By Rex Hammock, CEO

We are living in historic times. But how historic and timely, we don’t know.

However, one thing is certain: Now is the best time to record and preserve these times. Now is the best time in history to use technology to record photography, video and audio with quality unimaginable a decade ago.

You don’t know when history happens until it happens.

At Hammock, we have written thousands of pages of content originally planned and used for a print or video or podcast project that later evolved into a “thought leadership” essay or a video documentary project that helped carry forth the company’s story.

You never know when history will reveal itself.

Many of the early masters of what we today call content marketers understood how to use the various forms of media of their day to first capture an event and context. After his mega-success as an automaker, Henry Ford spent three decades collecting and building a museum of artifacts ranging from the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was assassinated to a Stradivarius violin.

The National Corvette Museum is in Bowling Green, Kentucky, known worldwide as the home of the Corvette. Every Corvette in the world since 1981 has been assembled at the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant just a quarter-mile from the National Corvette Museum. Even the priceless, historic one that fell through a sinkhole.

Not only does the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, display the technology that was used in the process of creating the computer, but also the individual creators of the technology can still often be found speaking at an event related to their passion.

My Point: Today is a great time to preserve your company’s or organization’s history and future. And that’s not just what you think happens during a pandemic. Preserve the history and context and resilience of any event through which you are living and working or witnessing.

Tell the story of the small stories, and large.

One day, such histories will preserve and inspire another period of historic times.

Image: Getty



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

Idea Email: Just Listen
Posted in Idea Email, by Rex Hammock
April 22, 2021

By Rex Hammock, CEO

For as long as there has been a Hammock Inc. (which is 30 years), we’ve had an unofficial rule that goes something like this: “When it comes to creating and managing media that helps our clients grow deep and loyal relationships with their customers and members, we are agnostic about one form of media over another. We are in the business of using content to solve problems and find opportunities.”
The following is based on a true story. Actually, several true stories.
A potential client sees a multimedia campaign that a content agency has created and managed with an existing client. The potential client says they want something just like the existing client’s.
When we meet with a client, it becomes clear that a different approach might be more effective—and even less expensive.
Many years of working with clients has reinforced the lesson that the best solutions are what you find from listening to the client, customer or buyer.
Suggestion: Be open-minded and avid miners of what you see and hear. It’s amazing what you’ll see when you listen more—and what you’ll hear when you look more.

Image: Getty



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

By Rex Hammock, CEO

The past year’s pandemic has been both a challenge and an opportunity for small businesses—and large businesses. While stories of business failure seem never-ending, there also have been inspiring stories of businesses pivoting to success.

Even a gigantic business like Google found new ways to remind us it does more than search. It finds users who need solutions, not just destinations to locate. Then it uses its search skills to find the solution.

Shoppers don’t just turn to Google for things they want to buy on the web—they also want to know what’s nearby.

The Knowledge Exchange
In 2020, Google helped drive more than 2 billion direct connections, including phone calls, requests for directions, messages, bookings and reviews for U.S. businesses. Google has seen an increase in online research by people who use it before heading out to a restaurant or to get takeout. The company recently found that:

66% of dining consumers said they used it to find food and beverage information during the pandemic.

57% of dining consumers said they discovered food and beverage information during the pandemic via online ads.

45% of viewers said they watch YouTube to see a product demo before buying.

YouTube viewers said they are 2 times more likely to go to a store or shop online to buy something they saw on YouTube versus the competitive average.

Searches on Google Maps for “curbside pickup” have increased 9,000% year over year in the U.S.

Searches on Google Maps for “discounts” have grown globally by more than 100% year over year.

Searches on Google Maps for “gift shop” have grown globally by more than 60% year over year.

We may not all be Google or have Google’s resources. But we can think like Google. We can seek client or customer challenges—and then use our skills to solve them.
(Source: Google. Used with permission)

Image: Getty



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

By Rex Hammock, CEO

For several years, Hammock Inc. had a message on the wall of our office lobby wall that said: “Your Story Starts Here.”

We thought then—and still do—that using stories is the best way for individuals (and corporations and associations and … ) to connect with the marketplaces they serve.

By Rex Hammock, CEO

We write a lot about the role customer- and content-driven media can serve as a foundation for building deep, engaging relationships between customers and shoppers, owners and members, and members and organizations.

Until recently, however, I had not considered the relationship potential of a bank like Capital One Café. That is, however, until I listened to the “Audible Original” book Caffeine: How Coffee and Tea Created The Modern World. According to its author, Michael Pollan, caffeine has a “unique ability to entertain, inform, and perform in a world where an estimated two billion cups of coffee are consumed every day.”

Idea Email: Zoomed?
Posted in Idea Email, by Rex Hammock
February 26, 2021

By Rex Hammock, CEO

There are several fascinating conversations about how the pandemic will change something forever. After I heard one such conversation regarding Zoom, I wanted to share my opinion on the topic.

Here’s what I think.

By Rex Hammock, CEO

A few weeks ago, someone asked me why Apple and Facebook were fighting each other.

I had to admit that I wasn’t quite sure. It seems simple, until you try to explain it. 

On its surface, it seems like a battle over access to user data and the “advanced tracking” technology that allows Facebook to target advertising so precisely (and spookily) to users. 

Apple is about to make a change in its operating system that will make that feature more difficult to access. 

While Apple is not banning advanced tracking (you can turn it on by using Safari> Preferences > Privacy), in a coming upgrade, Apple is making advanced trafficking the default setting with the option of turning it off.

“Apple may say that they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in January. Facebook’s economic concern is that once prompted to opt in to being tracked, users will opt out and Facebook loses massive ad revenue.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the change is rooted in the company’s belief that “users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used.”

And on-and-on.

Why This Matters

I’ve heard this described as a battle between privacy and profit. But I believe it is more complex and nuanced than that. In reality, the issue has been taking place for the past decade. Apple believes that users should know what companies plan to do with your data and information before you share it, and Facebook sees itself as a free platform that you pay for by allowing the provider of the platform to track your data and usage and show you ads. For a marketer or user, it is important to understand—even if it seems too complex or even too simple.

Regardless of how this particular battle is ultimately resolved, it is highly unlikely to be the last conflict involving commerce and the use of personal data and information.

Image: Getty Images



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

By Rex Hammock, CEO

What media-driven technology, business practice or cultural shift has likely changed us forever as a result of the pandemic?

It’s an interesting question—but one we likely won’t be able to answer for another decade or two.

I’ve written before about the slow speed of technology adoption. Yes, that’s right. Technology moves slowly, and it can take decades to mature into something that’s viable or real.

The late scientist and researcher Roy Amara is credited with what’s called “Amara’s Law,” an adage about forecasting short-term and long-term effects of new technology. He explained it this way: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a new technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

Research firm Gartner took Amara’s Law a step further, creating a chart that shows the “peak of inflated expectations” and the “plateau of productivity” in what the research firm labeled the “Gartner Hype Cycle.”

Here are three media technologies and the way they have already changed us forever—or, at least, until the next 20 years roll around.

TV 
I’m not talking about the TVs with the big screens that are everywhere. I’m talking about our changing ability to take control of screens and turn them into various tools, or gatherings, or classes—or as many screens being used to create content as are consuming it.

There’s nothing inherently radically new about the TV. We watched The Jetsons a few decades ago—we know what the future TV is supposed to be like. However, it is now something that even CEOs can set up and run.

Workplace Flexibility Tools
In an earnings report released in June 2020, Zoom reported making $328 million in revenue during its February–April quarter—almost double what it made in 2019. Other team communication platforms such as Slack, WebEx, Microsoft Teams and Basecamp also experienced exponential growth as a result of the pandemic and offices transitioning to “work-from-home” scenarios. Right now, it’s hard to predict much change will come from the “work where you are” era.

Asynchronous Chat
This idea might conjure up a picture of a world where we turn over to Google all our maps, searches, chats, videos and all other forms of digital media it can be organized in a way so that allows us to have it with us everywhere, all the time, with no flu. To some (including me), that prospect can be a bit frightening. Others, however, see great possibilities―and, in fact, asynchronous chat is helping to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of industries including healthcare.

Bottom Line 
The past year has taught us new lessons we will carry for years. Sad lessons. Inspiring lessons. Lessons that will change us all in positive ways.

Image: Getty Images



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

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By Rex Hammock, CEO

During the past four decades, I’ve witnessed a fascinating phenomenon in the field of marketing.

When I started working in PR, TV advertising was king of the mountain for marketers. Content marketing wasn’t even a small hill.

Today, “advertising” means Google and Facebook as much as it means CBS and CNN. (There are nuances to that observation. For example, local advertising is still a big piece of the advertising pie.)

 

By Rex Hammock, CEO

Each year, we share a version of this Idea Email. This year, we are sharing it especially for those who have risked their lives on the front lines of protecting ours. We are thankful beyond words.

In the early days of email marketing, people thought a go-to subject line needed to contain the word FREE.

That era ended with the creation of filters that automatically translate that word into the word SPAM.

I now believe the most powerful word in marketing is THANKS.