Use your digital media waste for your market research

The rise (err, fall) of media waste strikes fear into the hearts of most digital marketers. You know the scene: launch day is finally here. Your team created a new advertising campaign, complete with digital banners, a new landing page, blog posts, and an ad spend to prove it. And then, just two weeks later, your analysts tell you that online conversion has dropped, your prospects aren’t signing up via your lead gen funnel, and you’re getting a low click rate on your ads. Cue: panic mode.
Many people make the mistake of looking at media waste as … well … waste; but our team takes at different approach. Leave it to our data-obsessed team of Orlando marketing agency experts to put a new spin on an old problem. The reality is, you can’t avoid all media waste. As multi-device users surf and shop between their mobile phones, tablets, and desktops, some degree of media waste will occur naturally as the wrong customers are retargeted or even targeted in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to use that data to your advantage. Media waste is a phenomenal source of market research (without spending an additional dime than you planned to spend anyway).

Here are three tips to turn media waste into solid gold data insights:


First, by launching any major campaign as an A/B test (either against legacy work that has succeeded in the past, or going live with multiple versions of your proposed work), you completely reduce media waste, while simultaneously reducing risk to your business. Yes, we just said that you could completely reduce media waste. Bear with us. No, that doesn’t mean that every test will be a winner, or that some campaigns won’t fail; but it does mean that you’ll gain insights into what KPIs are impacted which can, in turn, help you answer the pivotal “why.” Comparing one campaign to another helps you refine future creative direction and slowly build an understanding of how your market is behaving.


Sometimes, knowing what doesn’t work is as important as what does work. Even if you don’t have a full-blown testing team, you can use media waste to gain critical insights into what your customers don’t like. Eliminating media waste isn’t about eliminating failure; it’s about shifting your team’s perspective on what you do when you fail. It’s okay to fail fast so you can learn quickly and pivot boldly. If your team is never failing, you’re probably not taking big enough marketing swings to really shake up the business and inspire new trends in your team’s work. Our team believes that failing is just as important as succeeding provided you do it in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your bottom line, which is why we recommend testing or limited launch exposure as you roll out big ideas. Go ahead, launch that crazy campaign idea. If it works: congratulations! If it doesn’t: don’t retire that campaign into a media waste graveyard, instead, mine it for key customer insights to inform your next strategy. 


Many marketers hesitate when mining media waste for market research because the volume may be low or insights may be murky. We like to call these “directional learnings.” Media waste may not provide conclusive market research, but it does provide granular insight into your audience. Tease out these ideas and then test them to validate your hypotheses. Even simple user testing or a social media survey can add a few more data points to your research base. It may take a little longer to confirm your data than purchasing market research, but it is a lot cheaper and leverages work (and spending) that would be thrown away otherwise.

We’re so proud of the insights, and subsequent business wins, that have come out of our own missed campaigns that we’d be happy to share how our team has used media waste to drive learnings, or help you refine your past waste for future success. Shoot us a line and we’ll help you turn even the smallest failures into highly customized consumer insights.

Multi-sensory marketing takes CPGs by your senses

Consumer packaged goods marketing often experiments with the most innovative techniques and exposes brands to a breadth of campaigns touching multiple channels because they are attempting to reach a wide audience. As a result, CPGs have generated tons of data on the types of campaigns that work and don’t work. One of our favorite emerging trends is multi-sensory advertisements.
Made popular by Oxford University’s Dr. Charles Spence, multi-sensory marketing suggests that customers will be swayed to taste, feel, smell, or see CPGs a certain way by pairing sensory triggers that support the emotion a product is trying to inspire. During a coffee symposium, Spence shows how the mind can be misled to believe coffee tastes better (or worse) by changing its packaging, presentation in a coffee shop, adding smells, or different colors. Don’t believe us? Just watch:

Amazing stuff, right? Multi-sensory advertising is especially popular with millennial marketing experts because these campaigns break through the clutter and create a stronger emotional bond with the brand than traditional print or television ads. This is a “must-do” when marketing to millennials because the single most important factor in attracting this audience is creating a real, emotional connection with your brand.

Below, we share some of our favorite multi-sensory CPG campaigns and why they are so successful. We’re excited to help you create your next (or first) multi-sensory campaign, so click here to discover how we have worked with brands like yours in the past or set up a one-on-one consultation today at your local Orlando marketing agency. 


What do Kit Kat bars and Pringles have in common? Aside from being delicious – if somewhat indulgent – snacks, both CPG brands have discovered that consumers associate freshness with the sound of a crisp crunch. In a study sponsored by Dr. Spence, Pringles played the sound of different chips crunching to their consumers. Based on how fresh or stale the chips sounded influenced the consumers’ opinion of how the chips would taste. Leveraging that information, Pringles has never shied away from showing sound bites of happy customers munching in their television spots, and routinely reinforce this messaging with their “once you pop, you can’t stop” tag line. Everything from the sound of opening a Pringles tube, to the chips rattling inside the canister affirms the crisp freshness of the chips. Similarly, Kit Kat has built hundreds of campaigns around the crunch and snap of sharing and eating a Kit Kat bar. Their ads show customers being transported outside their mundane day-to-day lives as the crunch takes over. In other ads, the entire commercial leverages the various signature sounds of breaking into or biting a Kit Kat bar. The crunch, in this instance, is a pleasurable sensory experience customers have come to expect and crave. It was just a matter of discovering which this sensory experience delighted customers.


Sure, scratch and sniff coffee bags and air freshener packaging seems like an obvious use of the sense of smell to make a sale, but one of our favorite examples of multi-sensory marketing doesn’t rely on smell to make the sale … It changes the smell of the product itself. In blind tests, Axe Body Spray discovered that it’s masculine cologne had great potential, but found that consumers thought the spray was less masculine if they heard the traditional swoosh of a perfume atomizer before smelling the product. To counter balance this unintentional multi-sensory fail, Axe Body Spray changed their packaging so the bottle’s nozzle created a more aggressive, “manly” sound when using the product. That simple commercial innovation boosted customers perception of the smell and appreciation for the product. Talk about taking your packaging seriously. Using focus groups or setting up user testing can help reveal insights like this that can make or break how your CPG is perceived. 


Packaging and presentation is one of the most powerful tools when crafting a multi-sensory marketing campaign targeted at the millennial audience. Because millennials are used to consuming information via photos and rely on visual cues as they move from device to device, colors and packaging can have a profound subliminal effect on how they perceive CPGs in the real world. Color alone is enough to trigger a certain sentiment or influence taste. Just ask Coca-Cola. As part of their holiday collection, Coke released a limited edition white can featuring polar bears frolicking in the snow. Although they had not changed the product itself, hundreds of customers called in complaining that the drink formula had changed and that the product did not taste as good. Simply switching back to the traditional red can solved the sales issue. If you are marketing to a millennial audience, consider what they are looking at every day and how you could use those natural triggers to align your product with a certain feeling or effect.


The challenge with CPGs is that they are usually packed in such a way that customers don’t have the opportunity to feel, touch, or play with the product until after they have purchased it. Two companies have solved this problem in unique ways that we love. Electronic retailer Apple has created entire stores dedicated to touching and feeling their products. In their store kiosks, customers can play with, try on, weigh, and admire each and every product Apple sells. This high-sensory experience affirms Apple’s commitment to quality and design and sets them apart from other electronic manufacturers. On the other end of the spectrum, organic soap company LUSH, has taken a similar approach by setting up “mini spas” in several of their key stores across the United States. Customers can come in and enjoy quick in-store treatments using their hand lotion, soap and scrubs right to discover the benefits of these luxurious, eco-friendly products. Touch is especially important for CPGs trying to establish themselves based on value rather than price and can be a powerful reminder of quality.


No one does multi-sensory marketing better than Bose headphones and speakers. In almost any major electronic store or boutique where Bose is sold, customers will find a station outfitted with surround sound speakers or noise canceling headphone. Customers are invited to hear the sound of a Porsche revving, a majestic waterfall rushing, or immerse themselves in an action-packed movie. In each of these examples, Bose pairs their listening booth with high-adrenaline experiences rather than simply letting the customer flip on the news or turn to their Smartphone for musical inspiration. choice Their of sounds – all of which may seem otherworldly to the average consumer – affirms that Bose itself is in a class of its own in line with luxury brands such as Porsche or some of the greatest wonders that the world (or Hollywood) can deliver.

If those examples don’t inspire you to try something new, nothing will. Sometimes, the unconventional answer is the right one. And sure, you’ve heard us share our excitement about digital marketing before, but these CPGs have learned to balance the digital wave with innovative, multi-sensory techniques. These marketing leaders prove that there isn’t a one size fits all model when appealing to customers. Learn about our marketing approach here.

5 quick trends CPG brands must embrace to win with millennials

If you aren’t sick of hearing about why you need to invest in millennials yet, you probably haven’t been paying close enough attention to their forecasted purchasing potential. Millennials are a unique generation with an emerging purchasing power unlike any generation we’ve seen to date. Their eclectic spending habits make them highly desirable and somewhat elusive. Often cited as “penny wise and dollar foolish,” CPG brands sometimes have a hard time breaking through the clutter to connect with these brand-loyal consumers.
If your brand happens to be lucky enough to resonate with millennials already, you know how fiercely loyal they can be. If you’re a new market entrant or emerging company, however, catching millennials’ attention (and keeping it long enough to make a sale) can be a hurdle. Don’t waste another minute. These five quick and easy marketing trends will help you win with millennials and score for years to come.

1. Don’t try to win with price:

Go ahead, throw out the coveted “Marketing Four P’s” you learned in B-School. As a consumer packaged goods brand, you’re never going to win through price with millennials. Unless you happen to be at the very bottom end of the pricing scale, your best bet is to distinguish yourself by adding unique value or meaning to your products. Millennials will shop for a bargain on goods and sundry items, such as CPGs, but often make an exception for brands that go above and beyond their expectations. Additionally, millennials are one of the least likely demographics to switch brands once they have found a product they like, even when that brand is out priced by competition. Colgate discovered that they could actually increase their prices above competition because millennials were so connected with their unique lifestyle messaging that other toothpaste labels simply didn’t stand a chance. And of course, prices are always going to fluctuate, which is why it’s smarter to invest in what makes your product special.

2. Do something that matters:

Never think of your brand as “just another CPG.” Even the most mundane products can appeal to millennials when they connect with something larger than the product itself. Millennials often invest in products that are aligned with global issues or lifestyle causes they believe in. For example, the (RED) HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, which often lends its stamp of approval to CPG products willing to donate a portion of their profits to the cause, has generated wild success for everything from personal speakers, to food products, and clothing brands simply because it augments the product within the global community. 

3. Invest in digital marketing:

If you’re going to attract millennials, you also need to sell your products where and how they want to shop. Although consumer packaged goods were often considered a brick and mortar staple, the emergence of e-commerce giants such as Amazon have changed how millennials shop. Thanks to services like Amazon Pantry and home-grocery store delivery, these savvy shoppers often save time and money by purchasing CPGs online and having them delivered. To ensure your products don’t get overlooked during their next shopping spree, take time to invest in digital ads and social media that will keep your products top of mind and encourage millennials to go out of their way to purchase your items. 

4. Don’t be afraid to buddy up:

CPG brands can supercharge their image with a boost of edginess, allure, or excitement simply by partnering with endorsers or unrelated brands that already enjoy that reputation. For example, when Redbull partnered with the X-Games (a millennial favorite), they immediately shifted their market from overworked corporate travelers, to adrenaline-junkies and adventure seeking “Gen Y-ers.” Even if your CPG can’t generate (or sell) a certain emotion on its own, chances are, partnering with another organization could. Choose wisely when trying to attract millennials, however, to avoid unintentionally negative brand association with elitist or non-environmentally sound partners that will immediately turn off this audience. 

5. Make your packaging an extension of your brand:

If all else fails, learn from a CPG giant: Apple. Ensure your packaging is an extension of your brand values. Whether you want to attract millennials with quality or a certain emotional vibe, your packaging is your first opportunity to communicate who you are. Apple’s clean, high-quality packaging mirrors its products in many ways and is often photographed and shared on social media as an exciting addition to the product experience. Custom packaging may be a little more expensive, but it’s an opportunity no company can afford to waste.

Although there’s no silver bullet to attract or retain millennials, our team of trend forecasters and cutting edge marketers have our fingers on the pulse of the latest tools and tips that win with the millennial market. For more ideas, or a customized millennial-friendly marketing plan contact us here.

Using user generated content: Let your customers do your work

Advertising evolved from informational sales tactics into carefully curated product representations and experiences in the 40’s and 50’s. Marketing executives a la Mad Men’s Don Draper worked with clients to capture their client’s essence and package it into a perfectly polished campaign. Ads could bend the truth in small doses to create a magical version of reality in which Dawn dish soap has the power to transform the average housewife into a beautiful domestic goddess.
Times have changed. Today, customers have wised up to the alluring temptation of this type of advertising. Instead of looking to their favorite magazine for inspiration on what to buy, they ask their friends or surf their favorite bloggers’ websites. As a result, the emergence of review sites, social media, and peer-sharing has boomed. Now, customers have the power to influence a brand’s success simply by telling the truth. We’d like to think Don Draper needs a martini just thinking about that prospect.

Luckily, we know you understand the value of harnessing your customers feedback as part of a healthy marketing mix. User generated content is one of the simple, most effective ways to channel positive customer feedback into advertising potential. As an added bonus, you get to give your creative team a break and have your customers do the work for you. 


Almost every industry can leverage user generated content. Beer producer Miller Lite had customers take short videos of themselves enjoying a beer and Tweet about the experience online. Miller the promoted the winning Tweets as commercials for their product. In addition to increasing their social engagement and reach, the user generated commercial campaigns also invited customers to be authentic, share their stories, and encourage other people like them do the same. Birds of a feather do, indeed, flock together. As consumers saw other individuals like them enjoying a Miller, they realized their own summer wouldn’t be complete without a six pack of this refreshing, light beer.

Avantgarde hospitality brand The Standard Spa and Hotels took a similar approach. Over the Fourth of July, they asked customers to celebrate freedom and love by taking a video of themselves and their significant other kissing. The hotel Instagrammed user stories showing same-sex, multi-racial, and even just your “regular old” couples spreading the love. This campaign clearly expressed the hotel chain’s values, served as an invitation for guests to take part in their belief system, and – you guessed it – share their own stories.


In addition to their great entertainment value, this user generated content is highly effective for your business.

  • Increased engagement:

    One of the main benefits of using user-generated content is that it’s highly engaging. Potential customers flock to your website or social media accounts to interact with user-centric campaigns, post their own content, and like other user content they find. This means more people are spending more time on your site or social media accounts learning about and interacting with your brand. And you didn’t have to do a thing.

  • Viral potential:

    Even more enticing is the possibility that some of this content could go viral. As customers engage with other user generated content, they may be inclined to share what they find (or share their own content). There are hundreds of thousands of creative people out there. It only takes one really incredible iPhone video to transform your brand into the next YouTube craze. And more exposure means more sales. 

  • Low cost, high impact:

    User-generated content also costs nearly nothing to produce. Once you think of a campaign that users would want to participate in, you simply have to promote that opportunity and your followers will do the rest. When timed alongside a holiday or dip in your sales cycle, the added bump of exposure can have a great impact on your sales.

  • Authenticity at its finest:

    The best part is, your customers don’t have to take your word about your product. They can do what they do best: listen to their friends. Using user generated content lends an air of authenticity to any claims you make about your brand. It’s one thing for you to think your product is great, but it means a lot more when someone else does. Take advantage of that simple fact.

To kick off a campaign using user generated content, you simply need an idea and an entry point for customers to participate. We have plenty of ideas to get you started, or would love to hear what you have been successful with in the past. Share your thoughts here or reach out to one of our social specialists for ideas.

4 unconventional, creative ways to perform market research

Customer insights are solid gold. They unlock the door to commercial innovation, help you understand the latent needs of your target audience, and spark ideas for future products. It would be hard for any marketer to dispute the value of market research. What we are going to dispute is the misconception that market research has to be expensive.
If you have the budget for it, there is nothing wrong with investing in big data, qualitative customer insights interviews, market reports, and high-powered consultants. All of these tools are very effective at gathering and aggregating customer insights. When an advertising agency harnesses these insights to a creative campaign, they can have a huge impact.

But those aren’t the only ways to perform market research. Entrepreneurs, small- and medium-sized business owners, scrappy startups, and even frugal corporate heavyweights have plenty of options to collect remarkably accurate market research using lean methodology that does more with less. These four unconventional and creative ways to perform market research are as inexpensive as they are efficient. The best part is, they also yield near immediate results so you can go to market faster.

Social media for market research:

Social media isn’t usually considered a market research tool, but don’t let that fool you. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are mini focus groups that allow you to read (and respond to) customer comments, giving you a real-time view into the cause-and-effects that actually influence customer behavior. You can also introduce questions about possible new features or products into your forum, share surveys and polls, and even reach out to customers for one-on-one feedback about their experience. All for free.

Because many websites also use social media to enable single sign on customer login, social platforms have a wealth of data about where else your customers are shopping and socializing. While you may not be able to see the full picture or harness the full depth of that information without partnering (or paying) those platforms directly, you can conduct your own qualitative research by looking at what your top users and social advocates are doing online. We know it may sound a little old fashioned or labor intensive, so partnering with a digital marketing agency can make your life easier … but go ahead and do a little Facebook stalking, see what you can learn, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to learn more from time to time.

Research lifestreaming:

If you want to enjoy similar benefits but take some of the legwork out of trolling social media sites for nuggets of information, research firm Harris Interactive’s new platform built for the modern digital marketing agency, Research Lifestreaming, may be just the tool you were looking for. This tool offers a unique view into both your customers’ social media activity and more direct customer feedback. Customers opt in by linking their social media sites to the Research Lifestreaming platform and then participating in surveys, polls, and discussions regarding various experiences and products. Customers are rewarded for their insights with monetary gift certificates or merchandise.

The tool provides a much more holistic picture into the market’s behavior and how social actions correspond to real actions. Because users also choose to participate in the Research Lifestreaming platform, you don’t need to worry about being perceived as pushy or soliciting unwelcome information. The downside is that you can’t completely control the users you get to interact with. Although these individuals are all willing to share information, you aren’t receiving information from customers who had a bad experience or those who may be less inclined to share. In reality, you aren’t receiving customer information at all. There’s no guarantee that participating in Research Lifestreaming is representative of your customer segment. That said, because users choose how and where to participate on the platform, it’s safe to assume that respondents are self-selecting into experiences they would engage with in the wild and your digital marketing agency can help interpret results into actionable strategy. In this way, Research Lifestreaming provides exceptional directional insight into customer behavior and broad market temperature.

User testing:

If you crave more granular information, consider using simple user testing software such as This is one of our favorite customer research tools to gain insight into task completion and user experience functionality. Your content marketing agency can help you prepare product prototypes, show customers your actual homepage, or ask them to imagine themselves in a situation and complete a task such as purchasing a product or searching for information. Each testing session is recorded, so you’ll be able to watch (and listen to users comment on) their experience every step of the way.

User testing provides a very narrow, but accurate view into market behavior. This can be invaluable when preparing for a product launch or revamping your online presence. Like Research Lifestreaming, you are somewhat limited by who signs up to participate on It’s important to remember that while lean market research doesn’t give you an infallible look at customer behavior, it’s often faster and easier to collect. Responses from user testing are usually available within hours, rather than months (as is the case with traditional market research). With these tools, you can supercharge your testing and iteration process to meet your customers’ needs faster.

Site surveys:

And don’t forget about adding a customer survey to your homepage. You can ask simple questions like why they came to your site, or more broad questions like what they like or dislike your brand. Give them the option to respond with simple yes/no or radio button answers, or add their own verbatims. Survey creation software such as Qualaroo is easy to implement with a few clicks of a button, so everyone from a seasoned digital marketing agency to the most non-tech savvy companies can take advantage of this tool.
No matter how you choose to collect market research, the most important element is that you are connecting and engaging with your customers. How you do it – is just the details.

5 awesome, unconventional marketing tactics you need to use

In a world where ROI and the bottom line rule marketing, sometimes it’s easy to forget about the fun, audacious, sometimes unconventional marketing tactics that probably drew you to the industry in the first place. We would never advocate that tracking your return on investment isn’t critical to the health and growth of your business; but rather, that we, as marketers, love to swing for the grand slam. For us, it’s all about finding the perfect balance between tried-and-tested marketing techniques and a few unconventional marketing tactics and campaigns with the power to disrupt the market and break through the clutter. Here are a few of our favorite awesome, unconventional marketing tactics.

1. Work for free:

When you pose this idea to your financial planning analyst, you may want to put a little marketing spin on the verbiage, but we’re just going to say it: you can get something for nothing. Offering a free consultation, inviting customers to try your services or products before they buy, doing pro-bono work, or giving high impact lectures (gasp!) for free can attract prospective customers who might have otherwise been on the fence. This technique works especially well for products that can’t be sold as a necessity, require customer education such as consulting or dietitian services, or are new entrants into the market. If you’re stuck on what might be of value to your target audience, lean on your marketing agency or advertising agency to do some research about what “hooks” – whether it’s features, face time with the CEO, or freebies – would get them in the door.

2. Take advantage of the halo effect:

It stands to reason that if you can be guilty by association, you can also look incredible by association too. The phenomenon in which a person or product enjoys increased brand association or a boost in perceived customer value thanks to alignment with another, more powerful or popular brand is called the “halo effect.” Established brands releasing a niche product sometimes use this to attract loyal customers to new markets, but any company can take advantage of this trend. On the local level, find charitable organizations, popular public figures or tastemakers, or trendy venues where you can host an event and start making connections. Most people and organizations are willing to exchange in-kind marketing collateral such as: access to shared email lists or exclusive discounts for your cross customer base when there is a mutually beneficial fit. This technique can scale all the way up to the national or global level depending on how dedicated you are. A good marketing agency will likely have pre-existing contacts and ideas on what might be a good alignment, so start there.

3. Build a memorable brand:

Do something quirky. Make mistakes. Be human. Even the most corporate, buttoned-up organizations can benefit from moments of humanity. Recognizing that there is a time, place, and audience who responds to this type of marketing and balancing it against more conventional messaging and imaging is key. Perhaps you limit the funkiness to your Snapchat or Instagram feed, or maybe you run simultaneous campaigns that target both sides of the same coin. A great example of an organization that does this well is Geico. Ask any millennial or hipster and they can probably cite several of the silly “Switch to Geico – it’s what you do” advertisements featuring everything from an addled Tarzan, to a dog stealing spaghetti from its owners’ plates. None of these ads mention the comprehensive asset protection or excellent customer service Geico has built a reputation on. That information is reserved for prospective customers looking for a quote or surfing their online space. What these ads do is disrupt a mature, saturated market and raise awareness that then drives prospects farther down the funnel and into exploration mode. Trust us, they are laughing all the way to the bank.

4. Everyone loves a themed party:

Think: product launches, fundraisers, new menu launches, release events, and more. The opportunities to host an event are near endless. Although the upfront cost and work of hosting an event can seem inhibitive, your marketing agency will help you offset this pain point and set measurable goals. Events often serve the dual purpose of raising brand awareness and generating leads. The trick is to host an event that speaks to your audience. Too often, organizations jump on an opportunity to attend an event without a clear understanding of who is actually in attendance. They generate leads by bribing unsuspecting bystanders to exchange contact information for freebies, but the quality of these type of leads is often low … people will do anything for a free t-shirt, right? Instead, get crisp on the type of customer you want to attract. If you are launching a new line of skincare products, consider hosting a spa party. If you’re releasing the newest issue of a community magazine, go for the hottest new venue in town. Everything from the theme to the event programming should speak to the people who would truly use your products or services.

5. Blog, blog, blog:

And then blog some more. This is such a simple, low-effort marketing technique with tremendous potential. All you have to do is consider the amount of amateur marketers and online celebrities who are consistently making thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, garnering huge followings, and receiving coveted brand endorsements to see the potential in blogging. Blogging is still often overlooked in the marketing mix because it is sometimes hard to quantify the return on investment and requires nurturing to build a readership. That said, it only takes one person to find a niche topic that attracts prospective customers and brand partners (see above and remember that halo effect) to start a blog. Any good digital marketing agency or content marketing agency can support your in-house blog writing to ensure your content is relevant and consistent. If you aren’t ready for the full commitment, consider writing guest blog posts that are popular among your audience to test the waters and build out a larger blog program from there.
These unconventional marketing tactics are not only fun – they are effective and are an excellent compliment to your traditional marketing campaigns and initiatives. It really is okay to think outside the box.