Category Archives: Commerce

Brand Fast-Trackers #192 – Branding an Ingredient

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Woohoo the theme is now live!! I am beyond thrilled and hope you will stand by a wee bit longer as we perfect any kinks. :-) And of course, as always, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Branding an Ingredient

Marketing Silos

On to today’s podcast….we are returning to our series with Chris Brace  (See Episodes 140141144147149155, 159), and despite the numerous episodes we have done with him, something new clicked for me and made me pull out my copy of Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston‘s fantastic Marketing in the Round. We spoken a lot about consumers and shoppers and we have spoken about integrated marketing, but what I never quite hit on was that marketers must put the needs of these two together. As Chris put it:

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Brand Fast-Trackers #190 – The Shopper Journey

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Today, we return to our shopper marketing series with Chris Brace. (See Episodes 140, 141, 144, 147, 149, 155) Marketing is traditionally viewed as transactional. It is all about guiding the shopper to the transaction, the purchase. When P&G introduced their path-to-purchase model (above), it was revolutionary. It is also very linear or transaction-based. But as Chris shares, the idea of the path-to-purchase is being redefined. We have certainly discussed just how critical it is to understand the journey your shopper takes when buying your product. Their path is certainly not linear.

What would happen if we refined how we look at marketing? What would happen if we made it about the relationship we form with consumers?

Chris challenges marketers to stop building brand plans where the consumer and shopper aspects are siloed. Marketing then, is about building relationships that we can then leverage to sell products and services. The path becomes the shopper journey and looks more like this. If marketers embrace this model, the result is more selling, says Brace.

“We need to be better at building this relationship.” 

Until marketers really understand and embrace the shopper journey – the non-linear journey your shopper takes, digitally and non-digitally, that drives them to buy from your brand whether they are in-home, in-transit or in-store, we are missing sales.

Connect with Kat on Google +, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Brand Fast-Trackers #186 – Shooting in the Dark

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Good morning and happy 2013! I hope you all had lovely holidays and are having a fantastic start to the New Year. As I’ve mentioned recently, we’re expanding Brand Fast-Trackers this year. I’m really excited to start offering more relevant, helpful content beyond the podcasts. So stay tuned!

Today, we are returning to our shopper marketing series with Chris Brace and taking a bit of a different tack. We marketers always speak of demographics. Who is your target? Maybe there is even a photo hanging up of your target – Nancy, your sexy soccer mom who enjoys yoga or Jim, your tech-nerd who loves football. Therein lies the misconception. Your target is not a person, says Chris, it is their brain.

“The concept of the target is outdated [because] as a marketer you have to understand how the brain works. Unless we understand how the brain works, we are really just shooting in the dark.”

Most startling pieces of today’s episode:

  1.  95% of human decision making process is subconscious. Only 5% of every decisions are made in our conscious mind. Yet, most of the time, we speak to our consumers logical, conscious mind.
  2. Of that 95%, the majority is emotional. When faced with any decision, and it doesn’t matter if you are deciding on something major like a house or a spouse(!) or something as simple as a pen. Attention is a result of emotion.

As marketers we have to begin unlearning what the role of the consumer end benefit plays. If you understand the drivers behind purchase decision (emotions!) then you can trip those in your marketing.  There are so many more nuggets here, so tune in below:

[Lead Image by RedBubble]

Updated to include Full Transcript:

Episode 155.

Brian: Hello everybody and welcome to an episode of Brand Fast Trackers. I’m your host Brian Martin. One of the areas that is most frequently commented on by brand managers, marketing directors, those who study brand management is an emerging area called the shopper, because the way that we shop is changing. The paths that we take are changing. The moments are no longer just moments of going to a store.

The moments now are almost ever present around us. We’re shopping constantly and the essence of shopper marketing is changing and certainly has changed more in the past few years than it probably has in the previous 20. This is also an area that within brands there is not a lot of focus. There’s tremendous training around copy and even understanding social, mobile, digital. But there’s not as much training around the area of shopper marketing, which is why I’m really delighted to have Chris Brace with us.

Chris is a classically trained consumer packaged goods marketer as you can tell. But he has extensive experience understanding the shopper, understanding brand management, understanding traditional advertising and traditional promotion. He’s able to draw on these experiences to put together a viewpoint that really few have. This is why I am delighted to have him on for a number of different episodes as we tackle a few key questions. So Chris, thanks so much for joining us today.

Chris: Thanks Brian. Glad to be here.

Brian: You know as marketers they often talk about the target, the target audience and the target audience is often a demographic group, like women 25 to 49, and they can see that person. As a matter of fact I remember going to some office where the marketers would actually have pictures of their target consumer on their badge. So they’d flip it around and say, “Oh, no. My target is Nancy, She’s a sexy soccer mom who enjoys yoga and likes to spend time with friends.” They’d have that picture on there. But it really isn’t Nancy. The target really is Nancy’s mind, her brain.

Chris:  Exactly. In fact, we shouldn’t even be using the word “target”, because in essence the word “target” means something that we can shoot at and that if we aim properly, we can hit them dead center. We know today that consumers and shoppers are constantly moving. They are the ones that are deciding when and where to opt in to any type of marketing message. So even just the concept of them just being a target is outdated. But what expect of them that we’re really going after, that we really want to communicate and connect with is their brain.

Brian:  Yeah. I mean, it’s like if you are a marketer when you think about what is your craft, if anything, you kind of have to understand how the brain works, because that is indeed the domain with which you’re trying to influence. You’re trying to influence the person. The person is driven by the brain and if you don’t understand how the brain operates and how we make decisions, you don’t understand that skill set. But that skill set is not taught anywhere.

Chris:  No. It’s not actually, and if you think of what marketing is, it’s very simple. It’s a very simple formula. We build a relationship with a consumer to then shift their behavior to get them to buy our product. Unless we understand how humans make decisions like really the process our brains go through in our decision making. Unless we understand that we really are just shooting in the dark as to how to complete that formula and really effect their behavior.

Brian:  So, how do we – like, what are some of the most important elements to keep in mind as marketers? If you were going to – I’ve never studied the brain and I kind of need to understand it because I’m a marketer now. What are some of the most important things that I have to keep in mind?

Chris:  The very first thing I tell people, and it is the simplest part to understand is that 95% of the human decision-making process is subconscious. If you’re thinking about that, then that means that only 5% of every decision that we make, every day, 5% of that is only done in our conscious mind.

Brian: Now why do you say that?

Chris:  It’s been proven. I mean, if you read up on neurobiology and neuroscience and you look in sociology, psychology, anthropology, all of these ologies, it has been proven over and over and over and over again that where our decision are largely made is in our subconscious not our conscious mind. That’s the very first thing because if you look at what we do in marketing, we speak most of the time to our consumers and shoppers’ logical, conscious mind.

Brian: Sure.

Chris:  That’s just not where they really make the decisions. We’re speaking to the wrong area.

Brian:  How do you speak to – well, let’s back up for a minute. The brain has a bunch of different parts to it, right? It has different elements, different areas of the brain, and the non-conscious brain or the unconscious brain is, there certainly is a lot written about it. But what have you studied, what have you learned, what have you seen that you believe to be absolutely true as it relates to the unconscious mind, as it relates to marketing?

Chris:  Well, I think the biggest thing is that of the 95% of our decision-making process that’s subconscious, the majority of it is emotional. So when we are faced with any choice, any decision and I don’t care if that is a very highly emotionally involved decision like buying a house, having kids, getting married, or if it’s buying a pen or a stick of gum, our emotional wiring is what activates first when we are faced with making that decision.

Which says to us as marketers, we need to be speaking to the emotional aspect of our consumers and shoppers. We need emotional propositions, emotional positioning, and emotional communications.

Brian:  Well, it’s interesting. I read something that was a conclusion in a book, that was a rather thick book and I think it was called “The Advertised Mind”. That book concluded that attention is a result of emotion, meaning emotion comes first, and then attention follows.

Chris:  Yes. I like that actually.

Brian:  What gets your attention is not attention. You must first trigger emotion because where emotion goes, attention will flow.

Chris:  Absolutely. I think every marketing team at every agency has the perception that we can disrupt consumers and shoppers or interrupt them to capture their attention. In reality, that’s really not true. It’s certainly not the most effective way. The best way to do that is by connecting with them emotionally. That’s the best way enter their attention because humans – attention for us is a zero-sum game. We don’t have an unlimited attention capacity. We only can manage about three to four pieces of information at a time.

Brian:  So when you think about this in the context of how we make buying decisions, how shoppers make decisions, what are some of the – we’ve not been taught this , what you’re talking about. We kind of have, I think as marketers, some preconceived notions as it relates to how we buy, how we shop. What are some of the things in your mind that you think we need to begin unlearning?

Chris:  Wow. I think one of the first things that we need to do is that we need to actually unlearn what the role of the consumer-end benefit plays. Okay? This comes back to really understanding what are the drivers of our purchase decisions? These things are called subconscious emotional triggers. That really gets that understanding how we make decisions.

If we understand what those emotional purchase triggers are, then we’re going to understand how to actually trip those through our communications so we can connect with consumers emotionally and change their behavior.

Brian:  So it’s not so much the end benefit, which is often times the – “This new particular laundry detergent has extra bleach so my whites are going to be even whiter, and that’s going to make me feel as though my family loves me more.” It’s not that set of benefits.

Chris:  No.

Brian:  It’s the set of benefits that are more emotional triggers. Can you walk us through some of those?

Chris:  Yeah. So, let me just give you an example. What this really comes down to is understanding the difference between values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Those are actually a hierarchy. Right? We start with values at the bottom. Those are the very first things that we develop as human beings. These are just fundamentally intrinsic things that define our personality – trust, respect, love, honor.

Brian: Things that are important for us to feel.

Chris:  Exactly. But when it comes to strategy or communication, they’re inactionable. You can’t use them. You can’t build an entire brand on trust. You can’t build a communication platform on honesty. So then we get to beliefs. Beliefs are things that we hold to be true about ourselves, others, and about the world around us. They don’t even necessarily need to be true. But our beliefs, these things that we do believe to be true, then shape our attitudes.

An attitude, very simply is our judgment of any set of circumstances or any situation that we step in to. Then, our behavior is how do we act given our attitude about that specific situation? So our beliefs shape our attitudes which drive our behavior, and if you look at where we spend most of the time researching, and where we spend most of our research dollars, it’s at the behavioral level. We sketch a little bit into attitudes, but not very deep.

The problem is, is that our behaviors and our attitudes change all the time. Our beliefs on the other hand, rarely change. They change through life stage or through really emotionally traumatic events. For example, September 11th shifted a lot of peoples’ belief systems. But by and large they don’t change. So they make a much better basis for strategy and communication.

Brian: Is a belief system similar to – it’s like the cognitive belief system. It’s like one’s self-concept.

Chris:  Yeah, exactly. I mean, it could be, “I’m smart. I deserve success. I deserve love.” It could also be, “I’m dumb. I don’t deserve success, and I don’t deserve love.” So again, it can be positive, negative, does not matter whether it’s true. So let me give you an example. There is actually a laundry detergent brand in Europe that leveraged this kind of thinking. What they identified is that their target had a belief that life is really meant to be experienced, not watched.

This shaped their attitude about how they raised their kids. These moms believed that if their kids were out getting dirty, picking up rocks, playing with worms, rolling around in the mud, if they came back after being out all day and they were dirty, they had experienced life. These moms bought that brand, because it got the dirt of life out of their kids’ clothes, and they didn’t have to worry about it.

Now if you think about developing communications based on that model that, “Life is meant to be experienced so I want my kids to get dirty. I use brand X,” versus, what do we normally see? “This laundry detergent gets out 99% more dirt that the competitor,” or, “We’re more concentrated,” or, “We have a nice, fresh scent.” Which one is more engaging? Which one will connect more and just fundamentally be more differentiated?

Brian: I think it’s very clear that example that you give. That’s a great example. Let me go back there for a minute. A belief that life is meant to be experienced, that’s probably a consequence, almost, of one of the things that you said a moment ago. “I am this. I am that. I am that. Therefore life is meant to be experienced.”

Chris:  Yeah. It might be that way. So, a belief can be a belief you have about yourself, about others, or the world around you.

Brian: Overall belief about life

Chris:  Exactly. So I think in this case the actual belief is about the world that it should be experienced. I have personally – I’ll give you a personal example – I also have that same belief. I’m a very experiential person. Now, I will never be jumping out of a plan, nor will I ever be bungy jumping. But it does explain why I am a loyal users of Listerine, because life is meant to be experienced. Intense flavor sensations for me, very experiential. That pretty much describes what Listerine is.

Brian: Hmm. So there’s a lot here to think about. In sum, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions as we wind down this episode. Obviously it’s imperative that marketers understand that the domain of their craft has to be the brain. They have to understand how it works. Many of their communications probably focus on a similar area, which is more around behavior, much of the research focused on behavior.

If they want to get deeper, values and beliefs are certainly a place to begin. How would they practically begin to get some of that information, so they could find out something similar within their target as to life is meant to be experienced?

Chris:  Yeah. That’s the ultimate question. So it’s actually quite simple. If you really think about how we as humans really express our true selves, we do it through storytelling. Right? That’s how we express true subconscious feelings and our real personality and real beliefs. So the best way to do this type of research is to just involve people in unfacilitated storytelling.

Normal focus groups, normal research is facilitated discussion. It’s question, answer, question, answer. This is unfacilitated storytelling. We do it with two friends that were recruited for the same reasons and we just very cleverly get them engaged in storytelling and then we just let them talk, and we just sit back. If you let them do that, they will tell you everything and more that you want to know.

Brian: So these are the two consumers that would be within the demographic target of the brand?

Chris:  Yep. You just get them involved in storytelling. They’ll tell you everything you want to know. It’s amazing.

Brian: Then, through that process, you’re able to get to their beliefs?

Chris:  Right. You just have to know what to look for.

Brian: Fascinating. Understanding the domain of the mind as it relates to figuring out how we buy what we buy. Thanks so much, Chris.

Chris:  Thank you.

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Brand Fast-Trackers #184 – The Consumer is in Charge

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We’ve all heard the term ‘big data’ tossed about quite a bit in the last year. But what does big data really mean and how can marketers take advantage of it? Today. we speak with a true authority in the space, Martin Doettling, CMO of Webtrends. In the past, we have spoken about how a marketer could spend the bulk of the budget on a major TV buy and reach most of the target audience, but in today’s ever-more fragmenting world such a thing is impossible. Moreover, the CREATIVE used to lead the charge on how a campaign unfolded and how that spend was divided across mediums.

So how can a brand marketer connect with the audience and ultimately deliver REVENUE? Martin shares this nugget:

“The consumer is driving the charge. You can’t rely on creative and national campaigns alone anymore. Creative is still important, but the case can be made where data that provides actionable insights drives the creative.”

Think about that sentence again - data provides actionable insights. So what does that really mean? CPG companies, for example, have always had a ton of data at their disposals, zip codes and certain demographics like age groups. This type of data, while important, is not enough to provide real, actionable insights. According to Martin, companies who used this data were basically just “spraying and praying,” an expression which I love and which I think applies to more marketing than any of us care to admit.

So now brands are able to turn to companies like Webtrends (Keep in mind, I’m not advocating one solution over the other. There are many players in this field.) who can dig into the data, both offline and online and turn it into compelling content for the consumer. How and where does your consumer interact with you? How do they like to experience your brand? So take this data and apply it. Martin gives an example of a high end luxury goods company that brought an online, showcasing video experience into one of their flagship stores, so when a customer picks up an item (in-store!) the video screen shifts to that product and its particular features of craftsmanship. Wow – very powerful.

In my mind, the most important thing that Martin touches on is that the Consumer is in Charge, so brands need to not only recognize that, but finds ways to take advantage of it. Let’s be honest, if a consumer can’t find something they are looking for, they will move on. How many times have you hopped to a new website because you weren’t happy with the results? And how long did you stay on the first website? 10 seconds? 5 seconds? The answer is probably less. In a year where we saw Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales up 30% and more online transactions than ever in history (!), marketers have to looking at data to help them drive marketing treatments and get the most bang on their buck.

Martin also makes a few predictions of what is coming next that I will leave to the audio. Tune in below, grab it off of iTunes (Hey, and leave us a review while you are there!), or subscribe to us on Stitcher (no syncing required!).

[Lead Image from Tom Fishburne - The Marketoonist]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #182 – Mobile is Not a Channel

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Mobile Marketing

To QR or Not to QR

QR codes…maybe you love them, maybe you hate them, but chance are you are not ambivalent. QR codes may not be the end all, be all mobile engagement tool it’s been promised to be, but the question is not what you gain by using them, it is what you stand to lose by not using them. Today’s guest is a mobile industry veteran.  John Lim is the CEO/Founder of Life in Mobile and believes fervently in the monetization of mobile for brands. As John points out, many brands sell via retailers, so how their products are displayed or sold are very dependent upon the retailer. What is a customer wants to know more about a product and the store salesperson does not know or is misinformed. At minimum, QR codes provide a great place for brands to interact directly with their consumers – everything from cereal to cosmetics to electronics. As John says, they come at almost a zero cost factor (you are already creating the packaging), so when it comes to QR, marketers have to think of the ROI of you NOT having them.

“2 or 5% of 10MM is still better than a 100% of 0%.”

This brings me back to Tom Fishburne’s hilarious, yet true cartoon at the top of this post. Brand loyalty is illusive at best and consumers may have favored (vs. favorite) brands, but they will sacrifice you in a minute if the cost or THE EXPERIENCE is not to their liking. QR codes may offer a point of redemption, BUT as my CEO discussed this summer, you had better send them to an optimized experience.

Is this the year of mobile?

We’ve talked a lot about mobile marketing this year, and we have heard from respected marketers like Mitch Joel, Jay Baer, and Diane Kegley about just how critical mobile marketing has become, but I’ve never quite heard it from this perspective:

“It’s not about mobile per se as a channel. Do you mean mobile advertising or the mobile app world? [...] For brands there is never a year of mobile it could be the year your mobile consumer makes or breaks your brand. It should never exist within a brand organization.” — John Lim, CEO/Founder, Life in Mobile

Think about that statement - This could be the year that your consumer MAKES or BREAKS your brand BECAUSE of MOBILE. Very powerful, and proving that mobile needs to be integrated into every single thing you do, every campaign, every interaction, every single consumer touch point. Brands who don’t do this are losing out. Recent Google stats show that 45% of all consumers use smart phones for in-store product research, 39% checked other online retailers while in store, and most startling is that 53% of walk-outs (when shoppers leave without making a purchase) were influenced by smart phone usage.

Tune into the audio below for more on mobile, I think you will enjoy John’s ROI-focused perspective. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving from Brand Fast-Trackers. 

[Lead image by the fantastic Marketoonist - Tom Fishburne]

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