The Big Idea

Regarding the issue of brand “control”

Sometimes, there are moments in your daily routine where you have a realization of something that is, to your mind, profound.

I had one of these the other day and it’s a bit like having a set of glasses on because now I see the world of brand advertising as clear as day.

So, when I see articles like this one I say “I knew it!”

My profound idea is on to something of value.

My idea is this.

Brands today are pretty freaked about safety, e.g., not having their logo next to objectionable content. (Which, these days, there seems to be petabytes per second.)

What’s worse for brands is there’s another head on the monster they face.

And that is your competitor owning YOUR SEARCH TERMS!

Not only is safety on your mind but the duopoly’s search business models require you to never, ever own your search terms.

But what if there was a way to connect immediately with new and existing customers via your current video, print, radio or packaging and not have to worry about safety or about paying the duopoly to send your searchers to your competition?

(Long question I know but you have to envision me saying this to all brands-GLOBALLY!)

This is what drove Russ and I to co-found TRE. The idea that “search” and the “micro-moment” are at odds with each other. The idea that brands can easily connect with their audience instantly via TRE’s Voice/AI + Touch interface.

Moreover, brands could then decide which sales channel they prefer to activate and prioritize in their digital and/or print (radio, packaging, etc.) consumer call-to-action.

For example, look at this mock-up of a TV ad unit (below) featuring Gillette razors. Proctor & Gamble, Gillette’s parent company, could place this ad unit ANYWHERE with a call-to-action for trial and/or purchase and decide whether Target, Walmart, Costco, Amazon, CVS, etc. does the fulfillment of the call-to-action.

Let’s re-state this experience using the glasses of my idea – brand safety and brand call-to-action fulfillment control all can be achieved with TRE.

Where my idea really takes off is that this experience would get Amazon’s (and the duopoly’s) attention. How?

Easy. Amazon would have to compete with other retailers for the fulfillment business and also give TV programs, channels, providers (the cable folks) and anyone with anything to do with TV a way to offset the fact that Amazon is gunning for your viewers.

The duopoly depends on search for their whopping search revenues.

When Amazon and Facebook create original programming AND sell alongside it they will have closed the loop.

And today’s broken version of brand engagement, safety and control will keep marching on, same-old same-old style, while the duopoly (and Amazon) eat your lunch.

Dale Knoop leads a great team audaciously attempting to #breaktheduopoly by making TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using voice input of a Qword or phrase or simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE Qword or code in TV, video, video games, radio (anywhere!) or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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Where is your brand on the customer experience continuum?

In the dictionary the word “continuum” is defined as:

“a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct.”

The bolding and underline are mine but it’s the point of this blog.

As the globe continually moves to define itself as a mobile-dominated one, the experiences lie on the same line (the mobile experience continuum) but the experiences can be very, very different.

We’ve all had this experience. You visit a website on your phone or you use an app on your phone and the friction of trying to get exactly what you want in exactly in the moment you want it is a direct result of where the experience falls on the continuum.

Exhibit A

This phone screen grab of IRS.gov is a prime example of the far extreme of the continuum. If you landed on this site with your phone you would turn around (shake your head) and not go further into their site.

Sadly, this experience from the IRS is to be expected but there are many consumer brands that are no better. Why not!?!? Your mobile experience sucks so does that mean you think little to nothing of your customers?

On the other end of the continuum is Amazon’s website or app on my phone. It is a thing of impulse buying bliss wrapped in a cuddly layer of joyous joyosity. (My homage to Stanley Kubrick’s movie, A Clockwork Orange.)

And the cool part about Amazon is that they drive their spot on the continuum farther and farther away from ding-dongs like the IRS.

Amazon is the standard of frictionless, impulse-buying in the micro-moment of inspiration.

And yet, having said this they know (and we know) they could be better.

For example. If you see something on TV and you have a Prime account you are left with (ugh!!!!) search to try to find it. Amazon would tell you they’re not the best at search. Who could be? They’ve got millions of items only an impulse away.

How could they make search better? By dumping it.

Follow me. If I’m watching TV or reading a magazine or out-and-about and I see a call-to-action for something I want to buy right then and there, then take me straight to it!!!

Don’t be like the IRS. Don’t make me search. I’ll likely end up with your competition any way.

Dale Knoop leads a great team audaciously attempting to #breaktheduopoly by making TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using voice input of a Qword or phrase or a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE Qword or code in TV, video, video games, radio (anywhere!) or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

 

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TV’s future isn’t so doomed

On this wonderful Friday afternoon I’m pondering all I’ve read lately about how TV’s future is cloudy and doomed.

I’m not so sure.

From an hours spent perspective TV still reigns supreme despite what we’re told about the ascendancy of mobile video.

And the primary reason why is that the content on TV is long form to achieve ratings to attract advertisers to pay for the content.

Mobile content is snack-sized because of the mobile experience-small screen on a multi-purpose device.

TV ROI still kicking it

The good folks at Media Post nicely summed up the superior ROI that TV delivers.

“TV delivered up to seven times the key performance indicator lift of paid search, and five times that of display advertising.”

Perhaps the TV pooh-poohers are in the paid search and display advertising business?

So TV is not doomed BUT what is doomed in my opinion, is the TV ad formats of interruptive, non-actionable ad pods that have the unwanted effect of sending me to my phone to dig for more info about something I saw that interested me. If I’m lucky and have enough stamina I may find what I want. For your brand that inspired me you face a strong chance that your competitor is the first thing I see on my phone.

I totally agree that TV has threats all around it and that it has many challenges in front of it.

However, one analyst cited again by Media Post is bullish and calls out for:

“The platform must offer tools and capabilities that make advertising more valuable. There’s no incentive to move to a new marketplace that simply replicates today’s non-automated transactional processes.”

And this is where (IMO) the TV performance pie could get WAY bigger

The innovation he seeks to make advertising more valuable is adding direct-response tools like TRE to TV ads so that they have a chance to deliver instant gratification and an instant consumer+brand connection.

If direct-response TV ads are seen as the stuff of lame merchandise being hawked in cheesy commercials, folks in TV land need to get past this tired viewpoint because it helps to make TV look bad.

There’s real revenue in direct-response ads that’s not being tapped into.

The true culprit of the TV is doomed sentiment is the full-on miss by the advertisers and TV content producers to accept that I have my phone in my hand watching TV and you made me hunt down what interested me about your ad or your program.

Dale Knoop leads a great team attempting to #breaktheduopoly by making TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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The return of the QR Code?

A recent Mobile Marketer article discussed the return of the QR code and questioned if this is a good thing for marketers.

It is and it isn’t. Please, allow me to explain.

It’s good in the sense that marketers are awakening to the fact that smartphones are a human appendage tuned for instant gratification in the micro-moment.

As part of their awakening they’ve realized that they can’t dump customers and potential customers into search and hope they find what they’re looking for. Hear me now and believe me later-search is inherently and purposefully IMPRECISE no matter what the GOOG+FB duopoly says.

And here comes the good part: the “QR” in QR code stands for “quick response”. In the micro-moment when your brand inspires a person to act, they do it with their phone and they don’t want to search or have the experience take too long. They want a quick response.

In this regard the QR code does yeoman’s work in that when scanned, it can take the person scanning the code directly to a mobile experience that’s been paired with the call-to-action associated with the QR code.

But here’s the “isn’t a good thing”, at least in my opinion.

Scanning a QR code is kind of lame with regard to the experience.

One must be right up on the code with their phone.

Trying to get the code in the viewfinder of the phone requires moving the phone around and waiting for the scanning app to focus.

(C’mon man! This isn’t quick!)

QR codes on TV? Anyone? Buehler?

I’m going to say that because marketers are embracing quick response means optimized for mobile phones that the comeback(?) of QR codes is a good thing.

Now they need to close the micro-moment loop and go with TRE which offers even faster response times than QR codes.

Give TRE a try. You have nothing to lose. Your customers understand and expect experimentation with regard to creating high satisfaction mobile experiences.

Dale Knoop leads an audacious team attempting to #breaktheduopoly by making TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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Hey Four I’s!!

I’m not really a fan of the click-bait style of content with titles like “8 things your start-up should avoid” or “5 ways to go viral”.

It seems there is no end of topics with lists accompanying them with the upshot of “do more of this” and/or “do less of that”.

So, having just pooh-poohed the genre, I have my own topic and list!

And, as the title suggests, I have Four I’s for brands and their mobile efforts. While your brand may know these I’s you have to live them each day.

They could/should become a kind of filter that you ask yourself as it pertains to your brand in the millions of micro-moments your customers and prospective customers face each day.

Each day, your brand no matter how large or small, finds itself in a micro-moment, intentionally (advertising, packaging) or via other means like location or word-of-mouth.

As you read these Four I’s, think about your own life outside your job and view them as a consumer.

Immediacy

There is only one thing to say and that is phone in hand. At all times. If not in hand, at arms-length. This is you as a consumer.

Impulse

It then follows that if I have my phone in my hand, I am able to act on any impulse that strikes me. Content of the feel-good type rarely has a strong call-to-action and is more around placing a halo around the brand.

The problem from my point-of-view for this type of ad is that if the impulse strikes me to check out your brand I’ll go to search or try to type in your top-level-domain URL. Ugh. Friction awaits. Your competitors are there hawking their brand too. Oops.

Without a direct and surefire way to satisfy my impulse, my impulse fades away.

Please, I urge you to offer more powerful ways to satisfy my impulse on my phone.

Don’t risk me searching (aka, foraging) for you in the micro-moment.

Instantaneous

Likewise, building on Impulse is Instantaneous.

I want to instantly connect (Immediacy) with what I want (Impulse) right (blanking) now.

Your brand has me now give me what I want.

I am reminded of the movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

“I’m here and you’re here Mr. Hand, doesn’t this make this OUR time?”

Dis-satisfaction with this I can be brutal for brands in myriad ways. Again, think of your own reaction to frustration with anything you have to wait for.

Tell me instant gratification is lame?

Immersion

Lastly, there’s Immersion-the chance to show and share all you have to say in the micro-moment.

The spray-and-pray (S&P) approach to advertising scatters your brand content hither and yon. This I represents the chance to flip the script on S&P and immerse and reward the customer with all your digital and print content presented in snack-sized micro-moments of customer bliss.

I hereby command you that at your next “what’s our mobile strategy” meeting for your brand/business, you blurt out loudly and proudly, “HEY FOUR I’S!”

Dale Knoop leads a great team attempting to #breaktheduopoly by making  TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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Is your brand operating at the speed of mobile?

Moments, by definition, don’t last.

A moments sibling “micro-moments” are defined by Google as those moments you turn to your phone to seek instant gratification via search.

Brands and the consumers who would say “I’m a fan of <brand>” each have their micro-moments.

For the brand, their’s is likely to be an ad (in any form – print, digital, video, other) or perhaps even their packaging.

For consumers, the moments are often tied to things that interest them which could be simply a heart-warming brand story that they want to learn more about, or it could be a really strong call-to-action centered on monetary reward.

Moments are all around us and ever refreshed. All of them happening with a phone in hand or at arm’s length.

In these myriad moments, there is one thing that will set one apart from another – the speed of the mobile experience.

As this article from Media Post points out, if your mobile experience takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 53% of those attempting to load your site/page will leave.

What this means is your brand had the consumer right up until their moment faded from mind and they gave up and did something else instead.

This is the speed of mobile. It’s called “right ?*$%&-ing now!”

And this time spent in the (micro) moment also includes the person finding the page/site they think is the right page/site. The time spent in finding where to go to get instant gratification is just as important as the time waiting for a page/site to load.

So, in the micro-moment, is it better for your brand to give the consumer exactly what they want, exactly when they want it?

Absolutely it is. There’s a $$ cost to being slow.

You have to get them your brand’s content instantly, aka, at the speed of mobile.

Every second counts and at the speed of mobile, all moments require an instant connection to the inspiring brand content.

If making a consumer search for your brand adds more seconds past 3 seconds to load, then you may be spending your brand’s ad dollars in pursuit of less than half the audience.

The more time it takes to find your brand in their moment just adds to missing the moment.

Ouch.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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And then later they’ll visit your store to buy. Wait, really?

When your brand shows an ad, especially on TV, the viewer of your ad has their phone in their hand or their phone is at arm’s length.

This is the environment your ad enters. And it’s not going to change. This is the new opportunity for TV ads-direct response to your ad and not the hope that “well, if they really want to buy what’s in our ad, they’ll come in to the store closest to their home.”

In reality the person viewing your brand’s TV ad is ready to take action on anything, be it your ad or something else because their phone in their hand. The mobile phone is the ULTIMATE instant gratification device.

So let’s say your ad has a great price on an item. I recall Patti LaBelle selling sweet potato pies in Walmart ads in the lead up to Thanksgiving 2016. And when I saw the ads, I was not able to order one via my phone in the micro moment of inspiration formed by seeing the Walmart ad.

Instead, Walmart is I guess, exciting me about going to their store. But will I really go to the store just to get a $3.98 sweet potato pie? Nope. Maybe their intent is for me to remember to shop later at Walmart and grab the pie then. Will I remember? Probably not.

Granted, I can’t recall if Walmart presented the pie offer conspicuously in their app but if they did, the TV ad with Ms. LaBelle should have called that out and there wasn’t a reference to their app in the TV ad for the pies that I recall.

Much of what happens in TV ads today presumes a lot about the behavior from a viewer.

Brands presume that:

-I’ll search for you

-I’ll remember to go to your store

-I’ll make sure I add the item featured to my list

Much of this is simply hope. Millions of dollars on TV ads spent on hope and yet the vast majority of TV ads simply have no easy, fast and direct way to take action at the time of the ad with the phone in my hand.

TV ads need mobile call-to-action with an easy way to use the phone in my hand for instant gratification.

Or you can hope that maybe I remember to go to your store later. Or maybe I won’t but whatever I do, my phone is in my hand while I view your ad on my TV.

 

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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Your top level domain needs to retire

Brace yourself for something that will either strike a chord with you or something that will make you pity deeply the people that endure my soap-box rantings.

Yes, I did say your top-level domain (TLD) needs to go buh-bye.

Now I know that it has your brand on it and great content including links for investors, links to all your social sites, pages with glamorous photos of your execs and on and on……

My point being here and the chord I hope to strike is: your customer doesn’t care. They want from you what inspired them to get interested in your brand in the first place. And whatever that is it had better look really good on a mobile phone or else you’re toast.

Does your brand do TLD landing page takeovers synchronous with your TV ads? My bet is no. Do you place imagery on your TLD that is thematically aligned with a TV ad campaign with a mobile-optimized action-based takeover? Again, no. But, invariably, you’ll direct them deeper into your site. The clock is now ticking and your brand reputation is on the line.

Back in history, the internet was born from parents that were hierarchical and they loved files and files in files……see the gents in the photo above.

No joke. The internet was devised for entities (governmental, collegiate, research-related, etc.) to place large data sets online for remote access by peers. Large data sets with what you’re looking for buried in there somewhere. (Just search for it. LOL)

This means that for mobile visitors to your TLD what they want in the micro-moment of inspiration, i.e. instant gratification on their phone is not there on your landing page. It’s probably somewhere inside a folder/page on your TLD.

Anyone starting with your TLD means rummaging through page after page in the hopes of finding their inspiration for being there.

It is an oft-stated metaphor by your humble author that today’s TLD-driven internet is a TOTAL MISMATCH for smartphone behavior.

Hierarchy makes things pointy and thin at the top and bigger and more difficult to navigate and find what you’re looking for as you “drill down” and “search”.

Never mind the fact that search brings “results” which is code for “your brand inspired them but your competitor paid more to be higher in the results than you. Thanks for the lead you brought us!!”

The internet today is deeper than it is wide. Its too deep for mobiles.

Look at the size of popular mobile content and formats. It’s measured in seconds and characters not file counts, page counts or GASP, visits to your TLD or how many results were fetched in milliseconds.

The proper mobile internet, to me that is, should be about an inch deep and equipped with an easy, fast, sleek way to enter the mobile internet at any point, get what I want (and what the inspiring brand wants to-my interaction and attention) and thus be instantly satisfied.

The mobile internet should dispense with hierarchy and so should your TLD.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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Drill down on this: The tedium of foraging

Find us on Facebook. Visit our website. Search engine optimization. Search results. Our brand name next to a social media icon. Make sure you (not your competitor) are using the right keywords you technically don’t own.

 

All phrases, inferences and practices I’d like to see retired soon.

 

Why?

 

Look, I’ll be brief because this is an issue that goes straight to the impetus behind TRE.

 

Imagine you ask me to help you buy a specific pair of jeans you saw on TV and my response to drive you to the mall parking lot wherein I point to the mall structure and say “Search for them, they’re in there.”

 

Or I say they’re inside blahdeeblah.com-go find ’em!

 

All the while I introduce you to other people that sell jeans. Swell for them but not for the brand that inspired you originally. Their ROI on their ad/inspiration? ZERO.

 

If I did this to you, you’d be pissed. And yet this is standard operating procedure in the internet. I still shake my head that the emperor of search reports millions of results retrieved in milliseconds. Yawn. I want what I want, NOW please and not what you’ve been pay to tell me is “more relevant”.

 

And if I were a brand I would be running from this model to something that helped my brand inspire and connect directly to consumers in-the-moment.

 

You can’t miss all the talk about mobile micro-moments and yet at this moment you want me to search an forage what I’m looking for as if it were a needle in the haystack.

 

Search in all its forms is THE most presumptive thing you can tell a person when they are inspired, in-the-moment, phone-in-hand.

 

Search? Find us? Why don’t you give me exactly what I want when I want it? That’s how winning brands please and satisfy existing and would-be customers.

 

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

 

 

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Sorry, another social media platform interruption ad tsunami isn’t innovation

Much has been made in the last week about the IPO of Snap. The speculation falls into 2 camps: 1) will they be like Twitter or 2) will they be like Facebook?

 

To me, they’re all the same from the perspective of mobile advertising.

 

They rely on the haggard, thread-bare advertising model of interruption.

 

You know, the mindless pre-roll video ad. The full-page takeover ad before the page you want loads. The ad that magically appears in the location you’re about to tap on. These are just a few of the interruption ad formats.

 

Interruption ads have been around forever. The wink-wink between the owner of the content you want and their advertiser is that because you don’t have to pay for their content you HAVE TO ENDURE MY ADS.

 

Thus ad-blocking has taken off and the content owners (I love this part) threaten the people wanting the content that they’ll destroy the internet if they don’t get exposed to the ads!!

 

What’s really destroying the internet is the endless, mindless interruptions of the advertisements. They are ruining the experience and the ads-for-content implicit arrangement cited above is getting lop-sided in favor of the ads and not the content.

 

Imagine for a moment that you are at a restaurant with friends and the restaurant owner has said that you can have this table with this menu at these prices but you’ll have to accept an open microphone at your table. The open mic pipes your conversation to ad pitch people in a separate room and when they hear their keyword they come to your table and interrupt you.

 

You agreed to this after all, but you don’t know when they’ll show up and even worse the pitch people recite an ad message you’ve already heard!

 

Or don’t care about since you only mentioned Audi at the table with your friends while talking about a person you don’t like that drives an Audi.

 

You see where I’m going. Interruption ads whether Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat et al are killing the ad business.

 

And yet it doesn’t have to be this way. There can be innovation.

 

It’s called permission-based advertising.

 

But this is where it gets a bit dicey for the brand and their ad agency. Permission-based marketing and advertising is founded on A STRONG CALL TO ACTION.

 

A strong CTA drives interest, interest leads to action in the moment and action is what you want from an ad.

 

When we built TRE, permission to advertise was at the center of what we wanted to achieve. We see a global ad world based on compelling CTA’s acted on instantly via a mobile phone. We see brands (and therefore the ad agencies and ad business) competing on the caliber of the inspiration of the CTA.

 

What we don’t see lasting into the future is the purposeful creation of distance between interest and action wherein ads are crammed in, and then leading to the obligatory inference of ROI.

 

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make TRE the global standard for micro-moment brand engagement. Using a simple numeric code any brand can present their TRE code in TV, video, video games or their product packaging and take their customers and brand fans to exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. No searching through results, no foraging around your website-just customer pleasing instant gratification. Oh yeah, and there’s real-time attribution and an ongoing brand immersion. Watch the TRE video on YouTube here.

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