The speed of change is changing everything—market planning most of all. Here’s a quiz about trends and changes over the past five years. Let’s see how you do, and then we’ll consider the ramifications.
Five years ago, did you predict:
Major QSRs would be using mobile apps to preorder pick-up food, negating the impact of store POSMs and increasing the impact of radio ads?
Spending on online advertising would be greater than traditional advertising and growing at a 12x greater pace?
Fifteen-second commercials would have far greater impact than lengthier versions?
Over 15,000 retail stores would close each year due to eCommerce?
Uber would threaten the car rental industry
Online ad skipping (when possible) would be greater than 92 percent?
Over 80 percent of major CPG companies would lose shares to smaller brands?
Voice AI in the home would challenge Google search?
Amazon would be selling major appliances (Sears Kenmore) and groceries (Whole Foods) as well as offering no-prepayment clothing try-outs?
Over 75 percent of car shoppers would have decided on their make and model before entering the dealership?
The use of online ad blockers would grow by 40 percent a year?
In-store POS materials would have half the impact than they did five years ago?
Among millennials and Gen-Xers, paying by smartwatch and smartphone would threaten traditional credit card usage?
If you didn’t predict the majority of these trends, how well can you predict the challenges that will be facing your company tomorrow? And how can you be sure your companyis ready for the next two years of market planning?
The spending and viewing habits of millennials, Gen-Xers, and Gen-Zs are far different than anything marketers have experienced before. Their level of brand loyalty is low (except for premium brands), and they know more about new products and trends than you do. If you are still using predictive marketing tools from last year, prepare your Betamax recorder and load your Kodak Instamatic, because you are in for a bumpy ride.
I recently spoke with market research industry expert Bob Lederer, host of the Research Business Daily Report, about trends and the impact of millennials, Gen-Xers, and Gen-Zs on market planning, and I thought you might want to see it.
If you’re interested in discussing new ways to predict future trends, I can be reached at 201.569.4800 and at email@example.com.
Last month, Amazon was granted a patent for a technology described this way: “The technology can identify price comparisons, coupons, special offers, interest within a second location, and availability of the products. It can then counter offer the in-store visitor a lower price or incentive in the form of a coupon or offer through text message, email, or push notification.” In layman’s terms, this means your retail store and product’s appeal better be more than just price alone.
By now we all know that Amazon is trying to own and sell the world, not only with dry goods, but with fashion and groceries as well. Furthermore, their introduction of a Hispanic Amazon site as well as discounts on Amazon Prime membership for low-income members are expanding its reach toward retail domination. However, this new technology, if introduced, takes things up a notch. Or two. It would immediately redirect shoppers to their site, no matter where they shop.
You can’t compete on price alone!
Why should I go to your store rather than shop online?
You have fashion advisors. Does everyone know that?
You have classes in photographing children at home. Who did you tell?
You have a deli that makes the freshest sandwiches. Is that clearly noted outside your store and in your ads?
You sell exclusive, imported ice cream. How would ice cream devotees know this?
These enticements could mean extra visits and increased spending in your store.
Do you really believe in your product? Why? How do you communicate these features to your intended shoppers? Your packaging should do more than just be “noted” on the shelf. It must instantly portray superiority (better taste, higher quality ingredients, better cleaning capabilities, longer lasting, etc.) on critical attributes. If this is only portrayed in copy on the package, then unless your consumer is engaged enough to pick it up and study your claims, you are just more expensive than the Amazon-hyped brand.
What is your image in your advertising and marketing? Are you “cool”? Are you what everyone should be looking for? While the shelf (or computer screen) might be the last second of decision, personal product biases are well-established before the “moment of truth.” It’s not just whether they recall your ads, it’s whether they were impacted by your message regardless of ad zapping, ad clutter, streaming video, and competing pop-up ads.
Don’t wait for the train to hit. Move the tracks now.
As a retailer or manufacturer, you have the power to make your stores and/or products fun, unique, and desirable. But you have to do the homework now, before it’s too late.
YouTube is launching a 40-channel network, while traditional TV viewing keeps falling. The use of ad blockers has reached the 47 percent level worldwide, while Google admits that 92 percent of viewers skip pre-rolls when they can. Long-leading brands are seeing huge brand share erosion, while “natural,” “organic,” and imported brands are taking over store shelves. Coke and Pepsi are out, water and club soda are in. Beer and Craft drinks are out, wine and whisky are in.
What’s a marketer to do?
1.Forget what was. Look to what’s next
Hoping for the return of the past—high TV show ratings, newspapers, retail stores, and respect for “authority figures” endorsing your brands—is pointless. Instead, look for the next trends, and reshape your marketing plans and new products. Be quick and take risks, because the former trial time lines don’t exist anymore.
2.Don’t use the “standard” metrics for measuring success
Brand recall isn’t as important for online ad performance because there are no commercial pods to break through. Instead, engagement is the key, because if you don’t capture consumers’ attention within the first few seconds, you have lost your audience. Likewise, stop testing package designs strictly for in-store, on-shelf performance. More and more products are being purchased online, without high SKU visuals. If your individual package doesn’t have high engagement on the eCommerce page, you lose the sale.
3.Think about new ways to reach your audience
Advertisers are experimenting with ways of directly delivering discounts, coupons, and information through signals embedded in standard content—TV, radio, online, in-store, and so on. These signals are inaudible and don’t require the phone owner to activate their apps or WIFI. The messages are customized to the phone owner and the offers are “invited in” instead of being pushed on them. This will be the future of engaging target audiences if the old advertising model starts to fail.
4.Understand how consumers really shop and interact with your brand
Using nondescript glasses, advertisers are learning exactly what engages or turns off shoppers as they go through stores or surf the Internet. Small changes have been found to make substantial differences in product sales.
5.Stop partnering with suppliers who cling to the “old world”
You are fighting a new marketing war with new rules. Using suppliers who are fighting with outdated weapons will prevent you from achieving your goals. Focus groups cannot tell you how your audience will react in the real world or to real media. Likewise, “forced exposure” testing systems are providing “ideal” results, not what will happen in a competitive world.
If you are going to try to understand the new marketing world, align yourself with partners who share your goals and have tools to engage.
Several weeks ago, the unthinkable happened. I was in my office on a conference call with an overseas client, and I noticed the lights flickering above my head. Moments later someone ran into my office to say they smelled smoke. I ended my call as politely as I could under the circumstances, and we began to evacuate the building, which was quickly filling with smoke as the fire spread. Everyone got out safely, and my colleagues and I are all so grateful.
In the process of scrambling to relocate our headquarters, I have been pondering the impact of this experience. Here are 5 lessons we learned when the unthinkable happened:
1. Focus on what matters. In an emergency, the only thing that counts is human lives. In the day to day, prioritize, and then act according to those priorities.
2. Don’t ignore warning signs. We would have been foolish to ignore the flickering lights and smoke, but isn’t that what we do in our businesses sometimes? We see the warning signs of trouble, but we choose to ignore them—either because we don’t recognize how threatening they are or because we don’t know how to fix the problem. Ignoring warnings only leads to bigger trouble.
3. Back up everything in the cloud. Backing up data should be one of your priorities; backups enable business to go on when the unexpected happens. Computers fail, and fires and natural disasters are always happening somewhere. What you think can’t happen to you may happen to you. There’s no excuse for no backup.
4. Be prepared. The Boy Scouts motto is one to live by. Our data was backed up. Fire extinguishers were in place and in working order, allowing us to contain the fire (for a bit) so we could safely evacuate. There are so many ways to be prepared in the day to day — whether it’s putting a disaster or emergency plan in place or just preparing for a meeting with a client. No one ever regrets being prepared.
5. Embrace the present. Don’t waste time with regrets from yesterday. Learn your lessons and move on. And don’t waste time worrying about tomorrow. You have no idea what’s coming down the road. Today is a gift. Truly. By living in the present, you won’t get sidetracked by regret or worry, and you’ll appreciate what is in front of you—which will also give you a clear vision of what you might need to change.
It’s human nature to look for lessons in adversity—and to share them. This fire has taught us a lot, and we hope you can benefit from some of the clarity it’s brought to us. We hope you’ll share this with your colleagues and your loved ones. I can be reached at 201.569.4800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s not an easy time to be a marketer. Consumers are more fickle and less brand loyal than in recorded consumer behavior history. It was recently reported that sales of low-fat Greek yogurt fell over 20% in a two month period of time as consumers suddenly worried less about calories and more about protein. Consumer “winners” and “losers” change in the bat of an eye.
The QSR, beverage, beer, natural foods, telecommunications, and fashion industries have all fallen victim to whiplash-generating changes in consumer purchase behavior, sometimes within a matter of months.
The billion dollar question is how do you thrive in this environment and regain the loyalty of previous customers and “non-considerers” without hurting your image among loyalists? Here are 4 helpful steps we uncovered:
1. Understand Consumer Behavior. It is imperative that you understand the purchasing differences between those who are still loyal to your product and compare them to those who have moved on. To evaluate these differences, don’t just ask them about their purchase behaviors and drivers – watch them. Did their purchasing habits changed across many different categories, or just yours? Was price a prime driver in their decisions? What about healthier food choices? Are they purchasing products that follow a dietary restriction such as gluten free? Do they appear to be stepping up their purchases of brand name products? These real-world experiences provide the critical answers to the tough questions marketers are facing in boardrooms across the country.
2. Be relevant. It is critical to test new introductions; and sometimes without the family name. At PTG, we’ve found that maintaining a family name can occasionally prevent true consideration of an item that consumers may indeed want to try but are hesitant to do so because of a halo effect. For instance, J&J had to introduce their now successful Aveeno line of skin products as a standalone brand because J&J was viewed as a company that made products “for babies”.
3. Speak their language. Be sure to study and approach non-considerers differently than your loyalists. For example, non-considerers may have different reactions to the same TV spot, digital ad, in-store display, package or claim. You may even need to target them differently, with a unique brand in order to bring them back to the fold. However, if this segment didn’t leave you due to taste or quality, but, rather, they moved on seeking something special, then you have a good opportunity to get them back.
4. Give them what they want and what they always had. Offer them what they’re seeking while making it sound that it is a natural feature of your (new) brand. If you are now additive-free, say “we always believe in nature.” If it is a new beer flavor say “always providing surprises for those looking for unique tastes.” If you reduced sugar in your product tout the healthful benefits rather than admit you had high sugar content to begin with.
Use technology that enables you to follow and study the shopping and usage habits of your target audiences. Target your media strategy to reach this lapsed audience even if it means a separate campaign from your loyalists. Keep pressing and, lo and behold, they will be yours once again.
Let’s discuss how you’re winning back your customers and how PTG can help. I can be reached at 201.569.4800 or email@example.com.
PTG’s patented Saccadic Eye Motion Recording system objectively measures cognitive response to marketing stimuli in real-world environments by uniquely capturing the eye’s tiny vibrations that are essential to determining consumer engagement and interest.
Unlike other nonconscious approaches available in the marketplace, PTG’s proven end-to-end research solution is fully supported by norms and passively conducted without respondents being influenced by intrusive biometric equipment.
We See What You Don’t!
The interview can also be found on RealTimes cloud.
Want to learn more about how PTG’s Saccadic advantage can be applied to your brand communications and in-store research programs? Let’s talk. 201.569.4800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.