Woohoo! It’s Episode 100 of the Bright Planning Marketing Podcast! That means we’ve brought you at least 33 and a half hours of free marketing advice! Most episodes run longer than 20 minutes, so it’s no doubt closer to 50 hours!
As always, this celebration is hosted by Catherine Campbell and her producer Natalie Pyles, with a special appearance by yesteryear co-host Jason Pyles! Your three intrepid hosts bring you our predictions for 2019 marketing best practices.
We start the show with a little levity as we discuss Reese’s brilliant, post-Halloween marketing gimmick. #NotSorry We also discuss how we think Instagram will fit into the social media marketing of 2019, with its top “promotional” photo spots. And we talk about the development of Image Search.
Jason discusses how voice search should play an important role in your 2019 blogging efforts. We also talk about the simplifying of language, and of course, the ever-mysterious holy grail that is SEO. We explore the importance of niche podcasting and how narrowing your field of focus can attract a highly motivated and specialized audience. We also talk about how to get away from having to offer so many freebies in 2019.
And naturally, with Jason on the show, we run down a number of rabbit holes and other weird segues and non sequiturs, like serial killers and Natalie’s grandma. You know? A usual episode. Join us!
Links for this episode:
Documentary “The Creepy Line” – www.amazon.com/dp/B07J261ZFM/
Cliff Ravenscraft: www.cliffravenscraft.com/
Continue on to read the transcript:
Catherine: I am here with my co-host and producer, Natalie Pyles, and I am joined by our other co-host and producer, Jason Pyles! Jason is back on the show for our 100th episode!
Jason: Woo! Congratulations, ladies, on 100 episodes. That is a magnificent feat. Very few podcasts ever accomplish 100. I mean, most podcasts don’t get past episode 8, so this is especially a reason to celebrate. So Catherine, what are you drinking? [laughing]
C: [laughing] Well, it’s 8:15 in the morning, so I’m just going to say to everybody, I’m drinking “coffee,” quote-unquote.
Natalie: Are you? Are you though?
J: So many reasons for congratulations, though. Also, congratulations on your recent nuptials. I’m so excited about that, and proud of you guys.
N: I know, but you still haven’t sent us any pictures.
J: Uh-oh. Big trouble.
C: Oh no. Oh no. I’m in big trouble. [laughing] They make it sound so friendly right now on the show, but I’m going to be in real big trouble right after. So I promise to send you photos.
J: We’re mad. No, just kidding. Just kidding. [laughing]
C: That would be really weird to see Jason and Natalie mad about something. [laughing]
J: Well, not as weird as you think. [laughing]
J: Right, Nat? No, just kidding.
N: No, we get along really, really well. All the time.
J: Famously, in fact, yes. The secret to Natalie’s heart, Catherine, just so you know, is really Reese’s.
C: Oh yeah.
J: Or as some people say, and I don’t know why, Reesies.
N: Yeah. It’s the sixth love language.
J: I hate when people say it like that. But actually Nat encountered this neat little promotional marketing gimmick that Reese’s did around Halloween, if you’re interested in hearing about that, Catherine.
C: I am always interested in hearing about marketing campaigns. Especially from Reesies. Gosh, that’s the worst. Who does that?
J: I know. It really bugs me. I’m like, “Why would you think it’s pronounced that way?”
N: Yeah, maybe listeners could write in and tell us if there’s a certain state where that’s like the norm for pronunciation, or what is going on.
J: Mm-hmm. Well, we’ve just offended a subset of the listenership.
N: I guess we should apologize.
C: We just lost a third of our listeners on Episode 100.
N: Everyone from Texas and Alaska or something.
C: [laughing] Well, yeah actually, the statistics show that there are a lot of people who are listening to the podcast in Texas and Alaska. Sorry guys. That’s not true at all.
Okay, so tell me about this campaign. What happened? The Reese’s campaign.
N: Oh, right. Okay. You’re going to love this. We’re recording this just a few days after Halloween, so everyone is kind of rolling in the candy as they say, but not the candy that you want. It’s like lots of candy that you don’t want.
J: Like Almond Joy, for example.
N: So Reese’s has set up this exchange machine where you can turn in your unwanted candy and get back Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
N: For free. You just trade ‘em in.
N: We’re dying over the genius of this.
C: That is brilliant. I mean, because you know dentists will do that, right, where it’s cash for candy kind of thing.
C: You can bring in your candy and stuff. But I love that Reese’s just looked at what dentists were doing and were like, “Let’s do that.”
J: [laughing] Right?
C: We’re going to do that.
N: That is so genius. I love it.
J: I love how much of a diss it is on so many other candies. I mean, there are so many awesome things about it. It’s like, “Clearly we’re the best candy, and clearly this is the candy converter machine that you would want.” All these things. And they’re willing to do up to 10,000 cups, and I betcha they do all of them.
C: Oh, definitely. That’s so funny, because Reese’s has always been just sort of a cute brand, they’ve just really tried to be kind of cutesy, and catchy, and everyone loves their little illustrated commercials. But they just stepped it up to the Doritos-PepsiCo level.
J: Yeah, yeah. And on Twitter and stuff, like their hashtag on the candy converter machine is #NotSorry. They keep saying #NotSorry, which is hilarious. Well done, Reese’s.
C: Well done. That’s amazing. Wow. Well, you know, I think this really brings us into our topic for today, which is, you know, we are going to be making some predictions for 2019 marketing and I love seeing companies doing something new, and just kind of putting themselves out there. I think that’s a big lesson for our small businesses and our small business owners who are listening in right now. You have to take that risk, and be courageous, and be confident in what you’re doing. Reese’s just showed us a great example of how to knock it out of the park with confidence, and yet they’re hilarious at the same time.
J: Mm-hmm, absolutely.
C: Yeah. So today, with the three of us marketing geniuses, because that’s what we are. Let’s just face it, guys. We’re going to run down our marketing predictions for 2019. Jason, let’s start off with you.
J: Okay. A lot of my feedback here comes from what my day job marketing company is doing, and sometimes, Catherine, when I’ve shown up on this podcast before to talk to you, I’m like, “Okay, this is Catherine.” In fact, here’s a nice little tidbit for Episode 100 that I’ve never said before on the podcast. [laughing]
C: Oh no.
J: When I first heard about you, Catherine, when I learned about Catherine Campbell, our mutual friend, Tom Ryan, who is also in marketing, said, “Oh, she’s the real deal. She’s a big deal. She really knows her stuff, and she’s good.” So because of that introduction, I’ve always thought, “Okay, I’m nervous about bringing my little thing to the table, because Catherine might be like, ‘Yeah, that’s not what we do.’” So [laughing] as always, you have the right to totally be like, “Nope. Nope, that’s not actually what’s going to happen.” But this is what my company, this is what we think is going to happen and become more of a thing, so this is for blogs, for blogs for 2019.
C: Oh, yeah, definitely. Let’s hear about it, because I think blogging is still a big thing. It’s a big thing everyone is doing, it’s a big part of content marketing. So let’s hear your thoughts on how that’s going to evolve.
J: You got it. So a big thing we’re looking at is voice search, and how people aren’t really typing into the Google search field anymore as much as they’re saying what they want to search for. It’s almost like the most, what’s the word, how would you describe it?
Instinctive, like intuitive, like a lot of times it’s very short. In Google search, you might type in “nearest store that sells Reese’s,” but on voice search, you’d say, “Where can I find Reese’s?”
J: So when you’re going to optimize your blogs and write your blogs, the prediction is that we need to sound more natural, create content that when it’s read aloud it actually patterns the way people speak. I don’t know how you feel about this as a writer, Catherine, but for me as a writer, I do lament a little bit the way the language is getting more simplified, simplified, and almost dumbed down. That is unfortunate, but what I’ve noticed is if I write fancy sentences in blogs, if I write something lengthy, and I try to be fancy in my words, when you read that out loud, I’ve heard other people try to read what I’ve written out loud, and they stumble. So I’ve been actually migrating to just simpler, more conversational—and I know blogs have always been kind of conversational, but there’s really a focus on that so that it would be optimized for voice searching.
C: Okay, so I want to piggyback off of that, of what you’re saying, Jason, because one, do you use the reading scale plugin on blogs for clients and stuff, where it will tell you if your blog post is too advanced of a reading level?
J: To be honest with you, no, because I don’t personally, at my day job, because I’m very petty, and I know a person who I didn’t like one time who did that, and so I don’t use that. But I tell you what I use—
N: [laughing] The spite is the reason.
J: Yeah. I do it for spite. That’s right.
N: I thought you did use that site.
J: Well, I use a site that’s much simpler, and Catherine’s probably going to make fun of me because this is like Flintstones technology, but there’s a site called Word Count Calculator, and it actually does assess a number of things about your writing, not just word count, okay? But when you type things in there, it does, it tells you the reading time, the reading level.
C: But the Flesch reading scale that’s in WordPress itself just keeps staring you in the face while you’re looking at your blog post, and it basically gives you sort of a red, yellow, or green, almost like your SEO optimization features.
C: And I hate it. I don’t have anybody on our team use it.
J: Because you know the same annoying person that I know, huh, and that’s why you don’t use it, too.
C: Oh, yeah. We’re not gonna—
N: Must be Ben.
C: It’s Ben. [laughing] It’s Steve.
J: Yeah, his name is Steven, he’s a real jerk.
C: Ugh, Steve.
J: His podcast only has 7 episodes. Just kidding.
C: [laughing] So yeah, our team goes against those, and one of the reasons why is because the language and reading level of each audience we work with is totally different. So we have some really sophisticated audiences that we’re talking to, and then we have other audiences that want to just have those one line sentences, and sort of more direct-response style, very natural language style blog posts. So I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all with, “Oh, this thing should be at this grade reading level because this is what’s going to determine the success of your blog post.” I don’t think that’s true at all. I throw it right out the window. But I do see your point. I too lament the simplification of our language. It’s becoming over-simplified, and people are learning very few broader phrases which is going to affect a business’s long-tail SEO success and ability to be discovered in the future. And at the same time, it’s also really challenging SEO marketers, for one, and business owners, two, who have been used to looking for specific keyword phrases that are going to start dropping in popularity anyway. So you’re going to have to start thinking about SEO in a completely different way.
J: Mm-hmm, I agree with you, and in fact, exactly what you’re saying. It’s almost like there’s going to be a homogenization of keyword phrases and keywords, and it’s like, wow, how are there going to be distinctions made if we all just funnel down into this very narrow neck of words. Did you like that metaphor, Nat?
N: Loved that.
C: [laughing] She loves it. It’s fantastic.
J: I know, right?
C: And then that does not bode well for anything that’s a keyword based ad, because that means ads are going to go through the roof in pricing, because keyword bidding is going to become that much more competitive.
J: Yes. True.
C: So welcome to our doom-and-gloom episode, everybody.
J: [laughing] That’s right.
C: [laughing] But should we give people something else? Because I want to talk about something that actually goes hand in hand with the voice search.
J: Yeah. Go for it.
C: Okay, because I think it’s really important that people know about the voice search, and also, Jason, do you have some examples of what you mean by voice search? Do you mean just by phones, or do you mean by also Alexa or those kinds of assistants? What are your takes on that?
J: Yeah, honestly, all of the above really. Correct me if I’m wrong, Catherine, but my understanding is that everybody is interfacing or interacting with these tools in the same way. We’ve all been trained by Google and everything. That reminds me of a documentary I want to ask you about later, but anyway, we’ve all been trained on how to search for things, and we’re all shifting in this same direction. So the same way you search with Alexa is the same way you’d talk to your phone when you’re searching for something on Google. That’s my take, at least. What do you feel about it?
C: No, I feel, I actually agree. I think those voice search assistants are going to become more popular, although they scare the bejeesus out of me. I’m never going to have one in my house, although my husband, he is lobbying so hard to get at least one in our house, and I’m like, “Nope. No. I refuse.” There are so many things already spying on me. I’m so….
C: And here’s where I’m about to lose the next third of our listeners. [laughing] I’m totally against voice search assistants. And that’s just me, you know. I think it’s, maybe that’s my generation. I mean, I know there’s nothing to slow that down, but I was also one of the last people among my friends to get a smartphone, so there you go.
J: Mm-hmm, yeah.
C: I’m one of those weirdos that has to be on the cutting edge of digital marketing at all times, and yet I try to live a pretty tech-free lifestyle.
J: Well, Catherine, there’s a documentary that Natalie and I recently watched that you have to watch. It’s called The Creepy Line. It’s from 2018, it’s available on Amazon Prime so you can watch for free there. If you don’t have Prime, then you could watch for three bucks. Anyways—
C: Alexa, find me the documentary, The Creepy Line.
J: [laughing] That was amazing. Now, the funny thing is, if you’re not a conspiracy theorist, it does kind of have a tone of conspiracy theory-ness, but let me just say, inasmuch as you are a skeptic about things, the things they present in this are, you’re like, “Yep, okay that’s true. I’ve seen that for myself. And yes, that is a fact right there.” And I also, of course this goes somewhat political, but it also has people from both sides of the aisle.
N: Yeah, it’s not alienating that way, but it is damning, as they say.
J: Yeah, it is. I would recommend checking that out, because it is creepy indeed.
C: Ooh, I like it.
N: And Jason just got a smart phone in 2017, so he would know.
J: [laughing] Yeah, that’s right. I’m very up-to-date on smartphones.
C: [laughing] Congratulations.
J: Thank you.
C: We’re proud of you.
J: I know, right?
C: Let’s put a link to that documentary in the show notes, so we can weird out all of the rest of our listeners. And if you want to find our show notes, you can go to https://brightplanning.com, or use your voice search assistant to go to it for you, and so https://brightplanning.com/podcast and you can look in there for Episode 100, and find the show notes.
J: That’s right. Episode 100, y’all.
C: 100 [singing]. So exciting. Yeah, so what’s going hand-in-hand with voice activated search and voice search is visual search. So for those of you who don’t know about this, and this is something they just started heavily campaigning for—and by “they” I mean big brothers Google and Microsoft—it’s more of an interactive SEO tool, and it’s one that they’re trying to make pretty competitive. What’s going on is instead of typing in the name of a product to find out more about it, people can simply use their smartphones that they bought in 2017, and they can point their phone camera at any object and receive text-based information. For example, if someone was interested in a computer, like if you’re in Target or Best Buy—shoutout to all the big box stores, apparently, I don’t know, go to your mom-and-pop computer shop please. So if a person was interested in a computer, they could point their camera at an option, and then that would send back text to them all about its features, and its competitors’ offerings, and a host of other comparison tools. The tech is still pretty limited on this, because they’re still trying to make phone cameras have the ability to really recognize patterns and shapes the way the human eye does. So this is still developing, but I think it’s going to be kind of fast-tracked over the next year, and by the end of 2019, I think this is going to be something people are leaning pretty heavily on.
J: That reminds me so much of those really cool apps that identify songs when you’re out, and you just hold it up and it catches a bit of the music. Like Shazam, and—
J: Yeah, and Sound Hound, and all those. That’s super cool, but also creepy, speaking of creepy line-ness.
C: It’s interesting, I think. I also am kind of curious, and this is where I’m going to start making my crazy predictions. Catherine’s about to go off the deep end a little bit here, but….
J: Do it. Do it.
C: I actually wonder if, just like one of the first industries to embrace the virtual reality industry was the porn industry, right? I think one of the first industries to embrace visual search is actually going to probably be the dating site industry. I’m kind of wondering if it’s going to be where they’re able to create text so that if you’re wanting to match up with somebody, or find out if somebody who you see at a place is on Tinder or something, or on Match.com, you could take a photo, like you could hold up your phone, and I wonder if it’s going to do a face profile match.
C: That kind of thing.
J: Like stalker tools, right?
C: I could totally see humanity developing some kind of horrible thing like that.
J: Well, and I will, I don’t know poker terminology unfortunately, or it’d be a great little transition there, but I will see your stalker technology and up it—
N: Raise. Raise her.
J: Raise? Thank you. Natalie’s a card player, gambler.
C: “Up it.” [laughing]
J: Cigar smoker. She’s all of those.
C: She’s a card shark?
J: Yeah. Oh yeah. You don’t even know.
N: Yeah, I know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.
J: [laughing] Nice. I love it. I love that I found a gal who can quote Kenny Rogers. That’s what I looked for.
C: That’s all that matters.
J: I know, right? But this is also conspiracy theory-ish, but in filmmaking, they say there is no such thing, it is absolutely impossible to make an unbiased documentary, because even the placement of the camera suggests bias. So I think what’s interesting about this visual search is if I’m depending on this device, or software, or platform, whatever you call it, to extrapolate or interpret the world around me, then I am going to depend on its translation of what it’s picking up. So I will get its worldview, like, quite literally. And I think that’s also a little unsettling, potentially. The Creepy Line actually talks about this very thing, and about how what comes up on search results, and the way that it comes up is actually influencing people because people let down their guard. Like when you hear an ad, you’re like, “Okay, I know this is an ad, somebody’s pitching me something,” so you have your guard up. But when you do a search on Google according to this Creepy Line documentary, you’re guard comes down because you take it as truth because it’s an algorithm, and you trust it.
C: Yeah, that’s true. Oh, man. I feel like we could just go down the rabbit hole of so much philosophy behind all of this, and I just realized that Natalie is probably, [laughing] Natalie’s sitting there like, “Okay.”
N: No, not at all. I do think this is alarming, and it’s interesting to hear what you and Jason think is around the corner, because you guys are kind of in the know with what is getting developed.
C: Yeah, but we’ve been talking way too much for the last few minutes. So let’s turn to you, Natalie. What are your thoughts on 2019 marketing? Anything coming up that you think is going to become a thing?
N: Yeah. So my world is kind of in podcasting. I work with a lot of podcasters, and I see a lot of podcasts get developed, and I just feel like since we’ve had, now, a lot of big players have kind of come in and commandeered the podcast playground, and since podcasting has reached the tipping point, we really need to find a way to stand out as small business podcasts. So what I see in 2019 is people really focusing in on a specialty, and this is going to be a really good thing, I think, for podcasting. So for example, I heard a podcast just recently where they were interviewing a therapist, and her podcast isn’t just about self-help, which would be B2C, and there’s a lot of those, and they’re great. And her podcast isn’t even just for other therapists, like B2B, which would still be a pretty crowded field. She’s specialized even more, and her podcast is just about helping other therapists learn how to manage their note-taking and find resources to help them take notes. That is what she does. I loved it because it was really specific, and I think at first, you’d fear that by choosing such a specific message or vision for your podcast or your business that you would lose a lot of potential clients, but actually the opposite will happen. I think you’ll attract more listeners the more specific you get. So I think that’s what I’ll see in 2019, is more specific podcasts.
C: I love that. More specific podcasts. I think you’re absolutely right. You know, we’ve talked about this a lot on the show before, Natalie, and you and I have talked about this at length off the show, which is that everybody and their brother is starting a podcast right now, and I see this all the time, people who are starting up. I do give the advice out, especially to any clients who are interested in starting a podcast because I received this advice myself, which was record your first 10 episodes and see if you actually like doing it. Just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean that you need to. But I think there’s a lot of noise out there—sorry, that’s a terrible pun—there’s a lot of noise right now about how we’re in the audio economy, because you know, just a couple years ago it was like everything video, everything video, make sure you’re making videos, make sure you’re doing video marketing, and while that’s still super important, we’ve seen a lot of people saying, “Okay, people are kind of sick of consuming video. You could just strip your audio from your videos and just post those up as podcasts, and be getting double the traffic because you have a ton of audio people who want to consume it that way.” So there were a lot of people who were just kind of pumping out a lot of content through podcasts because they think that’s the quick and easy way to get traffic, and as we all know, it’s a long game. And when you’re not specific, you don’t even have an edge to get people drawn in really quickly. So Natalie, I think you’re right on the money with that one for sure. Jason, what do you think?
J: Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, I like what she said about them becoming more and more focused, and niche. I think we’ve joked before, Catherine, about how there was that dude who had a podcast about pens.
C: Oh yeah.
J: It started out as a blog about pens, and then he has an entire podcast where they just talk about pens as a writing utensil. And then I found a movie podcast recently. It was called, this is crazy to me and I love this actor, Josh Hartnett, remember him? They have a podcast, We Heart Hartnett podcast, where they strictly—
J: [laughing] They strictly talk about Josh Harnett related news, and Josh Hartnett related filmography, the films he’s been in, and so forth. And it is so funny to me. I just love that. But I mean, honestly, those shows have a following. The pen podcast has people who are super jazzed about pens, and so there they are. So I agree with you 100%, Nat.
N: Man, that’s great. I’ve just got so many great ideas for new podcasts.
J: Natalie’s like, “I’m going to have a podcast about leg hairs.”
N: [laughing] I do. I do think that would be good, right?
J: Right. I’m sure it would. You could have 100 episodes on that, no doubt.
C: I bet that there could be one on nail polish. Also, speaking of Josh Hartnett, but not really, whatever happened to Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Like, I’m just thinking about all these 90s stars, and I don’t know where they went.
J: I know. I mean, that’s the thing, and I think that’s what inspired the Josh Hartnett one, is because they were like, “Why isn’t this guy getting more work?” Why aren’t they showing up more? You know, but yeah, he, let’s see, he did, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, he did The Lion King voice. Wasn’t he Simba?
C: Yeah. He was one of the kids on Home Improvement.
J: Oh, yeah. Okay.
C: And then he was Simba, which is an extremely important part of our canon.
J: Of course.
N: Our kids still make Jason lift them up to do that ceremony on the cliff.
J: [laughing] You know it. It’s so fun. Yeah.
C: Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. I do that with my cats.
N: That’s good.
J: Well wait a second, there was, yeah, wasn’t there a Christmas mov—yeah, okay a Christmas movie, I think we saw it on Netflix streaming recently, not recently, a couple years ago, I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
N: Just stop.
J: He was in that one.
C: Oh yeah.
N: Jason, she’s talking about now.
J: Well, I mean, for me, I’m kind of—
N: Maybe he’s just smart and he’s like, “I’m just going to take my money and go live a happy life.”
J: Maybe. It’s true.
C: Yeah, he’s either running some huge, you know, organic farm, or he’s like a professor of natural sciences somewhere. I don’t know.
J: Or, he’s hanging out with a lemur and a warthog and just saying, “Hakuna Matata.” You know, he’s off doing his own thing.
C: Yeah. He just started to get real about it. And speaking of real, and I guarantee there’s probably a podcast out there that’s like, “What happened to all of these 90s stars?” I guarantee there is one out there, so I just have to find it.
N: Oh yeah, that’s a great angle, because people love learning, so if the podcast makes them feel like they’re multitasking or doing something really productive, not just entertaining, then they’re going to listen even more because then they’re feeling smart.
J: Mm-hmm, true.
C: Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the reasons why we made this podcast so how-to, and not just let’s talk about the issues but not actually give you anything actionable or anything that you can take away. Because I think that that’s sometimes the worst. [laughing] When it’s just talking about something, and you don’t really get around to, I don’t know, there are a couple of podcasts that I love because they have wonderful guests and everything, but they spend the first 20 minutes talking about themselves, and it’s just not, I don’t know, I’m like, I want to know what’s going on in your life. I do. But can you give me, like, a 90-second download of it, and then let’s go? Let’s jump into the conversation?
N: Yeah, we’re not your grandma.
J: Yeah. [laughing]
C: Yeah. [laughing]
N: No, I do have to be pretty concise when I’m talking to my own grandma. She’ll keep me moving right along.
C: Oh, wow. That’s different. That’s a new one. I’d like to meet your grandma.
J: She’s amazing. Natalie’s grandma accused me of being a serial killer when we first met. It was nice. I felt warmed right into the family. It was very….
N: That’s because, and here’s why. This is really funny. Because she had heard him anecdotally say that his favorite color was blue, and then later at my bridal shower, he was complimenting the hostess and the table cloths were purple, and he was like, “Purple’s my favorite color. Those are beautiful.” And she was like, “Busted.”
J: Right. Calling me a li—just thinking that I was lying, and she’s like, because there was a re—at that time, in 2004, there was recent serial killer who was busted in Utah. So she said this person’s name, “I hope we don’t have another So-and-So on our hands.” But here’s the thing—
N: She’s a lovely lady.
J: When I was a little boy, I loved purple because I had a crush on Daphne on Scooby Doo, and then as I grew older, of course I retained my fondness for purple. It was my original favorite color, but Grandma, people are allowed to change. So my new favorite color became purple, I mean blue. Sorry. They’re both my favorite color. [laughing]
N: You’re doing it again.
J: I know, I’m doing it again. Maybe I am a serial killer. But anyway, just kidding. So it was both. Catherine’s like, “Could you guys cut all this out?”
C: [laughing] No, keep going. It’s fascinating.
J: I know. It’s just terrible.
C: Our listeners are on the edge of their seats.
J: I know. I know, they’re just like, “Wow, this is great stuff for 2019.”
N: Why did we start talking about this? Oh, grandmas.
C: Yeah. Also, I don’t think they expected to hear the words serial killer and marketing in the same podcast. So, woo! Bucket list item achieved.
J: [laughing] That’s right. That’s right.
C: We’re just being real. Which actually leads me into the next trend for 2019, which is being real, and authenticity. So I’m going to bring it back around. We’ll get back on track, listeners.
N: Sorry, Catherine.
C: Ugh, gosh, you know, I just hate talking with you guys.
J: It’s Natalie’s grandma’s fault.
C: [laughing] So authenticity, right? So we’re all very authentic if you can’t tell already. That’s the kind word for it. But authenticity has become the buzzword in the last several years, and I’m sure most of you are sick of hearing about it, because it’s all about being authentic, and telling your authentic story. I’m sick of hearing about it, right? But there’s a reason for this, which is that people are smarter than ever. They’ll see through any gimmick, any ploy, anything that’s going to entice them into making a purchase. They can just, they have an instinct for it, and the reason why was because if you think back to the 1950s or he 1960s, where there was a limited amount of where you received advertisements, which was in the paper, in your magazines, on your television, and on your radio, and perhaps through billboards. That was basically about it. Today, it’s every single place that you turn. It’s in your instant messages. It’s on the sidebars of your browsing. It’s text messages on your phone. You get sales calls. In addition to television and streaming and inserts in the DVDs you buy, and just everywhere. It’s everywhere. On the back of foods. Branded everything. So now people are just like, they’ve been conditioned to spot an ad a mile away. If you’re just real, then you’re going to earn people’s trust. If you show your cards up front, you say, “Look, I’m”—we’re going back to that poker metaphor here, right? It’s like, “I’m not bluffing. I’m here. My business is real. We’re just here to serve you.” And the most convincing authenticity campaigns are going to be ones where the people speak for you. So those reviews and those testimonials and user generated content—and not just paid influencers—those are the things that are going to really carry your business. So in 2019, this is a big thing you need to be focusing on if you own a business, which is if you do not have a reviews or testimonials strategy in place, or a case study strategy in place, or a place where people can submit and share photos and videos and stuff of them using your products without you paying them to, you need to get on that now. Because you’re already like—and this is something that is really going to make or break your business.
J: Wow. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ve been thinking about this recently, Catherine, because, okay, how does being real work? Why does that work so well for people? I think you hit the nail on the head. I think it has to do with taking down that wall, that advertisers’ wall. It’s like, okay, this isn’t a bot coming at me. This isn’t a billboard or a sign or a push notification or any of that stuff. This is a real person. You’re having that human-to-human type of interaction and connection, and that lets them in, basically.
C: Yeah, and I’m not saying you need to get rid of your marketing altogether, and if I thought that was the case, I honestly would just pack up shop and go start a farm with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. But the thing is that it’s just one of many touch points, but the touch points that really cinch and close the sale are the ones where you’re hearing about the brand from other people. It’s almost like that last chance reference to make sure the place where you’re about to spend your money is legit, and that you’re going to have a happy experience. So remember, you do need to use marketing and PR to create a variety of touch points, because people do need that average of 7-10 times of seeing your brand somewhere before they buy. But having user generated content like reviews and testimonials can really fast track that for people, and that decision making process to buy. You definitely need it as part of your overall marketing, but I just think that people who are spending millions and millions of dollars on ads could scale back just a little bit of that and put some of that money into just hiring some dedicated street teams to gather reviews, and case studies, and testimonials, and videos, and those kinds of things, like going out there and getting the content, because actually getting people to leave reviews and testimonials is like pulling teeth. You should really kind of have a way to be able to go out there proactively and remind people to do that.
N: Yeah, we had a great experience with this once. Do you guys have Noodles & Co. in North Carolina?
C: No. No, but tell me about this. I love carbs.
J: Me, too.
N: It’s this awesome little pasta restaurant franchise place, and Jason and I went there once and we were ordering, and I was like, “Hmm, I just don’t know what to get because I always get the same thing, and I wonder if I should get something different,” and it was like I had just said some magic word or something because the manager walked over, and he was like, “Any time I ever hear a customer say they’re not sure what to order because they always order the same thing, I invite them to bring 6-8 friends and come to have dinner where they can all order whatever they want and try whatever they want, and experiment with new things on our menu. This is our marketing. This is how we try to get the word out about our restaurant.”
N: So we got to go there and eat with our friends and have a great time, and that was what they did instead of commercials on TV or something like that.
J: Like a feast, they brought out tons of it, right? I mean, tons of dishes. It was amazing.
C: Wow, that sounds amazing. I love it.
J: Mm-hmm. Great example, Nat.
C: Yeah, that’s fantastic. All right, so any other 2019 predictions? I will throw in one more with social media, because we haven’t really talked about that a lot. And that is around Instagram. Everybody’s favorite platform right now, which I think is only going to get bigger over the next year. I think we’re going to see a lot more Instagram features rolling out, and especially for businesses, so there’s a lot of, you know, they introduced tap-to-buy, they introduced of course IGTV, there’s a lot of complimentary tools now to create more videos and promoting through IG Stories. But I think there’s going to be some stuff like maybe including the ability to secure top promotional photo spots and hashtag categories, or maybe there might be some sponsored visual group rooms. I wonder if they’re going to harness the same sort of group community mentality in a way that Facebook is doing it, but I think it’ll be really interesting to see how Instagram sort of compliments Facebook, and how they’re going to start overlapping in the way they treat businesses and advertising.
J: Hmm. The numbers I’m seeing, Catherine, is like Instagram is just, it’s still on the rise, and it has become, especially among what ages, like younger, teens, 20s. It’s shifted from Facebook obviously, and it’s become more Instagram followers, so yeah that’s a great place to focus.
Catherine, if I may just real quick, I’ll just throw this out there because I know we’re running long on Episode 100.
C: You can. We’ve earned this.
J: That’s true. We have. But one thing I just want to throw out for marketing and this, I know you and Natalie have already touched on this a little bit, and this is something I think that maybe the most effective companies have already been doing, but I think this is something other companies are catching onto. Because video is so hot, obviously, and this kind of hurts my old man heart, because I love audio podcasts, obviously, and I love the written word, but video is the preference. They will watch something way before they’ll read it or whatever. But what you could do with your content is have a video format, and then rip the audio from that, and have an audio format for those who like to listen while driving, like me. And then, also for the SEO boost, you can have the written version as well. So video, audio, and written. And I know this sounds very overwhelming for a team to take one piece of content, and I know you do really well at this, Catherine, with your company, with Bright Planning. You put stuff out there in different facets like that, and I think that’s very effective. Because, what we do at our company too, we have our different teams. Like we’ll have a video team, they’ll take care of that. And then we’ll have the content writers take what’s in that and do a content piece. And then we have a blog team who can take the blog form of that, and get the written version. My company doesn’t do the audio form, so I mean, they need to get into podcasting, if you ask me. But I do think that having all three of those elements is extremely effective. I think it’s just difficult for companies to buckle down and crank out and release that content in three different formats.
C: Yeah. I think content marketers and content creation agencies are actually going to become more valuable because of this sort of holy trifecta of content leveraging that you’re talking about, Jason, which is, you know, I definitely agree that we’re seeing a huge split in the way we’re marketing, because we’re no longer marketing to just one or two generations, right? We’re marketing to at least three, still technically four generations right now in the way that they’re consuming content. Also, because younger generations are starting to access more advertising than even our generation did. So I think that’s another strong case for taking a pillar piece of content, and we’ve talked about this before on the podcast, and we’ll link to a couple of those episodes in the show notes about how to repurpose your content and split it into tons of pieces. But the best thing you can do for your business is every month, identify a pillar piece of content, like something that’s going to be long, whether that’s a blog post or a video or a podcast, and then create those other pieces of content based on that pillar piece of content.
C: So for example, even with this podcast, it just naturally synced up that Andrea, who is just an amazingly gifted writer on our team, was writing a blog post about 2019 Marketing Trends at the same time we were getting ready to do this podcast, and those actually were not planned together, although typically we do that. It just happened to be sort of kismet this time. But then they will help overlap and compliment one another so that people who are readers are going to get an amazing ton of value out of the blog posts, and then the people who are just tuning into our podcast are going to be able to get what they need as well.
J: That’s right, but only the podcast listeners will get to hear about serial killers, creepy lines, poker, Kenny Rogers, and blue and purple favorite colors. Just saying.
N: Unless I edit all that out.
J: [laughing] Oh, okay. Nat’s like, “I’m cutting all that.”
C: Yeah, don’t cut all that out. It’s golden. [laughing] And Natalie, what about you? Anything else to add to the mix, or do you think that we are, we’ve got plenty of trends on the horizon for 2019?
N: Yeah, the only last thing that comes to mind right now is that you’ve got to find a way to get around the fact that people are so used to everything being free. That’s really hard, but right now, people are just spoiled to things and getting whatever they want for free, whatever information or content. So what do you think people can do to get over that hurdle?
C: Oh gosh, that’s such a huge challenge. Yeah, I feel ya, because everybody gets conditioned to think they should have things for free. They think they should have everything for free. And also, I think that lends itself a lot of negative reviews and people demanding too much. We’re in a society where people are very demanding.
C: And it’s just, it can wear down a business owner, and they start to think they’re doing something wrong by not offering a ton of stuff for free, or free shipping, or whatever. I think that you kind of have to pick and choose your battles without sacrificing your profit margins. I don’t think you have to give everything away for free. But on the flip side, you have to position yourself as a really valuable brand, and so if you’re not going to offer anything for free, or if you’re not going to provide—you still have to provide value in some way, and there are different ways to provide value. You can educate people. You can inspire people and help change or shift their mindset. You can actually provide some kind of physical value, like samples or free products or whatever, or a free consultation. That kind of thing. You can provide free shipping or something for free on the back end of the purchase, so free shipping, free follow-up or support, that kind of thing. So you kind of have to decide where in the marketing funnel something for free should and could be offered, and if it doesn’t make sense at all for your particular audience, like they’re willing to pay for everything, then don’t offer anything for free. I know that kind of goes against a lot of the marketing advice that you hear, but I think you also then have to take a stand as a brand and really position yourself as a valuable, unique brand, because if you’re not going to offer anything for free, then people don’t get a taste of how individual you are. They don’t get a chance to sample the uniqueness of your brand. Offering things for free is almost a way for people to prove themselves that they’re a different type of business, but if everybody’s offering the same thing for free, then you’re also watering down your profit margins, and then you’re starting to be competitive as a brand only on price, and that’s not a good place to be competitive. You don’t need to do price cutting, and you don’t need to be trying to undercut everybody by offering something for free if you don’t need to. So just kind of go in the opposite direction and see how that works for you, but you’re going to have to think about what you’re going to replace if you’re not offering something for free.
J: You know, I loved what you said in there about positioning your business and your product as something that’s genuinely valuable. If the listeners are interested in learning more about that, or they have time to look into this, as a case study, over the years, my podcasting mentor, Cliff Ravenscraft, the podcast answer man, he is one of the best at putting out there that, “Yes, I do offer some free things, but the products that you’re paying for, you’re paying for those because they’re genuinely valuable to you, and they will help you,” and so forth. He is so good at doing that, so anyway, that’s Cliff Ravenscraft. If you want, Catherine, we could link that in case people want to watch the way he does that. He positions that very well.
C: Oh, yeah. Cliff is amazing. Let’s definitely put that in the show notes.
J: Mm-hmm, gotcha.
N: Hey, well thanks for answering that question for me. I think that is good to know how to navigate. And oh my gosh, I’m feeling really good about next year.
C: Yeah, I know. I am, too, because we have pulled back the curtain, we’re looking at 2019 trends. I think a lot of these trends are also possible for small business owners, and because, you know, sometimes we’re seeing a lot of technology that’s really financially and physically out of the reach of your mom-and-pop Main Street businesses of America, but I think there are a lot of things now that even in your own small way, you can harness a lot of what’s happening right now and make a difference, make a difference for your business, and make a difference for your community.
N: Yeah. And we want that. We want to see you guys all thrive. We want to hear about you. So let us know what you’re doing, and what tips in this podcast have really helped you plan for next year so that you can specialize, and be authentic, and use technology, and everything else that we talked about today. So please reach out. You can email us at email@example.com. We will love it, because we’re going to take a little 8 week break, and so that will give Catherine something to do while she’s bored out of her mind not podcasting with us.
N: [laughing] Let us know what you think of this episode. Please reach out with an email, and also hop on over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a rating and review. We would really appreciate it.
C: Yeah. Oh my gosh, we’re coming to the end of our 100th episode. I just want to say first off, thanks to Natalie and Jason for being on this journey. It has been awesome so far. I’m really stoked for the third season, which, in season three, for the first time ever on this podcast, we’re going to be having interviews with marketing, and branding, and PR experts, and so we’re going to be having guests on the show.
C: So yeah, it’s going to be really fun. At the same time, I just want to say thank you to all the listeners who have been with us since the beginning, who are just now joining us, who are spread across the country, and across the world actually, far and wide. I think, last time I checked, we were quickly approaching our 10,000th listen.
J: Oh my.
C: Yeah, so thank you to all the thousands of people who have tuned in. It’s really inspiring, and we just hope to help you on your entrepreneurial journey, and on the growth of your business.
N: Yes, and also, please subscribe now so that when we come back in January, you don’t miss a beat. You definitely want to get Episode 101.
C: Oh yeah. It is going to be a good on. We’re going to kick it off with a very strong and very special guest. I’m very excited about this. So yeah, absolutely, please subscribe. Thank you again so much for tuning again, and for spending your time with us a little bit each week. And we will see you in January of 2019 kicking off Season 3, with Episode 101. In the meantime, as always, have a great week, market better, be better, and we’ll see you on Episode 101.