Consider Fixing Education

Photo of game play.

Fix education or spend more on military and arm yourselves.

Ask Ukrainians if they prefer public school or military training. After fighting their entire lives ask if they want to shorten or elongate the war. The process of winning a long war against 200k Russian soldiers continues. Ukraine, with 40+million civilians would likely win. But are they educated enough to get out of this now protracted war.

What happens when you push a bear into a corner? Does your education tell you that you get peace or bombs. So many smart people running around talking economic whatever when the only discussion is crypto’s relationship to nuclear warheads.

Cryptophobes do not make good negotiators or military strategist. It’s like asking the state of Hawaii to manage your hemp industry. No one wins, ever. Right now would be a good time to have more high school graduates.

On Facebook and Twitter, Oleksii Reznikov offered 5 million Russian rubles and full amnesty to soldiers if they, “put down their guns and voluntarily surrender to prison.”

The system of sending your kids into a bad education system so you can pay for life ie; having kids is not working. And that right there is the reason we print money instead of earning it in america -confusion among voters. As the world’s largest energy exporter americans should vote for people who will completely destroy the department of education and build the world’s best education system. Save nothing. Learn to thrive.

Let’s Talk SLAs – Service Level Agreements

NASA image of Earth from low Earth orbit (LEO)

Service Level Agreements between a business owner and service provider can be expensive. It’s one of the top IT expenses for many growing businesses. SLAs play an important role for businesses that cannot afford to lose online services. Or a more accurate description would be, businesses that want to be compensated when services go down.

Disruptions to online shops, automated services, communications, productivity, it goes on and on. The more you rely on revenue from the Internet, the more you are susceptible. Some of the most frequent and worst outages occur at the Internet backbone level. This is where access to the internet becomes slow or unavailable. A service disruption at Amazon is more likely and could affect your marketing emails served by smaller provider who rely on those services. For example, an automated email scheduled to send from MailChimp could be delayed as a result of an Amazon service disruption. As we centralize storage and computing of data at large data warehouses like Amazon and Google a chain reaction occurs during downtime. For example, your website is hosted at a Google Data Center in Iowa. Other major hosting providers like Siteground host in the same data center. Once broken the chain can affects everything all the way down to your smartwatch. So SLAs are important to hedge against lost service. Our Google Workspace and Google Cloud Compute clients have SLAs. But the actual value of these SLAs primarily exist in very large budgets when millions of user accounts are affected.

We could provide and have provided SLAs to clients. Today the costs are often prohibitive. Over the years downtime at hosting providers has become less of an issue as they move to larger data centers with redundancy. An SLA costing $500 to $750 per month could give you peace of mind but it’s likely not what you think or what you need.

If we sold you an SLA we would be promising you monetary compensation if our services go down. The realized benefit is limited because disruptions and outages are calculated on a monthly basis. An hour of downtime on a busy Monday morning may not result in compensation unless the downtime resulted in an average monthly uptime drop below say, “95%”.

Because we use Google services for your platform we, like you are still at the mercy of the providers to restore service during an outage. When a service disruption occurs we also wait for service to be restored. We would check last backup integrity, monitor and report progress. This is good for peace of mind but it’s not great for your R.O.I. Especially considering Google service disruptions affect our clients a couple times every few years.

For example, the huge service outage you may have read about last night caused gmail to go down for a small portion of users for 24 minutes. The truth is very different from the stories, at least that’s what we see in your dashboards. For example, this so-called, “widespread outtage” was likely imperceivable by any of our clients or their team members. We hear things like, “yeah, google was acting a little funky” but we cannot be 100% certain the funkiness was a Google issue.

In fact, your Google Admin Dashboard is nearly always above 99.00%. Again, this is calculated over a month so as always the details reveal the real issue. In this case the 1% of downtime experienced in 2020 could happen at the exact time you are trying to warn your team about a virus circulating through your office wi-fi. In this case 1% downtime can be incredibly frustrating and the SLA would automatically credit your account for a few days or dollars of service time. The $2-$5 dollars compensation or free day of service essentially nullifies the value of the SLA. What you really want is someone to be responsible for monitoring and reporting problems to you that are affecting your online business. That’s what we do for managed hosting and marketing services for clients. It’s less of a feature and more of a commitment.

For the reasons mentioned above, uptime is of course critical during certain minutes of the day. But disruption or outtage reporting should not cost you $500 per month. Especially for a healthy business with great backup and retore processes. What you really want is to only pay for SLA services during a problem. It doesn’t mean your other software and hardware doesn’t experience downtime and we’re available to help. Your Google Workspace Account is covered by this SLA.

That’s exactly what our managed hosting clients receive. We don’t report issues that do not and likely will not ever affect your business. From time zone and data center locations to the way you use Google services in your business, you simply do not need to know when the Singapore data center is having a ten minute service disruption for 10% of local users in Singapore at 3am HST. You need to know your online business is protected with standard operating procedures that work. Especially your website security. Security is a much larger threat and a considerable amount of energy is placed in your website security. You really want to know your data is safe. That’s what we do and that’s what you get when you trust us with your online business services. Your security information is always available in your WordPress dashboard. You can always take a look at the Google Workspace Status Dashboard and make your own decision.

But we also want to hear your experience. Did you notice any service disruption? Any funkiness in your Google services i.e.; Gmail, Drive/Docs/Sheets, Calendar or other on any device?

Gratitude for Data and You

2017 End of Year Gratitude for Data and Clients

Gratitude for Data and YouThe end of the year for small business owners is an important reflection period. We reflect on our direction for the coming year. We reflect on our achievements in service to our customers and we reflect on the aspects of our business that resulted in new business.

2017 marked a seminal year in the aggregation, dissemination and use of facts in local marketing in Hawaii. 2017 marked a shift in awareness for business owners and it seems Google, our largest data provider for client efforts, agrees.

Google is sharing a year-end review that I feel would be helpful for our clients. It’s always important to keep these facts in the context of our local markets. Our values and our customers are unique.

“Local” rules our decisions and sales. Tourism plays an incredibly important role for many of you and the way we reach our customers online has changed.  Whether you’re connecting to travelers before they arrive or using new techniques to stay connected with your customers, we’ve been there to help you grow. 2017 on Hawaii Island marked the end of the desktop/laptop-centric approach to marketing and web development.

Local customers now insist on a mobile-first experience online. In fact, your numbers on average have shifted from about 30% online visits to over 50% today. The facts demonstrate a specific need to serve and attract customers on mobile devices, specifically a phone. As a client of Brent.FM we have prepared your website, your hosting environment and social networking efforts. We are serving many of you with Google Ads that trigger for local mobile phone users. When your customers are near you or search for you online they see your brand first. We need to continue to step up these efforts. We have ideas, knowledge and specific methods to help you maintain an advantage in your industry. We’ll be communicating these needs with you in the coming weeks and months in hopes that we can continue to grow your online business and mobile offerings. The numbers are still growing and will be here soon for Hawaii Island.

Did you know that nearly two-thirds of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location? Or that 47% of millennials say they’ve watched YouTube videos to improve their health or feel better after feeling down?

Please have a look at Google’s year-end data wrap-up.

A collection of our favorite industry, consumer, and video insights from 2017 that will continue to shape the marketing industry in 2018. Hawaii will continue to benefit from additional bandwidth and access to online businesses that stay relevant and increase online service. We want to be part of your growth and strive to be your most rewarding business partnership.

Please let me know how I can increase my quality and service to your business or organization.

[contact-form-7 id=”25081″ title=”Contact Page – Thank you, looking forward to connecting!”]

Strategies for Earning Consumer Attention

Local Attention Marketing

“Today, people can access a near-infinite amount of content anywhere, and anytime, across almost every screen. While reaching people is easy, keeping their attention is harder than ever and requires a different approach to video marketing—for both creative and media plans.” –Matt Anderson, Contributor, Video Marketing at Google


“Digital can no longer be a one-size-fits-all, repurposed afterthought. Nowhere do consumers expect relevancy more than in digital. The brands that are winning are thinking about all the iterations of creative they need to deliver personal and relevant messages.” – Helen Lin, President of Digital Investment, Publicis Media

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Keep your message local and authentic. Use an editorial calendar to plan your messaging for key local holidays that larger brands miss.


“To grab users’ attention, you really have to tailor your creative to each platform. You can’t be focused on one piece of creative for one platform, and not think about how to make it most effective across the ecosystem. One way we do that is by giving our creatives access to real-time data to optimize performance in flight—not after.” – Gail Horwood, SVP Integrated Marketing, Kellogg Company

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Place your authentic ad, get enough results to be confident you have reached your audience. Determine why they took action and re-tailor your message and graphic to focus more on that audience. Focus on what works.


“When it comes to capturing and holding attention, there isn’t one ad format to rule them all. On YouTube, for example, it’s not just that a bumper ad allows for different storytelling than a skippable unit or a forced 15-second ad, but that one story can be told across ad units through sequencing and targeting. This approach allows each ad format to work to its abilities without having to cram the whole world into one place.” – Kim Snow, Creative Director, Google

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
For smaller budgets, a minor variation in your ad from platform to platform can make a difference. Use a similar, yet different image to expound on the story you’re telling. You can’t determine the order they will see your ad but you can build up the mundane into uniqueness for pennies.


“To capture attention, we avoid creating all the content for a campaign at once. As marketers, we spend a lot of time in conference rooms. We’d rather understand the feedback from the audience bit by bit. In that way, we take consumer response and create content off of it that’s personal and relevant.” – Heather Warnke, Director of Marketing, John Frieda

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Stay focused on delivering an authentic message. Create that which others will want to share by continually improving your message for your target audience. Visualize your best customers, the ones who will reshare your message. Give them something empowering to their business that they can share with their customers.


“Our research shows that consumers are getting impatient and are shifting their attention from one source to another at a faster pace than ever before. For brands, it means the bar continues to raise. Research shows being useful and relevant is the only way to get consumers to tune-in. Brands should also prioritize platforms that have content people are actually looking for versus just finding in a feed, as lean in platforms grab higher attention.” – Kate Sirkin, EVP, Analytics and Insights, Publicis Media

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Be the source. Help your customers share their enthusiasm for your offerings. Do the extra work it takes to be the source and provide relevant, useful information in your campaigns.


Determine your game plan

Fighting blind in the battle for attention is not a life sentence. It’s a choice.

There’s no magic formula for earning a potential customer’s attention, but there are certain principles brands can lean on, including those I just outlined and many more. At a higher level, there’s one simple question I encourage you to ask to determine a game plan for navigating today’s increasingly complex attention economy: Are you spending on the right platforms, and are you leveraging the tools of each in a way that will help you capture and keep consumer attention?

Answer that honestly, and you’ll be on your way to a fairer fight. -View more from ThinkwithGoogle

Attention and Focus – Two Keys to Customer Engagement

Focus and Attention for Small Business Owners

I recently read that focus is the new IQ. Nowhere else is this more visible or true than web design hosting. At least it’s of epic importance in my business. Today I’m sharing with you the “why” behind focus and attention in your online business growth.

In your business, focus on your customer can mean the following;

  • Permission-based marketing that’s personalized. Delivering the information your customers need to make informed decisions keeps them coming back to your emails for more.
  • Customer-focused web design. Keeping the content that’s most important to your visitors above the fold is key. Attention spans are what they are and being mindful of the limited time your visitors can spend on your site is important. So be sure the information your visitors need is viewable when your page loads.
  • Mobile design. Nothing else is more helpful right now. We’ve seen mobile visits go from around 30% to around 50% in the past year for local clients. Mainland clients have been steady at 50% for the last year.
  • Business Intelligence. You need to make informed decisions about your business using facts, not email suggestions from desperate 14 yr olds in Asia.

Attention Means Being Attentive to Your Business and Clients Needs

Many local clients are still warming up to logging into multiple dashboards. For the last several years you have had access to your website traffic, most visited pages, seo analysis, security and performance data. This is viewable above the fold on the first page when you log into your WordPress dashboard. Permission-based marketing campaigns in Mailchimp and Constant Contact still require logging into those services. There are only a few other areas in your business where you can obtain this level of information about your website visitors, prospects, leads, and clients. So I’m encouraging you again to keep those login credentials handy and a shortcut to your dashboard in the middle of your screen. Your attention to these metrics is critical in determining whether you should be spending more or less on IT.

Use the information to create budgets, gauge how well your website and web hosting is performing and make informed decisions about attracting and engaging new business. Doing so will give you the ability to be more attentive to the needs of your visitors and clients instead of just focusing on your immediate business needs. You’ll do well. I’m counting on you!

Once Attention is Working Stay Focused – Focus Focus Focus!

Your ability to focus is critical. All of the information is right here in your browser. That’s great but following the information among a myriad of distractions is difficult. For example, some clients prefer automation for their posts so they are shared on social media when published. There are a lot of reasons for doing so, especially for clients who publish more than once per week. However, automation can also save time by allowing you to keep your focus on your business, your website. By not having to visit Twitter or Facebook to publish, you’re also avoiding distractions. For small business owners, our tools built into your site can be a real time saver.

Dig in Deeper with this Article About Customer Focus and Attention to Attract and Engage Clients

“Attention Attention, attention, attention—this is the variable we’re most interested in to drive real brand lift. It’s important to ask: Are you capturing your audience’s attention? How are you measuring this? Your metric should be determined by your objective—learn more about identifying and optimising to your KPIs here.” –ThinkWithGoogle

 

Here’s a class that will help improve your focus and attention:
https://www.udemy.com/focus-mastery/

Two-minute refresher on the basics:

This Forbes article could be helpful:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2016/02/23/7-superstar-secrets-to-focusing-in-an-age-of-distraction/#1991b36a6b10

Now that you’ve completely lost focus, call me! I want to help you reduce your IT costs and get the money flowing into the tasks that bring you more business. For additional support, tools and know-how in support of your goals call us. We don’t care what you call us, just call us! Ask for Brent: 808-896-7656

It’s All About the Micro-Moments

It's All About the Micro Moments
Source: Google Data, U.S., Jan. – June 2015 vs. Jan. – June 2017. Top 500 “best” search terms

Since Google introduced the concept two years ago, micro-moments have become as much a part of consumers’ lives as the daily commute and trips to the grocery store. In fact, people can’t remember what it was like to not be able to learn, do, or buy things when the need struck by reaching for the device in their pocket. It’s an entrenched behavior—micro-moments are only multiplying and consumers actually expect more, better, faster. Ask us about the details!

We can simplify what this means for your business. If you’re the Do It Yourself Marketing type, jump in here.

Attribution Models and the Entourage Effect in Marketing

Entourage Effect in Marketing

How many of your prospects looked at your direct-mail postcard ? How many of your prospects enjoyed receiving your postcard in their mailbox?

By mailbox, I mean that place where your paper checks arrive. The same place where family and friends still send postcards. According to a Gallup Poll, it’s also the place where, “95% of adults between 18 and 29 feel positively about receiving personal mail.1

Direct mail is effective at demonstrating the authenticity of your brand in print media. While the same can’t really be said about phone book listings, the sign in front of your building speaks volumes. When a Google Street viewer sees your building and your sign out front, the authenticity of your Facebook presence becomes more trustworthy.

YouTube “bumper ads2” promoting your brand demonstrates your commitment to spending money to attract mind share in competitive industries.  AdWords advertising creates a similar impression in the minds of local customers. Local customers may see your store sign. Others may search online first.  Still others may consider your brand over another based on your marketing brand or presence in their preferred social network eg; Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus etc. Review websites and local directories create value even if controlling the costs are difficult. Google Local is an excellent way to attract low-cost targeted traffic in support of your organic search results. “Organic” or so-called, “free” search results remain the main drivers of traffic to your website but the writing, editing and management never ends.

All of these methods cost money and contribute to your lead generation. When used in combination with each other an “entourage effect” may be achieved. This is the additional sales you experience when a prospect sees your brand in multiple locations and mediums. From direct mail to search engine results, something else happens when they are all used.

Business owners experience this in unexpected ways. Let’s use a greatly simplified example. Let’s say you’re spending money on Facebook ads, Google AdWords and a monthly email to subscribers costing you $500 per month. You decide to lower the budget by dropping the lowest performing campaign. You might expect for example, a 1/3 drop in traffic yet something else happens.

Instead of losing 30% of your traffic, you lose 50% of your traffic. A week later that predicted outcome no longer correlates with past performance. “Why? Why? Why?,” you ask!

One simple answer is the loss of a special type of visitor. This special visitor, a Millennial, Gen-X or Gen-Yer, who will not make a decision unless they see your brand in multiple locations and mediums first. It’s less authentic if they don’t see your brand in an online search and a Facebook ad for example. Making sure you have an effective data attribution model can solve this problem and better prepare you to make accurate decisions regarding your marketing budget.


Sidebar: What are the primary generations today?

Currently, five generations make up our society. Each of those five generations has an active role in the marketplace. Depending on the specific workplace, the workforce includes four to five generations. Here are the birth years for each generation3:

  • Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996 and later
  • Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995
  • Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
  • Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before

The Good News
Losing traffic to the entourage effect can be regained. It can also be measured through a more comprehensive attribution model. However, the software for creating these models and the skills needed to setup the software can be expensive. Local small business owners (SMBs) may not be able to afford software like, Analytics 360. That’s where we can help with a smarter setup aided by Google’s Artificial Ad Intelligence.

By doing a little more work before and during the campaign, your reports can show not just where your visitors are coming from but also the various channels and paths they used to get to your final goal completions. This includes offline promotions like direct mail.

Google puts it this way, “In a mobile and multi-screen world, outdated measurement practices lead marketers astray. Despite the emergence of new marketing measurement best-practices — namely advanced attribution — some organizations still prefer to live with the “good enough” measurements of the status quo.4

In another white paper created by Forrester Research, Google says, “Attribution’s sophisticated, algorithmic measurement model provides a holistic view of the customer journey. Despite well-recognized benefits, many organizations are lagging behind in adopting this data-driven measurement best practice.5


Because your cross-channel marketing strategy spans a wide range of online and offline channels. We use our own attribution modeling to measure the Entourage Effect. We help your business stay authentic and measure your return on investment by considering your traffic across all mediums.


Sources:

1Frank Newport and Steve Ander, “Four in 10 Americans Look Forward to Checking Mail,” Gallup, April 2, 2015. Copyright © (2015) Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. The content is used with permission; however, Gallup retains all rights of republication.

2Success in Six: 4 Best Practices for Building Impactful YouTube Bumper Ads

3Generational Breakdown: Info About All of the Generations

410 Tactics for Attribution Management – Download White paper

5 Attribution Drives Marketing Impact

Marketing to Gen-X on YouTube

Generation X YouTube Habits - Brent Norris

The opportunity to market to Generation X is huge. If done correctly, small business owner can gain targeted traffic from this very large demographic which according to Pixability, Gen Xers account for over 1.5B views every day on YouTube.
Brent.FM Marketing to Generation X

While Baby Boomers have gotten a solid grasp of how to use Google to find answers and solutions, Generation X goes straight to video. They search YouTube when they want to stay in the know according to a Google/Ipsos Connect study2.

Brent.FM Reaching Gen-X via YouTube

“For Gen Xers, it’s important that they’re able to take this how-to content at their own pace. To that end, they report making good use of the pause and replay buttons as they master a new skill according to the study.”

So what does this mean for small business owners and marketers in Hawaii?

First, the facts represent a better, more cost-effective strategy for reaching a large market that remains virtually untapped in Hawaii.

Gen-X YouTube behavior - Brent Norris

“Because 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube at least monthly on any device.3 And 64% of Gen Xers bought a product or service they saw in a video on YouTube when they were learning how to do something.4 All of that watching presents a significant opportunity to influence.”

Second, if you can craft your message into a short, DIY video you can lead this demographic in a local market. By lead, I mean, you can be the voice and the source for lower costs than traditional, hit or miss advertising.

Here’s some ideas for DIY video:

  1. Home Repair and Improvement DIY in Hawaii
  2. Cooking – think local foods, how to prepare local dishes
  3. Technology use and repair. Think computer PC help and service.
  4. Arts and Crafts. It’s Merrie Monarch time. Create a lei-making video to showcase their skills or cause marketing needs.
  5. Beauty and personal care. Again, local products and how to make them from locally sourced materials.

Sources
1 Pixability Software. All-time data up to Nov. 2016.
2 Google/Ipsos Connect, U.S., YouTube Human Stories: Gen X, n=1,004 among respondents age 35–54 who go online at least monthly, Sept. 2016. Google/Flamingo ethnographic research among 15 respondents age 35–54, Sept. 2016.
3,4 Google/Ipsos Connect, U.S., YouTube Human Stories: Gen X, n=1,004 respondents age 35–54 who go online at least monthly, Sept. 2016.

What is Ad Attention Research?

Ad Attention Research - Image of attentive dog and YouTube Viewer

Ad Attention Research tries to understand the level of attention given to advertisements on various search platforms. New research from Nielsen and Ipsos proves that attention differs across screens. Exposure to advertisements isn’t always enough to ensure ad revenue. While clicks are the central measurement in CPC advertising, the idea behind Ad Attention research suggests that ads need to be noticed, watched, and heard to maximize impact and value to advertisers.

Google have recently provided data highlighting the notion that, “Visual Attention to Advertising on YouTube Mobile is Higher Than on TV.” Four definitions were developed to define levels of ‘attention’ or lack thereof based on consumer behavior as measured by the eye-tracking glasses:

  • ‘Attention‘ is defined as participants looking at the ad, looking at another part of the screen or at the countdown or skip button while the ad is playing.
  • ‘Multitasking’ involves participants looking at other screens/devices, interacting with other people or pets, leaving the room to get a snack, etc.
  • ‘Switching’ involves changing the channel, clicking on another video/link, minimizing the ad, or closing the YouTube app.
  • ‘Skipping’ refers to fast-forwarding or skipping the ad.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) standard definition of viewability and eye-tracking analysis were used to see if users were actually “looking” at the television and YouTube adv content.  Results show “that the majority (55%) of TV advertising time is NOT paid attention to. That advertising time is either spent multitasking (26%), skipping the ads (15%) or switching channels/videos (14%). –IPSOS Independent Market Research 

Other findings by IPSOS suggests that visual attention to ads is a critical consideration for advertisers. Visual attention is very important when deciding where to place ad dollars for several reasons including;

  • Only 45% of TV advertising receives attention versus 62% of YouTube mobile advertising.
  • Paid YouTube mobile advertising is 84% more likely to receive attention than TV advertising.
  • The combination of TrueView paid views and TV results in stronger lift than just TV alone on most brand metrics.

Users who see and hear ads experience higher ad recall than those who only see or only hear ads.

Will ad attention research affect your online advertising strategy?

Clients are smart and don’t always assume their dollars are being spent on video advertising for mobile, for example. They’re most satisfied when a website visitor, clicks their ad in a near me search that results in an in-store shopping experience. When that in-store experience results in a sale the ad spend is justified in the minds of clients.

To get a better understanding view this ad attention research infographic.

Video advertisers also read, “5 Charts That Prove Viewability and Audibility Together Are Key to Video Ad Effectiveness” at ThinkWithGoogle