Ideas to share

Increased consumer optimism with vaccines, however many concerns remain

Check out the latest survey information from Engine Insights (Representative sample of the U.S. population N=1,000) below. The vaccine news this week has 73% of the U.S. population feeling optimistic that these vaccines will bring the pandemic to an end within 6 months. 67% believe life will return to normal after the vaccine is available. However, the short-term is still scary to many people. 85% are still concerned about COVID-19, with 81% concerned about new lockdowns due to COVID-19 spikes.

As you forecast sales for consumer driven businesses in 2021, it may be May/June for demand to begin return to normal, but the data suggests it could bounce back quickly at that point. Until then, showing continued sensitivity in marketing messaging + providing continued COVID-related support for customers/community are the right things to do.

The Pulse of the American Consumer wk 37 engine insights

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What does the new consumer privacy rights act in CA mean for digital marketing?

On November 3, California voters passed Proposition 24 (California Privacy Rights Act – CPRA) to expand consumer privacy protections. It builds on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) from 2018 to make California law similar to the European Union (GDPR). It will allow consumers to stop businesses from selling or sharing their personal information (like race, religion, geographic location, and sexual orientation). One of the biggest changes is expand protection from “selling” to “selling or sharing” which includes sharing information with agencies and media companies. It imposes greater fines on companies that break these rules and also creates a new agency that will help enforce these laws.

Some additional details that advertisers should be aware of include:
-Making advertisers get permission before collecting data from consumers who are younger than 16 or from a parent or guardian before collecting data from consumers who are younger than 13
-Providing consumers with an “opt-out” option for having their personal information used for advertising or marketing
-Preventing advertisers from sharing a consumer’s personal information upon the consumer’s request and mandating advertisers correct inaccurate personal information upon request
-Establishing new guidelines for “opt-out” links
-Limiting use of certain “sensitive personal information,” like precise location, race, religion, sexual orientation, social security information, specified health information and other categories of personal information
-Setting time limits for retention of personal information
-Increasing penalties for violations in certain situations
-Removing the ability of businesses to fix violations before penalization

The CPRA applies to businesses that:
-Have gross annual revenue of over $25 million.
-Buy, receive, or sell the personal information of 100,000 or more California residents, households, or devices or that derive 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling or sharing California residents’ personal information.

The CPRA will begin in 2023, so there is time to prepare. Some things that advertisers can do include:
-Make sure you have a clear way for consumers to “opt out” of the sharing of their information (like a “pop up” notice on your site informing visitors of your privacy policy including CPRA guidelines and noting consumers’ right to “opt out” with instructions)
-Make sure your partners have strong privacy policies and comply with CPRA
-Monitor and adjust to new policies and targeting changes from Facebook, Google and other media companies. The CRPA will block companies like Fthis from collecting advertising data without consent. This may force them to change their business models or cut into revenue. In a Biden administration, advertisers should expect to see these same privacy guidelines expand nationwide.

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Changing role of SEO with Google policy changes

This interesting post from gives a history of how Google has changed their page design, algorithms and business models over the years. The latest shift prioritizes paid advertising and Google shopping over organic results, so it is more difficult to get a high ranking/position in search results for high volume keywords.  This means higher priority on using long-tail terms in SEO and more emphasis on paid search programs.


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QR Codes are making a comeback

In the past 2 years, QR codes have made a come back due to:

  1. Ability of iPhones and Android phone to scan codes with the standard camera vs. separate app
  2. Increased demand for no touch solutions during COVID-19

The number of advertisers using QR codes increased 160% in Q2 2020 vs. year ago while the number of impressions increased 62% (Media Post).  Some areas of increased usage include signs at public places, restaurants, and retail as well as usage in TV commercials as a way to get people online faster and track ad performance without using a complicated custom url for every spot.

From a consumer perspective, MobileIron completed a survey of +2,000 consumers and found:

  • 54% have seen increase in QR codes since COVID
  • Top places they’ve seen QR codes are restaurants, retailers, banks, doctor’s office, and packaging
  • 67% feel that QR codes make life easier
  • 58% would like to see them used more
  • People are less comfortable using QR codes for payments or voting, but can see doing it in the future

Here is a link to the full research report.

If you haven’t started using QR codes again, you should consider ways it can enhance and expedite your connection to your audience.

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Instagram tracking to pass Twitter as a news source

Since 2014, the % of internet users who use Instagram to access news has increased from 2% to 11%. Instagram is now on par with Twitter (12% of internet users use it for news) and is tracking to pass it.  Advertisers should consider the tone of their message and brand safety issues as the content and usage of Instagram shifts in the coming years.

See chart here:Twitter vs. IG for news

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According to CMOs, COVID-19 has increased the importance of branding

New survey of of 432 marketing executives in North America, the U.K.,France and Germany at companies with $500 million to $20 billion or more annual revenue by Gartner. The study outlines the immediate impact on marketing strategies and spending as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and CMOs’ expectations of the future — how budgets, spending and strategic priorities will evolve heading into 2021.

Key highlights:

  • 33% cited brand strategy as their most vital strategic capability (the #1 capability, significantly higher vs. 2019)
  • Brand health and competitive benchmarking ranked as the top 2 metrics
  • 44% are facing mid-year budget cuts as a direct result of COVID-19, 11% facing major cuts of more than 15% of budget
  • 73% expect COVID-19 near-term negative impact to be short-lived
  • Top positive reactions to COVID-19:
    1. Launched special COVID-19 communications to customers
    2. Deployed listening tools to monitor customer COVID-19 sentiment or trends
    3. Developed scenarios for planning purposes
  • Top negative reactions to COVID-19:
    1. Canceled or postponed customer-facing marketing events
    2. Delayed a campaign launch
    3. Reduced permanent, temporary and contractor head count

Download the full report here:

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Stoic wisdom – Staying calm when the rest of the world is freaking out

Great post from Ryan Holiday to consider as we are faced with the pandemic and social unrest.  He shares nine quotes from ancient Greek philosophers that offer advice that is very helpful today.

  1. Accept What’s Outside Of Your Control, Get To Work On What Is
  2. Focus On The Smallest Thing You Can Do Right Now
  3. Examine The Costs Of Panicking Or Emotional Reaction
  4. Seek Stillness
  5. Have Confidence In Your Ability To Make The Best Of Anything
  6. Limit Your News Consumption
  7. Stick To A Routine
  8. Take Care Of Your Relationships
  9. Dead Time Or Alive Time?

Read the full post here.

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The magic of kindness

Below is a great 2019 TED talk from Holocaust survivor Werner Reich. It is a short video (under 10 minutes) that shows how a small, kind act can inspire a lifetime of compassion. As we enter into a pandemic where there will be an enormous amount of fear, this video helps remind us what a big impact that understanding and small acts of kindness can make.

Watch the video here.

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A new benchmark for consumer loyalty programs in aesthetics

Allergan just announced an upgrade to their Brilliant Distinctions patient loyalty program with a rebrand to Alle. The new program:

  • Covers all products so the company can better cross sell device and injectable treatments
  • Is streamlined and faster, reducing manual steps for practices and sales reps
  • Is more user-friendly for patients with checkout under 1 minute
  • Offers other deals based on consumer interests (vacations and movies)

Consumer membership has grown to over 6 million with 25,000 providers participating. The new program will fully roll out this summer and likely build on these numbers.  If you are an aesthetic manufacturer, you should take a look and see how you might upgrade your own program.

The full press release is here.


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