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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #29

October 8, 2018

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

SEARCH TURNS 20 YEARS OLD – Kind of hard to believe, but Google Search is now two decades old! The impact of search on your marketing can not be underestimated. Today, people are constantly searching: 84% of people are shopping at any given moment online and in up to six different categories according to Google Research. Online search has destroyed the print Yellow Pages. If you are spending any money on yellow page ads, think again.

Also, search has also gotten very personal: Google reports a 60% growth in mobile searches that refer to yourself “find the best computer for me” in the past two years. Over half of Google searches are now conducted on mobile devices. Want to know more about how search is impacting your online business? Join our website study (see story below).

TRAVEL WEBSITE STUDY LAUNCHING – Our 6th Annual Destination Website Research Study launches this month (October). We currently have five research partners, but we have room for more. If you want to discover the importance of search and why people come to your website, what website info has the most value, and if online visitors will become real visitors (economic impact of your website), join our study. Contact me ASAP.

IS IT TIME TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER? – As the fourth quarter begins, we are getting more requests to help with end-of-the year customer surveys. It makes sense. Understanding your current customer is critical in planning 2019 marketing programs. Whether you are designing your own survey or working with us, survey creation is a critical task. So, before hitting “send” with an online survey provider, contact us. With the help of our Research Director, Dr. Nick Lougee, we can help you design (or review) a survey that gets the most from your data. Plus, we can tell you how to prevent respondent fatigue, optimize survey language and more.

MORE CHALLENGES FOR FACEBOOK – Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research reports in the Wall St. Journal that his analysis of Nielsen’s U.S. Digital Consumption Trends reveals that the numbers are down (again) for Facebook: had a 14.3% share in August, down from a 16.9% share in August last year. Does the drop-off reflect user concerns around data privacy? Hard to say. Where are these people going? Google’s properties accounted for 56% of the growth in digital content consumption in August. Its share rose to 32.8% from 29.4% in August 2017. For 2019, you may want to rethink your digital investments in Facebook and Google properties.

WHY ARE PEOPLE POOR? – It seems it is all about your political view, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Democrats (and Democratic leaners) say the reason someone is poor has more to do with circumstances beyond their control (69%) than a lack of effort (18%). Republicans (and Republican leaners) say that people are poor because of lack of effort (48%) rather than circumstances (31%). Among all adults, 52% say it is circumstances, 31% say it is a lack of effort; 12% say these two reasons are equal contributors. No matter what you believe, it points out the importance of shaping national policy, so please vote November 6th.

Ok, see you all next week.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #28

October 1, 2018

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

NEW TRAVEL WEBSITE STUDY IS LAUNCHING – Our 5th Annual Destination Website Research Study ended yesterday. I want to thank all our research partners that participated and are now joining us for our next study that will launch this month. If you want to discover why people come to your website, what website info has the most value, and if online visitors will become real visitors (economic impact of your website), there is still time to join our 2018-2019 6th Annual Study. Contact me ASAP.

EVERYONE IS DOING IT – Dunkin’ Donuts just dropped “Donuts” from its name. Executives said they reached this decision after testing the shorter name, adding that the rebrand is aimed at honing the company’s focus on coffee amid increasing competition. Weight Watchers also announced a rebranding to “WW” as it shifts its focus away from dieting and more toward wellness. WW spent decades building its reputation as “the world’s leading provider of weight management services,” so their new focus on wellness has been met with some skepticism. Yes, rebrands can be traumatic for consumers. Are you thinking of a rebrand? Let us conduct some market research for you to make sure you get it right.

MOST OF US WORK – Only 11 million U.S. parents – or 18% – were not working outside the home in 2016. The stay-at-home share of U.S. parents was almost identical to what it was in 1989, but there has been a modest increase among fathers.

SOME OF US ARE MAKING MORE MONEY – Median household income climbed to $61,372 in 2017, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. This is 1.8% higher than the 2016 median, after adjusting for inflation. But not all age groups made gains. The Householders under age 25 saw their median household income fall by 5.8%. Householders aged 25 to 34 struggled to keep up, their income rising just 0.1%. Most of the gains were from older age groups. Happy to share all the details, email me.

A NO GROWTH MARKET – Adults who say they use the internet, social media, own a smartphone or tablet are nearly identical to the shares who said so in 2016. Why? Parts of the population (people under 50) have reached near-saturation levels of adoption.

FACEBOOK UPDATE – Last week the company revealed that hackers had managed to gain access to nearly 50 million accounts. This attack looks to be its largest-ever security breach. Speaking of Facebook, our friends over at Raving Consulting (Reno) had some excellent tips in their newsletter (thanks Justin Shank) on using Facebook advertising. Contact me and I will be happy to share.

ENTHUSIASTIC VOTERS COMING – A survey by Pew Research Center finds voter enthusiasm is at its highest level for a midterm in more than two decades. A record share of registered voters – 72% – say the issue of which party controls Congress will be a factor. A majority (60%) view the midterm vote also as a vote on Trump – more saying their vote will be “against” Trump (37%) than “for” him (23%).

Ok, see you all next week. Enjoy the Fall weather – nice in Oregon.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #27

September 24, 2018

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

TWO QUICK REMINDERS – Do you need end-of-the-year research or a facilitator for a planning meeting? Contact us and let’s get you on the calendar. Also, our 6th Annual Destination Website Research Study will begin next month. The cost is just $125 per month for a one-year study.

AS ANYTHING CHANGED IN 27 YEARS? – Stay tuned this week for “she said, he said” 2018 version when we find out at Kavanaugh hearing if anything has changed since Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Interestingly, our view of women in leadership has definitely changed. According to a current Pew Research Center survey, today the majority of Americans say they would like to see more women in top leadership positions – not only in politics, but also in the corporate world. But Republicans and Democrats have widely different views on this subject.

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are more than twice as likely as Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to say there are too few women in office (79% vs. 33%). While 64% of Democrats say gender discrimination is a major reason woman are underrepresented in these positions, only 30% of Republicans agree. Will party differences in their view of women in power make any difference when it comes to sexual harassment? We will see.

THE WORLD OF FACEBOOK HAS CHANGED –Take note if you use Facebook (FB) for marketing. People’s relationship with FB is changing. Just over half of FB (54%) users say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Around 42% say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter 26% say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of FB users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year. These changes could have a long-term impact on using FB as a marketing tool.

NIKE GAMBLES – Nike’s “Just do it” campaign is three decades old. So, how do you breathe life into a slogan that is not relevant to a new generation of consumers (most were not even born when the campaign was launched in 1988)? Just add controversy. It was a risky marketing step. It started off with a ton of angry and upset people (mostly baby-boomers and older). But it spoke to a new generation that is far more tolerant. The result? According to a Thomson Reuters Research Study, Nike’s decision to feature Colin Kaepernick paid off handsomely. The company got a load of free publicity, its online sales saw a big boost after the campaign launched, and its stock hit a record high last week. Nike’s online sales in the 10 days following the campaign’s launch saw a 61% rise in the amount of sold-out merchandise, compared to 10 days before the launch. Researchers also noted that, immediately following the launch, Nike managed to cut the number of items it was discounting on its e-commerce site by almost a third, and still do well. The marketing lesson here: if you have an old brand that is relevant only to people over 40, drastic action may be required.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS ARE CHANGING – I was involved in launching the first frequent flyer program, 38 years ago! So, like Nike, how do you keep a loyalty program going for four decades? You need to change-up the rewards. Retailers, who used to just offer discounts, are finally changing their approach according to The Wall Street Journal. Many retail loyalty clubs are shifting to experiences. Recently J. Crew members were treated to breakfast when the store opened an hour early to give them first dibs on sales items. Nike’s Manhattan flagship store, which will open in 2019, is set to have a members-only floor with exclusive products and services. Macy’s platinum cardholders get VIP access to the Thanksgiving Day Parade, cooking classes and Broadway show previews. Lesson here: you must keep your loyalty programs relevant. Is it time to look at your program? By the way, if you don’t have a loyalty program, we help set one up for you.

Ok, see you all next week.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #26

September 18, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Did you miss me? I missed a week and now I am a day late. As they say, it is hard to get good help. Here’s some marketing and research thoughts for the week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

TIME FOR PLANNING AND RETREATS – Our calendar is filling up t help others with essential future planning in the 4th quarter. Do you need an independent SWOT analysis? Do you need a survey or an experienced meeting facilitator? Contact us and let’s get you on the calendar.

EMMY TAKEAWAY: IT IS NOT YOUR PARENT’S TV WORLD – If you use TV advertising, then you better be an advertiser on cable and on streaming too. Why? Because that is where your audience is going. HBO and Netflix tied for Emmy statuettes (23 each) for hits such as “Game of Thrones” (HBO) and “The Crown” (Netflix). Meanwhile, Amazon became the first streaming service to win the outstanding comedy series award, for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and ended the night with eight awards. Broadcast networks? Pretty much a no-show.

NEW ONLINE DMO STUDY STARTS IN OCTOBER – Our 5th Annual Destination Website Research Study will end this month. Ten different DMOs have participated in our study since launching it in 2011. We are now recruiting partners for our 6th Study that will begin next month. Interested? Contact me… the cost is only $1,800 for a year-long, in-depth study.

DON’T WORRY, KIDS ARE HERE TO STAY – Yes, the nation’s fertility rate is at an all-time low. Yes, the number of births has fallen to levels not seen in 30 years. Nevertheless, most Americans will have children. In fact, most women aged 25 or older and most men aged 30 or older are parents, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15-44 in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2011-2015). Overall, 44% of men and 55% of women aged 15 to 44 have had a biological child.

SOME PEOPLE CAN’T SHOP ONLINE – As reported here, if you are not getting sales via your website, you are falling behind your competitors. Everyone is shopping online, right? Well, not if you live in a rural area (like I do). One out of four (24%) rural adults say access to high-speed internet is a major problem. An additional 34% of rural residents say it is a minor problem. So, the majority of rural Americans (58%) have a challenge with online access. By contrast, few people living in urban areas (13%) or the suburbs (9%) view high-speed internet access a major problem. This digital divide is very important in planning your online marketing. Where do your customers live? It matters.

WHERE IS WALTER CRONKITE WHEN WE NEED HIM? – As a college journalism major, I am fascinated that most people now get their news from social media, even if they don’t believe it. Thank President Trump for another accomplishment. About two-thirds of adults (68%) say they get news from social media occasionally. However, a majority (57%) say they expect the news they see on social media to be largely inaccurate. Social media news consumers say getting news via social media has made little difference in their understanding of current events (15%), and more say it has helped confused them (36%). Gee, I am confused now.

Until next week, have a great day.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #25

September 4, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend… I am one day late, but here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

TIME FOR PLANNING AND RETREATS – Only 6.7% of marketing budgets on average are spent on analytics. That is the findings of a study sponsored by Duke University. Kind of shocking that people would spend less than 10% of their budget evaluating the success of the 90% spent on programs. That is why, as we say goodbye to summer, it is time to focus on planning. Do you need someone to look at your analytics? Do you need an independent SWOT analysis? Do you want help in creating a customer survey or an experienced facilitator for your planning session? We are currently booking assignments in all these areas for the 4th quarter. Contact us and let’s discuss your needs.

WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTATION FOR FACEBOOK MARKETING? – We have been managing a Facebook campaign for a client this summer (June, July, August). We just finished an analysis and the results have been dramatic. In the past three months, we have generated more than 820,000 impressions (up from 106,000 in 2017). And these impressions were targeted directly at followers, people that like and love this client. If you want to turn Facebook into a real marketing tool, let us help. You will be surprised how little it costs.

STUDENT LOANS IMPACT ALL AGE GROUPS – As a marketer, it is easy to think that student loan debt is only a problem for young households. Think again. Loan debt has more than doubled in the past 24 years, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute analysis of the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances. The median amount owed has more than tripled, after adjusting for inflation–rising from $5,363 in 1992 to $19,000 in 2016. But here’s why you should care about student debt: households with loans have increased in every age group during those years. These loans are decreasing home buying, vacation spending, and household spending for a lot more Americans than you might expect.

FIGURES: First percentage is 2016, second (percentage) is 1992

Under age 35: 44.8% (24.4%)
Aged 35 to 44: 34.3% (11.7%)
Aged 45 to 54: 23.7% (5.7%)
Aged 55 to 64: 12.9% (2.9%)
Aged 65-plus: 2.4% (1.2%)

HOW MUCH REVENUE ARE YOU GENERATING ONLINE? According to several research studies, businesses today estimate that an average of 45% of their revenue is directly or indirectly attributed to digital activity. Those same businesses expect that figure to increase to 55% within two years (2020). So, how much revenue are you generating directly or indirectly from digital activity? A great question for a marketing meeting this week.

Until next week, have a great day.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #24

August 27, 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.

FOCUS ON FAILURE, NOT SUCCESS – David Baekholm of HomeAway, Expedia Group’s vacation rental company, offered some great insights into improving a website in a recent Think with Google newsletter. David pointed out that instead of trying to define success, which means different things to different people, focus on failure. What don’t people like about your website experience? David points out that they don’t want irrelevant landing pages, slow loading speeds, annoying ads, or a cumbersome checkout process. Our six-year Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) website study reveals even more insights into what people don’t want. If you would like to join our next study and have your website confidentially studied to discover better ways to make digital visitors, real visitors, contact us. We will be launching our next study in October and the cost is only $150 per month.

PUT THE SMARTPHONE DOWN – Because we run social media campaigns for various clients (happy to help you too), we constantly review user research about smartphones since it is the primary access point to social media today. According to a recent study, 54% of U.S. teens say they spend too much time on their cellphones, and two-thirds of parents express concern over their teen’s screen time. But parents face their own challenges: 36% say they themselves spend too much time on their cellphone. And 51% of teens say they often or sometimes find their parent or caregiver to be distracted by their own cellphone when they are trying to have a conversation with them.

LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME – Viking River Cruises have formally repositioned itself as an adults-only line. It is no longer accepting guests under the age of 18. The U by Uniworld river cruise brand is also grown-ups only, and the yet-to-launch Virgin Voyages cruise line will also be adults-only. Why is this news important? Because it shows the importance of knowing the demographics of your customer. That is why customer research is a must today. Contact us if you need help in developing your own study.

ARE MOST AMERICANS TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT? Almost. Because most Americans are overweight, and many are trying to do something about it. You could almost call it a national obsession. In the past 12 months, nearly half (49%) of adults aged 20 or older tried to lose weight, according to a National Center for Health Statistics report. The attempt to shed pounds is embraced by 52% of 40-to-49-year-olds, 50% of 20-to-39-year-olds, and 43% of those aged 60-plus. And 56% of women are trying to lose weight, as are 42% of men. This obsession with weight is one reason you don’t see many “plus size” people in ads. People want to think we don’t have a weight problem. Want to discover other things you should be concerned with in creating ads? Contact us and we will share some of our current ad research. 

REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS AGREE ON ONE THING – They can’t agree on basic facts of issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted July 30-Aug. 12 among 4,581 adults. Tough to do marketing in a world where no one agrees on what is a fact. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (81%) say Republican and Democratic voters disagree on basic facts of issues. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (76%) say the same. Just 18% of Republicans and 23% of Democrats say that voters of the two parties can agree on basic facts even if they disagree over policies and plans. Sad, we have come to the point that facts are not facts.

Until next week, have a great day.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #23

August 20, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. OK, it is not Monday morning, but it is still Monday and here are some marketing and research thoughts for this week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

CAN SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGE OPINIONS? – Research shows that most people today believe that social media is a giant echo chamber. People simply spend time with friends that agree with them. For most Americans that is true. But a small share of the public – 14% – say they have changed their views because of something they saw on social media, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted May 29-June 11, 2018. This number changes significantly when you look at age, gender and race.

Almost a third (29%) of young men 18 to 29 say their views changed in the past year due to social media. This is more than double the percent of men and women ages 30 and older (12% and 11%, respectively). There are also differences by race. One-in-five black (19%) and Hispanic (22%) say their views changed, compared with 11% of whites. Bottom line: This an important study because it reveals what audiences may be willing to change their opinions the most about your product, service or cause. 

TAKE A VACATION, PLEASE – As the travel industry in the West struggles with smoky skies and fires, many Americans are canceling their vacations. To make these time even more tough, a research study from Project: Time Off shows that Americans are taking less time off. About half of American workers (52%) aren’t using all the vacation time they have. A quarter, 24%, have gone a year without a vacation; 12% say it’s been three years or more since they took a holiday.

What’s stopping them from getting away? Job insecurity – 61% say it’s the “fear of looking replaceable,” while 56% insist their “workload is too heavy.” Which generation is better at taking vacations? Millennials are the worst at 14.5 days of vacation. Generation X takes 17.9 and Baby Boomers take 19.8. That is why even aging Baby Boomers remain a key segment to target for leisure marketers. If you want to see the report, email me.

SEARCHING FOR THE BEST? – Some interesting insights from Google’s “Think with Google” email newsletter. Mobile searches for “best” have grown over 80% over the past two years. People are searching for “best” for even the smallest item. Google research reveals that looking for “the best” isn’t an objective absolute. Since “best” is personal, it is important that website content and search copy convey how your products meet these needs and that you show relatable, real-life use cases. This is one of several studies you will find in our new white paper “KEYS TO MAKING WEB VISITORS, REAL VISITORS.” This report shares findings from various content studies including our six-year study of Oregon visitor websites. Contact me if you are interested.

THE NEWEST WEALTH GAP – YOUNG AND OLD – You would expect that Americans aged 65 or older would have more resources than younger Americans. But a report published in Demography (Children and the Elderly: Wealth Inequality among America’s Dependents) is troubling if you are marketing to families with children.

Looking at two types of households, one with children under age 18 (child households), and the other with someone 65 or older with no children under 18 (elderly households), there is a growing gap between them. In 1989, elderly households had a median net worth 3.8 time that of child households ($106,647 vs. $27,889). By 2013 elderly households had a worth that was 12.5 times as high ($154,998 vs. $12,413). The median net worth of elderly households grew 45% between 1989 and 2013, after adjusting for inflation, while the net worth of child households fell 56%. That is why you need to do a demographic study of your customers. We can provide this type of study.

TRUE OR FALSE: MOST IMMIGRANTS ARE HERE LEGALLY. True, but only 45% of the public knows that most immigrants in the United States are here legally. Nearly as many (42%) think most immigrants are here illegally. Marketing lesson: If you repeat something long enough, even if it is not true, people will believe it. I guess we should call this the “Trump Effect.”

Until next week, enjoy the last few weeks of summer and have a great day.