Presentation is Everything

Via Evergreen Media:

Sometimes I write stuff.

…there are good presentations and bad presentations. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what separates the former from the latter, but you know it when you sit through it.

The Importance of Mentoring

Via Evergreen Media:

Getting to the important point, and the reason I’m give you a rundown of my boring resume: at nearly every step of the way, I had access to someone more experienced who could mentor me. As I’ll explain, this is both rare and very fortunate.

3 Disciplines for Marketing

Via Evergreen Media:

Supply chains have been disrupted, and brick-and-mortar shopping has taken a hit. Your customers are consuming more and more hours of content on streaming services and only want to shop via a mobile app.

These are permanent changes to how marketers plan their campaigns, but they don’t have to be permanent obstacles. To help adjust, here are three interconnected disciplines that every marketer needs to adopt.

Another thing I originally wrote for The Green Note, my marketing newsletter. I hope it helps my fellow marketers.

Inclusive Marketing

via Evergreen Media:

As brand marketers, we have a responsibility to our customers to portray humanity fairly (if you are more interested in an unfair portrayal, you should go into political marketing.) We are chronicling the human experience by shining light on our beauty, our flaws, and our needs. The stories we tell should be truthful, and the truth is that humanity everywhere is diverse in ways beyond just skin tone.

Check out the rest of the thing I wrote over at my agency. It’s an important topic.

Challenges and Opportunities

Sometimes I write for other sites:

> All of this is to say that the privacy landscape is changing. For consumers, these are changes for the better. Proper regulation of the collection and protection of private information is probably long overdue. For marketers, we have a new challenge — how do we comply with these regulations and remain effective, without risking legal repercussions?

I tackle privacy and more in a post for my day job.

Digital Video Advertising: 2017 Landscape

Cross-posted from work.

Researchers predicted that 2016 was to be the “Year of Video” in the digital space — and it was. Cisco projected that 64% of all consumer internet traffic was video, and Brafton is projecting this to rise to 74% in 2017. Today, more video content is uploaded to the web in a single month than TV created in the last three decades, and 55% of people watch videos online every single day. It seems that everyone is creating, uploading, and watching video online. Even your mom.

So as you plan your media buys for 2018, why is your template modeled on a strategy from 1998? This might sound self-serving coming from a digital firm, but that doesn’t make it any less true: your voter audience is choosing to watch digital video over broadcast video. It is well past time that your creative strategy and budget reflected this fact.

So what are some steps you can take to modernize your video strategy? Let’s explore.

Video Length

Nearly all traditional political television ads are structured around the tried-and-true 30-second spot. That inventory is still available in digital pre-roll, but there are now a lot of other options to consider. The shorter 15-second format is increasingly dominant, with available inventory on most premium publishers. Last year, Google launched six-second ‘Bumper’ ads , a format which makes a lot more sense when consumers might be watching a YouTube video which itself is less than 30 seconds.

Additionally, social media channels provide opportunities to engage voters with videos longer than 30- or even 60-second formats. On Facebook, advertisers can utilize videos up to two hours in length. While very few voters are going to have the attention span necessary to sit through a two-hour political speech, you can easily envision an inspirational campaign kick-off video of 2-3 minutes in length. Facebook will even auto-generate closed captions for your video, a tactic which has proven to increase viewer engagement.

Video Content: Digging Deep

Consider creating digital-specific videos for social. This can be great for highlighting things from the oppo file which you might not put on traditional television or pre-roll. With captions, you don’t even have to spend money for voice talent, making these relatively inexpensive to produce and with a fast turnaround.

Precise Targeting

I’ve written about this before, but our strategies for targeting voters online are now even more advanced. With our partners LiveRamp and TubeMogul, we can take your modeled voter file and match it to voter identities across the internet and across devices. This enables us to serve ads to your target audience on whichever device they are using: their computer at work, their phone while at lunch, or their tablet at home. This is precision and efficiency which broadcast television cannot match.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to start planning and executing a digital video strategy, get in touch with us. The Prosper Group is here to help.

Working from Home (AKA, Do You Wear Pants?)

Can you actually be productive from home?

I work from home. This hasn’t always been the case. For most of my career, all of my jobs over the years have required that I work out of an office (or a car) so this was a significant change for me.

I’m over a year and a half into this experiment though, and I wouldn’t want to return to an office.

It’s probably not for everyone, but I’ve tried very hard to make this a success. Here are some of my tips for Work From Home Excellence. None of these were my original ideas, but I have found them all to be vital to my productivity, professionalism, and sanity.


If you’re going to be working from home, you must set up a dedicated work space. In my case, we converted a small room into an office which is used exclusively for my work. I have my desk, computers, phone, printers, supplies, and a comfortable chair. The kids know that this is a No Play Zone and they generally respect that rule.

Your first purchase must be a comfortable chair. This rule applies to all office environments, but get yourself good chair for the home office. Don’t buy the cheapest chair that Staples carries; sit in a bunch of different chairs and spend the extra money. It’s worth it to your health and your happiness.

This chair from IKEA is currently my daily ride.

Make sure that it is adjustable for height, so that your other ergonomics are correct (so that you are looking down at your computer screen, not up; wrists up off the keyboard while you type, not resting on the desk.) You might want to invest in an adjustable height desk or table, as well.

Also, invest in a good set of headphones. I have this set and they are pretty great. Comfortable enough for long Skype sessions or for listening to music throughout the day (they’re also great for blocking out the kids when they’re home for summer or Christmas…)

Getting Out

Now that you have your dedicated home workspace set up, identify some nearby out-of-the-home locations where you can take your laptop and work remotely a few times per month. I’ve found that the occasional change of scenery really helps my productivity. Go find a Starbucks, or a public library (or even a university library) — they all tend to have decent wi-fi access and comfortable seating.

Break Time

When you’re at home by yourself, it’s really easy to get caught up in projects. You sit down at 8:00 a.m. to start your day and, before you know it, it’s time for dinner and you’re mentally exhausted.

Make a point of taking a break a few times a day. A real break. A brief period of time when you do not do any work or think about work. Try not to eat at your desk; but if you do, put something awesome on your screen for thirty minutes and don’t respond to email. You’ve earned it. Probably.

I’m not much for exercise, but I’ve also found that it’s really helpful to get up and do some walking, once or twice a day. Even if I only have a few minutes between conference calls, I’ll at least get out of my chair and walk around the block. It helps.

Stay in Touch

I’m not someone who gets lonely, and that’s the case for working from home. Still, if you work for a company with more than one employee, you will need to figure out the communications portion of the transition.

Don’t let your bosses forget you exist (this should go without saying.) Make sure your coworkers know that you are still a vital company resource, and that you can be depended upon. Be responsive to their emails and available for their phone calls.

I have an office phone which my coworkers can use to dial me, but I prefer Skype or Google Hangouts. I think that being able to see each other every day has helped me maintain a connection with my colleagues which might have faded over email. We hold a daily group Skype with peers (no suits) to start the day, and it really, really helps.

And let us not forget the glory of Slack. For company-wide communications, private conversations, file sharing, and NSFW GIFs, there is no better solution than Slack. It’s hard to imagine doing my job without it.

Dress for Success

Others might feel differently about this one, but I think that even though I’m working from home, I still need to dress professionally. No, I’m not wearing a suit, but I’m never in a t-shirt and sweats. For me, it’s always at least a polo and khakis, and some business casual shoes.

There’s something to the idea that if I’m dressed the part, then I can better act the part of a professional. It’s a slippery slope from swapping my khakis for sweats and, before I know it, I’ll be on the couch with my laptop, maybe not doing any work at all (possibly [likely] day-drinking.)

This rule does not apply to shaving. Webcams are still of a low enough quality that I can usually go 3-4 days before co-workers start to notice that I am grizzly.

Your System

These are the things that work for me. When I started working from home, I wasn’t sure it was going to be for me. I had serious concerns about my ability to stay on task during the work day and complete my projects. But I truly believe that now, by setting some rules for myself, I am a more productive employee than I have ever been at any time in the past.

What has worked for me might not work for you. But if you can find a way to work from home, and stay productive, I highly recommend it.