Marketing Lessons From The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Last week’s 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band found me enjoying listening to the classic album by The Beatles. I’ve loved this album for as long as I can remember.  As a kid my older brother, Sean and I would put it on and listen to the entire album, reading the lyrics and liner notes, looking at inserts and wanting to cut them out.  

Fast forward to today and I find myself listening to the album and hearing these marketing lessons that I have listed out.  Each song seemed to have a specific marketing lesson that relates strongly to my work life, echoing best practices and marketing strategy and tactics.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show

It’s wonderful to be here
It’s certainly a thrill
You’re such a lovely audience
We’d like to take you home with us
We’d love to take you home

Starting with the opening track, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles remind of us an important lesson.  Establish your brand and its promise.  Straight up, this is who we are and this is what you should expect of us.  You always have to establish these two points when communicating with your audience.

Both Apple and Google have established themselves as global top brands.  Google’s brand is so synonimous with its original feature, search, that most people say “Google it”.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

Great marketing campaigns are a result of strong collaboration, both internally and externally.  Internally we need to collaborate with our teams of copywriters, designers, developers, process owners, strategists, executives and other employees.  Externally we have partners, influencers, analysts, customers and prospects that we collaborate with in order to succeed.  

According to a recent Bizable State of Pipeline Marketing report22.2% of respondents said that word-of-mouth referrals have the greatest impact on revenue, the most of any marketing channel or activity.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

What we would all give for a copywriter that comes up with some as beautiful as the imagery painted by John Lennon! Lucy reminds us that we all have to tap into our creative talents to create expressions that attracts and we hope, admiration from our audiences.  John Lennon’s song based on his child’s drawing about his school friend, Lucy, illustrates creative that breaks tradition in order to create something new and different and gets the audience’s attention.  Albeit the audience thought Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was a veiled reference to LSD!

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by Julian Lennon, Age 3

Getting Better

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)

Getting better? Sounds like marketing optimization to me! From data quality issues to tracking and measuring, digital marketing today keeps you on your toes in terms of room for improvement.  As we continuously improve and optimize we are moving forward in our sophistication.  

Always challenging due to the search engines shifting algorithms, we’ve witnessed search moving to mobile devices that dominate the search volume.

Fixing a Hole

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

Just as you’re getting better in your data and optimization, there’s still holes to fix! When you find errors in the data or the process, you have to determine if it’s a big enough hole that needs attention now or it can wait.  

Also, are we fixing a hole for our customers? The answer to this question frames our strategy, messaging and content around the brand’s performances against the promise.

She’s Leaving Home

She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

One of the most important areas that is overlooked by marketing teams is when and why we lose customers. Unsubscribes to non-renewals, losing a customer or prospects is a great learning opportunity.  A well designed subscription center, coupled with follow up surveys can provide insight and areas of customer frustration you’re not aware of.

Speaking of the unsubscribe page, this is the missed opportunity of the majority of marketing departments. Check out the video Groupon created for their unsubscribe page.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite

For the benefit of Mr. Kite
There will be a show tonight on trampoline
The Hendersons will all be there
Late of Pablo Fanques Fair, what a scene!

Based on an 1843 circus poster John Lennon saw in a London store, he crafted another glorious creative song that reminds us of one of the most important marketing lessons, showmanship!  Don’t be afraid to tell your audience what you do and why you’re awesome!  You have to sell the steak and the sizzle in a way that excites your audience not just informs them.

19th-century circus poster for Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal appearance at Rochdale. John Lennon purchased the poster in an antique shop on 31 January 1967

Within You Without You

We were talking about the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion

Over time I’ve grown to love George Harrison’s Indian influence in this song. Now I see how it tells us to experiment, try different things to see what works and resonates with your audience.  The challenge to transcend the safe approach and connect on a different level. Step outside your zone from time to time, it could pay off big!

When I’m Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

Don’t we wish our customers asked questions like these? Wanting to know how long we’ll be there for them? We all know it’s easier to keep a customer than acquire a new one. This song speaks volumes about maintaining long term relationships with our customers.  All we need is an answer to the question of will we be there when we’re needed. Heck, Paul even says “Fill out a Form!”

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form


Lovely Rita

Took her out and tried to win her
Had a laugh and over dinner
Told her I would really like to see her again

Lovely Rita is all about the lead generation and acquisition. Courting our prospects to become leads and eventually customers is what marketing is all about in today’s digital economy.  Rita being the object of affection in the song represents those desirable prospects that we spend a large amount of our time trying to get their attention and start a conversation.  

The cutout inserts from Sgt. Pepper

Good Morning, Good Morning

Nothing to say but what a day how’s your boy been
Nothing to do it’s up to you
I’ve got nothing to say but it’s OK
Good morning, good morning

Maintaining the right communication cadence with your audiences is a real science to marketing.  For both existing and potential customers we have to let the know we’re interested in what they have to say and the power to make the decisions rest in their hands.  From learning where your onboarding program is confusing to who’s delivering real customer value on your team, communicating with our customers is vital.

Sgt. Peppers Reprise

We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you have enjoyed the show

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We’d like to thank you once again

How many times can we thank our customers, influencers and fans? Never enough! In the reprise of the title track, The Beatles again thank us for being their audience. A lesson we can over look in marketing if we’re not careful.  You can never thank your customers too much if it’s relative to them and their success. Of course the Thank You Page is a great way to thank your customers as well as offer them something else of interest.

A Day in The Life

Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream

Every day we’re frantic and hectic at work, in our life and trying to keep up with all our life’s demands.  This opus end by The Beatles tells us how important the customer experience is.  We have to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and try to best understand their challenges. Then we have an opportunity to create a unique and satisfying customer experience that delights our audiences the way The Beatles did.

Is Glassdoor Killing Your Recruiting?

If you’re not familiar with Glassdoor then it’s the first site you need to visit after reading this post. What Google Review and Yelp are to local retailers, restaurants and bars, Glassdoor is to companies.

Glassdoor has several typical features of HR/employment sites: job board listings, corporate profiles, list of the best places to work for. But the one feature that sets it apart from the other job sites is that it lists employee reviews that give you a more realistic view of the company culture and management styles.

I first became aware of Glassdoor around 2012 when one of the company recruiters brought it to my attention. The problem was that the company was receiving more negative reviews than positive ones. The HR team did not know what to do and was asking for help.

My first response was the same that I give local business owners, read the reviews, address them and respond in an the same way as you would do with a customer in your store on on the phone. However it’s a bit different when you have employees instead of customers.

Much like consumer review websites there are some basic trends to look for.

  • Negative vs. Positive reviews ratio: Most reviewers tend to either love or hate your company, product, etc. People who think it’s OK don’t spend time writing reviews to post a neutral rating.
  • A good ratio to target 70% positive to 30% negative. Remember you can’t please everyone and a few negative reviews is normal.

Glassdoor allows for an employer response to each of the employee reviews. This is an appropriate place to respond to any extreme allegations or update bad policies or practices that have changed. Also it’s an opportunity for the company to let the employee know they have received their message.

What you should NOT do is have HR post glowing reviews trying to counter the overall employee satisfaction rating. The satisfaction rating is based on the average of all reviews and alerts Glassdoor visitors with various messages like “employees are generally happy” or “employees are dissatisfied”.

Glassdoor also allows companies, for a fee, to customize their company page with links to social sites, video embeds and other rich media to give visitors a more well-rounded view of the company.  One item I noticed is that the reviews can be highlighted and moved up front.  Congrats to Glassdoor for putting in notification above such reviews stating it’s a featured review.

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Glassdoor Reviews

First and foremost you need to see what your employees are saying. Like any other review site, Glassdoor has the extreme haters and lovers of companies. And you can sometimes throw out the extreme reviews to see what the middle ground is saying. So after removing the lovers and haters, do you find the majority of reviews to be negative with one or two management complaints frequently appearing in the comments?

If so then you have some issues to deal with. Many companies still ignore this feedback which is a really stupid thing to do. This feedback is unsolicited, unlike most company employee surveys. If a employee writes a negative review, they are not just angry. They don’t want others to end up like them. Most likely they do not plan on staying for long since they have poisoned the recruiting well to bring in new talent the company needs.

Another tactic to avoid is to have the HR folks write posts that say the negative reviewers are “whiners.” Don’t laugh, as I’ve seen it happen and other reviewers even call out the HR reviewers. All this does is create doubt in your recruits mind. Is this company really as great as they say they are? Did they post this review calling upset employees whiners?

I’ve even been told by potential hires that they were reluctant to accept a position based on negative Glassdoor reviews.

Another interesting facet of Glassdoor is that you can also review the interview process. I mean how sick are you of HR never calling you back, never letting you know if you’re still in consideration for that job? Although not as many interview reviews are written, it does give you an opportunity to prepare and get an inside look at the review process.

Remember an interview is not only to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job. It’s also an opportunity for you to determine if this company is right for you. If the corporate culture is not what you’re seeking do you want to work at the company?

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Creating a Digital Marketing Command Center

At the 29014 Digital Marketing for Business conference I presented on how to create a digital marketing command center.

When starting a digital marketing program or position, it’s often important to quickly set up essential social listening, curating and sharing platforms. You will need a command center where you can quickly scan relevant and timely content as well as distribute original and curated content to your networks.

  • Develop a monitoring station using search query results (Google, Bing, Twitter), blogs, and RSS feeds
  • Organize a content monitoring station into channels that can be shared with organization, team members, stakeholders
  • Create triggers to track outbound email, social and other digital communications into a Google calendar
  • Integrate a tracking calendar with an editorial content calendar

Speaker Notes

Digital marketing has created explosion of content. Alongside with all the content is the need to manage the monitoring, tracking and other tasks associated with digital marketing. In managing digital marketing for various companies I’ve found myself repeating the same process to streamline and organize digital content.

I recently had the opportunity to present about this topic at the Digital Marketing for Business event in Raleigh. The session, Creating a Digital Media Command Center outlined the steps described in this post and the presentation below.

Digital landscape has created a whole new level of media. Time to market with content can be immediate, real time.

So we can only keep track of so much stuff. Two monitors are great and I’m sure 4 are awesome but you can only look at one and do one thing at a time.

Mapping Your Digital Property

So this is your digital property. You don’t own all of it but you own most of it. Between your owned and earned media there is a gap. We want to drive everyone to our landing pages and convert them but how do we attract them if we’re managing this?

Data Types

Different types of data that you can put into Digital Command Center. Infrastructure/performance is specific to your site speed up time, etc.

Content is both the content you push out as well as what you have available like photo libraries. KPIs are Key Performance Indicators. These are what everyone has in their goals and you should have a way to measure it. Typically conversions are the top KPI in digital marketing. Conversions can mean different things to different companies.

Create a Monitoring Station

Google search offers definitive search agent to gather relevant content on the web. Determine top 10 terms to track. Also determine if you can narrow down search using parameters such as location, negative search, by domain. So best advice is to create your top 10 searches to track. You don’t want too many as the results can become overwhelming.

Now that you’ve cast your net you need to pull the feeds together into a single user experience. There are many tools that can do this but I’ve been using one tool the past several years that works very well and has a great free platform.

In preparing this presentation and grabbing screen captures I discovered Netvibes promo video and thought it did a great job of demonstrating the concepts that I’m going to present. Now I must state that I’m not a customer or affiliated with Netvibes in anyway, I’m a simple freeloader of their software! They do have an analytics platform but I have not used it yet but it is a paid option.

So here’s a sample of a monitoring station I built in Netvibes. This is based on a profile of me and all my digital presence. I can build this for my competitors as well to monitor what they are doing. I can put each competitor and or subject stream in a tab to organize the content.

With all this content coming out we are bombarded with too much content. 5 tips to do this and that but what do you need to get your job done today?

One thing I really like about Netvibes is the ability to scan by groups and then review the subset later.

Use Triggers to Automate and Track Content

Curation is key part of digital marketing. But in reviewing this content we find stuff we want to share with our employees, customers and prospects. A really nice feature to have is a sharing option in any Digital Command Center. Once I’ve reviewed my articles I can share them straight from here.

I use Hootsuite as a social media management platform and find that its publisher feature is a great way to manage my planned outbound social messaging. After curating I tend to go to the schedule and review content again and when it’s timed to hit each platform. This will be important in a few slides and I’ll show you why.

Hootsuite does have a RSS syndicator but to be honest with you I don’t like it. It’s not as easy to use as Netvibes and hard to group and share with the team.

Robots and triggers are simple automation programs that perform an action in reaction to an event. That event can be an email, tweet, post, campaign, or an event like reaching a milestone like lowering your bounce rate or hitting a sales goal.

The tool I use is called If This Then That It’s free and you can base your triggers or “recipes” on your social accounts and other actions like email. you can also base it on activity within a community using a hashtag or other keyword.

Now here is the result of these triggers in my editorial calendar. I use Google Calendar to plan and track my content and events. The solid bars represent the planned activities while the timestamped text entries show actual activities. This way I can match my activity against my plan and share with the team.

Share Your Results with Dashboards

So you’ve created your monitoring station, activated your triggers, now it’s time to share the results. The best way to do this is to create a simple link you can share with the team and have them review on their leisure. Also email weekly updates of the top KPIs to remind everyone of the fantastic dashboards you have created!

What are you going to be measured on for performance? Those KPIs need to be front and center. But at the same time you can create other reports on infrastructure status, content performance, SEO analysis, PR, you name it.

Once you get questions from the team, create new dashboards to answer the questions.

Right now I’m testing a basic dashboard tool called Cyfe. I like it because it allows me to create simple dashboards from the majority of my data sources. Each dashboard is comprised of widgets. You can create multiple dashboards with several widgets. The widgets are the individual blocks you see on this dashboard. Each one represents a KPI, metric, RSS content feed or custom data.

Custom data can be as easy as an excel table with some basis syntax formatting.

TV mode is a great feature for dashboards and Cyfe and several others offer this. Have a blank HD monitor in your office? Stream and rotate your awesome Digital Command Center Dashboard and update the entire company!

Smart YouTube Video Captions Improve On-Page SEO

YouTube added automatic captions this year and it’s an important feature for several reasons.  If you’re not familiar with video captions, it is basically the transcript of the video dialog or narration shown at the bottom of the screen.  In the past you would have to supply the caption copy or pay someone to do it. Now YouTube automatically creates captions when you upload videos.

Why Video Captions are Important

Video captions were created for hearing impared but have a huge amount of digital utility.  By capturing the transcript as text you can append blog posts and webpages that have video embedded on the page.  The transcript copy provides additional on page SEO value.  By placing that trascript copy on the page and optimizing for links and search you’ve enhanced the page with what Google likes to see:  authentic, original content with rich media and a scannable text of the video content.

Using YouTube video captions you can boost your blog SEO.
Video captions now appear in the video manager on the Captions tab.

The first step is to review and clean up your transcript.  YouTube will attempt to understand your narration or spoken word but it’s not 100% accurate.  In fact depending on your sound quality, background music or any noise that is happening on the footage you may find it to be total gibberish.

Now come the time intensive part of the process, cleaning up the gobbly-gook speak.  Depending on the length of your video and how much of it is narrative versus music or other non-spoken noise this can range from 15 minutes to a few hours.  Short 1-2 minute videos have taken me about 30-45 minutes to clean up and review.  The process is basic in that you have to review the captions while listening to the audio.  Where there are errors you can edit the copy in the captions window.

Once you’ve updated all the captions, review it once again.  After the copy is clean here comes the easy part.  YouTube offers you the ability to download the captions as with timecodes formatted.  I download the file and then open it in a simple text editor and clean out the timecodes and extra spaces and line breaks. See the video below for an overview of the process.

Video Captions SEO Benefit

Simply copy and paste this text into your blog post or page.  Where you put it depends on the page.  For blog posts I typically put it below the video with a heading of Video Transcript.  Sometimes I use blockquotes and you can even add names and titles if you want. Here is the blog post about Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts that I used in the video demo above.

Final touches include links within the transcript copy to other pages, partner sites, social profiles, blogs, etc.  Now your page had not only the rich media of video but the underlying message is more SEO friendly to attract organic search visitors.

But the benefits of the captions don’t end there.  Some organizations, public institutions and others are now requiring captions on any content they approve.  So if your video is a user story for a public sector company or government agency, you may be required to show captions or have them turned on automatically during playback.

There are probably other great uses for the captions once  you’ve cleaned them up.  If you’ve found any other uses please share in the comments.

Holistic Digital Marketing