Sunday, February 26, 2017

What New Skills Would I Apply at Past Jobs?

The years are starting to pass faster and faster but this old dog is still learning new tricks. I'm glad to have the opportunity to constantly add new skills (while gaining a better understanding of old skills).

It seems that each time I gain a new skill, I catch myself imagining how great it would have been to have that knowledge in the past. With that in mind, here are the 3 things I know now that would have gone a long way towards helping me perform better in past roles.


In the past, I conducted a lot of email campaigns and always used Google Analytics to gauge the traffic produced by the emails to my employer's website. But, that was done a very high level. I now have a better understanding of how tagged URLs (aka UTM parameters) can provide very granular details about the clicks from a button, link, image, etc.

Using a URL builder is pretty self-explanatory but there are a lot of helpful videos on YouTube that explain how these types of URLs work.


Because of technology limitations, the customer journey for many of my past digital campaigns did not extend beyond a visit to a website. The call-to-action in search ads or banner ads was most often something along the lines of "click for more info". I now know the value of having an online "finish line" that will enable shoppers to carry out their purchase online.  Not only does this provide a more satisfying, productive experience, it also makes it possible for marketers to report all the way to the end of the shopping journey and show the impact of the digital campaign. Which leads me to my last point...


I learned early on about the default targeting options associated with most digital tactics - such as geographic location, gender or age. I've since learned that online targeting capabilities can go much scary levels, actually! In more recent roles, I've benefited from more precise targeting as well as tagging digital campaigns that help monitor ad performance from the beginning to the end of campaigns. To me, targeting and tagging go hand-in-hand.

I didn't write this post to knock my former employers or harp about how limited my knowledge used to be. The fact is that I continue to learn each day and I'm thankful to all of the people that have helped me along the way.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

One Unique Vlogger

In the world of content, bloggers are still important providers of information (hi!) but the rise of vloggers cannot be discounted. It makes sense to see more vloggers coming onto the scene given our shorter attention spans and preferences to watching over reading. What intrigues me is the way toy manufacturers have pounced on this medium – and smartly so.

There are vloggers for just about every subject matter: food, video games, lumberjacks and more. In addition to being a great creative outlet, #YouTubeMoney is also a big influence behind the increase of vloggers. The following video does a great job of explaining the confusion about the amount of money YouTubers can make. You can watch the full video here but I really want you to drink in these stats about a particular vlogger that’s popular in my home:

There are a lot of highly-viewed YouTubers with which I am totally unfamiliar but thanks to my son, I’ve been aware of the Ryan ToysReview channel since his channel was created in March of 2015. As a matter of fact, I believe my son is responsible for 25% of those views mentioned in the video above!

Here’s the gist: Ryan’s videos aren’t really product reviews. They’re really just videos of him playing with all kinds of great toys. The footage is presented along with cheerful music and respectable (but not flashy) video effects that appeal to children. I’ve always gotten the sense that this channel grew from videos of Ryan enjoying his toys, recorded by his mom as all moms do. Once the number of views started piling up, Ryan’s mom upped her editing skills.

How Toy Manufacturers Come Into Play

If you haven’t taken a trip to Toys”R”Us lately, let me tell you that the toys featured in Ryan’s videos are EXPENSIVE. It’s not likely or feasible that all of these toys are purchased. I imagine that toy manufacturers are taking note of Ryan’s high number of video views and identifying his YouTube channel as an additional marketing avenue. With this in mind, they supply complimentary toys to be featured in his videos. Ryan probably gets to keep the toys, his mom gets #YouTubeMoney and the manufacturer’s products are seen by children from around the world.

In order to continue receiving free toys to review, it would make sense for Ryan’s mom to boost the number of channel views as much as possible, right? That’s why I think it’s even more interesting to take a look at how Ryan’s channel is promoted. Look in the description of Ryan’s latest video and you’ll find a long list of links to his other videos. Not his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Branding be damned, that’s a smart way to add quick views.

More evidence that Ryan’s video views take precedence over branding:
  • The weird phrasing of his YouTube channel’s name. Be sure to note that it is Ryan ToysReview and not Ryan’s Toy Reviews. When researching Ryan’s channel for this post, my instincts steered me to input the latter into my search query. Ryan’s website URL (which features the same weird phrasing) isn’t the first listing on results page - - his videos receive top ranking. That’s either a convenient coincidence or a very cunning approach to the Google search algorithm. (Also, at the time of this post, the website URL redirects to the YouTube channel's URL.)
  • His Twitter Feed. Each tweet is just a link to the latest video on the YouTube channel. The Twitter account seems to serve no other purpose. 
  • His Instagram Feed. Only one photo that’s almost a year old. 
  • His Facebook Feed. Very sporadic links to videos with little-to-no responses to the numerous comments each post garners. 
Ryan is unique vlogger in that his video views soar to new heights without much promotion from other social media channels. Such support may not be needed since his primary audience does not use social media. 

Ryan’s videos inform viewers like my son about the latest toy trends. Because of Ryan and his “reviews”, my son has knowledge of toys without ever seeing said toys in a store or TV commercial. Toy manufacturers know this all too well - - and so do vloggers. I am impressed with the way the two sides work hand-in-hand, knowing their success depends on each other.

As impressed as I am with the manufacturer/vlogger relationship, I’m equally disappointed for Ryan on special days. Can you imagine how much of a letdown his birthday and Christmas must be if he gets to play with new toys almost every other day of the year?

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Random Post Time

The 6-month (!!!) span between this post and my last entry correlates with a lot of activity on the home front and at work. I've also struggled finding topics to cover. I've always tried to center on advertising techniques that I find interesting or tactics that I want to learn more about. The point of this post is to bust the atrophy off my writing muscles. I'll do that by touching on a few topics that I've considered covering on this blog. Maybe I'll expound on these topics in their own posts. This post, however, scores off the Randometer charts. Sorta like this Bitmoji.

(Some friends at work introduced me to Bitmojis, which may or may not have contributed to that 6-month span.)

Sports Cards and Marketing

Growing up, baseball card collecting was a huge hobby of mine. I spent hours reading the stats on the back of cards and looking over every last detail of the photos on the front of the cards. It's hard to imagine getting so much enjoyment out of pieces of cardboard. The internet was not a thing yet so all that I learned about the hobby came from interacting with my friends. I was recently served the following ad while killing time on YouTube.

Sports cards have changed and so have the marketing efforts of card companies.

Instagram Frustration

I want to keep my Instagram profile public so I can continue embedding posts from my account. Unfortunately, some very questionable accounts have declared open season on my profile. Anyone can follow my public profile without requesting permission and boy do I attract some weirdos. I'm certain these are not actual people - they're obviously phony profiles. Each one has zero posts and zero followers but are following several hundred accounts.

I'm blocking most of these followers but if you know of a way I can fend off these weirdos while keeping my profile public, please leave me a tip in the comments!


So NIKE just announced that they will no longer manufacture golf clubs, balls or bags. They will continue to make golf shoes and apparel.

I think a lot of people share my stance on NIKE's equipment. I don't think the lack of equipment will hinder the success of their shoes and apparel. I've been a fan of both and have never owned a NIKE club.

Yep. Played on the Farm Links greens today!

A photo posted by Nick Baggett (@nick_baggett) on

Jim Varney

I was flipping TV channels the other day and came across the description for the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies movie, in which Jim Varney played the lead role. I never realized that he starred in any movies other than his "Earnest" films. Where a lot of people remember him for his movie roles, I remember Varney more for his 1980s television commercials. I've written before about the risks of celebrity endorsements and the safety of character endorsements. Reading up on Varney, I learned that he was a central part in a unique marketing strategy that enabled him to gain acting work across the country because he was not (yet) a nationally-recognized figure. This interview touches on that concept:

This approach allowed the commercial directors to use the same story frame for multiple ads and products.

For example, here's a local ad for Doubles Pizza.

And here's the same type of ad for Mello Yello.

Wonder why Vern was always on his roof?? And will we see a return to this kind of simple character endorsements?

OK, told you this post was going to be chopped full of randomness. I hope to return to consistent posting now!