Trend Observations, Pt. I: To Infinity and Beyond

Since last Friday (9/28/18), I’ve been riding the high of trend observation. It’s a pretty straightforward concept: observe themes in entertainment, advertising, and your surroundings at large to establish relevant, timely trends.

What trend did I observe last week and how did it become more than just an idea and observation? Let’s get to it.

My girlfriend and I often settle down for the evening with a binge-worthy T.V. show. We had just finished watching the Hulu series Castle Rock (which I highly recommend) and were looking for the next series that would captivate us while we finished off our night with a cold one and a bag of chips. What did we find? The First, featuring Sean Penn. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it’s a story about astronauts in the near future as they plan a Mars expedition.

Because we don’t pay for the ad-free version of Hulu, we get stuck watching commercials. To clarify: Just because I’m an advertiser doesn’t mean I like commercials any more than the next person. In fact, I can honestly say I hate commercials just as much as you do, if not more. But, when the commercial for the new iPhone XS came across my television screen, inspiration ignited in my mind like a freshly struck match. I thought of the soon to be released movie First Man and the film’s premise (The Apollo XI mission). I thought of The First. I thought of the iPhone XS advertisement. Epiphany: Space is in. Space is the trend.

So, that’s how I realized the trend, but what happened following the observation? Implementation, baby. Implementation and inspiration.

For our client, AO® Eyewear Inc., we created a social media campaign which I’ve affectionately titled “See New Worlds”. Our image content was space-themed and our audience is comprised of people with interests like, NASA, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Neil Armstrong, Cape Canaveral, etc. We’ve yet to launch this campaign, but audiences will be sure to see it within the next week or so. I’ll be making another entry in this blog following the results of this campaign, and I’m hoping they’ll be out of this world (pun intended).

So, in partial conclusion, inspiration and trend observation can be found anywhere and at any time, you’ve just got to be perceptive enough to notice.

Eric Troy

A master at bending plywood to his will, Eric is also a fledgling writer. Stick around so that you don’t miss the moment when his ideas take flight.


AO Eyewear Block Island Photo Shoot

20 sunglass styles, 18 hours, 7 models, 5 crew members, 3 vintage cars, 1 legendary photoshoot. Check out this behind the scenes look at our recent lifestyle shoot on beautiful Block Island for our client American Optical Eyewear.

Brent Martino

How can so much mystery fit into his earthly frame? Who is the man behind the unicorn mask? Is it a mask? The world may never know.


Paris Marketing is pleased to welcome Account Manager, Amy Berube.

An alumna of UMass Dartmouth, Amy is experienced in helping to develop and manage campaigns for clients across a wide range of physical and digital communication platforms, from trade shows and social media, to email and websites. Her skill set also includes audit and marketing analytics, which she uses to uncover insights that help clients to manage their brands with greater accuracy. When she learned that Paris Marketing was seeking an account manager with a desire to declare war on bad ideas, she knew she had found her home. Here’s what Amy had to say:

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Paris Marketing team! I’m excited to expand my skillset as an Account Manager, and to apply my knowledge of product development and professional services marketing to give our clients the best possible support.”
– Amy Berube

A champion for professional development as well, Amy continues to bolster her expertise by taking classes at Hootsuite Academy, achieving her Social Marketing Certification in 2017. With an eye for detail and genuine desire to help our clients thrive, Amy has quickly settled into the energetic, fast-paced culture of agency life.

Congratulations Amy, you’re now a member of an exclusive club; you are a #CreativeBrandWarrior!

Learn more about Amy and other members of the Paris Marketing tribe.


Content Marketing

5 Things to Know About Content Marketing.

First off, I’m a big fan of content marketing. I believe when done well it works for many. Done poorly, it’s a huge waste of time and money. Having said that, I’m not a huge fan of many content marketing agencies. I find many overpromise the effectiveness of content marketing as well as the level of time and money required to implement a successful program. If your company is considering a content marketing strategy you need to first make sure it’s right for you. As Flava Flav said “don’t believe the hype”.

Over the last several years, I have been pitched just about every content marketing platform out there, and I’ve worked on many different content marketing strategies for clients. Over time, I have learned much about the benefits and pitfalls of content marketing. Here are the five content marketing questions you should know the answers to before you pull out your checkbook.

What’s the total cost of a content marketing program?
Let’s get the question of budget out of the way first since budget is one of two things that prevent many content marketing programs from getting off the ground. Content marketing IS expensive. First, there is the cost of the platform. For packages that include the most-needed features, the top platforms charge between $800 and $3,000 per month. Many also have add-on features for additional cost as well as upcharges for more contacts. There’s also usually some sort of onboarding or training that is typically an extra charge.

There is another major cost associated with content marketing and that’s agency fees. Unless you plan to manage your content marketing in-house, you will need to pay someone to create all of your content, build landing pages, track results, build workflows, and report analytics. This gets expensive fast. The more you blog, the more content you put out, the bigger the chance you have to generate leads. But all that content comes at a cost. Make sure you have the budget to create the content you need to make this successful.

Many marketing tools are expensive, so is the expense worth it? It all comes down to ROI and what a sale is worth to you. If you’re in an industry where a single consulting gig can be worth tens of thousands, then spending 15 or 20k a year on a platform plus the cost of developing content, can be worth the investment if it means additional sales you wouldn’t have gotten without content marketing. If you are a smaller business with lower dollar sales, your mileage will vary, so be sure to weigh the costs vs. benefits of content marketing.

How much time does it take?
A lot, at least at first. It takes at least a couple of months to set up the platform. The basic setup is pretty easy; but once that’s done, you need to create templates for emails and landing pages, develop calls to action, create workflows, set up your analytics, connect your CRM if needed, and do all the training. You also have to create a good deal of content—blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, case studies, videos, etc.—these things take time. If you choose to do this in-house, you need time for your people to create this content. If you hire an agency, you will typically generate content faster, but it will cost you.

I find what often works best is to split the difference. No one knows your product or service better than you. Spend time creating the basic content, then give it to your agency so that they can turn it into beautiful content your prospects will want to download. You can also use content development companies like https://contentwriters.com/ who work on a pay-per-post model.

What if we can’t handle all the leads?
If by some miracle you get so many leads you can’t handle it, you should remind yourself that there are much worse problems to have. Luckily (or unluckily) this rarely happens. Will you get leads? Probably. Will there be so many that you can’t handle it? Probably not. If you are talking to a rep from one of the platforms or an agency pitching you on content marketing and they tell you that a content marketing program is going to bring in tons of leads and you barely have to do anything, you should run. Content marketing is just another tactic, that’s all it is. If content marketing was a guarantee of leads, everyone would do it and we would all be rich. Like all other marketing tactics, leads take work.

In reality, content marketing isn’t about pulling in mega leads; it’s about pulling in useful leads that you can walk through your sales funnel to weed out the bad prospects and end up with a handful of qualified leads who are actually interested in spending money on your product or service. This saves your sales team some leg work. Make sure your agency and/or platform provider gives you an honest answer on what to expect from your content marketing.

Content marketing will replace “blank”.
You have to love a marketer’s optimism. Everything new will replace everything old. Everything new and shiny is the best. Everything old sucks. Over the last 20 years, I have been assured that computers will replace paper; they didn’t. The internet will kill TV; it didn’t. Billboards are over; they aren’t. Content marketing will crush everything; it won’t. As I mentioned before, content marketing is a tactic, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not going to replace your sales team, or your website, or anything else. Marketing is a strategy that achieves an objective, everything else is a tactic to help make that strategy work.

Don’t be convinced it’s more than what it is, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Content marketing won’t replace other tactics, but it is a great way to tie them all together. Add a URL or QR code to your print materials to drive users to a landing page where you can capture their information. Offer a whitepaper or other download as the call to action for your YouTube videos or tv commercials. Don’t think of it as a replacement. Instead, figure out ways to combine tactics to make the most out of all of your marketing efforts.

Is Content marketing dead?
It’s not. It’s a little older and wiser, but it’s not dead. Just a few short years ago, content marketing was the new kid on the block. Content was king and the companies who did it well were pulling in tons of leads. Sure, there was a time—as there is with all new tactics—that content marketing was a novelty. Many companies did well with it at first. More companies implemented it and now it doesn’t work as well, how come? It’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s just harder to stand out. You are competing with massive amounts of content so you need to make sure you stand out. Put out quality content that’s useful to the prospect. Add content regularly and make sure it looks great. People are visual, no one wants to read the ugly whitepaper you made in Word.

Conclusion
Overall, I am still a big fan of content marketing. When done well, it can generate results. Just make sure you know what you are getting into. Make sure your agency and the platform vendor are honest with you. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Marketing takes work, content marketing is no exception. Measure your ROI!

My recommendation
My favorite platform is HubSpot. It isn’t the cheapest (it’s also not the most expensive), but the software is elegant, easy to use (with training), they have great support, and I feel they are honest when it comes to setting expectations. As far as my favorite agency goes, that’s ummmm…oh yeah, Paris Marketing of course.

Brent Martino

How can so much mystery fit into his earthly frame? Who is the man behind the unicorn mask? Is it a mask? The world may never know.


Paris Marketing Welcomes Alexandra Grimaldo to the Tribe!

As our company grows, we add another member to the team in our battle against bad marketing.

Paris Marketing’s army continues to grow with the team’s newest addition, Junior Graphic Designer, Alexandra Grimaldo. Alex graduated from Stonehill College in 2017, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design. While studying for her degree, Alex was creating captivating graphics for small companies across Cape Code such as ARTichoke and Cape Cod Beach Chair Company. After graduation, she worked briefly with hosted event company, AE Ventures, but when she heard the Creative Brand Warriors at Paris Marketing were seeking a graphic designer, she jumped at the opportunity. Here’s what Alex had to say:

“I am beyond excited to have joined the Paris Marketing team! This opportunity allows me to create innovative ideas, learn from others, and create visuals that represent each of our clients in their own individual way.”

– Alexandra Grimaldo

Alex wasted no time in making a name for herself, quickly designing graphics that made a mark on audiences everywhere. Whether creating an eye stopping infographic for a law firm, or digitally editing an astounding photo of a magnificent historical building for a nonprofit organization, her imaginative ability and consideration of our clients’ desires puts her miles ahead of others in her field. Through her work, Alex represents Paris Marketing’s diverse array of clientele desires and brand goals to perfection.

Alex brings to the table a clear eye for visual presentation, enticing viewers with her work wherever it’s encountered. Her cheerful, polite, and soft-spoken disposition, coupled with an unsurpassable determination to create a lasting impression through visual presentation, make this Creative Brand Warrior an invaluable asset to the team and a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations Alex, we look forward to seeing you prosper with Paris Marketing. You’re a true #CreativeBrandWarrior!

Learn more about Alex and other members of the Paris Marketing tribe.


Testimonial 4

“We reached out to Paris in need of last minute graphics to help us stand out at Social Media Marketing World. The team at Paris was able to quickly produce stunning graphics and help us meet our tight deadline in time for the show!”

Bradley Yeater – Marketing Manager
GaggleAMP


Testimonial 3

“Lisa and her super team at Paris Marketing has an extraordinary knack of understanding her client’s brand. Her product isn’t about the everyday; it is about pushing you to look beyond what most designers are thinking. They keep their promises in delivering creative and timely designs while leading their clients to present a sophisticated and honest face to the market.”

Traballo


Testimonial 2

“We rely on BlueHive for trade show support and social media guidance. Their experience and professionalism is unmatched and has helped our company to reach our goals.”

PTS Diagnostics


Testimonial 1

“The team at Paris consistently delivers on both big ideas and tiny details. Their experience and knowledge within the B2B industry gave us the confidence to trust their vision.”

Thomas DeCotis
CEO, DeCotis Specialty


What Will Digital Be Like In 100 Years?

I wish I could answer this question but with the speed that digital is moving, I don’t think it’s possible to answer. Chances are, there are many technologies that will be in play in the future that no one has even dreamed of yet. Trying to imagine 100 years in the future, in the context of today’s technology, is a crap shoot. We can however, make some guesses based on what exists today as to where current technology will likely lead us. Please don’t hold me to this, I’m still mad at the people who predicted flying cars and jet packs when I was a kid. I still don’t have either.

The Internet
The web seems like a good place to start. I can’t imagine the web is going anywhere in the next hundred years. It remains to be seen what will happen if and when Net Neutrality goes away but let’s assume it doesn’t. Aside from speed and capacity continuing to grow, I think the biggest change will be how we interact with the internet. Looking at the past 25 years, we started from being tethered to a desktop connected to a dialup modem through a copper phone line. Next, we moved to Wi-Fi and laptops, then quickly to mobile and broadband. In a hundred years, I think we will all be wired into the net. I say this because devices are cumbersome and mind-based connectivity would seem to be the most logical step. A quick Google search shows this is already being worked on. Two examples: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/scientists-connect-human-brain-internet-first-time/ and https://www.recode.net/2017/3/27/15079226/elon-musk-computers-technology-brain-ai-artificial-intelligence-neural-lace

The pros of this would be amazing—access to all the worlds information would be a thought away, real-time translation would allow everyone to talk together regardless of language, the blind could navigate without sight, personal health monitors could constantly monitor your body and call an ambulance before a heart attack. It’s endless where the possibilities could go.

The cons however are scary. We could be monitored wherever we go; advertisers would forget about targeting you in Facebook because they could target your subconscious while you slept. Imagine how powerful it would be to advertise Egg McMuffins to you while you sleep. Guess where you are going to want to go when you wake up…that’s right, McDonalds. As amazing as the pros of being wired into the net 24/7 would be, the ability for this technology to be abused would be huge. Let’s hope future generations are smart enough to put safeguards in place.

Mobile
With the introduction of smart phones, mobile devices have become a huge part of our lives. I still remember the first time I used a cell phone to get on the internet. I was fishing with my daughter and got bored by the lack of fish. I had an LG 9200 in green—it was slow, rendered like hell, and although it wasn’t much of an experience, I still thought it was amazing to be sitting at a pond and connecting to the internet.

As amazing as these devices are, I think the age of the smart phone will be short because at some point, carrying around a device just makes no sense. If you had asked me several years ago what the next step would be, I would have said phones would move to thin film-based devices; but even these would still be cumbersome.

With the advent of augmented reality, I think that in the next 10 years, we will move to contact lens-based augmented reality devices. Imagine a device that allows you to see an extra layer of information over the real world. No longer would you have to look at a device as the content would be readily available in your line of sight. The next logical step after this would be to wire our minds into the net. I don’t see this taking even close to 100 years to become a reality. Check out this example of a contact lens-based computer.

Digital Advertising
Those of us who work in digital can see where advertising is headed. Our devices already listen to us and in some cases, see us. They know our likes and dislikes better than we do. Services like Facebook and Google collect massive amounts of data which advertisers are happy to shell out money for. Right now, advertisers are targeting fairly broad user personas, but soon they will be able to target us individually and vary the advertising we see based on our personalities. Unless there is some future regulatory push to minimize this, I fear it will only get worse and more invasive. For example, we currently have internet connected refrigerators that can tell us when we are out of milk. We aren’t far away from a time when they will also suggest a brand of milk or the store where we should purchase this.

The internet of things is great because it connects everything, but I can easily imagine a future where all these things track us and advertise to us. If you’re tired of TV commercials, just wait till your lamp starts advertising bulbs to you. Learn about IOT and the future of advertising. 

Payments
Before money, we traded with each other. I needed a sword, you needed a goat; I brought you a goat and you made me a sword. Unfortunately, paying for things with goats is very inconvenient. So next came currency in the form of gold, silver, jewels, etc. This was more convenient than livestock but still a pain to carry around, and you could lose it or get robbed. We then moved to paper money, then checks, and credit/debit cards. This was an improvement but they can still be lost or stolen. Now we are moving onto phone-based payment systems, crypto currencies like Bitcoin, and RFID technology. And although this advancement is better, issues still remain.

I see more and more stores adding self-checkouts and in a hundred years, I imagine we will try and connect payments with automated payment systems. Some form of biological implant or other technology will be able to identify us, and debit our bank accounts when we need to pay for something. People will likely just walk out the door to make a purchase. There will no longer be a cashier and it will be difficult for someone to steal your money or identity when you carry it inside of you. Again, this technology can be abused for tracking and advertising purposes. It’s far less than 100 years away and is being tested today in fact: http://www.zdnet.com/article/32m-employees-offered-biochip-hand-implants-for-work-monitoring-payments/

Video, AR, and VR
In the previous century, we went from the telegraph to radio to movies, from black and white to color TV. This took the better part of 60 years. In the first 18 years of this century, we have gone from CRT monitors to flat screens, from HD to 4k resolution, and have also moved into augmented reality and virtual reality. In the next 100 years, I see all these technologies merging to create completely immersive experiences—three-dimensional TV and movies you can watch from any angle. Targeted content will soon be available as augmented reality wherever you go.

High-definition virtual reality that immerses you will soon be in our future. Imagine visiting a museum where you receive a personal tour by a three-dimensional tour guide or a future classroom: one minute you’re at your desk and the next minute, you’re in ancient Rome to study the colosseum. Star Trek-like holodecks for training, entertainment, relaxation may soon be a possibility; it’s virtually limitless where these technologies will go. Here are some of the experts’ predictions about VR.

Conclusion
I could keep going, I haven’t even mentioned self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, or a million other things. The point is, technology is moving exponentially faster. What we have today will morph into yet unimagined technologies. Things will be so different in another hundred years, most of us couldn’t even begin to imagine the possibilities. For those of us that work in advertising and marketing, each new or improved technology provides us with new opportunities and challenges. And for society in general, each new advancement will provide benefits and challenges that will need to be sorted out by us as a whole.

Brent Martino

How can so much mystery fit into his earthly frame? Who is the man behind the unicorn mask? Is it a mask? The world may never know.