PepperMill December 2017

Tim’s Hummin’ a Tune

One thing I love about the holiday season is the music.

Every year, I look forward to hearing all the classics done by the greats like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. I also like the more contemporary takes—from the Beach Boys to Springsteen to Michael Bublé. And let’s not forget the Chipmunks and Linus & Lucy!

Before I set you off with earworms, let’s look at this from the aspect of “presents.” Let’s put our business-people hats on. Can you write one perennial classic and make good money off of it each and every year? You bet. Let’s look at a few examples.

Wham!’s Last Christmas earns around $400,000 per year.

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas puts about $500,000 a year in her pocket. And over the years, royalties have surpassed a total of $50 million. It’s the most downloaded Christmas tune of all time.

Interestingly enough, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting … ) has earned more than $20 million for Mel Torme (and his estate since his passing in 1999). When you consider that he said it took him only 45 minutes to write it, that’s a nice investment of his time.

For those of you who are Jewish, and those who just love a good song, here’s my favorite Chanukah song from Adam Sandler—it’s a concert video shot in Chicago!

Check out the rankings of Billboard’s Holiday 100 to see who will be donning their jingle bells while striding to their mailboxes this holiday season!

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland …

Tim Padgett

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
—J. R. R. Tolkien

The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success. Talent is only a starting point in this business. You’ve got to keep on working that talent. Someday I’ll reach for it and it won’t be there.

—Irving Berlin

Client Spotlight: RedMane

RedMane creates software that improves businesses and lives.

The company works with a level of purpose and integrity that’s quite unique, and its leaders genuinely care about people. This includes employees, clients, and even strangers in a crisis.

When Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands in late September, Tony Lakier, RedMane’s founder, did not hesitate to launch a plan of action. “Our customer, our partner and our friends were in trouble. RedMane and our employees unhesitatingly wanted to help in whatever way we could.” So, in about 10 days, and pro bono, RedMane built and launched a $500,000 disaster benefit technology system to help the territory’s 100,000 citizens.

It’s stories like this that reinforce the truly unique culture at RedMane. We realized early on that this is a first-rate company, and we were thrilled when RedMane selected Pepper Group to help develop its message and elevate its brand.

Our challenge was to capture the company's essence and put it in a format that could be shared with customers, partners, employees and the community. The process included deep research and analysis, video development, website development, sales collateral, case studies and a whole lot of creativity. We are proud to be a trusted partner.

To see how it all turned out, and to learn more about RedMane, take a look at the new

George Couris

B2B Marketing Budget Benchmarks for 2018

The annual Gartner CMO Spend Survey has just been released.

And this year it’s all about results. Marketers are focusing more efforts on existing customers. They are also allocating 9.2% of their total marketing investment to analytics—the most of any of the 13 marketing capabilities in the survey.

Sixty-five percent of respondents reported that they expected an increase in budget from 2017 to 2018. Only 35% expected the same or lower levels. The biggest areas of investment growth remain digital advertising, websites and social marketing.

On average, marketing budgets for B2B firms are in the range of six to seven percent of revenue. This includes internal marketing staff, marketing agency fees and all advertising costs. It’s up from the four to six percent range a few years ago, but relatively flat with last year.

Using benchmarks like these is certainly a place to start, but if you want to outperform your peers, you may want to consider investing more, or at least investing more smartly.

Benchmarking against your peers can also be more helpful than benchmarking against what you spent last year, which is the way 47% of CMOs currently set budgets. This unsophisticated approach can perpetuate issues. For example, if any aspect of your marketing is under-budgeted (or over-budgeted) currently, the budget from last year can act as an anchor against getting to the “right” number.

At Pepper Group, we recommend that our clients take a strategic approach to budgeting that considers two major areas:

A marketing budget should be based on business goals and what it will take to achieve them. This is identified through an integrated plan that we build using our proprietary Revenue Tower™ framework. Create the plan first with the goals in mind and identify performance metrics for every tactic. Then, you can use benchmarks like these as a final comparison check.

In addition to how much you invest, the other half of the equation is how well you invest it. Creativity, both in approach and execution, can significantly impact marketing effectiveness. The key is thinking differently and bringing a novel and creative approach to the integrated effort. A creative program dramatically increases the impact you get from every dollar of marketing investment.

If you are interested in setting or reallocating your budget to build a stronger Revenue Tower and drive better results, let’s talk. Pepper Group has a wealth of information, case studies and experience that can help. And after all, results are what it’s going to be all about in 2018.

George Couris

Top Web Ads From the Creative Suite

This month's stand-out digital ad comes from IKEA, the Swedish company that's all about efficiency. They want to get simple, cheap, easy-to-build furniture in your hands quickly, and they've extended this idea to their digital marketing campaign. To keep their advertising simple and easy, they give you a choice of whether you want to see their products or not. Check out their refreshingly honest campaign here.

Joe Whittington

360° video: Mega Coaster

As we dip into these upcoming days of sub-freezing high temperatures, I thought it might be nice for us to virtually experience a little warm weather getaway. Discovery Channel did a wonderful job last year of recording a journey on the Scream roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, in Valencia, California. The fact that the recording was done in 360° video makes it exponentially more interesting to watch.

After viewing it looking straight ahead, try spinning around and following the expressions of the passengers as they endure the 141-foot drop and the back-to-back vertical loops! This coaster hits speeds of over 60 mph, so you may want to strap yourself in to your chair, just to watch the video!

Playback of 360° videos is most immersive if you have some form of a Google Cardboard viewer and can open the video in the YouTube app on your smartphone (email me if you don’t have a viewer and I will send you one). You can still have a lot of fun without one though by making the video full-screen in your Chrome browser and clicking and dragging with your mouse to explore.

Did we spark any ideas about how to involve 360 in your business? Reach out and we’d love to talk with you about it!

Want more? Check out our Pepper Group holiday 360 offering.

Todd Underwood