Fern Lee at LIMA (Licensing Industry Merchandising Association) speaking about Direct Response and the winning the war of RETAIL shelf-life.
It was a terrific day at the Yale Club in NYC. At 3:00pm Fern Lee from THOR Associates moderated a panel that shared the winning strategies of using DRTV to push POS off the retail shelf. Thanks to Maria Eden, from Mercury Media who was brilliant sharing media and marketing advice. Stone Newman, from Art and Science – along with his business partner, Jill Bazos, brought retail and merchandising magic to the discussion.
In today’s buzzing world of social media, brand awareness is a distinctive voice that cuts through the rest of marketplace noise. Almost every branded business has a Facebook and Twitter presence, as well as a mobile-optimized app or site. Although many big-name companies should be applauded for their strong digital existence, many are also ignorant to the fact that they are falling short of their full branding potential. In this blog post, I provide a variety of ways to capitalize on branding – through a medley of rich Facebook engagement, vocal Twitter feeds, and booming mobile offerings – in order to strike the most resounding chords.
When it comes to online branding, the category leader is undoubtedly Facebook. According to a recent study conducted by Ask Your Target Marketer, approximately 85% of Internet users have a Facebook profile, while only 49% of users attain Twitter accounts. Likewise, 58% of Internet viewers have “liked” a brand on Facebook, while merely 29% follow a brand on Twitter. When it comes to using the new Facebook version, called Timeline, make sure you are exploiting all means of the social networking site for brand recognition. Here, engagement is everything. Focus on the quality of interactions with fans, not the quantity of strangers that can “like” your page.
It is far more important to have 200 Facebook fans that communicate, reliably buy your products, and share their approval of your brand through word of mouth, versus 2,000 fans that idly show up to your page, acting in total silence.
When applying Facebook content, go back to the basics. Internet goers are fast-paced consumers with no time for errors, slow speeds, or lengthy paragraphs, so simplicity is key. Thus, it is important to post high-resolution photos, short, targeted web links, and succinct status updates that drive home your brand message. With the advent of Facebook Timeline, viewers can see your whole story from birth to today, so you need to always execute the fundamental steps of CRM: appreciate happy customers, swiftly take care of complaints, and answer all consumer questions.
In today’s increasingly fast-paced tech environment, more and more consumers are purchasing products via mobile. When branding, make sure your logo presentation is crisp and your content is concise on your mobile site, allowing for easier navigation and reader retention. Consistency is key: make sure all colors, fonts, and styles of your brand are identical to your online and offline presence. Maximize your mobile conversions by including mobile coupons, QR codes, and store-specific prizes to enhance the on-the-go experience that mobile offers.
Testing is another major aspect of branding success. My suggestion is to use Facebook metrics and analytics to explore how fans’ react, and what they are particularly intrigued by. Conduct a study to see what hours your target audience generally checks Facebook, in order to gauge the peak times to send out videos, photos, and posts, containing new trends, facts about the company’s history, or exciting new deals and prizes. In the whirring world of Facebook, potential consumers can view your page just as quickly as they can exit it, so you must make a stirring first impression.
Take REI, the renowned outdoor apparel and equipment retailer. Although REI acts as a leader in its field and places a significant amount of energy in its social media presence, Direct Marketing Magazine demonstrates how the company still falls short of its full branding potential. According to Will McKeand, associate creative director at Wunderman, REI could implement Facebook Places to allow customers to record their adventures and get together with other travelers. Similarly, REI could use Twitter to create outdoor hunts or challenges, motivating consumers to use and continually buy more of their products. Jay Joyce, president of The Idea People, also contends that although REI successfully displays product photos and descriptions on its Twitter page, it is not maximizing its social presence due to its lack of engagement with its followers’ responses. With more than 400,000 likes on Facebook and over 120,000 followers on Twitter, REI could raise recognition and potential revenue by taking advantage of clear avenues for further branding.
Twitter is another fortress for building a brand image. Here, always remember that etiquette and professionalism are of the utmost importance. On Twitter, let your brand’s personality shine through by developing and maintaining your brand voice. It is all about “Joining the Conversation” with the chatter akin to your product or service message. For example, known for its red-hot colors and modern décor, Virgin Atlantic is recognized for its fun, in-your-face personality. One of its latest tweets reads: “It’s the book that everyone’s talking about, but would you read it at 30,000 Feet? #FiftyShades.” On the contrary, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels, known for their luxurious amenities and dignified clientele, tend to tweet with a more sophisticated, worldly air: “Crème de la Crème Sweets, exclusively by our pastry team can be ordered all year!” Next, make sure you recognize your company’s purpose. Are you tweeting to promote, converse with customers, sell, or execute a combination of these effects? DisneyPixar tends to use their Twitter page as a promotion tool to endorse upcoming films, while the more localized, homey nature of Starbucks uses its Twitter to interact directly with customers.
Finally, remember that less is more. Targeted messaging is crucial to brand recognition. Recent research conducted by Zmags demonstrates that Macy’s increased use of digital while in-stores has “inspired” buyers. This has enabled the company to avoid flooding customers’ home mail and email with promotions and special offers. With such simplified, focused marketing, stores such as JC Penney have begun to adopt similar methods of basic branding. Today, digital is the support system for a strong traditional presence, further increasing brand awareness.
Of course, there is no magic formula ensuring a perfect harmony of tools for brand awareness. However, following these steps will help your business build a well-defined brand, whose voice will continue to resonate with your company through increased customer satisfaction and profits. While every piece of the marketing pie must be touched, never forget that traditional marketing plus digital strategies like the thoughts above, create a robust ROI.
At THOR Associates we build more profitable relationships every day for our clients. THOR understands your landscape and the integration of technology for management, best practices and the ease of information exchange. THOR gives you the tools and strategies to compete more efficiently. THOR Associates always focuses on a solid return on investment. THOR Associates creates and executes programs that deliver dollars to the bottom line.
Thank you, Tim Ash – what a great article you wrote on ClickZ regarding the secrets of a great landing page. For those who want to view the article here is the link – http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2174645/steps-direct-response-landing-page. The reason I am thrilled to see Tim put into words what we at THOR preach daily is that all to often a campaign rings of success only to fall on it’s face with weak digital support.
There is nothing as great as being recognized by your peers and industry for your thoughts and insights. Thank you to the Electronic Retailing Association for acknowledging my contributions and insights.
Email campaigns, sales copies, banner ads, bold graphics – what more is there to do to maximize online traffic and revenues?
To drive the utmost views and ROI to your product’s website, more than just an online campaign is needed to hook your customer. Traditional offline marketing is the bait that will lure consumers to your site, expanding your website’s traffic and conversion rates to their maximum potential.
Here are 10 recommended offline strategies for increasing revenues in a progressively online marketing domain:
1. Multiple avenues: Having various pathways leading to your website is critical for credibility, as a number of entry points to an online site shows that the company is committed to serving its consumer base through all possible channels. In addition, people willing to go to a site after seeing its offline ads are typically more consistent buyers, as they have gone out of their way to view the site.
2. Consistent Message: A coherent, reliable theme for offline marketing is crucial to online traffic. Those who regularly view an unambiguous and compelling ad that references back to a company’s website are more likely to familiarize themselves with the campaign and pursue a purchase.
3. Off-the-beaten-track: Because this field of marketing intends not merely to sell a product but to entice customers to view the online site, traditionally overlooked media outlets may be surprisingly productive, such as advertising on radio/television, sidewalk benches, billboards, taxi boards, and aerial signs.
4. Postcards: Aesthetically pleasing, easily deliverable, more personal, and quick to read, postcards are direct mailing without the trouble of unsealing an envelope. Maximum impact with minimal hassle. Key for remarketing efforts.
5. Classified ads: The succinct message derived from a classified ad allows for a quick, persuasive push to view the designated website. Here, adding a QR code that allows a smart phone to directly connect to the website is extremely advantageous. In a classified ad, simplicity and boldness are key qualities!
6. Flyers: The power of flyers is their physical persistence. While it is easy to click “X” out of a fleeting website page, a tangible flyer sitting on a kitchen counter will insistently compel consumers to act upon it.
7. Radio/TV: People are known to be more unwound and concentrated on advertisements both early in the morning and late in the evening, which are both perfect times to embed the website’s URL into a consumer’s memory.
8. Follow-Up: While customers may scan over a site but forget to return to their shopping bags later, a recurring newsletter or circular will effectively remind customers of the value and development of your product.
9. Relationship-Building: Maintaining personal connections through offline mediums such as birthday discounts, markdowns after a certain number of online purchases, and periodic bulletins will build allegiance and trust in your consumer base.
10. Test, tests, and more tests!: Continually reviewing what offline strategies are effective and profitable, through phone, mail, or online surveys at the time of sale, will allow for your best offline strategies to thrive and mature.
THOR Associates had an awesome experience at ERA in Miami! Just as exciting was Fern moderating the “Road to Retail” education session to an overflowing audience interested in hearing from an incredible panel. Special thanks to the following panelists: Todd Davies, As Seen On TV; Dawn Dumont-Perdew, The Dumont Project; Steve Heroux, Hampton Direct; Bala Iyer, Telebrands. The session was geared to identifying what drives ROI at POS. Please feel free to write to Fern at info@thorassociates if you have any questions regarding this very important topic or if you would like a copy of the power point presentation.
As direct response continues to become a marketing initiative only successful when ROI is realized, it is very important that integration of traditional and digital continue to compliment each other on every campaign. THOR Associates has become a boutique agency offering such services. We continue to bring best practices to clients which has given us the fortunate expotential growth in 2011.
We have surpassed Q1 goals. We have been selected as RFP recipients. We are grateful for the expansion of our staff and their terrific work product. Life is Good.