Category: Special Projects


Winning Greater Share of Stomach Through Human Connection

PostFunnel, in partnership with Hathway, is presenting you with this insight on five ways QSRs are combining tech and creativity. Hathway is a digital growth agency helping brands drive measurable business impact through data-driven strategies, disruptive digital experiences and modern marketing practices. Born mobile and rooted in software design, Hathway thrives at the intersection of data, human behavior and technology.

Heading to the mall (or strip mall) for a new outfit or to select a gift for a loved one can be a pleasant experience. Generally it’s not quite about the experience, but the joy of finding just the right items at a price you feel is worthwhile. So it’s probably no surprise that these days, shopping from the comfort of your own home is nearly as satisfying, and in some cases better, than the in-store experience.

That’s not always the case for restaurant dining. When you dine out, you not only enjoy delicious food, but also the richness of the decor, friendliness of the staff, cleanliness of the environment and even the music playing. All of these things create an experience that’s both inherently physical and innately emotional. Ordering for take out or delivery, however, hardly compares.

That’s why the challenge for businesses in the food industry this past year has been extraordinarily complex. Though you may be able to deliver food that travels well and tastes great, how do you replicate the emotional experience and connection?

The following QSR brands are leading the way to deliver the emotional experience and connect digitally which has separated themselves from the competition.

Personalized Contactless Delivery

The challenge here is creating an emotional connection between your brand and customers without physical interaction. Making a contactless exchange feel personal and human is a great step in program personalization.

Chick-fil-A recently mastered this by combining personalization with delivery. A photo and name of the guest’s local operator fronts the personal email letter communication that a Chick-fil-A delivery will be handled by one of their own team members.

Celebration of Tenure

What makes customers loyal? According to a study done by Motista, customers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value. The key is not in sales and discounts but in customer satisfaction and long term engagement. Brands “playing the long game” will see greater customer loyalty and engagement with guests.

While some restaurants send out monthly activity statements, Peet’s Coffee sends out an annual “Year in Review” email to drive engagement with their customers. Their Peetnik Rewards members are able to see the number of drinks they’ve ordered, length of time in the program, their favorite store location, and even their most commonly ordered drink over the past year.

Recognition of Loyalty

Feeling appreciated not only strengthens the bond between people, it can also strengthen the bond between customers and their beloved brands. According to data collected by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 68% of customers will leave a  business if they feel the business doesn’t care for them. A simple message of thanks costs nothing and can pay off in spades.

Dairy Queen shows loyal fans they care with an end-of-year message of thanks and a look forward to the relationship in the coming year.

Connect with Family & Friends

Nothing builds a stronger connection than being able to interact with loved ones. It started with social platforms like Facebook and Instagram but the ability to connect and share with family and friends is also playing out in loyalty and CRM strategies.

Chick-fil-A did an amazing job this past holiday season with their Spark of Hope campaign, launching with a short, animated video of hope and encouragement. They followed the video message with a personalized note to share the Spark of Hope.

Taco Bell took giving to a new level last year with the Taco Gifter, wherein members can send a taco to their loved ones. Customers select a gif, enter the recipient’s name, add a personal message, checkout and then send the unique URL to their friend to alert them of their gift.

Highlight Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts

CSR is a growing area of focus for brands and is top-of-mind for many consumers. Studies have shown that CSR is an effective marketing strategy to earn customer loyalty. Today’s consumer has so many variables influencing where they will make their next purchase, that’s why it’s more important than ever to use a loyalty program to make the emotional connection that is vital to earning long term loyalty. We predict brands that align with social causes and/or charitable organizations will grow their loyalty, increase acquisition and retention and improve the general perception of their brand by highlighting corporate citizenship.

Chipotle recently launched a sustainability campaign focused on locally sourced ingredients and reducing energy costs.


Tech, the four letter word which we once thought would de-personalize us, in the past year, has worked to bring us together more than we could ever have imagined. In a year that turned so many aspects of our lives upside down, technology capabilities became the primary — if not the only — thing that’s allowed us to stay together.

Tech, in the hands of creative and caring marketers can work to foster meaningful relationships and customer connections. The more companies bring to life the digital-human connection, the more fondly customers will continue to gravitate to these means post-pandemic and beyond.

I don’t know about you, but I see myself buying more time to leisurely stroll my favorite stores or have fun with loved ones because I know my pre-ordered meal will be waiting, steaming hot, for me when I arrive.

The post Winning Greater Share of Stomach Through Human Connection appeared first on Post Funnel.

From the vault

From the Vault: Influencer Marketing

This is the second part of our “From the Vault” series – where we bring you the best still-relevant articles we’ve ever published around a specific topic.

You can see it as a kind of a makeshift ebook, or a textual, on-demand online course of sorts.

We do it because we think curating great content is the best thing we can do for our readers. sometimes even more valuable than publishing great new content.

And this time, the links below will take you on a journey full of Influencer Marketing know-how. Enjoy.

The Face of Influencer Marketing: From Fake to Faithful

Social media has become an advertising powerhouse. But the shadow of ‘fake’ influencers looms large. Here are two ways to stay authentic… and profitable.

How Influencers Reshape Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing has already evolved and will continue to do so. Make sure your brand is in gear.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Influencer Marketing

These times of crisis gave influencers greater scope and new audiences that can be channeled for good. See the latest trends, stats, data, and more.

How Influencer Marketing is Changing in 2020

In this year of drastic shifts, influencers are the latest group to feel the effects.

Consumers Engage with Content by Their Favorite Stars

What marketers can learn from celebrities on social media – post-COVID-19.

5 Brands Using Influencers to Strengthen Customer Relationships

Influencer marketing is nothing new – but it continues to be an effective way to forge and strengthen relationships with your target audience.

The post From the Vault: Influencer Marketing appeared first on Post Funnel.

ads we loved

Ads We Loved: New Year, New Hope

Welcome to our sixth part of PostFunnel’s “Ads We Loved” series!

Before we begin, make sure to check out the full series here.

And today, we give you:

Johnnie Walker: Astronaut

This short film follows an astronaut who experienced isolation in space as she returns to Earth. In a year wracked by waves of isolation, this brave ad upholds the Johnnie Walker ‘Keep Walking’ spirit and evokes a future filled with hope.

Little Caesars Pizza:‘Bad Day at Big Pizza’

Little Caesars takes on “Big Pizza,” a representation of a fictional corporation that’s out to win with overpriced pizzas. This ad highlights Little Caesars’ value message of good pizza at low prices.

Doritos: The Greatest Gift

Based on a true story, this coming out story depicts a father turning to Reddit for advice on how to address the subject of his son’s same-sex relationship. The ad preaches a message of accepting others and will have you reaching for a box of tissues. We’re not crying, you’re crying.

Burger King: Whopper to the Future

Burger King encourages customers to make sure that at least one good thing will happen by sending themselves a whopper to 2030! The dystopian future narrative shows a timeline of what the future might look like beginning from 2020 when COVID-19 started, “Pay for Oxygen” in 2057, till 3129 when dinosaurs start ruling Earth. The Back to The Future styled ad is a smart futuristic approach to marketing.

Snickers Peanut Brownie – “Stanimal”

Snickers 30-second ad shows a boss trying to connect with her team by calling her employee “Stanimal”- a nickname that other workers use behind his back.   Awkward! She gets through the embarrassment with a Snickers Peanut Brownie. With this ad, Snickers poses as a comforting solution to life’s ‘hidden problems’.

Oatly: Help Dad

Swedish oat milk brand, Oatly, encourages children to have a conversation with their parents about drinking and eating more sustainably. In the ad, teens admonish middle aged men to give up dairy milk for plant-based dairy.  Flipping the classic ‘teenager vs parent’ relationship on its head, the lighthearted ad champions young people as the instigators of change.

IKEA: Fortune Favours the Frugal

 IKEA’s latest ad opens with an enormous meteor made up of thrash heading for Earth. But every time a person makes a sustainable living choice like recycling, upcycling, using LED light bulbs, the meteor gradually disappears. The ad promotes Ikea’s sustainability efforts and encourages people to think differently about the benefits of living a life of moderation.

The post Ads We Loved: New Year, New Hope appeared first on Post Funnel.

Email Marketing

From the PF Vault: Email, Email, Email

There is just too much content out there. Obviously, its quality is bell-shaped – most of it is okay, and at the edges, you can find really bad or really good content. It’s true to marketing content, but in 2021 – it’s basically the reality all around us. And so, CURATION IS KING.

This is why we are now introducing the “From the PF Vault” series – where every once in a while we’ll give you a bunch of links – our best archival content around a specific topic. These are articles that are both of high quality, and popular – many of them withstanding the test of time.

Think of it as a kind of makeshift ebook, or an ad-hoc digital course of sorts. Reading through these will make you a much more educated marketer about the topic at hand.

And this time, that topic is Email Marketing.

  • All Good Newsletters are Alike, Each Bad Newsletter is Bad in Its Own Way

Not all newsletters are treated equally. A well-written, relevant email stays much longer.

  • Is Email Marketing Still Effective? Uhh… YEAH!

The trend of dropping email marketing in favor of other tools is widespread among marketers. But those who hurry in following the trend are up for a disappointment. Read on to understand why.

  • Your Email Address Got Blacklisted – Now What?

The “gatekeeping” process all emails go through after delivery, why an IP address or email address may get blacklisted, and how to get taken off a blacklist.

  • How to Make Customers Look Forward to Your Email

Today, there are only two types of emails: inbox-worthy and junk. Here’s how to ensure you’re taking advantage of the potent marketing channel.

  • Analyzing AMP for Email: What It’s All About

Google officially launched AMP for email. Optimove’s specialist looks into the promise of accelerated mobile pages.

  • 4 Email Writing Tips to Help You Get More Conversions

Writing emails that drive conversion isn’t rocket science, but it takes some knowledge and careful planning.

To learn even more – see everything our email marketing specialist ever wrote for Optimove’s blog, including “What Does It Mean to Treat a Customer’s Email With Respect?” and “Take Your Email Deliverability to the Max“.

The post From the PF Vault: Email, Email, Email appeared first on Post Funnel.


Podcasts We Loved: December 2020

This month on our Podcast (Episodes) We Loved (and that we think marketers should give a listen to) – from this passing month of December – we bring you 12 episodes because… well, cause it’s the 12th month of the year. How’s that as an excuse?

No, really, it’s because there was too much great content to choose from, and I just couldn’t narrow it down further – after leaving out many great conversations.

I did try to stay away from all the year-end summaries as much as I could, though. Because I didn’t want a random date change take the place of actual, quality content.


(all episode descriptions below are the original show’s text)

(links are to Google Podcasts)

1. Is it Too Late for General Motors to Go Electric?(49 mins)

Freakonomics, Dec 3

G.M. produces more than 20 times as many cars as Tesla, but Tesla is worth nearly 10 times as much. Mary Barra, the C.E.O. of G.M., is trying to fix that. We speak with her about the race toward an electrified (and autonomous) future, China and Trump, and what it’s like to be the “fifth-most powerful woman in the world.”


2. How to foster true diversity and inclusion at work (23 mins)

TED Talks Daily, Dec 3

When companies think of diversity and inclusion, they too often focus on meeting metrics instead of building relationships with people of diverse backgrounds, says Starbucks COO Rosalind G. Brewer. In this personable and wide-ranging conversation with TED current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, Brewer invites leaders to rethink what it takes to create a truly inclusive workplace — and lays out how to bring real, grassroots change to boardrooms and communities alike.


3. Mariah Carey on the Rise of Her Christmas Anthem (21 mins)

The Journal, Dec 11

Mariah Carey released “All I Want for Christmas Is You” 26 years ago to moderate success. Today, the song is a megahit and Christmas playlist staple. What happened? WSJ’s John Jurgensen called up the “Queen of Christmas” to find out.


4. We Buy A Lot Of Christmas Trees (29 mins)

Planet Money, Dec 12

Nick and Robert head to the world’s largest Christmas tree auction with $1,000 and a truck. And get schooled in the tree market.


5. A look at the state of retail, as holiday shopping wraps up (27 mins)

Marketplace, Dec 17

Retail sales fell a bit more than 1% in November, which matters because that most likely includes the first wave of holiday shopping. And now that we’ve passed a lot of retailers’ holiday shipping deadlines, sales are likely to slow further. On today’s show: how the pandemic is affecting retailers and consumers alike. Plus, what the SolarWinds hack could mean for the U.S. economy and why fewer Americans are moving this year.


6. The solution to clothing’s sustainability problem with Patagonia’s CEO (39 mins)

Business Casual, Dec 17

Last episode, we got a deeper understanding of fast fashion’s unfathomably negative impacts on the environment and supply chains across the globe. That was step 1—identifying the problem.

In this episode, we get step 2—understanding what we can do about it. I’m bringing in Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert to speak about his experience leading a company steadfastly committed to environmental stewardship and worker protections…and still making money.

Because despite what fast fashion empires might suggest, there is a role for business to play in mitigating the negative impacts of consumerism. Don’t miss this one.


7. Facebook vs. Apple, Robinhood reckoning, and a prediction for Zoom (67 mins)

Pivot, Dec 18

Kara and Scott talk about Facebook’s ad campaign going after Apple as both companies face antitrust lawsuits. They also discuss the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth filing a complaint against Robinhood. In listener mail, we get a question about whether podcasters will go behind paywalls. Scott has a prediction for Zoom


8. What Corporate America Can Learn From Coke’s Reckoning With Race (23 mins)

The Journal, Dec 18

Two decades ago, black employees sued Coca-Cola for racial discrimination. The company pledged to turn things around — and it did. WSJ’s Jennifer Maloney and Lauren Weber explain how Coke successfully transformed itself into a more equitable company…and how it failed to stay that way.


9. Should Facebook Be Broken Up? (27 mins)

The Daily, Dec 17

This episode contains strong language.

When the photo-sharing app Instagram started to grow in popularity in the 2010s, the chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, had two options: build something comparable or buy it out. He opted for the latter.

The subsequent $1 billion deal is central to a case being brought against Facebook by the federal government and 48 attorneys general. They want to see the social network broken up.

Will they succeed? On today’s episode, we look at one of the biggest cases to hit Silicon Valley in decades.


10. AlgoPix Hits $2.4m Revenue Helping CPG Brands Monitor Competitors Pricing (20 mins)

Nathan Latka, Dec 18

Alogpix is the only place to understand eCommerce market share, pricing, and promotions of your competitors and category in real-time


11. The year live music died (30 mins)

Today, Explained, Dec 22

In the second of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” musicians explain how they got creative when live shows and tours were canceled.


12. Working from home? Take a break … if you can (25 mins)

Marketplace, Dec 27

With the COVID-19 relief bill still in limbo, we talk about how people working from home are attempting to take care of their mental health. It hasn’t been easy. Also, the travel industry is hurting, even during the holidays. Then we look at how a Black-owned puzzle company has managed to piece together success as a small business during the pandemic.


ICYM our past Podcasts We Loved

The post Podcasts We Loved: December 2020 appeared first on Post Funnel.


Our Best, Our Most, Our Worst: 2020 in Relationship…

Where do we even start to conclude 2020?

We don’t.

instead, what we’ll do is list you everything we published this year that we think you could use in 2021.

And so – here’s PostFunnel’s au revoir to 2020 (and good riddance).

Oh, and before we start – if you want to tell us what YOU liked and hated the most about our content this year, take 60-70 seconds to complete this quick poll.

Top5: Content You Liked The Most

  1. The North Face Marketing Strategy — Overcome Challenges with Human Connections
  2. How Zara Is Helping to Prevent Covid-19
  3. Emily In Paris: 4 Things Marketers Can Learn, and 2 They Should Not
  4. Our B2c CRM (=B2CRM) News Page (we recommend checking it out daily)
  5. Our Marketing Amid Corona Ebook (lots of still super relevant insights)
    Tied with
    Our CRM Only Job Board (updated every Friday)

Bottom 5: Our Least Visited Pages
(and what we learned from it)

  1. Kohl’s Making the Right Moves at the Right Time (Our Data Proves)
    We published more than 260 news items in 2020. Some will get less attention than others. But we think this item was a good one and are not quite sure why it got very little clicks.
  2. £100M for Inclusion
    With this one, we think a more informative title would help. Still, the story in this piece was worth telling we think.
  3. Not Enough Personalization
    This is weird. On one hand, our “7 CRM Commandments” series is very popular. On the other, this piece here at #3, which is an infographic summary of the series’ first 10 episodes, did very poorly. What was it? The infographic itself? The title? The timing? We’ll try again next year, see how it goes.
  4. Podcasts We Loved: July 2020
    This was the first episode of our new “Podcasts We Loved” series. And it went unnoticed. We agree – it wasn’t as good as the ones that came after it (which did much better in terms of getting your clicks).
  5. Our Contact Us Page
    Ah. That’s okay. Not taking it personally (Sure we do).

Adapting to Crisis – Our COVID-Related Content

  1. The Lost Year: What Marketing Looks Like Post-Coronavirus
  2. How COVID-19 Affects Brand Loyalty
  3. Rethinking Customer Retention Strategies in a Post-Corona World
  4. How Operating Remotely Has Shifted Priorities for B2C Companies
  5. 12 Brands That Nailed Their Quarantine Emails
  6. COVID-19: Impact on Data Privacy
  7. Marketing Amid Corona: 3 Crucial Steps You Must Take

More on #MarketingAmidCorona

The Year of the Influencers (i.e., Tik Tok and Everything After)

  1. TikTok’s Influence In 2020
  2. Consumers Engage with Content by Their Favorite Stars
  3. How Influencers Reshape Marketing Strategy
  4. 5 Brands Using Influencers to Strengthen Customer Relationships
  5. The Impact of COVID-19 on Influencer Marketing

Partner Experts (Insights from Optimove Partners)

  1. For Retailers, BLM Should be More than a Hashtag
  2. Let Your Marketing Channels Work for Each Other
  3. The Resurgence in Direct Mail and the Facebook Boycott Marketing Trend
  4. Get Your Data Straight, Before It’s Too Late
  5. The Experts Are Here: Pro Advice to Fight Off the Looming Holiday Season Shipping Chaos

Podcasts We Loved: Handpicked Episodes Marketers Should Listen To

  1. Podcasts We Loved: July 2020
  2. Podcasts We Loved: August 2020
  3. Podcasts We Loved: October 2020
  4. Podcasts We Loved: November 2020

Ads We Loved

  1. Ads We Loved: See How the Biggest Brands Stay Relevant and Helpful
  2. Ads We Loved: The Travis Meal, TikTok, and the Unfinished Billboard
  3. Ads We Loved: Get Politcal or Get Really Political
  4. Ads We Loved: ‘Tis the Season

More New Content Series

  1. Brand Marketing Spotlight: How B2C giants use their brand to fuel relationship marketing
  2. CRM Commandments: Thou shall follow these seven rules for successful customer relationships
  3. The Loyalty Series: From definition to execution, measurement to implementation, technology to culture – here’s how to make Customer Loyalty the priority it needs to be
  4. Marketing 101 TBC DECEMBER

PostFunnel’s Job Board

Launched in late Q3, it still got enough visits to crack our Top5 this year.

We started it because PostFunnel is striving to be the one publication all CRM professionals visit regularly. As such, we understand we need to provide you with more than just analysis and news, but also become more of a one-stop-shop for our audience.

Providing you with a weekly updated list of the most intriguing open CRM jobs around the world we were able to find, is definitely a part of this effort.

Social Media Tips

  1. 3 Brands Winning the Social Media Game
  2. 3 MORE Brands Winning the Social Media Game
  3. 4 Social Media Mistakes That Will Cost You Customers
  4. Tips for Creating Shareable Social Media Content
  5. How to Develop Your Brand on Social Media

More CRM Tips from Optimove

  1. TBC
  2. TBC
  3. TBC
  4. TBC
  5. TBC

2020 eBooks

  1. “Marketing Amid Corona” is a New Paradigm
  2. High Loyalty: The Complete Customer Loyalty Series


  1. How an Insane 2020 Changed the CRM Job Market
  2. We Got A Fiverr Marketer To Tell Us About How Inspiration Can Be a Loyalty Driver
    Part 1
    Part 2

Watch this space for what’s coming in 2021.

Stay safe. Stay hungry.

The post Our Best, Our Most, Our Worst: 2020 in Relationship Marketing Content appeared first on Post Funnel.

ads we loved

Ads We Loved: ‘Tis the Season 2

With Christmas being just a couple of weeks away, brands present a picture of hope, community, and a focus on the things that matter.

Get into the festive spirit and watch them below.

1. Coca-Cola: The Letter

Coca-Cola’s cinematic 2020 Christmas captures a loving father’s journey to the North Pole to make his daughter’s Christmas wish come true. Centered around family, community, and appreciation, the ad recognizes that the magic of Christmas is connecting with one another.

2. Kohl’s: Give With All Your Heart

 Kohl’s holiday Commercial, “Give With All Your Heart” tugs at heartstrings. Seemingly set amid COVID-19, the ad tells a story about a little girl, her neighbor, and the distance between them. The ad illustrates the importance of togetherness and demonstrates the significance of reaching out to everyone around you at this time.

Keep Your First-Time Customers Coming Back

3. SuperValu: Is He Still Coming This Year?

Ireland Supermarket chain, SuperValu’s Christmas spot tells the story of a child looking for a little reassurance that his favorite person will still come to visit on Christmas Eve. This commercial ends with a beautiful twist and reflects the desire of many individuals hoping to be reunited with family for Christmas.

4. Miller: Farewell, Work Holiday Parties

Beer brand Miller celebrates the demise of work holiday parties in its Christmas ad and says cheers to celebrating the holidays at home with real friends instead. The campaign is a hilarious eulogy for cringing work holiday party moments.

5. Tesco: No Naughty List

From giving bad haircuts to family members to buying too many toilet paper rolls, Tesco’s cheeky ad assures viewers that their misbehavior during quarantine won’t land them on Santa’s naughty list. This fun ad is uplifting and spreads some joy after what has been a tough year for everybody.

5. Microsoft Holiday Ad 2020

Microsoft Christmas ad 2020 tells the story of Rufus, a dog who daydreams about living life like humans. Together, with his best bud, Rufus goes on an adventure into the worlds of video games and Zoom calls. It’s an adorable ad.

6. Toyota: Super Mom

Toyota celebrates the unsung heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic healthcare in this holiday spot. The heartwarming ad spotlights a woman who juggles parenting two kids with a busy nursing career. The ad ends with a simple but powerful message: “This holiday season, remember to thank the heroes we count on.”

7. Co-op Christmas Commercial 2020

 Real-life brothers Austin and Rocco Haynes spread festive cheer with an acoustic performance of Oasis’ “Round Are Way” in Co-op’s 2020 Christmas Commercial. The simple no fuss campaign encourages everyone to do their bit and reminds us that we can all make a difference this Christmas.

We hope you enjoy watching all these little magical moments. Happy holidays!

Ads We Loved: ‘Tis the Season Part 1
More Ads We Loved

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Podcasts We Loved: November 2020

As we wrap up November, in the middle of the holiday/shipping/shipping-chaos season, trying to think back on this entire truly insane year and make sense of it, while also plan for 2021… we’re all kinda busy right now. 

Enter: Podcasts. As in, the ones we loved from the past month. 

So sit back, or make dinner, or do the dishes, or go for a walk, and let these 12 hand ear-picked episodes work for you, fill in the gaps on so many things that are important, interesting, helpful, mind-expanding. Things that will make you a better marketer, even if they’re not necessarily about marketing. 

1. Where Is Consumer Attention Going Right Now? (2:01 hours)
The GaryVee Audio Experience 

VaynerX Presents: Marketing for the Now, a content series offering the moment perspectives and practical ideas to help guide marketers on how to modernize their marketing approach as we define this “new normal.” In this episode, the 12 speakers joined him for 10 minutes, rapid-fire 1:1 conversations answering the question – “Where is consumer attention going right now?” 


2. How to Succeed by Being Authentic (Hint: Carefully) (48 mins)
Freakonomics Radio

John Mackey, the C.E.O. of Whole Foods, has learned the perils of speaking his mind. But he still says what he thinks about everything from “conscious leadership” to the behavioral roots of the obesity epidemic. He also argues for a style of capitalism and politics that at this moment seems like a fantasy. What does he know that we don’t?


3. Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV) (38 mins) 
Freakonomics Radio

Companies around the world spend more than half-a-trillion dollars each year on ads. The ad industry swears by its efficacy — but a massive new study tells a different story.


4. Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital) ( 49 mins)
Freakonomics Radio

Google and Facebook are worth a combined $2 trillion, with the vast majority of their revenue coming from advertising. In our previous episode, we learned that TV advertising is much less effective than the industry says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad bubble.


5. While Airlines Shrink, Southwest Goes Big (14 mins)
The Journal.

While most airlines are parking planes and cutting costs, Southwest is starting flights to 10 new airports. WSJ’s Alison Sider explains why Southwest is expanding and how the company has used this strategy before.


6. Airbnb’s IPO, Amazon breaks into the pharmacy business, and predictions on a CNN sale (74 mins)

Kara and Scott talk about Airbnb’s S1 and public offering in a risky moment. Then they discuss Amazon’s announcement that it will now sell prescription drugs on its website and app, which may spell doom for some competitors. In listener mail, they answer the question about how young people should choose mentors. In predictions, Scott thinks CNN will be sold. Learn more about your ad choices.


7. Media consolidations, Snapchat’s TikTok competitor, and Joanna Coles on retail during the pandemic (64 mins)

Kara and Scott talk about BuzzFeed acquiring the Huffington Post and other media consolidations as the industry shifts. They also discuss Snapchat’s new feature “Spotlight” that will function like TikTok and pay top creators. In Friend of Pivot, we hear from Joanna Coles about what and how people are shopping during the pandemic holiday season. For Kara and Scott, the Biden cabinet picks are the win of the week. Learn more about your ad choices.


8.  E-commerce is retail’s promised land (41 min)
Business Casual

For an economy that’s almost constantly buying things, we sure have a lot of struggling retailers. That’s due to a confluence of factors, not the least of which are a saturated field of competitors and a finicky consumer. Recently, though, retail has landed in something of a promised land with e-commerce. Our propensity to shop online has been the saving grace for IRL sellers put out by Covid-19 shutdowns. But can our inclination toward online shopping stick around? That’s what we’re asking this week on Business Casual in a deep dive into e-commerce: how the industry’s biggest players are innovating, why it matters for our economy as a whole, and what comes next in an uncertain holiday shopping season. Today’s guest: Etsy CEO Josh Silverman.


9. SPECIAL EPISODE: How to Promote Your Content Using Tactics That Work Today with Brian Dean (19 mins)
Marketing School – Digital Marketing and Online Marketing Tips

Neil Patel with a special bonus episode – with special guest Brian Dean from Backlinko! This is a highlight from Brian’s talk at our Growth Accelerator Mastermind.


10. How This Brand Increased Their Revenue From Abandoned Cart Emails By 6X
Ecommerce Marketing School with Ben Jabbawy

Cart abandonment skyrockets this time of year. So Lisa on our Customer Success team suggested tweaking one small thing in this brand’s abandoned cart email series. In just 30 days, it helped them save $29,000 in revenue. Over the 9 months prior, it was $41,000 total. Here’s what they did to drive such a big lift.


11. Breaking Benford (30 mins)

In the days after the US Presidential election was called for Joe Biden, many supporters of Donald Trump are crying foul. Voter fraud. And a key piece of evidence? A century-old quirk of math called Benford’s Law. We at Radiolab know Benford’s Law well, and have covered it before. In this political dispatch, Latif and Soren Sherlock their way through the precinct numbers to see if these claims hold up. Spoiler: they don’t. But the reason why is more interesting than you’d expect. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser.


12. Shipageddon DeepDive (48 mins)

In the days after the US Presidential election was called for Joe Biden, many supporters of Donald Trump are crying foul. Voter fraud. And a key piece of evidence? A century-old quirk of math called Benford’s Law. We at Radiolab know Benford’s Law well, and have covered it before. In this political dispatch, Latif and Soren Sherlock their way through the precinct numbers to see if these claims hold up. Spoiler: they don’t. But the reason why is more interesting than you’d expect. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser.

Full Spotify Playlist here:

ICYM our past Podcasts We Loved

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5 Non-Marketing TED Talks with Valuable Takeaways for Your…

If you’ve never found yourself browsing through… actually, I don’t even know how to end that sentence.

You’ve undoubtedly spent at least a few hours of your life browsing through TED’s collection of over 3,500 videos — and have probably gained a ton of insight in the process.

One of the best things about TED Talks is the versatility of the content. While most Talks do focus on specific topics, interests, or industries, the lessons held within them can be applied in many other areas of life, as well.

That said, today we’re going to be looking at five TED Talks that don’t necessarily focus on marketing, but nonetheless can provide valuable insight to bring back to your team.

Check out these TED Talks that are focused on all-things marketing, too!

1. The Danger of a Single Story, from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“The Danger of a Single Story” meditates on the idea that, as humans, we tend to make assumptions about the world around us based solely on what we know and have understood to be true.

To a degree, this makes sense.

As Adichie explains, it’s easy to assume — consciously or not — that the symbols of a certain demographic, culture, or country are a picture-perfect representation of the whole. For example, Adichie mentions that she had, in the past, included mentions of ginger beer in her fictional stories set in Great Britain “because the characters in the British books I read drank ginger beer.”

As innocuous as that example is, Adichie also tells of the many subtle (and not-so-subtle) assumptions we often make that harm the people in focus, and our relationships with them. To be sure, this is a sensitive subject that deserves everyone’s attention, regardless of where you’re coming from.

For marketers, Adichie’s Talk gives us a lot to think about in terms of how we treat our customers.

Again, the same lesson applies: Don’t make assumptions about your target audience.

Yes, creating customer profiles and personas is essential to refine your marketing and overall approach to engaging with your audience. But it’s crucial to remember that these personas are mere rough sketches of your customers — and that each customer you serve is an individual, with unique needs and a unique personality.

(Micro-segmentation helps you get closer to the long sought-after segment of one, allowing you to deliver a tailored experience to your individual customers, based specifically on their unique needs.)

That said, it’s also dangerous to assume your individual customers will remain unchanged as time goes on. Really, your customers are always evolving in some way or another; continuing to serve them as if they aren’t growing and changing is, again, seeing them as their “on-paper” profile as opposed to an actual human being.

To that end, gaining a better understanding of your customer lifecycle, and the journey your customers embark on with your brand, will allow you to anticipate growth in your individual customers. In turn, you’ll stay focused on delivering ever-increasing value to keep your evolving customers onboard well into the future.

The key message to take from Adichie’s Talk is that people’s stories are constantly evolving and expanding. By keeping up with our customers’ stories as they unfold, we’ll always know exactly how to best serve them moving forward.

2. 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation, from Celeste Headlee


Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk is pretty honest about two key facts:

  1. Thanks in large part to technology, our attention is typically spread pretty thin
  2. Because of this, our ability to communicate with one another has suffered

Headlee’s Talk, of course, is more focused on helping listeners improve their interpersonal communication skills — and, in doing so, improve their interpersonal relationships.

Still, there are a number of lessons we marketers can take from Headlee’s advice that will help us better understand and communicate with our customers.

Headlee’s first tip is not to multitask during conversation, period.

This is pretty straightforward when it comes to engaging with individual customers. If it’s clear to them that your support staff isn’t fully focused on the conversation at hand, you run a very real chance of losing them for good.

Additionally, whether communicating with your individual customers or overall audience, it’s important to have a singular focus for the message at hand. Delivering too much information at a single time can overwhelm your audience — and cause them to completely miss the message you’d hoped to deliver.

Headlee also advises that we be honest and transparent when communicating with our audience, too.

In context, her advice is to err on the side of caution when making any sort of statement or claim. As a modern brand serving the modern, conscious consumer, being completely open about your company’s vision, mission, and operational processes is essential to building a strong relationship with them.

Another key piece of advice from Headlee: When engaging with your customers for any reason, go with the flow.

Yes, you definitely want to have a blueprint of sorts to help you steer conversations and customer engagements in the right direction. But, sticking too closely to a script will not only be off-putting to your audience, but will also cause you to miss out on opportunities to engage with them more deeply than you’d anticipated.

Finally — and, as Headless agrees, most importantly — communicating with your customers is more about listening than speaking. Chances are, your customers are already saying much of what you need to know to better serve them.

Instead of just looking for emerging channels to deliver messages on, look to the platforms your customers use to make their voices heard. By reaching your audience where they are, you stand a much better chance of getting the conversation started.

3. How to Make Hard Choices, from Ruth Chang


In all areas of life, the difference between achieving and falling short of your goals is your ability to consistently make the right choices.

Of course, the “right” choice isn’t always clear.

As Ruth Chang explains in her Talk, “How to Make Hard Choices”, we often encounter situations in which each of our options has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. What’s more, taking a strictly “by the numbers” approach to these choices can cause us to ignore all of the intangible, unquantifiable pieces of information needed to make a truly informed decision.

“The world of value is different from the world of science. The stuff of the one world can be quantified by real numbers; the stuff of the other world can’t. We shouldn’t assume that the world of is, of lengths and weights, has the same structure as the world of ought, of what we should do.” -Ruth Chang

As marketers, we’re faced with tough choices on a daily basis. At any given moment, the decisions you make can potentially change the trajectory of your company — for better or for worse. Again, the absolute best course of action is rarely obvious; in many cases, you’ll have multiple paths to choose from, each with the potential to lead your company to growth.

Now, modern technology has allowed marketing teams to quantify their potential options in ways that weren’t previously possible. To be sure, the data-driven marketer is much more informed than those who think of this data as simply “nice to have”.

But, as Chang explains, the numbers and “on-paper” data are only part of the equation.

When faced with a decision as a marketer, it’s also crucial to consider which option is most in-line with your brand’s values.

  • Which path will strengthen your brand’s image in the eyes of your audience?
  • Which path will allow your organization to achieve its financial and functional goals?
  • Which path will enable your organization to truly become what you’ve always intended it to be?

As difficult as it can be to make the various decisions we make as marketers, each decision we make further defines the organizations we belong to. To paraphrase Chang, hard choices are precious opportunities for you to celebrate what’s special about your company, and to distinguish your brand from the industry average.

4. The Power of Vulnerability, from Brené Brown


Brené Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the most viewed and talked about TED Talk in existence.

Brown’s Talk is a deeply personal rumination on the importance of pushing past your comfort zone, exposing your true self to the world, and embracing the feeling of being vulnerable instead of shying away from it.

On a personal level, Brown explains that vulnerability manifests in 3 ways:

  • Accepting imperfection in oneself
  • The willingness to take calculated, yet still uncertain risks
  • Compassion and connectedness with one another

Seeing any parallels when it comes to marketing and managing a business?

While “imperfection” definitely has a negative connotation, it’s a fact that nothing your brand can do will truly be perfect. Your products, your customer service, your marketing campaigns…it’s all a work in progress. By accepting this, your team can stay focused on making improvements while also being confident in your ability to serve your customers well.

As we discussed in the last section, taking calculated but uncertain risks is essentially how the business world operates. No matter how much information we have on hand, there will always be some level of uncertainty in the decisions we make. Again, success comes down to being confident that the decisions we make as marketers will lead to the best possible outcome for our customers and our organization.

Finally, being vulnerable — that is, allowing your audience to truly know and understand your brand — enables you to forge authentic connections with the individuals you serve.

Your customers want to know your brand’s story, and your organization’s vision and purpose. They want you to be open and honest with them regarding your operational policies and other pertinent information. And they need to know that doing business with your brand is the right course of action for them.

In forging authentic connections in which you’re free to deliver increasing value to your customers, you’ll easily be setting your business up for long-term success.

5. How to Start a Movement, from Derek Sivers


Let’s wrap up with a short-and-sweet TED Talk from writer and entrepreneur Derek Sivers.

(Yes, he’s an entrepreneur…but this Talk isn’t necessarily about marketing!)

In just under three minutes, Sivers uses a rather silly video clip to teach his audience “How to Start a Movement”.

In the video, a shirtless man starts dancing wildly by himself, in front of a bunch of other people. Seconds later, he’s joined by another person, who calls over his friends, who call over even more people. At this point, even those who had been sitting and watching the whole time stood up and started dancing — leaving almost no onlookers in sight.

Sivers breaks the whole thing down, explaining:

  • How one “lone nut” quickly becomes a leader
  • Why the first follower was more effective at getting others involved than the initial dancer
  • How things reached a tipping point in which almost everyone decided to join in

From a marketing perspective, there are two key lessons to take from all this.

First, as has been a theme throughout this article, your brand needs to do something special that allows you to stand out from your competitors. This “something” needs to provide substantial, one-of-a-kind value to your target audience. Developing a USP means doing something that no one else is doing — and knowing with confidence that your audience will appreciate it.

Secondly, the fact that the first follower is who really got the ball rolling makes the importance of social proof and virality crystal clear. For in today’s ever-connected world, growing a massive following starts by creating a strong core of active brand evangelists who are willing to do what it takes to get others on the bandwagon.

All you need to do is keep doing your thing.

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Relationship Marketing 101: The Dawn of Branding

Welcome to Relationship Marketing 101, a new monthly series that examines the evolution of marketing — from radio ads to social media — and the lessons this history shares. In this installment, we’ll explore branding’s origins and discuss how marketing behemoths like Coca-Cola learned to connect with customers.

The history of branding dates back thousands of years, though the term didn’t have its current context until the 1500s. According to Skyword, Stone Age cave paintings depict early humans branding animals with paint and tar. That method soon gave way to burning ownership marks onto cattle, while artisans in ancient China, Egypt, and Rome added brands to hand-crafted creations. This practice created a sense of loyalty between the crafter and owner; artists marked their products so that customers knew they were buying quality work.

By the sixteenth century, what began as a technique of claiming literal ownership had evolved into a form of artistic expression and representation. It wouldn’t be long until new inventions tied this concept with modern advertising to create the marketing force that we’re familiar with today.

The Industrial Revolution Bred Innovations in Manufacturing and Advertising

The Industrial Revolution, which occurred from 1760 to around 1840 in Europe and the United States, changed life as everyone knew it. With the invention of machines, artisans suddenly began mechanizing many centuries-old manual processes. Chemical manufacturing, steam and waterpower, and the rise of the textile industry were all hallmarks of this period.

Another hallmark of the Industrial Revolution is advertising. Advancements in printing press technology allowed businesses to print text and images quickly and cheaply. This development opened new avenues for companies looking to spread the word about their products, and modern advertising was born. After centuries of primitive branding efforts, companies had a fast, affordable way to share their brands far and wide.

In 1841, Volney B. Palmer opened the first American advertising agency in Philadelphia, the modern-day home of cheesesteaks, disappointing sports teams, and Gritty. By 1900, these agencies were commonplace and considered a crucial part of brands’ success. While newspapers were a common channel at the turn of the century, radio advertising soon became a favored medium.

During this period, companies started thinking in earnest about their relationships with customers and how ads fostered that relationship. Early marketing pros realized that because women were doing most household shopping, ads should target this demographic. In this radio ad from the 1920s, a male narrator describes how a cutting-edge hairdryer could enhance the average woman’s life:

Yes, the themes are outdated and sexist — beauty brands certainly wouldn’t make “pleasing your man” and “having more time for housework” cornerstones of their modern ad campaigns — but the ad shows how advertisers forged connections with their female customers. Even when advertising was largely product-focused, the result is comparable to today’s relationship marketing campaigns that garner an emotional response to build lasting connections between the consumers and the brand.

The guide to advanced customer segmentation

Coca-Cola and Mascots Set the Stage for Modern Branding

At 134 years old, Coca-Cola is one of the most enduring and iconic brands in the world. For decades, Coke was viewed almost like an “old friend,” with one WWII-era ad literally adopting the phrase. Coca-Cola positioned the beverage as something familiar, comforting, and reminiscent of home. It’s no wonder that it resonated with buyers during the periods of turmoil that punctuated the late 1800s through the 1940s.

One of Coca-Cola’s most lasting contributions to the branding landscape first appeared in a 1922 French ad: the first-ever Coca-Cola polar bear. Its appearance reflected a new trend in which companies used mascots to anthropomorphize their products. Creations like the Quaker Oats man (1877), Mr. Peanut (1916 – 2020, RIP), Rice Krispies’ elf trio, and the Jolly Green Giant (both 1928) turned corporations into individuals with faces, feelings, and personalities, making products more memorable and relatable for consumers.

Companies quickly realized that mascots often take hold in the public consciousness, sometimes becoming more famous than the products themselves. While these cuddly, sofa-loving bears didn’t become prominent in corporate branding in 1922, today, they take up an entire section of Coca-Cola’s online storefront. Just for polar bear merchandise. Today’s companies can leverage mascots as both branded advertisements and independent revenue channels that drive interest in t-shirts, toys, and much more.

These mascots’ real power is they don’t belong solely to the company — they represent an evolving relationship with fans. The Coca-Cola bears started as cute branded images, but they inspired environmental sentiments that helped raise millions for conservation efforts. Modern campaigns are not immune to this phenomenon, much like how Gritty went from one city’s hockey mascot to a global symbol of revolution following mass protests. Mascots are perfect examples of how brands sell more than products — they also sell connections.

The Evolution of Branding

Branding has seen several evolutions throughout human history. In its earliest days, it represented ownership. Over time, it became a symbol of product quality. Today, the best examples of branding highlight a connection between a company and consumer, much like Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign that incorporated consumer names into its branding. Sometimes these lessons are ones that successful companies learn to take literally.

Check back next month to learn more in our second installment of Relationship Marketing 101!

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