10 bad reasons to jump on the Millennials bandwagon 0

Posted on May 03, 2015 by Rob Petersen


Have you noticed more and more businesses are jumping on the Millennials bandwagon?

Companies seem to have concluded by targeting Millennials, the generation born from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s, this solves any business shortcomings now and ensures success for the future.

In many cases, companies, without research run by people much older, are pinning hopes, plans and resources behind those who are much younger.

Are they doing it for the right reasons?

To help separate right from wrong, here are 10 bad reasons to jump on the Millennials bandwagon.

  1. MILLENNIALS ARE THE BIGGEST GENERATION EVER. At 75.3 million in 2015, Millennial are the largest generation in U.S. history. They are also the most diverse. Share of Millennials born in foreign counties is the highest since 1910. There has been a 20% rise in the Hispanic population in the Millennial generation (source: White House). Millennials are a melting pot. Before concluding bigger is better, a little market segmentation is likely to go a long way.
  2. MILLENNIALS HAVE THE MOST SPENDING POWER: Millennials spend $200 billion dollars, annually, the most of any generation. But they make less money and actually have less spending power than older generations. On a per person basis, they are the smallest age group in spending today and won’t be the largest for another five years (source: Goldman Sachs). Student loan debt is also at a record high. It jumped from over $12,000 for the class of 1993 to nearly $27,000 for the class of 2012 (source: NPR.) If you’re going after the disposable income of Millennials, you’re chasing a small amount.
  3. MILLENNIALS ARE SHAPED BY TECHNOLOGY: Although Millennials can figure out how to use an app or site that is a clunker, they probably won’t take the time to do so. They are experts at finding alternatives. This means technology from smartphones to websites to mobile apps need to provide the most usable, self-guided, hiccup-free, efficient user experiences in history. Don’t think your online  experience is going to win favor with Millennials unless it’s great.
  4. MILLENNIALS ARE REACHABLE THROUGH DIGITAL MEDIA: 3 out of 4 Millennials own a smartphone. They are inseparable from their smartphones — and Facebook specifically, followed by YouTube and Pandora. Snapchat is the other notable mobile platform among Millennials and has grown 102 percent over the past year (source: Neilsen). If mobile isn’t central to your business strategy for Millennials, you’re not going to reach them.
  5. MILLENNIALS SEARCH ALL OVER THE INTERNET: 40% of Milleninals use product review websites before they shop (source: Edelman). 33% of Millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase, compared to fewer than 3% for TV news, magazines and books (source: Forbes). If you’re business doesn’t have a presence in these channels, Millennials are not going to find you.
  6. MILLENNIALS ARE BRAND LOYAL: 67% of Millennials believe it’s their responsibility to provide brand feedback (source: Edelman). A good customer experience and a “quality product” are the two most cited reasons for what influences Millennials to share information about a brand online. 62% expect a brand to engage with them on social networks to become a loyal customer. 43% say Facebook is the social network with the most influence on their spending habits, followed by Instagram at 22%.  (source: Millennial Branding) If you want to connect with Millennials, you’re going to have to rethink the way you market your product.
  7. MILLENNIALS ARE INFLUENCED BY THEIR PEERS: 68% of Millennials agree their peers’ social posts are ‘somewhat likely’ (or better) to influence them into making a purchase. 25% share online shopping content to their social networks; a rate of 4X that of the average user. They also share 2X more content than the average user (source: Adweek). These facts say Millennials trust people over brands and trust is likely to be built on their social networks then your brand’s website.
  8. MILLENNIALS ARE CAUSE CONSCIOUS: 80% said they’d be more likely to purchase from a company that supports a cause they care about (if price and quality were equal); 75% would think more highly of a company that supports a social cause (source: TBWA) ; yet, they check prices twice as often as Boomers, 83% budget a specific amount each month to pay off debt; if given money, 42% would use it to pay off debt (UBS)
  9. MILLENNIALS VALUE COMMUNITY AND FAMILY: Millennials may be connected but they delaying marriage and babies and taking time to “find themselves” in their 20s. The average age of first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960, according to a recent Pew Research. Some millennials — 34 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds — are waiting longer to get married for financial reasons.
  10. LET’S HIRE MILLENNIALS TO LEARN ABOUT MILLENNIALS: They are very hard workers; but they’re different from previous generations. 56% would take a pay cut to work somewhere that is changing the world for the better; yet, 71% don’t always obey social media policies at work and 56% won’t work at a company if they ban social media access (source: BarnRaaisers). Millennials work hard, maybe even harder, than the rest of us, but they work differently and have different expectations of the workplace.

Are these bad reasons to market to Millennials to you? Does your business need help marketing to Millennials for the right reasons?

6 more studies prove Digital Marketing ROI 0

Posted on November 23, 2014 by Rob Petersen



Show me the ROI

TV and Digital are the two media channels that now receive the most ad spending. They are the only two media channels where ad spending is increasing as opposed to Print, Radio and Outdoor where it is decreasing. If current trends continue, Digital is expected to overtake TV by 2018.

Digital Marketing Spending Trends

Marketers spend more in Digital but many companies ask: Show me the ROI!

To better understand Digital Marketing ROI and this trend, we recently published 11 Studies Prove the ROI of Digital Marketing. Below is an Infographic of our findings from Piktochart, a  company that offers an all-in-one online infographic application where anyone can create custom infographics, banners, reports and presentations online utilizing an easy interface that everyone can use.

11 studies is a significant number. If you need more convincing, here are 6 more studies that prove Digital Marketing ROI.

    1. ADAGE: (WHERE DO WE SPENT OUR TIME?) At 3.9 hours daily, TV viewing remains the most time-consuming media activity, followed closely by going on the internet with a computer, not for work, at 3.8 hours. 95% of respondents go online at home; plus, 57% go online using their mobile phone, and 16% do so for at least 3 hours daily. If computer and mobile are added for internet usage, consumers now spend more of their leisure time on the internet than TV,
    2. HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW (HOW DO WE BUY?): In Branding in the Digital Age, You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places, HBR reports the internet has changed the way we buy: Once, a shopper would systematically winnow his brand choices to arrive at a final selection. Now, relying heavily on digital interactions, he or she evaluates a shifting array of options and remains engaged with the brand through social media after a purchase. Consumers today connect with brands in fundamentally new ways through the internet and social channels.
    3. INTERACTIVE ADVERTISING BUREAU (IAB) (WHAT CAN WE MEASURE?): The IAB, 4 A’s and ANA concluded that brand engagement was not a single event; rather, it was a continuum of activities that were cognitive, behavior and emotional. They then demonstrated by detailing every possible touch point of the consumer journey how the engagement “journey” could be measured for digital through survey, eye tracking, web analytics, social listening and social analytics more effectively than any other media channel.
    4. MCKINSEY (WHY DOES IT WORK?): McKinsey analyzed 24 customer touch points for more than 9,000 new car buyers to better understand which touch points drive customers’ premium perceptions and willingness to pay. Among their conclusions: 1) Digital channels dominate the purchasing “journey,” 2) digital customers demand seamless integration, 3) digital products secure loyalty and 4) digital sales are bigger than expected.
    5. SEORCHERS (HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?): To reach 1,000 viewers, it costs between $1-$3 for Online (Search) and $5-$10 for Online (Display). This compares to $10 for Cable TV, $24-$30 for Prime Time TV, $40 for Radio and $100 for Magazine. Plus, 90% of all purchase decisions begin online.
    6. SYNCAPSE (WHAT IS THE ROI OF WORD OF MOUTH?): Sharing, comments, Likes, reviews and ratings are prevalent on the internet. Do they influence buying behavior? What is their value? Syncapse has been measuring word of mouth since 2010 to understand the value of a Facebook Fan. They measure Fans for over 20 major brands including BMW, Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart. In the latest year (2013), the average value of a Brand Fan increased 28% to $174.17. This is because Facebook Brand Fans are: 1) 85% more likely to advocate their brand versus 60% for non-Fan users, 2) Spend 42% more in respective categories than non-Fans, despite no income difference and 3) 11% more likely to continue using their brands than non-fan users.

Newer media channels always have more to prove. If your company requires proof points, 17 studies that cover a wide range of industries and media properties should satisfy those who need convincing.

Do these studies prove Digital Marketing ROI to you?

Digital Marketing ROI Infographic


6 lessons to unlearn from big companies if you start a company 0

Posted on November 23, 2013 by Rob Petersen

images (1)

LinkedIn sent a “Happy Work Anniversary” last week. It had been 5 years since this company, BarnRaisers, began.

After being surprised by how fast time flew, I thought about the journey; First, the failures and lean times; then, successes (gratefully), good people who build your company (through trial and error) and the achievement of milestones (most unexpected). After a short moment of reflection, I wondered: what happens from here?

Is this familiar to you? If you’ve ever started something and seen it through, it probably is. In my case, after a good number of years working at big ad agencies, I started a digital marketing agency and decided to see it through too.

One lesson learned, when you start a company, unlearn what you learned working at big companies. Much of it won’t apply. Here are 6 lessons I unlearned.

  1. PEOPLE DON’T PAY FOR HOW WELL YOU MANAGE THEIR BUSINESS ANYMORE; THEY PAY FOR ROI: When I worked at big ad agencies, I worked on brands that had advertising and marketing budgets. I once had a boss who said: “Treat your client’s money like it’s your own.” At the time, I thought it was great advice. But what happens when no one gives you money to manage. Instead, you have to convince someone why they should invest in you. This changes the dialogue  to return on investment (ROI). It’s a much healthier conversation.
  2. DON’T SHOW UP WITH A TEAM; SHOW UP WITH A STRATEGY: In many big ad agency new business pitch decks, you’re likely to find a picture of “Your Team” near the end. It is usually about 10 to 30 people. It’s intent is to demonstrate the depth and breath of resources to be applied against your business . Now, I know pictures like this scare people. Who wants a big team they have to learn what they do and wonder why they should pay for them? Your clients want to know the person or two they can rely on to deliver and execute a business strategy – and immediately get on the phone if something is not working.
  3. RELATIONSHIPS DON’T COME WITH BENEFITS; BUT SHARED VALUES: Big companies emphasize why they’re different and better than everyone else. Maybe they have the greatest depth of experience? Or range of services? The best creative. Or the most partnerships with other companies? When you start a company, you don’t have any of those things. All you have is the ability to demonstrate an interest in your client’s business and prove you share their values. I’ve found that’s enough.
  4. NO ONE CAUSES PROBLEMS. THEY HAPPEN: In bigger companies, when there is a problem, there is a tendency to look for someone to blame. When you start a company, you are going to make mistakes. When Seth Godin started his first company, two employees were having a heated argument in the hall about a problem one thought the other had caused. One blamed the other. Everyone heard it and felt uncomfortable. Seth made them stand in front of everyone in the company and apologize. Problems happen.
  5. DON’T KEEP COMPANY KNOWLEDGE A SECRET. SHARE IT AND MORE WILL COME BACK TO YOU: Bigger companies tend to believe there is something proprietary about what they know and the way they work. That’s why they got big. They get secretive believing they have a corner on knowledge. They don’t. Instead, share what you know, more people are likely to find you interesting and want to know more about you.
  6. DON’T GET SO BIG, YOU GET BAD.  “How big can we get before we get bad?” asked legendary ad executive Jay Chiat of his agency, Chiat Day, in the 1980′s. Chiat Day doesn’t exist anymore. It was acquired by Omnicom, who is now merged and called the Publicis Omnicom Group, the biggest ad agency network ever. Jay’s comment is  not only a great statement about the ad agency business, it’s direction of for any company in the early stages of their life cycle to unlearn the lessons for big companies.

We are following this direction. We founded this company on ROI and like to share what we learned along the way. If you interested in digital marketing, download our complimentary eBook, 166 Case Studies prove Social Media Marketing ROIor sign up for our newsletter. Or, be in touch. Maybe we share the same values.

Do you have any lessons from big companies you have to unlearn?

A 13 steps crash-course in digital marketing 0

Posted on November 11, 2013 by Rob Petersen


Digital Media Spending Trends

  • In 2013, digital media spending surpassed all form of print media spending (e.g. magazines, newspapers)
  • Before 2018, digital media spending is expected to equal or exceed television
  • In this decade, digital is the only media channel to grow every year (Source: ZenithOptimedia)

The trends suggest, if you use any type of media to support your business, it’s worth getting up to speed on digital marketing.

It’s also the reason for  Strategic Digital Marketing, a new book from Eric Greenberg and Alexander Kates; it’s the ultimate crash course in digital marketing. I am a co-author along with eight other peers.

They include: Jeremy Floyd, Glen Gilmore, Greg Jarboe, Amy Kates, Mike Moran, Bob Pearson, Niel Perkin and Stan Smith.

Strategic Digital Marketing Book

What will you learn in Strategic Digital Marketing?

Here is the (abbreviated) 13-step crash course in digital marketing.

  1.  MARKETING IS NOW A CONVERSATION, NOT A MONOLOGUE: The old marketing paradigm was to “Push” messaging through clutter to breakthrough to your audience. Now, messages are more likely to get if they include recommendations, authenticity and honesty and consumers “Pull” them through say Alex Kates and Eric Greenberg in Chapter 1, The Digital Paradigm.
  2. MARKETERS REQUIRE A “LIQUID MINDSET”: According to Coca Cola, who practices this mindset, it is the job of marketers to discover small bits of content that are so interesting and viral, they beg to be shared. That’s because they build trust with audiences that helps spread the word says Alex and Eric in Chapter 2, Marketing Strategies for a Digital World
  3. CONTENT SHOULD FOLLOW THE 70/20/10 RULE: The 70/20/10 model is a framework used for many aspects of business planning. For a content marketing strategy, it means 70% should apply to core subject areas; 20% to innovations or news (events or seasonality); 10% should be new  says Neil Perkin in Chapter 3, Managing Content in a Digital Age
  4. IF THEY CAN’T FIND IT, THEY CAN’T BUY IT: Did you know that 77% of Americans start their conversation on a heath related topic with a search engine? So do 78% of B2B Buyers. Choose the right search keywords; get your content included and optimize it by measuring progress says Mike Moran in Chapter 4, Search Marketing: If They Can’t Find It, They Can’t Buy It.
  5. TEST YOUR WAY INTO MOBILE MARKETING: 96% of companies say they currently use or plan to use mobile marketing but only 21% have been successful in mobile – a decrease from 2010 according to ANA and MediaVest. Although mobile options vary from SMS to Augmented Reality, every business has to first establish a role for mobile, the right tactics and a mobile measurement plan for success that’s scalable say Alex Kates in Chapter 5, Mobile Marketing: Innovation on the Go.
  6. WANT VIRAL VIDEOS? PLAN THEM: “Chance favors only the prepared mind,” said Louis Pasteur. That’s what Greg Jarboe found when, in his story of hostage Jill Carroll, video outperformed all other media channels. Greg found the playbook for great video marketing involves a strategy, script, storyboard, good camera, accessories, lighting, editing and, for YouTube, metadata, custom thumbnail, annotations, captions and calls to action. This might sound like a lot to manage but Greg takes you though it step-by-step in Chapter 6, Video Marketing
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA IS FOR STORYTELLING: It’s in our DNA as human being to share our stories and discoveries on brands with others. But it’s in best interest of marketers to leverage the strength of social channels for the storytelling abilities; like Twitter (real time), Facebook (a digital cafeteria), Blogs (long-form storytelling) and LinkedIn (collect and categorize business contact information) to make them as tell-able as possible says Stan Smith in Chapter 7, Social Media Marketing.
  8. A WEBSITE WITH PURPOSE GENERATES RESULTS: Why have a website? Elementary question, right?. When the purpose is defined, the focus and energy behind the digital effort changes whether the purpose is: 1) Establish expertise, 2) generate leads, 3) secure sales, 4) be found or 5) customer service. But have a purpose says Jeremy Floyd in Chapter 8, Building a Website with Purpose that Generates Results.
  9. IT’S NOT THE DATA; IT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH IT: 90% of the data in the history of the world has been generated within the last two years according to IBM. But what good is it if you haven’t identified the measurements that matter for your business. These are your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). They are the actionable scorecard to keep strategy on track and they provide insights that explain your Return on Investment (ROI) to keep it going in the right direction says Rob Petersen in Chapter 9, Measurement and ROI of Digital Strategies.
  10. SOCIAL GOVERNANCE IS A GOOD THING: Whether you’re a large or small business, it’s worthwhile to see if there are social media guidelines for your industry. Take the steps to get: 1) Buy-in from the “C” suite,2) Align social media goals with business goals, 3) Craft a social media policy, 4) Acquaint yourself with National Labor Relations Board Acts and 5) put in place the right employer policies for your particular business say Glenn Gilmore in Chapter 10, Understanding the Law in Digital Marketing.
  11. “NEXT PRACTICES” ARE BETTER THAN “BEST PRACTICES”: How do you stay on top of an area that is changing rapidly, don’t focus on “benchmarks” that explain the past; instead, analyze who is succeeding in area you care about for your company and your industry say Bob Pearson in Chapter 11, Digital Leadership Principles.
  12. QUESTIONS YOU ASK NOW DEFINE THE ORGANIZATION YOU WILL BE: Should digital work be managed as a function? What belongs in the center? What is the work of the digital function? Who owns social media? Who owns the user experience? These are some questions of self-examination for every company. How they are answered define the digital organization you turn into says Amy Kates in Chapter 12, Designing Organizations for Digital Success.
  13. THE PATH TO BETTER BEGINS WITH THE DESIRE TO CHANGE: In the last chapter, Eric and Alex go through the Six Habits of Highly Successful Firms and the steps to begin the Digital Transformation Process recognizing, “everybody wants better, no one wants change,” and giving you the tools to overcome it.

Is it time for “crash course” in digital marketing with your employees and organization? Does your company have the desire to change? How do you know until you read what it takes?

Are you ready to begin?


  • About

    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.

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