Here’s the latest edition of the #newsletter. While I post much of the newsletter here, some updates are exclusively available to subscribers. Sign up now to make sure you receive it. Also, this week’s image comes from Scop.io; check them out for some cost-effective images with authentic, diverse subjects.
Let’s talk about dentists, banks, and statistics.
I attended a presentation recently featuring a case study about a bank in another country – let’s say India, just to mask the source. The case study included a surprising statistic: 71% of younger consumers there would rather go to the dentist than the bank.
The obvious takeaway is that younger Indians hate their banks – and vehemently so, if they prefer the dentist.
I was the next speaker, and I posited that maybe it meant that millennials in India really love their dentists. This got some laughs. But couldn’t it be true?
The simple moral is to question everything, and to not take another’s explanation at face value. Maybe there’s another way to see something. Coincidentally, it’s the moral I love from Disney’s movie “Big Hero 6,” which is underappreciated compared to the rest of the Pixar slate. The little Hiro, who becomes the big hero, follows his brother’s advice to “look for a new angle.”
I took that advice further. Maybe there’s another new angle. Something about this stat seemed too cute and too perfect.
So I dug deeper.
It turns out there are a lot of references to this 71% figure online, with many popping up around 2016, and some continuing from there. Articles usually referenced the Millennial Disruption Index and often linked back to millennialdisruptionindex.com, but the site is currently blank.
Millennials are an American construct; generational cohorts don’t translate neatly globally. The impact of the Cultural Revolution on the Chinese coming of age in the 1960s wasn’t the same as the American experience with assassinations, civil rights, and the Vietnam War. September 11, 2011 might have defined a generational cohort in the US but not in Nigeria. Clearly, that stat about millennials had nothing to do with India.
The case study I heard at the conference also seemed to be about a fairly new campaign. But then I found a reference via BBVA about Viacom publishing this research with a 2013 copyright. There it was, with the 71% figure.
At the conference, I should have asked – and didn’t – if the insight from the 71% figure inspired the work, or if the insight merely validated the need for it. The case study was brilliant, and it may not matter how accurately the statistic was applied. A client diving deeper and doing this research might become skeptical, so maybe it’s a case of being able to get away with tenuous insights when you have a great pitch.
One bit of good news is that I don’t need to track down an Indian dentist. I do need a new one though (a dentist, not an Indian), so when I make an appointment, I’ll be sure to ask if people like going to that dentist more than the bank.
Meanwhile, as an American who now knows this research is about Americans, I’ll offer another explanation for the data.
Americans aren’t too good with money. We don’t like talking about it, and we’re not very good at managing it. Few politicians know how to balance a budget, and heads of households don’t seem to do much better. What we’re really good at is kicking the can so we or others deal with it down the road. Discussions of finances are also a top source of marital stress. The wealthiest Americans won’t need to spend so much time visiting consumer banks. So that means the vast majority of people who go to a bank are people who probably have at least some degree, if not a very high degree, of financial insecurity. Most would probably rather not think about their own finances at all.
At least with the dentist, you know what you’re getting yourself into – and if you have my teeth, it’s a half hour of waiting around followed by an hour of pain. Maybe banks just need to take that kind of attitude: “We’ll put you out of your misery, fix what’s not working, and then you won’t have to deal with us for 6-12 months.”
That’s some work I could see sweeping the Cannes Lions.
Speaking of work, in related but unrelated news, you can now download my updated presentation on the Best Branded Bots, including 75+ voice and text examples, plus a lot of research and other info. It is the master deck that I used to inform the talk at the event I referenced, and if you’re interested in this subject, I welcome discussing it further.
That’s a taste of what I’m making of myself lately. Welcome to quite a few new newsletter subscribers as well. You’ll see lots of new job updates below, as well as a new section on some South by Southwest (SXSW) sessions you’ll want to catch if you’re heading over there.
If this is your first time reading the newsletter or your 39th, let me know how you’re doing. More specifically, what are you making of yourself?
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
ANOTHER REASON TO WANT TO BE LIKE STEPH
Stephen Curry is one of those all-stars who I hope will always be that perfect role model, and he continued down that path. He told sponsor Under Armour to scrap the party for All-Star Weekend and instead invest in his hometown community center in Charlotte. Could we see more of this, even within the ad industry? I know how much those SXSW parties run, and those are budgets that could be put to better use.
THE SLACK BIBLE
Thanks to Jess Wilkeyson for this one: a massive guide for how to get the most out of Slack. For those participating in Serial Marketers or any other Slack community, this should come in handy.
NEVER STOP BLOCKCHAIN MARKETING
Never Stop Marketing put out some new research on the blockchain marketing tech industry, saying the number of companies there grew by 1,200% in 18 months. Jeremy Epstein and his team break out the entrants by category, with Content Marketing and Management showing the strongest growth over the past year.
PODCAST: MCKENZIE & ANDRADE ON BLACK CULTURE IN MEDIA
Via E.B. Moss: “In recognition of Black History Month, this episode of the Insider InSites podcast brought together two talented MediaVillage journalists who shared their opinions and insights on the representation of people of color in advertising and media. You’ll want to hear the full conversation with Phil McKenzie, a cultural anthropologist and expert in influencer marketing, and Ainsley Andrade, an entertainment critic with a background in the arts.”
FOUR QUESTIONS, FIVE TIERS
This is double self-promotion: a client interviewed me. I do love this company, one I’ll have more to say about in future issues. Their main focus right now is selling out-of-home inventory for pennies or dollars a play; even Times Square billboards can go for $20 for 15-second plays. Meanwhile, I answered a few of their questions on their blog. They’re always looking for great interview candidates, especially if you care to discuss out-of-home (OOH), over-the-top (OTT), or other marketing frontiers.
Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.
February 22 deadline: apply to speak
This is a phenomenal event where I’ve had the pleasure of speaking. Proposals are due February 22, so get them in right away. This event keeps getting more massive by the year.
March 8-seemingly forever
I’m probably going yet again – sort of like CES, I’m getting sucked in last minute. Will you be there? Let’s meet.
Here are some featured sessions from friends of mine that you should check out. Write me to add yours to the list for the next couple weeks:
–Brand Innovators Austin, March 8-10
-Rockefeller Foundation: Global Innovation Zone, March 8 11-6
-Rohit Bhargava: 7 Non-Obvious Trends for 2019, March 8, 3:30
-Shiv Singh: Being Savvy in the Post-Trust, Fake News Era, March 12, 12:30
-Mark Stouse, Insights to Actions: Analytics-Powered Marketing, March 12, 12:30
-C-Hear: Designing for Accessibility, March 13, 12:30
-Brian Zisk: Elevator Pitch Session, March 13, 12:30
-Brian Zisk: Digital Money Meetup, March 15, 3:30
Also, my friend Rob Kischuk will be recording episodes of The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. If you know of any amazing leaders of independent marketing agencies (or founders of acquired ones) who will be at SXSW, he’d love to connect and see if they’re interested in being featured.