The ‘Mad Men’ Marketing Era is Long Over

The ‘Mad Men’ Marketing Era is Long Over

(Originally posted in

The impending Mad Men series finale is causing a stir in the social sphere: Viewers are reluctant to say goodbye to the characters, who represent the quintessential ’60s experience. One reason may be the intimate look the series has depicted of the advertising industry during that decade. Another may be its insightful glimpse into a time of hard-and-set demographic lines — which in turn provides a significant lesson for modern business owners.

In short: We’re no longer in the Mad Men era, and our marketing shouldn’t be, either.

We’re no longer in the Mad Men era, and our marketing shouldn’t be, either.

Today, lines between gender, culture and age are fuzzy. Same-sex couples are having babies. Americans have a black president. Knowledge workers have replaced industrial workers, and we’re living longer. So we’re able to make more and spend more.

Given these blurred lines, narrowing your startup’s target market into specific demographics is no longer an effective branding strategy. Instead, emphasizing “psychographics,” which reveals people’s behavior and mindset, rather than demographics, will result in higher consumer engagement and more brand visibility.

Why psychographics trumps demographics

When psychographics — the study of people’s values, opinions and attitudes — first found its way into scholarly journals in the ’60s, the challenge it posed was considered too challenging. To obtain the interests, attitudes and opinions of a market meant commissioning time-consuming, expensive and bias-ridden surveys.

When compared to demographics — which comprises age, gender, ethnicity, income and location — the practice of collecting psychographic information was pushed aside, and no wonder.

With demographics, stereotypes predominated: A person was either a man or a woman. People were black, white, Hispanic or Asian. Those over 65 were retired with grown kids and seeking a condo in Florida. There was no accounting for the types of people those individuals actually were.

Sure, stereotypes still exist in the modern era, but they shouldn’t inform marketing strategies. And relying on demographics is getting riskier for brands. Content for Millennial stereotypes, for example, may come across as boring or clumsily deceptive. And brands for Hispanics are failing because merely translating the same irrelevant content into Spanish doesn’t cut it.

Values-based marketing, on the other hand, allows you to address 100 percent of your market. So even as consumer mindsets and values constantly change, you can tweak your messaging accordingly. But first, you have to determine which values make sense for your company and its offering.

Putting psychographics into play

To determine which values best fit your company’s offerings, start with your brand’s value proposition. What makes it stand out from others in consumers’ minds? It’s important that your marketing show your brand’s true colors. Knowing yourself and your team will ensure that you don’t send mixed messages to your audience.

One brand that has done this well is Red Bull. According to a case study, Red Bull represents adventure, wit, confidence, spontaneity and irony. The energy drink company lives out these values by mounting global events, such as the Red Bull Air Race, which showcase bold, risk-taking athletes.

Other great examples include Coca-Cola, which presents itself as committed to customer happiness; and United Airlines, which has improved its service to satisfy customers’ desire for relaxation and rewards.

The message here is that if you’re working with an established brand, do psychographic testing on leading and lagging markets. For example, BMW is favored over Mercedes in the United Kingdom because consumers there display the inner-directed values which align with BMW’s branding. Use this research to identify and prioritize markets.

Finally, consider the opportunity to create lifestyle content that appeals to your target market’s mindset. Lifestyle content may feature men or women of any age and any ethnicity. It doesn’t even have to include people; perhaps it’s just an inspirational slogan, such as “Just do it.” Interestingly, 60 percent of Nike’s Facebook posts featured lifestyle content in 2014, and its call-to-action posts were shared about 993 times each.

The Adidas brand, on the other hand, shared lifestyle content only 32 percent of the time and garnered only about 122 shares for each of its call-to-action posts.

The Mad Men era may be over, then, but the era of values-based marketing has arrived — and it poses unique and infinite opportunities for creative marketing approaches. If you do some brand soul-searching, stay true to your core values and curate content that appeals to your target’s mindset, you’ll enjoy Don Draper-worthy consumer engagement without even a hint of the now-dated ’60s.


Mattr Recognized as a Top Startup to Watch in Austin!

Mattr Recognized as a Top Startup to Watch in Austin!

Symmetry50 names Mattr as a Top 25 Startup to Watch in 2015. Mattr provides rich context around a brand’s influencers, their audience, and their psychographic profiles by uncovering personality traits, interests and values.

Mattr Recognized as a Top Startup to Watch in Austin!


Today Mattr announced that it has been named to Symmetry50’s ‘The Top 25 Startups to Watch in Austin’ list, joining local innovative startups such as Umbel, Unseen, Burpy and Favor. The top startup recognition is Mattr’s second in a month after being named one of the top 50 Austin startups to watch by Built in Austin in March.

“We’re humbled to be getting so much recognition recently as a startup to watch in our community,” said Jack Holt, CEO of Mattr. “With all the great, young companies in Austin, being honored as an innovation leader is inspiring our team to work even harder. It’s also proof that the strides we’re making to innovate digital marketing with our social segmentation and influencer marketing technology are resonating with both the industry and our customers.”

Mattr launched in January 2011 and is one of the first platforms that focuses on qualitative data through social segmentation. Rather than focusing only on followers, Mattr provides rich context around an influencer, their audience, and their psychographic profile by uncovering personality traits, interests and values. The self-funded company captured significant clients early on to retain a recurring revenue stream while expanding its technology to help grow its client base, making it an appealing choice as a top startup in 2015.

The full “Top 25 Startups to Watch in Austin” article is available here.

Engage Influencers in the Early Stages of Product Development

Engage Influencers in the Early Stages of Product Development

(Originally posted in Noobpreneur)

Influencer marketing is like hosting a dinner party. You invite the coolest people you know, bring out your best china, make them feel special, and hope they go home and tell their friends about how tender your scallops were.

Influencer marketing is like hosting a dinner party. You invite the coolest people you know, bring out your best china, make them feel special, and hope they go home and tell their friends about how tender your scallops were.

Influencers are the people a brand desperately needs to hang out with. They have active followings on social media, and they’re on the front line of their audience’s trends and attitudes. By connecting with these powerful people, you can position your brand on the cutting edge of all things innovative and desirable.

So, why don’t you invite these influencers to connect as soon as possible? Seventy-six percent of marketers are already using influencers when they launch their products, but you can set yourself apart by gaining their expertise and reach in the earlier stages of product development.

However, just like any dinner party, you need to be welcoming, generous, and patient. Above all, you need to know how to communicate with your special guests. Here are six tips for involving your influencers in the product development stage:

1. Use social media to befriend them

Influencers are social media butterflies, so this is often the best way to reach them. Explore LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and identify influential people who you think would be interested in your new product, including those you already have relationships with.

People with large followings and active profiles will likely be able to provide valuable feedback about your product through their connections. Think about reach, relevance, and resonance. If you can get all three from an influencer relationship, it should be a go.

2. Think mutual

You should never approach influencers without considering what you can offer them in return. Once that mutually beneficial relationship is established, influencers will become excited to be associated with your brand. As a result, they’ll be willing to go the extra mile.

Make sure you’re clear about the rewards they’ll receive. A careful combination of tangible rewards (like free products and financial compensation) and intangible rewards (like the notoriety of being connected to something really cool) will motivate your influencers the most.

3. Clarify your goals

Influencers will get excited about working with you if they understand and appreciate what you’re trying to achieve. Present them with the challenge of your product development process and the effect that your campaign could have on that. On a practical level, knowing your goals for the product will help them produce the right content for their audience and collect the right kind of feedback for your team.

For example, restaurant and retail grocer line Lyfe Kitchen recently teamed up with DKC to build an influencer marketing campaign. The company wanted to expand into new supermarkets and increase word-of-mouth advertising through social media. By communicating its goals to its influencers, the retailer grew its distribution from 400 to 1,400 stores.

4. Be a gracious host

Working with influencers can take a lot of work. They’re usually busy people – often with strong personalities – so remember to be patient, lighthearted, and open. As the gracious host, you want to make your guests feel special. So, create rewards that are tailored to them. Host an event in their honor. Name one of your products after them. Get creative.

5. Create a team

Weber Shandwick’s “Got Chocolate Milk?” campaign initiated a sales increase that just kept snowballing. Why? Because the agency invited influencers like popular athletes and fitness experts to get involved in the fun challenge of turning chocolate milk into a serious sports product. The challenge ignited these influencers’ competitive side, and Weber Shandwick succeeded by involving influencers with a team-like mentality.

6. Build real, ongoing relationships

Product development is just the first era of your product’s life, and there are many stages down the line in which influencer marketing will come in handy. Creating an ongoing and natural relationship is key. Don’t schedule monthly meetings with your influencers. Instead, reach out when you have an exciting moment with the product or have an idea you think they’d love.

By forming genuine relationships and sharing your excitement with your influencers, you can develop your product with a team of the coolest people around and boost your brand immeasurably. Then, anyone who’s anyone will want to come to your brand’s party.