Small(ish) Screens, Big Gains

Small(ish) Screens, Big Gains

The just-released comScore report, “2016 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus,” hammers home how important mobile is becoming, across all audiences and spanning every content type.

Despite all the talk about cross-platform marketing (following prospects as they move throughout their day from the desktop, through the tablet to the smartphone), the message to marketers is clear: Ignore mobile, and smartphones in particular, at your own peril. The winners in each category will be those who create marketing experiences tailored to a mobile audience.

As of December 2015, smartphone penetration is at 79%, with ages 18-24 at 94% and ages 25-34 at 93%. Those ages 55+ are at a 58% penetration.

Interestingly, large-screen smartphone ownership exceeded small-screen ownership as of April 2015. This “bigger is better” mentality is growing in tandem with the variety of media available to mobile users. Among 18 to 34-year-olds 54% of TV viewing is on desktop or mobile, not live TV. In a single month, the top four digital media properties (Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft) reached roughly the same number of people as did the top four primetime broadcast networks.

We are in the midst of a virtuous circle. As smartphone penetration nears saturation, media companies and app developers are creating more content for mobile. And as more content becomes available, users are seeking a better viewing/playing/shopping experience afforded by a larger screen.

The study reveals that content publishers are getting a majority of their traffic from mobile, from business/finance sites to health, entertainment and lifestyle outlets.

The findings suggest that digital advertisers, who once focused solely on desktop users, must change the way they deliver their message and evaluate that delivery. A full 52% of desktop ad impressions are unviewable. Mobile outperformed desktop by a ration of 2.5 to 1 in the four measures of advertising effectiveness: aided awareness, favorability, likelihood to recommend and purchase intent. Mobile had its greatest impact on the last measure, the “bottom of the funnel,” presumably because mobile offers less advertising clutter and greater proximity to the point of purchase than the desktop experience.

One final takeaway: As digital audience growth flattens, approaching saturation, look for other effectiveness metrics besides reach, page views and unique visitors, such as time spent on site and conversions.

Pitfalls of the Jackson Pollock Method

Pitfalls of the Jackson Pollock method

Jackson Pollock, the American-born artist, made splatter art by flinging paint at a canvas.  His signature style served him well in artists’ circles, bringing him much acclaim.

In my career, I’ve come across many businesses whose marketing efforts can be characterized by throwing many tools and messages against the wall and seeing what sticks. This undisciplined, scattershot approach wastes resources and confuses target audiences.

At On Target Marketing, we believe that all marketing communications efforts should flow from a plan that considers a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats viewed in a competitive context. Out of this analysis comes the development of a unique selling proposition – a statement of your company’s point of excellence.

The plan should next determine and prioritize target audiences, then should specify messages that should be communicated to each target audience, built upon the unique selling proposition. This strategic consideration of a company’s position and the messages it can “own” in the marketplace forms the rationale for selecting which marketing communications tools have the greatest value.

Anything else is just taking artistic liberty with your marketing communications resources.

Who Are You? (They Really Wanna Know)

Who are you? (They really wanna know)

Branding — it’s that overused term you’d rather not think about. But without it, marketing’s a pointless exercise.

In essence, branding establishes and defines your identity. It differentiates you from your competition. It says something about your company’s values. Good branding does the above, plus it evokes a positive emotional response. Take a look at your company’s brand image. How does it stack up to the above criteria?


The TUMM Test

All successful branding begins with a unique selling proposition. Also called a value proposition, it must pass the TUMM test. Is the proposition upon which your brand is based:
  • True — Can you legitimately own the claim your brand is making?
  • Unique — Are you claiming to be something different than your competition, or are you an also-ran?
  • Memorable — Does your branding capture the imagination of your audience, so much so that they remember you?
  • Meaningful — Does your value proposition resonate with your audience, and does it represent something your audience cares about?
In a nutshell
Not just branding but all of marketing lives at the intersection of who your company is and what your target audience wants. Figure out how to profitably meet your prospects’ needs, or better yet — fill a need they don’t even know they have — and you’ll be a marketing star.

Think Like an Outsider

Think like an outsider

I grew up on Long Island until I was 12, when my family moved to Southern California. That was just the first, although most formative, of many moves I’ve made – 10 moves in 15 years, to be exact. That, on top of multiple job and career changes, left me feeling like I didn’t quite belong anywhere.

Although I used to view this rootlessness as a negative, I now know it’s the underpinning of On Target Marketing. Allow me to explain.

When you’re 12, have no friends, and dress and talk differently from the kids in your school, you have a choice: continue as if nothing has changed or adapt. I chose the latter. I quickly figured out where I fit in. I dropped the LI accent in 3 months. I adopted new mannerisms. I changed my hairstyle.

Yet, while my exterior had changed, I did not change who I was as a person. My core values remained intact. The result: I gained a new group of friends and became active in school.

In essence, being an outsider made me skilled at understanding my target audience. I learned how to get myself out of the way and focus on the habits, values and motivations of others.

Since then, I’ve translated that ability to understand others into a career in marketing communications. I’ve been successful partly because I can truly place myself in others’ shoes. It’s helped me define target audiences, shape messages that motivate and write copy that resonates. And I counsel my clients about how to communicate with their own customers, clients and prospects in a way that they will be heard and without compromising their values.

By the way, I’ve lived in my current home on Long Island for 17 years. It’s 2 miles from my childhood home.

Designed to Succeed

Designed to Succeed

I love my travel mug. I’ve run through several, and this is the first one that doesn’t spill when it falls from my car’s cup holder. It also allows the coffee to flow freely when I want a sip. It fits nicely in my hand. It makes me happy.

My relationship with my travel mug is based on its good design. And good design, it turns out, creates loyal consumers.

SmartPlanet reported on recent research from J.D. Power & Associates that showed that bad car design affects brand loyalty. The study surveyed 73,000 folks who purchased a 2011-year model. It asked respondents to report technical issues and interior design problems.

Half of consumers who reported no interior design issues with their cars said they “definitely will” buy or lease a car from that manufacturer again. A mere 29 percent of those who said they had at least one problem with their car’s interior design would give that car maker a second chance.

Fifty percent of consumers who report no interior design problems with a new car said they “definitely will” buy or lease from that car’s maker again. Only 29 percent of those who said they experienced at least one interior design problem would do so. Tellingly, the top five reported problems with car interiors are all design-related, rather than technical.

Consider the popularity of Apple’s iPod. It certainly wasn’t the first portable media player. That honor goes to Audio Highway’s Listen Up MP3 player, which debuted in 1996. The first-generation iPod came out in 2001 and has since become the market leader, selling more than 300 million units to date. One of the biggest reasons? Ease of use, based on good design.

All you manufacturers, perhaps it’s time to place more emphasis on design. Yes, you’ll need to spend money to do it, but it’s a one-time expense that will be spread over all of the units you make. And I know you’ve spent the last decade trying to shave pennies from production costs, but good design saves money in another arena. If you have loyal customers, you don’t need to spend as much on marketing and selling. Happy consumers will sing your praises, acting as an extension of your own sales force.

Good design: It’s the magic bullet that keeps you from having to compete on price.

Less Than I Bargained For

Less Than I bargained For

In my inner circle, I’m known as the Coupon Queen. I’ve changed plans with friends, opting for a different restaurant simply because I had a coupon. My Sunday morning ritual includes scouring the supermarket circular to make my grocery list and then finding coupons that correlate with on-sale items. Then, I return triumphant from my shopping trip and proudly show my husband how much I “saved.” From this, I get a charge.

My deep desire to avoid paying retail explains my love of Marshall’s and HomeGoods. I even got sucked in to Groupon, but found that I struggled to use those coupons prior to the expiration date.

Lest you think otherwise, I’m not a penny-pincher. Fancy restaurants are my thing; the same with luxury hotels, even if I can only sit at the bar and sip an overpriced martini. But I thrill at finding a bargain. I work hard for my money and will seek every opportunity to stretch it further.

You can imagine my glee, then, when I saw this story on CBS Money Watch “Save money every day: Ten painless tricks.”

Author Allen Roth must be a kindred spirit. I discovered some new tips. For instance, you can Google for promotional codes when shopping online to receive the discount reserved for members of a company’s email list. Similarly, you can Google for and print restaurant coupons. What’s more, Roth reveals ways to save money on hotel stays. Maybe now I can afford to stay as well as drink at those tony hotels I’m so fond of.

Yes, the economy may be on the rebound, but my frugal habits are here to stay. I’m hoping some of them rub off on my kids, but recent evidence points to the contrary. My older son recently bought a pair of Nike sneakers for close to $200. He used his own money saved from birthday gifts, allowance and his summer job. But he didn’t even look for a discount.

His purchase caused me physical pain. Let me propose a name for this ailment:


If you love a bargain as much as I do, let’s start our own cost-conscious community. Oh, and membership is free.