To my clients, friends, and adoring fans

It’s the end of the year! 🍾🥳🙌
We’ve made it another spin around the sun, despite ourselves.

It’s easy to find a straight road in Saskatchewan. The internet is a little harder to navigate.

Digital Marketing, Technology, and Data have had another year of massive growth and change.

Big Tech continues to become more critical to the day to day operation of your businesses and your personal lives, and that trend is not slowing down. Golden Age of Technological Creativity and Innovation? Dystopian Hell? It all really depends on your perspective.. and what part of the data ecosystem you’re living in. Are you a field mouse, feeling the shadow of the hawk above you, or are you more of a shark? Unable to stop swimming and feeding for fear of dying yourself? Most of us, if we’re honest, are happy to be decently cared for cattle. Moooove Along, nothing to see here.

Russian Cows given VR headsets to reduce anxiety and increase milk production.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50571010

Like the rest of you I’m sure, I have been inundated with blogs, listicles, and videos telling what’s coming in 2022. What’s going to happen to this industry and that technology. The effects of x on y will result in z and you’d best buy my book or this NFT if you want to stay relevant in the days to come. Like with much of the marketing industry; it’s frequently a pile of horse shit. 💩

Some of it is most certainly backed by hard math and serious science. Some of it is totally made up on the spot and nothing but jazz hands and smoke. To frustrate matters, there’s no telling for certain which is which or which will even come out on top. Even those of us hip deep in the emerging trends of the this industry are mostly feeling our way through it. So, without further ado..

Here Are The 7 Things You Need to Succeed in 2022…

Here it comes.

Zeroes behind the number in your bank account. That’s the only sure fire bet and always has been, anybody who tells you different is pitching something they hope will add a zero or two to their own ledger. We all got to make a living! I’m no different. Either are you.

I’m not writing this article to tell you what MIGHT happen or what you SHOULD do. Although I’ve always been a passionate futurist and have been right more often than not, that’s a conversation I like to have over a pint and a laugh. I should make a link for that… https://calendly.com/jd-plains-digital/a-pint-and-a-laugh 🍻

No, I’m going to buck that trend and write about something nobody else seems to be. What they’re actually going to be DOING in 2022.

This article, and those to follow, will be the overview and outline of Plains.Digital Inc.’s Road Map to 2022 and beyond. The current skills we’re going to continue to develop and the new things we’re going to throw ourselves into, both feet first.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

This will also be the longest blog article I write. If you had the time to read thousands of words about emerging digital marketing trends and the dawn the Singularity you wouldn’t need to hire someone like me to handle it for you. No, the articles I release in 2022 will be short, to the (bullet) point, and something you can walk away from with a high level overview of a concept or technology you may not have had the chance to learn about before it was in your pocket and on everybody's minds. Information that you can use to increase your productivity, presence, and profit. Especially if you hire me to do it ;)

2021 saw my tiny little company finally start to get some traction and bring in clients from around the prairies and beyond. It was not an easy year, or even a fun one. I love this Digital space we’ve been burying ourselves in since the turn of the century, but every business owner knows the best way to ruin your passion for something is to do it for money. This year just about did it. I have friends that live happy lives in the mountains, and they’ll always have a spot beside the fire for me. More than once I considered leaving everything behind and becoming a recluse, thus spake Zarathustra. Especially when Starlink launched its beta and it covered the Canadian North.

photo cred: Leah Rasmussen-Triep

Northern Lights and Netflix?

Yes, please. But, no. I stayed at my desk and I grinded. I worked days and nights without rest. I made new connections and learned new skills. I did things I never thought I could do and never guessed I would need to. I built things, I broke things, I fixed things that others had broke. I struggled. I’m still here, so I guess that means I won.

SO. Picturing the look that one of my oldest and favourite clients sometimes gives me, I should get to the damn point - shouldn’t I? Alright.

2022 is going to be a transformative year insofar as how people, and organisations, interact with it and each other. I’ve made it my job to help businesses and organisations use the digital space as an asset and a revenue channel. Especially prairie businesses that are here for the betterment of the prairies. I hope to work with more companies and people that are actively working towards making this part of the country as prosperous and exciting as Vancouver or Toronto. If that’s you and we’re not already discussing how to achieve your OKR’s with technology, maybe hit that Calendly link above. Or this one: https://calendly.com/jd-plains-digital/online-meeting.

Here are some of the services I am providing, and some of the concepts that guide those services, all of which can help your business make more, and spend less, money on the internet while improving your branding, your processes, and your perspective on the industry. I will be releasing (SHORT, I promise) expansions to these concepts in the weeks and months to come, but if an idea or concept here gets your attention and you want to know more about it right now, get in touch. I don’t bill for initial consults, because I’m all too happy to nerd out with anybody that wants to listen to me.

Web Hosting, Design, Development & Growth

Do I really need a NEW website? I had one done up a few years ago and it’s fine. It brings in leads sometimes, whatever. Has my phone number and address on it, good enough, right?

This is one of the most common mindsets I’ve found in the business community today. It’s totally understandable, especially if you’re not a tech enthusiast. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you’re not expected to. However, every web developer on the planet wants you all to know one thing, if nothing else. A website is never “finished”. It’s a living breathing entity that requires constant growth and attention or it will start to break down, look dated, get hacked, and make your business look either closed or clueless. The speed at which that happens is increasing over time. Compounding that fact is the fact that more and more people are spending more of their “customer decision journey” online. That was happening before the pandemic, and COVID-19 kicked it into high gear. Your customers are making their purchasing decisions often before you’ve had the chance to even become aware of them. So, let Plains.Digital keep you looking like the modern professional you are. My company can host, develop, design, maintain, and grow your online headquarters with newer, faster technology than you’re using — for less money. I put a lot of my focus into this particular vertical because there are so many businesses spending THOUSANDS more than they need to, on inferior technology and design. I’m talking THOUSANDS more. It’s genuinely unethical what some “Agencies” are charging for websites. Here’s some two dollar words about my what company offers:

Dedicated Servers. Static IPv4 & IPv6 addresses. 24/7 World Class Support. Multiple redundant, automated, backups. Free Migration. DIY plans starting at $20/m. Free SSL (anybody charging you for SSL is taking advantage of you at this point.) Industry leading security. Endlessly Scalable. No downtime. Responsive by default, built from the ground up with SEO in mind. E-commerce or Informational. Page Speed Insights and Core Web Vitals aware. Multiple CDNs. WebP and WebM optimised. PWA (Progressive Web App) Ready. Modern User Experiences that go seamlessly from mobile to desktop to storefront to checkout to 5 star reviews and repeat/referral business.

I offer a better quality of product for thousands of dollars less than many of my competitors. Again, because I’m here to see the prairies grow, not just my place in it.

Social Media Marketing

(it’s ok to just call it Marketing now)

Be where your customers are. It’s not rocket science (although it IS Data Science, without which Rockets would just be giant fireworks).

Your Marketing Ad Spend Budget

Paid Social Advertising.
This is where the biggest changes are going to be seen in the coming year. Facebook has become Meta and Microsoft has heralded the coming of the “Metaverse”.

Sounds made up, right?

It is, that is 100% the point. The future’s going to be weird. More on that later.

The campaigns, budgets, and strategies that worked even in the last quarter are not going to be relevant in 2022, and the social media industry has been that way for a few years already. If your marketing people are still holding on to their Google Ads budgets and promising you that the numbers are looking promising, you’re already 3 years behind. Apple ruined everything and everybody (even Google) is scrambling to adapt to the effects that their Privacy changes brought to social media marketing, and internet traffic as a whole. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s ok. I’ll get into that later, too. For now, know that Plains.Digital can help your business make themselves look good on social, AND drive revenue to your business, AND not require you to have an entire creative team on staff to do it. Here’s some more two dollar words to consider:

Programatically optimised and constantly improving organic campaigns that are semi-automated, relevant to your audience, and on every channel your customers are. Curated Content builds loyal, engaged audiences that are receptive to your value propositions. Facebook is still King of the platforms and Instagram is still where the cools kids hang out. TikTok is happening though, even if you think it’s dumb. The FB and IG stories you’re probably watching on the can started on TikTok and just got cross posted. Twitter is still a thing. Reddit exists and millions of people like to engage there, even with Brands. Pinterest guides the purchasing decisions of millions of people. Discord might be what your kids use to talk while playing Fortnite, but it’s also how some of the largest companies in the world communicate with their staff and clients. YouTube is, and remains, the largest platform and opportunity for transformative advertising. It’s hard though. Real talk.

Reach of Online Video Users in the US shows the dominant force that is YouTube
If you’ve got the balls and the brains to put yourself out there, the Audience is waiting to hear from you.

Plains.Digital Inc. is there. Our strategies in 2022 will see us putting our clients branding and messaging in more places, more often, in ways that customers are willing to engage with in a positive fashion.

Analytics and Attribution

The aforementioned changes made by Apple made this industry a challenging place to be. Did you know that around 60% of the traffic your marketing teams (I’d hope) are analysing is now pretty much useless data?

We’re back to throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks and reading tea leaves to explain why. That’s an open admission from Google themselves. There’s too much competition and too little attention from consumers to allow for that kind of slap dash mentality. It’s not sustainable, and everybody (i mean EVERYBODY) is focused on how to get us back to a place where we can determinitively assign ROI to your marketing spend. The answer has dawned on the best marketing firms out there, but its a tough pill to swallow for a lot of companies that have built their castles on the sand of outdated KPIs.

“You can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say
You can’t play music if you don’t know nothing to play”

  • Willie Nelson
  1. If you want to be heard, you need to have something to say that people want to hear. There’s no secret formula or magical platform that can change that.
  2. If you want to be able to track people’s data and understand their purchase intent, you need to have the right to the data. That means 1st party data. “Owned and Operated Properties”. Not Facebook’s data, not Google’s data. The Data must exist between you and your customer. It’s not easy to get, and with CASL regulations you must be careful with how you use it. Despite the difficulty, it’s the most valuable asset your company can obtain and control. Many of your customers know that, too.
  3. Collecting it, Measuring it, and Understanding it is HARD. It requires specialised training that changes faster than any curriculum, high end hardware and software to crunch large data sets, and creative talent to collect, collate, and present that data in a way that you, the person setting the budget, can understand fully enough to make the right decisions.
The Larger the Spread Sheet you can give me, the more usable Information I can give you.

Get yourself Professional Analytics. You won’t believe how much of a difference it can make to your bottom line, at least not at first. Math doesn’t lie, however, and a modern Analytics professional blends the Hard Science of the math with the Art of visualisation to provide your company with insights that used to be out of reach to the average business owner.

Those are my 3 main verticals, so I’ll wrap this up and the 3 of you still reading can get back to your day and finish 2021 however, wherever, and with whomever brings you the most joy. That being said, you can also expect to hear from me about:

  • Augmented Reality Experiences to drive Customer Decision Journeys
  • Business Process Outsourcing. Cutely named “Virtual Assistants”. It’s modern day slavery and I aim to take some shots at some of the worst offenders in this space. It’s bad for OUR economy, it’s bad for theirs. Stop.
  • Remote Work is here to stay: I can show you how to stay on top of it.
  • Remote IT and Tech Support. Small businesses can have the same (and even better) IT support structure that large enterprise enjoys. Minus the hassle and cost. Right now. Just ask.
  • WTF is the Metaverse, it sounds dumb. Let me explain, so you’re ready when it hits us like a speeding truck.
  • NFT’s? Crypto? DAOs???? (Decentralized Autonomous Organisations) Do you need to give a shit about any of it? Probably not, and I’m certainly not going to try and sell you a .gif of my cat for fake money — but I can explain the concepts and what they mean for the near future.
Thanks for Reading. Spread it around!

That’s it from me for this Year. Hope you learned something, or at least learned that you need to learn some things. Let me know if I can help.

I hope your 2022 finds you breaking all the good records, and achieving things you didn’t think were possible. At the very least, I hope you’re safe and warm and get through our annual Deep Freeze with all your toes and sanity.

My very best,

JD Michell

We’re Here. and we’re pretty Out There.

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Digital Transformation Specialist. Buzzwordsmith, too. You need to get something done online, let me know? If I can't do it - I know who can and who should

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JD Michell

JD Michell

Digital Transformation Specialist. Buzzwordsmith, too. You need to get something done online, let me know? If I can't do it - I know who can and who should

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