Reports: How retail marketing managers use digital, and how customers think…

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Social media marketing has become more and more important for retail marketers in the U.S. this year compared to 2013. This states the latest reports by Extole which was based on the survey response of 302 people responsible for marketing and technology at U.S. retail companies. However, mobile marketing and email are still top priorities as well for those marketers across various verticals, company sizes and geographies.

Extole Report 2014 Marketing Spend to 2013

Although social media marketing was the leading marketing spend compared to last year with 41%, mobile advertising (32%) and email marketing (31%) were catching up as well. Whereas thee marketing spends were on the sweetspot for budget spends, topics like display advertising (28%), content marketing (28%), and paid search (24%) got less marketing spends this year.

Extole Report 2014 Marketing Channels Regularly

The report also made clear that retail marketers use social media and email two most (85%). Not surprisingly as social media was mentioned as the most effective tactic for acquiring customers. 50% of the retail marketers have picked it in the top three results. Nevertheless, if retail marketers want to convert retail customers, email marketing is still seen as the most effective marketing tool.

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If we compare this report to another much broader study by Capgemini “Digital Shopper Relevancy Report” that asked 18.000 consumers around the globe, marketers might be putting too much emphasize on social media marketing. Marketers might have a closer look at the not “socially-engaged shopper” categories and then decide in which markets to invest in social media marketing, and which stay with a broader holistic digital marketing approach.

Capgemini 2014 Digital Consumers

What is your experience on how to best address your customers in the retail or technology space?

“Stream me up, Scotty!” – Viacom study shows streaming is the new black

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Credit: © XtravaganT - Fotolia.com

Credit: © XtravaganT – Fotolia.com

Scotty’s world is gone. Today’s future is not “beam me up”, but “stream me up”. At least when it comes to listening to music. The Viacom music group, consisting of CMT, MTV and VH1, published some summary results which prove that teenagers and adults up to age 40 consume music in a streaming mode.

In a quantitative study with 1,200 respondents, which also included some qualitative secondary research and some new form of “blography” component, it made clear that streaming has become a mainstream behavior. Almost four out of five (78%) participants of the survey had streamed music in the past three months. The streaming habit on the way to purchase is most often (91%) a form of auditioning music before buying it – especially YouTube has an important role in this process.

The age group of 22-30 year olds is even more active than their older and younger counterparts. Streaming music has become a daily habit for them (63% do it daily). As the group sample was taken from their target audience, it might be a reason that this result is even higher than in usual user studies.

The young generation of “streamers” listens to radio as an important source of information to this group. However, the study credited broadcast and the Internet as sources of music discovery. Interestingly enough the study states that the act of listening seems to be passive. User do not seek to find their music, it basically comes to them. It could be a prove that the music industry has understood how to use big data to favor the music taste of their users.

Obviously, TV is another major discovery platform for this generation. 88% of respondents mentioned that they searched for songs on TV shows next to listening to them. This could become another important opportunity for track-identification mobile apps (like i.e. Shazam).

The path from discovery to purchase (which in this study can mean several things, including “streaming it incessantly”) is interestingly charted. The role of streaming in that path is often a form of auditioning music before buying, according to 91% of participants, who use YouTube for that purpose.

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Not surprisingly, the respondents state that downloading music via P2P networks is not popular for them (60% see it as “risky” or “wrong”). Still, this does not mean that the idea is completely gone from their minds. Sharing music data with friends via DropBox or other sharing platforms is a common practice for music fans. However, if 81% of participants believe this is a support to bands they admire can be doubted. Maybe the music fans haven’t quite understood how their bands make money. It probably “beams up” the bands relevance and popularity more if 63% of fans follow artists on Facebook and share the bands’ news in their personal networks.

Website Experience: Consumers rate performance most, content second

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The common understanding in marketing teams is that content is key to meet the expectations of consumer. However, this might be right, most US consumers (52%) see high performance as the main quality feature of a website, according to a recent report from Limelight Networks.

The report that surveyed 1,115 consumers valued website performance (streaming with no buffering, pages that load quickly, and so on) as the most important digital experience feature. It also states that performance comes before fresh and updated content, delivering a consistent experience on mobile and desktop, and providing personalized content.

Performance is Key to Websites

The respondents also make clear that they (59%) will wait less than five seconds for a webpage to load before being frustrated and leaving the site. Even more, more than one in three (37%) stated to leave and buy a product from a competitor if a website is slow.

The mobile experience is also becoming more critical for marketers. When 85% accessing a website with a mobile device at least some of the time, and 50% of the surveyed people do so with either a smartphone or a tablet most of the time, it shows that mobile customer experience needs to be thought about carefully. However, the good signs are that almost half of the users (44%) are more generous in terms of waiting for website response when accessing websites via mobile devices but the trend is to see fast downloads as well on mobile and desktop.

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The report illustrates the connection between brand and website experience: 82% of consumers recommend a brand after a positive website visit.

Website Performance leads to Recommendation

However, marketers might think about personalization with the use of smart data now, the report also warns that more than one in three users (38%) do not want websites to remember their previous website visits. The website experience remains a business challenge “Businesses need to educate themselves on the challenges and intricacies of delivering a high performance digital experience to ensure hidden latency issues don’t disrupt a user’s interaction with the brand,” summarizes the report.

Catch Up! Essential Skills of Modern Marketers (Infographic)

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If you are a great marketer, you always want to be ahead of the curve with your marketing team. But what talent ingredients does it need today to be among the leading experts of modern marketing? eMarketer has just come up with their latest “Skills of the Modern Marketer” report.

In this report we get to know the skills that senior marketers have to achieve or to be coached for in order to manage their teams correct supported by the latest trends. And it becomes clear that it is not only about knowing the right marketing tactics and trends, we also have to shape our personality with empathy, adaptability and collaboration skills. And furthermore, it has become a challenge to understand the latest marketing technologies and how they can foster the ROI of your business.

The following infographic summarizes the report and the findings, based on interviews and a survey with senior level marketers.

eMarketer Essential Skills Modern Marketer Infographic

Report: Too many tech vendors for marketers in midsize companies

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In many markets we can see the challenge for SMB marketers to effectively manage their tech vendor offerings.

Now, this experience gets underlined by a recent report based on a survey from DNN Software of 300 US marketing executives (50-5,000 employees) in February 2014. The report states that almost two thirds (63%) of marketers in midsize companies find the market is overloaded with marketing technology vendors to manage them effectively. Just imagine what it means for an SMB marketer to manage five and more tech vendor connections (53%)? Or even 10 or more of them which is what 15% have got to do in their daily business.

Obviously, there is some kind of logic behind the number of technology vendor relationships that marketers need to manage: The bigger the company, the more vendors. In companies with 1,000-5,000 employees marketers need to manage five or more vendors (75%) whereas in companies with 50-99 employees it is only 33%.

DNN Software 2014 Number Tech Vendors
However, the technology is not really helping marketers to ease their business. The majority of marketers (70%) think their job has become more challenging with all those technology marketing solutions in the market. Furthermore, a big portion of them is asking for a “mixture of a marketing and tech specialist” to help manage their marketing technology.

DNN Software 2014 Tech Challenges

Concerning their challenges for 2014, most midsize marketers find it is a major or moderate challenge to get customers’ attention (79%). Interestingly enough, more than two-third respond (72%) are having trouble to find their target group on the web. The same portion states that the challenge to stand out from the crowd comes with the volume of online content which makes it rather difficult for them to effectively do their business and achieve their results.

DNN Software 2014 Challenges Marketing

What makes consumers share personal data with brands?

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Getting personal data is something most companies strive for. However, consumers are very careful with sharing their information with marketers. Most of them (62%) fear that marketers don’t obey the rules of data privacy. This is the main finding of a recent report from SDL, based The report was based on data from a survey of more than 4,000 consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Not surprisingly, younger consumers are not that frightened about the way marketers work with their data than older consumers. In the UK, just 48% of the 18-24 year old respondents worry about it versus 63% of the 45-54 year olds. The US is less open with data sharing in the younger generation. 59% of the respondents between 18-29 years worry about data privacy. This compares to 71% of the age group 45-60 years.

SDL Data Personalized Data 2014

There is also a big gap between what data people share and what not. Data about age, gender, and income is more openly shared with marketers. Respondents made clear that they are less open to share the name of their spouse, lists of family and friends, and obviously their Social Security number.

SDL Data Smartphone Shopping 2014It seems that loyalty programs are still a great hook for marketers. In order to being able to join a loyalty program 49% of respondents were willing to share personal information with brands. Furthermore, free products and services in exchange for data still gets 41% sharing personal data.

Still, the fear of being tracked gets people away from sharing their data online, especially when it comes to in-store tracking. Most respondents (76%) with smartphones replied they are not happy with retailers’ tracking their shopping tours as they do not understand what the intention of the tracking effort will be.

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SDL Data Trusted Brands 2014Trusted brands are in a comfortable situation: 79% of respondents stated they are more likely to hand over personal data to those brands they have purchased from before. Obviously, this changes in percentage from country to country with the UK being most hesitant about sharing information Almost one third would not share any information with marketers. The report is a good indicator on what kind of structured data is easy to generate, but also shows the challenge of getting sensitive data from consumers.

Study: What B2B buyers expect to see on vendor websites

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Is it really still the phone number and the email address? Well, at least contact information should be easily accessible on B2B vendor websites. This is the main finding of a recent report from Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates.

The study, based on a survey of 175 B2B buyers, states that the majority of B2B buyers (68%) find the vendor’s address and contact information is mission critical information. Thus, 55% make clear they’ll leave the website if it isn’t accessible. For most B2B buyers (81%) want to contact vendors via email in the first place, phone comes in second place (58%). Furthermore, it is not only about accessibility. Credibility of a vendor’s website establishes for 51% of the respondents when contact or about information is displayed.

Huff:koMarketing 2014 - Content Assets Credibility

From a content perspective, 43% of buyers see pricing as a “must have” content on vendor websites. Having worked with different b2b vendors in the last years, we know that the challenge for them is the indirect sales when partners have different levels of pricing models that often cannot be displayed public; however separate logins can handle that challenge.

90% of buyers expect to see product/services information on vendor websites. They also want to see about/company information (61%), marketing collateral (37%), and testimonials (36%). Although social media becomes more impact in our daily business, only 24% try to find social media add-ons (24%) or look for blogs (22%).

Huff:koMarketing 2014 - Website Info People want to see

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Although the contact form is the most common way to get in touch with the vendor, only 39% like to use it. This is critical as buyers usually do not take too much time to stay on vendor websites.

Especially when getting bored or when they click out of a website, buyers tend to leave. Another mismatch that makes people leave is when video or audio plays automatically (93%). Animated ads, like crawling banners or pop-ups are also a NoGo for 88%, and a bad positioning about company offers makes 83% move to the competitor sites.

Study: Why corporate newsrooms fail to meet journalists’ needs

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Credits: © momius - Fotolia.com

Credits: © momius – Fotolia.com

The value of corporate newsrooms has been discussed for years. Now, a recent Proactive Report survey by Sally Falkow, president of PRESSfeed: The Social Newsroom, gives insights into what the power of newsrooms could be and where journalists stand so far with them. The survey strikes the fact that the PR industry hasn’t adapt to the latest image- and video-based environment that users and journalists alike are looking for; especially videos and embedded codes which only one third of the newsrooms surveyed offered. The report makes clear that the majority of journalists (83%) sees images with content important, still just 38% of them add images to news content.

From Falkow’s perspective, many corporate newsrooms do not provide the content and links that journalists “are looking for, and things they think are important, and things that make their jobs easier for them, and that they would therefore use that content more readily.” The value of pictures for content could be seen when Twitter started displaying pictures in peoples’ feeds, so that users did not have to click the link connected with it, she states.

The main findings from the survey…
– Just 37% of online newsrooms provide videos and embedded codes compared to 82% of journalists asking for it
– 49% of online newsrooms fail to meet the standards of images for publications, only 39% of corporate newsrooms offer an image gallery
– 53% of journalists find video important with content, but only 13% of PR professionals are adding videos to their news, and only one third have a video gallery in their newsroom

So, the question is why companies fail with their newsrooms? Sally Falkow’s answer is as simple as it is obvious: “The No. 1 reason that they quote is lack of resources and, also very close behind, lack of skills. They don’t know how to do it.” Based on the knowledge of their 2013 newsroom study, Peter Ingman, founder of the newsroom technology platform Mynewsdesk, responded: “The power of images and videos have become central parts when coaching companies on how to set up newsrooms with our technology. Providing news and information to journalists has to be three things: simple, simple, simple! It has to be an easy process of uploading data for companies and easy to implement the appropriate content articles and posts for the media contacts. Journalists need to have or find the essential data for their reports and articles without challenging search activities. Come, find, implement – this is the key to successful newsrooms!”

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The way journalists work has not changed drastically over the last decade in the way investigating for the news content works. Check the media, check Google, check the brands. Newsrooms offer new opportunities to journalists, social influencers and brand advocates to access data faster with an “everything-at-a-glance” perspective. The use of implemented analysis tools, clever SocialCRM technology, and by changing the way employees are allowed to speak for their brands via online channels, newsrooms foster brand and trust building. However, newsrooms can sometimes be of good and bad experience as the standard in companies newsrooms varies, apart from the different technologies that companies use, from self-developed platforms to personalized SaaS newsrooms.

Often enterprises have got newsrooms up and running already like Daimler, AUDI, ING or Costa Coffee. Still, most SMBs don’t even think about it as they are still relying on their traditional way of spreading news via content distribution platforms – an outdated way in terms of the value it provides for SEO, and even more (or less?) for journalists. Companies should start thinking about providing value with their newsroom in the form of video quotes or brief updates or blog posts alongside photos about the latest developments or news in the company or the market. Quick and simple information bites that come via tweets, Facebook updates or direct mail out of platforms straight to the editor, optimized according to their user behavior. It will make a massive impact on brand reputation and the way journalists will work with corporate newsrooms in the future.

Study Social Media: How to budget, staff & measure

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A recent survey from Wildfire by Google and AdAge asked 500 executives from large companies how they budget, staff and measure their social media business. Over half (50,7%) of the surveyed managers work for businesses with $1 billion or more in annual revenue. It shows that marketers in enterprises are increasingly investing in people for this business topic. 46,5% of companies with revenues over $1 billion have a team of 50 or more employees looking after the social business.

Furthermore, they are not afraid of asking for help when needed: 65,5% use a mixture of agencies and in-house personell to manage social media. This is different to smaller companies with revenues of less than $1 billion a year. These companies tend to have one to five employees for social challenges, and almost two out of three use 62,4% use own resources, and not agencies.

Google Wildfire AdAge Allocation Industry Social Media

From all respondents, 45,6% of respondents see their social media spendings rising by 10% next year; 15,9% see even an increase by 11% to 30%. Just 29,1% of the managers have a “pure” social media budget. Others managers seem to be getting their budgets from other marketing budgets like traditional media – 23.9% said their budgets are coming from print, television, and radio.

Keeping up the high level of audience engagement is the main issue for marketers. However, most managers are quite confident today about brand damage due to negative postings. This came in last in the concern list. This could have two reasons: Either shitstorms are not as problematic as some social media consultants define or describe them. Or all managers have a strategy in place how to handle these conversation issues.

Not surprisingly for us, finding tactics to effectively measure social media conversations is the second biggest concern for managers. Maintaining a consistent brand message came in third place probably as many companies have challenges in establishing a streamlined culture of social engagement in their company which we realize as one of the main management topics from top level management to “normal” employee.

Google Wildfire AdAge Concerns Social Media

Retailers managers also see metrics tied to ROI more important than other managers. Still, most companies (58,4%) are tracking content shares as their “most important or important” metric for measuring the ROI of social media. Counting followers comes in second (55,8%), number of page impressions (54,7%) finished third.

Google Wildfire AdAge Measuring Social Media

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It is interesting to see that companies are still quite likely to put social media spendings under general brand marketing or digital media budgets. This obviously gives them more flexibility to shift budgets when needed. However, it also shows that the ROI in social media is not really proven in some companies. Predominantly retailers, followed by technology, media and entertainment companies, seem to be confident that there is a reason for social media budgets and have already dedicated budgets just for social.

Study: Online forums still popular and leading community option (Infographic)

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According to a recent “2013 Social Media Survey” by Proboards the interactive communication preferences across platforms are still heading towards forums. Although you might think that they asked their own users (which is probably right), the survey still shows the importance of forums and communities. For their results the company promoted the research toover 150 respondents via Facebook, Twitter, and the ProBoards customer support forum.

The study claims that online forums are still popular. What was interesting for me to see is that they were even preferred compared to social media platform for interactive communication. Two out of three respondents (67%) stated that forums were the social media tool they found most valuable. Obviously, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Google+ follow but the question here could be asked whether most people realize that all these platforms are also forums if used in the right way. That LinkedIn did not figure in as a significant social media tool is in my eyes not correct as the forums there within, are very powerful and interactive, plus they generate very valueable input for managers.

“The survey results do not surprise us since platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do not give you the level of control that forums do,” said Patrick Clinger, founder and CEO of ProBoards. “Forums provide greater customization and more options…”

Forums -although we would define them as communities according to our Community Centric Strategy- offer a great way of engaged communication, and probably with better and deeper quality than any other social network. There is more information in the infographic attached…

ProBoards-Social-Media-Study-Forums

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