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Long Term Goals, Short Term Amnesia

By David Berry: I have had a persistent problem for most of my adult life, personally and professionally. I’m willing to bet you’ve had the same issue.

And it’s this – I’m always working for the bigger picture but getting bogged down in the smaller stuff along the way. Case in point. On April 19, when I started DB + Partners, I told myself to plan for 90 days of hell. The long term goal was to define myself as a business consultant who happens to be a marketer. I wanted to become a trusted, go-to resource with high-end solutions without fluffy overhead costs.

I expected to rack up some debt. I knew I’d struggle to find clients, to define myself in a cluttered space and afford the things I knew I needed, like a website, a new laptop and ya know, food.

Well, I’m at day 75 out of 90; two-and-a-half months into my business. I have this basic website, I have a new laptop, I’ve accrued no debt and I have clients I’m proud of. The long term goal is the same and I’m making progress toward it.

Success, right?! Wrong.

I spend more time lamenting what I haven’t achieved than what I have.

Second-guessing the day-to-day decisions I make (if I’m doing client work, I’m not growing the business. But if I’m not doing client work, I don’t have a business). I have FOMO with regard to the fun/exciting things I could be doing at a ‘big ad agency’. And I always wonder how I could be doing all of this, but faster.

My clients fall into the same traps. And because of who I am, and how I’m built, I understand them. Particularly because it’s me who they’ve chosen to invest their money with. They’re spending their hard earned dollars on something that needs to pay off. They’re exposed and vulnerable as a result.

And this is exactly where so many of us develop short-term amnesia. When we’re vulnerable (financially, professionally, emotionally, etc.), we tend to forget the bigger picture. We instead focus on short term pain and discomfort. If it hurts us and we’re uncomfortable, we second guess our decisions. Or fear that progress is not happening fast enough.

In those moments, we need to pause, step backward and look at the bigger picture. And go through this exercise.

  • Ask yourself – is what I’m doing in line with my bigger vision?
  • Am I being realistic with my expectations for where I am?
  • Are these fears/concerns going to matter in 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 weeks?

Often times, you’ll find yourself a lot farther along than you expected after asking these questions. Which is why it’s also important to document and track your progress.

If you’re chasing a year-long goal, then you need to be realistic and tangible in tracking efforts along the way. Mark off 90, 180, 270 and 360 day benchmarks. A year-long goal won’t be achieved in 90 days, but several other things will. Keep yourself honest.

And you’ll find that you’re doing just fine.

Decoded: The True Meaning of 10 Advertising Buzz Words

By David Berry: Ad agencies and advertising people have a way of sounding really smart without saying much that could be considered substantive. I know this because a fair amount of my career was predicated on doing so.

David Berry, 2015: “What I think we’re seeing is a move toward more original, native content being distributed across channels, but in a hypertargeted way. And the superdata we have allows us to do that effectively.”

David Berry, 2015, translated: “Advertisers figured out that people want to see stuff that they like, and less stuff that they don’t like.”

The translated version is a lot easier to understand, but a lot less impressive-sounding, right? Well, here are 10 buzz words that are still being overused – and aren’t that impressive either.

1.     Data-Driven Content: Free data that’s built into Facebook and Google, etc. tell us the age groups of our audience and a little bit about what they like to look at. So if we see that they like cat memes and not dog memes, we make more cat memes.

2.     Influencer Marketing: People know that businesses want you to buy their stuff, which is why people usually tune-out the businesses. So we hire really cool people to sell our products for us, because you like them better than you like us. (Also see: Brand ambassadors)

3.     Storytelling: Storytelling. But usually about a product that’s for sale.

4.     Native Advertising: Ever seen recommended articles on Buzzfeed, but they just happen to be promoted by a brand? Native advertising. People tend to like it more than obnoxious banner ads.

5.     Hashtag Mining: Just finding out the hashtags people use most when they post stuff. Like if I post a picture of myself boxing, I would go find out that people use #boxing #mma #ufc a lot when they post pictures of boxing, too.

6.     Disruptive: This is an obnoxious way of saying ‘game changing,’ which is an obnoxious way of saying ‘nerdy stuff that might eventually catch on.’ Don’t get me wrong, disruptive technology or ideas do change the world. But most of the time you hear the word ‘disruptive’ being used to describe it, it’s not actually true.

7.     Hyperlocal: Basically, it’s advertising that’s based on where you are. The easiest way to tell that is usually through your mobile phone, and yes, brands can track your location because you willfully provide it to them. You know, so you can find a hottie within walking distance on Tinder.

8.     Integrated Marketing: This one isn’t as buzzy as it used to be, but it’s a fancy way of saying “we’re putting similar ads and information in a lot of places.” This is a good thing for advertisers and consumers. Once upon a time, there was TV, newspapers and radio. Now, there are those things plus computers, smart phones, Fitbits, running shoes, etc. That means that integrated marketing is designed to go where the people go.

9.     Millenials: Anyone younger than the advertising executive telling you about them. No hard data exists on this group, but generally speaking, Millenials are an extremely diverse group of consumers who were probably born between 1980 and the mid 1990s. Millenials are important because they were the first truly tech-savvy generation, and now they’re starting to have some real buying power. Which is why advertisers are always touting the importance of ‘capturing the millennial audience.’

10.  Clickbait: We all know what this is and unfortunately we’ve all fallen for it. The headlines that are the equivalent of a chocolate cake when you’ve been on a diet. “His girlfriend got cat-called by his best friend and you won’t believe what happens next!” 100% of the time, clickbait is designed to get you to click on something that sounds amazing and invariably is not.

Did this help you make sense of all the noise? Do you have any buzzwords that you’d add to the list? Share them below.

5 Things Your Social Media Agency Isn't Telling You

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According to eMarketer, Social media ad spends will reach $29 billion worldwide in 2016, and will push toward the $36 billion mark in 2017. Suffice it to say that social is still growing and is showing few signs of slowing down. But with that growth comes a glut of self-proclaimed experts or, heaven forbid, ‘gurus.’ How do you avoid putting the keys to your castle in the hands of an idiot? Take a look at what they’re not saying.

1.     The number of fans/followers you have doesn’t matter. Once upon a time, you could post an adorable cat meme to your social pages and watch the engagement pour in from your legions of fans. Today, not so much. Having a bunch of fans/followers is now akin to having a bunch of friends who never hangout with you. Organic reach now hovers around 1-2% for most brands across channels (meaning 98-99% of your fans never see your content). There are exceptions, including publishers (think The Miami New Times or The Plantain) and celebrities (think DJ Khaled or any Kardashian). But if you’re a business with a product to sell, odds are you might still be spending a lot of time and money on acquiring fans who will never see what you post. And yes, that now includes Instagram.

2.     Twitter is useless. Twitter stock once sold for $69 per share; today it sells for $15. On the flipside, Facebook once traded for $18 per share (in 2012) and now trades for $118. Why? Because Twitter sucks if you’re trying to grow a business on it. Their ads are more expensive than their social counterparts (and less capable), the platform is less used and less engaging, and the volume of content is so abundant and disorganized that even if you did post something spectacular, chances are no one saw it.

3.     90% of purchases via social (FB) come from users who never click an ad. Facebook released a conversion lift test in 2015 that was designed to show the true impact of ads run on the platform, beyond what could be tracked by clicks. What they found was that users who saw ads from brands in markets where no other media was running were still buying things from the brand, even though 90% never clicked on the ads they saw. The takeaway? Don’t judge the success of your ads based on clicks alone – look at the bigger picture, and evaluate your media holistically instead of in a vaccum.

4.     Your business probably doesn’t belong on Periscope, Tumblr, Twitter or even Pinterest. Not every shiny new social toy is right for your brand. This tends to plague small businesses who have an inferiority complex about their ability to market their business. Instead of being a master at one or two social channels, they spread themselves across several and instead fail at all of them. Look long and hard at what your business does, and who it sells to. And select your social channels accordingly.

5.     If you’re posting every day, you’re posting too much. The reality is that most businesses don’t have that much to say, and that’s okay. Brands were posting across channels nearly once per day or more a couple of years ago, but late 2015 and early 2016 have actually seen brands posting less often, but with higher quality. This has helped per-post organic performance, but it’s also a reaction to social increasingly becoming a pay-to-play space (if you want to be seen, you need to run ads). Specifically, that means a brand could theoretically only post once or twice per week, but be far more impactful than any brand posting on a daily basis because their ad budget allows them to go beyond their own pool of fans, and at scale. So, less is more.

Agree or disagree? Leave your comments. And if you’re interested in talking more, email me directly at david@dbpluspartners.com. Thanks for reading!

Your Ads Fail Because Your Ideas Suck

Everything that’s old is new again. At least in advertising it is.

David Ogilvy, the now-deceased man hailed as “The Father of Advertising,” once famously said “the consumer isn’t a moron. She’s your wife.”

Those insights are more true than ever today. Even amidst a growing obsession with ad tech – programmatic buying, beacon technology, virtual reality and augmented reality and so on.

Sure, these advances have made advertisers more agile and capable. But the best tech in the world isn’t worth a damn if the message falls flat. And in a cluttered competitive ad space, it often does.

Think about the last time you remembered an ad, like really remembered an ad. The type of video or image that made you say “wow” or “ROFLMAO.”

Now think about where you saw it.

If you’re not sure, or only kind of sure, you’re not alone. Consumer ad recall is ubiquitously about the ad itself, and almost never about the medium.

Here’s the lesson – no matter the tech, a great ad campaign should never put methods before messages. The idea should lead; the medium should follow.

Transcendent ideas have always been at the center of advertising. They still are.