Adobe Might Lose Its Creative Software Crown

By: Rhett Withey, Bigeye Art Director

When you take a shot at the king, you better not miss.

Adobe, the king of the creative software world, has reigned over its users with the expectation that no matter what the company does, their users have to buy their product because it’s the “universal standard.” Adobe, recognizing the grip they hold on the creative world, has in recent years taken advantage of their user base by changing its business model to a steeply priced monthly subscription, continuing to release updates overrun with bugs and glitches, and rarely coming through on promised features presented at yearly trade shows. There is a challenger to the throne looming on the horizon, and its name is the iPad Pro.

The hubris of Adobe has been knowing that designers and creatives can’t just up-and-drop Photoshop or Illustrator in favor of a newer and cheaper alternative without risking a severe downturn in productivity. In the fast-paced world of advertising, designers have decades of muscle memory with hotkeys and processes ingrained in their heads. Going cold turkey and learning a completely new software would result in the loss of hundreds of hours of time on projects. Adobe knows this and expects their users to return month-after-month and year-after-year.

The iPad is Adobe’s worthy competitor.

What Adobe doesn’t know is that the iPad, specifically the iPad Pro, is helping knock down the gatekeeping walls that Adobe holds to the creative industry. There are a bevy of great design and illustration apps available on the iPad that replicate the experiences of Adobe products and at a much cheaper cost. Apps such as Procreate and Affinity Designer don’t require recurring payments and often cost less than a one-month subscription of an Adobe Creative Cloud license.

Of course, established designers aren’t going to ditch their desktops in favor of the iPad Pro, but there are designers who are actually preferring the iPad experience over the desktop for illustrating, designing, and photo editing. They are the ones currently sitting in the backseat of a minivan on a road-trip or on a bus heading home from school. They are in their bedroom at their parents’ house doodling on the iPad while watching TV. Children and teenagers are adopting the use of iPads at a younger age, and their parents aren’t likely diving headfirst into an expensive Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plan.

Younger generations are paving their own way.

This younger generation is currently developing their own muscle memory of tricks and processes that they will, in time, transfer to their future careers as designers and visionaries. It’s a future that Adobe doesn’t seem to see coming. Adobe needs to adapt if it plans on being around in the next ten to twenty years. They won’t have the luxury of relying on users coming back just because they are working on a familiar system.

Each subsequent release of the iPad and iPad Pro is closing the gap between what a tablet is and what a computer is. Apple has even recently released an update that allows for keyboard and mouse support on the tablet itself.

Adobe does offer iPad versions of some of its software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but those apps have been released years after initial releases of other apps such as Procreate, which itself has developed a dedicated following and has been identified as one of the “must own” apps on the iPad Pro. Also, without a Creative Cloud subscription, the Adobe offerings come up short of being their own fully realized design apps on the iPad.

If Adobe expects to continue its reign on the creative world, they are going to have to win over the hearts and minds of the younger generation through their iPads.

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What Your Retail Packaging Design Says About Your Brand

Retail packaging design sets expectations and even evokes emotions. Learn how to create a good first impression and making the unboxing experience special. 

Marketers know that consumers often will judge books by their covers. Of course, it’s not just books but the retail packaging design for almost any kind of product. Colors, shapes, and other design elements do more than make a first impression. They might even impact the customer’s psychological state. Even beyond any words on the box, you can utilize your packaging to tell shoppers a lot about your brand. That’s why many businesses go so far as to hire an experienced packaging design agency to design custom product packaging that will help them stand out among their competition.

What to consider for custom product packaging design

Direct Packaging Solutions, one packaging design agency, touched upon two ways that package design can affect the customer experience:

  • First impressions: Consumer research has found that packaging can change customer expectations for a product. As an example, MacBook has a reputation for having one of the top package designs on Amazon and other online venues. Owners mentioned how much they appreciated the way their Apple packaging displayed and protected their laptops and accessories. They enjoyed the unboxing process and liked the box so much that they didn’t want to discard it. 
  • Emotions: Several aspects of the packaging can actually evoke specific emotions. For instance, many food brands use red because it can stimulate appetite, and yellow tends to communicate happiness and competence. Even shape might matter. As an example, one beer company developed a bottle with a thicker neck and more angular shape to look more masculine and appeal to men.

Of course, you can also use your consistent style of packaging to reinforce your brand. When people think of Tiffany, they tend to visualize the blue boxes. Likewise, it’s hard to think of Coca-Cola without picturing the iconic red can.

Packaging can also communicate something about your company’s purpose. For instance today’s customers like to see recyclable or reusable packaging. Amazon should know quite a bit about packaging, and they have gone out of their way to promote their program to reduce packaging waste.

Tips for top packaging design on Amazon and other eCommerce sites

For selling online, you need to make certain that your package doesn’t just look good in person. A full-sized and thumbnail photo also has to entice clicks. For that, you need clean, clear, and uncluttered graphics and fonts. Even so, it helps to give your packaging a unique, distinctive look to attract attention.

You might even use your packaging to solve a problem and make your product more functional. For instance, what could be a better example of a common packaged good than ketchup? Heinz got a lot of press for coming up with the genius idea of giving their bottles a wide top, so they could be packaged and stored upside-down.

For years, customers had complained that they had to struggle to get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle, and the new design used gravity to solve a 150-year-old problem. According to CNN, they increased sales by six percent in a year when their overall industry only rose by two percent. Businesses can profit by making their customer’s lives easier, and sometimes, packaging can help.

How to start designing outstanding packages

As with any aspect of marketing, you should understand your target market. For instance, CBD packaging might reflect health and nature, but boxes for luxury goods should communicate a sense of indulgence and style. Experienced product packaging companies can make certain your packaging reflects well on your company in both appearance and function.

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How Ben & Jerry’s Flipped the Lid on Content Marketing Strategy

Ben & Jerry’s content marketing strategy involves bold flavors and social activism to maintain a positive brand and reputation.

From their fanciful flavor names to the way that they embrace political activism, any experienced content marketing agency should understand that Ben & Jerry’s provides a good example of a successful brand that does things a little differently. For example,most agencies will usually advise conducting market research as the very first step in developing a content marketing strategy.

In contrast, Ben & Jerry’s current CEO, Matthew McCarthy said that conducting too much market research can lead to mediocrity. Find out how this beloved brand has retained its market position by delivering what customers want without trying to spend to much time upfront attempting to even predict what that is.

What’s different About Ben & Jerry’s content marketing strategy?

Instead of creating a perception of maintaining just another high-quality ice cream brand, Ben & Jerry’s continues to generate a positive brand perception by working to disrupt their market and revolutionize society.

Maintaining their reputation as a disputer

So how can the CEO of Ben and Jerry’s say that too much research, a staple of most content marketing plans, can lead to mediocrity? McCarthy told Marketing Week that he spent years working for Unilever and for much of that career, they relied upon consumers to tell them exactly what they wanted. Of course, he agrees that this kind of research still provides an incredibly useful tool.

However, he’s learned that it’s impossible to please everybody and by trying, it can lead to not actually pleasing anybody that well. If you ask a random group of people to choose their favorite ice cream, a lot of them might settle upon chocolate, vanilla, or maybe, strawberry. Instead, Ben & Jerry’s has stood out by coming up with interesting and memorable concoctions that may or may not rely upon the old standby flavors as part of the mix.

Instead, they begin by having product development teams work with their flavor gurus, also known as professional chefs. After they’ve developed new flavors, they may test them by either sending them directly to market or by inviting small groups of Ben  Jerry’s fans to try a scoop. And he believes this practice continues to help them grow and maintain a reputation as a market disrupter, even though they’re an established brand that’s been around for over four decades and has a presence in at least 35 countries.

So, when Ben & Jerry’s introduces such brands as Phish Food, Cherry Garcia, and Americone Dream, everybody wants to find out what the buzz is all about. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve associated at least some of their flavors with celebrities. They can also glide a bit on not just their own media presence but also that of the people or concepts they honor and support with their delicious pints.

How Ben & Jerry’s maintains their activist image

Ben & Jerry’s dedicated one of the most popular flavors, Americone Dream, to Stephen Colbert. Not only that, a portion of profits also goes to some of Stephen Colbert’s favorite charities. Not only should an inbound marketing agency consider this an example of genius marketing, they should also take note that the favor’s really good.

Who wouldn’t like a fudge-covered pieces of waffle cones and caramel swirls drenched in a high-quality vanilla base? Plus, each pint helps such worthy causes as the environment, veterans, and disadvantaged children. Just mentioning it here will probably move a few more pints off the shelf. Don’t forget to try the Chunky Money while you’re at it. Besides sales, the extra attention has generated plenty of positive press from news agencies, supported charities, and of course, Colbert himself.

Ben and Jerry’s recent statement on white supremacy should not have surprised anybody who has followed a company that already introduced flavors like Pecan Resist and Justice Remix’d. Not only did their statement help them solidly their serious stance as a brand with a purpose, it also helped them align with activist movements.

What’s activism got to do with ice cream?

When asked by Marketing Dive what activism has to do with ice cream, the CEO said, “Not a lot. Except we care about it, and our team cares.” Judging by the extra positive mentions that Ben & Jerry’s has received by blogs, news sites, and even activist organizations, it looks like their customers care too.

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Let Goat Yoga Enlighten Your Viral Content Strategy

Goat yoga videos went viral through engaging content and good promotion. Add viral content to your social media marketing strategy. 

It’s been the butt of jokes, pun intended. People who have never seen it always ask if it’s even real. Comedians on late-night TV make fun of it. Still, goat yoga has turned into a serious business, mostly because of a successful content media strategy.

No content marketing agency or forgive me, guru, can give you the exact formula to guarantee a viral content marketing strategy. Still, it’s easy to pick out what viewers found engaging and sharable when they viewed goat yoga videos online.

Can goat yoga teach you how to get a video viral?

That’s My Idea! Marketing, a local content marketing agency for a goat yoga location, offered a very transparent glimpse into their social media strategy. Like any good marketers, they defined their target market. They decided taking yoga classes in a field with cute, little goats would appeal to the most to females who were at least 25 years old. Once they had their target, they promoted videos of the activity on Facebook. Of course, by then, lots of people had already heard of goat yoga, so their job may have been a bit easier.

According to CNBC, the original founder of Original Goat Yoga actually started gaining attention through a story and photos in Modern Farmer. The videos arrived somewhat later. She made a solid six-figures her first year just from viral media attention. During that time, images and videos of goats and yoga students in action spread fast. For her, the business grew so quickly that gaining attention was the least of her problems.

Instead, she needed to abruptly leave her full-time job and struggle to get the infrastructure in place to support all the people who wanted to attend classes. During that first year, her expenses kept up with spiking revenues because she had never planned to grow so fast. At least from a marketing perspective, it was a job well done. Later, she managed to develop revenue and funding sources to make the rest of her business as successful as her marketing.

The ingredients of the goat yoga viral content strategy

While the exact formula might not work for every business, it’s easy to spot the qualities of the photos and videos of goat yoga classes that engaged viewers:

  • They’re fun, interesting, and effective: People have a natural attraction to cute animals, and these dwarf goats are as photogenic as kittens. People also have an interest in yoga. While neither goats nor yoga are new ideas, combining them was novel. Like peanut butter and chocolate, putting goats and yoga together produced magic. It’s like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of exercise and animal videos. People who have tried the classes in person say that having the goats hop about is surprisingly calming.
  • They’re visually appealing and engaging and very sharable: The goats snuggle, prance, and sometimes, even hop up on the yoga students while they’re holding their poses. While the videos are actually fairly simple and easy to understand, the unpredictable nature of the animals generates countless possibilities. The combination of visual appeal and simplicity makes this kind of content very sharable, and that’s a key ingredient for viral content.
  • They evoke positive emotions:  Goat yoga doesn’t just connect with its audience. It also helps connect the audience to nature and animals. This sort of content almost immediately evokes a sense of joy, makes people laugh, and relieves stress. These days, it’s easy to get bombarded with bad news and negative emotions, so the goat yoga videos offer a pleasant refuge.

What can goat yoga teach a content marketing agency or business about viral videos?

Neil Patel, the internet marketing guru, published some simple characteristics that he believes every viral video needs. As you explore his suggestions, you can see how goat yoga videos provide a great example:

  • Rapid engagement: To get attention on a busy video site or social platform, videos need to gain attention quickly.
  • Novelty: If you’re advertising a type of yoga class or a toaster, you should stand out by doing something different. Think about the example of advertising a blender by finding out if it could blend a cell phone or tablet.
  • Decent quality: These days, you should pay some attention to production values. That’s true even if you can’t yet afford professional equipment or producers. Even if the videos aren’t perfect, they still need to be good enough.
  • Practicality: This might appear almost counter-intuitive when you’re talking about producing novel content; however, videos that offer accessible solutions tend to garner the most views.
  • Promotable: Even the most sharable videos need to gain that initial audience, so have a plan to distribute and promote the videos in order to help them gain momentum.

If you read more about the early days of goat yoga, you will learn that the founder hit upon a fantastic idea, promoted it, and then let her audience find her. She honestly never expected it to gain momentum as quickly as it did. If you’re setting out to develop viral content, you should first define your target audience and research the types of content that have a good chance of appealing to them.

Original Goat Yoga first distributed to Modern Farmer. You may want to spend time figuring out the sorts of platforms and publications that your audience might frequent in order to create your distribution and social media strategy. Even though viral content relies upon having the audience share it, you first need to develop that audience.

Even the most successful marketers will admit that they need art, science, and some luck to produce viral video content. By neglecting the important characteristics of a viral content strategy, you’ll greatly reduce your chances. Still, by studying past successes, you can craft and distribute content in a way that will greatly improve your odds, so you won’t need to rely upon luck so much.

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Raise Your Instagram Strategy Game With Experiential Sets

Adding experiential experiences to your content marketing strategy can help grow and engage your audience online and offline.

Instagram, the popular photo and video site, will celebrate its 10th birthday in 2020. According to Sprout Social, just about a billion people use Instagram regularly, with about sixty percent of these users logging in at least once a day. While Instagram isn’t the largest social site, it is remarkable for the sort of famously Instagrammable experiences that its devoted audience has come to expect from content providers. As a marketer or content marketing agency, learn one way that you can tailor your Instagram strategy to include such an experience.

Developing an Instagram strategy around experiential set design

Many kinds of businesses have used Instagram as part of their effective content marketing strategy. Lots of other businesses even owe their starts to this unique social platform. As an important example, Instagram has even birthed an entire cottage industry of off-line sets that creative people develop just to generate the perfect backdrop for Instagrammable experiences.

Lately, these typically colorful and well-designed places have been called experiential sets. Fast Company referred to them as a sort of Disneyland for the selfie set, designed to appeal to short attention spans and a be-seen culture. Besides typically charging an admission fee, they also generally have sponsored rooms or galleries.

What is experiential set design?

To understand experiential set designs, it helps to consider some examples. Fast Company highlighted the Museum of Ice Cream’s debut in 2016. It launched in New York City, and then later attracted such celebrities as Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Katy Perry as it spread to Los Angeles and Miami. Copycats with similar ordinary themes and extraordinary sensory experiences popped up soon afterwards. Some examples include the Museum of Pizza and the Egg House. Of course, the most obviously named one is called the Museum of Selfies.

No matter the theme, they’re always designed with a photogenic quality in mind; however, they usually offer a live experience that appeals to multiple senses, such as feeling, smelling, and even tasting. Naturally, the admission to the Museum of Ice Cream includes a free scoop, provided by rotating vendors, who hope to gain more exposure both offline and online.

This new trend in experiential set design for events has moved to established museums or galleries and traveled as popup exhibitions. Critics have sometimes belittled these sets as dumbing down culture for the digital age and exploiting patrons by letting them pay high admission fees for superficial art and blatant advertising.

Great examples of experiential settings

At the same time, some efforts have been taken more seriously. As an example, The Color Factory has enjoyed serious design credibility with its focus upon color, creativity, and the way people experience spaces. They’ve even collaborated with such prestigious designers as the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. While the developers keep it a kid-friendly place, The Color Factory also appeals to couples on dates, tourists, and of course, Instagram and other social media influencers.

Of course, major brands have started sponsoring their own experiential settings. One good example includes the Escape the Room games that HBO sponsored at SXSW. They provided sets inspired by popular HBO shows, including Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicone Valley. These games immersed players in the shows’ stories in an incredibly engaging way.

Using experiential set design for B2B on Instagram

It’s sort of intuitive to see how a B2C content marketing agency can make use of these experiential sets to help improve brand recognition and grow their audiences. For example, Refinery 29’s contribution to this new industry, 29 Rooms, has had branded rooms from such companies as Smirnoff, Kraft, and Revlon. Non-sponsoring celebrities and social influencers might simply use the interesting backdrops of the venues as imaginative settings for their photos and videos. Meanwhile, the settings themselves may benefit from plenty of online exposure, admission fees, and sponsors.

At the same time, the concept of experiential sets can also lend itself very well for marketers who want to gain exposure for B2B on Instagram and other social sites. It’s important to note that a Bizzabo survey of hundreds of experienced marketers found that 87 percent of C-suite executives think live events will begin to factor much more in their marketing strategy.

Turning life events into Instagrammable experiences

For some good examples of way the executives might consider spending some of their marketing budgets on experiential sets for live events: 

  • Look at the Healthymagination marketing campaign by GE. They designed realistic medical settings that include demos of the ways that their tech helps improve them.
  • For something a bit more colorful and in line with other experiential settings, consider the way that HubSpot has designed their inbound marketing conference, complete with a giant #INBOUND hashtag sculpture to remind attendees how to find their posts and tag their own.
  • If you want to add a high-tech approach, you might even follow Intel’s lead in using immersive augmented and virtual reality tech to create a memorable and Instagrammable experience. One highlight included a hologram of one of their general managers, Gregory Bryant, speaking to the crowd.

Live events can lend themselves perfectly to serving as venues for Instagrammable experiences. Of course, it’s possible to turn the setting into its own event. Businesses can create their own branded experiences, either to keep in their headquarters buildings for visitors or as a popup that they can move around to trade shows and conventions. They can use their sets to highlight their company’s history, products, and community service. All the while, they can turn this immersive experience into something very sharable, so they benefit from both offline and online attention.

Should experiential sets become part of your content marketing strategy?

If you can find an experiential set relevant to your business, you may find that a great venue to produce sharable content. If you’re looking for a novel, competitive edge for your content marketing agency, you might even come up with your own ideas for a photogenic, mini-Disneyland for the selfie crowd. You can improve exposure both online and offline, plus add another revenue stream to your business.

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Video Marketing: Keep Your Audience Engaged During COVID-19

Video marketing for business during COVID-19 can replace trade shows, keep customers engaged, and promote brand transparency.

COVID-19 has spread to all 50 states and to almost every country in the world. Along with the pandemic, governments have curtailed business activities and cautioned citizens to stay home as much as possible. As businesses struggle to adjust to this new reality, they’ve had to rapidly adjust marketing plans to cater to very different consumer behaviors and their own uncertain futures.

Uncertain or not, marketing has to continue or your business may not enjoy much of a future at all. Even if your have to operate with a tighter marketing budget, video marketing for business will provide you with a very useful tool and good potential returns for your brand and bottom line.

How to use video marketing to help your company overcome the pandemic

You may wonder if you have the funds to invest in video marketing for business right now. As your business environment has changed, you will probably find some other marketing items that you have to cut anyway. For instance, typical businesses allocate 30 to 40 percent of their budgets to attend trade shows and conventions. Since most of you won’t have the chance to travel anywhere soon, you might as well redistribute those funds. With that in mind, consider ways to make good use of your video content.

Create a video for business trade shows

In fact, you can work to replace those in-person meetings with virtual meeting via videos. For instance, if missing trade shows means that you also miss opportunities to connect with potential customers, why not host your own version of the event online. You can repurpose keynote speeches as videos, feature other speakers in their own videos, and host webinars to replace the meeting sessions you may have planned.

Invite everybody who had planned to attend the original trade show and put out the word on social media. Try to engage online influencers, and if they’re big and enthusiastic enough, invite them to present their own video too. This is a good time to share resources and develop partnerships.  You might actually draw a larger audience online than you could have in person, particularly if you record everything to let your audience either tune in live or later at their convenience.

Keep in touch with customers

During a crisis like this, your customers won’t find your silence golden at all. In fact, you’ll want to do more to ensure you stay on top of your customer’s minds. If like many other businesses, you’re struggling with suppliers and distribution channels, you can produce a video to explain why can’t deliver exactly the same kind of service that you’re customers have come to expect from you.

Some other things that you should let your customers know could include:

  • How hard you’re working to ensure employee and customer safety
  • Any changes that might impact planned operations or scheduled events
  • Details of your more flexible refund or cancellation policy in response to your customer’s needs

In other words, you worked hard in the past to set your customer’s expectations. If you can’t meet those expectations, you can develop a video to explain your situation. In the midst of a global pandemic when over 20 million Americans have had to file for unemployment in just the last month, your customers will understand and appreciate your transparency. Still, since they’re all likely dealing with plenty of their own uncertainty, they won’t appreciate your silence.

Keep customers and prospects engaged

Lots of small businesses have gotten pretty creative with their videos lately. They’ve tried to cater to the needs of customers, most of whom have to stay home themselves. For instance, restaurants have started to produce cooking videos and fitness centers have uploaded at-home workout classes. Lego, the toy manufacturer, has started increasing its like of educational videos to help the millions of parents who are suddenly confronted with the challenge of home schooling. Your videos don’t necessarily have to sell your products or services; however, they should help to sell your brand.

Local video marketing can enhance new distribution models

Most retail stores have been forced to close their doors to customers because of the pandemic. Some of these stores had really not developed an eCommerce presence well before the outbreak. Still, they have creatively adapted online videos that can duplicate customers the experience of browsing around the store. Using these, they can take orders through their hastily developed eCommerce sites, simple forms, or even over the phone.

Is video marketing for business effective?

Zach Basner directs IMPACT’s video marketing strategy. As he put it, video offers the only digital way for people to see, hear, and even get to know you. It gives you an opportunity to make connections even when you cannot meet people in person. He also believes that small businesses should not concern themselves too much if they cannot access high-end video equipment during the crisis.

While it’s important to produce valuable content that’s good enough for people to understand your message, you shouldn’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good-enough. If you need to choose between shooting your video at home on your cell phone or not producing video at home, use what you have. He also says that production companies may have also lost businesses and may be more willing to help edit those videos for a reasonable rate than they might have been in the past.

Do what you can and seek help when you must; however, it’s important to get those videos produced and uploaded, even if they’re not as perfect as you would like. Basner also said that user-generated content tends to perform quite well on some platforms, so your imperfect production might blend in even better than a finely polished piece.

Basner also mentioned that you might enjoy bargains when you’re posting video ads on social networks and search engines. Bids have dropped along with ad volume. If you’re coping with a trimmer marketing budget than usual, you can bet that your competitors have the same limitations. Right when the weaker hands have folded, you can benefit by making some bold moves to retain customers and strengthen your position for the future.

Can video marketing for business strengthen your company?

As HubSpot pointed out, a decade ago, lots of businesses considered video marketing an expensive luxury. Now it’s become accessible and recently, even more affordable. Out of all marketers who employ videos, 92 percent confirmed that it’s a vital part of their marketing strategy in a recent HubSpot survey. Even more, almost 90 percent of these marketers confirm that it provides them with positive returns.

Of course, some video marketing pieces perform better than others. That’s why you should not abandon developing a sensible marketing plan that defines goals, sets metrics, and tests performance. You should also consider the platforms that you plan to use. Most marketers use Facebook and YouTube. Facebook tends to perform better with short, punchy content, while YouTube viewers appear to have a somewhat longer attention span. Lately, TikTok has begun to emerge as a successful platform, and B2B companies have enjoyed success with LinkedIn.

In any case, your efforts to improve your national or local video marketing efforts can serve you well during the current situation. When you can’t meet with people in person, you can give them the next-best thing with online videos. Because you don’t have to meet with everybody, you should even have a chance to expand your reach. Your business can retain the connection with your current customers and attract new attention.

Eventually, businesses will emerge from this global crisis. You will have the chance to open your doors to the public and travel to trade shows and conferences again. Then, you might compare the returns you get from these in-person meetings with your video ads. You might find that your stronger video platform can continue to serve your company well for many years in the future too.

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