FREE Book reveals the COVID Snake-Oil marketing cures are nothing new…

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I have a Kiwi mate dear reader, Henry Newrick, who decided to put the current lock-down to some good use. Mind you, New Zealand (like Australia) is a good place to be if you’re trying to avoid COVID-19.

Henry is a long time publisher and entrepreneur. He’s worked for more than 50 years in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the USA, so he’s seen his share of crises.

He has put together a small publication (72 pages) consisting of advertisements, cartoons, comic strips and headlines – all about the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918/1919.

For example here’s the ad that probably prompted the Trumpster to recommend disinfectant as a cure for COVID-19:

Maybe we could inject a disinfectant – The Trumpster

Most people think that the Spanish Flu originated in Spain. This was not so and the first recorded case was on March 11, 1918 a long way from Spain. This was exactly 8 months to the day before the end of World War 1 on November 11. Henry provides the details in his book.

Of course in 1918 there were not the communications that we have today, nor the medical facilities to treat the very ill. As a result the final death toll was somewhere between 50-100 million – a figure much greater than all the dead and wounded in the War. The exact numbers killed by the Spanish Flu will never be known.

Today’s snowflakes would not have coped in this quarantine…

The current whinging by seemingly sane adults about the struggles with lock-down makes you wonder about their capacity for work. I’ve seen posts for motivational podcasts, tips for “surviving’ the lock-down, guides for success and a stream of COVID-CRAP – how would today’s snowflake executives have survived the Spanish Flu?

And just as the COVID-CYBER-HUSTLERS have flooded our inboxes with digital snake-oil, so to the Spanish Flu was a great time for the snake-oil salesmen to come out in force with all sorts of treatments to either ward off getting the flu or to cure it if already afflicted.  Here are just a few of the products whose advertisements can be found in Henry’s book.

  • Eat more Onions (one of the best preventatives for influenza)
  • Veno’s Cough Mixture (prevents Spanish Flu deaths!)
  • Jeye’s Fluid (the ideal disinfectant – guards against influenza)
  • Wampole’s Paraformic Lozenges (guard against Spanish Influenza)
  • Eat More Candy, Have less Flu
  • Milton Kills the Influenza Germs
  • Escape the Flu with a New Edison
  • Gin Pills to beat the flu
  • Dr Pierce’s Pleasant Pellets (cleans your mouth, skin and bowels)
  • Foley’s Honey and Tar (spreads warmth)
  • Drink Bovril (liquid life that prevents influenza and colds)
  • Take Cascara Quinine (at the first sign of influenza)

You’ll also recognise that BIG DATA is nothing new – it’s just new to marketers who didn’t use data prior to the internet. Mind you, most cannot get their small data right, let alone the BIG stuff.

BIG DATA showing curve flattening in 1918-19

To get your FREE copy of “Classic Ads, Cartoons, Comics & Headlines – The Spanish Flu” just click on this link.

You don’t fill in any forms, no data is kept by me. But you will notice Henry’s also published the 6 volume set of Classic Ads (www.ClassicAds.org) which runs to more than 3,300 pages. You can buy that from Henry if you like.

And once again I’m reminded of George Santayana, the Spanish Philosopher who is famously quoted as saying:

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it

And Henry Newrick proves him right again.

Study your marketing history folks and you’ll be way more successful…

Cut COVID-Capers, focus fully on the fundamentals you must…

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I’m no die-hard Star Wars fan, but was just told that International Star Wars Day is next week, so thought I’d say what Yoda would probably say in this crazy marketing world we are living in.

I’ve been asked to republish a popular article I wrote last year, mainly due to the embarrassing plethora of fake COVID marketing experts pushing their ‘expertise”  since the pandemic started. So many people are complaining about these bandwagon-jumpers.

Ever since we were placed in lock down we’ve been inundated with COVID-CRAP by ‘experts’ espousing the miracles required for marketing in a Corona virus world. In some cases in markets where people have no income and the retails stores are closed and do not provide online services, so commercial activity has stopped.

Yes, the world has temporarily changed, but if you stick to the fundamentals of marketing and do them well – which many marketers don’t do in the good times – you’ll get through this difficult time.

You might have to reconsider how you deliver or configure your product or service, or even create new products – as I explained last week. Even better, why not review all your marketing activity and start to plan for the inevitable reopening of society.

Regardless, just remember these simple rules of thumb and you’ll do OK:

The three goals of your marketing communications – and there are only three…

  • Acquire new customers
  • Get customers to spend more money with you more often
  • Get customers to keep spending with you for as long as possible.

If your marketing communications are not helping you achieve one or more of these goals, you’re probably wasting your money, regardless of the media channels or vanity metrics you use.

The two ways of marketing – and there are only two…

  • Mass marketing
  • Direct marketing

Mass Marketing – you communicate with as many consumers* as possible for the lowest media cost, to position your brand in the mind of the consumer, so they consider it when they are in the market to buy – online or offline. Generally used in broadcast, print, outdoor and some online channels. Messages are aimed at generating either a think, feel or do response.

Direct Marketing – any marketing communication delivered directly to individual consumers* or to which they respond directly to you. All responses are measured and there is always an exchange of either data or dollars – online or offline. Generally used in broadcast, mail, email, telephone, print, events, social, search, mobile and online channels. For example, give me your email address (data) and I’ll give you a newsletter, or give me your credit card details (dollars) and I’ll sell you some wine.

*Consumers is generic for both prospects and customers

The two reasons people use the internet – and there are only two…

  • To save time
  • To waste time

That’s it. You need to design your website, landing page, email, social channels, apps etc to make it easy for your customers and prospects to either save time, or to waste time, depending upon their reason for visiting.

Saving or wasting time?

There’s no such thing as a customer journey – just two contact strategies…

People don’t go on customer journeys. This is a marketing buzzword designed to make the user sound sophisticated – it’s complete bollocks. There are only two contact strategies to use, and they’re linked to the most relevant touch-points. After all, a prospect isn’t a customer until they buy something:

  • Prospect contact strategy – to generate new customers
  • Customer contact strategy – to keep profitable customers and generate referrals

Marketers determine the most appropriate touch-points to reach prospects and customers, then communicate as necessary in the most effective channels for those touch-points. These touch-points can be mapped for easier visual interpretation. This mapping is why folks mistakenly call it a journey. Map-journey, get it?

For example, a prospect may identify themselves by responding to an advertisement by telephone, downloading a white paper from a website, or at a trade show. This is the beginning of the prospect contact strategy designed to get them to either request a presentation (if required), to trial the product/service, or to buy. This can involve lots of channels, some of which can be automated.

Once the prospect becomes a customer, they join the customer contact strategy. This involves communicating with personal messages designed to create a positive customer experience, encourage loyalty, obtain referrals and generate further sales.

The customer contact strategy can also be divided into two separate executions. One execution is linked to the date the product or service is bought and includes messaging around warranty, service, renewal, upgrade and the like.

The other execution is linked to time of year and includes messaging such as monthly newsletter, seasonal offers, event invitations and more.

Obviously, the customer contact strategy uses more personal media channels including; face-to-face meetings, mail, telephone, email and social channels. And all the while, there is the 24/7 continual flow of marketing content on blogs, websites and social channels, as well as advertising.

People DON’T go on customer journeys…

The numbers that matter when budgeting…

There are a few key numbers to understand when budgeting your marketing activity:

  • Lifetime value – how much revenue you customer is worth over their lifetime of buying from you
  • Cost per lead – how much you can afford to spend to generate a qualified lead
  • Cost per sale – how much you can afford to spend to generate a sale
  • The advertising allowable – what you can afford to spend to generate a sale at either break-even or a pre-determined profit percentage

When you know how much a customer is worth, you can determine how much to spend to generate a qualified lead and therefore how much you can afford to spend to get a sale – based on conversion rates. This helps you determine the most appropriate media channels to use, as they are defined by your advertising allowable.

Remember:

Marketing creates the need, while sales fulfills the need…

Your marketing activity helps to create the need for your brand by building desire for it and reinforcing your decision after you’ve bought. Your sales people use selling techniques to fulfill the need and complete the sale.

Your direct marketing activity can both create and fulfill your prospect’s needs in a single execution. It also integrates your marketing and sales teams to ensure they both work together successfully.

So now you know, what you need to know, about you know, that thing that everyone thinks they know – marketing…even in a pandemic…

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/