Four Common Data Analysis and Visualization Mistakes to Avoid

Last month, a few of my colleagues and I ventured down to Austin, TX for SXSW. After attending countless sessions, eating my own weight in tacos and jalapeño-laced food, and walking a little over 30 miles in five days, I’m back in my office mulling over all that I learned. The most important lessons were about common data analysis and visualization mistakes and how to avoid them.

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Hello, I’m an AI Bot. How can I help you?

We are all familiar with the basic chatbot on websites. It pops up somewhere in the first few minutes of browsing a website and is limited to basic question/answer responses. Generally, these chatbots are used by retail brands to provide customer service. Until now, they haven’t provided value or even sufficient capabilities for B2B brands.

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The Good and Bad of High-tech Marketing Tools

17-MCB-808Like so many people, I am greeted each day by hundreds of emails. Many are from well intentioned companies that would like to help me solve problems, innovate processes and make more money. In other words, to help me be more successful.

As a generally optimistic person who is always hopeful that the newest, greatest thing that will take us to the next level is just a click away, I open and read. From time to time, something sounds so good that I will click through to a website to get more information. After all, M/C/C is in the marketing communications business, and we want to use the best tools available to help our clients be successful.
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Avoiding The Pitfalls Of A Basic Paid Search Campaign

eMarketer research predicts that U.S. advertisers will spend 11 percent more on paid search in 2017. Although this is the first year that display spending will surpass paid search, it is still neck and neck with display as one on the top budget line items for marketers, with $32.32 billion expected in 2017. With that much going into paid search, advertisers need to make sure their campaigns don’t get caught in any number of trip wires, thereby losing their campaigns’ effectiveness.

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We’ve compiled the top three pitfalls of implementing campaigns in Google AdWords. Avoiding these will ensure you are getting the most effectiveness out of your campaigns.

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More! More! More! Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Culture

One of my favorite shows is Showtime’s House of Lies, which, sadly, has just wrapped its final season (all five seasons are available to stream which I highly recommend!) It is a satirical look at corporate management consultants and their win-at-all-costs, hedonistic lifestyles. While it is fiction and the situations they get themselves into are amplified for entertainment purposes, the underlying motivators for these characters are very real – it is all about results. In the show’s case, it is about getting the deal, increasing valuation and lining pockets. But watching it made me think a lot about how marketing and communications teams are motivated to succeed and how the growth of big data can contribute to a culture based on performance.

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Creating a performance-based culture using data can lead to better decision-making, provide support for ideas with measurable outcomes and help adjust and fine-tune strategies while ultimately, increasing share or revenue. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to win new customers and six times more likely to retain the ones they already have. Those stats alone should be pretty big motivators for driving a cultural focus or, in some cases, a cultural change.

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Why Banner Ads Still Matter

Banner ads are the oldest form of advertising on the internet, and in the age of social media and content marketing, many people claim that they are no longer effective. With all of the options for online marketing dollars such as social media, email, paid search and sponsored content, are banner ads still relevant? That answer is overwhelmingly yes! Banner advertising, if done correctly, can still be the most cost-effective and farthest reaching way to promote your brand.

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Ridding the World of Ads: A Lesson from South Park

I have to come clean. I like watching South Park.

There, I said it!

Prior to this season, South Park has been purely one of my comedic reprieves for frustrations in current events, culture and politics. However, this season (Season 19) took on digital advertising and ad blocking, topics very near and dear to me.

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Ultimately, the user experience is the primary reason for utilizing ad blockers to stop interruptive ads and improve site performance, according to research by Teads presented by AdWeek. Sites that have mass amounts of clutter, interstitials, click-baits, no clear distinctions between editorial and advertising, etc. ruin the experience for everyone. No longer can you peruse sites without being forced into a slideshow about the top beach resorts or the secret foods that will help you lose 10 pounds in 10 days. I get it! I totally get it! It is annoying.

However, ad blockers can act as a wall to block all tracking links, including Google Analytics tracking, social media buttons, content marketing and ecommerce functionality that would otherwise improve my experiences on the sites I frequent. And that’s the rub.

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Banner Advertising – Is This ALL There IS?

My favorite sitcom these days is “The Goldbergs,” a 30-minute weekly view of the ‘80s based on a geeky movie-loving kid and his family. The episodes coincide with what is happening in 2016 and relate to what happened in the ‘80s. The last two episodes are an excellent example of product placements via custom programs. One focused on “Eddie the Eagle” the week after the movie of the same title was released, and the most recent covered “Dirty Dancing” days after the announcement of who would play Johnny in the remake of the movie by the same name.

Although “The Goldbergs” is a television show, the same revolution is happening in the digital space. So now imagine it’s 1994 and you open your web browser to read an interesting article. The page loads and what’s the first thing you notice on the page? Banner ads at the top of the page and down the side. You find yourself with greater interest in the products than the actual article and you click the banner to learn more.

Fast-forward 20 years, you open your browser to something of interest, only this time the banner ads fade into the background. They are a part of the page, and it’s an advertiser’s nightmare. No one is paying attention to your online ad placements that you paid to place.

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