Top 5 Most Influential Don Draper Quotes and How they Relate to Digital Marketing

If you’re in marketing or advertising, you’ve inevitably heard Mad Men references a time or five. Chances are, it’s been a quote by none other than [fictional character] Don Draper. He is the focal point of the series that is in its final season. After binge watching the first few seasons on Nexflix a couple years ago, I became hooked, not only the show, but his character. The writing is simply brilliant. It forces you to pay close attention to subtle nuances and symbolism of events.

In honor of the upcoming series finale, I felt it appropriate to pay tribute to a show that put Madison Ave. advertising from the 50s, 60s, and 70s into perspective. So sit back, pour yourself a rye, neat and enjoy the poetic verses of the one, Don Draper.

“They’re Toasted.”

The full sentence was: “Everybody else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strikes’ … is toasted.” How is this important? If you watched season 1, episode 1, you’ll understand the significance of this one-liner. In Don’s first pitch that we see, he’s trying to come up with a new tag line for Sterling Cooper’s largest account, Lucky Strike cigarettes. Fumbling and appearing to have no ideas or confidence in a strategy, he falls silent. As the meeting is about to be adjourned and tabled for another time, Don says wait, and breaks out a piece of chalk to start writing ideas. In an effort to differentiate Lucky Strike from all the other cigarette companies, because they all were fighting the same battle in that cigarettes were said to kill people, he came up with that a key differentiating factor: Lucky Strike Cigarettes: They’re Toasted. They’re all actually toasted during the manufacturing process, but Lucky Strike would be the only ones to advertise them that way.

How does this relate to digital marketing? In a copy-cat world, it’s crucial that we find a way to differentiate ourselves, our company, or our clients we represent. Service offerings, products, processes, etc. can all be very similar (if not exact) but we have to find that key element that sets us apart and makes us unique.

“Make it simple, but significant.”

Skip ahead to season 4, episode 6. There’s not much to elaborate on with this one. Sometimes the most powerful statements come in the simplest of ways. Take Apple for instance. Everything about their brand appears to be so simple. Their website, their products, their advertising… it’s clean and powerful. But most of all, it’s significant.

How does this relate to digital marketing? Strength in message is rooted in brevity. If you complicate your message, your audience will have a difficult time understanding the value. Which in essence loses all significance. Keep your message simple and brief, but powerful.

“It’s not a wheel. It’s a carousel.”

Don's best pitch -- and how it relates to digital marketing.
Back tracking to season 1, episode 13, Don and the team get tasked with naming a new product from Kodak. Don gives a pitch that is literally so inspiring that Harry Krane leaves the room in tears. There’s more context as to why he left so emotionally but Don’s pitch was flawless in delivery. He describes the photo wheel as a carousel that spins round and round taking you on life’s journey. It really is a moving scene.

How does this relate to digital marketing? All it takes is a change in the way of thinking. I don’t want to call out millienials here, but I feel like our generation tends to lack critical thinking and problem solving. Myself included. I rely heavily on other people a lot at times and go to the Google well quite often for answers. As Don says, also in season 1, think deeply about something – then forget about it and an idea will come to you.

“What is happiness, it’s a moment before you need more happiness.”

Classic and timeless Don statement. We as humans are constantly seeking happiness and it comes in many different forms. You can be happy in a moment and then it goes away and you’re back to seeking more happiness again.

How does this relate to digital marketing? Isn’t it obvious? We as marketers are constantly running campaigns to try and make people happy. We write and promote content with the hopes of somebody reading or sharing it with others all with the purpose of satisfying a need – which in most cases is happiness. HubSpot refers to it as delightion. What is your strategy for delighting customers? Because everyone is constantly seeking that next best thing that will make them happy. Are you going to be there at the right time?

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

This might be my all time favorite. Keep this stowed away in the back of your mind whenever you are in the middle of a conversation that’s heading in a bad direction. You have the power to change the tone if you don’t like what’s being said. Words are the most powerful thing we as humans have. Once we learn how to effectively use them, we become dangerous.

How does this relate to digital marketing? One use case I can provide for this quote happened very frequently when I was in healthcare marketing. Patients, if they have a poor experience, can lash out at their doctor via online reputation sources. The best way to combat all the negativity was to simply change the conversation. Ultimately we wanted it to lead to peaceful resolution. But with our words, we had the ability to respond and make sure the doctor’s reputation was not tainted as a result.

Let’s change the conversation

Digital marketing is an interesting beast. There are so many components it can become very overwhelming. The beauty of digital marketing and advertising is the ability to track and prove ROI. If you want to continue the conversation, let’s talk. Or, if you’d like to change it and talk about something else, we’re open to that, as well. Click below to get in touch with us online today.

Contact us today for your digital marketing needs.

Digital Marketing Tests for SMBs: Why Channel Testing is More Worthwhile than A/B or Multivariate Testing

Let’s face it…

Investing digital marketing dollars towards multiple channels can be costly – especially for SMBs (small to medium sized businesses) who have limited budgets. The landscape for engaging and interacting with customers is evolving everyday and the question will always remain: where is my target audience and how can I effectively reach them for the lowest possible cost per acquisition (CPA)? There’s a short answer to that question: they’re searching online. Boom. End blog here. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple! The word “online” is such a nebulous, antiquated term these days. My goal for this post isn’t to necessarily redefine the word but to demonstrate how to more effectively utilize your [online] digital marketing budget.

Throughout this post, I’ll provide quantifiable data and use cases from current clients for why it’s important to find that perfect channel rather than use valuable time researching and executing costly A/B and multivariate tests within channels that simply aren’t performing.

The Primary Digital Channels

To start, here’s a list of the primary digital marketing channels and the cost associated with managing each channel from low, medium, to high:

  • Social Media: low
  • Email Marketing: low
  • SMS/MMS (text message) Marketing: low
  • Blogging: medium
  • Landing Page Optimization: medium
  • SEO/SEM: medium
  • Influencer Outreach: medium
  • Video (YouTube, Vimeo): high
  • Digital Media (Pandora, etc.): high
  • PPC, Display, Remarketing: high
  • Website Design and Optimization: high
  • CRO: high

As a quick disclaimer, because the word mobile is not mentioned anywhere within those 12 channels, it is assumed that each channel will be optimized for the mobile experience. If you’re reading this and your website, emails, and landing pages are not mobile optimized, stop reading and get started on that now. We’re only nine days away from Google updating their search algorithm. Not sure what I’m talking about? Click below.

Is your website mobile responsive?

Client Use Case: Lead Generation Strategy

When thinking about lead gen, which channel(s) come to mind? Ultimately, any channel could act as a lead generation tool – or at a minimum assist in a conversion. For the sake of this client in particular, the first channel we focused on back in 2014 was website design and optimization. Your website is the nucleus of your overall marketing strategy because in the event that someone wants to learn more about you, the website will be the place to do it. Unless of course they use an online reputation resource, which is a whole other story… I digress.

Once the website (we’ll call it redesign) was complete, we began blogging to build keyword rich content to increase the amount of indexed pages for the website and then repurposed the content on LinkedIn. Using a monthly ad budget of $250 for sponsored posts on LinkedIn, each weekly blog was posted on LinkedIn and allocated a small budget to promote. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the client is B2B. As a “value added” service, we also curated the blog on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ – organic, not paid. Though we saw an increase in traffic, the blogs did not drive any new leads.

Does your blog suck? Click here to learn how to write posts everyone will love.
We continued the blogging, LinkedIn strategy for three months. Within each blog, I would do CTA testing. I spent hours creating buttons and drafting persuasive copy to reel people in — to no avail. I tested and adjusted the ad targeting in LinkedIn — also to no avail. I spent hours digging through Google Analytics data and researching keywords to create blogs focused on topics people were actually searching for. Do you get the idea? I spent an inordinate amount of time researching, testing, and refining a strategy that flat out wasn’t working. We went back to the client and simply said, “Look. We aren’t saying that blogging is a bad strategy – it’s just not the right one for what you’re trying to achieve – which are leads.” Our recommendation was to change things up and allocate the ad budget to a PPC campaign. We went over what the new strategy would be and explained that we have a higher likelihood of getting your brand in front of the right people who are searching for your services.

Nine Days into the PPC Campaign

So obviously we didn’t just flip a switch and start a PPC campaign. Over the course of two weeks towards the end of March, we did additional keyword research to target the right keywords for the campaign. We also had to create a whole new landing page from scratch! Using unbounce, it was easy and did not require a developer to get involved. I created a separate sub-domain, dropped in Google Analytics tracking code, created a new conversion goal, and we were on our way! I built out the campaign in AdWords and by April 1st, we were ready to turn it on.

Nine days in, nothing. Just a bunch of impressions, a few clicks, but no conversions. Which is fine! PPC campaigns take time but when you’re quality scores are not great it’s easy to deduce why conversions aren’t happening. I decided not to mess with ad copy, keywords, or targeting just yet. Instead, I signed up for a webinar which was titled: 10 A/B Tests to Use on Your PPC Landing Pages. It was kismet. While I was watching on the ninth day of the campaign, in parallel, I was making a B version of the landing page. I utilized some of the tips and tricks they were suggesting and when I was done making the B version of the landing page, I pushed it live. Then, BAM! The next day we got our first conversion on the B variant. Needless to say I made the B version the primary variant to populate simply because I have more confidence in it’s conversion abilities.

Key Takeaways

The best case scenario is to have enough budget to be able to spread across all channels. Unfortunately, that’s usually not feasible for SMB clients. Obviously it helps when clients come to the table already believers in the power of digital marketing and advertising. If they happen to be tech laggards or have been allocating their budget to more traditional forms of advertising, then it will be more difficult to utilize marketing dollars for digital until it’s actually proven that it “works.”

If you’re limited to one or two channels, plan on running multiple campaigns within those channels and test, retarget, refine, and repeat. But if you’re not seeing results, rather than continue testing, propose a change. Be bold if you have to! If you feel confidently that utilizing other channels is the best option, be forthcoming with you plan and execute. If the channel or channels you’ve selected are also not performing, suggest another change. Don’t beat a dead horse with something that isn’t generating results. Every campaign you are in charge of has goals and KPIs. If they are repeatedly not being met, be sure to let the client know and pitch/present your new plan of action. Taking that initiative will (in most cases) never hurt you. You may get some push back but go confidently in the direction of your digital marketing plans – I think Thoreau said something similar to that…

Have a Difference in Opinion? Let’s Talk about it!

Some people might not agree with this approach: And that is completely fine! We want to hear from you and your experience with A/B, multivariate, and channel testing. If you’d like to set up sometime to hash this out, feel free to give us a call at 317-207-0195. Or, to get the process started online, simply click the button below to submit an online form. We’ll follow up with you shortly to schedule a call – maybe even over coffee or drinks!

Let's talk. Click here to contact us online today.

5 Email Marketing Tips To Help You Increase Engagement

Email marketing - low cost, high return.

[section_dd][column_dd span=’12’][text_dd]Email marketing is a medium I hold near and dear to my heart. Without sounding too sentimental, it’s how I cut my teeth in digital marketing and to this day, there’s nothing I love more than working on an email campaign. From writing, to image placement, to list segmentation, and analyzing engagement rates, the whole process from start to finish moves me. So, I liked to share some tips I’ve learned along the way. Why? Because knowledge is power and there’s nothing like feeling confident in a solid email marketing campaign.

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Social Media Pain Points: A Q&A with Director of Sales Josh Pyne

StrataBlue’s Director of Sales, Josh Pyne, has a digital-media sales and account executive background, which includes having created strategic, omni-channel programs for some of the most prominent brands and largest advertisers in the world. I sat down with him to ask him about his experience customizing digital and mobile marketing campaigns to address key business objectives. Here below are highlights from our question and answer session.

1) What is the most common pain point small-to-medium sized business marketers struggle with when contemplating social and digital media marketing initiatives?

JP: Most businesses, or brands, are a bit overwhelmed by where to begin. There is a lot of industry talk around social media, various strategies, tactics and focus points to get the most return, but many businesses haven’t even covered the basics. The importance of having a branded profile that reflects the messaging and relevancy of the business to the social user is paramount. Taking the first step to build a cohesive social media presence can be a large undertaking for the typical brand. At StrataBlue, we take the burden of the social media setup off the plate of the already over-extended brand marketer. We help establish the brand’s social voice and produce the visual branding and content to address key business goals, such as raising brand awareness, driving website traffic, or increasing lead generation and sales.

2) What are some of the common misconceptions that small-to-medium sized businesses face when they decide to handle their own social media and community management?

JP: By far the greatest misconception is the amount of time it takes not only to proactively post content multiple times per day across multiple social media channels, but the investment in time to actively respond to the community and consumers’ questions and needs. The days of calling an 800 number with customer service needs and questions are fading. In the digital age, the consumer’s expectation is for near real-time responsiveness from brands and businesses wherever the consumer decides to engage. Our internal team of expert community managers and account strategists are immersed in our client’s brand and have the available resources to monitor brand mentions and help respond to customer questions and needs as quickly as possible.

3) Assuming a brand does establish a strong social media presence and has found the resources to stay active across its social channels, what type of content do they need to be creating and sharing?

JP: Content creation can be daunting, especially if the brand is as active on as many different platforms as they should be. Not only is staying relevant and timely a major factor, the different social networks require different types of content. For example, the type of content that drives the best engagement and associated performance on Facebook is not the same as what will fit the LinkedIn or the Pinterest audience. It is important to keep in mind the audience as well as the medium when creating content for social media. Twitter may be a great platform for engaging in real time and having a two-way conversation with a customer based on some short form content, whereas espousing core competencies and sharing a well-researched whitepaper on a specific industry issues may be a better fit for LinkedIn. The key is understanding the difference in the content needed, leveraging multiple networks for distribution, and being able to cohesively tie it all together for a holistic digital presence. This converged approach is one area that sets StrataBlue apart from most traditional agencies.

4) So all that being said, how do small-to-medium sized business marketers know when they should take the plunge and add the latest and greatest social network to their arsenal of marketing platforms? Do they need to have a presence on all of them?

JP: With the growth in social media popularity and user engagement (not to mention $22B acquisitions like WhatsApp) new properties are going to continue to materialize. Having the expertise and understanding to know which ones to take on (like video platform Vine) or perhaps those the majority of brands should stay away from (like Snapchat) is not only important to the brand image and digital persona but also to the expenditure of limited resources to maintain the growing number of options.

5) This all makes sense, but most businesses and brands require that a solid return on investment be demonstrated before they decide to invest in marketing activities. How can something that seems as nebulous as Social Media Marketing be shown to drive measurable results?

JP: That is THE question. When social media marketing is executed and optimized correctly, the gains in performance are certainly measurable and can be shown to drive any number of key objectives. The crucial element to any marketing strategy is having a cohesive, comprehensive approach; this is especially true in the digital marketing realm. It’s a must for a brand to have a strong destination to drive potential customers to, and this extends beyond the website and/or having a presentable brick and mortar location. In fact, the digital presence of a business will be often be visible to many more potential customers… It will be more scrutinized, engaged with, and commented on more than other brand elements. Today’s consumers are trained to research and evaluate businesses online well before stopping at a location or calling a phone number.

According to a multi-channel shopping survey by Price Waterhouse and Coopers (PwC), “More than 80% of all respondents conduct online research before they buy electronics, computers, books, music, and movies.” Furthermore, “88% percent of US respondents said that they research a product online via their PC before buying.” Aside from the consumer behavior aspect, social media marketing offers tracking and concrete metrics on everything from engagement and website traffic all the way through to purchases and brand evangelism.

So now the real question is: does the person or team researching, developing and optimizing the social media marketing campaigns have the expertise, experience and holistic view of the digital eco-system to properly and effectively target and engage potential customers? For most brands, the potential loss of business and negative impact to the brand aren’t worth the risk of putting such crucial elements of success in the hands of anyone less than experts in the field. This is where the collective 40+ years of digital marketing experience and proven performance of the StrataBlue team come into play, allowing us to truly become an extension of most any businesses’ marketing team.

Crutchfield’s Digital Experience Rocks More Than Just Ear Drums

I recently came across an interesting white paper published by Ektron titled, “Demystifying Digital Experience Management.” The paper offers tips for creating positive and memorable digital experiences. In the middle of reading this document, I heard a knock at my front door. It was the deliveryman holding a product I had ordered from online electronics retailer Crutchfield.

Not long after I closed the door, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. Crutchfield had sent me an eerily-timed email promoting a sale on their high-end, touch screen receivers (an undeniable step up from what I had just purchased). It was from this experience that the idea for this blog post was hatched. According to Ektron, shaping an outstanding digital experience requires proper contextualization, consistency and integration across web, social and mobile platforms.

How would I rate Crutchfield in these areas?

Contextualization Grade: A

It’s no secret that individuals’ experiences, interests and preferences can differ greatly. These important factors also contribute to the “context” that surrounds any business interaction. The more a digital experience is customized to fit an individual’s unique profile, the more effective communication with him/her will be. Ektron believes “Adapting the context of the communication to fit the individual is a hallmark of a great digital experience.” Crutchfield understands this.

For example, when browsing their website, they ask shoppers to input the year, make and model of their vehicle to quickly identify products that are compatible. Behind-the-scenes, this information is also used to deliver personalized content, like the e-mail below I received after plugging in my vehicle’s details.



Consistency Grade: B

Maintaining consistency across numerous digital channels is another important component of the digital experience. What needs to be consistent? According to Ektron, not only a brand’s look and feel but also its messaging. After a quick look at Crutchfield’s Facebook page you’ll notice two things: (1) their logo and brand look are consistent with its other channels, and (2) the content and feel are much different than what you’d expect based upon their website and e-mail communications.

For example, their typical Twitter message tends to be polished and professional with an occasional “very cool” or “that’s awesome” slipped in. Their Facebook Page in contrast, is full very humor heavy (while still relevant) with an occasional straight-faced post mixed in. As a fan of humor myself, I’m not saying I’m against this approach. The post below has received over 250 likes and 121 comments, which are solid engagement stats.  I’m simply saying that this break from consistency seems to go against Ektron’s recommendation. What are your thoughts?



Integration Grade: A

Ektron’s white paper also discusses the importance of integrating systems such as content management, marketing automation, customer relationship management, analytics and social data into a company’s digital tool kit. I’ve never sat in on a Crutchfield digital integration strategy meeting, but my experience as a customer tells me that they’re highly aware of its importance.

Previously, I mentioned receiving an e-mail from them that included suggested products to fit my specific car. What I didn’t mention is that I received that e-mail literally minutes after I had added an item to their online shopping cart and then abandoned the purchase. This tells me that they’re likely using a marketing automation solution to automate real-time follow-up. Apparently they’ve designated shopping cart abandonments as an e-mail trigger within their workflow. Their use of automation software would also explain how/why I received a digital and paper catalog shortly after my initial purchase.



When you add up these grades, Crutchfield earns a report card that would make any mother proud. There’s no doubt they’ve done their homework on the digital experience and have successfully integrated their knack for service excellence into their digital efforts (see their retweet below). It’s no coincidence they’ve received so many awards including Bizrate Research’s Circle of Excellence Platinum Award for 14 consecutive years!



Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to hear about your most memorable digital experience, your thoughts on digital automation or your smack talk about the old school car I drive!

Marketing Automation: A Tool Your Company Can’t Afford to Ignore

Marketing automation can help your business by streamlining, automating and measuring marketing tasks and processes across multiple marketing channels. Think it’s not for you? Without it, your content marketing strategy isn’t living up to its full potential. Don’t let your competitors beat you, learn why you need this powerful tool in this Slideshare:


10 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media Marketing

Are you trying to convince your boss that your company needs social media? Or are you simply not convinced that social media can benefit your brand? Consider this: over 200 million tablets were sold in 2013. While traditional marketing might have “worked” for you in the past, the world is moving over to digital marketing, including SEO, SEM, email, blogging and social media. Here are 10 reasons why your company should make the move to social media marketing.

Does your company implement digital marketing instead of traditional marketing? Do you use a combination of digital and traditional marketing? We want to know your thoughts in the comments below!