Let’s do a Skype call, and then along came Zoom…

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Of all the COVID-CAPERS dear reader, the choice of video conferencing tools has been one of the most fascinating. As are the skills of first-time home workers – here is the No.1 Rule for using video when working from home.

But, for as long as I can remember, Skype has been the go-to software for video calls, be they business conference or just to have a social chat – though FaceTime is popular for personal conversations. Skype has been the journalist’s friend on news channels forever. It has become so common, it isn’t regarded as unusual to watch and listen to a journalist in far-flung lands or war zones reporting via Skype on the nightly news.

But then along came COVID-19 and right behind it, along came Zoom.

You’re probably like me folks and have used Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, Whatsapp and other tools to make video calls or for video conferences. But for the life of me, since the COVID-CRISIS emerged, I’ve not been involved in a single Skype video call.

My students are using Houseparty to keep in touch. I’m teaching via Zoom and Teams, and my family is connecting via Zoom and Whatsapp. Unfortunately, there are so many posts on social channels of Zoom screens filled with multiple faces, the images are working against their purpose. Many articles are being ignored because the image is a signal saying “nothing new here” and it turns people off.

Is it just me or has Skype missed the boat? Maybe I’m isolated (to use a current word) from lots of Skype users? What’s your technology of choice?

Though one thing’s for sure – Just as Xerox is the generic word for photocopying and Band-Aid is the generic word for medical adhesive bandage, so too Zoom will become the generic term for a video conference call.

Let’s set up a Zoom call” or “Let’s Zoom” will be the standard. And the brand that used to own the generic term – Skype – won’t ever get the high ground back again.

I wonder what Mazda is going to do now? Zoom Zoom…

And if you would like to chat: Skype: malcolm.auld1

Professional pie purveyor proudly pays people, poo-pooing PIVOT posers…

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There’s nothing like a global financial crisis, or new technology, even a pandemic to release the jargon-monkeys and cyber-hustlers from their lairs. Like a zombie invasion, they just appear from nowhere, spraying unsubstantiated platitudes and buzzwords-aplenty to position themselves as knowing not what we know, but more and better secret stuff.

And the COVID-CRISIS has them appearing in droves. Buzzwords are spreading like a… well you can guess how fast they’re spreading dear reader.

One of the most popular and unnecessary buzzwords you’re probably hearing is “PIVOT”. It is spoken in revered tones, as if it explains some miracle new COVID business strategy. The word gained notoriety in the book “The Lean Startup”. The premise is simple – it must be, as I teach a capstone subject at university based entirely on the book. It is good guide for inexperienced young entrepreneurs who don’t have much marketing expertise.

In jargonised terms, find a problem that needs to be solved, then start solving it with a (digital) Minimum Viable Product – known buzzwordingly as a MVP. (not Most Valuable Player as MVP has been known for decades in the sporting world). The MVP is partially developed and tested in the market. It is then reiterated (further developed) based on how customers/prospects in the market use the MVP. This technique, a common function of basic marketing, is labelled “Build, Measure, Learn”. True – it even has its own acronym – BML.

Eventually, after lots of testing and learning – sorry BML – when you have a well-developed MVP (Maximum Viable Product?) that appears to have commercial potential, you raise funds to develop it fully and launch the business to the market. Instagram started this way. The subtle difference in the start-up world is that you don’t start the business by creating the final product and launch it to the market.

Instead, you create a MVP, then BML, reiterate, test and learn some more, reiterate and BML again until the final product is in sight. In the real world this is the part of marketing called product development. For decades it was known as dry-testing. Marketers advertised different versions of products, with different features, then produced them based on customer feedback – known as sales and research.

We’re doing some BML on our MVP…

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people caused this practice to stop (sounds digitally-familiar) so you can no longer advertise a product that isn’t in stock, as a way of testing the market. Yet you can sell an incomplete digital product that may or may not deliver what it claims, as it’s still being reiterated using BML.

But here’s the big reveal. If the final solution you invent is different to the first solution for the problem you identified as needing to be solved, you are deemed to have “pivoted”. That’s right folks – if you change direction and develop a different product to your original intention, or create one that solves another problem, you say you’ve pivoted. You haven’t just developed a product as part of your product development. Instead, you use a jargoniser to explain this simple business function.

I’m sure the scientists at 3M screamed at the top of their lungs ‘we have pivoted‘ when they discovered they could apply one invention to another product, that was eventually branded as Post-it Notes.

So what has this to do with pies I hear you ask?

Well, an old school mate of mine owns a pie shop up the hill from my place. I dropped in last week to see how his business was coping in the pandemic. He greeted me with a big grin. Business was booming and he’s employing people.

The reason is simple. Thanks to the lock-down, he’s now selling lots more family pies and quiches than usual, so he displays more of them in the store. And, he has a chalk board outside his store advertising “Family Pies & Quiches”. “What a PIVOT!” I hear you shout dear reader.

He is also supplying family pies to a bunch of butchers, so they have additional products to sell. “What another brilliant PIVOT” I hear you shout again. You’re probably musing “he’s a marketing genius to PIVOT like that”.

My local craft brewer and gin distillery (you have one, don’t you?) is selling less beer during the pandemic, as pubs are closed. The market has temporarily shrunk. So it is using its equipment to do what it has always done – manufacture products to sell to consumers profitably.

Yes folks, there is a short-term demand for hand sanitizer, so like many breweries and distillers, the company is using ingredients in their equipment to make sanitizer and sell it to consumers. Hold yourself back dear reader, I know you just want to shout “What a PIVOT!” But it’s simply another day at the office.

Marketers either seize opportunities or solve problems – best if they can do both at the same time, as there is less sale/marketing cost. So these pie purveyors, brewers, distillers and many other manufacturers, are simply doing what they are supposed to do – create and sell stuff to customers profitably.

It’s not rocket science. It’s not a PIVOT. It doesn’t need a jargoniser to explain itself. It’s just the common sense business practice, known as “marketing”.

So if you hear some jargon-monkey use the word “PIVOT” in a meeting, please poo-poo them and save them from their follies. Ask them politely to stop using buzzwords. If you’re in a video conference and they refuse, maybe mute them or place a funny filter over their face. If they insist on preferring PIVOT, ask them to leave the industry – they are just not meant for it – and it’s for their own good.

When we return to face-to-face meetings (I can’t wait for a conference-room gathering) you might have a jargon-monkey in there with you. The best way to make them stop posing with PIVOT, is simple. Grab a copy of The Lean Startup, pivot in your chair, and clip them over the ear with the book. If they don’t get the message – just ask them to leave the industry – see previous paragraph.

The same goes for people who claim they have a side-hustle. If you’re a hustler, leave now! You’re not wanted in any industry. You’re just freelancing, nothing new. My former boss, David Ogilvy, used to encourage staff to freelance as it broadened their experience – as long as it didn’t interfere with their salaried job at O&M.

When I was a National Marketing Manager at TNT I freelanced as a copywriter and marketing consultant – more than 30 years ago. It wasn’t a side hustle – it was freelancing. Still is. Doesn’t need a buzzword to pretend it’s something special or different. When jargon-monkeys use such weasel words they expose themselves for the fakes they’re pretending not to be. So please help the poor sods and educate them.

Hmmm, gotta go as I’m getting hungry. Will grab some of last night’s leftovers. No I’ve changed my mind, I’ll have a pie. I’ll heat it up while doing some copywriting. Wow, a PIVOT and SIDE-HUSTLE in one move. Bloody genius…

The #1 Rule when working from home – trim your nasal hairs…

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To say the world has gone mad in the last couple of months is an understatement. People stabbing each other in supermarkets while fighting over toilet paper, food hoarding on a scale that assumes a ten-year apocalypse, and most recently, seemingly sensible intelligent adults struggling with the concept of working from home.

Fisticuffs in aisle 3…

From some of the comments I’ve read, you’d think people have been asked to solve the vaccine for COVID-19 from their kitchen, rather than do what they do on a computer most days, except in their home, not their office.

I declare inside knowledge here. I’ve been working from a home office for most of this century. I said ‘most of this century’ because it sounds even longer than ‘the last two decades’. In fact, I have worked from 5 different home offices in that time. Though to call some of those offices a ‘home office’ is stretching the truth. In a couple of cases, they were just desks in the corner with my computer on them.

My current purpose-built home-office accommodates my bride and myself. We work in two entirely different businesses and are seated at a comfortable 6′ of social distance. We’ve been socially distancing from each other for years, so to speak. We hardly speak to one another during the day and neither of us wears noise-cancelling headphones. We just get on with our business, blithely ignoring one another.

So given my expertise in this matter of working from home, I thought I’d share some tips to the virgin home workers out there who have been caught on the hop by COVID-19.

The first rule is quite simple, and it will help when you start to use video calls more frequently: Trim your nose hair!

You can see evidence of home-based conference-call virgins making this mistake every day on TV. A news presenter crosses to someone talking into their Skype or whatever app they have on their laptop. Inevitably the ‘correspondent’ talks into their computer’s camera looking down into it and close up – just to make sure they can be seen. This results in everyone who is watching the program staring straight up into the dark reaches of the speaker’s nostrils – and it is not a good look at all, ever.

Don’t sit too close to the camera…

Organise your camera so you are talking directly at it or slightly up into it, particularly if you are talking at close range.

Start your day with a routine, as if you are going to work at your office. One executive I know starts his day the same as always. He showers, eats breakfast and dresses for work. He hops in his car, drives down to his local cafe and buys a takeaway coffee, then returns home and walks into his office as if he has arrived at work. Even hangs up his coat.

In my household, I do the drop-off to school or bus stop, while my bride takes the dog for a walk. On return, I grind the beans and make the coffee. We have a quick chat about what’s planned for the day and then go to our desk, or head off to meetings. We both dress smartly, as we have clients come to our home for meetings, as well as couriers delivering parcels.

We eat lunch separately as we have different dining habits. If one of us is heading out we check deadlines so we can manage the afternoon shift of teens arriving home. We shop daily rather than a big weekly shop, as it provides a social opportunity to get out of the house.

The teens are told not to enter the office during business hours as we are working. They generally stick to this rule unless they need to use the printer or have a homework question.

When our teens were toddlers we used a combination of tag-team parenting, day-care and for a short while an au pair. Curiously, the lady who managed my son’s day-care centre left to set-up a doggy day-care centre. She’s now much happier, wealthier and our pup even goes there on rare occasions – I’m obviously in the wrong business, as the doggy day-care has a waiting list.

My pup thinks she’s a big dog when she goes to doggy day-care…

One word of warning. Those friends who don’t work from home can assume that because you work from home, you are not working. They suspect you are free to do any favour they want, as they are working in an office, in a proper job. So you’ll get a call or text to pick up a child, mind a child til they get home, sign for a parcel, pick up some groceries when you go shopping for yourself, let in a tradie (and watch over them), put their garbage bins out and who knows what else?

You need to use all your diplomatic skills when these requests arrive. I call it on-the-job training and professional development in negotiation skills.

Be careful of your backdrop when doing video calls. Let’s assume you’re not sitting in your pyjamas and are dressed appropriately, then position yourself so you have a blank wall or maybe a bookshelf behind you. If you have pets or young children, lock them (safely) in another room while you’re on the call. And be wary of background noises that you may have become accustomed to, but a microphone amplifies when on a call.

As well as looking up my nose you can see my washing basket behind me…

If you don’t have a dedicated office, try to create a separate space you can leave alone, even if it’s a corner desk. You don’t want your work files overtaking the dining table and you need to have a way of shutting off at the end of the work day.

Try to keep your office space separate and tidy…

One bonus of working from home is you can generally find an hour in the day to exercise or go to the gym, or enjoy a lazy-person workout in the sauna or steam. Even better, you can go during the day when the gym is quieter, so you can be more productive with your exercise regime. Though in these current times, you may just go for a brisk walk, a run, or a surf if you live near the beach like I do.

Keep healthy snacks in reach and avoid trips to the fridge – just because it’s there doesn’t mean you need to open it and devour the contents. And yes, it’s Wine-O’clock somewhere in the world, but that doesn’t mean you pop a cork at 4pm each day, just because nobody’s watching.

It’s always Wine O’clock somewhere in the world…

Make sure you have regular external appointments and spend time face-to-face with clients, prospects, suppliers or even a coffee with a friend. Humans are social creatures by nature and like to interact with other humans. But when working from home, you can quickly become comfortable with your own company and isolate yourself from the rest of the world – only communicating via email and social channels with emojis to express yourself.

Set aside time during the day to access social media, news sites and other non-essential online distractions – and stick to the schedule. It’s too easy to ‘check-in’ on these platforms every few minutes. Before you know it you’ve wasted an hour looking at the same news and social channels you looked at an hour earlier. And nothing has changed, except you’ll never get that hour back.

Depending upon your job function, you’ll generally find you can get more done in less time working from home – as long as you minimise the distractions. And every day is ‘bring your pet to work day’ so that’s a good thing too:)

Gotta go now. It’s almost 4 o’clock and well you know, time for a…

What do we want? “Bog Rolls!” When do we want them? “Now!”

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Well folks, just when you thought the world couldn’t get any stranger, along comes the Corona Virus, or COVID-19 as it’s technically known, to reveal an insight into humanity.

And while it is tragic that people are dying from this virus, the behaviour of humans during these early stages is curious to say the least. I promise to spare you from any puns in this story as I share examples.

Example A: Sales of Corona Beer are either declining rapidly or on the rise, depending which “news” you read. If sales are declining, one has to wonder how a significant mass of people assumed the virus was transmitted by Corona Beer? I thought beer drinkers were educated folk? The brewer has called on that famous beer connoisseur Snoop Dogg, to save the day and restore sales via a celebrity-driven campaign called “La Vida Mas Fina.”

Snoop Dogg selling Corona

Example B: In a complete act of madness, Australians have gone totally bonkers and are hoarding toilet paper, also known as bog rolls, bum fodder, poop mittens and other terms. The populace has also gone stupid for hand sanitizer, wipes of all varieties, paper towels, baked beans (maybe to fill the bog rolls?) and other dried foods.

Toilet paper madness…

This just goes to prove a couple of marketing adages:

1. People are firstly, and only, interested in themselves. WIIFM Rules OK!

When people see a marketing message they subconsciously ask “What’s In It For Me? It’s why your message must be clear and demonstrate in simple terms, what’s the benefit for the punters.

If you’re a fan of Maslow, this current behaviour fits right at the bottom of the pyramid – basic needs. In the case of the Corona Apocalypse, people have stocked up on basic food and sanitary items, without a care for others. Whole supermarket shelves have been decimated. Though I’m sure once people have stocked up and looked after themselves, they’ll have a square to spare. Unlike Elaine Benes who couldn’t get her cubical neighbour to share a square.

Can you spare a square?

2. People unquestionably follow crowds and group think

The mass stocking of bog rolls et al, was not something encouraged by government or news outlets. It occurred because people didn’t want to be left out – they wanted to follow the crowd and not get left behind. It’s one of our social needs – to be part of a group – and a major trigger behind tiered consumer products that give higher privileges, the higher up the tier you are eg Platinum or Black charge/credit cards. Never underestimate the power of FOMO.

Though the good thing about Doomsday behaviour, is that you only have to admit it if it suits the social situation. You don’t have to share your actions with anyone unless it gets you favourable comments.

This buying frenzy has caught manufacturers by surprise. These normally reliable bog roll producers are working around the clock to keep the paper rolls up to the public.

who gives a crap is working overtime…

Plenty of content, not enough rolls being produced…

But the weirdness does bring out the best in Australian humour.

Today the NT News – famous for its headlines, such as “Why I stuck a cracker up my clacker” and “They stole my dog while I was on the bog” – did a wonderful favour for the NT community. The newspaper printed an 8-page insert of single-ply toilet paper for readers. The pages come with a watermark map of Australia and perforations so you can tear individual squares. Bloody ingenious and very thoughtful given the current shortages.

NT News single-ply insert…

Am not sure which pub, but one is giving away a free bog roll with every Corona bought – solving two problems at once.

FREE toilet roll with every Corona

Meanwhile on Sydney radio – every caller who rang Jonesy and Amanda on WSFM this morning, and shared information about where to buy a bog roll, received a free roll and free hand sanitizer. #jonesyandamanda

Jonesy & Amanda doing their bit for the community…

My good mate The Brand Guy, Richard Sauerman got his staff bonus today…

A bog roll bonus…

While hopeful hustlers are trying to find the day’s sucker on eBay:

wanna pay more than $20 a roll?

And then there’s this bloke who is expanding his franchise:

Want to buy a franchise?

It often takes a crisis for innovation to arise and it’s good to see the Aussie intuition has risen to the occasion, despite the toilet humour:)

Gotta go now – so to speak. I wonder if we have any dunny paper???

Is ‘Scotty from Marketing’ threatening the future of marketing?

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I am very concerned dear readers. But first, for international readers of this missive, I need to give you some background.

An online newspaper – The Betoota Advocate – is one of the most refreshing and entertaining publications about daily life in Australia. You’ll hear Aussies say “How good is the Betoota Advocate?” though not, I suspect, will you hear it said by our Prime Minister.

You see, the paper has nicknamed him Scotty from Marketing – because in the PM’s earlier career, he worked in government departments that were responsible for Tourism marketing, though he never held a marketing role.

Scotty from Marketing is now a brand in itself…

It is an understatement to say the PM has not covered himself in leadership glory during the recent devastating bush fires in Australia. Consequently he is an easy target and ‘The Toot’ has done a fabulous job of branding him as Scotty from Marketing. The nickname has quickly entered the Aussie vernacular and is now used disparagingly by the PM’s political enemies and the Twitter Trolls who hate everything ‘conservative’. Consequently the hashtag #ScottyFromMarketing trends regularly whenever social media heats up.

Twitter – the home of the keyboard trolls…

But my concern is not political – it’s more important than politics. My concern is for the future of our industry.

The marketing/advertising industry is already one of the least trusted industries on the totem pole of consumer trust.

wanna buy some digital marketing??

The best selling marketing text of the past 24 months is BADMEN by Bob Hoffman, who is also one of the most in-demand marketing speakers at industry events. The book slams the disgraceful behaviour of the major digital marketing platforms such as Google, Facecrook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as the media agencies who book online advertising via programmatic platforms. It holds a mirror to the digital marketing industry and reflects a face of horrors.

Twitter is full of self-loathing for the industry, by those fed up with the cyber hustlers. Everywhere you look in the (digital) marketing landscape it’s charlatan-central. The industry is doing nothing to help improve consumer trust, let alone encourage people to start a marketing career.

Which leads me to my main concern – the decisions that final-year high school students are making about their future. If they are considering doing a marketing degree and Scotty from Marketing is perceived as the highest profile marketer in the country – what hope do we have of any young folk preferring marketing to make their mark?

Scotty and by association, marketers, are fast becoming the butt of jokes at BBQs, the pub, parties and other social gatherings. Social media is trashing marketers via Scotty. I’m concerned that university enrollments will plummet if the Toot keeps promoting Scotty from Marketing so well. The publication has done such a good job of branding the PM, it has created a serious dilemma!

I love the Betoota Advocate, but by promoting Scotty as a marketer, they may be killing off the future of marketing. I’m going to ask them to place a disclaimer against his image eg *not a real marketer.

Otherwise, the industry will have to do an advertising campaign promoting marketing as a worthwhile career and repositioning Scotty from Marketing as a just a lowly politician.

Although that is a problem in itself. Politicians are trusted more than marketers on the consumer trust rankings, so there’s no chance we could run a headline such as: “Trust me I work in marketing…”

Your thoughts please…

The humble radio was the most reliable media channel during the bush fire crisis…

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The shocking bush fires in Australia are now global news. We all hope they end soon – the loss of human life, wildlife and property is unprecedented and there’s nothing you can say to make things better. While the firefighters and other volunteers cannot be praised enough.

My family stayed with friends down the south coast of NSW over Christmas and New Year, and we were surrounded by some major fires, though never in high danger. But the smoke was incredibly thick every day.

We lost power for about 36 hours from noon on New Year’s Eve. Prior to turning in, we spent the night watching the tragedy unfold across the water at Lake Conjola – the fires were huge, even in the distance. Sadly, at least one life and 89 homes were lost, though we didn’t learn this until New Year’s Day.

The last of the blue sky at 3pm on NYE…

As someone who works in the advertising/media industry, I was curious to see how the fires and news were reported in the different media channels. When we had power in our home, the television was definitely the best media for up to date information, along with local ABC radio. The media briefings were all live on TV, as were updates from the fire services headquarters.

The internet was close to useless. It worked intermittently if at all, and if you could get a signal, pages sometimes took minutes to download and sometimes didn’t at all. I posted images on Instagram, but these took up to 6 hours for the image to go live from the time I posted it. We had three different brands of phone and three different service providers at our home and all failed, due to damaged cell towers and downed lines.

Even when you could access internet news sites they were behind with the news compared to radio and TV. The fire service apps were not always helpful due to lack of internet, but they were also regularly behind real time, sometimes 14 hours behind in terms of last update. Even worse and very confusing was social media. In attempts to be helpful, people would post messages of roads open or closed, or locations of fires. These were simply their opinions, not facts.

I heard one discussion on radio where the caller referred to a social post. It had completely the opposite information from the official information at the fire services headquarters, being supplied by firefighters on site. The radio host had to counter the caller’s comments as they were creating dangerous confusion. Turns out the social post was incorrect and could have cost lives if people had believed it. Fake news even in this crisis.

On New Year’s Day when we had no power or internet, or battery-operated radio, we sat in our cars and listened to the radio for updates. It was the only reliable media that never failed due to lack of power or internet. The information was delivered in real time and was very accurate.

The humble car radio was the best media for updates…

It also involved (or should that be ‘engaged’) lots of people in the community. People called to share local updates about safe havens, petrol and food availability and other useful information. Neighbours then shared the latest radio news with each other and checked on elderly people in the street to ensure they were OK.

Interestingly, the biggest complaint among those people who were trapped by closed highways but not in danger, was quite first-world – they complained about not having internet or phones. They felt helpless without them. If we didn’t have radio we would have been completely in the dark and clueless for information.

Once the power was restored the panic buying by those who were most likely leaving the area, left little for the locals. Maslow’s most basic needs on display in an ugly manner.

Panic buying by tourists stripped shelves leaving locals without…

The one thing we all agreed, we’re getting a battery-operated radio and spare batteries to store in our homes. You never know when such old-fashioned technology might come in handy…

World’s longest infographic uses fake facts to prove infographics don’t work…

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Well folks, another week and another bunch of fake facts and virtue signalling designed to create FOMO and con marketers into using the self-interested marketing miracle being touted.

And what is this week’s con? It’s an infographic promoting the virtues of video marketing (previously known as television advertising) but as advertisements produced on video now also run on digital channels, they must have a new name. Hence, video marketing.

Ironically, the promoters of video marketing, use an infographic to promote video marketing. They don’t use video to promote video marketing. Go figure?

But wait there’s more…

The video marketing infographic is roughly 21 feet long – that’s 6.5 metres – on my PC. And that’s before I ‘click to enlarge’ the screen. According to Digivizer we each scroll on average, 110 metres every day. So on its own, the world’s longest infographic is about 6% of your daily scrolling activity.

world’s longest infographic is at least 6.5 metres long…

But get this: one of the fake facts printed on the world’s longest infographic claims: “59% of executives prefer watching a video than reading the text content”.

So you have to ask the question: If the majority of the target audience allegedly doesn’t like reading, why publish the world’s longest infographic in the hope they’ll read it??

Another fake fact that will really amaze you – as it reveals human DNA has completely changed and the education problems of the world will now be easily solved. It’s this gem tucked away about one metre down the page:

“viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it through video”

Who knew? Certainly not the TV industry, as it would never have the audacity to make such a false claim. But hallelujah, the solution to modern education and the future of the planet is video marketing.

Here we are criticising our teenagers for spending too much time watching videos on small screens. How wrong are we? Apparently, teens are learning at levels beyond the capacity of any humans in history. Homo Sapiens have evolved.

After all, according to the world’s longest infographic, our kids are retaining 95% of what they watch on video! Education problems solved! The future of the human population is assured.

Thank goodness for video marketers.

Teenagers enjoy retaining 95% of every video they view…

Fake facts are dotted throughout the world’s longest infographic. Take this amazing claim: “video consumption through mobile devices rises by 100% every year.” That’s a lot of percentages – every year…

Or this one: “72% of customers prefer learning about a product or service through a video.”

I’m not sure what to believe, as according to The Word Of Mouth Association: “77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family.”

This must be what’s known as the WOM-Video Marketing Conundrum.

If you have a spare hour you can read the world’s longest infographic here.

But on a serious note…

I know video works – always has and always will – when designed well and when it reaches the right audience in the right channel.

But on all trust measurement surveys in the western world, marketing and advertising executives are the least or second-least trusted people on the planet.

Who do you trust – not advertising executives…

So if the marketing industry continues to lie to itself with self-interested promotions like the world’s longest infographic, what hope do we have of consumers ever trusting any messages we create?

These promoters of fake facts need to be removed from the industry, or at least their peers need to call them out and stop them from ruining the marketing industry’s already fragile reputation.

So I urge you, my fellow marketers, take action.

Marketers, take action…

Though I’m not holding my breath. A number of seemingly smart marketers ‘liked’ the world’s longest infographic when it was posted on social channels. Obviously, they are in the special 59% of the target audience and didn’t read it.

I’m off to change my data plan, I need more scrolling metres on my account…

Adidas marketers should run around a football field if they want to sell footwear…

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Given Adidas has admitted its mistake of over-investing in digital advertising, it might be worth revisiting this article:

With much fanfare, the marketing clerks at Adidas announced they are no longer going to advertise on TV, as their target market is young and allegedly doesn’t watch TV. Their Aussie brethren repeated that announcement again this week.

It seems Adidas will only use digital channels for marketing to these young folk – completely missing the larger audience of active sportspeople still playing football, netball, jogging and much more, well into their 50’s. These people also have more money than younger people and will spend it on all sorts of branded goods.

they’ll spend money on anything…

I declare a hand here. I was once paid a few shekels to play football and eventually played for 40 years, so have bought a shed-load of boots, running shoes and clothing. I am a qualified football coach and assistant rugby referee. I coached juniors until two years ago, advising parents on what boots to buy.

I attend my kid’s rugby, basketball and hockey games, participating in team management. So in summary, I am a parent of, and involved with, the young sportspeople Adidas want to reach – not to mention a lifetime sports gear customer and person who showered regularly in male sporting sheds. Though that’s not a vision you need right now.

I’ve also worked on creating ads for sports drinks and sporting goods retailers, so may have some semblance of an idea about the market. Hence my humble opinion via the following points:

Point 1:
Young folk do watch large screen TV, often with an iThingo in hand. They love to watch sport on TV, as well as on smaller devices. So they do see TV advertising.

Point 2:
The lads play FIFA on PS4 which is where they see some of the coloured footwear of different players. This may have some influence on their choices. They also attend professional sport as fans, so they see what their heroes are wearing. Interestingly, sport brands rarely have pop-up stores selling stuff at these matches – where are the brand activation folk?

Generally though, their footwear decision is influenced by the following three things:

  • What their mates are wearing – if someone turns up to pre-season training wearing the latest lime-green boots, then that’s what they all wear.
  • The expert in the shoe store – Foot Locker or Athlete’s Foot – who advise on the best boots/joggers for their feet/sport.
  • The cost of the damn shoes – governed by my (or their) wallet.

The delusion that the only way to reach young sportspeople is via digital channels, is farcical. One has to wonder, what’s in the sports kool-aid at Adidas?

My kids (and I) have worn Adidas, Nike, Tiger, Puma and Asics. They are not loyal to any single brand. I was never brand loyal either, though admittedly I did prefer the Adidas Predator boot in my twilight years.

Craig Johnston, Aussie inventor of The Predator and proud mullet wearer…

More importantly…

Point 3:
This younger generation is responsible for the single biggest consumer protest in history. Around 700 million of them have downloaded ad blocking software to their digital devices, specifially so they don’t get any (Adidas) advertising. So am not sure who the marketers at Adidas believe will see their digital ads?

Stop that digital advertising…

Obviously, to overcome the issue of digital advertising not working, Adidas will create content and brand experiences for their customers. But they will need to spend money to promote the promotion, so to speak. They cannot rely on social media or WOM.

I suspect Adidas will awaken from its folly in good time. Maybe they should speak with P&G to learn how they lost $Billions in sales, when they moved away from TV advertising to Facebook advertising? P&G returned to TV BTW.

I’m banking on Adidas moving to a “footpath graffiti” strategy. They’ll hire street artists to paint the footpaths of the cities with Adidas branding – digitally activated of course. This will allow them to capture the attention of all those young people walking around staring at their feet and the ground, while on their mobile phones.

When said punter steps on an Adidas brand image, a RFID message will be activated on their mobile, instantly offering branded content -not selling anything, because as we all know, selling in the digital world is evil. This will make the punter’s life more fabulous, so they will fall in love with the Adidas brand. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Gotta run – where are my Dunlop Volleys…

connect to me on the run: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/

FOMO, not social channel preference, drives social media usage on mobiles…

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Life used to be simpler. In the not-so-distant past you awoke, by whatever means, and depending upon your relationship might have had a cuddle or more intimate moment. Then you got out of bed and showered or had breakfast and prepared for the day.

Some of us were woken by radio, so we could listen to the news before, or as we started our day. Some even switched on a TV to catch the news – to see if any terrorist acts, wars, floods or famine occurred while you slept. It was a simple start to the day.

But things have become more complicated. Now it appears for many, the first thing we do when we awaken is “check our phones” – partners come a distant second on the priority list. And we’re not checking for missed phone calls, voicemail or even news.

No, we’re checking content on social media. Because as we all know, it’s the central repository for all things important. I’ve been fascinated by this behaviour and over the last four semesters teaching at university, I’ve discussed it with my students – tomorrow’s advertising and marketing legends.

We run a session in which we track ‘a day in the life of a consumer‘ in terms of the media they are exposed to throughout the day and how they interact (or ignore) with the various media channels. I’ve asked all my students “what is the first thing you do when you wake in the morning?

Almost 100% answer “check our phones“. Some will even do so before they relieve their full and bursting bladders.

But being the curious bugger I am – I probe deeper. “What do you check on your phones” I ask? “Social media” choruses the answer.

And deeper – “what channel do you check first“, I inquire?

And this is where it gets interesting. Many don’t know what channel they check. If that sounds strange, it’s not when you think about it.

Because they are not checking channels. They are checking notifications – and they check the channel with the most notifications first – after all, that’s the most activity they missed while asleep. Their FOMO drives the channel they check first.

wakey, wakey, rise n shine, get out of bed it’s FOMO time…

So, if a post on Instagram has lots of activity that triggers notifications, they check that channel first. Or if they are tagged in a Facebook exchange resulting in lots of notifications, Facebook is the first port of call.

Their choice of a channel has nothing to do with the preference for the channel and everything to do with their Fear Of Missing Out on something, such as their name being tagged in a photo. After all, this is way more important than any terrorist acts, wars, floods or famine – or intimacy with their partner.

You see, notifications present a dilemma. The more notifications they have, the further behind the social curve they are – and other people might notice. OMG! Emoji. Emoji. Emoji. Emoji. #hashtag

The implication of course, though not scientific, is they ignore any ads that appear in their feed, as they rush to get back to the head of their social position. It also means marketers cannot assume people scroll through their feeds in a linear fashion, taking in all the messages that appear from friends and marketers, casually accommodating notifications.

If the consumer you are trying to reach is highly popular, they may never see your advertising – as they have no interest in anything but processing their notifications. But there is an easy way to know – test.

I suspect a few of you wise readers have occasionally been guilty of FOMO created by your phone? It’s not really a good reflection on human nature, is it? But I’m not trying to make you feel guilty – rather, reflect.

It also appears from a marketing point of view, the more you can get your customers tagging and hashtagging your message, the more chance you have of maybe, possibly, being noticed on a social channel on a mobile – maybe.

Then again, you could just call customers on their phone – that’s such a rarity these days you’re bound to beat the FOMO barrier.

Gotta go – my phone just pinged and it’s obviously vitally important that I drop everything. WOW, it’s a meeting notification. Maybe I should screenshot it and share for everyone to see…

How your LinkedIn connections can lose you business…

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Prior to the invention of social media, your business card holder, Rolodex, or contact list was private property. Only you used the file and nobody else had access to it. Certainly, nobody could see who you were ‘connected’ to in your business life. It was your personal property and quite a valuable asset.

But then along came social media – and in the business world, LinkedIn.

Now, everyone you are connected to on LinkedIn is public property. You’re encouraged to make your contacts public knowledge, even praise them with ‘endorsements’ and promotion of their ‘skills’. The LinkedIn computers use algorithms to prompt you to connect with people, based on the profiles of your current connections.

Even worse, these machines suggest you wish your ‘connections’ happy birthday or happy anniversary – something most executives would never do if they didn’t have the online connection.

Almost everything you do on LinkedIn is public. Nothing is private any more. And that’s why you can lose business.

In my early days of creating a LinkedIn network, I decided to try a few of the ‘tools’. A client of mine (let’s call her Josie) with whom I’d worked a number of times in different roles in her career, asked me to recommend her on LinkedIn, as she was looking for a new role. I was a reference on her resume and had spoken with recruiters when she applied for previous roles. I thought “why not” – though I was a tad concerned about the public nature of my endorsement. But that’s just me.

So I wrote a glowing endorsement of her skills and expertise, and thought nothing more about it.

Once Josie started in a new role, she decided to review her agencies and invited my agency, along with others with whom she’d worked over the years, to present our credentials based on a real brief.

Obviously the incumbent agency wasn’t happy at the possibility of losing this piece of business. The principal of the agency, who I know well, checked Josie’s LinkedIn profile and noticed my recommendation.

He immediately contacted Josie’s boss and argued that the ‘pitch process’ was not a level playing field given the obvious relationship between Josie and myself. The boss agreed and Josie called me to say my agency was not allowed to pitch – despite the fact she has the upmost integrity and was reviewing more than one agency she had worked with previously. There was no guarantee my agency would get any business from her.

If I had simply remained a reference on her resume, this would never have happened. But because of the public nature of content on LinkedIn profiles, my endorsement had cost me a valuable business opportunity.

I’ve discussed this with others and they have had similar problems, where naive executives make decisions based on a few words in a LinkedIn profile. It’s why many of my C-Level contacts aren’t even on LinkedIn – they don’t need to be. And they don’t want others to know who is in their business network.

It’s why I no longer give public recommendations or endorsements to anyone on LinkedIn, though I do offer to be a reference as needed. For me, it’s not worth the loss of business or potential damage to my reputation.

This is certainly something none of the Linkfluencers and other fake LinkedIn ‘thought leaders‘ will share with you – as it’s not in their interest to do so. You may have a different experience dear reader, I suspect it’s horses for courses.

I have to go now and contact a bloke about a pitch – where’s my business card holder???

Oh, I nearly forgot – if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/