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Posts from the ‘marketing’ Category

A Layperson’s Guide to GDPR

June 13, 2018




If you are a marketer, publisher or digital business, GDPR probably makes you shutter. For the rest of you, it probably makes you shrug. Let’s quickly break it down, in plain English.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new regulation governing data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU). It went into effect Friday, May 25, 2018. Its goal is to give citizens more control over how their data is used. In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica debacle, that’s a mission most people can get behind. But for marketers, publishers and vendors, it entails radical and expensive changes.

Even companies that are based outside of the EU have to abide by the new laws if they are offering good or services to EU citizens. That basically means every business in the world scrambled to become GDPR compliant.

What did GDPR change?

GDPR mandates that businesses be upfront about how they are using consumer data. If they are selling it to third-parties or using it for digital ad targeting, they need to tell you. Then, they have to obtain your consent. If a consumer doesn’t want their personal data used in a certain way, they can opt-out. GDPR also requires organizations that handle sensitive data on a large scale to appoint a data protection officer. Failure to comply results in massive fines, possibly as much as four percent of a company’s annual revenue.

There is a lot more to it then that. I have ghostwritten at least five articles about GDPR, but I still can’t pretend to know all the details. If you are really interested (or a masochist), read all about GDPR here.

To prepare for GDPR, companies leaned on their in-house legal counsel or hired outside experts. They often had to make massive changes to their privacy policies, compliance processes and in some cases, overhaul the way they use and store data, which can have massive implications for a business.

As a consumer, you probably noticed you received a lot of emails about updated privacy policies on or around 5/25, and that a lot of websites are serving popups with messages about how they use data.

What happens post-GDPR?

Execs around the world did a happy dance post 5/25. I don’t blame them, but at the risk of being a buzzkill, experts predict GDPR-related fallout as the industry adjusts to the legislation. Complaints have already been filed, and the finger-pointing has already begun. Some fear that GDPR will only strengthen the digital advertising duopoly, Google and Facebook, since smaller companies may not be able to afford the necessary changes, or to weather hefty fines.

Oh, and more changes are imminent. The ePrivacy regulation is in the works in Europe and US legislators are discussing the merits of the CONSENT Act, short for the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions act  (Now doesn’t that roll off the tongue?)

So, there you have it–an abbreviated overview of every marketer’s least favorite four-letter word, GDPR.

By Jacqueline Lisk

Photo cred:


Why Your Business Needs Video

March 14, 2018


Businesses of all sizes are investing in video. Here’s why:

  • People prefer them. Research shows that 60% of site visitors will watch a video, if available, before reading text. (Source)
  • They are shareable. Content that includes a multimedia element is more likely to be shared than text-only content.
  • They are effective. After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online. (Source)
  • They are memorable. 80% of users recall a video they viewed in the last 30 days. (Source)
  • They bring your brand story to life.

Studios will charge 6-figure price tags for videos. We have an affordable approach to creating high-quality company videos that will make you jump for joy.

Here’s one we recently created for our client, Recruit Group.

Want to learn more? Contact today, or fill out the form below.





The Surprisingly Tricky Task Of Writing Company Summaries

August 18, 2017


What Do We Do_

Helping a new company boil down what it does into a few sentences is a surprisingly challenging task. The last four years, I have been helping businesses, big and small, do just that.

Writing a company description is especially hard for a nascent organization that is still working out exactly how its products or services will be used, let alone described. But doing so is critical. This description serves as the backbone of external and internal communication.

Let’s take a closer look at why every business needs a documented company summary.

Laying the groundwork for consistent marketing communication

A company summary is a brief description of your business that can be used for your website, social media profiles, marketing material, investor decks, press releases, and in conversations with well-meaning family members who are trying to understand what it is you do, exactly.

Many businesses have a short, one to three sentence version, and a more in-depth iteration. The summary should make sense to your target customers, partners, investors  and ideally, the aforementioned well-meaning family members.

Some company summaries are easier to write than others. Do you run a women’s boutique? That’s easier to describe than an emerging advertising technology solution. Regardless of your vertical, try to keep it simple and use recognizable terms and phrases rather than coining new descriptors.

One of the most overlooked use cases of a summary like this is internal communication. You want to make sure every member of your team is describing your business in the same way.  I often work with business owners on company summaries as part of a larger company narrative project, in which we define their target audience, brand voice, mission statement and unique value proposition. The process can be quite enlightening for the entrepreneur. Often we involve their whole teams in a workshop. I love running these things. It is interesting to hear each person’s elevator pitch, and it almost always sparks some well-meaning debate about the company’s purpose. It is challenging to synthesize that input into verbiage that is both meaningful and persuasive, but it is also deeply satisfying to land on a new turn of phrase that excites the whole team.

While I strive to write summaries that will stay forever relevant, nothing is etched in stone. If you are a start-up, you should revisit your company description regularly and make tweaks as needed. It is good to be fluid, just don’t sacrifice organization. Document your sanctioned company description in a central location for your team, and keep them in the loop about changes.

For those of us in more complicated industries, like ad tech, writing simple summaries is weirdly hard, but it is worth the effort. You are taking control over how your company is described, internally and externally. When done right, this brief description is both deceptively simple and highly strategic.

By Jacqueline Lisk

Those Pesky Millennials Are At It Again

March 23, 2017



If you work in marketing, you can’t go a day without reading something about millennials. And with good reason! These guys are now the largest generation in the U.S. and have tremendous buying power. Their digital-first preferences have changed the way brands approach customer service, branding, and sales. (For more on the “Millennial Effect,” check you this article I wrote for Mediaplanet.)

Well folks, they have done it again. A recent survey from Deloitte revealed that 80 percent of young viewers skip online video and TV ads. But aren’t millennials supposed to like video?

As a millennial, and a human, I may be able to shed light on this manner: People don’t like interruptive advertising! It’s why they download ad blockers. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for well-done video ads, but most consumers prefer to learn more about products and services by reading and watching quality content, on their own time.

If you’d like to discuss what makes content marketing so special, drop me a line!

Jacqueline Lisk

Photo Cred:


What Small Businesses Need to Know about Influencer Marketing

December 20, 2016








Photo Cred: 42 Works

Rather than convincing all of your prospects to do business with you, what if you just had to convince a few of them? Then, those new clients could tell the rest of your potential customers about how great you are. Of course, this only works if you focus on the right new clients, folks with influence–the kind of people the rest of your prospects respect, trust, and turn to for input. That is influencer marketing in a nutshell.

Sociologists proposed the hypothesis that the majority of people are influenced by a small number of opinion leaders during a study in 1944 about the process of decision-making during the presidential election. The translation for marketers is that if we can successfully find and engage opinion leaders, they can help us connect “with the masses.” This can be done organically, or by paying the influencers for their help.

Social media has given the whole things new legs since it makes it easier than ever to 1.) identify influencers and 2.) become an influencer in the first place.

Platforms like SnapChat, YouTube and Vine (RIP!) have enabled a generation of personalities to cultivate enormous followings by creating and sharing unique, and often silly, content. These channels, and their superstars, are most popular with millennials, and marketers have been salivating over the new opportunity to connect with this high-value audience.

But influencer marketing isn’t just about this wave of new content creators.  According to one study, 84 percent of global marketers planned to launch at least one influencer campaign. Small businesses need to focus on finding the influencers that matter to their audience, and remember the following:

  1. An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity. They just need to matter to your customer base.
  2. An influencer doesn’t have to have a huge following. Sometimes people with smaller fan bases actually have better engagement stats.
  3. An influencer doesn’t even have to be a person. An organization, such as a non-profit, can make an excellent partner.

When you find the right influencer, someone (or something) who is trusted by your clients and prospects, they can help you create content that resonates with your target audience. They can also help you distribute that content by sharing it on their own social media channels. Influencer marketing is not as new as it seems. For small businesses, it is another tactic for reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time.

Want to chat about what influencer marketing can do for your small business? Contact JR Lisk today.



What you don’t know about ad blocking

March 24, 2016



I can see all sides of the ad blocking conundrum. On one hand, we are fed up with obtrusive, irrelevant ads that interrupt our online experience. But then again, advertising subsidizes publishing. We need ads to monetize digital journalism. Plus, when used correctly, ads are a powerful marketing tool for raising brand awareness and driving conversions. But what I hadn’t thought about are the people and businesses behind the ad blocking solutions. Turns out, their mission isn’t always noble. It’s not just about protecting the user—it’s about profiting.

An increasing number of users are downloading tools that allow them to filter out ads. There are now more than 198 million people using ad blockers worldwide, and it cost the publishing industry nearly $22 billion in 2015, according to PageFair’s recent research. They are using this software because they’re concerned about privacy or security, or frankly, because ads can be annoying (enough with the pop-ups and auto-plays, people). I assumed the creators of ad blocking tools were akin to the protagonists in Mr. Robot—brilliant antiheroes brave enough to challenge the establishment. But at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) annual leadership meeting earlier this year, IAB President Randall Rothenberg explained that many of these ad blocking creators are for-profit companies that are using nefarious tactics to make a buck. They’ll actually allow publishers to pay a fee to circumvent ad blocking software, but if a digital site doesn’t have the means to “pay the toll,” they are out of luck! Rothenberg claims that this is actually a threat to freedom of speech and diversity. Slowly but surely, smaller, independent publications will be forced to close their doors (or laptops, if you will), and the only news sources remaining will be those with deep pockets. (Click here to read more about his speech.)

That there is a market for ad blockers speaks volumes about our industry, regardless of the intent of the software’s creators. (And hey, maybe there are some guys who are in this to improve and preserve the user experience. I can’t pretend to know everybody’s motives, but Rothenberg’s words resonated with me.) Marketers and publishers should see this as a wake-up call. We have to respect the user. We have to use the tools available to us (and believe me, there are plenty) to create relevant creative and to effectively target audiences so the right messages are reaching the right people at the right time.

By Jacqueline Lisk


A look ahead, a look back: Content marketing trends and predictions

January 14, 2016



2015’s word of the year? Content marketing. If you don’t believe me, ask the Association of National Advertisers. Thus, it’s no surprise there’s a surfeit of articles analyzing the content marketing developments that defined the past 12 months, and countless pieces that make predictions about what’s to come. I rounded up some of the best in content marketing, digital and tech news to help inform your 2016 marketing strategy.

Looking back: Content marketing in 2015

Native advertising 101: The Good, the bad and the ugly, ClickZ
A useful overview of one of the year’s hottest marketing trends.

2015 retrospective: 8 major developments to note, The MediaBriefing
A thoughtful, global examination of the year’s most significant media and tech happenings.

The best native ads of 2015, Outbrain
The 7 best native ads of 2015, HubSpot
The Best Content Marketing of 2015, Contently
Examples of native advertising done right. Use these to inspire your next campaign.

7 of the industry’s biggest stats in 2015, ClickZ
Important data pertaining to ad spending, social media, e-commerce and more.

F.T.C. Guidelines on Native Ads Aim to Prevent Deception, The New York Times
This isn’t a Year in Review piece, but the industry is a buzz about the F.T.C’s recently released guide on native ads. Its goal is to protect consumers from deception, which shouldn’t be a bad thing for those advertisers producing content that is truly high quality and useful.

Looking ahead: Content marketing predictions

5 Big Ways Content Marketing Will Change in 2016, Contently
A must-read! Contently’s editor in chief calls out the “sweeping trends” likely to affect our industry. My favorites? Marketing won’t be the only department investing in content, and media budgets will start to flow into content marketing initiatives.

The top marketing trends to watch for in 2016, Hubspot
“Marketing is becoming more localized and more personalized. Snapchat has exceeded many marketers’ expectations…We’re seeing a rise in wearable tech, which is giving marketers a ton more consumer data to work with.” This infographic provides a closer (visual) look at these trends.

35 content marketing statistics you need to know in 2016, Forbes
Making the case for a larger B2B content marketing budget? Bookmark this article for ammunition.

A Look Ahead: Content Marketing in 2016, The Content Council
Industry leaders share their predictions in this quick read. Don’t expect any earth-shattering revelations, but it’s worth a gander.

10 content marketing game changers to look for in 2016, Mashable
NewsCred CEO Shafqat Islam shares his predictions, which include the rise of “living” content, virtual reality and messaging platforms, such as WeChat and Live.

Prediction rankings: The most likely media and tech developments in 2016, The MediaBriefing
An in-depth look at some of the changes in store for the media industry.

15 crucial web design trends for 2016 and beyond, eConsultancy
A credible look at budding design trends. Keep this in mind so you can present your quality content in the best way possible.

Trends for 2016: Five Predictions for What Won’t Happen, eMarketer
eMarketer calls out often-cited predictions that probably won’t come to fruition (at least not yet), such as young people abandoning Facebook in droves.

Have I missed something? Let me know! Tweet @jlisk1 or drop me a line at


Content roundup: Mobile ad spending on the rise

August 31, 2015


An increasing number of advertisers are spending more of their ad budgets on mobile marketing tactics. This trend is a logical result of changing user behaviors. As marketers, it’s our job to be where the people are, and more people are spending more time on their mobile devices. In January 2014, for the first time, Americans used smartphones and tablets more often than desktops to connect to the Internet, according to comScore. Here are some useful articles to help you understand the future of mobile advertising.

1. Mobile to account for more than half of digital ad spending in 2015, eMarketer

This year, mobile spending will surpass desktop spending for the first time. eMarketer shares its recent research on the shift. Read it here.

2. Programmatic and RTB

Programmatic ad buying affords its adopters a host of benefits, including increased efficiency, cost savings, transparency and targeting abilities. It has implications beyond mobile, but it’s particularly interesting to watch these trends converge.

  • Digiday explains programmatic in layman’s terms. Read it here.
  • Acquity’s blog post breaks down RTB in a way that’s easy to understand. Read it here.
  • Business Insider summarizes its comprehensive report on programmatic buying. Read it here.

3. The future of digital advertising: Mobile, programmatic and native

MoPub’s guest blog for Audience Science explains how these tactics come together to offer superior results for advertisers. (In full disclosure, JR Lisk helped MoPub with this piece!) Read it here.

Have an article recommendation? Let us know on Twitter @jlisk1

Photo Source: Union Square Media

What’s the deal with live streaming?

June 30, 2015



Live streaming is the process of delivering content live to an end-user over the internet. Content delivery networks like Periscope and Meerkat allow people, or brands, to share videos in real-time, and audiences to more easily find content that they might be interested in.


Meerkat allows you to share and view videos in real-time. You can comment on content, see how many other people are watching, and share the video link on other social networks. If you do follow a stream, you’ll receive a notification when the user is “on-air,” or sharing new content, so you don’t miss out. But like Snapchat, the content does not live forever. You have to watch it live. In May, Meerkat revealed a Facebook integration that allows users to publish streams directly on Facebook.


Periscope, now owned by Twitter, allows you to share real-time videos via your iPhone. After you share a video, it remains available for your subscribers to view for 24-hours – then it disappears. People can also comment and like your content, allowing broadcasters to interact in real-time with their audience.

Live streaming’s marketing implications

Live streaming apps allow you to more easily broadcast video content that can help customers better understand your business. But as always – quality and context matters. Brands will still have to find that “sweet spot” – videos that are entertaining or interesting but also tie-back to their marketing objectives.

You’ll also need to find your audience, which is more easily done if you’ve already cultivated robust social networks, since you can promote your content on existing networks like Twitter and Facebook.

As it’s a new platform, best practices are still being determined, but if you fancy yourself an early adopter, now is the time to experiment.

Is your business embracing live streaming? Let us know @jlisk1

Digital ad fraud: The viewability issue

March 25, 2015


You may have heard the disheartening stats about the percentage of digital ads that are actually seen by human beings. Marketers are paying for ads that are never viewed, or in some cases, served. (Funny, if we were talking about print advertising this would be okay; but in the digital realm, where everything is measurable, it’s fraudulent.) Here’s what you need to know.

ComScore found that about 50 percent of web ads go unseen.  And ComScore’s definition of viewability isn’t exactly stringent: viewable is counted as 50% of pixels remaining in view for at least half a second.

Ads aren’t seen for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The user doesn’t scroll down
  • The ad doesn’t load in time
  • The user has an ad blocker
  • Fraudulent practices
  • Bots

Hold on to your hats–research shows that ads that are seen are more likely to drive action. (I know, I know. “Duh.”)  Marketers, we have a problem.

The solution

The first step in fixing the problem is acknowledging it. The viewability issue is earning a lot of attention—that’s a good thing.   Tech companies are working to build effective ad tracking systems—solutions that can help advertisers determine with certainty that they’re paying for ads that have been seen.  In the meantime, some publishers, including, are updating their site design to ensure that all ads are viewable. Industry-wide change is imminent. In the meantime, advertisers should speak openly with publisher and ad network partners to learn what’s being done to protect their marketing dollar.  Additionally, consider alternatives to display ads, such as content marketing – the practice of creating and distributing high quality content that educates your audience while aligning with your brand’s objectives.

Click here to read more about digital ad fraud.