Posts Tagged ‘great marketing’



May 15, 2020

THIS WEEK OPENING UP – As many continue to shelter at home while businesses begin to reopen, 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.


The most important part of any online ad is the call to action: the URL link to your website. But do you really know how many people clicked on your link? You can look at Google Analytics referral log, but it is not real accurate. The best way to track is to add a UTM code. Known as UTM parameters or tracking tags, this code is added to your existing URL, making each URL unique and trackable. Unfortunately, few businesses use this tool. Not sure why. It’s easy to set up. Here’s info on how from one of my favorite marketing blogs:


If you are in marketing, this is BIG NEWS. Millennials have finally surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Last year (July 2019) Millennials, defined as ages 23 to 38, numbered 72.1 million, and Boomers (ages 55 to 73) numbered 71.6 million. Generation X (ages 39 to 54) numbered 65.2 million and is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028. For an industry that for more than 50 years as focused on Baby Boomers, this is big news. In our visitor research, we are also seeing Baby Boomers becoming far less important than younger travelers.


A PEW study reveals that seven-in-ten of us need to a break from COVID-19 news. Many (43%) say that say keeping up with coronavirus news makes them feel worse emotionally. In addition, half say they find it difficult to sift through what is true and what is not. But Americans continue focusing on national and local news: 61% say they pay about equal attention to news at both levels.


Not surprising, but “Coronavirus” is now the keyword blocked by online advertisers, having overtaken “Trump,” according to brand-safety firm Integral Ad Science. The targeted keyword blocking makes it even harder for publishers to sell ads at a time when many companies are pulling back ad spending to cut costs during the crisis.


I suspect I am one of thousands that just decided to subscribe to the New York Times for a few dollars a month (far cheaper than subscribing to my local paper). So, it does not surprise me that paper has recorded its biggest quarterly increase in digital subscriptions ever. Unfortunately, ad revenue is still going down. But Times CEO Mark Thompson is hopeful. “With its growing focus on digital subscription growth and diminishing reliance on advertising, the paper is very well positioned to ride out this storm and thrive in a post-pandemic world.” Well, that remains to be seen. No online media has found the business model that works.


According to a recent PEW Research study, roughly half of us say the internet has been essential during the pandemic, while another 34% describe it as “important, but not essential.” Amid rekindled debates about the digital divide, more than six-in-ten Americans say it is not the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have cellphone services or a high-speed internet connection at home during the outbreak.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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 ( 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.



April 9, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Each week I highlight market research that could make your marketing efforts stronger. Want to conduct your own research? Let us help.

THE NEW AMERICAN FAMILY: KIDS, PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS? –Multigenerational households have continued to rise, a trend seen across a wide variety of U.S. demographic  groups. Marketing question to ask this week: Are you showing enough diversity and multigenerational pictures in your marketing material? I bet not. You can read more here.

WHAT IS THE EASIEST WAY TO HAVE MORE MONEY FOR MARKETING? – Spend someone else’s money. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I love cooperative marketing programs. They are the best way to make your market bigger by spending less of your money. I am currently developing a variety of travel and retirement industry programs using digital media for 2018 and 2019. If you are interested, email me for the details (

HOW DO YOU USE YOUR ONLINE VIDEO FOR MARKETING? – Americans are watching more digital video than ever before. Most advertisers only use this format for brand-building. Can you use it to sell something? A bit of a self-serving article, but Nicky Rettke of YouTube’s direct response ads team has some interesting reflections on using YouTube. Worth a quick read.

DO MILLENNIALS HAVE ANY MONEY? – We have all heard it. Move over Baby-boomers, the largest consumer market is now the Millennials. But do they have any money to spend? Well, yes, but a new study reveals that for many Millennials, the future may be dire indeed. A perfect storm of more debt, lower earnings, reduced homeownership, less wealth, and skimpier retirement savings relative to older generations suggests that many will experience a third-world standard of living in old age. The Center for Retirement Research reviews many of these concerns in a report examining whether Millennials will be ready for retirement. You can read the report here.

IS IT A BAD IDEA ASKING A CITIZEN QUESTION? – As a professional researcher, I am not sure. But for the first time since 1950, the census is planning to ask it in 2020. I think this points out the importance of really looking at questions you ask in a survey (and the order) – will they prevent people from taking it? Here’s what you need to know about the question, from its history to what happens if people don’t answer. Read here.

So you next week. Again, if you have a question, don’t hesitate to share.



February 3, 2015

Well, the game was certainly more entertaining than the commercials. I liked the Budweiser puppy spot. They really have developed this horse and puppy thing into a great Americana campaign, even if they are now owned by Belgian-Brazilian beer giant InBev. As for the other spots, I think most people are talking about Pete Carroll’s stupidest call in Super Bowl history than this year’s commercials. (120 million people watched the last two minutes of the game).

McDonald’s, which just fired their CEO (probably because he approved this spot), tried to explain that they will randomly selected customers to pay for their orders as an act of love. I thought it was an ad for Apple Pay! You know you in trouble when your best marketing idea is to randomly give your product away.

Nationwide Insurance scowled us for being bad parents and told us that the world is full of preventable accidents. Thanks, so why do I need insurance? I will just be more careful. Flo, where are you when we need you? Coca-Cola’s spot for positivity in the face of negativity was a great message, but it sure seemed to me a bit pompous. Come on, you are a soft drink!

Talk about taking yourself too seriously, Carnival Cruises’ spot included a voiceover by John F. Kennedy and really stunning visuals. But I still thought about the Costa Concordia wreck and people getting sick on a ship.

Nissan, returning to the Super Bowl after 18 years, wasted its money with a spot I found hard to follow. It had absolutely nothing to do with their product. How do you balance being a race car driver with family and raising a son? Yep, that makes me want to go out and buy a Nissan. Toyota’s spot starred Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy snowboarding and dancing. Visually it was great. But again, sure wouldn’t make me buy a car.

OK, that’s enough. Here’s the takeaway if you are in marketing: why is everyone forgetting that the idea of a commercial is to promote the benefits of your product?  Ok, I realize I might just be hopelessly out of touch. For example, I would have preferred a half-time show featuring people who can actually sing more than three notes (off-key).



August 2, 2014

On the 4th of July weekend I attended the La Pine Oregon Rodeo. It was definitely a throwback to more family friendly times of the 70-80s. As the beauty queens of various Central Oregon rodeos rode in, I reflected back on Farrah Fawcett. She would have been proud that big blond hair flowing under giant cowboy hats is alive and well in rodeo land. Then a few days later I was in Portland and saw The Book of Mormon with an audience filled with mostly Millennials who had grown up on South Park’s outlandish look at the world. So, how do these two events relate to marketing?

It made me focus on how diverse today’s consumer market is and the importance of knowing your market. The dominant marketing tool today is the internet. As I have stated before, it is the greatest one-on-one marketing tool ever invented. But it is not a mass media tool. You have to have a clear understanding of your target consumer. The only way you can understand your market is with research.

Yes, start with Google Analytics, but do you know what metrics are the most important?  Then you need the “eye test” – look and talk to your customers. Then add some formal research (like focus groups or surveys).

Unfortunately, most small businesses don’t do many of these things. This week at your marketing meeting take a hard look at your customers. What do you really know about them? How well can you define them?



January 2, 2014

Happy New Year. As I look back on 2013 headlines, which I plan to do in the next few posts, I’m pleased that American Airlines and US Airways are finally merging. Having participated in a merger (Western Airlines and Delta Air Lines) I know that many employees will lose benefits, retirement funds, and promotional opportunities, but at least most people will have a job in 2014.

But the big question for 2014: Will the new American make more money? The profit question might be one you need to be asking too. This merger will leave just four airlines controlling more than 80 percent of the U.S. air-travel market. But the basic challenge in the airline industry hasn’t changed: Airlines only have a profit margin of 1-2%.

Compare this to the smartphone industry. According to a WSJ report, Samsung records roughly a 20% operating margin on their mid-tier Galaxy S3 Mini, and a 28% margin on its high-end Galaxy S4. Apple’s operating-profit margins on its new iPhone 5S and 5C phones are reported to be 30% to 35%.

What is your profit margin? It should be the top question you are asking yourself going into a new year. Does your company have its cost in line so you can make more in 2014? Tough question.



December 14, 2013

Book Photo - 2010 002Looking for a business gift? Why not give yourself or friends a copy of my marketing book: Powershift Marketing: 101 Ways to Shift Your Company Into High Gear. I am having a close out special (FREE) of the few books I have left before introducing my updated 2014 e-book.

Just go to my website and order as many books as you want. On the order form, in the “Do you have a coupon” section, type in DENNETT in the Apply Coupon spot – you will only pay for shipping and handling. Best of all, everyone that has my book will also get a free copy of my e-book version of the book in 2014, which will have an expanded social media section. Again, just go to my website and get your free book:

Happy Holidays.



November 27, 2013

Food for thought on this Thanksgiving holiday. As you sit down with friends and family tomorrow to reflect on what you are most thankful for, I hope you will add a satisfied customers to your list. As I say in my book, without a satisfied customer your business doesn’t have anything to be thankful for.

Case in point: My wife and I went out to dinner this past Saturday in Ashland, Oregon. While the food was fine, the service was non-existent. Once we ordered, 15 minutes after sitting down, we saw “our server” once (delivering drinks, our meals were delivered by someone else). We had to get our own silverware, napkins, condiments and finally are check. My problem was NOT with the server (she was new), but with the owners that didn’t train their server to value a “satisfied customer.” Remember, that Thanksgiving dinner you and your loved ones are enjoying comes indirectly from a satisfied customer.  Oh, and I am very thankful for the more than 2,000 people who have been reading my blog since I started it. Happy Thanksgiving.



November 7, 2013

Most people get dozens of email offers daily, but very few direct mail (snail mail) offers. That has made regular mail a much better marketing tool today than it was years ago. But how easy do you make it for someone getting your mailing to keep their address updated?

When you get email spam, by law they have to make it easy to “opt out” by showing this option at the bottom of the offer. But have you ever looked at that mail offer, say a postcard, or a letter from a nonprofit asking for money? If you want to update your mailing address, good luck!

I became painfully aware of this recently because after 20 years with the same mailing address, I had to change it because my private mail box service moved down the block. The challenge was trying to change my junk mail addresses. Yes some junk mail, especially from nonprofits, I wanted to keep coming.

New PowerShift Marketing Tip: Make sure with your direct mail offers that you clearly show how someone can update or delete themselves from your mailing. This is critical if you want to justify the higher cost of mail with good offers to good mail list. customers.