“Where’s the beef?” It’s a line that generated market share at the expense of the category leader. Three words, incredibly popular.

Have you noticed the rise of the “curator?” This noun used to mean a museum employee who put together exhibits and sought items from outside collectors. Now, there’s all kind of stuff being “curated.” What happened to “selected?” Never being comfortable using jargon, and the acronym du jour, the power of social media to spawn idioms overtakes what ad copy used to. Plain speak is much more actionable in marketing copy (the words vs. the pictures). The digital brain has its lingo, but the persuadable brain needs to be sold. When a word or phrase becomes everyday speech, that’s proof of successful marketing.

Take the buzz on Elon Musk. “X” (formerly Twitter) has a $44 billion worth to him. Its advertising revenue is not making news, but a potential subscription fee is. That’s how cable tv made its money at first, by selling subscriptions, and why cable advertising was and is relatively cheap. Cable is like direct mail; it still works, but fewer people get it these days.

Tom Connor

As we’ve stated, TikTok is the most effective social media, followed by Instagram, then Facebook, then LinkedIn. As for Twitter, its noise is fueled by opinion, not passive scrolling. LinkedIn is great for B2B targeting, but the content needs to deviate from the norms, unless congrats are in order. Think about that — a medium devoted to career boosting. Selling via advertising on LinkedIn is tougher stuff.

Political advertising figures largely in media revenue goals between now and election day ’24. Did you know the media insists on up-front payment for this? And, they can also strongarm your costs if their inventory for electoral campaigns is peaking and you want in. Figure next Labor Day (9/2) through Election Day (11/5) there will be an endless barrage of political ads.

Americans spend ten hours a day with media; TV being half. If you watch morning news and prime time, that could be four hours a day on TV. That leaves six hours for reading press and social media. Streaming TV this past July commanded almost 39% of TV viewing. If we do the math, 31,500 different channels and streaming sources exist, adding up to more than a million titles available to streamers, per Nielsen.

TV sports is a good way to reach males ages 18 to 65, but if you want women, think TikTok. What TikTok does is get the word out via influencers — women who tout drug store cosmetics vs. those found in department store “doors,” the term for said category of retailers locations.

On the male influencer front, sports and music personalities and the odd entertainment star poke around. We’d give George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila, and Omega watches, Ben Affleck and Dunkin’ top billing.

Here in Westchester and Fairfield, few local influencers abound. Sure, we have our LinkedIn posters who champion their colleagues. There are a few on Instagram that promote places to eat and visit. Local communities have parent groups on Facebook, but we’re sort of a place where you grow up or are from. If you operate a successful business, maybe you network at events — maybe.

Ready to get the word about you out there? Think about what you’ll need:

  • Content creation — video production, photography, copywriting.
  • Software to follow the aggregation of platform activity and the analytics. Remember, the data shows a lot, but hides a lot.
  • A budget for paid ads. They work but are tricky to buy without quantitative analysis skills.
  • Influencer compensation from discovery through payment based on terms.
  • Employee training and development—lots of folks can make videos, but do they have the right persuasiveness or angle? That’s advertising agency staff stuff.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies states emphatically that most clients spend only 5% to 10% of their time on agency matters. Those matters are extremely concentrated, like is this stuff selling? Sales is not a fun arena. Working with national marketing and sales teams, we learned the price of “moving boxes” versus the price of moving minds.

New metrics are being developed. Take “brand love,” a journey from recognition through purchase that new agencies promulgate. The idea is there, but a competing brand can put a retail promotion deal in place and there goes all the brand love. It happens in the carbonated soft drink aisle all the time! In an inflationary landscape, brand love needs deeper wallets.

We’ve discussed Influencers a lot, but what about ROI (return on investment)? Celebrity endorsers are influencers, and they do bring forward a lot of consumer attention and persuasion.

The cost factor is adjudicated along with media exposure and it is a proven tactic.

Celebrity with a smaller “c” is in vogue now. So-called “micro-influencers” with as few as 10,000 followers are gaining traction.

Lastly, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are musts, but when surveyed the top brands and their stewards have not been at this long enough to gauge efficacy or transformation. There are some brands, notably in entertainment and sports that have paved the way here.

We end on a somber note. Will the Hollywood Writers and SAG-AFTRA strikes prove artificial intelligence (AI) can be kept at bay? Let’s hope so. For all the buzz it receives, it is anathema to DEI.

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