2014 Digital Predictions From the Experts

Digital Trends and Marketing Predictions 2014

It’s that time of year again – tinsel, lights, too much food and digital predictions for the year ahead. With a host of digital experts touting what we can expect in the year ahead, I have curated what I believe to be the most interesting predictions for 2014.

1. Pay to play becomes crucial in social media

Augie Ray, former Forrester analyst suggests a focus on paid media will eclipse earned media in marketing strategies. As Facebook and Twitter continue to monetise their social platforms and brand noise continues to rise – it is going to be harder to succeed in the social space unless you pay to play. Thus in 2014 brands will leverage paid as an important part of their social strategy more than ever before.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/12/17/2014-digital-trends-and-predictions-from-marketing-thought-leaders/

Curated Content2. Content attracts media spend

According to Adam Vincenzini from Kamber, an Australian content agency, 2014 will be the year where content promotion takes a bigger chunk of media spend. As brands have been heavily investing in content production in recent years, brands are recognising that this great content is often not gaining the reach / visibility to gain maximum impact. Thus in 2014 we will see more and more publishers creating content solutions to enable brands to work their content assets harder.
http://www.slideshare.net/AdamVincenzini/social-media-trends-2014?from_search=14

3. The internet of things (IoT) will accelerate

According to Quartz, 2014 will be the year the internet of things takes off. Quartz suggests until recently, connecting a device to the internet was expensive and difficult. But in the past year or so, companies like Qualcomm, Intel and Texas Instruments have created inexpensive, power-efficient chips that enable pretty much anything to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, or to a mobile phone via a standard called Bluetooth Low Energy. As a result innovation by big corporates as well as start ups will accelerate in 2014.
But what does this mean for marketers?
One of the most notable outcomes of the IoT, is that these smart technologies gather a tremendous about of data and for marketers trying to already grapple with the tremendous amount of data already available the IoT adds another level of complexity. Although this challenge will probably not be one marketers need to tackle in the year ahead given the IoT is still emerging.
http://news.msn.com/science-technology/will-the-internet-of-things-be-a-thing-in-2014-1
http://qz.com/154064/2014-is-the-year-of-the-internet-of-things-no-seriously-we-mean-it-this-time/

4. Location-Based Mobile Commerce

According to ExactTarget, location based mobile commerce will begin to flourish driven by technology and application innovations like iBeacon.
Kyle Vanhemert in his inWired article described the potential of iBeacon;
“You step inside Walmart and your shopping list is transformed into a personalized map, showing you the deals that’ll appeal to you most. You pause in front of a concert poster on the street, pull out your phone, and you’re greeted with an option to buy tickets with a single tap. You go to your local watering hole, have a round of drinks, and just leave, having paid—and tipped!—with Uber-like ease. Welcome to the world of iBeacon.”
http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/5-marketing-technology-trends-to-watch-in-2014/#!

Online TV5. Social TV opportunities expand

Whilst second screen usage is not new, few brands have taken advantage of it – particularly when it comes to tapping into the social TV trend. Millward Brown believes 2014 will bring a host of new social TV opportunities. According to Millward Brown “the social TV opportunity will be expanded as Twitter introduces additional audience-based targeting opportunities. Millard Brown writes “based on their data connecting TV to social media usage on the second screen, Twitter will be able to define like-minded communities organized around TV viewing habits. Eventually this will lead to more sophisticated psychographic targeting when those audiences are further segmented based on other interests and habits. For brands that are title sponsors of a show or an event, this means they will be able to continue targeting their show-specific audience long after the event itself, and not necessarily just when those people are tweeting or reading about show-specific content.”
http://www.millwardbrown.com/ChangingChannels/2013/Predictions/index.html

6. Privacy concerns give rise to disappearing data

In an era of Big Data, marketers equally need to grapple with disappearing data. In 2014, David Berkowitz, Chief Marketing Officer of MRY believes marketers are going to have to come to terms with disappearing data in the social space with new social applications like Snapchat gaining momentum. Such a trend will make it more difficult for marketers to track and target consumers. Equally as companies seek to capture more data than ever before consumers will increasingly prioritise privacy, which puts pressure of law makers to legislate against the capture and storage of various pieces of information. Search marketers already have to come to terms with disappearing search query data from Google – expect much more of this in the year ahead.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/12/17/2014-digital-trends-and-predictions-from-marketing-thought-leaders/

Watch: Game-Changing Digital Predictions for 2014

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2013 Australian Digital Statistics Compilation

Australian Digital Stats Compilation 2013

Online Shopping

1. The online shopping market in Australia is growing strongly and will account for seven per cent of all retail sales by end of 2013 (Frost & Sullivan’s Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013)
2. Total online spending is forecast to amount to $18.3 billion in 2013, with the average annual spend online per online shopper in Australia at $1,750 (Frost & Sullivan’s Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013)
3. Online sales are expected to continue to grow over the next five years and reach 9.8 per cent of total retail sales by 2017 (Frost & Sullivan’s Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013)
4. The most regular online shoppers are those earning over $80,000, and those aged 30 to 44 (EMMA, Sept 2013)
5. Shoppers in the 30 to 60 age bracket earning more than $80,000 represent the top 33% of all online spending and are the biggest online shoppers, spending nearly double the average spend (EMMA, Sept 2013)
6. Over the past two years the proportion of online shoppers in Australia shopping on local sites only increased from 21% in 2011 to 25% in 2012 and 29% in 2013
7. International online retailers remain a major threat to domestic retailers with almost as many (six in 10) shopping online with international retailers as with domestic retailers (seven in 10) (EMMA, Sept 2013)
8. 79% of Australians who shop online currently purchase from overseas sites to some extent, and an estimated 45% of Australian online expenditure goes to overseas-based web-sites (Frost & Sullivan’s Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013)
9. One in three (33 per cent) Australian consumers have abandoned an online purchase due to the delivery options not being suitable. Some 43 per cent of customers have abandoned a purchase because of payment options and fees being unsuitable. (Galaxy Research, July 2013)
10. While more than three quarters of Australians (76%) have shopped online in their lifetime, more than three quarters (86%) have visited a shopping centre in the last month (EMMA, Sept 2013)

Online Retail CustomersWhat the data is telling us: As Australian retailers are increasingly investing in eCommerce and digital – Australian consumers are increasingly turning to local sites to purchase online. However despite growth in the domestic market, research shows that Australian consumers are still buying overseas as more US and UK retailers target Australian shoppers. For local retailers the big opportunity is to focus on delivering an omni-channel approach as opposed to operating their eCommerce channel as a silo / separate business as research suggests the majority of Australian consumers who have bought online are also actively shopping instore.

Mobile & Tablets

11. Telstra’s latest Smartphone Index shows Australians have one of the highest rates of smartphone ownership in the world. We are behind China and South Korea, but ahead of the US and UK (Telstra’s third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013)
12. Smartphone penetration has doubled since 2010, reaching 72% of total mobile phone users (up from 36% in 2010), and continues to grow (Telstra’s third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013)
13. 71% of connected smartphone users access the internet on their smartphones on a daily basis (up from 56% in 2012) (Telstra’s third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013)

14. Young connected smartphone users aged 16 to 24 will spend the equivalent of a month on their smartphones each year (29 days) (Telstra’s third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013)
15. Women aged 16+ will spend an average of 21 days a year on their smartphone, while men will spend around 15 days a year. That’s not even taking into account the time spent on a tablet or a computer (Telstra’s third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013)
16. Australians are using their mobile phone as the entry point to their path to purchase, with 79 per cent using their devices to browse products on websites or apps (Telstra’s How Mobility is Changing the Rhythm of Australian Retail Report, October 2013)
In-store mobile device17. The top reasons consumers are using their mobile device in a retail store include checking out competitor prices (22%), and to read product reviews (19%)

18. Of those who have used their mobile device in a store, 51 per cent say it has changed their purchase decision.
19. Over the past 12 months, 25% of online Australians have purchased via a tablet device, whilst 23% have done so via a mobile device (Telstra’s How Mobility is Changing the Rhythm of Australian Retail Report, October 2013)
20. Retailers considering offering mobile payments in their store should be encouraged by a strong willingness of Australians to give it a go with 61 per cent of consumers very willing or somewhat willing to pay with their mobile in a store, compared with 36 per cent who would not consider it (Telstra’s How Mobility is Changing the Rhythm of Australian Retail Report, October 2013)
21. Tablet ownership/usage has risen sharply with almost one in two (49%) of smartphone owners also owning a tablet (up from 39% in 2012) (Telstra’s third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013)
22. Smartphone penetration is anticipated to reach 93% penetration by 2018, whilst household tablet penetration is anticipated to reach 80% by 2018 (Frost & Sullivan’s Mobile Device Usage Trends, August 2013)
23. Apple’s market share in Australia of the tablet market has dropped from 69% to 60%, and it is expected to fall significantly lower over the next few years (Frost & Sullivan’s Mobile Device Usage Trends, August 2013)

What the data is telling us:

Whilst Australians have one of the highest rates of mobile penetration in the world, companies are still slow to invest in mobile. In fact according to a recent IPSOS / eMarketer report mobile ad spend lags behind that of comparable markets (refer to the graph below). In addition Google research suggests 60% of large Australian advertisers do not have a mobile website.

Not only however do marketers need to think about mobile and the role it plays in the path to purchase / post purchase but marketers also need to consider the role mobile plays within the broader multi-screen strategy / multi-channel strategy as research shows around two in five people who start to research products on smartphones go on to complete purchases on desktop or in person.

Mobile Ad Spend Australia

Social Media 

24. 65% of internet users have a presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2013)
25. Australians are one of the highest users of social media worldwide. For every hour an Australian spends online 14 minutes are spent on social sites, nine on entertainment and four minutes shopping online (Experian, April 2013)
26. There are 12 million active monthly Facebook users in Australia, 9 million users access the site daily, 7.3 million do so via a mobile device (SMH, August 2013)
27. Facebook dominates the social media space, capturing 95% of social media users. On average, Facebook users spend more than seven hours a week on the site (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2013).
28. Some 45% use social media networks at least every day, up from 36%, with 17% using it more than five times a day (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2013)
29. Australians access social media all throughout the day, with 37% of social media users checking their networks first thing in the morning and 42% just before bed (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2013)
30. There are nearly 3 million Twitter accounts in Australia (Business Day, Oct 2013)
31. 12% of Australian social media users reported that they had stopped using some sites during the past year, down from 13% last year. Of those Australians who said they’ve dropped a social media site, 45% reported they had stopped using Twitter (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2013)
32. Smartphones are the most popular device to access social media with. In the past year, the number of social users accessing sites on their smartphone has grown from 53% to 67%, while those accessing it on a laptop dropped from 69% last year to 64% this year (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2013)
33. 66% of consumers who follow brands on social media do so for discounts (up from 57% in 2011), 56% do so for giveaways and 49% for product information (Yellow Social Media Report, May 2013)
34. 63% of online consumers in Australia indicated that in the past month they have shared some type of content on social media sites. Women (69%) appear somewhat more likely than men (57%) to have shared some content in the past month. (IPSOS, Sept 2013)
35. LinkedIn is now used by 3.7 million Australians, Pinterest has 1.7 million Australian users & YouTube over 11 million Australian users (Adcorp Population Analysis, May 2013)

What the data is telling us:
Australians interest in and usage of social media seems to continue to tick along showing no real signs of decline. As a large number of consumers are now accessing social media via their mobile device marketers should be considering how to take advantage of the social + mobile opportunity.

Online Advertising
36. Online advertising expenditure in Australia in the past year to 30 June has leapt 14.6 per cent to $3.6bn, according to the latest Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) figures (CMO, June 2013)
37. Over the first six months of the year total online advertising exceeded free-to-air television spending for the first time since the IAB report began in 2002. According to the IAB, online expenditure was valued at $1.88bn against $1.8bn on television (CMO, June 2013)
38. Mobile spend continues to outpace other categories in terms of growth, increasing 190 per cent year-on-year. Mobile spend reached $45.9m and 58 per cent was tablet-based (CMO, June 2013)
39. Video display advertising is also on the rise, increasing by 56 per cent year-on-year in the June quarter to $35.7m (CMO, June 2013)

What the data is telling us: Whilst digital advertising has now surpasses TV advertising for the first time ever, Australian businesses are still investing a disproportionate amount into traditional advertising vs. digital given Australians spend more time engaging with the web vs. any other medium.

Video: Internet Statistics Australia (eCommerce 2013)

References
Galaxy Research, July 2013 – http://www.afr.com/p/tech-gadgets/five_reasons_your_customers_don_8PwxkBRExFef4JCFQmy8rO
Frost & Sullivan’s Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013, http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/press-release.pag?docid=281435628
EMMA Data, September 2013 –http://www.adnews.com.au/adnews/online-retail-not-just-about-price-and-marketers-should-focus-on-big-spenders
Telstra’s third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013 – http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/media-centre/announcements/shopaholics-get-smartphone-savvy.xml
Telstra’s How Mobility is Changing the Rhythm of Australian Retail Report, October 2013 – http://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/download/document/business-enterprise-teg1398_mobility_retail_white_pages_v08_hr_singles.pdf
Experian Social Media Research, April 2013 – http://www.marketingmag.com.au/blogs/the-state-of-social-media-usage-in-australia-41342/#.UmnfQPmkzz4
Google Mobile Statistics, June 2013 – http://www.adnews.com.au/adnews/google-australian-advertisers-missing-out-through-mobile-site-fail
Business Day, Oct 2013 – http://www.businessday.com.au/business/twitter-has-growth-plan-for-australia-20131004-2uzp7.html
Mobile Ad Spend, Sept 2013 – http://www.bandt.com.au/news/digital/m-c-saatchi-advertisers-failing-to-capitalise-on-o
Online Ad Spend, June 2013 – http://www.cmo.com.au/article/523459/australian_online_ad_spending_hits_3_6bn_iab/
Yellow social media report, May 2013 – http://about.sensis.com.au/IgnitionSuite/uploads/docs/Yellow%20Pages%20Social%20Media%20Report_F.PDF
IPSOS Research, Sept 2013 – http://ipsos.com.au/majority-of-australian-internet-users-share-on-social-media-sites/
Frost & Sullivan Australian Mobile Device Usage Trends 2013, August 2013 – http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/press-release.pag?docid=282630973
AdCorp Population Analysis, May 2013 – http://www.financialstandard.com.au/news/view/33355466
Social Media Users Australia, August 2013 – http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/facebook-checked-by-9-million-australians-every-day-20130820-2s7wo.html

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Real Time Marketing – How Brands Are Embracing The Trend

Last week AdTech descended on Melbourne for another year, and whilst I couldn’t find the time to attend most of the event I was glad I found the time to hear Ekaterina Walters from Branderati present 5 trends marketers can’t ignore.

Amongst the key trends covered was that of real time marketing. Whilst this concept is not new it is starting to come of age and it got me thinking. How have global brands successfully leveraged the trend and what can be learnt from it. And more importantly what does it take for organisations to embrace real time marketing?

What is real time marketing?

A quick definition for those unfamiliar with the concept of real time marketing;

Real-time marketing is the outcome of a deliberate process that allows brands to respond authentically, quickly and based on the context of conversations through content, experiences or service.

Virgin Real-Time MarketingHow global brands have adopted real time marketing

By now most of you would have heard of Oreo’s successful real time marketing efforts during the Super Bowl – so rather than regurgitate this case study how has other brands leveraged real time marketing. Here are a few clever examples I have come across;

Within minutes of the bill legalising gay marriage in the UK, Virgin Holidays tweeted this image and posted it to their Facebook and Google+ Pages. Selecting the most appropriate “real time marketing opportunities” for a brand is key – otherwise it can feel a little forced / commercial. For Virgin, legalisation of gay marriage was one of those relevant moments based on audience fit, their founders’ views of gay rights and the fact they offer honeymoon vacations. They used the #equalmarriage hashtag to expand their reach and were rewarded with 265 re-tweets from their community.

Pantene’s hairstyles of the stars

For Pantene, the Oscars marked the ideal time to try their hand at real time marketing. With luscious locks on display from celebs Pantene decided to get a piece of the Oscars buzz by sketching the trendiest Oscar hairstyles of the most popular celebrities in how to formats featuring their own products. For years women’s’ magazines have given tips to re-create a celebrity look and Pantene have learnt from the experts bringing this concept to life in real time.

SmartCar – it takes more than just one bird

Too often consumers are tweeting on deaf ears – but not this time. @adtothebone tweeted that he “Saw a bird had crapped on a Smart Car. Totalled it.,” SmartCar saw this as an opportunity to extend a simple tweet into a branded SmartCar message through the creation of a hilarious / engaging infographic and tweeted back, “Couldn’t have been one bird, @adtothebone. Sounds more like 4.5 million. (Seriously, we did the math.)”

SmartCar USA was rewarded with over 500 re-tweets and 300 favourites by being great social listeners and capitalising on an opportunity to engage.

SmartCar Real-time MarketingWhat it takes for organisations to embrace real-time marketing

This form of marketing goes far beyond simply posting a timely tweet or status update. To succeed in this brave new marketing world Ekaterina Walters identified some of the key fundamentals during her presentation at AdTech Melbourne.

Empowerment

In a real time world there is little time to work through traditional approval processes – thus real time teams need to be empowered to make the decisions they think are appropriate at the time. Related to this concept of empowerment is the need to be agile / nimble. The vast majority of advertising creative is generated the same way it has been for decades: first comes the creative brief, followed by several concepts / ideas followed by selection and approvals before the piece finally sees the light of day. But tomorrow is too late when it comes to real time. Re-architecting internal processes is an important consideration for brands wanting to engage in real time marketing (and these processes usually extend beyond marketing department boundaries). Rick Wion, Director of Social Media at McDonalds stated in a recent interview “our partnership with our legal team comes in handy. They help us understand what we can react to very quickly, what things are going to take a little bit more time to do, and what things we would probably avoid.

Think and operate like a publisher

In the world of real time marketing – content is king. For brands it’s important to shift away from broadcasting the products and services we offer and instead focus on publishing content desired by their audience. Pantene did exactly that during the Oscars, they learnt from publishers who regularly communicate with their audience to tell a relevant story in real time.

Allow on brand risk taking

Cutting through in real time is a challenge and for some brands it hasn’t panned out – but for those actively engaging in the real time marketing space brands need to be prepared to take “on brand” risks. For the risk adverse this is a challenge, it is also difficult for organisations who don’t celebrate failure as part of the journey to success.

Budget

When the Super Bowl hit, Oreo’s social media team as well as their agency were waiting for an opportunity to get in the game. Activating resources incurs costs as does investing in the tools to effectively monitor the social space to identify opportunities and paid media spend to amplify earned media. This is not to say that real time marketing is therefore only for the big end of town – but if you want to get serious about real time marketing then marketing investment is an important consideration.

In addition I believe it takes leadership. Why?

It takes a brave and bold senior leader to champion real time marketing and drive a change in ways of doing things.

Real Time Marketing EffectsSo is it worth it? Do the numbers stack up?

Whilst research on the effects of real time marketing to the bottom line is somewhat few and far between, preliminary research conducted by GolinHarris in 2012 found consumer behaviour from awareness through to try / buy is positively impacted by exposure to real time marketing.

But if this isn’t enough to convince you to try it for yourself – it is probably case studies like that of Oreo that helps to paint the picture of the value of real time marketing. Oreo’s Super Bowl real time marketing efforts generated in-excess of 17,000 re-tweets combined with a substantial amount of press coverage which in PR value alone probably more than justifies the investment.

Video: What is real-time marketing? (from Adobe Summit 2013)

References

http://www.digiday.com/brands/the-great-oreo-debate/
http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Real-Time-Marketing-Drumbeat-Gets-Louder-Agencies-Brands-Sign-On/1009869
http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/marketers-jump-super-bowl-blackout-twitter/239575/

 

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Understanding The Role of Tablet Devices

Australians appetite for technology has been unabated in recent years despite soft economic conditions with tablets becoming the object of affection. More than 5 million Australians now have tablet devices – with 2.4 million tablets sold in Australia in 2012 alone. What’s more this growth is only anticipated to gain momentum in the years ahead with Telyste forecasting this annual figure will rise to 7 million by 2017.

Whilst many organisations are still grappling to understand the role of mobile, fewer are able to dedicate the time to consider the role of tablet. In fact tablets and smart-phones are often lumped into the same bucket – due to a lack of understanding of the differences in device consumption. Furthermore few also consider tablets beyond Apple – even though Android is anticipated to account for nearly 70% of tablet users by 2016 (currently controlling 36% of the Australian market).

Connected Consumer Device UsageBy understanding the profile of tablet owners as well as their usage behaviours in terms of the types of content consumed, brands and publishers have an opportunity to tailor experiences to make them more relevant, engaging and useful.

What local & global research tells us about tablet users

Understanding the “who” and “when” of tablet device consumption
Over recent years, the proliferation of mobile & tablets in Australia has created a more complex digital environment for marketers. Understanding basics like the profile of tablet ownership and time of day usage by Australians can influence media buying decisions as well as support tablet strategy investment decisions.

Tablet ownership by age

Both global and local research suggests tablet penetration is higher amongst a more mature audience. The recent “Nielsen Australian Connected Consumer Report” revealed tablet ownership was highest amongst the 35 – 44 age group whilst smartphone ownership was highest amongst the 25 – 34 age group.

Peak usage time of tablet devices

Tablets like laptops tend to peak in usage terms after work / dinner – as consumers begin to settle down for the evening.

Device Time Usage Stats

Tablet share of user time

The recent Australian IAB mobile advertising landscape report revealed the percentage of time consumers spend interacting with each device – with tablet now commanding 1 in every 5 minutes.

Device Share of Time
A device to entertain and to shop – the “why” of tablet usage

Tablets have been dubbed the new in-home entertainment device as a result of the way in which consumers are interacting with the device. According to the comScore “mobile focus in future 2013 report” some of the most popular tablet based activities include playing games (66.3%), watching video’s (50.9%) and reading books (51.2%).

Tablet UsersBut tablets aren’t solely used for passing the time away. As tablet functionality more closely resembles that of the computer or laptop, the impact tablets are influencing in-home shopping behaviour. The comScore research revealed tablet owners are twice as likely to purchase an item on their device (38%) than smartphone owners (19%).

Mojiva research delved into consumers’ preference to utilise tablets vs. smartphones for key activities and found similar trends with consumers’ preferring to use their tablet to perform entertainment based and shopping based activities. In all demographic segments, watching video/TV and reading topped the list at 63% and 48%, respectively. 45% of all respondents indicated they would use their tablet to make a retail purchase, as opposed to their mobile.

Multi-Screen Computer Device

In a sequential screen context, being able to move cross device and pick up where you left off is crucial – which means device based experiences should not be built in isolation.

Watch: The Mobile & Tablet Advertising Market: 2013-2020

References
SMH Tablets To Reach 70% by 2017
Mojiva Tablet Rule Report
Google Report: Navigating The Multi-Screen World
comScore Mobile in Focus Report 2013
IAB Australia Mobile Advertising Report
Nielsen Connected Consumer Report 2013

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Mobile: Retailer Loyalty Friend or Foe?

Some hail mobile as the saviour of the high street – whilst others are concerned about the impact mobile is having on bricks and mortar businesses as retail stores become showrooms for online retailers. Regardless of which corner you sit in – both points of view speak to the influence mobile is having on retail sales and that influence is only set to grow. A recent Deloitte study, titled the Dawn of Mobile Influence, affirmed the increasingly influential role mobile will play in the coming years with the report anticipating that by 2016 as much as 17-21% of all retail sales will be mobile influenced.

So is mobile a retailers’ friend or foe, and is mobile helping or hindering customer loyalty?

Mobile: A Foe of Retailer Loyalty

Online Retail CustomersOne of the biggest threats mobile poses is the heightening of consumer promiscuity. Price comparison is obviously not new – but the trusty mobile device has made it easier than ever to compare retailer pricing instantly and not just on a local scale. So easy has mobile price comparison become that a recent Telstra study has shown 49% of Australians now use their mobile phones to compare prices in-store. But it isn’t just price comparison that is the problem, traditional bricks and mortar retailers are being subjected to show-rooming – a trend where consumers browse shelves in store to touch, feel and experience the product before venturing online to buy it at a cheaper price.

Rather than bury their head in the sand, smart retailers are embracing the trend and tackling it head on. UK retail powerhouse John Lewis now offers free Wi-Fi in stores to enable consumers test their price guarantee.

Sean O’Connor John Lewis’ Head of Online Delivery and Customer Experience believes “when we supplement the price commitment with good advice, service, trustworthiness and the instant gratification of making a purchase there and then, we believe we have a winning recipe.”

But unfortunately not all retailers have shared the same sentiment to John Lewis. Take Best Buys in the US as an example – as an electronics retailer competition is fierce and comparing like for like products is easier than in verticals like fashion. Initially Best Buys considered how to stop the price comparison phenomenon in-store by adopting unique barcodes so consumers couldn’t easily scan and compare pricing. For Best Buys, price comparison and switching has become a thorn in the retailer’s side and the lack of positive action has led to significant revenue decline.
Regardless however of how retailers are reacting to the trend – price comparison and show-rooming are fuelling brand switching more than ever before – which makes mobile a bit of a retailer loyalty foe.

Dunkin Donuts Loyalty AppMobile: A Friend of Retailer Loyalty

Whilst the always-on nature of mobile is diluting brand allegiance and fuelling a breed of disloyal consumers, mobile is presenting new opportunities for brands to take personalisation to a new level. Best in class retailers are integrating mobile location data with ones social graph and other customer information, such as purchase history and browsing behaviour to build more memorable brand experiences with shoppers to drive repeat purchase and loyalty.

The powerful nature of combining mobile technology and data has resulted in a proliferation of retailers building and experimenting with mobile loyalty apps that;
• Provide personalised local based offers
• Reward consumers for repeat purchase
• Store loyalty program data and preferences to streamline the in-store experience.

Brands like Dunkin Donuts, Game UK, Costa Coffee, Monsoons and a host of others have launched loyalty based apps to better engage their customer base over the past 12 months.

Starbucks Loyalty AppTo date however Starbucks has been the stand out in the mobile loyalty space. Amongst other features, the app stores a virtual rewards card for the “myStarbucks reward program”. By doing so the app has enabled Starbucks to grow its loyalty program to over 10 million members, half of whom have opted in to receive personalised offers which keep Starbucks top of mind and increase shop frequency. The app also seeks to drive repeat purchase at shorter intervals by providing a “free pick of the week” which is a free download of music, content or even a game that can only be downloaded if the consumer ventures in-store. The Starbucks app even allows consumers to store their favourite drinks and pay for their purchase (25% of Starbucks consumers now pay via this method) – which streamlines the ordering process in-store.

By leveraging mobile as a central pillar of its customer management strategy – Starbucks has demonstrated the powerful role mobile can play in building deeper, more engaging relationships with its consumers.

Mobile: A Consumers Friend – Make it Yours

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. As mobile devices are the one item consumers can’t live without – you could say that the way to a consumer’s heart is through their mobile. With the launch of Apple’s Passbook in September 2012 and Google’s continued focus on growing Google Wallet, 2013 is set to be even bigger in the mobile space for retailers. Retailers must start to see mobile as a “friend” and core pillar to achieving CRM and loyalty success – as thinking any other way is a distraction.

References

http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-UnitedStates/Local%20Assets/Documents/RetailDistribution/us_retail_Mobile-Influence-Factor_062712.pdf

http://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/download/document/business-australian-omnichannel-whitepaper-2012.pdf

http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/starbucks-caffeinates-mobile-payments-with-over-2m-mobile-transactions-per-week

 

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2013 Digital Predictions From The Experts + Some of My Own!

Digital Marketing Trends 2013

Once again digital predictions are coming out of the woodwork. I’ve scoured the web for some of the most insightful digital trends of 2013 from the experts.

IT departments make room for the new IT employee: marketers

As organisations continue to shift spend from traditional marketing to digital channels – software is high on the marketing shopping list. According to Forbes, marketing budgets are headed on a collision course with IT. What if anything isn’t connected through the website? Online, inline and offline communications and real-time changes will drive investments that match those of IT departments shifting the technology and budget power balance. IBMs Vice President, Elana Anderson added “In 2013, CIOs and CMOs will stop looking at their differences and consider the benefits that their combined strength can bring to an organization. This alliance isn’t just logical, it’s essential. The CMO and CIO can’t afford to operate on separate stages any longer. Smarter, more empowered consumers using smart phones, tablets and cloud services pose new challenges for the C-suite. There are already good examples of leading companies as diverse as financial services and retail chains bringing IT to bear on marketing goals. It’s this combination of engagement, innovation, measurement and collaboration – all enabled by technology – that lies at the heart of better business performance in 2013.”

The question is though whilst this trend will be a key theme in markets like the US and the UK– the level of digital sophistication in the local market may mean that this trend is a little premature for Australia. As local brands adopt more and more digital,those new to the game will start to call into question structures and processes to enable progress in the space whilst those truly progressive few will start to tackle these bigger issues as it impacts a brands ability to be agile and move towards “real time marketing”.

References:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/12/20/follow-the-money-digital-marketing-trends-for-2013/
http://www.idgconnectmarketers.com/marketing-2013-top-predictions-for-us-marketers/

Real-Time MarketingCampaigns are out, real time marketing is in

According to Hubspot in 2013 we’ll see many more marketers take advantage of the power of real-time communications to grow business. As buyers instantly engage with brands on their websites, talk back via social media like Twitter and Facebook, and follow breaking news in the markets they are interested, the old model of marketing built on a company timeline doesn’t work so well.

With marketing automation and cross channel marketing platforms, marketers have the tools to move towards a “real time marketing” approach but the biggest hurdle is marketing team mindsets – particularly if the organisation is still led by a traditional marketing approach, which is still the case in many organisations down under.

Reference
http://cdn1.hubspot.com/hub/53/2013-Marketing-Trends-01.pdf
Advertising is going native

The continued decline in engagement with display advertising has led to innovation in the digital advertising space. Over recent years “native advertising” has begun to grow in popularity (eg Facebook’s sponsored stories and Twitter’s promoted tweets) as brands looks to integrate their message into the conversation or story rather than distract from it. According to Rebecca Lieb, an analyst from the Altimeter Group 2013 will be a big year for native advertising “we are seeing a number of technologies and solutions emerge to facilitate native advertising. Products and solutions in this area will continue to emerge, more publishers will accommodate, and there’s no doubt we’ll see some interesting, large-scale media partnerships emerge as a result.”

Facebook Sponsored Stories

Reference
http://www.cmo.com/articles/2012/12/18/7-digital-marketing-trends-to-watch-in-2013.frame.html

The battle of the living room

Whilst multi-screen use isn’t new – 2013 will be a year of innovation for TV networks as brands look for new opportunities to capitalise on multi-screen usage – which will of course filter down to Australia. According to Caitlan Mitchell & Chris Ferrel of the Richards Group;

Google Glasses2013 will show that hashtags are not the only way to engage in conversations around your favorite TV shows. Social TV will play an integral role in the battle for the living room as part of a concerted effort to blur the line between live and on-demand content. FX and Twentieth Century Fox seek to be leaders in this space, exemplified by their “Sons of Anarchy” app, completely redeveloped for the fourth season of the show. By taking advantage of audio fingerprinting technology, the app automatically detects audio from the episode and displays real-time content on the second-screen device. Everything from 3-D gyroscopes, virtual scene tours, real-time content, an e-commerce merchandise store and social sharing are integrated right within the app.

Reference
http://trends.clickhere.com/the-battle-for-the-living-room/

Technology is the new accessory
In 2012, Google introduced us to a whole new world with the release of Google Glasses – but in 2013 it seems a host of new products will be launched in market which will take “personal computing” to a whole new level. According to David Armano, the Managing Director of Edelman, from fuel bands to bracelets – these are just a preview of what we will see a lot more of in 2013 as we begin to look part human, part machine. There are already ski goggles that display a tiny screen allowing you to not only sync your mobile device but help you determine where you are and how fast you are going.

Reference
http://www.slideshare.net/darmano/ed-2013trends

And to finish it off, here are a few predictions of my own – related to the local market.

Digital marketers in demand for top jobs

With brands rushing to evolve in the new digital world, we will begin to see brands, particularly those that have smaller teams and flatter structures – look to hire digital marketers into senior marketing positions to lead the way in digital. When Sportsgirl set out to hire their new Strategic Brand Manager last year, digital marketing experience was at the top of their list of wants – and as one of the more progressive retailers this is a sign of things to come and in 2013 I believe we will begin to see more brands focus on strong digital experience “as a pre-requisite” for the top job.

The year of the mobile for Australian brands

The tipping point for mobile has well and truly come – but not for Australian brands. During last year’s Click Frenzy event it was revealed that only 50% of participating retailers had a mobile enabled site – which is low given those that participated are some of the more progressive retailers in the country.

With mobile internet take up and usage charging along – I believe this year, brands across a range of industry sectors will really begin to embrace mobile as an integral part of their digital strategy.

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