Archive for the ‘Marketing planning’ Category
In my previous post, I went on about how bricks-and-mortar merchants need to prepare for a future where customers in their store are shopping their products and prices while standing in the aisle (“showrooming”).
Now here comes evidence from ClickIQ that the businesses that are losing business from showroomers (about 24% of the people who use their phones to compare prices), may be picking up some compensating business from people showrooming in their competitors!
This does not detract from the gain Amazon is getting from the massive spread of smartphones: The study found that about half of the people who chose to complete their purchase online placed the order with Amazon.
Marketingcharts.com actually had a better write-up than ClickIQ’s press release, and they had this nifty graphic, too.
Most Shoppers Buy Where They Stand – Some good news for off-line retailers.
As you can see from the 24% figure above, a solid 76% bought from the store in which they were standing:
“The ClickIQ study does show that most of the in-store shoppers ended up buying at the retailer where they were shopping, (although) only a few used a retailer’s online site,” noted ClickIQ in their press release.
Here is another insight from the study that could better arm the bricks-and-mortar store owners: “Among the 24% of respondents who ended up buying online, a slight majority said they did not pay sales tax, with 65% of those saying that had some influence on their purchase decision.” (my bolding)
This is actionable data: How easy is it to run “pay the sales tax” promotions in-store? They could even be delivered by mobile phone for those who are opted in to your mobile community.
The bottom line here is that all is not lost: If the retailer in which the surfing shopper is standing can engage with them meaningfully, they have a great chance of capturing the business.
What is your shopping behavior in the age of the smartphone? Do you actively browse options when standing in aisles? What price points drive you to invest the time doing so?
New data released this week and posted on marketingcharts.com confirms once again that retailers need to actively work on combating showrooming. As smartphones get ever more ubiquitous, using them to check out product reviews and competitive pricing while standing in a store aisle will become par-for-the-course consumer behavior.
How do you as a small businessperson fight against the online retailers like Amazon, who can price aggressively because they take a pass on brick-and-mortar locations? Here are a few ways to think about the challenge of closing the deal with a showrooming customers standing in your store:
Engage with them: Have sales reps be alert for shoppers working their phones. If the shopper is not typing aggressively (texting) or talking (on the phone), offer to help.
Keep your prices close to online retailers: You have the advantage of being able to satisfy the “get it now” urge. No one buying from your store has to wait days or a week for UPS or FedEx to show up with the goods. Plus, your price does not have to be just as low as online, thanks to the time savings (and perhaps even shipping cost savings.)
Offer deals: Instant savings on purchases made that day, by total or by item. Have a coupon dispenser in aisles where you suspect most showrooming occurs.
Offer deals in exchange for signing up for your digital marketing program: Offer a great deal (again using coupons in the aisle) if they sign on for either e-mail or mobile marketing.
Study aisle behavior: You have security cameras trained on all areas of your store. You can use that record to track in-aisle behavior to get anecdotal evidence for which products areas are showroomed most often. Those aisles become your priority for anti-showrooming initiatives! (Disclaimer: You are not tracking specific people using in-store cameras. Read this for a good pro-and-con summary of collecting marketing data using surveillance cameras. )
Promote your easy and no-questions-asked return policies: Nothing beats making a purchase easier than knowing you can reverse the decision easily, too. Try returning an online purchase to see what your advantage is!
Wailing, rending your garments and bemoaning the impact of technology on your business are not options, or at least are not where you should stop: Get cracking figuring out how to make your store the best place to complete a purchase, even when the person in the aisle has the whole internet at their fingertips.
Shopping in the digital age is a smorgasbord of options. A few years ago, Google created what they call “ZMOT,” which stands for Zero Moment of Truth, to capture the concept that you have multiple chances to connect with a consumer, and cannot predict when among all those interactions the “moment of truth” will occur and the shopper makes a purchase or raises a hand to self-identify her or himself as a lead.
If you click on the logo to the right, you can find the handbook that Google issues to explore their ZMOT concept and how you might apply it to your business.
Understanding evolving shopping behavior was also the focus of recent research by Lenovo that winkled out the different uses of smartphone vs. tablets:
- The study found that research is the primary function of both devices during the purchase process.
- By device, 65 percent researched only on a smartphone while a third (32%) researched and purchased. For tablets, almost half (47%) researched and the same percent both researched and purchased via tablet.
- But looking at the findings by the function of research, about half (49%) used a smartphone while only 20 percent did so on a tablet.
I suspect that the purchase percentages for smartphones are lower because the shopper may be using the device in a store, and go on to purchase the item in question offline (that is, at the cash register!) Read more about the study here.
I also found a nice presentation on buying habits that is focused on home buying, but has application for all businesses hoping to better understand where to put their marketing focus:
I love this description the author adapted from ZMOT’s evangelist of a typical consumer’s approach to shopping in the 21st Century:
Jim Lecinski, Google’s ZMOT expert, writes “at the Zero Moment of Truth, today’s shoppers bounce back and forth at their own speed in a multi-channel marketplace. They switch devices to suit their needs at any given moment. They search; go off to look at reviews, ratings, styles and prices; and then search again. They see ads on TV and in newspapers and online. They walk into local stores to look at products. They talk to friends, over the back fence and on social media. Then it’s back to ZMOT for more information.”
The challenge: Be There for the ZMOT!
The Caveat: Don’t chase every possible customer out there. That’s too many ZMOTs to cover. Craft a mix of marketing channels that you can actively manage well, and put all the other interesting options aside until you fully master the two or three channels which seem most likely to product great leads (B2B and big-ticket B2C) or sales (most B2C). Whether those few channels are Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook or SEM is what you have to sort out by what you already know, what your consumer research tells you, and what you test going forward.
From my Forbes blog, a short take on the true news behind Facebook’s ballyhooed announcement about their efforts to upgrade their internal search functionality:
The BIG NEWS in online marketing circles this week has beenFacebook‘s introduction of their Graph Search service. It is still in “beta testing, “ which means it is not fully available; they are still refining the underlying code and winkling out the bugs. Down the road, you will want to know more about Facebook Graph Search. Even then, for most businesses my advice may stay the same:
If you want to make Facebook an effective source of business, invest the time to keep your Facebook page active, interesting and well-liked.
Period. You may now tune out all the furor amongst marketing tradesters about the intriguing subplots that may or may not be underlying this Graph Search introduction.
Read more on Forbes.com.
Content marketing has become the foundation of lead generation, as inbound marketing has proven its worth as a lead-generation tool and is grabbing a bigger share of marketing budgets and personnel time.
Not surprisingly, generating good content consistently has become the biggest burden for inbound marketers. To keep it flowing, the temptation inevitably creeps in to “repurpose” content that someone else created that seems relevant to your mission or value proposition. This saves time and energy! And lots of people do it…
Sharing values the creator, and you, if you share properly.
It is OK to borrow stuff, but do it respectfully. This keeps your nose clean, protects your image, and helps out the person who actually did all the work. I use ezinearticles as a publisher on behalf of a client, and their editors have a handy list of cautions that you should review regularly to keep you on the right side of the law:
I use two definitions of “re-purpose” with clients, because the second requires considerable cautionary attention:
- Take an article that you wrote for a newsletter, and also post it on your blog. Convert that article into an e-book for posting on slideshare.com or other sharing services. Or do the reverse of each of these. Moving your own creative content around to hit multiple mediums is completely OK, and highly encouraged. It maximizes the value of each bit of content you create.
- Take content someone else created, and use it as a foundation to create your own content.
The second approach is allowable, and useful, if:
- You attribute the source of the original content, with a link to it.
- You surround their work with your own take on the original content.
- Explain why you found it useful or insightful.
- Add your own thoughts or examples that support your opinion.
- Disagree with aspects of the original content.
In effect, if you are going to “borrow” content from some other source, it has to be a starting point from which you share your own expertise, in your own words. Never pass off another writer’s work as yours if you want inbound marketing to work for you long-term.
Content marketing is a real boon to smaller businesses who cannot hope to compete on budget with larger competitors. It offers a small businessperson a real chance to present his or her own expertise and personality, and connect with prospects in meaningful ways.
Just don’t steal stuff from other people to save time. Dedicate the energy to do it correctly, create your own online presence and personality, and the benefits (leads!) will flow that justify such a big investment of time.
I went to buy a quart of egg nog last week, and was presented with far more options than I expected. Intrigued by my wealth of options, I had to take a picture of the scene, even though fellow shoppers wondered about me (and delayed their access to the dairy case for ten additional seconds.)
Egg nog is embedded in our Christmas traditions. It appears in the supermarket dairy case right after Thanksgiving in quantity, and stays there until stocks run out in early January. Even if you only like the stuff, you buy a quart just, well, because its Christmas.
Healthwise, of course, its a killer. Per Wikipedia:
“Under current U.S. law, commercial products sold as eggnog are permitted to contain milk, sugar, modified milk ingredients, glucose-fructose, water, carrageenan, guar gum, natural and artificial flavorings, spices (though not necessarily nutmeg), monoglycerides, and colorings. The ingredients in commercial eggnog vary significantly, but generally raw eggs are not included.”
An Egg Nog for Everyone!
True to our free enterprise economic system, non-killer egg nog recipes have been peddled as far back as 1899, when a recipe book by Almeda Lambert suggested replacing the milk or cream with coconut cream (though still including all the sugar and eggs.)
In modern times, the desire to participate in the holiday tradition by drinking at least one cup of egg or egg-like nog has motivated dairy product producers to introduce health-aware “nogs.” As you can see in the photo I snapped at Safeway, the creativity of marketers is clearly on display:
- Silk presents a soy-based “seasonal nog”, which gets around the regulation on what egg nog is, while still clearly communicating its intent. When else do we ever use the word ‘nog’ anymore?
- So Delicious offers Almeda’s idea, using coconut milk to eliminate the lactose, and simply calls it “Nog”.
The egg nog products next to the milk-free ‘nogs’ also go into marketing overdrive:
- Horizon grabs the organic niche, and doubles down with “ultrapasteurized” for those who fear salmonella.
- Southern Comfort goes for the Full Nog: “Traditional” right on the package makes it clear you are getting the artery-clogging drink of yore, with all the comfort that provides. (Although Wired went inside the nog to get the real story on its ingredients.)
Some folks would call this ridiculous, but for the cholesterol-fearing, lactose-intolerant among us, it is a boon that allows them to participate in holiday traditions, and spend a bit more of their discretionary income that might have stayed in their wallets otherwise.
Ingenious adaptations of egg nog are a small corner of the holiday celebration hustle and bustle, but it is a wonderful example of how our market-based economy drives innovation and keeps dollars circulating!
Have a great Christmas-New Years Week!
The magnetic field did not shift, the world did not tilt on its axis, and no meteor crashed into the Yucatan to suffocate us in dust.
This didn’t stop my marketing brethren from making the most of the (mostly tongue-in-cheek) the End Of The World hysteria caused by the apparent end of the Mayan calendar.My favorite so far is the TGIFriday’s logo announcing “Last Friday”. What a simple, yet compelling riff on their normal “celebrate the End Of The Work Week” theme. They offer a “Last Friday” menu that packs in the calories and urges consumers to “go out with a full stomach”!More strategically, travel operators have put together all sorts of themed packages that emphasize spiritual renewal, or simply rest and relaxation.
Typical is the owners of a Russian Cold War Bunker Museum, who have two or three events going on today:
- A real opportunity to hunker down underground with six months of food and supplies, and be the last people on Earth.
- A more realistic opportunity to spend tonight partying like its the End Of The World, and wake up in the same old world with a mighty hangover. (“Have a good rest.” as a Russian might say.) Then gear up for the regular New Year’s celebration ten days later.
Finally, this video put out by a marketing agency with the express idea that it would go viral to promote their creative talents.
To find more fun examples, just do an online search on some combination of “Mayan”, “marketing” and any other descriptors that might intrigue you.
Now that the Mayan Prophecy date has passed, all that creativity has to be redirected. I look forward to what will appeal to creative groups in 2013.
What interesting Mayan-themed marketing “tie-ins” caught your eye? How creatively did the marketer weave in the theme and relate it to their value proposition?
When exploring content marketing with clients, I always stress quality as a starting point: You have to be relevant and interesting to the reader if you want to engage them.
That said, one great article gets you nowhere. Lots of great content (however defined) is what get you attention online. And one of the leading “inbound marketing” vendors has just released a batch of data that gives you an idea about just how big that quantity has to be.
Be interesting over and over again to attract opted-in leads
HubSpot has aggregated the results of the 7,000 businesses that use its analytics software, and present strong evidence about how frequency does make a big difference in getting content marketing (they call it “inbound marketing”) to generate leads. This isn’t surprising, but the actual quantities are. Check these out:
- Websites with less than 50 pages got a lot less traffic than larger sites, especially those over 1,000 pages in size. Such large sites got close to 10x the traffic of a 50-page site.
- The large-site advantage was more pronounced for small companies, perhaps because building such a large site was probably a big percentage of their total marketing budget.
- B2C companies had more to gain from creating large batches of website page than B2B companies.
- Inbound leads rose significantly once 200 pages were amassed, and dramatically once 400 were passed.
- Regular use of landing pages (which count towards total pages, I assume) really start to have a positive impact on lead generation once their inventory reaches and passes 20, with a huge jump for B2B over 40. Worth dedicating time to having a fresh landing page for each online campaign!
- Blogging seems to have steady incremental value, with two or more each week a real goal to achieve to convert visitors to leads. (Larger companies seem to get more bang for their buck out of active blogging, unfortunately.)
- Facebook pages with over 1,000 likes perform significantly better than company pages with under 1,000. That’s a clear goal to shoot for!
Look the material over yourself, but the message is clear. You need to dedicate your organization to creating lots of great content consistently over time if you want to make inbound content marketing work.
Too many B2B companies still rely almost exclusively on direct sales (phone calls, e-mails, trade shows…) to push their products/services to market.
This is increasingly troublesome, as their buyers are going online to “vett” their potential vendors. And if they don’t find a vendor online with more than just a website, said vendor drops down (or off) their shopping list.
“B2B buyer behavior has been changing dramatically over the last few years as buyers become more sophisticated, find new ways to gather information online and (via) social media. 90% of business buyers say when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you.”
- Positions you as an expert
- Gives you the chance to add value immediately by sharing useful information with no strings attached
- Keep you top-of-mind, as YOUR outgoing messages (e-mails, keyword ads, etc) always come with that gift of free information!
Don’t take my word for it: Here is a link to free (!) research that explores the value of B2B content marketing in more detail.
The report is a survey of B2B marketers, not their customers, but their rankings of which types of content to use are based on experience, so this report does provide a useful guide to other B2B marketers about where to focus their time, energy and dollars.
Never Swim Alone!
You will notice that well-edited writing and professional writing are cited by well over a third of the respondents as a key to success, after originality, great story-telling and custom content.
This is important: You have to create your own content ‘frame’, not simply borrow someone else’s with your cover note. And amateur efforts get you graded down, limiting the potential impact of your content execution. If you cannot write, don’t try. Hire a writer to help you polish the content you want to share.
I blog for my clients, I write their e-mails, I plan and execute their online ad campaigns. They get on with creating and providing great customer value.
Put your own frame around “re-purposed content”.
You will notice that I am reusing someone else’s content, but with my own angle and spin to make the post itself represent me, not the originators of the content (in this case, Optify).
For more advice on “content” or “inbound” marketing, click here.
What do you think? How do you approach content marketing? What lessons did you learn from your early efforts?
Too many small businesspeople get the relationship backwards between creative design (logos and other “identity” graphics, for instance) and “brand.”
I wrote about this on Forbes.com recently, but let’s review the proper relationship:
Brand ≠ Logo
Brand = Reputation
If you successfully build a reputation for delivering top consumer value for the dollars they spend with you, you will build a strong brand. And you can slap just about any logo on it you want (tastefully), and that logo will become representative of the value you deliver.
I am being a bit flip here: “Just about any logo” is certainly hyperbole, as everything you do has to reflect well on your business. But as a small businessperson, you must create a basic, enduring creative look for your business, and stick with it. Distracting yourself (and siphoning scare money) into a constant overhaul of your “look” is wasteful, and actually confuses your target audience.
Most consumers care little about logo design, and a lot about the quality of your product and service. So, if you had to spend one extra dollar on something, which should it be?
The next time any marketing guy tries to sell you on the idea that you need to “rebrand yourself” with a “new look” to “relaunch” your business, politely show them to the door. That is the last step in a “relaunch,” not the first, and may prove unnecessary at all if you fix the problems that may be hindering your value delivery!
Let me know in the comments if you disagree with me on this!
Here is another link to that Forbes article. Follow me there if you like it! (Share it, too.)