Thursday, February 28, 2013

Walmart and SoLoMo

walmart evolves with solomo
By its very definition, the phrase “paradigm shift” implies disruption. In business, consumer paradigm shifts are particularly disruptive, as they force the companies affected to alter (sometimes dramatically) existing models in favor of new ones. Faced with choice of exchanging the certain for the uncertain, it’s no wonder most companies opt for a wait-and-see approach to change, tacitly hoping that time will prove any shift unnecessary. Unfortunately, the growing influence of technology in business is exponentially increasing the speed, prevalence, and magnitude of paradigm shift disruption, allowing brands little time to adjust or evolve. In such a chaotic business environment, acceptance of change is often a lagging indicator; by the time it’s been fully realized, the opportunity has passed.
Just ask bricks-and-mortar tech retailer Best Buy. Once a Wall Street darling, the company is now fighting to stay in business. The consumer shift to a social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) paradigm, aided by Internet-enabled mobile devices, represents an existential threat to bricks and mortar retailers such as Best Buy worldwide. Led by, online eTailers are sucking the life out of retailers one click at a time, reducing them to little more than showrooms for would-be consumers to check out products firsthand before going online and buying them via the likes of Amazon.

Social Media Analysis, Analytic & Tools Overdose

Social Media is growing at a pace that can be best termed as "unstoppable." Thousands of social media tools  have been invented, launched and then failed. 
The top social media platforms are reaching their maturity stage and look to be in a consolidating position, where their objectives and goals are set; and they know their potential. Financially, the major platforms seem to be on a profit making spree. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube stand out of the crowd, whereas Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, Google+ are making their way to the top, but still have a long way to go.
But, what does the consumer do, where does he go from here?
On one hand, One feels overwhelming by all the products, application, contents and activities offered by my social media networks. Yet, I'll admit, I'm practically addicted to my social media platforms, so I'm a rather vulnerable target of these marketing gimmicks. Recently, We read 5 Tips for Avoiding Social Media Burnout by Rachel Strella, and we could understand the need to occasionally unplug.
Don't get me wrong, there are brands that genuinely engage their loyal fans and give them a reason to follow. But there are also brands that just follow the leaders and come up with initiatives that does not add any value to their follower's lives. 
We see a lot of analysis, but we don't see a lot of action in response to that analysis. Every action, interaction, sentiment, timing of the action, frequency and intent gets captured. At a certain level, these insights are extremely important in planning, strategy & decision making. But it is extremely important to find out the motive behind these analysis. we don't think we've successfully figured out what is relevant to track.
We have subscribed to more than 120 social media tools to date and have found some deficiency in all of them - yes, each one. What starts as a suite of premium features, turn out to be just a tool that reports everything that is provided by 10 other tools. we haven't found one suite that is good enough to be the all-in-one tool that suits the requirements of all the members of our social media team.
Marketers lust after Big Data. The most important prediction for 2013 has been the over-reliance on tools that can crunch billions of data-points and give meaningful insights. 
Big Data does come in handy in getting some insights, but we worry that it is more of a fad that marketers and top level executives are falling for. The best insight can come from actually being on these platforms and talking to the consumers, receiving feedback and then taking action based on that feedback.


Showrooming may have offline upside: report

Showrooming probably isn't going to make it onto a list of retail executives' favorite words any time soon. After all, the notion that the significant amounts of money required to operate physical stores is increasingly going to waste as consumers use stores to check out products they'll buy cheaper online isn't a pleasant one.
But is all of the fear around the showrooming really justified? According to a study published by Ipsos MediaCT and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the answer may be no.
In polling nearly 500 consumer about their consumer electronics shopping habits, Ipsos MediaCT and the IAB confirmed what we already know: the showrooming phenomenon is real. But they also discovered that the assumption showrooming hurts brick-and-mortar retail sales may not be accurate.
While 42% of those surveyed who used a mobile device in-store indicated that they completed their purchases online, not offline, some 30% said they went on to complete their purchase in the store. What's more: 42% of those shoppers who used a mobile device spent over $1,000; just 21% of non-showroomers did the same. All told, "65 percent of shoppers who use their mobile device in-store said it made them more likely to buy the product."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Social influence: the next step for ecommerce?

It comes as no surprise that social influence impacts upon sales both online and offline. Ecommerce success, especially in the business consumer area, is determined in part whether the consumer trusts a seller and product they can’t see or touch.

Retailers understand this importance, which has been outlined within the recent  IT in Retail 2013 report. The report analysed the IT strategies of 150 top UK retailers, which represents sales of £203bn and 70% of the UK market.
It’s now been the second consecutive year where ecommerce has taken over spending on store systems. From the report it became apparent that ecommerce has now become their number one priority.
Referrals from friends have also proved to have a significant impact on typical buying behaviour, and for this reason social influence is why marketers get excited about the potential of social networks.
However, although the potential is there, marketers and brands still need to understand the relationship between sales and influence. Friends clearly have some impact on buying decisions across social media but to what extent? Below are some examples to help us understand the impact:
  • Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Hubspot).
  • Out of 53% of consumers who said they use Twitter to recommend companies or products in their tweets, 48% bought that product or service (SproutSocial).
  • 70% of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12% more likely than the average adult internet user. (Nielsen).
Clearly social influence plays a key role in purchases but social influence has yet to have an effect on product discounts… until now.
Now with launch of PeerIndex’s new site, this promises product discounted based on your social influence.
The site will simply gives you a discount code to use on a partners site. PeerIndex measures influence by measuring activity, audience and authority across the major social media platforms, currently Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Quora.
The metrics they monitor have been chosen to maximize relevance and insight, while evaluating spam, bots and users gaming the system.

How effective is M&S's use of QR codes?

In digital marketing terms QR codes seem to have been around for ages, yet it’s still much easier to find examples of brands using the technology badly than it is to highlight instances that deliver a decent user experience. 
A few months ago I flagged up a Toyota print ad as a good example of how to use QR codes to deliver a fun and engaging mobile experience and I’ve since been on the look out for similar campaigns.
As with all new technologies it is quite easy to dismiss QR codes as a passing fad, particularly as user uptake has been quite slow.
However a survey published today by Nielsen shows that 18% of UK consumers regularly use a QR or barcode scanner, so there may be life in the old dog yet.
Marks & Spencer certainly seems to think so, as it has placed a large QR code in the centre of its Mother’s Day window display in Brixton (you can scan the same code above), and potentially in its other stores around the country.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ITC plans entry in fruit juices

English: Logo of ITC Limited

Diversified consumer goods giant ITC plans to scale up its branded packaged foods business with a foray into the ready-to-drink (RTD) fruit juice business. The company is likely to introduce its first product within two months, said industry sources. 

India's packaged fruit juice market, estimated at Rs. 1,000 crore, is currently growing at 15-20% annually, according to estimates by ratings firm Nielsen. Dabur, with its brands Real and Real Activ, controls 54% of the market while PepsiCo is the second-player with a 28-30% share.
The company, however, refused to comment on the development and the timeline of the launch. "We do not comment on market speculation or future strategies," the spokesperson said in an email to HT.

At present, ITC, with business interests in tobacco, lifestyle retailing, hospitality and consumer goods, has two food factories in the country at Haridwar and Ranjangaon. The firm, which boasts of an annual revenue of Rs. 36,072 crore, currently draws small numbers from its food and personal care business. However, the company sees the segment as a growth driver for the future. 

In the packaged foods business, the company already has a portfolio of brands in biscuits, wafers, wheat flour and noodles. In June 2011, the company entered the Rs. 3,124-crore noodles market with its Sunfeast brand and has already managed to capture about 6% marketshare.


FMCG brands wage big-bang advertisement war

Consumer goods giants Hindustan Unilever, GlaxosmithKline, Colgate-Palmolive wage big-bang advertisement war
Less than 10 days ago, GlaxosmithKline Consumer Healthcare announced the launch of Parodontax toothpaste, its global brand, targetted at customers with bleeding gums. The response of Colgate-Palmolive, the oral care market leader was swift and emphatic. Two days ago, it began advertising its own variant through full-page ads, claiming its product was the best.

Welcome back to the world of marketing wars and aggressive competitive advertising in the consumer goods market. After a lull of almost two years, high-decibel ad campaigns have made a comeback across categories ranging from toothpastes and biscuits to dishwashers and mobile phones. Consumer demand may still be subdued, but companies are hiking ad spends in the hope of stepping up consumption, garnering market share, and creating a buzz around their products.
Sam Balsara, chairman and MD of Madison, which buys media for tobacco-to-biscuits major ITC and telecom services provider Bharti Airtel, said there is increasing realisation among companies that they can't take growth for granted in a cautious economic environment and with more brands entering the market. "We see an escalation of ad spends, especially among consumer companies, this year," he said.

But do high-voltage ad campaigns work? "The cola wars of the 1990s did not help either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. What they did was create excitement in the category," said Santosh Desai, CEO of Future Brands. "While different brands would have different reasons to come up with competitive advertising, what it does is create either new categories as in the case of specialist oralcare or smartphones, or create excitement in existing ones as in the case of biscuits."

Comparative Advertising

India is an underpenetrated and underserved market where advertising has traditionally been directed at consumers and not competition. But this is gradually changing. Reckitt Benckiser's Dettol Kitchen dish-washing liquid ad showed Vim up front and disparaged the HUL product. HUL has hit back with full-page ads saying 'antiseptic is for cleaning floors and wounds, not utensils', a thinly disguised attack on Dettol.


Top three retail pricing strategies to beat your competitors

Pricing items in online retail store can be a pain. It can take hours of tedious manual work, and it's always a trial and error experiment as you never know which price is just the right one for your products.
You know that you need to have some sort of pricing strategy in place for you online store and we know that you do, but is that strategy costing you?
Here is an outline of a few different points that often play a part in pricing strategies to illustrate the how they affect your business. 

Anchor Pricing

Some might say that Anchor Pricing is "the" key to developing your successful pricing strategy. We say, keep your eye on the big picture and be aware of how people shop. Anchor pricing refers to establishing a price point that your customers then use as a reference point for all future purchases.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Social Ad Budgets Continue to Rise

As one might expect, there are no signs of social media ad spending letting up in 2013. Why should it? It’s new, it’s relatively cheap (complain about that claim in the comments if you feel differently) and it’s ‘what’s hot’. It’s the last one that seems to get the attention of most marketers these days but that’s for another post.

Studies conducted by Digiday for Vizu as reported by eMarketer show that marketers are looking to increase spend. Some of the reasons for doing it, however, raise some questions. First, a look at the spend intentions.
Increase Social Media Ad Spend
Most are not putting a very large percentage of budgets to the efforts. In fact, it would be interesting to see what type of companies are investing higher percentages of budgets. Safe money would be on smaller companies that can’t afford other avenues of advertising.


FMCG companies like HUL, Dabur & others seek consumption dose, rollout of GST


While there are rarely any direct announcements in the Budget for the FMCG industry, the companies are expecting measures which could boost consumption such as reduce inflation and improve the rural economy.

The industry also feels implementation of GST in the Budget will boost growth. Senior officials of leading FMCG makers like Godrej Consumer Products, Dabur, Emami and Cavin-Kare said sales growth of the sector has slowed down due to stiff economic conditions and hence some measures to boost consumption can come as a welcome relief.

"Any steps to boost the agrarian economy which can drive consumption will help the FMCG industry," says Dabur India CEO Sunil Duggal. FMCG companies like HUL, Dabur, Marico and Godrej Consumer Products have all reported a decline in volume growth in the third quarter ending December 2012. The volume growth was down anywhere by around 20% for the industry in the current fiscal with consumers holding back their spending.

CavinKare CMD CK Ranganathan feels measures to control inflation will also help to reduce commodity cost thereby giving some cushion to input cost and profitability. "Also, implementation of GST will help the trade which will make taxes uniform and can also help to reduce prices. Today, we do not launch some products in certain markets where the VAT rates are high as it would increase prices.

GST in a way will also boost consumption," says Ranganathan. Emami CEO ( finance, strategy and business development) N H Bhansali too feels some clarity on GST will help to reduce some of the existing anomalies on excise duties and taxes and can make operations better. "It will help us to plan better and can even boost profitability," he said.

As appeared in TOI

Tips For Boosting FMCG Digital Campaign Performance

Entering 2013, CPG brands are facing increased pressure to demonstrate ROI from their marketing investments. For that reason, digital media’s low cost and tremendous reach make it an attractive option for media planners. However, cost efficiency does not guarantee effectiveness, so it’s important that marketers are strategically managing and analyzing their digital CPG investments to maximize actionable insight and ROI. Below are five tips to get started:
1) Embrace customer intelligence. In addition to the traditional KPIs used to evaluate the effectiveness of digital campaigns, CPG marketers should also consider the value of the customer intelligence gathered from campaigns. Digital marketing campaigns can reveal a wealth of customer intelligence through segmentation and analysis of exposed and respondent audiences, leveraging both first- and third-party data. New insights, such as the example that German Shepherd owners are more likely to buy organic foods, can inform future campaigns and targeting.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Using social media monitoring for market research

Social media monitoring is a complicated industry, populated with hundreds of different tools, varying from the dirt cheap to the shockingly expensive.
The versatility of these tools also means that there are countless uses for them, and keeping track of just which tool you would want and why is understandably a headache for many. 
To help you navigate this maze, I’m going to lead you on a journey through some of the key ways employing a monitoring tool can help you and your business. 
Social media has proven to be a golden opportunity when it comes to research. No longer do companies have to rely on small sample surveys or focus groups; they now have millions of consumer comments at their fingertips.
But how to find all those comments? And what to do with them once you have them?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Consumers worry about sharing data with mobile apps

Five Mobile Systems
A MEF survey of 9,500 people in ten countries has found that only a third of consumers (37%) are comfortable sharing personal data with an app.

The majority of consumers consider it important to know when an app is gathering (70%) and sharing (71%) their personal information.

Perceptions are that security around data is robust with only 18% stating they are not confident that their personal information is being protected.

Females and older consumers (over 35s) are more likely to have concerns over privacy.

Consumer confidence in mobile purchasing grows

New research carried out by Intela has found that consumer willingness to purchase goods and services using their mobile devices has increased in the past year, with a half of UK smartphone owners now happy to spend more than £10 on their mobile.

Similarly, 56% of American smartphone owners are happy to spend $10 on their mobile.

Almost one in two US consumers (44%) and 40% of Brits are now more likely to make a purchase using their mobile device compared to a year ago.