TIKI: You Could Have Been Firmer

Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 9.54.58 AMImagine your brand being co-opted by an odd mix of right-wing frat boys with funny haircuts, toothless old men with grey beards and beer guts, and sniveling shifty-eyed wanna-be soldiers. In other words, the Master Race, same as they ever were.

Yep, that’s what happened to Tiki over the weekend in Charlottesville. Here’s their response:

“TIKI Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and disappointed. We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.”

Now I imagine their lawyers made them write this. And to their credit, they at least said something firmer than the spineless racist-in-chief, Donald J. Trump.

But why not show some real backbone here? How about this:

“TIKI Brand condemns the racist white supremacy and white nationalist movements and all those who support them. Your beliefs, words, and actions are against all we value as a company. We do not want you to purchase our products. We do not want your business. We do not want your money. If you are a member of these groups, go elsewhere.

The TIKI Brand company has calculated that our profit from this disgusting display of hate was roughly $X. We are donating twice that amount to the ADL [or other worthy anti-hate group(s)].”

So a few spineless Nazi wanna-bes won’t buy your stuff. I guarantee they’d sell backyards full of stuff this weekend to real human beings.

What are you going to do when these punks start using your brand? Be ready now and be firm. Don’t be like IBM, Bayer, VW, or Krupp. Tell them to go away when they show up.

Takeaway: You can’t please everybody. But you can stand up for what’s correct. Stand up to hate and be unequivocal about it. And win.


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How Many Tracking Pixels to Screw in a Light Bulb?

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 9.49.14 AMI turned on WordPress’s WordAds on this blog a couple of days ago. It takes a couple of days for the ad tech ecosystem to smell the fresh blood, but as of this morning, there are 66 tracking pixels firing every time the blog is called up.

My lousy little blog gets about 30-60 visitors per week and it takes 1-2 tracking pixels per visitor to serve the poorly-targeted ads you are seeing right now. Assuming you’re not using an ad blocker, of course.

Can you see what’s wrong with the ad tech ecosystem?

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Data’s FUBAR? Your Process is TARFU!

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 3.27.24 PMI’ve taken to ignoring most of the text in trade industry publications until I’ve looked at the numbers. Often, the math doesn’t match the narrative or tells another story completely.

Case in point: a couple of days ago, this article about an identity management platform showed up in AdExchanger with a brief case study about how the platform helped clean up a restaurant chain’s data. From the article:

After going through [vendor’s] pre-onboarding vetting process, one client, a casual dining restaurant popular with an older demographic, found that 13% of its file [emphasis mine] – between 13 million and 14 million records – were no longer alive.

The 13% had me fire up the calculator. That means the restaurant chain had 100-108MM records in their database. There are 51.3MM Americans aged 65+, which means “older” to me. Assuming the restaurant chain’s marketers are the typical Millennial-obsessed frauds populating many marketing departments, “older” might mean the 135.2MM 45+ US adults.

In the former case you’ve got maybe 2 records per “older” U.S. adult and in the latter it implies you’ve got 80% of all “older” adults on file. Nobody has 80% penetration, particularly in a business where lots of people still pay with cash and offer no PII in exchange for lunch.

Stop right there, do not pass go, do not collect $200. There is no way either of those numbers are right. You don’t need a vendor to tell you that about your file, if you’re competent. And it gets worse when we look at the deceased rate.

The mortality rate for 55-64 year olds is .878% (NIH stats, 2007), 2.01% for 65-77 year olds, 5.01% for 75-84 year olds and 13% for 85+.

In a good file, per industry standards, perhaps .5% to 1.0% of your records will be deceased. It’s a little lower for younger customers in a well maintained file and a little higher for older customers in an inadequately managed file.

Assuming the business is growing at the rate of GDP and adding records at roughly that rate, they’re probably losing ~0.8%-ish of their customers annually to the Grim Reaper.

A 13% deceased rate is FUBAR. And all the identity in the world isn’t going to fix it. They’ve got a gigantic process problem there. Either:

  • They’ve got a database as old as the hills, or;
  • They’re pouring in lots of duplicate records of dead people, or;
  • Their logic to check records on input is lousy or non-existent, or;
  • They never, ever purge a record or; (most likely)
  • They don’t really have a customer database

The real story here isn’t identity matching. The real story here is the process is TARFU, maybe even FUBAR.

Takeaway: Before you spend money on cleaning up your data, check your process for the the collection, cleansing, appending and disposal (yes, disposal) of old or inaccurate data. And win.

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Handling Marketing “Helmet Fire”

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.46.59 AMHelmet fire, also known as task saturation, is a silent killer among pilots. As more things happen at once, you start to fail. You might get fixated on one thing–like the 20 cent light that killed 101 aboard Eastern Air flight 401. Or you might shut down entirely.

The problem is that you don’t even feel the true extent of the problem.

Task saturation happens everywhere, even in marketing. Ever forget to do something you promised somebody else, while in the middle of a days-long fire drill? That could be task saturation at work.

One of the solutions is to focus on what’s important, depending on where you are. At 30,000 feet, a pilot can do lots of things. At 5,000 feet while doing 600 mph, you focus on one thing: flying the plane.

What’s the equivalent of “flying the plane” for marketers? It’s making sure the ads are seen by the right target audience. If you don’t show ads to people, you’ll crash and burn.

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Ads Temporarily On

I’m testing something now and have temporarily turned on WordPress’s WordAds. I’ll turn them off in a day or two.

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Videri Quam Esse: P&G and Digital Advertising

P&G cut between $100 and $140 million in digital advertising last quarter and sales went up. I don’t mean they were flat or that margins went up through a short-sided strategy of cutting marketing investment.

This wasn’t just advertising that sort of didn’t work or was marginally less effective. It didn’t work, period. This money was being stolen from them by the players in the digital marketing ecosystem. Yes, stolen. That’s by the duopoly (Facebook and Google) and their sycophants in the digital marketing ecosystem: ad tech, mar tech, and all the other “tech” leeches in the slimy, fraud-filled world of digital advertising.

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 10.05.07 AM

The Mar Tech and Ad Tech Swamp. Over 5,000 Ways to Waste Your Money

If P&G–probably the smartest marketing company there is–can get $100 million or more stolen from them in a quarter what’s the chances you’re not getting ripped off in your digital advertising? Zero.

How to avoid being ripped off? Stop with the nonsense about buying “audiences.” That’s clue #1 that you’re probably getting taken to the cleaners. Instead, practice proper marketing, beginning with strategy:

  • Hire trained marketers, not dilettantes
  • Segment your audience
  • Define your target segments
  • Understand the purchase funnel
  • Develop marketing strategies to address each segment
  • Develop tactical plans to move the prospect through the purchase funnel
  • Carefully measure each step of the way
  • Make improvements to each “hole in the bucket”
  • Audit each and every media buy, in detail

I’ll bet P&G can cut another $100 million a quarter from their current digital buys and still not see a reduction in sales. And I bet they will.

Takeaway: Do you have the resources and buying power that P&G does? If not, you’re getting robbed by the digital ecosystem and the duopoly. Go back to strategy. Audit everything. Be skeptical. Cut ruthlessly. And win.

Posted in digital marketing, fraud, Marketing, Media, Strategy, Tactics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Digital” is Just Accelerated Direct Marketing

Says the great Drayton Bird in his email this morning:

“On-line marketing is just accelerated direct marketing.”

He’s right. It’s therefore more important than ever that your marketers are properly trained: it’s harder to keep the rubber on the road in an F1 car than in your daily driver. Yet, the marketing world has been hijacked by charlatans, who speed around the track recklessly, crashing our valuable brands into the Armco.

When discussing the seven ways to make marketing great again, Mark Ritson said:

“Don’t listen to the f****ing philistines or we all will lose. The anti-intellectual movement cannot win here.”

Watch Ritson in action here, as well as the appalling advice given by a famous marketing charlatan.

Takeaway: Practice proper marketing. Get trained. Understand the entire discipline. And win.

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Purple Cow – where’s the beef ?

I spent a few minutes yesterday reading some of the blog posts from Byron Sharp (the author of the MUST read “How Brands Grow”) and came across this post, which I share with the following comments:

1. 84% of everything is mediocre or worse (i.e. <= +1 std deviation from the mean).
2. Therefore it's unlikely that everything I read about "incredible" teams, "awesome" products etc. is true.
3. We are not very precise in our use of the English language.

Marketing Science

There is a small, nay large, industry that makes claims like:

“consumer behaviour has changed radically”
“marketing doesn’t work anymore”

And yet then presents nothing more than a repackaging of the orthodoxy.

For example, Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” says that marketing is “broken”, that advertising could once turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse but has lost its effectiveness due to clutter and ad avoidance. This is spite of research that shows advertising continues to perform as well as ever (1) (2) (3).

So says Seth, companies need to adopt his radical new marketing strategy which is…wait for it…. to produce remarkable products and market them in remarkable ways. Wow. I don’t remember my old Uni textbooks saying anything like this, they only used words like “great” not “remarkable”. What a step forward in thinking.

Seth’s a great story teller, his books are entertaining. But it is a sad…

View original post 214 more words

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DSP Transparency

Do your DSP(s) have any rebate agreements with ad exchanges or anybody else?

If not, great! Is that explicitly laid out in the contracts you have with them, and do you have full audit rights? And if not, why not?

Hat tip to The Programmatic Advisory.

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More on Ads.txt

Try this the next time you talk about digital advertising with your digital marketing team and/or your agency. Print out a page with your ad on it. Put it on the whiteboard and give your buying team a marker and ask them to draw out exactly how that particular ad showed up on that particular website and why. By that, I mean all the names of the ad tech and martech players involved. No looking anything up.

Bet they can’t do it on the fly.

Take a look at this diagram, published today by Rebel AI CEO Manny Puentes in AdExchanger, discussing Ads.txt.

Read the article on his take on the shortcomings of the ads.txt solution. See if you can make any sense of it.

Feel better now about your programmatic buying?

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