It's About Relationships

Not long ago, on my daily business news broadcast, we had a story about how the Internet has  Car Sale Promotion
changed the way many buy their vehicle. It's not only that you can buy "on-line" but, more importantly, the consumer now has the same, or more, information about the vehicle than the car dealership.

That fact changes the dynamic greatly. Now, the purchase isn't so much about "best price" or "availability" but how the salesperson at the dealership builds a relationship with you the customer.  

No longer "hard data" it's now all about "soft skills".

This shift has happened across the business landscape. The power of knowledge is in the hands of the consumer in most instances. Now the focus, for salespeople everywhere, is about building long and lasting relationships. And, given the availability of social media, it is easier than ever to engage your existing and potential customers.  

Oh, and that hand-written note that's put in the mail with a real stamp...bet your customer will smile and keep it long after that shout out on Facebook.

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Why Knowing Trends Matters

We follow trends because it's important to understand where business is going rather than Closed Storewhere we've been. Not to say we should forget about our history but our eyes should always be on tomorrow so that business can adjust to the market. And we're not just talking about color schemes. We're talking about major shifts in consumers that drives marketing/advertising.

Home Depot is a case in point.

Last week, on the Business News Hour, we had a story about how Home Depot was changing their marketing mix away from the Do It Yourself person and focusing more on professional re-modelers and contractors. For a business that has built their brand on DIY this is a seismic shift.

Why?

Because the understand the trends in home-ownership. Consider:

  • Home-Ownership at an All Time Low: Only 63.5% of Americans own their home the lowest number since 1967;
  • DIY Gives Way to Do It For Me: As Baby Boomers age they are not as interested in tackling a kitchen or bathroom re-do and would rather hire it done;
  • Got No Skills: In many parts of the country "Shop Class" is a thing of the past. Shop was replaced by computer science and a generation didn't learn about building stuff;
  • More Renters: Blame it on the recession, stagnate wages, the desire to have fixed monthly expenses; whatever the reason more and more people are turning to rentals. Check the chart below.

Rise of RentersIt all adds up to a trend and Home Depot responded even though it meant moving away from what made them the best DIY store in the nation.

So, here are some questions for you:  Are you staying ahead of the trends? Are you paying attention? If sales are in a slump, or just not as robust as they once were, is it a trend away from your product or service? Do you know?

Maybe it's time to think about it...

Thanks for reading!

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Big Getting Little

Grocery store chains across the country are consolidating or simply calling HyVee Local Produce Two it quits. Last week legendary A&P filed for bankruptcy protection...for the second time. Kroger announced they are buying Harris Teeter and one of the oldest chains, Albertson's was swallowed up. Locally, family owned Dahls threw in the towel.

Today there are only a handful of regional grocery store chains in the nation. 

The grocery industry is vastly different today than just 10 years ago because there is more competition and the changing habits of consumers. Natural, local and fresh rate high on the expectation list of consumers. So, how does a regional chain compete against the likes of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and others?

Bring on the LOCAL feel and flavor of a time gone by.


HyVee LocalA couple of years ago HyVee, a Midwest regional chain, had a pretty successful run at calling attention to locally sourced produce. (Photo at left and you can click to enlarge.) While it all worked the effort was small compared to what they've recently rolled out.

Here (above and to the right) is the new roll-out of how big can go little all in an effort to boost a little nostalgia while calling attention to the fact that they sell what comes from your neighbor. 

The entire "feel" of the brand says, "Hey, we remember what it was HyVee Local Produce Onelike...shop here for local produce!" And then they go to great lengths to tell you how "local".

We love the graphics, the look and the feel of the campaign.  Good stuff HyVee! 

Thanks for reading!

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Nah, We're 8 to 5 - Weekdays Only!

Over the past several weeks we've been following various brands (local, Woman 8 oclockregional and national) and surprised at the vast number of businesses that are posting to social media channels ONLY during the work day. Weekends? Crickets.

It's like their Social Media Ninjas are saying, "Hey, we work eight to five Monday through Friday.  If you wanna follow our brand engagement do so on our time."

Do they know something we don't or are they just doing what they get paid for?

So we did some digging around to learn who is connecting with social media channels and when.  Some interesting consumer trends:

  • Nearly half (47%) of smartphone users visit social media networks every day (Nielson);
  • Want Re-Tweets? Best time to Tweet is 5PM EST (KissMetrics);
  • Best days to Tweet - Midweek and Weekends (KissMetrics)
  • Facebook Shares - Best day is Saturday followed by Sunday (KissMetrics);

And, not every social media channel is the same.  For example posting on Pinterest outside of noon and the weekends isn't advised, "Pinterest is for daydreaming" says Fast Company.

Instagram users ages 18 - 29 make up 53% of all users and 49% of them use the channel daily (Pew Research Center)

LinkedIn users abandon the channel on the weekends and you'll get crickets between 10PM and 6AM (Fast Company).

We could go on and on but the POINT is that if your brand is failing to engage your consumer base when they are using social media...your brand...fails.  It all goes back to the central point of social media and using it correctly...wait for it:  You need to know your consumer; where they are, what they want and how to engage.  Oh, and HOW do you know where your prime demographic is...without spending tons on market research.

Ask them...

Finally, with all the social media tools available to you there is no reason why you can't match your engagement with consumers on...their time.

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Us?  Here is our advertising agency website, you can follow us on Twitter @InsightADV and Facebook?  Sure.  Also we are the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour. (Here is our searchable/mobile friendly Podcast Page or you can download the business interviews from iTunes.  Nifty huh? 

 


The New...Radio?

Back in 2007 we were "pioneers" when it came to podcasting and when we moved IOB Card Backfrom our television broadcast on Webcast One Live to 1350 KRNT for our daily business radio broadcast we took the podcast idea with us. Why? Because it's yet another link in the trend of offering news and information to the consumer when he or she wants to access it...not when we want them to get it.

Have a quick listen to the "new radio" that you get to experience on...your time. Oh, and if your business/service isn't podcasting...why?

 

 

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Your Customers Have It Their Way?

During the past several days I've shared a couple of stories on our daily business Woman Shoe Choice broadcast about how McDonald's is attempting to revive sagging sales by shortening their menu, offering customers the opportunity to "build their own burger" and looking at regional menu choices rather than duplicating the same menu nationally.  

And this:

Over the years it's never made sense to me that cable companies sell us 100, 200 or 300 channels when studies tell us that American's watch, at the maximum, 17 channels.  So, if we're only watching 17 channels why do we have to buy 250?  The cable companies are starting to "get it" too and we'll be seeing some experiment with ala cart service.  You only pay for what you want and watch.

These two stories are linked in the reality that consumers are no longer wanting to eat what business is feeding them.  Consumers want more and more choice and if they don't get it...they move on to the business or service that delivers.  If the shoe fits...

This reality is cutting across many verticals.  So, the question you need to answer is this, "What is it that my customers want vs. what I want them to want?"  If you know, great! If you don't know...you better find out...quickly.

Thanks for reading!

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and is the fuel for Insight on Businsss the News Hour heard Monday - Friday from 5PM to 6PM on 1350-KRNT with Podcasts here.

 


Consumers Ignoring Your Marketing Message?

The published study from Pure360 in the United Kingdom titled, Man Noise"Confessions of a Shopping Nation" tells us that three-quarters of UK consumers actively ignore all types of marketing messages and 59% feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of marketing information.

Those are pretty big numbers.  But, it gets worse.  The study also found the vast majority of consumers, 64%, said that social media and the Internet in general have very little influence on their purchasing decisions.

What's going on?

Noise.

Noise because most companies have really no idea on how to connect with consumers.  We see it everyday. Each Tweet or each Facebook Post has a "sales message" attached to it. There is very little creativity in the message.  Zero ability to understand organic marketing. It's all...noise.

At the end of the day it is no surprise, to us, that consumers are tuning you out.  They don't want to be force fed...noise.  They want a brand they can trust, real people they can communicate with. They want a product or service that isn't shouting but...helping.

How do you do that?  Three suggestions:

  • Stop Selling - Start Engaging:  If over 20% of your social media posts are about selling something you are creating noise.  Stop it...today. Tell the back-story of your business. Share interesting images, video and stay light;
  • Share Information:  If consumers are seeking information about a wide range of products and services become a voice of assistance and not a carnival barker.  Move your blog to one of helping folks better understand your area of expertise;
  • Do It Well: Just because you know everything about "Self-Weasel-Winding Torque Inducers" does not mean that you know how to market them.  Get some help for crying out loud. Marketing/Advertising companies do this every day. 

There are dozens of ways to connect with consumers but noise is not one of them.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!

 


Social Media - Where Are You?

There is a new study out about the use of social media. Conducted by  Social Media Images
Edison Research and Arbitron, The Social Habit 2012 gives a fascinating look at who is using these tools and what power they have in assisting consumers in making buying decisions.  The study sampled 2020 people via telephone (landline and mobile) ages 12+. Some stunning examples:

  • Over half of all Americans (56%) have a personal profile on any social media site.  However the growth is not as rapid as in past years;
  • Over half of the social users are between the ages of 12 - 34;
  • While 93% have heard of Facebook only 39% have heard of LinkedIn;
  • Year over year growth in social networking is greatest among people age 45 and over;
  • Facebook is dominate among all user age groups;
  • About 58 million Americans have a "social habit" meaning they use social media, "several times a day";
  • Among Twitter users the percentage of people using it "several times a day" jumped from 18% to 29% in just one year;

But perhaps the most stunning number was the 34% of social network users who are...silent.  In other words...they watch, read but fail to engage.

Oh, one other thing for those of you who spend the greatest share of your advertising dollars in television: Among the people who own a DVR and watch "time shifted" television 83% of them fast forward or skip the ads.

Here is the download of the complete study...well worth your time.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour a daily business news broadcast.


Always Fun Being Part of a Launch - Country Vet Naturals

When you watch an idea become reality it's the biggest kick we get here Grouping horz cookies at the agency. Three years ago we started talks with our long-term client Country Vet Pet Foods about changing their formula, creating a natural dog food and packaging that matched what it was. Clearly consumers were asking for it...all we had to do was deliver. 

Then it was testing names, packaging designs, formulas and now, three years later, Country Vet Naturals is being launched at Pheasant Fest in Milwaukee.

All weekend representatives from Country Vet Naturals will be visiting with dog owners about the food and the new treats, Country Vet Naturals Quick Bite Cookies (In Oatmeal/Cranberry thank you very much!).  

Will it be sold in Des Moines?  We're hoping so.  Now that we've finished this round it's on to additional natural pet food products and loads of new ideas regarding the formulation.

We like what we do!

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is located in Des Moines, Iowa.  On Twitter it's @InsightADV and here is our Facebook Page.  Thanks for reading!


What Was That Stat?

From Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie a report Woman Shopping Mobile from this week:

The National Retail Federation reported that spending over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped 2.7% compared to a year ago. On the crucial Black Friday shopping day, online sales accounted for 44% of the total, up from 41% last year, the NRF noted.

So, why should you care?  Here is the rest of the story:

Shoppers are shifting more of their holiday purchasing online for several reasons we think: E-commerce websites are more convenient than physical stores, more deals and promotions are on the web now, more people have mobile devices which makes it easier to shop online and hot holiday items that sell out quickly are often still available on the Internet.

Notice what we wrote and highlighted.  Which begs the question, "Can consumers use their mobile device to access your website and actually use it?"

If not...you must get "responsive design"...now.

You are welcome.

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To connect with us on Facebook or on Twitter it's @InsightADV thank you for reading.