Yep, that's me, years ago. Still have the hat.

Mardi Gras Marketing Tips

Today is Mardi Gras, which is a very special holiday at this New York marketing agency. I spent my formative adult years in New Orleans, graduating from Tulane University in 2007. I’m a veteran of eight Carnivale seasons as a proud resident of the Crescent City. I’ve got the beads (and Muses shoes) to prove it.

We try to bring some of that distinctive New Orleans flair to everything we do at Digital Pudding. The experience shapes my personal worldview and informs my decisions as the leader of our team. Yes, I’m wearing my jester hat in the office today. I also know that a little fun and levity can help you focus when the time is right.

In fact, there are a bunch of lessons you could learn from the Carnivale season in New Orleans and apply them to your business. Here are some of my personal favorites. Read More

Advertising is Proof

Were big fans of Proof in Advertising here. It’s sort of the whole reason we do what we do. We believe good digital marketing proves its value over time, and you’re able to see what works and what doesn’t as it happens. When something isn’t working, it’s clear and we change it. At least, that’s what we’ve done for our clients to this point.

But let’s take a step back and consider what makes advertising good. How do you create powerful ads? Is it all about the art and visuals? What about the concept? And what do you say?

What if I told you that the key ingredient to good advertising was simple? What if it could be distilled down to a simple phrase that works in nearly every situation, offering direction and guidance for even the most complex sales?

I can. Just read the title of this article.

What does that mean, though? How is advertising proof? Proof of what? Everyone knows ads are fake. Advertisers have a vested interest in making a sale, so everything they say is a lie, right?

Not exactly. In fact, the very act of advertising has a lot of benefits for brands, regardless of the message. Read More

The real answer to your binary questions

Binary Questions Are Bumbling Your Message

So many commercials, especially local commercials, begin with binary questions. Think along the lines of “Are you in the market for…” or “Do you want to shop somewhere that’s friendly, convenient, etc.” Some call this prospect qualifying. I call it a waste of time.

These binary questions are supposed to either get someone to say “yes” or draw attention to a problem they may not have considered. It doesn’t work that way. In fact, it may even be detrimental to your entire advertising campaign.

What’s so frustrating about this is that marketers can fix this so simply by changing the way they think of their audience. Here’s how. Read More

Marketing and Advertising Aren't the Same

The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising

Marketing and advertising are often used interchangeably to describe the process of growing a business. At least, that’s what the business owners we’ve worked with have done. Both terms are used within the same breath to explain what we do for them, and they’re right about that part.

Those two concepts are not the same thing, though. In fact, one is way more important than the other. Here’s an explanation of the difference between marketing and advertising, and how you should treat each in your division of labor. Read More

Marketing Fiduciary Standard Handshake

Creating a Marketing Fiduciary Standard

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the fiduciary standard for financial planners becoming law in 2017. So much so that John Oliver even delved into the topic recently to show just how confusing the whole process is. That got me thinking: What would a fiduciary standard look like if it applied to advertising agencies and marketing consultants?

To be clear, a fiduciary standard is a guideline means that the person or agency performing a service on behalf of a client needs to act in the client’s best interest. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. In the case of financial advisors, they often push products and services that have much higher fees so that they can reap the rewards in higher commissions, essentially dooming their clients’ finances.

You have no idea how often agencies, especially smaller ones, engage in similar behavior. High hidden management fees. Accounts being held hostage. More expensive media plans than necessary, with payment on the backend from the media receiving the placement. It happens every day. How do we get agencies to look out for their clients, as opposed to looking for ways to make a quick extra buck? Read More

Definitely not Sonic, but also definitely not trademark infringement

Hidden Benefits of a Fast Marketing Team

I’ve wanted to write something about fast marketing for a while. My personal hero growing up (and maybe still today) was Sonic the Hedgehog. Why? Many reasons, but mostly because of speed. I’ve always wanted to be fast. Run fast. Think fast. Work fast. Do everything fast.

For 25 years, I’ve followed the Hall of Fame game character on a quest to improve my own speed and efficiency. It’s helped me create a value system and overall lifestyle that combines equal parts precision and velocity.

This obsession with speed has carried over into what the marketing team at Digital Pudding does. What can fast marketing do for you? Some really wonderful things. Read More

We can help entrepreneurs with penmanship, too

The Help Entrepreneurs Need for New Ideas

As marketing consultants, we help entrepreneurs of all kinds. Everyone from those running their first startups to the serial entrepreneur on his twelfth venture in the past 6 months. They’re dreamers. They’re revolutionaries. They’re demanding. They’re relentless. And they’re amazing.

We love working with entrepreneurs for the sheer joy and passion they bring to every project. And we’re always impressed that there are new ideas out there in the world just begging to see the light of day.

However, when you have an entrepreneur’s free-thinking mindset, with your eyes on the big picture, little oversights can derail a project. We’ve seen it happen. We’ve also seen it coming, successfully avoided them, and kept on moving toward our launch and growth goals. How? By finding a way to help entrepreneurs do what they do best. Read More

30 Thoughts for 30 Years: One Marketer Reflects

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, I turn thirty. The big 3-0. It sounds so weird to say. I’ve been identifying as a twenty something for nearly 15 years now. What’s next?

A lot, hopefully. In retrospect, I’ve had a chance to experience some wonderful things in the past 30 years. Also some less wonderful things. At various times I’ve been called son, grandson, great grandson, student, honors student, scholarship recipient, graduate, depressed, patient, terrified, refugee, carpetbagger, musician, freak, athlete, friend, lover, boyfriend, exboyfriend, fiancé, groom, husband, homeowner, champion, marketer, writer, curator, account executive, vice president, award winner, unemployed, founder, confused, overjoyed, excited, exhausted, overworked, underpaid, unfeeling, autistic, gracious, downtrodden, reverent, TJ, Thomas, Tommy Jay and now Tom.

I guess it’s true that we are all actors on a stage, in our time playing many parts.

In the style of legendary hockey writer Elliotte Friedman, here are some reflections on 30 years, with a look to the next thirty.

Read More