Skinny websites, snackable content and more from Digital Summit Detroit.

Digital Summit Detroit 2017 delivered. In less than two days, the conference covered all means of email, content, website and mobile trends. Lots for marketers to consider and capitalize upon. A few highlights we just had to share. 

Skinny websites are in season. 

Mobile usage trends prompted responsive design, with websites being crafted to render properly across all screen sizes. It has greatly improved the mobile user experience. Instead of requiring mobile users to scroll across inches of a site from a palm-sized screen, responsive sites scale purposefully, with tools like hamburger menus to facilitate the mobile experience.  

Still, mobile users want more, according to Erik Runyon, Technical Director at the University of Notre Dame. Runyon presented a breakout session called “Improving Web Performance in a Mobile World.”

In short, they want sites to load faster. Streaming delays are stressing them out—literally.

To illustrate his point, Runyon shared a neuroscience study by Ericsson Consumer Lab that measured user reactions to network performance. The study showed that delays in loading web pages and videos lead to increased heart rates and stress levels. On average, heart rates increase 38 percent with mobile delays. Oh, and the related stress? The subjects exhibited stress levels akin to watching a horror flick or solving a math problem.

And who gets the blame? The longer the delay, the more likely it is that some of the blame will be transferred from mobile service provider to content provider. In fact, a significant delay may even drive a user to a competitor content provider.

Performance matters. Take that to your design teams, Runyon suggests. Lead and live with performance. His advice:

  1. Performance has to be part of the culture.
  2. Performance should be part of concept and design.
  3. Give your team time to focus on performance.
  4. Implement a performance budget (think ongoing maintenance and upkeep).
  5. Get competitive.

Runyon pointed to and cnn.lite as examples of brands adhering to these guidelines. Both use Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to cut load time and enable mobiles users to get what they need without the wait.

Why your emails aren’t engaging or converting.

Email was a big focus of the conference, and rightly so. Every brand is doing it but only one in five emails is reaching the inbox, according to Casey Swanton of Return Path. Swanton packed a lot into her 30-minute session “Email Reimagined.”

Just like search engines want users to get the best result, mailbox writers want users to get the best mail, Swanton said. That means screening for credibility, interest and security. In-box placement is determined by sending ID (IP address, sending domain, authentication, etc.), and reputation (complaints, list quality, infrastructure, length of sending history, subscriber engagement, etc.).

“Mailbox writers care about the user experience within their space,” Swanton said. So they look for things like whether the message has been read, forwarded or replied to, marked as SPAM or deleted before reading.  Gmail is leading the industry toward better performance, Swanton said.  So, if you’re having problems with Gmail deliveries, it’s probably because that audience isn’t opening your mail.

“Relative engagement is key,” Swanton said. “Subscribers that are highly engaged with the sender are going to see that sender in their inbox at a much higher rate.  Less than 50 percent of messages are placed in email if the recipient isn’t engaged.”

She suggests these three tips to improve your Gmail results:

  1. Focus on sending to the most active subscribers first to establish a pattern of engagement to boost performance.
  2. Suppress known dead addresses. Pushing email to known inactive addresses will only hurt your engagement rate, and therefore your credibility and ultimate inbox deliverability.
  3. Don’t measure success on the size of your list. Between 50-80 percent of email is based on the quality of your list.

Work content harder.

Great content is a great brand asset. It attracts, engages and provokes action. So, work it hard, says Ursula Ringham of SAP, Inc., in a session called “Capture Your Buyer’s Attention with Innovative Content on a Community Platform.”

A video is more than a video, Ingham illustrated. It can be recast in blog, social and podcast formats. It can be worked internally to elevate employees to brand evangelists. Together, this content can be the beginning of a beautiful community platform.

Snackable assets are the new content.

Nearly every presenter talked about snackable assets. As in, “You do know what snackable assets are, right?” asked a marketer presenting on the topic of email hacks.  “Snackable assets can be used to fuel the consumer journey,” said a presenter on the subject of content marketing. “These snackable assets can also convert,” promised another expert on lead nurturing.

So if you’re tired of using the term content, use snackable asset. It’s applicable to everything from infographics to video, charts to listicles. Maybe even whitepapers, in so long as they’re not terribly filling. Think bite-sized for peckish consumers.

Weekly Recap - March 3, 2017

Pick up. Pick up. Pick up. Wondering why consumers aren't answering your calls? It's because all that ringing is freaking them out. Especially the young'uns. Or they're too busy clipping coupons and hunting for bargains. That goes double for the multicultural shopper. If you're targeting Gen X, you can probably bet they're not at the gym. Or the doctor's office. The sandwich generation would rather preserve youth with Botox than pump iron. Let's unpack.

DETAILS, please

Hold my calls. A 2011 Pew Research study found that the average person made or received about a dozen calls per day; in 2015, that number dropped by nearly half. Young adults say phone calls make them feel "nervous" and "panicked."

Multicultural consumers are savvy shoppers. Multicultural consumers spend more hours on average clipping coupons and searching for deals than general-market consumers, according to the 2016 Valassis RedPlum Purse String Survey. Latinos are the biggest coupon searchers. 

Gen Xers invest more in beauty than health.  Gen Xers are more likely to spend money on anti-aging products and services than exercise regularly, according to the MDVIP Health & Longevity Survey. Only 50 percent of Gen Xers have had a checkup in the past five years, compared with 72 percent of Boomers.

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

Snapchat vs. Instagram: Everything your brand needs to know. Debating which visual social platform is better for your brand? Let's break it down filter-by-filter, post-by-post, percentage-by-percentage.

How to get more patients to try telemedicine. Telemedicine is at a tipping point. The medical community is on board. Patients say they're in to it. So, why are they so reluctant to use it? Here are four ways to increase patient adoption.

THE Topic of conversation

Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest, greatest and free whitepaper "Communicating with Visuals."


Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

And the top mobile marketing healthcare leader is...

The government. Great, creative mobile marketing is about building relationships. And the government has my number. Okay, so even though they have a satellite in outer space tracking my every move...I chose to opt in to a mobile text message campaign for the Center for Disease Control.

And I like getting their text messages. From quizzing me about the temperature of my turkey on Thanksgiving to concussion signs during ski season, I feel they are my friend giving me advice that even my BFF Becky could not (sorry Becky...). And isn’t that what marketing is all about? At Brogan & Partners, we just did a text message campaign consisting of “Love Notes” for our client, Covenant HealthCare. And for our client, the Michigan Department of Community Health, we are doing all kinds of WAP sites with creative that drives you to them. Big beauracracies may be big, but they can sure turn on a dime to innovative new solutions.

So how do you feel about text campaigns? Are you opting in or out?

CDC text message campaign on iphone

Research-based H1N1 ad.

By now, we've all seen a lot of H1N1 ads. But are they working? Our client, Michigan Department of Community Health, decided to go straight to the target audience - minority populations of African Americans, Arab Americans and Hispanics who have NOT received the vaccine - with focus groups to understand WHY NOT.  The problem? They simply don't trust it.  Respondents said it was "rushed into circulation", "pushed by the government", and is "unsafe", "untested and experimental," and "unproven." Of course, all misperceptions and untruths, as the vaccine is the safest, most effective way to prevent the flu. We know that trust is a critical component of the healthcare marketing equation -- and that we had to overcome this basic feeling of mistrust. Since the majority of respondents said their doctor would be the single person they would trust the most about whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccine, we encouraged action through this open door. Even though we know 61% if adults search online for health information and 81% of Internet users search online for health information (Pew Research Center), we bravely persevered with what research told us is the most effective call to action: TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

The print ad is straightforward. Designed to help people make a list of questions to ask their doctor about seasonal flu and H1N1. I think its simplicity and utilize are unexpected -- and will break through the clutter.


Kudos to MDCH for their research-savvy approach. We'll keep you posted as this just started running.  Let us know what you think!


So...some Detroit City Council members are questioning the wisdom of a regional authority buying and running Cobo convention center.  And they are looking for allies—even among the dearly departed.  What, for example, would the late Mayor Coleman Young say?

Of course, everyone agrees Cobo needs a big time facelift and expansion.  And that Detroit doesn’t have the big time bucks to do this.   Still, some Council folks and City residents oppose regional ownership simply because Cobo belongs to the City, it is a City jewel.  Some question the fees being paid to the City for Cobo’s parking garage. 

For many, however, the biggest problem is that the regional deal does not give contracting preferences to Detroit businesses and residents.  And they infer that Coleman Young would stand with them in insisting that Detroit should be Cobo’s primary contracting beneficiary. 

This could be hard to refute … unless someone happened to know exactly what Mayor Young wanted to communicate when he expanded Cobo in the late 1980’s.  Well, it so happens that Brogan & Partners was Cobo’s ad agency during that time and we needed Mayor Young’s OK for ads and TV spots. And this is what he wanted said about job preferences in communications from 1987:

COBO Hall Expansion Print Ad

COBO Hall Expansion Print Ad


So SURPRISE! to all those who loved Mayor Young for being completely Detroit-centric. 

And BIGGER SURPRISE! to all those who disliked Mayor Young for not being regional enough. 

Blog Category: 

Hooray, no more election ads!!!

As a marketer, I obviously like advertising.  But with the election FINALLY coming to an end today, there may not be anyone happier than me for campaign ads to be done for a little while.  The economy's downward spiral is bad enough, but pile on the negative campaign ads one after another, and I'm more than a little stressed out!

Campaign ads are an important part of our American democratic process.  And I know we'll see some local stuff again soon (especially as the mayoral campaign heats up here in Detroit), but I for one can't wait to see a barrage of Budweiser spots, Visa spots, even the local home improvement spots.

So even as I went to vote this morning, thinking about this historic election, another part of me was excited to see the Geico Gecko a little more in coming days.

How about you?    

Blog Category: 
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