Biweekly Bulletin: 5 Compelling Things You Should Know

Every other week, we share 5 timely and valuable articles from our favorite credible digital sources that will inspire and educate marketers like you.

Here’s what you should know this week:

  1. You can now protect your brand on Instagram. The social site recently announced brands can set filters for offensive comments on their business pages.
  2. A year of experimenting with digital video ads led researchers to these 3 key takeaways: experimentation leads to innovation, digital video is easy if you’re resourceful and you can defy the rules by creating your own rulebook.
  3. Currently, advertisers are spending only 1.0% on programmatic TV ad spending. That number is projected to climb to 6.0% by 2018, which means there will be more personalized TV ads than ever before.
  4. It might seem like common knowledge, but studies have found the more tailored and dynamic your email content is, the higher your email CTR will be. Aside from email, marketers are also focusing on creating personalized experiences for website visitors.
  5. Publishers will be taking a big hit from Facebook’s latest algorithm change. The social media giant plans to place more emphasis on personal updates and less on news publications. Because of that, brands should be delivering relevant content that their fans will want to comment on, like, or share with their network.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

Alexander Hamilton: A Would-Be, Modern-Day Marketing Genius

7 Marketing Tips from the First Federalist

As seen in MediaPost on July 1, 2016

It’s our nation’s 240th birthday, so it’s time for a shout out to our Founding Fathers. And there’s no founding father currently hotter or hipper than Alexander Hamilton. However, despite what many current Hamiltonian bandwagon-jumpers may think, he was neither a singer nor a dancer. But, as a thinker, doer and creator, Hamilton was in many ways a master marketer. Here are 7 marketing tips from this brilliant man and Tony award winner:

1. Challenge the norm: Hamilton was a classic challenger. First is the fact he came from nothing in an era of limited upward mobility – bastard child, abandoned by his father, living on a poor Caribbean island without education – and ended up at the highest reaches of government and power. And then there was his very vocal opposition to the British rule, an unpopular position to take.

2. Be an innovator and experimenter: The ‘maker’ culture and the idea of being ‘always in beta’ may seem like new ideas, but Hamilton was a constant ideator who came up with and initiated the 1.0 of many great concepts. These included the U.S. Constitution, our national finance system (completely his idea – which he fought tooth and nail for), our U.S. Coast Guard and the New York Evening Post.

3. Execute off of a defined vision and a core idea: Hamilton had a core belief that the United States needed a strong central government in order to deliver on the promise and opportunity of the young nation. He built his actions around that to demonstrate and advocate his point of view. Nearly every action, argument and proposal supported this and brought it to life. This is exactly what a good brand should do.

4. Create content to demonstrate your ideas: There’s no hotter current trend in marketing than content marketing. But Hamilton was all over this as early as 1774, with his anonymously published (“un-branded,” that is) essay supporting the colonial cause against the loyalists. In 1787, he initiated and wrote an overwhelming majority of the Federalist Papers – 85 articles and essays that supported a strong central government and defended the development and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. This content was so influential and effective, it not only swayed opinion of its time, it remains one of the foremost expositions on the Constitution. Wouldn’t any brand salivate for that kind of engagement? In addition, Hamilton was an early progenitor of the idea of creating ‘owned media’ for the distribution of ideas, and he began his own “content hub,” the New York Evening Post.

5. Solve your consumer’s problems: Hamilton didn’t just deliver pie-in-the-sky ideas or points of view – he recognized to get buy-in and engagement, he needed to wrap his thinking around his readers and ‘prospects’ needs. For example, his creation of a naval police force in 1790 (universally recognized as the birth of the Coast Guard) was an action in response to the needs of shippers and ship employees.

6. Create a ‘tribe’: The idea that your brand should either create or tap into a tribe is a modern one. But Hamilton proposed a similar idea at the advent of our country. He recognized that for the United States and its government to succeed, Americans had to view themselves as national citizens, not just citizens of their home states. This idea slowly took hold – and soon U.S. tribalism became a reality along with the growth of the U.S. power.

7. Create mashups: Most people think mashups started in 2004 when DJ Danger Mouse combined Jay Z’s “The Black Album” with the Beatle’s “The White Album” into his seminal bootleg “The Grey Album.” But as a voracious reader and researcher, Hamilton created positions that were mashups of everything from Adam Smith and Montesquieu to Hume and Hobbes. His ideas leveraged ‘combinational creativity,’ just as yours should.

In 1776, the stakes were much higher, yet innovation and creativity persevered. Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers courageously forged the path we’re on today. They worked together, demonstrating the impossible is possible when you share a vision and believe in something strongly enough.

As Hamilton once said, “Real firmness is good for anything; strut is good for nothing.” This advice is as welcome today as during his time. So let’s all dispense with posture and superficiality and get on with the hard work of marketing and innovation. It’s what he’d want us to do.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

It’s HOW We Do (Did) It

The HOW Design Live conference was hosted in Atlanta this year. Since the event’s inception in the 1990s, creatives and industry icons have gathered for a multi-day outpouring of ideas, trends and creative inspiration. The HOW brand began in 1985 as a print magazine. Today, HOW continues as an award-winning magazine and also touts numerous other products, competitions and events to meet the business, creative and technology needs of those in graphic design.

As an agency continually inspired by our clients, people and partners, Laughlin Constable felt compelled to attend this renowned creative event. Most called it an experience of a lifetime, and our thoughts were no different.

“Wrong Turns Make Better Maps.”

In an industry consistently striving for the right mix of creativity and inspiration, HOW visionaries demonstrated that inspiration is all around (and within) us. From talks on Generation “D” – a new generation of business leaders and design professionals who support the power and results of good design and creating for an ever-changing environment where dreams and reality don’t always see eye-to-eye – to digital best practices for ensuring the user experience is unified and consistent, and overcoming personal road blocks (excuses) in order to achieve the impossible, numerous fruitful conversations were had. A presentation by a certain “red bullseye” executive emphasized “there is no end point to the process of doing your best work.” And in yet another presentation, participants were told to do the “best work of their lives.” During this session, we learned that a lack of courage in standing up for their beliefs could easily transform brilliance into mediocrity, and that we should relentlessly create and not flee from failing. After all, “wrong turns make better maps.”

The concept “best work of our lives” was echoed throughout the conference. To us, it’s about creative momentum. About passion driving performance. At one point in his career, Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. Today, with more than $88 billion in assets, falser words were never spoken. One conference speaker said, “If you’re not passionate about it, then why are you doing it.” We want to ensure our people bring that creative yearning to what they do each and every day, because then, there really is no failure.

Further evidence of creative innovation was seen at the conference when looking at business titles. What used to be industry standards – CEO, Art Director, Designer, Creative Director and Writer – are now being replaced with more lighthearted, breezy titles – Global Director of Innovation, Chief Folding Fanatic and Head of Realization. The advertising industry seems to constantly break barriers: casual clothes, open workspaces, dog-friendly offices and a flexible work-life balance. Now, it seems as though job titles themselves are also going through a creative rebranding. These unorthodox titles not only demonstrate creative innovation and spirit, they also reflect a generational shift in advocating for one’s own brand in the workplace.

Conference Sound Bites                

At HOW, inspiration was also provided by various brand representatives in the form of sound bites. Here are some examples:

  • “Typefaces are the clothes that words wear.” (TypeCamp)
  • “We leave no bit or atom unturned to fit the services to people.” (Uber)
  • “Who are we not reaching – and why?” (NPR)
  • “Find fun in everything you do.” (Mattel)
  • “Just do it and fail hard.” (Cartoon Network)

“It’s Not Bragging If You Can Back It Up.”

Muhammad Ali was always the biggest advocate for his own brand, coining the above phrase because he believed in his value and believed others should know it too. At Laughlin Constable, we consider our clients our biggest advocates.

“Become the Client” was discussed at HOW, an advertising 101 theme on the importance of wearing the client’s shoes to better understand their needs, likes, frustrations and dreams.

Since 1976, our agency has worn a lot of shoes and we’ve learned a lot of lessons, many of which were reiterated at the conference: The importance of teamwork, listening to – and addressing – feedback, the importance of being clear when explaining ideas and creative, and finding – and keeping – the passion in your work.

Conferences such as HOW Design Live justify what we’ve known for 40 years: It’s not your job to anticipate “the next big thing.” It’s ours. By providing inspiration, steeped in accountability, we’re preparing you for the future.

Taking Flight: A Look to the Future

“The man with no imagination has no wings.”

Inspiration can be elusive. If you’re looking for creative mojo, HOW announced its venue for 2017: Chicago. Mark your calendars for May 2-6, 2017 and visit howdesignlive.com for more information.

Ruby Engen & Val Rossi

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

Biweekly Bulletin: 5 Compelling Things You Should Know

Every other week, we share 5 timely and valuable articles from our favorite credible digital sources that will inspire and educate marketers like you.

Here’s what you should know.

  1. We’re one step closer to omnichannel: Facebook will now be able to track in-store purchases that were driven by digital ads.
  2. According to Google, 91% of smartphone users use mobile for inspiration while they’re in the middle of a task. Therefore, the best times to target them are when they’re shopping, watching TV, or doing research on another brand.
  3. Tech giant Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for over $26 billion. Microsoft is currently mainly focused on software, so inviting LinkedIn to the party will give the company a larger reach in terms of social networking services and professional content.
  4. Finally, brands have a way to make money through Snapchat. Screenshot commerce is entering the social media world. Brands on Snapchat are testing out a method in which followers can take a screenshot of an ephemeral image with a promo code.
  5. Mobile media consumption is expanding rapidly. The amount of time that people devote to using mobile internet will increase by nearly 27.7% this year, driving a 1.4% increase in overall media consumption, according to Zenith’s latest Media Consumption Forecast.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

I Don’t Love Consumers. Or Users.

A consumption is an event, a one-time happening that is over shortly after it’s begun. There is little remnant of a consumption, and what is left over is disposed of as quickly as possible. A paramecium is a consumer. Users are a cold, heartless breed that manipulate others for their own good with little empathy or regard for long-term consequence.

And yet, in marketing, we often use these terms to refer to those among whom we are trying to make a connection. Consumers and users are a faceless mass – a generalized grouping where we often find ourselves striving to deliver against a least common denominator. As smart marketers, we never purposely dehumanize our target audiences. Until we do.

The quest to understand why people consume and optimize the way that they maneuver through an experience is noble and necessary. But we cannot take a chance on becoming enthralled with the process, and less with the individuals involved in that process. Referring to those individuals simply as consumers or users sets the wrong tone from the outset.

Here are a couple of challenges that I’ll offer to help remind us to keep humanity at the core of our effort:

  • First, no more use of faces borrowed from Google Image searches to make our persona depictions dazzling. These images register little more emotional empathy than the sample picture inside a frame purchased at Target. Rather, include original pictures of real people that we have taken ourselves. Individuals who have told us about their unique experiences and journeys. Our presentations might not look as polished, but they will most certainly be more insightful, inspiring, and human.
  • Secondly, let’s replace the “consumer” in consumer journey mapping with an actual human being. A real person who is in our target audience; one that we have met and spent some time getting to know. Imagine how much more interesting and impactful a channel strategy would be if we were constructing it for Anna Curtis, rather than a faceless, nameless, generic consumer
  • Finally, challenge your team to a meeting without “consumers” or “users.” Just like an off-color word or phrase at some workplaces might cost you $1 in a jar, let’s collect every time someone uses one of these dehumanizing words in a meeting. Then stretch the challenge to a full day, and the day to a week. Your teams will start thinking differently about who we’re trying to reach and how they can make those connections more resonant and meaningful (And then donate the proceeds to a good cause, like a Friday afternoon happy hour…).

Does changing what we call our target audiences matter? Clearly, that alone will not guarantee that we will create meaningful relationships. But starting with the right mindset about who we are talking to should improve the chances of keeping our focus on the wonderfully human person at the other end of the mouse, tablet or television set.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

Top 3 Takeaways from the PSFK 2016 Conference

The PSFK 2016 Conference, which was held in New York City in mid-May, featured speakers from both renowned and up-and-coming brands who presented innovative ideas for engaging today’s “always on” customers. Here are our key takeaways from the conference that are impacting the evolving state of marketing.

1. Brands must create human-centric experiences.

In order to succeed in the evolving digital landscape, brands must find ways to make the experiences they create more human and personal. Some ways to do this include developing customer experience maps that help in thinking through how a customer interacts with a brand and how to improve their experience, and by performing user experience (UX) research and usability testing. Leveraging methods like these can help ensure we understand our very human customers, including their needs, attitudes, expectations and behaviors, so we can design customer-centric experiences that allow both our customers and brands to win.

Here are some examples of brands that are working to create human-centric experiences that improve our “connected life”:

  • Jibo, a social robot, exemplified the idea that as Artificial Intelligence (AI) personal assistants (think Siri, Alexa and Cortana) become a more ubiquitous part of our everyday lives, it is important to inject humanity into the interactions we have with them, by way of context and simulated empathy.
Jibo

Image source: www.jibo.com

  • In 2013, Gatorade was asked by the Brazilian National Soccer team to help them win the World Cup. The mission started as a way to optimize the performance of each player with personalized hydration, and has resulted in GatoradeGX, the company’s new data-centric personalized sports fueling platform. The platform is intended to seamlessly tie together innovations in packaging and personal data tracking to allow athletes of all kinds to easily personalize their fuel to achieve maximum performance.

2. Retailers must help customers connect to things they care about.

To survive in an increasingly digital world, retailers must create a broader brand mission that is bigger than the products or services they offer; one that people want to connect to. By helping customers more easily connect to the things that matter to them, such as healthier eating or better sleep, brands can earn not only a loyal following, but also a passionate base of brand advocates.

The conference featured retailers that are disrupting traditional retail models and finding ways to build strong, loyal communities around their brands. Here are a couple examples:

  • Sweetgreen is a growing fast-casual, salad restaurant chain with a mission to “inspire healthier communities.” One way the company does this is by locally sourcing its food and offering seasonally-changing menus. Another is by finding creative ways to build a community around healthier eating, such as holding an annual music and food festival, aptly named Sweetlife. In a world where our phones allow us to have almost anything delivered to us instantly, Sweetgreen has made a conscious decision not to offer delivery, but instead created an app for placing pick-up orders, to encourage customers to come into the store location to experience the brand, while still providing convenience.
  • Casper is a brand built around the idea of bridging the gap between the science and realities of sleep by reframing what we expect from a mattress, as well as the experience of buying a mattress. The company has differentiated itself through a refreshing, no pressure showroom experience, a 100-night trail with free return pick-up, and building a community around sleep by producing content about the science of better sleep. By reimagining the entire experience around sleep and buying a mattress, Casper is driving new excitement within a seemingly stagnant category.

3. Brands must tell the right stories in the right ways to engage customers.

Brand storytelling is more important than ever for engaging customers. However, evolving channels and customer expectations present new challenges and opportunities for telling these stories. Brands must find ways to tell the right stories to the right audiences at the right time. Some ways to accomplish this include performing primary customer research and leveraging user data to inform the types of messages that will resonate with a brand’s audience, as well as the places and times when they are most receptive to these messages.

Here are some examples of brands that recognize the the importance of storytelling in building a strong, desirable brand:

  • As part of Microsoft’s effort over the last several years to shift its business model, including a dedication to new product innovations, in 2015 the company launched a new mission statement to “empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.” Microsoft’s Chief Storyteller, Steve Clayton, explained how his team works to change the perception of Microsoft through stories, such as how the company brought Wi-Fi access to a village in Kenya, and the positive impact it has had on the community. The emphasis on storytelling also lead to the launch of the “Microsoft Stories” content site.
  • When drone racing first came on the scene, it was dubbed “the sport of the future.” However, The Drone Racing League quickly realized that high expectations for the sport were based on unrealistic scenarios from movies, such as pod-racing in Star Wars: Episode I, and that disappointment in the reality of the sport could mean a quick life and death. By embracing expectations and carefully crafting the right story around how drone racing is executed, The Drone Racing League has succeeded in maintaining excitement and drawing a growing fan base.

All in all, the PSFK 2016 Conference offered a lot of inspiration for how brands and marketers can innovate today to create more human-centric experiences, help connect their customers to the things that matter to them, and craft more engaging stories. It also emphasized that in order to transform, we must rethink established ideas and concepts and constantly look at them from different perspectives.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Media Budget at Any Level

The marketing world seems to be getting more challenging and competitive by the day. And the complexity of the business and media landscape has made budgets at every level feel pressurized and stretched thin. Because of this, every marketer knows they must make every marketing dollar count – whether the budget is in the thousands or the millions, the main goal is to deliver disproportionate return on your investment. Here are some key approaches and tips we employ to do just that.

1. Don’t just target. Pinpoint.

Every marketer wants to reach –  and persuade – the largest group of consumers they can. But casting a wide net can be the wrong approach. First, it generates a superficial and homogenized view of your consumer (“Age 18+,” anyone?). Second, it’s hard to do an effective job of reaching such broad swaths of consumers. Instead, we recommend identifying more richly defined target groups inside that comprehensive segment.

One way to do this is to identify traits that span beyond demographics such as age and gender. Hone in on a target audience with a specific frame of mind or interest. This demographic is easier to reach, more interesting to create content for, and far more likely to convert. Even better is if you can really “own” this target vs. who your competition is targeting. For example, for a food brand that mainly targets men, instead of simply targeting the broad “bros” that our competitors focused on, we identified our consumer as craft-beer enthusiasts. This elevated the media plan above generic, resulting in a more precise match between content and context and a number of extremely effective brand integrations we might otherwise never have found.

2. Set the right goal posts.

Almost all marketers and media companies measure their media performance in some way. However, it is key to not just use basic or customary measures. Understand how success looks for you and use the most relevant and specific metrics to track it. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should not be a laundry list, but instead clearly linked to brand objectives. At LC, we use the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ) model to set KPIs at each phase that correlate to that phase’s main objectives. This ensures that all media performance is measured against its ability to convert the target into loyal, profitable customers.

3. Maximize your owned channels.

Far too often, media companies only consider the brand’s paid audiences. But most should consider their owned channels first. What are some ways to do this? Leverage your website by making sure it’s easy to navigate and clearly defines who you are, what you do, has quality content and is optimized for search. Consider and plan how to use your social platforms to maximize your efforts. Look for ways to leverage your loyal customers to share the message to their friends and family. Consider an email marketing program against your customer relationship management (CRM) system or other database list. In conjunction with paid media, owned channels can turbocharge your efforts.

4. Invest in paid search.

Think paid search is only for e-commerce brands? Think again. Paid search is an opportune way to ensure current campaigns are working to their fullest and are properly optimized. Paid search reaches people at the precise time of interest and need when they are actively searching for your brand, service or category. This means you can be there with the right message at the right time. And if you aren’t, your competitors are sure to be instead.

5. Don’t get too thin. Or too thick.

In today’s fragmented and complex media ecosystem, it can be tantalizing to want to try many different tactics and media types. When planning your media strategy, make sure you are expanding out into new vehicles and platforms judiciously. Concentrate on channels that allow you to be targeted while reaching prospects at an impactful frequency. Don’t rely on just one channel to achieve your objectives — the media landscape is not consumed like this. As far as adding new media and tactics, try testing and experimenting to see what’s working before rolling out and committing bigger dollars. Finally, make sure your message is consistent across all your channels and that all channels align with how your target is engaging with various media on a daily basis.

At the end of the day, media is not just about “spots and dots.” Without the right strategy in place, much of your budget can be under-leveraged to misunderstandings about your target, what channels are best for your audience or how to measure your efforts. This is why it’s important to work with a team that takes the time to understand your brand, your consumer, the media context, and the interaction of those three. Only in this way can you make sure you’re getting the best bang for your marketing buck.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

We Love (And Watch) TV. A Lot.

The 2016 Broadcast TV Upfront presentations – the annual advertising industry event at which broadcast networks, such as ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and NBC, present their fall season plans to media buyers and marketers – took place in May 2016. The presentations set the stage for the industry’s Upfront media buying, where a significant portion of the upcoming season’s broadcast inventory is purchased.

Despite growth in alternate viewing options, TV continues to be a mainstay for network success, especially as an immediate mass reach vehicle – positive testament for those who still believe in the merits of advertising on this medium. Every year, the industry and pundits forecast “the death of broadcast TV” and the anachronism of the Upfront, yet each year it continues as ever.

Each year, more alternatives are offered – the NewFronts, the marketplace for digital video and the Addressable TV Upfront. But despite modest growth, none have knocked down the reigning champ, broadcast TV. Crickets could be heard on last year’s “Addressable TV” Upfront, as platforms have found it more difficult to pull off than expected. Addressable TV would have allowed advertisers to selectively segment TV audiences and offer up different ads groups within a common program.

Downward Digital

Each year, over the past decade, there has seemed to be an elephant in the room regarding digital solutions, cross platform and mobile viewing, on demand and cord-cutting – but the networks continue to trot out their new shows with fanfare and talk about their massive viewership. This year was no different, as only NBCUniversal and CW served up digital solutions. Perhaps this “broadcast or bust” mindset is right, as the release of a new study from Accenture Strategy, analyzing marketing spend and ROI over three years, found that Digital can’t match the long-term ROI benefits of advertising on linear TV and its supported platforms. The study suggests that multiplatform TV advertising has had a halo effect on digital, with an average of 18 percent ROI incorrectly credited to short-form video (digital includes paid search, digital display and short-form video under 10 minutes) – insinuating that any success digital video has had is in fact due to TV (!).

Did We Say We Love TV?

All in all, TV networks are continuing to take a fairly safe, reliable approach to programming, with attention to the tried and true. To us, this seems short-sighted and analogous to music publishers’ continued refusal to address a digital solution – until they had to. This seems to present an opportunity for new, more cutting-edge programming that makes the digital experience more front-and-center, not just a value-add. We can imagine all kinds of exciting mobile, non-linear, interactive offerings, but alas, we have to continue to wait.

Stacking rights, or a network’s ability to stream a seasons’ worth of episodes on all of its platforms (think Netflix), as opposed to just the most recent five episodes, has also been a hot topic. Most networks agree that viewers love being able to catch up on a show in succession, informally known as “binge watching.” Stacking allows them to do this with ease, not to mention, increasing network and series loyalty.

Why is this important for consumers? Today’s TV viewers have more opportunities to enjoy TV content than they ever have before. Viewers can watch their favorite shows on multiple screens, in any location or while on the go, and interact with fellow fans in real-time on various social media networks.

Why is this important for brands? TV ensures that consumers become aware of new products, services, ideas and other noteworthy concepts. It reinforces the position of existing brands and reassures consumers about the choices they make every day.

That being said, TV still rules and successful series still wear the crown. TV’s long-lasting prominence in society has deep roots. TV is a medium that triggers imagination, improves the world, nurtures curiosity, encourages education and unites millions of viewers with mutual interests. It also demonstrates that one need look no further for proof of the ROI benefits of TV advertising, because people continue to watch TV. A lot.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

Activating the Healthcare Consumer Decision Journey

The average consumer now owns 4 devices and consumes 60 hours of digital content per week. And for healthcare marketers spending upwards of $1.5 billion per year on advertising (Hospital and Health Networks Magazine, April 2015), not understanding what, when and where consumers are in the consumer decision journey (CDJ) means much of that budget may be going to waste.

CDJ_1

Today’s marketing reality

Here’s what today’s healthcare marketer is facing: An explosion of messages. A transformation of channels. A disruptive fragmentation of audiences. And a consumer-driven market place where choice, access and information are a given, in real-time, 24/7.
Today’s marketers use the CDJ as a tool to address these new realities. To be nimbler, deliver more relevant messaging at precise moments and drive consistency across the journey – ultimately engendering greater loyalty and brand advocacy. It also presents important opportunities for healthcare brands:

• Starting relationships before there’s a need.
• Staying in the consideration set as their search goes on.
• Branding a memorable and shareable experience.
• Leveraging loyalty in a consumer driven world is the key to long-term success.

At each stage of the journey, different channels reach consumers, different messages engage them and different metrics measure marketing performance. Together, these insights form a solid framework that reflects your customer’s journey and show how best to reach them and provide a high-quality, consistent experience at every touchpoint.

To expand upon this, we looked at three different healthcare decision journeys and the channels (or platforms) that best match each journey. This will help demonstrate how channels vary based on the consumer and the nature of the decision—a woman choosing maternity services will have a different journey than a Parkinson’s patient’s care partner.

CDJ_2

Expecting Mothers Expect the Best

Get on your consumer’s short list (awareness) by generating visibility via appropriately targeted TV ads, print, radio, targeted online campaigns, presence at a millennial event (millennials are more likely to digitally share their experiences) and content on pre-pregnancy health websites. When she is ready to consider her options, she will start researching and comparing your offerings to others (evaluation), so be sure to give her all the information she needs: show up in her search results (SEO, consider buying relevant search ads), create high-quality content (e.g. virtual birthing center tours) and be active on all her favorite social platforms. Next, support an exceptional birthing experience by providing information new moms are hungry for (experience), possibly through video content for in-room broadcast or Youtube, or care packages with items tailored to her interests. Finally, make it easy for her to share her experience with other new moms (advocacy) by using social media to engage her, or by “adopting” a mommy blogger to incentivize specific maternity patients to share their positive experiences with their own loyal audience.

CDJ_3

Connecting with Ortho Patients

Be the name he thinks of when considering bone and joint issues, whether they’re his own, his friends’ or others’ (awareness). Get on his radar using TV, outdoor, radio, and targeted online advertising. For example, be at his recreational sports events—whether through sponsorship or authentic word of mouth testimonials from his friends. Next, create expert content on bone and joint health—whether on your brand’s website or a third party site. Then, when early symptoms trigger the start of his long decision process, lower the barriers for getting more information (evaluation) through search results and additional content on symptoms and new procedures. Next, leverage the extended patient care experience to deliver a branded impression of great care (experience) through collateral and online support information. And finally, give him opportunities to be proud of and share his recovery (advocacy) by capturing and sharing stories through unique written and/or video content.

CDJ_4

Serious Health Issues Inspire Need for Trust

For those seeking care for Parkinson’s Disease, marketers need to build confidence and trust in the hospital’s overall expertise and experience with older adults (awareness). This is often through print and radio advertising, maintaining a presence at elder health events and creating content on elder health and wellness sites. When symptoms prompt questions, encourage early consultation and provide different opportunities for your consumer to become more informed about options (evaluation) via search results, in-depth program content or a symptom checker. Optimize the potential of a lifetime care relationship with your patient and his family (experience). This could be done through collateral and support materials on disease management and new advancements. Finally, encourage family members to share their experience and help others in the same situation (advocacy) by providing them with opportunities to bond with others—reunions, workshops, etc.

Healthcare marketers have traditionally concentrated on the awareness and evaluation stages of the consumer decision journey. But today, online engagement and “experience sharing” provide opportunities to connect with consumers more deeply. As healthcare marketers, we can engage, delight and inspire consumers throughout their journey, and really, their whole lives.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.

Sources: Internet Trends 2015 (KPCB)

One (Smart) Ring to Rule Them All

When modern wearable technology first hit the scene a few years ago, it was primarily focused on connected devices with health-tracking functions, such as counting calories and steps or monitoring sleep patterns. While Fitbit and Garmin demonstrate the potential in wearables with their streamlined tracking capabilities and mobile apps, the devices look more suited for the gym or on the running path than in consumers’ everyday lives.

Today, a new line of devices is emerging, offering features that extend far beyond health and fitness. They appear to be authentic fashion accessories and jewelry, made of precious gemstones and metals instead of clunky plastic or rubber bands. This “smart jewelry” is a new way to combine the benefits of fitness trackers and smartphones with everyday, noninvasive accessories that work with your lifestyle instead of occupying space in it.

For an example of a leading-edge company doing the “smart jewelry” thing right, look no further than Ringly. This NYC-based startup sells digitally-connected rings and bracelets that connect to the wearer’s phone via Bluetooth, then notifies them of alerts and messages from a supported mobile app. The wearer is informed of these notifications by configuring customizable colored LED lighting and various vibration patterns. For example, three vibrations and a yellow light can indicate a social media notification, two vibrations with a pink light can indicate a text message, one vibration and a blue light can indicate an email, and so on. Further customizations include setting up notifications for only a small network of people or connecting to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, Slack, or even health and fitness apps like Fitbit.

The idea behind Ringly is simple: the wearer can carry on with what they are doing and know, at a glance, if she needs to pick up her phone. A concept that was on the forefront of a trend you’ve more than likely seen plenty of by now—the defunct Google Glass, the Apple Watch and the Motorola 360, to name a few. These digital devices are crafted to revolve around consumers lives instead of the other way around. And it’s just the beginning. Consumers are exhausted by hectic schedules, endless emails and 24/7 connections, and are becoming better informed on the ways technology can wreak havoc on their health. These factors create a perfect storm for doing away with invasive, bulky technology in favor of technology that empowers, not impedes, real life interactions.

For companies, brands and agencies, this trend represents three things:

  1. Reminder: Keep a solid strategy in place and push out quality content. It’s never been more important to craft solid, authentic messages that consumers want to go out of their way to engage with and share. Wearable devices, including smart jewelry and accessories, are now at the heart of just about every discussion related to the Internet of Things, and the full range of new capabilities ubiquitous connectivity can bring.
  2. Warning: The digital space is not confined to one lap-bound screen. Much like TV advertising, companies need to adapt to where the consumer is going. And in this case, they are going outside, interacting more with friends and putting down their phones in favor of real life interactions. How can you meet them at their favorite bar, restaurant or theatre without an invasive iPhone ad and provide real value at the right moment?
  3. Opportunity: With new devices come new ways to interact with your community and surroundings. What can you build that would effectively work on the devices, like Ringly, that consumers are gravitating toward? Could the unique placement of an Apple Watch help or hinder your company? In what ways? Wearable technology is being adopted by brands across the spectrum, from healthcare to education to retail to to consumer goods. However, the smartest, most innovative brands don’t just jump on the tech bandwagon without a plan; they consider gaps in the marketplace and strategically fill those gaps to profitably fulfill their targets’ needs.

It is without a doubt that wearables will evolve exponentially over the next few years, and that they will need to be a more integrated element in the Internet of Things in order to provide the wide range of features people are lusting after.

Essentially, never underestimate the power of the perfect accessory.

Want to learn more about how to take your digital marketing from now to next? Reach out to Mat Lignel at 844.LC.IDEAS and let’s chat.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, for the latest in industry news, tips and inspiration. To start receiving updates from Laughlin Constable, subscribe here.