2019: The year smartphones scan for food poisoning?

2019: The year smartphones scan for food poisoning?

Siri, what movies are playing?

Siri, did the Spartans win?

Siri, what's the square root of 64?

Siri, can you call my husband?

If you're an Apple aficionado, all of the above should sound familiar. Every month, Siri gets an average of 10 billion requests, and if food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are successful, you'll soon be able to ask one more.

Siri, will that food make me sick?

According to NPR, researchers are eager to develop a smartphone device that will identify harmful bacteria like E. coli and salmonella — both of which can cause foodborne illness.

The problem? Currently, testing takes at least 24 hours and some serious technology. Scientists obtain samples from things like raw spinach and chicken skin by rinsing the food and collecting the water. Then, to get a big enough sample, they wait for the bacteria to multiply.

The solution? Experts in Massachusetts are experimenting with a $30 microscope attachment that would reveal substances in 30 minutes. The safe, simple process would be as follows:

  1. Dip a small, chemically coated chip into potentially contaminated water. Let it sit for half an hour.
  2. Clip the microscope attachment to your smartphone camera.
  3. Point the microscope at the chip.

The team is determined to make it easy, as an undergraduate student participating in the project said, "I think the average consumer will be able to figure it out without much trouble."

They're also determined to make it benefit almost everyone, especially those using it home kitchens and during natural disasters (to test drinking water).

While this technology is very preliminary and still "several years from market," it's based on the overarching goal of making safety more accessible. And who can't appreciate that?

For more healthcare happenings, subscribe to our Healthcare Checkup — a monthly email filled with industry insights and best practices.

What marketers can expect in 2019: Media consumption.

Media consumption in 2019

As we near the end of the year, we begin to question the year to come. What is next? What can we do to prepare? Specifically, where is media going in 2019?

For a while there, users were engaging in shared experiences, and while that is still very accurate, media consumption is shifting into more curated and connected content for consumers. Ever notice the "Recommended For You" feature on Instagram...their algorithms understand our every move, like, share, view and want to provide more carefully selected content like that to us.

So, what is next for media consumption in 2019? Let's take a look:

  • Digital technology utilization has reached its expected plateau. According to Pew Research Center, there was little to no growth from 2016 to 2018 in terms of U.S. consumers using their smart devices: cellphones, tablets, etc. The slowdown in growth correlates to the fact that almost everyone has some sort of smart device. This isn't indicative of media usage, however. Users are now more aware of their time spent on device and in app...
  • Time spent on device and in-app makes consumers highly aware of their consumption. Smartphones now allow you to receive a weekly update of your device usage. Even Facebook and Instagram are offering a tracking tool to users. You can set the amount of time per day you would prefer to spend on social platforms and receive notifications when you have reached that threshold.
  • Audio and video streaming services are still rising. While video killed the radio star, streaming services are killing both their predecessors. According to Gartner Iconoculture, 55 percent of U.S. households now subscribe to at least one video-streaming service (up from 10 percent in 2009). In addition, the average subscriber pays for three different services, bringing the industry nearly $2.1 billion in revenue per month. Tired of ads? Try Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music or even Amazon Music Unlimited. While the latter options are still figuring out their audiences, Spotify and Apple Music are leading the streaming ship.
  • Twitter and Snapchat are on their way out. (Well sort of.) The two social platforms have seen a steady decline in users in 2018 and we anticipate that will continue in 2019. In efforts to redesign the user interface, Snapchat appeared to fail quite miserably, leading to several unhappy users. So much so, the platform saw a 15 percent stock price drop within the first quarter (yikes!). And according to Bloomberg, Twitter lost nearly one million users in the second quarter of this year.
  • YouTube's recommended content causes users to stay in platform longer. Ever watch a YouTube video and then realize it's a half hour later and you've watched too many cooking recipes, makeup tutorials, reaction videos or fail compilations? (Cue nervous laughter. Yeah, me neither.) Today, users are engaging in YouTube videos for more than just entertainment purposes. According to Pew Research Center, nearly 50 percent of users watch YouTube videos for how-to related content, while 13 percent find the platform informative in understanding world events. In addition, due to YouTube's algorithm, users are staying on the platform even longer than anticipated. The algorithm encourages users to watch "Recommended Content" based on videos they have watched previously, with nearly 81 percent of YouTube viewers clicking on the recommended content. (Okay, one more "animals doing cute things" video and then we will do something else.)

What else can marketers expect from 2019? Read up on the latest in:

Online patient portals: Why aren't patients using them?

Patient portals

A recent report from researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health revealed that 63% of patients surveyed were not using online patient portals. These portals—secure websites that allow patients to access health information and communicate with their doctors—offer many potential benefits. For instance, patients who use the portals become more engaged in their own health care and ask more questions of doctors and other providers. With 90% of health care organizations offering portal access to their patients, why are so many patients ignoring them?

Researchers offer these likely explanations:

  1. Their doctors haven't recommended them. Many patients, especially older ones, rely heavily on doctor recommendations. If a doctor never mentions the patient portal or even discourages its use, it's unlikely these patients will choose to access it. The opposite also appears to be true: Of the patients surveyed who said they did use a portal, 95% said their doctors had recommended it.
  2. They aren't comfortable using the technology. Some respondents feared that their private health information would not be secure on patient portals. Others said they preferred to speak directly with their doctors—once again, not fully trusting the technology. Patients over 40 were most likely to have these concerns.
  3. The portal isn't user friendly. Patient portals vary, depending on which vendor a health care organization uses. Some offer many features, including online appointment scheduling, real-time access to test results, online bill payment and messaging. Others are little more than a secure channel for notes to your provider. In a survey of health care website visitors, online bill paying was cited as the #1 pain point, with appointment scheduling close behind. If it's too complicated, a patient's first visit to the portal may be their last.

What can health care marketers do to encourage portal use?

  • Educate doctors. Encourage doctors in your hospital or health system to promote the portal to patients and be available for their questions and concerns. Recommend that doctors or nurses bring up the portal on their own laptop during appointments to show patients how to access their information.
  • Educate patients. It's not enough to tout the benefits of the new patient portal. Dedicate a page on your website to explain how the portal works, step by step. A one-page handout or brochure patients can take home with them is another handy reference tool, in case they forget their doctor's instructions.
  • Keep it simple. If your organization is having a lot of trouble getting patients to use the patient portal, it may just be too complicated. Consider moving to another, more user-friendly design.

Patient portals offer the opportunity to keep patients more informed and involved with their own health care – but not if they aren't used. With the right education, doctors and patients can both benefit.

8 Instagram Updates your brand should know about.

Platform updates made to Instagram in 2018

A lot can change in a year. Perhaps you cut your hair? Changed jobs? Bought a house? Did something arts and crafty? Did you post your updates to Instagram? And did you notice their new features?

Let's take a look at the top eight platform updates Instagram made in 2018:

  1. Shop in Instagram Stories. According to the platform, more than 400 million accounts globally utilize Instagram Stories for sharing content. In addition, one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses, and 90 million accounts are tapping to reveal tags in shopping posts. With all that in mind, Instagram now has the capability for advertisers to tag their products and for users to tap to shop. Perhaps you'll find some holiday shopping inspiration?

  2. Utilize full screen support for all ads in Instagram. Businesses uploading a single image or video under 15 seconds are also able to promote content on Instagram Stories at full screen. Using pixel matching technology, Instagram will select a gradient background color and turn the ad into a full screen format.

    Utilize full screen support for all ads in Instagram. Businesses

  3. Send GIFs in DMs. Users can now send GIFs in their direct messages to other users. This feature can be selected in the conversation tab within the platform. Once opened, users can tap on the gif button and then scroll or search for relatable gifs.

  4. Use carousel ads to Instagram stories. In February of 2018, Instagram launched Carousel Ads for Instagram Stories. Advertisers can use up to three pieces of media per Story ad. This allows for more meaningful content to be consumed by the user as brands get to share their story.

  5. Catch up on the latest activity. Ever scroll through Instagram to make sure you're not missing out on the latest posts? In other words, FOMO? Well, scroll no further. Instagram introduced the "You're All Caught Up" feature that alerts users when they have viewed all the recent content since their last visit to the platform.

    Catch up on the latest activity.

  6. Access recommendations. In addition to the "You're All Caught Up" feature, Instagram has also included their recommendations of accounts users should follow based on their activity within the platform. Users will see the list of recommended content right after the "You're All Caught Up" in the "Recommended For You" section.

    Access recommendations.

  7. Ask and answer. Instagram Stories has seen multiple updates throughout the year. One of the most popular? Ask and Answer. Users and brands can add this sticker to their Instagram Stories to get more insight. Where should a brands next pop-up store be located? Ask your users. Does your brand want to know what flavors they should try in their next coffee concoction? Ask your users. The answers just may end up on your menu or give you a little insight as to what your consumers want.

    Ask and answer.

  8. Simplify your inbox. Over 150 million users communicate with business and brands through Instagram each month. To make this messaging easier, Instagram debuted new features for brands to message users using their Direct inbox, instead of the pending folder. In addition, they rolled out new "quick replies" so brands can respond quicker to commonly asked questions.

    Simplify your inbox.

Need more on Instagram? Perhaps you need to update your Story strategy? Read: 7 Instagram Story features you should be using. Or maybe you're hoping your content is engaging? Read: 5 ways marketers can stand out on Instagram.

Healthcare Checkup - November 2018

Healthcare Checkup

Who's the most popular girl at the tech party? How can you reduce your bounce rate? Are Facebook support groups okay? Find the answers here, as well as what marketers can expect in 2019 for Health and Wellness, Cause Marketing and Technology.

Vitamin B & P

What marketers can expect in 2019: Health and Wellness. What was hot in health and well-known in wellness for 2018 might not carry into the new year. As 2019 approaches, brands should reflect on the messages to bring with them. And those to leave behind. Here's a look at the top consumer health and wellness trends for 2019.

Heartbeat takes health tech from wearable to useful. We love wearable technology. But who's willing to crunch the numbers, study the patterns and analyze the results? This high-tech, high-touch cardiologic care provider is disrupting healthcare by meeting consumers before they have heart disease.

Marketing Supplements

What marketers can expect in 2019: Technology. Alexa became the most popular girl at the tech party in 2018. What's ahead for the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2019 and what are the key marketing challenges and opps?

What marketers can expect in 2019: Cause marketing. From #MeToo to the Times Up movement, March for Our Lives to the #NeverAgain campaign, causes and cause marketing became a huge focus for brands and consumers in 2018. Marketers can expect more of the same in 2019.

Industry Pulse

'Facebook (is) the only way': the perils – and promise – of Facebook's emotional support groups. It's becoming increasingly common for patients with rare diseases or cancer gene mutations to turn to Facebook for emotional support. But these groups often face privacy and financial concerns.

10 ways to reduce your website bounce rate infographic. Simple, concise and on target.

Monthly Dose

Looking to market to all generations but don't have the budget? Not a problem. There's one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.

What marketers can expect in 2019: Health and Wellness.

What marketers can expect in 2019: Health and Wellness.

What was hot in health and well-known in wellness for 2018 might not carry into the new year. As 2019 approaches, brands should reflect on the messages they want to bring with them. And those to leave behind.

Here's a look at the top consumer health and wellness trends for 2019.

Consumers are emphasizing the "self" in "self-care."

Self-care became a mantra of 2018. Looking toward the new year, consumers are highlighting the fact that wellness isn't one size fits all. It's personalized. And products should be, too. The more brands recognize this, the more their messages will resonate.

Who's doing it well? Care/of: Personalized Daily Vitamin Packs.

Wellness blog

Care/of puts the "self" back in health. After filling out a short quiz, Care/of will personalize a vitamin pack for your needs and deliver it to your door each month.

But Care/of doesn't just customize orders to meet people's individual needs, they also celebrate that individuality. On their website, Care/of explains:

"We're all unique (hurrah!). But with the differences in our goals and lifestyles, the idea of a mass-market multivitamin is outdated. The most compelling research on supplements is for specific populations. We'll help find what's right for you."

Consumers are going back to basics with health.

While the health and wellness industries certainly won't slow down in 2019, the way consumers think about them might. Gartner Iconoculture reports that many consumers are pushing back against the overly-commercialized aspects of wellness (think: $200 yoga pants). Instead, they're looking for a more back-to-the-earth mentality. They're introducing breathwork. And seeds. And simple, holistic practices.

To meet consumers where they are, brands should go back to the basics, too.

Patients are becoming their own advocates.

Today's patients aren't taking their doctor's orders as that–an order. They're asking questions, doing their own research and shopping around for the best treatment and care. It's not that consumers have lost trust in medical professionals. But they HAVE started to lose trust in the system.

Forward-thinking healthcare brands will give consumers the tools to speak up for themselves and act on their health needs.

Who's doing it well? Heal.


Heal gives patients cost transparency and hassle-free access to healthcare. With it, doctors come right to a patient's home. Patients can ask questions about products in their bathroom drawers, their kitchen and more. Heal also promotes complete, up-front cost transparency. It helps patients receive care on their own schedules within their own budgets. Talk about advocating for one's needs.

Consumers yearn for constant improvement.

Many consumers feel good about their health today. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. Consumers are taking steps like broadening their knowledge with DNA testing, and even swapping out their mattresses to get a better night's sleep. Whether large or small, these steps mean a great deal to consumers.

The trend to note is that consumers aren't stagnant with their health care. They're always on the lookout, and always finding things to improve.

Brands, are you listening?

What can we expect from Money & Spending in 2019? See the upcoming trends.


What marketers can expect in 2019: Cause marketing.

Cause marketing in 2019

From #MeToo to the Times Up movement, March for Our Lives to the #NeverAgain campaign, causes and cause marketing became a huge focus for brands and consumers in 2018. Marketers can expect more of the same in 2019.

According to Gartner Iconoculture, 62 percent of US consumers engage in some kind of consumer activism. From social to environmental causes, volunteering to promoting a societal issue, consumers want to see positive change in the world and expect brands to engage as well. In fact...

  • 71 percent of Americans say they would favor a brand for their environmental responsibility (Gartner Iconoculture)
  • 90 percent of shoppers are likely to switch to a cause-branded product (Forbes)
  • 77 percent of Americans felt a strong emotional connection to purpose-drive brands (Gartner Iconoculture)
  • 78 percent of consumers expected to make a positive impact on society (Gartner Iconoculture)

In the age of digital activism, it has become increasingly easier to engage, spread awareness and promote a cause. In October of 2018, AdWeek noted that supporting a cause is no longer a choice for brands. They can no longer stay silent on important social issues and are living in age where they need to make some noise.

Notable brands taking a stand...

  • Chobani. In honor of Veteran's Day and to support all veterans and their families, Chobani is donating $500,000 to Operation Homefront. With every dollar donated to their page, they will match donations up to an additional $250,000.
  • Anheuser-Busch. The brand announced that by 2025, they pledge to be the world's most sustainable company, by reducing their carbon footprint by 30 percent. To do so, they will be brewing all of their beer products using renewable energy. Which is not only great for the environment, but good for their business. According to Gartner Iconoculture, 90 percent of Millennials will buy from a brand that instills social and environmental practices within their company model (and 95 percent will recommend that brand to a friend.)
  • Nike. The athletic brand took a stand when they launched their "Dream Crazy" campaign, featuring ex-football player Colin Kaepernick. While the ad and brand faced some scrutiny, the video garnered over 26 million views on YouTube and collectively more than 80 million views on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube combined.
  • Warby Parker. According to the brand, 2.5 billion people worldwide need glasses but don't have access to them and 624 million cannot effectively learn or work due to their visual impairment. To resolve this problem, Warby Parker started their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Since day one, the company has donated over 4 million pairs of glasses to those in need.

Is cause marketing part of your brand's 2019 planning? It is important to answer the following questions:

  1. What can my brand do to make positive change?
  2. Is there a cause authentic to my brand and brand personality?
  3. Can my company or brand make policy changes (environmental, social, etc.)?

For more trends and insights for 2019, check out What marketers can expect in 2019: Money & Spending.

Weekly Recap - November 9, 2018

What makes people happy has a lot to do with how much discretionary income they have.

Feels Like Happiness

Wealthier consumers find happiness in experiences, while less affluent prefer stuff. Experiential marketing is what Instagram Stories are made of. Look at me, I'm skydiving into a corn maze infested with zombies. Here I am doing yoga with rescued animals at a vegan, cage-free farm. Turns out, experience is also where happiness comes from—for those who can afford it anyhow Lower-income consumers get more bang for their buck when they buy actual stuff.

+"For lower-class consumers, spending money on concert tickets or a weekend trip might not result in greater happiness," explains Deborah Hall, whose research team published their findings in Psychological Science. "In fact, [they] were happiest from purchasing things, which makes sense given that material goods have practical benefit, resale value and [last longer]" (ScienceDaily.com, 3 October 2018). Perception also plays an interesting role here. When asked to imagine their income had decreased by 50%, study participants reported similar levels of happiness from material and experiential purchases. But experiences make people happier when they imagine their income had grown by 50 percent.

Pay TV

TV viewers can earn points for watching shows on WatchBack. It's a couch potato's dream come true. Thanks to the free WatchBack app from NBCUniversal, watching TV has grown from the lackadaisical to a potentially lucrative pastime. The app offers sweepstakes in which the app's users can win points redeemable for gift cards. Watching featured shows earns consumers entries in the sweepstakes (Variety.com, 5 October 2018). A sweepstakes winner could, for example, be awarded points worth $100 and then convert his or her winnings into a gift card from Amazon, Burger King, Starbucks, Target, Macy's or many other merchants.

+WatchBack offers consumers limited-time viewing of full-length episodes from shows on NBCUniversal's networks plus nonexclusive content from more than 60 partners, including PBS, Mashable, Refinery29, Adventure Sports Network and Newsy. The app also delivers video clips from NBCUniversal's cable networks, including Bravo, CNBC, USA Network and MSNBC and from its broadcast businesses, including NBC Entertainment, NBC News, NBC Sports and Telemundo.

Singled Out

The Collins Dictionary's Word of the Year says a mouthful about consumerism today. There are more than 4.5 billion-words in the English language, but only one can be selected to epitomize the state of our collective conscience. According to Collins lexicographers, that word is "single-use." Last year's Word of the Year was actually two words: "fake news."

+The popularity of "single-use" has increased four-fold since 2013, prompted by news stories and documentary series raising public awareness of this environmental issue. Single-use "encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment," Collins says.

Input Out

How machine learning is changing the rules of marketing. "Machine learning" may not be as popular a term as "single-use" or "fake news," but the application is changing the way consumers search for information. If your first impulse is to ask Alexa what it is, you're among them.

Holiday marketing: How soon is too soon? Holiday marketing...while some advertisers started their campaigns halfway through October, most retailers officially kicked off the season November 1. Target, Anthropologie, the new Grinch movie and Amazon are some of the brands populating the marketplace early. Oh and Starbucks too! But are consumers ready?

Holiday marketing: How soon is too soon?

Holiday marketing

When it comes to early holiday marketing, what are your sentiments?

  1. The more the merrier
  2. Still eating leftover Halloween Candy
  3. Please don't talk to me until December

Holiday marketing...while some advertisers started their campaigns halfway through October, most retailers officially kicked off the season November 1. Target, Anthropologie, the new Grinch movie and Amazon are some of the brands populating the marketplace early. Oh and Starbucks too! But are consumers ready?

Holiday Marketing

According to Gartner Iconoculture, Millennials have been the driving audience for holiday shopping. In fact, in 2018, it is estimated that older Millennials will spend around $779 on gifts this season, compared to the average shopper spending around $658. With shopping expected to see an increase from this audience, advertisers want to get in front of the audience as soon as possible.

But how can you effectively engage? Here are three marketing tips.

  1. Start early (only because everyone else is). Since most advertisers are populating the marketplace early, so should you or run the risk of losing customers to competitors.
  2. Give a deal. Starbucks launched their holiday cup on Friday, November 2. However, while supplies lasted those first in line were able to receive a free reusable red holiday cup, with the eligibility to bring that cup to Starbucks stores to receive 50 cents off their next drink.
  3. Acquire and earn your audience. Consumers want to get something out of your brand. Like in tip number two, a deal is a great way to acquire an audience. Another way? Betty Crocker is taking the lead here, by offering a unique cookie recipe per day leading up to Christmas for consumers that sign up for their emails.

Holiday Marketing

What are your thoughts on holiday marketing? For more tips and trends, be sure to signup for the Brogan Weekly Recap.

Blog Category: 

How machine learning is changing the rules of marketing.

Machine learning

"Machine learning" may not be a term you've heard before. But if your first impulse is to ask Alexa what it is, you're already using one application of it.

Machine learning is the practice of getting computers to learn autonomously, through the accumulation of data input. The more input, the more accurate the algorithms become. In other words, machine learning is getting computers to learn the way people do – through experience. It's a form of artificial intelligence.

Machine learning has a huge number of applications. Voice and facial recognition, analysis of healthcare data for research and diagnostics, detection of online fraud, even lunch ordering—a service called Forkable uses algorithms to predict what everyone in your office wants to eat, then delivers it. And if you've ever been served an ad on Facebook and thought, "How does Amazon know I need garbage bags?", then you've experienced the marketing side of machine learning.

How marketers are using machine learning

  • Personalization. By collecting data on customers' behaviors, machine learning gets to "know" them, and can predict the kind of products or messages they're likely to respond to. So many companies use this kind of personalization that consumers have come to expect it. In the future, marketing messages that are clearly NOT personalized will stand out (and not in a good way).

    Elements of personalization can include names, geographic location, driving and shopping habits, and more. The British company Bidooh, which sells digital outdoor advertising (such as large posters in shopping malls), uses facial recognition to choose which ad it serves to passersby.

  • Email segmentation and optimization. Instead of laboriously dividing email lists into preference groups, companies can use machine learning to help target more accurately according to behavioral patterns. Machine learning can help generate myriad combinations of subject lines and messages, then optimize for the ones that perform best; it can also optimize timing and frequency of when emails are sent. Some email services even use machine learning to generate the content of emails. One app, called Phrasee, claims that it "writes better-performing marketing copy than humans."

    As a human writer who needs my paycheck, I'm not sure I like the sound of that. But some say it's the way of the future. According to a 2017 whitepaper by IDC Research, "Programmatic advertising has automated many of the transactional elements of the advertising supply chain, and IDC believes that the next bastion is the creative content and copy process."

  • Forecasting. With machine learning, you don't have to be a visionary to predict future demand or anticipate customer behaviors. For instance, real-time analysis of data can help pinpoint customers you may be about to lose, then deliver them a special message or offer to bring them back. It can also help determine the optimal media mix to reach your target audience in the months ahead.

Can machine learning go too far?

Machine learning is a great tool. But beware of the "creep" factor. In a 2017 survey, 36% of consumers who chose not to buy a smart speaker (like Amazon Echo or Google Home) cited concerns about privacy as their reason. In October 2017, a glitch in the Google Home Mini caused the device to secretly record users without their knowledge, which did little to change skeptics' attitudes.

Likewise, marketing that oversteps its bounds by being a little too personalized can trigger the creep factor. Spotify pushed the boundaries in 2016 when it created posters that called out the actual listening behaviors of some of its customers. One headline read, "Dear person who listened to the ‘Forever Alone' playlist for 4 hours on Valentine's Day, you OK?" While this is a clever and amusing ad, if you were the person in question, it would be undeniably disturbing. Many people find the sort of ads that call out their current location ("We see you're shopping at Target!) unsettling as well.

Marketing technologies are developing so rapidly, learning to use them correctly is often a case of trial and error. Sometimes it's hard to know where the line should be drawn until you've already crossed it. But the possibilities are exciting.

Blog Category: 

Healthcare Checkup - October 2018

Healthcare Checkup

Unable to make it to SHSMD this year? No worries with our top takeaways. From socially responsible flu shots to socially acceptable breastfeeding pods to all "natural"(?) LaCroix, and more, read our Healthcare Checkup to stay in the know.

Vitamin B & P

9 key takeaways from SHSMD Connections Conference 2018. Learn why you should do more of what makes you happy, love math like you love creative, googlize your website, and more from these key SHSMD conference takeaways.

Flu season ahead: Why it's socially responsible to get your flu shot. Fall is in the air, and unfortunately, so is the flu. While it's beneficial for your personal wellbeing to get your flu shot this year, it's also become somewhat of a social responsibility to do so.

Marketing Supplements

6 SEO best practices every blog should have. Google. It serves our every search. Indulges our every inquiry. And even follows us where we go (on the internet, of course). Get the quick tips on 6 SEO best practices.

5 ways marketers can stand out on Instagram. So you have a brand Instagram account... but is your creative engaging and are you utilizing all the platform features? Here are five ways your brand can stand out on Instagram.

Industry Pulse

10 things you need to know for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. HemOnc Today has compiled a list of 10 updates on topics impacting people with breast cancer, including breast reconstruction, financial toxicity and treatment.

Breastfeeding pods now trending at sports stadiums. And in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, learn about this new lactation station trend popping up in sports spaces for breastfeeding fans.

Amid lawsuit, LaCroix defends its ‘natural' labeling. Whether legal allegations that the beloved sparkling water is tainted with insecticides and other harmful substances, the brand image of LaCroix has been forever tainted with the harmful rhetoric.

Monthly Dose

Looking to market to all generations but don't have the budget? Not a problem. There's one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations,

Why two Michigan breweries are joining forces to boost our local beer scene.

Michigan breweries

Michigan's always been known for our freshwater lakes, our auto industry, our expansive shoreline. But in recent years, Michigan's brewed up a new reputation that's gained national recognition: one for our hoppin' beer scene.

In a recent study, Michigan ranked fifth in the nation for the most breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs across the state. From metro Detroit to Grand Rapids, down state to the UP, it's difficult to travel anywhere these days without stumbling upon a local craft brewery.

It's a happy problem to have, don't get us wrong. Not only are Michiganders kicking back to enjoy the craze with friends after work, but our state as a whole is raking in the benefits. A 2017 report revealed Michigan's beer industry was worth a whopping $10.5 billion and accounted for nearly 35,000 Michigan jobs last year.

But with over 300 craft breweries across the state, surely small, mid-size and even large breweries will run into difficulty competing for customers and shelf space...  Right?


Too many breweries, too good to be true?

According to a Brewers Association report, a record number of breweries nationwide opened their doors in 2017. Cheers to that? Not so fast. Last year, our country also saw a 70 percent increase in the number of breweries that shut their doors (165 closings total).

To combat this problem, two Michigan breweries are taking a bold strategic step to ensure our state remains a leader in the beer scene. In a deal that could mark the first of its kind, they're teaming up to propel their growth rather than competing for market share.

Pour out the details.

Within the next few months, Royal Oak-based Roak Brewing Co. plans to acquire Traverse City's Right Brain Brewery. The two may be located in different corners of the state, but both breweries have experienced substantial growth in the past few years and were in the top 25 Michigan breweries for production in 2017.

Upon acquisition, Roak and Right Brain's separate brands will remain intact, but each will start offering the other's products in their taprooms. This move will not only let Roak and Right Brain pool resources and gain financial security, it will also help them build upon and share clientele.

When talking to the Detroit Free Press, Right Brain owner and founder Russell Springsteen called this an "opportunity for both of us to be stronger!"

Roak owner Leone also touched on the benefits of the deal, saying, "We all know what's going on: The big breweries are buying up local breweries. And my thoughts were, 'How could I create a program that allows Michigan breweries to get together and survive together on our own?' Still remain independent, still remain local. And this is what I'm trying to put together."

It's a unique, but well-thought-out, strategy. It could expand Roak's distribution by three or four states and ignite Right Brain's out-of-state distribution.

"As competitive pressure surges, I'm sure we'll see more of this," remarks Leone.

Since the beer scene is all about bringing people together, it only makes sense Michigan breweries are adopting that mindset–opting to work together to thrive and supporting Michigan all the while.

So, here's to Roak, Right Brain and the 300+ breweries that support our state's economy… one IPA at a time.

Catch more industry insights and trends in our Weekly Recap.


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