The average consumer’s attachment to their mobile device is becoming more apparent, according to separate studies from eMarketer and Experian Marketing Services, respectively.
U.S. consumers will spend $27.44 billion in 2013 on retail purchases via their personal devices – up 13.72 billion from last year, according to eMarketer. Mobile shoppers as a whole will increase in 24% this year, and by 2016 roughly 8 out of 10 digital shoppers will also be mobile shoppers.
The trend doesn’t just apply to consumers. Experian’s data shows that 44% of email opens occur on mobile devices. This is an important fact to consider when deploying email communication.
We’ve truly become a digital society. That fact is reflected in both some staggering digital metrics from last year, and the forecast for this year.
According to Nielson, in 2012 –
• Google and Facebook were the two largest websites, averaging 172 million and 153 million unique monthly visitors, respectively
• YouTube & Hulu were the top viewing sites, averaging 15 billion and 833 million video views a month
• iOS and Android smartphone users were drawn to practical maps and integrated them into their lifestyle, with Google Search, Maps, Weather, Email and stocks dominating the list of apps downloaded.
It will soon become passé to even call digital marketing by its full name; it’s practically overcome all other aspects and should be a given in all strategies. According to Media Post, 89% of businesses polled will increase their marketing spend this year, with 56% devoted to email, 52% to social media, 43% to mobile and 40% to search.
The integration of these methods ranked as a high priority as well – 65% plan to merge email with social media, and 52% with mobile.
It isn’t enough anymore to simply set up online banners to direct traffic to your business. Thanks to the advent of social media and SEO, content is king, which makes it more important than ever to market effectively.
A survey from Econsultancy confirms that digital marketers are putting more emphasis on content marketing in 2013 – 39% of in-house marketers specifically included it in their goals for the year, up 10% from last year. A separate survey from Demandbase indicates that content marketing is the top investment of the year from B2B companies, with 53% inveseting in it. This is only second to social media, at 60%.
Providing tailored content proves to potential customers or prospects the value your company can provide. The same B2B companies surveyed from above also indicated they are marrying content marketing with vertical industry targeting – allowing them to determine where their company’s services will be of the most use and focusing their efforts there. About ¾ of those marketers polled said they determine their content based on a specific business’ need, followed by the type of company they are targeting.
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Successful Coupon Strategies – Print, digital and mobile combos can really enhance your coupon redemption rates. Our Print and Deliver program is a perfect way to capture an audience of savvy coupon-clippers! Another great way to reach your target audience is our Email Marketing Program – delivering coupons right to their inbox!
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The holiday shopping season isn’t coming. It’s already here. Is your business ready?
The National Retail Federation reported that 2 out of 5 web users began their holiday shopping last month, with another 2/5 preparing to begin within the next few weeks – well before “Black Friday.”
Many businesses have already taken note – 38.5% of online retailers began their marketing campaigns at the same time, with another quarter beginning in early November. The early start has merit; Rackpace Hosting says U.S. Retailers will make 25% of their holiday sales online, and holiday sales in general are slated to hit 54.47 billion, up 16.8% from last year.
Businesses are also learning how to better leverage mobile marketing in the months to come. 43% of respondents to a Bronto survey said they are devoting more resources to improving mobile websites and their customers’ mobile experience. Mobile purchases are expected to rise 11% in 2012, while 4 out of 5 shoppers are planning to use their smartphones in some capacity while shopping, whether it is in shopping for deals, comparing prices or staying up to date on special offers or promotions.
As businesses adapt their marketing methods to the rapidly growing digital movement, it’s worth taking a look at the demographic responsible for a significant portion of that growth: the millennials.
The exact definition and parameters of the millennial generation vary, but they are generally regarded as between the ages of 17 and 34 years old, and are more tuned in to the technology around them, and more importantly, the implications of that technology.
60% are employed
61% are single
39% are in a couple
12% are living together
32% are parents (predominantly with younger children)
42% are homeowners
63% are college-grads
22% are Latinos
12% are “faithful” vegetarians
Millennials have a few other common elements worth noting. Many delay marriage, but not commitment; as noted above, 39% are in a couple. They are likely to have children without marrying, viewing parenting as an experience to be done with a village to support new moms and dads. They have more intense focus on their careers as well. Growing up doesn’t mean giving up the carefully tailored identities they’ve created for themselves.
As noted earlier, they are also among the heaviest technology users. According to a recent study by AdAge.com, the average twenty-something switches media venues about 27 times per nonworking hour. 38% of college students cannot go 10 minutes with checking their email, tablet, laptop or smart phone, and nearly 35% of those polled follow the news either most or all of the time via each of those methods. Also worth noting that 24% of those polled said they used newspapers to follow current events, second only to television.
For the millennial generation, what it boils down to is constant access. They expect to be able to get content from anywhere at any time, and they believe they should have options, as well. They will go through multiple channels, but the content itself is paramount to securing their attention, given the sheer number of options of which they can and will take advantage.
While mobile has emerged as the preferred channel, they also have not responded well to channeling content to one source. They want content on their terms, not a company’s.
The bottom line: the millennial generation is setting the tone for media consumption in the 21st century. Being tuned into their habits is essential for businesses moving forward.
Savvy retailers are already preparing for the most important sales period of the year. The holiday shopping season is only about two months away, and eMarketer is forecasting an increase in online sales of nearly 17%, the fourth consecutive year of growth. Nearly a quarter of 2012’s expected 224.2 billion in ecommerce sales will come this November & December.
The exponential rise of sales this time of year, even during times of economic uncertainty, are a testament to the power of email, social media & mobile tactics, when one surveys the way businesses put them to use. Customers are searching for the best deals at the best times, and they know social networks and smart phone apps make it easier for them to do so. Whatever the hot gift items are this year, consumers are likely compare prices online, and search for deals or promotions on Facebook or Twitter.
If you haven’t established a mobile or social media strategy yet, this is the strongest evidence yet to do so. BSMG can help.
The benefits of a social media strategy continue to be plentiful and diverse, as proven by the latest study by the Ryan Partnership: consumers are actively trying new products and services they learned exclusively through social media.
36% of those polled said that updates from a retail location said they were ultimately convinced to try a new product they hadn’t previously considered. Another study by Ipsos shows that 18% of those polled followed a brand or retailer because a friend did the same. Impulse buys and store choice have also proven to be influenced by social media.
While grocery chains are still relying heavily on print inserts and circulars, they are showing more initiative with their social media plans. 65% of those polled by Valassis said they plan to increase their social media promoting within the next five years. Opposed to retailers, though, they are a little less sure about which specific area – acquisition, retention or increased traffic – benefits the most.
Applications, online reviews, brand emails and deal sites have also proven influential, but social media is proving to be a key cog in the marketing machine for brands everywhere.
Even as the importance of having a mobile strategy and social media strategy becomes clearer, never forget one of the first elements introduced of the digital age: email. It might be easy to dismiss it as archaic or irrelevant when consumers are spending more time checking their phones and newsfeeds, but if utilized properly, not only is email still vital, but it can serve as a great compliment to the aforementioned digital elements.
A recent study by eMarketer indicates that email usage will increase by nearly three percent over the next four years, and will reach total saturation of 96% by 2016.
Email’s growth can be largely attributed to the rise of smart phones; 36% of consumers viewed emails on their phones. In a separate study by Forrester Consulting, 32% of smart phone users who were polled said they had made a purchase directly from a promotional message they received from their phone, with email leading the pack over SMG or in-app messaging.
The relationship extends to social media, as well. “If you’re doing [customer relationship management] work today, social goes hand-in-hand with email as a CRM tool,” said MediaWhiz president Ed Kats in a recent interview with eMarketer. “Email is a big driver of the beginning of the customer conversation, and social media is a natural channel for following up and continuing that conversation.”
Don’t forget about email’s advantages over other traditional media channels, like TV or radio, either. A recent Harvard Business review blog post by Arthur Middleton Hughes highlights this. It’s significantly easier to track all the variables associated with an email campaign, like which consumers opened and clicked what, and therefore better determine which aspects are working and which are not. They’re also much more conducive for users to expand their knowledge and views of your brand on their own via outbound links and related online content. And while it cannot always tracked, email is a quick and easy way to create awareness for a brand or product, that might pay offer later if a consumer buys in-store or visits your website at a later date.
Digital marketing is heading in a lot of exciting directions, but one of its cornerstones, email, remains integral as ever.
With the benefits of a strong social media strategy also come responsibility: Facebook and Twitter are strong forums for customers to post negative feedback, and if not monitored or addressed in a timely fashion, can reflect poorly on a company of brand. The more equipped a business is to address customer issues via social media, the better it will reflect upon them – and could even strengthen the relationship with a consumer.
A recent study showed that 17% of consumers had a customer service exchange via social media in the last year, and the number is rising. Companies are recognizing the need to address those customers, as well; nearly half of companies polled indicated they were using social media to track brand feedback and address customers’ concerns.
It’s important to have guidelines when determining how to respond to customers via social media. Here are a few:
Have a dedicated person or staff monitoring all social media channels on a consistent basis. Address customers directly as soon as possible if someone posts a complaint.
Be respectful and clear. Give as much helpful information as is available, and offer additional contact information. Offer an explanation for the issue if there is one, and accept responsibility and apologize if an error has occurred on the part of the company.
Give an individualized response – not a scripted or automated one. Customers post very specific issues, and companies should offer in-depth and tailored responses.
Having a strong social media policy helps keep your brand relevant and maintain customers. Customer service is a strong component of that.
Contact your local BSMG rep to get more information on the reputation management service we provide, or call 410-332-6300.