16 Effective Ways To Create An Evergreen Video Ad Campaign

Consumers are engaging with online video more than ever, and social media users are constantly on the lookout for exciting stories to share with friends and followers online. This means the hype that a timely piece of video content creates can fade fast these days. The world and the media will rapidly move on to the next big thing after that specific, viral moment in time has passed.

Forbes Agency Council

On the other hand, evergreen content—as its name implies—always seems fresh, like a pine tree standing tall and green throughout the winter. And while one may not typically think of advertisements as having a long shelf life, when you combine evergreen content with the proven power of video to reach the masses, the content of a video ad can remain effective for an extended period of time.

An “evergreen” ad campaign might sound like an oxymoron to those not in the know, but not to experts of Forbes Agency Council. They understand that creating an ad that stands the test of time is a major win for a brand, and here, they explore various ways to achieve that elusive quality using video.

1. Provide Actual Utility For Consumers

For video content to be evergreen, it should feel less like an ad campaign and more like a brand helping the consumer. Videos with actual utility—those that guide a buyer through making the right decision for them, for instance—have a wonderfully longer shelf life. – Marc Paulenich, Hart

2. Include Three Necessary Ingredients

For me, there are key ingredients in any evergreen ad: a strong story that evokes emotion in the target audience, supporting visuals and the right choice of audio/music. Most brands focus on only one or two of these ingredients. The right audio/music is such a powerful ingredient that it creates a good mood and evokes a positive feeling even after the ad has been running for decades. – Nishant Mishra, The Higher Pitch

3. Focus On Universal Human Values

Video ads that focus on universal human values, such as kindness, love or hope, can become timeless if executed well. These are deeply rooted values that transcend cultures and countries, and they can provoke high levels of emotional engagement with the viewers regardless of the industry. – Gjoko Muratovski, Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies

4. Create Authentic, Upper-Funnel Content

Creating evergreen video content is 100% possible if you are willing to be authentic. If you want content that will last, highlight and create upper-funnel video content that embodies the values of your brand and products. There will always be relevant stories and subjects that can be used in a variety of ways. – Hunter Johnson, Xpedition

5. Appeal To Human Emotions

With brands such as Dove and Old Spice having created evergreen video ad campaigns, we know that it’s possible. The reason it worked for them was they contained humor or a human insight that hadn’t been explored before. Today, “riding the trend” is big, but that’s the thing with trends—they lack a shelf life. Being evergreen means standing out from the noise. Don’t follow; create. Can you create a viral-worthy message, jingle or hashtag? Appeal to human emotions; that’s the only trick. – Rohit Kumar, Zensciences

6. Focus On The Company And The Customer’s Needs

The best approach for creating evergreen video content is to focus it on the company rather than the product. As long as the company is relevant, so is the content. Products and services change and evolve, but content that supports the company and speaks to the customer’s needs can last through these changes. The customer’s needs are evergreen until you solve them. Make content that speaks to those needs. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta

7. Look To Other Timeless Campaigns

Look to other ad campaigns and brand positionings that have withstood the test of time. Mastercard and Budweiser are among the brands that have created iconic ads and messages that are truly timeless. Although creative treatments have evolved, the core ideas have remained constant. – Nancy A Shenker, theONswitch

8. Focus On Your Company’s ‘Why’

Go as high level as you can in expressing what makes you you, and capture B-roll without identifying too much of your “what.” If you can showcase the reason why your team gets out of bed each morning in your video content, you won’t need to go back and reshoot and edit every time you change a product, make an acquisition or update a landing page. – Sara Steever, Paulsen

9. Don’t Replace Meaningful Messages Too Quickly

Brands need to build real connections with consumers, so start with finding human truth and an authentic message. One mistake we tend to make as marketers is freshening up creative too quickly. We work so hard to land on a credible message and then swiftly replace it with a new idea, when, in reality, the solid, original message was just starting to take hold. When you land on a deep, meaningful message, stay the course. – Scott Harkey, OH Partners

10. Create A How-To Video

How-to videos are the most evergreen. Just about every brand can create them if they identify challenges their customers and prospects face. Such videos should provide step-by-step instructions with defined outcomes. Avoid references to trending topics or current events that will date the video. Include evergreen keywords in the video description so that it is easily found. – Robert Finlayson, Bold Marketing and Communications

11. Develop A Message That Builds Credibility Over Time

An evergreen video can be incredibly successful if it covers the simple basics—who, what, where and why—and includes a call to action. Think of the evergreen message as the mainstay video that builds your market share and establishes credibility over time, while new videos highlight special sales or newly added products/offerings without having to reintroduce your brand to the audience each time. – Chelsey Pendock, Innovision Advertising

12. Cater The Campaign To The Audience

An evergreen video campaign needs to be catered to the audience. One piece of creative cannot speak to everyone. Geico is a great example of a brand doing it right. For measurement, marketers can’t look at performance metrics such as new customer acquisitions or transaction volume. The only way to measure evergreen campaigns is to look at brand lift. It’s more about qualitative than quantitative results. – Michael Hubbard, Media Two Interactive

13. Help People Find Your Video Content All Year Long

Once you have your video content, publish it on all social media channels (YouTube, Facebook and Instagram) with the relevant hashtags and keywords so that people can find your content all year long. Sharing the video as part of a blog post on your website will also help consumers find your content throughout the year. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

14. Exclude Non-Evergreen Content

You can create evergreen video content by excluding non-evergreen content such as statistics, numerical figures, products, prices and trends, which are likely to change. Your content should focus on the long-lasting problem and solution that your product or brand provides. – Omer Riaz, Urtasker

15. Focus On A Core Element That Is Unlikely To Change

Evergreen campaigns can always be created if you focus on a core aspect of your business or a service that has been around for a long time, has been proven and is not likely to change. Focus on imagery that is fresh and somewhat neutral while still being modern, and avoid obviously trendy images that could change or become outdated quickly. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

16. Don’t Rely On Cultural References

It is possible to create evergreen video ad campaigns with a shelf life of two or even three years, as long as the concept and execution are tied to the brand and don’t rely on cultural references that could become irrelevant in a few months. Craft a message that resonates with your customers’ needs and wants and use the power of video to create an emotional connection around them. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

10 Smart Ways To Leverage Seasonal Products And Retain Customers Year After Year

Holiday sales make up an outsized chunk of some retail businesses’ annual revenue, and without appropriate planning and preparation, they might fall short of their goals. When you have seasonal products to sell, an important key to ensuring your ledger is in the black post-holidays is to reach your target audience with a message that gets them excited about what you have to offer them—not only this year but every year.

Forbes Agency Council

Gaining the attention of potential new customers with seasonal ads and offers can be a good way to tempt them into doing business with you for the first time. Another way to boost end-of-year sales is to ensure repeat business from your existing customers by leveraging those same seasonal products. If you want to learn about other smart ways to draw in customers year after year with your seasonal offerings, the members of Forbes Agency Council share ten smart tips for doing so below.

1. Use Content To Create Affinity And Year-Round Relevance

Products may be seasonal, but brand loyalty isn’t. By leveraging a space—such as a blog, newsletter or social media channel—that provides helpful, practical, entertaining and empowering content related to your seasonal product or service, you create affinity for your brand and product by remaining relevant year-round. By staying connected, you ensure that you and your product remain top of mind. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy

2. Retarget Customers With Post-Purchase Emails

Seasonal products can be an effective way to introduce a new audience to a brand. These instances allow brands to engage with new audiences and provide opportunities for them to retarget. It’s about managing these consumers after they’ve completed the purchase to convert them into new customers through post-purchase email marketing for your product catalog. – Albert Moufarrij, MACH9

3. Give Your Consumers A Reason To Purchase

Perhaps buying up front will entitle them to a discount, provide them with a value-added offer or even get them to commit to a subscription. Focus on the benefits that your company can provide all year round, rather than just the seasonal product. Your amazing customer service will also help retain your customer base. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

4. Consider Ways To Serve Them Beyond The Season

Approach every customer interaction, even seasonal ones, as the beginning of an ongoing relationship, not a one-off transaction. Consider how you can serve this client in other ways beyond the current season, and incorporate that messaging into the sales funnel when possible. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

5. Automate Outreach And Offer Promotions To Returning Customers

Start collecting and planning to leverage first-party data (with every purchase) so that you can proactively target this customer base with marketing automation and email technology. Not only can you reach out year after year, but you can also offer programmatic promotional codes to your loyal, returning customers and create higher lifetime customer value for a fraction of the cost! – Bernard May, National Positions

6. Intensify Media Campaigns Leading Up To Seasonal Events

Seasonal or event-related products—such as those for Back-to-School, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and so on—benefit from intensive media campaigns leading up to the event to support product sales. Once a customer recognizes your product for that holiday and time of year, they will refer back to your product line and you can expand into other options or gift-giving ideas. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

7. Listen To What Your Customers Are Asking For

How can you meet their needs and solve a problem while tying in new products (or launching new products) as seasons change and during the holidays? Brands need to make sure that they are listening to consumer and market needs. – Melissa Litchfield, Litchfield Media

8. Personalize Post-Purchase Pricing Offers For Upcoming Seasons

It’s important not to underestimate the value of loyalty and retention incentives, even for seasonal purchases. To improve retention, an effective strategy is to combine purchase data with the post-purchase communication opportunity to offer personalized pricing offers on upcoming seasonal products. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

9. Position The Product As A Need Rather Than A Want

Be smart about the way you are positioning the product. Although it may be seasonal, presenting the product as a need instead of a want will keep your customers coming back for more. – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

10. Connect With Your Customers On A Personal Level

While the product may be seasonal, tie it into who the person or people behind the brand/product are. If people feel a personal connection, they will continue to follow and support you whether they need the next product or not. Tell your story and get yourself out there! – Zack Teperman, ZTPR

7 reasons to give up a ‘good’ business improvement idea

At some point in your career, you’re bound to come across a new business idea that seems great from the outset, but its execution isn’t as smooth as anticipated. To prevented wasted time and resources, how can leaders recognize when a seemingly promising idea doesn’t actually hold any ground?

Below, members from Business Journals Leadership Trust share telltale signs of when a business idea may be best saved for later or scrapped altogether.

The Business Journals

1. The idea doesn’t align with priorities.
Achieving goals requires clarity. If you want to get to destination X, the roads Y and Z are temporarily not an option. So if the idea is really good but it doesn’t align with the company’s strategy and core priorities for, say, the current year, it’s probably best to stick to the course and put it aside. You can get back to it later, so it’s never a hard “no” — just not at the moment. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

2. The idea doesn’t have a proven record.
The best ideas have proven track records. If the idea comes from another field or industry and can be verified it is likely viable. Ideas without proven track records are difficult to justify executing. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

3. You would need to rework your policy.
Sometimes policy, process or legal issues can get in the way of a good idea. However, if the idea is valuable enough, good leaders can usually rework the policy and process so that the spirit and intent of the idea can be met. – Daniel Serfaty, Aptima, Inc

4. The idea isn’t practical or executable.
A good idea must be executable from an internal and financial perspective. If an idea doesn’t take into account the current business operations or have a practical, executable plan, it’s just an idea and not a strategy. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

5. You lack the right implementation strategy.
A common reason is that they are unable to apply the right implementation strategy. Hopefully, that good idea can be shelved for later when it can be implemented well. – Jerry Ramos, Ramos Consulting, LLC

6. The idea requires too many resources.
The challenge is always the allocation of resources, be it money, your personnel or the momentum of a current strategy. Maintaining focus is critical to avoid dilution of energy within the team. – Michael Sikora, Bighorn Wealth Management

7. The idea may be cost-prohibitive.
Cost is a key consideration. Great ideas may simply be cost-prohibitive, particularly for small companies; but that doesn’t mean that the “great idea” cannot become a “great goal” for the company to work toward. The fact that the idea came from the frontline workers will help with buy-in and achieving the goal. – Christine Durrett, Durrett & Kersting PLLC

11 Expert Predictions On The Future Of Video Marketing

Video has been consumers’ favorite method of content delivery for some time now, but marketers are always finding unique ways to utilize it in their outreach to current and prospective customers. From short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels to various livestreaming platforms and influencers unboxing products, the biggest trends in video marketing that compel consumers to check out brands and purchase their products and services are constantly evolving.

Of course, determining the best way to leverage video in your brand’s marketing this holiday season and into the new year isn’t as simple as reading a “top trends” list, but that’s one good way to start. Here, 11 members of Forbes Agency Council share their top predictions for the future of video marketing to help guide marketers in making the best use of this increasingly critical tool for reaching and capturing the attention of target audiences.
Forbes Agency Council

1. Data Will Drive Video Content Strategy For Each Platform

Video is still one of the best ways to connect emotionally with a consumer. Data will increasingly drive content strategy and optimization, while the speed at which video content is produced will continue to get even faster. Creating tailored content for each specific platform will become increasingly important as well—such as TikTok versus Instagram, a TV commercial or even long-form content, for example. – James Schiefer, Schiefer Chopshop

2. OTT/CTV Will Capture More Advertising Dollars

Over-the-top, connected TV will capture increasing portions of marketing budgets for several reasons, including audience size, user modality, ad completion rates and measurability for performance advertisers, as we can now measure CTV ad exposure against actual business outcomes such as clicks, sales and return on ad spend. And perhaps the overriding reason dollars will flow into OTT/CTV is that the TV remains the most powerful, influential screen in our lives. – Jason Fairchild, tvScientific, Inc.

3. Livestreaming Video Will Continue To Grow

Livestreaming video will continue its explosive growth, especially via esports. For example, adding Twitch has been a key factor in Amazon’s OTT viewership surge. Livestreaming offers opportunities where traditional sponsorships are out of reach due to high minimums. Plus, it provides richer analytics that are a broadcast/digital blend and tie in more closely to brand KPIs versus standard impression delivery/reach. – Greg Garunov, Sightly

4. Soundless Influencer Videos Will Drive Conversions

Video continues to be a key driver to close the sale of your company’s product. Partner with influencers who successfully use or demo your product in a time-lapsed or simple version without sound or a voice-over. This is key to having the product pop up in consumers’ social media feeds, leading users to demo it and click through to purchase. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

5. Promotion Via Free Video Features Will Keep Users Engaged

Videos are the most effective and popular way to grow an audience on social media. At this moment, there are only two free features to promote your product or service on Instagram, and both are video-based content: Reels and Live Rooms. TikTok is growing faster than other apps because videos keep users engaged better than text-based posts. – Oganes Vagramovich Barsegyan, Digital Beverly Marketing Solutions

6. Video Marketing Will Get Even More Granular To The Viewer

Mass video consumption through OTT will become much more specific thanks to retargeting capabilities, and you’ll see a lot more advertising in mainstream media formats that are individualized for that viewer. – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

7. Data and Artificial Intelligence Are The Future Of Video Marketing

As more brands than ever integrate products directly into video content, and as that content continues to be decentralized, tech will be critical in predicting which options will be most impactful. AI unlocks insight into optimized brand/creator/influencer partnerships, allowing brands to maximize return on investment and granting creators the ability to monetize content. – Ricky Ray Butler, BEN

8. Audience Quantification Will Replace Household-Level Data

As consumers increasingly adopt digital video, the household-level data used for measurement must be replaced with more accurate audience quantification to capture true frequency and reach across linear, streaming and CTV. Additionally, engagement and acquisition will play a larger role in video marketing as attribution becomes more sophisticated, video formats blend and buying processes become less segmented. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

9. Video Will Soon Become A Necessity For Marketers

If you look at the current trends in digital (social, paid, email), notice the amount of movement that you are seeing on each channel. Then notice how much more prevalent it is than before. Since platforms (such as Instagram) are favoring accounts that post video content, this will very soon become a necessity for marketers. My advice is to step out of your comfort zone; you will need video soon. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

10. More Niche Sites Offering Curated Videos Will Launch

Full-screen mobile video feeds, such as those seen on TikTok or Instagram Stories, will have a long shelf life with mobile users. These curated journeys provide an endless experience tailored exactly for each user. Expect to see more niche sites launch with similar forms of short-form, vertical video content. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

11. Brands Will Need To Leverage Influencer Video Content

The future of video marketing is going to rely more on the content produced by a brand’s customers than the content produced by the brand itself. Regardless of what you think of influencers, the fact is their content is enjoyed more than any brand’s content. Smart organizations will need to leverage influencer video content if they want to stay ahead of their competitors. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

Eight challenges retailers should prepare for in the upcoming holiday season

The Business Journals

Like most industries, the world of retail was turned on its head when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020. As the 2021 holiday season approaches, it brings with it a unique set of challenges for retailers to overcome.

While more shops and stores are open regularly and life is regaining a sense of normalcy, there are some things that the pandemic has changed for the foreseeable future. As retailers start laying the groundwork for the upcoming holiday shopping season, they should be aware of some of the specific challenges they need to prepare for. Below, eight members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share their best advice on how to prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

1. Enabling customers to spend more money.
Eliminate any obstacle that keeps customers from spending money or from spending more money on your products and services. One example I see is a resurgence of charging customers 3% for paying with a credit card. Also, not accepting every single brand of credit card available. I cringe when I hear, “We don’t accept American Express.” I believe the customer hears, “Go somewhere else and get my points.” – Vicki Wallace, Transworld Business Advisors of North Dallas/FortWorth

2. Bringing the human touch back into service.
A major challenge retailers need to prepare for is bringing the human touch back. Putting the human touch back into service will be key as we have become accustomed to distance and low-touch engagement. – Donna Michaels, LMGPR

3. Differentiating yourself from the online market.
I believe businesses must differentiate themselves from the online market. Think about why customers shop in your store. What experience makes seeing what they’re buying different from shopping online? – David Wescott, Transblue

4. Implementing a ‘buy online, pick up in-store’ strategy.
There’s such uncertainty about the upcoming holiday season as we watch Covid numbers closely and try to keep employees and customers safe. Retailers that haven’t yet shored up their e-tail game or launched a buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) strategy may find themselves at a disadvantage. Staffing for in-store shoppers is equally critical, with workforce shortages across the board. – Jen Vargas, JVComms

5. Getting consumers to holiday-shop early.
Retailers should start planning for an uncertain holiday season now. It’s likely consumers will want lots of options to shop, pay and receive their goods. Supply chain and shipping issues will likely continue for the 2021 season. Retailers should look to get consumers shopping early, before Thanksgiving, and offer incentives for getting their holiday gifts ahead of the rush. – Matt Rosen, Allata

6. Making sure you always have the best offer.
Retailers must be aware that customers can price shop while in a physical store or online and typically don’t wait for any Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals as they know promotions are ongoing. If you want your site or store to be the place where a consumer makes their final purchase of a product, make sure you have the best offer. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

7. Enabling consumers to buy safely and with ease.
Retailers will want to make sure folks can purchase products safely and with ease. Have a strong online presence, offer delivery and/or pickup options and ready your resources to ensure these processes run smoothly. Now is the time to test processes to work out any glitches. For example, make sure to run tests from a desktop computer and a cell phone to verify that pictures, prices and menus have been uploaded correctly. – Jim Lane, Lane Technology Solutions

8. Dealing with supply chain issues and delays.
The biggest unexpected crisis for many retailers has been the supply chain and delays in getting products like major appliances into the hands of buyers. Retailers in many cases have limited ability to reduce these delays, but they can be upfront with consumers, explain the situation and offer some well-thought-out options. Help solve the problem rather than just being the bearer of bad news. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

12 Trends In Account-Based Marketing Every Marketer Needs To Know

Marketers today understand that personalizing a campaign for the target audience is the best way to ensure it will generate the desired results. Of course, “personalizing” a mass email blast by only changing each recipient’s name isn’t going to do the trick.

Sending out generic messaging to many people with the goal of getting just a small number of them to take action, check out your goods or services, and become customers is not the best strategy. Thankfully, you can narrow your target audience and generate better results with an account-based marketing approach that focuses on strengthening relationships with your top customers through personalized outreach tailored to their needs. Forbes Agency Council

Here, 12 members of Forbes Agency Council explore important developments and trends in ABM that marketers need to be aware of to build upon the success of their biggest accounts this year and next.

1. Targeted CTV Advertising

ABM is ideal for getting custom messages to your highest-level prospects, and over-the-top/connected TV advertising presents an attractive B2B marketing opportunity. Using critical data insights, marketers can match ads with CTV buys for targeted shows and channels your prospects watch. Surprisingly, our data shows the most popular CTV shows for B2B buyers this past June were Tiny House Nation, Heartland and Giants versus Dodgers games. – Ajay Gupta, Stirista

2. AI And ML Transforming Data Into Actionable Intelligence

A significant trend we are seeing is ABM teams using the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to transform their data into actionable intelligence. Once they have data that is healthy, accurate, verified and deeply enriched, they can look to expand their total available market, prioritize target customers based on more predictive intent triggers, and achieve greater revenue growth. – Peter Cannone, Demand Science

3. Balancing Trust, Creativity And Data

Finding that balance between trust, creativity and data is key. Each one of these pillars is extremely important to your ABM efforts. Building trust breeds not only credibility, but also conversions. And without creativity, how would you deliver your hook in a way that engages? Finally, data helps you bring it all together through measurement to ensure you are paying attention to the right indicators of success. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

4. Driving Top- To Bottom-Of-Funnel Conversion

In your ABM efforts, focus on filling the top of your funnel to ensure the conversion takes place at the bottom of the funnel. Next, move on to focusing on the lifetime value of your customers and how to best reach and retarget them. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

5. Focusing On Decision Makers’ Goals And Motivations

B2B marketers often focus on the benefits their platform or service offers to the company they’re targeting. However, they often miss the personal goals, motivations and responsibilities of the decision makers at that company. Pay attention to how your products or services will help the individual, not just the company. – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

6. Post-Pandemic ABM Moving Online

According to a recent study by Gartner, only 17% of B2B buyers take time to meet with potential suppliers in person. This means that ABM is slowly going online in response to the post-pandemic business environment. Marketers need to focus more on building a multichannel presence so that they can engage more leads. This will allow for some one-on-one time with their prospects, at least virtually. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Taking A Multi-Touch Media Approach To ABM

Account-based marketers need to be aware of a multi-touch media approach to achieve awareness within accounts with high growth potential. Data providers are now able to connect with more ad platforms to reach users across several channels, increasing brand touchpoints. As a result, ABM can now use channels such as social and programmatic media to engage many users effectively and efficiently. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

8. ABM Marketers Partnering With B2B Experts

One of the rising trends is the partnership ABM marketers are seeking with B2B experts as third-party, highly visible, trusted experts. There is much to be learned here from the B2C marketers. These types of collaborations can be win-win. Marketers gain the brand association with the expert and expand their channels to reach more potential clientele, and B2B professionals monetize their expertise and reach. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

9. Aligning Sales And Marketing Around ABM Goals

ABM’s true power unfolds when marketing and sales are truly aligned. Having both departments work on the same goal leads to marketing delivering more relevant content as well as sales providing better feedback to marketing and taking better account penetration chances. – Jordi Marca, Gotoclient

10. Using Analytics To Meet Account Penetration And Growth Goals

Revenue teams are using more analytics to meet account penetration and growth goals. An example of this is monitoring account-based activity such as visits, downloads and opens, then mapping these active contacts to divisions and organizational charts for better context and more personalized outreach. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

11. Increasing Sophistication Of Conversational Marketing

The increasing sophistication and growth of conversational marketing is perfectly positioned to make a huge impact on ABM. As marketers become more confident in quickly building complex conversational flows, early adopters are already starting to create chat automations tailored to their biggest accounts. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

12. Direct-To-Consumer E-Commerce Capabilities

While Amazon is the gold mine for many when it comes to e-commerce, pushing traffic directly to your e-commerce site can be far more profitable and involve far less red tape. The competition on Amazon will only continue to grow. Developing your own audience that is comfortable purchasing directly from your website will lead to more sustainable growth. – Bernard May, National Positions

10 practical ways to make quality assurance part of organizational culture

Quality assurance requires many more moving parts than a team of “checkers.” True quality assurance can be achieved only when everyone in the company feels responsible for ensuring that their work is of the highest possible quality.

The Business Journals

A company’s leaders have the important responsibility of ensuring that every member of every department is doing their part to contribute to a quality end product or service. Below, 10 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share simple but practical ways to make quality assurance part of an organization’s overall, everyday culture.

1. Share a compelling example.
Create a caring culture — a culture in which every member says, “Everything we do at ‘Company X’ is world-class. I am proud of the work I put out, and I am happy to put my name on it. And my name and my reputation are important to me, so, from me, you will get the best.” To do this, show your team what success looks like. Find a company that delivers the values you want, and share that company and why with your team. – David Wescott, Transblue

2. Talk about mistakes.
Encourage a culture of “see something, say something” without making people feel penalized. Praise the person who notices a mistake and is brave enough to say something, and give lots of grace, compassion and support to the person who made the mistake. Own up to your own mistakes too, and be appreciative of whoever noticed. People will notice and feel more confident. – Mary-Cathryn Kolb, brrrº

3. Utilize ‘after-action’ analysis.
The military utilizes “after-action” analysis. This concept reviews and analyzes the “battle plan” and results. This can be a valuable learning tool for an organization. The key is the culture and the understanding that this process will take place. It must be used constructively, not destructively. Buy-in from the team is essential, and personal accountability makes it an effective exercise. – Michael Sikora, Bighorn Wealth Management

4. Always keep the customer in mind.
Everything you are doing should be about the customer. To create a “quality” culture, you need to operate with the customer at the heart of what you do. By placing customer needs at the center of decision making you are showing your employees, customers and the outside world that you care, and more often than not, you won’t just meet customer expectations — you’ll exceed them. – Joanna Swash, Moneypenny

5. Encourage periodic self-evaluations.
Periodic self-evaluations are a great way to maintain high quality-assurance standards on an individual level. When a team member regularly reviews their own performance, it allows space for personal and authentic evaluation, improving personal responsibility. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

6. Follow a multi-tiered approach.
We have a multi-tiered approach to quality control, including a dedicated team to review all projects, project manager reviews and partner reviews. However, the most important aspect to achieving a high-quality product is instilling ownership and pride in the work in each staff member. – Daniel Wilson, Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture & Preservation

7. Include quality reviews in annual employee reviews.
Measuring the quality of an employee’s work as part of their annual review is one way to ensure that they implement a focus on quality. The second way is to develop a simple quality assurance/quality control process that is not cumbersome. The more complicated a QA/QC process is, the more likely steps will be skipped, thus leading to a product that lacks the desired quality. – Jerry Ramos, Ramos Consulting, LLC

8. Have quality targets for every level of the organization.
We believe that quality assurance is everyone’s responsibility. Therefore, it is part of our corporate values and scorecard. Our scorecard targets cascade throughout the organization but are clearly broken down so that each level understands how they contribute to the ultimate goal. – Terry Moody, Alpha Packaging

9. Set up standardized best practices to ensure better results.
Having general business best practices that all employees follow for response time to customers and internal emails is important. Develop principles of customer expectations, loyalty and a positive tone. Ensure the entire company can recite these expectations by heart and live up to them. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

10. Ensure everyone knows the role they play.
It’s been my experience that the best way to instill a quality-based corporate culture is by involving everyone in the company, no matter their role. Every team member should understand how what they do contributes to producing high-quality products and services and be empowered to contribute quality-related best practices to the organization’s operations. – Daniel Serfaty, Aptima, Inc.

13 effective ways leaders can support team members’ mental health

The Covid-19 pandemic turned many people’s focus to the importance of self-care and mental health. The devotion to working long hours and sacrificing personal life in the name of furthering a career is becoming a thing of the past, as more employees and employers understand that unplugging and unwinding isn’t just a human need, but also a path to better productivity.The Business Journals

Today, many employers are looking for proactive ways to support the mental health of their employees, especially during long-term crises such as the pandemic. Below, 12 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share effective ways for leaders to support their employees’ mental well-being.

1. Coach and empower managers.
While companies can come up with meditation sessions, fun outings, care packages and many other cool things, what’s most important is to coach and empower day-to-day managers to know what will mean the most to each individual on their team. Of course, a companywide mental health effort can be part of this, but each staff member’s individual care counts the most. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

2. Address mental health in meetings.
The best way to support employees’ mental health during a long-term crisis is to address it. Address it in meetings and one-on-ones and with those who are struggling the most. Some employees already struggle with long-term mental health issues, and others have sick family members or have lost loved ones. We believe that the more connected we feel at work — remote or not — the more we lessen Covid-related stress, anxiety and fear. – Matt Bean, Lowden Street Capital

3. Provide guidance resources for those who want them.
Providing guidance resources to all employees who may need or want to reach out regarding their mental health and any other challenges they may be facing can be helpful. Also, having an open-door policy and devoting the time to be there for your employees makes a difference in their stress levels. Another benefit that can add support is a flexible work schedule. – Jerry Ramos, Ramos Consulting, LLC

4. Provide time and space for self-care.
Talk to your team members. Ask them how they are doing. Provide them with the time and space to take care of themselves. Do not expect or promote an always-on work environment. – Laura Doehle, Elevation Business Consulting

5. Show increased flexibility.
During these difficult times, we have adapted to being more flexible with remote working, being aware of our employees’ need for personal time off and being more mindful of the uniqueness of our situation. We have also brought in a life coach to assist the staff with their personal and business struggles. – Daniel Wilson, Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture & Preservation

6. Show kindness and calm.
Communicate, check in and, most importantly, be kind. People are looking for consistency and calm in a difficult world. If you’re being kind, your people will understand that they are important and cared for and that their difficult days will be respected. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

7. Really listen to what they’re saying.
It’s extremely important to have empathy for our employees during trying times like these. Employees want to feel heard and want to know that someone is actively listening to them. Adding additional mental health-related benefits is also something that will go a long way with employees. – Daniel Serfaty, Aptima, Inc.

8. Be open about your own struggles.
If you miss a meeting because there was traffic while you were taking your kid to school or dropping the dog off at the vet, be honest about it so people can see that you’re wrestling with a lot, too. If someone is having a hard time or has a sudden change in behavior or mood, find a quiet moment to ask what’s going on and then listen deeply and intently to what they say. – Mary-Cathryn Kolb, brrrº

9. Give the team a chance to get away from the workplace.
Give your staff a break from reality. Do fun things — set up outings, allow them to work from home or outside, or go on a camping trip. Encourage your team to be involved in the community — my favorite way is to set up a give-back day and get the team outside, working hard to make someone else’s life easier or better. Volunteering will feel so good, and giving back is good for business. – David Wescott, Transblue

10. Provide stability.
The most important thing a leader can provide is stability in the workplace — even as we ourselves contend with a macro environment of instability. You can be that rock and center on a daily basis that an employee might not be able to find in other areas of their life. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

11. Start an annual wellness week.
We started an annual wellness week, bringing in mental health experts, fitness coaches, yogis, financial planners, comics and nutritionists to help teach our teams how to be healthy, wealthy and wise. We also provide various mindfulness resources and opportunities to connect with each other and with professionals as needed throughout the year. – Todd Marks, Mindgrub

12. Be sensitive to individual circumstances.
Be supportive of and responsive to the needs that are born from each person’s unique circumstances. It can’t be business as usual, and bending policies and going the extra mile shows your team they’re heard and valued. – Rachael Roberts, 3R Interiors

13. Build a culture of help and support.
As a leader, you can support your employees by offering them all the help you can provide, from more flexible hours to reducing their workload or giving them extra time off. However, this is something that needs to be accounted for in advance. You need to build a culture of mutual help and support in the team so that when it’s necessary, there will always be someone ready to back you up. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

Agency Relationship Status: It Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

Marketing and advertising budgets took a hit last year, but as consumer confidence remains strong, businesses are increasing spend, which means new client-agency relationships are being created. Like any new relationship, client-agency connections can be complicated, but they don’t have to be.

Streetfight Magazine

Your new agency relationship can blossom into a true partnership if you’re transparent and set clear expectations. As someone who’s worked on the client and agency side, I’ve seen firsthand how a partnership can lead to success. Like many situations in life, doing this right involves managing the people and numbers side of the equation with deftness and clarity.

Clarifying the Cast of Characters
As your new agency relationship gets underway, it’s critical to discuss the activities of your existing in-house or agency teams and what is and is not working. That may sound basic, but sometimes people talk around the issue or make assumptions about what the new agency partner knows. Being upfront about it puts you and your agency partner on the same page for strategic collaboration.

Also, be transparent about any office politics that may impact how work gets done. The agency partner may propose actions that involve a team outside your reporting structure. If your partner understands this, they can help you navigate any internal roadblocks and/or make the business case for a broader strategy internally in a way that contributes to everyone’s success.

Another tip: Share the “why” in every conversation about a pivot, and expect the same in return. So, if there’s an internal decision to target a different customer segment, explain the motivation behind the pivot. That way, your agency partner will fully understand what’s happening and be in a better position to add value.

Likewise, if your partner suggests a change — refocusing a social media campaign on a specific platform, for example — make sure you understand exactly why. This will not only ensure tighter collaboration between the client and agency teams, but you’ll also look more informed if asked about the shift when providing updates to your leadership group.

It’s also a good idea to make sure the agency understands the full, often multifaceted scope of your role. People tend to wear a lot of hats these days. If, for example, you handle marketing and PR, but your agency interactions are limited to your marketing role, let them know you manage PR, too, even if it doesn’t seem directly relevant at first. The agency may be able to add more value when strategizing against the full scope of your oversight.

Also, when working with multiple agencies, be transparent with each agency and create a collaborative framework that multiple agencies can work within. Solicit feedback to make sure everyone is working as a team to serve you, the client, in the most effective way.

Establishing What Success Looks Like
Once everyone is on the same page about roles and collaboration streams, it’s critical to create a consensus on what success looks like ahead of any campaign launch. You’ll need to come to agreement on what the important metrics are, e.g., sales by channel, and you’ll also need to agree on how you will arrive at the single version of the truth for each metric.

Oftentimes, this is an iterative process. As the client, you may have established analytics you routinely use, but if you’re expanding your activities, your current methods may not be sufficient to capture the full scope of your campaigns. The good news is that agencies have seen it all, and your agency partner can help you create frameworks to measure success — ideally before campaign launch.

This is also the right time to agree on formats for sharing data so that a mismatch won’t delay analysis and insights. You should also set a cadence for evaluating performance, keeping in mind that it may vary according to campaign type. For example, a media campaign launch typically needs a few weeks before reliable initial results are in.

At the outset of the agency relationship, share as much historical data, performance metrics, and research as you can, and provide as much context and insight about the business opportunity as possible. Create timelines with the agency, and hold each other accountable so that your projects stay on track, with everyone focused on delivering results.

Building a True Partnership
As the client, you deserve a productive relationship with your agency, one built on trust that delivers results. All clients deserve that, no matter the size of the business or budget. But you have a role to play in building that partnership, and it starts with being transparent with your new agency, with the people involved and the metrics you’ll use to evaluate performance.

Agency relationships don’t have to be complicated. Make yours simple by creating an open, collaborative relationship that focuses on results. When you take these steps, your agency partner will be better able to drive results with relevant, impactful new ideas. They’ll also be more prepared to support the internal marketing team. That’s a true partnership.

Paul Her-Sturm is Senior Vice President, Digital Content and Strategy, at Hawthorne Advertising.

Brand Response TV – More for Less?

It’s easy to build a quarterly marketing plan that sticks too close to the status quo. However,great strategists know that a truly memorable marketing campaign involves innovation. Direct Response TV, or rather its hybrid Brand Response TV (Direct Response for Brands), continues to be part of that innovation; it can build companies into unicorns (private company valued at over $100 billion) – all thanks to high return-on-investment (ROI) memorably and measurably.


Direct Response TV has always integrated accountability and driven consumers to respond. The beauty of today’s Brand Response TV is that it catapults growth, fiscally responsibly — while always building, protecting, and enhancing the brand. It’s a fantastic way for companies that want to achieve unicorn status or experience any kind of phenomenal growth.

Brand Response TV, like Direct Response TV, is typically discounted by about 40 to 60 percent from general advertising rate cards. Brands can essentially get twice the advertising for the same price a general advertiser gets, which means they don’t have to compromise quality just to stay in budget. As a result, customers are reachable at any time, day or night, for a price many brands can afford.

What is Brand Response TV Marketing?

Brand Response TV (BRTV) marketing leverages brand advertising and direct marketing to reap the benefits of both mediums. Brands need not even always advertise their products or services with an offer via approach.Instead, brands can work to reach the minds of their target market, ensuring the brand is top-of-mind when customers are evaluating options down the road.

Don’t believe the hype? Companies like Harry‘s, currently valued at $1.7 billion, increased its company sales, generated new leads and captures, boosted website traffic, and strengthened customer relations all through direct response TV.

You can buy a specific time slot for a notable program like The Voice with NBC or Fox’s Thursday night football, but it will cost significantly more. When you’re placing a DRTV advert, you don’t know exactly when it will be airing initially as direct response TV is purchased in given “day parts,” which means you can get into essentially any programming time period offering advertising, but you might not know the specific moment the spot will air. Agencies and marketers do receive pre-logs confirming over 95 percent of airings on average and then following airing will be provided with post-logs.

Despite origins of being one of the oldest advertising mediums out there, BRTV is an intelligent channel, and has been a catalyst in growing brands including 23andMe, Coursera, Chime, Fanatics and Harry’s into unicorns.

Why Does Brand Response TV Work?

Accountable advertising delivers ROI and builds brands in a big way. Brands can measure data ranging from completed sales to successful conversions using BRTV. It gives brands the ability to make instantaneous decisions about where to go with their next advertising campaign. That’s why Brand Response TV plans can pivot within hours, days, weeks and months, unlike more traditional marketing plans. The ability to track results helps tailor each advertising campaign to the target audience in ways they want to interact with the brand, which is key to building strong, lasting customer relationships.

Further, Brand Response TV allows consumers to connect with brands and get to know them on a more personal level. It creates a loyal customer base and encourages engagement. By comparison, traditional TV ads only raise product awareness, and generally sidestep the direct call to action that traditional direct response uses.

Data from direct response TV placements also helps brands directly connect with the target audience. It’s possible to build a landing page and track traffic flow to that page during the time a direct response spot airs. Other algorithms can track buying trends, sales trends, and browsing activity during the same time, thus giving brands a powerful collection of data to better understand what resonates and what doesn’t.

There are predictive systems that determine when a piece of creative is expiring. Brands can have many creative pieces running in the same market using different messaging approaches because they all air in varying time slots targeting different audiences, expanding the possibilities available with just one campaign.

Older methods of marketing are seeing a revival and Brand Response TV is stepping in. Having a strong level of accountability in the developmental stage of direct response TV means it is possible to fine tune each ad campaign to maximize brand reach.

Brand Response TV doesn’t require millions of dollars in testing, either. Brands can evaluate results through collected data and dial media spend up or down. Despite the size of a company, the marketing or advertising budget may not be that large – like traditional direct response, BRTV maximizes every dollar spent, which makes it a great economical choice in a media planning strategy.

Final Thoughts

Everything old is new again. Brands and companies keep discovering the beauty of brand response and how it helps products and messages sit top-of-mind for consumers, all with effectiveness and accountability (with the right tracking data). In this world, it’s all about that ROI. The beautiful thing about today’s Brand Response TV is that all it takes is a modest budget and an interest in data informing strategy to see some success.


Karla Crawford Kerr is VP of Marketing with Hawthorne Advertising, a Los Angeles based, woman owned performance advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for 35 years. Crawford-Kerr was named Volunteer of the Year by the Electronic Retailing Association and Direct Response Marketing Association/Response Magazine MOY Top 10. She has served on the Direct Marketing Association Broadcast Council Operating Board and was ERA’s Chairman of D2C Programming & Education for nearly a decade. She has judged awards competitions including the ANA B2B Awards, Moxie Awards, Invent Help–INPEX Pitch to Pros and DMA Echo Awards. Her portfolio of clients has included BLACK+DECKER, Clorox, Gerber Life Insurance, Nikon, Oreck, Procter & Gamble, Transamerica and the US Navy.