Amazon Guide for 2021: Amazon Selling Tips to Grow Sales

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.

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Experiential Marketing in 2021: Growing Customer Connections

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 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 change 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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2021 Marketing Trends to Set Your Brand Ahead of the Curve

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.

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4 Great Holiday Retail Marketing Campaigns and Why They Work

Holiday shoppers research purchases and respond to retail advertising promotions. See four classic holiday retail marketing campaigns.

With the scent of pumpkin spice in the air, ’tis the season for holiday advertising. Of course, businesses have plenty of good reasons to ramp up retail marketing during the holiday season.

According to WordStream, 80 percent of seasonal shoppers research purchases on the internet before buying. In addition, over three-quarters say they’ve changed their mind about a purchase after performing a mobile search. At least a third of people say they’ve bought things over the holidays because of a promotional offer. In any case, this season sparks holiday retail purchases, and businesses must market to make sure shoppers can find and remember them.

Four Favorite holiday retail advertising campaigns

For some inspiration to get into the holiday marketing spirit, consider some of the best seasonal advertising campaigns.

Home Alone with Google Assistant 

Most shoppers remember “Home Alone,” the classic holiday movie from the 1990s. Google produced a video parody of this movie, which of course, featured Google Assistant and even the adult version of the original child star, Macaulay Culkin. The video scored tens of millions of views and lots of social buzz. It works well because it combines nostalgia, humor, and the relevance of demonstrating how people can use the app.

Starbucks red cups

No brand marketing agency can discuss holiday advertising without evoking the scent of pumpkin spice. Actually, this all started with Starbucks themed holiday cups back in 1997. Every year, the cups get a different look that mostly reflects traditional holiday designs. Mostly, the decorated cups signal the introduction of the coffee chain’s holiday menu, which of course, includes pumpkin spice.

Over the years, the campaign has generated excitement and even a little controversy. Mostly, the company uses fairly traditional or recognizable seasonal designs. For one memorable year, they introduced a plain, red cup with their logo, which displeased plenty of customers. If people like the current year’s cups or not, they earn Starbucks plenty of press and social media attention that’s paid off for the business.

Coca Cola’s polar bears

Coca-Cola has a long history of savvy and effective holiday advertising campaigns. For instance, lots of people believe the soft drink company contributed a lot to the modern version of Santa Claus during the 1930s. The Coca-Cola ploar bears arrived as holiday mascots during the 1920s, even earlier than Coca Cola’s Santa.

The cartoon bears work well because they’re cute and fun. More recently, the company has even used them to help raise awareness of the impact of global warming on real polar bears. Since 2011, Coca-Cola has contributed and raised about $5 million dollars to help preserve habitats. 

Though considering the billions of dollars in profits that the company has made from these playful animals, the World Wildlife Federation has criticized the company by saying that they ought to do more.

Apple’s “The Surprise” video

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many retailers struggle to send out the right holiday message. While they want to promote a positive message, businesses need to remain mindful that just about all of their customers have endured a touch year.

The Surprise” video from Apple hits many of the right notes by mixing hopefulness with a hint of sadness. A family goes to visit their somewhat cranky grandpa, who has just lost his wife. On Christmas morning, the kids cheer him up with a sweet, sentimental video that — of course — they created on their iPad. The engaging video tells a story, elicits a few tears, and like the Google Assistant video, demonstrates the usefulness of the product.

How to hit the sweet spot with holiday retail marketing

Movie parodies, disposable, holiday-themed cups, imaginary bears, and sentimental videos may not appear to have much in common. Still, they all evoke nostalgia for holiday traditions, or in the case of the year of Starbucks plain cups, stoke attention when they don’t.

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5 Successful DTC Launches With Podcast Advertising

Podcast advertising gives DTC brands a chance to connect with a wide, engaged, and growing audience. See five DTC advertising success stories.

PPC, blogging, and social media advertising tend to dominate discussions about DTC marketing. These kind of conversations totally ignore the rapid growth of podcast advertising as an effective and increasingly popular promotional medium for DTC brands. Even last year, The Drum reported that DTC ads had increased overall podcast revenue by over 50 percent in 2018. This comes at a time when podcasts have replaced radio shows for a hands- and eyes-free way to consume entertainment and information.

Which DTC brands have enjoyed success with podcast advertising?

Look at some examples of DTC companies that have found an audience with podcasts.

TakeMeUndies

As the name implies, TakeMeUndies sells underwear. As a podcast advertiser, they shifted some of their social media advertising money to podcast advertising a few years ago. As early experimenters, they managed to cut deals with some fairly notable celebs. Their bet paid off. According to Ad Exchanger, they have already sold nine million products and expect to generate $75 million in revenue for the year.

In this case, the company used host-read ads. The CEO, Jonathan Shokrian, said that he credited his company’s success to having the advertisements sound more like person-to-person referrals than typical advertising.

FabFitFun

FabFitFun offers a unique and fun subscription service. Subscribers pay $49.99 each season. In return, they get a box filled with eight to ten products with a guaranteed value of at least $200. Members can also choose some of the products they want included in their basic box, or they can pick add-in products for an additional fee.

According to Magellan, FabFitFun first started advertising on podcasts in 2017 and by 2019, they made the list of the highest spending podcast advertisers. They’re featured on such popular shows as The Goal Digger Podcast and Chatty Broads.

Blue Apron

Like TakeMeUndies, Blue Apron has grown up with sponsored podcast ads. In fact, they have even launched their own branded podcast called “Why We Eat What We Eat.” During the show, a food historian named Cathy Erway discusses a variety of interesting topics related to food. Some examples have ranged from the origins of duck sauce to dealing with picky eaters.

Whatever their content marketing agency comes up with, it’s working. The company’s sales have increased 500 percent.

ZipRecruiter

Similar to Blue Apron, ZipRecruiter sponsors a podcast. In this case, it’s called Rise and Grind, a podcast that caters to their likely audience of job seekers, hiring managers, and entrepreneurs. Rise and Grind, the sponsored podcast, has even launched other businesses, like a Shark Tank investor named Daymond John.

By producing the right type of content and sharing their platform with entrepreneurs, ZipRecruiter has earned a large, targeted audience and some great publicity. As an example, Daymon John praised ZipRecruiter as a company that focused upon finding good people and good jobs, according to FastCompany.

Podcast Superstar

According to the Podcast Superstar page on Airbnb, $195 gives guests an interview in a Manhattan studio for a podcast called mürmur. video. The page promises guests a chance to promote themselves, their business, or their idea directly to the world.

This example doesn’t exactly fit with the more conventional approaches to using sponsored podcasts to attract an audience and promote a specific business. Instead, the podcast promotes itself as a way for people with a modest budget to get featured in a podcast.

The reviews suggest that the host does a good job with the interview, even if his Airbnb page doesn’t mention the audience size. Still, the deal includes a professional recording, so at least, it can give startups and small companies a way to get content produced for a budget-friendly fee. To make this opportunity truly effective, they may need to invest more to distribute and promote the recording.

How DTC brands can benefit from podcast promotions

Podcast advertising shares certain features with both digital and radio promotions. Still, it has its own character. To make the most of this rapidly growing medium, keep these tips in mind:

  • Typically, podcasts work very well to increase brand awareness, though they can directly push leads and sales.
  • Since many listeners may listen to archived or downloaded programs long after the original date, they may work better for offers that aren’t time sensitive.
  • As with radio, it’s usually not possible to finely tune audience demographics as tightly as on PPC platforms.
  • When developing content for sponsored podcasts, keep the audience in mind. They probably don’t want to listen to 30-minute advertisements, so find relevant topics that would lend themselves well to mentions of specific products and services.

As with any other kind of marketing, expect to test and tune a bit before finding the perfect podcast advertising solution. Still, many DTC brands have found receptive audiences and growth opportunities by investing in various kinds of podcast promotions.

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How the Aluminum Shortage has Impacted CPG Brand Marketing

Increased demand and reduced supplies of aluminum have kept products off shelves. Learn how CPG brand marketing was impacted and could react in the future.

While not quite as notorious as the infamous toilet paper shortage, many companies have had to reduce production of canned products because they have had trouble sourcing aluminum cans. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic and even changing customer behaviors have contributed to supply problems. Take a look at the multiple causes of aluminum shortages and the best ways a CPG marketing agency can help cope with the problems.

What caused the aluminum can shortage?

According to Newsweek, aluminum shortages did not stem so much from production cutbacks as an increase in demand. Because of restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other in-person sources of products, CPG audience research found that consumer behavior has changed to prefer picking up supplies and bringing them home.

For instance, people stocked up on canned drinks to replace the beverages they might have consumed outside of their homes from a beer tap or a soda dispensary. At the same time, concerns over future shortages and limiting trips to stores caused many people to stock up on other kinds of canned goods to keep in their pantries.

Ironically, an increased consumer preference for recyclable and somewhat eco-friendly aluminum cans over other types of packaging also helped stoke demand. At the same time, recycling centers had closed or limited operations, so that aggravated the problem. That meant that a lot more of these aluminum cans ended up in the trash anyway. 

How consumers viewed the aluminum shortage

Consumers might have seen evidence of the problem as sparsely stocked shelves in their favorite beverage aisle at the store. In truth, the problem did not come mostly from shortages of products but from fewer aluminum cans to package them in.

These statistics from Packaging World help illustrate the issues:

  • In 2019, before the pandemic, people consumed 60 percent of beer from cans, so a high demand already existed.
  • Turnarounds for orders of some kinds of cans changed from four or five days to four or five weeks after the pandemic hit.
  • The price of printed cans has nearly doubled, meaning companies either have to struggle with lower margins or increased prices.

How is the aluminum shortage impacting CPG brand advertising?

Most commonly, both large and small brands have prioritized their most popular products over niche offerings. As an example, Coca-Cola reduced supplies of Cherry Coke Zero. Mashed noted that even though the fruitier version of Coke Zero isn’t as popular as the regular version, people still noticed. Cherry Coke fans even flocked to the company’s Twitter page to ask Coca-Cola why they couldn’t find their favorite soft drink on the shelves.

The company responded by saying they struggled with supply issues and were working hard to adapt. Since Coca-Cola has earned a good marketing reputation over decades as a market leader, their response can provide some inspiration for any brands impacted by shortages of aluminum cans or other products:

  • Coca-Cola knows its CPG brand personas very well, so they first responded by retrenching to prioritize their best-selling products. They sacrificed production of less-popular flavors in order to try to satisfy as much demand as possible for the most-popular drinks.
  • They responded pretty transparently to questions on social media. While they didn’t go into specifics of the types of shortages, the company did admit they struggled with supply problems and were working hard to address the issue. Perhaps, they might have done better by bringing up the topic before consumers asked, but at least, they answered questions when they arose.

Will the aluminum shortage lead to greener alternatives?

Even more than such large companies as Coca-Cola, smaller breweries and other supplies have struggled with supply shortages. As an example, Brett Trump serves as the CFO of a small brewery in Pennsylvania. He said that larger breweries have swept in and purchased available supplies, and he lacks the resources to compete with them.

Actually, this can provide an opportunity for some smaller companies to find alternatives to traditional cans. As an example, some premium brands have turned to eco-friendly Cartocan cans, according to Packaging Gateway. They’re actually made out of a special kind of cardboard, generate a lower footprint than either aluminum or PET cans, and can keep products fresh for up to 11 months.

Since studies of CPG brand personas uncover that many consumers prefer eco-friendly alternatives, using aluminum-alternative packaging could help producers improve their brand. Imagine what an impact it could make if a company like Coca-Cola started using Cartocan.

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