Posts Tagged ‘small business’

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #36

November 26, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving like we did. Here are a few post turkey day thoughts on marketing and research for the week.

BAD GOLF GAME – AT&T and other big television distributors are refunding customers who paid to watch a showdown between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. AT&T intended to use the pay-per-view event as a showcase of its new media capabilities since buying Time Warner. They shanked it. The online transmission didn’t work and many saw it for free. In fact, it’s unclear how many people paid to watch the match. Oh, if anyone cares, Mickelson won with a birdie on the 22nd hole, giving him the $9 million prize. Marketing Lesson: Make sure you can deliver what you promise, before you promise it!

HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT FACEBOOK LIVE? – Back in April 2016, Facebook launched a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast from their mobile devices straight to their Facebook News Feed. Since its launch, live video has exploded in popularity — particularly on Facebook Live, where according to Vimeo, 78% of online audiences are watching video on Facebook Live as of 2018. It’s no mystery why Facebook Live is popular: Videos enjoy a 300% engagement advantage to traditional videos shared on Facebook. Do you know how to use this tool? If not, we found a great guide that we can send you. Just let me now.

YOUR MARKETING FUTURE IS HERE – We have said often in this blog that you need to begin shifting your marketing to Millennials, even though Baby Boomers and Seniors still have the money. Millennials are now the largest demographic group and they are beginning to make a real impact. The 2018 midterm elections not only sent a record number of women to the House of Representatives – at least 102 in total, including 36 newly elected members, with a handful of races still to be called – but also significantly boosted the number of Millennials and Generation Xers in the lower chamber, according to a recent analysis. When the 116th Congress convenes in January, at least 26 House members will be Millennials (i.e., born between 1981 and 1996), up from only five at the start of the current Congress and six just before the Nov. 6 midterms. Marketing Lesson: No successful marketer is ignoring women or Millennials now.

THOSE DARN ALGORITHMS – They are all around us, utilizing massive stores of data and complex analytics to make decisions for us. They recommend books and movies for us to read and watch. They share news stories they think we might find relevant, estimate the likelihood that a tumor is cancerous and predict whether someone might be a criminal or a worthwhile credit risk. But despite the growing presence of algorithms, a Pew survey finds that the public is skeptical of these tools. At a broad level, 58% of Americans feel that computer programs will always reflect some level of human bias – although 40% think these programs can be designed in a way that is bias-free. And in various contexts, the public worries that these tools might violate privacy, fail to capture the nuance of complex situations, or simply put the people they are evaluating in an unfair situation.

IS GROWTH A GOOD GOAL? – Most businesses want to grow. We are working with a variety of companies setting goals for 2019. We have found that when you make growth the end-all-be-all, your bottom line, it can be at the expense of your customers. Some major companies have sacrificed long-term customer relationships for short-term gains. That’s why I enjoyed reading a HubSpot blog post that outlined their customer tenets. They believe their job is making customers more successful, building relationships by doing the right thing, and focusing on the long-term even when it’s not the easiest path. I totally agree. This week’s marketing goal: Develop your own customer tenets for 2019? Here’s HubSpot’s tenets, it is a good place to start.

1. Earn my attention, don’t steal it.
2. Treat me like a person, not a persona.
3. Solve for my success, not your systems.
4. Use my data, but don’t abuse it.
5. Ask for feedback, and act on it.
6. Own your screw-ups.
7. Help me help you, by helping myself.
8. I don’t mind paying, but I do mind being played.
9. Don’t block the exit.
10. Do the right thing, even when it’s hard.

Until next week, enjoy holiday shopping.

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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 #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.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #15

June 18, 2018

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

FATHERS TODAY ARE DIFFERENT – Reflecting on yesterday’s Father’s Day, here’s a question for the week: What kind of marketing messages should you be using to target dads today? Well, the modern dad is very different than his father or grandfather. According to several PEW research studies, fathers are taking a more active role in caring for their children and are helping around the house more (I know, it is about time). The number of stay-at-home and single fathers has grown significantly too. Unfortunately, more and more children are growing up without a father in the home. Here are some of the most interesting facts:

Dads, like moms, say parenting is extremely important to their identity (57% dads, 58% moms). Dads also appreciate the benefits of parenthood: 54% say parenting is rewarding all of the time, as did 52% of moms. Meanwhile, 46% of fathers and 41% of mothers said parenting is enjoyable all of the time.

Fathers are spending, on average, eight hours a week on child care – about triple the time since 1965. Fathers also put in about 10 hours a week on household chores, up from four hours in 1965.

Everyone works. Only about 1 out of 4 families (27%) with kids under 18 live in a family where only the dad works. This is a dramatic change from 1970, when almost half (47%) were in families where only dad worked. The share of couples living in dual-earner families has risen significantly and now represents the majority of two-parent families with children.

CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT – If you are marketing today, you need content! Whether it is more Facebook posts, more videos, more relevant news releases, or keeping your website updated, creating engaging content is critical. But this can be a time challenge. That is why we are now helping several clients with content. If you need an affordable extra hand, contact us for a quote. Our rates start as low as $200 per month for a helping hand.

BIG NEWS LAST WEEK – Two things happened last week that will dramatically change access and control of marketing to consumers. In fact, I believe that June 2018 will go down as a turning point in consumer marketing.

First, net neutrality officially ended on the federal level. No need to get back to the debate (it’s over), but here’s the bottom line: companies will soon be able to charge different rates for slower or faster access to the internet. Also last week, a federal judge approved AT&T’s $80 billion purchase of Time Warner. For marketers, these two events are monumental.

Controlling access to news and entertainment on all platforms will soon be in the hands of giant corporations, like AT&T. America’s largest pay-tv provider and second-largest wireless operator by subscribers, AT&T will soon be a juggernaut. They will move quickly to the digitization of TV advertising. This means they can marry accurate data targeting–based on information from its cell phone subscribers and TV viewing habits–with premium content. And they can charge different people, different prices to access on any platform.

Comcast, the other big bully (they are the largest high-speed broadband provider in the U.S.), wasted little time getting into a bidding war with Disney for most of 21st Century Fox’s assets. Mark my words, in five years you will all be paying substantially more to reach consumers with your marketing messages.

ARE PEOPLE HAPPY WITH A MORE COLORFUL AMERICA? – One of the things I have notice is that there is very little racial or ethnic diversity in many ads. Sure, they may not live in your community in large numbers, but a majority (58%) of Americans continue to say the U.S. is a better place to live as a result of its growing racial and ethnic diversity. So, showing more diversity in your marketing could be good for business. Of course, diversity as a good thing is impacted by political beliefs according to another PEW Research study.

Most Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say growing diversity is good, including 78% of Democrats who describe themselves as liberal. A smaller majority of conservative and moderate Democrats (66%) say the same.

Even 47% of Republicans see diversity as good. While positive views among Republicans vary little by ideology, negative views are somewhat more widespread among conservative Republicans than moderate and liberal Republicans.

That is all for this week. Let me know if there are any specific research or marketing questions you are thinking about that I can cover in my weekly update.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #10

May 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is all for this week. Let me know if there are any specific research or marketing questions you are thinking about that I can cover in my weekly update.