Brand Marketing

Is Your Brand Marketing Effectively Reaching Consumers?

As modern technology gets more and more sophisticated and permeates even further into every facet of modern life, brands and businesses are trying to understand exactly how this technology is impacting and changing the way consumers interact with them and their products, and how technology is affecting the way consumers make purchases.

A new report from Coversant, Epsilon and Loyalty One shows that there is a definite shift in how customers shop and engage with brands in previous years compared to now. In fact, if you aren’t willing to adapt to meet the high expectations consumers now have, you run the risk of getting left behind. The report showed that almost two thirds (65%) of consumers feel that companies are sending them too many irrelevant, impersonal communications.

One of the biggest ways to create a connection with your target audience is to focus on providing them with personalised communications that make them feel uniquely valued by your business. According The 2017 “Holiday Retail Outlook Report,” 87% of millennials are very likely to shop at a retailer, if that retailer provides personalised offers. That is a staggering percentage of millennials, and it is one that is only likely to increase across all age groups as time goes by.

There is also a generational divide that affects what individuals are looking for from their shopping experience. Millennials are concerned with factors such as price and value, but also place an emphasis on the functional and emotional aspects of the shopping experience. Baby boomers, meanwhile, care more about product quality and reliability, as well as price and value. Comparatively, top influencers on Gen X shoppers include the speed of checkout and ratings and reviews.

According to Elliott Clayton, vice president of media UK at Conversant: “Consumers expect a lot more from brands today. They certainly do not want to be inundated with mass, irrelevant communications and it is only by focusing on true personalised communications that brands will be able to build a mutually beneficial relationship with consumers.”

Interestingly, whilst there is a huge emphasis on buying online, it hasn’t completely erased the consumer’s desire for businesses to have a bricks-and-mortar presence. While 80% of consumers now buy online and have gifts delivered, over half of consumers prefer to buy products online and pick them up in store. Additionally, 51% of consumers like to browse and purchase items in store while reading product reviews online. This shows that consumers across the board are looking for an integrated shopping experience that combines all the benefits of online and in store purchasing.

Clayton went on to say that although “most consumers are buying online, the purchasing process is still operating across multiple channels. Retailers and brands need to have an ongoing one-to-one conversation with consumers across all consumer devices, including offline. Using data is key for brands to stop just serving up the same ads and instead have tailored messages to reach consumers on an individual level across all channels.”


Whilst the idea of using influencers is hardly new or innovative – it goes hand in hand with the principle of marketing your business via good word of mouth – it is certainly something that has hit the zeitgeist in a big way in 2017.

Is Influencer Marketing Just a B2C phenomenon?

Whilst the idea of using influencers is hardly new or innovative – it goes hand in hand with the principle of marketing your business via good word of mouth – it is certainly something that has hit the zeitgeist in a big way in 2017.

You can barely glance through any well-known person’s social media accounts without catching them singing the praises of the latest purchase they’ve made, perhaps along with a handy link for any of their followers who want to make the same purchase. When done well, it’s a great way for you to reach a huge target market by only having to interact directly with one person and their team.

While influencer marketing has readily apparent benefits for a B2C company, for many, the question still remains: can influencer marketing have a valued position in a B2B company’s marketing strategy?

We think it can, but the issue is a lot less clear for B2B companies than it is for their B2C counterparts, where marketing strategy tends to be a simpler affair. So, here are some of the basics you need to consider if you want to start developing influencer marketing strategies for your company.

Work on your brand story

Before even thinking about trying to find influencers you need to make sure your brand story and message is airtight and well defined. Make sure you have the story of your brand down, and that you are not only considering how this story is relevant to your target audience, but that this content is built with your influencers in mind.

Know your audience

It is important to know exactly who your target buyers are. You need to ascertain who the decision makers are in your target businesses who will have the final say in whether or not to buy what it is you are selling. Finding out who this target audience is will then allow you find out where this audience goes for information.

Find their influencers

Finding out who your target audience uses as trusted third party sources of information will allow you to pinpoint with greater accuracy who the most effective influencer will be to reach them.

Look for people who are experts on topics that relate directly to your business. Find out who your target audience follows on their social media channels – particularly LinkedIn – and follow them as well. Make a point to search regularly through twitter and follow people relevant to your product / business. Engage with these people on their social media and see if they have blogs you can interact with in a meaningful way.

Don’t just look for the mega popular people with the most followers either, and try to focus on people who have more actionable than vanity metrics. When finding influencers for your B2B company, a deft hand is better than broad strokes. It is better to look for highly niche focused influencers who offer opinions on specific issues that you know you can trust than a broad strokes person with a large audience but small credibility


Do You Know How Much Digital Downtime Could Be Costing Your Business?

Do You Know How Much Digital Downtime Could Be Costing Your Business?

We’ve all experienced that moment of frustration; loaded up a website to read a breaking news story, to buy something you’ve been saving up for, only to be greeted with an error message. The website is down. You may refresh the page a few times to see if it fixes itself, then you might plan to check back on the website in a few hours. But in reality, you probably won’t.

As the consumer in this situation, it’s annoying. As the business, that period of time where your website has crashed and people can’t access it could prove not only to be costly, but to damage your reputation as well.

This is the case according to new research published by Wirehive.  The report, titled ‘The Marketing Cost of Downtime,’ surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and found that a whopping 45% had been shut out of a website they were visiting to buy something during the week before they were polled. Almost 10% of those polled said they had suffered a failed online journey between six and ten times within the same period, while 55% reported difficulty in reaching a site to check a product or service out.

Wirehive’s report also revealed that digital downtime is costing companies more than just money. Of those surveyed, over two thirds (68%) agreed that their opinion of a brand would be negatively affected by downtime on its website. Additionally, 57% agreed that they might be put off buying from a brand in the future because of downtime, showing how seriously consumers take being inconvenienced.

This is a problem Wirehive believe is endemic on the internet. In ‘The Marketing Cost of Downtime,’ Wirehive state that a shocking 95% of websites are not currently fit for purpose, with digital assets on platforms with an “unacceptably high level of risk.”

Wirehive calls for marketers to take notice of the damaging implications poor web hosting has for a brand’s reputation. It is noted that there needs to be more integration between marketing and IT departments, as marketers are consistently more conscious of brand reputation than their IT counterparts.  According to publisher ClickZ, 88% of IT respondents view their company infrastructure as cutting edge, compared to just 61% of marketing respondents.

In closing the report, Wirehive director Kevin MacDonald states that “Consumers, and to an extent marketers, take domain hosting for granted. This report has highlighted how a broken online journey can ruin your brand’s reputation and, worse, dent your sales. It has also attempted to quantify the cost of being offline, which makes grim reading.”

MacDonald goes on to advise; “We’re on a mission to make understanding the intricacies of hosting, and finding the right solution for your business, a marketing industry standard. Get it right and your customers will have a satisfying experience while your organisation saves money and face. In a digital world, this should be front of mind for all brand guardians. It’s time to change the way you think about website hosting.”


Is SMS marketing an untapped goldmine?

Is SMS marketing an untapped goldmine?

You may be of the opinion that SMS marketing is a vestige of a bygone era, being taken over by more advanced forms of mobile marketing as more and more of the general population take to using smartphones. According to a new white paper published by leading UK SMS marketing platform Textlocal, however, you’d be wrong, very wrong in fact.

The white paper, titled ‘The State of SMS,’ takes a look at mobile marketing in a society which, according to the latest estimates from Ofcom, has a massive 91% mobile usage among UK adults, with 71% smartphone usage.

Time and again throughout the white paper, the statistics show that SMS marketing is the fastest growing marketing channel in the UK, with a huge amount of potential for businesses. At the end of 2016, 37.2 million consumers had opted in to receive business SMS, with this figure expected to rise to a staggering 48.7 million by the year 2020.

Not only is SMS marketing the UK’s fastest growing channel, it is also one of the most effective. According to the white paper, of the 7 billion business texts that will be sent this year, an average of 98% of mobile users will read the text, while 90% of those 7 billion will be read within the first three minutes of being sent.

SMS marketing has also been found to outperform mobile marketing – such as mobile search advertising & video bumpers and banner ads – in many different categories. For example, SMS has an 8% response rate for taking the action of going in-store to make a purchase, double mobile advertising’s 4%.

Furthermore, of the 37.1 million people who receive business SMS, the response rate revealed by ‘The State of SMS’ is 23.5 million, a proportionately huge number. Compared to the peak email response rate of 23% across all industries, the fact that the white paper lists the average response rate for a bulk SMS campaign as 32% shows just how effective SMS marketing can be, preferred ahead of even Facebook, Twitter and app push notifications.

But it seems that businesses aren’t yet taking advantage of all SMS marketing has to offer, as, across all researched sectors, businesses will only operate the SMS channel at 38% capacity, which means they will fail to reach more than half the consumers who are willing to receive business SMS.

However, according to Jason Palgrave-Jones, Marketing Director of Textlocal, this could all change in the shape of an increasingly “mobile-first” society, with SMS taking its rightful place among other marketing channels. “My point is; there’s a change in emphasis and businesses are starting to take note of text messaging. Of course, like any other marketing channel, SMS requires a certain level of thought.” Palgrave-Jones states; “But the underlining fact remains; SMS is here and will continue to grow in 2017.” So it is up to businesses themselves to realise all the potential that SMS marketing represents in the years to come.


Advertising the Arts (pt. 2)

If you have been following this blog, then you may know that in my last post I was writing about an experience I had with an international production between Mexico and the UK, in which I participated as both a playwright and a producer. This is the second part of that story and it will also serve me to sum up my own conclusions on how to effectively market your performance.

The last time I was talking about this subject, I summed up some of the strategies we used to advertise our play, i.e. setting a webpage, producing a video, approaching the embassies and other international organisms. After this we organized a party at a well-known venue in London. You may want to consider this for you own show, but I would recommend that you do it as close to the opening as possible, as in our experience, not many people from the party showed up to the play, only because it was done in July when the opening was not until November.

We finally went to an Advertising Agency that set up the final stages of the marketing process. Byron Read, head of this agency, pointed out the many mistakes we were making in our marketing strategies. I can safely say that most of the conclusions that I will now sum up in this blog, I draw from them.

 

  1. Social Media in the Arts: First of all, we were not doing as many posts on our social media as we were supposed to. When you are advertising your play using social media it is of the outmost importance that you make daily posts about anything, a picture, a blog post, a twitter, whatever you can think of, just put is out there using your Social media accounts. Be controversial and it doesn’t even matter if your post is related to your play. Remember that social media is all about interconnecting and interestingly enough the arts are about exactly the same. I’ve known no one in Theatre who has made it without the help of others. So, share other people’s content in your own media and they will do the same for you.
  2. How to Attract the Press: This is one of the most difficult tasks when it comes to marketing the arts, especially in London. There is just so much to see in this city that putting another play in the market is like putting yet another needle on the haystack. So, what this London Advertising Agency taught us, is that the only way to do it is by calling them and letting them know you are out there. Since there is so much to see then you want to call as many bloggers, newspapers, magazines, and critics as possible, chances are not many of them will come but if you have enough in your lists then your chances are immediately enhanced. Reviews are of the essence!!
  3. Free theatre in exchange for reviews: If you are seeing that your audiences numbers are not going too well, you may want to try some websites that offer free tickets to their members in exchange for reviews. The Audience club and Play by Play are two attractive options for this purpose; they require from the members to write reviews from the plays they’ve seen in order to get the tickets; this is a useful strategy if you are looking to stack up the house over a day when there’s not many people. We used it on a Tuesday, since it was our weakest day, and it worked wonders!
  4. Arts throughout the time: What we ultimately learned is that, the more time you have doing your show, the more audiences you will ultimately get when you arrive to the big city. Do readings of the play, perform it in cheaper venues outside the city, get early reviews, and so on. The name of the game is BE OUT THERE, as much as you can.

So, these are my conclusions about advertising the arts. Of course, there is so much more to say but I think this sums it up. I hope this is helpful to you, I wish you the best of luck with your show and remember to invite me!


marketing

The Incredible Success Story: Coca-Cola Marketing

Originating as a soda fountain beverage, Coca-Cola began selling for five cents a glass in 1886. Sales growth was very impressive and that was just the beginning of their creative marketing brand. When the business first started, do you believe they ever thought that the Coca-Cola Company would be one of the largest companies still in 2016? I bet they only dreamt of that happening.

What Makes Their Marketing So Good?

Coke, Coca-Cola, Cola, whatever you normally call it, the brand has fascinated all of its consumers throughout the world. Coke has developed to be one of the most popular and most recognized brands of all time. Since the beginning of the company, Coke has maintained competition, along with developing unique strategies to constantly raise the interest of consumers. Positive advertising has always been the goal of their campaigns. Have a Coke and a smile, Open Happiness, or Life tastes good are past promotions that you can find. Upbeat communication has built their identity and personality into a positive image. According to marketers, Coca-Cola’s strategic marketing methods would be viewed as the center foundation of the modern day marketing. Some of the clever and creative slogans that Coca-Cola has marketed throughout the years include:

 

  1. It Had to Be Good to Get Where It Is
    • This advertisement reassures us all that Coke is the soda to choose! Coke is a product that is known throughout the world and clearly is delicious enough to have won over the hearts (and taste buds!) of so many individuals.
  2. What You Want is a Coke
    • No need to fight against this statement! We couldn’t of said it better ourselves!
  3. Have a Coke and a Smile
    • How uplifting is this campaign message! It reminds us to never stop smiling and love every second of life! Brands that put happy thoughts into our minds tend to have happy consumers! Happy consumers will keep coming back for this positive brand!

 

Nowadays, Coca-Cola has the opportunity to market its brand through Internet based marketing and mass media. Marketing trends show that Coca-Cola has always followed consumer patterns in the most positive ways. The brand has maintained a certain level of positive customer satisfaction that continues to contribute to its successful company. They are constantly seeking innovative ways to drive the business forward and connect and respond to the people who love their brand.