The Value of Focusing on LTV

Big Data and analytics are more than just buzzwords in modern marketing. Digital channels give us more data to work from than ever. We can see when a prospect opens an email, clicks a link or interacts with any of our content. All of that data produces a whole host of numbers, not all of which are created equal when building a long-term business strategy. Lifetime Value (LTV) cuts through a lot of the noise and gets right to the ROI. CTRs, bounce rate, conversion rates and dozens of other metrics give an insight into performance for a specific piece of marketing, but they don't paint a picture of overall success. LTV can when used properly.

What is LTV?

Lifetime Value is the measure of the worth of a new customer. Essentially, it is what you can expect a customer to spend during their entire engagement with your company, minus any expenses. If you need some help figuring out LTV, Kissmetrics has a great infographic that explains the process. When we work with a client, one of the first things we want to know is the average LTV. Why? Because knowing how much a client is worth to the business can, and should, guide marketing efforts. If customer acquisition costs creep up much past 10 percent of the customer's LTV, it could be a symptom of a looming sustainability issue.

Putting the Focus on Customer Retention AND Acquisition

We see numerous businesses that spend a lot of time focusing on generating new customers and not much on retaining their existing customer base. That's a costly marketing decision. The most valuable customers are the ones that stick around the longest, but an acquisition-only model ignores this segment. Did you know:

  • Stable businesses derive at least 25% of sales from repeat customers.
  • Repeat customers spend an average of 20% more than first-time customers.
  • A 5% lift in customer retention can turn into a 95% lift in profits.

Existing customers have more value in terms of profit than new customers. Of course, you do need to bring in new customers to create a sustainable business, but you shouldn't ignore your high-spending and valuable repeat buyers, either. In fact, the more new customers you can transition into repeat customers the higher the LTV and the better for your bottom line.

How to Boost Your LTV

Knowing that customer retention can be such a power profit-making tool, why do major companies like cell phone and cable TV providers focus their efforts on new customers only? We don't know either, but what we do know is that for a sustainable and healthy business model you need both. After all, you only have a 5-20 percent chance of a sale with a new customer, but your odds jump to 60-70 percent with an existing customer. With that in mind, here are a few tips that can help develop customer relationships and turn new customers into repeat business.

1. Engage as Often as Possible

Customers don't spend all of their time on one digital channel, so neither should you. If you want to boost the potential for a sale, make sure to meet your customers where they are most comfortable. Leverage Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and any other social media popular with your customer base. Even something as simple as adding social sharing buttons can generate more ways to interact with customers. And don't forget to develop a presence offline. Your customers aren't just an online presence.

2. Personalize Your Communications

Email blasts may not generate huge conversion rates, but personalizing the communication can turn any email into a conversation starter. Invite customers to tell you what they want and tailor your communications based on their replies. Segmenting your customers allows you to offer a personalized experience that can scale with your business.

3. Consider a Subscription Model

Subscription models can transform a one-time customer into a long-term relationship and instantly help boost your LTV. Subscription models work in virtually every industry from annual software licensing to personal care products.

4. Invest in Good Customer Service

Good customer service means more satisfied customers. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your service. When small changes to retention numbers can generate big numbers in profits, making customer service a priority is an obvious solution.

Mistakes to Avoid When Focusing on LTV

When done well, LTV focused planning can help drive revenue and create stable, sustainable sources of revenue. When done poorly, it can lead to ballooning customer acquisition costs, increasing investments for level growth and a burn and churn rate that only goes up. As you shift focus to LTV as a success metric, don't:

  • Forget to diversify your marketing spend
  • Over-invest in new customers
  • Assume all customers are created equal

Many businesses find that the more it costs to bring in a customer, the less value the customer has. A customer that made a purchase with a coupon offer might only buy when a similar offer is available. Offering price discounts to generate business can actually lower your LTV, even as you dramatically expand your customer base.

To build long-term relationships, you need to offer authentic communication. That means taking the time to follow up with customers. The more customized their buying experience, the more likely they are to come back again and again.

If you would like to know more about LTV and how it works, please click here and fill out the form, so we're able to help.

Leveraging the Data Revolution

A world increasingly run on technology has beget a data revolution. Now it's a race to garner it, understand it, organize it and, most importantly, leverage it more effectively than your competitors.


Because data is everything now that it's available to everyone. But rather than level the playing field, it's led to a monopolization of data between a select few tech giants: Alphabet (Google's parent company), Amazon, Apple, and Facebook.


Here are just a few earth-shattering stats about these companies and their control over the tech industry from the shadows:


  • "They collectively racked up over $25 billion in net profit in the first quarter of 2017."
  • "Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America."
  • "Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year."


So what's their secret? Great timing? Great ideas?


It's a little bit of everything. However, a huge reason they've been able to succeed is because of their ability to effectively leverage data and utilize algorithms to their advantage. They monopolized their markets because of how reliable they are, either as a search engine, online marketplace, or advertising platform, as a result of their data leveraging of consumer behavior.


They have recognized what brands are still coming to terms with and understanding:


"Virtually every activity creates a digital trace -- more raw material for the data distilleries."


This is where the data revolution has flourished. With so much information available, brands are now more inclined to learn more about their audience. Platforms and networks have been created specifically to track customer behavior, interests, and tendencies, in order to mimic what the average journey looks like.


Finding out how your customer gets from A to B is a significant step in the process of getting to know your buyer.


The more likely they are to nail down that down, the more likely they are to predict where their customer is going to be accessing the website, what they're going to buy, what's going to trigger them to buy, and how likely they are to buy on the first visit. Data from the customer journey also allows brands to more effectively target their audience through advertising on certain channels where their potential buyer is more likely to buy.


Increasingly, more methods of data extraction is leading to the evolution of artificial intelligence techniques that can extract even more value from data.


Another key factor of data availability isn't just the ability to look into yourself and your customer, but to look at your competitors as well. You essentially get, in the case of larger brands, a "'God's eye view' of activities in their own markets and beyond. See when a new product or service gains traction, allowing them to copy it or simply buy the upstart before it becomes too great a threat."


For brands that aren't multi-billion dollar companies, however, inquiring into the competitive environment through data utilization can still be done. Owning the right software or using the right platform can provide a brand with insight into what potential customers are buying from the competition, what they're sharing, and what they're searching for.


Overall, the more data, the more transparency brands have. "With data there are extra network effects. By collecting more data, a firm has more scope to improve its products, which attracts more users, generating even more data, and so on."


And there's simply no limit to it. In fact, it's only going to continue growing as devices become more readily available and accessible. Competition between measurement platforms to outdo each other will result in the creation of more transparent metrics. When one comes out with what they think is the end-all, be-all stat brands crave, believe they have a competitor that has noticed and is looking to beat that.


Their competition is a brand's gain. The abundance and availability of data has led to an arms race between brands and are now locked in a constant fight to clear the opaque glass separating them from their customer's mind.


Reaching the customer in a creative, persuasive enough way to convince them to part with their money and choose you as their recipient has always been the goal of selling. However, life in the data revolution has opened up far more avenues to reach them, and now any brand can have those same numbers.


It's taken a lot of the guess work out of persuasion (So no more focus groups, crowdsourcing, surveys, and direct interviews), but it's also led to constant, real-time monitoring that forces brands to have quick turnaround times, especially when it comes to social media campaigns.


Think about it: No brand was expected to take advantage of topical events. Now they're expected to follow where the numbers go. Social media specifically has created an environment where brands have no choice but to constantly monitor and moderate. It's in the same vein as a journalist, where they're constantly on-the-clock; ready to work 24 hours a day and react to the event all eyes are currently on.


It's led to more quick thinking and reactionary, less well-thought out creatives, but also more opportunities. Hopping on a trend where data indicates millions of people are taking part in a conversation can launch a brand to historic heights.


As a brand manager, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't take advantage of these sorts of opportunities. Because if you don't, a competitor certainly will. It should always be assumed that your great ideas are being matched by a competitor, just so you can always try to be a step ahead.


Leveraging these opportunities is only possible in the data revolution. While this new era is forcing marketers to think and act quicker, it's also leading to more accurate predictions and a closer connection between the buyer and seller. The catch, however, as we've explained throughout, is that your competition is right there on your heels since they have similar access.


Then it comes down to your data interpretations, how you're going to use it in terms of your creatives and targeting, and your moderation. Data can get you out of the starting gate and down the home stretch, but finishing is on your agency to deliver the variables that's going to separate you from your competition.


So the least you can do is to enter the playing field and get level with your competition, because they're leveraging data to get closer with their customers; learning their behaviors, interests, journeys, tendencies, and preferences. At least that's what you should be assuming.

Guide: How to Inject Personality Into Your Website and Stand Out

Your website is often the first impression a prospective buyer will garner of your business. And seeing as studies have reported that “you have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website”, it’s of extreme importance that your website is fully optimized.


It needs to be clean. It needs to be strategically concise in some areas, but lengthy and descriptive in others. It needs to be accessible. It needs to present a clear understanding of who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best for the job.


Basically, it needs to act as an extension of your business’s personality. Remember that this is essentially the first thing your next client (or buyer depending on what industry you serve) will see.


If I’m running a marketing agency and I can’t properly communicate my message, there’s a high likelihood that visitor will take their business elsewhere. How could they trust me to communicate their message when I can’t even communicate my own?


In broader terms, if you’re on a first date, are you not going to take the time to prepare yourself and put the best version of you out there? Of course you are! Because when your date sees you for the first time, you want to provide them with a clean, well-kept image before you even open your mouth.


Effectively communicating your services on a website goes beyond copy, which we’ll get to momentarily. Just like how you can communicate without saying a word, simply based on your appearance, mannerisms, and demeanor, you can do the same on a website through its design, layout, accessibility and quality.


Take pride in your website! After all, this is a representation of who you are. Ensure the photographs are colorful, original, and eye-catching. If you’re going for more of a sleeker, modern design, then be consistent. If you’re relying on neutral colors from the beginning, stay the course the entire website.


Accessibility, for both desktop and mobile, is perhaps the most notable and necessary website feature, in terms of the digital era we live in now. There is no better way to instantly lose website visitors than if your website is confusing, devoid of direction, and lacking key info.


Let’s step into the real world for a second again. Place yourself at the front of a large department store with a need to find a specific item. You enter and look up for the placards hanging from the ceiling to indicate which aisle has which items. They’re not there. Immediately your shopping experience is negative.



So you go through each and every aisle. You’d ask for help, but there are no employees in sight to reach out to. After awhile, you finally find your item. Now it’s checkout time. Oh, what’s that? You can’t even find the registers. Forget this. It’s too frustrating, so you just find somewhere else that’s easier to navigate.


Now apply the same principles to a website. You want something from a marketing agency—let’s say lead generation help—and you enter the website hoping to find if they can help. Instead, you can’t find anything. There’s information in there about lead generation, but you just can’t find it.


Maybe you can find someone to help? While it would be nice to have a ‘Live Chat’ or ‘Contact Us’ option, those, too, are nowhere in sight. After awhile, you get frustrated and leave to find a marketing agency that can actually cater to your needs.


Had your website been organized, helpful, easily navigable, and accessible, you wouldn’t have lost that potential client. This is the first step people are taking in this sort of territory and having them meet an inaccessible, confusing website is the worst possible scenario.


Make everything as clear as possible. In laymen’s terms, idiot-proof it. Ensure everything is right where it needs to be found and can easily be accessed. Place your contact information right at the top of your page so it’s the first thing they see. Have a search box available. Implement a live chat that pops up at the bottom of the screen. Give visitors a clear call-to-action button.


However you design it, just keep it simple and ensure it’s organized. The same goes for mobile, where “over 38% of web traffic now comes from”. That percentage may not seem like much, but it would be foolish to alienate four out of every ten visitors to your page because you’re not mobile optimized.


Once you have your layout setup and organized, you can begin the fun, and my favorite, part: Writing the copy.


Revisit what I said in the first paragraph: “You have less than 10 seconds to impress and engage a new visitor to your website.”


That quote applies to copy as much as it does your layout. You need to address what your business specializes in and it needs to be done in a dynamic way that’s going to get attention. Of course, this goes back to your layout. Copy can be stimulating, but layouts are the first thing people are going to notice.


Take for example our very own One Twelfth website. We capture the attention of our visitors immediately. The copy we place is concise, but it’s on a slideshow featuring several dynamic, interesting images that shifts every few seconds to the next one.


It’s quick. It’s efficient. It’s simple. You don’t want a wall of words as the first thing your visitors see. Making a creative, striking layout with branding and a basic readout of what your business serves does pass the test. However, you always want to offer your reader something that’s really going to capture their attention like, for instance, a slideshow.


Your website’s copy needs to consist of everything you can do in the most efficient way possible. But before even writing that copy, first create an outline and a flow that will effectively demonstrate your company’s services. Nail down all the pages you’ll be creating and what each will consist of, as well as which you think are the most important to your reader.


In the same way a retail business will showcase its best sellers at the top of its page, an agency can put its top services at the highest pedestal.


You want to separate yourself from the pack and there’s no better way to do this than through your copy. This is the opportunity to inject personality into your brand. That means avoiding common buzzwords you’d expect every other brand in your industry would use. It doesn’t mean to avoid them altogether, just not to harp on them continually.


Instead, have fun with it! Unless your brand is already well established and known, you have to find a way to stand out to convince clients to hire you. Here’s an explanation on how it works:


“People trust brands they know. If the voice of your website copy is bland, boring or cold you’re missing out on that magic connection. Use your personality to build that connection and draw people into what you’re talking about.”


That first point really rings true. It’s far more likely if you provide potential clients with transparency, as opposed to relying on the crutch of sterile information and cliché buzzwords, that you’re going to build a mini-relationship right then and there.


Plus, it gets them a little more intrigued. Again, you’re doing everything you can to stand out while still maintaining professionalism. You need to be informative and professional, but also instilling that unique personality only you can provide.


Pull back the curtain a little bit for visitors to see just who they’re dealing with. Exhibit how cohesive of a team you are by displaying pictures of your team taking part in after work activities; showcase any charitable work you’ve done; show life inside the office.


Transparency has become huge in today’s social media age. People now more than ever want to see who they could be potentially working with, simply because they know you can provide that.


Once it’s all said and done, give it time to see how well it performs. Use tools like heat maps to see where people are clicking and where they’re scrolling. That way you can make adjustments to your page to optimize it. You’d be surprised just how simple adding a CTA button can increase conversions. We’ve made numerous observations at our agency, when checking on a client’s website, where visitors click around on a certain space thinking it’ll redirect them to another page, only to leave disappointed.


And if you need any help doing this, I know of a certain marketing agency that specializes in website copy and design. Maybe you’ve heard of them.

What the NFL Can Learn from the NBA On Social Media

About a week ago, I, along with millions of other people, were treated by the NBA's official Facebook account with a behind-the-scenes look at reigning MVP Stephen Curry taking shots before the game.



Not only was I able to indulge in this pull-back-the-curtain moment, but I was able to control my view, too! Fans pay thousands of dollars, and arrive hours before tip-off, to see a player of Curry's caliber practice and here I have a front-row seat for free!


The NBA just gets it. Most importantly, they know how to connect with milennials. The NBA has the youngest audience among all American sports leagues with the average fan being 37-years-old. The NFL fan by comparison is 47-years-old, while the MLB fan is 51.


Reaching out through the right platforms is also key for the NBA, who is a major employer of Snapchat and Vine to peddle out clips:


"A cursory search on Vine shows that just under 100,000 videos have been posted with the tag NBA, while fewer than 50,000 have been posted with the tag NFL, and fewer than 15,ooo with the tag MLB."


They also connect through fashion, as explained by ESPN's Darren Rovell:


"Young basketball stars today are ingrained in culture and fashions and life in a way that the stars from other sports here are not," said Darren Rovell, who covers the business of sports for ESPN. "People talk about Russell Westbrook's glasses and Dwyane Wade's shoes. When you look at the numbers in terms of most Twitter and Instagram followers, the NBA blows other sports away."

It's no wonder why the NBA is even being predicted to overtake the NFL, in terms of popularity. They have a message they want to convey and they won't allow copyright restrictions from spreading that message globally.


If the fans want NBA all the time on any outlet, why not give it to them? Why deprive fans of your product when all they want is more of it? It would be like making a great sandwich and only offering tiny bites when you can easily just give each of your fans a whole sandwich.


Thus, you get awesome controllable videos like the one above featuring Curry.


As an avid NBA fan, there's nothing that can appeal to me more than even more basketball on top of the basketball I already watch.


The NBA is extremely gracious in its content availability, far more than any other league. They see widespread use of game clips by the media and fans of the game not as copyright infringement, but as an opportunity to spread its influence. This runs contrary to the vice-like grip the NFL and MLB have on clips of their games, which are generally kept close to the chest.


The NFL, in fact, is so strict that it actually issued a cap on the amount of video clips its teams can provide on Facebook or Twitter during games. As a result, you get clips mocking the practice like this one:



The NFL has since walked back on its policy to fine teams for using game clips. Nevertheless, it goes to show just how little the league values social media as an outlet to create a larger following for its sport.


Just compare their Twitter followings. Despite the NFL being the country's biggest sport, it has 4 million less followers than the NBA. The MLB and NHL lag far behind with 6.68 million and 5.51 million followers, respectively. This isn't due simply to demographics, but to the NBA having a liberal clip-sharing policy.


The difference is even more substantial on YouTube, the ultimate catchall for video clips. While the MLB and NHL both flounder with less than a million subscribers, and the NFL musters only 1.8 million, the NBA boasts a staggering 7.4 million followers.


Plus, I can find channels that exclusively make videos using NBA content. For example, the channel 'FreeDawkins' regularly creates individual player highlights from games night in and night out. So while I was busy watching the Miami Heat, I can wait a few hours and check out 'Dawkins' for highlight videos of other players who played that night:



While 'FreeDawkins' has had their channel shut down before (They were originally just known by 'Dawkins'), the NBA isn't cracking down on it heavily. No such channels exist for the NFL, MLB or NHL. It would be impossible to find an independent account that would exclusively give me highlights of a certain player I want to see.


The NBA embraces its the participation of their fans and their love for the sport. It's the country's fastest growing sport because it ran full steam ahead into the social media era populated by milennials who want their highlights and info fast and concise. They didn't purposely restrict their presence as other leagues did.


And maybe the NFL is comfortable with their standing, despite losing viewers. It's not surprising from the league that issues penalties and fines for players that want to celebrate touchdowns or any other accomplishment. Their outlook has long been an authoritarian one with widespread control of its players' actions and now the potential media outlets it's product can be promoted on.


There isn't a better time for the NFL to start embracing social media, either. Like the NBA, the NFL is facing a shortage of recognizable names that even the most casual viewer can identify. Basketball has already lost Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, and will soon lose the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony likely within the next five years.


So rather than wait it out, it builds up the personalities, aura, and names of its new league faces (Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Karl Anthony-Towns, etc.) through outlets such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Vine.


The NFL is facing a similar issue. Peyton Manning has retired. Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton's teams are in shambles. Tom Brady is 39 years old. Ben Roethlisberger is considering retirement. Household names that casual viewers can easily identify are disappearing. While there are studs like Odell Beckham, Jr. and Ezekiel Elliott that will keep interest in the individual, it's a stark difference from the likes of Brady or Manning that anybody could recognize.


This would be the perfect time for the NFL to allow independent viewers of the game to create channels to showcase these players. If I wanted to tell a friend about a rising star in the NBA, for instance, I can easily find highlight video after highlight video of games that show just how skilled that player is. You may not know a rookie like Karl Anthony-Towns, but you might want to know more after watching this well put together highlight video of a 47-point outing:



It would be difficult to do the same with the NFL. I would have to go directly to their YouTube channel and hope they're as detailed in their highlights as a channel like 'Dawkins' is with NBA games.


In fact, I did the same with the NFL, searching for rookie Ezekiel Elliott's best game, and found one highlight video. If you're surprised it was made by the official NFL account, you haven't been paying attention. That video has 111,000 views.


The video posted above has 74,000 views, but take note that Towns is playing in Minnesota, while Elliott plays in Dallas, and isn't hyped up by mainstream outlets like ESPN nearly as much.


The onus of building up player personalities and legends is squarely on the shoulders of the NFL, while the NBA raises few qualms on allowing its fans to distribute its product without proper licensing. As a result you get channels like 'Dawkins', which has nearly half of the subscribers the NFL has on YouTube.


And that's after having their channel taken down on a number of occasions.


But this isn't to say the NFL is completely tone deaf because they do put out quality content. Here's a video by the Seahawks using a 360 cam to showcase their players running out of the tunnel:



So the NFL and its teams has embraced some features of the social media era. But will it ever loosen the reins it has on its product, or will it allow its game to be seen a wider scale?


Tell us what you think on our Facebook page.

5 Digital Marketing Trends to Expect in 2017

The New Reality


Consider 2016 as the year we entered new realities.


Virtual and augmented realities were all the rage this year, thanks in part to the mass exposure of Virtual Reality Glasses and Pokemon Go, respectively. VR glasses earned their claim to fame through commercials depicting fascinated wearers and viral videos of users getting lost in the VR experience.


The VR industry as a whole is growing at an extremely fast pace, "with revenues from virtual reality products (both hardware and software) projected to increase from $90 million in 2014 to $5.2 billion in 2018.


The number of active VR users is forecast to reach 171 million by 2018. According to recent forecasts, revenue from virtual reality head-mounted displays is expected to grow from $685 million in 2015 to $3.89 billion in 2018."


Goldman Sachs predicts the industry to be worth $80 billion by 2025.


Augmented reality, meanwhile, showcased its capabilities as an immersive, community-oriented gaming platform with Pokemon Go. One of the year's biggest hits, the game was completely free to download and encouraged users to venture out of their house, visit Pokestops that would be filled with Pokemon, and engage with fellow users.


The game itself was a phenomenon never seen before. Besides the game itself already being unprecedented, it was also innovative in the way it compelled users to play a video game in a method never experienced before.


The wild success, albeit short-lived, no doubt was noticed by brands, and even failed presidential candidates, of all sizes. Restaurants invested in placing Pokestops outside of their location, apps were created to direct users to the best Pokemon, and, in general, brands noticed how successful an augmented reality platform could work.


Its capability alone will inspire future investors to build on it and adapt it to new industries, possibly even mixing it with virtual reality for a full mixed reality experience, similar to this one in Minecraft:


Optimizing Mobile


Let's just take a few stats from Black Friday to indicate just how integral mobile optimization is:


  • "Out of $3.34 billion in online sales, mobile sales took up one-third of that number, with a total of $1.2 billion in sales on Black Friday alone."


  • "Overall, mobile purchases were up 33% on Black Friday. Some of America's top retailers, including Amazon, eBay, Target and Walmart, had all reported greater mobile traffic and sales on Black Friday."


  • "Amazon had, in fact, said that Thanksgiving mobile orders were particularly good, as consumers ordered more items on turkey day than they did on Cyber Monday in 2015...Likewise, Target and Walmart both reported substantially greater mobile activity in both sales and traffic on Thanksgiving Day."


  • "Smartphones have a substantial lead over tablets, with 45% of overall mobile visits and 25% of overall mobile sales compared to 10% of visits and 11% of sales on tablets."


Overall, online shopping saw an increase in shoppers (103 million to 108) and brick-and-mortar shopping saw a decrease (102 million to 99.1 million) from 2015 to 2016.


This is a shift that's unlikely to reverse the course because of the stigma of violence and frustration around Black Friday. It's far easier for shoppers to buy their holiday gifts online, as opposed to braving the unpredictable crowds and never-ending lines of annoyed patrons.


Even in the overall this is a trend that will continue. More and more brands are beginning to realize the importance of mobile optimization because of just how important mobile has become. It's impossible to go into a public setting and not find hordes of people staring into the dim abyss of their phones.


Mobile shopping, however, is still in need of improvement. Many brands have yet to adapt and it's led to pages that aren't easily navigable, difficultly inputting information, and an overall miserable experience that usually leads people off the page.


Wal-Mart is a prime example of a brand that has successfully adapted to the mobile craze. Shopping on their website through a mobile is an easy experience that lists the best sellers and best deals at the top of the site, and then divides each into easily navigable product lines.


It's no wonder that 70% of's website during Black Friday was driven by mobile. Expect next year's overall mobile experience from brands on the historic day, plus Cyber Monday, to be far more accessible.


And speaking of mobile.....


Videos? On Social Media?? On a Mobile?!?!


In case you haven't noticed, there are a lot of videos popping up on your Facebook timeline. Because of the arms race that is social media and digital marketing, brands continually have to one-up each other in a bid to have the most innovative, creative, and engaging advertisement.


So until Facebook becomes compatible with virtual reality, the furthest brands on social media can go is either with a video or a 360 cam, which borders between image and video.


Naturally, it wasn't enough to just place videos on a Facebook timeline. It needed to be optimized, especially for mobile. As a result, "mobile video views grew six times faster than desktop views in 2015. In fact, in Q4 of 2015, mobile video views exceeded desktop views for the first time ever."


Here are a few stats to convince you that a mobile movement is on the horizon, courtesy of


  • "Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users."
  • "4 out of 5 shoppers say a video showing how a product or service works is important."
  • "7 out of 10 milennials are likely to watch a company video when shopping online."
  • "50% of advertisers are shifting budgets from TV to digital video."
  • "'How-to' searches are up 70% year-over-year on YouTube."
  • "Explainer and product feature videos were the most popular videos for retailers in 2015."
  • "79% of all global consumer internet traffic will come from video by 2018."
  • "Mobile video will increase 11X between 2015 and 2020."
  • "4X as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it."


Rise of the Machines


These aren't your average chatbots that come off feeling like pop-up ads more than a helping hand to help navigate you to what you're looking for.


Adam Toren, founder of Young Entrepeneur and BizWarriors, explains:


"Chatbot technology has become much more sophisticated. A great example is the behemoth Facebook, which invests a significant amount of resources into bot programs that provide users with news updates, personalized responses and more."

As they've evolved, they've become more useful outside of the usual "How can I help you?" when searching for the right product, like this one that helps beat parking tickets.

Or the GYANT bot on Facebook Messenger that helps you identify your likelihood of having Zika.

Or even the Anti-Smoking Bot that actually helped "500,000 people quit smoking last year, succeeding with an impressive 20 percent of the 2.5 million smokers who registered."


Once chatbots and their capabilities and potential are better understood, we can expect more brands to get in on the act.


Now Streaming Live...


Transparency is a common theme across all channels to showcase a brand's personality and to separate itself from other brands, especially those in the same industry.


With apps like Periscope picking up steam, social media outlets are challenging the app's lone function by adding the ability to livestream on their own platform.


Instagram recently integrated a livestream option into its new Stories feature and Facebook announced it would launch Live Audio to essentially turn the social network into a radio broadcaster. These are further attempts from the platforms to offer users with a one-stop shop for everything revolving around transmitting communication.


Even Mark Zuckerberg had to admit that Facebook was acting as a media outlet (albeit not a traditional one).


Social media users are becoming receptive to video more than any other form of communication, and what better way to transmit that information than from the source itself. Livestreaming has served as direct communication between a brand and user with the latter being able to ask the former questions in real-time.


For example, Grantland will livestream a Game of Thrones expert asking questions in real-time on Facebook a day or two after a episode. The expert is constantly bombarded with questions, meaning he'll never run out of material, and engaged with the users hungry to have their questions answered for nearly half-an-hour.


As marketing budgets divert more funds to creating a video presence, which it undoubtedly will, expect livestreaming to follow.

The Best and Worst Marketing Campaigns of 2016

The Best of the Best

Donald Trump: MAGA



He fought the media


He fought the Clintons.


He fought his own party.


He even fought himself.


Regardless of the barriers, Donald Trump managed to make one of the most unprecedented Presidential runs in American history; an anti-establishment (or so he proclaims) outsider infiltrating the exclusive world of politics, running on a platform that catered to the disenfranchised and conjured internal revolution.


Think of Trump outside of his beliefs and consider what he accomplished. Despite the outrageous, often intolerant statements, he has made, none of it mattered to half of American voters. In fact, they were actually enamored with the personality traits he got criticized for.


Unlike his opponent, Trump spoke to those who were the most desperate and willing to listen to new ideas, rather than in an echo chamber of elites and loyal hardliners. He seized on the opportunity of those who felt wronged. It’s even obvious in his slogan – Make America Great Again – that he’s speaking to people who feel the country is on a downward slope.


The message, much like his rhetoric, was simple and devoid of the vague platitudes politicians use as a crutch. From his supporters' perspective, he was a refreshing dose of honesty from someone outside of Washington that may actually represent their interests.


When he wasn't filling stadiums, he was taking to his much-discussed Twitter account.


His Twitter utilization should be the envy of every marketer. He even continues to use it, disrupting the 'President --> Media --> Masses' tradition by transmitting his thoughts directly to the people.


Had more pundits been paying attention, maybe they would have noticed the numbers he was pulling in:


“An average Hillary tweet over the course of November received 3,742 retweets and 8,559 likes, while an average Trump tweet garnered an average of 13,641 retweets and 32,838 likes.”


A simple ‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN’ tweet received 53,000 retweets and 110,000 likes. Hillary’s top tweet in the same period was a picture of her with Beyonce. That received 26,000 retweets. Even her best tweet of the campaign overall was a reply to Trump.


It was the message that mattered. It was clear that Reagan-inspired slogan, as opposed to the cliché ‘Stronger Together’ of his opponent, resonated more with the voters in battleground states that could flip an election.


Royal Caribbean: 360 Degrees of Entertainment


There is no movement bigger in digital marketing right now than perspective. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be witnessing significant investments made in virtual and augmented reality technology. The idea is not just to play a game or watch a video, but to actually be in the game and be a part of the video.


As a result, you get clips of a girl playing a VR video game being visibly frightened because of just how realistic the game play is:



Or you get Pokemon Go, an augmented reality mobile game that capitalized on milennials’ yearning for nostalgia.


Virtual reality has yet to be fully adopted by brands, most likely due to the expenses and current day limitations, but they have adopted another innovation: 360 view.


This is best exemplified by Royal Caribbean. The cruise line's marketing team masterfully wielded the opportunity to offer users a new perspective.


One from the top of their ship:



And another in the front row of one of their shows:



You can read my full write-up on the ads and their allure of exclusivity here.




You will find trailers few and far between that can outdo the heart stopping, eerily silent trailer that was Dunkirk.



Seriously, did Christopher Nolan himself direct it? The disturbing ambiguity of a clothed solider walking into the open ocean, bodies shrouded under windswept sands as others look on, and the piercing siren of a Stuka Dive Bomber growing louder over hundreds of helpless, cowering soldiers before fading to abrupt blackness?


I’m in.


Apple: Shot with iPhone 6


What social media has become most notable for is vaulting otherwise regular people to immediate internet stardom. It began with musicians on MySpace, today it’s YouTubers and Instagrammers. Many of them had achieved no fame beforehand and simply gained it by reacting to an existing video or playing a video game.


Apple decided to take advantage of this explosion in narcism propped up by social media. By keying into the demographics of people who love to showcase where they are, what they're doing, and who they’re with, all Apple asked was, “Rather than taking those pictures and just posting them to Instagram, why not send it to us, instead?


And make sure they’re taken with an iPhone6!”


The ads are obviously entertaining and appealing, but they also showcase the iPhone 6’s camera quality. If you go to YouTube and search ‘shot with iPhone 6’, the front page is cluttered with videos boasting over 20,000 views each. This one submitted by Apple even has over a million:



Kim Kardashian Debuts Emojis, Wins Again


I might become public enemy number one after this blog is published for touting Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian as marketing geniuses, but it had to be said.


Kim, who lacks any sort of singing, dancing, acting talent, proved just how loyal her following was when she debuted her branded custom emoji keyboard.


The $1.99 app, with emojis mainly consisting of her physical assets and material luxuries, was “generating $1 million in gross income per minute at its peak.”



Much in the same vein as Trump, if you live in an echo chamber of likeminded individuals, you have no idea how these people are popular. You watch CNN or MSNBC and are convinced nobody likes Trump. You read comments below a post on about Kim on Yahoo and are convinced nobody likes her, either.


But when you step back and realize you’re not in their intended demographic, you realize that people absolutely buy into both. They’re just not the type of people you associate with, since you obviously have different interests.


The Worst of the Worst


Bud Light


I already wrote extensively on how badly Bud Light missed the mark with its ‘Party’ campaign starring Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer.



It turns out that a politically-driven, left-leaning ad campaign geared towards milennials, while completely ignoring the base white conservative audience, wasn’t a great idea.


So it shouldn’t be surprising when the campaign was wrapped up a few weeks ahead of schedule. The news came on the heels of the "company cutting its revenue forecast for the year in response to a disappointing third quarter [Between July 1st and September 30th] that saw declines in Bud Light sales.”


While I included it in the linked article, I feel I have to reiterate this point: “Sales of Bud Light declined during the openings of the NFL and NCAA football seasons, the Olympics, the height of barbeque season, and the end of the MLB season.”


It was a bold, yet mystifying move by Anheuser-Busch’s marketing team. But if their goal was to reach out to other audiences, then they succeeded. Their spokesman boasted of “positive signs in brand health evolution, driven by milennials and Hispanics.”


The main issue is why they would launch a campaign knowing it would alienate their fanbase. Does this go back to the previous point about echo chambers? Did a bunch of ad executives with similar beliefs and no understanding of their core base convince themselves this would work? Surely they can't be this out of touch?


Regardless of their intentions, Bud Light succeeded magnificently as one of the worst sustained ad campaigns of the year.


A mattress company I refuse to name


Mentioning their name would only bring attention to their business, but I truly have to give these mattress store employees credit.



They turned what would have been nothing more than a poorly produced mattress ad that would be seen by tens of people at best, into a viral sensation that sits at 9.3 million views.


Then again, the store closed immediately after the video got out and Americans, you know, didn’t take kindly to their country’s greatest atrocity being used as the butt of a bad joke.


It re-opened a few days after closing, but the damage had been done. Why brands continue to insist on trying to capitalize on tragedies is beyond me, but maybe we can get some insight from these next winners:


Urban Outfitter


Surprise, surprise, Urban Outfitters is back at it again with the tasteless outfits.


What else could they touch on? They’ve riffed on dead Kent State protestors, Jesus, depression and anorexia, Lord Ganesh, Native Americans, and Jews, so what other group of people and their tragedies could they possibly exploit?


Well, they went the Holocaust angle yet again (If you’re going to be offensive, at least be original), but this time targeting gays. Tell us if you see a comparison:




Considering this is a trend of Urban Outfitters, it would be naïve to think these are accidents, even though they keep assuming that they have no idea what we are seeing or talking about.


Another job well done. Looking forward to the glove collection with a stitching of a nail in each palm. No, it definitely does not look like a crucifixion. Why would you even think that?


DJ Khaled's Catchphrases (When used by brands)


Hey, remember DJ Khaled? Remember major keys, watering plants, keys to success, and supposedly getting lost on a jet ski in the dark?



The Miami-based DJ paraded himself as a brand on his Snapchat. Each day, followers were greeted with tips on living a successful life and Khaled’s daily life of a celebrity living in South Florida.


Like Kim and Trump, DJ Khaled was yet another celebrity that had mass appeal, yet outsiders wondered exactly who he was and why people kept spouting off about “Major keys” and “Walking the pathway to more success”.


Again, these are elite level marketers that know how to brand. They may be invested in different industries, but they all place their primary focus on branding. Through repeatable catchphrases ("Make America Great Again!"), mastery of their preferred social media outlet(s), media manipulation, ubiquity, and/or using their assets to their advantage (This), the three have been able to develop cult followings that have left outsiders perplexed.


The Khaled craze was fun for a month. Unfortunately, because trends rule the marketing world, brands had to capitalize on his success. The results were uninspired tweets that desperately pandered to milennials:






It’s one thing for a restaurant to try it, but is it necessary for MasterCard to get in on the act?


Strategies like this always remind me of Steve Buscemi’s 30 Rock character going undercover as a high school student:



And speaking of obvious pandering and lacking creative thought...


Hillary Clinton: Stronger Together



I promise you I’m not a Russian hacker. I’m just one of the millions of Americans who listened to Hillary Clinton and saw an out-of-touch politician painfully doing whatever it took to connect with the youth of today.


She tried it in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Trump was the first Republican to win Iowa since George Bush in 2004, and just the second overall since 1988.)


She did whatever what you want to call this on Ellen's show. (Hillary won 55% of the millennial vote, down 5% from Barack Obama in 2012.)


She tried to connect with black people through the power of hot sauce. (16% of black males with a college degree voted for Trump. Overall, Clinton won the black vote 88% to 8%. Obama had an 87-point edge in 2012 and a 91-point edge in 2008.)


She celebrated a Cinco de Mayo rally with a mariachi band. (She won Hispanics by a 36-point margin. By comparison, Obama won by 44 in 2012. Over 30% of Hispanic males voted Trump. Also, just imagine for a moment if Trump were the one who brought out a mariachi band to a Cinco de Mayo rally.)


Oblivious. Manufactured. Out of touch.



Her campaign failed to deliver any sort of notable enthusiasm and spent more time criticizing Trump than talking up any policies. She was a cardboard cutout of every run-of-the-mill politician, minus the appeal that even she couldn’t fake. Any attempts to feign a likable personality backfired and rightfully so.


I’ve seen car dealership ads at 3AM with more authenticity.


Unlike Trump's campaign, no matter your opinion on it, her campaign's branding attempt was poor and completely missed the mark. It took a cue from Bud Light by abandoning its base to pander to other groups; its figurehead couldn't conjure any excitement; transparency was forced; and the overall message was cliche and tired.


In the spot they're in now, any other brand would step back and reevaluate their approach.


Instead, it's everybody else's fault but the message and the face. I think we can safely say the 2020 Democratic presidential run will be just as removed from reality as this one.

Recap: Black Friday’s Record Online Sales Indicate a Huge Shift

Black Friday isn’t dead. It just had a heart attack.


The storied holiday tradition of skipping Thanksgiving dinner to pepper spray and degrade your way to huge savings may be losing its luster, but that doesn’t mean the day's spirit has died.




It’s only moved to greater pastures: the digital landscape, where stats from the past weekend have shown an increase in online shoppers and a decrease in brick-and-mortar shoppers:


“In 2015, approximately 103 million shopped online while 102 million bought in-stores. This year, the Internet had a clear advantage: More than 108 million purchased electronically, while only 99.1 million bought in stores.”


This trend should continue, as brands look to innovative new ways to give their customers easier access to the weekend’s bargains. As Stacey Widlitz, President of SW Retail Advisors, told CNBC:


“The ones that are really making it easy for the customer and focusing on them will be the winners.”


Business is an ‘adapt or die’ environment; and in today’s increasingly digital age, brands will be expected by their customers to bring the sales to them. Otherwise, they face the prospect of a competitor reaching out to their customer through far more efficient, modern means.


According to Richard Jaffe, Stifel analyst, “traffic was noticeably slower at several of the mall-based specialty shops, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Chico’s and Banana Republic.”


Meanwhile, “double-digit online sales growth kept some shoppers at home, as retailers like Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and Target offered the same deals online as they did in stores.”


It’s as clear as the Friday is black: If you haven’t made your digital store an easily navigable experience for your customers, you’re going to lose out on sales.


Black Friday Shopping is Madness




The name ‘Black Friday’ alone conjures up images and reels of thousands of Americans toppling over each other, risking serious injury or death, and waiting in lines extending forever.


When you can get the same deals online, which is what a number of prominent retailers promoted, there’s no point in being the first in line.


Shoppers today would much rather shop in safety online, and avoid the risk of a broken nose caused by some soccer mom who wanted that microwave at 15% off a little more than you.


What will inevitably hurt the case for going to the mall on Black Friday were the two deaths and four serious injuries that occurred. Before this year, “nobody was killed on Black Friday since 2013.”


Anomalies? Perhaps. But why even risk it when you have the opportunity to shop exclusively online in the comfort of your home.


Online Shopping Up, Store Shopping Down


As a result, online shopping is high. So high that it just hit a new online sales record for purchases:


“All in all, online sales added up to $3.34 billion, good for 21.6 percent growth on a year-over-year basis.”


America’s top retailers took notice of their customers’ tendencies and adjusted to their needs:

“A staggering amount of that buying took place on the Internet, data showed, setting a sales record. It underscoring how retailers have aggressively integrated web bargains into their holiday marketing strategy.”


As stated before, this is a trend, not a fad; online shopping was up 5 million consumers and store shopping was down nearly 3 million. No company should have an excuse as to why they don’t have a fully optimized, easily accessible listing of their products online.


However, if they really, really care about making sales, they’ll take it a step further…


The Rise of Mobile



Online shopping isn’t the only thing that was on the rise this Black Friday. Not only was this a record weekend for online sales, mobile devices took an even bigger step this weekend with record sales of their own:


Out of those $3.34 billion in online sales, “mobile sales took up one-third of that number, with a total of $1.2 billion in sales on Black Friday alone.”


Overall, mobile purchases were up 33% on Black Friday. Naturally, it was the larger brands that noticed this first and profited most:


“Some of America’s top retailers, including Amazon, eBay, Target and Walmart, had all reported greater mobile traffic and sales on Black Friday.


Amazon had, in fact, said that Thanksgiving mobile orders were particularly good, as consumers ordered more items on turkey day than they did on Cyber Monday in 2015….Likewise, Target and Walmart both reported substantially greater mobile activity in both sales and traffic on Thanksgiving Day.”


It goes back to accessibility. Going on a computer is easier than going to a store, but picking up your smartphone or tablet is even easier than that, right?




“An interesting statistic comparison emerged that showed although 55% of visitors to retail websites on Black Friday were on smartphones and tablets, they only accounted for 36% of sales.

While that is an increase on last year’s numbers, it shows that people may browse on their smartphones, many still prefer to buy on their desktops and laptops.”


Surprisingly, “smartphones have a substantial lead over tablets, with 45% of overall mobile visits and 25% of overall mobile sales compared to 10% of visits and 11% of sales on tablets.”


Although smartphones and tablets are more compact, easier to move around, and more accessible, desktops and laptops are still perceived as more reliable.


Think about the buying and checking out process. There’s a lot to input, and one mistake in your credit card number can often result in the entire wall of information getting wiped out. On a desktop, it’s far easier to click around and type out your info, rather than scroll with your finger and input all your details there.


It will be interesting to see how brands continue to evolve their mobile experience into one that can rival the desktop experience.


Maybe they can take some tips from the giant of all retail giants…


Wal-Mart: King of Retail


As far as the mobile experience goes, nobody can do it quite like Wal-Mart:


“Wal-Mart said more than 70% of traffic to its website during Black Friday was driven by mobile.”


Despite widespread scrutiny, Wal-Mart continues to show how in touch it is with trends and how to keep its customers loyal, making their website mobile-friendly and receiving a majority of their website’s traffic from mobile devices.


From the moment I access on a mobile, I’m met with ‘Today’s featured deals’. A wide-range of products, from computers to plaid shirts, are available on an easy-to-swipe slideshow.


As I scroll down, I continue to see what made so successful on mobile.


Below the featured deals is another slideshow. This one is called ‘Great gifts to make them smile’ and is aimed at a specific target: Moms going Christmas shopping. Included are popular toys for the season and laptops, hitting the nail on the head of the college student, young adult and child demographics.


To begrudgingly sing their praises one more time, below that slideshow is an easily navigable selection of departments, including ‘Electronics’, ‘Home’, ‘Toys’, ‘Jewelry’, and more.


Go ahead and see for yourself how's mobile presence should be emulated by every other brand with a multitude of products to offer. Even smaller brands could follow in their footsteps simply with these 3 listings:


  • Their best deals
  • Products that resonate with the main audience
  • Easily navigable product lines


It’s a simple layout that works and gives users exactly what they want without having to go searching for it.


How was your Black Friday experience? Visit our Facebook and leave us a comment!

Why Bud Light’s Amy Schumer-Seth Rogen Ad Campaign Failed

Bud Light left a sour taste in the mouths of millions of people and, for once, it wasn’t because of their beer.


Despite being America’s leader in U.S. beer sales at a staggering $6.1 billion, not enough money in the world could convince the advertising executives at Anheuser-Busch InBev that their “Bud Light Party” ad campaign was doomed from the start.


Adweek reports that “AB InBev wrapped up its Wieden + Kennedy campaign starring Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen a few weeks ahead of schedule.” The news comes on the heels of the company cutting its revenue forecast for the year in response to a disappointing third quarter [Between July 1st and September 30th] that saw declines in Bud Light sales.”


You heard that right. Sales of Bud Light declined during the openings of the NFL and NCAA football seasons, the Olympics, the height of the outdoor barbeque season, and the end of the MLB regular season. That shouldn't be possible.


The ads began running during the Super Bowl, with the initial commercial featuring Rogen and Schumer urging Americans to join a mock “Bud Light” political party, in a play on this year’s presidential race. It has now been cut short, not even two weeks before the November 8th election.


By comparison, Bud Light’s “This Is Your Can’s Year” campaign, which promotes their cans with NFL team logos for the new football season (and nothing more) is experiencing far better results.


I wonder why. Could it be because Bud Light’s audience is composed mainly of middle-class, blue-collar NFL fans, and not people who want to hear about a gender wage gap from celebrities who wear their political affiliations on their sleeve?


Schumer, in particular, has been extremely outspoken in her views and has received a great deal of flack for them. She recently caused hundreds of people to walk out of a recent show of hers when she began to criticize and demean Donald Trump and his supporters.


The response to the commercials has been so poor and polarizing that Bud Light’s YouTube account had to disable its comments and rating system. Its ‘Equal Pay’ ad currently sits at over 3.5 million views, but there’s no way to properly judge the response.


However, we can get a gauge of the response from one of the few recent videos Bud Light has yet to disable comments or its rating system for.


The results are not pretty.


At over 15.5 million views, the campaign’s initial ‘Super Bowl Commercial 2016’ ad sits at 12,079 likes and 10,333 dislikes.



Here’s just a small sample of the top comments and the amount of thumbs up they received:


“Why is Amy Schumer ruining every Bud Light commercial?.” (198 thumbs up)


“Okay note to self, never buy bud light.” (111 thumbs up)


“How does Amy Schumer get airtime?” (132 thumbs up)


“Pay gap’s a myth.” (135 thumbs up)


“F*** you Seth Rogan for sinking to this level.” (64 thumbs up)


“If Bud Light is trying to convince people NOT to buy their beer, they’re doing a terrific job. The sight of Amy Schumer is enough to send millions running away screaming.” (164 thumbs up)


“Hey Bud Light, because you disabled comments and likes on your equal pay commercial like a bunch of coddled babies, I’m commenting here. Are you fucking serious, I mean are you actually that stupid or are you just crumbling to this crying feminist narrative that women are so poorly treated. The point you made about women paying more for cars, where the fuck did you find that, it makes no sense. If anything men have to pay more for insurance but you don’t see us crying about it because we actually understand statistics. Your commercial truly follows suit with your product, it just leaves a shitty taste in your mouth.” (262 thumbs up)


The response is similar in many of its other videos depicting Schumer and Rogen. Its ‘Weddings’ ad has 966 likes to 1,586 dislikes, its ‘Food Truck’ ad has 107 likes and 305 dislikes, it’s ‘Basketball’ ad has 44 likes to 127 dislikes, and its ‘Debates’ ad has 29 likes to 120 dislikes.


A 'Memorial Day' ad could only muster 23 likes to 422 dislikes.


It doesn’t get much worse than its ‘Labels’ ad, though, where Rogen proudly exclaims that “Beer should have labels, not people!” and Schumer begins to say “Gender identity…it’s really a spectrum” before being cut off.


That YouTube video has recorded 294,514 views and boasts 298 likes to a staggering 1,706 dislikes. Once again, all of the comments allude to not wanting to be preached to, obvious pandering to those who identify as liberal or progressive, and arguments over gender identity.


The negative response to Rogen and Schumer has actually spread. A Bud Light ad featuring Paul Rudd and Michael Pena has 71 likes and 107 dislikes. Another featuring Mark Cuban as a Super Delegate has 66 likes and 114 dislikes. A Rhonda Rousey-focused ad sits at 123 likes and 180 dislikes.


A majority of the people that like Bud Light, or just have issues with companies that have left-leaning political ideologies and are proud to show it, do not care for this campaign. At all.


It’ll be interesting to see how Yuengling fares after its owner recently voiced support for Trump.


It was clear that Bud Light was trying to tap into a new market and it showed in the results. While overall numbers were down in Q3, there were “positive signs in brand health evolution, driven by milennials and Hispanics.”


Bud Light senior director of marketing communications Lisa Wester told Adweek:


“The Bud Light Party campaign helped us improve these brand attributes, but it did not translate to improved volume and share performance. While we are clearly not satisfied with Bud Light’s performance, we are already leveraging what we’ve learned to develop and executive new work.”


In other words: “We failed.”


There was also a 5.1 percent drop in sales in Brazil, despite the brand’s sponsorship of the 2016 Rio Olympics. It’s unknown whether the ‘Party’ campaign was related.


Bud Light’s failure is that they’re peddling a blue-collar product with two celebrities, who clearly don’t align with the views of their audience, promoting progressive, anti-conservative viewpoints.


Topics like the wage gap and gender roles don’t appeal to the consumer of Bud Light, which had previously rooted itself as a common, every-man type of beer enjoyed during football games and backyard barbeques. In fact, not only does this audience not care, they don’t agree with it.


Whether or not you agree with their stance, it’s still a monumental failure by Anheuser-Busch to assume a polarizing, issue-driven ad campaign would be accepted by its audience. Ad campaigns should not divide, nor should they alienate its loyal buyers, even if their purpose is to attract new customers.


Most of all, they don’t want someone’s political and social views shoved down their throats, regardless of who they support.


There’s a similar trend in the NFL, where the league and the San Francisco 49ers support of Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest has been met with a boycott of the league by its fanbase.


NFL ratings are down for the first time in a long time. While Kaepernick certainly isn’t the sole reason (Too many penalties, too many commercials, too many stoppages in play, the Red Zone channel, and a surprising decline in the quality of play have also been cited as reasons for fans tuning out), it has still left many fans looking for better things to do on a Sunday.


The bad times kept rolling for the NFL this past Sunday night. Not even a fierce, closely-contested matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles could stand up to Game 5 of the World Series. Nearly 6 million more viewers tuned in to see if the Cleveland Indians would win their first title in 68 years.


They even won the coveted 18-49 demographic in a shocking upset.


Sports are often seen as a refuge from the bombardment of negativity from the 24/7 news cycle, but many fans feel they have lost that with Colin’s political statement. Out of the 29% of fans watching less NFL, 40% of them cited Kaepernick’s protest, according to a Yahoo Sports poll of 1,136 Americans.


A percentage of fans of the NHL (31%), MLB (28%), and NBA (17%) said they would watch fewer games if similar protests took place.


Once again, a major brand has forgotten its audience. It should go without being said that a brand should always be loyal to the foundation of fans that helped it grow and thrive. Otherwise, you get cases like AB and the NFL, where taking a stance that runs contrary to their bases’ views has resulted in less customers and outright boycotts.


The real issue, regardless of which side of the spectrum you stand, is a brand inserting politics into its message. Divisiveness should never be a strategy, and that’s what you’ll get with any inkling of an affiliation on either side.


But with the poor returns in their Q3 results, and the backlash of politics infused into sports and advertisements, perhaps Anheuser-Busch will wise up and employ a spokesman/men/woman/women who can truly relate to the blue-collar worker who wants nothing more than to sit back, watch a football game, and enjoy a frosty, cold brew of Bud Li-




Or not.


*All stats on YouTube videos as of October 31st

The Power of (the Right) Words in Advertising

Welcome to our blog, ladies and gentlemen! Quality, value, style, service, selection, convenience, experience and hospitality are just a few words to describe this blog, but I haven't even told you the best part: It's completely free.


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These classic, deluxe, custom-designed, high-quality, premier, bonus words are irreplaceable. And did I mention they're totally, absolutely, entirely, wholly, fully and downright free? You need them in your life and won't know how you lived without them once you read them, so won't you buy today? Don't forget that this is a limited-time offer that expires soon and all sales are final.


Feeling inundated? I'm only writing out the offers you hear on a daily basis, often without really noticing. But for hours and hours you are constantly being bombarded with terms like 'Complementary gifts', 'Elite, white-glove care', and 'Helpful customer service' that are designed to convince you to part with your money.


George Carlin's diatribe on advertising buzzwords provides stunning insight into words and phrases we hear everyday yet never really notice. Day-in and day-out, diegetic, unattached voices slither out of our televisions, radios, and computers to make bombastic proclamations separating themselves as a unique service, attempting to outboast and outclass their competition.


It takes decades of research to uncover those specific words and phrases that push a button in our brains to subconsciously make us pay attention to what we're listening to or watching. Since social media advertising came on the scene, however, it's become far easier to measure and locate the triggers that make consumers convert.


Marketers now have extensive, proven research into every type of word for every type of occasion. Organic posts, paid posts, posts on Facebook, posts on LinkedIn, ads on LinkedIn, ads on Twitter, post headlines, post descriptions, email headlines, email copy, social media copy and website copy all feature words that have been inculcated into our heads without even knowing it.


Just take a look at this example of how one word can flip a switch:


"Social psychologist Ellen Langer tested the power of a single word in an experiment where she asked to cut in line at a copy machine. She tried three different ways of asking:


'Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?' - 60% said OK


'Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?' - 94% said OK


'Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?' - 93% said OK


"I don't know about you, but I thought Langer's third request was rather elementary. Yet it didn't matter. The trigger word 'because' was all she needed. The takeaway: When you want people to take action, always give a reason."


The writer is absolutely correct. The second explanation points out a very obvious reason as to why the subject needs to cut in line, while the third explanation says nothing at all. Because was the trigger that convinced those in line to let the subject cut, despite seemingly giving no good reason.


Your ability to persuade is largely predicated on the words you utilize and how you combine them in a way that makes it more receptive to the part of your brain that processes sentences (We'll get to this later).


Let's examine the five most persuasive words in the English language, cited by Copyblogger:


1. You: "According to recent research examining brain activation, few things light us up quite like seeing our own names in print or on the screen. Our names are intrinsically tied to our self-perception and make up a massive part of our identity."


2. Free: "To test the power of the word 'free' in relation to concrete value, the study first asked people to choose between a 1 cent Hershey Kiss or a 15 cent Lindt truffle (about half its actual value, generally considered a richer, superior chocolate).


The results were 73% of the people in the study choosing the Lindt truffle.


"Later though, another random group of subjects seemingly flipped on their opinion of these two treats. Ariely revealed that when the price was reduced by one cent for both brands (meaning the Kiss was now free), people altered their choices drastically.


With the new prices (Lindt at 14 cents and Hershey's for free), the results were 69% in favor of Hershey's!
"Ariely points to loss aversion (our disdain for losing out on things) and our natural instinct to go after 'low hanging fruit' as the reasons why we are so susceptible to snatching up free stuff."


Are people really just that cheap? No. Although some people will drive further to save an extra few cents on their gas, most people won't care about a one cent difference, including in the above example. This is a perfect example of the power and influence of words.




3. Because: We already went into this, but here's a more thorough, scientific explanation:


"A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do. Here's the bottom line:


Many companies are proud of the features that their product (or service) can offer, and that's fine, but you have to remember that when you are focusing on writing persuasive copy, it all comes down to answering your customer's #1 question: What's in it for me?"


4. Instantly: This is an easy one. What do we want more than getting things done? Getting it done fast. We are much too busy to have to wait for our questions to be answered, so we need it fast, we need it quickly, and we need it INSTANTLY.


The scientific reasoning:


"Several MRI studies have shown just how fired up our mid-brain gets when we envision instant rewards, and how it's our frontal cortex that's activated when it comes to waiting for something. Words like 'instant', 'immediately', or even 'fast' are triggers for flipping the switch on mid-brain activity."


5. New: People are constantly on the lookout for something new that's going to add a breath of fresh air and an extra boost to a life that may be entrenched in the trudging pace of mediocrity and routine. With a promise of something new, it represents hope for a change for the better.


The prospect of 'Something new on the horizon' excites people. Your curiosity and wonder is heightened because 'new' represents mystery, possibility and discovery. A 'new' car means newer, better features. A 'new' home means updated, modern designs and the start of a new life. A 'new' job means new opportunity.


Plus, it keeps people on their toes. People may already be loyal to your brand, but if one day you make an announcement stating to "Stay tuned for a NEW and improved product", your ears are bound to perk up with wonderment and interest.


Of course, not everything 'New' is a good idea:




Sometimes, namely for movies, new versions of old objects can result in backlash. A lot of fans of the 1984 version of Ghostbusters didn't want a new Ghostbusters. The same can be said for fans of any old, or classic, version of a remake. Fans of the original become indignant because they like tradition and routine, so be wary of how far you take 'new' versions of products.


But that's taking 'New' too far. If you already have an established product that isn't broken, why do like Coke did and try to reinvent the wheel? Or like Ghostbusters and try to recreate it with today's humor and different actors?


Let's end on this note:


"New fixes to old problems, new features and improvements, a fresh new design, or even new ways of getting your message out there are all essential for keeping your customers 'on their toes', without losing the trust that has cemented you as an awesome brand in their mind."

What Stops People From Converting (And How to Make Them)

"The more they pass their heart around, the more jaded that they become."


I never thought I'd reference a Drake lyric when discussing conversions, but it's actually appropriate for the topic we're about to dive into. I'm talking of course about the buyer's journey.


Allow me to explain.


First, let's examine the lyric. What Drake is making reference to is how women can become more suspicious of a person's motives with every break of their heart. The more they try to love, the more suspicious they become of perfidy and that they may get hurt again.



We've all been guilty of putting our trust into someone that turned out to be deceitful. You learn from your mistakes and take that newfound experience with you, but you also become dubious of a person's intentions. As a result, you sometimes paint with a broad brush, rather than tacking it up as a singular event.


Now, let's apply this to a potential buyer on your website and why they're cautious about buying. We'll conveniently ignore any financial issues and assume that the buyer is well-off, but remains hesitant about pulling the trigger on a purchase.


There are several reasons for this, and one of them is they don't want to get burned and garner the loathsome feeling of buyer's remorse again. This, too, we've all been guilty of. We've all seen a shiny new product and allowed a salesman to smile in our face and convince us that "You absolutely need this!", and "How much it will change your life!", and "How life will be so much simpler and easier!"


Then we bring it home and realize it does nothing that was promised. Not only are you out however much money you spent on it, you also feel bamboozled. You always believed that you'd never be the one to make a poor purchase, yet here you are now with five three-packs of Shamwow's when you could have just bought ordinary paper towels for more than half the price.


You just might require counseling if you let people know about your purchase and become a source of mockery as the 'Shamwow Guy'.


Naturally, you become more guarded. Your arms become shorter when you reach into your pockets and you catastrophize every future buy. You don't want to lose out on anymore money and you certainly don't want to feel like you were bested, so you question each purchase more and more.


Now you're looking at the purchase button with a cart full of books, just to use an example, and are hesitant to buy. Because some books you've bought in the past haven't been as resourceful and helpful as you thought, however, maybe you reconsider this haul.


You question it, and the more you question it the less likely you are to buy. So you decide to wait another day when you have more money, or if you could find it online for free, or if you even really need them anyway.


The full cart is now left in purgatory, overflowing with books that will never be read by their prospective buyer.


It's up to the marketer to navigate the buyer through this process and prevent them from abandoning for one reason or another. There needs to be a level of trust between the buyer and seller that promises the buyer they are going to receive exactly what they're expecting.


Transparency is an effective way of bridging this gap between seller and buyer. If you're selling a book, why not allow the buyer to get a small sample of what they'll be buying by offering them a chance to read a few pages first.


Amazon and eBay excel at transparency because they provide access into the seller's habits. There's a star rating, a counter of how many sales they've made, access to their full online store, a description of the product and reviews of the product from other buyers. In my experience, the first thing I do when buying a product on Amazon is look for the seller with the most customers and highest star ratings.


Let's say you're a traditional seller, though, and don't rely on individual sellers to set up camp on your website and sell their products. I liked this suggestion from Copyblogger:


"Everything on your site needs to show you can be trusted: Real contact information. Your photograph. Thorough responses to FAQs. Clear, reasonable calls to action."


Putting a face to your product shows potential buyers that they're not dealing with some faceless corporation that could care less if you're satisfied or not following your experience. When a seller puts their face and name to their product, they're plunging into precarious waters because they're putting something as important as money on the line: Their reputation.


A person only has one name and one face. If they're deceitful, it will follow them everywhere because they staked their reputation on it. If John Smith sells a lemon of a product, it would only take me one Google search of John Smith to know not to trust him, especially since his face will be accompanying him in those searches.


Everything you do when selling a product needs to revolve around creating a trustworthy environment for your buyers. The product is an extension of yourself and your identity. It's your idea come to life, so treat it as such. If you thought it was a good enough idea to turn it into something tangible, then you need to be honest with your potential customers.


Trust is difficult to cultivate, especially with someone you just met, mainly because of their past experiences. Your buyer's jaded and you need to lay it all out there that you're different. The only way to break through someone's tough exterior is to make yourself vulnerable first by genuinely letting buyers know who you are and what your product does.


Once the customer is satisfied with their experience, the all-important foundation of trust has been laid.