Author Archive for Mark Plumb



31
Jan
13

Is the Volkswagen SuperBowl Ad Racist?

Watch thisGet in. Get Happy. What is your first reaction? 

Sit with that reaction for a minute. 

On this morning’s Today Show, check out the following exchange: (we are using a transcript rather than a video because NBC will likely have us remove the video)

Here is our transcript from Matt Lauer interviewing Ad Critic Barbara Lippert. Lippert was with Adweek for more than 20 years before leaving for mediapost.com

Matt Lauer: Barbara, first reaction when you see the ad?

Barbara Lippert: I was shocked. Didn’t anyone look at this? This is so racist. My problem with it is that there’s no link to Volkswagen. Its a German car and they are showing happy people because they have black accents. And maybe Jamaicans didn’t find it offensive for a Jamaican Beer or something, but it’s just saying that black people are happy.

Matt Lauer: I take a completely different view of it. I have to be honest with you. I thought if you buy this car, it puts you in a happy place and what’s happier than all the memories we have on being on beautiful islands on island time? That’s the way i took it.

Go back to your initial reaction when you saw the ad. Whose opinion do you more closely align with Barbara or Matt?

Here is my opinion and analysis:

This is a funny ad delivered using obvious parody. When you first hear the Jamaican voice in the elevator, you have an image in your head of the person saying those words. When the person is revealed to be a 6’5″ clean-cut white guy, you now have the tension that makes this ad effective. You are engaged as your mind shifts its paradigm. Then, you are treated to funny vignettes, which engages you emotionally. The hero in this ad is the Volkswagen. When the main character drives his Volkswagen, it makes him happy.

With all due respect Ms. Lippert, you are seeking to be offended from something that is not offensive. In fact, I am stunned that your claim of a racist ad is based on your phrase “black accents.” Jamaica is a country, it is a culture. It is NOT a race. To address the people who could be most sensitive to the tone and content of the ad, Volkswagen Marketing Officer, Tim Mahoney, said Volkswagen conducted research including interviewing more than 100 Jamaicans to ensure the ads were not offensive to the country and culture of Jamaica. Well done, Tim!

So, what do you think? Has Volkswagen produced a racist ad?  If so, please comment below. 

15
Jan
13

Mobile Marketing Predictions for 2013

Mobile MarketingThe biggest change in mobile marketing last year was the push notification. Sadly, many business owners couldn’t get out of their own way and have started abusing push notification with non-critical updates. It likely started out of desperation, hoping a constant barrage of info will lead to consumer action.  Unfortunately, for push notification abusers that action is usually to uninstall the app. As a reminder, the best practice is to push info that is relevant to the user and focused on meeting their needs.

With the combination of improved near field communications and business owners punished for push-spam (is that a new term? if so…trademark!) we have compiled our list of mobile marketing predictions for 2013.

Mobile Coupons

2013 will see an increase in mobile coupons. For the business owner, mobile coupons are quicker, cheaper, flexible, convenient and always with your customer. Candidly speaking, doesn’t that sound like marketing perfection? With the improvement of near field communications, you can be timely as well. Imagine sending a 15 percent coupon for today’s special to one of your customers, at lunchtime when they walk within 1,000 feet of your front door. OK, now that is marketing perfection.

Loyalty Marketing

Mobile users will demand an overhaul in loyalty marketing. For example, Denver-based Tokyo Joe’s has an addict card for loyal customers. Buy 12 entrees and the 13th is free. I carry around a punch card for what amounts to a 9 percent discount the 7th time my wife and I go to Tokyo Joe’s. What would really be beneficial is if the loyalty card was tied to my phone. It can be a Tokyo Joe’s app or an aggregator app for loyalty programs like Foursquare.

Not only do I want to combine these programs, I also want to streamline my apps. For this blog, I checked the last time I opened a sample of 20 apps. Five of them were only opened once. If the app doesn’t provide me regular benefits, I’ll quickly become app-athetic. (is that a new term? if so…trademark!).

Social Action

The final mobile marketing prediction is a huge increase in apps adding social action widgets similar to the Facebook “like” button. Social sharing is the equivalent of electronic word of mouth marketing. As businesses get better at forging relationships with their customers in social environments, they will be able to run a sophisticated SCRM program (social customer relationship management).

Let us know your mobile marketing prediction for 2013, and if you think this will be the year of fully integrated mobile marketing. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

19
Dec
12

Healthcare Marketing Predictions for 2013

X_Ray_Heart_by_mmattes_GreenBlack1With the major healthcare reform provisions slated to take effect in 2014, less than 13 months away, Weise Communications believes 2013 will be a year of preparing for those changes to occur. As we have spent the last year with physicians, medical practitioners, highly publicized medical facilities and budding health and wellness entrepreneurs, we have compiled our list of healthcare marketing predictions for 2013.

Physicians and medical professionals will embrace technology to enhance the patient experience. We foresee software as a service (SaaS) combining with platform as a service (PaaS) to provide cloud-based solutions that will enhance EMR and patient communications.

Consumers are abandoning PC/desktop computers, the entire medical community will need to adapt to tablets and mobile. 2013 will be the year that the luxury of a mobile optimized website will no longer be optional.

HIPAA for mobile will be a massive concern for 2013, so EMR costs will continue to rise. Mobile will be an extraordinary opportunity for marketers in 2013.

More than ever before, patients are becoming advocates for their own health and wellness. They are relying on sources like WebMD and Everyday Health for information. Also, they are using social media for validation and referrals. There will be more pressure on medical facilities to embrace social media to ensure accurate information is being delivered from a reputable source.

Franchising and licensing will continue to be a business model that ensures affordable and accessible healthcare treatment options. It will also provide an alternative to the increasing amount of government involvement in the healthcare decision-making process.

Let us know your healthcare marketing prediction for 2013, and we’ll plan on discussing how accurate we are at SHSMD 2013 in Chicago. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

 

13
Nov
12

From Ice Cream Sandwiches to SEO

I just got my Android Smartphone firmware and software update to the latest Android Platform called Ice Cream Sandwich. Do you know what was the most noticeable change? Voice-activated Google.

Say What?

I’m serious. I can now conduct a Google search by speaking into my phone. This got me to think about the impact to SEO.  Voice search is not new, iPhone 4S Siri is basically voice activated search. However, with a direct voice activated Google search, I see the popularity of voice search taking off.

One of the interesting differences: when I am typing, I see projected search suggestions. That won’t happen while I am speaking. Also while typing, I am more likely to keep adding modifiers to whittle down my search results. I don’t think that will happen while I am speaking. We tend to speak naturally even when using voice activated software and that will mean a different set of search results.

Also, the accuracy of uncommon searches that are spoken can be challenging. For example, I wanted to search about the General Petraeus Affair, my spoken search result was “general betray us affair.” As I think about it, the search results probably would have taken me to the same place.

One other difference, voice activated users will need to see search results in a more consumer friendly format. I’ll accept fewer results but I’ll definitely need a better idea of where the results will take me.

For marketers, there is one thing I see that will be very important in the future – Video Optimization. All marketers will need to pay close attention to their video descriptions and how it can be shared on social networks. Think about how the video will be searched when spoken as well as keywords for typed searches. With the number of Smartphone users growing and two of the favorite activities being watching videos and sharing them on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, implementing good SEO practices will reap benefits.

Let us know what you think the impact of searching out loud will have on SEO. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

25
Sep
12

Top Ten Things We Learned at SHSMD 2012

Attendees of SHSMD2012 are back at their home locations plotting a return to Chicago in 2013, attempting to sync their Poken and wondering if they missed anything from Saturday morning’s keynote, Thomas Goetz (he only spoke to about 20% of the audience Ari Fleisher had on Thursday). While everyone will have their personal take-aways, Tracy Weise, Jay Weise and I developed a top ten list of things we learned in Philadelphia.

1. Hospitals and all medical facilities are overturning every rock for ideas, actionable plans to reduce readmission rates. The most effective tactic so far is educating the family of a patient and allowing the pressure of a loved one to encourage post-hospital stay behavior.

2. Awesome description of the difference between the nuance of healthcare system and service line marketing: The healthcare system branding creates a promise, the service line marketing delivers on the promise created.

3. The overwhelming majority of attendees were unconcerned about outcome of Presidential election as it relates to healthcare reform. Some things are in place and will stay in place; other things will change regardless of who wins.

4. Acceptance of the “must do” strategies in the American Hospital Association report:

    • Increase Hospital-Physician alignment
    • Improve the quality of patient safety
    • Make advancements in hospital efficiency
    • Develop an integrated information system

5. In a session that included an interactive questionnaire, Lack of strategy, lack of time and lack of staff were the biggest reasons offered for not implementing a robust social media plan. However, an argument can be made that there is still a lack of knowledge about social media in the healthcare marketing community.

    • Only 1.1% of the 1,300 SHSMD2012 attendees checked into the SHSMD 2012 Conference using the location based social media platform foursquare
    • Only 6.2% of the attendees tweeted using the hashtag ‘#SHSMD12

This begs the question, why are healthcare marketing experts reluctant to embrace an important ‘patient experience’ tool?

6. Web 2.0 and social media are working for patient acquisition: There were two case studies, Mayo Clinic and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with tangible results and the programs were replicable.

7. It is massively important to incorporate a disciplined planning approach to service lines prior to budget season, otherwise you’ll budget before you plan and back into the programs you can afford. At the same time you must engage physicians in the planning process and they must see action otherwise you’ll never get buy-in in future years.

8. Nobody really knows what the ACO landscape will look like, if any so called expert tells you otherwise, they don’t know what they are talking about. They may fool you, but don’t let them make a fool out of you.

9. The quantitative data to effectively manage your medical facility is available, be sure to incorporate qualitative data from physicians to complete the story.  Be sure to deep dive into data analysis if the results are contrary to the generally held opinions of hospital leadership, otherwise you have an uphill battle trying to change minds.

10. Best Quotes from SHSMD2012 – if you said any of these, you know who you are:

    • Overheard at the end of concurrent sessions on day 1: “I am ready to nap dangerously.”
    • In a session when the presenter was making a transition from social media to anal reconstruction surgery, “Before we dive into bowel movements…”
    • In a session responding to a question about strategies, objectives and tactics: “People have a harder time with strategies because they are squishy.”
    • In the exhibit hall, “Hospitals are concerned about patient tracking after they leave the hospital, but why has the term out migration been replaced with leakage.”

Want to find out more about what we learned at SHSMD 2012? Give us a call. Want to add to this list, share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

30
Aug
12

Google and Improved SEO: Possible Projects Post Panda and Penguin

As the world’s leading search engine, Google wields a lot of power. One of the things we like best about Google’s mission is they want to provide the best search experience possible, they want users to get the information they are looking to receive.

As the search engine optimization (SEO) world continues to learn about Google’s ever-changing algorithms, there are do’s and don’ts of SEO that Google rewards and penalizes. Ultimately, you should align with Google’s goal of providing the best experience for your customers and clients. The combination of fresh, relevant content, high quality links and trusted authority are still your best SEO options.

The most recent Google product updates had significant impact on SEO. Panda focused on high quality content. Sites leveraging content produced by “content farms” like about.com had their organic search rankings negatively impacted. Sites that produced relevant, high quality content were rewarded.  Penguin focused on off-site SEO, most notably links. Sites that were link spammers (the most common tactic is to reply to blogs with links in the reply) or sites that purchased links in hopes of higher rankings were negatively impacted.

We thought it would be interesting to predict some other possible projects for Google. Here is our list (with the pre-requisite animal starting with the letter P):

Puppy – As social media becomes more important in search results, preference will be given to other Google products like Google+ and YouTube. Some of the wisdom behind the importance of social media in SEO relates to my friends recommendations. If they like it, I’ll like it. If they read it, I’ll read it. These recommendations are coming from a source I trust.

Pit Bull – This project should come on the heels of Puppy. An individual’s social media reputation will play a large role in the credibility of what they share and how much they share. One of the reasons we like reading unbiased journalist reports is the credibility behind the words. How much credibility can you attach to the recommendations of FireBreath919?

Piranha – The combination of Social, Local and Mobile (SoLoMo) will be a major driver to SEO. This will incorporate a swarm of social media and location based services like: Google Places, Yelp, Groupon, Living Social and Foursquare to offer a very tailored search for mobile devices.

Porcupine – As Google Analytics keeps delivering “not provided” as a term used to search a site under the cloak of protecting privacy, this will become a revenue opportunity for Google. Are you willing to pay a monthly fee to see what people are searching to find your site? If you pay that fee, will your SEO improve because you’re providing better content or because you are simply paying that fee? This prickly project might be a longer-term, but clearly on the radar.

Let us know if you see other projects on Google’s horizon. Want to add to this list, share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

10
Aug
12

PowerPoint Fatigue: Is Prezi a Better Presentation Tool?

3 things to consider before you Prezi

Contributed by Weise Communications Art Director, Nusheen Jafari

Poor presentations can have disastrous consequences. Instead of trying to punch up a weak presentation, you may want to consider a new delivery vehicle. Prezi’s zoomable canvas is a creative alternative to a traditional slide presentation. But with all the hype about Prezi, have you really thought about why you’re using it? Here’s three questions to consider before you use Prezi for your next presentation.

1.  Does your presentation really need to zoom?

It is very important to consider the type of content in your presentation. Only consider using Prezi if you plan on taking advantage of the zooming capabilities. Prezi is not designed to organize your information by pages. You must think outside “the slides.”

Take the infamous U.S. Army “Spaghetti Slide” pictured above. It is a perfect example of a type of presentation that cannot be shown in sequential slides. Although Prezi may not have been able to aid the design of the information, perhaps it could have helped deliver that information in a more comprehensible way.

Prezi works great for visual content. It’s great for showing how ideas are connected to one another. It’s easy to zoom down to one point, and then pan over to the next. Its also good for showing how your points all relate to a bigger picture by simply zooming out to show the entire canvas; for example showing a small city then zooming out to reveal the entire globe. Prezi is also great for showing diagrams and processes. The storyline feature lets you create paths and frames to guide you through a journey.

On the other hand, Prezi does not work great for text-based presentations.  If your content is more than four words per slide, Prezi will distract your audience and give them motion sickness. If you need to include bulleted lists ortext heavy information to make your point, PowerPoint or Keynote is the way to go.

2.  Is control over design important to you?

You must be fluid with your design. If you’re the type of person who likes symmetry, with information nicely aligned and perfectly centered, Prezi will frustrate you. Prezi is all about movement and fluidity, if you understand that from the beginning, you will have a much smoother experience with it.

Keep in mind that it takes more effort to control what people see in Prezi, unlike the perfectly outlined boundaries of the page in PowerPoint and Keynote. Remember, Prezi is an open canvas, not a slide-by-slide presentation. You will need to space things out on the canvas appropriately to control what people see in each step.

3.  Do you have it all planned out?

The most important thing to keep in mind when using Prezi is to develop a plan. Storyboard your ideas and think about its connectivity BEFORE you start laying it out.

The limitation about Prezi is that you really can’t preview your presentation until your done building all the parts. So, if you like to build a few slides, then preview the presentation then go back to building, you are in for a very long process. Once you build your path in Prezi, it’s difficult to edit, especially for the person who didn’t think it through in the first place. It’s also important to understand that once you start building, you’ll discover new techniques and decide to change things. However, as long as you aren’t changing the entire path you should be fine.

Make sure you practice using Prezi first; build a fake presentation to familiarize yourself with its design. Get to know its features before you commit to building a specific presentation in Prezi. Believe me, you’ll change the way you plan your presentation once you’ve experienced it.

If you have other tips that you’ve found successful with Prezi, let us know here. Do you have a great Prezi that you’d like to share? Send us the link and we’ll post it on The Side Note. You can share your thoughts on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.




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