USPS 3685 and the State of Marketing

Sometimes reading the USPS-required Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (form 3685) can reveal a lot about the state of one’s industry.

As a direct marketing and postal junkie, I find USPS forms fascinating. (I don’t get out much.)

I was looking up something about Net Promoter Score recently, and re-read Byron Sharp’s takedown of Fred Reichheld’s shoddy work behind NPS from the Winter 2008 issue of Marketing Research. The most recent form 3685 was printed on page 28. Note the the total distribution of 4,164 copies. I think the circulation has only gotten smaller.

Imagine how many people read research publications–full of boring math–versus those that watch GaryVee videos, which are supposedly about marketing. Any wonder our industry is in its current state?

Takeaway: Be the former and read primary research. Ignore charlatans like GaryVee and Shingy.  And win.

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First Mile Problems

I was recently interviewed by Tim Furey, CEO of MarketBridge, on The Last Mile Podcast. Among our discussion of SAC, CAC, LTV, ROI, other three-letter acronyms, we also spent time on “first mile” marketing problems.

As a practicing performance/direct response marketer, I’ve always first asked myself or my clients a few strategic, or “first mile” questions. Questions like:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your allowable?
  • What is your objective with this campaign, product launch, etc?
  • What does success look like?

I’ve had senior product managers, or product marketing leads respond with blank stares when I ask these questions. As a classically-­trained direct mail (OK–I’m a “junk mail” guy), I learned to start with the allowable. Knowing unit economics and fixed or overhead costs, won’t guarantee a winning campaign or new channel test. But at least you won’t be in the situation of losing money on every sale, but making it up in volume.

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At the End

For years my policy when I was sick was that if I could get vertical, I went to the office. One time, about twenty years ago, I got into the office just fine. I then spent the next two hours mustering the strength to get into the car to go back home to bed. It was obviously a flawed personal policy, that came out of duty to my job.

I’ve spent the last couple of days fighting the flu–wisely, from my bed–and handling enormous grief in our family at the loss of my brother-in-law on Sunday. To not be able to console my wife for fear of getting her sick troubles me terribly. The possibility of being unable to attend my brother-in-law’s service to pay proper respect to a great man left me sleepless last night.

On Saturday my sister-in-law advised us that he wouldn’t have long to live. When we arrived at the hospital, we found family and friends, in various stages of grief and numbness. There wasn’t anything any of us could do, only offer support.

No CEO or executive from one of the companies he worked for was there. No demanding client that he gave up holiday time with family. No former bosses who expected him to drag himself into work sick. Only family.

Now how important is that meeting or Powerpoint again?

When my brother-in-law passed away early Sunday, his wife was by his side. I hope to be as lucky. Godspeed, John.

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Buy direct

There’s only one correct way to buy ads, and that’s direct from the publisher. If you buy any other way you’ll pay too much in adtech tax or get scammed buying something that’s not what you think it is. Probably both.

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Ads on blogs

I just had a chance to check my blog. Here’s the type of quality ad that gets served on blogs like mine.

Do you know if the creative is automatically generated by some brilliant AI? Or have you ever really looked at your site transparency report? If not, why not?

Fun idea: Do the above at an impromptu meeting with your CEO and CFO. At least you’ll get to spend more time with your family over the holidays!

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Ads back on temporarily

I just turned the WordPress WordAds monetization tool back on. Doing a little test.

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2.8 billion years of evolution, down the drain

Someday, as expressed in this article by Shelly Palmer, AI and technology will be so good it will be impossible to tell truth from fakes. In other words, we won’t be able to trust our eyes and ears any more.

That evolved skill of being able to tell reality from fantasy will be made redundant by silicon and some algorithms. “I’ll believe it when I see it” will become literally true.

We don’t use our ears and eyes when we buy digital advertising. Instead, we think we’re clever by using adtech algorithms to try to optimize (fancy jargon for outsmart) the opaque business that is ad buying.

Except your adtech team is team B, at best. It’s safer and smarter to assume that Team A–team ad fraud–is already using AI and machine learning to outsmart you. After all, they don’t even need to fool your eyes and ears. Only your second-rate ad tech.

Think I’m being overly critical? If you buy anything on any ad network, look at your site transparency report today. I mean really look at it.

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The silence of the fake influencers and lack-of-thought leaders is deafening…

The Malcolm Auld Blog

Those who have read my missives or attended my seminars, are aware I’ve been calling out the online zealots and their snake-oil since the invention of the information superhighway. So here’s today’s polite rant.

The internet and all it brings, is one of the most positive developments in the marketing industry. Yet the industry has been infested with dodgy, dishonest and downright diabolical deceivers, the likes of which have never been seen before.

Though it’s been quite comforting to have a number of industry heavyweights step into the fray these last couple of years and join the cause for honesty and integrity in digital marketing.

But something struck me recently. Given the public revelation about the major players in the digital media landscape, and their lack of ethics around privacy, data usage and the real number of users, something was missing. To recap:

  • Facecrook – data dishonesty, deletion of almost…

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Your Facebook Rebate

Q2 2018 Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.17.50 AMis in the books. Plenty of time for advertisers and their agencies to true up Q1 and really start work on the second half of the year.

As a reminder, in Q1 Facebook removed:

  • 583MM fake accounts.
  • 21MM pieces of content featuring sex or nudity
  • 2.5MM pieces of hate speech (I don’t think they were looking hard enough here)

and added 10,000 low paid and poorly-trained contractors moderators to help remove bad content.

So how big was the rebate that you received from Facebook for showing ads to all those bots and in front of that hate speech?

Thought so.

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Talent > Systems

“Any industry that values systems and processes over talent is an industry in decay.”

Wrote Bob Hoffman today, reminding us that the adtech, martech, …aaS, and whatever other stuff we’ve cobbled into a tech stack isn’t our secret sauce.

Like the Warriors, it is the talent and experience that makes the difference.

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