It’s about to be 2015.

We expect stuff to happen at the click of a button, or even easier, from a voice command—order this now, learn more now, register for this now.

Now, now, now, now.

We’ve really evolved into a bunch of Vladimir Putin’s, haven’t we?

So when things don’t happen instantaneously, we immediately get pissed off. Cause that’s what pre-programmed authoritarians do, right?

The reality of the matter is that we need to shelf our obsession with instant gratification. And by we, I mean we the guys doing the marketing. If we don’t, we’re inevitably setting ourselves up for disappointment—more demanding, more yelling, more headaches, more foul moods, less success for everyone involved.

For 2015, I’m making the boldest, most daring, most ridiculous marketing prediction: Companies that work hard to market their products or services will have more success.

Is your mind blown?

My old man always told me—and still tells me—that finding a job is a job in itself. The more that I think about that, the more I realize its relevance to sustainable marketing practices.

As marketers, we demand results. But, let’s face it. We can get a little greedy. And consumers are savvy enough to pick up on those tendencies. Serving up irrelevant content, and considering yourself smarter than your customers made CMO’s list of 10 Ways to Annoy Your Customers. Both of which are by-products of? Yup, you guessed it. Lazy, greedy marketers.

Yes. Marketing automation is an important concept and is something that should be practiced in balance. Understand that there are pros and cons, and that there lies a serious problem today with marketing automation overload.

I recall when I was first applying for jobs—before I landed my current position. I wrote up what I thought was a surefire gem of a cover letter and blasted that baby out with my jack of all trades resume for the whole wide world to see. When I never heard back from anyone, I was like, “Well, this is crap. The economy sucks.” But in all seriousness, my approach sucked. I sold myself short.

It wasn’t until I changed my approach that I started to get the engagement, interviews and ultimately the great job that I was looking for. Instead of automating my job search, I carefully read ads, picked up on cues, and altered my cover letter and resume to fit what that particular employer was looking for. I tried different layouts, fonts, added photos. Anything and everything that would elicit a response.

The same approach can and should be replicated for premium marketing results. You want to sell more product? You want to secure more clients? You want to grow your business? You want to drive around a Porsche and smoke cigars like Tony Soprano?

Then you better hit the whiteboard. Spend more time strategizing and less time filling out your time sheet. Spend more time testing and less time automating. Spend more time working hard and less time working on cruise control. Spend more time building relationships and less time taking shortcuts. The results will show.

The more things change—the more they stay the same. Those who work hard and smart, and never give up will find true success. Those who learn and adapt from mistakes of consistent effort will find true success.

If you happen to be one of the millions of users who use Gmail for their email service provider, you have most likely seen the pop up message when you logged in letting you know that images in your email are now being enabled by default. This information corresponds with the announcement a couple weeks back from Google and Gmail that they will soon begin caching and serving email images from their content delivery network (CDN) to assist in speeding up the process of browsing through email.

Now some users of the Gmail services might be unhappy with this new default setting, but rest assured you still have the option to disable it.  In your setting’s panel, you can select “Ask me before displaying” which will convert your email back to the old Gmail setup.

Some are saying that this move by Google and Gmail is to expand upon their already great spam detection system and thwart even more spam emails for its end users.

One of, if not the largest solitary problem that Gmail has with spam is that mass e-mailers otherwise known as spammers are using images that contain keywords that could be, but aren’t necessarily flagged as spam. While, only a theory there are some who are saying that Gmail is trying to use optical character recognition (OCR) to weed out some spam, but that is another discussion all on its own.

Spammers also make use of several techniques to fool spam detection systems by sending their emails from a slew of different internet protocol (IP) addresses, have multiple subject lines, varying alt tags for their images, among other things.

By taking control and caching images, Google/Gmail can now take as a signal that items are spam when there are enough people who are reporting the email as spam, or saying not to display the images in the email. There is even a possibility that Gmail could replace the spam image with one of their images which state it is spam.

What this Means to Email Marketers

This move by Gmail deprives Email marketers of data that they were able to collect previously through the use of images, items such as the approximate location of the recipient.

Prior to the image loading, change, email marketers were able to attach coding to an image which would be able to retrieve the approximate location of the recipient when they opened that email message. However, now that Gmail/Google is opening the information before it reaches the intended recipient, the location which is sent to the marketers is that of Google/Gmail and where their servers are located. In short what this means is that an email marketer can no longer customize an email in order to promote a brick and mortar store which is closest to the individual consumer.

Whatever the motive it is clear that this move by Google/Gmail will trip up many email marketers, but will make the end users experience much more pleasant. This isn’t the first time email marketers have been tripped up by Google/Gmail, and it certainly won’t be the last. As technology increases marketing techniques, will change and grow with the changes.

Everyone needs inspiration.  Some of us realize that we do. But where do you get inspiration when your “well of ideas” has run dry? It might be as simple as logging into Twitter and seeing what everyone else is saying. Social media can be an excellent source of inspiration, insight, and useful information. It can spark a new idea, or give you more information so you can get involved in a conversation that’s already happening.

Most social media is regularly updated and covers a wide range of subject matter.   You can even learn how to create a mobile phone app – with no experience!  Many social networking platforms allow for conversation; questions asked and answered, and more.

Of course, there are two sides to social media. There are people who know what they are talking about and get either get validation or insight from others. Other people display an unfounded ego, arrogance, and ignorance are, at least with some social platforms, exposed, and their input invalidated by the social networking community.

Inspiration for Speakers, Parents, Businesspeople, and Writers 

Those who frequently give speeches or write for others often have a good level of expertise and experience with a particular field or topic.  Unfortunately, continually drawing from the same well of knowledge can leave the writer or speaker with a diminished level of ‘sparkle,’ which in turn could bore the audience.  Studying conventional reference and instructional material can bore the true expert, and further degrade the passion for presenting speeches and writing.  Boring speakers don’t get hired again.

Social media channels can come to the rescue.  There are private groups on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.  These groups are often moderated by a knowledgeable person. They frequently screen applications for membership to those groups; this helps to protect the integrity and quality of the group.

Often times, the social media channels we choose to follow are actually part of a larger site. For instance, a pastor might get inspiration from Christianity.com and choose to follow them on Twitter. Not only does the pastor get the information from the website, but he can see some of the conversations others are having.

On these and similar sites, audio, articles, conversational blogs, and even video can lift the spirits, provide information, and encourage pastors and other speakers, teachers, and writers.

Driving Business with Inspiration

Business owners and bloggers have some of the most information available. From Entrepreneur to Forbes, the popular online journals and magazines targeted at business advice have strong social media presences. They often post news and editorials that address strategies and big things happening in the industry.

When looking for inspiration for that blog piece, or even trying to find a new way of approaching your own social media presence, following the Twitter or Facebook account of a company that does it right and you respect is one of the best ways to not only get inspired, but get things done correctly. If you’re not coming up with something new, chances are you’re losing out to a company that is. However, inspiration isn’t limited to figuring out a business proposal or blog post.

Shaking Up Your Personal Life

The type of inspiration and information available through websites and social media can spread into some of the most important aspects of our lives. Parents, who often face unfamiliar challenges, unpredictable behavior, and how to guide their children can get information, have online discussions, as questions, and more from sites such as Parenting.com.

Such sites often offer ways for readers to interact with authors, writers, and each other. This isn’t the type of inspiration that will lead to stronger sales, but it is the type of inspiration that can push you through the day, and even figure out a new and interesting way to shake up an old routine and get back into gear.

What JCPenney’s Super Bowl Tweets Might Mean for Super Bowl Advertisements

by Lauren Wainwright

Even as a Seattle fan, it got a little boring watching the Broncos continually hand the ball over. After feeling pretty confident the Seahawks were bringing it home, I wound up perusing through Twitter.

It seemed like JCPenney was having as rough a first half of the game as the Broncos.

JCPenney  jcpenney  on Twitter

The company sent out two tweets that appeared to be written under the influence of a few too many super bowl cocktails. However, afterwards, they send out a tweet with a picture of their new mittens, apologizing for the typos. 

Was this a planned publicity stunt or a well-handled blunder?

JCPenney  jcpenney  on Twitter2

 

 

Judging by the prepared image that was sent out after the fact, I would have to guess that this was fully planned. However, the huge response couldn’t have been planned. Twitter users across the board were re-tweeting the messages, making jokes about the brand being too inebriated to have a Twitter account.

However, possibly even better handled was Snickers. Whoever is in charge of their Twitter account made a perfectly executed reply, shown in the image below.

snickers reply

Snickers wasn’t the only one who jumped on board and offered J.C. Penney help with their tweeting problem.

responses

The interesting part? None of the brands that were part of the Twitter conversation were advertisers in the Super Bowl.

With a 30 second commercial costing $4 million, it’s no surprise a lot of brands decided against the splurge in advertising this year, but it seems a lot of them have taken to social media. Rather than spending millions on short, highly competitive air space, there seemed to be more happening on social media.

It also felt like every commercial was trying to start its own hashtag.

hashtag

It makes me wonder what the future of Super Bowl advertisements will look like, and whether or not companies that do decide to spend the money on these advertisements are getting their money’s worth.

While on Twitter, I didn’t see any #StayRestless conversations, or #VW for the Volkswagen commercial, yet there were thousands of shares for the brands that stuck to the Twitterverse. While Jeep’s tweet with the hashtag they paid millions of dollars for with their commercial got 15 retweets and 23 favorites, the reply Snickers sent out about JCPenney’s tweet alone got 3,193 retweets and 1,489 favorites.

It will be interesting to see in the next few years whether the classic Super Bowl commercials will stay the course or if Twitter or Facebook stunts like J.C. Penney’s will take over the main stage.