Reduce the Amount You Spend on Digital Ads

In a Harvard Business Review article last week, author Sinan Aral points out What Digital Ads Get Wrong and talks about the “Conversion Fallacy” by explaining the difference between ‘lift’ and ‘conversion.’ Click to read if you are looking to target people who are not already your most loyal customers. Thank you Sinan!

After reading Chrissy Teigen’s heartfelt post on Medium this week, I took a breath and paused, thinking about that old saying, “be nice to the person (standing next to you, serving you lunch, scanning your groceries, etc.) because you never know what they are going through.” Then, as a marketer, I went on to explore more on Medium and sought …

Continue reading

The New Corporate SWAG

Despite the increasing politicizing of masks, some businesses are not shying away from the branding opportunity they present. But I’m with Jeremy Parker, co-founder of, quoted in the article, “It is frankly a weird product to sell — masks. You go to swag for fun,” while masks are for safety. is donating 10 masks for every 100 it …

Continue reading

Google Ad Credits for Small Business

Here’s the latest from Google on their plan to supply credits to small and medium-sized businesses beginning in July. Your business is eligible if you spent with a Google Ads account in ten out of twelve months of 2019, and in January and/or February of this year. The credit could be as much as $1,000 and the good news is that …

Continue reading

Is Twitter’s Open-sourced Method the Right Plan?

Twitter has been test driving new ways to fight tweets both misinformative (inaccurate, but not necessarily ill-intended) and disinformative (intentionally misleading.). One possible method, is flagging tweets with Snopes-style badges if they’re deemed “harmfully misleading.” A a 2019 Gallup poll shows that only 41% of Americans trust mass media. “On one hand, I love that when something’s false, we’re finding a …

Continue reading

Best Marketing Conferences for 2020

Michael Brenner from Marketing Insider Group posts a great list of upcoming events. As he notes, “Attending a marketing conference is a great opportunity to learn about up-and-coming trends and new technology in the industry, network with peers, brands, and vendors, and just stir up a bit of new inspiration and enthusiasm for your work.” Check out the list here

Tax Cuts Losing their Punch on the Economy

The American economy slowed at the end of 2018 — and there could be a further slowdown to come. Gross domestic product — the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the United States — grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department said Thursday.  The White House expects the roughly 3 …

Continue reading

I’m Certified!

This month I completed my online coursework and passed the certification test to become a Professional Certified Marketer PCM.® From the American Marketing Association, “When you have the letters PCM behind your name, you’re showing the world you’re serious about making a difference in marketing. With the American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) program, you’ll not only gain the knowledge you need …

Continue reading

Adwords Best Practices for 2018

This is one of those articles that starts right up front with a list of what’s included in the article. This is helpful because when you start talking about Adwords, you don’t always know your audiences’ level of expertise. I’m a believer that there’s always something new to learn. For me it was “Smart Bidding.” Hope you find something interesting …

Continue reading

Marketing to Millennials

This covers a lot of ground in understanding the largest group of consumers today. Just one highlight from this article: marketing to this cohort will increasingly focus on promotions through apps and texting. Article by David Roe from CMS Wire

Welcome 2017 Florida Film Festival!

Next week is the annual Florida Film Festival presented by the Enzian and sponsored by Full Sail University, Orange County Government.  I always look forward to the short films and documentaries, as those are hard to see any other time of the year in Central Florida.  Check out their schedule

Bye Bye Banner Ads?

Since the introduction of banner ads in 1994 on their effectiveness has been hotly debated by consumers who complain how they slow down page loads and advertisers who count on the high volume model to book a positive ROI. In an article in today’s print NYTimes, Farhad Manjoo posits the banner ad is in decline simply because the medium …

Continue reading

My Twitter Account Was Hacked

Actually, I have two twitter accounts, @LauraSpear and @StartingSparks.  One day, @StartingSparks received a tweet from @LauraSpear about a fairly interesting topic. Problem was, I had not posted a tweet that day.  When I went in to check, sure enough, the link it took me to was a not very reputable promotion. I deleted the tweet, changed my password for …

Continue reading

Communicating, Inspiring, Discovering, Connecting – How are you using Social Media Platforms?

Thank you to Robin Carey and the team at Social Media Today for today’s webinar, “Allocating Resources Across The Marketing Mix: Where to Spend Socially.”  Don Bulmer at Shell and Monica Peterson at Toyota made compelling cases for how social media is changing as part of the media mix.  My favorite slide was Ms Peterson’s clear, concise summary of the the roles social …

Continue reading

Everyone Loves Summer Camp

Camps have always been a good place to take a break from your day-to-day commitments to explore something new and make new friends. Leave it to Google to sponsor a camp on steroids in Sicily with elite guests from the finance and tech world to have, as William Alden describes in today’s New York Times, “high-minded discussions of global issues.” He …

Continue reading

First Google Glass – Now Smart Contact Lenses

More news on medical monitoring using technology.  Google[x], a team within Google, today announced it has licensed it’s “smart lens” technology to Alcon (Novartis). On January 16 of this year, Google introduced it’s Smart Contact Lens Project in a blog post noting they were in the “early days of this technology” and “in discussions with the FDA.” Now Novartis is ready …

Continue reading

..and what will we DO with all this data?

As a follow-up to my June 3 post about Apple’s HealthKit I thought I would share a somewhat pessimistic (although hopeful) view of the market by researcher and author Aaron E. Carroll published today in the NYTimes  “Apple’s HealthKit Probably Won’t Bring a New Age” He ID’s the barriers he sees as long-term obstacles: Lack of communication between information systems Patient Behavior Physician …

Continue reading

The Accelerators

The Accelerators, a feature in the Wall Street Journal online, brings together a team of 24 mentors who discuss strategies and the challenges of creating a new business.  More about them in a minute. According to the US Gov’t ‘s latest figures, in 2010 99.7% of US business are classified as small business with less than 500 employees.  And of that 52% …

Continue reading

Just Google It!

It’s the first week of my latest MOOC from Coursera Understanding Media by Understanding Google taught by Owen R. Youngman of Northwestern University.  As a 6 week course the content necessarily moves quickly but it doesn’t feel like a typical class at all because the topics are so relevant to my everyday projects. Enrollment is still open but if you can’t get …

Continue reading

Anyone Can Fringe!

Welcome Back Orlando Fringe Festival!  Since 1992, Orlando has hosted what is now the longest running Fringe in the US! According to the Fringe’s own website:  Fringe is a festival or, rather, a celebration of the theatrical and performing arts. The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival takes place in and around Loch Haven Park over the course of the thirteen …

Continue reading

Crazy Eggs and a Whole Lot More

I’ve known about Hubspot, an Inbound Marketing Platform, for a few years now but was taking a closer look at their offerings for a client recently. They offer software to manage all your marketing activities like Blogging, SEO, Email, Lead Management and Analytics all in one place. While I was on their site, I found their Marketing Resources Library, a really cool source …

Continue reading

U Can Finish – October 19, 2014

The U Can Finish 5 miler & 2 miler presented by Florida Hospital date has been set for October 19th this year on the UCF campus.  Of all the road races I’ve run, this one is special because it was my first ever race back in 2010.  I think the race date was 10/10/10 that year.  Anyway,  I had just started …

Continue reading

Bringing Your Customers “Over The Bridge”

At every company I have worked at I have tried to educate my team on the basic concepts of focus on the features/benefits and value proposition. This article from however, takes the discussion even further in a very articulate way, Branding Psychology Insights: How Consumers REALLY View Your Brand. I especially like the two rules for your brand strategy …

Continue reading

200,000 Facebook Friends? Really?

Web Bots have been around for a long time and in some cases have legitimate, practical purposes for the users.  Nick Bilton in a April 20 New York Times piece “Friends, and Influence, for Sale Online,” gives an update look at bots being used to pump up statistics and in some cases affect social behavior online. Have you ever chosen …

Continue reading

Don’t underestimate the power of ‘purpose’ for your brand.

New research released last month by the World Federation of Advertisers shows marketers around the world overwhelmingly believe purpose needs to be part of a successful brand building strategy. The survey conducted from Aug 2013 to Feb 2014 questioned 828 respondents from 33 countries. It defined “purpose” for Marketers is about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ethics. From the presentation of the survey …

Continue reading

Vox Media’s Chorus

Vox Media calls itself “A general interest news site for the 21st century.” And because of their content management system, Chorus, they have a dynamic website that integrates graphics, social media and reader comments in a way traditional media outlets could only dream of. Leslie Kaufman in this April 6, 2014 NYTimes article  notes the rich graphic interface and facile reader interaction have helped Vox earn a …

Continue reading

Florida Film Festival 2014

Hello Florida Film Festival!  Opening day today at the Enzian theater here in Orlando.   Their tagline is — 10 days of awesome.  170 movies.  Heck Yeah!  I know for sure I want to see the International Shorts.  Hoping to catch at least a few more in the next week. Here’s the link to the website with the full schedule: …

Continue reading

How to ‘Really’ Erase Your Search History

Clicking on your tools icon in your web browser, choosing “Internet Options” and “Delete Search History” will certainly delete your search history on the laptop or tablet you are working on.  But it doesn’t erase your history on Google, Bing or other popular search engines.  In fact, as Molly Wood writes in the NYTimes Personal Tech section, April 2, 2014, …

Continue reading


I’ve been really enjoying NPR’s Ted Radio Hour Podcast (Loved the Story on the Spoken and Unspoken Ep Dec 13, 2013  in which Mark Forsyth describes how we came to name the position of “President” of the U.S and why it matters.)  TED talks have a way of  making me look at things with a different perspective.  I think it spurs my creative …

Continue reading

James Gandolfini’s Last Film Performance

From April 1, 2014 — A September release is expected for “The Drop” featuring James Gandolfini in his last performance. The trailer reveals moving performances by both Gandolfini and Brit Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless and Inception) Check out the trailer here:

8 Ways to Get Real-Time Feedback on How Your Event is Going

One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of planning an event is the uncertainty of your guest experience. You can’t be in all places at once so how will you know if the registration table gets backed-up with a long line? Or attendees are getting lost despite what you thought was excellent directional signage?  Unless you have a huge staff, you’ll …

Continue reading

You’ve got 10 seconds!

March 10, 2014 —  As a marketer, you need content quality for your information to stand out because you’ve got less than 10 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention according to usability experts, Nielsen Norman Group. According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, “Every 2 days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.” …

Continue reading