Thursday, December 4, 2014

Deck The Malls With Boomer Shoppers

Baby Boomers
How can marketers reach more Boomer shoppers this season? For answers, let’s turn to the blizzard of holiday shopping surveys out there. 
First of all, will 2014 be dominated by Santas or Scrooges? The National Retail Foundation has tidings of joy: For the first time since 2011, holiday sales will increase more than 4%. However, a short selling season of just 27 shopping days doesn’t leave a lot of time to capture Boomer customers. So, what’s the best way to reach them? Although different surveys reached different conclusions, some common themes emerged. 
The FIVE W’s of Boomer Holiday Spending
For WHOM are Boomers buying? According to the 2014 Mintel Holiday Forecasting Study, the purchase of most categories of gifts declines with age. However, women aged 55 and older are very likely to buy food to entertain the extended family at holiday meals. 82% of women aged 55 plus also buy gifts for family members, many of them earmarked for grandchildren. In fact, according to a recent Forbes article, Boomers spend a collective total of $35 billion a year on their grandkids.
WHAT are Boomers buying? 
The generation that marched on Washington now leads the country in purchasing small, rectangular pieces of plastic. According to the Shullman Research Center, Boomers buy more holiday gift cards than any other demographic. 62% of Boomers purchase gift cards, more than Gen Xers (57%), Millennials (38%), and seniors (18%). Boomers are right on target with their gift choices: According to a National Retail Foundation study, gift cards are the most requested gift item for the eighth year in a row. 
If your business doesn’t already offer gift cards, the holidays are a good time to start. If you already offer gift cards, consider offering them electronically. According to Pace Perspectives, electronic cards are gaining in popularity since plastic gift cards are so easily lost. In fact, 40% of 18-29 year olds admit to having lost at least one gift card. 
WHERE are Boomers shopping?
According to Mintel, Boomers’ number one source for researching holiday gifts is the Internet, but many still prefer to make their purchases in the store. 43% of men ages 55 and up, and 38% of women in that age group, say they research items online, then wait to find them on sale in stores. How can you capitalize on their shopping habits? Mintel suggests offering online coupons that shoppers can redeem in the store. 
WHEN do Boomers shop? 
According to a recent PunchTab survey, Boomers are the least likely of any demographic to shop on Black Friday or in the entire month of November. They spread out their shopping throughout the season: 22% in September, 20% in October, 34% in November, and 21% in December. In contrast, Gen. Xers and Millennials do the bulk of their shopping in November. 
WHY are Boomers buying?
During the holidays, it’s important to look at Boomers’ life stages, not just their ages. That’s because Boomers in larger households tend to spend significantly more than empty nesters in one-to-two- person households. Another surprising fact reported by Mintel: Affluent Boomers do not necessarily spend more than their less-wealthy counterparts, unless they have children at home. 
HOW do Boomers choose gifts? 
According to PunchTab, Boomers are influenced by a number of sources. 62% ask friends and family for input, 61% browse in person, 50% check recipients’ wish lists, 39% browse brand websites, 38% read online reviews, 30% check flyers or catalogs, 24% open emails, 17% browse online magazines or blogs, 14 turn to Facebookand 9% log on to PInterest.
Are Boomers motivated by price? Not as much as Gen Xers, according to the CFI Group Holiday Retail Spending Report. Only 23% of 55-65 year olds are influenced by sales and coupons, versus 40% of 25-34 year olds. 
One final idea from Mintel to get cash registers ringing: Since only 11% of grandchildren currently give presents to their generous grandparents, how about leaving something for Boomer Santas under the tree? Art or photography classes, books for Kindle, or restaurant gift cards are all possibilities.
 , Media Post Nov 24th, 2014

U.S. sales of gluten-free foods rise 63 percent in two years

Gluten Free
According to global market research firm Mintel, dollar sales of gluten-free products are surging. A new report from the company, "Gluten-Free Foods — US," forecasts the gluten-free food market to reach sales of $8.8 billion in 2014, representing an increase of 63 percent from 2012 to 2014.
“Overall, the gluten-free food market continues to thrive off those who must maintain a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, as well as those who perceive gluten-free foods to be healthier or more natural,” said Amanda Topper, food analyst at Mintel. “The category will continue to grow in the near term, especially as FDA regulations make it easier for consumers to purchase gluten-free products and trust the manufacturers who make them
All gluten-free food segments increased in the past year, Mintel noted, although the snack segment increased the most. Gluten-free snacks increased 163 percent from 2012 to 2014, reaching sales of $2.8 billion. Sales increases were mainly the result of a 456 percent increase in potato chip sales.
Meanwhile, the meat/meat alternatives segment is the second-largest gluten-free food segment in terms of sales, reaching $1.6 billion in 2014, a 14 percent increase from 2012 to 2014. In addition, Mintel said, the bread products and cereal segment saw gains of 43 percent during that same time period and is set to reach $1.3 billion this year.
Despite strong growth during the past few years, retailers and suppliers will still find opportunities to innovate, Topper said, especially in categories that traditionally contain gluten. Bread and cereal are ripe for gluten-free growth, Mintel added, with only 1 percent of the overall segment termed gluten-free.
“Gluten-free products appeal to a wide audience; 41 percent of U.S. adults agree they are beneficial for everyone, not only those with a gluten allergy, intolerance or sensitivity," Topper said. "In response, food manufacturers offering either gluten-free alternatives or existing products with a gluten-free label have increased dramatically over the last several years,” adds Amanda.
But it seems not everyone is convinced of the health attributes of gluten-free products. Thirty-three percent of respondents to a 2013 Mintel survey agreed that “gluten-free diets are a fad,” and the number increased to 44 percent of Americans in 2014. However, gluten free’s popularity has not waned — 22 percent of Americans currently follow a gluten-free diet, compared to 15 percent in 2013, Mintel said.

Cyber Monday grows as busiest day of season

Great article from USA Today, Dec 2nd. ~Curt
Cyber Monday proved just as big a draw as ever after a weekend that saw fewer people shopping in stores.
Sales grew 8.5% for the 24-hour period, according to IBM Digital Analytics, solidifying Monday as the largest online shopping day of the year. Shoppers spent an average of $124.21 per order, down 3.5% from last year, though the number of transactions was up and people bought more items on average per order.
Monetate, a company whose software helps major retailers including Macy's and Best Buy personalize the online shopping experience, also tracked more shopping sessions this year with about 49.3 million sessions, up 11.8% from 2013. Revenue per session increased 7% and the number of people who completed a purchase increased 8.3%.
The National Retail Federation expected a different outcome, projecting fewer shoppers would head online Monday at about 127 million vs. 131 million in 2013.Growth did slow compared to previous years: in 2013 online sales were up 20.6% vs. 2012, according to IBM data.
That may be because shoppers have more chances to get deals later this week as Cyber Monday prices continue through Saturday with some brands. With promotions spread out across November and December this year and many retailers having offered pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to spur people to shop early, those days themselves have become less important as shopping drivers.
Meanwhile, more people than ever are opting to online shop and use their phones to browse for deals. Online sales over Thanksgiving weekend were up 17% vs. last year and mobile accounted for more than half of all online traffic, according to IBM. On Monday more people shopped on desktops, though mobile still accounted for 41.2% of all online traffic, a 30.1% increase over last year, IBM says.
Retailers are hopeful that online deals this week will be compelling enough to get shoppers to continue to spend. Walmart doubled the number of deals available for Cyber Monday this year and will continue to have 500 new promotions a day through Friday. Walmart reported Monday was it's biggest day of online orders ever as customers shopped for deals on the 16GB iPad mini, HDTVs, and video games, all major traffic drivers, the retailer said.
Target is billing its Cyber Week as its biggest yet, with more than 100,000 items on sale all week. Kohl's is going a day further with deals online through Saturday. Amazon is offering new deals up to every 10 minutes all week.
Those deals may entice the roughly half of consumers who still have shopping to do, says Consumer Electronics Association Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac. "I would estimate probably close to half of consumers have completed the bulk of their holiday shopping at this point," he says.
And he expects people to continue to buy leading up to Christmas. "There's still appetite as we head into the remaining few weeks of the holiday season," DuBravac says.
That appetite may be fed by increasing parity between online and in-store deals and the convenience of options like same-day shipping and buy online, pick up in store, all of which are making it easier for consumers to wait out the season for the best prices, says Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO of Monetate, a company that sells software to retailers to help them personalize the online shopping experience.
"You can shop online later and later and still get things by Christmas Day," she says. "What will end up happening over time is this continued flattening of the season where people are more willing to wait to see what's going to happen."

Demonstrating credibility

Sales Tips
It's not enough to tell prospects you offer better service or quality than your competitor. Prospects want to hear specifics about why you're better.

Here's a formula that helps show the difference more effectively:

* Unique qualities. What can you offer that your competitor can't? Try to convert the value of your products or services into financial results.  For example, I am a veteran television sales executive...but I am also certified in SEO, and other digital aspects that allow me to help outside of TV.

* Advantages. What do you do better than the competitor? Give prospects what they need to understand the unique qualities of your product or service.

* Parity. If there’s little difference between you and a competitor, look for minor ones that may add up to a competitive advantage.

* Disadvantages. Are there areas in your product or service in which competitors have a definite edge? Focus on the advantages you do have to offset these disadvantages.

Happy selling! ~Curt

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Voice Success!

Five key factors when it comes to having a voice of success include:
Voice Success

Your Tone
What does the tone of your voice sound like? Does it reflect confidence? Strength? Assurance? Perhaps your tone reflects fear? Boredom? Immaturity?

Be honest with yourself; do you need to work on your tone? Grab a close friend or co-worker -- ask their honest opinion. It's important to find someone who will give you just that. Listen to what they have to say and take their criticism as constructive to help you develop a voice that will get you where you want to be in life.

Voice Inflection
When speaking and thinking about the key points you want to emphasize, make sure the inflection of your voice does just that. Inflection alone can change the meaning of a sentence.

Practice, practice, practice. The delivery of your message when training your voice is key. Don't be afraid to rehearse a pitch or a proposal or even just a phone call. You won't always have to do this; just long enough to where a good delivery is natural and you can do it with confidence.

What do you sound like? Have you ever really just listened to your own voice? For example, when you record your outgoing voicemail message what do others hear? A smile? Joy? Authority? Don't be afraid to use a tape recorder as you train your voice. A tape recorder will allow you to hear exactly what others hear.

Similar to tone, but different. The energy in your voice allows people to feel like they are in the room with you. Does your energy make them want to be in a room with you? Put it in check. One thing that I have to watch is the speed at which I speak. I can rattle things off faster than most people can keep up with. I always know when I'm doing this because I often get asked to repeat myself. Breathe, think about what you are going to say and fill it with the right energy for the moment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Create positive emotional experiences...a sales tip study in cupcakes!

Learn to make dealing with you fun, relaxing, and rewarding.

You always want to leave your customers and prospects thinking about you and remembering you positively, so it is imperative that you find ways to create positive emotional experiences for your customers.

The key is to focus on the little things. Remember birthdays, send handwritten notes, do the unexpected. For a few of my clients, I'll have my wife (who is a phenomenal baker) make homemade cupcakes for their birthdays.  Just as an anchor is used to hold a ship in place against currents, wind, tide, and storm, positive emotional experiences anchor your relationships. They leave people wanting more of you. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Here's Why Automakers Are Ahead of the Game in Digital

Great article form AdWeek a few weeks ago regarding direct response auto advertising. ~CM
For years, automakers were synonymous with branding-based advertising, but the shift to digital has steered more of them toward direct-response marketing. Of course, sizable ad budgets help, but there’s more to why automakers are first movers on practically every new type of digital promo.
Honda’s Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana dealer group (which includes roughly 30 Midwest dealerships) announces that it is the first brand to use a new tool from Blinq Media—one of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers—that targets in-market car shoppers with local promos. By squarely focusing on in-market car shoppers, the campaign only uses direct-response messaging to drive conversions.
With the help of agency RPA, Honda will begin using the new tool to buy Facebook’s right-hand rail and newsfeed ads on desktops, plus sponsored posts on mobile, programmatically. The ads target two types of prospects: Consumers who are near dealership, or people who have interacted with Honda’s content before—such as filling out an online sales lead form.
Nichola Perrigo, associate director of digital marketing at Honda’s agency RPA, described the social promos as a way to "optimize and rapid-fire test different ad units" by pulling in dealership-specific offers in real time.
Ad creative will change on the fly, too. "We’re going to be able to create very dynamic, custom ads that hit each one of those audience groups," explained Perrigo. For example, if a person has shown a past interest in a Civic sedan, he or she won’t be served an ad for an Accord. Clicking through on any ad drives consumers to a website with more customized information based on the Facebook offer.
Since GM’s famous exit from the social platform in 2012 (and its subsequent return in 2013), Facebook has made significant efforts to win back auto brands.
To Facebook’s credit, GM-owned Chevrolet was among a small handful of brands to test auto-play video ads earlier this year while Ford and Lexus have also forked over cash to the social platform.
Marc Poirier, co-founder and evp of business development at Acquisio noted the newest local ads may also pay off for other direct-response marketers. "The new local ad offering for Facebook is in theory very well-suited to direct-response local advertising, especially when the measured goal is something such as generating requests for test drives."
Moving Down the Purchase Funnel
Honda’s decision to home in on digital to target low-funnel consumers follows a string of similar investments from automakers.
In September, Toyota Central Atlantic—a group of dealerships along the East Coast—claimed a 45 percent increase in foot traffic from a mobile campaign.
The ads targeted in-market buyers who had previously visited a competitor’s lot and linked to car registration data, indicating if a consumer actually bought a car as a result of seeing the re-targeted mobile ads.
It’s easy to chalk up the emphasis on hyperlocal marketing to the fact that automakers typically have sky-high marketing budgets. But it also indicates that digital is working for brands to do more than branding.
"U.S. automotive [brands] have usually a 60/40 split between direct-response and branding," said Guillaume Lelait, general manager at Fetch.
In With the New, Out With the Old?
Even as more automakers employ direct-response advertising, not all brands are ready to ditch branding efforts. Instead, marketers like Mercedes are pulling double duty with social ads.
Mercedes recently released a case study from the first campaign to run Instagram and Facebook promos simultaneously. The German automaker’s effort claims a 54 percent increase in Web traffic. But there’s also an interesting branding data point: The Instagram ads by themselves increased brand awareness by 14 percent. The idea was to test which types of creative work best on each platform.
"We're not just throwing money at the platform—we're really trying to see what's going to break through and get engagement from our audience," Eric Jillard, general manager of marketing services at Mercedes, told Adweek during Advertising Week.
Lauren Johnson - AdWeek 10.21.14