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  • McKinsey Insights: 'Digitizing the consumer decision journey'

    McKinsey principals Edwin van Bommel , David Edelman , and Kelly Ungerman are trying to help executives aiming for "marketing perfection" in the digital age. The first step toward perfection is understanding consumer behavior in today's marketplace. Not an east task, since consumer behavior is, as Edelman discusses in this video, changing: So what can companies do? They can work on "managing the consumer decision journey" in the following ways: •Discover. Many of the executives we’ve spoken with admit they are still more facile with data capture than data crunching. Companies must apply advanced analytics to the large amount of structured and unstructured data at their disposal to gain a 360-degree view of their customers. Their engagement strategies should be based on an empirical analysis of customers’ recent behaviors and past experiences with the company, as well as the signals embedded in customers’ mobile or social-media data. •Design. Consumers now have much more control over where they will focus their attention, so companies need to craft a compelling customer experience in which all interactions are expressly tailored to a customer’s stage in his or her decision journey. •Deliver. “Always on” marketing programs, in which companies engage with customers in exactly the right way at any contact point along the journey, require agile teams of experts in analytics and information technologies, marketing, and experience design. These cross-functional teams need strong collaborative and communication skills and a relentless commitment to iterative testing, learning, and scaling—at a pace that many companies may find challenging. Read the full article here .
  • Customer Centricity and the Economics of Loyalty Programs

    It is hard not to raise an eyebrow when someone names the airlines as an example of an industry ahead of its time in being customer-centric. But Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader does just that, pointing to airline loyalty programs as innovative and progressive. The only problem: the programs are a little outdated, he says. And so he credits Delta Airlines for shifting the focus from miles to dollars spent. It sounds to us like customer centricity is mostly about treating different customers differently. Now, with all the data about individuals so easy to access, companies can tailor customer engagement to specific customers based on preferences, or based on spending habits (in other words, spend more energy pleasing those customers who are likely to spend more money). In this interview with Knowledge @ Wharton 's Steve Sherretta , Fader uses the airline industry to explain how customer centricity should work and why it is a good thing for businesses and customers: )
  • The Week: 'A Brief History of Black Friday'

    While yesterday was about gratitude and consumption (of a lot of food), today seems to be all about consumption. Next week we'll be poring over data about consumer spending and some among us will be making bold projections about the overall health of the U.S. economy. But now everybody is out shopping (if the marketers are to be fully trusted). Wonder how we got to the frenzied Black Friday spirit we have now? Catherine Garcia has a short history of the day (we hesitate to refer to it as a holiday) in The Week : The day after Thanksgiving has long been considered the start of the holiday shopping season, which is why since 1924, Santa Claus has been a huge part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nothing can nudgingly remind you about all the presents left to buy for Christmas like Santa and the Macy's logo all over your television! In fact, the weekend following Thanksgiving has marked the start of the holiday shopping rush for Americans since the 19th century. New York City's big department stores embraced the idea as a marketing gimmick in the early 20th century, staging events, releasing Christmas ads, and hosting parades, most notably Macy's annual blowout, which debuted in 1924. The post-feast shopping frenzy quickly became so important to merchants that in 1939 they appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to extend the buying period by moving up Thanksgiving. Roosevelt obligingly issued a presidential proclamation changing Thanksgiving to a week earlier, angering those who had already made travel plans and causing some to refer to the day as Franksgiving. You can read all about this debacle here. In the '50s, people running factories started referring to the day after Thanksgiving as "Black Friday" because so many employees failed to show up for work. In the early '60s, Philadelphia police started using the term to refer to the onslaught of jaywalking shoppers who converged on the city's downtown. By the '70s, the name was more widely used to connote the kick-off of holiday shopping, but still bore negative connotations. It only took on a positive ring in the '80s, when some shop owners pointed out that the profitable post-Thanksgiving rush put "black ink" on their balance sheets for the first time all year. Read the full article here .
  • Marketing Profs: The 'Super Powers' of Top Social Media Marketers

    We have not seen any strong figures, but it sure seems that marketer has to be among the fastest growing jobs of this century. The anecdotal evidence is in your email inbox every morning, maybe every hour. This suggests that the market will place a premium on those marketers who truly understand how to win the signal-to-noise challenge and really hold our attention and drive us to action. Marketing Profs has put together an infographic highlighting the traits of a marketing superhero. We think it strikes a bit of an optimistic tone in parts, but it is a good conversation starter on what sort of economic impact social media marketing can have, and what approaches will spark productive business-to-consumer interaction. Take a look: (Full size infographic is at Marketing Profs, here )
  • How to Make a Love Connection Between Brands and Consumers

    We humans tend to fall in love pretty easily. But it takes some work to get the objects of our affection to fall in love with us. The same is true for brands. Marketers really, really, really want us to love their products. Because then they know we'll be there (with our credit cards) when they need us. Researchers at USC''s Marshall School of Business recently published a study of consumer relationships with brands in the Journal of Consumer Psychology . Fast Company 's Jennifer Miller does a nice job of summarizing the paper. Here is a key takeaway: the three things that make buyers fall in love: 1. Enticing Self Benefits. Park says that products must entice consumers through the senses. Is it aesthetically pleasing to look at it? Does it sound good, smell good, feel good? 2. Enabling Self Benefits. The product should make people’s lives more comfortable and convenient. "It’s about functional pleasure and letting consumers know what kind of life they can live by using a brand," says Park. 3. Enriching Self Benefits. This is the most important. "The consumer relates to the brand through shared values or principles," says Park. In other words, the message must resonate deeply with the consumer’s sense of self. Park points to Nike’s slogan, "Just Do It" and Apple’s "Think Different." The former is about not making excuses. The latter is about ingenuity and creativity. These are ideals that connect with consumers; they create a psychological bond. Read Researchers Explain How Brands Make You Fall in Love here .
  • Shoppers Looking to Make Deals, Fear Their Purchasing Power is Eroding

    Just because inflation hasn't hit doesn't mean consumers feel like they have purchasing power. A lot of consumers, in fact, may be feeling that their dollars aren't going as far as they should. At Marketing Profs , Ayaz Nanji points us to a recent Parago survey in which 42% of consumers responded that they have lost purchasing power over the last year. To be honest, we're not so sure their sentiment is accurate, but it does seem to have an impact on their decisions. From Parago: With this perception of lost power, consumers are looking for more deals. That makes sense. And they want to receive those deals in the places they hang out. Those places are online: Look at more survey results from Paragon here . And read Ayaz Nanji's summary, at Marketing Profs, here .
  • McKinsey Quarterly: 'On Demand' Marketing

    Living in the age of digital disruption, we are finding it hard to keep up with how the interaction between consumers and businesses--not to mention the interaction between different businesses--is changing. At the McKinsey Quarterly , Peter Dahlström and David Edelman try to prepare us for the very nature of marketing will change over the next few years. They write that the driver for change will be the user, the consumer, and how she engages digitally. The developments pushing marketing experiences even further include the growth of mobile connectivity, better-designed online spaces created with the powerful new HTML5 Web language, the activation of the Internet of Things in many devices through inexpensive communications tags and microtransmitters,1 and advances in handling “big data.” Consumers may soon be able to search by image, voice, and gesture; automatically participate with others by taking pictures or making transactions; and discover new opportunities with devices that augment reality in their field of vision (think Google glasses). As these digital capabilities multiply, consumer demands will rise in four areas: 1. Now: Consumers will want to interact anywhere at any time. 2. Can I: They will want to do truly new things as disparate kinds of information (from financial accounts to data on physical activity) are deployed more effectively in ways that create value for them. 3. For me: They will expect all data stored about them to be targeted precisely to their needs or used to personalize what they experience. 4. Simply: They will expect all interactions to be easy. Dahlström and Edelman provide a nice storyboard to illustrate the way they see marketing working in the near future. Here is an excerpt: View the full visualization, and read the article here .
  • MarketingProfs: Tapping Into Potential of Big Data

    We are living in the age of BIG DATA , though it may still be the dawning of that age. AT MarketingProfs , Verónica Maria Jarski suggests that many global businesses have a communication problem. When different departments are not working hand in hand, the potential benefits of having all this new data are not realized. Jarski presents an infographic to make her point (note: this is focused on marketing and sales departments, but we think there is a larger lesson for organizations here): See the full size graphic here .
  • Coca-Cola CIO Discusses Integrating IT with Marketing

    One often overlooked aspect of digital disruption at large companies is the extent to which various departments have had to engage more with IT. No longer does it make sense to see IT workers as servants to the people who are doing "the real work" to build up an organization. In an interview with McKinsey Quarterly , Coca-Cola CIO Ed Steinke speaks of getting his staff and marketing more integrated. Here is an excerpt: McKinsey : How is the role of IT changing at Coca-Cola, and, with it, your role as CIO? Ed Steinike : IT and marketing are very close partners at Coca-Cola today—more so, I think, than at most other companies—and that’s the way it should be. Coke is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on digital marketing, and that number will, no doubt, continue to rise. Almost all of that spending is IT-related. This development calls for a broader CIO role. It’s not enough to be an operational back-office CIO running the systems. It’s also not enough to be a process CIO reinventing the supply chain and transforming support functions. Important as those two roles are, they need to be complemented by what I call the revenue-generator CIO or business-level CIO. McKinsey : What were the beginnings of the strategic partnership between marketing and IT at Coca-Cola? Ed Steinike : Our marketers started to think more seriously about digital channels five years ago or so. As mobile adoption expanded, they started to build a direct connection with our customers by pushing mobile applications for social-media sites and our loyalty programs, such as My Coke Rewards. Marketing was driving a lot of it through its own advertising and digital agencies while IT, at the time, was struggling to be relevant. We were viewed as a back-office function, not as one of the strategic leaders and partners in our digital-marketing efforts. I believed we should be bringing ideas to marketing instead of marketing coming to us for creative solutions and more often than not getting the answer, “Sorry. We don’t have the people to do these things.” Our first step was simply to offer traditional operating, hosting, and security for the sites and platforms the agencies were building. We did that quite well and now have over 600 consumer sites hosted in one platform environment with great data protection. Read the full interview here .
  • ExactTarget: Super Bowl Miss

    CBS set new records for viewers of the Super Bowl during our de facto national holiday last Sunday. But most of the advertisers who helped make it a great evening for CBS failed to fully realize how consumers are using technology beyond the television to experience big events, says ExactTarget 's Jeffrey Rohrs . Rohrs lists Oreo as a key exception: Sure, the press today is giddy with praise over Oreo's quick-thinking, news-jacking, real-time marketing effort -- a picture of an Oreo in the dark that has been retweeted nearly 15,000 times as of this writing. It has led many to say that "Oreo's Tweet Won the Super Bowl." There's no arguing that what Oreo did was fast, witty, and a helluva lot less expensive than their "Whisper Fight" Super Bowl commercial which was the only ad driving viewers to an Instagram page during the entire game. The real reason Oreo won the #BrandBowl, however, was because both their free and paid efforts sought to build and engage audiences. Their ads weren't just "one & done," they walk away from Super Bowl XLVII with bigger followings on Instagram and Twitter--and those are audiences they can activate long after the Ravens' victory has faded from memory. Rohrs offers some key lessons to other marketers and company leaders here . And ExactTarget's graphics team put together this infographic to drive home the point:
  • Time Spent Using Mobile Apps Rises 35%

    Americans watch a lot of television. But our addiction to our smartphones may be cutting into our quality tube time. According to eMarketer (off of data from Flurry Analytics ) time spent with mobile apps rose 35% over the last year. So mobile apps have leapfrogged time spent on the web. Which suggests that the shift in ad dollars to digital will end up in the mobile space. Even when consumers are spending time on the web, more and more they are using a phone or tablet to do so: Read Time Spent With Mobile Apps Rivals TV here .
  • Paolo Cardini's Call for More Monotasking

    Watching the below Ted Talk from designer Paolo Cardini makes us wonder whether we would be a more productive society if we encouraged less multi-tasking? But then, even if we wanted to, are we too far down the road of distractions and constant high-tech engagement to put Cardini's ideas of "monotasking" into action? Either was, Cardini makes an interesting point about efficiency and focus:
  • Mobile's Growth and Impact on Marketing and Media Use

    With new tablets on the market and smartphones all but taking over the phone market completely in the U.S., Americans' commercial interface of habit is only getting more mobile. So while this year desktop web traffic remains king, it is down to 71.5% of all web traffic and falling. Falling because mobile is rising at incredible levels. Take a look at the time-per-day growth in this chart from eMarketer : Time is not the only way to measure this shift. A growing portion of internet traffic is coming from smartphones and tablets. Net Marketshare put mobile’s share of global browsing traffic at 10.3% in October 2012. This was the first time mobile had topped 10% of all browsing for the web analytics firm, and its advance might even be greater, as the figure “actually underestimates the total amount of browsing share on mobile devices, since [Net Marketshare’s] sample does not contain data on apps, like maps.” In markets such as the US with high indices of smart device penetration, an even greater portion of internet traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Online and mobile ad network Chitika estimated mobile’s share of web traffic in North America at 28% as of June 2012. Read Trends for 2013: Making Mobile-First a Priority here .
  • MarketWatch: "We Ruined Thanksgiving," and Other Things You Won't Hear from Stores About Black Friday

    It seems like we are being pressured to eat our turkey a little faster this year. With Black Friday starting on Thursday many places, it will be interesting to see how effective stores are at getting shoppers to jump from the table and into stores. But we should be a little skeptical about what our favorite retailers are telling us, says AnnaMaria Andriotis . At MarketWatch , Andriotis lists ten things that "stores won't say about Black Friday." The scariest one to us is #10: "We'll try to keep you in the store all day." Shudder. It used to be that shoppers who arrived at stores when they opened on Black Friday would get first dibs on the best deals on electronics, appliances and other in-demand items. That’s no longer guaranteed. A growing number of retailers are introducing a wave of doorbusters that occur every few hours on the big day — and leading up to it. Wal-Mart will kick off its specials on toys, gaming, home and apparel at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, followed by specials on brand name electronics at 10 p.m., and another series of discounts at 5 a.m. on items including TVs, jewelry and tires. And despite opening at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Target will have doorbusters on some electronics, toys and tech gadgets at 4 a.m. the next day. For shoppers, getting the best deals will come down to strategizing, says Bieri. They should consider keeping a list of the items they’re looking for and checking the circulars to see what stores are discounting them and at what time. Retailers say they want to make their stores the go-to destination for Black Friday, and they’d like shoppers to continue coming to the store throughout the day. Stores tend to staff up for Black Friday, paying more employees to man the registers and keep the floors stocked, says Green. But in previous years, many employees have been idle after the early morning rush when traffic would slow down, he says. By rolling out a series of doorbusters, they’re hoping to prevent this scenario. Read the full list here .
  • The Benefits of Handing Over Control to Consumers and Employees

    In the digital age, with the flow of information speeding up all the time, managers of large companies seem to have less control over the behavior of their employees and their customers. This can be rather daunting, but Tim Leberecht , chief marketing officer at frog , says it should not be. As a marketer, he learned long ago that he could not control how consumers thought of products. "Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room," says Leberecht. But thanks to "hyperconnectivity," marketers and brand strategists have "more control over the loss of control than ever before." In this Ted Talk , Leberecht gives advice on how to design for this "loss of control," and benefit in the end.
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