It’s December and time for the many year-in-review articles. A recent AdWeek piece featured the 10 most watched ads on YouTube.

These aren’t just :15 or :30 second TV ads posted to YouTube. Some, like the most watched ad from India are longer form pieces created specifically for the Web. (Millennials and Gen Z watch a majority of their video on devices other than TVs.)

Some, like the Melissa McCarthy Kia ad, are funny. Some are serious. The Indian ad is touching. Check it out.


Seven Principles of Digital Marketing

  1. We don’t do digital marketing but rather, as the head of brand at P&G said, market in a digital world. Digital marketing should be fully integrated with traditional marketing.
  2. Marketing should be judged on its contribution to business goals such as leads, opportunities, lower customer acquisition costs, and revenue, and not just marketing campaign metrics like opens, shares, and time on page.
  3. The customer should be at the center of all marketing, rather than the product.
  4. Use digital programs to personalize delivery of the right message to the right audience (person) at the right time.
  5. Use data to optimize programs. As Deming said, “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.”
  6. Bring an attitude of experimentation and constant improvement to the work. Recognize that what works for one industry, or company, or product, or audience, may not work for another.
  7. Be open to change, because what customers want and competitors are doing is likely to change increasingly frequently.

Southwest Airlines recently posted this promoted tweet:

Southwest tweet soliciting good flight experiences

This is a user generated content campaign. They can get countless impressions just by inviting people to share their stories and promising to retweet a few of them. And people did share, including the video in the center that used an app to add a goofy face to the speaker.

Several positive story tweets


Although I’ve seen user generated content campaigns from both B2B and consumer brands, and some considerably more elaborate than this (like entering a video in a contest), this kind of campaign can be risky. If Southwest had a lot of unhappy customers they may have taken the opportunity to tweet their displeasure. But I’m not seeing much of that.

I guess you don’t have to worry about that when you have the highest customer satisfaction rating in the industry.

Tomorrow evening I’m speaking to a class on social media marketing at Northeastern University in Boston. My news for them: sorry, but you’re late. The party’s over.

Brands can still use social media for connecting with influencers, social selling, and certainly for highly targeted paid ads (each platform has a different way to do that). But the idea of using social media for publishing and amplifying content is decreasingly relevant.

The average Facebook or Twitter post is only seen by 2 or 3 percent of a brand’s followers unless it gains considerable engagement. This week Snapchat announced that it’s dividing its Stories tab between friends-only and brands, sort of like Gmail’s Primary and Promotions tabs.

People on social media are simply more interested in posts from people, not from brands.

And then I ran across this on Twitter, that well-known cesspool of bots and harassers (and bots who harass). A verified journalist with 50,000+ followers (97% real, according to Twitter Audit, which is the highest rate that I’ve ever seen) discovers that she can avoid harassment by changing her location to virtual Germany…

Tweets from journalist

Countless people have reported being harassed on Twitter. It’s clearly one of the biggest problems with the platform. Why doesn’t Twitter treat everyone like it treats Germans?

The trade show industry took a major hit with the advent of the Internet, and the 2002 recession was the final straw for some. COMDEX, the huge computer industry show that started in 1979, folded after the 2003 show.

The 2008-9 recession was another hit, but through 2016 the industry has had six years of growth since then.

And while COMDEX is gone, Salesforce’s Dreamforce alone draws over 170,000 people. The annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is attended by over 100,000 people. A dozen other U.S. shows cover more than 1 million square feet of space annually.

Trade shows draw a very industry-specific audience and can help a company…
• Build its brand by its mere presence
• Present (often with customers) to a relevant industry audience
• Give sales people and executives a venue to meet with customers and prospects
• Gain leads

Some tactics:
• Before the show sales people and executives should schedule as many in person meetings with customers and prospects as possible
• Email or mail attendees an offer before the show if you can get the list, otherwise use a list you built last year. Promote the offer prominently on social media and perhaps targeted ads, as well as your booth.
• Be active on the event’s social media conversation using its hashtag; use that to respond to posts from others and inform people of offers and your sessions (there were one million uses of the Consumer Electronics Show #CES2017 and @CES this year)
• Consider state-of-the-art exhibit techniques like AR and VR to wow people at your booth.
• Be sure to follow up promptly after the show to all new leads.

Of course your tactics and approach will vary depending on your goals.
Sales people tend to love trade shows, and companies can over-invest in them. After all, for a small company it can easily cost over $10,000 all-in to exhibit and travel, and during the show your people there are 95% unavailable for anything else. Bigger companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, at a major show.

At my former agency for one show we arranged a discount in exchange for promotion with a bike store to give away a $2,000 bike (or the equivalent, like two $1,000 bikes). When I wheeled the bike into the exhibition hall I heard a person say, “No THAT’S a giveaway.”. The entry form was detailed and we had people lined up to fill it out. We got many good leads from that.

On the other hand I had one client who found that search ads were so much more effective for lead generation that they cut shows they exhibited at from 29 to 4.

Meeting people in person is still tremendously valuable and effective but don’t overdo it. Treat trade shows like any other channel. Integrate them with your other programs and use them to the degree that they’re effective for you.

If you’re leading a company that’s done little into a launching a marketing program, or scaling up an existing one, in my experience you better start showing some results within six months.

I’m not talking about campaign results like opens, likes, shares and retweets, but business results like an increase in leads, opportunities and sales. That’s what the people who control the purse strings are looking for.

And if they don’t have a lot of confidence in marketing to begin with, which is the case in many companies that haven’t been doing much of it,, they aren’t going to spend much money or give much time to see results.

And this is where my Bullseye Marketing Framework comes in handy since it priorities a number of programs that companies can inexpensively get business results from in just a few months.

Once you’ve shown business results and built confidence then you can get buy in for those longer-term, more expensive programs like social media and inbound marketing. Many VPs of marketing have said to me that a major selling job for them is getting the executive team to understand, and buy into, how long those and other campaigns may take to produce results.

That’s why you don’t want to start with those. Get some quick wins under your belt and you can move on to those longer term, always on programs later.

Walmart has not been known as an innovative company (except operationally, where it has crushed the competition with its supply chain efficiency). “Everyday Low Prices” is not exactly the cry of the creative.

Over the past 20 years it has allowed Amazon to grow into the dominant online retailer, even if Walmart’s total revenue grew more than Amazon’s during that period.

Now Walmart is fighting back, and one area of focus is food.

Walmart is already the largest seller of groceries, with close to 25% of the market.

Now Walmart is trying to create unique, branded foods in its Culinary and Innovation Center. There they are working on developing bright yellow watermelon and candy-flavored grapes – and that’s just what they’ll talk about in public.

It’s similar to how Netflix and Amazon started by carrying other companies’ movies but then went on to create their own. If you want “Stranger Things” or “Orange is the New Block” you can only get them on Netflix, just like you’ll only be able to get that yellow watermelon at Walmart.

People shop more regularly for food than for anything else. That’s one reason that Amazon bought Whole Foods. If Walmart can increase even more its lead in the grocery business, it can also sell people many other items while they’re in the store.

While Yelp has 1-5 star ratings, in practice its ratings are:

5 – Amazing; get there tonight

4.5 – Outstanding, not to be missed

4 – Good. Recommended

3.5 – Avoid this.

3 and below – Out of business

Each Yelp star produces considerably more business. And why would you go to a 3 or even 3.5 when there are so many 4-5 rated restaurants around.

Unless the restaurant is owned by Food Network star Guy Fieri.

Low Yelp reviews

Fieri is immensely popular and his restaurants do well even with terrible ratings on Yelp and from critics.

There’s an old saying in marketing, “Nothing kills a poor product faster than great marketing.” For five years the Food Network jetpack has helped Fieri defy gravity. The curiosity factor has outrun the reviews. Maybe someday they will catch up.

When giving talks on digital marketing I often include a slide that shows what Google AdWords costs per clicks (CPC) can get bid up to in competitive industries. I recently updated the slide and found that for many keywords CPCs have declined by 50% or more since last year.

AdWords CPC comparison 2016 and 2017

So I did some research and found that people first started to comment on this in August. Many AdSense users – people who own sites where Google ads appear – were complaining that suddenly they were being paid far less.

But for advertisers and marketers this is a windfall. This may make search advertising affordable and cost effective in industries where it wasn’t in the past.

Bing has far lower CPCs than AdWords. And you can see from the chart that its older, less tech savvy users are really not searching for tech solutions.

If LinkedIn is important to you for professional networking, social selling, or other purposes, then you want people to be able to find you when they are searching. LinkedIn is a search engine, so you should optimize your profile for search.

You can see the search terms that people are using to find you if you go to your profile, click on “search appearances” in your dashboard, then scroll down to What Your Searchers Do

LinkedIn profile searchers

…and Keywords Your Searchers Used

LinkedIn search terms

Having Business Owners as the #1 group that is finding me on LinkedIn is good: those are often my clients. But the keywords that I’m showing up for are not really on-target. The second is possibly good (but kind of odd), and who knows what someone looking for SMB or “digital” is interested in?

In response to looking at this I went through my profile and added “marketer”, “business strategist” and other terms appropriately.