel as a vital component to their personal growth and life experience.

2 – Millennials want shareable experiences. No matter what they cost, these experiences share one thing in common: the experience millennials are looking for is not a commodity product. When millennials hit the road, they don’t see themselves as tourists, they consider themselves experience pioneers.

3 – Millennials are not merely embracing digital tools and resources, they’ve come to expect them. They want you to use technology to remove friction, improve service, and enhance the overall travel planning experience.

4 – Research shows that 75% of millennials currently have travel apps on their phones. They are using these apps and online travel agents more than any other generation. They also use the sharing economy to bypass expensive taxis, restaurants, tours and lodging for more accessible, but still legitimate, alternatives.

5 – Millennial travelers are very savvy travel planners. They are happy to forgo the five-star hotel and stay in cheaper two-star lodging to budget for a cooking class and culinary immersion with local tastemakers.

And here’s the main reason you need to focus on the millennial traveler: they are impacting other generations when they travel. Consider this: a baby boomer mom may not be a millennial as defined by her age, but she is just as excited to order room service by emojis as her 23-year-old daughter. To take advantage of the millennial revolution, you must change your advertising and your service. Period.



April 11, 2017

By now almost everyone has seen the video. United Continental Chief Executive Oscar Munoz apologized for having to “re-accommodation” a passenger. As a former airline marketing executive, are you kidding me! United’s response is almost a textbook example of what NOT TO DO! This is a classic case of how to take a PR problem and make it a PR disaster.

BLAME THE CUSTOMER – Gee, it wasn’t our fault that the passenger refused denied boarding compensation and would not leave the plane. He was a “disruptive and belligerent” passenger and he had to be dragged from his seat to protect others.

TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY – United said that its employees weren’t directly involved in the incident. We didn’t do anything wrong. We simply asked airport security to remove the passenger after he refused to disembark to make space for a “deadhead” crew flying to another assignment. Mr. Munoz said he “stands behind” the actions of United employees, CNBC reports. I believe that Munoz is the deadhead.

DOWN PLAY THE IMPORTANCE. Sure, the incident will just go away. I mean United only forcibly removed a customer that had paid for a seat. In an age of smartphone video cameras, it would be a good idea for airlines to avoid re-accommodation of a passenger by dragging their customers from the plane.

If you want to read more from other PR professionals on what should have been done, this is a good story: http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/11/news/united-passenger-pr-disaster/

YOUR GOAL THIS WEEK? Review with your employees on how to handle a customer that does not want to follow the rules. Oh, and cancel your United Airlines reservations.






April 6, 2017

If you want to be a successful marketer today, your website must be transactional based. Consumer online sales will pass $500 billion by 2020. That means that you need to sell something using shopping cart software.

But most shoppers visit a website to do something other than buy, like browsing, product comparison, query research and more. Jack Loechner, Editor of The Center for Media Research’s daily Research Brief, recently shared some interesting research facts reported by Internet Retailer. Businesses focusing on transactions often miss other key engagement opportunities, notes the report. Some key findings:

  • 92% of consumers visiting your website for the first time will do something other than make a purchase.
  • 98% of shoppers have been stopped an online purchase because of incomplete or incorrect content, with 32% of consumers being dissuaded every time.
  • 35% of shoppers feel companies do a poor or very poor job of customizing online shopping, with only 7% believing that companies do it well.
  • Across all products and services, online shoppers list desktop or laptop as their preferred to access your website. But, smartphones and tablets are quickly growing in popularity. A quarter of consumers use a mobile device very often when shopping online, compared to 23% who use desktops.

Percentage of consumers who shop online for the following products/services

Personal entertainment: 85%
Apparel: 85%
Travel: 82%
Digital products: 79%
Entertainment: 74%
Paying a utility bill: 74%
Electronics: 71%
Home/furnishings: 64%

POWERSHIFT MARKETING TAKEAWAY: You need to constantly make sure that your website offers an easy and simple way to purchase your product or service on all platforms (desktop, laptop, smartphones, and tablets). For example, recently we worked with a firm to research their website. After we presented our findings, they made changes to their website to make it easier to navigate and buy. Their sales increased dramatically and they didn’t spend a dime more on marketing.



December 16, 2016

Renowned CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite must be rolling over in his grave. Most U.S. adults (62%) now get news on social media, and 18% do so often, per a new survey by Pew Research Center. Three social media sites dominate news online.


That is why “fake news” is a major issue for marketers. It is almost impossible to control your message in social media. As I’ve stated many times, news and entertainment are now one in the same. Our Twittering President Elect has shown the power of news on social media – we do not need anyone to make sure it is true. But wait.

Finally, CNN has reported that Facebook has announced to will start applying warning labels to some “fake news” stories that users share. Articles that are known to be false — seemingly published with the intent to trick or mislead people — will be marked with what Facebook is calling a “flag.” Below the headline there will be a red label that says “disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.” Users will be able to click on a “learn why this is disputed” link to get more information.

Facebook will not be doing the fact-checking itself. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that “we do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties.” So, those third parties will be fact-checking organization that have committed to the International Fact Checking Code of Principles, which was recently established by Poynter, a journalism organization. Several dozen fact-checking organizations around the world have signed on the code of principles.

Now you will still be able to post whatever you want, no matter how bogus, but now others will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.

Hopefully, other social media companies will step up and do the same. At a recent journalism industry conference, Facebook representatives said that addressing the spread of knowingly fake stories is the #1 priority at the highest levels of the company. It is about time.



December 12, 2016

Here’s something for you to discuss with your marketing team this week: are you using the right marketing tools to reach the right market?

CASE IN POINT #1: My company runs a Destination marketing campaign effort, Crater Lake Country (CLC) (www.craterlakecountry.com). While I do not personally use a lot of social media and I really do not like to text (I was never a typist), I’ve learned that using social media and other online tools are critical to reaching a younger audience. One of the things I am most proud of is that the CLC website has a much higher percentage of younger viewers than other destination marketing organization (DMO) websites. Now, for someone who is passed official retirement age, learning new tricks isn’t easy. I spend about 20 hours a month reviewing and learning new marketing techniques. How much time are you spending on learning new things?

CASE IN POINT #2: Oregon football. The mostly successful PAC 12 football program in the past ten years lost its recruiting way because it didn’t realize how you communicate with high school teenagers. You see, teenagers are the prime market for any college team. A Portland Oregonian opinion piece by Andrew Nemec (anemec@oregonian.com) said it best: “Recruiting has never been about boosters and retirees, it’s about attracting teenagers. Oregon’s staff stuck together for 20 years, and somewhere along the way, they seemed to forget that. Taggart has a lot to prove, but he’s already showing he understands the modern recruiting battle. He’s generating buzz – one tweet at a time.”

How are you reaching the largest market in American today – Millennials?



November 13, 2016

I am not going to add to the relentless analysis of the recent election. If you love politics, read my friend Pete Sage’s political blog. It is well-written and very insightful. But I do want to cover three core marketing principles that your business can learn from Trump’s victory.

GET OUT AND MEET YOUR CUSTOMER – Most businesses today think they are listening to their customers. They tell me they monitor user review websites (Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Angie’s List, BBB, Manta, etc.) and use online surveys (Survey Monkey) to know what is going on. Big mistake, you do not know what is going on. The internet has a self-selecting bias. You are only going to hear from people who love or hate you. But what about the majority that do want to share their opinion and will simply not buy your product. Or the 20% that have no home internet access (Pew Research study)?

The Trump Marketing Lesson: On almost every measurable statistic, the economy is better than when Obama came into office in 2008. That’s a statistical fact. But Trump’s victory in Wisconsin reveals that 61% of voters said the economy was bad or “not so good.” Their vote was a rational choice. It was not a vote of deplorables. Oh, and never, never label your customers.  Bottom-line: nothing replaces getting out in the real world and asking your sales or service team for honest feedback on what customers think. Nothing replaces visiting your key customers and listening to their concerns. Do not rely on metrics only.

SELF-INTEREST IS YOUR CUSTOMERS ONLY INTEREST – All business run marketing programs because of their self-interest. They want to sell more, make more money and profits, and enjoy the rewards of their hard work. Therefore, most businesses place their self-interest over the interest of their customers. But as I have said in my book and in years of consulting, the only real interest customers have is self-interest. Trump totally understands this, perhaps because he so totally focused on marketing himself.

The Trump Marketing Lesson: If you focus on your client’s self-interests, they will overlook a lot, if they believe they are being heard. White evangelical Christians voted 81% for Trump. They simply overlooked locker room speak, playbook character flaws, numerous marriages, trophy wives, and questionable business ethics because Trump promised to lead with their self-interest in mind.

TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED – In this 24/7 digital world, your customers are overwhelmed. They long for a simpler time, where they can trust things they believed in as a child. But today we are outliving our value systems, and this makes everyone very fearful. Because of fear, your customer’s opinion of your business can change instantly based on what they hear or see. Remember, events create public opinion.

The Trump Marketing Lesson: You can’t take anything for granted in a constantly changing world. That is the essence of my PowerShift Marketing philosophy: if you are not doing something every day to move your business forward, you are moving backwards. There is no status quo. Are you a market leader and think you can rest? Forget it. Are you behind the market leader? Keep focused and work smarter.