Imagine an epidemic affecting the brains of 5.2 million Americans, leaving no survivors. What if this disease devastated families financially and emotionally? Think about what would happen if this disease cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Worst of all, imagine there being no known cure, prevention, or completely effective treatment.
People would be screaming for more research, demanding a cure immediately, right? Wrong. Such a disease exists, and its name is Alzheimer’s. While most people know of this affliction, it remains one of the most poorly understood, under funded, costly, and destructive diseases in the world.
The emotional and financial devastation that this disease can cause to families is tragic. I know this because my dear husband recently passed due to Alzheimer’s. There is no other disease that kills quite like this one. It takes more than just a loved one’s memory. It slowly chips away at many of the traits and quirks that make up that person. Meanwhile, caretakers must either pay for someone to be with their loved one full time or quit their own job.
Effects on the Economy
The effects that this disease has on our economy as whole may be less obvious to many people. The fact that Alzheimer’s lingers for so many years and that the patient requires 24/7 monitoring makes it an expensive disease. Currently, Alzheimer’s costs the United States $214 billion each year. Researchers believe that if nothing is done, this cost will rise to $1 trillion each year by 2050.
We know that funding directed toward research can help change all of this, as it has with many other destructive diseases. In fact, in the first decade of the 21st century, the diseases that saw an increase in research funding killed far fewer people than they had previously. There was a 42% decrease in deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, a 23% decrease in strokes, and a 15% decrease in heart disease.
In that same time, there was a 68% increase in deaths caused by Alzheimer’s. Can you guess what happened to Alzheimer’s research funding during that time? It was slashed. While this is correlative evidence, it is striking enough to see that we need more funding to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, and we need it now.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s research has a branding problem. In the battle for funding, this can spell serious trouble. Unlike other devastating diseases like cancer and AIDS, there are no famous survivors of the disease. In fact, there are no survivors at all. Of the top 10 fatal diseases, Alzheimer’s is the only one for which there is no treatment. This means the public has nobody to rally around and seems to think there is no hope.
Alzheimer’s also creates a fear so large that many people cannot comprehend taking on this disease. The idea that our memories and essence can be stripped from us is utterly terrifying. Many people are too afraid to even talk about Alzheimer’s, much less discuss funding needs. If we want to help families affected by Alzheimer’s, we must stop whispering about it. We must overcome our fear and speak its name, so that we can demand a cure.
There are also many misconceptions that keep Alzheimer’s research from getting the attention it needs and deserves. One such misconception is that losing one’s memory is a natural part of dying. While age is a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s, this disease is not a normal, expected part of aging. Perhaps this myth stems from two other common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s: it only happens to old people and it is not fatal.
Up to 5% of people who develop Alzheimer’s will do so in their 40s or 50s. So, we can see that Alzheimer’s does not just affect those who are over 65, as many people believe. Furthermore, people who have this disease, no matter the age, are not just dying from old age and happen to be losing their memory at the same time. Instead, Alzheimer’s is picking away at their brain. This disease is always fatal and is the cause of too many deaths.
Clearing up these misconceptions may play a role in increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research. When people understand that it is a fatal disease that should not be accepted as part of the aging process, they may begin to see why it is so important to fight.
Despite all of the setbacks, much progress has been made in Alzheimer’s research. Scientists have many leads that could cause a breakthrough, if only they had the means to investigate further. For example, people with Down syndrome whose brains look like they should have Alzheimer’s do not experience symptoms of the disease. Researchers may be able to understand why this happens, which would lead us closer to a cure.
Similarly, patients with rheumatoid arthritis do not experience Alzheimer’s at the same rate as the general population. While the reason behind this is unknown, studying it could lead to a better understanding of both diseases. There are many other avenues of study that researchers could take as well.
Yes, there is an epidemic sweeping the nation, affecting millions of brains and costing billions of dollars. What’s more important is that there is hope. If we clear up a few misconceptions, fund the proper research, and never give up, we can beat this disease.
Technology can be productivity’s greatest enemy. You could spend countless hours browsing Facebook, playing Candy Crush, and scrolling through Pinterest. However, the right apps could actually increase your productivity.
With the rise of smartphones in the workplace, there is huge demand for time management and organization apps. Luckily, more than a few developers are stepping up to that challenge. Listed below are some of the best productivity apps to keep you organized and on track.
To-Do List App: Things
Take your to-do lists into the digital age with Things. This handy application allows you to access all of your to-do lists from anywhere. Simply add a task, give it a category, and set a completion date. Things will give you a daily list of all your tasks and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Cost: $50 for Mac desktop, $20 for iPad, $10 for iPhone
Supported on: Apple devices
Password App: LastPass
Sick of trying to remember every password for every website you use? You could use the same password for everything, but that’s not secure. Instead, use LastPass. All you will ever have to remember is your LastPass username and password. The app will generate secure passwords for your sites, and log in for you.
Supported on: Any internet-connected device
App for Focusing: Focus @ Will
If you have a hard time focusing on the task at hand, Focus @ Will can help. Based on proven neuroscience, this web-based application plays music that helps you stay focused. You can skip any tracks that are distracting to you, and Focus @ Will learns your preferences.
Cost: 30 day trial, then $5.99/month
Supported on: All web browsers
Notes App: Evernote
No list of helpful apps would be complete without this organizational tool. Evernote allows users to capture handwritten notes, clip articles, and finish written projects all in one place. It syncs across all of your devices. So, if you have a great idea while you’re away from your computer, just jot it down on your phone. You’ll be able to see it when you return to your desk.
Cost: Free and paid versions available
Supported on: Smartphones, tablets, and desktops
Travel App: TripIt
This nifty app organizes all travel information into one concise itinerary. Instead of digging through 15 different confirmation emails to find your flight number and departure time, you can simply open the TripIt app. It gives you weather, dates, times, confirmation numbers, maps and much more.
Cost: Free and paid versions available
Supported on: Smartphones, tablets, and desktops
Despite popular belief, email marketing is not dead. Sure, spammy, unattractive email ads are going the way of the dinosaurs. Consumers are smarter and more demanding than ever; they can see right through a bad e-blast. That just means email marketing has to change, not die.
An effective email campaign can mean big return on investment. In fact, the average return for every dollar spent on email marketing is $44.25. Do you want to get in on this action? Here are a few tips to make the most of your email marketing campaign.
1. Avoid Spam Filters
Every other tip on this list is useless if your email ends up in spam filters instead of inboxes. Avoid using phrases like “FREE!” “BUY TODAY!” and “SALE!” in your email. You know what spam emails looks like; we’ve all gotten them before. Make your message differ from that as much as possible.
2. Have a Catchy Subject Line
So, your email made it to the audience’s inboxes. Now you have to get them to open your message. A good subject line is imperative to achieving this goal. It should engage and intrigue the reader without feeling like spam. Honestly ask yourself if you would open an email with that subject line. If you wouldn’t open it, chances are that your audience won’t either.
3. Get the Copy Right
Great, someone opened your email! Do they have something good to read? If not, they are going to bounce out. Great email copy is written from the perspective of a person to one other person, not a large company to a million people. Make it personal. Don’t let it sound like spam. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)
4. Make it Eye-Catching
Copy is only as great at the design surrounding it. Effective emails effortlessly guide the reader’s eyes from one piece to another. Its color scheme and images should be attention grabbing. Images can be helpful in retaining your reader’s attention, especially if they are clean, bright, and/or have a person in them.
5. Optimize for Mobile
Nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile phones. So, if your email does not look good on a mobile device, you are losing 50% of your customer base almost immediately. Make sure your email looks great on phones and tablets, then watch your analytics take a turn for the better.
6. Know Your Target Audience
Do they like bright colors or more of a neutral palette? Are they night owls or do they check email first thing in the morning? Are they impulsive buyers or savvy shoppers? A little research into these questions and more goes a long way.
7. Give Your Audience Something To Do
Your catchy subject, great copy and beautiful design mean nothing if your audience doesn’t do anything after they read your email. Give them a call to action. You can ask them to visit your site, shop a new sale, or download an app. Know what your goal is and give your audience an easy path to it.
Are you ready to create the perfect email campaign now? Give Duncan/Day a call. We can help you with all of your marketing and advertising needs.
Online ads appeal to the sense of sight. Printed flyers appeal to the sense of touch. Radio advertisements appeal to the sense of sound. Free food samples appeal to the sense of taste. A business may appeal to any combination of these senses in order to earn a consumer’s business, but there’s one sense many marketers are missing: smell.
Smell has a profound effect on our memories and emotions. The smell of a burning fire may remind a person of a past camping trip. The scent of lavender may calm a person after a long day. Is it far-fetched to say that certain scents may influence the buying habits of consumers? Not at all. In fact, the idea is called “scent marketing” and it has been around for years.
As many professionals will tell you, the key to great marketing is to trigger an emotion. Scent marketing does this on a neurological level, even when the consumer is not consciously aware of the scent. That’s because olfactory receptor cells, which are directly linked to the limbic system, receive smells. The limbic system is the emotional part of our brain, so to speak. It influences mood, memory, and behavior. That means what we smell directly affects how we feel and what we do.
It’s easy to see how this powerful effect on the brain could make scent marketing a great tool for businesses. In fact, real estate agents have been using this technique for ages. When showing a house, agents will often bake cookies and let the smell fill the air. It comforts the potential buyers and helps them imagine living ideal lives in the home.
When employed by other businesses, scent marketing may be used in subtler ways. While the consumer is probably acutely aware of the scent of fresh cookies in a home, a hint of vanilla inside a clothing boutique may be less noticeable and equally effective.
Research from the University of California, Irvine has shown that scents used by retailers can often increase sales, sometimes doubling them. But there’s no one smell that works for all retailers. Context is key. Brands should think about their target audience when designing the perfect scent.
Will your business consider using scent marketing? If you have any questions about this or any other marketing technique, give Duncan/Day a call. We are happy to help with all of your marketing and advertising needs.
The use of the number sign (#) to signify a category online dates back to the 1990s on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). This idea evolved into what we now know as the “hashtag,” which was popularized by Twitter. The first Tweet containing a hashtag was sent out by designer Chris Messina in 2007 and simply read, “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” We’ve come a long way since then.
Nearly eight years later, hashtags have saturated social media and permeated pop culture. Nearly every social media platform has integrated hashtags. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon even created a viral sketch all about saying “hashtag” in conversations. There is no doubt that this tool is here to stay.
Businesses cannot ignore this trend. It’s important that executives learn to use hashtags for online marketing. They drive traffic, engagement, and ultimately, profits. So, how can you make sure your business is using hashtags to the greatest effect? Here are some helpful tips.
1. Know Which Sites Use Hashtags
Trying to use hashtags on a platform that doesn’t support them could hurt your marketing efforts. As of March 2015, these are the social media sites that allow hashtags: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. Social media is always changing, so that list may grow substantially.
2. Obey the Rules
Of course, all hashtags begin with the number symbol. Other special characters and punctuation are not allowed. #Duncan/Day would not be a successful hashtag because of the slash. Similarly, any space will end the hashtag. #Duncan Day would show up as only #Duncan because of the space before “Day.”
Numbers can be tricky as well. While they are allowed, hashtags cannot contain only numbers. #2015 would be unsuccessful, while #Oscars2015 was a trending hashtag this year.
3. Make It Relevant
It’s tempting to just add a trending hashtag to your post. After all, more people will see it, right? While that may be true, using irrelevant hashtags will only hurt businesses in the long run. Savvy consumers will read such a post as spam, and their impressions will not be positive.
4. Use Existing, Searchable Hashtags…Sometimes
While you certainly don’t want to hijack existing hashtags and use them in irrelevant ways, it is still perfectly acceptable to use established hashtags. For example, if you are posting an image with an inspirational quote on Instagram, you can use #InspirationalQuote. Users who search this, and there are many who do, will welcome your image. You might even gain some new followers.
There are other times when it is best to come up with your own hashtag, however. If your post is part of a larger campaign, you are asking users to respond to a question, or you are hosting an event, your business will benefit from a unique hashtag. For example, suppose we opened up a question and answer session on the Duncan/Day Twitter feed. If we did this, we would ask people to use something like #AskDuncanDay in their Tweets to us. This way, we could easily search all questions.
5. Make it Clear and Concise
The whole point of a hashtag is to let readers know what the post is about. Avoid using too many hashtags in a post. Sure, more people may find the post, but it will be confusing and look like spam. It’s better to use one perfect hashtag than 10 so-so ones.
Another way to make your hashtags clear is to avoid making them too long and complicated. #ThisIsALongHashtagAndNotEffective #NobodyWouldEverSearchThisOffTheTopOfTheirHead
6. It’s All in the Timing
This should be obvious, but #ThrowbackThursday isn’t effective if you post it on Friday. Make sure whatever you use is timely. That way, you get more engagement and exposure.
Follow these simple rules and your social media accounts should be #winning in no time. If your business is in need of a social media marketing strategy or any other branding help, call Duncan/Day Advertising.