Diverse Buying Committees Require Personalized Approaches

Millennials are taking their seats among Generation X and Baby Boomers at the buying table, making navigating the already complicated buying environment even harder, thanks to their different preferences.

According to a SnapApp and Heinz Marketing survey  in late June 2017, to understand and identify the generational differences, and impact of those differences, on the B2B sales process and buyer’s journey, the report looks at the differences between the rising Millennial buyer, their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts, and how B2B marketing and sales strategies can address the gaps between them.

 The key findings included:  

For Millennials:

A noninvasive approach is key to gaining any traction within this cohort, which avoids sales at all costs:

  • Emphasize the relevance to the Millennial buyer and their issues specifically.
  • A company must win the trust of those that the Millennial buyer trusts.
  • Best pieces of content include: blog posts, infographics, videos, ungated eBooks. No whitepapers.

For Generation X,

Marketing and sales should reach out early in the buying process:

  • Highlight product details and benefits for the whole team vs. individuals.
  • Use data, analytics, and other measurable statistics in your conversations.
  • Best pieces of content include: webinars, charts/graphs, brochures.

For Baby Boomers

Early engagement goes a long way with this generation:

  • Lead with how your product benefits the members of their teams, rather than individuals.
  • Use data and analytics to clearly show the value of the product.
  • Best pieces of content include: webinars, charts/graphs, interactive eBooks.

Why It’s Hot: B2B marketers still take a fairly standard and universal approach to marketing and media, which aligns well w/the behaviors and interests of Gen X and Baby Boomer buyers; i.e., white papers, lead gen and immediate sales outreach, as well as focus on benefits for the team as a whole. This approach is a huge turnoff to Millennials, who not only are joining buying committees, but are often initiating and spearheading them!


Facebook launches new video sharing tab: “Watch”

Facebook is rolling “Watch” out to a limited number of people in the US. The official launch date to the rest of the U.S. has not been disclosed, but will precede international expansion. Users with access will see a TV-shaped Watch button in the bottom navigation bar of Facebook’s main app that opens the new video hub.

While Facebook has offered video for years, it typically appears in the news feed when liked by friends. In this case, people can specifically seek video content and subscribe to it. The similarities to YouTube are obvious, but the usage of the Facebook platform is quite different, so success will require a behavioral change.

Facebook admits that “we’ve funded some shows” as examples, but notes that these are only a small percentage of all the available shows. “We want any publisher/creator who is interested to be able to create a show in the future,” a Facebook spokesperson told Tech Crunch. “So there will be hundreds of shows at launch, and we’ll hopefully scale to thousands.” Original content developers will be compensated; earning 55% of associated ad revenue.

Why It’s Hot: Alphabet seems unstoppable, with core offerings such as Google Search, YouTube, and less so, Doubleclick Ad Exchange, commanding a huge share of their respective categories. These platforms are not always marketer or agency-friendly. Their privacy policies are among the most restrictive. Their brand safety solutions are less customizable than others. Their technical support is notoriously slow to respond. Their products are limited and prices are high. Competition, even when offered by another media behemoth, gives marketers more options to test and may lead to positive changes at Alphabet/YouTube.

Are You There Arthur? It’s Me, Marcel

Two days ago, Publicis Groupe CEO and chairman Arthur Sadoun announced that his network would be foregoing all awards, trade shows and other paid promotional efforts for more than a year while developing Marcel, an AI powered “professional assistant” that it plans to launch next June at the 2018 VivaTech conference in Paris.

This well-timed announcement, right in the middle of Cannes, has generated an huge flurry of press, with speculation about the real driver of the announcement ranging from “It’s just a publicity stunt” to ” “Make no mistake, this is purely about saving money in 2018 as growth has slowed to a crawl” to “It’s smart. Award shows are a misguided way to stroke a few people’s egos. On top of that there’s a ton of work being done for the sole purpose of winning awards. And the number of shows is ridiculous too.”

Regardless of intent, sticking to plan will be difficult. Creatives across Publicis are reportedly up in arms. Surely, the lack of opportunity to stock a trophy case will make it more difficult for Publicis to attract some top creative talent. And, of course, clients like awards too. Poaching is a real concern.

Having gotten sucked into the drama, we’ve read it all, and this response, from R/GA is a favorite. Quick wit has earned R/GA a share of Publicis’ spotlight!

Why it’s Hot: Publicity stunts. All the cool agencies are doing it.

TV & Digital Measurement Methods Moving Closer Together

TV advertising has never been as predictable, provable and performance-oriented  as new digital channels like display, video, search and social have become for marketers, but the times, they are a changin’.

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The rise of digital media, which is measurable to the nth degree, is creating a desire for the same accountability from all media. Historically, TV’s performance has been assessed primarily by MMAs (media mix analyses), which required months of data accumulation, followed by weeks of analysis, only to determine a channel ROI, or daypart ROI, at its most granular. However, with connected TV penetration increasing and more and more TV inventory being reserved for addressable advertising, new methods of measuring and optimizing with much greater granularity, are becoming feasible. Soon, discussions about the performance of TV schedules may sound quite similar to discussions about digital media performance.

Why It’s Hot: For nearly two decades, digital media performance recaps have  included metrics that are common to offline media (reach and frequency, GRPs/TRPs and channel ROI), along with metrics that facilitated optimization at the most granular levels (e.g., revenue per site/placement/target criteria/message). First, digital metrics required education, then clients became comfortable with them and now, they are desired….even demanded, of all channels. After years of trying to bridge two worlds, those worlds are converging, and we have the know-how to continue to thrive; to lead discussions about channel roles and performance.

Cloudy with a Chance of Tequila

Ad company Lapiz, a unit of Leo Burnett, has revealed the world’s first tequila cloud. Using ultrasonic humidifiers, the company created a way to transform tequila into a floating visible mist, which then liquefies to fall as raindrops.

Premiering in Berlin during the rainiest month of the year, the exhibit aims to entice people to take a tropical, tequila-infused trip to Mexico. An even more impressive feat is the cloud is programmed to only rain when it is raining in Berlin (which is quite often).

The company also put together a commercial using the tequila shower. “Forget the winter, have a taste of Mexico,” reads the ad.

Why It’s Hot: It inspires us to think beyond accepted definitions of “media” (tv, radio, digital…) and “creative” (imagery, copy, video…). We can do more than creatively problem solve within guardrails. We can do more than innovate. We can invent. Continue reading

If a Picture’s Worth a K Words, You Shouldn’t Need a VO

When I first saw this spot, I was in my kitchen, cooking, surrounded by noisy people. The TV was on mute, I saw only little bits and it stole my heart; as much as a TV spot can. I felt that I “got it” and this was the soundtrack in my head: “Get out of your house. See the world. See people in their surroundings. Witness and understand the circumstances that they were born into, which ultimately shape who they become. It will make you more human and compassionate. Any stereotypes or resentments will disappear. Travel is the antidote to racism.”

This soundtrack wasn’t new to me. I’d heard it many times, because I dreamt it up while living in Shanghai many years ago, and since then, thought it again, more times than I can count. When I saw this commercial, I was so excited to see that someone else was hearing this soundtrack too…and not just “someone”, but a company that had real power to spread that message to the masses, with the backing of tens…potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in media.

Yesterday, I wanted to share the commercial. I located it on YouTube and of course, turned the sound on, for the first time. I was disappointed. The soundtrack didn’t match mine. It was trying to hard. Taking a stance on an issue. This article says that Expedia “attacks nationalism”. The last two words of the voiceover, “and you”, were meant to be poignant, but in my mind, took a cinematically beautiful commercial and made it cheesy. Those words were also presumptuous; alienating those who don’t have the money to travel internationally, so that the more important message was lost on them. The first comment I saw under the video: “She died broke”.

Why It’s Hot: 80%+ of digital video impressions are viewed without sound. Only 50-85% of a commercial is viewed, depending on device, format, et al.

We must now brainstorm, concept and develop video for these fragmented, soundless viewing experiences, which may feel limiting. However, this experience showed me that a story has the potential to be more beautifully told when the viewer is left to fill in the gaps.


How I Got Ripped Ads

In this Programmatic Insider article, John Matavelli recounts an excruciating experience with a 5+ minute, unskippable, programmatic video spot for “Ripped Abs”, viewed on his television set on YouTube via Roku. He goes on to share the details of his investigation into how such a terribly interruptive advertising experience could exist. YouTube tells him that the ads should be skippable, but there is a glitch. The “glitch” though, has not been quickly fixed, and angry tweets have stimulated a flood of suggestions to install an ad blocker. These have generated more angry tweets, claiming that YouTube has worked around the ad blockers. This is bad for all of us.

Image result for ripped abs cartoon

Why It’s Hot: More than half of digital media, like the referenced YouTube ad, is purchased programmatically. “Programmatic” enables marketers to reach people across many channels, with incredible precision, reach and efficiency. At its best, it delivers personalized, valued experiences that bring people and brands closer together. However, programmatic media appears across thousands of environments that we do not control, which makes QA challenging. Bad experiences are out there. We need to be vigilant about identifying and avoiding them.

We use a host of technologies to protect clients’ investments and the users’ experience, but they’re not foolproof. We each need to be immersed in media; experiencing ads just like the people with whom we want to connect. We need to constantly consider the line between attention-getting and intrusive, and stay on the right side of it.


Business In The Age Of Tech Disappointment

Technology is unleashing itself on every aspect of our lives. Ironically, as is does so, the only thing developing faster than technology is our expectations of it. In the words of Louis C.K., commenting on WiFi on planes: “How quickly is it that the world owes us something we didn’t know existed only five seconds ago?”


In a world where our fridge can order milk for us, we all must be blown away. But look around: We’ve already embraced the new, and expect more. We’re looking not at what’s leading the edge of progress but what’s lagging behind.

While the future is here, it’s less evenly distributed than ever before. There is incredible lag between the early adopters and the laggards, sometimes spanning entire generations of electronics. Some people may be using cassette players in cars, while others are streaming Spotify. Some urban dwellers embrace cord-cutting, while rural others are praying for cord to be laid.

Retargeted ads can note exactly what I am interested in, attach cookies to my behavior, and create custom-built ad units within milliseconds — but only to show me the item I’ve just bought or decided against buying.

Virgin Atlantic is testing iBeacons and Google Glass, but half of its website was built in 2007 — and the only way to book the Upper-Class lounge’s spa is still over the phone.

We’ve gone about technology the wrong way. We’ve embraced the latest technology to show the public what’s possible, stealing headlines with gimmicky strategies.

The technology that works best is about simplicity. What makes Hotel Tonight, Uber, Beautified, Handy, Kayak, Airbnb, Amazon and a hundred other successful companies succeed is that they make life easier, more spontaneous and free of thought. They remove friction in a world where our expectations are high and our attention spans miniscule.

Let’s use iBeacons not to give me an in-store shopping experience, but to check me into my flight automatically, allow me to upgrade my flight with a swipe, or offer to check me out of my hotel when I leave. Let’s use TouchID to store every personal detail and give us the ability to buy anything online with just the press of a finger. Let’s make every ticket to every event something that can be stored on my phone. I don’t want to print anything in 2015. Let’s make products that are simple. Nest  If your hardware needs a manual, you’ve failed.

Why It’s Hot: While it creates fewer headlines and seems less exciting, a more effective long-term strategy is to focus on building a sustainable, positive experience and reducing issues, rather than aiming for the peak of what is possible.

How Ad Blocking will Change the Digital Ad Landscape

Today, ad blocking software has been installed on 200MM browsers, globally; about 5% of all internet users. While not hugely impactful for the majority of advertisers and publishers at the moment, widespread adoption of ad blockers, driven by the motivations of consumers will force change in the world of digital advertising. Consumers will be better informed and empowered to make choices, advertisers will up their game, and it will all gain momentum with Apple’s ad-blocker capabilities coming soon in iOS 9.


Ad blocking eliminates inventory that would otherwise be monetized, with varying degrees of impact across publishers. Today, the digital publishers that are suffering the most, include those that: specialize in the tech and gaming categories, appeal to Men 18-29 and are primarily accessed by Europeans.

Learn about a wide variety of methods that are already being tested or employed by those who are already hard hit (e.g., loss of 20% of revenue last year by a German publisher) or are preparing for a future in which they may be hard hit. Solutions range from creating inventory to increase ad revenues in the short term, to educating site visitors (e.g., Wired), to creating a paywall (subscription-based content), to fully blocking browsers with ad blocking software to gaining whitelist status as a default with ad blocking software (Microsoft). The last is pretty ironic; eliminating the product benefit and going against the idea of net neutrality (i.e., affordable only to the biggies).

Why it’s Hot: It’s not hot yet, but if we wait until it’s hoto become more educated, discuss and entertain options

m:united Introduces Windows 10, An OS For The Next Generation

CaptureThe Windows10 ad campaign, a collaboration among many McCann Worldgroup agencies, rolls out this week, in advance of product rollout, scheduled for July 29. The television commercial positions Windows as the future, by featuring children and explaining by voiceover (Ethan Hawke), all of the things that it will enable our children to do. The product is not shown until the end of the commercial, but is definitely noticed, since the beautiful cinematography and adorable children capture and hold attention. This is the first time that MSFT is offering Windows software at no cost and the first time that they’ve not spotlighted the product; evidence of a shift toward consumer-centricity.

The commercials hint at new software features. Hawke explains that babies will grow up without having to “remember passwords or obsess about security.” Windows 10 boasts new facial recognition software as a security feature. There’s also its Cortana voice assistant software and the ability to draw on Web pages and share notes.

Why it’s hot: Capitalizes on television’s unique ability to story tell, stimulate an emotional response and help shape perceptions of a brand and product; a feat in a category that most users don’t feel personally or emotionally invested in. Also, it stars Ethan Hawke; childhood neighbor to many of our co-workers!

The IoT for Kids

A few months ago, I told my in-laws that we had microchips implanted in our kids, so that we could locate them if lost or stolen. They said they did the same with their dogs. I was so surprised that I forgot to tell them I was kidding…and maybe I’ll never have to, because micro-chipping (well, not exactly, but close) may be available at retail by the next holiday season!

Fuhu, the company that makes Nabi tablets for children, wants to open the IoT’s market to kids. They’re in the early stages of devising a “connected room” platform for kids built around sensors, monitors and cloud services, all designed to supply information – and hopefully peace of mind – to parents.

Baby products can track feeding and sleeping. Products aimed at toddlers may track the child’s movement around the house, so that a parent can be notified if a kid wanders to an unsafe space, such as one with cleaning products or power cords.

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The various items under development include a mini light for the changing table that can track how often you change a baby’s diaper. Another is an air pollution sensor that tracks pollen, mold and dust. One sensor is meant to be worn by mom to track how often and how long she nurses her baby.

All the devices can be controlled by mom and dad through an app on an iPad or one of Fuhu’s Nabi tablets. The goal is that the data that’s collected will be analyzed to help identify patterns in a child’s health. The products will be modular, useful and affordable, priced at $49-99 a piece.

Why it’s Hot: Parents worry about their children’s well-being all the time. Information alone may allay concern, and if not, will enable the parents to conduct better research or have more productive discussions with a pediatrician. Further off in the future, perhaps these devices will enable two-way communication, so that under certain circumstances (e.g., baby is dehydrated or episodes of upset stomach can be attributed to a particular food, implying allergy), helpful information is sent to the parents…and we all know who likes to sponsor or underwrite helpful information…Pedialyte, Gerber, Enfamil, Huggies, Piedmont Pediatrics, United Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, et al.






Fan Power Resurrects Clearly Canadian!

Clearly Canadian was a wildly popular, fruity carbonated drink in the late 80s and early 90s. Every kid at the lunch table came with one of the teardrop glass bottles; but each a different flavor, with dozens available. How could they offer dozens of fruit flavors? Well, Loganberry was my favorite, and I’d never before, nor since, heard of a Loganberry. A friend and I were lamenting the loss of Clearly Canadian last weekend and she looked the company up on Facebook, on a whim. It’s back!

facebook post

In December 2013, a group started a Facebook page, then site, then Twitter account, all aimed at generating enough pre-sales to get the beverage back into production. The group did a great job of mobilizing fans and motivating them with a mix of nostalgic, 90s themed posts, as well as information about progress being made to bring the product back, including pictures of the glass bottle molds and the first bottle prototypes being made. They also offered a referral program, enabling fans to earn additional cases of product. As of May 2015, 30,000 cases had been pre-sold, production began and credit cards were charged.

facebook clearly canadian

site uses social mediaclearly canadian

With the initial goal met, the company is now running a 15 day IndieGoGo campaign, in hopes of raising another 250k. If that goal is met, the company will put a 5th flavor into production; voted in by the investors. (Go loganberry!) A separate site has been set up for retailers and a field team is seeking distribution opportunities.

Why It’s Hot: The company successfully tapped into people’s fond memories of their product and more so, the time during which it was so popular. While nostalgia fueled the campaign, the distribution network was wholly modern; seamlessly delivered across Facebook, Twitter, a Clearly Canadian website and IndieGoGo, none of which existed when the brand was in its heyday! And now, they can add “Hot Sauce” to their list of distribution channels!

Everything I Know about Social, I Learned in Kindergarten

kindergarten“Everything I know about X, I Learned in Kindergarten” is almost as overused as “Keep Calm and X”…not quite. However, Beth Trejo of social media company Chatterbox uses the analogy effectively to share best practices for community management; a discipline and skill that is still in its early days and feels complex and intimidating to many marketers. It’s an equally great discussion guide for agencies and marketers or parents and their kindergarteners. Key points include:

  • pictures are awesome
  • …so is show and tell
  • …and birthday cupcakes
  • writing is hard work
  • so is being liked
  • there is great comfort in knowing where you sit
  • above all, just be nice

Why It’s Hot: When marketers feel daunted by something, it can be paralyzing; causing them to miss out on great opportunities. Helping them to take bold moves by making something complex feel relatable is a huge win.



See the world in real-time, from your couch

Live streaming app, Periscope, has added mapping functionality to its app, allowing you to dip in and out of other peoples’ live streams around the world. Watch people chat in front of the Eiffel Tower for a moment, then switch to watching people prepare breakfast at a restaurant in Sao Paolo and then on to the clubs in Tokyo. TV may have initially brought the world into your living room, in the form of scripted television or journalistic reporting, but Periscope brings the world into your living room, as experienced by real people at this very moment in time. Magic!

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Why It’s Hot: Technology breaks down walls between strangers and allows us to dive right into the worlds of our target audiences, without introduction, planning or special permission required! While in its infancy, this type of sharing could evolve and drive the next iteration of “social listening”, allowing us to see, hear and feel our target audiences’ relevant experiences.




Connected TV Penetration at 56%

Leichtman Research Group says 56% of all U.S. homes have at least one television set connected to the Internet from a smart TV, video game set-top box, blu-ray player, and/or an Internet-connected TV-video device, such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV. This is up from 44% in 2013, and 24% in 2010. 52% of households have a subscription video on-demand service from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Hulu Plus.


Some 33% of adults on a daily basis, and 58% weekly, watch video on non-TV devices — home computers, mobile phones, iPads, tablets, and eReaders. This is up from 27% daily, and 53% weekly two years ago.

Why It’s Hot: We currently leverage connected data sets (assignment of unique user IDs to all devices used/owned) to understand how people are reached by our TV commercials and to use digital video channels to provide a more optimal video experience to those people; e.g., delivering more exposure to those who are under-reached, exposing those who have been viewing our competitors’ commercials, et al. However, TV still dominates in terms of penetration and offers almost no control over message delivery (e.g., targeting, frequency management). As more HHs convert to connected TVs and as viewing shifts from linear TV to on-demand, subscription-based TV, marketers will have much more control over message delivery and theoretically, will deliver an experience that is better for the consumer (no more message bombardment caused by marketers who are trying to attain 1% more reach) and for business.

Oregon’s Bid To Attract Its ‘Next Class of Innovators’

There’s a lot of competition among colleges and universities to get on the consideration set of prospective students. They’ve got to break through the clutter, pique attention and connect with students in relevant and meaningful ways. Prospective students are looking for the full college experience and want to join an engaged community that provides a breadth of opportunities.

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The University of Oregon has developed creative, engaging and (in some cases) sharable content to make the exploration, application and acceptance process more exciting for prospective students, with the end goals of earning their application and stimulating additional interest among circles of friends through word of mouth.

The content includes a mailed “answers” deck of cards which includes answers about the university in order to entice students to apply. Then, applicants were sent an Oregon poster and flag, with encouragement to engage in an online community just for prospective students, as well as “A Duck Like These” kits, which featured success stories of alumni who graduated as recently as last year to as long as 50 years ago.

Why it’s hot: The ideas aren’t groundbreaking, in general, but as students receive a flood of university brochures and emails during their junior and senior years of high school, these efforts will help the University of Oregon to stand apart. Not only is it clear to prospective students that the university is going the extra mile to earn their consideration, but the collateral really showcases the university’s personality and culture, which helps them to attract the type of students who will strengthen that culture. Last, by distributing loudly branded items and encouraging social interaction, they’re capitalizing on students’ excitement about the next chapter in their lives to get the word out to next year’s applicants. A little inspiration for those of us who work in education!

Spotify Debuts Playlist Targeting

Spotify has just announced the debut of a new targeting method: playlist targeting. More specifically, marketers can target the labels of 1.5B+ playlists that have been curated by Spotify or built by users. With this quantity of playlists available, and given the pervasive specificity of playlist labels, marketers can now target consumers during their “morning run” or while “studying” for finals, at scale!

When playlist targeting is used in combination with other forms of targeting that Spotify already offers, a marketer can reach a consumer in specific moods or while pursuing certain activities, with a relevant message, across devices, throughout the day. In other words, the marketer can reach target consumers with accuracy at desired touch-points, to develop a story over time.


For example, a marketer could deliver a message, via mobile, to someone who is “commuting” to work in the morning and then deliver another message to the same person, while on “lunch break” and listening to music on his desktop.

Why It’s Hot: Though we have countless options for targeting audiences, Spotify’s ability to reach people who have declared through their playlist name that they are in a specific mood or engaged in a specific activity is pretty unique!

High power international pubs debut new ad product, “Pangea”

Even as exchanges and programmatic buying make it easier than ever to reach specific audiences, our team is still challenged to reach niche audiences at scale, globally, since data availability, type and quality varies so significantly from country to country. Tuesday, our partner, Rubicon Project revealed “Pangea” to us, a possible solution to one such problem, and by the next day, the news had hit the press.


The Guardian, CNN International, the Financial Times, Reuters and The Economist will soon allow marketers to use automated buying technology to purchase advertising space across their online properties, globally, through a dedicated marketplace. Further, the publishers also plan to pool data about their respective audiences to help marketers target those ads more effectively. We are exploring this new opportunity now and hope that it will allow us to reach very narrow B2B audiences (e.g., CFOs, HR Directors) in a wide variety of countries, while also benefitting from the transference of brand credibility, through association with such high quality, trusted content.

Why It’s Hot: The digital landscape is getting more and more complex, w/universes, targeting, environments and formats packaged up in endless ways, to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach prospects more effectively, at scale. And yet, oftentimes, to get that scale, there are tradeoffs made in targeting (use of modeling dilutes audience composition; audience definitions vary; data is just unavailable) or environment (expansion to long tail, remnant inventory). We are still often challenged to create the exact scenarios in which we believe our advertisers’ messages can be the most effective, ideally with efficiency. Publisher consortiums and private marketplaces, like Pangea, address this problem.

While consumers tune in to TV often, they mentally tune out, quickly

On average, television holds a consumer’s attention only 39% of the time — a rate that pales in comparison to the attention rates that laptops (70%), tablets (76%) and smartphones (77%) command. That’s according to a new report from Nielsen and YuMe, a digital video ad tech firm that commissioned the study.

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Over a two-month period, Nielsen and YuMe conducted in-lab observations on 200 consumers in Las Vegas. The consumers were told to engage with any of the devices (TV, smartphone, tablet and laptop) as they would at home for 20 minutes, and their actions were recorded. Nielsen and YuMe ended their experiment with 50 hours of video footage, and they claim the footage was then analyzed “second-by-second” to measure consumer attentiveness. The full study will be released later this week.

Why It’s Hot: Many marketers’ channel plans continue to be television dominant, even as consumers continue to shift viewing time toward other screens. Studies like this are proving that, in addition to the purchasing efficiency of digital video (particularly for longer spots), this developing channel does a better job of capturing consumers’ attention with programming as well as advertising. While digital video doesn’t offer the penetration of TV yet, and therefore isn’t a replacement, it has demonstrated that it can produce better returns for many marketers.

McDonald’s ‘Pay With Lovin’ Pays Off In WOM, Intent

We are all familiar with McDonald’s ‘Pay With Lovin’ campaign, having discussed it in Hot Sauce, prior to its SuperBowl debut. Now, independent brand monitors have shared results: an increase in WOM & purchase intent, w/little movement in favorability (sentiment was and is neutral).


– WOM saw a five percentage-point bump, with 29% of adults 18 and over reporting that they had talked about McDonald’s with friends and family over the past two weeks, compared to 24% just prior to the campaign launch.

– On game day, 36% of adults said they would consider making their next fast food purchase at McDonald’s; 11 days later, 39% said the same. One possible reason for the increase: people hoping to be chosen randomly for a free meal or watch others asked to perform a task, says YouGov.

Why It’s Hot: You might say the campaign is gimmicky, but it is fresh and new and kind of sweet…and, it worked. A 20% lift in WOM and 8% lift in PI are major accomplishments, especially for a brand that has such a huge volume base. This isn’t just reinforcing the idea that brand marketing should “be good”, but should “do good” (in this case, asking people to hug each other)!

Facebook “Place Tips” in Beta in NYC

“Place Tips”, a new Facebook feature, currently in Beta, will deliver information about nearby businesses into the user’s news feed, when the “place tips” button, at the top of the feed, is clicked. In the coming weeks, Facebook will enable “Place Tips” for eight businesses in New York City that have installed beacons, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dominique Ansel Bakery, Strand Book Store, the burger joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, Brooklyn Bowl, Pianos, the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop and Veselka.


Why It’s Hot: From a consumer perspective, this is a convenient new option for discovering nearby restaurants and other local businesses, mitigating the annoyance of having to toggle back and forth between Facebook, to which some consumers are always tuned in, and other apps, like Yelp, OpenTable, et al. Yelp’s content and ratings/reviews are incredibly robust though, so it will be interesting to see just how the rollout impacts that platform. From a marketer’s perspective, this a great new way to drive foot traffic into bricks and mortar locations, for the direct benefit of businesses/our clients (IHOP) and indirect benefit (adult education centers to ultimately benefit HiSET).

Wearable Device Implications for Rural Healthcare

Today, the most popular type of wearable health device is the fitness tracker, embraced by fitness enthusiasts, data geeks…primarily, the intersection of the two. However, wearable technologies have the potential to measure much more than steps, distance and calories; extending to glucose, blood pressure and brainwaves. The implications for healthcare are significant.


Physicians are already reporting that wearable technologies are helpful for patients managing obesity (the obvious), as well as diabetes, heart disease and other conditions. Wearables can also improve on-the-job safety by monitoring alertness, location and time/performance. In areas where access to physicians is limited, wearables are particularly important; helping the consumer or patient to take charge of her own health.

In this presentation, Wearable Medical Devices, implications for rural India, where there are fewer than 1 doctor for every 10,000 people, are explored. While wearables could help reduce dependency on these very few doctors, barriers to penetration include: price, positioning as a fitness vs. general health/wellness device and lack of marketing in local languages. By addressing these barriers, wearable technologies will gain access to huge untapped populations. One can even imagine a future where health insurance companies offer discounts to people who wear the devices, just as car insurance companies have done for drivers who have installed wireless devices to track when and where their car is on the road.

Why It’s Hot: Real-time feedback on health will greatly change consumers’ behavior; how they engage with health/condition-related content on the wearable, the web, et al., as well as how they engage with their caregivers/families and healthcare providers. In-person doctor visits may become less frequent, as wearables make patients more self-sufficient, as well as facilitate remote care/treatment of the patient by the doctor. Pharma marketing channels, such as in-office magazine wraps and television commercials, EMRs, wearable in-app ads, et al., increase/decrease in penetration and effectiveness.

Video revenue follows video quality

YouTube will generate an estimated $1.13 billion in revenue from video advertising this year — up 39% from last year, per eMarketer. With nearly 167 million unique visitors to the site in August 2014, YouTube rivals Facebook, at 168 million unique site visitors. However, YouTube fails to monetize most of this traffic, due to the time that audiences spend with digital video on YouTube. Clips are either too short to include ads or are not brand-friendly. Both are attributes of many user-generated YouTube videos that get the most views.

9-12-2014 8-06-27 AM

In Contrast, AOL and Yahoo will increase digital display revenue from ads placed against premium video content, including full-length shows, digital shorts and other professionally produced programming.

Why It’s Hot: Marketers’ hunch that YouTube is not the ideal environment in which to deliver their messages is supported by Nielsen/IAB research that shows that long-form, episodic content results in the greatest lifts in video ad recall. However, YouTube’s traffic, wide variety of video content and efficiency is unparalleled by any other single video destination. If YouTube can retain these strengths while aggregating or producing higher quality content, effectively segmenting inventory and/or producing research that indicates that marketing within or alongside their video actually is effective, it will be a win for all.


Netflix goes Native with “TV Got Better”

Unlike the advertorials of yesterday, Netflix’ sponsored content feature on Wired.com deserves to be editorial; is the type of content that you would think Wired would be proud to publish. In “TV Got Better”, Netflix explores how digitization changed the entertainment industry; allowing for greater creativity and risk-taking, giving rise to unique programming like “orange is the new black” and “house of cards”, and genres, that wouldn’t find a home in yesterday’s prime-time line-up of silly sitcoms.


Far more than a flat editorial, this content piece includes an interview with the creator of Arrested Development, an infographic that updates in real-time with Twitter conversation data (above) and an interactive timeline, showcasing milestones in TV history. Not only is the interactive, smart content right at home with Wired, but the tone and vocabulary are carefully crafted for this audience, with words ranging from “scatological” (I had to look it up) to “cringier” (they made it up), and lots of esoteric references that readers would be proud to “get”. It even teases the audience a bit for taking itself so seriously, “We continue to torment ourselves with the idea that it is merely entertainment, something beneath our dignity”, while using “we” (vs. “you”) to imply that Netflix and the Wired audience are “one”.

While Netflix does mention its own name at the very end of the piece, it seems unnecessary, since Netflix and/or a few other digital video producers/distributors are likely at the forefront of every readers’ mind by this point, which is the goal!

Why it’s Hot: With “branded interactive content” named one of 3 marketing trends that is about to change the industry, marketers and agencies are going to be seeking great examples to learn from and emulate. Netflix “TV Got Better” is at the top of my list!




TV Markets Report Big Differences In Live Vs. Time-Shifted Viewing

Local TV markets can vary greatly when it comes to their share of live TV watching versus time-shifted and other video-on-demand viewing. 

Pittsburgh viewers have the biggest percentage of prime-time live viewing — at 70%. Philadelphia is next at 68%, followed by Minneapolis at 62% and New York and Baltimore, each with 61%, according to Nielsen.

Looking at the lowest percentages of live viewing, Dallas has 44%, followed by Houston at 47%, and Los Angeles at 49%. All those markets register less than half their TV viewing in live TV programming.

When it comes to the top 25 markets in prime time, 56% view TV shows live, 34% time-shift within seven days and 10% go to video-on-demand, according to Nielsen time-shifted/live prime-time data from its June 2014 NPower report.

This research is from a Nielsen report of 25- to-54-year-olds surveyed in May 2014.

Why It’s Hot: We know that when people are using another device while tuned into TV, TV ad recall plummets, as they spend more time with their eyes on the device than on the TV. However, when the ad is reinforced through the device, the TV recall is higher than if there had been no device involved at all. To capitalize on this, we seek complementary digital ad placement within TV program content; specifically for programs that encourage digital participation (e.g., American Idol, Rising Star). Due to expense and tight inventory, we have also been considering broader extension within the TV network site content, to be simultaneous with program air time. However, the above indicates that the second strategy will only be effective among 56% of the audience and that average cannot be applied per DMA, because the differences are quite significant! Plan C – Behaviorally target TV program’s digital content visitors, regardless of the time of visitation…if only all of the networks offered this!

Stop Eating the Burritos!

Yvonne Abt, VP, partner, portfolio management at UM Worldwide, just gave the most unlikely advice at OMMA RTB in LA: Stop eating the burritos.

She shared a story about her husband losing weight by going to the gym … or so he thought. It turns out he was losing weight because he stopped eating burritos, but he thought it was because he was going to the gym.

So what does this have to do with marketing? Marketers are much too quick to assume they know exactly where consumers are going next, what they are going to buy next, and what is working and what is not working, so marketing may be ineffective. Or, maybe it’s effective… by accident. In other words, marketers need to stop eating the burritos and ask the right questions.

Why It’s Hot: Our teams constantly analyze data and formulate conclusions that drive optimizations. If we take the data at face value, we can easily optimize toward factors that are not the main influences. A few days ago, an analysis indicated that one banner delivered 50%+ more response (CTR), when combined w/one specific landing page (vs. others). We asked ourselves why that would be, when the CTA was the same and the consumer had no idea what content was on the other side of the click. It couldn’t be…We reran the analysis for desktop only and then, all combos delivered equal response. Heavy mobile distribution is what had kicked up the response. If we’d taken the data at face value and increased the rotation of the combo, it would have had no impact at all; wasted effort. We must always ask “Why?” and examine from all angles, rather than make assumption, to avoid making the wrong (or at least misguided) decisions.

We are Screwing Up the Mobile Experience

In this article, Steve Smith rants, and commenters add more fuel to the fire:

Along with eyeballs, time spent, content and ad dollars, the clutter and crap that has made the overall desktop Web experience a horror show had gone mobile too. Too many publishers are so frantically chasing monetization that the overall UX is degenerating quickly. My main pet peeves:

Native Run Amok: Publishers are piling on so many different modes of native ad monetization now, that the one-column mobile feed is cluttered and editorial voice is unclear.

Intrusive Ads Are Becoming Obstructive: a.) in-feed mobile ad units that hijack the basic scroll gesture. b.) microscopic Close buttons that are designed to be missed or to trigger the ad click.

Persistent Banner Obstructs Navigation: In Safari, the Back/Forward menu disappears when you start scrolling a Web page and is reinvoked by a gentle tap. A bottom-lying persistent banner confuses the user, who risks clicking into the ad rather than the menu.

Banners Are Not Scaling: As often as not, ad units look poorly sized in. Even large square units carry microscopic information. Likewise, banners scaled to a mobile are making their way onto tablets. So you get a ridiculously small ad unit combined with creative that is too small even for the mobile phone format, on a larger screen.

Ad Clutter Is Real: Sites are stacking their house app ad on top of a standard banner and then following it with a sponsored post. One article refers to house app interstitials as Kanye West-style hijacking:

Kanye West’s hijacking of Taylor Swift’s big moment:

Kanye West UX

Kanye-style hijacking of the UX:

Guardian mobile app

A Kinder Way of Delivering the App Offer:

Amazon mobile screenshot

“Responsive” To What? To Whom?:  The components of most sites make a lot more sense in the multi-columned desktop or tablet format. When stacked atop one another they feel like a random content pile-up.

Why It’s Hot: We’re buying more mobile inventory everyday; following the eyeballs, time spent and content…and landing in the middle of some very frustrating consumer experiences. We can talk to partners about concerns and exercise more caution when considering ad placement, as well as can help our clients to develop more satisfying user experiences for their own mobile site visitors.

Greenpeace Drowns Beloved Legos in Oil: Effective PR or Not?

Agency “Don’t Panic” created a PR video for Greenpeace attacking Lego’s distribution partnership with Shell. The video, produced inexpensively and in just 3 weeks, certainly is dramatic; starting with scenes of happy Lego figures on a 120kg Lego model of the stunning arctic landscape which then slowly drowns in oil, all set to the haunting music “everything is awesome”. The Everything is Not Awesome video ends with a call to action to sign a petition, calling on Lego to drop its partnership with Shell.


The concept itself, drowning much beloved Lego figures in oil, has generated compliments and criticism. However, the release of the video seems incredibly ill-timed, following on the heels of news that Greenpeace lost 3MM pounds on the stock exchange and that one of its executives commutes to work by plane. Comments are flying, including “Is this really the best Greenpeace can come up with after their big week of hypocrisy and incompetence? Pitiful and lame.”

Why It’s Hot: It sure gets people talking! If you believe that “all PR is good PR”, then this video is doing a pretty great job. 2.5MM views on You Tube in just 2 days, with 30k+ viewers providing feedback. However, with 7k dislikes and a whole bunch of comments, blogs and global press, criticizing Greenpeace, “all PR is good PR” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily…





“TV viewing” Shifts to Streaming & Media Spends are Sure to Follow

In a Harris Poll Survey of 2,300 Americans, 23% said they are watching more TV via streaming than they did 1 year ago, while 37% say they are watching the same amount as last year, and 7% say they are watching less. Streaming continues to grow, though a bit slower than in past years. Millenials lead the trend, with 47% preferring to stream TV shows vs. watch them via traditional TV. As they mature and become a dominant force within the population, so will their preferences, but do we have to wait that long?

Consumers have ideas about what might be offered via streaming, which would increase their viewing via streaming. For example, 60% of survey respondents indicated that they’d like to be able to view pilots online and then vote on those that should be selected to run during the regular season.

Why It’s Hot: Three reasons: 1.) Pre-roll/mid-roll spot-buying is far more efficient (especially for long-form commercials – e.g., :60s, :90s) than TV-buying. 2.) A large-scale study by Nielsen & the IAB indicated that TV spots that are delivered digitally are also 2x more effective in increasing ad recall. 3.) 40% of media budgets still spent on TV, with many large brands’ budgets in excess of $100MM.

Ad Spending Trends

In summary, digital delivery has the potential to greatly increase clients’ TV spot efficiency and effectiveness, and as digital video scale increases (i.e., consumer viewing), this will drive a major shift in spending that will benefit the agencies who are most skilled in the area of digital video distribution.


Why marketing jargon must die

While it may feel hip, cool, or “in the know” to the people using jargon, it really is nothing more than slang and it’s usually difficult for others to understand. That should be the first red flag: that it’s difficult for others to understand. Jargon usage makes it extremely clear who belongs to the club — and, more importantly, who doesn’t. Do you know what DSP, RTB, programmatic buying and native advertising mean? If not, you don’t belong in the cool (media) kids’ clubhouse.


Ask any marketing executive about jargon, and he or she will tell you that it’s necessary, a sort of shorthand that enables people who share a common profession to communicate more quickly and efficiently. Nonsense. Clear communication has never relied on language that is not understandable by everyone in the room, and while you may presume at any given time that your audience gets it, you are probably wrong. Do you really want people leaving your meetings, pitches, and presentations baffled?

So by using jargon, we’re reassuring ourselves that our thoughts, products, and services are complex and intellectually taxing, thereby justifying our sense that they should also be expensive as well. And, naturally, that we’re special people because we understand this language shorthand that others do not.

Jargon reduces the impact of the very expressions near and dear to marketers’ hearts. Want an example? There may have been a time when the expression “innovative solutions” had meaning, but it doesn’t anymore. Everyone delivers innovative solutions; not a differentiator.

Making the client feel stupid has never been an effective marketing strategy. By simply replacing buzzwords with real words, you’ll show that you’re interested in communicating rather than impressing. You will demonstrate that whatever your product or service is and you might actually get some work done.

Why It’s Hot: Jargon is lame and I feel lame when I use it…We’re constantly using words like utilize (vs. use), capitalize (vs. build on) and using jargon that our clients simply do not understand (DSP, RTB, programmatic, native advertising) to sound smart and specialized and on-trend (vs. trendy). We preach the importance of “authenticity” (yep, another word that used to have meaning and has now been reduced to jargon), but we talk in terms that they would never understand; cloaking ourselves in smarty-pants language instead of keeping it real.