Dec
29

In what other ways can you surprise and delight your customers?

If you want some inspiration about how you can strengthen the emotional connection and attachment to your brand, watch this video from WestJet airlines.

It’s a wonderful example of a brand’s actions speaking louder than words and of adding real value to customer’s lives (in very unexpected ways).

Importantly, it’s also an effort genuine to WestJet’s culture – built around caring for you, our guests, by providing a great guest experience.

In this case, it’s a brand experience that far exceeded guest expectations.

Related Posts:

Dec
24

Screen shot 2013-12-24 at 11.22.09 AM

The doctor will see you now. From the convenience of your cellphone.

Doctor on Demand is a new app that lets you arrange video-based doctor visits on the fly. The iOS and Android app – designed for short-term medical problems like the flu or a migraine – connects patients within minutes to a doctor for a 15-minutes-or-less visit. Doctors (currently about 1,000) can also prescribe medicine, though not narcotics or other potentially addictive drugs.

DOD is a win-win for both physicians and patients. Physicians can make about $120 an hour for four visits (DOD takes a $10-per-visit cut). For patients, Doctor on Demand fills the gap between what’s much desired and sorely lacking in our current healthcare system: immediate gratification.

To put the opportunity into context (or put another way, to dimension the potential revenue risk) for traditional healthcare providers, consider these CDC FastStats from 2010:

• Number of physician office visits: 1.0 billion
• Number of physician office visits per 100 persons: 332.2
• Percent of visits made to primary care physicians: 55.5%
• Most frequent principal illness-related reason for visit: cough

The implication for healthcare providers is that for more routine patient needs, they are no longer the center of their patient’s (rather their customer’s) universe. Routine care is increasingly everywhere – urgent care centers, drug stores, super stores, cell phones.

The only defense, ultimately, is a brand that is different, better, special and constantly evolving. Hammering away each day to create the emotional attachment to your organization that drives the majority of purchase decisions. The challenge for healthcare marketers is finding (and operationally delivering on) that emotional link that makes your brand your customer’s first, and only, choice.

Related Posts:

Dec
18

eyeDraws us in. Makes us feel. Stops us in our tracks. Takes advantage of what we’ve always known – that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Yesterday was a day full of looking at new designs. New logos, new visual identity systems, new website designs, new social channel pages. For existing brands and new brands that we’re helping to create. A day full of visual eye candy. As a designer, it was my kind of day.

It occurred to me that while we’ve always known that the most compelling communication is visual, social channels and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube are taking this to a whole new level. And they’re changing our expectations of how brands communicate and connect.

Here are some interesting related statistics to keep in mind:

- According to Neomobile, two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017 and will also account for 66% of all mobile data traffic.

- A branded Vine is four times more likely to be seen than a branded video on other networks and five tweets every second contain a vine link. (the 7th chamber)

- Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time. (YouTube)

- Honda launched an advertising campaign, (#WantNewCar), on Vine by replying to twitter posts with Vine videos. As a result, the Average Tweet Engagement Rate almost tripled during the first two days. (SocialBakers)

- Instagram shares on twitter increased by 37% after the launch of Instagram video(Buzzfork), and videos are two-times more engaging than photos posted to Instagram(SimplyMeasured).

These statistics – along with the fact that people process visual information 60,000 times faster than they do written words – underscore the need for brands to utilize to the fullest extent possible their arsenal of video and visual assets to tell their stories. Their visual stories. Because these will be the brands that we’ll be interacting with, that help create unique experiences and that marketers will use to build connections and relationships with their customers.

I think the trend of telling “visual stories” just might be one of the major trends for brands in 2014. What do you think?

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
Dec
10

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 10.18.07 PMThis article on mainstreet.com – What Pre-Retirees Fear Most and Talk About Least – sheds some light on what’s weighing on the minds of pre-retirees. Three-quarters of them, according to a survey from Harris Interactive, say their top fear in retirement is the cost of health care. And nearly two out of three pre-retirees want to understand Medicare coverage better.

These concerns translate into meaningful opportunities for healthcare marketers to step up and do something that their customers really care about. To help them navigate a future that is filled with anxiety.

We know that emotion drives attachment to brands. And as it relates to healthcare, boomer’s emotions are running high. So healthcare marketers – be there for them when they need you most, beyond the expected transaction.

In turn, you have the opportunity to earn the trust and loyalty of the millions of boomers who will require more healthcare services than any other generation of Americans.

Related Posts:

Dec
05

Over 81% of Ameimagesricans over the age of 50 have become more conscious of what they eat.                              

Overall consumer interest in selecting food and activities geared toward wellness is increasing.  Consumers are realizing the effects that their eating habits and on-the-go lifestyles are having on their ability to maintain a healthy, sustainable life. They are becoming more selective in their product and lifestyle choices and increasingly understand the connection between their diet and health. Health and wellness is not a fad — it is becoming a way of life.

While most people pursue some form of health and wellness, the extent of their interest and engagement varies considerably – meeting consumers on their terms will motivate change and influence partnership with brands. Let’s face it, it’s not surprising that consumers vary in their commitment to exercise, dieting habits, and product choices, and that underlying demographic characteristics influence these decisions – a Gen X’er is far more interested in a stress reliever than a Boomer who may be looking for a memory supplement.

So what are the triggers that continue to motivate consumers to partner with health and wellness brands, and drive this industry forward?

  • Increase in consumer acceptance to a broader set of health and wellness solutions, including non-traditional treatments (herbal remedies, supplements, etc.).
  • Accessibility to more health information than ever; 96% of American adults who use the Internet look-up health information and they are not just looking, they are buying.
  • Growth of high opportunity segments like Boomers, a population expected to grow 41% by 2020, who will seek out solutions to maintain their vigor. And, on the other end of the spectrum the new generation (infants and their families) who will seek products for healthier development.
  • Government, health association, and employer advocacy of healthy eating and wellness initiatives are on the rise – an effort to temper increasing healthcare costs.
  • Broadening of health & wellness offerings at retailers in multiple channels, across various markets – everything from nutrition assessments, to testing services and preventative screenings, to spas and in-store clinics.
    • Take a look the next time you visit a Target, or even ShopRite store, you’ll be surprised at what you see.
  • Emergence of new players and partnerships are creating innovative solutions and expanding definition of the health and wellness space. Brands as diverse as Nestle, DuPont, and even Google are entering the sector.
    • Nestle is investing in gastro-intestinal health; Google in organization of personal health information; and DuPont, through purchase of DSM, in dietary supplements.
  • Accessibility to healthier products is optimal. Manufacturers are continually developing new, healthier products… just look at the supermarket shelves where new products appear everyday.
    • Supermarkets are becoming one of the leading channels for distribution; other channels, such as mass merchants, warehouse clubs, natural food stores, convenience and drug stores, continue to play a formidable role.

And, technology is helping to lead the way with digital, social, and mobile applications providing a more efficient and effective experience between consumers, healthcare providers, insurers, and health and wellness brands  – propelling consumers to connect, learn, and engage in more interactive experiences. 

The Proof Is in The Numbers

The trends all point in a single direction – more and more consumer spending on health and wellness. In fact, if the pace continues wellness could be the next trillion-dollar industry (Euromonitor International). Let me leave you with these stats:

  • Today the average household spends $148.48 per month on categories that have a wellness halo.
  • Over half of all consumers (54%) say they have recently changed their views on health & wellness.
  • 85% of consumers believe that certain foods have health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition and may reduce the risk of disease or other health concerns.


Health and wellness is the new way of life… for consumers and brands, those who adapt will ultimately succeed.

 

 

Related Posts:

Dec
02

Screen shot 2013-12-02 at 9.49.41 AM
The growth potential for marketing to boomers – for brands that move quickly, empathise and engage with this audience is great.

“Liberated for the first time from their obligations, turning their attention to new hobbies and interests is why we refer to them as ‘The Unstoppables’. And it’s why companies should sit up and take notice of their needs. It’s a win-win. And not one to be ignored.”

This is the takeaway from two recent studies by Added Value. They confirm what we already know about the big opportunity companies have to grow business by taking the time to specifically market to boomers – by understanding, embracing and responding to the functional and emotional needs of the wealthiest and most influential generation in the United States.

In my opinion, the most important finding from this study (again, because it reinforces an extremely important yet overlooked fact about this audience) is that “this sector of the population is a multi-faceted audience with many different needs, motivations and desires, which drive how they engage with brands and, consequently, how brands need to engage with them.”

Other key takeaways from the study include:

Connecting early can reap longer-term rewards. Older people are just as willing as other generations to try new products (contrary to what many marketers believe). But they’ll also reward brands that meet their needs with their loyalty. So purposefully connecting earlier should reap rewards.

Older doesn’t mean different. In the UK, only 8% of people regard 50-60 as being old, while only 5% of those 65+ feel their age. Turning 50 doesn’t automatically mean a whole new wardrobe of brands. But there is a clear (and financially significant) opportunity for brands to think about how they extend their relevance across age bands.

This is a time of positivity. Added Value’s recent UK research shows by far the most admired people are those who make older age look fun and stimulating, e.g. Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Sean Connery. Communications strategies should reflect this same vibrancy and optimism (as long as they’re genuine to the “brief”).

But it’s not without stress. Aging is accompanied by a change in physical, emotional and often financial, condition. There is a clear role that brands can play in offering reassurance by reviewing all areas of marketing, e.g. tailored products, services and in particular, customer experiences which are seen as useful but don’t patronise.

You can read the original article about this study that appeared in Marketing Magazine here.

Related Posts:

Nov
22

Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 10.12.32 AM
Here’s a fun, but also thought-provoking, post – An ‘eye’ on aging – by Joe Pisani on greenwich-post.com.

Read between the lines, and it reminds us of some important “physical” realities of the effects of aging for brand marketers to think about to win the business of boomers, e.g. implications of eyesight on advertising, the web, packaging, product delivery and customer care (these last three being most relevant here).

Takeaway, probably more than Joe intended, is that marketers shouldn’t fall into the trap of concentrating on marketing communication to the exclusion of other marketing mix elements. As aging is accompanied by a decline in physical condition, (including eyesight), designing marketing strategies around the physical condition of an 18-35 year old will increasingly be at odds with the needs of your market.

Related Posts:

Nov
21

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 9.52.18 AM
Here’s a good post by Stewart Gandolf over at HealthWorks Collective – Watch, Feel, Share: How Emotion-Fueled Videos Propel (Viral) Engagement.

Confirming what we intuitively know but sometimes neglect to deliver as we get wrapped in our internal vs. external perspective – it’s emotions that make marketing campaigns get noticed, attract viewers and go viral, according to research reported by the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Viral videos, HBR reports, “generate high levels of social engagement, sharing, and brand interaction, which can lead to sharp increases in digital brand advocacy.”

The HBR article goes on to make a very important point – if you don’t already have a large built-in audience, you must attract them from elsewhere. Viral marketing is hands-down one of the best ways to do this. Viral marketing:

• breaks through the noise
• creates massive brand exposure and free press
• generates high levels of social engagement, sharing, and brand interaction, which can lead to sharp increases in digital brand advocacy.
• massively improves organic search rankings
• increases brand engagement

Stop by Stewart’s post and the HBR article. Both are informative, enjoyable and use emotion (through video) to fuel engagement.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
Nov
19

Social-Media-1

The different ways we are able to communicate with consumers is evolving at a pace that is staggering. New tools emerge almost daily and others fade into irrelevance in the blink of an eye. But one thing is certain, the digital age has dramatically changed the opportunity to effectively engage, connect and inspire real action among our target audiences.

Content is king

One size doesn’t fit all in today’s fragmented digital world. We all consume content differently, yet we all look for what interests, informs or entertains us the most. And that’s less a function of the channel, than it is the type of content and delivery. Creativity, relevancy, immediacy and credibility play a key role. Think of where you turn to learn, share or simply smile – Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Infographics, Webinars – to name a few. Your customers are no different. Their choices are abundant. So remember, content is still king.

Mobile is transformational

With technology booming, we are always ‘on’. Literally, and figuratively. We sleep, eat and transact with our phones by our side. Gone are the days where multi-channel marketing required a visit to a store or purchase on a computer. Ultimate convenience and sales are a tap away. Currently there are over 115M smartphone users in the U.S., with 2012 spending exceeding $24B in mobile commerce sales – 11% of total ecommerce sales, and growing (source: Internet Retailer). Mobile presents a vast opportunity, as long as the experience is optimized. Mobile works best when integrated with social networks to deliver value and targeted offers, simply based on indirect user activities like check-ins or visits to a location. Consumer context is key – whether geo-targeted, user-preference based, or behavior driven. Additionally, the experience you create is paramount, from prioritizing information shown on the device to ensuring that the checkout process is seamless. Mobile is truly disruptive and transformational – and it’s in your hands.

Data is power

The world of digital advertising is based on sophisticated data collection and profiling. But digital advertising is no longer a science – it involves science. Data has revolutionized the way we reach our targeted customers and ensures that the content we present is relevant – from behavioral targeting, remarketing and look-a-like profiling – to the advent of real-time bidding on ad exchanges (also called programmatic advertising) – allowing every impression to be cost effective and placed in front of the right person, at the right time. This approach extends to RTB mobile and video as well to ensure advertisers have control over their entire advertising campaigns. But it’s not just the effective delivery of campaigns that comes from this rich data, but the insights gained once implemented. Data allows advertisers like you to see what variables are most effective – from content types and websites visited to location information and user interests. From this analysis comes the best targeting opportunities – who is likely to respond to specific messages at specific times. Data really puts the control back in your hands.

Some things haven’t changed

We know it’s easy to get caught up with all the new shiny digital tools at our disposal – to entertain, involve, educate, share… But it’s important to remember that the backbone of great content and creative remains the same as it was before the advent of all this technology. Truly understanding your customers and the emotional connection that is key to reaching them. The specific channel is less important than the relevance of the content that inspires them. So as you start to think about your next brand or marketing program – think less about the tool or platform, and more about who you’re trying to reach and what’s important to them. Then let old-fashioned consumer insights and creative thinking guide the way.

Related Posts:

Nov
13

 

Social Secur Card Pix

It happened again. I got ‘that’ direct mail piece in the mail. How many times will they mail to me before I am flagged as a perennial non-responder (aka not-interested, at least not for now). It’s one of the few pieces of actual direct mail that I did NOT opt-in for ­– unlike my Bloomingdales and JCrew catalogs and offers, as these companies know that I’m actively engaged with their brands and in turn reward me with relevant information that I look forward to receiving.

Now back to ‘that’ direct mail. As you may have guessed, it is habitually sent to me from AARP – the largest non-profit advocacy group serving people 50+ (who themselves rebranded to evolve their outdated identity: American Association of Retired Persons). When I turned the magic five-0 (which I was proud of), my membership packet magically appeared. Not requested, wanted or needed. Or so I thought.

This was still my parents’ American Association of Retired Persons. I thought they just didn’t get ME – and I guess I just didn’t get THEM. Maybe some of that relates to my perception of AARP’s past brand marketing and brand image. But more importantly, I didn’t want my ‘milestone’ (age) to define who I was and what was important to me. But we’ll get back to this…and why it is so vital to create marketing strategies and messages that connect with the boomer generation of today. People like me!

 

BOOMERS ROCK: 50 really is the new 40

As a baby boomer myself, I relate to the real power (economically, socially, culturally, politically…) of the largest generation in history (over 77 million), born between 1946 – 1964. While many brand marketers have ignored them to focus on the “sexier” Generations X and Y, boomers are actually the most influential and affluent group, constituting about 1/3 of the U.S. population, with discretionary purchasing power of over $2.1 trillion per year. Boomers are redefining many aspects of American life, as they re-imagine their own. They are not to be ignored.

And we don’t. Fifty really is the new 40 to us at Trajectory! We understand boomers are multi-faceted, vibrant, informed and super active – and that 50 is only someone’s chronological age. We have been working with clients across health, wellness, personal care, and leisure who understand the reality of this generational shift – and what its real implications are. Because we (and our clients) understand FICTION vs. FACT as it relates to marketing to boomers. If you care about capturing the vast expenditure generated by some of the most affluent members of society, you should too.

 

BOOMERS: Separating FICTION vs. FACT

  • Boomers are all alike

How can they be when they span so many life stages and lifestyles. One size (one very large age band) certainly does not fit all. Today’s boomers are as contemporary as they are diverse, raising kids, becoming grandparents, taking care of aging parents, getting (re)married, retiring, going back to school, finding new hobbies, giving back, starting new careers, and much more. Boomers (like me) can’t merely be defined by age alone.

  • Boomers don’t have money to spend 

Not all boomers are wealthy, but they control most of the wealth in the U.S. – which means more money to spend on your products and services, if you understand how to connect to them. In fact, the median net worth of $112,048 for HHs headed by someone 55-64 is about 15x greater compared HHs under-35 at $7,240. Those 50+ represent 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households. And in terms of spending, they outspend younger adults online 2:1. So why are you neglecting them?

Sources: U.S. Census, MetLife Mature Market Institute, U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, Nielsen, Forrester Research

  • Boomers can only be reached through traditional methods

Boomers grew up on TV and print, but have also embraced electronic and non-traditional marketing methods. It is important to note that 96% of boomers are active with word-of-mouth (WOM) and viral marketing by sharing product or service information with friends and family – as brand recommendations from trusted sources are important to them. We’re actually in the midst of developing a unique WOM program now for a healthcare client who wants to facilitate more meaningfully connections among this audience.

Boomers also have a major impact online – constituting the largest group on the web at over 30% (of 195.3 million U.S. Internet users) ­– spending an average of $7 billion annually. Convenience, coupled with easy comparison-shopping, reviews and relevant online offers, are contributing factors.

Sources: ThirdAge, JWT Boom, Jupiter Research, SeniorNet, Pew, Forrester

  • Boomers are always brand loyal

Not the case. In fact, boomers are more willing to experiment than their younger counterparts (maybe by virtue of experience), and are actually predisposed to trying new products. Over 50% believe “In today’s marketplace, it doesn’t pay to be loyal to one brand.” Remember, boomers are transitioning through many life stages, with needs changing along the way (health, family, careers, personal, etc.) – providing brand marketers with a great opportunity to address changing behaviors, goals, and life perspectives.

  • Boomers only care about themselves

Boomers, by way of circumstance, are probably the most caring generation, both in terms of their time and resources – caring for their aging parents, children moving back or still living at home (over 1/3 still have children <18), and always giving of themselves (socially conscious).  They define what it means to give back.

  • Boomers don’t adapt well to new technology trends

Boomers were on the front lines for the first computers (working on a PC and booting up DOS), e-mail (which was mostly used internally) and the Internet (which was the wild west, no interfaces or organization). They were really the first to understand how technology would change our world, and lives. Now, more than 80% of boomers routinely use the Internet – for instant messaging, downloading music, videos, financial activities, and gaming. In fact, 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their phones, and adults 45+ account for 34.7% of current tablet users.

So it’s not hard to believe that the top four website for people 60+ are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube. Of boomers 50+ on the Internet, 82% research health and wellness information (as well as travel and leisure), 65%+ buy from e-tailers, and 65% engage in social media ­– and these numbers are only growing.

Sources: AARP, Pew Internet and American Life Project, (WSL/Strategic Retail), comScore TabLens

  • Boomers are all slowing down

Only about 10% of boomers will actually stop working entirely when they reach retirement age. And it’s not because the majority of them have to, but they want to stay actively engaged. And engaged they are, with the typical boomer regularly involved in at least ten activities, and over 66% planning on spending more time on interests and hobbies than they do today!

So this is a ‘heads-up’ to leisure marketers – with disposable time and income comes the desire to be adventurous. In fact, adults 50% make up 80% of all luxury travel spending, over 50% take one trip annually, and those 55+ spend half of all vacation dollars in America. And we can’t forget that over 22 million of them attend live sporting events each year.  So it is not surprising that 55-64 year olds outspend the average consumer in almost every category including, entertainment, gifts, eating out, shopping, and even personal care.

Source: ICSC, Pew Internet and American Life Project, US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey

 

BOOMERS: A Big (Missed) Marketing Opportunity

So, let’s get back to me.  Boomers are big business! And while so many branding and marketing strategies have failed to connect with them, companies in every arena are course correcting and trying to figure out how to make that lasting emotional connection. From beauty companies like L’Oreal and Revlon, to packaged goods leaders like General Mills and Procter and Gamble, financial services like Wells Fargo and Fidelity, luxury car companies like Lexus and online providers like Amazon (with their new 50+ Active & Healthy Living Store).

The most important, and indisputable, fact that brand marketers need to come to grips with is that a consumer’s age alone is of little use in determining their marketing strategies (unless there is substantiating evidence to the contrary). Rather, values, beliefs and behaviors matter most. The sooner that marketers change their perception and approach –– the sooner that those serious about growing their business will be able to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts: