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Good morning, and we’re almost out of 2020. 

If winter comes (which it has), can spring be far behind? That’s a question asked by a poet, and we can all hope that the answer is yes. A spring in which we start to see positive effects of the distribution of the COVID vaccination (see below), and perhaps some positive political initiatives from Washington D.C., too.

But in the short term, let’s express some more modest hopes. Happy and peaceful holidays, whichever holidays you celebrate. A few days of quiet and relaxation. Some inventive ways to connect and celebrate safely. Some tranquil reflection on the challenges everyone has overcome this year — as well as thoughts for those still struggling.

We’ll see you all on the other side -— the next newsletter we’ll send will be on Monday, January 4.

Kim Davis
Editorial Director


Marketing the COVID vaccine

Healthcare marketing in the U.S. is a multi-billion dollar industry. It will get a further boost in 2021, with DHHS ear-marking $250 million for a campaign to let the public know that the various COVID vaccines are safe and effective. The starting point is an estimated four in ten Americans reluctant to take the vaccine — a figure admittedly likely to fall if months pass without reports of ill-effects.

But if the DHHS approach is simply to spend large amounts of cash blasting that simple message, with a familiar face attached (Dr Fauci, for example), they will be missing important opportunities. Those four in ten resisters are not all signalling the same reasons for their reluctance. There are health concerns, and political and cultural concerns. If someone is resistant to the vaccine for political reasons, a safety message won’t resonate.

“We’ve created a multi-polar world, and a side-effect of that is you have all this uncertainty, politicization and polarization around the vaccine. Really to connect and get the message across in a way that’s most effective, it really comes down to empathy,” Chris Paquette, founder and CEO of healthcare advertising platform DeepIntent, told us. Martech capabilities, including segmentation by demographics and sentiment, could be brought to bear on the problem. We’ll be watching to see if DHHS understands that.

Read more here.


Compare 13 top marketing automation platforms

MarTech Today’s “B2B Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the market for B2B marketing automation software platforms. This report includes profiles of 13 leading B2B marketing automation vendors, capabilities comparisons, pricing information, and recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing.

Get it now »


Epsilon launches real-time consumer intent solution

Epsilon, the data-based performance marketing platform, this week announced the launch of Signals, a new solution within Epsilon PeopleCloud. Signals will enrich brand’s first-party data with real-time in-market intent signals based on browsing behavior, interests and demographics.

Signals’ optimized audiences can be activated outside the Epsilon platform to drive omnichannel campaigns. The solution aims at increasing customer lifetime value by identifying opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell. The Signals audiences will be updated and optimized regularly using machine learning models.

Why we care. In addition to knowing who your audience is, and where to find it, it should also be possible to know what it’s looking for — and execute on that information at scale.


Master the science of search marketing analytics

Join us online, February 23, 2021 at SMX Report: a deep dive into everything you need to know about analytics for search marketing. Book now for just $99!

Register Now »


PPC 2020 in review: COVID leaves its mark on e-commerce and paid search

Now that the year is coming to a close, we decided it was time to reflect on the events and announcements that mattered most to paid search marketers.

The pandemic pushed consumers towards e-commerce as social distancing took hold, and platforms expedited plans to ease that transition for users and marketers: both Google Shopping and Bing Shopping results opened up to free product listings. Buy on Google commissions were done away with so that the company could, presumably, better compete against other e-commerce sites like Amazon. And, Facebook launched Shops so that businesses could establish an integrated storefront for customers on Facebook and Instagram.

The trend towards more automation that we’ve been documenting for years has kept its momentum: Google introduced custom audiences, automated Insights and Performax Max campaigns. It also decreased search term visibility, potentially making millions in ad spend invisible to advertisers — perhaps it’s conditioning us away from keywords? After all, it did run a test making RSAs the default. 

Read more here.


In-person events in 2021?

Last week, the United States began the historic rollout of the first approved vaccine for COVID-19, giving the country and the rest of the world some long-overdue optimism that this grim pandemic will soon come to an end.

On a simply human level, the relief in a future where family gatherings and social congregation are possible without fear of catching this deadly disease is cause for celebration. For marketers and professionals, it means one day soon we will be able to gather at offices, off-sites, sales trips, conferences and trade shows.

Several times this year we have surveyed marketers on their comfort level for attending live events absent an effective COVID-19 vaccine and each time they have told us that they would largely skip out on travel and in-person professional gatherings. But, with what is sure to be a long-term vaccine rollout having begun, we thought it was time to gauge whether those opinions have changed.

Please click here to take our short survey >>


The technology that's saving retail businesses from going under

Sponsored by Lightspeed

The pandemic is changing the game for retail, and fast. Not only is the competition fiercer than ever before, but the coronavirus has been the cause of a dramatic decrease in in-store traffic.

While the situation has forced some companies to shut down, many have realized that if they want to break through and maximize profits, they will need to adapt to more flexible business models with the adoption of new technologies. In order to remain competitive, online and offline experiences must “wow” the consumer. Having a great product is not sufficient to satisfy today’s buyer profile.

The secret sauce for these struggling businesses lies in the ability to combine in-store and online shopping to create an omnichannel retail strategy to provide the best possible experience all around, without having to choose one or the other. In today’s modern economy, the inter-connected customer shouldn’t have to choose either.

Learn more »

Quote of the day

“Raise your hand if you still know where your office badge is.” Jorge Garcia, Senior Manager, Marketing Technology, Akamai Technologies.