When Google Glass was first announced, the “wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display” promised by numerous sci-fi books, shows and movies, was suddenly in the future of the average consumer. Advertisers delighted in the possibilities Glass held for their brand.
Some initial interest gave way to loathing and suspicion, summed up by tech entrepreneur and investor Jason Calacanis’ LinkedIn post titled, “The Unbearable Wearable: Google Glass is Brilliant, Loathsome, and Not Inevitable (or “Take Those off before I Punch You in the Face!”).” Privacy concerns of non-Glass wearers have also remained an issue.
But plenty of people are excited by the concept of a computer built into a pair of futuristic-looking glasses (at last count, there are around 10,000 early adopters). And, as adoption grows, we’re beginning to see the first applications built specifically for the Google Glass platform.
According to the terms of service for Google Mirror API, advertising is banned from Google Glass apps. Specifically, they say:
“No Ads. You may not serve or include any advertisements in your API Client.
Data Usage. You may not use data from your API Client for advertising purposes. You may not sell or transmit any user data received from your API Client(s) to a third-party ad network or service, data broker, or other advertising or marketing provider. For the avoidance of doubt, user data from the API Client(s) may not be used for Third-Party Ad Serving (“3PAS”).”
That’s a pretty big shutdown for brands who want to start advertising on the latest technology. As Ad Age reported, however, the no-ads rule doesn’t extend to branding. Elle, CNN, Fidelity and Coupons.com have all launched branded apps for a very small pool of consumers.
Two reasons, one digital agency CEO said. First, to earn media exposure that covers how innovative the company is. The other is to experiment with the API and figure out how the technology might be valuable to customers in the future.
Coupons.com’s app, KitchMe for Glass, for example, allows users to search recipes, view ingredients, and look at cooking directions. Imagine not having to handle a recipe book while your hands are busy. Imagine not having to worry about a shopping list at the store. That kind of branded experience — if it works well — won’t just increase brand recognition: It’ll become something people will recommend.
Other, unbranded Glass apps are entering the shopping space as well. Lance Nanek, a software developer, recently created a price comparison app called Crystal Shopper. By scanning an item’s barcode, Crystal Shopper shows the lowest and highest price online, plus the Amazon product rating. From there, the user can decide to save it (with a simple nod of the head), or make the choice to purchase the item or leave it on the shelf.
Assuming Google’s ban on ads stays in place, advertisers and brands alike will have to kick it up a notch. It wouldn’t just be about native advertising anymore: It would be about selling a brand through an invaluable service. Some brands might make that transition with ease. But for most brands, that future is still foggy.
At the end of July, AdAge released their annual report on Hispanic advertising, the 2013 Hispanic Fact Pack, which is filled to the brim with data that might make even the smartest advertiser weak in the knees or, at least, reconsider who their audience is and how they’re reaching them.
Consider this demographic information for a moment: Regardless of whether or not immigration reform passes, almost 17% of Americans are currently of Latino or Hispanic descent.
That figure is significant enough, but in addition to that 28.5% of all U.S. children under 5 are Hispanic. Those children will soon grow up to be 1 in 4 U.S. 18-23 year-old adults by 2030.
According to the AdAge report, U.S. advertisers spent $431 million on Hispanic Internet display advertising in 2012, a mere 3% slice of the $14.98 billion spent on online display advertising in that same period. For one of the fastest-growing demographics in the United States, that’s a pretty small investment. Hispanic advertising on network television rose 20.5% from 2011 to 2012. For Hispanic Internet advertising, spending only ticked up by 2.5%.
As of August 2011, Pew Research reported 68% of U.S. Hispanic adults use the Internet. Mobile use for Hispanic adults—wireless laptops and cell phones included—is 63%, the same percentage (but not scope) of white, non-Hispanic users and one percentage point more than black non-Hispanic users.
The demographic shift isn’t the only thing that’s striking about AdAge’s report. It’s the willingness to interact with retailers in a different space. On average, 40% more Hispanic adults plan to purchase apparel, electronics, food, financial investments, movie or event tickets, toys and games, travel services, auction items, books and music from their cell phone than non-Hispanic adults. In short, Hispanic adults are a much more willing mobile market.
So ask yourself: does my advertising strategy cover not only the Hispanic market, but also mobile, geo-fencing and beyond? Have I made considerations for cell phone type? According to Pew Research, Hispanics are roughly equal when it comes to the Android versus iPhone debate
Most importantly, does my advertising connect on a social and cultural level?
Hispanic spending power has already grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, Nielsen projected Hispanic buying power to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2015, up 50% from their 2010 numbers. As it stands, Hispanic discretionary spending makes up $161 billion—a little more than 9%—of the $1.7 trillion total U.S. spending.
In time, advertising expenditure, mobile usage and buying power will shift, as they always do. But to stay on top of your strategic marketing plan, it might be smart to focus on this rising demographic today.
Funnels are the classic visual representation of the sales process and they’ve become part of our vernacular. We’ve learned that prospective buyers enter the top of the funnel going through a series of marketing steps meant to educate them on the product. By the time they reach the bottom, a purchase is made. It’s not the most elegant analogy, but it’s become an industry norm.
In an age of mobile devices, online search and social media, however, is the funnel still relevant?
Recently, a number of industry articles have suggested this funnel is really more of a loop; an infinite path. In the loop analogy the relationships between retailers, brands and consumers aren’t over when the sale is closed – in fact, they’ve really just begun. It’s the opposite of what the funnel has signified to marketers for so many years.
In Digiday’s recent article, “The Funnel is Dead, Long Live the Loop?”, author Aaron Barr writes:
“… Omnichannel marketing is making the path to purchase so complicated the linear funnel model is obsolete. Today’s consumer journey is more like an infinite loop, where shoppers are always discovering, considering and buying via multiple channels. So keeping them engaged is an ongoing process.”
Earlier this year, Social Media Explorer’s Nichole Kelly wrote:
The sales funnel relies on the theory that someone comes into the top of the funnel and sales fall out the bottom. But is that true in today’s world? Do we start at the top and make our way through to the end? Or do we start at the top, leave, jump levels, come back, leave again, come back at the beginning and at some point come back and buy? Are we following a linear purchase pattern or an erratic path of engagement that sometimes results in a purchase?
We think the truth lies somewhere in between—which presents tremendous opportunities for digital marketers. The funnel may still be relevant for some big-ticket items–but former funnel items, like, say, a bedroom set? No.
For brands and retailers alike, it’s time to stop thinking of the sales process as a linear, A-to-B activity. Consumers are more likely to start their research online or even on mobile devices in store than ever before, including visits to multiple competitor sites. These visits include comparison shopping on price, features, convenience and more. The reality is, it’s no longer an “I need this, convince me to buy this, I’ve bought this and now we can part ways” relationship.
In the previous example of a bedroom set, the purchase is just the beginning for brands—particularly if they align themselves closely with their retail partners. It’s an opportunity for brands to take advantage of the data that only retailers have—unique, first-party information that can’t be found anywhere else—to go back to these customers with compelling offers on linens, duvet covers, mattresses, etc.
There are a number of opportunities for brands and retailers to join the sales loop together:
- Brands and retailers together, provide compelling, relevant online content directly on the retail site: For the consumer searching for the best dog food, provide a branded section on site that displays options from key brands. Add in content and resources full of information, and they’ll come back again and again. Engage consumers on their path to purchase, and the loop begins.
- Retailers, make information easy to find online: Highlight features, benefits and alternatives keeping them front-and-center, even if they are not necessarily ones carried by the retailer. Consumers appreciate being educated as opposed to “sold to” – and the appropriate compelling content will keep them coming back. (The loop!)
- Brands, work closely with retailers to keep the relationship going when the sale is complete. In fact, the relationship has just begun. The beauty of joining forces directly with retailers is aligning your brand with its most likely buyers using the insight of first-party data. It’s your chance to build engagement with your core customers—whether it’s hints on helpful accessories for that new snow blower or recipes for the new crockpot, now is the chance to build some serious goodwill. The goal? Keep them coming back for more. If both retailers and brands embrace this approach, they’ll be the first place consumers go when they’re ready to research and buy.
Are you still using the sales funnel, the loop or something else entirely? Share your comments below.
The middle of the 20th century was a simpler time for advertising. You did print, you did radio, and eventually, you did TV. You talked primarily about the product, maybe with a celebrity endorsement. It was pretty straightforward.
In 1951 things got more creative. The “man in the Hathaway shirt” was cutting edge. These print campaigns from Ogilvy featured a well-dressed man in an eye patch. The eye patch was the edgy, interesting part. Where did it come from? What injury caused it? Why was the dichotomy between eye patch and elegant shirt so compelling? The mystery was never explained, and that added to the buzz.
Toward the end of that decade things got really edgy in the advertising world.
Volkswagen’s “Think Small” and “Lemon” campaigns, developed in the early 1960s by Doyle Dane Burnbach, signaled the tides of change. The campaigns weren’t about what the Volkswagen Beetle was. Instead, they focused on what it wasn’t: It wasn’t a big American car, and it wasn’t particularly attractive. As one of the most famous ad campaigns of all time, it was brought back to public consciousness in an early episode of the hit television program Mad Men, where Don Draper and his partners were dismissive of this new advertising style. (In later seasons, as the show progressed to the late 1960s, he and his staff grew to embrace more cutting-edge styles and even hired a small research staff.)
The “creative” evolution has continued in the digital age, brought to light in a recent USA Today piece, “How the Digital Age Has Shaped the Ad Game.” It’s an ad world that would befuddle a now 80-something Don Draper. As Steve Farella, a 30-year ad industry veteran and now CEO of Maxxcom Global Media, a media company holding group, told USA Today, in the 1950s and 1960s, “you needed to be a creative person” to make it in this business. While creativity is still very important, Farella adds that “today, you need to be a technology person.”
In short, “Madison Avenue is now morphing into Digital Drive.” It’s an idea repeatedly noted in the Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe merger in which two of the world’s largest and most traditional firms have joined to reap the benefits of economies of scale, comprehensive digital services and advancing technologies.
So things have changed … or have they?
Customers are leaving more “clues” in the form of digital footprints than ever before – and using technology and data analysis, it’s easier than ever to get the right message to the right person at the right time. That message, however, still needs to be compelling and clever—harkening back to the classic age of the Hathaway shirt and the lemon—while still highlighting features that meet a customer’s needs.
So maybe Don Draper would initially pooh-pooh the idea of digital—but something tells me Sterling Cooper and Partners, if it were around today, would have added a crack team of data analysts to its creative services and account executive teams by now.
Although it seems summer has just begun, for retailers July means back-to-school season is in full swing—a fact recently confirmed on a trip to my local big-box retailer, where, while I couldn’t buy a bathing suit, I could get all the Trapper Keepers I wanted (apparently they are popular again). However, this may be a tougher year than last for retailers as the kids head back to class.
The National Retail Foundation recently released the results of its annual back-to-school survey, which aims to predict shopping behaviors over the coming months. The survey found that more than 80 percent of respondents plan to cut back on spending. It also predicted that families with school-age children will spend an average of $634.78 on back-to-school items this year, down from $688.62 last year (a cut of more than 8 percent)
Yet, with these harbingers of doom, there were some bright spots for digital retail marketers—in particular, 36.6 percent of respondents said they will do more comparative shopping online this year. In addition, Google Bing evangelist John Gagnon recently told Search Engine Watch, “More than 60 percent of shoppers will begin their shopping online, and most shoppers report that online research will have a notable impact on their in-store purchase decisions.” Additionally, 40 percent will use their mobile devices to look up retailer information, and more than half will do more comparison shopping online this year than last.
So chin up, digital marketers. While overall numbers may be down, there are huge opportunities for you to reach shoppers early and often at multiple points throughout the path to purchase.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- To quote Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over!” There’s no doubt that back to school season is underway, but there’s still hope if your marketing efforts have yet to begin. According to the NRF survey, 49 percent of families will wait three weeks to one month before school begins to start their back-to-school shopping.
- Offer coupons and incentives. The frugal mindset of consumers was highlighted in recent Google research noting that 94 percent of back-to-school shoppers are influenced by bargains.
- Get creative. It is more important than ever to deliver a great brand experience during back-to-school season, with many brands competing for shoppers’ attention. Interactive experiences, video, mobile and social media integration are all great ideas to attract attention and deliver an engaging brand experience.
As you apply sunscreen for your final treks to the beach this summer, we have one question: Are your favorite brands running great back-to-school campaigns this year? We’d love to hear about them.