2018 U.S. Marketing Spending Forecast

According to AdAge and Zenith, the estimated U.S. spending in media and marketing services is $446 billion. In the US, internet ad spending surpassed TV for the first time ever. Market share will increase 13% year-over-year with $1,354 spent per person on marketing and advertising this year.

As more big dumb companies rush into online advertising and pull out of traditional media, a window of opportunity opens for small firms in most local markets. Newspaper, radio, magazine and TV advertising has contracted year-over-year.

Previously unavailable time slots and stations or magazine placements are now available. Many have reduced costs to attract new advertisers. Again, this presents tremendous opportunity for your small business.

Don’t be distracted by the online gold rush with brand advertisers dumping billions of dollars into media that is awfully hard to hold accountable. Microsoft, Facebook and Google spent 67% of their advertising and marketing last year on traditional broadcast television.

If anyone could achieve their goals with 100% online ad spend, I’m fairly certain these tech companies would do it in an instant. They can’t achieve their goals without traditional media, however, and that is worthy of your attention.

In the California goldrush, there were more millionaires made selling shovels to the gold miners than there were millionaries who discovered gold. Pay attention to what these digital companies do and what they say.

Google spent $100 million on direct mail last year. If they could get every advertiser they need to pay attention from Google Adwords alone, don’t you think they would drop the expense of direct mail in an instant?

Luckily for these companies and for smart local firms who pay attention, there’s someone in charge who reminds everyone else in the room that they still can’t achieve their goals yet with online media alone.

The minute Disney stops running TV and radio commercials, magazine advertisements and direct mail, you can rest assured, I won’t be far behind. Until then, it’s our responsibility to pay attention to traditional media trends and there’s never been a better time to start testing many of these channels as big dumb companies exit and pour more of their budgets into online ads.

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

Simon Sinek rose to business fame with his TED Talk, “Start with Why.” His book of the same name is a brilliant look at how most companies know what they do, some can tell you how they do it, but very few have a compelling reason why.

It’s a great book to help business owners think about why they exist in the marketplace. I’ve long taught doctors, “You must have a more profound reason why you exist in your market other than you like what you do and you want to earn a good living.”

Sinek’s next book was Leaders Eat Last. If his first book was really his “What” and this second book was his “Why” then this third book from Sinek, my favorite, is really all about “How.”

This is great news for you and anyone who reads the book. Most business authors have coaching and consulting programs behind their book, so that you come to understand what the problem is and why you should solve it, but to details of how to solve the problem are left behind the curtain. Sinek takes you behind the curtain in this third book.

You’ll particularly enjoy the sections on sharing your story. In my Marketing Director Bootcamps, I walk doctors and their employees through the main steps to sharing their stories. Sharing stories always beats pushing products or services.

Stories have persisted for so long because they are memorable, travel further and inspire action. Most information shared by doctors on their websites or in other media is boring. Usually we revert to talking about the products, features and benefits of what we do. We look and sound like every other provider in our market.

To resonate with your audience, make sure your story is memorable. Share the interesting parts of your life that make you a fascinating character and put yourself in conflict with something that helps your clientele when you resolve it.

I did this for busy patients who didn’t want to miss work in order to visit the hearing specialist or audiologist. I made a list of industry norms and frustrations and I set out to intentionally blow them up. From the first phone call to the new patient process, how our reception area doesn’t look like a doctor’s waiting room, what shows up in the mail before, during and after the new patient consultation, etc.

Read Sinek’s book and then sit down with your team leaders. Survey your patients and distill your compelling reason why you exist in your marketplace. Sign up for one of my Marketing Director Bootcamps. You’ll discover the importance of surveying your patients, when you should survey and how.

When you find your “Why,” make sure you share it with your market. There’s nothing worse than a talented professional who has a compelling reason why they exist in their market but fails to let the world know about it.

Productivity Gains

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he hit the nail on the head when he said, “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it’s almost everything.”

U.S. productivity gains over the last decade are 50% lower than they were, on average, from World War II until 2006.

Economists and government leaders are worried. Productivity is calculated by dividing what a country produces by the amount of labor it took to create those goods and services. When productivity gains look good, workers have more money and living standards increase. The opposite is what we’ve been dealing with since 2008.

Some argue that advanced economies have so many workers in the services industry that it’s hard to accurately measure productivity. They’re not entirely wrong. Measuring the output of factory workers is easy. When Henry Ford reduced the amount of time it took to build an automobile from 12 hours to 90 minutes, the price for a Model T dropped from $850 to less than $300.

Robert Gordon, another smart economist, says the biggest innovation gains are over. He thinks inventions like the internal combustion engine, jet planes and electricity and the productivity gains they offered will not be surpassed by today’s innovations of information technology, robotics and AI. We shall see. Regardless of where you stand in this debate, it’s helpful to translate the macro to your own microeconomic situation.

Ask yourself, “What improvements in your business can help productivity growth?”

Start with the average cost of your services, the average number of minutes of clinical chair time required to provide those services, the associated infrastructure and human capital investments and then the profit per hour. Could you improve the bottom line by 20% by charging less for each client? How many more clients will you need if you charge less or more?

These are the kind of calculations I ran for months in my MBA program The thinking sounds counterintuitive but the fact that most doctors do not run at capacity and have room for more new patients requires us to think this way and test these scenarios.

This kind of thinking might seem like it’s not the most important right now, but in the long run, like Krugman argues, it’s almost everything.