Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beyond Thirty Seconds

College and universities are opening their doors over the next few weeks across America. Consequently I have been busy deciphering numerous marketing studies about Millennials and their shopping habits.  Marketing implication: Retailers, start thinking beyond thirty seconds!

Read On:
My company’s area of expertise is food marketing.  However, whether it is food, electronic gizmos, school logo body pillows or bath towels, etc., Millennials like to connect with their friends to make the right choices.  Innovaro’s Global Lifestyles Summer 2013 report revealed the following:

·         When it comes to selecting a restaurant, 68% get input from their friends or social networks.

·         Beyond food, one of the studies they referenced indicated that nearly all Millennials (94%) consult at least one source when making a purchase, most (54%) consult one to three sources. 

Marketers are being challenged in determining the most effective touch points to reach Millennials.  Brands are exploring tactics beyond a polished 30 second commercial.  According to eMarketer, they plan to step up their game/expenditures as it relates to social media, mobile and video.  It is projected that US advertisers will spend an estimated $17.5 billion on branding this year (41.6% via digital); by 2017 $29.3 billion (48.5% via digital).

Enter Vine and Instagram, two video sharing platforms perfect for Millennials surgically attached to their smartphones.  Vine is a Twitter mobile app that enables users to create and post six second videos.  Recently Popeye’s and Zatarian’s successfully partnered on a limited time Butterfly Shrimp sweepstakes on Vine showcasing their New Orleans heritage.  They received over 11 thousand entries and an estimated 64 thousand visitations to their landing site.  Instagram, originally a photo sharing site, added a video sharing feature for up to 15 seconds this past June.  Last year, pre-video, Ben & Jerry’s ran a Instagram contest.  Their goal was to generated material for print and billboard advertising.  They ended up getting over 5,600 entries.  Now that Instagram has video capabilities, imagine how many 15 second spots they will generate when they run the contest again. 

Millennials are all about sharing experiences with their friends.  Thanks to the popularity of new video mobile sites and their potential reach, it is time for Retailers to think beyond thirty seconds.    

Thank you for taking thirty seconds to read this post.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poop In The Box

It is always a challenge to find relevant, refreshing content.  Innovation is a topic that piques my interest – making unexpected connections between things.  Listening and anticipating are key components for innovation.  The content of today’s post falls under a new category I title whimsical innovation.  A tale from Madrid.

Read On:
Getting dog owners to responsibly clean up after their pets is a global problem.  Most metropolitan areas now have scooper laws and impose hefty fines.  Recently the mayor of Brunete, a middle-class suburb in Madrid, concerned about his country’s economic difficulties, came up with an innovative solution opposed to just levying fines.  

In his first two years in office the mayor visited with over 200 constituents.  The subject of irresponsible dog owners was a constant complaint.  He solicited the help of an advertising agency that developed a “lost and found” campaign.  In the spring they implemented a sting operation.  Mayor Gutiérrez created a team of volunteers who patrolled Brunete’s city parks.  Once they spotted a negligent dog owner, the volunteers would go up to the individual and engage in a flattering canine conversation.  They obtained enough information that they cross referenced with the records in town hall where residents have their pets licensed.  Then they mailed the dog poop (a.k.a. evidence) to dog owners in a white box.  During the sting operation, an estimated 150 white boxes labeled “lost and found” were delivered and signed for by the unsuspecting owners.  Embarrassing?  Funny?  Regardless, Mayor Gutiérrez recently reported to the 10,000 residents of Brunete an effective 70 percent reduction in canine poop.  Dog owners are now spotted carrying plastic bags, which is an extremely rare sight in Spain.  However, Mayor Gutiérrez is concerned that the good behavior might not last so he is working on a new campaign for 2014.

Here is the scoop!  Innovation is about making unexpected connections between things; listening and anticipating are key components for innovation.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

App Update

How large is the app market?  Answer: Huge!  Earlier this year the WSJ estimated worldwide revenue at $25 billion; Gartner estimated $29.5 billion.  Candidly it has become a challenge to keep up with all the new app introductions.  Detailed below are two new apps that make my head spin.  

Read On:
Some basic app facts that I believe you will find interesting:

·        In June Apple announced the number of apps available in their stores reached 900,000.  Note: 60 per cent of the apps in the Apple store have never been downloaded (source: New Relic, an application monitoring service).

·      Earlier in the year, mobile tech leader Flurry reported there were 224 million active monthly U.S. app users compared to 221 million laptop and desktop users.

·     The average smartphone owner has 41 apps, but they only open less than eight per day.

Max Levchin, former founder of PayPal that was sold to eBay, introduced last week at Apple stores his company’s new app.  His new company’s mission (HVF – Hard, Valuable and Fun), is to develop technology that transforms data into solutions for global problems, predominantly in healthcare.  The app is a fertility tracker called Glow which has two components: 1.) The first component (free) assists couples who want to conceive.  It tracks detailed data about the female’s menstrual cycle to predict fertility levels; and 2.) The second component is optional where users can invest $50 per month into a “fertility funding community” that will assist couples who do not successfully conceive at the end of 10 month period (e.g., vitro fertilization, etc.).  

Back on World Environment Day I addressed the high level (40%) of food waste here in the U.S.  Two former University of Michigan roommates will soon be launching their solution, a free smartphone app called Leftover Swap.  It is real simple, take snaps of your leftovers in your refrigerator (a.k.a. science projects) and someone within proximately will then have the option to trade/barter for your food or simply take it off your hands.  Sounds like they will have to address market by market regulations regarding the liability (health hazards) of selling or donating leftover food comparable to what the restaurant industry is already experiencing.

Future apps welcomed!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Social Smarts

Recently Forrester revealed that only 11% of the marketers they surveyed had an established budget for innovation.  They concluded corporations need to step it up to avoid “Innovation Starvation.”  I advocate an important first step is to invest in training dollars and cultivate knowledge workers that exhibit “social smarts.”

Read On:
Forrester’s report was based on a relatively small cross section of 45 marketing executives; approximately half of their in-depth interviews were conducted at companies with more than $1 billion in revenue.  No surprise!  Companies like Coca Cola, Nestlé, Mondelez, 7-Eleven to name a few, are making the financial commitment to fund innovation to discover the next big thing.  Conversely not all companies have the marketing budgets of these giants.  However, one key to innovation is to stay in tune with the rapidly changing technology and consumer behavior. 

Enter the new era of knowledge workers that exhibit “social smarts.”  Corporations need to create cultures that encourage its employees to fully integrate social media into their day-to-day operations across the entire organization; social media as a business tool to facilitate market insight, external and internal communication, engagement and collaboration.

Step One: Provide your employees with the resources and training they need to develop “social smarts.”  Allocate time and assign trainers (external or internal) to work on getting your employees up to speed and comfortable with the leading social media platforms.  Develop individual routines for each employee that are relevant to their job to assist then in evolving into a knowledge worker – relevant news feeds, appropriate LinkedIn discussion groups to join, people of Twitter to follow, etc.  Create a company intranet to further assist in the process.   
Invest in “social smarts” and innovation will follow.  Is your company prepared to take the first step?