Betting on an impulse: Visual retail merchandising

Considering the prevalence (and incredible convenience) of online retail outlets such as Amazon, it’s no surprise that these channels are gaining popularity. In fact, a whopping 81% of shoppers research products online prior to completing a purchase, causing retailers with brick and mortar shops to grow increasingly creative – with even more compelling offers – in an effort to nudge prospective shoppers out of their homes (and their footie pajamas), and actually into stores. As a result, creating emotional and visual intrigue and really connecting with your target demographic has become even more critical to a brand’s marketing strategy – due in large part to the digital shopping cart.

This desire to be blown away (and out of those comfy pj’s) by in-store design hasn’t emerged out of nowhere; in fact, it’s part of my biology… and part of yours, too. It’s well documented that as a group, humans tend to make purchasing decisions based largely on this type of emotional connection. We’re actually hard-wired to pursue certain stimuli, and it’s this arousal and consumer intrigue that honestly compels us to spend money, initiating purchases that we often weren’t planning on making. (Those retailers are onto something, aren’t they?) Truth be told, this is why I can’t simply walk past the Brooks Brothers window display without feeling the urge to stop in for a quick gander around the store – only to find myself at the checkout with yet another button down shirt, perfectly starched pair of khakis, or a stylish new sport coat.

Furthermore, there really is both an art and a science to creating effective retail visual merchandising displays. On the artistic side, the BIGEYE team encourages our clients to design expressive displays that create a sense of awe and intrigue – driving the target customer to connect with the brand so much so, that they cannot possibly return home empty-handed. However, on the more scientific side, we rely on facts and data to determine what will drive customers into a store, drawing from fields as diverse as neuroscience, anthropology (this time, the study of humans, past and present), and psychology. It seems to harken back to the old advertising industry adage, often quoted by the “original Don Draper” himself, David Ogilvy that, “It’s not creative unless it sells.” Typically, this expression pertains largely to copywriting, but upon further contemplation, we think it especially holds true for retail visual merchandising component, as well.

According to a 2014 research report from Merzer, the physical store environment is an important element in retail decision-making, as 75% of purchases are unplanned or made on impulse. How many times have you gone in to Target for “just one thing,” only to end up in a busy checkout lane, complete with a fully loaded shopping cart? This is telling, as is shows us the power of a well-designed store, and to a more concentrated degree, the presentation of the in-store displays themselves. Our goal, then, as marketers, is to enhance this experience, so much so that we’re building the retailer to consumer connection, and ensuring that the correct messaging is being delivered to the desired customer – as component of the overall branding experience.

Specifically, when it comes to retail visual marketing, the questions that we specifically want to answer boil down to:

  • Which brand elements are going to generate the greatest degree of interest from our target market?
  • How can we best appeal to a relatively broad demographic that represents our ideal customer?
  • How are we able to develop a display that entices our target demographic to select products proffered by our brand – and to complete a purchase – versus choosing the competitor’s product?
  • What is our audience seeking when selecting specific companies, brands, products, and services – and how do we connect on an emotive level?
  • Which specific marketing elements may we incorporate into our overall strategy to build awareness, and to ensure that our brand is perceived as a differentiator?

We all know that with the hustle and bustle of our lives, we find that we’re busier than ever before, and in this digital era, it’s imperative to design a display that will capture a consumer’s attention – and fast. After all, your brand may not only be in heated competition with other brick and mortar retailers, but also with the plethora of online shopping options. Although the online landscape was once presumed to be the end of the storefront, it’s now evident that shoppers want to continue to engage in heightened brand connections through in-store experience shopping. Companies are event able to employ sophisticated marketing techniques to combine their in-store displays with innovative digital campaigns to take advantage of capturing new customers in both stratospheres, developing a perfect media mix.

Oftentimes, we hear about retailers who have not yet partnered with a developed marketing team, and as a result, they fail to understand the connection between their in-store displays, and the impact on ROI. As marketing experts, we are armed with the knowledge and experience to tap into the human psyche to drive individuals to make purchases. Not only are we able to provide the necessary expertise to encourage optimization of these displays for success; we are also able to use purchasing information to better analyze the ongoing success of these recommendations. When it is determined that an initial strategy needs further thought and strategy, we’re poised to complete the additional testing required to maximize revenue opportunities – developing insights that inform and enhance a brand’s overall marketing strategy.

If your brand is seeking highly effective retail visual merchandising strategies, BIGEYE is well-equipped to partner with you. We’ll ensure that your retail environment is an immersive brand experience that truly connects with your target consumer and drives them to purchase. Contact us today by calling 407.839.8599.

What you should know about Snapchat advertising and teens

I won’t lie: I wasn’t an early adopter of Snapchat when the disappearing-photo app first arrived on the scene. Call me a smidge shallow, but my rationale was always that if I’m going to take the time to capture a picture of my oh-so-perfectly arranged lunch in lighting so undeniably”#nofilter needed” good, then I’d like to at least think that I’ll score a few “likes” out of the deal.  But with Snapchat, I find myself a bit perplexed. I mean, what’s with all this “disappearing” photo business? Where’s the recognition for my impressive food photography skills, and how on earth will my glorious meal live on in infamy?
Slowly, (and after receiving plenty of Snapchats from friends), I came around to adopt the idea. I figured, what the heck- it’s catching on, so there must be something behind the phenomenon. Stories I’ve heard repeatedly speak to it’s benefits, and I’m not the only one getting in on the Snapchat game. In fact, the app has topped 100 million monthly users. And as large of an audience as that is, you may be surprised to discover that national brands are willing to shell out $750,000 a day (!!) on disappearing ads featured in the “Recent Updates” section. Seriously. Over half a million big ones for ads that only last for 24 hours? That’s mind blowing.

…Or is it?

[quote] The reasoning behind Snapchat’s high price tag for advertising is that it’s not merely reaching a sizable audience — it just so happens to be the largest audience –  made up of the most challenging demographic for advertisers to reach effectively: teens and tweens. [/quote] As young adults move away from Facebook, and toward picture and video-heavy social media formats like Vine and Instagram, Snapchat makes a excellent case for the logic behind a heightened minimum cost per ad. In addition, it’s immediate, and since users are required to click directly on these ads to view them, there are some pretty strong opportunities for engagement. On the other hand, there are no analytics for advertising on Snapchat like we find on  Facebook, which understandably leaves plenty of brands a bit leery at the prospect of paying such a high cost without numerical data to effectively back it up. Brands such as McDonald’s are currently reaping the rewards of Snapchat advertising (even without the analytics support), and other companies – such as HBO, Nars, Macy’s, and even the New Orleans Saints – are following suit by using the app. While not all companies have the budget required to shell out a pretty penny per ad, there is always an opportunity to reach the teen audience organically as a low-to-no-cost alternative. This method may not have nearly as much reach, but it does include limited analytics (you have the opportunity to view who has seen your post – although often only during the specified 24 hour time period in which your ad appeared).

Personally, I’m not surprised that brands are forking over that kind of dough (pun absolutely intended when thinking back to my photogenic lunch) to advertise on Snapchat. If all the kids are doing it, it’s only a matter of time until companies are following suit. The question now is, “Is it there long-term value?”

Looking for some digital know-how, or have questions regarding how to best enhance your brand’s presence via social media advertising? The team of experts at our Florida digital marketing agency stands ready to provide ongoing support and strategic direction – advice we promise will last longer than your most recent Snapchat. Contact us today to start the conversation!

The top three reasons Facebook advertising pays out

To advertise on Facebook, or not to advertise on Facebook…that is the million dollar digital marketing question.
It’s a common refrain among small and large businesses alike – even though 1.23 billion people (and counting) are using the popular social media site. With such a massive audience pool to begin with, it’s guaranteed that a good percentage of your target audience will have a presence on Facebook (even if some are not regularly “active”). No matter what, the odds are certainly in your favor here. Still, it makes sense to wonder if spending a pretty penny on Facebook ads is really beneficial at creating engagement between your brand or company and your intended audience. As it turns out, Facebook advertising not only works for businesses, but is one of the most cost-effective means of generating brand awareness and targeting new leads.

Here are 3 reasons why Facebook advertising pays dividends:

1. The ability to target specific markets

One of the biggest advantages to Facebook marketing is the ability to specifically target your preferred audience. More traditional methods of targeting prospective customers based solely on simple demographics are inefficient compared to using more detailed psychographics to target consumers. With Facebook ads, you’re able to market directly to users – all based on their particular interests, age, gender, or online activity- at once. So if, say, you’re a ladies online clothing retailer, you can not only advertise to a specific gender, but also target those who shop online and have interest in fashion. You really can’t get more tailored than that, no pun intended. Why is this more effective for businesses? Because now your money isn’t being spent on ads going to an audience with no interest or intention of becoming a new customer; instead, targeted ads increase new business with potential customers as well as increase engagement with current customers. And the last thing a business wants to do is waste money. Speaking of money…

 2. It’s cost-effective

Not only are Facebook ads gaining as much, if not more, awareness for your business than TV and radio, but they have the lowest CMP, or “Cost per 1,000 impressions” in history: an average $0.25 per 1,000. That is 1% the cost of TV advertising. Moreover, the minimum cost to advertise on Facebook is $1 a day, yet it’s potentially more effective than traditional forms of advertising (due to optimized targeting). By doing the quick math, that’s only $30 a month – obviously, very little risk with incredibly high reward- rewards you can monitor thanks to Facebook’s Ad Manager.

3. Tracking ROI and awareness

With Facebook advertisements, it’s easy to monitor spending, performance, and, most importantly, ROI. You can track the number of impressions (including reach and frequency), activity (page likes, comments, shares, etc.), as well as CPC, Cost per Like, and Cost per Conversion. By easily tracking consumer engagement, you can test different ads, promotions, and posts, as well as A/B test unique targeting options to see what works best for your company.

For instance, if you’re targeting prospective customers that aren’t relevant to your business, or if your ads have too broad a reach, then the corresponding page “likes” you acquire might be rendered useless – and in some cases, engagement will be minimal. On the flip side, Facebook advertising functionality has significantly advanced since it’s inception, and the targeting options have grown to become far more sophisticated. Advertisers are now able to target prospective customers based on particular interests, age, gender, or online activity – all in one fell swoop. So if, say, you’re a ladies online clothing retailer, you’d have the opportunity to both advertise to a specific gender, and target those who shop online and possess a vested interest in fashion. You really can’t get more tailored than that, puns intended.

[quote]So it’s no longer a matter of if your company should advertise on Facebook, but rather, deciphering the most strategic game plan to maximize engagement once you’ve decided to promote your brand socially. [/quote] To use a term popularized by comedian Will Ferrell, with a little “strategery,” employing Facebook’s sophisticated advertising features will ensure that the rewards far outweigh the financial investment.

Are you ready to hit the ground running by developing a well-executed Facebook advertising playbook for your brand? Contact our Florida marketing agency today to let us help you get a strategic jumpstart!

For the love (of everything Valentine’s Day marketing)

Ah, Valentine’s Day. It brings to mind candlelit dinners, flowers sent to the office, and eating entirely too much chocolate. For some, it might even rehash haunting memories of good ol’ Johnny from third grade who gave his handmade valentine to Sarah – while going steady with you.
But as it turns out, most of the world isn’t jaded from mourning relationships of grade-school’s past; Valentine’s Day marketing should account for spending expected to reach $18.9 billion this year, up from $17.3 billion in 2014, according to the National Retail Foundation. To break it down: $1.7 billion will be spent on candy; $3.6 billion on a special meal or date; $4.8 billion toward jewelry; $2 billion on clothing; and $2.1 billion for flowers. Oh, and let us not forget the ever-popular, last-minute present: the gift card (at $1.5 billion). These numbers are significantly higher than 2014, ensuring a pretty stellar start for 2015 holiday spending. In fact, nine out of ten consumers expect to spend money on their spouse this February 14th – (leaving us to deduce that one out of those ten consumers apparently likes sleeping on the couch.)

For curiosity’s sake, just how much of an affect does advertising truly have on Valentine’s Day spending? The biggest trends in 2015 V-Day marketing seem to be the use of promotions, interactive marketing, and naturally, those familiar “I’m not crying, there’s just something in my eye!” television commercials. (I know you don’t want to admit that you had to reapply your mascara after viewing another lovey-dovey ad, right?)

If you haven’t already noticed, brands are getting extra cute – and especially creative – this season. McDonald’s announced February 2nd that their stores would be accepting an alternative form of payment now through Valentine’s Day: hugs! You’ll have to be chosen by the cashier, though, so we suggest batting a few eyelashes and perfecting that “James Dean-esque” wink to be one of the “chosen few.”

While Valentine’s Day is typically celebrated by couples (some of my friends choose to celebrate February 15th: the day holiday candy goes on sale), dating site Match.com and Starbucks are making it even easier for singles to couple up at the coffee shop. Match’s mobile app now includes a section entitled, “Meet at Starbucks,” where users can click a call-to-action button, and email one another to arrange a coffee date. So, what was the impetus for this nifty idea? Well, it was sparked by none other than the 3 million members who use coffee-related keywords to describe themselves. Additionally, Starbucks will be offering a few special coffee and pastry deals (such as a cookie and raspberry mocha – for the bargain price of $5) in conjunction with their “World’s Largest Starbucks Date” event.

Of course, our list of prime Valentine’s Day ads that convey the power of the holiday wouldn’t be complete without your quintessential Hallmark tearjerker. The greeting card company’s campaign, “Put Your Heart to Paper” features real-life couples describing their feelings without speaking the word “love.” The goal of the campaign is “to celebrate all types of relationships and the type of things anyone would appreciate hearing on Valentine’s Day.” Hard not to let that line of love notes tug on your proverbial heartstrings.

So, what does Valentine’s Day marketing mean to you as a consumer? Are you driven to purchase items for your sweetie solely based upon your reaction to a specific ad’s sentimental messaging? [quote] Does “warm and fuzzy” content – be it print, video, or otherwise, have an impact on your spending habits on this “most loved” of holidays? [/quote]

And, if you’re looking for creative ways for your business to reach a targeted and highly-responsive audience of consumers, contact the experts at our Florida advertising agency today. We’re perfectly positioned to help you develop a strategy that will generate an uptick in brand awareness and engagement that you’re certain to love. After all, who doesn’t “heart” a well-executed campaign?

Steps to Defining A Competitive Advantage In Your Market

When operating in a highly saturated market, it is especially important for a business to have a competitive advantage that sets the company apart from the others. Finding that one thing that makes a business unique involves being innovative and thinking strategically about an industry. For example, Coca-Cola operates in the soda market with PepsiCo, but many customers choose to buy a Coke because of its perceived value.

In the business world, strategy is all about creating and implementing a competitive advantage that is unique, profitable, and sustainable. The goal is to provide direction that allows your business to perform in a way that is superior to your competitors. And while it may be easy to develop a strategy, it isn’t easy to develop a successful strategy… Here at BIGEYE, our marketing solutions are rooted in strategy to ensure that our clients see superior financial results.

[quote]Check out how BIGEYE applied these steps to give Ability Wood Flooring a competitive edge within their market.[/quote]

Is your competitive advantage unique? If not, maybe it’s time to rethink it. Here are the two fundamental steps to finding your business’s true competitive advantage.

  1. Have a complete understanding of your business environment or landscape. This includes defining the forces that shape competition, the key players in your market, the drivers of your industry’s future, and where your firm interacts in the industry.
  2. Next, choose where to compete. How will your business position itself? Evaluate the industry using Michael Porter’s “Five Forces Framework” as a tool to choose your positioning. The positioning should speak to the value perceived by your target market.

These two steps should result in finding a competitive advantage that results in customers choosing your firm over competitors. Does your business need assistance in implementing strategic marketing processes that result in financial returns? Let our team of creative minds and strategic thinkers help! Contact us today and let’s get started.

Source: Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon. September 4, 2014. “Introduction to Strategy”. Retrieved from Harvard Business School.

Assessing Ello and Emerging Social Media Sites For the New Year

Recently, tech blogs and trendsetters alike have been talking about Ello, a new social media site designed to serve as an alternative to Facebook. In many ways, it seems preposterous that a company would try to challenge – or even potentially replace – Facebook, which is by far one of the largest technology companies in the world. What you might find fascinating, however, is that Facebook’s key target demographics tell a bit of a different story – one that leaves us pondering whether or not the site may eventually be headed in the same direction as Friendster, or a quite possibly, a “pre-Justin Timberlake” MySpace.

When I joined Facebook, which by now was approximately eight years ago, it was the quintessential online social media destination for users in their 20’s and early 30’s to communicate with one another. Rarely would you find a parent with a Facebook account of their own, and, in terms of other social networking options, there were a few, but none were so communal. Facebook served as a landing place for all my friends – including those from many different social circles – no matter how I knew them. Times have most certainly changed with emerging social media, and with the rise of Ello, who knows? We might just end up seeing an exciting new shift in the way people access this type of online networking.

Most bonafide marketers understand that today’s “young people” aren’t as present on Facebook, and given the host of other options, they’re more likely to spend a bulk of their time visiting Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat. It doesn’t take a seasoned marketing professional to know that it takes a lot of bandwidth to be everywhere at once. This is one of the key reasons why these days, my peers are generally only active on social networks in which they associate meaning to their daily lives – and, they remain active on forums where people with similar interests tend to gravitate.

Personally, I follow a lot of comedians and comedic actors and actresses on Twitter, which is the perfect venue for crafting short, funny “witticisms.” On the flip side, Facebook is relegated to keeping in contact with a wide circle of friends, while LinkedIn assists me in maintaining professional connections, and growing my network. I access Instagram and Pinterest daily, but other accounts such as YouTube, Foursquare, Google+ and Vine tend to go virtually untouched and oftentimes, unmaintained.

As a digital strategist, my Orlando advertising agency’s social media team and I truly don’t envision that Ello will succeed in becoming the new “Facebook alternative.” As recourse however, I am placing a pretty firm bet on that notion that it may eventually attract communities of its own – communities made up of Facebook users who may feel as though Facebook is not the best social media site to serve their varying needs. This might be as a result of its use of data manipulation, or perhaps, the addition of an advertising component, or simply, that users may find their personal news feeds to be disinteresting. Whatever the reasons – and there are many – we’re seeing something much larger at play here.

[quote]In creating and maintaining a social network, it’s important to know where your audience spends a majority of its time.[/quote] If you look closely enough, you will see that users practically canvas the web – they’re accessing sites of all types. There are entire social networking sites that are geared specifically to peoples’ interests and ideologies. Often times, it may simply consist of a message board of people who are interested in topics deemed otherwise obscure, such as “hula hooping culture” or “18th century songwriting.” Topics that might not resonate with most of us, but as the moniker goes, “if you build it, they will come.”

In a similar vain, crafting and maintaining these social networks has a great deal to do with formulating a community, and marketers can utilize this lesson in helping to propagate such communities around their products. Specific audiences may be on Facebook because there’s nothing better, but I’m certain that if you attempt to present them with a dedicated forum – one that speaks directly to their area of interest – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to watch as the population of that social networking community flourishes. As a result, members have the opportunity to create connections both online and off. One such example is Fitocracy, an online forum for self-proclaimed “fitness geeks.”

I’m a firm believer that Facebook is here to stay, although with many of the above concepts in mind, the site’s following may have the potential to shrink. This is particularly true as its users find more specialized social networks where they can connect with like-minded people (and not necessarily individuals that they know personally in the real “offline” world). By keeping in mind that a successful social media strategy isn’t limited to the most popular social networks, brands can essentially begin to seek audiences in these not-so-mainstream avenues – which, in turn, might allow them to develop more authentic connections to their own customers.

Looking for digital expertise on how to best navigate the social media landscape? Contact us today to form a partnership to chart your course!