Jun 25

When Victoria’s Secret left the swimsuit business, direct-to-consumer brands began to thrive

If you’re a younger, female customer like Merrill, it’s likely you’ve stumbled across one of Andie’s, Lively’s or Summersalt’s ads on Instagram or Facebook, or on the subway if you live or work in New York. They all started their businesses online, amassed loyal followings on social media and are generating buzz this summer around their inclusive size offerings in swimwear, instead of trying to target American women en masse.

“The most effective direct-to-consumer brands are going after certain demographics,” said Web Smith, founder of retail research platform 2PM. “Companies like Andie are going after particular customers, whereas Victoria’s Secret is going after all women.”

Meantime, swimsuits can be difficult to master as a brand, he said, because “it’s such a technical fabric to make, products are very specific to fabric size … you can’t get it wrong.”

For Andie, getting product and fit right was the most important thing before moving into spending on digital marketing. The brand launched in April 2017 but didn’t spend on marketing until roughly May 2018, a year later, according to founder and CEO Melanie Travis.

“If you make a product women don’t want, you can pay all the money in the world to Facebook and Instagram, and people won’t buy it,” Travis said. “A lot of brands fail when they fail to understand the customer.”

And in swim, as in lingerie, there’s been a movement toward more women wanting coverage and comfort. Up-and-coming swimsuit maker Summersalt’s motto, for example, is “Every body is a beach body.”

“So much of swim has been done in oversexualized ways,” Summersalt co-founder Lori Coulter said. “Many legacy brands only know how to market this way.”

Summersalt launched online in May 2017, selling $95 swimsuits targeting women over the age of 22, and just a few weeks ago rolled out suits for maternity sizes.

“Anyone can think they can do swimwear, but it’s really important to optimize fit,” co-founder Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin said. “We’re bridging the gap between functional and style at the same time. … It’s easy to make something shiny on Instagram, but if it doesn’t actually perform,” you’ll lose customers, and fast, she said.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/when-victorias-secret-left-the-swimsuit-business-direct-to-consumer-brands-began-to-thrive/

Jun 24

Online Marketing Tools for Your Small Business

Source: In today’s multi-media and digital marketing world, small business owners have multiple choices of low-cost/no cost options in promoting their business, in addition to traditional marketing and advertising tools and practices designed to aid the local business in becoming noticed by potential consumers. Samuel K. Burlum shares some options for your business.

Traditionally, before the internet and mobile devices, marketing and advertising options were limited and costly for the small business owner. Most small business owners would look to advertising in the newspaper, on local television or radio, or even handouts and flyers placed on car windshields and in mailboxes. As technology advanced, so did all the methods to stay out front of your competitors and customers. There are several tools online to help a locally owned business promote one’s self which carries little or no cost.

At one time, the standard form of advertisement for a business was to be listed in the Yellow Pages, which was the business-commercial section of the phone book directory. However, times have changed with consumers relying mainly upon their mobile devices more to communicate, and in some cases, not even having a home land line-supported phone. In place of the Yellow Pages are websites and business directories such as Manta, Merchant Circle, and TAPinto.

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Manta is a website which lists profiles of local businesses, and allows for consumers to leave a review after their experience of either purchasing a product or service. Manta allows for a business to set up a profile, including spotlighting the services and products a business has to offer. 

Businesses will benefit from using Manta. A small business can separate itself from the crowd of other similar local businesses by having customer reviews that new potential customers can use as a point of reference in making a buying decision. 

Merchant Circle is another online business listing site. Merchant Circle is a platform that allows for the locally owned business to connect and network with other locally owned businesses, sharing contacts and ideas, while helping to connect the business with potential customers. Merchant Circle had advanced their capabilities beyond just being a local business directory. 

Local online new sites, such as TAPinto, also offer business listings. TAPinto focuses on hyperlocal news content and is supported by the local business community. Local businesses can list their business contact and location information. Also, businesses can market themselves through advertising coupled with content marketing, sponsorship, email marketing and social media marketing, providing a variety of marketing vehicles for businesses at all price levels.  

These sites can help a business in establishing an online content footprint. Businesses that have multiple articles, or key search words or phrases in their business profile description are more likely to rank higher in search engines due to the amount of content. With so many people on the go relying on information at their fingertips from their mobile devices, if your business is not at least showing up on the first two or three pages of search engines, then your business will not be seen by new potential customers. Business listings with Manta, Merchant Circle, and TAPinto drastically change your local small business’s placement within the rankings of search engines. I have even seen businesses that don’t have their own website rank high in search engines because their business profiles are enhanced and provide a lot of detail to potential consumers.

Social media is the place a business should turn to in promoting their business wares and reaching new potential customers. Take your pick, there are many to choose, however, the front-runners for two-way engagement still stands as Facebook leading the way, followed by Linked-in, Google Plus, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. Each social media platform offers something different and serves a specific purpose.

They say, a photograph is worth a thousand words. That is where platforms like Flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram have specialized in providing a photo journal online to be shared with family, friends, fellow colleagues, and potential customers. These platforms are designed to allow users to load up photographs in the moment and share them with fan base instantaneously, in hopes of creating a real-time feeling of “I wish I was there,” for the person viewing the picture. This emotional trigger also can work well in creating a product demand in the moment. A business can feature a picture of a spotlighted product, and offer to the first hundred people who comment on the photo, a discount on their next purchase with the merchant.

Video content ranks the highest on the internet. Video content is also the most sought after content in the leading search engines. The most popular of video social media sites is YouTube. Videos created with the purpose to capture the attention of a new potential customer needs to grab the attention of the viewer within the first 15 to 30 seconds, or you will lose the attention of the viewer. Your video content should also be unique and have a different hook. There are tens of millions of videos posted between You Tube, Vimeo, and Daily Motion, so you will need to be creative in order that your video can be searchable and stand out among the crowd.

If your business does not have a website yet, you need to get one. You can acquire a domain name from Go Daddy for just a few bucks a year. Create-it-yourself website platforms Wix, Word Press, and Web.com, provide several pre-existing templates. The most important pages to have for a very basic website are: a home page or landing page which is the first introduction to visitors about your business and its products/services, a contact us page, which includes the hours of operation, information about your products and/or services, as well as a list of the most popular or unique products/services you provide, and lastly, the about us page, giving visitors a little more information about the business and you as the owner.

Monthly e-newsletters are another way to stay in front of your customers. Email newsletters should not be a large book or difficult to read. It should inform the reader on two or three key areas you desire your customers to focus on about your business. Maybe you’re going to have a product or service sale or host a special event; email newsletter is a great way to keep your customers reminded of your business updates. The online tools and services of Mail Chimp or Constant Contact offer a variety of low-cost options to reach your current clients.

It may seem overwhelming at first that on top of all your other business responsibilities you now must spend time in front of your computer marketing your business, and yes, there are many options to employ. There are tools to help you manage your online efforts. Two tools that will help you measure and manage your online presence are Google Analytics and Hoot Suite. Google Analytics can help you measure your marketing ranking and efforts online, so you can eliminate online marketing that is not the most effective or does not provide a return on investment. Google Analytics will also give you the data you need to enhance the online marketing that is helping create customer flow for your business. Hoot Suite is a digital dashboard that you can use for managing and posting content to multiple social media sites at one time, thus saving you time having to make daily posts to each individual site.

The choice is yours. You can choose to spread your marketing efforts over multiple digital platforms or you can choose to stick to one or two tools. 

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/online-marketing-tools-for-your-small-business/

Jun 23

How to Hire an Effective Marketing Professional for Your Company

You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

When a product comes out in the market, promoting it becomes a big task for the company. Persuading the customers about a product’s qualities over other brands and ensuring that a sale is made are somewhat arduous tasks. For this,  a company needs a team of marketers who would understand the needs of consumers, present the product in the market as an initiation and help the sales’ team convert a lead into a successful sale.

With the changing times, the role of marketers has also been enhanced in a big way. Earlier, a marketing person used to promote products physically by creating offline campaigns and building relations with entrepreneurs. However, the competence of a marketer is now assessed through his vigilance in terms of trends and competition analysis, product knowledge and online marketing skills. Perhaps, online marketing skills have become a prerequisite for promoting a product effectively. Some of the most used online marketing tactics are content marketing, SEO, email marketing, online advertising and social media marketing. By employing these strategies, a marketer can target an array of customers.

So, while looking to fill the position for marketing, an entrepreneur needs to reflect on the following factors.

1. Employ a Marketer for One Specific Role

Since targeting consumers becomes easier through the internet, thus, it is useful for the company to employ an individual who is proficient in online marketing. Besides hiring a single marketer for all the online tasks, the entrepreneur should employ professionals for specific roles. This will enhance a marketer’s capability and further, lessens the burden on one individual. Largely, entrepreneurs are employing this strategy and thus, hiring marketing professionals as per the job requirements.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “overall employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is projected to grow 10 per cent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Advertising, promotions, and marketing campaigns will continue to be essential for organisations as they seek to maintain and expand their share of the market.”

2. A Marketer Enables Sales

Other than promoting a company’s product, a marketer plays a vital role in increasing sales numbers too. Primarily, a marketing pro builds a nexus of consumers, garners data of potential customers with their requirements and maybe even the issues that they have faced in the past, and  passes it on to someone in sales. All this essential data better equips the sales’ person to be able to crack the deal.

The collected date is very useful not only for the moment but even for later studies and comparisons as the right audience has been targeted in the process; and thus, achieving sales target becomes easy for sales’ people. According to the State of Inbound 2018 report, “ Only 28 per cent of salespeople said marketing was their best source of leads.”

The survey exhibits interdependence that goes between marketers and salespeople to attain the company’s goals.

3. A Good Marketer creates Foolproof Strategies

As new products and companies are emerging in the market, being competent is most important for an organisation. For that, a business should always remain connected to its customers and promote its products from time to time. A marketer also plays a vital role in building an impressive portfolio of the company and further, carries out marketing strategies for product promotion.

According to CoSchedule’s Marketing Management and Strategy Statistics 2019, “Marketers with a documented strategy are 313 per cent more likely to report success (R = 0.27, n = 2,055, p-value 0.0001).” 

The above-mentioned elements are important and thus, employed while recruiting the right fit for the marketing job.

This article was originally published by Jaspreet Kaur.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/how-to-hire-an-effective-marketing-professional-for-your-company/

Jun 22

Lego marketing chief says the challenge with online advertising is that so much content is ‘damaging’ to kids

Traders this week bet on a Fed rate cut in record-setting numbers

Trading volume soared to 1,293,459 million contracts Wednesday, the same day the Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep rates unchanged.

read more

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Jun 21

Using the 2019 ‘Internet Trends’ data to improve your business strategy

Adrienne Wallace, a digital strategist at BlackTruck Media + Marketing, contributed to this post.

For those of us who navigate the digital world, the day that Mary Meeker presents the annual “Internet Trends” report is our version of Christmas morning. Meeker presented the highly anticipated report on June 11 at the Vox/Recode Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. The report, affectionately known as the “Meeker Report,” was started by Meeker back in 1995 and has been a guiding light for those in tech, internet marketing and investments in such entities, giving direction to their future outlook.

While the presentation is a lengthy 333 slides deep, it’s full of interesting data points and historical references you should consider keeping tabs on for those growing in the tech space or digital media. One caveat is that at the end of the day, Meeker and her firm, Bond Capital, are in the business of investing in high-tech, which doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone else, so our goal is to cut through the clutter of the 333 slides and highlight some elements you might want to keep an eye out for, trends that are slowing, and the like. This is not a prescription for panic or changing things overnight as a result of this report. The “queen of the internet” would not want you to do that and we don’t either. Allow us to break down a few elements of this report for the Grand Rapids market:

Courtesy BlackTruck Media Marketing

Global internet users slow

Over half (51%) of people in the world are now online as of 2018. While this number is up a few points from where it was in 2017 (49%), this growth is slowing. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that by now, adoption of the internet and “being online” and connected is so commonplace that there are simply not that many new users to come online each year.

Mobile consumption is king

Similar to the declining trend in internet users as a whole, Meeker points out a similar slowing trend with the purchase of new smart phones. For those concerned with this stat, I encourage you to think about the last time you saw someone with a flip phone? Simply put, the majority share of the population has adopted smartphones already, meaning the bulk of the “new” phones being purchased are replacing other smartphones. It should be no secret that mobile is king. Over 60% of searches are now performed on a mobile device. It’s to the point that Google rolled out its “mobile first index” in 2018 to be more representative of those searching the internet.

And while not included in the report, we have moved far beyond millennials, who were touted previously as the big drivers of the digital generation. We’re now seeing some of the first of the iGen population (born between 1995-2012) out in the workforce for a few years now. Many of these individuals know little of traditional media outlets and were born directly into a digital-first era, mobile devices, wearables, etc.

I challenge those still worried about how they’re going to attract the attention of millennials and pivot toward how you’re going to engage with iGen, because they’re not the next generation, they’re the now generation you need to be talking with.

International markets

If approximately 3.8 billion individuals are on the internet, only 8% of those are here in the United States. According to Meeker, 21% of the world’s internet users are from China. Eastern countries like China represent the largest and fastest growing regions for those interacting in the online space.

Before we make snap judgments, consider the population of these two countries. By the numbers (2017 census), China has 1,379,302,770 people, whereas the United States has 326,625,791. Meaning yes, we would expect eastern countries such as China to have a dominant role as internet users globally.

E-commerce and digital payments

Meeker states that approximately 15% of all retail sales in 2018 were via e-commerce channels, and the trend has slowed slightly to 12.4% in Q1 2019. Even with this slight slowdown, e-commerce sales growth continues to grow over that of regular retail. It is good to point out that even as digitally-minded as Meeker’s report is, you can see that more revenue is still generated by physical retail locations.

Image via bondcap.com

Image via bondcap.com

Many of the e-commerce sales and growth also is driven by big-box retailers, the types that have strong integrations and ties back to their retail storefronts. In the end, the internet user now can have a seamless experience from online to store and vice-versa. Whether your business currently operates sales online or in-store only, these are trends to keep an eye on. Consumers want convenience and depth of selection — which is what the internet provides us.

Smart retailers will find ways to deliver better customer experiences, service and easy access to the products they desire, as well as flexible payment options. They will ethically use customer data to personalize the shopping experience and win over more consumers. They also will combine customer purchase data with that of brand/product interactions, and consumers will remain loyal to purchase more — especially if there is an easy e-commerce component involved.

Social media trust wars

Social media channels, especially Facebook, have come under fire a number of times in the past year for questionable practices with data, what was being allowed for ad targeting, etc. For some users, their trust was completely lost. But for every one or two of those users that are feeling like Facebook doesn’t have their best interest in mind, the majority share of users are becoming more aware, but probably don’t care and will continue to check and accept the terms and conditions placed in front of them.

Image via bondcap.com

Image and experiential-based social media channels are growing. Instagram continues to grow and outperform others, whereas platforms such as YouTube are gaining for the most amount of time spent engaged in content. Instagram, while owned by Facebook, has the power of telling stories through images and video, and we are a visual people. The advertising platform is seamless and not intrusive to the user, again furthering the personalization aspect that Meeker noted. As for YouTube, we’re well into the age of “cord cutters,” and while services like Hulu and Netflix dominate the streaming model, YouTube is huge with DIY, how-to and influencer audiences. However, not mentioned in the trends report is a stat from 2017, which was the first year since 2014 where the largest source of referrals to a brand’s website was from search engines — not social media.

Digital vs. traditional

In 2019, the spend on digital advertising will surpass traditional ads and media being purchased. With tech giants Google, Facebook and Amazon all leading the charge, Meeker’s trend report shows further insight as to why these digital platforms continue to grow. Yes, an obvious answer is more people are online than ever before. Looking at some of the advancements by platform as outlined by Meeker, we see some distinct differences that help the space improve, and for marketers, this is a key area.

Targeting and customization of audiences, combined with advancements in machine learning, continues to win with major players in the digital ad space. Meeker points out the growth of shopping in social media channels (i.e. Pinterest) is gaining ground due to the level of personalization built in. In the end, digital ads provide marketers an opportunity to develop campaigns that are hyper-targeted and highly relevant to their audiences, and can be well optimized and tracked for a growing return on ad spend.

Image via bondcap.com

The growth in this space is not without its own shortcomings. Meeker’s report indicates we could be reaching a slight saturation point, meaning the amount of ads placed and dollars spent is starting to pace out closely to how much time we all spend online. What the report highlights is that over time, the cost to run ads in a digital space will go up. Basic economics principles always have applied to advertising and digital ads are no different. There are only so many ad slots, positions, platforms, etc., and they are matched with only so many people either active on those outlets, searching, etc., as well as more companies shifting their ad dollars to digital. The digital ad space will become more competitive and we will see costs increase either by industry niche, regions or time of year.

What’s important to remember is that, to date, there still is no other form of advertising that can be managed as effectively and measured to the level that digital ads can be.

Image via bondcap.com

Concerns with advertising in the future fall under the gray area of privacy. Similar to what was mentioned about social media usage, advertisers are being pressured by regulatory issues such as GDPR, devices and operating systems touting ad blocking, and the push toward a higher level of privacy online. This is why it is important to own your customer data and use it in an ethical fashion.

We know that was a lot, so here are the bullets without the narrative above. Our biggest takeaways are:

  • Over half of all human beings are online. Not just in the U.S., but the entire world or 3.8 billion users.
  • Only 8% of internet users are in the U.S., whereas 21% are from China, the largest and fastest-growing region.
  • While brick-and-mortar retailers continue to generate the most revenue, e-commerce plus digital payment forms continue to rise every year.
  • Social media channels lost trust of their users, starting just after the 2016 election year. Not mentioned here is that in 2017, referrals to websites from search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) surpassed that of social media sites. A trend that has not been witnessed in a number of years.
  • Digital advertising surpassed that of traditional advertising and media.
  • Ad spend in digital media and our time spent on mobile devices has reached somewhat of an equilibrium. Meaning ad space is becoming more competitive, costs will rise and availability will tighten.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/using-the-2019-internet-trends-data-to-improve-your-business-strategy/

Jun 20

Can Revenues For Akamai’s Cloud Security Solutions Business Exceed $1 Billion By 2021?

An Akamai employee is silhouetted in front of a real-time graphic representation of retail traffic on the Internet, center, in the Network Operations Command Center at company headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) provides solutions for delivering content across the Internet. Over recent years, the company has leveraged its strength in the industry to expand its presence in the cloud security business. Trefis estimates that Akamai’s technology leadership and reach are likely to help revenues for its security business cross $1 billion in two years. You will find additional details about our expectations in the interactive dashboard for Akamai’s Cloud Security Business. Additionally, you can see more Trefis Technology company data here.

Akamai’s Cloud Security Solutions Business Is Proving To Be A Natural Extension Of Its Core Content Business

  • Akamai’s core business of content delivery (through caching customer data to minimize latency) has seen competition from some of its largest customers over recent years (including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Google).
  • However, the reach and technical strength of Akamai’s network has allowed it to become an important player in the growing edge computing market. Building upon the reliability of its network, and keeping in mind the increasing security risks emanating at the edge, security has been a natural value add for Akamai’s product portfolio.
  • Also, the company’s distributed platform helps it reach over 130 countries. Akamai’s access to the flow of traffic across the internet has helped it gain invaluable insights, which it then used to build its security business.
  • Consequently, the company’s cloud security business has witnessed close to 30% y-o-y growth for the last many quarters.

It Also Includes A Strong Lineup Of Security Products For Potential Clients

The cloud security business consists of:

  • Web Application Protector: A solution to guard against web application and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Kona Site Defender: A cloud security solution to guard against network and application layer DDoS attacks, web application attacks, and direct-to-origin attacks.
  • Bot Manager: A tool to identify bots, categorize and manage different bots based on a customer’s security policies.
  • Fast DNS: DNS stands for Domain Name System and translates human-readable domain names into numerical values to be processed by machines. Fast DNS is a solution to guard against DNS-based DDoS attacks.
  • Prolexic Routed: A solution to guard against high-bandwidth, sustained DDoS attacks.
  • Client Reputation: A traffic analysis and profiling tool to inform customers about potential threats.
  • Enterprise Application Access and Enterprise Threat Protector: Help control access of individual applications behind the firewall.

Which Is Why Trefis Estimates Sustained Growth Over Coming Years

  • Akamai’s strength in the cloud security business is evident from the fact that annual revenues have been growing at more than 30% over recent years.
  • We expect an increase in connected devices and growth in edge computing to continue to drive growth in the business over the next few years.
  • While the management expects the security business to witness a growth rate in excess of 20% over 2019-20, we believe that a larger revenue base and increased competition could dampen the growth rate in 2020.
  • Overall, we feel the security business is likely to grow at a CAGR of 18% through 2021 – reaching almost $1.1 billion by then.

What’s behind Trefis? See How It’s Powering New Collaboration and What-Ifs

For CFOs and Finance TeamsProduct, RD, and Marketing Teams

All Trefis Data

Like our charts? Explore example interactive dashboards and create your own

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/can-revenues-for-akamais-cloud-security-solutions-business-exceed-1-billion-by-2021/

Jun 19

Internet Marketing Company, fishbat, Discusses How Children & Youth Fashion Companies Can Benefit from the Instagram Shop Feature

NEW YORK, June 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Instagram is the ideal platform for digital window shopping, especially for fashion and clothing brands. As an image-based social media network, Instagram can display products and convey your brand’s persona with ease, and now, you can even sell directly on the platform. While Instagram Shopping is not new, the feature has now rolled out to all businesses in the US and eleven additional countries.


For fashion brands, this means that your next #OOTD post could lead directly to a sale, and your Insta profile has more power than ever. Internet marketing company, fishbat, shares tips for youth fashion brands looking to use Instagram Shopping.

What are the requirements? While any business can use Instagram Shopping, there are certain requirements that will need to be met in order to certify compliance. Make sure that you have converted your Insta to a Business Account rather than a Personal as Personal Accounts cannot add Shopping. Your Instagram profile will also need to be connected to a Facebook catalog, which can be done on the platform itself or in Shopify and Big Commerce. Your office must be in one of the approved Instagram Shopping countries, and your posts must follow Instagram’s community guidelines.

Before your page is approved to use the shopping feature, Instagram will take some time to perform a background check. Once this has been completed and you are approved, you can start activating products.

Reach the right audience. Instead of hoping the right customer finds your audience, you can go out and find them! For children and youth fashion companies, this means looking for moms, caretakers, and relatives of young children who will become frequent purchasers of your products. Conduct community management and outreach by liking, commenting and engaging with users who are in your target demographic. Be sure to use images and text that pop, keep it clean, and stay up to date on trends. There are millions of businesses using Instagram to promote their products, so you will want to make sure you are creating content that stands out from your competition. 

Improve the customer experience. Using Instagram Shopping greatly reduces the number of steps that a customer needs to take in order to purchase an item, and it has been shown by countless studies that fewer steps lead to improved sales. Customers want to shop with ease, they do not want to spend time hunting down products on a site, and they don’t want to have to filter through all of your other offerings to get to that specific dress they were eyeing for their daughter. For youth fashion brands this hits even closer to home. Help out parents who are online shopping by making the products they need easier to access and faster to purchase. Be sure to tag all available products in your post, and make note if something is temporarily out of stock to avoid user frustration.

About fishbat:
fishbat is a full-service digital marketing firm that takes a holistic business approach to their clients’ digital marketing programs. The fishbat team understands the importance of business principles just as well as the nuances of the latest digital technologies. fishbat Online Marketing Firm offers every digital marketing service available from digital marketing research and planning to brand development to website and asset creation through social media management and search engine optimization programs – all custom calibrated for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Media Contact: Scott Darrohn, fishbat Media, 855-347-4228, press@fishbat.com


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Jun 18

Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report: 8 Takeaways for Marketers

PHOTO: Shutterstock

Mary Meeker’s highly-anticipated Internet Trends report has just been released. Within it were some takeaways from marketers in the areas of mobile, omnichannel experiences, ecommerce, voice technologies, consumer product recommendations and others. Here is what you need to know.

Before we dig into some of the findings, let’s support that “highly-anticipated” claim. Meeker is the head of the venture capitalist firm Bond, a spinoff of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. She has been publishing reports on the Internet since 1995 when she was at Morgan Stanley. Nearly 25 years later, people still care deeply about Meeker’s thoughts. In fact, according to Moz.com, people search via Google for “Mary Meeker” 2,900 to 4,300 times a month and for “Mary Meeker internet trends” 201 to 500 times a month.

Mobile Isn’t Going Anywhere But Up

Now to the findings that matter for marketers. “I think one of the most powerful takeaways is the mobile time spent vs. advertising equivalency finally flattening out,” said Greg Swan, director of digital, social and innovation at advertising agency Fallon. “That gap has been huge for years.” In 2010, mobile time spent on media was 8% vs. 0.5% spent on internet advertising. In 2018, those splits are virtually dead-even at 33%.

Mary Meeker’s latest research is further evidence that marketers need to be taking a mobile-first approach when developing advertising, creative, media spending, engagement strategy and technology investments, according to Swan. “Legacy channels are still important,” Swan added, “but mobile has caught up with — and even surpassed — the traditional forums we always plan around.”

Related Article: 9 Tips for Boosting Your Mobile Marketing Program

Where Machine Learning, Social Media Supports Mobile

On the subject of mobile, Alex Funk, VP of strategic development at 3Q Digital, a digital and performance marketing agency, noted that in 2016 Meeker’s report found an even ad-spend split of 50/50 desktop and mobile, but it’s now almost 2-to-1 in favor of mobile. 

“That’s a huge swing owing to consumption on mobile far outweighing desktop,” Funk said. “What’s helping is instead of standard banner based ads on mobile, we are now seeing, what the report called: better targeting; richer ad formats that are highly relevant; marketers leveraging machine learning/AI to serve better creative; and added functionality like commerce-based ad units for sellers.”

Mobile now accommodates many more of the customer journey touchpoints, Funk added, so there’s an ad unit for each stage. “Credit,” he said, “goes to Facebook and Instagram stories for some of that more recent growth, too. Stories are a big growth driver for Facebook and Instagram’s ad business as a whole, as the mobile-first ad units get high engagement from users and are highly favored by advertisers.” 

Physical Experiences Still Matter 

Meeker reported that ecommerce sales have grown, just not as much as they did from 2010 to 2012. In fact, the percentage of year-to-year growth has declined in ecommerce sales from late 2017 to the final quarter of 2018.

Niki Hall, CMO of the Selligent Marketing Cloud, noted that Meeker reported ecommerce accounts for just 15% of all retail purchases, which means consumers are still flocking to brick-and-mortar for purchases. “While consumers are spending a ton of time online — sometimes even on multiple screens as the report notes — real-life experiences are still king,” Hall said. “For marketers, this simply means that brands that provide consistent, omnichannel experiences are poised to fare better than those that take a single-channel approach. That means that a consolidated view across channels, from what a consumer searches online and what they buy in-store, for example, is ever-more important.”

Knowing how customers engage, where, and what the output is can present the holistic view of the customer a brand needs to replicate successful experiences, according to Hall. “For most brands,” she added, “that means putting bigger emphasis and resources into the human channel of marketing — when a customer interacts with a brand rep, whether it’s a salesperson or customer service, or their experiences when they go on social to complain about something very publicly. Brands need to nurture their customer relationships by having that consistent experience no matter where consumers interact with them.”

Related Article: Digital Needs Physical Representation

CAC vs. LTV: Need to Go Beyond Standard KPIs

In her 2019 report, Meeker reported a reality that Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) can’t exceed Lifetime Value (LTV) for very long. Funk said marketers should take notice because it represents a fundamental shift in the way we think about the performance of ad dollars. “For many years, “ he said, “digital has been judged on either a cost-per-lead or a return-on-ad-spend basis. We are seeing these metrics be deprioritized in favor of customer acquisition costs and lifetime value calculations of those customers. This speaks to the maturity of the market and the need to go beyond standard, siloed channel KPIs.”

Customer Data Strategy Is More Important Than Ever

Meeker’s report highlighted winning strategies for managing and leveraging data. In this century, she found, winning businesses build and use data plumbing tools. They use digital data and insights to improve customer experiences. 

What does that look like according to Meeker?

  • Collect Data: 
    • Understand customer wants and improve business processes 
    • Increase customer input/improve products
    • Manage direct customer/subscriber relationships
    • Improve consumer decision-making
  • Manage Connection:
    • Organize internal and external communication
    • Communicate with customers via multiple channels
    • Organize customer data across all systems
  • Optimize Data:
    • Improve analytics/recommendations/personalization
    • Respond to customer events at scale
    • Discover business insights and optimize fulfillment
    • Manage data growth and eliminate inefficiencies 

“It’s clear that every business now needs a robust customer data strategy,” Funk said. “No longer is a web analytics platform and a CRM enough firepower to really collect, segment and leverage customer data to improve customer experiences and feed insights into the larger marketing org. Real-time audience management is a crucial tool for today’s marketers, and the role of data science and activation is paramount in a digital-first world. New data privacy rules make some of this more challenging but also present opportunities for marketers to get it right and build trust with their audiences.”

Related Article: The 360-Degree Customer View: Fact or Fiction?

Video Growth Means More Work for Marketers

You may have heard it before but it bears repeating: video consumption keeps growing. Meeker found, for instance, 59% of Gen Z users cite YouTube as their preferred learning channel. Overall, there is 4.5 billion annual hours of how-to video viewership. 

“Companies need to evolve beyond just saying we need to do more ‘video marketing’ and realize that it’s becoming the single most important category for reaching audiences online going forward,” said Seth Kravitz, CEO of PHLEARN. “As a marketer that’s already used to integrating video into every new campaign we launch, I was surprised in Mary Meeker’s presentation to see the absolute explosion of video consumption across all age groups and platforms. It’s not just millenials and Gen Z, it’s not just on YouTube, but short video consumption in particular appears to be growing rapidly across all social media platforms and generations.” 

Brands need to start producing multiple versions of each ad they produce, adopt it to each platform and run different lengths of the same video on those respective platforms as well. “It’s going to take real investment,” Kravitz said, “and making it a priority, not just a small piece of the marketing mix.”

Consumers Like Recommendations, Freemiums

No matter how good your marketing is, it’s probably not better than your target’s friend’s, a Facebook post or word-of-mouth endorsement. Meeker reported that in an ecommerce setting, someone’s recommendation was the top choice (23%) for trying a new subscription box. Meeker cited online styling company Stitch Fix, which reported that 100% of what it sells is based on data-driven, personalized recommendations. Its active clients rose to nearly 3 million in 5 years.

Jeffrey Fleischman, CMO of Altimetrik, said it’s important for companies to not only create products consumers value but also be responsive to feedback or face negative reviews/ratings, which could lead to hurting brand reputation and sales. 

Consumers also like freemium plans. Meeker found that “free trial/tier” is the No. 1 reason (42%) for trying a new online streaming service. “It’s all about the user experience: freemium models coupled with excellent experience lead to rapid growth, like Zoom for example (which Meeker cited),” Fleischman said. “It’s a great product, works flawlessly, and it’s easy, so much so that anyone using it or invited to use it will be much more likely to subscribe. It’s an old paradigm — make it easy — and success will follow. It’s a lesson that brands need to heed: friction-free experiences will win everyday even if the service is more expensive.”

Related Article: Frictionless Customer Experiences Are the Best Customer Experiences

Marketers Need to Have a Voice

Voice-based technology is growing, according to Meeker, and its importance is only beginning to be realized. Amazon Echo installed base is up to 47 million, double growth in one year. “Voice will replace keyboards and will be used to converse with natural language via IoT devices for everything from getting a ride, ordering food, conducting financial transactions, shopping, etc.” Fleischman said. 

Marketers should note that on-demand, real-time capabilities will merge leveraging voice and 5G to create new business models and ways to connect consumers and brands. “In addition,” Fleischman said, “images and videos are replacing text as a preferred method of communication. Marketers must ‘de-text’ and shift to these preferred methods to reach and engage audiences.”

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