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Content, the Media and the Future of Humanity

In a sort-of Jerry Maguire move Evan Williams, one of the founders of Twitter, told BBC Radio 4 that social media is making us dumber, pointing to the abundance of fake news and misinformation spread around Twitter and Facebook during the 2016 campaign for president. The Hill quotes him as saying:

“It is the quality of the information we consume that is reinforcing dangerous beliefs and isolating people and limiting people’s open-mindedness and respect for truth.” Williams said there is a media ecosystem that “is supported and thrives on attention.”

He blames the ad-driven media for irresponsibly promoting President Trump’s un-verified claims and statements via Tweet, which created an atmosphere of absurd reality where everyone was promoting “fake news” and blaming everyone else for it. Intellectuals called Trump supporters dumb, while Trump supporters (and negative partisans who simply did not like his opponent Hillary Clinton) built up heated resentment at being told what to believe.

Hillary Clinton also blames the media. Political journalists, she writes in her new book What Happened, “can’t bear to face their own role in helping elect Trump” by what she believes was irresponsibly promoting his Twitter statements.

Donald Trump points the finger, as well. Earlier this spring, the president at a rally blamed the media for “selectively quoting” him after the Charlottesville disaster, thereby causing additional fury among the public and extending our political and philosophical divisions.

Are both sides of the aisle blaming the messenger? Maybe. But you can’t deny that the media is driven by storytelling techniques that are designed to tap into people’s anger, fears and other acute emotions, rather than presenting a more balanced–and calming–narrative.

Do media marketers and content strategists now have a responsibility to refrain from promoting “low-quality” information?

Mr. Williams’ claim, paraphrased by The Hill, says that access to information doesn’t necessarily make people smarter. This would assume that people frequent social media sites to become smarter, which is not altogether true.

Since the media can’t suppress information based on what is perceived as “quality,” we might need to get back to good old-fashioned fact checking. Major media outlets do this from time to time (e.g. The Washington Post‘s Pinocchio Scale fact checker), but any news outlet or digital strategist should at least provide a caveat with posts that are clearly in the absurdist category.

“What you are about to read might not be true…”

“What you are about to read is a little crazy…”

“What you are about to read is actually a meme…”

Finally, for those with large audiences, we might be ready for a moral code in which we ask ourselves, “what do I hope to achieve by sharing this information?”

Selling ads and drawing attention to ourselves can’t be the answer every time.

By |2017-09-13T15:56:04+00:00September 13th, 2017|Categories: Content|Tags: , |Comments Off on Content, the Media and the Future of Humanity

Mobile Markets, Brick and Mortar and the Retail Dilemma

A recent article from Tech Crunch explores the idea of autonomous vehicles becoming quasi-mini-malls that bring stores and products the the consumer. According to the article:

… if [retailers don’t make] a shift towards mobile stores, the demand on not just commercial real estate businesses but a wider reach of companies that sell and lease out physical space could drop significantly. Instead of choosing to purchase or lease shop fronts, startup businesses and already established companies could be attracted to the less expensive, more risk averse option of choosing a store on wheels.

Combine that with recent research that millennials and practically everyone else are choosing to spend their money on “experiences” rather than “things,” and traditional retailers are probably feeling very confused if not in a state of panic.

Mammoth has a client with more than 35 physical stores around the country. They constantly deal with issues that prevent people from coming into their stores. In the northeast, for example, heavy winter storms can close one of their stores for days, then several more days can go by before people coming out to shop again. And then you have the overhead costs of rent, utilities, etc.

So, why not move everything online?

Seems like a viable answer, but it’s still worth asking the question of what value physical stores bring. People still like to go shopping. They like to meet friends for coffee, pop in at a few stores, try on clothes and hold things in their hands before purchasing them. It’s similar to asking why someone who has a treadmill in their house still goes to the gym or runs on the trail: We’re not yet done transacting with people and products in spite of all our online conveniences.

Much of what we offer clients is a digital solution to their branding and marketing. However, we occasionally advise our customers to not forget offline marketing solutions as well. Mailers, printed materials, branded hats, mugs, t-shirts and other 3-dimensional marketing materials are still excellent ways to spread your message and create customer loyalty.

 

 

By |2017-07-09T17:50:17+00:00July 9th, 2017|Categories: Brand Marketing|Comments Off on Mobile Markets, Brick and Mortar and the Retail Dilemma

The Smarter, Better, Easier Way to Create Passwords

A series of studies from Carnegie Mellon University confirmed that passphrases like mammothundertakingsrocks are just as good at online security because hacking programs are thrown off by length nearly as easily as randomness. To a computer, poetry or simple sentences can be just as hard to crack. Even better: People are less likely to forget them.

Courtesy: Washington Post

 

 

 

By |2016-08-12T15:32:49+00:00August 12th, 2016|Categories: Cybersecurity|Comments Off on The Smarter, Better, Easier Way to Create Passwords

What Motivates Millennials? Not Rent

Millennials: the hottest demographic in marketing. Currently 80 million U.S. residents are 18-34 year olds with an annual buying power of $200 billion. Those numbers are expected to grow and grow. Yet they are a fairly elusive group, and marketers have working diligently to find out what motivates them. Rent and mortgages clearly do not.

According to new Pew Research statistics, 32.1% of millennials are living with their parents.

In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household.

Is this due to economic reasons? No, says the report. Rather, the reasons are completely out of left field. Click here to learn more about this study.

By |2016-05-25T12:40:09+00:00May 25th, 2016|Categories: Brand Marketing|Tags: , |Comments Off on What Motivates Millennials? Not Rent

Beat the Ad Blockers: Spend Less on Ads, More on Content

Once you ignore something for long enough, it becomes invisible. This is what’s happening to online advertising.

With Apple’s iOS9 operating system’s installed ad blockers, most ads on any given web page — ads that businesses have paid to be there — are not visible at all to consumers. Some of these ad blockers replace the ads with something else. Others don’t replace them with anything, leaving holes or broken links on the page.

While most people have applauded these applications for blocking ads that pop up in front of articles or videos they’re trying to enjoy, we can’t forget that these ads provide the revenue to make the content available for free to that audience. Advertising will always be linked to subscription-free and low-cost subscription content platforms. It’s like death and taxes.

(What are the advantages of putting more of your ad dollars into content? Click here to jump ahead.)

Eliminating ad blockers might not make much of a difference, though, thanks to a new phenomenon called “ad blindness,” which occurs when people don’t even notice ads anymore because they’ve already ignored them for so long.

Plus, no one is clicking on these ads even when they’re unblocked. Display ads have an average click-through rate of .1%, and only 8% of all web consumers account for 85% of all ad clicks. On smartphones, 40% of all ad clicks are made by mistake. As a business, when you think about how much of your marketing budget went into that 15-second video or banner ad that’s either being ignored or blocked, it’s enough to make you a little sick.

This is why marketers are turning increasingly more to “native advertising,” which are ads that mimic the content already on the platform. An ad on a magazine site will take the form of a relevant article, while an ad on a retail site will take the form of a featured product. What’s the difference? The ad is simply conceived, developed and presented differently, but not in an effort to trick the consumer: Native advertising is basically content which is designed to be sought out, enjoyed and shared by your customers, not ignored.

According to Business Insider, native advertising spending will eclipse $8 billion this year. By 2018, it will hit $21 billion. Marketers are putting more money, effort and creativity into creating content that will inform, delight and inspire consumers, rather than presenting them merely with images and videos of models with products.

The Content Fix

What are the advantages of putting more of your advertising dollars into content? Here are a few:

  1. It beats ad blockers and ad blindness: When your “ad” is part of a site’s content offering, ad blockers won’t block it and consumers will not ignore it. Early research confirms that people look at native ads 52% more often than display ads, and they look at native ads 25% more than banners.
  2. More engagement: Someone looks at a display ad for less than a second, but they linger longer on content.
  3. More clicks for your money: Native ads get seven times higher click-through stats than display ads.
  4. It’s mobile-friendly: Content is more easily accessed on mobile devices, making it more likely to be looked at.
  5. It lasts and lasts: Ads get taken down over time, and they are almost never shared. Hosted content in the form of things like articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, slideshows, etc. can be found through search engines, shared and posted by your audience on their social channels.

This is not to say that display ads are dead or not worth your time. A good display ad campaign online can do wonders for building and reinforcing your brand awareness. Alongside it, a native advertising or content campaign can give consumers something that actually informs them about the need for your products and services rather than just showing them how great they look in photos.

Interested in learning more about how to develop and share content for your campaign? Call Mammoth at (540) 252-5122 for a chat.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00November 25th, 2015|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content, Creative|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Beat the Ad Blockers: Spend Less on Ads, More on Content

Why Catering to Your Mobile Clients Is Crucial

If you’re selling products, services or content online, the first thing you need to do is stop looking at your website on a computer. According to new traffic figures from CNN, the New York Times and the Guardian, mobile audience numbers are climbing every year, expected to reach the 50% threshold soon. Some sites, like Buzzfeed, are already there.

The numbers are even higher when we look at first-time visits to your site. Google estimates that more than 65% of people are seeing your site for the first time on a smartphone. What does this mean for your business? If your mobile customers have difficulty reading content and clicking links on your site, they are likely to move on. According to Visually CEO Matt Cooper in a recent article,

This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how many content pieces are published without being previewed on multiple devices. Consider conducting a visual Q&A in your development environment or use the preview functionality in your content management system. This is a natural extension of the long-existing best practice to test web designs on all major browsers before publishing.

Not every business has the 50% mobile audience number. Check your Google Analytics to see where your traffic comes from and make your content and design decisions based on that.

That being said, making your website mobile-friendly is becoming more crucial every year. The good news is, it’s easier than ever to update your website. Content management systems like WordPress, Joomla! and Squarespace offer responsive design, mobile-friendly templates that look great on any device.

Give us a call today if you’re interested in learning more about how to make your website look great on smartphones and tablets.

 

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00November 19th, 2015|Categories: Design|Tags: , |Comments Off on Why Catering to Your Mobile Clients Is Crucial

Welcome New Clients: Vint Hill Winery, Sue’s Laundromat, Art-Care, Atkins Homes and Visually

In the last few weeks, Mammoth has welcomed several excellent new clients to the family. Here they are, in no particular order:

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00November 19th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Welcome New Clients: Vint Hill Winery, Sue’s Laundromat, Art-Care, Atkins Homes and Visually

New Article: Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You

In this month’s Blue Ridge Leader:

“The stats are real: 67 percent of people are viewing your website for the first time on a mobile device. For some potential customers, it’s a huge inconvenience (and sometimes a deal breaker) when they can’t find your products or location from a few taps on their phone. Almost 50 percent of e-commerce activity is mobile, and an increasing number of shoppers exclusively shop on mobile devices.

“What makes a website mobile-friendly? In a nutshell, it needs to be readable and clickable from a small, handheld screen – a mobile phone or a tablet.”

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00August 11th, 2015|Categories: Creative|Comments Off on New Article: Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You

New Site Launch: Moo Thru Ice Cream

If you’ve driven from Washington, D.C. to Charlottesville via the James Madison Highway 29, you might have seen the big red barn in Remington, Virginia with the long lines of people out front. This is Moo Thru, a popular spot for locally made ice cream. We just finished building their new website, a one-page WordPress site that’s fully responsive, mobile-friendly, and built on a content management system (CMS) that’s easy to edit and update by the client.

Check out the new Moo Thru site and if you’re passing through Remington, stop by for some great ice cream.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00June 12th, 2015|Categories: Clients, Content, Creative, Design|Tags: , , |Comments Off on New Site Launch: Moo Thru Ice Cream

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