Friday, August 15, 2014

Would you use your smartphone to shop for cars? You would if you are a Millennial.

According to a new study from AutoTrader, 66% of 18-33 year-olds use mobile to find a dealer, and 65% use it to find actual vehicles.  (Greenberg, 2014)

Consistent with the shift in buying patterns discussed last week, Millennials are spending 16.4 hours researching and choosing their cars online before they visit a dealer.  When they do visit a showroom, they are testing and hopefully buying the vehicle they have settled on.  And 70% do.

While we see similar trends emerging to a lesser degree among older cohorts, as with the move from offline to online buying, the Millennials are leading the way with 95% using the web to shop for vehicles.

They spend over half their online time on third-party sites like AutoTrader, but only 5% use social sites as a resource, and only 22% say that it influences their brand perceptions.  Manufacturers and dealers had better tune in, because 59% say that they will think less of a brand that has a poorly functioning mobile site.

Greenberg, K. (2014, August 14)  Millennial Auto Shoppers Are Digital, Mobile, Confused.  Retrieved August 15, 2014, from

Friday, August 8, 2014

Where do I go to buy a new album?

That's the question my husband was pondering out loud the other night.  As natives of Manhattan we have always been able to buy whatever we wanted at one or more local retailers.  But when J&R went out of business a few months ago, he was left without a viable option for music purchases that were out of the mainstream. 

I feel his pain.  When Pearl Paint closed I was left facing a similar issue -- where to buy my art supplies.

One would think that in Manhattan there would be enough potential consumers to keep stores open.  But they would obviously be wrong, as evidenced by the closing of these two storied retailers.

So what's up?  It's simple.  According to ShopperTrak, shopper visits to retail stores have fallen by 5% or more from a year earlier in every month for the past two years, with the exception of a small uptick in April.   

They believe that we are experiencing a major shift in consumer behavior.  That instead of wandering through stores making impulse purchases as they used to, shoppers are using their mobile phones and computers to cherry-pick promotions.  (Banjo & Ziobro, 2014)

Interesting.  We already know that the Millennials are surgically attached to their mobile devices so it's easy to see what's driving the trend.  The question to consider is how it will affect marketing.  Does it make sense to continue to advertise in a broad reach medium like television if  people aren't making impulse purchases in the store anymore?  If people are so honed in on specific products and promotions, is retargeting, with pricing information, the answer?  And yet, we still know that when it comes to moving product nothing beats television.

I can't wait to see what happens.  In the meantime though, I am heading off to The Strand to buy some used books, before it closes too. 

Banjo, S. & Ziobro, P. (2014, August 6)  Shoppers Flee Physical Stores, Wall Street Journal, p.B1-2

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cereal for dinner anyone?

With cereal volume sales declining or flat every year since 2000, both General Mills and Kellogg's have announced new sales initiatives in the past few months.  Among these is the move to market cereal for non-breakfast occasions.  Currently around 20% of cereal eating happens outside of breakfast.  But companies see potential for growth. 

For instance, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a popular snack for 20 & 30 somethings to eat while playing video games at night.  So, the brand sponsored a videogame conference last year.  (Nassauer, 2014)

What do you think?  Would you like some Fruit Loops for your afternoon snack?

Nassauer, S. (2014, June 18)  Pitching Cereal for Dinner and Late Nights.  Retrieved 7/31/14, from,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Let's drink to George's birthday with some Tetley Tea.

In honor of Prince George's first birthday, Tetley Tea offered a coupon for a free box of their British Blend to all US residents who have "George" somewhere in their legal name and who posted a baby photo of themselves on Tetley's Facebook page on July 22. (Lukovitz, 2014)

The 24 hour giveaway was promoted that day only on Facebook and Twitter.  The results?  A 543% increase in posts engagement.  Which just goes to show that no one can resist a cute baby picture.

But, as Tetley marketing executive Marc Birnbaum points out, the promotion is a way of reminding people that Tetley Tea is the quintessential British tea.

So what do you think of this approach?  Is this promotion a good fit?  Does it make you want to buy Tetley tea?

Lukovitz, K. (2014, July 24)  Tetley Continues To Score With Royal Social Promos.  Retrieved July 25, 2014, from

Friday, July 18, 2014

52 million Americans watched original digital videos last month. What about you?

A 2014 study from the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) indicated that 22% of American adults watch original digital video monthly, up from 15% in 2013.

The study also found that 28% watch tv online monthly and 31% watch amateur videos.  46% of those watch on their smartphones, 41% on their tablets, and 48% use internet-connected tv. (Loechner, 2014)

Is this consistent with your habits?  What kind of online videos are you watching and what device are you using to watch it?  Oh, and do you even look at the advertising preceding it?

Loechner, J. (2014, July 16)  53 Million US Viewers Watch Original Digital Video Each Month.  Retrieved July 17, 2014, from

Friday, July 11, 2014

Have you taken a quiz on your mobile device yet?

Enroll America, a nonprofit coalition of groups supportive of the Affordable Care Act, was looking for uninsured leads.  To find them they worked with Qriously to create and deliver a mobile quiz. 

The  banner ads asked the question, "Why do you not have health insurance?"  Three answers were provided -- "cost", "complicated" and "lack of info."  And consumers clicked on their choice.  (Results were fairly even across the options.) 

While the responses were tallied, the more important thing was that in all likelihood those who participated lacked health insurance, so it was an effective means for reaching the target.  And, not surprisingly, 40% of consumers who answered the question clicked through to the website to learn more about health care options.  Follow-up also included one targeted ad per day for those who responded. 

Enroll America has declined to share sign-up results, but a follow-up survey indicated that they increased from 18% to 26% for those who had seen the ad. (Johnson, 2014)

So what do you think?  Have you taken a quiz yet?  Did you follow-through by going to a website?  Did they follow-through by sending you targeted emails?  Do you think this is an effective form of advertising?

Johnson, L. (2014, July 8)  How Mobile Ads Found 53,000 Uninsured Leads for Healthcare Provider.  Retrieved July 11, 2014, from

Friday, July 4, 2014

What was Restoration Hardware thinking?

I bought a chair from Restoration Hardware last year.  It was a knock-off of a classic 50's ant chair and we wanted to try it out to see if we should buy the real thing.  Ultimately we decided we weren't fond of it and bought different chairs from a different store.

So I was horrified a few weeks ago when a package arrived of 13 very heavy Restoration Hardware catalogs -- apparently 17 pounds worth.  While I couldn't resist the urge to skim through them, I bought nothing.  And I felt so guilty about killing all those trees that I thought about contacting them to ask them to take me off their mailing list.

Well, I wasn't the only one that had this reaction.  Twitter exploded with nasty and sarcastic comments like this -- "No thanks @Restoration Hardware.  Come take it back."  And, "Going out this morning to clean up all the dead UPS guys who were delivering Restoration Hardware catalogs today."  (Forbes, 2014)

The Daily Mail has rounded up some of the best reactions and you can check them out here...

It used to be that it didn't matter what people said about you as long as they spelled your name right.  Do you think that's still true?  Is there value to be had in generating brand buzz of the negative kind? 

And, how do you feel about catalogs in general?  Do you get them, like them, and order things from them? 

Forbes, T. (2014, June 20)  Restoration Hardware's Catalog Lands With A Thud.  Retrieved July 4, 2014, from