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Voice Search

Speak: How Voice Search is Changing the Way we Ask and Answer Questions Online

 

It seems that human consciousness has been making another shift between written and verbal languages in the field of technology. And it is no surprise really. After all, cave drawings most likely came before speech in the prehistoric world. And oral story tradition had been the primary method of storytelling before the mass production methods of the printing press. It would make sense that speech would ebb back into the sphere of human influence. Especially since texting became a huge technological movement with cell phones over the last two decades.

But, part of me wonders, what does this mean for computer algorithms and search engines?

Also, what does it mean for the world of SEO? And how does that translate to how web-based businesses are trying to be seen (or heard )organically on search engines.

Well, computer scientists, mathematicians, and coders are already laying out the foundations for the implementation of this new movement.

 

How A Computer Can Recognize a Voice

 

There are four ways that a program can recognize speech patterns. 

  1.  The first is simple matching, where a word is recognized in its entirety, and it is compared to similar sound stored in the memory.  However, voice search, marketing, seo, since it relies only on the specific sounds stored in its memory, there is a wide margin of error.

2.  With this flaw in mind, the second form of speech recognition came to be, pattern and feature analysis. In this form of analysis, each word is broken into bits that are recognized from key features, like vowels, and other phenomes.

However, various languages use different phenomes. For instance, English uses about 46 phenomes while Spanish used only 26.

If a company wanted to sell speech recognition software internationally it would need to know what variables to keep and what to drop per user.

3. This lead to the third approach to speech recognition software, language modeling.

In language modeling, knowledge of grammar and the likelihood of certain sounds or words to follow each other is used to improve the accuracy and speed of voice recognition.  It’s like the predictive text of your cell phone. If you curse a lot, use slang, or antiquated vocabulary words, the predictive text and speech will pick up on your patterns.

However, there was still a problem with voice search and recognition software. The programs still didn’t know how to distinguish background noise and how to shut them out specifically. What’s more, there was still a strong chance for accuracy to suffer overall.

4.  The solution to that was to take the best model we knew for learning and recognizing human speech, our brains, and convert it to voice search software in the form of artificial neural networks.

 

If you want to learn more about it, Click here. It’s fascinating stuff. 

 

How Many People are Using Voice Search Now?

 

We know how it works, but do we have any proof that this is an actual trend. Yes, actually.

According to current data from both the NPR and Edison Research, “One-in-six Americans (16%) own a voice-activated smart-speaker.” It has also been shaping our current e-commerce marketplace. According to that same study, “22% of U.S. smart speaker owners have purchased something using their devices.” And the numbers are projected to rise drastically by 2022.

It is very tempting to take the information and to utilize this trending towards your business for fun and profit.

However, the very last thing I want to do is to contribute to another dotcom crash. Instead of telling you to do something foolhardy like invest in stocks that have no guarantee of returns, why don’t I tell you how you can set up your website for voice search software. It can increase awareness of your business all around. Mainly, by modestly working as part of a passive portion of your overall advertising and marketing portfolio.

 

How to Optimize your Website for Voice Search SEO

 

Voice searchThankfully, it is not all that difficult for you to optimize your website for voice search. Mainly, because of a lot of the steps for basic website SEO run are mostly the same steps that you would take for regular SEO. This includes making sure you are properly listed on Google maps and creating engaging content on your website. However, there is one notable difference that needs to be addressed if you are going to optimize your website for voice search.

It is keywords.

See, when it comes to speaking, and writing, people have different habits overall.

When a person is typing something up on Google, they have learned to treat it like a library index.  People expect to type in a word or three before they hit the search button and look at the front page.

When a person is asking a question organically, they speak in a complete question, as if talking to another person.  So if you want to optimize your keywords for voice recognition, the best way for you to go about it is to write down relevant questions as your keywords.

Why is that?

It is my personal hypothesis that it is because the act of typing and keyboarding was only stressed as a marketable skill for a few decades at best.  The act of talking and socialization, however, has been a marketable skill for as long as public speaking existed in ancient civilizations.  What’s more, people feel comfortable personifying things like inanimate objects and animals, because it gives people a chance to relate to something alien to them. So why should it be a stretch that we talk to our voice recognition software like we would another person?

 

Conclusion

As technology marches on, we continue to lean on both the written and spoken word. Who knows what will be in store for us by the year 2050. Until then, let’s learn to speak the language of voice search technology.

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2018-11-07T16:28:01+00:00November 7th, 2018|Post|0 Comments

Digital Billboards: Should you Add it to the Digital Marketing Mix?

Digital Marketing: Billboards

 

Have you seen the two-hundred-foot-long billboards in the country beyond town? Did you know that once billboards were only twenty feet long? But cars started rushing by so quickly they had to stretch the advertising out so it would last.”- Clarisse, Farenheight 451

While we haven’t gotten a fire department that would be starting fires, as opposed to putting them out, one of the major themes that the book Farenheight 451 predicted was the rapid growth of technology. It also unwittingly predicted the detachment of personal connections that come with the increase of technology, and the gymnastics advertisers and marketers have to make to catch up.

But their future didn’t shape exactly the same way as our present. Instead of fast cars, large screens taking up the entirety of the walls, and violent teenagers, we have rising gas prices, little electronic screens that take up our lives, and teenagers that are too lazy to go outside to get in said violent fights. Not too bad a tradeoff.

The point I am making, however, is that while our billboards are still 20 ft long, the landscape of billboard advertising has changed to match our current technological landscape.

We can now debut our advertising electronically, along with public service announcements, the time, and even the temperature.

But what makes it a legitimate form of digital advertising? Is it too dangerous to invest in?

So, we are going to be talking about the history of the digital billboard, its progress, and the progress it has made for advertising.

 

The Birth of the Digital Billboard

 

digital marketing, billboardThere is no definitive timestamp for the launching of the first digital billboard. However, I can tell you what I found based on my research, and you can decide for yourself when that was.

Unofficially, Daktronics, a South Dakota based advertising company claimed on their official site that they were the ones to have at least been the first to integrate the idea of digital display on outdoor billboard advertising. According to them,

“Some of the first “digital billboards” we sold were not 100% LED displays. Before manufacturing full LED displays, we sold products to billboard companies here and there, but most of these consisted of static displays with a simple message center integrated into the campaign displaying messages or time and temperature displays. Full LED displays were simply too expensive for billboard operators to justify purchasing. When we began attending tradeshows for the billboard market, we were practically unknown. In the year 2000, this began to change, and we started to get interest from outdoor companies.”

This digital billboard was sort of a visual hybrid with a 2/3rd to 1/3rd ratio between a digital and traditional format. The pixel quality was low and it was an expensive endeavor at the time, but the concept was intriguing enough for Lamar’s Outdoor Services to try it out.

Daktronics claimed that it wouldn’t further catch on until 2004-2007.

According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, the first digital billboard was erected in 2005. While the suggested timeline matches Daktronics, there was no mention of them by the OAAA, which leads to some confusion about when the first digital billboard was launched.

 

Safety Concerns

The job of any billboard on the road is to capture the attention of the passersby in traffic. That much is obvious. But when it came time to focus on the possibility of safety regulations, some people were worried about the potential damage that Digital Billboards could cause drivers.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, (AASHTO), conducted a study in 2009, regarding that issue.

“Although some such signs use scrolling characters across a screen, and others use rotating
panels (called Tri-Vision or Roller-Bar signs), it is the LED technology that has the
greatest potential for capturing attention, and therefore, distracting the driver.”

This caused enough of a concern for highway beautification interest groups enough to bring it up in court. The Department of Transportation provided their own data and determined that this was not a problem.

The study concluded that while drivers certainly paid more attention to electronic billboards more than their nonelectronic counterparts, it was only by about 30 more milliseconds. It was not enough time to cause a drastic increase in accidents.

” The results were both well below the “currently accepted threshold of 2,000 milliseconds,” the study said.

 

A Conclusion to Part 1

So, we know how they came to be and how it affects the safety of drivers. This demonstrates that digital billboards are certainly a legitimate form of advertising with little ethical issue involved. But what sort of businesses are best for the electronic billboard format? Who responds to a billboard advertisement the best and what added advantages does the digital format have in comparison to its analog counterpart? The answers to these questions will come at a later date. Next week we will we look more at the” marketing” aspect of “digital marketing”. We will also examine the most effective ways digital billboards work for companies.

By |2018-10-26T16:18:32+00:00October 26th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Digital Billboards: Should you Add it to the Digital Marketing Mix?

Citations

The Benefits of Using Citations

citing sources, citation

The written rules of grammar can be flexible. There are times when you can end a sentence with a preposition, use contractions, and use slang, and it is perfectly acceptable. And it makes sense. These rules change depending on the context and placement of what you are trying to accomplish. However, there are some rules in grammar and by extension, blogging that is absolutely sacrosanct. You always start your sentence with a capital letter, and you always end it with a punctuation mark. So, where does the rule of citing your sources fall on the basic rules of writing and grammar?

When it comes to blogging, citing your sources is not only common courtesy, it is considered an absolute imperative. Especially if you are trying to create content that is both relevant and accurate. Penalties for copying and pasting other people’s content can range from being buried by search engine algorithms to possibly getting sued by the original content creator.

However, there is more to citations than simply protecting your website and dodging legal trouble. There are some actual benefits that come with citing your sources and giving credit to other contributors.

 

You Appear More Credible to Others

Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone at 3 AM on Facebook over something that was clearly in the wrong with their political information? Have you ever needed to write a convincing essay or blog post about something you were passionate about? What would be the one thing that you could do to solidify an argument? You cite a source.

People spread useful information for means of survival. When people spread certain information to other people, they are trusting that information to have a benefit for everyone who is able to hear it.

So, when multiple people point to a single source of information as something reliable, they are giving it credibility.

When you point to where you can get your information, and combine it with an authoritative tone, you are far more likely to win the trust, or at the least begrudging respect, of your opposition. That is because you have clearly shown that you took the time to research and understand your position before you try to establish it in an argument.  People don’t respect others who don’t know what they are talking about. Especially when it comes to debate over serious and controversial topics.

 

citation, connectionsYou Can Make Connections

When you are crediting the people who research the topic you are writing about, you are essentially doing them a couple of favors. For starters, everyone loves recognition. Everybody, in some way, shape or form, likes the idea of their work deserving credit  That sort of recognition gives people a little ego boost, and who doesn’t need that from time to time when it comes to their own accomplishments?

Also, it helps reinforce the credibility of the source you just cited.

The one thing that people love more than a small amount of recognition, is a larger amount of recognition. When you reinforce the credibility of another person’s research and hard work, you are elevating them to a standard of important knowledge. So, people will feel more than flattered when you cite them as a source.

If you get in contact with the people you cite, it can also give you a chance to establish personal connections over something you are both passionate about. Who knows? Maybe if you keep crediting and contacting your sources, you might very well land a career out of something you blogged about?

 

It Boosts your Web Visibility

Getting your blog/business website indexed on a search engine is the fastest way to getting it seen. However, there is a laundry list of rules and regulations that these search engines go by that determine what is relevant, and what is not. There are a few things you can do to your site to make it count towards your favor. For instance, you can format your site so it is mobile friendly. Or you can blog at least once a day for five days a week to increase your activity count. And while that alone might work, that does nothing to draw other people towards your site.

This is where citation will help you out the most. When you link out to other sites and have them link back to you as a citation, more people will naturally find your website.

Not to mention, the algorithm for search engines like Google or Yahoo will reward you for it. When it sees you linking out to other pages both outside and inside your website, that gives them a trail to follow. When you give them a trail to follow, they will take notice and see it as credibility.

 

How To Cite a Source

Citing a source is ridiculously easy. All you need to do is create a link to what you are talking about. So, If I was talking about Huntsville, Alabama, I would link it and it will send you to a page that will talk about the city in length. Just make sure you keep it relevant and occasionally talk about the experts who you researched in the first place, and it will be smooth sailing from there.

 

If you like this article, Click here for more! If you want to set up an appointment with Robert, feel free to click on the pop up at the home page!

By |2018-10-23T12:12:45+00:00October 19th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Citations

Know the Difference: Good Internet Marketing

Good Internet Marketing: What does it look like?

So, I mentioned before that internet marketing, in general, is more of a solid business decision than a fly by night fad. Building a website, creating a product listing for your store, or at least listing your location on Google will more likely help than hurt.  However, I cannot help but feel more inclined to hit my head against a wall repeatedly when I see the video search results for internet marketing techniques.

 

internet marketing

 

There is a laundry list of promises for passive income that range from $100 dollars a day. Some of these promises range into 5 digits. And these promises are made by people who either only know a fraction of what they are talking about. Either that or they are so desperate to get rich quick that they are willing to lie.  It is people like that, that give people who truly want to work in promoting other businesses a bad name. And the terrifying thing about it? Desperate and hopeful people continue to fall for it. The hype of false internet marketing claims that are not only unsustainable but can cost them what little they already have.

Since a lot of these “courses” stem from either a fundamental misunderstanding of how internet marketing works, I am going to go over the seven different types of online marketing and the ideal situation you want to be in when applying them.

 

Search Engine Optimization

As much as we talk about it, we don’t talk enough about the right timing for businesses to undertake SEO services. For those of you who have recently visited this site, or have never read internet marketinganother article about it, here is a brief definition.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

This is done through a series of strategies that increase the odds of your website being accessed by people looking for your type of goods or service.

The ideal situation to start implementing SEO services would be :

  • If you have a strong business model already in place
  • If your website is easily accessible for everyone to see
  • And If you understand that this produces slow but long-term results

 

Search Engine Marketing

While the term has become somewhat generalized to mean all kinds of internet marketing regarding search engines, Its original definition still stands in marketing circles.  Search engine marketing is a form of internet marketing that increases the visibility of websites, through paid advertising. Think Google Ads with a combination of SEO and a small amount of PPC. This form of advertising has seen a lot of backlash lately since people have become warier of clicking on ad results on search engines over the years.

Still, it is a viable method of advertising if your company:

  • Has an older, more established website
  • Wants more results from an older/ less internet savvy target demographic
  • Can afford to spend more money for results to save time

 

Pay Per Click

This often goes hand in hand with Search Engine Marketing and is often hosted by the same top-tier search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. In the PPC model, advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Once the click happens advertisers do their best to gain business from the website visitor. If the cost of the incoming business is worth more than the price of the advertisement, then the business gets a profit.

While the idea of it sounds tempting, this only works for certain business objectives, ones that rely on the impulsivity of the potential customer.  For this model to work you would need:

  • An online store on your site
  • You are creating a contact list from those clicks
  • Money to invest in those ads
  • A good or service that requires little risk on the part of the consumer

 

Content Marketing

This form of marketing is a little more subtle but can be powerful depending on who you get behind your product or service. This sort of marketing is the internet version of “word of mouth”. It involves the creation and sharing of online material that does not expressly exist for the sole purpose of branding but does at least garner some interest in a product or service. This sort of marketing is more organic compared to its other counterparts.  However, because it is organic, you will get new business and genuine interest this way.  This sort of marketing is good for:

  • Businesses  that can give away free samples to influencers
  • A business with a brand/identity that coincides with the influencers
  • Businesses that let their product speak for itself.

 

Affiliate Marketing

This sort of internet marketing revolves around the idea of two different companies or affiliates to work symbiotically for mutual profit. Affiliate marketing is an online sales tactic that lets a product owner increase sales by allowing others targeting the same audience – “affiliates” – to earn a commission by recommending the product/ website to others.  I see this all the time on Youtube channels for things like Audible and the Dollar Shave Club.

It works with a more niche environment, and it is certainly not for everyone. To pull it off successfully, businesses that want to use this tactic need:

  • A good business partnership
  • A strong tactic that can close sales and increase profit for both you and your partner
  • Enough time and creativity to update content regularly.

 

Email Marketing

This is a case where the marketing term is exactly what it says on the tin. Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. It is probably the oldest form of internet marketing, yet is the hardest method used to get clientele.  While it is cheaper and easier to send than traditional mail, it is the absolute worst way to get in new clientele. This is due to the existence of spam filters, and the occasional fear of malware or viruses that come from e-mail attachments.

Email marketing is best when:

  • Your company is contacting previous clients
  • You have a newsletter or a promotion for people who already opted in on receiving messages
By |2018-10-13T14:26:56+00:00October 13th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Know the Difference: Good Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing- Is it a Fad?

Internet Marketing- Is it a Fad?

 

In my last article, I mentioned that when I brought up internet marketing to small businesses that they reacted with a polite refusal at best and derision at worst.  And it makes sense when you have seen entire economies rise and fall based on fly-by-night speculation. Several financial institutions have collapsed under the assumption that they were going to make a lot of money without any evidence to back it up. And people that shouldn’t have paid for it did, dearly.

This sort of pattern has left people weary and wary of the idea of  “the next big thing”. But it does make me wonder, how much of that suspicion is valid? When I am talking about SEO practices, building a Facebook page for their business, or putting them on Google Maps, they act like I am trying to literally steal their money.

So, are they right? I don’t think so. While I understand that smaller businesses and hopeful startups have been burned by the goldrush nature of things like the housing crisis and the dot-com crash, these smaller businesses are throwing the baby out with the bathwater by rejecting all forms of technology and internet marketing techniques. So, why is something like building a website and using social media not a fad?

 

Internet Access has Become more Mainstream than Ever

 

phone ettiquite ,internet marketing

Fads are considered a foolish investment by most business owners today, mostly because it just has a short lifespan. For instance, if you were the store that stocked only fidget spinners, you would have seen a boom in business for about 2 months.  After that, you would be scrambling to keep your business afloat because you would have no more demand for the product.

So, if you are going to invest in your business, you are going to want to invest in something long-lasting.

The big mistake of the dot-com crash of the nineties was that the home computer and use of the internet wasn’t a necessity at the time.  Unless you worked for the government or the telecommunications industry, there was no need to have one.

People bought websites with the hopes of selling goods and services online. But they did so with little idea if their customer base even used computers. Computer owners in the 90’s were a niche crowd with only 36% of US families owning one in 1997.

Also, the internet was an optional service at the time. You had to pay for the browser separately, and you had to buy a dial-up connection through the phone company.  Dial-up in the nineties meant that internet access was much more expensive and harder to use.

Then, dialup was replaced by broadband and satellite. New processors were made for computers to send and organize information faster. The percentage of Americans having a home computer increased from 51% in the year 2000 to 77% by 2010.

And that isn’t even counting smartphone users today. 75% of Americans as of 2017 own a smartphone.

So, it is safe to say that having a webpage now would be a much less risky venture than having a page in 1997.

Advertising and Internet Marketing is becoming more Regulated

 

When the internet first made its way into the public mainstream, it was considered a free for all. Like unsupervised children in a playground, great times were had by some and others had internet marketing, pop upsgotten themselves hurt badly. It was a time when caution about personal information was a must because the law hadn’t caught up with the emerging technology.

Spamming, hacking, phishing, emails from Nigerian royalty, and more had been at its most rampant when the public had gained access to the internet. And all of those paled in comparison to the appearance of the ever intrusive pop-up. It was commonplace to see at least one to three pop-ups per page. And most of them easily made unfounded claims like people being sweepstakes winners, or that you could get a few free days of the internet if you entered in your personal information.

However, after mistakes were made, brilliant minds learned to adapt at becoming savvier on the internet. Businesses who employed White Hat Hackers and Users who picked up coding learned to create countermeasures to take care of themselves. Eventually, stronger regulations of mainstream websites like Google or Youtube were made once they increased their popularity. Google started to set rules and regulations about what pages had relevant data, and what pages didn’t. They even made programs that penalized spam tactics like keyword stuffing on websites.

Internet marketers and advertisers who had time to cultivate their craft learned from the public just how annoying intrusive ads could be. So they started using the internet less for a vehicle for ads, and more as a place where customers can be offered relevant content.

Would that many people constantly adjust, adapt, and make policies for this sort of platform if it was just a fad? Absolutely not.

 

We aren’t Promising Instant Wealth

When the dot-com crash happened, it was because a bunch of people was investing in an empty promise that something was going to make them money. People just assumed websites made people rich, and never ironed out any details beyond that.

When we offer our Internet Marketing services, we don’t promise that it will make your business rich fast. We do promise, however a greater chance for your business to be seen by the 170 million people in the United States who own a mobile device. We do promise that we can increase the odds of your local business getting seen by the 80% of shoppers that use their phone to find alternate locations while they are inside your competitor’s store. Those of us in internet marketing want to give your business more exposure than some of the more traditional methods of advertising that may have been falling flat for the last few years.

We come up with personalized plans, find your target audience, and use strategy to let the people who need your services know who you are.  We only want to get people in the door. That’s why the Tie’s latest mantra is “no gimmicks, no contracts, no BS”.

By |2018-10-06T22:27:46+00:00October 6th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Internet Marketing- Is it a Fad?

Internet Marketing- Is it a fad?

Internet Marketing- Is it a Fad or a Mainstay?

In my time as a marketer, I have seen people from walks of life refuse our services. It is bound to happen in any business, no matter what you are selling. What makes it interesting, however, is the reason why they refuse. When we tell older businesses we use internet marketing, they practically panic. Their first response is to outright refuse the services we offer because they knew nothing about it. In their minds, internet marketing is at best a novelty and at worst a scam.

To them, internet marketing seems like a gold rush situation. By that, I mean various ‘gold rushes’ in the world of buying and selling in the global marketplace, like the stock market. These are times when promises of fast wealth meet with almost too many hopefuls that either has little knowledge of how things work in the industry they are trying to break into or are gambling on what little they have for success. When enough of these people get on the money-making bandwagon, the institution they are relying on begins to collapse under their weight. Eventually, it means the financial downfall of those who pin their hopes and dreams on a new resource.

So, it raises a few questions for me: What is internet marketing? How sustainable is it? Will it become a common staple in businesses once the glamor has died down?

We have a few comparisons that may be an indicator of where the future of internet marketing could be headed. The greatest of them was the speculation of how much the internet was worth in :

The Dot Com Crash of 2000

bubble dotcom crashSpeculative Growth

When the internet was first adopted commercially, there was a lot of hype that surrounded it. Back in the days when access required slow-moving dial-up,  many financiers, corporations, and other big league investors knew that this was going to make them rich. Investopedia explains,” During the dotcom bubble, the value of equity markets grew exponentially, with the technology-dominated NASDAQ index rising from under 1,000 to more than 5,000 between 1995 and 2000.”

When you see that much growth happen so quickly, you can’t help but take notice. That was especially the case for investors during the 1990’s. If you were to put the 80’s and 90’s in a time capsule, you would notice a strong sense of optimism and a naive sense of blind faith that would be reflected in American culture at the time. This naive and optimistic attitude also carried over in the world of the stock market, and it only multiplied when they saw the stocks for technology grow so quickly.

 

Aside:

 Stocks and investments are a really abstract concept, so I will briefly define it for context. When a company needs money for a venture, they sell a piece of the company to buyers in the form of stocks.  The price of the stocks is set based on how much the company is estimated to be worth, and how many are made. Stocks for businesses that last tend to grow slowly over time and keep growing. There is a low risk for the buyer if the company is old and has practiced well-assessed risks. The risk for the investor gets higher if the company is newer, or is pulling off a project with the investors’ money with no guarantee of success.

 

Some of the growth was legitimate. Technology companies that had made new products like Cisco and Oracle made calculated risks and grew stock marketnaturally. However, a bunch of that sudden growth in the technology sector came in the form of everybody trying to sell all kinds of things on the internet. If a domain name ended in .com, from ’97 to ”02 it was a new business trying to break in this new untapped marketplace.

Before there was even a term for ‘internet marketing’ investors were so convinced that they were going to make bank that they poured their time and money into these businesses that were starting out. Never had the phrase “shut up and take my money” been more relevant than at that time. People quit their jobs in order to sell stuff online full time.  A lot of money went into advertising, ‘getting big’ all with the promises of getting rich.

That all failed miserably.

 

The Bursting of the Bubble

There were multiple factors that contributed to the lack of profit for these starter web-based businesses. First was y2k. Computer programs before the year 2000, had everything dated in two digits. Everything. After 99, the clocks on these programs would reset to 00, a default that would shut down or restart the programs to a blank state. Including the computer programs that ran nuclear warheads.

The government and the private sector scrambled to fix that setback costing time and money. Soon everything seemed to be okay. Then, Japan, a technological giant that impacted our tech stocks, went into recession. Yahoo and eBay ended merger talks which affected the market. Microsoft lost a monopoly lawsuit in 2001. Pets.com, a joint business with Amazon, went out of business. Then September 11th happened, shattering the world trade center, along with the hopes and dreams of both investors and startup companies.

In the end, only 48% of these dot-com businesses survived the crash, which might sound like a lot, but they were valued at less than what was initially predicted. Some of them wound up even sued for lying to investors. The ones that didn’t survive got liquidated leaving many people jobless and out of assets.

What Does it Have to Do with Internet Marketing?

I am covering this point in financial history to point out two things. The first is to illustrate the disappointments to which possibly lead to jaded mindsets of today’s businesses being reluctant to have an online store in the first place. The second is to provide a template in which I can compare and contrast internet marketing to see if the speculation of market growth is valid, or if it is just excess optimism in a world of people trying to get rich quick.

I will draw the comparison in the next article.

If you like reading more about this stuff, check it out here on our blog! If you want to read about nutrition or learn about the unique types of mold in the world, click here and here!

By |2018-09-28T12:55:00+00:00September 28th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Internet Marketing- Is it a fad?

Can Marketing Brainwash People?

Can Marketing Brainwash People?

Today’s market and political climate are painfully tumultuous. That is why half the country is burning their own Nike shoes and the other half is buying twice as many.  It is the reason why some of the people of Huntsville, Al wear Rocket science t-shirts, while the people of Decatur, Al let you know that they voted for Trump & Pence on their bumper stickers and hats.  With the spread of social media, it seems that American values have never felt so polarized.

The only one thing they seem to agree on is that the media is brainwashing their kids.

The job of a marketer is to sell products,  in a persuasive way that speaks the majority of the people, they are selling to. So, are advertisers the devil?  Just how much of an impression can a marketing or ad campaign make? Can you change the mind of the public through advertising alone?  The only way to get an answer is to find out if people can get brainwashed in the first place.

Subliminal Messaging

The biggest accusation towards marketers and media I have seen to date is subliminal messaging. I heard crazy things while growing up in Huntsville,

subliminal messaging

          Copyright Fox and Matt Groening

AL from Disney coercing kids into sex through subliminal messaging or Playing Helter Skelter backward summoning the devil. It has sent people into a moral panic.  It is also 100% urban legend.  There has been no recorded evidence of subliminal messages working anywhere.

Where did the misconception come from?

James Vicary, a behavioral scientist in the 70’s, published an experiment that stated subliminal messaging made his test subjects buy popcorn and Coke when they didn’t even want any.  However, the president of the Psychological Corporation, Dr. Henry Link, called foul and told him that the study wasn’t credible unless he was willing to repeat the test and get the same results.  When Vicary repeated the test a second time, he did not get the same results. It turned out Vicary fudged his numbers. He even publically admitted he falsified the results while he was under investigation.

However, admitting false data wasn’t interesting to the people selling newspapers. So, they barely covered the rescinding of that information. Thanks to yellow journalism and bad science that most people now, even many of those in Huntsville, Al, believe subliminal messaging is still a thing.

But why weren’t people affected by something like that? What makes people subconsciously immune to suggestion?

The answers to those questions come from both the KGB and the CIA.

Mind Control Doesn’t Work

mind control

       Copyright Duffer Brothers and Netflix

Every country has its sins. Whether the country is as old as civilization itself or is only a few years old,  there are going to be horrible secrets behind the scenes of its government.

Project MK Ultra is one of the lesser known atrocities committed by our government at a time when the country was still trying to be a global superpower. What little of its records were declassified in 2001 told the story of an attempt to outright brainwash people into becoming sleeper agents during the Cold War. There were a lot of illegal acts that were involved. These included the use of torture, hypnosis, experimental drugs, and child abuse.

However, in all of this tragedy, there was something interesting in the results that were uncovered. Hypnotism could put people in a suggestive state, but it couldn’t control one’s mind.

If someone has strong scruples against an action, even in a hypnotic state, they won’t do what they are told.

According to Psychology Today, “What has been documented is that if you found a subject whose personality was deviant, to begin with, and wanted to direct their minds to do something extreme like plant a bomb or commit an assassination, you may be able to guide him or her to do it—with or without hypnosis.”

If the American Government can’t hypnotize someone to become a spy,  no advertisement can hypnotize an adult.

Why do People Change Their Minds?

If no one can hypnotize a person and tell them what to do, then why do people change their minds? After all, cults exist and people try new things every day.  The answer to this question boils down to two words: emotional connection.

People are not logical or rational by nature. We are emotional first and logical second.  It doesn’t matter how rational the argument maybe if you point out evidence for evolution to a creationist, they are going to feel attacked and deny what’s right in front of them. And if you tell someone that they have a home in your compound they will be much more receptive to drinking the kool-aid in front of them.

So, a successfully persuasive person would need to lower down the defenses of their audience before making their point. It’s the same with marketing campaigns. You need to create an emotional response to your product to succeed. Until then, you will win no one to your product, no matter how logical your reasoning can be.

Next week, I will go into further detail about the science behind marketing persuasion. Stay safe Huntsville, Al!

By |2018-09-21T19:47:15+00:00September 21st, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Can Marketing Brainwash People?

Behavior Based Marketing: A Solution to Demography

Behavior-Based Marketing: A Solution to Excess Demography

If you are a consistent reader of the last couple of blog posts, you may have caught me on a soapbox rant about the inaccuracies and damaging results that come from demography in marketing. You may have also seen me on the same soapbox about customers feeling overwhelmed about advertisement oversaturation. Before I should start buying a literal soapbox from Amazon, I want to point out that both of these issues are not only solvable, but there are some forward-thinking companies that are already engaging in that solution. I am talking, about behavior based marketing.

Behavior-Based Marketing: What is it?

When you assign a person or a group of people based on concrete traits, you are using demography.

For instance, I the blogger, and technically female, 5’1, live near Huntsville, Alabama, and have two jobs. These are traits that are more or less fixed, and while there is some room for fluctuation, such as a gender reassignment, moving to another location, or quitting a job, those are still long-term concrete factors that are less likely to change.

However, when you start assigning a person or a group of people based on their personal habits, you are using behavior profiling.

In this example, I the blogger; rarely go out in public, play video games moderately, like horror movies, and am knowledgeable about odd bits of trivia. These traits also define me.  However, these traits are also abstract. They can certainly be demonstrated through things like the choices I make, and my preferences, but they are still very much internal factors until I use my behavior as an outlet to express them.

So, if I were to come up with a formal definition for the term, Behavior Based Marketing,  it would be ” a marketing tactic that is based on the evidence of consistent habits, patterns, and rituals of target audiences.

The Case for Behavior-Based Marketing Tactics:

Human beings are just a funny bunch. There will always be part of us that wants to belong to a group of people like us. We crave it on a psychological level because we are capable of feeling lonely and vulnerable. However, there is also the part of us that wants to be acknowledged for our individual traits just as much.  We want to fit in, but we also want to stand out in a small way.

This is solved by people showing parts of their personal preferences in public when it fits a societal standard and keeping other personal preferences to themselves.

Example: How Demography Could Fail You

For instance, a conservative, religious, 50-year-old white man who’s lived in Huntsville, Alabama his whole life is shopping at a bookstore. Already, you can cobble a customer profile with his information.

It would be easy for the bookseller to guess what the customer would buy based off that information. The bookseller guesses that the customer would either pick up a James Patterson novel, a Western, or a Faithpoint book. This is evidenced by his previous interactions with other customers like the one who just walked through that door.

But the customer goes to the comic book section instead.

This is a part of the customer’s personal preference that does not jive with his stereotypical outer appearance.  He might not even share it with others in his life because he either does not feel it is appropriate or thinks no one else he knows would be interested. However, there are two ways that this entire scenario could go, based on which information the bookseller goes by.

 

  • The bookseller noticed the customer walk to the comic book section. He knows that his initial prediction was debunked based on the customer’s behavior. With that knowledge, he can make an accurate sales offer and create a positive sales interaction.

 

  • The bookseller did not pay attention and offers him the latest James Patterson novel in a conversation. He used his faulty logic based on what he knows of a demographic. This creates an awkward interaction could cost the store a repeat customer.

 

Demography is Good for General Advertising Only

If you use only demography to make marketing decisions with, you will fail as a company. Demography is only good for gathering generalized information about a broad audience. If your goal is to sell a generalized product to anyone, then demography is good for that.

However, will doom you in an interpersonal interaction.

People are not statistics. If you try to pitch a specific item to a specific person based on general data, you will wind up stereotyping. Stereotyping and generalized messages used to be acceptable in a time when people lived, ate, bought,  socialized, and died in one location. However, thanks to technological progress, that isn’t the case anymore.  We are now exposed to a variety of places, people, and culture more than ever before. When you put a diverse group of people in one place, personal taste, values, and habits grow more diverse. Generalization is bound to fall flat.

 

Conclusion

Ok, so I stated my case as to why demography does not succeed in an interpersonal sales situation. However, I did not state the companies that are already engaging in this practice, what they are using, and if there are people who demand this form of advertising. That one is going to have to come around next time.  Stay safe Huntsville, Alabama.

By |2018-09-14T20:49:09+00:00September 14th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Behavior Based Marketing: A Solution to Demography

A Marketer’s Rant

Marketing Rant: Sales and Marketing aren’t the Same Thing!

Be thankful that I have the restraint to avoid using expletives in this text because I am in a very salty mood with MLM and sales companies. The Dead Sea does not hold the amount of salt I contain for these people.  If you are a recent marketing graduate (or any recent graduate in general), you most likely have seen these things before in your latest job search.

Here I am, searching for work in my field that pays more, as you do when you are trying to move up in the world. I type in  “marketing Huntsville, Al “. There are little marketing positions open. Instead, I see advertisements for things like Avon, Herbalife, and even companies both local and abroad that offer you a base pay on top of commission, flexible hours, and low training required.

My Experience with Job Scams

Stop reading if you have heard this one before:

A young marketer almost out of college is applying for a position. After visiting a small office with an almost job scam too pleasant secretary to fill out paperwork, she gets called in for an interview.  At a local Publix or Walmart in the middle of Huntsville, Al.

Why would a marketer for a company be in a local grocery store, you think, as you head inside with the one other candidate you are competing against for the position. There you see a small portable booth with a nicely dressed worker…selling bamboo pillows/ satellite dishes to customers at the store. This was not a marketing position. It was a sales job that was in a store instead of door to door.  That is the jobseekers equivalent of putting sugar on crap and calling it ice cream. Needless to say, I did not answer the follow-up phone call the next day.

So, as someone who has fallen prey to these malicious pseudo companies, I am going to point out what the difference between their use of the word “marketing” means, what the real definition of marketing is, and how to avoid these immoral thieves that take advantage of desperate people trying to make a living.

Pyramid Schemes and Sales Company Traps

MLM’s and deceitful sales companies both as near as Huntsville, Al and as far as Seattle, Wa plague the crap out of both prospective job seekers. They deliberately target people who are too desperate to question their shady tactics or too naive to realize what they are getting into. When anyone tries to call them out personally, they will argue with you using circular logic or just outright delete bad reviews.  Here is a brief definition of the two, just so you can wrap your head around both ways you can be scammed into debt.

MLM

pyramid scheme, mlm, huntsville al job scam This abbreviation stands for multi-level-marketing, it is a more sanitized version of the term pyramid scheme.  This is described plainly by, of all places, Urban Dictionary.

A scheme in which a person (as a “seller”) buys a certain amount of product from a “distributor”, and then sells the product for a profit. The seller must then kick back some of his profit to his distributor. In turn, all the other sellers this person has recruited and distributes product to must give some of their profits to him.

So, what makes it problematic?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Why is pyramiding dangerous? Because plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. And when a plan collapses, most people—except perhaps those at the very top of the pyramid—end up empty-handed.”

Sales Company Scam:

This one is much more sneaky because they utilize pyramid practices while looking much more official on the outside. Essentially, they put out ads for marketing positions with expectations of base pay plus commission, benefits, flexible hours, and working directly as someone marketing a product. Then, you learn it is a sales position that runs on commission alone. It’s all commission and bonuses depend on people under you.

        A career blogger, Willy Franzen, explains the nature of these companies best, “Many people would argue that operations like the ones that I’ve just described aren’t scams. If you define a scam as someone who takes your money and doesn’t give you what you expected, then these job opportunities aren’t technically scams; however, they do give you one impression of how you’ll be spending your time and offer a completely different experience.”

But isn’t Marketing and Sales the Same Thing?

No. They are connected, but they are not the same thing.

Sales involve convincing people to buy your product with an interpersonal interaction. It is literally convincing people why they want to buy something and close the deal entirely on the spot.

Marketers do their job in the beginning of the sales process by indirectly priming the potential consumer for the sales through persuasion.

For instance, if a company was selling hamburgers, marketers would tell the salespeople where the right locations would be for stores, the right airtime to be airing commercials, and what their selling point for their product would be.  Salespeople would be the ones to make the deal on the spot.

Marketers would be the planters, and Sales would be the payoff.

How can You tell the Scam apart from a Real Job?

Rank on Google

  • Research is key here. If you go to a job review site and they are all positive or all negative, then chances are the company is not reputable.
  • Check for news articles about lawsuits regarding the company, or check the materials they use to make the product they are using.
  • Check and see if the offer of the entry-level position is too good to be true. Make sure the pay scale is proportionate to the local area.

 

By |2018-09-07T22:35:23+00:00September 7th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on A Marketer’s Rant

Demographic Marketing: Is it still relevant

Is Demographics Still Relevant in Today’s Marketing World?

For a long time, demographics and statistics have been the backbone of how we record an existing population. It has helped us determine a rough estimate of generic statements to help us answer specific questions, such as “How many people live in Huntsville, Alabama? How many people in Alabama are under 15? ” etc. So, it is of no surprise that marketers use statistics to try and advertise their goods and services to as many relevant people as they can. However, shopping trends change rapidly. Almost as rapidly as our technology and the environment. This makes me wonder, has our approach to marketing outdated? Do people even fall for the same things they did 10 or 20 years ago? If not, should we change strategy?

So, let’s look at how and when the use of statistics started before we render a verdict.

The Birth of Demography

demographyDemography, or the practice of sorting a population into specific data groups, is a science that is almost as old as the idea of civilization itself. Ancient China, India, Greece, and Rome. In the Middle Ages, Christians kept up the practice through official documentation by clergymen. Then, it was applied in the Modern Era to note the trends in death tolls for children under 16. From then on different statisticians further specialized into different fields of demography, whether for religious study, birth and death rate study, or even nutrition study.

Since then, we have looked into what makes up a population in a given area, such as Huntsville, Alabama, and made our own conclusions based on the data we find.

The Use of Demographics in Marketing Segmentation

The use of demographics in sales, much like any other sales practice, has technically existed long before any specialist put a name on it. After all, we have been buying and selling things since the dawn of the barter system. It doesn’t help that there are various schools of thought on the matter either.

However, if you want to know when it was named, then it was coined by Richard S Tedlow.

Richard Tedlow, a business historian, applied the four steps of marketing segmentation, based on factors such as availability, technique, and production etc.

  • Fragmentation (pre-1880s): The economy was characterized by small regional suppliers who sold goods on a local or regional basis.

 

  • Unification or Mass Marketing (1880s–1920s): As transportation systems improved, the economy became unified. Manufacturers tended to insist on strict standardization in order to achieve scale economies with a view to penetrating markets in the early stages of a product’s lifecycle. e.g. the Model T Ford

 

  • Segmentation (1920s–1980s): As market size increased, manufacturers were able to produce different models pitched at different quality points to meet the needs of various demographic and psychographic market segments. This is the era of market differentiation based on demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle factors.

 

  • Hyper-segmentation (post-1980s): a shift towards the definition of ever more narrow market segments. Technological advancements, especially in the area of digital communications, allow marketers to communicate with individual consumers or very small groups. This is  known as one-to-one marketing.

Why Demography is Failing: Identity through Preference over Fact

Marketers on the internet initially thought they could apply demography with mass communication and reach more people than before. But that niche tastes, huntsville, Alabamadidn’t happen. As of 2016,  4 out of 5 of people have left a webpage because of a pop-up or autoplaying video ad. People use adblockers more than and there was a greater fear of spam over time.

What they did not count on was that the taste of their customers would start to vary. Increased availability with mass communication meant an increase in the exposure and creation of niche communities and expanded preferences. This created a perfect storm that would defy marketing segmentation. You have grandmothers from Huntsville, Alabama who can talk to young people from Beijing, China about their love of knitting and Dr. Who.

Much like rule 34 of the internet (a racy but poignant example), if something exists, no matter how obscure, there will be fans of it. Whether it is a hobby like extreme ironing, or a very obscure tv show pilot like “Heil Honey I’m Home” there will be forums, Facebook groups and Wikis dedicated to it by different people.

As Skyword.com put it, “Choice and freedom now give people the opportunity to construct their own identity outside of traditions and stereotypes.”

It was said best in an article by Alexander Jukowitz from Huffington Post “If you feed your marketing teams the same tired demographic research, you’re painting a very restricted picture for them. If you tell your team to imagine a “he,” that’s exactly what they’re going to do. You’re setting them up to reach the most stereotypical conclusions, which can hurt your brand and your bottom line.”

What Can Marketers Do?

So, what exists that will help marketers advertise to people so diverse? The answer to that question will come in the next couple of posts. If you want to learn more about the SEO services in Huntsville, Alabama,  explore the site and click on a few links

By |2018-09-07T20:51:01+00:00August 31st, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Demographic Marketing: Is it still relevant