Digital Marketing Articles

Chris Degenaars

By Christopher Degenaars 03 Aug, 2017

“Alexa, add milk to my shopping list.”

“Siri, what’s the high for today.”

Just 2 of the phrases I have found myself iterating out loud to one of my voice assistants. Things I never thought I would genuinely say in such a conversational way to a device that has no one on the other end.

Many tech leaders have been saying for the past 12 months (ish) that voice was going to be the next big disruptor in tech . Rightfully so, consumer behavior has certainly shown that we are valuing our time more and more which means that those extra seconds it takes for me to come to a stop to, take out my phone, and add milk to my shopping list is too much of an inconvenience.

By 2020, voice is said to make up 50% of all searches . Which is a pretty big expectation for something that currently only makes up 20% of search  types.

At the end of the day though, as the quote says, time is money, and we are starting to value that money at a higher currency than ever before. Of course, not everyone will value it at the same rate, and tech companies recognize that.

Trevor Jones, an analyst at Adobe Digital Insights , a global leader in research and data trends of consumers, said that “…device sales [Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Microsoft Cortona, and others] are performing well but have not yet become a standard household purchase.”

Going to the common understanding that although sales have increased for these smart devices, it is not an expected item to be sold to consumers, yet. Even with that being said, it is suspected that there will be 21.4 MILLION smart speakers  in 2020.

Voice search, as of now, has been helping businesses rank on search engines because most searches using voice are longer queries.

Traditionally, text searches take a massive drop  after about three words (peaking at two words). Although voice follows the same trend, dropping around four or five words (peaking at three words), they have a fairly high search rate towards the six to seven-word query.

That is a little surprising that they both take a massive hit in searches around the same word count, but we are so used to getting straight to the point…even when talking.

But, let’s put it to the test. Try answering these two questions:

If you wanted to find out the weather today…

1. How would you type it into Google?

2. How would you ask Siri (or Alexa, Google, Cortona)?

The vast majority of people would answer with the following:

1. Weather

2. Alexa, what’s the weather for today?

We all do it. Without even ever realizing it, we have altered how we communicate based on if it is via text or voice. We even do it with texting versus phone calls, because texting means you’re not cutting into my time too much, so I won’t give you too much of it, where a phone call means I am already dedicating my time to you.

Whether the voice recognition industry will really be an $18 billion industry by 2023, I don’t know.

The one thing I know is, voice saves time, and at the end of the day, if I can save time on small tasks like finding out the weather, ordering food, or even updating my shopping list, I’ll buy into it.

Because of time. It is all about time.

By Christopher Degenaars 31 Jul, 2017

1.1 Million Americans  Attempt Suicide Annually.

Nearly 45,000 Americans Commit Suicide Every Year.

5 to 17 year-olds hospital admissions  more than doubled from 2008 to 2015 for suicidal thoughts or actions.

On average, there are 121 suicides per day .

Your Story Matters — Don’t Give Up The Fight
Call (1)800–273–8255

T hese aren’t just numbers; these are people. They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, moms and dads.

I have been fairly outspoken when it comes to my suffering of depression and suicidal thoughts/actions. I decided that this is how I wanted to live my life moving forward, I didn’t just want to be silent and let the world go on thinking it was just a “phase” or that those 45,000 lives were just statistics.

In the past five years or so, it seems that mental illness has taken a larger spotlight for discussion after many celebrities have taken their lives. However, we are still not talking enough about it. The discussions get loud for a week, two weeks, maybe even a month after a recognizable name takes their life, but then it dissipates, and we go back to pretending it doesn’t exist.

That is not how it should happen, that is not how we should be treating this situation.

Too many see mental illnesses as a phase, as a kid being “too sensitive” whatever the hell that means, or as a someone holding onto a grudge.

We ignore the signs. We ignore the cries for help. We pretend that none of it is true because it is easier for us to pretend that it isn’t our fault it is happening, that if something does happen to that “poor troubled boy” or that “sensitive girl” that it wasn’t our fault.

We see the signs, but we ignore them. We hate to admit that someone may be truly unhappy with their life, but we hate to have to inconvenience ourselves even more.

It is so much easier just to say “it’ll get better” than to stick by them till it does get better because one requires us to actually care and put in the effort to help.

It shouldn’t take someone who is in the spotlight for us to give a shit about the 1.1 MILLION lives that are affected on a daily basis by mental illnesses like depression and suicide.

And you know what, until we don’t just care for those few weeks after someone takes their life, it is going to continue to happen.

It is the time that we stop thinking of depression and suicide as a phase, or a fad, and start getting serious with how we see and help those who suffer from these mental illnesses.

It does get better , but it can be hard to believe it will, I know that first hand. I never thought it would; it seemed so foreign to be happy, but when I was able to see the world in a macro-perspective I was able to see how things may truly get better.

By Christopher Degenaars 27 Jul, 2017
It is true, not much has me more excited than Sunday night, knowing that the week is about to begin. Fridays aren't special to me, they aren't exciting, and in all reality, I hate them.

To get to do something you love to do, every single day, is pretty amazing, but to get to do it at 19-years-old is a whole different level of gratefulness and excitement for what the future holds.

I have worked at Long Drive Agency for a little more than ten months now, and in that time, I can whole heartedly say that I have not woken up in the morning wishing I didn't have to go in, or that I wanted to call in. It simply has not been something that has gone through my mind.

This feeling is something I wish for everyone to experience, that everyone in their life could truly love what they do so much that Monday morning beats 5 pm on a Friday.

I get that not everyone will get to and that it can be hard to think that happiness may mean living a little less fancy, but I am so anti-complaining about life. At the end of the day, this is your life, and in reality, you have absolutely no reason to complain.

It goes back to the thought that there are way worse situations that you could be in, from unemployed, health issues, family problems, the list goes on.

Ya, to do what you love to may mean cutting back on how many times you are going out, it may mean skipping happy hour today, or it may even mean downsizing to a smaller home or getting a less expensive car. You may have to sacrifice some of the material things, but do they outway your emotional happiness?

At the end of the day, that is what matters, and that is the question we all have to ask ourselves; what do we want in life?
By Christopher Degenaars 08 May, 2017

It isn’t a secret. There is no doubt in anyones mind that death will come, but the question I always have is what happens after?

Not so much spiritually, because I’ve learned that it isn’t worth questioning, because we will never truly know outside of what we believe.

I question what is said after, what is talked about, who says what about me, who shows up to my funeral that I hadn’t talked to in years, or who shows up that used to talk down to me. That is what I question, that is what I work for.

My biggest drive in life is my legacy, it is what I leave behind, what I leave for my friends and family to talk about. Not the money, but the actions.

There is SO much negativity in this world, and so many people spend their entire lives being negative, rude, hurtful, and are more focused on themselves than they are on helping someone else. So many people would rather talk about all the bad in the world than they would the good, and that is devastating to me.

One day, maybe soon, maybe a long time away, you are going to die. You may not know when, you may not have the heads up, and if you don’t, how will the world remember you?

You don’t get to come back and fix the relationships, or rebuild the bridges, or apologize for the comment that made that person stay up late crying. It is done with, you made your bed, and now you have to sleep in it.

The comments you leave on someones status, the messages you send to someone, the things you say in person or behind their back all matter. You don’t want to admit it, you don’t want to think it matters, but it does.

No body wants to think about the consequences to their actions because they know it wouldn’t be good, no one wants to listen to WHY it matters, because we are all too busy. We are all too tired. We are all too tired.

We are all too good.

But one day, you will die, and one day, people will be telling stories about the impact you left on their life, the time you made them laugh. Or the time you made them cry. Or the time you made them hopeful, or faithful, or thankful. Or, suicidal.

If I could challenge everyone to do one thing, one thing every day moving forward, it is to be aware. Be self-aware of what you say and do, and be aware of those who you engage with, what they say, do, or imply.

Every day we make our beds, and one day we will need to be able to sleep in them — will you be able to?

By Christopher Degenaars 21 Apr, 2017

Like seriously…it does…I promise…

Many don’t know this, but I was raised in a household with an alcoholic who was emotionally and mentally abusive to a women who he   loved , who was stuck in a hole of not knowing if she could raiser her only son on her own.

For many years now I have suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts, and constant unknowing of why I am even here.

It was an uphill battle. It still is. For a long time I never believed anyone who told me it would get better. I figured it was a joke, it has to be one, how could life get any better when I was in this downward spiral. Even when my mom got out of the marriage, it then was “what bill should I pay first? Which can we go a few weeks without if it gets shut off?” It was not knowing if the bills would get paid, if the lights would be shut off, it was not seeing my mom much because she was working 60, 70, 80 hours a week so I could live a better life.

Yet, people still told me it will get   better , even my mom told me that.

And honestly, till about 6 months ago, I didn’t believe them. How could I?

Sure, the therapist who is getting paid $200/hour will continue to   get better . Or a relative who lives 500 miles away and can walk away from the problem I have to live with can say it. But really, how would it?

I don’t blame them for telling me it. They wanted to help. They tried to, but at the end of the day it is hard to believe them knowing that they aren’t living through it.

And what does “better” even mean? Like one less hour of being yelled at? One minute of an actual smile out of 23 hours and 59 minutes of thinking of ending my life?

Better means different. I don’t want different. I want happiness.

Life does get   better   though. Honestly, it truly does.

When you are young you are living by someone else’s rules, you are living someone else’s life basically, I had a lot of freedom, but I wasn’t free, I wasn’t an individual yet.

When I graduated high school, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. When I got a job I loved, it was like life was happier, the world was better in my eyes. I saw more good than bad, and when I saw bad I forced myself to see the good in it.

Does it really get   better ? Can you really be happy?

Yes. If you want it to be better, whatever your definition of   better   is, yes. You have to want it though. It doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come overnight. But it does come with the right mindset.

Life does get   better .

By Christopher Degenaars 03 Apr, 2017
More and more I have found comfort in talking about what I have gone through mentally for a long time. It has become a big part in who I am now and also in how I have been able to talk with friends who suffer from similar situations. 

It hasn't been an easy path to this genuine happiness, but I don't think anything worth while is "easy" and it shouldn't be. I have had my setbacks and struggles, but the fact I don't fear waking up to the reality I am living is well worth the trip. 

There were two main things that allowed me to open up and let myself actually be happy. 

Self-Awareness and practicing Mindfulness

It started with being aware of who I am, what I can do, and what I can't. Something like a self-audit almost, realizing what I was good at and what I wasn't, and being able to accept that. I always loved writing and always loved helping others, combining these 2 things have allowed me to connect better with people and grow a better relationship with them. 

I also had to realize in this process of being more self-aware that I cannot rely on other people to make me happy nor can I worry about making them happy. The only way for me to be happy and to make other people happy, was to focus on making myself genuinely happy. Which is a process that was and is scary, because it means focusing on yourself and not spending so much time on everyone else. For me, that was hard, because I was used to always helping other people. 

When I was able to truly understand my self, I was able to be mindful of my situations. 

I do a lot of meditating to help practice mindfulness, sometimes up to 3 times per day when stress and anxiety are overtaking me. This has allowed me to better connect to myself and also to better understand my circumstances. I was no longer letting little things bother me, because I understood that there was a bigger meaning behind it all. 

All things are connected. When we realize that we are not just a person, but the physical being of something much larger that connects with all things in life, we think very differently. 

When you realize and truly believe that your thoughts today will directly impact the circumstances in your life forever, you are willing to make a point to be a better person. 

I was very lucky to have the mindset to adapt to these things easily, I know how hard it can be feeling like there is no hope. That is just an endless dark hole that you are just trying not to open your eyes in, and wishing you would just hit the bottom. I was able to take these mindset shifts into my life easily and make a full 360 to how I thought which allowed me to actually go out and live my life. 

Until you are willing to find the thing in your life that is holding you back from actually living - then acting to change it, you will never be happy. 

You have two options in life: to run your life or let your life run you. The choice is yours. 
By Christopher Degenaars 24 Mar, 2017
The other night I was on my way to meet with a family-friend about building a website for the charity she is the president of. Before that though I was up at 5am to get in some time on the trainer, then was at the office at 7:30am till about 5pm, and then went straight to the bike shop to finalize the April marketing strategy for them. Before I had even met with this family-friend I had already been working for about 12 hours, that got followed up by a phone call with someone I am doing some ghost-writing (they pay me to write like I am them for something they don't have the desire/time to do themselves). By the time I was finished with everything, I looked at my phone to see it was a very productive 17 hour work day. 

Most people...almost everyone really would complain about that. Would have opted out of the 10pm phone call so they could go party. Or skipped the morning bike ride because they were tired. At the very least, most people would complain about something during that day.

I couldn't though. I tried to find something that was wrong, something I wish wasn't happening, or just something to make me just wasn't possible. I was doing something I absolutely love to do for every single hour in that 17 hour work day, and not many people get to say that. 

Things have been crazy busy lately, and that makes me so freaking happy. Like I am getting pulled in every direction, trying to help a bike shop be a leader in the industry for marketing, trying to ride my bike, trying to tell our clients stories and help them do it, and I love every second of it. I really can't think of anything else Id rather be doing with my life than EXACTLY what I am doing. 

It did make me think about how much has changed in a short time. 

Since October (when I started with Long Drive Agency ) - I have become a full-time employee in an industry I was told I never could be in. I have lost a lot of "friends" but have formed some amazing relationships with new people. I don't go out, instead I learn more about what I am doing and what I can do better. I don't dread Mondays...and boy did I used to! The best part though...I am genuinely happy.

For so long I was faking a smile and pretending to be happy with everything, because it is what I thought I HAD to do. It wasn't though. What I really needed to do was find what makes me happy, what I loved to do and loved to talk about, what I could see myself doing every single day for the rest of my life, and I needed to chase it and follow that thing. 

It is absolutely mind boggling to think that I am still just 18-years-old. One of the things I am always fought on is my age, and I never really thought about it, but when I see my friends Snapchat videos of them at a party on a Thursday night, it kinda makes me realize I am doing things differently than most. I still have upwards of 80 more years of this, of living my actual dream. 

Which is why I wanted to start The Journey to 30 series, so that one day my kids, or grandkids, or even great-grandkids can see my life - see the process. 

The craziest thing is - I am just getting started.
By Christopher Degenaars 09 Mar, 2017
The Journey to 30 is going to be something like a weekly recap, but is intended to show more of what it is I do and offer some insight into "the process" I am using to further myself in the marketing industry. 

I chose 30, because I expect this process to take me till I am at least 30 years old (that gives me 12 years) to truly have an understanding of the industry. I will still of course be learning after that, but till then I am really grinding to try and learn all sides of the industry and get some real world experience in the industry. 

My goal is to turn this into a video blog over time, but for times' sake I will keep to writing since it is what I know best. 

I guess to start, let me explain what I do, my story. 

Ever since I was little I have wanted to work in marketing, sure I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer for a while, but all kids go through that phase, right? 

I never was great in school, I suffer from memory loss and ADD, so at school it was hard for me to concentrate on the work and even when I was able to I would often forget what I was learning before I could take the test to show I knew it. This was very frustrating, but thankfully most of my teachers (at least in High School) were understanding and did their best to help. 

I was raised in a middle-class household where I experienced more emotional trauma than any child should have to, but eventually things changed and my mom and I got ourselves on a different path. I was always empathetic, sometimes to a fault, and I'm sure this played a large part in why, but it also allowed me to connect better to people. 

Between the ability to truly understand and connect with peoples emotions and my family (my Aunt Emily specifically) encouraging me to start a blog, I realized the one thing I was actually decent at was writing. Not just writing, but creating content that was real, that could put someone in my shoes and really connect with the reader. Or so I was told. 

I decided to stay in Plano, work at Cadence Cyclery (a bike shop in McKinney), and go to college locally, for marketing. I had a lot of people tell me marketing was a waste of a degree because everyone was getting one and it is a hard industry to actually succeed in, and it discouraged me for a long time. However, Mrs. Bowen, my 11th grade marketing dynamics teacher showed me that sometimes you have to take risks, even if the odds are against you, you have to at least try. 

In October of 2016 a guy named Blake reached out to me via LinkedIn, he said he was the owner of a digital marketing agency named Long Drive Agency in McKinney and wanted to talk. My mom told me not to get me hopes up on the phone call considering I had 0 experience in marketing and I honestly didn't expect much to come from it. Well we were both wrong. Blake offered me an internship as a 'content creator,' I would come in Tuesdays and Thursdays to write blogs and help a little bit on social media content. 

About a month into the internship, I asked if I could start coming in on Monday mornings, he said yes, and I started to do more of our social media and began to work with KS WoodCraft, one of our larger clients, on creating content and managing their social profiles. I was still working at the bike shop, but it was obvious my priorities were changing as I began to see more of a future with Blake and LDA. 

In December of 2016 I was taking on more and more responsibilities and began to help in other areas to take some work off of Blake's plate. Towards the end of 2016, I decided I wanted to see about coming in full-time, if it was justifiable for him to have me here that much. He said yes. And starting January 1st of 2017 I began working at Long Drive Agency full-time. 

One of the hardest questions to answer is "what do you do" because I really don't just do one thing. My consistent job is social media and content strategy, which includes creating the strategy, creating the content, executing the strategies, analyzing the results, and adapting to the data I see. Within a day at the office though, I could do anything from running errands, to visiting clients, to helping design website, all the way to video work and client support. 

So what do I do? I tell businesses stories, when and where it matters, how their audience wants to see it! 

To follow more of the journey I am on, follow me on Instagram , add me on Snapchat , and like me on Facebook ! Thanks for reading, check back next week to read about my journey! (: 
By Christopher Degenaars 06 Mar, 2017

I think people forget how important it is to take the smile and enjoy life.

We get so hyped up with stress and the worries of daily life, that sometimes we forget that life really isn't that bad. You are living. You are breathing. You are able to live your life the way you want.

This is less than an "article" but more than an "update," unfortunately LinkedIn hasn't made a button for "Life Hacks" so I have decided to make my own unofficial one.

From December 2015 to February 2016 I had some pretty low points in my life, but I tried to keep pushing through it. Things started to get better for my final semester of High School though, and I kept pushing myself to have a better outlook on life and adjust how I saw things.

August 2016 I hit my lowest point and didn't think I would ever be able to come back from it.

I did though. I was able to because of one word...mindfulness

Mindfulness (in summary) is living more in the moment, not being attached to the past and not stressing about the future. It takes time to really understand how to live it, and I still am practicing that, but that is part of the fun - not knowing when everything will be   present   to you. Present as in accessible.

As I stopped worrying about the failures I experienced, as I stopped worrying about what would happen in 10 years, or where I'd be in 5 years, when I stopped worrying about money/friends/relationships; I became happy.

When I stopped worrying, things fell in to place. Everything I was going through began to play out and I began to be happy.

I changed how I thought. How I reacted. I changed my mindset from negative & worried, to positive & optimistic.

This isn't an overnight thing...this is something you work on for weeks, months, years. The repercussions will show and rewards will take place slowly and overtime.

If you really hate how you're living, do 2 things...

1 - Change your attitude towards your life

ex: smile when shit hits the fan, wake up and say "today will be good."

2 - Change why you do what you do

ex: don't work to make money, work to change someones day or life, to make someone smile.

Mindset Matters.

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