First and foremost, I’m a mom of three kids. Not just any three kids…. Three kids that are under 10
years old. So, while yes, I run a business, the business of my family often runs me. I spend my work
days “adulting” with brands and figuring out what moves the needle on marketing experiences for my
clients, and my off hours are spent with Roblox and Minecraft, Music.ly and unboxing videos. Speaking
of which; fun fact, the highest paid youtuber of 2018 was – drum roll please – RyanToyReview. Yes, you
heard me right, a 7-year-old beat hundreds of thousands of YouTube musicians, scientists, socialites,
make-up artists, gamers, comic geniuses, and viable businesses, clocking in at 22 million dollars – with a
We live in an interesting time where every day, the future becomes more intertwined with the present.
The behavioral signs are all around us. While it’s true that the appetite for this little rich child, “Ryan”, is
directly tied to his audiences’ age-group, similar behaviors of digital consumption spans generations.
As both marketers and consumers, we all want to know what’s next and new, and be the first to
experience it. We’re fanatical about everything from the news to Netflix to the new shoes, and our
devices allow us to experience it all – immediately and en masse. Additionally, the rise of artificial
intelligence, voice activated experiences, and the industry’s newest buzzword – “blockchain,” means
that brands and publishers have more data than ever about what makes us tick, how to better serve us,
and how to anticipate our needs. It’s all about showing up at the right moment with the right
It’s true that for a large majority of the population, our devices are core to our everyday living, but 2018
also showed us an increased appetite for real-life experiences. Amazon opened almost 20 retail
locations, everyone from Pantone to Casper Mattresses to Kotex to Fendi opened pop-up shops, the
Museum of Ice Cream set record numbers of attendance and social posts, and even 2017’s Fyre Festival
– dubbed “the greatest event that never happened” — sparked two films that were produced in 2018,
now available on both Hulu and Netflix. While Fyre Festival is a humorous example, it was firmly
planted in the cultural zeitgeist where we saw more attendance of music festivals like Coachella and FYF
(“fuck yeah festival”), and a slew of others.
This all got me thinking about the bridge between visceral real-life experiences and the virtual ones in
the palms of our hands. Here are a few things I observe and believe:
Sure, it’s a word I made up (and I’m going to trademark it before it becomes a new buzz-fraze – LOL!).
But as human beings, we need emotional connection to the things we engage with most. Whether it’s a
fun break from reality, or solving a real-life problem, we, as marketers, are not here to just entertain,
we’re here to bring emotional value to the people we serve. Brand loyalty is deeply rooted in how easy
said brand makes my life. This means examining pain points – both for the brand in question, and the
consumers they’re looking to reach, and finding inventive solutions that solve for each, simultaneously.
Also made this word up (chock-up another trademark), but this is getting fun! Don’t you hate when
someone you know tells you about a party that happened the week before that you weren’t even so
much invited to? Every moment we create as marketers should serve as an invitation to both existing
and would-be customers. We want to be invited to the party. Even if we don’t show up, it feels good to
be acknowledged and sought after. We want to feel valued. Additionally, this inclusion-or-die era we’re
operating in means there are more opportunities than ever for brands to broaden their invitations and
speak to new audiences without alienating their existing ones.
New Data, Who Dis?
Didn’t fully make that one up, but still fun nonetheless. Long gone are the days of “Big Data.” We are
now seeing more micro data that can inform the decisions we make for our clients, and we can instantly
act on that data. From messaging to brand experiences, we have different data sets we can tap into to
make smart moves. Amazon Alexa and Google Home show us the most common needs and behaviors in
homes. Spotify did it again in 2018, with hyper-specific billboards and print ads and custom, 1:1 year-in-
review playlists. Adidas even made out-of-home advertising capable of speaking to influencers by
name. In the case of back-end businesses, Influential, an agency powered by IBM Watson, saw a 12
million-dollar investment to expand their expertise in psychographic analysis for brands and influencers.
Stepping into the future – even an immediate one – can feel daunting. Suddenly, we feel angst around
the need (and/or inability) to build new functionalities and internal capabilities and tools and teams. But
don’t fret, my dear, your partner is here! In the case of Influential and IBM Watson, both entities saw
business value in the long-term collaboration. A more novel collaboration is Spotify and Ancestry, which
allowed consumers to experience custom playlists based on their ancestral origins. The rule of thumb
here is that the goals we want or need to accomplish don’t always have to mean reinventing the wheel –
– it means finding a partner who has the wheel you need, but no vehicle to put it on. From startups to
retail spaces to influencers, there are always mutually beneficial opportunities to explore together.
In 2019, I’m sure my kids and Roblox will continue to drive me nuts. But they’ll also keep me sharp and
observant and learning about what makes us tick. And, as long as we keep in mind that we’re all multi-
sense beings, the experiences we create and the tools we use to create them will continue to inspire
awe and be emotionally connected.
About The Regan Group
The Regan Group, a full service marketing agency that specializes in Sweepstakes and Sales Promotions,
Digital and Social Media Promotions, Experiential Marketing, Field Marketing and Street Teams, Retail
and Shopper Marketing, Shipping and Fulfillment. For more information contact:
info@TheReganGroup.com or call 310-327-7321.