One of my predictions for 2020 is that this will be the year of the robot. I’m not thinking about the takeover of humans, but I don’t think robots will become en vogue as a status symbol and influencer. 20191020_204300

As I walked through a crowded mall area of a Vegas casino, I stumbled on a simple bar called the Tipsy Robot. The company describes itself as a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience where guests can enjoy technology of the future. There is no waving down a bartender or wait staff. You order from tablets and watch the show. It was fun, fast and the drinks were good. More importantly, it drew a crowd. Much like the crowd I saw at the National Association of Broadcasters meeting surrounding a robotic camera that followed the action (without a camera person) and did a little robot dance.

The robot at the Tipsy Robot can mimic the movements and actions of a bartender, from shaking a martini to the thin slicing of a lemon garnish. It can even mud a mojito.

The robots are coming, and they have some marketing power humans don’t have. 20191020_204310



For many of us, budget time runs October through January. Investing in marketing seems to be difficult for most organizations. Yet with digital it should be getting easier in some ways.

budgeting for 2020

Besides the decision on human resources or outsourcing, there are bigger decisions around channels: How many channels, who will develop the content, who will maintain the dialogue, what are the conversions?  It’s so much more than a dollar figure and body.

Even the top reason from Kantar has the word “research” attached. Did you also budget for research to make sure you have the right channels for the right audiences? Yes, it is budgeting time, but without research to set the benchmark, it will be hard to move the needle in 2020.

Change and disruption are still on tap for marketers going into 2020. If you were looking for some breathing room, go talk to your Alexa for help.

user experience in next 5 years

In a recent UserZoom report, user experience efforts are providing real value to enterprise organizations. There was a nearly 10% increase over last year’s report about the value of UX as a competitive difference.

You can see the listing of user experience value going forward, but what struck me in the data is that 34% of enterprise organizations conduct regular UX research. Some are collecting this data on a weekly basis. The majority of the research was conducted on website and mobile app channels.

Voice activation, which has been reported on extensively in this blog, moved to the No. 2 position. Even though robotics are relatively low on the list, I still feel this has a huge marketing opportunity. People are ready to embrace a robotic future — from surgery to drink making.


Thank you for reading this blog. I appreciate the feedback and dialogue around all the marketing topics. I’m especially thankful for your time. Now let’s eat.  Small girl having fun while about to bite a roasted turkey on Thanksgiving.

According to a study by the Integer Group and reported in Marketing Charts, sponsorships are growing in terms of popularity and results. sponsorships chart by event

The study found that sponsorships are working. From 2011 to 2019, 58% of people surveyed found that sponsorships were slightly influential or highly influential. The people who reported highly influential doubled from 2011 to 2019.  “Successful execution is directly tying the brand and sponsorship together so that the borrowed equity is maximized,” said the study.

You also need to keep in mind the gender preferences for sponsorships. Men rate football as the top sponsorship opportunity; women prefer community/local events as the No. 1 sponsorship.

No matter what event you sponsor, it must be more than a check exchange and a logo displayed.


There are a ton of football games on any given week. In the NCAA football games, you’ll see colleges advertising their institutions, but the audience for television is missing teens who are rapidly pulling from traditional TV and headed to other video sources. TV viewing for Teens

Making reaching teens even more difficult is the fact that teens are more influenced by friends, influencers (bloggers, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat) than by their family members, celebrities or athletes. So if that TV ad is targeted at parents, it is probably not working either.

The Piper Jaffray annual survey found that Apple is a leader with teens, and 86% say that the iPhone is their next phone. More than 50% of teens say Amazon is their top online shopping destination. Nike is No. 2.  Eighty-five percent of teens surveyed use Instagram, and 81% use Snapchat. Only 31% say they use Facebook. teens influencers 2019.JPG

Teens have always been outliers of marketing, even when we didn’t want to believe it. The change in influencers leading purchase decisions will really impact college decision-making in the future.


According to Sarah Feldman at Statista, internet advertising will account for more than 50% of ad spending in the next three years. chartoftheday_19438_forecasted_ad_spending_n

Internet advertising is beating all growth expectations, and the landscape is looking one-sided from a category perspective.

What this means is that you must make sure the goal of your campaign is singular and crystallized. For example, with digital you can’t promote consumer perception ratings and form fills and viewership conversions and general branding (you never could in crowded newspaper ads either, but you didn’t have the data to show).   

Now we have the data and the results. Narrow your messaging and conversions, or you’ll find the digital age will eat all your money and deliver poor results.  That’s not a prediction. That is a fact going forward.