Catch and Release Marketing

The world doesn’t require another marketing metaphor, and that is the exact reason why I created The Catch and Release Marketing Framework, because it’s unnecessary. We shouldn’t be forced into changed perspectives, we should choose them.

A few points before we get started:

1 – Easy to find, easy to buy, and easily thought worth it. The marketing mantra behind Catch and Release Marketing. All of the following advice flows through this mantra. It is unassailable advice and applicable to every vertical and industry, so please feel free to ground your strategic focus in this faithful bit of evergreen marketing advice.

2 – Another fundamental principle behind Catch and Release Marketing are the 6 Ethical Principles of Marketing by George Brenkert, which are:

  • Autonomy
  • Freedom
  • Justice
  • Trust
  • Truth
  • Well-Being

Marketing is an anxious profession because “best practices,” even ethics, are seemingly in a state of perpetual flux.

There is typically no standard for marketing activities beyond maximizing value and diminishing costs, which is why the Brenkert principles are more than just ethical woo-woo; when strategically applied, they alleviate marketer anxiety, respect consumers and eco-systems, guide planning, and direct resources and budgets to the tactics that sustainably expand opportunity, awareness, and distinction in your marketplace.

3 – Most marketing and business advice, while trying to be helpful, makes marketers and biz owners feel like shit. Too much marketing advice today is about passion, loyalty, and fanaticism, and the examples extolled are usually from the top 1% mega-brands. For the 99% majority of garden-variety marketers working across every vertical and market-size imaginable, this toxic advice cannot and never will apply to our nuances, niches, and network effects.

It’s my hope that this framework, while giving reliable and well-researched business advice, gives grace to marketers and takes pressure off the business owners that feel “less-than” because of all the highlight reel hustletology that surrounds us about brand loyalty and purposeful passion.

Marketers shouldn’t be made to feel bad if they fail to start a revolution with their brand. Simply selling something well, is good enough. The less puff, bluff, and guff around this stuff, the better for all of us.

“People don’t need gas-burning vehicles, they need transportation. They don’t need a watch, they need the time. The items that create wants & desires come and go, but the wants and desires never go away.”

– George Brenkert

“It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man. With his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”

– Bill Bernbach

Step 1 – The Marketer and The Brain

The first step to the Catch and Release Marketing Framework, is to appreciate how the human brain actually functions in regards to stimulus, learning, and memory. If you know how information is imprinted and stored in a brain, you’ll create better marketing and messaging.

BRAIN FACT ONE: Your brain does not switch between active and passive, learning and non-learning; it’s recording everything. All the time.

Because your brain is an alarm system as well as a university, your limbic system is tracking your surroundings, even while your conscious brain is not. In case something leaps out, or a twig snaps, you have to be able to respond quickly. Why is this important?

Most marketers believe the only purpose of advertising is to drive direct response, but there are other important functions for advertising, like price elasticity and maintaining market share or share of voice. There are several ways an ad might directly, or indirectly, impact an audience, outlined in this brilliant graphic from Stephen King (not that one.)

Since a human’s brain is constantly recording, effective advertising does not have to be directly responded to, necessarily. Research on the mere exposure effect, that encountering something makes you familiar with it, and that familiarity makes you like it more than you did before you encountered it, has shown how advertising can have a latent and low-level impact. 

Consistent, low engagement, well-branded advertising that is passively experienced can be impactful, particularly if there is an emotionally triggering component that tags/associates the experience with memory. Notice I didn’t say compelling facts, research, call to action or unique selling proposition, concepts that are believed to trigger interest and rationality. That’s because…

BRAIN FACT TWO: Your brain does not separate rationality from emotionality, in fact, instinctive emotional responses shape our rational behaviors. 

There is a common misconception that there are two different types of brains inside us, the rational brain and the emotional brain. Descartes famously separated the two, but Gestalt research and neuromarketing science have proven that rational complex thought is formed out of emotion. There are also more dendrites flowing from the limbic system to the frontal lobe, than vice-versa – meaning, on a physical level, emotions and base feelings flow to rational/complex thought.

Our thinking around how to build memorable experiences in marketing is stuck. We’re stuck in ‘brands transmit/people receive rational messages’ mode, when we need to be thinking about deeper ways to communicate and connect to the human brain through associations and passivity.

Humans tend to remember emotions and forget facts. And the stronger the emotion, the stronger the memory. Is it your hope to be rationalized, or remembered by your audience? Remember the mantra; easy to buy, easy to find, easily thought worth it.  

Marketers would be shocked to find out how hard consumer brains work to ignore EVERYTHING. But if marketers paid attention to the way THEY walk through a store or search for solutions, they’d recognize a huge portion of their potential options are cognitively blinded, perforce.

Imagine the psychological benefit to marketers and brands if they operated from the perspective that most people do not want to see marketing and advertising at all, in fact they actively ignore and disregard it?

MARKETING FACT – The goal of advertising/marketing is to first get noticed and then build and refresh memory structures through relevant associations, not convince an emotional and distracted audience of the rational/unique merits of a product. 

BUT JAKE!? I’m in B2B marketing! It’s different! 

Look, I hear you. You think because your product or service is complicated, and the target decision making audience you need to reach is isolated in an ivory tower, and impenetrably logical, that this all can’t apply to you. 

In a very real way there are differences in B2B, because unlike choosing the wrong granola bar, employment can be endangered by poor, uncalculated, or unvetted decisions in B2B. However, since we’re attempting to be logical, we should recognize what recent research from Ehernberg-Bass tells us about the total addressable market ground reality for B2B marketers;

Add in the statistic of the average lifespan of a tech start-up, which is 8.5 years, and the prioritization of marketing will become clearer; In order to grow, you have to stimulate future demand at the same time you capture existing demand.

The only way brand marketing can ever take off is by building a proper runway for memorability. Walk backwards from “The Close”….people won’t buy your brand unless they’re convinced, they aren’t convinced because they have no brand preference, they don’t know if they like you or not because they aren’t even aware you exist.

So along with short term campaigns that educate the audience and activate sales, long term campaigns that create affinity, preference, and mental salience help generate broad category awareness to help close sales faster, more often.

Wiemer Snijders has written brilliantly about the “differences” between B2C and B2B marketing, and how creatively approaching branding is a distinct advantage, as well as a scientific imperative, for B2Brands. This next fantastic passage perfectly summarizes the Catch and Release Marketing framework;

“It’s all about people buying and people don’t change much. We are still working with Homo Sapiens version 1.0; a cognitive miser, emotionally dominated though rationally capable (in short bursts) and forgetful. This crowded mind needs reminding, steadily, whether it’s about your industrial ducting, electricity supply or chocolate bars. The easier it is to get a place in that memory, the more chance you have of growing, one light buyer at a time, a few of whom will become a bit more loyal, but only for a while, but that’s another story.” 

Step 2 – The Marketer Gets Consumption

The second step in CNR marketing, is to accept consumerism and the mathematically proven power laws of loyalty and influence. Thanks to industrialized consumerism, we are surrounded by more stuff than people.

Look around you. How much of these items are you loyal to? You have loose affiliations and passing relationships to these objects, they signal certain things about you, but loyalty to objects doesn’t define you. Does it?


Marketers will gladly flatten their fellow humans into consumer behavior categories and branded loyalty silos; but if someone told us brands and consumption patterns define our lives, we’d reject them outright as dismissing our complex nature.

If a marketer is in consumer-mode, you’ll say loyalty is a very small part of your life. If the CEO is near, you’ll make up some shit about brand intimacy and how consumerism is central to identity. In a way, we’re right about loyalty and consumerism – but we’re not being realistic.

Among all of the objects surrounding you, it may be true that there are a few brands you are “loyal” to, but the mathematical reality that there can only be a few favorites needs to be perennially at the forefront of thought. 

There will always be fewer loyalists than generalists, and loyalty can shift; what looks like favoritism might be a fluke response curve to a fad, loyalty could be laziness or inertia, habits can appear like devotion.

Is loyalty something marketers should depend on? 

Loyal Flush

Loyalty is an abstraction of a complex set of behaviors. Loyalty is not as dependable for growth as acquisition. The laws of Buyer Moderation and non-binomial Direrchlict have proven that loyalty can only ever mathematically exist in small, precious amounts, and research from MIT has proven that loyalty metrics, such as NPS, have no bearing on anything other than the direct questions posed; recommendation means recommendation, not an indication of future purchasing power or lifetime value.

Even more importantly, recent research from Ehernberg-Bass has shown that changes in customer satisfaction scores have no association with changes in business revenue! 

Cram this simple truth about NPS into your brain: Recommendation intention does not predict loyalty, and NPS does not predict growth.

Loyalty is a wonderful thing, but it’s a mathematical anomaly. Buyer moderation and the concept of NBD is succinctly phrased by Wiemer Snijders as, “a few buy a lot, and a lot buy a little.”


This is another pan-industry, well-researched, irrefutable marketing science fact that can gird your strategic loins. Catch onto the idea of light buyers, and release your grip on loyalty.

You want loyalty from people? No, you don’t – you want more money/yield/gross. One of these perceptions makes you feel like shit, one makes you feel like a cult leader; it’s no wonder where we put our hopes, and no wonder why we’re treated like dopes when the loyalists fail to multiply in droves.

THE HOOK – Marketers hoping to expand their market share must be mentally and physically available and attractive to ultra-light category buyers, and cannot depend on growing through customer loyalty, which is a welcome but arithmetical anomalous abstraction, not a strategic action item.

A note about consumer income level and loyalty: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is research that finds consumer income levels appear to have some impact on preferences and behaviors. The study roughly showed that:

  • Lower income consumers were more likely to be Loyalists and that they value low price, fair treatment and caring staff.
  • Middle-class consumers value a convenient shopping experience as well as VIP benefits.
  • More affluent households tend to be Roamers and look for unique products, status, incentives and VIP benefits.

Also worth noting that ‘lowest price’ ‘good value for money’ and ‘quality of product’ were far and away the top factors driving loyalty at all income levels. 

Understanding how income affects the factors that drive consumer loyalty and engagement can help guide your customer retention strategies. But it also helps if we remove our heads from our Brand Bibles, and recognize the fact that most people simply want a good deal on stuff that doesn’t suck, more than they value a trusted, purposeful, blah blah blah. 

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH NOTE – It is critical to understand your clients & customers as much as possible before you try to apply any persona or growth framework. The single best way to understand your clients and customers is to have telephone conversations with them, ask open questions and actively listen to answers.

Humans generate reality through exchanging ideas, not examining patterns in a vacuum.


Step 3 – The Marketer and The Fish

A lot of marketing advice aims to establish autocratic relationships with consumers and the marketplace, not autonomous ones. 

The Catch-and-Release Marketer believes consumers want autonomy and don’t live to consummate a relationship with brands.

Consumers can be reeled in with hooks, they can be captured, measured, and monetized, but they belong to, and will ultimately return to, the river.

The Catch-and-Release marketer genuinely believes that there are always more fish in the sea, because, there really are. No matter your market size, industry, or vertical, this graphic applies to you. 

Planning Fact – There will always be more clients who don’t know you and you’ve failed to reach & catch, than “loyal” ones you’ve engaged & held onto. 

While it’s good to retain “loyal” customers, it’s more important, and more impactful to the bottom line overtime, to operate from a catch & release mentality and prioritize new acquisition and reach, over loyalty yield and retention. 

The Catch-and-Release marketer understands the consumer is autonomous and is not sad when clients move on, indeed Catch-and-Release marketers anticipate it from the beginning because that’s what consumers do; consume and move on.

If you are lucky to be in business long enough, the amount of clients you’ll have had and lost will be greater than the ones you’ve held onto since the beginning; that is natural and good.

The Catch and Release Marketer does not pine for love from the wild creatures called consumers. They create an environment which welcomes them, respects and treats them kindly like the important asset they are, with an open-exit mentality, not a zero churn policy.

Catching new fish may seem more expensive and costly, but what is the cost of recreating and maintaining an aquarium or a faux-natural ecosystem that’s designed to capture and hold “loyal” fish indefinitely and for your own maximization, not their benefit? 

The cost of failing to run a closed-off loyalty aquarium for your customers has to be significantly higher than maintaining an adjacent-eddy of value they can swim through, give a little and gain a little, and be on their way, right? When it comes to loyalty programs, why are consumers signing up? It’s not to deepen their relationship with the brand and content – it’s to snag deals, today or later.

Worst of all, if you don’t run the loyalty program as a growth center, which remember it contains wild, emotional creatures, then it’s YOUR FAULT. The arbitrary acceptance of marketing is an externality that is absorbed by marketers, not the indifferent marketplace. If they didn’t loyally love it (indeed, most consumers are not looking to fall in love with a brand, and remember NBD), it’s our fault. 

This quest for personalized, loyalty-inspiring marketing is a recipe for mental imbalance/anguish. Why?

Quick tangent on Mimetic Theory…

The Marketer and Mimesis

“Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires.”

– Rene Girard

Originating from the French historian and philosopher of social science, Rene Girard, the mimetic theory of desire is an explanation of culture and human behavior and it’s one of the more groundbreaking social insights of the 20th century. 

The name of the theory is derived from the philosophical concept mimesis, which carries a wide range of meanings. In mimetic theory, mimesis refers to human desire, which Girard thought was not linear but the product of a mimetic process in which people imitate models who endow objects with value. Girard called this phenomenon mimetic desire.

Mimesis makes the goal of marketing much more simple – In order for your product or service to become popular, people need to see *other people* using your product or service. 

Another point; if mimesis is a factor, marketers have to recognize that personalized advertising and hyper-targeted marketing is counterproductive at the strategic level, resource-draining at an operational level, and potentially psychologically damaging at the personal level. 

MIMETIC MARKETING TIP – Obsess about being seen, not how you can create obsession from behind the scene.

Another reason mimesis is important, is that it undercuts another big premise in modern marketing; that people want personalized ads. 

On top of this, studies from Dentsu Aegis and Sephora have demonstrated that contextual ads outperform ads based on behavioral targeting.

It’s silly to dismiss the related digital advertising concepts based on personalized data, like retargeting, as useless – indeed these can be powerful branding tools. We should seek to improve the manner in which we perceive the effectiveness and measure the use-cases for personalized vs broad messaging, and always err on the side of autonomy. 

The Marketer and The Empathy Gap – I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to acknowledge that there is a massive gap in what marketers and advertisers perceive to be mainstream values, and what the actual mainstream values are.

Look at the imbalances between adland ‘s perception of mainstream values, and mainstream values!? Advertisers are underestimating the value mainstream society places on things like Universalism, Tradition, and Benevolence and drastically overestimating the emphasis of Achievement, Power, and Hedonism. 

This gap in understanding has drastic effects on the impact of marketing and advertising.

If marketers are pushing a cognitively dissonant framework on customers, there is a significant chance that such messaging might cause a loss in market share, simply because the schism between purported value systems is so unnecessarily exaggerated by marketers. 

There’s also the psychological toll such misconceptions can place on the marketing team. If you are expecting/anticipating/messaging a target audience that values hedonism and striving for power, while in reality they value those things much less, it makes it seem like it’s YOUR FAULT for not turning customers into hedonistic power hungry super achievers. 

ON DIVERSITY – The best way in which advertisers and marketers can correct this issue, is by having more diverse staff (class, race, gender) and viewpoints in agencies and on campaigns. I wonder if a diverse advertising team that looks and thinks like the audience, might naturally lead to more effective and widely accepted work?

The Marketer and The White Whales

By now, we have established that marketers wrongly believe their growth exists in a loyalty-obsessed world where a few white whales can float the whole operation, when in reality it’s the majority of the “small” accounts that keep the lights on. Maybe it’s time we took our hands off our Moby Dicks?

We brag about netting huge accounts, but we’d be embarrassed to admit the outsized client is creating a “eggs in one basket” scenario; so why is it the “smart” strategy to get more loyal whales, when there’s way more fish? It’s a trophy hunter mentality, and it’s unsustainable. 

The Catch and Release Marketer prefers to mitigate risk, secure cash flow, manage capacity, and foster creativity and innovation. They can achieve these things by focusing less on netting whales, and more on netting weight.

A diverse and expansive customer base is stronger than one filled with loyal whales. 

A diverse customer base includes; Anchor Clients, Seasonal Clients, Opportunistic Clients, On-Going Small Accounts.

The way Buyer Moderation works, is that on-going small accounts make up the bulk of the clientbase, with a few anchor accounts bringing in big bucks. However, high customer concentration, particularly high value accounts, creates reason for concern.

With a diverse clientbase you mitigate the financial risks, secure multiple pathways towards profit, manage effectiveness and energy levels, and different clients require different innovative go-to-market strategies, a diverse client portfolio guarantees work won’t be stagnant and rote but engaging and creative.


Step 4 – The Marketer and The River

The River

The consumer journey is never linear. “The consumer is in control” is a marketing philosophy *not* created by consumers, nor is it one they adhere to. It’s a total scapegoat mechanism for rudderless marketers, which ends up ensnaring them in their own dreamcatchers.

The externalities of marketing strategy should be designed to be absorbed by the generally disinterested/disorganized/non-linear marketplace, not by the marketer. 

Pathways to purchase will always be non-linear, read: chaotic. One of the latest marketing metaphors to help map out the customer journey, the Hankins Hexagon, does a very good job of illustrating the non-linear pathways consumers might take. 

Rather than existing adrift in the messy middle – effective marketing strategy is all about increasing probabilities that you’ll be chosen, and keeping as many potential customers “in-play” 

“We should be thinking over lifetimes, not campaign windows or quarters.”

– Thom Binding

The Catch and Release Marketer has lures, decoys, bait, and nets in the water, maximizing their chances to catch the interest of slightly more fish at measured expanses along the river.

The marketer’s goal is more fish to catch and release, not “happier” fish in the tank. And, you think that sounds sociopathic, until you pour the hot sauce of marketing science on your plate… 

Customer Satisfaction ≠ Zero Churn

According to customer satisfaction research by Professor John Dawes from Ehernberg-Bass, dissatisfaction is NOT the principal driver of churn. What!!?

In one study, Bolton, a telecomm company, reported an annual churn rate of 30%, yet their customer satisfaction was on average 4.3 out of 5! Plainly, with such a high average score, most customers who left must have actually been satisfied, so satisfaction was not the principal driver of churn.

Think about it in your own world, for real. If you are handed a satisfaction survey, even if you decide to fill it out, how often is it 7-10 all the way down?

So then, are customer satisfaction scores worth anything? Yes, in regards to product and service, but no in regards to forecasting financial growth. 

“The effect of customer satisfaction on business revenue should therefore occur via bolstering (or at least maintaining) a customer’s likelihood of repeat-purchasing a good or service from a provider, or staying with the provider longer.”

Another amazing insight Prof. Dawes illustrates in this paper, is the omitted variable bias that can creep into customer satisfaction/loyalty research if the customer’s past behavior is not known, which is often the case.

“If past behavior is correlated with future behavior, and with current satisfaction, then not measuring it will inflate the effect of satisfaction of future behavior. Despite the intuitive appeal of attitudes as a driving force for behavior, there is considerable evidence that it could be the other way around: behavior drives or reinforces attitudes.”

That last sentence is where things start connecting; emotions drive logic, behavior drives attitudes, we mimetically move with the waves of consumer culture. This is natural. This is Catch and Release. 

SO WHAT GOOD IS NPS, ANYWAY!? – As a tool to improve services and products, NPS is a fine and useful measurement. However, NPS metrics cannot be relied on as a financial predictor of growth or loyalty.

Step 5 – The Marketer and The Lure

By now we’ve established the biological basis for how brains work, how customers and the rivers they swim through behave, and how businesses should perceive, value, and leverage their relationships, we can discuss HOW to apply this and actually catch more customers.

I share the belief that innovation and creativity are the last true advantages in business. I also believe that creativity is not considered “serious thinking” by the business world and it’s the last thing they think about applying to their serious problems, hence “The Cheap Genius Theory”

In my Marketing Metaphorest series, I write extensively and exhaustively on metaphorical approaches to marketing, and two metaphors stand out as applicable to Catch & Release; Mousetraps and Nutrition.

The mousetrap marketing metaphor relates to Catch and Release in a few ways:

  • The job of an exterminator is to catch as many mice as possible, not meet their personified needs individually. Marketers are obsessed over targeted sales personas, rather than obsessed about hitting sales targets. By widening your strategy to include consistent penetration into category audiences, you’ll ensure the supply chain.
  • Since Mimesis is a thing, mice do what other mice do, so one way to bait them with cheese effectively, is to attract them via exposure to other mice eating that piece of cheese. Mousey see, mousey do. Once again, we should obsess more about being seen, not just manipulating personalized loyalty algorithms behind the scenes.
  • And lastly, when baiting a trap, always leave room for the mouse. You never fill up the trap with just cheese. So for us marketers that means, less “WE” in the copy, more “YOU” – marketing has to be relatable, not just bull.

Nutrition, as a marketing metaphor, can help us tactically prepare for Catch and Release Marketing. Like balanced nutrition, a healthy marketing “diet” should consist of activities and practices that fulfill short-term energy demands while increasing brand longevity. Marketing strategy should be a diverse mix of brand growing fundamentals and foundations, and sales activating campaigns and quick hits.

Foundations – Solid 4p framework, great experience, good CRM, strong branded assets
Nutrients – Physical presence/availability – merchandising, search/SEO 
Fundamentals – Mental availability, funnel content, low-engagement awareness
Campaigns – Events, webinars, lead gen, ads 
Boosts – Direct response, gated content
Quick Hits – Discounts, viral videos, paywall content, buying mailing lists

Every marketer and vertical will necessarily have differing definitions for the above framework, but the main point is to metaphorically illustrate that a diverse set of tactics, with the strategic goal of balancing short term activations with long term brand growth initiatives, can keep you strategically focused.

In Summary

The main purpose behind Catch and Release Marketing is giving marketers grace by keeping it simple – be easy to buy, easy to think of, and easily thought worth it. That’s it.

Because of well-meaning but wrong-headed advice, the modern marketer (who would never tattoo a logo on their head) is stressed out because die-hard loyal customers haven’t tattooed their client’s logo onto their heads. We’re out of touch with mainstream values, we base our strategic assumptions off false premises around loyalty and growth and market penetration. We’re eager to collect the wrong kind of market research and even more eager to develop wrong forecasts and predictions off of it.

There’s got to be a better way.

Catch and Release Marketing is your ticket to creating campaigns free of cognitive dissonance, engineering strategies based on research, and implementing effective tactics that successfully operate in the real world. 

Catch and Release Marketing starts and ends with holism. Respect the way human brains operate, appreciate how humans function in society, acknowledge the empathy gap and aspiration window, understand how communities are formed and fed, and finally master an ecological conceptualization for how supply chains ethically connect producers and consumers.

Catch and Release Marketing means to catch the attention and memory of the marketplace, and release the notion of loyalty as a growth opportunity. As gingerly as we reach out to catch customers, we should just as easily release them – this is the only way we’ll be able to catch more. And there’s always more fish in the sea.

Abundance, not scarcity. Autonomy, not autocracy. Ethical actors, not edge lords. Consistency over loyalty. Strategy over tactics. Peace over passion. I hope this metaphor helps and finds you well.

Happy fishing!

The Catch and Release Marketing Takeaways

1 – Easy to find, easy to buy, and easily thought worth it.

2 – Autonomy, Freedom, Justice, Trust, Truth, Well-Being – operate with ethics, always.

3 – Don’t take marketing too seriously; selling stuff well is good enough.

4 – “A communicator must be concerned with the unchanging human.” Bill Bernbach

5 – Brain Facts! a) Your brain does not switch between active and passive, learning and non-learning; it’s recording everything. All the time. b) Your brain does not separate rationality from emotionality, in fact, instinctive emotional responses shape our rational behaviors.

6 – The goal of advertising/marketing is to first get noticed and then build and refresh memory structures through relevant associations, not convince an emotional and distracted audience of the rational/unique merits of a product. 

7 – Mimesis is powerful! Obsess about being seen, not how you can create obsession from behind the scene.

8 – Mind the Empathy Gap & The Aspiration Window – Research has proven there is a gap between what marketers perceive to be mainstream values, and what those aspirations actually are. Get to know your ACTUAL customers by ACTUALLY communicating with them, then you might make some marketing that ACTUALLY works.

9 – “a lot buy a little, a little buy a lot” – remember the laws of Buyer Moderation and NBD

10 – Marketers hoping to expand their market share must be mentally and physically available and attractive to ultra-light category buyers, and cannot depend on growing through customer loyalty, which is a welcome but arithmetical anomalous abstraction, not a strategic action item.

11 – There will always be more clients who don’t know you and you’ve failed to reach & catch, than “loyal” ones you’ve engaged & held onto. Open it up. 

12 – Focus less on netting whales, more on netting weight. 

13 – Pathways to purchase will always be non-linear, read: chaotic. Catch and Release Marketing is all about increasing probabilities that you’ll be chosen/considered/remembered, and keeping as many potential customers “in-play”

14 – Customer satisfaction does NOT mean Zero Churn, nor does it equate to WOM.

15 – NPS is BS in regards to forecasting. As a tool to improve services and products, NPS is a fine and useful measurement. However, NPS metrics cannot be relied on as a financial predictor of growth or loyalty.

16 – Focus on catching and holding attention. Release your grip on loyalty, open up to more opportunity. 

17 – THE MARKETING GOLDEN RULE: Do unto consumers, that which you would gladly do unto yourself. 


“Marketing Ethics” by George Brenkert 
Three Rules For More Effective B2B Marketing from Marketing Week
Ehrenberg-Bass: 95% of B2B buyers are not in the market for your products
“Descarte’s Error” by Antonio Damasio, 2005
“Consumer Society” by Jean Baudrillard, 1970
Info on Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory
“The Advertised Mind” by Erik DuPlessis, 2008
“Eat Your Greens” by Wiemer Snijders, 2018
How Brands Grow” by Byron Sharp, 2010
Loyalty stuff from MIT
“Do Customer Satisfaction scores link to business revenue over time?” by Prof. John Dawes
Buyer Moderation
Low Engagement Model and creativity in B2B by Wiemer Snijders
“Marketers are from Mars, Consumers are from New Jersey” by Bob Hoffman
Do people really want personalized online ads? 
Hankins Hexagon on Marketing Week

The 2,000 Year Old Marketer

HOST – About ten days ago, a plane landed at Denver International Airport. The plane came from the cradle of civilization, the Middle East, bearing a marketer who claims to be over 2,000 years old. He’s spent the last six days in a marketing hospital. He’s here with us today to discuss the past, the present, and the future of marketing.

Direct Response

2,000 Year Old Marketer – Most marketers are ashamed to admit that a ton of “direct response advertising” in the past, was done with swords. Conversion rates go up when you pull a sword out.

HOST – I would imagine so. Any other ancient advice about direct response for the modern audience?

2kM – If you really want to study hard selling conversion tactics, take a look at the Spanish Inquisition….(stunned silence in audience)

HOST – That is considered a human rights atrocity now, you realize?

2kM – Sure, even back then it was atrocious, but the conversion rates were un-Godly.

HOST – That’s barbaric, we aren’t like that anymore, conversions are figurative, not religious or forced through violence.

2kM – So do marketers do any blood sacrifices?

HOST – No.

2kM – Blood letting?

HOST – Definitely not.

2kM – Alchemy, magic?

HOST – No, no, there’s no magic at all in marketing today.

2kM – Well, maybe that’s the problem?

Organic Social

HOST – How do we know you’re a 2,000 years old marketer?

2kM – Because I’ve been waiting that long to make a sale off organic social.

Account Based Marketing

HOST – What is your thoughts on account based marketing

2kM – I think every marketer should be able to count.

HOST – No, no, account, like a –

2kM – Like a duke or a lord, right? A count.

HOST – No, listen – account based marketing is a type of marketing that deals only with certain accounts or groupings of prospective customers.

2kM – What makes one group more special than others?

HOST – High value accounts, well, these are men of means, they are prepared to do business, they wear a certain type of clothing, drive a certain type of…horse.

2kM – Why wouldn’t you sell to everyone?

HOST – To save resources, you only want to be visible to and directly engage with those that have the most means. Not everyone in the market is prepared to buy, so why bother shouting at everyone all day?

2kM – That day. But what about the next, and the days and weeks after that?

HOST – Only the worthy accounts need to hear our message; they will see us as the right choice for qualified buyers, and respond to our calls when we make them.

2kM – How will they recognize your message or anticipate the worth of your offerings, if they’ve never heard of you?


HOST – So what was marketing like 2,000 years ago?

2kM – It was a lot more in your face.

HOST – How?

2kM – Attention. In the ancient marketplaces, the art of grabbing and holding attention was a respected part of the trade. Marketers today are struggling with this.

HOST – Well naturally, there is too much content out there, attention is fractured across channels. Pinning down the audience is a mess. 

2kM – Isn’t this where all your data lakes and warehouses kick in?

HOST – I suppose they should, but it’s not that easy.

2kM – Don’t you have performance data on what types of messages absolutely work? Your computers should have the formula for grabbing and holding attention?

HOST – We use data for different purposes. Marketers don’t have to be in your face, bold and brash; in fact, this is a waste of time if you aren’t selling to people who will buy today. We use data to respect the larger audience, make rational promises only to engaged personas with targeted messaging that speaks to the sensible parts of people and causes a direct response we can measure. Data increases our chances of success.

2kM – No, over-interpretation of data increases self-awareness and limits attention grabbing potential. Because of all the “performance data” modern marketers are too shrewd and keen to avoid scrutiny and a spotlight, so attention becomes unachievable and unfortunately seen as a liability really smart people avoid. So marketers mint less copper into the clang of the bell, thin the fonts on the sign, mumble in the corner, and “hate to be a bother, oh by the way” until sundown….

HOST – Marketers today don’t need to get everyone’s attention. We don’t need to be appealing to anyone else other than the people that match our in-market target profile. Data again increases our chance of success. We reach them with rational messaging that gets a response. 

2kM – Marketers today want to be rationalized, more than they want to be remembered. Maybe data is to blame, but that’s a strawman argument, which was originally called a scarecrow argument, but we changed it in the 200’s because of Pope Zephrinyus, who was woke AF. 

HOST – So is the secret to getting attention shamelessness? You just wear loud colors, clang a bell, and use large type and active language on your signs? People prefer not to do business with clowns.

2kM – How is Ronald McDonald doing, anyway?

HOST – Ha! I suppose pretty well. But most of us don’t sell hamburgers. We sell extremely complicated things that require a ton of content creation and consumer research.

2kM – Can you put all that complicated stuff into a jingle? Something peppy?

HOST – I’m afraid the marketplace has changed. People don’t pay proper attention like they used to.

2kM – These are the same researchers you just spoke of? Maybe marketers stopped valuing the audience’s attention properly?

HOST – I think many folks just want to skip the nonsense and get to the point of things. A lot of old advertising trickery is just creative flim flam and easily dismissable. People want to know what’s in it for them, nothing more. 

2kM – Think about it this way – there are only a few ways to rationalize the benefits of a product, but there are a million ways to irrationalize the benefits. If the marketplace is as competitive as you say it is, and consumers are as distracted as you say they are, wouldn’t rational promises be the LAST thing a marketer would choose to shout out? It’s obvious what software or soap is supposed to do; but what does it make you feel like, what associations does it conjur, what invisible magic can you bring out of the irrational, illogical realms – that’s the sticking point. That’s your differentiation, distinction, the memorable way you grab and hold attention. 


HOST – Let’s talk about influencers.

2kM – Guzuntight!

HOST – No, influential people, celebrities, well known people

2kM – Oh, sure sure – Typhoid Mary, Caligula, Machiavelli, Genghis Khan

HOST – Well, not so much those types of figures, less menacing…

2kM – Caligula was a great entertainer. That barge. If you remember being on Caligula’s party barge, you weren’t on Caligula’s party barge. 

HOST – Ah, so were there any local merchants during Caligula’s time, that made it their goal to get their wine, honey, plain cake on the boat? To be seen on Caligula’s boat must be a noteworthy achievement?

2kM – Buddy, when you’re five papyrus’ to the wind, taking a ram’s horn up the back in a public orgy, you’re not really taking notes.

HOST – Point…taken.

2kM – Literally. For me, the problem with influencers, is the imbalance of interest. Caligula’s influence and interest matters more than any product or brand on his Pleasure Boat. It’s never “what’s the product?” it’s always, “what does Caligula think?” There is almost an influential force field emanating from Caligula that blocks a clear recognition of the products.

HOST – So then what about celebrity endorsements?

2kM – An advertisement featuring a celebrity endorsement is better than using an influencer.

HOST – Aren’t these just the same thing as influencers, only less effective because the addressable audience is so large because everyone knows them?

2kM – That’s the exact reason celebrity endorsement may be more effective than influencers. There’s less distraction.

HOST – Less brands to compete with?

2kM – No, less dildos flying about – remember, this is Caligula’s Party Boat – the influence may cut deep, but anything that happens on that orgy boat is not shareable or useful outside the orgy boat.

HOST – Surely there is some overlap – what we do in private can influence our public behavior.

2kM – For you maybe, for everyone else it’s a matter of signaling that they are keeping up with The Jones, which, having been alive this long, I met the original Jones’, lovely people.

HOST – Back to influencers and the orgy boat, I mean pleasure craft.

2kM – With influencers, the addressable audience is comparing itself to desires and decisions made by, in this case, one horny dude on a pleasure craft that is literally cut off from land, from reality. There is so much emphasis put on the influencer’s opinion and thoughts, that there is no room for anyone else to think for themselves, let alone think intently about a brand or product.

HOST – The audience is waiting to like something, or hate something, because of Caligula’s outsized influence on their reality. 

2kM – Exactly. Endorsement is effective not because we see a vaunted figure behave one way, or use one product, it’s because we see an audience of “other people like us” engage in a particular way in society and shared spaces. This is culture. This is how influence in a marketplace works.


HOST – Let’s talk about personalization. 

2kM – I don’t like to monogram anything, feels too Henry the 8th, you know? You really want to keep your head about that stuff.

HOST –  Not you personally, but other people’s, persons – making marketing personalized to individuals, this is possible now with computers, you know?

2kM – Really?

HOST – Oh sure – You can track who buys a product, you can find out where they live, you can gain access to their habits, net worth, and daily routines.

2kM – Ok?

HOST – You can send thousands of people personalized communication wherever and whenever you want.

2kM – Wow. 

HOST – Even better, once you can keep tabs on every customer you have, you can make them happy and address their needs at an individual level.

2kM – This sounds crazy.

HOST – Craziest part – Once you know them, they know you know them, so they never leave, and will always repurchase and buy more from you. You don’t have to spend money finding new customers. You can surprise and delight them at every unique turn in their life long journey.

2kM – So no more advertising needed?

HOST – Well, not really, but essentially…yeah! It’s exciting. 

2kM – And how do you keep track of all the information and preferences of these customers?

HOST – That’s called data, and it’s all kept in something called a CRM tool – Customer Relationship Management – it’s a computer.

2kM – A computer? Some kinda astrolabe?

HOST – Yes, no. A high powered piece of software and probably some people to run it.

2kM – Sounds like it involves elves. Right? So – Imagine traveling back to a busy ancient marketplace in Mesopotamia…

HOST – I can smell the spices!

2kM – Right – and in order to sell effectively to people, we’d have to track them, put stickers on everyone who buys,

HOST – A great idea!

2kM – Sure. We also have to know where they live, what they do, what they like, and surprise and delight them whenever they show up at my stall, and, even at their house, unwanted, especially on Black Friday?

HOST – Yes. It sounds like a ton of intrusive work, but if you had the information, there would be no other competitor, they would always choose you.

2kM – What if someone rolls into the market with my product, but at a crazy lower price?

HOST – You can offer incentives and discounts to match for certain customers that seem like they might try the competitor, but the real loyal ones will stay with you.

2kM – Why is that?

HOST – Because of the personal touch, you are at the top of their mind and your product is deemed superior.

2kM – If we followed everyone around with stickers and specials and monogrammed sweaters, did we spend all our time and energy on making our product better for every customer, and even future customers? 

HOST – Well, I suppose it doesn’t really matter what future customers think, as long as the customers you currently have love you, that’s all you need. 

2kM – I dated Cleopatra for a while, and believe me – Just because they love you and they let you call them by their first name, doesn’t mean you’re irreplaceable. Incidentally, Cleopatra’s first name was Patty. Patty Cleopatra. 
HOST – That’s odd. 

2kM – What’s weirder is this – I told this same personalization scheme to Jesus while he was writing the Bible!

HOST – Oh, sure!

2kM – I’m serious. Back when Jesus had the first draft done he handed it to me and said, “take a look, tell me what you think?” And I read it and, my God does he talk about himself a ton! It’s just his name everywhere. So I asked Jesus, “what’s the point of this book?” And he says, “I wanna start a religion.” So I tell him, “if you want people to pay attention and be loyal, you gotta put their name in this book.“

HOST – Well, actually, I don’t think that’s how that would work.

2kM – What do you mean? I told Jesus, “Hey man, you’re the hero here, but listen – Rather than share a single version of the Bible, you personalize the story for the congregation, replace your name with every congregation member, and hand out individualized Bibles! There would be no way to secure more loyalty and faith.”

HOST – Besides this idea feeling sacrilegious, what you’re describing is just not how people get inspired by stories or any kind of content.

2kM – What do you mean?

HOST – The personal connection people make with loyalty inspiring content, doesn’t come from a story that features us directly; it’s much more powerful to craft an impersonal story with indirect features the audience can see themselves in.

2kM – Oh…that makes sense….so what were you saying about personalization?


HOST – How do we know you’re really a 2,000 year old marketer?

2kM – I’m still waiting for Hubspot to turn a profit. 

USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

HOST – Yessir, a lot has changed in marketing in the last 2,000 years. ROI, USP, LTV

2kM – OMG, LOL, love the abbreviations. 

HOST – No, no, no – those are acronyms, Return on Investment, Unique Selling Proposition –

2kM – Now there is a silly idea.

HOST – Which one?

2kM – You see – you had to ask! Unique Selling Proposition. What is it?

HOST – It’s a widely accepted theory, made famous by Rosser Reeves building off Claude Hopkins, that in order to command a marketplace of common goods, a competitive brand should establish a unique selling proposition in the minds of the consumers, something distinct.

2kM – We tell people what to think?

HOST – Indirectly. People are precious about their individual routines, prefer unique things, handcrafted for them particularly.

2kM – Lemme ask you a question about cowboys – what was their favorite drink?

HOST – Well, I suppose it would be whiskey, some kind of hard liquor. 

2kM – You’d be right. And now, think back to the late 1880s, Dodge City, Kansas – a chaotic atmosphere, literally the Wild West. Now, how many saloons serving whiskey do you think they had in this small town, of less than a thousand people?

HOST – Probably one or two?

2kM – There were six. And each of them had the same whiskey on tap. Why were there so many saloons selling the same whiskey?

HOST – Well here is an example of a failure to develop a USP – if one of these establishments sought to corner the whiskey, and be the best in town, the competitors would have to scramble for different spirits, try to establish their own USP. It’s a good thing really. Diversifies the marketplace.

2kM – But these cowboys aren’t developing a taste for Moscow Mules or pina coladas – they want whiskey. They want the whiskey the other cowboys are drinking. And there are six saloons because of the natural churn rate of customers – saloons lose and gain bar flies from each other, they are 86’d and then welcomed back in a cycle across the establishments, and the fact that they can get the same whiskey here, as over there, keeps them in the town, and in the seat, and in market.

HOST – So what is the lesson?

2kM – Thinking a USP is the key to a successful product that customers love, misses the reality of why customers are in a marketplace to begin with. There can be MANY of the same types of establishments, and the fact that they are COMMON is the reason why they are FREQUENTED – Consumers, people, everyone loves to NOT THINK and would rather make decisions accordingly. What if a Common Selling Proposition is more appealing than a Unique one?

Fame / The Crowd Is In Control

2kM – It’s amazing hearing about the future, but I’m glad that certain fundamentals don’t change. 

HOST – Like what?

2kM – Like fame. Marketers still think being famous is important…right?

HOST – I think it’s become more scientific, thankfully because of all the information we have access to – marketers and consumers behave differently now, they do the research on which product or brand to choose. Consumers are more savvy than ever.

2kM – Ok then – If everyone does their own research, then there should be hundreds of distinct brands in the top of every category, based on the fact that one consumer’s research and experience is not homogeneous with another, and people seek to have their individual needs addressed. Right?

HOST – Kind of. The marketplace is much bigger, but there are still dominant brands.

2kM – Why is that?

HOST – Because a conglomerate or a huge brand can outspend, outadvertise, and outshelf competing brands.

2kM – Then why don’t they buy up ALL the shelf space? Why leave any room?

HOST – I suppose to leave room for options?

2kM – Do you think that’s a choice they make?

HOST – Then it’s a question of stamina.

2kM – A functioning marketplace has consumer-side dynamics that can’t be 100% dominated by conglomerates. Consumers may be in control, not as savvy researchers, but as an easily distractible force unto themselves, looking for what others are looking for – the human is a social animal, when in crowds or communities, we have a logic that inspires individuals to make choices that align with peripheral vision, not direct line of sight. We gravitate towards things we recognize, not things we rationalize.

HOST – In a way I suppose that’s true, but it still doesn’t explain fame, or category domination by one brand.

2kM – Then reverse the question – does everyone choose a dominant brand because they rationalize it and research it?

HOST – No. They choose it because it’s there.

2kM – And, they choose it because they don’t have to rationalize it. They’ve seen it before, it’s recognizable in their mind. We parse the present moment’s decisions through our memories, not via an actuary table that calculates the odds of an improved future version of ourselves.

HOST – I think I get it – if the marketplace was a brain, the goal is to be in easy-recall memory, not in their analytical brain?

2kM – Precisely. This is why fame and recognition amongst crowds can cut into conglomerations. This is something marketers were taught 2,000 years ago, because some of the first really effective advertising came out of China, from a guy that played the hell out of the bamboo flute, sold a ton of candy because of it. Great jingles. And this was 3,000 years ago.

HOST – This is all well and good, but marketers today have to do a lot more than stand up and play a flute to be noticed. 

2kM – But didn’t we agree that the goal is to be recognized, not noticed. 

HOST – Yeah, what’s the difference? The crowd is distracted either way.

2kM – I thought you said they were savvy? Why don’t we throw some research on them? Surely, they’ll notice a really good webinar? Look, the point isn’t fame – fame has it’s roots in rumor and report, reputation & recognition among the commoners. This is where creativity is a distinction, in messaging, in price, in product, in placement. If you focus on generating fame and memorability, you may find doors opening more easily and more often. If you focus on generating a ton of convincing research, you may find your doors closing sooner than you’d like.

Efficiency VS Effectiveness

2kM– Things are so different these days, but marketers still have to deal with werewolves, right?

HOST – Well, not really, werewolves aren’t real – one of the benefits of science and history is that we can gather facts and so we’ve proven werewolves are just a myth.

2kM – So marketers don’t believe in myths anymore?

HOST – No – we have to report on things with metrics, strategize and be data-driven. Marketing is too expensive to rely on myths, so we have tactics to focus energy for consistent outcomes. Channel specific campaigns, targeted audiences, personalized cadences, keyword content; none of these are silver bullets, but they might help you kill a werewolf or two, figuratively speaking.

2kM – Why would you want to kill a paying customer?

HOST – It’s just a figure of speech. We quest for silver bullet fixes to make sure and fast work of execution, it’s about optimization, efficiency is the goal.

2kM – But what about effectiveness? What if a marketer’s goal was understanding larger forces at work, how to be effective, not just efficient, on the chosen channels?

HOST – What are you saying? 

2kM – Marketers seem to be always searching for silver bullets, but they’re never interested in the full moon. 


HOST – I assume you’ve noticed how fast things move in the marketplaces of today, I wonder how that compares to the pace of ancient marketplaces?

2kM – About the same.

HOST – *pfft* Come on now! The internet, telecommunications, peer-2-peer networks, credit and banking, there have been massive improvements to the speed of business. 

2kM – But there hasn’t been improvements in effectiveness, just efficiency.

HOST – Again, I’d disagree. A/B testing technology, for example.

2kM – You have to test the differences between letters now?

HOST – No, between two things, concepts – When you come up with ideas for an ad or a tagline, you used to have to commit to one, and ignore the potential of the unused ideas. With A/B testing you can separate audiences so one group sees tagline A, and another sees tagline B.

2kM – So you say two different things to people at the same time?

HOST – You can test thousands of different iterations. And what’s best is test groups don’t know they are being tested, nor would they ever compare thousands of different messages.

2kM – So the total group lacks a shared experience, on purpose?

HOST – Yes. It’s brilliant, because you take the results and use the winning idea on the next campaign or iteration.

2kM – Why not test it again? Forever?

HOST – You certainly can, but there is a point where you should aim for consistency.

2kM – When is that point? When should you retest the A/B and C D results?

HOST – Well I guess around 6 months?

2kM – So every 6 months, what you say or sell might change appearance and be slightly unrecognizable, and that’s the point?

HOST – In a way, but there still needs to be consistency – testable, iterations, endless optimizations, that’s what is possible these days.

2kM – Right – I knew a lady once, in a marketplace near Cairo, had one sign, one tagline, and never changed it for all of the 50 years. 

HOST – With A/B testing she could’ve improved her performance significantly.

2kM – She was a massive success because she figured out what worked and left things alone. She owned her corner, she commanded her spot, and her presence became a tradition.

HOST – Traditions change, they have to be challenged.

2kM – Says who? The community? Everyday people that perform the rituals and are held together by tradition? They want to change things every 6 months?

HOST – People are drawn to what is new, they ignore things they’ve seen a bunch of times.

2kM – I’d say people are drawn to things they don’t have to consider, tradition establishes this in daily life. Tradition is just a series of unchanged behaviors; the goal of a marketer is to tap into, understand, and become a part of these behaviors. By flip-flopping the messaging and packaging and brand, there is no ACTUAL consistency being perceived by the marketplace, and there is no commitment from the marketer.

HOST – So testing things is bad?

2kM – Not necessarily. Experience and time are their own laboratories, everything gets tested in the end. I think your A/B testing leads to homogeneity, not distinct harmony. There is no style in a lab environment, because the germs aren’t left to marinate on the petri dish; everything is sterile, testable, fungible, uncommitted to and up for debate. If modern marketers practiced patience and consistency as much as they practiced on their campaigns like patients, then patterns and data sets which reveal natural style, strength, and stamina would be easily evident.

ROI or Die! | Where Terrorism and Marketing Meet

Whether it’s domestic, global, or on your social media feed, it’s hard to ignore the fact that theatrical terrorism and hateful outrage has penetrated into the 21st century ideological marketplace like never before. Why is that?

Research shows that along with the traditional terrorism PR playbook, the overly-complicated modern marketing and advertising ecosystem has created perfect, murky conditions for hate to flourish, proliferate, and economically thrive online.

Terrorism is essentially concerned with marketing and promoting violent/hateful political ideologies in ways that minimize resources and maximize attention.

Typically small and state-less entities, terrorists cannot traditionally garner any political recognition on the world stage, so they opt for small, extremely violent acts that focus the world’s attention on their agenda.

Along with traditional media and PR avenues, today’s terrorists have discovered how to troll & manipulate social media, hijack adtech, crypto, and the overly-complicated modern digital marketing ecosystem to create online havens and hatcheries for their piece of shit fanaticism.

Just me being crazy. Nah…

There have been plenty of articles written about this link between terrorism and marketing, (linked at the bottom and above) how ad fraud helps terrorist launder money, how social media and algorithms radicalize people; but there hasn’t been any meaningful attention or action on the part of the marketing industry to curb this or intervene in anyway.

Inspired by the concept of Useful Fiction, which author Peter Singer describes as “working at the intersection of strategic foresight, technology discovery, and narrative…” I asked myself; “who would ever agree to help a terrorist organization with their marketing strategy?”

And so, I’m proud to present; ROI or Die!” a ‘choose your own adventure’ story about a marketer that is kidnapped by a terrorist organization and forced to handle their marketing strategy.


illustration – IAMNEONBROWN

Hopefully, the story gets the marketing and advertising industry thinking about ways to confront and disrupt terrorism, online hate, and prevent dangerous ideological concepts from gaining access to the general market.

Below are links to insightful books, helpful articles, and important organizations working to both combat terrorism and bring attention to the fraudulent and abusive practices hidden in the complex modern ideological marketing ecosystem.

Two important books on how online terrorism & hate marketing is irrevocably impacting the offline world; “LikeWar” by Singer & Brooking and “Messing With The Enemy” by Clint Watts

Research into marketing & terrorism:

Important Resources

Check My Ads – An awesome site run by Nandini Jammi & Claire Atkin, helping marketers understand the modern marketing ecosystem, disrupt ad fraud, and maximize their budgets by working with sites and publishers they trust.

Fou Analytics –  Another amazing site, run by Dr. Augustine Fou, helping educate marketers about better ad buys, stronger strategies, and ways ad fraud is used by criminals to launder money, disrupt society, etc.

UN Office of Counter Terrorism – The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism.

Audio Blogs – Audio Content Alternatives to Traditional Podcasts

In a content shocked landscape filled with noise, the main goal in marketing is being heard, and holding the attention of your audience.

And so, having a strong grasp on the way people engage with, recognize, and recall messaging, is important when it comes to content creation. Audio blogs drive more traffic, deepen engagement, and connect in memorable ways with your audience.

So allow me to make the case for audio blogs. Outline what they are, how auditory memory works, and how audio blogs can give your brand a way to cut through the noisy competition, and get heard. 

What is an Audio Blog?

Audio blogs are content, narrated by a human, and distributed as a sound file, either as a podcast, or on sound-based social media, like SoundCloud.

Top major publications, like The Atlantic, New Yorker, and WIRED, have partnered with audio agencies, like Audm, to feature their top stories in audio form, read by quality, human narrators.

Why make ANOTHER version of existing content? 

One truth about content marketing is that you don’t always need more stuff, you can syndicate & distribute what you already have, in new formats.

Ask yourself; why don’t you read more long-form content or blogs?

Be honest! 

Most people simply do not have time to keep their eyes on the screen long enough to ingest quality content, no matter how high the quality. 

Audio blogs give the audience a way to experience content, away from the screen, creating a memorable, emotional connection. Sounds like BS, right?

According to a few informal Twitter polls, audio content connects with emotions and is found to be much more memorable than a blog post.

Neuroscience research shows that emotions impact memory making, and so, providing an audience with a way to experience content through a more expressive medium like audio, is good, sound marketing advice.

Do audio blogs increase engagement with content?

In my experience, the Time on Page analytics for blogs that feature an audio option at the top, are typically 4x that of text-only blogs.

Analytics show that engagement metrics & traffic for audio content, when compared with blogs, is always higher, sometimes by as much as 10x.

The highest average time on page metric for blogs; 1-2 minutes.

The highest average time on page for our podcast; 12 minutes.

This Is Your Brain On Audio Content

Another winning argument for audio content, is one of neurological significance, meaning that the sense of sound impacts our brains in a significant way. 

Activating our entire cerebral cortex, from the most basic limbic systems, to the most advanced parts of our consciousness, sound processing is unlike any other sensory experience, because it’s one that happens physiologically on the brain itself.

When we hear and process sound, our entire brain gets in on the game, synchronizing our bodies through rhythm with our cerebellum and nucleus accumbens, inferring pitch and timbre with our auditory cortex and amygdala, and associating memories and emotions with our hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

And all of this happens, directly on the tissues of the brain.

If we could peel back the layers in your brain, we’d be able to identify structures on your auditory cortex called tonotopic maps, on which frequency selective hairs receive wavelengths and identify, and fire in resonance with, the pitches from external sound sources.

The truth is, what goes into your ear, comes directly out of your brain.

In regards to the marketing importance of this finding it shouldn’t be lost, that sound is a distinct and memorable experience that manifests itself physiologically in a brain. 

If there is one lesson to take away for marketers looking to create memorable associations in the brain with marketing materials, listen to the latest neuroscience and create some content worth hearing. 

Combining Audio and Visual Content Marketing

The truth is, when it comes to memorizing and engaging with content, there are several different learning styles aside from auditory, including visual and tactile.

Visual and auditory memory work differently in the brain, and so, providing content that can be both seen or heard, is a clear strategic goal to ensuring your message reaches as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible.

Another benefit to audio blogs, is that your blog gets new life in search engines as a piece of audio content and gets filed like a podcast, giving your blog distribution dominance over your competitors with blogs lacking an audio alternative. 

In Conclusion

As podcasts continue to rise in popularity, and more brands & businesses join in the attentional hunger games of content marketing, audio blogs are going to become more commonplace.

Audio blogs deepen your content’s engagement in ways that are neurologically distinct and simply impossible with text.

Audio blogs are distributed and found by audiences on platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes, places most blogs dare to dream.

And finally, audio blogs allow your brand and business, to make content worth hearing.

Interested to add audio content marketing, like audio blogs, into your mix? Get in touch!

Audio Drama – Stories You Have To Hear

As podcasts continue to expand in popularity, the medium is expanding it’s creative boundaries with entertaining and immersive audio fiction offerings, versus the standard “expert interview” format.

If you’re new to the world of audio drama or audio fiction, it can be a little overwhelming knowing which of the hundreds of series on offer will be worth your time.

Well, I’ve put in the hours, so lemme tell you a little history on audio drama, and then pick out a handful of current shows you simply have to listen to!

Audio Drama – A Brief History

Audio drama is a dramatized, purely acoustical storytelling performance. 

Dialogue, music, and sound effects, combine to help the listeners imagine the story in their heads, the end result being “auditory in the physical dimension and equally as powerful as a visual force in the psychological dimension.”  

Very simply, audio dramas are stories, stories are culture, and culture is humanity.

So, back in the day, to ensure culture propagated into the future, humans passed their stories on, through voice and song. This has been the case ever since we could first string grunts into a sentence.

What’s different in storytelling through audio, is the ability to “set the stage” and create an immersive experience that’s engineered to capture people’s imagination, the most notable instance being the original “War of the Worlds” radio drama broadcast in 1938, which was perceived as an actual Martian invasion, sparking real world panic.

Audio dramas were BIG business during the golden days of radio, roughly 1920-50, so “audio content marketing” is not a new thing.

The term “soap opera” originated from radio dramas originally being sponsored by soap manufacturers.

Pepsodent, Cream of Wheat, Procter & Gamble, all of these brands spent THOUSANDS of marketing dollars, over decades, sponsoring award-winning audio dramas. But it wasn’t to last.

TV started to replace radio sets in the 50’s, and most audio dramas died out.

However, they didn’t disappear. CBS Radio Mystery ran all the way till 1976. In 1981, STAR WARS was adapted as a radio drama by NPR and a few college students, the result being beyond awesome! 

These days, thanks to the proliferation of podcasts, there is a massive wave of talent and a sea change of creativity coming to audio, with new dramas being cranked out by some of the most innovative minds & actors in creative storytelling and audio production.

Current Audio Dramas You Should Listen To 

FOREST 404” – This is by far one of the best audio dramas we’ve listened to.

Forest 404 is set in the 24th century, and the protagonist, Pan, is a young woman with a boring job sorting and deleting old sound files. When she comes across the sound of a rainforest, it sets her off on a path that changes the entire world.

The acting by Pearl Mackie (Dr. Who) is superb, and the way the audio drama sparsely uses SFX and relies on first person narration for the more visual scenes is class! There is also an ecological and educational component to the show which is even more class!

Written by Tim X Atak, produced and directed by Becky Ripley, with music by Bonobo and sound design by Graham Wild.

Tumanbay” – Immersive, romantic, and enchanting, “Tumanbay’ tells the epic saga of the most magnificent city on Earth.  A Sultan fears an invasion, his servants aren’t to be trusted, spies and thieves abound, and through it all, the city of Tumanbay provides the setting for this tale of war, love, loss, and life in the desert.

Amazing sound design, very compelling narratives, and the writing, particularly by John Scott Dryden, is fantastic!

Written by John Scott Dryden & Mike Walker, produced by the BBC, with sound design by Steve Bond and music by Sascha Putnam.

Tracks” – A multi-award winning conspiracy thriller, “Tracks” follows a few different storylines throughout it’s six seasons, all with a centralizing theme of WTF.

The narrative structure of “Tracks” is so engrossing, and Romola Garai, the actress that plays the protagonist, is extremely talented at weaving in and out of narration and acting, and the writing and scientific underpinning of the script is superb. 

Most memorably, there is a scene in the first season, where two characters are in a dark, fetid basement, fumbling around for a really important piece of evidence, all the while commenting on the horrible smell, and I remember listening to it and plugging my own nose!

Written by Matthew Broughton, Produced by the BBC, Directed by Helen Perry, Music by Stu Barker.

Marvel “Wolverine” “Wolverine – The Long Night,” is an engrossing story about cults, international crime, mutants, and unsolved murders, set in the dark wilderness of Alaska. As he’s chased by his government creators, Wolverine struggles to remain indifferent to local bad-doings, but finally, brings righteousness and revenge to the perpetrators, and calm to the town. 

Written by Benjamin Percy, Directed by Brendan Baker, with Sound Design by Chloe Prasinos

Marvels” – This was a really fun series! Adapted from a 90’s comic book series by Alex Ross & Kurt Busiek, “Marvels” recounts an intergalactically huge battle in NYC, between the Fantastic Four and a giant named Galactus. 

Starring Method Man(?), as a journalist covering the disaster, (he’s excellent!) and several other super talented actors, this show was a masterclass in storytelling, and the sound design for the epic battle in the skies over Manhattan is something you have to hear to believe!

Written by Lauren Shippen, Directed by Paul Bae, with Sound Design by Mischa Stanton
Passenger List – A missing plane, a search for the truth, and a bad-ass audio drama starring Kelly Marie Tran! (Star Wars Last Jedi) This was a very thorough story, with convincing performances, always good motion to the narrative, and one that keeps you coming back and engaging you.

Not surprising, “Passenger List” is being adapted for TV, as well as continuing on to make a second season of the immersive scripted audio drama. This is a damned fine audio drama!

Co-written & Directed by John Scott Dryden, Lauren Shippen, sound design by Mark Henry Phillips, produced by Julia Thompson.

In Conclusion

With an illustrious past filled with quality content, and a bright future where audio drama deals & productions are in the works from major studios like HBO, DC Comics, Amazon, Netflix, and even brands , the trajectory of audio fiction is promising and full of potential.  

I believe, the content we choose to make in this day and age, whether it’s for business or pleasure, has to be distinct, sound authentic, and be worthy of the attention & time of listeners.

Interested in creating an audio drama for your brand? Get In Touch!

The Marketing Metaphorest – SPECTROSCOPY

Looking for a better way to describe and define marketing to clients, or for your business?

Well then, step into the Marketing Metaphorest w/ Jake Sanders! The POSMarketer, musician, audio illustrator, and content strategist mixes metaphors & marketing science, to demystify this important business development function.

The Spectroscopy of Content is an attempt to find the connective and underlying structures that all marketed messages share. 

Whether it’s account based marketing, content marketing, mass market advertising, native, guerrilla, paid, earned, owned, taglines, slogans, calls-to-action; marketing is about humans communicating with other humans.

The Spectroscopy of Content provides an understanding of human behavior, it’s shared triggers and environments, and uses this information, preemptively, to increase the relevancy and effectiveness of the marketing we choose to foist upon the world.

First – let’s cover what spectroscopy is;

Spectroscopy is a scientific measurement technique. It measures light that is emitted, absorbed, or scattered by materials and can be used to study, identify and quantify those materials. One thing that you need to remember, is that “light” is a lot more than just the colored visible light that we can see. – NASA

This is interesting for two reasons –

  1. What we see as plain, white, visible light, actually contains all the colors of the rainbow, plus a collection of wavelengths that we can’t even sense as humans.
  2. Spectroscopy breaks up a complex, noisy signal, such as light, into discrete, constituent parts, provides a glimpse of once imperceptible structures, and brings meaningful data points out of chaos.

Now, let’s bring this back to marketing. 

Content starts as this solid concept, a beam of light, ready to illuminate the minds of our target audience. 

The beam is the message, and the message is the beam. 

Strong calls to action. Tracking is set up. We’ll know what success means and we’ll be able to point to business goals that Content will help to achieve. We fire the solid beam of light into the blackness of Deep Space/The Internet/America’s Living Room.

Now, let’s briefly return to the science of light.

Light is perceived by it’s reflection off of surfaces, and two different reflections are possible – Diffuse and Specular.

Light rays travel from a source and then reflect off of an object towards our eyes. 

There are two types of reflection: specular and diffuse. Specular reflection sends discreet beams in specific directions. Diffuse reflection sends many different beams in several directions.

So what about our Content? Once our beam of light is perceived by our audience, will they, via the specular reflection principle, be able to understand specific messages or triggers embedded in the beam? Or will the light spread out into a million different meanings, fade into the background – a diffuse reflection of our loaded beam?

Well, didn’t we think about the audience and the affect our content would have on their Mind Prisms? Did we think to analyze our content’s Impact Spectrum?

A few more metaphors….

Just as prisms help to break apart light, the interpretation of marketing content happens in the audience Mind Prism. The audience’s Mind Prism, is the only medium through which your lighted message is decoded and understood.

Content is not what you think it is – it’s what your audience thinks it is.

Content is not the beam of light you send, it’s the beam of light that is received. And, further complicating things, each Mind Prism is unique and it’s absorption can change with it’s environment – and no two will absorb information the exact same way.

So in The Spectroscopy of Content, we’re seeking to consciously pre-fabricate the beam of light, knowing what spectral lines need to be absorbed by the audience, amplifying the strength of those wavelengths, and thoughtfully anticipating the myriad ways our Content may be interpreted, or misinterpreted, by the Mind Prism.

Once the light is considered through the Mind Prism, the Impact Spectrum should be analyzed and considered. To explain this last piece – we return to the light. . .

The spectrum from distant stars contain the signatures of the elements that compose the star. Spectral absorption lines in the wavelength of visible light, correspond with elements, present in the stars chemical makeup. There is a Hydrogen Line, a Sodium Line, Magnesium, etc.

In The Spectroscopy of Content, the “absorption lines” reflect the ideas or concepts that are anticipated to hit the intended Impact Spectrum – and we have several different Spectra of Understanding. Here are three versions I’ve created specifically for this piece – but there is room for thousands more!

Are we soliciting buyer behavior, are we making someone mad, are we talking about cultural values? Is this a curveball with a mysterious trajectory, a fast pitch in an elevator, or a beachball in a stadium? Does this message leave enough room for the recipient’s ego? Does the Content talk about personal things, or relevant ideas in society? Will this make them think of Church, School, the bedroom, the barber shop?

Before we launch any Content, we have to ensure that it’s light will reflect into at least one Impact Spectra, if not multiple. And although it is true that each Mind Prism is unique, certain concepts like the ones briefly covered in the above examples, work on more basic levels. Humans are unique, but human behaviors and reactions tend not to be.

In closing – The Spectroscopy of Content aims to understand the ways information impacts people on this basic level, and use this information to fortify and empower the messages we send in the future. 

Whether we’re analyzing various Mind Prisms, or the associated Impact Spectrum of a message, one thing remains true throughout this marketing metaphor. . . Our success depends not on how much we put ourselves into our marketing, but by how strongly our marketing considers it’s audience.

Want to add onto this metaphor, or find out how it can all apply to your business, hit me up on the posmarketing blog, follow me on social, and until next time – I’ll see you on the internet!

Audio Content Marketing Alternatives to Podcasts

Podcasts! Everybody’s listening to/already has one, but what if there were audio content marketing alternatives to the traditional “podcast?”

Find out how Branded Sound Experiences, Audioblogs, and Commercial Musicals might help your brand make the right kinda noise, in your marketplace.

State of The Podcast Nation

Recently the marketplace for audio content has become saturated with podcasts, and the numbers just keep going up.

If the numbers from the Edison Infinite Dial surveys are accurate, more than half of America knows what a podcast is and has listened to one, and 37% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly.

This trend in podcast listening is significant to marketers looking to add an audio component to their mix, but it does nothing to inform you on what type of podcast you should launch.

Should your podcast be like a radio show? On YouTube, no video, weekly, daily….hourly?

Should you have interviews, or just monologues, or start collecting random jokes about your cat?

Thankfully, you can get answers to the more technical questions on how to launch a podcast, in this post, “So You Wanna Start A Podcast?”

Let’s explore a few audio content marketing alternatives to podcasts.

1) Branded Sound Experience

The average lifespan for a podcast is 174 days.

Everyone says that consistency is key in marketing – but the stat above shows that most marketers and brands don’t have the attention spans, or budgets, to keep long term projects, like a traditional weekly podcast, afloat.

So, a possible answer is, a Branded Sound Experience; a limited-run podcast, that works more like a TV series, than a TV news program.

We show up to TV for different types of content, that serve different entertainment needs. For instance….

TV News is a temporal, quantitative, attention fix.

Audiences build a relationship with the anchors, the format, experience the content in repetitive, time-based packaging, and takeaway novel things, in a standard way.

TV Series are a temporary, qualitative, attention fix.

Audiences build a relationship with the characters, the story arch, experience the content in finite, seasonal packages, and takeaway standard things (romance, drama, comedy), in a novel way.

An example of Branded Sound Experience: “The Colorado Vibe”

PROBLEM – A personal injury law firm, looking to create a content marketing destination that connects with their Colorado client base, brings prominence to their brand, and affiliates their law firm, online, with notable places & people.

ANSWER – A 10-episode audio narrative, highlighting Colorado’s historical locations and legendary characters, released as a podcast on over 61 different digital platforms. Each episode uses sound design, audio journalism, music, and historical field recordings, to bring the Colorado vibe to life.

Listen to a sample here -> “Cave of The Winds Mountain Park – INTRO

2) Audio Blogs

PROBLEM – A brand that has been blogging for years, is now looking to expand into podcasts.

ANSWER – Record your blogs, and distribute the audio blogs on podcast platforms, as well as on your own site.

An audioblog inset (example)

Most people do not have time to read long-form content.

That’s why Atlantic, New York Times, WIRED, and hundreds of other publications/media companies have partnered with Audm, to feature their top stories in audio form, read by quality, human narrators.

So – does it work? Do audio blogs increase engagement with content?

In my own experience, the Time on Page (TOP) analytics for blogs that feature an audio option at the top, are typically 2-4x the TOP of text-only blogs.

One truth about content marketing is that you don’t always need more, new, stuff, you can syndicate & distribute what you already have, in new formats.

3) Commercial Musical

From the 60s-80s, companies like General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, DuPont, Xerox, worked with musicians, composers, choreographers, to create *their own branded, Broadway-style musicals!*

HUGE original stage-productions, about soap? A compelling song-and-dance-based narrative about motor oil? These all happened!

In the AMAZING film, Bathtubs Over Broadway,” Steve Young discovers the vinyl records of these musicals, and tracks down the composers that wrote the music, and stars that got their start, in these musicals, (Martin Short, Chita Rivera, Cloris Leachman) and it is an amazing glimpse into what “content marketing” used to look like.

What if, instead of another boring podcast, there were a way for a Grammy-nominated composer & musician to create a Commercial Musical for your brand or business?

My first commercial musical; “ROI: The Musical”

Of course, I had to try this out for myself, so in an attempt to better explain the function of marketing, how sales and ROI, data, and strategy all intertwine to guide business development, I wrote ROI: The Musical”

ROI: The Musical” is a musical audio drama, in which, the leadership staff of a fictitious company, after a journey of transformation, discover that investing in marketing the business isn’t about ROI, it’s about RO-Why.  

The question business leaders should ask in regards to marketing & ROI is not “what will we get out of marketing,” but “why are we even doing this?” 

Beyond just getting more leads & business, why choose marketing?

The WHAT of marketing, the tactics & measurements of marketing can be mishandled, misinterpreted, crammed into square holes with circular logic; you want ROI, I can get you ROI.

The WHY of marketing, the strategy, is about more than a return on investments, it’s about the purpose for being in your brand’s marketplace. RO-Why.

LISTEN to the soundtrack –>

LISTEN to the show –>

Interested to learn how these audio content alternative might work for your brand or business, GET IN TOUCH.

The Marketing Metaphorest – HORSE RACING

Looking for a better way to describe and define marketing to clients, or for your business? Well then, step into the Marketing Metaphorest w/ Jake Sanders!

Marketing is like a horse race, in that people are overly-obsessed with winning & dissecting champions to discover fail-proof-strategies, which unfortunately reinforces biases, and creates ethical & strategic blind spots for business development.

1 – Winner Takes All

In horse racing, winning is everything, And so if what it takes to win may be dirty, sneaky, edgy, or otherwise, most racers that want to be “winners” entertain these thoughts, not because they are amoral, but because if the racer next to us is “enhancing” their performance, to win at all costs, then why shouldn’t we?

In George Brenkert’s excellent “Marketing Ethics,” he outlines why game and racing metaphors are incompatible with marketing ethics, exactly because they warp our sense of morality around business development decisions.

Instead of obsessing over how to “win the race” for your brand, set internal goalposts & benchmarks for “marathon” marketing performance, that are aligned with driving business results, over the long run. 

2 – More Data, Doesn’t Mean Better Prediction

Part of horse racing is dissecting champions to discover proven-strategies, and race fans will use everything, from superstition to big data, to get insights from every which seemingly all lead to big rewards.

A note on this –

In 1973, Paul Slovic, Univ. of Oregon, studied horse betting and data interpretation and found, the more data points a trained handicap setter had to predict a winning horse, the less accurate the prediction became. 

Out of a total of 88 data points, test groups were given 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40, the most accurate predictions for winning horses occurred in the group with just 5 variables. 

With more data, comes overconfidence, which in the horse racing study dramatically increased inaccurate predictions.

So – when it comes to data-driven marketing decisions, don’t be fooled, be focused. Reduce data points, and divine direction via interpretation, not intuition.  

3 – Survivorship Bias

And finally, the horse racing world, like marketing, is so biased towards understanding every nuance of winners, that strategic, possibly winning insights, gleaned from the whole competitive field, tend to be ignored because, losers don’t write the rule books.

Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on subjects that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility.

The famous example is Abraham Wald’s study on returning WW2 bombers – where he discovered that the places on the aircraft that needed reinforced armor were not the places that bullets had punctured the surviving aircraft, but where the bullets had missed, and hit the aircraft that had been shot down.

Taken in the horse race marketing context – we’re obsessed with what it takes to win a race, we fail to study and research the bounty of knowledge in what it takes to lose one.

So – to create a marketing strategy that’s robust and not reliant on the winning horse to come in – dedicate some research to the thousands of unlucky, anonymous brands that never made it, rather than studying and copying the ins-and-outs of the few, lucky, anomalous winning brands at the top of the marketing hill.

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The Marketing Metaphorest – NEWTONIAN DYNAMICS

Hey everyone, Jake Sanders, POSmarketer here, today we’re overlaying the metaphor of Newtonian Dynamics on Marketing, but first, we should probably define Newtonian Dynamics….

1) A body stays at rest, or in uniform motion, until acted on upon a force.

2) The rate of change seen in the body is proportional to the force acting upon it.

3) When a force from one body impacts another, then an equal and opposite force acts simultaneously on the impacted body.

So, are you ready to find out how this all relates to marketing? Let’s go!

A body at rest, stays at rest

Taken in a marketing context, this principle really means your brand, good ideas, solid content, won’t go anywhere without being affected by an external source of energy. You have to promote, your marketing. You have to advertise, your advertisements. 

This sounds dumb but folks are filling up their organic content bins with no plans on promoting any of it. Well, newton says, unless you got the energy to commit to it, all that content ain’t goin nowhere. 

You get out, what you put in

If the result expected from marketing strategy is huge, the energy and commitment that goes into executing the strategy needs to be equally huge.

You want SuperBowl results, but you’re only paying for junior football scrimmages…Newton says, if you want unreal results, plan to work unrealistically hard for them. 

3. Every action, has a reaction

Lastly, it’s important to remember that while external forces influence your marketing, your brand is also capable of influencing and guiding external forces. 

Marketers spend so much time reacting to things, new trends, following standards and statistics, that we forget we can create new standards, and statistics, OURSELVES.

Ad legend Bill Bernbach, had a quote, that outlines this idea…..

So Newton says, if you’re looking to create distinct, momentum for your brand, focus less on how you respond to market dynamics & trends, and more on how you can create them.

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The Marketing Metaphorest – MOUSETRAPS

In this episode we talk: MOUSETRAPS. Is it necessary for an exterminator to know every mouse’s name, before they can do their job? Is a floor full of traps, better than a big piece of cheese? When you bait a trap with too much cheese, where does the mouse fit in?

If one of the main goals of marketing is to lure buyers out of their homes, using associated, maybe cheesy, memories, to guide behavior, action, and close the deal, then the mousetrap is a perfect metaphor to explore.

Mousetraps help explain marketing & advertising in a few ways…

To catch a lot of mice – do you need to know each one personally?

Imagine, if an exterminator came to your house and before handling the mouse problem, he wanted to get all their names.

Seems silly, but for marketers, we spend more time obsessing over “sales personas” than obsessing over selling.

In today’s hyper-targeted world, advertisers believe that marketing budgets are wasted on not understanding every movement and click of every mouse – that with enough data, we can ID all personas, find the loyalists, and get them to buy, buy, buy.

But serious research, from Byron Sharp, Ehrenberg Bass, and others, shows that personalized ads perform poorly next to generalized ads, buyers are extremely brand agnostic, and loyalty isn’t a growth strategy, if not an outright myth.

Would you rather oversee ONE plan to market and capture the attention and intention of a single category audience, mice, or have to manage MULTIPLE plans, based on THOUSANDS of individualized, market-segmentations?

That’s where AI comes in, you say? Deep learning in your martech stack? Yeah….no.

You want to attract & catch the most mice, which of the following do you think would perform the best?

Giant Cheese on Floor – think of this as mass media. Expensive.

Floor full of traps – Think of this as direct response. Exhausting.

AR projection of mice eating cheese – Think of this as social media, or influencers. Exhibitive. 

Pretty sure every CEO would be interested in the AR mousetrap – low overhead, low stakes for failure, no one get’s hurt, and no one wastes cheese. Actually, nothing happens! 

Most marketers think if they push out enough sales messaging and activity, if they lay traps all over the floor – that the mouse will show up, eventually. 
Nothing wrong with this. But overtime – the mice become wise to it, ignore the inticements. The ROI for short activations like this, diminish overtime.

In initial polls, everyone chose the giant cheese. Why? If the main point of advertising is to bring awareness and drive action, then the giant cheese hits it – it’s less important that certain mice show up, and more important that ANY and ALL cheese eating mice show up, and remember the experience. 

“When baiting a trap with cheese, leave room for the mouse.” – Saki

This quote merits deep reflection – marketers tend to bring too much of their own cheese to the marketing trap.

Too much brand puffery, too much “We,” very rarely a “You”

Every customer is looking at a brand’s advertising asking, “What’s in it for me? Where do I fit in?”

Your marketing should be relatable, not just BULL.

Before you write that next cheesy bit of copy, ask yourself, “am I leaving enough room, for the mouse?”

So – to summarize – In order to capture the most attention and intention for your brand, focus on categorization rather than segmentation, utilize broad-reaching campaigns, and make sure your marketing copy is focused on, and leaves room for, the buyer.

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