Monday, April 28, 2014


Thanks to a Harvard Business Review tweet I recently read about leadership, I learned Gallup’s State of the American Workplace indicated that currently only 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged.  Could this mean the remaining 70 percent are zombies?

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Here is what Gallup revealed about the remaining 70 percent:

·         50 percent of employees simply put in their time (a.k.a. just show up and collect a paycheck).

·         20 percent act out their discontent in counterproductive ways.

According to Gallup, poor leadership is the root of the problem.  Consequently organizations are under performing due to the low employee engagement, thus negatively impacting our economy.  Gallup estimates that the malcontents, disgruntled employees, costs our economy an estimated half a trillion dollars a year.  It sounds like management needs to sharpen their leadership skills.

Do you know any zombies?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Millennial Moms – An Update

I am always studying the different consumer demographics that drive U.S. retail sales.  Sales are now projected to top $4.732 trillion (source: eMarketer) this year.  One sub-group that especially piques my interest is Millennial Moms.  They have evolved into a lucrative consumer target for smart marketers.

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Back in March of 2013 I first addressed the defining characteristics of Millennial Moms who represent 22 percent of the estimated 80 million Millennials in the U.S.  In a nutshell, they tend to have higher income and thanks to their kids, they are extremely strapped for time. Consequently they are looking for lifestyle solutions that make their lives saner.  A key touch point to connect with Millennial Moms is via their smart devices (smartphones and tablets) by the use of informative content.  No more one and out aggressive couponing deals.  Equally important as value/price, Millennial Moms like to connect with family and friends, save time and be entertained.  

What smart mobile marketers are getting it right?  Starbucks and Target!  Starbucks mobile payment app, in addition to integrating its rewards program, includes an entertainment component – free music downloads.  Target utilizes their Cartwheel mobile coupon app to include deals, but also a persuasive Facebook component that helps moms find and share deals with family and friends.    
BSM Media recently reported that moms overall spent $2.5 trillion in 2013.  Data from comSource indicates that 65 percent of consumers in the U.S. own a smartphone; the percentage spikes up to 83 percent for moms between the ages of 22 and 44 years-old.

Are you a smart mobile marketer connecting with Millennial Moms?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Walk On Buy

Did you know that 84 percent of smartphone-toting consumers actively use their devices when shopping (source: Google Shopper Marketing Agency Council)?  Marketing alert: Thanks to enhanced technology, impulse purchasing is about to enter a new era of hyperlocal marketing.  Walk on buy!

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A new wave of technology known as “mobile presence technologies” is rapidly emerging.  You are already aware of some of their names – NFC, Bluetooth Smart, Beacons, etc.  You probably have read about geo-fencing, the term given to the radius around a given location where your smartphone which is equipped with LBS (location based service) receives a generated notification.  English, English!  How does it work?  One example would be an individual with Bluetooth embedded in their smartphone will receive a signal/communication when they are within range of a beacon (a piece of hardware) while shopping.  As they approach the snack aisle, they will receive a coupon good for a salty snack to pair with the two liters of soda they just placed in their shopping cart. 

Retailers are salivating over the potential of “mobile presence technologies” to further lure their customers.  They will be able to analyze in real time consumer buying behavior and build stronger connections.  Consequently they will be able to implement hyperlocal marketing tactics that steer consumers to new products, sale items or provide relevant information (e.g., product, store layout, etc.) that will enhance their overall in-store experience.  In addition, these technologies will also facilitate mobile payments at special terminals throughout the store so shoppers can skip lines at checkout registers.  Long-term, Retailers will generate increased loyalty since they will meet the needs of their customers by making shopping more convenient and efficient. 

Are you ready to become a walk on buy consumer?

Monday, April 7, 2014

TV Dinners

Yesterday, back in 1953 Swanson’s Thanksgiving style (turkey) meal was introduced.  Were TV dinners responsible for altering America’s evening meal eating habits?

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History lesson: Back in 1953 C.A. Swanson, a poultry supplier out of Omaha, NE experienced an overstock of a reported 260 tons of unsold Thanksgiving turkey.  That is a lot of turkey!  Consequently, to avoid financial disaster, Swanson innovated a single serve meal cooked, sliced and packaged with corn bread stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, peas and butter in an oven safe aluminum tray  similar to what had been used by the airlines dating back to 1944.  The name TV came from the shape of the tray that was utilized.  The entrée was placed in the largest compartment on one side, the vegetables in smaller compartments, similar to the front panel of a 1950’s TV – screen on the left, speakers and control panels on the right. 

A great deal has changed since Swanson’s first introduced its TV dinner for 98 cents.  For starters they sold 10 million dinners in their first year of production.  They added a variety of main courses.  My personal favorite was fried chicken.  They dropped the term TV in 1962.  They introduced breakfasts in 1969.  They moved to microwaveable materials in 1986 which ready-made, refrigerated or frozen meals are now packaged.

My original query – were TV dinners responsible for altering America’s evening meal habits?  Absolutely!  They were the harbinger of what we now call convenience foods.  We now label these types of meal solutions Grocerants, food items that are ready-to-eat (e.g., salad, sushi, etc.) or ready-to-heat (e.g., prepared entrée complete with sides).  To comply with our busy lifestyles and obsession for technology (a.k.a. gizmos), Grocerant meals or components can now be found in Retail grocery delis, C-stores, drug stores (e.g., Walgreen’s), clothing stores (e.g., Macy’s) in addition to takeout food from restaurants.   

What are you having for dinner tonight as you sit in front of your 65 inch HDTV watching reruns of a popular TV series from Netflix, working your social network platforms with your tablet in one hand, smartphone in the other?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Brand Uniforms

Spring thaw is almost here.  After a long bleak winter, I will enjoy sitting in Washington Square Park when the sun finally beams down on Philadelphia.  I am also looking forward to people shedding their brand uniforms, thus sporting some original clothing besides North Face!

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North Face is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of the VF Corporation, an American clothing company.  Originally the brand was established back in San Francisco in 1968 by two outdoor enthusiasts who targeted hikers and mountain climbers.  In the 1980’s North Face began expanding their line of equipment and outdoor apparel.  By the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the brand with its recognizable logo, a quarter circle of Half Dome, the granite monolith in Yosemite National Park, took off and evolved from wilderness chic, to now urban chic.  By 2012, the brand accounted for 33.5 percent of the outdoor apparel market in the United States (source: SportsOneSource).  This share number is for apparel only and does not include backpacks or other outdoor equipment.  In 2012 they reported global revenue of $1.9 billion, up from $242 million in 2001, further demonstrating their rapid growth as a brand.

As a marketing geek, I am aware the brand continues to dominate the outdoor apparel market based on what I observed this past winter in Philadelphia.  I now estimate that one out of every two people I encounter on the street is wearing a North Face jacket.  The color of preference, black!  Are these people outdoor enthusiasts?  No way!  They are just being urban chic and sporting their brand uniforms.

As I shared earlier, I am looking forward to a dash of color in Philadelphia’s spring fashion or at least seeing everyone get back into their flip flops.

What is your brand uniform?