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Audience Campaign Creation & Development Consumer Insights Insights Marketing/Business Media & Analytics Media Planning and Buying Over-The-Top(OTT) Video Production

This article is part of #TheBigeyeLens series exploring the future of consumer behavior, purchasing decisions, and marketing trends.

Americans first learned to love watching TV way back in the 1950s, and some folks still refer to that time as the Golden Age of TV. Even during today’s digital age, people still spend a lot of time watching dramas, comedies, documentaries, the news, and other kinds of TV shows. At least, Nielson recently reported that the average U.S. adult consumes over five hours of video content every day. OTT advertising offers brand the opportunity to reach niche, captive audiences.

How do People Consume TV Shows in 2021?

Of course, the way people consume TV programs has changed a lot in the past few decades. As an example, in the 1950s, some businesses closed and people stayed home to catch the latest episode of “I Love Lucy.” Today, TV watchers hardly ever need to restrict themselves to “appointment TV” because they can catch shows whenever it’s convenient for them.

In fact, the number of 18-to-34-year-olds who watched traditional TV dropped by over 23 percent in the third quarter of 2020 when compared to the previous year. Viewers, especially younger ones, tend to use over-the-top (OTT services) and connected TV (CTV) services to stream their favorite shows whenever they want to. And judging by the statistics, they still want to watch a lot of TV.

Before discussing how OTT advertising and CTV can benefit advertisers, it’s helpful to understand that they are both similar but not exactly the same. For some quick definitions:

OTT: This stands for over-the-top TV, and it refers to streaming services that serve content directly via the internet. Some well-known examples of OTT TV services include Netflix and Hulu. Viewers might access these apps on their laptops, smartphones, or even internet browsers on their smart TV sets.

CTV: CTV stands for connected TV. It refers to content viewed through internet-connected, streaming apps on smart TVs, plug-in devices like Roku or Chromecast, and even gaming consoles.

How CTV and OTT Services Benefit Smart Advertisers

One might say it’s a new Golden Age of TV for TV fans and marketers. For some examples:

• In the early decades, TV advertisers could only cast a wide net and expect to engage a tiny fraction of the viewers of a popular program. People didn’t have that many shows to watch, so most popular shows attracted large but general audiences. Today, viewers have plenty of choices, so the shows that they watch may attract particular demographics.

• Since viewers often have to play the ads to keep watching their programs, advertisers can also enjoy very high engagement when compared to many other placements for video ads. For instance, internet users may simply mute or ignore the video ad on a website or social network; however, they’ll generally play through the ads included in TV-type programming to resume the show.

Today, more viewing choices and platforms capable of gathering data about viewers mean that a CTV or OTT advertising agency can send exactly the right message to the perfect audience. An experienced OTT and CTV media agency would advise its clients to take advantage of the information they have about their own customers and how it aligns with data provided by  OTT advertising and media buying services in a few important ways:

Gain an Understanding of the Intended Audience and the Media They Prefer

Start developing brand personas from market research, customer information, outsourced marketing data, and/or industry demographics. These snapshots of typical customers should help uncover the type of content they enjoy and how they prefer to have it delivered.

For some examples:

• Is the brand’s typical customer a Boomer who occasionally logs into Hulu, a cord-cutting Millennial with a high-end smart TV, or a Gen Z who mainly streams on a smartphone?

• Are they likely to prefer major league baseball, true crime documentaries, or made-for-cable dramas?

Answering these questions will help determine the best platforms to target and the slant to use when crafting advertising content.

Exercise Creativity to Enjoy the Full Benefits of New Media Platforms

With so much power to understand viewers and the type of content that engages them, marketers should use their information and creativity to craft the sort of content that can also engage users.

As one example, Hulu is a popular OTT platform that displays advertising to members at some service levels. Hulu suggests answering a few questions to help develop the best ads:

Has the brand already generated awareness? New brands need to work harder to educate their audience. In contrast, a well-known brand may need to invest effort in changing the audience’s perceptions.

What’s the typical buying process? Some products may benefit from impulsive purchases, but other products generally need to coax customers through their journey. Either way, it’s important to develop content that will help move customers along in the intended step in the buying process.

Which advertisement lengths best serve goals? On platforms like Hulu, ads can range from 15 seconds to a few minutes. Short, punchy ads can be memorable and help develop brand recognition, but longer ads give marketers time to provide more information. As a tip, Hulu mentioned that their highest performing short ads focused on branding in almost every frame. In contrast, longer ads could focus on storytelling.

A Successful OTT Advertising Example

There’s not one right way to develop an OTT or CTV ad that would apply to every marketing campaign. Still, a CTV or OTT advertising agency will certainly want to gain inspiration from successful examples of high-performance ads.

For instance, like many companies, Bassett faced pandemic-related business issues that forced them to reduce and optimize their overall media budget. At first, some marketers might not think that a 120-year-old furniture company would make a good candidate for new media.

This example of a Bassett advertisement showed how they use a 30-second spot to tell their brand’s story in the words of actual furniture makers. The company replaced their entire traditional TV budget with only OTT ads. This campaign helped them sustain sales and even traffic to brick-and-mortar Bassett stores.

Optimize, Test, and Tune

As with almost any kind of marketing, great CTV and OTT campaigns are typically made and not born. That means that an experienced CTV and OTT media agency will expect optimal performance after periods of testing and tuning messaging and audiences.

On the positive side, sophisticated platforms can help track relevant metrics, even including visits to physical locations and eCommerce websites. Some examples of the metrics commonly provided on self-serve advertising platforms include impressions by network, day, and device, completion rates, click rate,

Work with an Experienced CTV and OTT Advertising Agency

Here at Bigeye, we appreciate TV’s power to inform, educate, and entertain. Of course, we also work hard to maximize TV’s potential to grow our client’s business with the right audience targeting, content format, and media placement. Contact us to tell us more about your brand, and we’ll let you know how we can help optimize your experience with OTT and connected TV buying services.

Categories
Audience Branding Creative & Production Insights Marketing/Business Media & Analytics

Bigeye, an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency, has unveiled a newly redesigned website with an accompanying campaign, #TheBigeyeLens, to showcase its unparalleled expertise of consumer insights.

“After two decades of success, we’ve learned a lot about creating unforgettable brand experiences that drive connections,” said President Justin Ramb. “Our new website showcases how we’re uniquely positioned to completely understand the customer’s changing needs and produce the results our clients trust us to deliver.”

Bigeye launches, scales, and grows revolutionary brands that break the status quo.  Its award-winning teams have expertise in the full spectrum of marketing and advertising disciplines, including research, strategy, and campaign management and optimization. Its creative work includes everything from advanced digital campaign creation and video production to environmental design and outdoor media. 

“The future is driven by vision. We combine insight, hindsight, and foresight to inform all of our decisions,” said VP of Insights Adrian Tennant. “Research is at the heart of everything we do. Without audience personas, qualitative and quantitative research studies, and other forms of consumer research, we would miss opportunities to help our clients reach their target audiences.”

Bigeye’s four core service lines are Audience, Branding, Creative & Production, and Media & Analytics, with a focus on innovative Consumer brands. As an insights-driven agency, each project begins with detailed consumer research to architect strategies that yield tangible results.

“Our creative strategy enables the leading companies we work with to cut through the noise and make powerful, profitable connections with their target market,” said Seth Segura, VP of Creative. 

“This new chapter will allow us to continue creating customer experiences that help bring brands all over the world to new heights.”

In addition to the redesigned website, Bigeye will publish a series of new blog posts exploring the future of consumer behavior, as well as new episodes of their weekly podcast IN CLEAR FOCUS on the same topic. This Fall, Bigeye will also release a proprietary research report on the changing retail industry. 

Follow Bigeye on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and subscribe to the monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date on all agency news. 

About Bigeye

Bigeye is an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency that crafts deeply compelling brand experiences and the strategies that ensure they reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time. The Bigeye team of strategists, account managers, creative directors, copywriters, designers, programmers, and operations professionals works closely with clients to better understand the needs of their consumers and deliver measurable results.

Categories
Insights Marketing/Business

Looking back, online sales have enjoyed steady gains for the past three decades. Most recently, the pandemic sparked unprecedented growth during 2020. Last year, eCommerce marketing rose to account for 18 percent of worldwide sales.

This news should excite online marketers. Still, the expanded market also attracted plenty of new competitors and larger investments from existing ones. In other words, online businesses can enjoy a golden opportunity to attract new customers and sell even more to their current ones.

Still, companies need to invest more in learning about their customers and improving their platforms to retain their share of customers. Learn how a top eCommerce marketing agency will guide their own clients to even greater levels of success in the coming year.

What eCommerce Features Attract Online Shoppers?

If nothing else, consumers enjoy plenty of choices when they want to shop online. To attract customers, businesses need to deliver the features and experiences that their market prefers. To figure out what online shoppers want in general, Global Web Index surveyed a global pool of over 600,000 internet users from 16 to 64.

The respondents said they favored online stores with:

  • Free shipping: Over half said that free shipping motivated their online purchases.
  • Coupons or discounts: Over 40 percent mentioned buying online for the chance to save money.
  • Reviews: About 35 percent said that positive reviews from past customers prompted them to buy online.
  • Easy returns: One-third of the respondents checked the return policy before making a purchase.

Besides the preferences mentioned above, other survey respondents also mentioned favoring an easy checkout process, next-day delivery, loyalty programs, positive social media comments, and the ability to spread payments without having to pay interest. Over 20 percent of the surveyed online shoppers also said that they liked to buy environmentally friendly products.

An eCommerce Marketing Agency’s Best Practices for Shopify

At Bigeye, an eCommerce and Shopify marketing agency, experience has demonstrated that the features mentioned above can help improve sales. Still, they will only provide a competitive edge to eCommerce sites that already adhere to some common best practices.

Best Practices from the Perspective of an eCommerce and Shopify eCommerce Agency

Use clear, helpful images

Neil Patel mentioned a survey that found 51 percent of consumers prefer to shop online. That’s great news; however, that still leaves a lot of people who would rather shop in person, so they can see what they’re going to buy. Providing high-quality and informative images can help overcome reluctance and turn even more consumers into online shoppers.

Display Real Reviews

Reviews provide the kind of social proof that many shoppers look for before they start to fill an online shopping cart. Of course, most people don’t bother to leave reviews, or just as bad, they only leave them when they experience problems.

To encourage reviews from satisfied customers:

  • Ask for reviews: If possible, automate the process of asking for reviews. For instance, businesses could automatically add review requests to the email confirmation of the sale and the delivery, plus a followup email to ensure satisfaction.
  • Reward reviews: Businesses come up with various ways to reward reviews. Some companies offer extra points for a loyalty program or discount coupons. Loyalty programs can encourage repeat purchases, and used in this way, they can indirectly help encourage new sales from customers who see past reviews.

Take Advantage of Shoppable Posts

The ability to make sales directly from social media has grown more important recently. As mentioned in an earlier article about eCommerce social marketing trends, Shoppable posts let marketers embed lots of information right into product images. This information includes a product description, price, and how to make a purchase. Think of Shoppable posts as similar to catalogue images but embedded right into social media feeds.

shoppable posts, ecommerce shopify best practices

Plan an eCommerce Email Strategy

Working with an email design agency can increase sales from both new and established customers. An earlier Bigeye article on building an eCommerce email strategy explained such important benefits as maintaining connections and encouraging relationships. Just as important, timely emails can provide helpful information about new promotions, special offers, and even the timing of deliveries.

Thus, emails won’t just help increase sales; they can also improve customer satisfaction and reduce emails and calls to customer service. Even better, online marketers can automate almost all aspects of their email campaigns with tools like Narvar and Klayvio that integrate easily into Shopify sites.

Avoid Common eCommerce Mistakes

Sometimes, businesses do almost everything right. Mostly, just one simple mistake curtails sales or profits. To understand three common mistakes, review a summary of the most common eCommerce myths that can lead sellers astray:

  1. Making a site accessible on the internet means people will find it. Besides Amazon, eBay, and other large retail sites, shoppers can find plenty of small, specialized online shops. At the same time, most eCommerce sites fail because they suffer from poor search visibility and/or the lack of effective marketing.
  2. Free shipping is really free. Even though consumers love free shipping, somebody has to pay for it. Failing to either build the cost into prices or simply charge for shipping can destroy profits or even lead to losses.
  3. Online sellers should work alone. An experienced Shopify development firm, like Bigeye, can ensure an online marketing business will build their brand, adhere to best practices to optimize conversions, and avoid damaging mistakes.

Know Where Your Customers Come From

Customer insights offer marketers the next-best-alternative to actually watching each shopper make a purchase decision. They can tell businesses how customers learned about a product, what motivated them to fill their shopping cart, and how long they spent on various pages of the eCommerce site.

Most of all, customer analytics lets online sellers understand which marketing channels produce the best returns and which ones either need some work or a reduced investment. To get started, look at two aspects of gathering information about customers.

Marketing Attribution

As highlighted by this Bigeye article, marketing attribution can do much more than simply track conversions. For instance, it can track which ads customers saw, how they reacted to a social post, and even which of multiple touchpoints influenced a buying decision. Some platforms can even track other media, like TV and radio. Based on various attribution models, platforms can help credit a portion of a sale to various points along the customer’s journey.

In this age of multichannel marketing and complex marketing funnels, eCommerce businesses need marketing attribution to grow. Some examples of popular marketing attribution tools include the HubSpot Marketing Analytics Dashboard, Windsor.AI, and Ruler Analytics.

Marketing Attribution Funnels

As Bigeye pointed out, most marketers don’t believe they can truly measure ad spend across all channels. Marketers with no insight into the entire customer journey will inevitably drain profits from the best eCommerce websites, product offerings, and other marketing.

In contrast, delivering useful metrics generally requires clearly defined marketing funnels. Besides website trackers,  consider using platforms, like the ones mentioned in the previous section, to integrate conversions with analytics from emails, contact forms, social media, and other channels.

Don’t Try to Tackle Everything Alone

Hopefully, this overview of customer preferences, eCommerce best practices, and the importance of tracking customers will offer most online businesses some actionable insights to help increase sales.  With tips that range from adding new features to implementing a marketing attribution platform, some sellers may feel overwhelmed or at least, unsure where to begin.

From new startups to large enterprises, Bigeye partners with eCommerce businesses to develop brands, tune online presences, learn more about customers, and most of all, to grow. Reach out to talk about your business and learn how Bigeye will help.

Categories
Branding Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer Insights Marketing/Business Uncategorized

To engage the notoriously short attention span of internet users, even older brands have recently introduced modern, streamlined versions of earlier logos. Flat logo design refers to the popular trend of using two-dimensional, two-color branding images that don’t contain realistic images, shading, and other enhancements. They’re meant to appeal to contemporary consumers and easily transfer to various media, packaging, and products.

Certainly, many new or established brands can benefit from cleaner and more practical graphics. On the other hand, it’s easy to find examples of companies taking minimalism too far. This results in colors and graphics that closely resemble other products or brands or fail to reinforce the company’s image in other ways.

Find out more about the benefits of flat logo designs and hopefully, how to avoid some common pitfalls.

Why have brands turn to flat logo design?

apple logo design journey from intricate to flat logo design

The image in this section compares Apple’s original logo with the current one. Actually, there’s a lot to like about Apple’s original logo. It tells an entire story about Isaac Newton getting hit on the head by an apple and noticing gravity. It probably strikes most contemporary people as nostalgic and almost like something to expect on a craft beer or wine label.

That image probably represented the budding startup well at the time. In those days, Apple may have told their branding agency that they wanted the logo to send a message that they had better ideas, genius designers, and high standards of craftsmanship. No doubt, the original logo communicated a lot of information. It’s also obviously the opposite of a flat design.

These days, Apple wants to portray a somewhat different image to an evolving marketplace. Even though the original graphic tells a story, it contains so many details and graphical enhancements that it looks even more old-fashioned than it even is. Today, Apple strives to position themselves as the cutting-edge tech company for smart and savvy customers. Since they’ve established their brand so well by this time, they don’t need to use their logo to tell so much of their story.

Besides, Apple can now enjoy the benefits of a minimalist design that they can easily use as a package label, product logo, or cell phone icon. Most of all, few people remember that old, nostalgic Apple label, but almost everybody recognizes their current brand image. This design change worked, though it’s fair to say that the old one looks sort of cool.

Do contemporary, flat logo designs always work well?

Creative Bloq nailed the problem with today’s minimalist logo design trend. In theory, flat designs should reduce cognitive load by displaying a simple image to represent a brand. However, so many of these new graphics rely on similar shapes and color schemes that it might actually take more mental effort than ever before to tell them apart. In that way, they can actually increase cognitive load.

New vs. Old Product Logo Comparisons

Image

For instance, look at the comparison of Google’s previous icons on the top row and the current versions on the bottom row. As just one example, it’s fair to argue that the top mail icon more clearly tells typical Gmail users that this image offers a portal to their email inbox than the stylized “M” below it.

Plenty of users say the same thing about the document and video image comparisons. In fact, the images on the bottom row tend to look so much alike that it takes more thought to tell them apart than it did before. For a company that prides itself on its focus on usability, the icon redesign doesn’t appear to achieve its set goal. It’s so stylized that it fails to communicate well.

Brand Logo Comparisons

Download Monzo Logo in SVG Vector or PNG File Format - Logo.wine

Possibly even worse than giving users minor problems with distinguishing between products from the same company, some brands have begun to mimic each other so closely that they’ve grown way too hard to distinguish.

The logo for a UK bank called Monzo has a stylized M, and sometimes they use only the M without the bank name below it. Refer back up to Google’s new email icon to see how similar the graphics would look as app icons on a smartphone or labels on a box. They’re different, but they would still be easy to mistake for each other because of the closely matched font style and colors.

Examples of Successful Logo Redesigns

Burger King logo evolution

Some clever logo designers have introduced graphic redesigns that both creative agencies and customers appreciate. As examples, consider the good choices made by Burger King and Adobe.

Burger King’s New Logo

As one winning example, look at Burger King’s redesign. Notice that the current logo on the right side of the image actually looks more like an earlier graphic than the more stylized version that immediately proceeded it.

For one thing, Burger King reverted away from the stylized and perhaps unclear image of a hamburger bun. For another, they removed the blue crescent to simplify their color scheme and reduce the amount of details. According to Lisa Smith, a creative director at Burger King’s logo design agency, they wanted to pay homage to the company’s history but produce a more refined version of it.

Perhaps less obvious, they also hoped that taking away the blue crescent would help symbolize the brand’s removal of artificial colors and ingredients from their recipes. Either way, the new logo should not confuse anybody who wants to find a burger from the established fast food chain, and nobody would think Burger King looks like McDonald’s.

Adobe’s Logo Redesign

Adobe logo redesign

Adobe also removed one color in their transition from an old to a new logo. According to the Adobe Blog, the company wanted to make their new design more functional across a range of different surfaces and product types.

Besides their brand logo, they also introduced new product logos with stylized images of two- and three-letter mnemonics to help customers easily find the products they want. As an example, Ps stands for Adobe Photoshop, and PsC stands for Adobe Photoshop Camera.

With a focus on usability and attention to choosing colors for accessibility, they made graphical changes that not only should enhance their brand but also improve functionality.

How an Experienced Branding Agency Approaches Logo Design

For logo design or even redesign, it takes more than just a typical graphic design agency. It takes a good branding agency that’s willing to understand the company’s audience, message, and even its history. While prudent designers will pay attention to trends, they never want to produce work that’s so trendy that it mimics other players or loses its purpose in the process.

With that in mind, business logo designers should always adhere to these best practices:

  • Conduct brand discovery and market research first: As in the case of Burger King and to some degree, even Apple, the best logos can look very contemporary without sacrificing a nod to the past. Also, invest in enough research to ensure the audience will respond well to the new logos. It’s better to hear this kind of criticism from a focus group than to see it on Twitter.
  • Note current trends without blindly following them: Changing a logo carries some risk, especially for a business that already has significant brand and logo recognition. Flat and minimalist designs offer plenty of benefits; however, don’t sacrifice functionality and uniqueness.
  • Avoid out-of-the-box typography and color pallettes: Very often, even simple typography customization can help avoid accidental similarities between one brand and another. For instance, choosing either different colors or another font could have kept the Monzo logo from looking quite so much like Gmail’s.
  • Shy away from image clichés: Sure, the new Apple logo looks a lot like the old graphics for Apple Records, but thankfully, most Apple buyers probably aren’t old enough to remember the old Beatles label. Anyway, Apple got away with it, but using common shapes, like globes, light bulbs, or apples, risks confusion and can even appear stale. If it’s necessary to use a common or generic shape, try to customize it in a unique way.
  • Avoid making logos too abstract: In Google’s effort to simplify icons, they took away the instant recognition of what the images represented.
  • Strive for simplicity: Complex logos may present problems when displayed on different devices or surfaces. That’s also why sticking with two colors makes logo designs more practical for a variety of applications. Using just one or two colors can also open up the possibility of reproducing it in monochrome if the need arises, say for stationary or business cards.
  • Develop responsive logos: Logos shown as icons for apps, emblems on products and packaging, and advertisements on TV or computers will need to scale to various sizes. If it’s not possible to design one responsive logo, consider creating variations for different applications.
  • Develop brand guidelines: Finally, businesses should protect the investment they make in developing and promoting their brands by publishing guidelines that specify how to use the logo. Some guideline considerations might include permitted and prohibited uses, fonts, colors, and padding.

Developing a Logo that will Last for Generations

Businesses invest a lot in creating a brand identity, and a logo represents a visual cue or reminder of that. While brands may have good reasons to develop new logos or redevelop old ones, no business wants to do that very often. Nobody can say for sure if today’s graphics will look dated in 20 or 30 years; however, it’s helpful to look back on logos from the past to see how well they stood the test of time.

As a branding firm in Florida, Bigeye has helped established branding and designed innovative logos for dozens of growing and established organizations. Take a look at the online portfolio to find a graphic design agency that builds brands.

Categories
CBD CBD Products CBD Services Insights Marketing/Business

A report by Bigeye, an Audience-Focused, Creative-Driven, Full-Service Advertising Agency devoted to creating CBD marketing campaigns that drive conversions.

The Quick-Takes

  • Millennial women are the most avid CBD fans — and they desire products formulated and sold in a certain way.
  • Follow the lead of caffeine and market a feeling, not an ingredient (think energy drinks).
  • Half of Americans think CBD and cannabis are the same thing, so transparency, education and trust in CBD advertising is essential.
  • Regulations are moving quickly. Pressure is building for national CBD advertising standards as restrictions are slowly slackening.
  • Smart marketers can sidestep these restrictions by advertising on podcasts and other CBD-friendly channels.
  • Most CBD marketing is yawn-inducing. If you want to engage audiences, you need to be bold. Tap into the Zeitgeist by taking what people fear and dislike about the  modern world and position your product as an antidote.
  • Bigeye understands the CBD marketing space in a way that your current agency can’t equal. Don’t believe it? Read on…

CBD is 2021’s Breakout Product

Not only are CBD products flying off retail shelves everywhere, the product has ignited a firestorm of cultural conversation and consumer interest.

If you’re in the CBD advertising business, that’s great news — you’ve got a product that sells itself in many ways. Yet here’s the rub: with rapid growth comes stiff competition. Everyone sees the generational opportunity that hemp-derived products like CBD represent, and they are rushing in to carve out market share.

In order to help you flourish in a crowded space, you need to understand the challenges inherent to CBD marketing, while keeping abreast of all changes in this fast-evolving market.

Let’s take a closer look at some key aspects of CBD advertising and CBD product marketing that you may not have fully considered.

CBD Marketing and Advertising Tips for 2021 and Beyond

There are nearly 4,000 brands within the CBD space in the United States. Given that kind of competition, it’s essential to develop a sophisticated marketing strategy and execute flawlessly. Let’s take a closer look at some tips CBD marketers can follow when creating their next campaign:

  • Differentiate your products through branding. Let’s be honest: There is often very little to differentiate CBD products. Oils, gummies and tinctures are…oils, gummies and tinctures. Differentiation, therefore, needs to occur through branding. Many CBD enterprises have chosen to target the health and wellness market, pitching CBD products as lifestyle enhancers that can help consumers deal with pain, anxiety, insomnia etc. in a natural way. This is a powerful argument, as there is a considerable backlash within society at the moment with regard to overprescription of pharmaceuticals. By pitching your product as an all natural, healthy way to treat common ailments, marketers can target those who use pharmaceuticals while activating a vast market of people who are healthy, but are seeking to use CBD as a life optimization product. 
  • Know your true audience. If we asked you which kind of person has the most interest in CBD, would you say a millennial woman? If not, then your marketing may be off-target. According to a new research report, CBD products hold more attraction for women than men — and women generally prefer “softer” CBD products (such as gummies, infused beverages, beauty products etc.) while men prefer “harder” CBD products such as concentrates, vapes and tinctures. Across all genders, millennials exhibit more interest than any other demographic group, and they are particularly focused on CBD in the wellness context. 
  • Market a feeling, not a product. Given the relatively faceless nature of CBD brands and uniformity of the products they sell, smart marketers should remember that they are marketing a feeling as much as anything else. What does this mean in practical terms? Think about caffeine — nobody markets caffeine directly, although it is consumed in enormous quantities. Instead, companies market the feeling it produces: energy. Brands built an entire product category out of feeling-oriented marketing (energy drinks). Alcohol companies, meanwhile, have build campaign after campaign centered around the social aspects of beer and wine.
  • Focus on trust and transparency in CBD marketing. One of the most significant reasons why people fail to try CBD is because of fear or skepticism about the effects of CBD on the body and the product quality and/or supply chain. This is largely borne from ignorance. Despite its surging popularity, research shows that 60% of people don’t know what CBD is and don’t understand its effects. When a product is this widely unknown — and is also linked closely with psychoactive compounds — it’s hardly surprising that some people are hesitant to put this substance into their bodies. In order to overcome this reticence, CBD product marketing should emphasize trust and transparency with regard to CBD sourcing.
  • Tap the emerging markets. CBD is making waves in a variety of industries, but it is gaining particular traction within the pet industry. Why? The first reason is simple: Dogs suffer from many of the same maladies as their owners, and CBD’s clinical effects can help them manage these symptoms. Second, today’s pet owners are willing to pay almost any premium to provide their animals with the best possible lives — just look at the growth in grain-free dog food.

    Even though science shows that grain-free dog food might be worse for animals than conventional dog food, people buy it anyway because of the general bias against gluten and the fact that it sounds healthier. CBD-infused pet products, however, have been met with positive anecdotal reports and are selling at a brisk clip. In fact, CBD pet products are the fastest growing category within that industry. The beauty industry is also witnessing exceptional sales growth within the CBD category, as consumers seek natural skin treatments.
  • Stay on the right side of regulators. The FDA is busy sending out warning letters to CBD companies that skirt the rules of legal marketing. According to a recent release, the FDA is cracking down on companies that illegally sell “unapproved products containing cannabidiol online with unsubstantiated claims that the products treat teething pain and ear aches in infants, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, among other conditions or diseases.”

    Given CBD’s clinically established success in treating a variety of significant illnesses, it seems foolhardy to stretch the truth by making unsupported assertions. Not only can you quickly run afoul of FDA regulators, such unethical practices make all firms within the CBD market tainted by association.
  • Consider the FTC as well as the FDA. Additionally, the FDA isn’t the only controlling body that needs to be accounted for. The Federal Trade Commission has its own standard, which makes it “unlawful to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless the advertiser possesses competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made.” That’s a reasonably high bar — and one that all CBD marketers should be familiar with.
  •  Counter widespread misunderstandings. Marketers aren’t immune to the “Curse of Knowledge.” We often get so close to the industry in which we operate that we have a hard time understanding that most people lack even glancing familiarity with the products and services we know so well. In the case of CBD, you may be shocked to learn just how much bad information is circulating.

    According to new research from the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, 40% of Americans believe CBD is another name for cannabis. Roughly 51% of Americans believe taking CBD will get them high. Approximately 76% of Americans believe CBD is fully regulated at the federal level. Wrong, wrong and wrong. While the FDA is enforcing CBD ad violations, it is working under outdated statutes governing supplements. There is no CBD-specific set of federal guidelines governing the sale and marketing of CBD. Marketers need to understand just how limited the understanding of CBD is among the general public and take steps to help people learn. 
  • Go against the grain. This is advice we’d give to brands in almost any industry, but we think it applies with special emphasis within the CBD product category. The CBD category is driven largely by millennial and Gen Z consumers, all of whom have grown up in an environment where advertising, whether in hard or soft form, is pervasive. As such, routine campaigns often don’t resonate.

    Cliched 4/20 style product packaging or sedate-and-yawn-inducing wellness branding probably won’t move the needle very far. There are two ways you can avoid falling into this trap: Come up with strikingly original copy and visuals, or tie your marketing into the larger concerns and obsessions of millennials and Gen Z consumers. By this, we don’t simply mean pumping out low quality memes on social media.
  • Get creative. One of our favorite examples of this type of marketing in the CBD space comes from Recess, a CBD beverage brand. The company brands its products as “an antidote to modern times,” tapping into millennial and Gen Z angst about the state of the world they are inheriting. The brand’s narrative is “the world has gone crazy and we all need a recess.” This works because it taps into a widely shared feeling; it’s pulled directly from the millennial Zeitgeist. As such, it’s very powerful. Recess makes this CBD marketing strategy even more potent by using surrealistic designs on its beverage cans. Their cans are personified, dressed in office suits and shown staring wistfully outside windows. It’s a brilliant strategy — but it’s also a strategy that can only be developed by a brand or CBD marketing agency with real creative skill and industry insight.

Creating Effective Digital Marketing in an Often CBD-Unfriendly World

Due to its connection to cannabis and hemp, CBD products have faced significant restrictions in terms of digital marketing. Facebook and Google, who dominate the digital ad space, both made advertising CBD products on their properties verboten. If you run a CBD marketing agency or a brand, this obviously ties your hands and you need to understand the rules for advertising CBD on social media.

Fortunately, times are changing. Facebook has recently loosened its CBD advertising rules, and will now allow a narrow category of digital CBD ads. As CBD grows more mainstream (and becomes fully legal in all state jurisdictions) it’s very likely that restrictions on Facebook and Instagram will be lifted entirely. After all, that’s a very large pot of ad revenue Facebook is forgoing. Snapchat, meanwhile, takes a somewhat more liberal approach to CBD ads, and as a result is one of the most effective social platforms for CBD ads.

Alternative Digital Marketing Options

CBD ads have also faced some resistance from major digital publishers, who have banned CBD product marketing from some of their most popular websites. Third party marketing platforms specially designed for the cannabis and CBD markets have been created to help brands create an effective CBD marketing strategy for the digital channel. These platforms use technology that automatically verifies the ages of browsers and the states in which they are located in order to ensure they remain compliant with all relevant regulations. This is one clever approach that can help CBD brands negotiate the tricky task of staying compliant, while gaining critical access to high authority publishers such as Buzzfeed and USA Today.

Thought Leadership and Education

If direct digital marketing is still largely unavailable, there are some alternate paths for a CBD brand or CBD marketing company to take. One example: Thought leadership and education pieces. These do not fall under the direct advertising designation and there is considerable public appetite for educational content. The CBD space, while growing quickly, is still something of a blank slate to most consumers. Providing them with high-quality educational content is an excellent way to turn “CBD curious consumers” into loyal customers.

Sponsored Content

It’s also important to remember that many publishers and ad platforms do not have these restrictions and are, in fact, happily courting the CBD market. FieldTest is one such platform. The company has negotiated agreements with high level publishers across the Internet to host CBD display ads. Sponsored content/native advertising placed on third-party websites is another path that can be taken, although many of these programs have the same type of limitations in place.

Influencer Marketing

It’s also important to avoid looking the past the value of influencer marketing. In just four years, influencer marketing has grown from a $1.7 billion enterprise to a nearly $7 billion market. Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew by an astonishing 1,500% over the same period. Instagram alone is well on its way to two billion daily users.

Influencers on that platform and others are not subject to the same restrictions found within conventional CBD digital marketing, which makes them a valuable commodity for brands seeking digital traction. Partnering with the right influencers, however, is key. Raw numbers don’t tell the whole story in terms of reach or influence. It’s better to find an influencer with 10k highly engaged followers than partner with someone who has collected (or even purchased) 100k largely random followers.

Podcast Ads

CBD brands can also take a more unorthodox approach and pursue something like podcast advertising. Growth in the podcast market has been exceptional in recent years, and CBD brands are a natural fit for the podcast demographic. While many people are under the mistaken impression that most podcasts are little more than a couple of people in a basement studio, the top podcasts generate millions of listens and downloads. By choosing podcasts with a strong following (and an audience that overlaps in some sense with CBD buyers), a brand or CBD marketing company can generate a surprisingly high ROI.

Finally, affiliate marketing services such as ClickBank offer another avenue into digital marketing for CBD brands.

Creating High-Level CBD Marketing and Advertising with Bigeye

If your CBD marketing campaigns aren’t resonating, it’s time for a switch. At Bigeye we believe that real results come only when you find a creatively dynamic partner with true domain expertise. 

That’s what we offer our clients. We’ve been working in the CBD space almost since its inception; we’re no late entrant into the field, seeking to capitalize on the latest trend. We keep our pulse on what’s happening in the CBD industry, and we’re always one step ahead of evolving regulations and industry standards. Using that expertise, we create highly compelling CBD campaigns and pair them with the ideal distribution strategy, ensuring that you messages are served to the most relevant audiences possible.

If you’re looking for a creatively inspired CBD marketing campaign that engages audiences on a deeper level and gets them to convert, we urge you to reach out to Bigeye today. We’d love to show you the power of a creatively inspired, tech supported CBD ad strategy.

Want to learn more about the CBD consumer? Download our National Study of CBD Use.

Categories
Insights Marketing/Business Retail

In this webinar, Bigeye Senior Strategist Dana Cassell explores exercises and marketing strategies for brands to successfully position their companies in in a world of unprecedented times.

2020 uncovered new challenges for marketers that we have never encountered before. The many events of last year have shaped the fabric of society, and how we should approach our marketing. strategies with empathy and space for short-term agility. 2021 is about capitalizing on short windows of opportunity. Is your brand prepared to shift quickly?

The Marketing Strategy Game Plan

84% of customers say their last customer say their last customer service interaction via call center did not meet their expectations. Watch the free webinar to get the tools you need to create an experience that will provide value to your customers and help your company meet long-term goals.

In this webinar, we’ll cover these aspects of a well-crafted marketing strategy:

  1. Marketing with empathy and establishing a value proposition
  2. Prioritizing your digital conversion funnel
  3. Practical agility
  4. The heart of the 2021 CMO
marketing strategy, digital conversion funnel
Can you describe your brand’s digital conversion funnel in under 60 seconds?

Did you enjoy this webinar? Share your key takeaways with us on LinkedIn. Tag Bigeye with the most valuable lessons you learned.

Categories
Insights Marketing/Business Retail

Along with eCommerce, social commerce has experienced a book with social sites adding more eCommerce and eCommerce adding more social selling.

Lots of people think of shopping as a social activity. Even before the internet, friends and family influenced buying and very often, accompanied each other to enjoy the shopping experience. In addition, celebrities and other influencers would promote products to help drive sales. Like dining out, travel, or an evening at the theater, shopping’s more fun when it’s shared.

The rise of social commerce

Since the dawn of social media platforms, marketers have used them to connect with buyers and bring shared shopping experiences online. Friends, family members, and influencers helped people discover new brands and encourage purchases. As reported by Marketing Dive, 90 percent of people said they bought products that they discovered on a social site.

In the past, social media marketing generally directed an audience to a business website or another eCommerce site to close sales. In contrast, social commerce usually refers to commerce conducted directly from a social network. From within the same social app, consumers can discover new brands, research products, and complete their purchases.

Lately, eCommerce has enjoyed a boom. Since social commerce makes it even easier for consumers to find and buy products, it’s turned into one of the most productive channels for social media marketing. In turn, both social media sites and eCommerce retailers have implemented new features that make social commerce marketing easier for companies.

What are shoppable posts?

world market shoppable post

Shoppable posts originated on Instagram. Brands can embed product tags, prices, descriptions, and links to sales pages in their posts. When social site users see something they like, they can find out exactly what it is, how much it costs, and of course, how to buy it.

As an example, look at this image from World Market’s Instagram page. Instead of just displaying the picture frame and decorative globes, they arranged them on a shelf to give shoppers an idea of how they might look in their own homes.

Some marketers have compared the experience to showcasing products in a catalog but with all the advantages of getting found on a busy social site and employing clickable links right to the product pages.

Shoppable post best practices

As with any social media marketing, some businesses enjoy more success than others do. It can take some competitive research and experimenting to maximize engagement and sales.

Some best practices for maximizing shoppable posts include:

  • Invest in good photos: Besides producing high-quality photos, businesses should focus on composing shots that will attract attention and help customers make a purchase decision. Also, experiment with eye-catching colors to attract attention.
  • Add hashtags: As with any Instagram posts, appropriate hashtags will help people find the photos. Do some research to find appropriate hashtags. As an example, #shoplocal brings up small, local businesses. Combining that tag with a location and product-relevant tag could help the right customers find the post.
  • Add promotions: A discount offer or promotional code can provide Instagram users with an additional incentive to make a purchase.
  • Experiment with video: How-to and DIY videos have grown very popular on Instagram. Videos that show products in action can provide value to consumers to help with engagement and sales.
  • Show off the brand’s personality: Instead of dry product descriptions, try to engage people with stories or even jokes that can spark an emotional connection.

Why is an eCommerce marketing agency recommending shoppable posts?

According to Business Insider Intelligence forecasts, commerce conducted on social sites in 2021 will top $36 billion in the US alone. This number represents about 35 percent in growth over the previous year.

Just as surprising, it means social commerce will account for over four percent of all retail sales.In particular, look for social sales to spike in fashion, beauty, home decor, electronics, and plenty of other popular niches.

Social media marketing platforms ripe for social commerce

Certainly, social media companies have embraced the rise of eCommerce on their platforms. In turn, eCommerce platforms have striven to incorporate more social aspects. Take a look at some of the most popular examples of social media platforms embracing social commerce.

Facebook

Just because it’s the largest social media platform, Facebook gets the first mention. Besides having the largest audience, Facebook also has the biggest share of commerce for purely social media sites.

In 2020, they introduced Facebook Shops. The idea came at a good time because many businesses struggled to move online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, most of these smaller companies already had a Facebook presence.

The introduction of Facebook Shops gave small businesses a way to seamlessly integrate online shopping with the community that they had already attracted. Just as great, customers could make purchases without needing to leave the Facebook website or app.

Instagram

Facebook owns Instagram; however, the two social sites have somewhat different tones and cultures. As an example, influencers tend to drive engagement on Instagram somewhat more than on Facebook. Even though Facebook still commands a larger audience, some marketers find Instagram a better fit for their marketing strategies and audience.

Instagram launched Instagram Checkout a couple of years ago, and now they even display a shopping link at the bottom of their homepage. As mentioned earlier, Instagram also offers shoppable posts. These features make it very easy for influencers, celebrities, and brands to introduce products and drive sales.

Pinterest

Shoppers turn to Pinterest when they want some inspiration. Even though it doesn’t command an audience the size of Facebook’s, Pinterest users already tend to browse the social site with intent. Popular Pinterest categories include fashion, decor, health, and fitness, so the platform’s a natural for these shopping niches.

TikTok

The new kid in town, TikTok, burst onto the social scene with a good understanding of what works, and a young, enthusiastic audience. It’s growing rapidly and up until now, mostly known for catchy and sometimes, sponsored videos.

ModernRetail mentioned a new addition to TikTok that will allow sellers to open their own stores. Features will include the ability to communicate with customers and take payments from right inside the TikTok app. Apparently, TikTok’s still testing this feature in limited marketplaces, but it’s fair to expect to see it released broadly soon.

Twitter

In a rather contrary move, Twitter actually dropped their “Buy” button a few years ago. It doesn’t look like Twitter’s moving in the direction of direct, in-platform sales at the moment; however, it’s still a great platform to participate in to engage audiences and gain useful insights.

Are eCommerce sites getting more social?

At first glance, social commerce might appear to compete with more traditional eCommerce sites, like Amazon and Shopify. A second look will reveal that the most successful online retailers implemented some social features and recently, have taken steps to ensure they’re included in the growth of social commerce.

Amazon

Of course, most people visualize Amazon as the largest retailer in the world but not a social medial platform. It’s a place where users can log in and buy just about anything 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Of course, Amazon’s invested a fortune to develop that kind of brand identity. Still, Amazon already offered a lot of social features appears ready to do even more.

Selz Acquisition

Just recently, GeekWire reported on the Amazon acquisition of Selz, a firm that produces products that make it easier for small businesses to sell online. For instance, Selz offers tools to easily build eCommerce websites, manage products, interface with customers, track metrics, and of course, accept payments.

Recent announcements have not revealed exactly how Amazon plans to use this new purchase; however, marketers expect them to leverage Selz to compete more with Shopify and to add more social selling to their brand.

Amazon PPC

As one example of a feature that’s similar to social sites, Amazon has its own PPC platform. A good Amazon PPC agency will suggest using this feature to improve brand recognition and sales, which in turn, help drive rankings.

Amazon Storefronts

In an effort to boost their reach with small- and medium-sized businesses and perhaps, to keep from losing sellers to Shopify, Amazon created Amazon Storefronts. Much like Facebook Shops, this gives retailers a bit of their own online real estate to directly interface with customers.

Amazon Reviews

Experienced Amazon sellers know that Amazon’s review system stands as one of the earliest example of effective, online social marketing. Not only do shoppers read reviews before making a purchase, the number and quality of reviews can influence search rankings and in turn, sales. In turn, top reviewers can become important influencers on the platform.

Shopify

Like Amazon, Shopify also has reviews, though the review system isn’t quite as extensive as Amazon’s.

Instead of focusing so much on creating its own social features, Shopify has extended its payment options to Facebook and Instagram. That means Shopify merchants can use Shop Pay to accept payments on their own social pages to engage in more social selling.

A Shopify spokesperson told TechCrunch that both Facebook and Instagram had performed very well for their merchants. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, they saw a 36-percent increase in channel integration between these two social sites and merchant shops, and they anticipated growth to continue.

In addition, Shopify also established a partnership with TikTok. This lets Shopify merchants display their own social commerce posts directly within the app.

An eCommerce marketing agency perspective on today’s social media marketing

In the past, retailers viewed eCommerce marketing and social media marketing as two distinct channels. These days, successful businesses can enjoy wonderful synergy by integrating these channels.

This can include taking advantage of new eCommerce features on social platforms and the social integration features on traditional online retailers. As an example, Facebook has introduced its own sales platform. In contrast, Shopify’s strategy appears to focus on integrating its shops and payment buttons with social medial sites.

This kind of integrated marketing plan will let businesses enjoy the best of both worlds. Besides, it will offer customers a richer and more convenient shopping experience. Shopping’s always been an experience that’s often better shared; and social commerce provides the perfect opportunity.

Categories
Insights Marketing/Business Retail

Boost Amazon marketing sales with optimized product listings, display ads, reviews, and Amazon promotions, and great products.

Competition from large retail chains and online sellers forced many Main Street businesses to struggle. Social distancing measures and changing consumer habits especially accentuated pressure on small- to medium-sized companies during 2020.

Still, this marks the beginning of a new year. Find out how using Amazon and the right tactics can make 2021 the best sales year yet.

Why focus on Amazon marketing?

Mostly, Amazon opens almost any size business to an active, global marketplace. It’s not just the largest online retail company; in 2020, Amazon surpassed Walmart in size to become the largest retailer of any type in the world.

Even more, lots of shoppers already know and trust Amazon. For instance:

  • A 2019 study from Feedvisor found that 89 percent of online shoppers would prefer buying a product from Amazon over another eCommerce website.
  • Amazon’s own stats say that USA-based small- and medium-sized businesses sell an average of over 4,000 items per minute on its site.
  • Over 2.5 million Amazon sellers currently have active Amazon listings.

Amazon offers your business a great opportunity to improve reach, brand exposure, and most of all, sales. Along with all eCommerce, Amazon sales have boomed during the pandemic and will almost certainly keep growing.

How to grow your eCommerce marketing business on Amazon

While sales on the Amazon platform continue to increase, any good Amazon marketing agency would tell their clients to prepare for competition in most product categories. Still, the presence of competition shouldn’t discourage either a determined seller or eCommerce marketing agency. By adhering to some simple best practices, good sellers can outrank and outsell competitors.

Rapidly gain visibility on Amazon With Display Ads

On Amazon, like with so many other things, nothing succeeds like success. The more sales a business can generate, the more likely they’ll enjoy repeat business and just as great, visibility in Amazon searches and promotions. Besides having products match keyword searches, Amazon naturally gives weight to products with a history of sales and reviews. After all, they make more money with products that convert.

Amazon Sponsored Product Ads give businesses a way to gain visibility and garner some brand recognition with high-intent shoppers without having to wait for organic-search sales to trickle in.

Consider these highlights of Amazon Sponsored Ads:

  • This PPC, image-based advertising platform puts ads in search results right next to more visible competitors. A fairly discrete “Sponsored” tag is the only difference shoppers will see between paid ads and organic search results.
  • According to HubSpot, PPC bids hover around the same price points as Google Search ads. However, businesses that advertise on Amazon may enjoy a greater chance to appear on the screens of shoppers who are searching to buy and not just research.

Employ best practices for product pages

Even sellers with the best and hottest products to sell will need to optimize each product page to ensure great conversions. Don’t overlook the opportunity to do better.

For instance: 

  • A 2020 Jungle Scout survey found that only about half of Amazon marketers understood the importance of product page optimization.
  • Another 29 percent said they found the optimization process challenging.

Obviously, attention to perfecting their listing details can give many businesses a competitive edge. Also, while there’s probably always room to improve, getting started with a reasonably optimized product listing boils down to some basics.

Of course, an experienced Amazon marketing agency can help new Amazon marketers get the best start. Still, many Amazon marketers can improve both search ranks and conversions by paying attention to importing product listing fields.

Product Title

Amazon provides 200 characters in most categories, and it’s best to use as much as possible. Sellers will want to combine key search terms with language that human consumers will respond to.

To understand this, compare a great and not-so-great example of product titles:

  • Contraband uses its allowed space to tell both consumers and the Amazon search engine what the product is (ankle cuffs), what it’s made out of, and what it does.
  • Balanced body simply says they’ve got ankle cuffs in their title.

Obviously, the Contraband’s eCommerce marketing agency took some time to research types of keywords customers might use to search. That gives them a better shot at ranking well and getting customers to click their listing.

Product images and videos

Titles help customers find the right products. Still, images will encourage them to click. Of course, product listings deserve high-quality photos. Pictures should look good as thumbnails on a search page and when enlarged in the listing.

Take a look at Neat Feeder’s dog elevated dog bowls as one example:

  • The main photo makes good use of its allocated space.
  • Even better, they include another photo with a cute dog sitting by the feeder for size comparison and yet another photo that clearly shows product details.
  • Finally, they added a couple of videos. They’re using available media to engage in a little content marketing to showcase their product.

Product descriptions

Product descriptions need to balance using appropriate keywords for search and the right words and format to appeal to human shoppers. As for content, the description should briefly include relevant specs and answer common questions. More than that, it should sell a product’s benefits more than its features.

To accomplish this:

  • Develop buyer personas: It helps to work with at least one buyer person in mind. This kind of illustration of a typical customer will help generate keyword ideas and inspire the writing style. Marketers use the company’s data about current customers or research on the overall market to develop buyer personas. Some relevant information typically includes age, income, and other factors relevant to buying the product.
  • Format for readability: For lists of specs, features, and other details, use bullet points. Just like this set of bullet points, they help make chunks of text easier to skim in order to pull out important points. If shoppers have to labor to figure out if a charger works with their phone or a supplement contains an ingredient they’re allergic to, they may back out and find another product with a better presentation.

Encourage reviews

Hopefully, a high-quality product and attention to service will lead to customer satisfaction. Even if a business delighted 10,000 customers, the 10,001th wouldn’t know about it if they couldn’t find a review.

Amazon will ask for reviews after sales. Also, sellers can make an additional review request through their seller’s account. Note that it’s against the Amazon terms to incentivize good reviews. At the same time, sellers can join some Amazon programs that encourage reviews. These include the Amazon Early Reviewer Program and Amazon Vine.

Obviously, product and service quality will help encourage better reviews. Still, most customers probably don’t bother to leave reviews, so it’s often a number’s game.

Look into creating an Amazon Storefront

In the past, small businesses have accused Amazon of taking their business. Today, on the Amazon Storefronts page, Amazon proudly proclaims that half of the products sold on the platform come from small companies.

As the old saying suggests, perhaps, if you can’t beat them, maybe it’s time to join themBusiness News Daily said that about 20,000 businesses have already joined Amazon Storefronts. This program can give small- to mid-sized companies a way to retain their unique character while still accessing customers through the large platform.

In any case, Amazon has invited some of its sellers into the program, and other companies can ask for inclusion. If accepted, retailers get a chance to create a unique identity, which helps to differentiate their brand from millions of others.

Storefront owners can also benefit from Amazon’s promotions, including:

  • Curated categories: Category pages include everything from pet supplies to groceries. They even have a “Launch Pad” section to show off innovative ideas from small businesses.
  • Meet the Business Owner and Storefront of the Week: These sections highlight individual storefronts.

As an example, The Little Flower Soap Company benefited from Amazon’s natural advertising campaign. In addition to craft soap, this business also sells CBD topical creams, candles, and other self-care items. They said their sales have doubled with the Amazon Storefront program.

Keyword research for Amazon marketing

At their heart, most retailers view Amazon’s platform as a search engine. In some ways, it’s very similar to Google. Businesses that gain top ranks on high-intent searches can prosper; however, getting buried on page two or even deeper will generally limit sales. 

To briefly contrast Google and Amazon search optimization:

  • On the positive side, Amazon is actually more transparent about the best practices that can lead to higher search ranks than Google is. For good suggestions about the use of search terms and other details in a product listing, read Amazon’s product listing optimization page.
  • Sellers can include search terms in titles, descriptions, and other visible fields. They also give sellers fields to enter search terms that only their search engine can see. For comparison, people who create optimized web pages used to rely upon a keywords meta tag, but Google hasn’t paid attention to it for a long time.
  • Some of Amazon’s keyword advice includes putting keywords in the most likely, natural order for searches and ordering keywords with the most important ones first. Sometimes, that advice may conflict, so it’s important to strike the right balance and experiment a bit. For example, they want search terms to appear as “big teddy bear” and not “teddy bear big.”
  • Also, Amazon doesn’t want any superlatives or subjective words, like best, in the search term fields. Listings might include those in the description, but they just waste space in search fields and for that matter, in listing titles.

So, what’s a good example of a product with good search optimization? It’s impossible to see exactly which keywords the seller has included in the keyword fields, so examples have to come from what has to be another important source of search terms, the title.

This listing for Anker Bluetooth headphones appears to strike a good balance. It tells customers the brand, the product, some competitive benefits, and a few good uses for the product. The marketer listed these in some logical order of importance while managing to keep the title readable.

If the search for keywords appears overwhelming, start by thinking about one or a very few search terms that a customer might use.

For instance, compare using search terms in the search term fields vs. the title:

  • If the product is a package of air fryer accessories, you should probably begin with air fryer accessories for a search term field.
  • For a title, maybe use air fryer accessories after the brand name if the brand’s well known. Otherwise, it might be best to use well-known brands that the accessories work for after the name of the product.
  • For search term fields, you shouldn’t use brands, so perhaps it’s best to include the size or type of air fryer the accessories will work with.

Eventually, it might help to use some keyword tools, like Jungle Scout or KeyWordTool.io, to generate common searches. Still, product and customer knowledge, common sense, and adherence to best practices can go far when optimizing listings on Amazon.

How to get started with product listing optimization

Really, just a few elements can help businesses gain visibility on Amazon. These include optimized product listings, Amazon’s display ads, reviews, and hopefully, promotional help from Amazon.

At first, Amazon marketers may only truly have control over how well they optimize their listings and display ads. Only after they’ve optimized the listing, they may choose to opt into the Sponsored Products program. Then, once they start to win sales, attention to product quality and service will help encourage reviews and repeat buyers. Once these efforts gain some traction, Amazon should step in with additional marketing support.

Categories
Branding Insights Marketing/Business

Adapting experiential marketing to coronavirus and digital competition through in-person, design, or virtual events to grow brands and markets. 

Sometimes called engagement or event marketing, experiential marketing offers an almost unrivaled chance to help meet such diverse marketing goals as increasing brand recognition, sales, and customer loyalty. It works by enhancing connections between brands and customers in a personal way, though it can accomplish this in a variety of ways.

For a couple of examples of experiential marketing’s effectiveness, Finance Online published research that demonstrated:

  • 70 percent of people turn into repeat customers after attending experiential marketing events.
  • An incredible 85 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to buy after participating in experiences and events.

By its very definition, an experiential marketing strategy will seek to encourage and even invite consumers to participate with the brand to share experiences and even evolution.

Traditionally, an experiential marketing agency might have suggested such common activities as grocery store food tastings, fashion shows, and conventions. Of course, the pandemic changed consumer behavior abruptly. YouGov, a well-known polling agency, found that only 16 percent of Americans said they’re very likely to attend a brand’s online event within the next year. With younger adults, that figure increased to 24 percent, but it’s still a minority.

Experiential marketing in the age of Covid-19

Of course, even before the global pandemic, marketers explored both digital events and other kinds of experiences that did not require face-to-face, indoor contact.

As the possible spark for an idea for a non-digital event that doesn’t require in-person contact with brand representatives, YouGov also found 44 percent of people said they’d prefer outdoor experiences. By conducting experiences outside, brands can still enjoy in-person connections while offering social distancing and plenty of natural ventilation.

With warm weather on the horizon, brands might attract more guests to in-person special events if they could hold them outside.  Besides planning their own events, farmer’s markets, fairs, and even parades could offer great opportunities.

Of course, there’s always room for a bus stop decorated to look like a Barbie dollhouse room, as shown in the photo. For at least the time it takes for the bus to arrive, Mattel can employ affordable, low-tech immersive branding and at least for Barbie fans, make the wait seem shorter.

Image result for barbie bus stop

Recent examples of successful experiential marketing

Netflix took over Little Italy

To promote its recent movie, “The Irishman,” Netflix took over New York’s Little Italy district. They recreated the flavor and mythology of 1970s Manhattan with “Jimmy Hoffa is Missing” posters, secret passwords that would entitle visitors to free stuff at local businesses, and plenty of costumed actors. They even set up phone booths.

To pull off this experience, Netflix partnered with several local businesses. That had to generate some good will as it also gave delis, barbershops, pizza shops, and liquor stores a chance to enjoy some additional traffic from the promotion. According to Event Marketer, the promotion gave away over 36,000 items during the two-day event.

Image result for newspaper where is hoffa netflix

Pepsi sponsored a virtual concert to support front-line health workers

A good branding agency should advise clients that experiential marketing doesn’t always need to include direct experience with a product.  As an example, Pepsi couldn’t send a soda to all the 20 million people who logged in to watch the “One World All Together” virtual concert in April 2020.

The online event featured such well-known entertainers as Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, and Friends From Sesame Street. In that way, it not only had the power to attract a global audience, it also appealed to people from various generation.

While Pepsi couldn’t sell sodas, they could market their brand. Most important, according to Marketing Dive, Pepsi could showcase other facets of their famous name in a welcome way. The company used its vast marketing experience, event-organizing expertise, and a sizable cash donation to support a worthy cause that’s important to almost everybody in the world. In this case, experiencing Pepsi meant experiencing their ability to support a huge effort and support worthy causes.

At this time many marketers struggled to figure out how to reach a large audience during the first months of the pandemic. Pepsi marketing VP, Todd Kaplan, said they wanted a way to connect with people over their shared love for music and desire to take action to fight the coronavirus. Even without having a chance to personally hand out beverages, Pepsi lived up to their “That’s what I like” slogan in another way.

Image result for pepsi one world together at home

The role of experiential marketing in markets dominated by Amazon

In 2019, Amazon grew so large that it took the crown as the largest retailer in the world. As consumers turned even more to online shopping during the coronavirus, the giant retailer enjoyed an even larger share of the market, taking business from such well-known competitors as eBay, Walmart, and Target.

According to surveys reported on by The Motley Fool:

  • 53 percent of online shoppers began their search at Amazon by the end of 2020.
  • In contrast, about 47 percent did the same by the middle of 2020.

By these same surveys, internet customers who don’t start off with Amazon, do tend to choose one of the other well-known platforms to look for items, like Google, Walmart, Target, and eBay. Trying to get attention for smaller brands can present a challenge. 

How Walmart’s investing in experiential marketing to regain online shoppers 

At first glance, it seems like other businesses either need to compete with Amazon or compete on Amazon. Still, Walmart held the crown as the largest retailer in the world until very recently, and they don’t appear to have suddenly switched their platform to an Amazon Storefront.

Instead, they’ve invested more of their marketing dollars into experiential marketing to help build connections with their audience. As an example, they’ve started a Walmart+ membership program that looks something like Amazon Prime at first glance.

But beyond free shipping and deliveries, they’re also working with such media partners as The Food Network, HGTV, and The Drew Show. Besides having Drew Barrymore integrate a Walmart+ call to action, the celebrity will also include personal experiences with Walmart+ on the show. Walmart also plans similar engagement with HGTV.

Obviously, they hope to use this experiential marketing strategy to spotlight not just Walmart+ advantages but also how it compares favorably to an Amazon Prime membership.

Walmart wants to change its brand identity

Walmart’s also already got plenty of stores to help develop in-person relationships with people. And people don’t necessarily frequent Walmart because they think it’s the best store. They often go because it’s the one store where they can buy printer ink, a bottle of ketchup, and a pack of diapers for some reasonable price at 10 AM or 10 PM.

In other words, people know what to expect out of a local Walmart, so the company wants to do more to attract the rapidly increasing population of online shoppers to regain the market share they may have lost to Amazon

How an experiential marketing agency can help businesses grow

The exact experiential business strategy to grow a business may depend upon typical customers, the kind of company, and available resources. Either way, the nature of this marketing channel can offer brands important benefits in a competitive landscape:

  • It helps brands differentiate themselves: While retailers like Amazon provide some resources to help businesses stand out, they still provide a spot in a crowded market. When customers can see, hear, or even taste products, they’re more likely to buy them.
  • It gets attention: Creative experiential marketing, like the Netflix takeover, provide interesting stories that tend to get the attention of the press and social media influencers.
  • It creates sharable moments: Besides getting attention from influencers, regular social media users love sharable moments. When customers post about their brand experiences, they also influence their friends and family. 
  • It gives customers a chance to try a brand: Now, Pepsi couldn’t hand out cans of soda, but they could share their well-oiled event team for a worthy cause. For some televised or virtual events, sponsor take another step of offering coupons and discount codes, almost like the secret password Netflix used. By the way, the password was, “Jimmy sent me.”
  • It creates a memorable experience: A child’s likely to remember an experience like sitting at a bus stop that’s decorated like a Barbie playhouse a long time. That child will probably tell friends and of course, parents.

Experiential marketing gives people an experience with brands that can help them develop a stronger connection. This helps enhance brand recognition, sales, and loyalty. Traditional definitions of this kind of marketing usually refer to it as an in-person channel. With new technology, changing customer behavior, and some creativity, it can work effectively as a digital channel as well.

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Insights Marketing/Business

In 2021, top advertising agencies should encourage clients to remain agile, put customers and employees first, value trust, and get creative.

A Deloitte Insights paper prefaced its own vision for 2021 marketing trends by first recounting some history. They observed that past crises tended to spark new innovations and shift perceptions of value. As examples, they mentioned the telephone became popular during the flu pandemic in 1918, and the Cold War sparked the rise of TV. By the 1960s, TV broadcast so much of the turmoil surrounding the Vietnam War and civil rights that people’s perception of these conflicts shifted.

Of course, these historical innovations and attitude changes dramatically changed the way businesses operated and marketed. Today’s crisis centers on the coronavirus pandemic. Is it possible to develop some insight into the innovations and perceptual shifts that will come out of this crisis in order to craft marketing plans for 2021?

Expected shifts for 2021 marketing trends

It’s a lot easier use hindsight to spot such dramatic changes as the point when phones and TV sets grew popular than to figure out exactly how people will remember 2020 in 50 or 100 years. During the 1918 pandemic, some people predicted that their great-grandchildren might have flying cars within a century, which did not happen; however, they didn’t expect autonomous vehicles, which multiple manufacturers have already tested.

Perhaps the difficultly with even objectively measuring the present explains why nobody can predict the future with 100-percent certainty. Deloitte Insights might have found a solution though when they chose to look at companies that flourished during 2020. They examined how these successful businesses and their customers reacted to market disruption to better understand the the most important characteristics companies will probably need to thrive in 2021.

With this relatively new data and a mindfulness of past history, Deloitte uncovered some likely marketing trends that can help a marketing strategy agency forecast new trends and develop sensible plans.

1. Purpose: All kinds of organizations need to set their business goals around why they exist and who they exist for. Businesses that stay tuned to and communicate their sense of purpose tend to flourish during the toughest times.

2. Agility: Businesses that could react swiftly to a rapidly changing environment maintained an unsurprising advantage.  Meanwhile, other companies struggled with pandemic restrictions, shortages, and changing behavior. Sometimes, companies suffered because they communicated the wrong message for the times and alienated their customers.

3. Experiences: Companies did a better job of enhancing their brand positions by putting the experiences of their customers and workforce over efficiency.

4. Trust: With all of the uncertainty generated by a global pandemic, customers demonstrated that they had little patience with businesses that did not deliver on their promises.

5. Participation: These days, businesses have cemented relationships with famously loyal customers by giving them a voice. They give customers a voice in the products they deliver and how they deliver them in order to better serve them.

6. Integration: More than ever, companies broke out of their shells to form new partnerships with other businesses and public ecosystems. For instance, some businesses needed to rely upon other businesses to make deliveries or even take orders.

7. Talent: A creative marketing agency should not just deploy talent but consider that talent pool a competitive advantage over less inspired brands. Very often, businesses needed to rely upon creative solutions to urgent problems during 2020.

How top marketing agencies use predicted trends to position their clients

It’s fair to evaluate the most innovative, successful companies to anticipate the direction that most businesses will move in next year. If there’s one thing 2020 taught businesses, it’s that even the most successful companies could not predict the future.

Barely anybody talked about a global pandemic in January. By March, few people talked about anything else. Still, some companies kept themselves agile enough to cope with all of the issues while remaining focused upon the market they needed to connect with and serve.

For instance, when some customers did not want to enter the stores, the stores responded by offering deliveries and curbside pickup. If some restaurants lacked the capacity to deliver, they partnered with services that did or supplied pre-packaged meals that nearby grocery stores sold as a convenience. These businesses adapted and found new partners.

In response to such issues as social distancing and supply chain problems, good organizations developed creative solutions, communicated transparently with customers and employees, and also, valued these people enough to consider their needs and sensitivities over just their bottom line.