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Three 2019 Trends That Will Be Even More Important in the Future

white-black-laptop-computer-67472 (1)Welcome to 2020!

Before we charge forward into this new year with hope and vigor, I want to highlight three trends that I thought a lot about in 2019.

What Marketing Sounds Like

In the first few months of 2019, my primary focus was on voice recognition, voice-activated products, and the use of sound in marketing.

As we learned last year, podcasting crossed into the mainstream in 2019, with over 51% of Americans 12 and older saying that they have listened to at least one podcast in their lifetime, and 32% saying that they do so at least once a month.

More businesses also starting to think about sonic brand identity. This will become more important as more people start to use voice-activated products in their home, office, and on their commute to and from work.

It also has become apparent that voice search is gaining popularity. However, it seems like it is difficult to quantify how popular because there are many ways to use voice search (e.g., getting directions while driving, making a phone call, quickly checking the weather, searching for a business, etc.) that may or may not have been completed by searching on a traditional search engine now or in the past. Therefore, data will need to be aggregated from many different sources to calculate the exact percentage.

What we do know is that more people are using voice-activated technology to help them accomplish their tasks in their day-to-day lives.

Therefore, voice-activated technology should currently be on your radar. And, it definitely should be in your marketing toolbox in the next few years.

Algorithms Are the New Content Gatekeepers

It could possibly be the type of podcasts that I listen to or the types of books that I gravitate towards, but one issue that was brought up a lot last year by different people was how the algorithms used to find things when we do a search on Google or any of the other search engines are having a huge influence on what people see. The same is true for the content being uncovered on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

While the intent of these algorithms is to uncover the best content, what often happens is that the algorithms tend to uncover the content that gets the most clicks, shares, likes, or backlinks. The problems is that this content is not necessarily the most accurate. This leads to a lot of people believing false claims.

Last summer, I wrote a series of posts that explains this issue further.

If you want to learn more, I would also suggest that you read, “Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest,” by Zeynep Tufekci. While the book does deal with other issues, Dr. Tufecki does explore some of the most troubling issues with content discovery on digital platforms.

Doubling Down on Visual Design

When writing about voice search in May of 2019, I uncovered a quote from Andrew Ng, then Chief Scientist at Baidu, that was published in a 2014 Fast Company article. In the article, Ng is cited as saying that “in five years time at least 50% of all searches are going to be either through images or speech.”

Basically, he was making a case for the fact that written communication on the Internet is going to become less important, or at the very least, image and voice searches will become more important (if you think of it as a bigger pie rather than more of the current one.)

Therefore, search engines will need to adapt.

While his prediction might have been a little optimistic in its timeline, the prediction seems to be solid.

As mentioned, voice search is growing.

And, A.I. and machine learning technology are improving the accuracy of visual search.

If you are an active Pinterest user, then you are already familiar with visual search. Google and Bing also have expanded their visual search capabilities.

As Andrew Ng pointed out, voice and visual search will only gain more popularity over time.

However, I am bullish on visual design for more reasons than that.

Visual design has always been important. However, with the increased demand for our attention coming from so many different places, visual design will become even more important as time goes on.

You can communicate many things quickly with images. Brands that get this will benefit.

Fast Company suggested this back in 2012. SocialMediaToday reminded us in 2017.

In 2019, I decided it was time to formally study this important area of marketing. So, I enrolled in a few classes at a local technical college and started my journey into learning more about graphic design.

That doesn’t mean this will become exclusively a graphic design blog. I still plan to use this as an outlet to explore many different areas of marketing communications.

And, I still believe that it is important to use the correct words when you write. Because, the written word will not be replaced entirely.

That said, I do think that brands that find ways to use sound and visual imagery effectively will lead the way.

Those that can use all the different forms of communication in one unified voice will really benefit.

If you do that, then the only issue left is finding a way to get found. Which brings us back algorithms.

More on that in future blog posts.

Photo credit: Skitterphoto on

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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It Takes More Than Klout to Influence

Lately, a lot of people have been talking about social influence.

In particular, marketers have tried to identify ways to find the right people to target so that they can get these so called “influencers” to spread their brand’s message to others via the Internet and hopefully convince more people to purchase their products and services.

As influencer marketing has gained acceptance, tools have been created to help brands indentify these “influential” people.

However, this is easier said than done.

Some Problems With Measuring Influence

Earlier this month, Dr. Michael Wu wrote an article for TechCrunch that pointed out some of the problems with the current tools used to measure social influence. In particular, he pointed out that there is no way to validate whether or not the models or algorithms that sites like Klout use to measure social influence are really accomplishing what they set out to accomplish.

Dr. Wu goes on to point out that not only do we not know whether or not the models or algorithms are an accurate measure of influence to begin with, given the nature of what they are measuring, people are going to find ways to game the system to increase their score, further undermining the validity of the measurement.

Furthermore, as Rohn Jay Miller points out in his blog post on, Klout and other measures of influence don’t accurately take into account what topic a person is influential on.

For example, Miller points out that Nate Silver has a Klout score of 89. And, nobody who knows who Nate Silver is would question the fact that he is influential when it comes to predicting elections. However, would many people be influenced to purchase CrestComplete toothpaste if Nate Silver said he uses the product? Probably not.

In their defense, Klout does list the topics that they think a person has some influence on. However, they don’t give an individual score for each topic. And, these topics can also be gamed.

Additional Problems With Influencer Marketing

There are additional problems that arise when marketers add influencer marketing to their marketing mix. However, these problems are more about the nature of influence, itself.

For example, before you begin, you need to know whether or not the brand is selling a quality product. Furthermore, you need to know whether or not it fills a need that consumers have better than other products.

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then having a popular person help create awareness about the product might be all that is needed.

On the other hand, if the brand is selling an inferior product, even the most influential person in the world might not be able to get consumers to purchase it.

Furthermore, the product needs to fill a need that the people who are being influenced have. For example, if a person who has some influence in getting people in Florida to purchase products endorses a brand of snowmobiles, it is very likely that not many snowmobiles are going to get sold based on the endorsement, because most of these consumers have no need for the product.

In other words, there are many factors that need to be taken into account, beyond social influence.

As Sam Fiorella points out in a blog post on, “influence marketing (marketing campaigns oriented around individuals perceived to have influence over a larger community), are ineffectual on the consumers’ purchase decisions when they are not interwoven into a more complex influence campaign that takes into account other decision-making factors such as culture, purchase lifecycle, context of the relationships between “influencers” and their audience, etc.”

Influence Is a Team Sport

Most marketers will agree that it takes more than one interaction with a brand in order to convert a potential customer into a customer.

I’d argue that the same logic holds true for influencer marketing. That is, a brand might not be able to get consumers to buy their product by getting one “influencer” to mention or endorse their product. However, if multiple influential people are talking about the product or service, I’d speculate that the likelihood of conversion would increase.

The key is finding the right combination of influencers. However, we are right back to where we started.

The Importance of Influencer Marketing

In his post, Rohn Jay Miller states, “Truly understanding how digital influence works is a challenge we’ve barely begun to understand.”

I completely agree.

Miller also explains that using content strategy, search engine optimization and social engagement are becoming more important for building relationships with customers and that the solution for each individual company will be unique and will require that they find ways to build trust with their customers.

Again, I completely agree.

However, his blog post ends with a statement that implies that influencer marketing is completely ineffective.

As you probably can tell from this post, I disagree.

The foundation for my disagreement is based on the fact that I think that it is too early to arrive at this conclusion.

Final Thoughts

There are definite problems with the current measures of social influence. In fact, I often wonder why companies put so much emphasis on Klout scores. Then again, until we have a better measure of social influence, people will most likely continue to use them.

We also need to keep in mind that there are other issues with influencer marketing beyond the measurement difficulties.

Companies that do include influencer marketing in their marketing mix need to make sure that they take all the factors into account when developing their marketing strategy. Among other things, this includes looking at the product itself, the needs of their customers and potential customers, and finding the right influencer to match each individual demographic group that they are trying to reach.

I also think that the more influencers who mention or endorse the product or service the better, as the combined effect will probably have a greater impact on consumers’ purchase decisions. (Keep in mind, though, that an endorsement from the wrong person could have an adverse effect on sales.)

Companies also need to keep in mind that sometimes the most influential person for a given consumer might not be a famous superstar or expert; the most influential person might be their friend, family member, or their neighbor from across the street. Therefore, every interaction with every consumer is extremely important. It is also part of the reason why I say that every interaction with a consumer is marketing.

It is for these reasons that I feel that influencer marketing has a lot of potential. However, it needs to be based on factors beyond a person’s Klout score. And, it definitely needs to be part of a more comprehensive marketing strategy.

Photo credit: BrentOzar on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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The Dark Side of Social Media

Photo credit: Al404 on Flickr.People are having conversations online all the time.

They are having conversations with their friends, with friends of friends, and with people who they have never even met in the terrestrial world.

They’re even having conversations with their favorite brands (at least representatives of their favorite brands.)

Social media is all about conversations and the exchange of ideas.

But, have you ever really thought about who you are talking to online?

If you are having an online conversation with someone who you know, or at least someone who you have met in person or someone who knows someone you know, you have a pretty good idea about who it is you are talking to online.

And, if you are having a conversation with a brand online, it is a safe bet that you are talking to someone who works for that organization.

But, what about the people who you have never met in person?

There are a lot of good people in this world.

However, there are many bad people out there, also.

Child Predators, U.S. Congressmen and Catfish

“Dateline NBC” exposed some of the sleazy people who lurk on the Internet with their “To Catch a Predator” series. The series featured hidden-camera investigations of adults who contacted children over the Internet for sexual relations.

And, by now, most people are probably sick of hearing about the Anthony Weiner Sexting Scandal, also known as “Weinergate.”

And then, there’s Catfish (affiliate link).

In the 2010 documentary film, Catfish, a New York man befriends a family from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Facebook.

I don’t want to play the part of spoiler, but what I can say is that the film definitely reminds us that the people who we meet online are not always who they seem to be. (Note: Some people have questioned the authenticity of the documentary. But, even if it is a fake documentary or a hoax, the cautionary tale it tells is one that we all should keep in mind when we make friendships online.)

James M. Titus

You’ve never heard of James M. Titus?

If you haven’t, don’t worry. I don’t think that many people have heard of James M. Titus.

The truth is that James M. Titus isn’t a person at all; James M. Titus is a bot.

In the April 29th, 2011, episode of “On the Media,” Bob Garfield points out, “Earlier this year, 500 or so Twitterers received tweets from someone with the handle @JamesMTitus who posed one of several generic questions: How long do you want to live to, for example, or do you have any pets? @JamesMTitus was cheerful and enthusiastic, kind of like those people who comment on the weather and then laugh heartily. Perhaps because of that good nature or perhaps because of his inquiring spirit and interest in others, @JamesMTitus was able to strike up a fair number of continuing conversations. Only thing is, there is no @JamesMTitus. He, or it, is a bot, a software program designed to engage actual humans in social networks. He grew out of a contest to devise a social bot, a contest staged by a group of techies calling themselves The Web Ecology Project.”

There are some very humorous interactions that James M. Titus had with the humans that it was talking to via Twitter.

However, the fact that there is a bot capable of fooling people into thinking that it is a human that they are talking to, reminds us that there are some very serious things that we need to be aware of when we have conversations online. For example, are we being manipulated to do certain things based on our social interactions with bots? Or, are bots being put in place to destroy connections or put out false information to inhibit the actions of people in the offline world.

I would suggest that you take the time to listen to the NPR “On the Media” interview. And, if you want additional information on the Web Ecology Project, check out the last tweet that was sent out by @JamesMTitus on Twitter. It includes a link to additional information.


Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the strongest proponents of the use of social media for many different purposes, including marketing.

In fact, I think that social media helps people be more social offline, because it makes it easier for them to find people with similar interests based on the information that others share on the Internet.

And, social media has also made it a lot easier to find out about all the cool things that are happening around the world. In fact, many of the things that I blog about were learned, either directly or indirectly, as result of my use of social media.

The point that I want to make though, is that people need to be informed consumers of the information that they receive via all mediums, including social media.

Not everyone has your best interest at heart. Some people are malicious. Some people are manipulative and greedy. And, other people are just bored.

The topics that I talked about in this post also have implications for your business.

People often feel that big business doesn’t have their best interests in mind, and that corporations are trying to manipulate people to make a profit.

Many experts suggest that in order to win over customers, your marketing communications need to be transparent and authentic. And, I completely agree.

Anything that breaks the trust that your customers have in your business can be detrimental to your business.

Therefore, it is in your company’s best interest to be known as a trusted source for information, no matter how or where your company is interacting with its customers.

This is something to think about.

Now it’s your chance to be heard.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that you could spot a social bot? Have you thought about how bots could influence trending topics on Twitter? Will this post change the way you interact with people via social media? And, does it influence your opinion about what you read on social networking sites?

Photo credit: Al404 on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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The Life Cycle of a Social Networking Service

Photo credit: deanwissing on Flickr.On June 28th, 2011, Google added its shiny new toy to the social networking space.

Although it has only been about two weeks since the launch of Google+, many blog posts and news articles have already been written about it.

Some talk about the features of Google+, some focus on its potential business uses and others speculate that its introduction could mark the beginning of the end for Facebook or Twitter.

Although I received a Google+ invite on Monday, I haven’t taken the time to explore it, yet. Therefore, I’m going to wait a while before I weigh-in on these topics.

Instead, I want to focus on one of the key benefits of a social networking service, in general.

Access to thought leaders

In a recent post on, titled “Three Reasons Twitter Is Beginning to Suck,” Kary Delariaa digital PR strategist and social media research analyst for Kane Consulting, explains why she feels Twitter has lost some of its value.

“Some people have stopped playing altogether,” is among her top three reasons listed in the post.

“A handful of thought-leaders who I used to really enjoy having in my timeline have grown their networks to the point where the possibility of engagement is almost non-existent,” she says. “When you have more than 20,000 followers, you can’t really stop using the platform. I think that, in order maintain presence, their content has become very robotic and sanitized, void of any true engagement. My guess is that they’ve moved to other platforms for their engagement and are doing so with a smaller, more manageable (and “elite”) group.”

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Twitter is beginning to suck, I wholeheartedly agree with the point that she is making.

What I’m beginning to wonder is whether or not this is just part of the life cycle of a social networking service. That is, in the beginning, you get a lot of thought leaders flocking to the new social networking service, looking to learn as much as they can about it is so that they can either find ways to use it to build their own businesses or become experts so that can explain the value of the particular social networking service to other businesses. In the process, they connect with other thought leaders who are doing the same thing, and for a while, the new social networking service is an extremely valuable resource to them. And then, as it becomes more mainstream, it loses part of its value, for the same reasons that Kary Delaria pointed out in her post. (Or, if it doesn’t catch on, it disappears altogether.)

In a recent blog post on, titled “Using Google Plus to Source Ideas,” Chris Brogan writes, “For a long time, I’ve used Twitter to help pull together ideas. Since jumping on Google+ however, I’ve found that so many more people respond, and that there’s a great range of potential answers given to questions. Because comments exist under the post, I don’t lose them in my stream the way I do in Twitter.”

Chris Brogan is definitely pointing out some potential benefits of Google+ in his post. However, as the network grows in size, I wonder if he will still get more responses to questions on Google+ than he does on Twitter.

A perfect social network

From a marketing standpoint, I think a perfect social network is one that is used by as many people as possible.

However, from a user’s perspective, this is not always true.

The type of social networking service and your purpose for using it in the first place definitely influence your opinion on this matter.

For example, if you are using a social networking site similar to Yelp, which has a review component baked-in, more people joining the network means that there will be more people who will potentially review the product or service that you are interested in. In this case, adding people to the network makes the site more valuable.

On the other hand, if you want to have access to experts in your particular field of interest, more people on the site may decrease the likelihood that your question will be heard in the first place, thus decreasing the value of the social networking service.

With that said, I wonder if there will ever be a social networking site that is valuable enough to attract and keep the attention of thought leaders, while remaining small enough so that people can actually connect with them and exchange ideas. Is Google+ that network? Or, are new social networking sites needed every so often in order to serve this purpose?

Photo credit: deanwissing on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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The City That Banned Outdoor Advertising

Passeio de Helicóptero em São PauloEarlier this year, I watched Morgan Spurlock’s TEDTalk, “Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold,” on YouTube.

As is the case with most TEDTalks, Morgan Spurlock’s TEDTalk was definitely worth watching. His talk focused on his documentary film about branding, advertising and product placement.

Although I plan to focus on the topic of his film in a future blog post, it was something that he said during his TEDTalk, and the reaction that it got from the audience, that caught my interest and ultimately sparked the idea for this and many other blog posts.

Near the end of the talk, he mentioned São Paulo, Brazil, a city that banned nearly all forms of outdoor advertising in 2007. And, when he mentioned it, many people in the audience applauded.

That got me thinking.

Marketing Gets Creative

In September of 2006, the “Clean City Law” was passed in São Paulo, Brazil. (Keep in mind, São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world.)

According to a article, titled “São Paulo: The City That Said No To Advertising,” the ban was not limited to just billboards. The article states that “all forms of outdoor advertising were to be prohibited, including ads on taxis, on buses—even shopfronts were to be restricted, their signs limited to 1.5 metres for every 10 metres of frontage.”

From the articles that I have read online, it appears that the legislative measure has been positively received by the public.

However, it has created a unique obstacle for businesses wanting to advertise their products or services in São Paulo.

In an NPR “On the Media” interview, Vinicius Galvao, a reporter for Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, mentions that, “Big banks, like Citibank, and big stores, like Dolce and Gabbana, they started painting themselves with very strong colors, like yellow, red, deep blue, and creating like visual patterns to associate the brand to that pattern or to that color.”

“For example, Citibank’s color is blue,” he says. “They’re painting the building in very strong blue so people can see that from far away and they can make an association with that deep blue and Citibank.”

A Financial Times article, titled “São Paulo advertising goes underground,” states that, “Marketing directors had to find a place to spend the money they previously put into billboards. The result, they say, was a creative flowering of new and alternative methods – including indoor innovations such as elevator and bathroom ads – but primarily in digital media.”

In the article, Lalai Luna, co-founder of Remix, a new agency specializing in digital and social media strategies, mentions, “Companies had to find their own ways to promote products and brands on the streets. São Paulo started having a lot more guerilla marketing [unconventional strategies, such as public stunts and viral campaigns] and it gave a lot of power to online and social media campaigns as a new way to interact with people.”


São Paulo is definitely an interesting case study in the uses and effectiveness of alternative forms of advertising, and digital marketing, in particular.

It would be interesting to see what marketing campaigns have been the most effective, given their unique situation. There are definitely things that marketers all over the world can learn from São Paulo.

I also think that it would be interesting to see an analysis of the actual cultural and economic impacts that this legislation has had on the city.

So, what are your thoughts? Would you like to see this type of legislation enacted in your city? And, if your city enacted this type of legislation, would you be up to the challenge of marketing in a city that banned outdoor advertising?

Photo credit: Ana Paula Hirama on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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In the Spotlight: Blogging Frequency

Wordpress stickersAs I pointed out in the last blog post, it is extremely important that you monitor and participate in the conversations that are going on about your brand wherever your customers choose to communicate.

Therefore, I am starting the “In the Spotlight” blog post series. These posts will focus on one of the communication channels that people are using to exchange information with each other.

It only makes sense that my first “In the Spotlight” post would focus on blogs.

As is the case with many of the other topics that I will examine in the future, blogs and blogging can’t be thoroughly covered in one blog post. Therefore, I’m going to focus on blogging frequency, specifically. Future blog posts will focus on other areas of blogging (e.g., content, length, distribution, etc.)

Suggestions from the experts

When you start any new project, I would suggest researching what has been successful with other people or businesses, before you jump headfirst into it. That’s exactly what I did.

Fortunately, if you Google it, you will find that there’s a lot of great advice out there on this topic.

In fact, almost every blogger has an opinion on how often you should be posting to your blog.

Chris Brogan points out in a blog post titled “A Sample Blogging Workflow” on, “The frequency of blog posts you choose is important. Many posts a day is great, if you can keep it up. Once a day is probably ideal (but not as easy as it seems). Once every two or three days means your readers won’t know what to expect. Once a week might be enough, depending on how niche your blog is, and how authoritative you are to begin with. But no matter what you decide, make the decision and stick with the schedule.”

In a recent blog post titled “On the Argument to Post Blog Content Daily”, Nate Riggs, blogger at, makes a strong argument for posting daily.

In his post, Nate links to a blog post written by Cheryl Harrison, blogger at, titled “On maintaining a regular blog post schedule”. In her blog post, Cheryl makes the case for posting content only when you have something worthwhile and meaningful to tell your audience.

So what is the correct answer?

As mentioned, there are several schools of thought on blogging frequency, and the purpose of the blog definitely plays a role in the decision making process.

However, I recently read an article titled “The Best Blog Posting Schedule Ever: Finally, Proof and Real Numbers!” that made perfect sense. It was written by Marcus Sheridan and posted on

The conclusion that he came to was that there is no perfect blogging schedule. Instead, you should choose a blogging schedule that “allows you to accomplish your goals and love every minute of this wonderful act we call blogging.”

That sounds like good advice to me.

My blogging schedule

I am definitely going to heed Chris Brogan’s advice (i.e., create a schedule and stick with it.)

In the future, I might follow Nate Riggs’ advice, and post daily. However, I want to start off with a more realistic goal.

I also hope that I can deliver valuable content every time I post, as Cheryl Harrison suggests.

And, I am definitely going to keep Marcus Sheridan’s advice in mind. Therefore, sometime down the road, I might change my blogging schedule based on my goals and time constraints (and my desire to have some fun in the process.)

So, for now, I plan to start by posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m. CDT.

With that said, see you again on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Photo credit: magerleagues on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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Welcome to the New Main Street

When people think of Main Street, many different things probably come to mind.

To illustrate this, look up “Main Street” in Wikipedia. The current Wikipedia entry for Main Street starts off with this paragraph:

Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name (and often the official name) of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world. It is usually a focal point for shops and retailers in the central business district, and is most often used in reference to retailing and socializing.”

The Wikipedia entry points out that this concept is not limited to villages, towns, or small cities. Large metropolitan areas may have many “Main Streets”, based on neighborhood or the like.

If you continue reading, you will find that Main Street can represent a “place of traditional values.”

It is also used in comparison with Wall Street, with Main Street representing “the interests of everyday working-class people and small business owners,” and Wall Street “symbolizing the interests of corporate capitalism.”

Check out the Wikipedia entry for additional usages in American culture.

Main Street 2.0

As already mentioned, Main Street is used to represent the area of a town where people gather to shop and socialize with friends and neighbors. And when people socialize, this inevitably leads to the exchange of the latest town gossip.

However, as mentioned in the book “Gen Buy: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail” (affiliate link) by Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., and Jayne O’Donnell, “The Internet has made the world (especially Hollywood) everyone’s hometown. While our connection to each other in our geographic, non-virtual towns and cities has decreased, our access to the lives of celebrities has increased. And our forums for discussion have expanded way beyond the local restaurant and front porches to blogs, Twitters, and Facebook and People polls. So really, the folks who fill the pages of People feel like part of our community, and our gossip and interest in them is serving a purpose.”

In other words, the Internet is the new Main Street.

However, unlike Main Street in the terrestrial world, Web 2.0 has made it easier than ever for gossip to reach people all over the world.

Just think of the immense pressure that celebrities are under. If they make a fashion faux pas or have a particularly “interesting” night out on the town, it is nearly impossible for them to keep it a secret.

The rapid exchange of information that Web 2.0 allows us can also have an effect on your brand.

If a customer has a bad experience with your brand, there is nothing stopping them from letting other people know via podcasts, blog posts, social media sites, review sites, texting, and just about any other way people communicate with each other these days.

It’s not all bad, though. If you deliver a good product or service to your customers, chances are that the word will get out about that, too.

The takeaway from this blog post is that Web 2.0 has changed the way people communicate with each other. Therefore, it is extremely important that you monitor and participate in the discussions that are happening about your brand wherever your customers choose to communicate.

It’s an exciting time…

Welcome to the new Main Street!

Photo credit: quinn.anya on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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Today, the Journey Begins…

David Mackenzie Ogilvy, CBEOn June 23, 1911, one of the greatest advertising men in the history of modern advertising was born in the small village of West Horsley, England.

Many people consider David Mackenzie Ogilvy, CBE, to be the “Father of Advertising”.

However, as Kenneth Roman’s Adweek article, “David Ogilvy & Me”, points out, David Ogilvy’s career took him in many different directions before he eventually turned to advertising.

Ogilvy was an apprentice chef at the Hotel Majestic in Paris, an Aga cookers salesman in Scotland, an apprentice at his brother’s ad agency in London, and an associate director of Dr. George Gallup’s Audience Research Institute at Princeton. During World War II, he was on Sir William Stephenson’s staff in British Security Coordination. And, after the war, he even spent some time as a farmer in the Amish countryside of Pennsylvania.

“Then, at 38, never really having worked in advertising (save for his brief stint at his brother’s firm), he opens an agency in New York to compete with the great agencies of the day, and within 10 years becomes the most talked about person on Madison Avenue,” reports Kenneth Roman in the Adweek article. Roman goes on to say, “His ad campaigns set new standards in style and taste, his speeches about building brands and respecting the consumer made news, his dramatic dress and memorable sayings got him invited to parties and even to the White House.”

According to the Ogilvy & Mather website, thirty-three years after founding Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather (which eventually became Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide), Ogilvy sent the following memo to one of his partners:

“Will Any Agency Hire This Man?

He is 38, and unemployed. He dropped out of college. He has been a cook, a salesman, a diplomatist and a farmer. He knows nothing about marketing and had never written any copy. He professes to be interested in advertising as a career (at the age of 38!) and is ready to go to work for $5,000 a year.

I doubt if any American agency will hire him.

However, a London agency did hire him. Three years later he became the most famous copywriter in the world, and in due course built the tenth biggest agency in the world.

The moral: it sometimes pays an agency to be imaginative and unorthodox in hiring.”

In short, David Ogilvy lived a very interesting life.

Even today, he continues to inspire businesspeople around the globe.

Furthermore, while the marketing and advertising world today is very different than it was when Ogilvy got his start, Ogilvy’s ideas are still very relevant today.

It is no coincidence that I’m publishing my first blog post today, 100 years after the birth of David Ogilvy. In the future, when someone asks what the 1911 stands for in “1911 Main Street,” I will tell them to read this post.

Happy Birthday Mr. Ogilvy!

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at:

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