This time of the year brings out a sleigh full of consumer insights based on actual shopping behavior that delight marketers’ understanding of today’s consumer. Noted below are a few stocking stuffers as gleaned from Experian Simmons and Acxiom during the current holiday period:
- Forty-five percent (45%) of holiday season emails are being opened on mobile – up slightly from the just prior to the season.
- Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday saw major increases in both online traffic and email volume. Thanksgiving Day online traffic increased 6% in 2012 versus 2011, and Cyber Monday traffic increased by 11%. Likewise, email volume was up 23% on Thanksgiving and 29% on Cyber Monday.
- Led by Black Friday offers, campaigns with offers in the subject line made up almost 30% of all campaigns sent this past week.
- For the week of 11/17/2012, visits to Cyber Monday websites increased by 259% compared to last year.
- Describing your brand as ‘Best’ in the subject line leads to the highest open and click rates for gift guides.
Forty-two percent (42%) of US adults have purchased gift cards in the past year.
And here is the answer to that annual question “What is this year’s hot item” based on search queries:
- Cyber Monday capped the weekend off with a 30% jump from last year, showing retail peaks at roughly 11:23 a.m. EST.Monday was a great day to use company time to get your shopping done. Good news is, many were not using the company network to tie up traffic as there was a tremendous shift to mobile browsing and more importantly mobile shopping/commerce ( 2X over last year).
- With over 7% of holiday retails sales attributed to some form of tablet purchase, online user experience will be all about touch-based navigation.
- While mobile is shifting online behaviors, consumer adoption of mobile payment services is also rising. PayPal reported a 200% increase in transactions through this past weekend.
What here surprises you?
Public transportation. Riders have a love-hate relationship with it. We’re all big fans when our trip runs smoothly, but how about when it doesn’t?
Enter Designing Chicago, a new platform that connects people to the city. The concept of its first project, titled “New Tools for Public Transit,” was created by George and Sara Aye, founders of the Greater Good Studio in Chicago. Their mission is to solve social problems, starting with one that seems to always have people complaining — public transportation.
The idea is to allow Chicagoans to participate in the creation of a transit mobile app. This app will connect the city’s transportation schedules from one interface and ask urban dwellers to share ideas, express needs or start conversations around city navigation.
Collecting input from Chicagoans, “Urban Scouts” will be sent out in the city to gather as much information as they can about transportation: what people think about it, what they like/dislike, what’s working and what’s not.
This participatory project will gather information from multiple perspectives: young and old, Chicago natives and first time visitors. The data collected will then help craft the app to give people the knowledge they need to navigate Chicago.
The purpose of the app is to alleviate the stress of traveling by making a rider’s trip run as smoothly as possible. The app could have a scan code to pay on your phone, an alarm to alert you before your stop and even a locator for bike parking, car sharing or taxis.
Weather recaps, money tracking, gas saving – these are just a few of the ideas Designing Chicago has come up with, and more from the public are flooding in. For the mobile world, this concept of getting consumers involved in the process of creating an app seems like a great idea.
Why not let the future users of the app contribute to what goes into it? This approach gets everyone excited because people enjoy feeling like they are a part of something. The users of the app will be able to follow its creation and contribute ideas along the way.
Will this attempt to create the ultimate transportation app be a success? Currently in the research and development phase, it is still too early to tell. Whether or not this app is built and released, the idea alone is one that has stirred interesting conversation. Could this be an approach that companies may see fit? If social media is more heavily integrated with this type of crowd-centric project, a much wider audience could be reached.
The fast food giant that introduced the world to triple thick milkshakes, McGriddles and the infamous Big Mac, may have finally outdone itself. McDonald’s will open doors to its largest restaurant ever built for this summer’s Olympic Games in London. At 32,292 square feet, the restaurant will employ 2,000 workers and accommodate seating for up to 1,500 customers at a time. The massive eatery was built solely for the Olympic Games and will be torn down when the ceremonies conclude. Due to its brief existence, the building was constructed using all recyclable and reusable materials.
As a top tier sponsor of the Olympics, McDonald’s will be the only restaurant allowed to sell brand-name foods in the Olympic Park and Athlete’s Village. You can imagine the uproar this has created! From ordinary citizens to doctors and other professionals, this partnership has been receiving constant criticism. McDonald’s, a fast food franchise often condemned for its unhealthy menu options, serving as a major sponsor of the Olympic Games – a historic event celebrating the world’s greatest athletes – does sound a bit off.
Then again, what fast food chain is recognized as a healthy option? I can’t think of one. So then why has the International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintained this partnership with McDonald’s since 1976 and recently signed an agreement to continue it through the 2020 Games? The answer, as you may have guessed, is because they’ve got money!
The first Olympics on historic record date back to 776 BCE and some would even argue they’ve been around longer than that. Today it’s a tradition that has continued and grown for thousands of years. Being chosen to host the Olympics is a great honor and every four years the new Olympic host tries to out-do the last with a more elaborate opening celebration, beautiful décor and immaculate architecture. In fact, the Olympics have become such a colossal event that billions of dollars are spent on construction, decorations and security for the Games.
Although McDonalds may seem like an inappropriate pairing for the world’s greatest athletic competition, the company does appear to be making responsible marketing efforts. They began a global campaign aimed to encourage kids to get active by including “activity toys” in their happy meals. The toys will count how many steps the child takes or how many times they jump, etc. in a day to promote physical activity. The campaign has also been perceived as a tactic for counteracting the negative attacks they’ve received due to their exclusivity as the only food vendor at the Olympics and the construction of the world’s biggest McDonald’s.
Despite differing opinions, the reality of the situation is that without the backing of major corporations like McDonald’s, the Olympic events could not fulfill the extraordinary expectations we have grown so accustomed to. Instead, the costs would become the taxpayers’ burden, which probably wouldn’t be a favorable alternative.
McDonald’s is forking over big bucks to help fund the Olympics, so why shouldn’t they get exclusive rights to sell their product at the Games? Isn’t it the consumer’s responsibility to make healthy lifestyle choices? Is it McDonald’s fault if you eat a Big Mac and fries but never work out? After all, their food is now packaged and labeled with its nutritional content so it’s no secret what you’re ingesting. So what if it’s sold at the Olympic Games, it’s doubtful the athletes are consuming chicken nuggets before they compete and what does it matter if a spectator enjoys a soft drink and some fries while watching sand volleyball? Don’t they sell beer and hot dogs at all major sporting events too?
It all seems to go back to the permeating debate over responsibility and accountability. With obesity being a growing concern in many countries across the globe, food companies and consumers alike have been blamed for the problem. Should McDonald’s be allowed exclusive rights to be the only food option at the Olympics? Should they even be allowed to sponsor the Olympics? Who should be held accountable for the obesity problem facing so many individuals around the world? What’s your opinion?
Some may cringe at the thought of “This e-textbook is brought to you by…” as it connotes academia selling out, or inferred influence on editorial. However there may be appropriate opportunities for marketers’ or advertisers’ presence that actually enhances the learning process and the quality of the e-textbook.
There are three conditions that must occur for this co-existence of academia and marketer, in order:
- The marketer’s product or service must have direct relevance and provide enhancement to the e-textbook subject or course work.
- The marketer’s product or service must have a direct and obvious benefit to the student/reader.
- The marketer must respect the learning environment. No hype.
Let’s explore these conditions a bit further to start some conversation and gain agreement for this seemingly at-odds arrangement.
The properties of the modern e-textbook device includes a wifi connection. As more e-textbooks become more like a web page than a static reproduction of a textbook, more opportunities for embedding, linking and downloading via the internet exist. This was more fully explored as a ContentHub in 2012: The Year for e-Textbooks. The marketers’ participation in this is as subject matter experts lending their proprietary knowledge and expertise through the dynamic content of an e-Textbook. As more marketers provide true thought leadership through research and practice, their data and analysis become real-time, up-to-the minute research or case studies shared as webinars, white papers, videos or live guest-chats.
A mechanical engineering class may benefit through the use of a company’s video demonstration about a product or process they are studying. An online chat with that company’s engineers would supplement the professor’s expert opinion – an online guest lecture of sorts. From a marketing perspective, the student’s one-to-one exposure to a leader in the industry creates a meaningful and lasting impression that could lead to a variety of future actions, including that of supplier, employer, or partner. And in this era of high competition in all business sectors, this gives the participating company an advantage.
Students studying marketing or advertising courses could be exposed to the latest successful case studies inclusive of all media in use: newspaper, magazine, radio. TV, banner ads, outdoor, etc. In an industry that breeds change, the student would see tremendous value with readily available samples, data, videos and links that static e-textbooks could never provide. Agencies providing this information have a huge opportunity to not only advance the industry but also be viewed for their expertise. Those agencies participating by providing unbiased expertise may see a future Chief Marketing Officer select them for future work based on this educational relationship.
Looking to the future, as e-textbooks evolve they will act more like websites, a ContentHub of activity around a topic, and education-savvy marketers will derive direct branding benefits by becoming suppliers to the e-textbook market. Animated demonstrations, white papers, community discussion, expert online chats, archived presentations, webinars and guest lectures. The reference section could be a listing of active links to those information sources cited within the content sections which would provide ongoing value.
And I suppose there may be room for one relevant “ad” that could appear as the last page in an e-textbook. Headline: “Back-up batteries available at…”
Marketers, do you see the opportunity? Weigh in on this and let us know you’re approach.
For those complaining about lack of creativity in TV advertising during this year’s Super Bowl, watching the Grammy’s the other night hopefully redeemed television as a creative medium. There were a slew of new full-length, 60-second TV commercials that were quite noticeable, engaging and memorable.
And it’s no accident these advertisers chose to forgo the Super Bowl and put their trust in the Grammy’s for their high-cost productions.
Cost: Grammy advertisers paid a reported $800,000 for a 30-second spot reaching 26.6 million viewers. Super Bowl advertisers paid up to $3.5 million for a 30 second commercial reaching 111 million viewers. Is it really double for 60 seconds? While the cost per thousand is fairly close – $30.77 CPM vs $31.53 CPM – committing an enormous budget for a one-time viewing likely appeals only to gamblers and deep pockets.
Environment: The Grammy’s is an environment built for rewarding creativity, ergo highly creative commercial executions will be noticeable with a strong likelihood of resonating with the audience and causing some word of mouth buzz.
Here’s my pick for the other night’s most memorable commercials:
Paul McCartney had just concluded singing his new “My Valentine” live on stage. The Grammys then segued to a JBL/Harmon Kardon spot “Hear The Truth” featuring Paul McCartney in an intimate setting placing a Valentine’s Day card propped against JBL product on his love’s night stand. Perfect fit. You can see it here
Target: This is one of those spontaneous but choreographed people-in-motion doing unexpected things. The music and the action are delightful. You don’t even sense this is a commercial. Then you’re hooked. “Color Changes Everything.” See it here
Chipotle: it just seemed appropriate for something cause-related to pop up. So listening to Willie Nelson sing “The Scientist” while thoughtful animation carried the story line of naturally-grown ingredients for Chipotle in “Back To The Start” was entertaining and also fit in. This has also seen 4.4 million views on YouTube. See it here
Which of these three spots did you like the most?
Consumers all over the country may soon be able to avoid ATM fees, thanks to Free ATM NYC. In exchange for watching advertising content, ATM users can avoid the $2-$3 transaction fee. The user also receives an advertiser coupon with their receipt. Best of all, it’s a completely traceable and highly measurable channel for the advertiser.
The market is ripe for other independent ATM operators to also embrace more consumer-friendly value propositions, and emerge with a comparable offering…and perhaps even innovations of their own. Perhaps this is several years in the future, but Free ATM NYC’s model just begs for some sort of frequency loyalty component. It won’t be long before advertisers recognize the opportunity to pursue a one-to-one messaging strategy through this channel.
It will be very interesting to see what banks do in response. Will fee-free competition push banks to create a much more interactive, engaging, personalized and rewarding ATM experience? Tell us what you think.
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