Tag Archives: Gallup

Digging Out Of A Hole

Let’s begin the new year with some (more) sobering news. People think marketers suck and don’t trust us. Actually, that’s not a recent development according to the Gallup folks who conduct an annual poll about various professions and how they’re perceived. Since Gallup has been conducting the survey (as far back as at least 2001), “advertising practitioners” have always appeared near the bottom of the professional rankings:

When it comes to rating the honesty and ethical standards of people in various professions, American adults rate medical professionals highly. But advertising practitioners? That’s a different story. In fact, just 11% of adults rate advertising professionals highly for their honesty and ethics.

That’s from the Marketing Charts summary of the poll. You can see the chart listing the various professions off to the side. Is anyone shocked by these results? Let’s think for a minute about many of the prominent ad stories of the past few years. They’re a litany of theft and fraud but those don’t really affect consumers. The big consumer ad story is probably the rise of ad blocking which is a response to irresponsible behavior on much of the advertising/publishing ecosystem.

That’s just the online world. Offline, one needn’t look very far to find examples of “free” offers that require one to submit a credit card, businesses suing their customers for accurate but negative comments on social media, and just about any political ad this last year. Each of these things further reinforces the negative perception that this study finds.

It’s a new year, and every new year brings the possibility of fresh starts. Maybe this is a good time for any of us who make a living within the marketing community to start digging out of this perception hole? We can do so by reminding ourselves that our families and friends are the consumers we’re pitching. Would you try to run a scam on them? Would they find the ad you’re running offensive? For those of you not engaged in the ad business, you’d do well to ask yourself the same types of questions. My guess is that we’re going to hear a lot about ethics this year. Let’s try to make our profession a better example of the right kind of ethical behavior. You with me?


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Filed under Consulting, Helpful Hints, Huh?

Still Not Worthy

I’ve written before about an annual survey conducted by the Gallup folks. They ask people to “tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields – very high, high, average, low, or very low.” I’m sure it’s not shocking to you that nurses top the chart with respect to the percentage of people who respond their ethics and honesty are high or very high. It might, however, be a shock to you where businesspeople – and ad people in particular – fall on the scale.  

Just 1 in 10 US adults rates the honesty and ethical standards of advertising practitioners as high or very high.  While ad people did manage to surpass car salespeople (8% rating as having high or very high honesty and ethical standards), members of Congress (8%), telemarketers (8%) and lobbyists (7%), it’s still not very good.  In fact, it’s sad.  But is it a surprise?

Unfortunately, I don’t think so.  Not when we can read members of the ad community advocating disguising ads as content.  Not when we knowingly allow robots to access our sites so it appears that we’re serving up more ads to people than we really are.  Not when influencers talk about something they like without disclosing that they’ve been paid to mention the product.

It’s not just the ad business.  Business executives overall were well thought of by only 17% of the respondents.  That falls behind lawyers (21%) and labor union leaders (18%).  Again, not a shock, given the almost daily news reports of unsafe products (hoverboards, air bags to mention just two) that the manufacturers knew had a problem but which were sold anyway.

2016 is only a few weeks old. Maybe instead of resolving to lose weight or to quit smoking, those of us in business need to resolve to up our ethics and honesty?  Maybe we should be focusing on doing right for our customers and not for our shareholders?  What are your thoughts?


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Filed under Huh?, Reality checks

Barking Up The Wrong Tree?

Some interesting results came out of a poll by the Gallup folks the other day. They polled American consumers about the influence social media has on their purchasing decisions.   I guess if you hold stock in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other public social media company, you’re not a huge fan of the results:

Gallup says 62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions. Another 30% said it had some influence. U.S. companies spent $5.1 billion on social-media advertising in 2013, but Gallup says “consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content.”

That’s from the Wall St, Journal report on the study.  Oops?  Is all the time, money, and effort companies are throwing at social media just a massive barking up the wrong tree?  Not really.  In fact, I find that pretty encouraging since it might just get marketers focused on the real role of social as opposed to gross follower counts.  In fact:

“Gallup research shows that consumers are much more likely to turn to friends, family members, and experts when seeking advice about companies, brands, products, or services. Company-sponsored Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have almost no persuasive power.”

I’m sure that’s what the data said.  It’s throwing the baby out with the bath water, however.  Monitoring what and how consumers are talking about with respect to your brand is invaluable.  Giving them the opportunity to reach you directly can’t be a bad thing, can it?  Sure – if social is just a place to broadcast more brand news, sale information, or videos of your TV ads, you’re probably missing the boat.  Analyzing social-media conversations to see what consumers like and don’t like is smart.  Actually, it’s kind of mandatory.

Once again, a focus on the tools (social media) instead of the business is what barking up the wrong tree really means.  Using the social channel to gather information and take action where appropriate is smart business.  You with me?

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Filed under digital media, Helpful Hints

Doing The Work

What would you do if you didn’t have to work?  Maybe that’s the wrong way to phrase that.  How would you occupy your time if you didn’t have to worry about the bills being paid and could live pretty much as you’re living now?  Would you hold down a job?  Would you travel?  Would you live where you’re living?

Men inside workshop in Melbourne

(Photo credit: IMLS DCC)

I have a friend who is a little older than I am and I happen to know has plenty of money in the bank.  Not enough to have a jet and a string of mansions, but more than most people will ever have.  He can live any way he chooses and work or not work as he sees fit. He just started another job a couple of weeks ago.  I asked him why he was working and he said because he likes it.  He enjoys the challenges and has been a senior executive at a number of companies during his career.  He is engaged.  Most of us are not.  Time reported on a Gallup study:

According to Gallup, 30% of U.S. employees are “engaged” at work, which the polling organization defines as those “who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and contribute to their organization in a positive manner.” The rest of us are “emotionally disconnected” from our workplaces, making us much less likely to be productive. Fifty-two percent of employees says they are basically “checked out” at work, and 18% say they’re so unhappy they’re actually acting out their unhappiness in the workplace. “Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish,” Gallup’s report says.

So to start the work week, let’s all take a step back as figure out if we’re ready to do the work.  Maybe if we’re even wanting to do it at all.  Do we want a promotion because it means more money or do we want it because it reflects the effort we’ve put in at a task we enjoy?  Are we interested in developing our minds or our wallets?  Can we combine our avocations and our vocation?  After all, while it’s not called “work” because it’s meant to be fun, I know it can be.  It can also suck.  The choice is yours.

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud