HiRes.jpgLanding pages are indispensable for success digital campaigns. It helps people easily confirm they are in the right place after searching and clicking on an ad, and a landing page helps track macro and micro conversions.

A landing page is where people “land” due to advertising (AdWords, emails, direct mail, TV commercials). A landing page is not your website’s home page. Your home page is too generic and full of choices. Effective landing pages make it abundantly clear what the person should do after showing interest by clicking to the page or calling up the URL. It matches the offer in the marketing and makes the path easy to follow to the next step.  Any of the next steps, or conversions, can be clicked for more info, to watch a video, download a white paper or subscribe to a newsletter. Or, the person can move to the final conversion of buying, scheduling a tour or signing up.

The most effective landing pages are conversion rich pages that guide the target audience smoothly from the advertising (emails, AdWords, etc) to content that supports the message in the marketing. The graphic look, the offer and all associated titles and materials must appear to match the advertising that enticed them to the landing page.

The landing page is simply a focus point. An area where you are only concerned with getting a conversion, not with all the noise that is involved in designing your web home page. In other words, your landing page is a clear, call-to-action page.

And, because everyone who visits your landing page is at a different stage of the sales journey, you need different levels of engagement to make sure they convert and move to the next state.  Developing a journey map and sales path will help your customers, members and patients navigate the next step of their journey.

I’m an Instagram fan. You don’t have to be an active uploader of images to enjoy this social media app. When you have extra time, this is a wonderful way to fill it with something that will cause you to smile, laugh, cry or be inspired. I follow NASA and the International Space Station. I follow NatGeo and my daughter. It connects you and amazes you throughout the day.Screenshot_2016-06-24-12-21-39

Instagram is a great app, but it’s also becoming an even better advertising vehicle with a high engagement rate. Instagram recently topped 500 million users.

Even more impressive is that Forrester reported that Instagram is the “king of engagement.” Its user interaction with brand fans and followers is at 4.21%. Facebook is only 0.7%.

For organizations, it is great way to communicate quickly with audiences as well. Nonprofits can ask all board members to sign on and send photos or video clips of organization events and special occasions. It’s a great way for a family group to keep up with the day’s activities without sorting through a long Facebook feed.

I don’t believe Instagram will replace Twitter for news and breaking news, but it does have all the entertainment value, low cost of entry and ease of use that should keep it growing as a social medium. And if that is not enough, it is owned by Facebook.

If you are not an Instagram user, try downloading the app and following NASA and NATGEO. And prepare to consider the stars and our own planet in a deep and meaningful way.

Instagram chart

Football season is in full swing. If you are a fan, you’ve probably watched a game or two the old-fashioned way–on television. And don’t expect that to change much any time soon.NFL football sitting with piles of dollars on AstroTurf

For all the talk of the big tech companies making a big play for high-end content, the names on the NCAA and NFL contracts are very familiar (ESPN, CBS, FOX, NBC). What you don’t see are Google, Apple, Facebook or Instagram. And that is not likely to change for the next 7 or so years. The signing of the Big 10 deal with FOX and ESPN shows public media marketing that the “sports rights bubble shows no sign of bursting.”

  • Big 10 FOX/ESPN* ($2.6 billion) ends 2023
  • Pac 10 FOX/ESPN ends 2024
  • Big 12 ESPN/FOX ends 2025
  • ACC ESPN ends 2028
  • SEC CBS/ESPN ends 2034
  • NCAA College Football Playoff ESPN ($7.3 billion) ends 2025
  • NCAA March Madness CBS/Turner ($10.8 billion) ends 2025
  • NFL CBS/FOX/NBC ($27 billion) ends 2022
  • MLB FOX/ESPN/Turner ends 2021
  • NBA Turner/ESPN/ABC ($24 billion) ends 2025
  • NHL NBC ends 2020
  • Olympics NBC ($7.65 billion) ends 2032

This does not mean that big tech firms will not experiment with the broadcast partners. Twitter will have steaming rights to 10 NFL games for the price of only $1 million a game. And you may end up watching your games on your living room TV, your iPad or your phone. But the big broadcast players continue to control the content for now.

*CBS retains the Big 10 basketball championship game

We all can agree Apple knows how to market products. We all marvel at its advertising for the iPad, iPhone and other innovative products. Yet it is Apple’s brand follow-through in all it does that is truly monumental. IMG_1384

To me, Apple’s brand core word is “simple.” You see it in the design of its products and national advertising. But there is also a real human side to Apple’s advertising: From featuring actual iPhone customers’ photos on its billboards to its approach to everyday uses in its ads, Apple is firmly connected to people’s lives. This approach allows Apple to apply its brand so that the mundane becomes super well done.

You certainly see this connection to how people actually think and feel in Apple’s packaging. And this nod to humanity is also apparent on a temporary wall erected in Des Moines to hide the remodeling inside an Apple store. Even this detail is not too small for Apple to share a simple, yet sophisticated, humanized message. Even the black background is arresting and provides a high contrasting, easily-seen canvas in a mall full of colors and distractions.

Simple design, simple message, complex brand identity. As a marketer, Apple is worth watching on every level and every opportunity.



Thanks to our marketing marine picket, Monte Bowden for this photo and the insight to take it.   

There’s a new business model, born out of the fact that speed thrills. Zara, a fashion retail store, is disrupting the industry not with digital prowess, but by changing the store timeline. 19001

I heard of Zara at a healthcare marketing conference in Chicago. Jeremy Gutsche, the author of Better and Faster, was a keynote speaker. He talked about how Zara is an unconventional business model and that it removes so much of the typical retail risk of carrying slow-moving inventory. The company restocks it’s stores twice a week, not twice a year. Zara also is quick to respond to customer input collected by sales associates in the stores. This close-to-the-customer approach is providing direct input to the designers.

The owner of Zara surpassed Warren Buffet to become the second richest man in the world. The secret to his wealth comes from designing, producing, distributing and selling its collection of clothing in only 4 weeks. Other retails take months to complete the same process. Low inventory that is constantly changing and attracting repeat shoppers (because there is something new every 2 weeks) is marketing genius.

Zara is known as the “fast fashion” outlet. Its marketing goal is to stay extremely close to the customer and to make fast changes based on customer information and trends. Speed thrills. It can disrupt other competitors just by changing the model.


After the horrendous weekend of shootings in Chicago, many news organizations rushed to cover the May 17-30 events. Most did the same typical coverage, but The New York Times took a new approach which may usher a new day for news coverage.New York times map that shows when and where shootings occured

If you’re searching for this, look for “A Weekend in Chicago.” The scrolling story is a mixture of edited video, a print story, still photography, graphics and finally, an animated graphic at the end of the story. The story itself looks like a website. The animated graphic shows the shootings on a map of Chicago in chronological order to demonstrate where and when the shootings occurred.

It is a comprehensive in-depth look at the people involved and the city trying to deal with the problem. I found myself going back to the story several times as I tried to come to grips with the 64 victims shot in one weekend in a Midwestern city.

There are no reported results from the story, however, the use may have implications for years to come. The use of multi-media within a story made the coverage feel totally inclusive, eye-opening and emotionally engaging. The story, and the way it was presented, drew me back to it again and again. I was seeing a new kind of journalism that is not encumbered by space (limited column inches) or time (a typical news package is about 1 minute and 30 seconds long). The focus seemed to be on telling a complete story—not filling time or space in a news hole. If that’s the future, journalism is going to find a new golden age.

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.