Bette Davis says: “Marketers, fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for consumers”

As an avid student of marketing to both business-to-business and consumers, I’ve been reading a lot about trends that will endure post COVID-19.

It seems that although consumers are embracing new behaviors and habits, they are also sticking to tried and true brands that have stuck with them in past crises. New brands have got to establish emotional connections with their audience even more quickly than in normal times. Zoom is an amazing example of this, as the word “zoom” has instantly become a part of our everyday lexicon.

Since we are all stuck at home, many of us are becoming excellent do-it-yourselfers, and learning how to cook, sew, bake, and fix things that we didn’t have time to fix before. Websites and You Tube channels demonstrating “how-to” are generating tremendous traffic and offer great opportunities for brands that understand our need to act and do.

I recently saw an amazing statistic that noted that nearly 40% of current on-line grocery shoppers made their first grocery purchase in March. I’m not aware of the exact numbers for telemedicine, but doctors and hospitals are also seeing a sea change in consumer behavior. Marketers and brands that understand that consumers are easily adapting digital offerings that used to be only available via old brick and mortar entities will be successful in the post COVID-19 era.

Privacy and safety have always been competing concepts in normal times. In the current COVID-19 and beyond, it is possible that the need for safety will surpass the need for data privacy. That being said, brands like Facebook and Google that start promoting safety over the privacy of their data may see a reversal of consumers’ perception of techs “bad boys”.

Ultimately, no one really knows how much our lives will change in the post COVID-19 era. To paraphrase Bette Davis, “Marketers, fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for consumers.”

It is Worth Investing in Mobile Advertising!


Just two months ago, after receiving Advertising Age’s 2016 Mobile Marketing Fact Pack I wrote a blog commenting, “that there is no escaping that the mobile world is not only here to stay, but is overtaking every other traditional form of communication.”(Read previous article here)

So when I received Advertising Age’s 2016 Marketing Fact Pack in mid December 2016, I was not surprised to see once again that mobile advertising made up 42% of all online advertising in 2016, and that is expected to raise to 49% this year, 57% in 2018 and 61% in 2019.

If you’re a marketer of consumer products and services, you should be paying close attention to investing your marketing dollars in mobile advertising.

Another fascinating fact is that predicted spending for U.S. media and marketing in 2017 is $1,333 per person. If you’re a business owner already investing in advertising, it might be a safe assumption to increase your investment inevitably increasing your reach for your target audience.

The Fact Pack is chock full of stats well worth looking at in greater depth. (Fact Pack) One more thing that stood out to me was that Millennial households make up 44% of households not subscribing to cable/satellite TV. Once again, if you are a marketer of consumer products to young people between the ages of 18 and 34, you should seriously be considering mobile advertising in 2017 and beyond.

Last October, I also wrote marketing, advertising and sales are changing as fast as I could write and publish that blog entry. Once again, I can only repeat that if you’re a marketer and want to stay in business, you better get on board and ride with the change – it’s now!

BTW, thanks to Veronica Rao for her research and insights in preparation for this article.

97+ Experts on Driving Small Business Growth


Check out my article “Growth Means Turning an Entrepreneur Into a CEO”  alongside dozens of other expert contributors in Recalculating 97+ Experts on Driving Small Business Growth.  We were each asked to write special 1000-word contributions for the book based on our expertise.  Topics covered are: Leadership, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Human Capital, Operations and Technology.

You can purchase the book on Amazon in either Paperback or the Kindle edition HERE.

As I have often said in my talks, and as I conclude in my article, ” In my experience with hundreds of clients, I’ve found that whether one chooses or not to grow the business, the principles of systematizing, being deterministic, and increasing value for the business still hold true for any business, and becoming a CEO may not be a choice after all.”

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


How much are you worth to Facebook?


I recently read an interesting article in The Washington Post about how much money you – yes, you – are worth to Facebook. In the United States in 2016, the average Facebook user is worth $13.54.

You read that right – Facebook is making $13.54 off each and every one of us who uses their social network. The value per user is based off of impressions on mobile and video ads and content.

Of course, if you use Facebook to market your business through organic content and ads, you are probably worth a bit more, as you are spending advertising dollars with them. Other interesting takeaways from the article were that Facebook’s active user base was up 14% over 2014, to 1.59 billion total monthly active users. There was also a 52% increase in revenue from the same period in 2014. Facebook had truly stellar performance in the past year.

The next time you log on to Facebook, think about how you are contributing to the bottom-line of one of the hottest-performing technology companies.

Click here to read the full article.

Social Media Trends for 2016 – Part 2


Last week, I shared a few social media trends I see taking hold in 2016. It has remained clear that social media will impact small businesses in ways they couldn’t imagine even five years ago. This week, I continue sharing these trends with my readers. Below are some social media trends I see playing a huge role in 2016.

Social media will be happening in the moment, right now

In 2015, we saw the advent of platforms such as Periscope and the recent addition of live video on Facebook. Now, everyone can be a broadcaster on social media at the flick of a switch.

Throughout the coming year, live video and live events will continue to explode on social media, as companies realize their newfound ability to broadcast on the fly to capture customers’ attention. This will mean that companies will have to become more innovative in order to provide the sensory experience that customers will demand on social media.

Google+ may very likely disappear – for good

In 2015, Google continued to promote its own social media platform, Google+. That is, it did until it didn’t. Late in 2015, Google made some sweeping changes to the way Google+ works, and also removed Google authorship permanently earlier this year. What does this mean for 2016?

I believe Google may finally decide to throw in the towel, for good this time, and shut down Google+. The social media platform never took off the way Google intended, and if recent Google behavior is any indicator, it will further streamline its services by removing Google+. Who knows what will happen then?

We’re going to hear about virtual reality a lot

If 2015 was the year that virtual reality graduated to the next level (see Google Cardboard and the NY Times rollout of that product,) 2016 will be the year that virtual reality truly goes mainstream. In 2016, many consumers will be able to get their hands on a low-cost virtual reality viewer, such as Google Cardboard. The result will be companies scrambling to figure out how to take advantage of this new platform.

An interesting question that remains is how social media will be affected by virtual reality. There’s no doubt that live video will play a huge role in this, as 360-video will allow viewers to access new virtual environments previously out of reach (think the jungles of Central America or the plains of Africa.) Will virtual reality experiences be streamed over social media? We will soon find out.


Social Media Trends for 2016 – Part 1


As we wrap up 2015 and look to 2016, it’s clear that social media continues to have a greater impact on small businesses than ever before. In 2016, the ways that businesses use social media will evolve along with the different social platforms themselves. Businesses need to be ready. Below are some of the social media trends I see taking a foothold for 2016.

Influencer marketing will continue to become more important to businesses

2015 was definitely the year that public – and business owners – got familiarized with the term influencer marketing. After all, social media influencers have helped countless businesses promote products and services to large audiences that they previously could not access.

Marketing maven Gerard Boucher, CEO of New York digital agency Boucher + Co., believes that personal branding will become more important, as businesses realize every employee has the ability to become an influencer promoting a company’s products or services. “Influencer marketing within small and medium-sized businesses will be one of the most pronounced trends in the social media business landscape in 2016,” Mr. Boucher was quoted as saying for this blog post.

Video will be even more ubiquitous across social media channels

Video continued to take off in 2015, with more brands taking advantage of the fact that costs of producing high-quality videos have decreased greatly, making great video easily accessible to many businesses. In 2016, that trend will continue, especially with the introduction of new video formats such as 360-degree video.

The ability of businesses to broadcast live video streams on the fly, using a social platform such as Periscope, is a game-changer and will continue to be utilized by more companies in 2016. Recently, Facebook started rolling out live video to a number of businesses, and will continue to do so in 2016, inevitably increasing the utilization of these videos by brands.

Businesses will start to utilize paid social media a lot more

In an ideal world, businesses could post on social media for free, and see their organic content driving tons of engagement and lots of sales. One problem – this is not an ideal world. Almost two years ago, Facebook announced it was shifting its algorithm to focus more on non-sales related content for businesses. This decision greatly reduced the effectiveness of organic social media content promoting a brand’s sales, offers, and revenue-generating products on Facebook.

Since then, paid social media has taken off – forcing businesses to advertise on Facebook in order to reach more customers, drive engagement, and ultimately, drive revenue. This trend will continue to take hold in 2016, as businesses realize the need to make this investment in order to generate revenue and brand equity from social media.

Look for “boosting posts” to become a more widely-understood verb, and Facebook’s revenue to increase as more businesses advertise on that platform.

Please join me next week for Part 2 of this series on Social Media Trends for 2016. 

A Celebrity’s Guide to Rockstar Social Media

LE-AA429_SOCIAL_P_20151012122858When it comes to social media, nobody gets it like celebrities. They consistently put out content that caters to their fans, and reinforcing their brand and strengthening their relationship with their fans. Your business could benefit greatly from social media by learning from the stars and how they keep their followings engaged. Here are a few common practices you could employ to boost your company’s social media:

  • Acknowledge Your Customers: Taylor Swift is well known for getting back to her fans, so much so that several sites have appeared to compile her replies to her audience. Get your customers excited to interact with you by demonstrating that you care about their concerns online and replying to both positive and negative feedback.
  • Don’t Be Too Commercial: Though it may seem contradictory, promoting your brand through social media isn’t about telling them to buy your product, it’s about making a narrative as to why they should buy your product. Your Instagram followers prefer to see a “behind the scenes” sneak peak over a “buy now” banner.
  • Create a Narrative: When Beyonce was in the tabloids in regards to troubles in her marriage, she did not try to dispel the rumors by confronting the publications. Instead, she posted happy pictures with her husband Jay Z, and in time the rumors went away. Instead of arguing with bogus reviews, show your customers the quality of your food by showing quality photos of your food to demonstrate that the rumors are false.

All in all, good social media takes time and strategy. Developing quality content to engage your audience can be a challenge on its own, but ultimately will provide a rewarding opportunity to build an authentic connection that will foster lifelong relationships with your customers.

Read the full article here in The Wall Street Journal.

How Big Brands are Reaching Millennials


Talk about Millennials is everywhere: how are you supposed to target a demographic that avoids ads like the plague? Millennials watch less TV than any generation older than them, use ad blocking software to block apps, and look at most of their media through mediums like Instagram which don’t feature ads. With such a challenging demographic to target, what are big brands doing to connect with this generation?  Here are a few key strategies brands are using to reach this demographic:

  • Create an Experience: Many big brands have turned to experiential marketing, holding events or stunts that create great memories that Millennials will come to associate with the brand.
  • Reach Millennials Through an App: Brands like Nike and Under Armour have developed fitness apps for customers to use and interact with the brand.
  • Understand How They Like to Communicate: Domino’s Pizza now allows you to order a pizza by sending them an emoji. Just letting Millennials know that you “get them” can be enough.

With such a mobile-centric demographic such as Millennials, it is no wonder that brands are turning to reaching them through their phones. Spending as much as 90 hours on phone apps in a month, it’s what’s most important to them. Throwing big events also allow attendees to organically share the experience on their social networks, which exponentially increases the effect of your marketing efforts. Key insights like these will help your marketing efforts, and keep you from being left in the dust.

Read the full article in the New York Times here.

What You Need to Know About Generation Z

Nela & Boris at Lighthouse Point complex - Collingwood, Ontario (August 2nd, 2008)

As Millennials are making their impact on today’s work force, employers are turning to see what they can expect from Generation Z as they prepare themselves for today’s economy. Described as people born from the mid 90’s to mid 2000’s, Generation Z is just now starting to make its impact. Make no mistake: marketers are scrambling to be the first ones to figure out this generation. Fickle, smart, and diverse, Generation Z is quite different from the entitled Millennials, and are predicted to be more like their great grandparents rather than their older siblings. Here are a few key things you need to know about Generation Z’ers:

  • They Are Diverse: With birth rates for Hispanic and Mixed children soaring between the years of 2000 and 2010, this diverse generation sees their African-American president as normal, not a breakthrough.
  • They Move On Quick: With Vine, the social media platform built exclusively on 6-second videos, as the prevalent form of Social Media among Generation Z’ers, you can count on a generation that will forget about your product just as quickly as they saw it.
  • They Are Risk Averse, Safe: Having grown up during tumultuous times, Gen Z’ers are subjected to their parents, the Gen X’ers, will to provide safety where there was none before. Products featuring extra safety features, promoting sustainability, or that promise to be free of toxins are a selling point to these kids and their parents.

Most of all, it is a generation that values the long term. After seeing how Millennials are bearing the weight of the baby boomers, Generation Z’ers are pragmatic and are not looking for a quick fix. Once you can understand the above characteristics, you can begin to understand Generation Z. Marketers will have to be able to understand minds that have short attention spans, but are still looking for the long term. Though it may be confusing and contradictory at first, the first to master their market will have large rewards to reap.

Read the full article here in The New York Times.

Using the Latest Technology to Increase Productivity


Part of maintaining a competitive edge in business is making sure you are keeping up to do with the latest technology. The right network and infrastructure can dramatically increase the efficiency of your employees and your company. That said, here are some infrastructure-enhancing technologies that can revolutionize the way your company does business:

  • High Performance Mobile Networks:With over half of all workers using their phones to access work-related content, it is important to have a solid phone and network that will be there when you need it.
  • Social Networking: Interact and target your audience using social media to drive sales and raise awareness for your brand.
  • Cloud Computing: Access your data anywhere with cloud computing technology. Increasing your productivity, data security, and efficiency, you should look into adopting software like Google Drive or Dropbox for your company.

Technology is core to keeping a business up to date. Adopting the technologies above will make for happier employees who are able to effectively do their job by empowering them to effectively manage their data and target your appropriate audience.

Here is the full article on