Friday, January 30, 2015

67% of CPG Companies Recognize Digital Potential; Only 16% Using Effectively

According to a new study, CPG Sales Leaders Go Multichannel,conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Accenture, based on the responses from heads of sales and account directors, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can realize significant gains in cross-channel growth through digital collaboration with retailers and distributors.
But, although CPG executives are committed to increasing their use of digital technology to improve internal integration across marketing, sales, service, supply chain and research and development, many believe a number of real and perceived barriers, from emerging market restrictions and lagging customer analytics, may slow the process.
67% cited moderate or significant potential for digital technologies to amplify sales through traditional channels by improving the allocation of marketing spend to drive mutually beneficial retail relationships and execution to improve sell-through. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

5 Ways to Turn Customer Obsession Into Marketing ROI

In order to boost your company's return on investment, make sure you are focused on your customers' satisfaction.
roi-increase


The number one job of marketing – in my humble opinion – has always been customer advocacy. Who better than the team responsible for connecting people with brands and products to understand their needs and represent them at the corporate planning table? The digitization of our culture and marketplace doesn’t change the importance of that job, but it does make it more data-driven. I also think that it has made marketing more collaborative.
Forrester Research recently claimed that companies that are obsessed with customer experience are more profitable and see higher growth. Consider Amazon, Nike, or Mercedes-Benz, where it is part of the culture. Consider how an obsession with innovation at Apple and Google translates to customer delight in their products. For the rest of us, it may be harder without that culture behind us, but frankly, there is no longer a choice for marketers: Each of us must adopt an attitude of obsession with customer satisfaction. Then, we need to employ a systematic approach to optimizing everything we do toward customer value. The key question to ask at every point in your day, "Is what I'm doing adding real value to a large number of high-value customers?" If not, change it or dump it.
Marketing investment seems to be supporting this need and transformation. Research firm IDC expects the global market for enterprise marketing software to soar to $32.3 billion by 2018 — a jump of more than 50 percent. This jump won’t come easy. It will require a delicate balance of technology, creative talent, and IT services for the market to reach its potential. Supporting this growth is the rise of "marketing-as-a-service" (MaaS) offerings, where agencies and other marketing service providers run the software on behalf of the client as part of a larger bundle of services.
Like any change, in life or business, it starts with attitude. If you don’t work for customer-obsessed company, can you successfully meet the demands of your market and rise above the competition? At a minimum, companies must embrace that digital and customer experience is everyone’s business – great ideas and the seeds of change can come from anywhere, regardless of title, but do need to be cross-functional and valued to blossom.
It’s time to make this transformation personal. Consider how you can use the technology you have to adapt the customer experiences that you do control, and demonstrate success to the rest of the organization. This proof of concept approach is a great way to get more budget, too. Re-think your customer experience across an ecosystem, and not just a set of interactions with owned media or branded touch points. Collaborate with other suppliers and influencers to focus on digital efficiency so that you can react in "right time." I wrote acolumn earlier this year on how "right time" marketing can help you transform your customer processes and adapt to the need for a nimble, non-linear customer engagement strategy.
Don't just wait for disruption to come to your industry — learn to disrupt your own business. Seek a frank understanding of the obstacles your specific organization must overcome to embrace disruption. Consider some of these strategic elements that can help you break free of legacy patterns and test new ideas.
  1. Use the data you have to zero in on key segments. Use micro-targeting to really get to know your customers. Dig deep into customization and personalization opportunities to find the small, yet potentially profitable subsets of your market and niche offerings.
  2. Paid placements (native advertising) are here to stay. Spend your money on the right content and platform and understand which digital properties are performing best. Build budgets and relationships around content placement, sponsorship opportunities, syndication services, and content recommendation platforms.
  3. Mobile will dominate, so master it. Fine-tune your mobile strategy to encompass the totality of content execution: persona profiling, content theme, design, and distribution.
  4. Marketing automation tools are slowly evolving to help you manage these changes, but you may need to bolt together point solutions in the meantime (especially if a big upgrade is not in your budget this year). Look to consolidate applications into a platform with data and process level integration to improve efficiency and effectiveness; work to integrate marketing technology with the enterprise infrastructure to reveal deeper insights into customers, partners, and market opportunities. Here is a good reason to establish inter-disciplinary teams with IT and sales and customer service and legal to improve marketing contribution, vendor management, due diligence, and governance practices.
  5. Focus on quality content; we are all publishers now. All our writing has to be compelling and adaptable across platforms, and written to the tastes of narrowly targeted personas. Automation tools help make sure your content is repurposed with panache and context.
Marketing transformation is hard - and requires a purposeful and systematic shift in attitude, organizational agility, and customer-centricity. Are you confident that the latest plan or project you advocated puts the customer first? It's a very good measure for how close you are to success. Please share your own tips and challenges for creating a customer-obsessed organization in the comments section below.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Evolution of the CPG Influencer Model: It’s Not the Parents

In today's YouTube culture, the younger generation is influenced by its own set of "experts," including online celebrities and social media stars, and marketers should embrace that.
For generations, consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers have relied on the same hypothesis when it comes to influencers: parents (and especially mothers) were the product influencers in households. Year after year, the results were measured, focus groups held, findings recorded, and this assumption was proven beyond any doubt.
Take hair care brands for example. The conventional wisdom and sales model was that if we could get a mother to purchase and use our brand of shampoo, she would be highly likely to use that same brand of shampoo for her daughter starting at a very young age, long before the daughter has any kind of purchasing influence or power (mother as influencer). By that natural inheritance, our shampoo becomes the daughter’s favorite brand choice as well — the brand she trusts because she knows it works, and it’s what she’s used to. When she later becomes a proud parent herself, she will use the same brand of shampoo for her children. It’s the tested, proven hypothesis of parental influence with the potential to span generations. Talk about lifetime consumer value!
This methodology applies to more than just shampoo. I use Tide as my laundry detergent because my parents used it, I use a Braun razor because it’s the first razor my dad ever bought me. It’s simple human nature; we trust in the information we have gotten from our parents because they are our trusted advisors and we believe that they know what’s best for us.
However, this model has been evolving for a while now, in large part due to the massive amount of information that is now available to our children. If we think about it, 20 years ago, there was no way for us to get an independent comparison of razors — I got the trustworthy information from my own influencers network, my family and parents. But with the massive amount of easily accessible information available today, "consumers" age 12 and younger are starting to do their own product research. They are simply more informed than their parents were (are) about the brands that matter to them. Add to that their increased exposure to advertising and media through social networks and mobile, and they have more brand and product exposure than any generation before them.
There is another interesting shift in behavior that has turned the longstanding hypothesis of parental influence upside down. The easy access to information and product exposure has turned our youth into "experts"; more and more parents are being influenced by their children, who are now the trusted advisors to their parents…and actually get them to try a new product. This change in behavior is happening across a wide variety of categories, but we have seen the biggest shift from parent to child influencer in the Beauty, Lifestyle, Electronics, and Travel spaces.
The younger generation in turn is being influenced by its own new sets of "experts"; today’s youth has more confidence in the opinions of YouTube influencers and online celebrities than that of their own parents.
This rise in digital youth influencers opens up a lot of new challenges and opportunities for marketers. Brands need to reframe the way they think about influencers, embrace the new "children as their parents’ advisors" approach, and explore the opportunities that open up when we can leverage children’s opinions and product "reviews" in order to influence their parents’ purchasing decisions.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Search and social advertising spend increases

Kenshoo released its Search and Social Snapshot: Q4 2014, highlighting strong performance of digital marketing during the final quarter of 2014. 

  • Advertising spend in search increased 15% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) and 14% year-over-year (YoY), while ad spend in social increased 32% QoQ and 33% YoY.
  • Paid search impressions increased 11% QoQ but decreased 4% YoY
  • Paid search clicks increased 14% QoQ and 8% YoY
  • Paid search click-through rate increased 2% QoQ and 11% YoY
  • Social impressions decreased 32% QoQ and 79% YoY
  • Social clicks increased 16% QoQ and 10% YoY
  • Social click-through rate increased 70% QoQ and 430% YoY

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mobile Apps and Sites May Actually Work Together

Majority of smartphone owners tap links in mobile apps that lead to mobile site articles 

Mobile app ads have been found to perform better than those on mobile sites, and other analysis suggests time spent with mobile internet skews heavily toward apps. However, in a December 2014 study by Harris Poll for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Mobile Marketing Center for Excellence, US smartphone owners didn’t view usage the same way: 33% said they used mobile sites and apps with about the same frequency, compared with 18% who said they spent a significantly larger amount of time with apps.

The study pointed to in-app browsing as one reason for the difference in time spent figures vs. user opinions, and results suggested the two actually work together plenty of the time, as mobile apps act as a “portal” to web articles. Fully 52% of smartphone owners said they tapped links in mobile apps that led to articles on mobile websites at least sometimes, with around half of that group doing so often or very often. Respondents who had been brought to articles on mobile websites after clicking in-app links found more value from such content, possibly because they’re already in an environment that relates somewhat to their interests. 

Fully 50% of smartphone users said they had learned new things as a result of accessing articles this way, and 39% said they found articles they wouldn’t have found otherwise. More than one-quarter (26%) also said this was a way to find publications and websites they didn’t know about. IAB said apps served as “a key route” to mobile websites—especially social media apps. Fully 26% of smartphone owners used social media apps to find mobile websites—the third-highest response behind search engines (48%) and word-of-mouth (29%). Fully 14% of respondents also cited other mobile apps and news aggregation apps as sources. 

The number of US consumers accessing the mobile internet via web browser or app will continue to rise by double digits (11.2%) this year. eMarketer expects 187.3 million mobile phone users in the US to go online via such devices, representing 72.2% of internet users, 72.8% of mobile phone users and 58.3% of the population. 

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mobile clicks have overtaken desktop

Marin Software announced its quarterly benchmark report revealing that clicks on mobile devices have overtaken desktop for the first time.

  • Mobile now accounts for 44.8% of ad impressions, 50% of clicks, 46% of spend and 43% of conversions in the UK.
  • Search ads on tablets achieved the highest click through rate in Q4 2014. This contrasts with the US and rest of the Eurozone where smartphone ads are more successful at converting sales.
  • While desktops continue to command the greatest share of conversions, (57% compared to 8.1% via smartphones and 25% via a tablet), the cost per click (CPC) is considerably higher than for a smartphone click.
  • Share of conversions on smartphones increased 6%
  • Overall Mobile (smartphone and tablet combined) conversions are also climbing year on year with a 8.9% increase since Q4 2013, in contrast to an 8.3% drop for desktop conversions. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Turning Clicks Into Conversions: 3 Tips to Recover Revenue

ecommerce-conversions-clicks
Getting customers to your website is one thing, but converting their clicks to purchases is quite another.
Happy New Year! So here we are with the approved budget for 2015 that we wanted. You fought hard for the budget. "The traffic is there," you told your boss. "We just need to convert it… and then the revenues will fall from the sky." 


Your online shop looks great, prices are right, the product catalogue taps on the right trends and offers great products, the shopping journey is short and optimized, payment gateways have been checked, the advertising machine works, and you’re getting your traffic from social, affiliation, paid and organic search, mobile, etc. 

Good job buddy, getting this far ain’t easy. 

And then it hits you. The advertising money has been well spent, but visitors just won’t convert into buyers. You’re staring at your analytics dashboard, pulling your hair out (if you have any – I’m bald myself), thinking to yourself: "What do I need to do, and how do I meet the KPIs I have been committing to?" Tick-tock, tick-tock… 

Here’s the thing – conversions on e-commerce are low, really low. Research shows that conversions in many e-commerce shops are in the range of 2 percent and below, and if you’re looking at 5 percent, hey, that’s not bad at all. But that still leaves us with a whopping 95 percent to 98 percent of visitors showing us their back.

marketingsherpa-ecommerce-benchmark-study
So, if your acquisition machine works, and your retention strategy works, then we need to talk about fixing your conversions. 
The good news is that you can adapt these three real-time actions in order to convert your clients. And pay attention – our world is moving steadily toward real-time actions. This should be a well-oiled, fully automated machine.

1. Real Time: On-Site

Converting visitors while they are still on the website should be a priority for you. It gets much harder to do once they have left your shop and conversions then tend to decline. 


Behavioral overlays allow you to do just that. And to illustrate this, here are some examples:

  • A visitor browses your shop and their cursor movements indicate that they are about to leave (e.g. moving toward the upper right side, preparing to enter a different URL). Trigger an overlay with recommended best offers and incentive to buy now. 
  • A would-be customer fills the basket with goodies and then takes no action for the next few minutes – you can trigger an overlay that offers free shipping if they pay now. 
  • A visitor spends a number of minutes on the website without adding anything to the basket – shoot an overlay with a discount for any purchase made during this current session. The key to using these tactics is to run it automatically, preferably linking it to your unified profile if it is available, and to offer it to customers who really need it and not the ones that will abuse it. 

2. Email and Mobile

It didn’t work and the customer left the shop. What’s next? Now we check (automatically – see the workflow diagram for this journey below) in the unified profile if this visitor has an app. If they have an app, woo-hoo! We can now send a push notification with the products reviewed. 


Email can work as well, again showing the products reviewed, with more recommended products and an incentive to complete the purchase. It is important that you do it real time and, in the case of abandoned cart, as close as possible to the visitor leaving your shop. 

3. Retargeting

No contact data or purchase from the customer? No problem! If the visitor filled a cart, offer an incentive to purchase the products in that cart. If they were only browsing the website, offer recommended products with an incentive. The risk here is that your profit margin may be affected if you offer it to all visitors and they understand your game plan. 


The next level in optimizing revenue recovery efforts is to collect what works best for each of your clients and first-time visitors and avoid offering incentives if there is no need. 

If I had to draw this revenue recovery blue print, it would look something like this:
revenue-recovery-journey
And before you go, there’s one last point to make: the journey doesn’t stop there. We’ve talked about conversions to purchase, and I have intentionally continued the journey with "add to retention program." 

Remember, even after all these conversion efforts, about 70 percent of your clients will still only purchase once. Retaining them will enable you to increase the lifetime value of your existing clients, and sell in higher profit margins.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Social Site Check-In: Which Network Should You Buy Into This Year?

What do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest have in store for the coming year? Read on to find out.
With the social media advertising market in the U.S. expected to reach $15 billion by 2018, it's fair to say that digital marketers will be scrutinizing their social site spends this year. Pew Research Internet Project recently released a new Social Media Update that offers new insight into social networking audiences. Among Pew's findings are the following:
  • 52 percent of adults online now use two or more social sites, up from 42 percent in 2013.
  • Facebook is still the most popular social site with 71 percent share of all Internet users and a 56 percent share of adults over 65. Seventy percent of Facebook users engage with the site on a daily basis, while 45 percent use it several times each day.
  • While Facebook shows high levels of engagement, its user base has plateaued. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter, however, have all experienced growth since 2012.
    socialmediasites-pew
  • More than half of all Internet users (56 percent) between the ages of 18 and 29 now use Instagram, with 49 percent visiting the site daily.
  • Engagement with Twitter has dropped in recent years; 36 percent of Twitter users visited the site in 2014, compared with 46 percent in 2013.
What does all of this mean for your social media strategy? That question requires a deeper look at what these sites have in store.

Facebook

An effort to define the near future of Facebook advertising would undoubtedly lead you to video. Asreported late last year, Facebook is poised to challenge YouTube through partnerships with organizations like The National Football League.
While plans are still fuzzy – Facebook's premium video product was introduced less than a year ago – the company's director of product for video, news feeds, and mobile has said she'll be making it easier for brands to buy and measure their video buys. Facebook's acquisition of video ad seller LiveRail last year also stands to improve its video offering.

Twitter

As ClickZ reported earlier this week, Twitter has plans to expand its ads to Twitter apps on publisher sites. While previously Twitter advertisers were limited to Twitter's audience of existing users, this adjustment will allow them to expand their reach beyond the site itself.
Twitter is also expected to introduce a new video ad product that, like Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat, lets users create and edit videos within the platform proper. Both of these add-ons will create new opportunities for brands to engage consumers through the social site. Twitter may have a more limited audience than Facebook, but it still boasts 284 million active monthly users, and its aggressive growth strategy for 2015 bodes well for a user resurgence.

Instagram

As the fastest growing major social network, Instagram has accumulated some 300 million users, making it larger than Twitter. Brands like Mercedes are finding value in working with the site's social influencers, while Victoria's Secret's photo shoot images netted the company an average of 100,000 new followers daily over less than a week.
Instagram has become a go-to for the promotion of major cultural events as well. Sunday night's Golden Globes included an Instagram photo booth that captured photos of the stars behind-the-scenes. Through an interactive program, pre-show viewers were asked to tag their own Instagram photos with questions that celebrities answered on the Golden Globes' Instagram account. In short, this year Instagram will emerge as an integral part of many a marketing campaign – the more innovative, the better.
instagram-goldenglobes

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been expanding from a B2B social site to a content marketing platform since last February, when it opened its publishing platform to select members. To date 100 million LinkedIn users are approved to publish content on the site, but LinkedIn has hinted that it will soon allow everyone to join these early participants and celebrity influencers. Given its status as the leading social network for professionals,publishing on LinkedIn has real appeal. It allows businesses to gain more visibility for thought leadership pieces that demonstrate their knowledge and expertise.
The site's 18-month-old sponsored updates offering is also worth exploring. This approach ensures that your content makes it into your audience's feed, but it can also drive leads, showcase a brand's social good efforts and community involvement, and highlight your employees' industry expertise.

Pinterest

In 2015, Pinterest will graduate from do-it-yourself marketing tool to ad platform worthy of a place within your social networking strategy. On the heels of its beta Promoted Pins program, Pinterest is now offering ads to all U.S. brands. Like sponsored posts on Tumblr, the ads are native in look and feel but labeled as paid content. They are, Pinterest says, capable of producing a "30 percent bump in earned media" over organic pins.
To help brands determine how best to promote themselves on the site, Pinterest is also launching an educational program called Pinstitute. While Pinstitute will be initiation-only to start, the social site hasn't forgotten the little guys: a series of webinars are on the way, also designed to help brands heighten the exposure of their boards and posts.
In the business of social site marketing, many changes lie ahead. With a handle on audiences and ad offerings, though, we're ready for whatever the year brings.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Social Media Will Have 5.4M More Users by 2016

Comparing the user bases of five social networks in the U.S., eMarketer found that Instagram use is growing the fastest, while more and more senior citizens are joining Facebook.
There are nearly 180 million Americans who use social media, and there will be 5.4 million more users by next year, according to data from eMarketer.
The market research firm looked at the number of users on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, comparing the numbers from 2013 through 2015 and predicting those for 2016.
 
socialmediause2Each color represents a year: blue, 2013; red, 2014; orange, 2015; green, 2016.
 

0- to 11-Year-Olds

By next year, there will be 4.9 million social network users younger than 12, a number that will have consistently increased by 300,000 over the previous years. With 3 million users, this demographic is most active on Facebook. eMarketer predicts that number to increase incrementally, though the youngest Americans' presence on Pinterest and Tumblr will stagnate.

12- to 17-Year-Olds

Like those of their younger counterparts, the 21.1 million teenagers on social media's habits won't change much. Younger Millennials have become significantly more interested in Pinterest and Instagram over the last two years. From 2013 to 2016, the number of 12- to 17-year-olds on Instagram will have nearly doubled; on Pinterest, nearly quintupled. 

18- to 24-Year-Olds

There are 28.3 million people using social networks, and 18- to 24-year-olds make up more than 15 percent of the user share. With 11.7 million users, this group is the most active demographic on Twitter. Next year, they'll be even more so, with an additional 600,000 members. The 18-to24-year-old age bracket will also likely increase its Instagram membership by nearly 1 million.

25- to 34-Year-Olds

The older Millennials are the most active social networkers, with the highest usage on every platform other than Twitter. However, next year, 25- to 34-year-olds will catch up and match the 18- to 24-year-old demographic's expected 12.3 million user base. That growth has nothing on Instagram, though. The fastest-growing demographic using the picture-sharing platform, 25- to 34-year-olds' Instagram use has increased 150 percent since 2013.

25to34yosocialstats2


 

35- to 44-Year-Olds

Other than Facebook, which counts more than 25 million Generation Xers as members, this age group is most active on Pinterest, with 21 percent of the user share. Across the board, eMarketer believes 25- to 34-year-olds will increase their presence on social platforms by about 400,000 users. The biggest jump will be on Twitter, which by next year, should increase from 8.7 million to 9.5 million users.

45- to 54-Year-Olds

There are currently 26.4 million 45- to 54-year-olds on social networks. Their presence is slightly less than that of 35- to 44-year-olds, though their use of all five platforms will increase at about the same rate.

55- to 64-Year-Olds

Less than 5 million people aged 55 to 64 use Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and not even 1.5 million use Tumblr. This age group, which consists of nearly 20 million users, is most active on Facebook. There are currently 17.1 million 55- to 64-year-olds on Facebook; next year, there will be 17.8 million.

65-Year-Olds and Older

Senior citizens are the biggest group of adopters on social networks. By 2016, this age group's number of users will have almost doubled since 2013. Seniors generally aren't big on Instagramming and tumbling, though they're tweeting and pinning at increased rates. With 10.6 million users expected to grow to 12.2 million, Facebook is the preferred network for this demographic.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Winning the Battle Between Bricks and Clicks

By forgetting the "line" between online and offline (O2O) channels, retailers can grow conversions, build loyalty, and step into an omnichannel world.
Contrary to what many 2014 marketing headlines might have led you to believe, online is not the enemy of offline: both channels are absolutely complementary, and I’d say that customers seldom think about the difference. 

As channel convergence comes to the fore in 2015, it’s time for marketers to stop focusing on the divisions between channels and devices, to put aside the latest hype, and instead focus on putting their customers back at the center of marketing strategy. And channel convergence is accelerating indeed: In 2012, 14 percent of in-store purchases were influenced by the Web, and 36 percent in 2013; the Web’s influence on purchases has also increased significantly from 5 to 19 percent in one year, according to The New Digital Divide, Deloitte 2014.  

No one predicted such rapid growth, but there’s no questioning now that the lines between digital and physical retail are blurring more each day. Thanks in part to the high mobile penetration of the region, Asian retailers are leading the world when it comes to omnichannel retail innovation. 

For example, take Homeplus in Korea, which installed virtual grocery points in several train stations to allow customers to shop via cell phone on the train platform and have goods delivered to their homes. 

 

It goes the other way as well, with previously pure-play online companies investing in a physical presence, many adopting the "pop-up" concept to move into the high street. 

Late last year, Southeast Asia’s leading online fashion store Zalora opened up its first physical presence with a pop-up store on Singapore’s popular shopping street, Orchard Road. Besides offering their customers an opportunity to preview the latest collections from the various fashion labels, the pop-up store also featured a parcel collection point and a dedicated returns station. These obvious benefits of the physical location are combined with digital convenience to complete and complement the overall shopping experience on Zalora. 

These are just two of myriad examples of how Asian retailers are crossing channel barriers to delight their customers in new and exciting ways. But as multichannel goes mainstream, dazzling new shopping options won’t be enough to hold customers’ loyalty, especially when the next offer is only a click away. 

In order to truly win, retailers must not only offer new shopping and convenience solutions, but also deliver the goods and services that each consumer wants in the very instant and on the channel that meets each customer’s needs. A 2014 consumer survey commissioned by Sociomantic and conducted by Research Now, showed that more than two-thirds of the 1,000 respondents claimed to use several devices (desktop, mobile, or tablet) before finalizing online purchases, increasing and distributing their total number of digital touch points with the brand before conversion. 

And lest we not forget the tremendous opportunity of leveraging in/near-store mobile technologies, the Deloitte study also showed that 84 percent of visitors to a store use smartphones before or even during purchase. In light of all this, the key challenge for marketers is to reconnect online and offline data to benefit from a 360-degree view of customer behavior. 

Data has always been the key to effective customer relationships for retailers. Long before the Big Data Bang, customer loyalty cards and discount coupons already allowed retailers to record and measure transactional data tied to specific shoppers and to use that data to improve the shopping experience for those customers. 

Digital and mobile technologies now allow retailers to go even further in identifying, predicting, and satisfying the needs and desires of customers on an individual level. Multichannel message personalization is a great first step in building lasting customer relationships. 

Today, programmatic display can already go a long way to help achieve this mission in digital, and with new programmatic channels and inventory types scheduled to go programmatic in 2015, I believe we will see only more touch points personalized, more marketing narratives linked across devices, and most importantly more happy customers created as a result of real-time personalization. 

In the not-so-distant future — indeed, in the early part of this year — we will see the most aggressively customer-centric retailers utilizing cross-channel, individually personalized marketing that combines the following aspects to reach customers with real-time relevance. 

These ads will not only target the right inventory, but also deliver the right message (including products, pricing, and promotions) and appear at just the right moment. The right product in this case is not just the hot new thing, but rather the offer that has the highest probability of interest to the customer, based on analysis of both previously purchased products, especially those that need regular renewals, such as cosmetics, or benefit from additional accessories, like electronics. 

The right price should entail offering the right promotions to the right persons based on previous basket sizes or promotions used. The right frequency and timing should be based on measures such as previous purchase and the degree of loyalty of each customer behavior. Retailers are now cornered: their customers expect to live a truly personalized shopping experience. 

The bottom line in all of this is that customers don’t think in channels — only in terms of shopping experience. So it’s time for retailers to forget the "lines" and adapt their strategies to offer consumers a truly cross-channel, personally customized experience.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Shopaholics Have Discovered Apps

Consumers were hungry for mobile apps last year. According to Flurry data released earlier this month, overall app usage—which involves a user launching and actually using an app—grew by 76% year over year in 2014.
 
Retail was the star of the show last year. Lifestyle and shopping mobile app usage soared 174% on iOS (where the “lifestyle” category includes more than shopping) and Android. On Android alone, sessions in shopping apps more than tripled, with a 220% gain. Flurry found that mobile app shopping (tracked on Android devices in the US only) was highest around 9am and noon, mostly done outside of the household. Activity during the afternoon was slower, but usage spiked again to its highest level at 8pm, with most of this taking place at home. Despite the increase in time spent, though, there’s a bigger likelihood that those shoppers were browsing—not buying. According to October 2014 research by Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), among the 40% of US internet users who had a shopping app on their mobile phone or tablet, fewer than 40% used such apps to make purchases. But this doesn’t mean the remaining 61% weren’t buying—chances are, if they found something they liked, they headed to the store to finalize the purchase. 

The global mobile app audience is expected to pass 2 billion this year, according to September 2014 estimates from 451 Research. The research firm predicted that the number of active mobile app users worldwide would rise from 1.81 billion to 2.17 billion between 2014 and 2015. By 2018, it expected this total to pass 3 billion. 

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Who is using programmatic?

Undertone has revealed the results of canvassing the views of 750 advertisers on programmatic…


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

What Does 'Premium Inventory' Mean in Mobile Display Advertising?

eMarketer asked a panel of supply- and demand-side ad experts to explain the difference among mobile inventory that is premium, mid-tier or bottom tier. The following excerpts from conversations with a selection of executives from different corners of the ad market illustrate the fluid state of premium inventory in mobile. The excerpts also highlight the leading factors that drive advertisers to pay premium prices for mobile display inventory. Some of the factors are a mirror image of those shaping the perception—and value—of desktop inventory. Others, such as location targeting, are unique to mobile.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

AaramShop's App - a variation on market places.

AaramShop's mobile app brings a new perspective to market place apps. The app is unique in its approach in enabling consumers to select their preferred retailer in their neighborhood and then shop with that retailer.

The app upgrades thousands of neighborhood grocers via mobile apps and bring them on mobile devices of consumers along with their inventories and offers, enabling consumers to discover and then shop.

The app is currently available only for android devices and iOS app is expected over the next few weeks. 

Download the app from here.

Offline Personalization Matters Just as Much

Marketers who personalize offline most likely to see lift in conversions 

There’s been plenty of talk about personalizing online communications, such as email, but recent research suggests it’s equally important to tailor offline customer experiences as well.
 

According to September 2014 research by Econsultancy in association with RedEye, 95% client-side marketers worldwide who had implemented personalization via offline channels had seen an uplift in conversion rates. This was more than any digital channel studied, and led email—the most popular personalization channel—by 5 percentage points. Among digital channels, websites and search engine marketing (SEM) were most likely to have seen lifts in conversion due to personalization, with the latter tops across all channels for driving “major” uplift. However, those polled weren’t exactly focusing on the most successful channels. Just 23% of client-side marketers worldwide personalized offline channels, compared with 88% who used email personalization and 44% who did so for websites. Agency professionals were even less likely to tailor offline efforts, at just 17%. One-fifth of respondents personalized SEM—the second-lowest response for both marketers and agencies. 

Econsultancy’s findings are another reminder of the need for retailers to provide an omnichannel experience. While digital and mobile are no doubt part of the purchase path, most final buying decisions still happen in-store. Retailers who can tie all of the data collected on a customer stand a better chance at closing the deal. But many face a long road ahead in doing this. In a study by Retail Systems Research for SPS Commerce, released in September 2014, just 5% of US companies believed they had made advanced progress in executing an omnichannel strategy, compared with 37% who said they were lagging. 

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Marketers Zero In on the Multiplatform Consumer

Advertisers look to data to improve personalization and consumer relationship

Most UK consumers are moving beyond “always-on” to a more complex state involving multiple media devices, often used simultaneously. This multiplatform behavior makes it harder than ever for advertisers to keep track of their audiences.


Following and responding to consumers now embraces all kinds of initiatives, including general gathering and analysis of customer data, customer relationship management (CRM), mobile apps, loyalty schemes and location-based marketing. In many cases, these efforts are not integrated; in 2015, advertisers will make significant progress in tying them together, according to a new eMarketer report, “UK Key Trends for 2015: Consumer-Focused Technologies Shift Up a Gear.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fraud, Brand Safety Take Center Stage Among Ad Buyers

From the looks of it, ad fraud, viewability and brand safety may turn out to be big digital ad buzz phrases this year. In a November 2014 study by Integral Ad Science, these emerged as the three most important aspects of media quality among US digital media buyers. One-third of respondents in this group ranked ad fraud as No. 1, while brand safety accounted for 26% of responses and view-ability over one-fifth.
The problem, though, was that suppliers didn’t completely agree. While ad fraud came in as the most important aspect of media quality here, too, transparency—the second-to-last response among buyers—landed in second, pushing brand safety to third and viewability to fourth, cited by 18% and 15%, respectively. Integral also found a big difference between buyers’ and sellers’ feelings toward viewability—just 22% of buyers said the Media Rating Council’s standard for display viewability was strict enough, compared with 61% of suppliers.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Retailers Remain Key Part of Kimberly-Clark’s Brand-Building Programs

Kimberly-Clark has continued to get kudos for its shopper-marketing efforts and campaigns. The company has made it clear from the very top that this activity is a priority for the giant maker of CPG paper products ranging from Kleenex to Huggies.

The company established a shopper-marketing organization just five years ago. Earlier in 2014, for example, it tied Unilever for No. 1 in shopper marketing in The Hub magazine’s Hub Top 20 an annual survey of excellence in shopper marketing. At the same time, top Kimberly-Clark executive Anthony Palmer, president of global brands and innovation, has been saying that shopper marketing is one of the key components of his plan to build ten $1-billion-dollar brands in the company’s top three consumer categories.

“It’s about being able to marry what brands are looking for with what [retailer] customers are looking for and to find that sweet spot at retail and for the brand,” Anne Jones, vice president of shopper marketing for Kimberly-Clark, told CPGmatters. “It also reflects how we integrate back into our brand-planning process. Organizationally, shopper marketing is very integrated into brand planning, and that shows through in the work that we do.”

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bold Predictions for Grocery Products and Shopping in 2015

Lempert's top food trends for 2015 include:

1.  Grazing Golden-Agers: Ninety-one percent of people say they snack daily, according to Nielsen, the market researcher. While snacking is on the rise among all ages and genders, new studies show that snacking among consumers over the age of 65 could contribute to additional years with a higher quality of life. We'll see more boomers – those raised in the "three square meals a day" era – employ a "grazing" approach to eating next year.
  
When boomers snack, they'll focus on foods rich in nutrients like protein, fiber and Omega3s that can help promote bone health. Other popular snack choices include plant-based proteins and whole grains, like DAVID Sunflowers Seeds and Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Naturals made with 100% whole grain popcorn.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mondelēz Leverages Personalized Video To Boost Cadbury Chocolate

Emotional connection based on personalized video is the focus of multichannel campaigns for Cadbury Chocolate from  Mondelēz International. The program expands the mix of customer engagement paths by allowing the brand to build personalized video campaigns based on a customer’s own social data – that is, a Facebook profile – so campaigns are more personal, engaging and emotional.

“We are giving a boost to our approach to product innovation. We believe that personalization can enhance the overall product experience – particularly in gifting,” said Josep Hernandez, Senior Director Global Communications Planning and Media, Mondelēz International. “We got so much more than we expected – Facebook gives us an unprecedented pool of assets to enhance the connection between consumers.”

The Facebook campaign, managed by Idomoo Social, generated social engagement and brand affinity, delivering 65% click-through and 33.6% conversion. The success of two campaigns in India and Australia has prompted Cadbury to expand the use of personalized videos to markets worldwide.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Yahoo Pushes Further Into Mobile With Self-Service Platform

Yahoo
Yahoo will combine its mobile analytics platform Flurry and mobile ad buying platform Gemini next month, a move industry participants say could possibly give the company a competitive edge over Facebook and Google.
With its latest move into the mobile space, Yahoo is inching one step closer toward its goal of becoming a "mobile-first" company. Next month, the tech giant will introduce a self-service platform that will allow advertisers to place ads on apps across the Flurry publisher network, according to reports.
To do this, Yahoo will reportedly combine Flurry, the mobile analytics platform it acquired in July 2014, and Gemini, its mobile marketplace that was introduced last February.
As of press time, Yahoo has not yet confirmed this move with ClickZ. But if it's true, Yahoo will be able to create a marketplace at scale in the mobile space, say industry professionals.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tomorrow's Technology Is Here Today

shutterstock-188616890-mobile-iot
Mobile phone applications are opening new gateways to the Internet of Things and marketers can seize this opportunity by offering strong mobile customer experiences.
Over the holiday season in the U.S., mobile devices drove almost half of all online traffic. Within the mobile growth story, the main player has been the mobile app. 
More than 86 percent of the average mobile consumer’s time is spent using applications. This trend is increasing at the expense of the mobile browser. So, people are using their mobile devices, and although it wasn’t long ago that people thought mobile apps were going to be a thing of the past, apps are actually leading the way. 

A great deal of this application use is through household names like Google and Facebook, but there are other apps that are great for everyday use that haven’t reached mass adoption, and untold new ones in development.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How Long Does It Take to Plan Facebook, Twitter Content?

Marketers look at past performance and monitor activity to determine best content 

eMarketer estimates that this year, nearly 85% of US companies with 100 or more employees will use Facebook for marketing purposes, and just under two-thirds will use Twitter. Those using one or both of the platforms to distribute content lay out their plans very differently, based on October 2014 research by Percolate.
 

US marketing execs were most likely to say their companies created Twitter content on the same day. More than one-fifth of respondents cited this frequency. However, the second most common prep time fell on the other end of the spectrum: 16% planned Twitter content a month or more in advance. This group may be planning content for the social site as part of an overall, long-term campaign, instead of treating it as an on-the-fly marketing activity. And interestingly, the percentage of those who planned their tweets just one day ahead dropped to 7%—the smallest group. Facebook was less real time. There, marketing execs were most likely to plan content for the social platform a month or more in advance (25% of respondents). 

Prepping Facebook content between two and five days ahead of time ranked second, at 17%, and just like with Twitter, respondents were least likely to plan just one day before, cited by 9%. Content marketing goes beyond social and short-form content such as tweets and status updates, used by 43% of survey respondents, and includes everything from e-newsletters (57%) and images (49%) to presentations (39%), blog posts (34%) and long-form videos (34%). Marketers must cut through the clutter and figure out what content to use for their audiences. Percolate found that they were most likely to do this by looking at performance data of past content and campaigns as well as actively monitoring general activity on social channels, each cited by 31%. 

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