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January 2015

5 of My Favorite Super Bowl Commercials & Marketing 101

If you ask me, this is a great time of year to be a marketer.  The countdown to the Super Bowl XLIX is in full swing.  The best of the best are getting ready to showcase their talent on the field.  And the best of the best in the marketing industry are ready to see what they can do off the field.  It’s one of those rare times when it seems the whole world is actually paying attention to commercials and marketing campaigns in general.  This means it’s the perfect opportunity for digital marketers and small business owners to take note of the strategies used by the big boys and taking note of how people react.

Today, I’m here to give you a break from all this #Deflategate chatter (we all need it) to share some of my favorite Super Bowl commercials from previous years and offer some Marketing 101 reminders that we often overlook.  So without further ado, let’s stop talking about air pressure in footballs and start looking at some fun commercials…

Original Budweiser Frogs Commercial

We have to go all the way back to 1995 for this commercial, yet I still remember it like it was yesterday.  This ad is great because it is incredibly simple.  Three frogs sounding out Bud-weis-er and that’s it.  As marketers we often times try to say too much when something as simple as this will do the trick.  There’s nothing about how great Budweiser beer tastes.  Heck, you don’t even see the Budwesier logo until the end.  But the goal of name recognition and branding is absolutely achieved.

The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

Kids, pets, cool parents and Star Wars come together for a funny commercial.  What’s not to love about this one?  The use of the Star Wars music is perfect. The whole concept of using the Force and capturing imagination is something every kid and parent can relate to.  By the end of the commercial, not much even needs to be said about the Volkswagen 2012 Passat because the audience has been captured and the message is clear.

Pepsi- Coke Guy Caught on Camera

How about this gem from Pepsi back in 1996?  The Coke guy is restocking some cans and can’t help but reach for a Pepsi in the cooler next to him.  Next thing you know Pepsi cans fall all over the floor and he’s caught.  It’s an ad that includes a direct competitor but does so without any words and in a humorous way.  This one still makes me chuckle nearly 20 years later.

Budweiser Wassup

Just watching the game, having a Bud.  One thing is for sure, Budweiser puts out some great Super Bowl ads and this one is another classic.  Once again, simple, funny and effective.  Here there’s some more branding and product placement going on, but in a natural and unforced way.

Doritos Crash The Super Bowl Contest


There have been too many great Super Bowl ads from Doritos throughout the years to pick just one.  The main thing to observe here from a marketing strategy standpoint is the way that Doritos empowers its audience through the use of social media to create the Super Bowl commercial and then rely on votes to pick the winner.  It’s a brilliant marketing move that has been going on for 8 years now.  The winner this year gets 1 million dollars, a job with Universal Studios and gets to see their ad during the Super Bowl.  How’s that for some nice incentive!  View the 10 finalists and vote here.

Super Bowl Commercials – A Marketing 101 Reminder

In a lot of ways, I feel like Super Bowl commercials remind all marketers of some basic lessons that we often overlook…

  1. It’s less about the product and more about the story
  2. Simple is always better
  3. People just want to be entertained
  4. Babies, pets, & sex sell

If you look at Super Bowl ads as a collective whole, the most memorable ads are incredibly simple.  There’s very little, if any dialogue or narration in a lot of them.  Many don’t even mention the product until the end and for maybe 1 second.  ALL of them are entertaining and most of the time humor is involved.  Including babies, animals and sex (if appropriate) in marketing still and always will work (Danica & GoDaddy).

Final Thoughts

Now, several of the commercials I included above were before the social media age we are living in.  The one HUGE THING I would advise to any marketer creating a video/commercial is to think about how that campaign can live beyond just the Super Bowl by creating a new hashtag or encouraging social shares.  With social media listening, marketers can now know immediately how an ad is being perceived, react and interact with their customers instantly.  That’s something that definitely needs to be used to your advantage.

Want to talk Super Bowl Ads or marketing strategy in general?  Contact us today!


Easy to Follow Weekly Content Plan for New Bloggers

I get it.  The thought of continually having to come up with new blog posts is overwhelming…especially for businesses who are just now considering a content marketing strategy.  Focal Point works with companies in industries that range from manufacturing to healthcare to the non-profit sector.  Each time we start to talk about launching a new blog and developing a content plan, it’s always the same discussion.  The biggest questions are: what am I going to write about and how often do I need to post to see results?

The key to making a content marketing strategy work is to take all the guesswork out of it upfront.  The other important ingredient is to provide some flexibility in the schedule so a new blogger doesn’t feel as though he or she is failing if a post doesn’t get out right away.  All of us marketers wear a lot of hats and sometimes things just get pushed back.  This is why I try to simplify things as much as possible in this easy to follow weekly content plan.

It’s all about getting started, so here’s a sample content plan that would result with publishing 3 posts each week.  Ideally, there will always be a Monday post, but beyond that there’s some flexibility.  Most importantly, the topics for each post are super easy to come up with and you know exactly what type of post you’re going to be writing each day.  Take a look at this super easy to follow weekly content plan for marketers…

Monday – How to Solve a Problem

zig-ziglarThis is the bread and butter post to start the week off with a bang.  Every business gets frequently asked questions.  Every business solves some type of problem in some way.  This is your chance to tell that story.  Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and use the similar situation sales tactic from Zig Ziglar.  Basically it’s this – tell your customers how you solved a problem just like theirs for someone just like them.

This is where it’s a good idea to consider personas of current customers.  How old are they?  What types of hobbies do they have?  Remember, the more the story on how your company can solve a problem is exactly relevant to that person, the better off you are in the long run.

Need Ideas?
Think of this post as a FAQ section of your site.  What questions get asked all the time about your business?  A good place to start is simply by going through emails to see if any questions stand out.  Or you can take a moment to think about the questions that come in on your contact us form.  For example, a plumbing company may get asked how often a hot water heater should be drained.  Answering this question would make for a perfect blog post.

Another great place to look is in Google Analytics.  I wrote a post all about educating prospects to turn them into better paying customers and in that post I share these simple steps below that are perfect for uncovering problems that need solved:

  1. Log into Google Analytics
  2. Drill down to the report showing the keywords driving organic traffic (in Google Analytics it’s under Acquisition->Keywords->Organic).
  3. Use the search feature within that report to find keyword phrases using words such as “how,” “what,” “why,” etc.
  4. Write down the top 5 keyword phrases within each of these searches.

Tuesday or Wednesday – Industry News

Every industry, every business has some type of go-to news source.  It’s important to capitalize on creating content revolving around hot topics.  Not only does it help establish your company as a thought leader and expert in that particular niche, it also really helps improve organic search results.

Do not try to reinvent the wheel here.  Stick to a short recap on the news article, link to it with appropriate credit given and offer your thoughts on the topic.  It’s that simple to do, yet can be incredibly effective.


Need Ideas?
Search out industry news sources and make sure you are signed up to receive any emails they send out.  I know, I know, we all get too many emails, but in reality it’s still one of the best ways to make sure you don’t miss out.

Make sure you follow any industry news sources on Twitter and Like them on Facebook.  While some will be better than others at posting updates, there’s still a really good chance if something big happens you might see it here first.

Finally, there’s always Google Alerts.  Every single company should have Google Alerts setup for any and all keywords that pertain to services offered, brand names, competitors, etc.  Not only does this help keep you in the know with what’s going on in the industry, but it’s a great indicator at what’s important in the eyes of Google.

Thursday or Friday – Spotlight on People

176640173THUMBThink of this as your customer/employee spotlight.  Kick back a little, have some fun and put faces with names.  Maybe there’s a receptionist who has been answer the phone at your business for the last 15 years.  Why not give that person some recognition while allowing customers to learn more about he or she?  I’ve worked in this industry for a long time and inevitably a website’s “About Us” page is always one of the most visited pages.  Why?  Because people are interested in people…especially the people they do business with.

Likewise, your blog is a great place to feature customer stories.  Not only does it give your customers additional exposure, it shows that you really care about them beyond just a business transaction.  And when visitors to your site see a customer from a similar niche, they’re more likely to pay attention and relate to that content.

Need Ideas?
Look around you.  Everyone has a story to tell.  While some employees and customers may be a little shy, most enjoy a little extra recognition.  You could even go as far as to roll out a customer of the month and employee of the month program.  Right there is at least 2 week’s worth of content just talking about the winners and providing background information on the person being honored.

Ready to Create Your Content Plan?

It’s this simple to get started.  Our team can help you come up with the ideas that will fuel your content marketing plan for months to come, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Contact us and let’s chat about how we can get your company blog off the ground today!


This Company Is Hitting A Social Media Marketing Home Run

New year’s resolutions are in full swing and people everywhere are trying to improve their health.  Whether it’s losing weight, eating better, or exercising more, millions are determined to make 2015 the year of change.  With so many different options out there, an effective social media marketing strategy can make all the difference in the world.

There’s one company out there that I see using social media particularly well, so I spent some time taking a closer look at their strategy.  The company I am referring to is Beachbody and one of its driving forces is fitness trainer, Shaun T.   If you haven’t heard of Shaun T. , you’ve likely heard of one of his home- based workout programs – Insanity, Hip Hop Abs or T25.  The thing that really stands out to me about the way social media is being used in this case is that even though there is a large company with several products to sell, at the end of the day they still understand that social media is all about people connecting with people not big brands selling to people. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean…

Empowering People Translates to Social Marketing Success

With over 1.2 million likes on his Facebook page, Shaun T. has an incredible reach and platform to promote his products.  It’d be easy to get greedy by going overboard with promotional content (though Facebook is really working to discourage this now).  But instead you will find posts with free workout ideas, recipes that can be made on-the-go, and encouraging videos about staying on track with goals.  The content on this Facebook page is all about a person connecting with his fans on a level that’s much deeper than just seeing him in a workout video.  He even goes as far as to share very transparent posts about wanting to skip workouts because he’s too tired or caving in and eating junk food.  As all of us know, these struggles are very real, yet we often think these “celebrities” don’t have to go through them.  By humanizing the brand, he becomes much more authentic.  Fans of the page feel like they actually know the person behind the videos just as they might know one of their regular Facebook friends.  This makes asking for the buy much easier and much more natural when the time comes by building BLT (Believability, Likeability & Trust).

People Want To Buy From People

The social media strategy used by Shaun T. to launch the latest workout video, Insanity Max: 30, has been very well received.  Rather than continuously promoting the product, he started educating his audience on the exercises from the video ahead of time by posting free short workout videos.  Branded as the “Holiday Edge” workouts, these exercises could be done anytime, anywhere and were perfect for the hectic holiday season when many people fall off track.  This made the launch of the actual product a natural extension of something he was already doing.  In fact, followers were actually looking forward to and counting down the days to the release.  That type of loyalty across social media is something we all hope for.

Insanity Max 30

Re-purposing Content Across Social Media Channels

I use Facebook as my primary example, but the social reach extends well beyond just Facebook.  The other thing that stood out as I spent some time analyzing things is that nearly every piece of content is being re-purposed effectively.  All too often we get overwhelmed with all of the social media outlets available. forget that not everyone follows us on every platform and people definitely don’t see everything we post.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.  I urge every customer to get the maximum mileage from every single piece of content and Shaun T. is definitely doing that here.  Each post is being re-purposed for Instagram, Twitter and might even be a topic on an upcoming podcast.

For example, a video may be posted on FB that also appears in an edited version on Instagram, is also part of a Tweet with a similar theme and even makes its way into a podcast as a topic.  So essentially the content is developed one time and repackaged for each social channel.  And it’s done so with a purpose.  This significantly cuts down on the development time and greatly extends the shelf life of social marketing efforts.

4 Questions We Should All Be Asking

As I wrap up this mini case study, I think there are 4 questions that we should all be asking:

  1. How can we add a human element to our social presence?
  2. What problems can we solve that make our audience better customers?
  3. How can we incorporate multimedia content into our social plan?
  4. What ways can we re-purpose our content across social channels?

If you can answer these questions, I think asking for the buy, click or conversion becomes much more natural.  Make selling a natural extension of what you’re already doing…not the ONLY thing you’re doing.

Need Some Help?

I’d love to talk about your social media marketing plan, so contact me now and we will make it happen!


Is It Time To Double Your Investment in Video?

Soon you’ll start to notice that the “Videos” tab on Facebook brand pages everywhere is looking strikingly similar to YouTube.  From the featured video section to the ability to organize videos into playlists, Facebook is going to be implementing some of YouTube’s organization features.  Truth be told this is long overdue, but the timing makes perfect sense as Facebook is investing more in video lately.  As you might have noticed, the auto play videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge filling the news feed have transitioned full steam ahead to videos highlighting brands everywhere.  From McDonald’s using Facebook videos to set the record start about what’s actually in their food to Jerry Seinfeld posting video sneak peeks of his hit series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, videos are only going to continue to show up more and more.

Jerry Seinfeld

As I was thinking about this trend (it’s not just Facebook), I thought more about the reasons why video just makes sense for every business.  I really think it’s as simple as this – the majority of people don’t want to read.  Your potential customers, probably don’t want to spend a great deal of time reading about your business.  And if given the choice, they’d prefer to watch a 2-3 minute video instead of reading all about your company history.

Here are 2 really good reasons to think about doubling down on your investment in video.

Videos Can Easily Be Repurposed
Let’s say you’re in charge of managing the company blog.  Things are off to a good start and you’re publishing 3 posts a week.  Traffic is increasing, then all at once it happens….

You hit a dry patch.  Suddenly you feel like you’ve already talked about the 3 points of difference over and over.  No matter how long you stare at the computer screen, the words just don’t want to come to you.  Then you start to think about that great story the CEO was telling just the other day about how the company was started by his dad back in the 1920’s.  Knowing that his time is limited and you’d be hard pressed to get him to sit down to write a blog post, you start thinking about what to do.  Then the thought dawns on you…it’s time to add some video!

Suddenly the 2 minute video you record of your boss telling the story is not only your most viewed video on the website, it’s the top performing blog post.  Because after he told the story on video, you were able to write it all out, add the historical photos and create the connection to the company through words as well.

Sometimes video is just easier.  And once the video is created there are so many ways to repurpose it – including creating a blog post or multiple blogs.  That same video could also be turned into a podcast.  Now you’ve got another way to reach customers on the go.  Come to think of it, the YouTube Channel sure could use some love lately.  Now you’ve got a video to feature when someone visits your channel. There’s so many ways to go with video once it’s created.  Video really is the ultimate piece of content to repurpose.  Invest the time and money to have the video content created by a professional once and think about all of the ways to get extended mileage.

People Are Watching Less Traditional TV
Odds are you or someone you know has cancelled their cable service recently.  Like Netflix bringing about the end of Blockbuster, cable companies are headed for trouble.  Why?  More people than ever before are watching videos online.  Well, that and people are sick of paying the high prices for cable service.  But more than ever it’s all about watching what you want to watch, when you want to and on the device that you want to.  With other low-cost services out there such as HBO, who will offer standalone streaming starting this year, Netflix, Hulu Plus and HD antennas available to get all the local channels – cable box after cable box will continue to get turned in.

netflix-logo    hbo_go_logo_feature

What does this shift mean to your business?  It means that since behavior is changing, there’s going to be more attention placed in online video.  More people online watching video = more chances to be seen = greater opportunity for conversion.

How Are You Using Video Now?  Is It Time To Double Your Investment?

I understand that for many marketing professionals, the whole thought of “doubling” an investment may seem a bit overwhelming.  I’m not literally talking about money here.  The point I am trying to make is that when looking at a marketing strategy, if there’s one type of content that I see paying the biggest dividends now and in the future – it’s video.

I’d strongly urge anyone reading this to take a moment to think about their video marketing strategy.  Think about how one video could become a blog post, podcast, social media post, email topic, etc.  Also, understand that not every single video needs to be a complex  video production.  In fact, I’d recommend a two prong approach.  Think about what video content you can turn out quickly and consistently with limited setup, such as; video case studies, client testimonials or mini educational videos about your business or industry, now think about what other types of more involved videos would complement this content and allow you to extend your brand message.

But whatever you do start thinking about it now.  Because I promise your competitors are.

Want some ideas?  I’d love for you contact me to talk video strategy.