Marketing: Tradition vs. Innovation

We are living in a new age, full of breakthroughs and revolutionary technology. It’s easy to be dazzled by what the brilliant minds of today are developing and are introducing into our everyday lives. In the marketing industry, these advancements are often enough to make us feel a little giddy with excitement. New tactics can completely reshape a marketing strategy, and can make marketers feel like they are a part of something groundbreaking.

The question is, when we begin chasing new-age ideas, does that mean we should abandon old-fashioned techniques?

The short answer is no. Traditional marketing provides the structure and principles for effectively building a brand and generating sales. If traditional marketing is not a part of your current strategy, it should be. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to teach a new dog old tricks!

Here’s why.

What is Traditional Marketing?

Traditional marketing includes promotions, advertising or campaigns that have been standard  practice within companies for years. Four of the most recognizable traditional marketing practices are print, broadcast, direct mail and telephone.

Most companies allocate a portion of their marketing budget to at least one traditional method of advertising. Bigger companies can afford more expensive traditional advertisements, like TV commercials and direct mail. Smaller businesses with limited budgets are more likely to utilize print marketing in newspapers or newsletters.

Why does this matter?

Though they may lack the edge of more contemporary marketing practices, think of traditional marketing techniques like a sturdy, vintage pair of Levi’s. They’re classic, dependable, and admirable for laying the groundwork in building a brand.

Staying up to date with the latest trends is critical in the digital marketing world, but it doesn’t mean you need to ditch the principles that older methods have taught us. In fact, traditional marketing methods can still be incredibly effective and should still be considered in your current marketing strategy.

How? you may be wondering.

Tangible pieces delivered via face-to-face marketing, like flyers, brochures and business cards, for example, are definitely on the thumbs-up list for old-fashioned campaigning. While the same information can be shared digitally, sometimes nothing is more personal or impactful than holding a quality piece of print in your hands. Think of these pieces as your sidekicks—helping you to engage with someone, establish an important relationship, and make you hard to overlook.

The principles of traditional marketing are effective when used to reach a target market that you have studied thoroughly. Innovation, on the other hand, goes a bit further than that.

And there’s more to this concept than meets the eye. Like anything powerful, innovation has a light and a dark side.

Innovation in Marketing

Innovation and marketing are an inseparable pair, complementing one another in successful businesses across the world.

Here is a profound example.

There was once a time when technology and geography limited what stores people could visit, and therefore what they could buy. E-Commerce recognized and addressed this obstacle, effectively transforming the landscape of consumerism into something totally unprecedented. Today, the majority of business owners don’t need a physical address if they have a strong marketing game and the means to ship and handle goods.

But now that marketing is transforming practically by the minute, there are new problems concerning ethics that should be given careful consideration.

Here are some threats that innovation has posed to ethics:

1. Instant gratification.

We live in a world where we can have just about anything delivered to our doorstep within a day or two. So it’s no surprise that marketing practices have found ways to capitalize on this “I want it, and I want it now!” consumer mentality. Whether it’s through chatbots, online sales or downloadable resources, companies are able to give us what we want almost instantaneously.

While this isn’t necessarily all bad, there are some moral implications that come with feeding into society’s lack of patience.

Maybe it’s a misleading ad for a “magic” diet pill that can shave 20 pounds in 2 weeks.

Or maybe a website’s shopping cart integrates pop-ups that say something like, “Add $25 more to your order and get it by tomorrow with free shipping!”

Either way, capitalizing on people’s desire for instant gratification without strong ethical guidelines in place leads to an ethical grey area.

2. Availability of information.

The availability of information and big data are undoubtedly transforming the world.

Assets like artificial intelligence and cloud computing have played huge roles in organizations’ ability to collect data on its consumers. But if we’re being honest, most people don’t know how much of their personal information companies gather and analyze. This raises big concerns about privacy, confidentiality and transparency.

Big data is a very powerful tool, and it can be incredibly efficient when bringing consumers to the products they’re looking for. However, we should remain wary of the risks and ethical implications involved.

3. Inauthentic Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing was a major trend throughout 2018 and continues to be a powerful marketing tool in 2019. It essentially works because businesses know that people appeal to people more than ads do. Hiring influencers (like a celebrity that millions idolize) has been a way for companies to effectively promote their brand and their products, all while appearing authentic, even ethical, to consumers.

But are they?

If a business is offering an incentive for a social media influencer to talk about their product (especially if they otherwise wouldn’t be using this brand), that’s not exactly a genuine endorsement. And yet, people will blindly follow their lead because the content appears organic and truthful.

Need an example of how this ethical slip can go very wrong? Most people had heard of the Fyre Festival mishap, or have seen the documentary on Netflix. The Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival founded by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, was intended to promote the music talent-booking mobile app developed by McFarland’s company, Fyre Media.

The company utilized elite socialites and models like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratatjkowski to generate buzz about a luxury festival set to take place on a private Bahama island. This proved extremely effective, selling over 5,000 tickets with prices ranging from $500-1,500 for a day pass and as much as $250,000 for tickets and bonus amenities.

Ultimately, there was a massive shortage of accommodations, security, food and medical services, and the festival could not deliver the experience the influencers had showcased. The logistical failures resulted in the festival being postponed indefinitely, leaving people deserted on a Bahamian island with no return flights scheduled. Fyre Festival became infamous as “the greatest party that never happened.”

This example, while extreme, demonstrates how influencer marketing can create false confidence in brands and mislead buyers.

Creating Balance

Continuing to adapt to a changing world is imperative to a business’s survival. However, this does not simply mean “out with the old, in with the new.”

As we’ve seen, there are dangers in throwing ourselves at new concepts or ideas without carefully considering the long-term strategy. This is where holding true to the core values of traditional marketing becomes valuable.

Finding a way to create balance between old and new can help distinguish a winning strategy. Traditional marketing gains people’s trust by placing an emphasis on values people can consistently count on. Building a brand is not simply developing a catchy slogan or an attractive aesthetic. It is about being reliable and reputable, and meeting consumer expectations over and over again. Digital marketing connects a business with its target audience using digital channels in a cost-effective and measurable way. Identifying your business/organization’s objectives helps guide the promotional activities that will best reach the target market.

There is much to be learned from every medium of marketing, and each method requires a different skillset. Learning and respecting both traditional and digital techniques strengthens the foundation for marketing strategies and builds a more powerful approach.

The goal of marketing practices, always, should be to align customer satisfaction with business objectives, and as a result, foster more positive relationships and cultivate brand loyalty.

Ready for 2019? 6 Digital Marketing Changes that Matter

Marketing is continuously evolving. As we face the start of this new year, we’d like to take a look at 2018’s most influential marketing changes, which are sure to forecast what’s to come. Let’s take a look at how both marketing mishaps and success stories over the past year can help shape future strategies.

1. Trust and Transparency

With Facebook data breaches and data protection in general being major themes of 2018, regulatory actions have impacted digital marketing in a huge way. Many consumers wish to take control of their data back. There are now extra steps involved in acquiring consumer information, which has made it harder for businesses to track users across sites.

This proved to be an important shift as consumers’ inboxes were suddenly filled with emails from companies identifying their terms and conditions and urging them to maintain their trust.

Google also took action, placing a strong push on website hosts to secure their webs pages with an SSL Certificate. Those who didn’t would be labeled for all to see as “not secure,” and the site’s SEO would be punished to boot.

The Takeaway

Striving for trust and transparency will grow all the more important this year. Users want to know where their information is going and are very interested in privacy protection. Therefore, managing customer relations, communicating in an upfront and honest way, and practicing good business ethics are critical in 2019.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) will likely become ubiquitous and invaluable for marketing efforts. AI data and tools are fabulously helpful for analyzing consumer behavior. So it’s no surprise that this year, AI is expected to pack an even bigger, faster, and more capable punch.

The current rising trends include chatbots and programmatic advertising. Chatbots give businesses the ability to save time and resources by allowing AI to communicate with consumers in real-time, while being creative and adept in problem solving. Programmatic advertising is an automated bidding process to purchase ads in a more efficient way. It shows ads to specific customers in a specific context, making advertising far more personal and effective.

The Takeaway

Artificial intelligence proficiencies are helpful in every stage of marketing, from lead generation to retention and customer relations. Incorporating machine learning into your business practice has gone from novelty to mainstream, making it an important trend to keep your eye on.

AI is an investment, which may not be budgeted for in this year’s marketing strategy. Nevertheless, pay attention to what big corporate businesses (within your industry) are doing. At this point in time, your company may not be financially or structurally prepared for this type of growth. However, as AI becomes the norm, there may be opportunities to slowly introduce these methods and help your business thrive.

3. Influencer Marketing
Changes in Facebook’s algorithms have forced many companies to find creative new methods for social media marketing. Enter Influencer Marketing. Encouraging influential people to promote products or share their reviews on their own personal pages helps brands reach their target audience organically.

Here’s a recent example. Netflix just released Bird Box, the latest Netflix original movie. The movie sits at 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, with less-than-generous reviews from critics. That being said, more than 45 million Netflix accounts viewed Bird Box in the first week of its release. Why did this become Netflix’s best-ever debut for an original film? Because of Influencer Marketing.

Bird Box was headlined on Netflix, and some users received push notifications to their phones if the algorithm suggested they might like the movie. However, this wasn’t nearly as significant an impact as the striking cover image of Sandra Bullock blindfolded--which turned out to be low-hanging fruit for memes all over social media. So millions watched the movie simply because they wanted to join the conversation.

Additionally, Netflix strategically created influencers before the movie was even released by challenging hand-picked Twitch gamers to play their favorite video games blindfolded, calling it the “Bird Box Challenge.” Social media users organically spread the word about Bird Box, making the marketing all the more effective.

The Takeaway

You guessed it! Influencers and organic reach are expected to be tremendously important in 2019.

4. Video Marketing

Video marketing is now impossible to ignore. Almost every social media platform has integrated their own version of “stories” or live video feed. Instagram even added the IGTV feature.  

Video has proven to be an incredibly effective way to share information, and bonus--it’s naturally more engaging than text and imagery. Companies get their message across more quickly and in a more impactful way. Additionally, viewers place greater trust in video marketing:

  • 52% of consumers have greater confidence in products if they are able to watch a product video.

  • 72% of businesses have said that videos have improved their conversion rates.

  • 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video. (Hint, hint! A great opportunity for influencers and organic reach.)

The Takeaway

The numbers certainly give evidence as to why video needs to be a part of your marketing strategy this year (if it isn’t already).

5. Voice Searches and Smart Speakers

Between Siri, Alexa and Google Home, use of smart speakers and voice searches are becoming a popular commodity in most households.

  • By 2020, approximately 50% of all searches will use voice.

  • 39 million Americans use smart speakers.

  • 65% of current smart speaker users have said they would not want to go back to life without their voice-controlled devices.

Voice search is growing more and more intelligent, producing increasingly relevant search results. People can get fast answers and immediate gratification without lifting a finger to type it into Google’s search engine.

This has created a need for businesses to adapt. Many brands are looking to take advantage of these shifts in consumer behavior by including voice search in their digital marketing strategy.

Consider Domino’s Pizza, for example. Knowing that customers value the effectiveness of voice searches, Domino’s now uses voice search technology to allow customers to order pizza through Alexa.

The Takeaway

Smart speakers are creating new opportunities for advertisements, Google AdWords for audio content, and other methods for gaining brand awareness. This means giving consideration to keywords and words people are likely to speak rather than text.

As technology grows and develops, your marketing methods should, too.

6. Personalization

Personalization is all about fostering improved customer relationships. This means customizing content, products, emails and more to appeal to the individual. Personalizing messaging is a powerful way to stand out against competitors and generate greater interest from buyers.

There are a number of opportunities to tailor messaging based on the availability of data on purchase history, consumer behavior and link clicks, making this information extremely valuable.

Businesses like Amazon do an excellent job with personalization. When users log into their accounts, they see custom banners, carousels, artwork and recommendations designed just for them. These efforts are to make the customer feel special. What happens when a customer feels special and understood? They come back and buy more.

The Takeaway

Personalization not only distinguishes a brand, but it also cultivates customer loyalty. Incorporating personalization into marketing strategies is advantageous for consumer relationships and for businesses.   


5 Reasons Why Apple is a “Brand Powerhouse”

Apple iPhone XS

Whenever Apple introduces a new product, consumer expectation is unmatched by any other brand today. Apple users have come to expect nothing less than brilliant innovation and revolutionary technology in their phones and computers. This is a brand that has managed to fill us with heart-pumping anticipation as we wait in line to buy the latest piece of personal tech that will no doubt be superior to all others on the market.

On September 12, 2018, the iPhone XS and the XS Max were launched at price points starting at $999 and $1,099, respectively. A quick recap on the changes that were made with the XS:

The new iPhones have an advanced chip that improves its facial recognition feature, greater storage capacity, and a new image sensor and processor that facilitate better picture quality. The only brand-new feature is dual SIM support (meaning it can hold two different SIM cards at the same time), which isn’t quite as flashy as the introduction of Touch ID or 3D Touch.

You may have noticed that at $1,499, the biggest iPhone with the largest storage capacity costs more than some MacBooks.

Yes, that’s right. Your next phone could cost more than your laptop. Wired’s Lauren Goode reviewed the new XS phones, calling them “an evolution, not a revolution.” And yet despite this underwhelming conclusion, people are still willing to pay premium prices.

That’s because Apple has major brand power.

Brand Power

Brand power is both elusive and invaluable. It ultimately determines your trademark’s perceived worth and how much customers are willing to spend on your products. The true value of your product is influenced less by manufacturing costs (the effort it took to visualize and create the product) and more by the amount people are willing to pay for it.  

The strength to compete, the sustainability of a business, and a brand’s market performance are all hugely influenced by brand power. It is a logo’s ability to differentiate itself from competitors and be perceived as having higher quality.

For the eighth consecutive year, Apple sits at the top of Forbes’ annual study for the world’s most valuable brands. They are valued at $182.8 billion with brand revenue at $228.6 billion. 

While this is incredibly impressive, it isn’t all that hard to believe. We are surrounded by iPhone and Apple users everywhere we go. Whether it’s the iPhone, iPad, MacBook or Apple Watch, Apple has seamlessly saturated our daily lives and has found a way to make everyday tasks easier and more manageable. These products have become our means for communicating, shopping, scheduling appointments, tracking our health, and downloading and listening to music.

It has become necessary for companies to give consideration to these devices with their business model to stay up-to-date with consumer trends and preferences. This could include anything from ensuring a website is mobile-friendly to integrating Apple Pay in a store’s POS system. 

Talk about power.

How to Create Brand Power

1)    Generate Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a very important component of brand power. Effective branding leads to being recognized and standout. This means your product’s logo and marketing efforts should be providing knowledge and a level of enthusiasm that gets people excited to try your offerings.

According to a GraphicSprings study, Apple’s brand awareness tops all other global tech companies. Their ability to keep their branding simple, aesthetically pleasing, and also marketing in an exciting and informative way hugely contributes to their branding success.

2)    Create an Experience

We’ve seen a number of examples where brands like Corona have shifted toward selling an experience rather than just a product. This is done by creating a personal, emotional, memorable connection. Stronger connections to a product encourage future purchases and higher overall satisfaction with a brand.

Obviously, Apple is very effective at nurturing this type of connection. One of the biggest reasons people love Apple is because they feel like their lives will be substantially improved by their products. Their products are powerful yet inclusive. They make our lives easier while making us feel like part of a group that is sleek, stylish and elite.

3)    Build Trust

Trust is key. Your brand’s influence is only as powerful as a consumer’s belief in your name. Building trust requires communication, credibility, and sincerity with customers. A wonderful way to maintain these relationships is through excellent customer service. 

This is a huge component of Apple’s business philosophy. There are device support phone numbers and tech support personnel at every store to help when people are having trouble with their devices. They are patient when releasing new products to guarantee quality and consistency. Consumers trust their standard of excellence, which demonstrates how their branding influences perception.

4)    Continuous improvement

A big contributor to Apple’s success is that they know that one successful product does not ensure brand power. In order to gain a competitive reputation, a company has to provide enough evidence that their name guarantees quality. This means products should evolve and continuously improve. Companies who do not continue to grow and adapt will always be left behind.


This is especially true for tech companies, the pioneers of the modern-day world. Apple is constantly planning their “next big thing”, always finding new ways to innovate and surprise. They don’t just release a new product—they release the best new product. Their strategy of push marketing tells people what they need before they even know they need it, creating a demand for something people previously had no concept of. This constant evolution leaves us waiting with baited breath for the next way they’re going to change the world.


5)    Foster Brand Loyalty

This cannot be overemphasized—brand loyalty is what keeps consumers coming back. When a customer feels that a company consistently meets their expectations, they do not want to risk being disappointed by another brand. This is the element that ties all the prior steps together and generates a following of people who believe in what your brand stands for. Brand loyalty is what establishes that emotional connection. It gives customers confidence that they are investing in the best possible brand.

Apple’s business model works in such a way that the more people spend on their products, the more valuable their investments become. Apple products work best with other Apple products. Whether it’s pairing different devices, connecting with Bluetooth, or even just iMessaging/Facetiming with other Apple users, they have fostered a sense of community and status that comes with owning their products. Before people can even consider switching to a new provider, they have to consider all they would be giving up. The brand loyalty that they have instilled in their customers has aided them in becoming the industry leaders that they are today.

Self-Care as a Business Strategy

Health & Wellness Trends

A growing 2018 trend that has proven to be more than a fad is the idea of prioritizing health and wellness. And it’s not just a push coming exclusively from gyms, health clubs or medical providers. Advocacy for whole health is becoming ubiquitous.

Everywhere you look, products boast their health benefits. Organic items carry a certain prestige over other products, as consumers now demand to know what they’re eating and where it is coming from. People care about a product’s freshness, quality and global impact far more than they did just 5-10 years ago. More people are taking vitamins, eating larger quantities of fruits and vegetables and are adding exercise into their weekly routine.

What is “Wellness”?

You may have noticed the phrase “health and wellness” used with increasing regularity. Though the words health and wellness seem synonymous, they’re actually more like cousins than they are twins.

Healthy living does not stop at physical health. Mental and emotional health have also become huge focal points when it comes to discussions about our wellbeing. As a society, we have become more open to talking about health as something comprehensive and multi-faceted. We realize that in order to enhance our quality of life, we must be more than healthy. We must also be well.

Health & Wellness Programs

The central theme of any health and wellness program is behavior change. This means people first need to be educated on what lifestyle changes they could make. Then they must acquire the appropriate tools and skills to make these changes. Finally, and most importantly, individuals need the proper motivation to commit to these healthier behaviors long-term.

The key to successful health and wellness programs is for participants to maintain the changes they make. That is why it is critical to provide quality motivation and social support so that people get the push they need to commit to these lifestyle changes.

Benefits to Health and Wellness Programs

More and more companies are incorporating wellness programs into the workplace. While employers may genuinely care for the health and wellbeing of their employees, there are a number of other benefits to reap.

Wellness programs facilitate positive behavior changes in people. This begins somewhat of a domino effect, as healthy lifestyle changes tend to result in lowered health risks. Lowered health risks, in turn, decrease the likelihood of chronic disease. Less chronic disease means companies have employees with reduced health care costs. Now there is a considerable return on investment—everybody wins.

In addition to improving overall health, wellness programs can also improve a company’s culture. Research conducted by the Journal of Population Health Management revealed that individuals who regularly practice healthy behaviors (e.g. eating healthy, exercising, not smoking, etc.) were more productive and had lower presenteeism.

The institution of wellness programs make employees feel more valued and appreciated. An organization’s performance can be greatly impacted by high employee morale, which makes these efforts all the more worthwhile. Health and wellness programs can be very powerful with their ability to make people not only healthier, but also happier

Marketing to a Healthier World

This trend towards health and wellness has caused a massive shift in consumer behavior. For that reason, the cultures of companies and their brands have had to adapt to reflect what people are looking for.

People are beginning to want more out of everyday products. For example, if people are investing in skin care or make-up, it’s because they want to feel beautiful and confident on the inside. If they’re investing in workout clothes or nutritional supplements, the goal may be to feel stronger and more capable. People are more inclined to purchase products that will contribute to their overall “self-care” and enhance their holistic happiness.

Advertising has shifted to embody these new product standards. If the marketing does not relay a message that the ingredients are fresh, ethically produced, or that the product will improve life overall—the business is at a disadvantage.

Need an example? Here’s a link to Ulta’s “The Possibilities Are Beautiful” campaign.  

The underlying message behind this commercial is that beauty is not what’s on the outside. Ulta is saying that what’s really beautiful is the power of possibility every human possesses. This campaign transcends the typical scope of responsibility of a cosmetic company.

Very similar to what we have seen with Corona’s advertising, these types of ads have the ability to feel personal, relevant, and are able to appeal to the viewer’s emotions.

Health and wellness trends are now responsible for obliging companies to sell more than just a product. Instead, they need to sell a feeling, an experience, a better life. Finding a greater depth of incentive to invest in your product is the best way to embrace this trend and use it as an advantage! Find a deeper, more compelling meaning from your brand’s mission and vision. The goal should be to show consumers that your brand will help them on their journey to a happier and more fulfilled life.


The Marketing Lessons That Corona and Limes Taught Us

What’s going on with the Beer Industry?

There has been a shift in the consumption of beer over the last few years that has been a growing concern for manufacturers across the United States.

In 2017, there was a decline in both dollar and volume sales for domestic premium beer. According to IRI Worldwide’s market research, “Domestic premium brands (Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, etc.) saw dollar sales decline 2.9 percent, more than $398 million, to about $13 billion. Volume sales declined 3.8 percent” (Hop Take, Wolinski).

This change in course is more than likely caused by a number of factors. One threat to the industry is the shift in health consciousness with both Generation Y and Generation Z. People are aware of the negative impact alcohol can have on your overall health, and these generations have demonstrated their willingness to modify their behaviors.  

That is not to say that alcohol consumption is, by any means, coming to an end. However, people may be changing what type of alcohol they are consuming. Beverages with a lower caloric intake (wine, vodka, gin, etc.) are more attractive to the younger generations. Additionally, microbreweries and brewpubs have grown a faithful following, as people are now seeking out  ‘locally made’ flavors that invoke preferences for freshness, aroma, and bitterness level.

That being said, craft beer, domestic super premiums, and import beer dollar sales have increased, despite the overall volume consumed being on the decline. Ultimately, this movement reflects that the U.S. is spending more on beer, but drinking less of it.

How Corona Takes the Crown

While the beer business has been facing adverse times, shipments of Corona have inexplicably continued to increase. It’s undeniable that beer’s share in the U.S. alcohol market is shrinking, making Corona’s success a bit puzzling.

In addition to being the number-one-selling beer in Mexico, Corona is also among the most popular brands in the US. So one might guess that the quality of this summery beer must be superior to other brands. However, its taste ratings are decidedly on the lower end of the spectrum. So quality can’t be the reason it’s so eagerly embraced. 

What other factor could explain Corona’s standout sale volume?

The answer is marketing! 

Rather than simply selling an alcoholic beverage, Corona’s advertising sells an experience. When you watch a commercial with someone sitting on a beach beside a Corona and lime, it taps into something deeper than a desire for a drink. You don’t just want a beer—you want a Corona.

Here are some methods used by advertisers to connect to a viewer in this way: 

·      Use of pathos. Appealing to a viewer’s emotions is one the most effective ways to connect with an audience. From a psychological standpoint, utilizing emotional appeal is one of the most impactful ways to relay a message.

How Corona uses pathos: Corona is able to use pathos by targeting people who are busy, stressed, or overwhelmed. It draws them to the feeling of relaxation that appears to be affiliated with this particular beverage.

·      Make it personal. In order to really resonate with consumers, a company’s marketing needs to make people believe that the message applies to their life. This keeps advertisements from being skipped or overlooked. Pairing relevant content with the right personal interests is a very promising method to increase purchasing decisions.

How Corona makes it personal: Corona makes their advertising feel personal because it connects a popular set of interests with an available product. The interest is feeling relaxed and having a good time, and the product is a bottle of Corona. If a viewer’s goal is to unwind and be stress-free, Corona’s advertising makes this seem like a realistic outcome.

·     Be memorable. While the number of people you reach and the amount of impressions your ad receives are valuable, attention does not necessarily imply retention. Lasting results are less likely if the message wasn’t impactful or memorable. Consumers’ attention is trained to turn toward compelling content and topics that are personally relevant. Incorporating messages in an attention-grabbing way makes marketing campaigns much more powerful.

How Corona is memorable: Here is a compilation of Corona commercials.

While you may not remember what happened in every Corona ad over the years, you’ve probably caught on to a common theme—the beach! Corona has effectively marketed in a way that when you think of having a beer at the beach, you think Corona. This is a perfect example of incorporating a message (to relax responsibly) and making it impact viewers in a lasting way. 

How Influencers Are Boosting Marketing Efforts

When it comes to growing a business, successfully reaching and influencing your target market can be tricky. Not only do you have to know the people who make up your audience, but you also have to figure out the language your audience responds to, what platform(s) work best, and which targeting strategies are most effective.

When reaching large numbers of people, it’s difficult to personalize your message in away that connect to your whole audience. Ads through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc., use pictures and videos that resemble organic content, which initially proved effective when connecting businesses with social media users. However, as more and more ads and sponsored content showed up on newsfeeds, users started to become desensitized to these types of postings.

So how did businesses deal with ad apathy? By switching gears.

Enter influencer marketing.

What is influencer marketing?

Businesses know organic content is king when it comes to social media marketing. So instead of marketing to the masses, businesses are now paying “influencers” to promote their products/services for them. Rather than B2C marketing (business to consumer), this trend presents an exciting opportunity to encourage C2C (consumer to consumer) marketing.

Why is this important?

Why has influencer marketing created such a big wave in 2018 (especially with millennials)?

One word: Authenticity.

People trust people more than advertisements. When someone posts about how a “diet tea” changed their life, for example, their followers know that this is a real person, not a model or actor in a commercial. They believe their testimony to be true and therefore have greater confidence in the product.

Who can be an influencer?

While celebrities and public figures do an excellent job reaching vast numbers through their endorsements, social promoters don’t necessarily have to be famous.

In fact, influencer marketing is most effective when promoted by an individual who has a community of followers with shared interests and curiosities. The ultimate goal is to give brands a human voice that will connect to audiences in a more sincere way.

How can I make influencer marketing effective for my business?

The best influencers are social media users who have:

·      Taken the time to build their own brand and audience

·      Patiently grown their popularity by collecting one organic follower at a time

·      Cultivated a community that looks to their tastes and preferences as benchmarks to make personal choices about products and brands

While you want to find a social promoter with a respectable audience size, a loyal and engaged following is much more likely to have a real impact on marketing efforts. Someone with a bunch of paid-for followers will not yield the same outcomes! In other words, quality is greater than quantity when it comes to an influencer’s followers. The results are much more favorable if you take the time to find the right person with the right fans to vouch for your brand.

What about video?

Another way to make influencer marketing more effective is through the use of video marketing. Video, by nature, is an engaging and dynamic way to influence audiences and drive sales. “Vloggers” (video bloggers) are likely to have a faithful following made up of people who are looking for advice on what products they should invest in. Utilizing Snapchat, Facebook Live, YouTube, Instagram Stories and IGTV creates opportunities to advocate for a brand with a genuine voice.  

Make sure everyone wins!

Influencers and businesses should have a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Considering they have very different motivations for their social media use, making incentives for each party to reach the same goals is imperative.

Research is an important element in making this affiliation work. Be organized, form a strategy, and develop a schedule. Working together to generate the best results helps everyone gain from this arrangement.

So go ahead and experiment with influencer marketing, build your credibility, and track your ROI. Embrace this trend and connect with audiences in a new and different way!



SSL Certificate: What It Is, and Why Your Website Needs It

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a security measure websites take to encrypt (meaning to conceal using codes) the links between server and client. This is done to ensure that the connection between a website or browser and a mail server is private. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, as this security protocol means no one besides the mail client and the website can access the information you share with a site.

Here’s a real-world example. Say you were to subscribe to a monthly newsletter from Harvard Business Review, or you signed up for a rewards program with Target, Walgreens or Nike. When the websites where you enter your personal information for these subscriptions have an SSL certificate, your information stays between you and the site you shared it with.

Do I need it for my website?

If you run a business, then you likely have a website. You may have been deliberating over whether or not you should invest in an SSL certificate. Does your site really need it?

The short answer is yes.

Here’s why:

1.     As of July 2018, Google has started penalizing websites that do not have the SSL certificate. Without it, your website will be marked as not secure in the URL. Additionally, Google will begin intervening with a warning page, informing website visitors that their connection when visiting your site is not private or secure.

Effects: While internet users and consumers can technically bypass the security warnings if they choose, they’ll probably be less inclined to visit your site with these visible warnings, worrying (rightfully so) that their private information won’t be protected.

2.     In addition to warning pages and URLs, Google has started de-ranking sites that are not secure. This means that your website’s positioning will be shifted to a lower and less visible position on all search engines. Even if your site’s keywords and content are what an internet user is searching for, your positioning will drop significantly from the top.

Effects: Search engines are incredibly helpful for optimizing website traffic. However, positioning in these search engines is extremely important. People tend to only look at the first page of results from a search, which may be only the first 5 or 6 links listed. If your site ends up being thrown onto page 3, it will be hugely detrimental to your website traffic. Regardless of how relevant your material is, Google can still penalize you for not having your SSL certificate.

3.     Last, but certainly not least, an SSL certificate is important for your website because it increases security! If you believe you should invest in one simply to avoid Google’s slap on the wrist, we urge you to consider the security benefits of SSLs as well. Without one, private information on anything from a check-out page for making purchases to a simple contact form is at a greater risk of being accessed. 

Effects: Protecting your viewers’ sensitive information and warding off cybercriminals goes a long way! Cyber-attacks, bad actors, and other malicious internet threats are a growing concern. Protecting your online business and internet assets is crucial for not only your site’s safety, but also for its reputation. With SSL certificates, people can see a trusted encryption is in use, giving your website a sense of credibility.

Always remember that building trust and brand power helps your business reach its full potential! When you think this way, it makes potentially tough business decisions much easier to make.


Heather. (2018, July 28). This is Why You Need SSL by July 2018 – Google Changes | WordXpress. Retrieved from

Hitadmin. (2018, June 11). Trusted SSL Certificate: Why your website needs it before July 2018. Retrieved from

Sharma, T. (2018, June 18). Why Google is Forcing You To Have SSL Certificate on Your Websites. Retrieved from

Guiding Principles for Ethics in Marketing: Keeping Our Eyes on the Horizon

Business marketing is defined as the research, promotion and sales of products or services. Pretty straightforward.

Except that it isn’t!

Trying to persuade consumers to believe that a business is valuable (even with the best intentions, we are technically manipulating customer perception) can put us smack in the middle of a moral gray area.

While the benefits of honing in on your marketing efforts can be huge—boosting brand awareness ultimately leads to increased sales—it is critically important to remain cognizant of the means by which we influence others.

This is especially significant considering that the marketing world is ever-changing, and the use of technology is becoming more and more prevalent. The average person is not exactly familiar with how businesses use their information to target them through advertising.

If you’re wondering what the harm is in this arrangement, consider that when customers are kept in the dark, it makes it impossible to form a mutually trusting relationship between people and businesses. When marketing practices are unethical, everyone eventually suffers.

Here’s a handy summary of what constitutes unethical marketing practices:

·      False or exaggerated claims

·      Misleading facts or a distortion of reality

·      Withholding important information or side effects

·      Slandering rivals

·      Discriminatory messages

·      Exploitation

So how do you optimize your results without trading away your brand’s integrity?

1.     If you are guided by a single principle when it comes to ethics in marketing, let it be this: Practicing ethics requires the distinction between good and bad/right and wrong, regardless of the legality of the situation.
From a business standpoint, you should ask yourself, “Am I doing more harm than good?” (Penn, 2018). If having no regard for others is the price for achieving success, you can be sure a business is falling short ethically.

2.     Another excellent guiding principle is to concentrate on promoting sincerity and fairness.
This requires balancing the company’s financial interests with social responsibility (Ethical Marketing). In short: Make money, but think of others while you do it.

Simple enough, right? Not quite! Ethically speaking, there are still a few loose ends.

Artificial Intelligence

It’s no secret that technological innovation can be both a blessing and a burden. Looking ahead, artificial intelligence (AI) appears to be the next morally ambiguous entity we have to prepare for.

AI can rapidly recognize patterns and meaning in human behavior, which is advantageous when incorporated into marketing practices. However, the amount of sensitive personal data that is being collected on people is unprecedented.

We’re not just talking about a person’s geo-location or knowing her go-to online shopping sites. The algorithms can (and will) pick up on your values, impulses, vulnerabilities and motivations. AI knows you so well, in fact, that advertising can be tailored in a way that controls and accurately predicts your behavior. It’s like having a data-driven, algorithm-comprised follower that knows everything about you, but you know nothing about them.

Generally, people care about protecting personal information and maintaining a certain level of privacy. Collecting sensitive data has become all the more worrisome considering the prevalence of data misuse, breaches, and threatened cyber security (Facebook, we’re looking at you).

At its best, AI can be a great tool for connecting people with exactly what they’re looking for. While the pay-off of using AI is rewarding, with powerful technology comes great responsibility. As we wade out into these uncharted waters, what we need is to form an infallible set of ethical guidelines that instill transparency and allow people to be a part of the process rather than be targeted blindly.

The most important take-away from this is that taking the moral high ground can actually give you a significant competitive advantage. As we’ve talked about before, being upfront and honest can actually create a more trusting and long-lasting relationship with your customers, especially with millennials. Sticking to ethical guidelines can build you a promising reputation (valuable) and ultimately, foster brand loyalty (priceless).  

Penn, C. S. (2018, January 05). What is ethics in marketing? Retrieved from

Ethical Marketing | What is Ethical Marketing? (n.d.). Retrieved from

The Impact of the Facebook Data Breach

There were 2.2 billion active Facebook users at the end of the first quarter of 2018.

This means 2.2 billion people trusted Facebook to store a substantial cache of their private information.

This definitely makes the Facebook data breach quite the wake-up call for Facebook and all of its users. In case you aren’t familiar with what happened, here’s a quick recap-

A data mining company, Cambridge Analytica, collected profile data from tens of millions of users to build psychological profiles and ultimately influence elections. This was done with the help of Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American psychology professor at Cambridge University. The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, built by Kogan separately from his work at the university. Hundreds of thousands of users agreed to have their data collected for academic use.

What wasn’t foreseen was that this app would also collect information from the test-takers’ online friends. Facebook’s platform allowed for the collection of friends’ data to improve user experience and prevented it from being sold or used for advertising. In the end, 87 million people were likely affected by this breach. Facebook even believes most users have, at the very least, had their public profile information dug into by scam artists and/or experienced cyber security threats at some point. 

So what does this mean?

Your privacy has been violated. Facebook—your favorite way to relax at the end of the day, your collection of irreplaceable photos and memories, your outlet for self-expression, the way you connect with family and friends—feels less safe.

In the last few years, Facebook has become an extremely effective marketing and advertising tool. From a business perspective, this platform acts as a direct route to audiences and holds an absolute wealth of information on target markets. This is all great stuff—except that Facebook users never got a chance to opt out of being targeted or having their private information collected.

So what’s best for the business isn’t always best for customers. This means we’re running into an issue with ethics in marketing.

How will Facebook deal with this ethical crossroads?

Facebook has come to the realization that being a social media giant means they have huge social responsibilities—with global consequences.

Facebook has already gone to great lengths to remedy this situation. In the months since the data breach, Facebook has been in damage limitation mode, updating security to protect user data and even banishing 200 apps through their site-wide audit.

Nearly all of Facebook’s users have received a message titled, “Protecting your Information,” which informed users what apps they use and what kind of information is being shared. Privacy policies have been updated to restrict access to profile information from third-party apps. They have also eliminated the ability to search users by entering an email address or phone number.

But how does this impact the marketing industry?

It’s not just Facebook who felt the backlash from data misuse—most businesses are feeling it, too. With new privacy controls, less potent targeting, and weaker consumer data, media performance through Facebook is not expected to do quite as well as it has in years past.

What’s the next move for businesses?

While Facebook may not be able to reach audiences to the same degree, the fact of the matter is that Facebook is still by far the most efficient social network platform with the ability to reach the greatest numbers.

So keep using Facebook. Use customer relationship management (CRM) systems and create custom and lookalike audiences. Use your own data to help grow awareness and engagement. 

Additionally, it isn’t a bad idea to expand your horizons. Try out other tools, like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube. Diversify your portfolio and continue creating content. This can improve your overall results.

Biggest takeaway: You can still build your brand while Facebook rebuilds trust.

Anderson, M. (2018, April 06). Facebook privacy scandal explained. Retrieved from

Wang, F. (2018, April 02). What the Facebook Data Breach Means for Brands. Retrieved from



Artificial Intelligence: Why We Shouldn’t Fear This New Marketing Frontier

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the development of computer systems and machine learning to perform tasks that usually require human capabilities. AI gathers an incredible amount of data and can identify patterns and themes to develop insights and solutions.

In addition to being able to recognize marketing concepts and solutions, AI can also interpret emotion and communication, just like a human would. It can predict common occurrences, trends, reactions and responses. Ultimately, it understands causations and how likely these events are to repeat.

Don’t freak out just yet.

You don’t have to see AI as an opponent. Instead, see it as a business advantage. You are on the same team! With AI, more can be accomplished in far less time. AI essentially eliminates the tireless busywork of compiling data and conducting human analyses, allowing you to boost return on investment and your brand’s performance without exhausting your efforts.

Here are just some of the competencies of this efficient, results-driven technology:

·      More effective online ads. AI has intelligent algorithms for advertising that collect information about the type of ads people respond to. Using keyword searches, social profiles, and other online data, AI is able to produce better outcomes with online advertising. Rather than bombarding internet users with a million potentially irrelevant ads, AI can personalize their experience, making advertisements more effective.

·      Refined targeting. Audience analytics are so specialized with AI that they can capture insights beyond demographic information. Through analyzing internet users’ search patterns, AI identifies the key areas of interest. It processes behaviors and trends on an individual basis for more concentrated targeting. If you have been searching for vacation getaways for the past couple weeks, for example, AI can help direct you to your ideal location, as well as promote flights, hotels, and things to do in the area. AI’s refined targeting helps you find what you were looking for more efficiently.

·      Improved customer service experience. AI bots play a huge role in problem-solving and customer retention and engagement by providing consumers with immediate answers and information at any point in time during their interaction on a website. This allows employees to redirect focus and better assist potential new customers by already understanding what they are seeking.  

Accepting that artificial intelligence is here to help is the first step to enhancing your business practices. With these processes of continuous machine learning, marketing efforts can reach greater heights than ever before. AI solutions will optimize your outreach, improve conversions, be capable of rational decision-making, and effectively minimize waste. Save your time and efforts for what’s necessary, and leave the rest to powerful technology.

We also want to emphasize that this powerful tool can be used without compromising our moral principles.

Google Assistant is an example of a virtual helper powered by AI. This technology can be used across a user’s devices and can even engage in two-way conversations. Google Assistant helps you schedule tasks and to-dos, calls and texts your contacts, answers your questions, and performs over one million other actions. This is a great example of how AI makes life easier and improves productivity.

AI is even being used to better the world. Thorn is a prime example of artificial intelligence practicing good ethics and making a real difference. Founded by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Thorn uses AI to rescue children from sex trafficking and stop the spread of child sexual abuse material. By the end of 2017, Thorn had identified 5,894 child sex trafficking victims, rescued 103 children from sexually abusive situations, and disrupted 6,608 bad actors. None of these impacts would be possible without the capabilities of artificial intelligence.

The novelty and change brought about by big tech innovations can certainly be intimidating, but learning what artificial intelligence has to offer and how to use it responsibly can be valuable to businesses as well as human beings. AI has unlimited potential to help us with our daily efforts and achieve more than we’ve ever thought possible.    


Manthei, L. (2018, May 29). What Is Artificial Intelligence Marketing? Retrieved from

O'Bannon, E. (n.d.). Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Data Analysis. Retrieved from