According to research by Pandora, young listeners tend to say they prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things.Concert crowd filming with smartphone

A report from Pandora titled, “Micro-Moments are Nice. Experiences are Unforgettable,” refers to Google’s efforts to market search as the micro-moment sales vehicle. The study shows that 67% of millennials would rather spend their money on experiences rather than things. That number grew 10% from last year. Female millennials especially prefer experiences, 74%, according to Pandora’s research. This doesn’t mean that millennials don’t want to buy things, but if the “things” lead to an experience, then all the better for the purchase.

The experiences included travel, concerts, movies, music festivals and sporting events. So if you are thinking about offering a prize to millennials, don’t think of cash or gifts, think about trips or tickets.

One of the reasons is that 25% of millennials suffer from the “fear of missing out” (FOMO). According to Pandora, the FOMO effect means that the “road leading up to the event is just as important as the event itself.” As my father use to say, 90% anticipation and 10% fulfillment. That means we need to make the “before” part of the experience.

And do millennials notice? Absolutely, says Pandora: 82% notice a brand sponsoring a musical event; 1 in 3 are likely to purchase a brand’s product after seeing it at an event. Experience is the truly the teacher of all things.

If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you know my penchant for audio-video linkage, AKA “See dog-Say Dog” effect. Little did I know that this very concept is the same for Google AdWords Quality Scores.

Quality Score is downplayed by Google. “Give users what they need, and a great Quality Score should follow,” says Google in its AdWords guide. However, Quality Scores are critically important and can impact your rank and how much you pay for a given search term.Marketing Strategy Business Commercial Advertising Concept

The key to a solid Quality Score is relevancy–and that is the “see dog, say dog” moment.  Making a strong connection between the queries and what you deliver is critically important for algorithms and people. Ads and the sites that help users gather relevant information or help them navigate with ease (on a landing page) will receive high Quality Scores. In other words, your ad and the connecting landing page must match and provide a clear navigation from click to conversion. It’s the linkage between what you’ve promised in your ad and what you deliver on the landing page.

Quality Scores are not the holy grail of AdWords, but they do tell you how healthy your search campaign is and how optimized your campaign is. The key to a strong Quality Score according to Google is, “Be relevant, be compelling and drive traffic to landing pages that deliver on what you promise in your ad, and you can feel confident your score should reflect that quality.”

An infographic from Hyperfine Media puts all the facts on the table about the advantages of digital video. Here are just a few of the strongest reasons video should be a large part of a campaign or full marketing effort.178395708

  • Video in email leads to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates
  • Video on a landing page increases conversions by 80%
  • YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% each year
  • Combing video with full-page ads boosts engagement by 22%
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product
  • 50% of executives look for more information after seeing a service video
  • 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video
  • 80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in last 30 days

Enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 130%. Video is at it’s crest of communications power. It is the wave of future communications—time to ride.

This fall, get ready for a heavy dose of reality. The reality is that “scripted” shows are slumping and live TV is leading the pack for reach and ratings. Concert crowd filming with smartphone

Nowhere was this more apparent than in the NBA finals, which scored a record number of people watching (31 million for the final game). More than 60% of all broadcast rating points from last season were generated by live programming, which includes sports, news, musical specials and talent competitions. Scripted shows such as dramas and sitcoms are in a “slow fade” according to Advertising Age.

Live programming provides authenticity that other programming does not have. Reality TV brought raw personalities, live TV provides programming that is not regularly recorded—it is better seen when it is fresh. And, it becomes an event to share with others in person and online.

Live is also growing: Social media, with Facebook Live, Periscope and others, will bring live to organizations large and small. Live coverage has always been the bellwether of news coverage. Soon it may be the leader of all programming.


According to Adweek, the marketing industry is putting more women in ads, buying media where women will see it, fostering communities for women and finding the right voice.confident African business woman

Sometimes it takes time for the marketing industry, no matter how progressive it may feel, to discover simple truths about people. That is how I feel about the Adweek’s proclamation–really, it took until 2016 for marketers to wake up? 

I remember when I traveled with my wife to look at a car for her in the early 1990s. The salesperson kept tripping over himself trying to give the keys for a test drive to me. I pushed back and kept saying, “This is a car for my wife, not me.” It was embarrassing for both of us. I’ve seen my wife deal with many issues as the first news anchor at her TV station, as a nonprofit administrator and as a state senator, but why would people in advertising and sales make such bad decisions about marketing to women?  

We’ve known in healthcare marketing that women “lean into” healthcare and make the healthcare decisions for most family members (from children to their spouse to parents). That makes women the “Chief Health Officer” of their families. And the key decision-maker for all healthcare marketing.

Over the next 10 years, it is expected that women will control two-thirds of all consumer spending. If you continue to take women for granted in your messaging, then good luck staying in business in the future. And your messaging must be strong online.  According to a study conducted by Adweek:

  • 94% of women actively engage with brands online
  • 51% of women visit a brand’s website
  • 40% of women visit a brand’s social media account
  • 64% of women have made an original post about a brand
  • 31% of women have daily online brand interaction

Women visit a brand’s website to find news about discounts, promotions, new services and product information–not to be yelled at, oversold or patronized. Respecting women’s time, having a high utilitarian content quotient, and not falling for tired stereotypes is key to future marketing to women. In fact, those issues just might be key to marketing to anyone in this new, empowering digital-media democracy.  


We do deep diagnostic dives into websites prior to beginning the remodeling process. This includes competitive analysis, SEM, SEO and eye-tracking heat maps. All of this is an effort to understand user experience.Web designer at work

Jonathan Lay in his blog, “What Live User Testers are Saying about Bank and Credit Union Homepages,” describes his company’s process and findings. It is always comforting to have your research corroborated by other research project. Yet no matter what research you are reading, nothing replaces your actual, non-employee users for solid decision-making data.

Here are a few of Mr. Lay’s findings about financial websites:

  • The first questions people ask themselves are “does this look professional?” And “do I believe this site is safe and secure?”
  • Most users feel frustrated, confused and mostly overwhelmed by all the choices (navigation) and calls to action on a home page, AKA the Paradox of Choice (choice is inversely correlated to usability)
  • Most home page advertising banners do not sell. The click-through rate is so low that the space should be used for other things. To millennials, these advertising banners may also lead to negative awareness, “this page looks like spam.”

Too much of any good thing is bad for most things and especially for a website. The key is to create a clear PATH for your users.

Most people believe that teenagers are addicted to their phones. We are also inclined to think that our generation is the more “realistic” in using new technology.Father and son having fun in pattisserie

But hold your horses. Just like all target audiences, you need to do some research and truly understand your audience before you rely on clichés and stereotypes. Research actually shows that it is adults who are addicted to their phones and maybe even more so than teenagers.

How about this little fact from Nielsen: During mealtimes more than 52% of Boomers (50-64) use technology during meals, compared to 45% of Gen X (35-49), 40% of Millennials (21-34) and 38% of Gen Z (15-20). Most surprising is that 42% of the Silent Generation (65+) use technology during meals, which is higher than Gen X and Millennials.

Up to 60% of adults check their email on vacation; 50% check email over the weekend. Add in time spent at work on Facebook and other social media and you start to see a trend.

This is not a finger-pointing blog, it is a target audience blog. Understanding your target audience takes more than simple assumptions about behavior. Because at dinner, grandpa and grandma may be checking their phones more often than the teens. That’s marketing gold and a bit distracting to think about.


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