tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/big-data Latest Big data content from Econsultancy 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69424 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 Marketers have more data than ever, so why aren’t they better at experimentation? Frederic Kalinke <p>As marketing is being transformed by advances in our ability to collect and manage data, the industry is becoming more ‘scientific’. This is why every day it becomes more important for marketers to heed Feyerabend’s advice.</p> <h3>A hypothesis about data</h3> <p>The crucial element in the recent evolution of marketing has been data. The collection of comprehensive data about customers and their behaviour promised marketers unprecedented insight into the effectiveness of their efforts, including of course <a title="How retail marketers can ensure they deliver the ‘right’ customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67526-how-retail-marketers-can-ensure-they-deliver-the-right-customer-experience/" target="_blank">where they should spend more</a> and where they had been wasting their budget.</p> <p>Consequently, marketing began to worship at the altar of data, eventually giving rise to the fascination with the nebulous “<a title="Ten Ways Big Data is Revolutionizing Marketing and Sales" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/05/09/ten-ways-big-data-is-revolutionizing-marketing-and-sales/1" target="_blank">big data</a>.” Marketers now have the ability to collect data on almost anything they want.</p> <p>The fact that the underlying principles of marketing have remained much the same throughout this process (sell more stuff by putting what you’re selling in front of the right people in the right way) therefore begs the question: <strong>Why aren’t marketers doing better?</strong></p> <h3>How not to do things with data</h3> <p>Marketers have been getting their relationship with data the wrong way round. Simply, the answer is never in the data. In fact, the best way to get answers is to forget about the data.</p> <p>In scientific inquiry, trawling through existing data is rarely conducive to innovation. Trying to piece new things together from the mass of what you already know is an aimless, hopeless endeavour. You become a prisoner of conventional wisdom, reaching ever narrower, less original conclusions, with an increasing likelihood of being wrong.</p> <p>Scientific research shares at least this much in common with marketing. For example, we have data on the most shared headlines for content marketing. (<a title="We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here's What We Learned." href="http://buzzsumo.com/blog/most-shared-headlines-study" target="_blank">Buzzsumo collated 100 million of them</a>.)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9053/buzzsumo.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="900"></p> <p>According to the data the top three-word phrases to use in article headlines for maximum shares are “will make you,” “this is why,” and “can we guess.” Widely-shared articles also begin with “X reasons why” or “X things you,” and very frequently include appeals to emotion.</p> <p>However, as Marketing Profs’ Ann Handley correctly noted in response, marketers should not “take this information and conclude that the best headline to use forever and always is something like 10 Ways That Will Make You a Better Headline Writer (and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!).”</p> <p>What this demonstrates is a problem with attempting to draw useful conclusions from data alone. While there are many things we can conclude from Buzzsumo’s impressively comprehensive analysis, not many of them are useful for content marketers attempting to come up with headlines.</p> <p>In fact, Handley gets it absolutely right when she urges marketers to “get a little creative with headlines.” Not only will different types of headlines work differently in different contexts (we cannot all be Buzzfeed, and we definitely should not try to be) but it is only by being creative that we actually end up writing better headlines.</p> <p>Simply mimicking the headline formats that currently work well will create not only an artificial ceiling over how successful content can be, but suffers inevitably from <a title="Regression towards the mean" href="https://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/regrmean.php" target="_blank">regression towards the mean</a>. This is what happens when marketers limit themselves according to convention.</p> <p>If the answer is clickbait, you asked the wrong question.</p> <h3>How to do things with data</h3> <p>A marketer trying to come up with more effective headlines for her content does not need an answer to the question, “what are the most popular phrases in headlines?”, she needs an answer to a specific question, “is my content going to perform better if I use this phrase or that phrase?”</p> <p>These questions are easy to confuse. The crucial difference is that our hypothetical marketer cannot use the answer to the first question to make any sort of conclusion about how to act. She will simply learn more about what has worked for others and be restricted to coming up with derivative ideas.</p> <p>Just because something worked for somebody else, it does not mean it will work for you. And when it comes to the over-saturated world of online content, the fact that something worked for somebody else means precisely that it is less likely to work for you.</p> <p>It is the second question, a specific one about some actual ideas, that represents the best way to go about dealing with this problem. It is a practical question that makes data useful and this is because it puts new ideas ahead of old conventions.</p> <h3>What does genuinely experimental marketing look like?</h3> <p>A particularly clear recent example of this is <a title="Why AS Roma revel in being the weirdest football club on social media" href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/08/31/why-roma-revel-being-the-weirdest-football-club-social-media" target="_blank">AS Roma’s successful approach to social media video</a>. In an industry where <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68696-digital-transformation-in-the-premier-league-southampton-fc-s-fan-first-strategy/">all the major football clubs</a> (and a lot of the minor ones) are stepping up their digital marketing and where almost every player transfer is announced with slick professional video on social media, Roma succeeded by doing something different.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Schick?src=hash">#Schick</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASRoma?src=hash">#ASRoma</a> <a href="https://t.co/JAIvKGYS7P">pic.twitter.com/JAIvKGYS7P</a></p> — AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) <a href="https://twitter.com/ASRomaEN/status/902546975681388544">August 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>These idiosyncratic videos embody Feyerabend’s “only principle that doesn’t inhibit progress.” Where their competitors acted like sheep, <a title="Roma fan explains latest transfer announcement video on Twitter" href="http://www.asroma.com/en/news/2017/8/roma-fan-explains-latest-transfer-announcement-video-on-twitter-" target="_blank">Roma chose goats</a>. They forgot about the data on what worked for their competitors and instead asked “what if we do something else?” They chose to experiment.</p> <p>As the categories of data available to marketers have multiplied, the possibilities for experimentation have grown exponentially. However, in practice this has not led to the proliferation of a diverse range of experimental approaches to marketing. Instead, there has been a succession of “next big things” (such as <a title="How AI will impact marketing and the customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68722-how-ai-will-impact-marketing-and-the-customer-experience" target="_blank">AI</a>), which seem to sweep the industry each year. The prospective benefits of each of these potential innovations and the specific uses for them end up being submerged by the hype. Brands frantically attempt to emulate their competitors to avoid being seen as technological laggards. The appearance of innovation trumps real experimentation.</p> <p>This is because too much marketing data is not collected with a specific purpose, it is simply collected in a way that encourages marketers to emulate their competitors and reinforce the status quo. A successfully experimental approach to marketing therefore requires marketers to put their own creativity first.</p> <h3>How to experiment in marketing</h3> <p>Professor Byron Sharp recently mentioned how important it is for marketers to learn how to run “<a title="Ritson and Sharp reveal their marketing heroes and the biggest challenges facing the industry" href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/09/04/ritson-sharp/" target="_blank">proper controlled experiments</a>,” something which most formal business educations dearly lack. He is correct that experiments are only useful if they are carried out according to rigorous scientific principles (with control variables and so on).</p> <p>This emphasises the connection between the scientific and creative aspects of experimentation; marketers cannot truly have one without the other. They therefore require a consistent experimental method that can be applied repeatedly and which maintains a complementary relationship between data and innovation.</p> <p>First, an experimental method requires marketers to come up with hypotheses, i.e. “I think our content might perform better with this sort of headline” or “I think our social media engagement would be improved with this sort of video.”</p> <p>It then requires marketers to collect data for the specific purpose of testing a hypothesis. Generally this is done through A/B testing (and specifically with <a title="Using data science with A/B tests: Bayesian analysis" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65755-using-data-science-with-a-b-tests-bayesian-analysis/" target="_blank">Bayesian statistical inference</a> rather than frequentist statistical inference, given that it is <a title="What is Bayesian A/B Testing and Why is it the Best Choice for Marketers?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/blog/what-is-bayesian-ab-testing-for-marketing?ast=C8zHl9" target="_blank">better suited to getting answers quickly</a>). This approach to data allows it to inform marketers’ hypotheses in a way that complements their creativity rather than inhibits it.</p> <p>This process of testing hypotheses can then be repeated in an iterative cycle that allows marketers to try out as many new ideas as possible in order to increase the chances of a major breakthrough. This process aligns neatly with the concept of <a title="What is Agile Marketing?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/what-is-agile-marketing" target="_blank">agile marketing</a>, which perhaps goes some way towards explaining the current vogue for that term.</p> <h3>The balance of power</h3> <p>Technological advance has given marketers access to invaluable quantities of information and as a result marketing and data have become intensely-linked. However the outstanding question about this relationship is simple. Who is in charge?</p> <p>Is marketing led by the hackneyed conventional wisdom represented by existing data or is it led by marketers’ own creativity and critical thinking? Where the balance of power leans towards the data, marketers are inhibited. Where it lies with the marketers, the data can yield genuinely useful conclusions and help marketers to come up with their next great idea.</p> <p><strong><em>Need to improve your own content marketing efforts? Book yourself onto one of Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">upcoming training courses</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69425 2017-09-15T12:02:00+01:00 2017-09-15T12:02:00+01:00 10 remarkable digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Get stuck in…</p> <h3>Live stream engagement is on the rise</h3> <p>According to <a href="http://blog.globalwebindex.net/chart-of-the-day/the-rise-of-live-streaming-2/" target="_blank">GlobalWebIndex</a>, the amount of users engaging with live streams on social media has increased nearly 10%.</p> <p>Now, 28% of internet users have watched a live stream on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in the past month – up from 20% in Q3 2016. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8992/GlobalWebIndex.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="540"></p> <h3>Data usage increases while lack of transparency remains high</h3> <p>A <a href="http://media2.bazaarvoice.com/documents/more-data-more-Problems-ebook.pdf?utm_source=press%20release&amp;utm_medium=PR&amp;utm_campaign=Ad%20Age%20Research" target="_blank">new study</a> by Bazaarvoice and AdAge has revealed how digital marketers view the impact and credibility of data partnerships. </p> <p>Despite an increase in data usage, it found that there is still a lack of transparency, with both the sources and quality of the data being misunderstood and mistrusted by marketers.</p> <p>While 95% of the marketers surveyed said that they employ first- and third-party data in their media plans, 64% are unsure about the origins of their data sources. What’s more, one quarter of brand marketers do not know how often their data sources are refreshed. </p> <p>Lastly, three out of four marketers said they are not confident that their data is reaching in-market consumers, and just 23% of agency buyers are fully confident that their third-party data partners deliver against KPIs.</p> <h3>Only 17% of new leads are converted as sales &amp; marketing teams struggle to align</h3> <p>A new study by <a href="https://www.dnb.co.uk/marketing/media/state-of-sales-acceleration.html" target="_blank">Dun &amp; Bradstreet</a> has revealed that there is huge disconnect between sales and marketing teams, with just 17% of new leads being converted into revenue as a result. </p> <p>57% of marketers say that understanding their target audience is a big challenge, and 56% say that an inability to find relevant and complete data holds them back.</p> <p>Meanwhile, 24% of salespeople say they don’t have enough time to research potential customers, and 35% say they are under more pressure to provide value in a digitally-led business.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8991/Dun_and_Bradstreet.JPG" alt="" width="423" height="438"></p> <h3>72% of consumers turn to Amazon to research products</h3> <p>According to <a href="https://kenshoo.com/e-commerce-survey/" target="_blank">Kenshoo</a>, Amazon is playing an increasing role in shopping discovery, as 72% of people say they visit Amazon to research products online.</p> <p>26% of Amazon users also admit to checking for alternatives, background information, and prices on the site when they are thinking about making a potential purchase in a physical store. Meanwhile, 51% say they usually refer back to Amazon to find out additional product information or to compare prices – even if they’re happy with the offering on another retail site.</p> <p>Lastly, 9% say that they often share interesting products that they find on Amazon with friends, colleagues, and family.</p> <h3>Millennials spend more time watching time-shifted content than live TV</h3> <p><a href="https://www.cta.tech/News/Press-Releases/2017/August/Millennials-Now-Watch-More-Time-Shifted-Content-Th.aspx" target="_blank">CTA</a> (Consumer Technology Association) has revealed that millennials’ interest in live TV is dwindling, with this demographic dedicating more time to watching content after it’s already aired.</p> <p>Millennials are now dedicating 55% of their TV-watching activity to ‘time-shifted’ content – either on streaming sites or on-demand platforms – compared to 35% of people aged over 35. </p> <p>Additionally, millennials are more likely to try content recommended by predictive recommendations, with 79% saying they've watched shows that have been suggested for them.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8990/CTA.JPG" alt="" width="491" height="491"></p> <h3>Personalisation generates 50% higher email open rate</h3> <p>A new report by <a href="http://www.yeslifecyclemarketing.com/campaign/benchmarks/vwo-subject-line-benchmarks" target="_blank">Yes Lifecycle Marketing</a> has revealed that brands are failing to use personalisation in email subject lines, despite a proven increase in open rates.</p> <p>It found that messages with personalised subject lines generated a 58% higher click-to-open (CTO) rate than emails without. However, just 1.1% of all emails sent in Q2 2017 had personalisation based on name in the subject line, while 1.2% were personalised based on other factors like browser behaviour or purchase history. </p> <p>In contrast, it appears marketers are largely focusing efforts on welcome messages, with 69% sending this type of email.</p> <h3>82% of global marketers say that predictive marketing is essential</h3> <p>Forrester’s <a href="https://rocketfuel.com/tlp/" target="_blank">latest study</a> has found that the majority of global marketers believe predictive marketing is essential.</p> <p>66% of marketers in a survey said that their customer and marketing data comes from too many sources to make sense of it. Consequently, 82% said predictive marketing is essential to keep up with competitors in future.</p> <p>The survey also found that 86% of global marketers plan to increase the use of AI to drive marketing insights in the next 12 months, and 80% said they will use AI to deliver consistent, optimised, cross-device content.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8988/Forrester.JPG" alt="" width="318" height="570"></p> <h3>Half of millennials prefer sales outreach via social media</h3> <p>Research by <a href="https://getbambu.com/data-reports/q3-2017-how-to-optimize-for-social-selling/" target="_blank">Bambu</a> has revealed that millennials are keen to use social media to learn about new products and services, with 45% of this demographic more likely to prefer sales outreach via social than older generations.</p> <p>Bambu also found that 35% of people are more likely to buy from a sales representative who shares industry news and helpful content on social, and 22% say that this activity makes them more likely to follow that representative on social.</p> <p>Social selling is clearly more favourable than traditional methods such as cold-calling – just 9% of consumers say that the phone is their preferred way to hear from a company for the first time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8987/Bambu.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="467"></p> <h3>81% of retailers anticipate a future as a media company</h3> <p>According to <a href="http://go.brightcove.com/marketing-future-of-retail" target="_blank">Brightcove</a>, an increasing number of brands are taking on traditional broadcasters by producing long-form, TV-style content. As a result, 81% of retailers say they anticipate transitioning into fully-fledged media companies in future.</p> <p>From a study of 200 retail businesses in the UK, France, and Germany, Brightcove found that 61% are already offering TV-style content services, and a further 33% have plans to do so within the next two years.</p> <p>There could be resistance from consumers, however, as Brightcove also found that 41% of consumers who have previously watched this kind of content say it is too ‘salesy’, while 30% say it is inauthentic.</p> <h3>Only 9% of people visit high-street travel agents</h3> <p>Finally, <a href="https://www.apadmi.com/travel-report-2017/" target="_blank">Apadmi</a> suggests that the high-street travel agent could be under threat, as just 9% of UK holidaymakers say they now visit travel agents in person to book their holiday. This comes from a survey of 1,000 people who have gone on holiday in the past 12 months.</p> <p>The study also revealed that just 4% of 18-24 year olds have visited their high street travel agents in recent times, while this rises to 18% for people over the age of 65.</p> <p>It’s not all gloom and doom for travel agents though. Apadmi also found that an increase in technology would attract consumers back to the high street, with 48% saying they would like to see travel agents invest in augmented reality and virtual reality so they can view destinations, hotels or transport in store.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69403 2017-09-13T15:09:00+01:00 2017-09-13T15:09:00+01:00 Four ways travel brands can improve the customer experience Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently attended an event held by the DMA, where the topic of the day was how to increase levels of engagement and loyalty in the travel industry. Drawing on DMA’s research, here’s a summary of some key points to consider.</p> <h3>The gap between expectation and delivery</h3> <p>The <a href="https://dma.org.uk/research/customer-engagement-focus-on-travel" target="_blank">DMA’s new report</a> is based on a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers, with questions relating to the categories of travel accommodation, airlines, and price comparison sites.</p> <p>The first major finding cited by the event’s chairman, Scott Logie, was that consumers are more demanding. This is hardly surprising (and certainly not specific to travel), but he went on to suggest that there is still a huge gap between customer expectation and delivery.</p> <p>Essentially, travel brands are meeting customer demands to an extent, but with expectations of service and value rising so rapidly – it is difficult to keep up. Scott used the ‘razor blade’ metaphor to explain this, highlighting how consumers don’t necessarily need or expect multiple blades on a razor, but once one brand adds another, the only option for competitors is to beat it.</p> <p>That being said, the DMA found that functional features are the most important to consumers when choosing travel brands – 59% want value for money, 58% want convenience, and 58% want good customer service.</p> <p>Ultimately, this shows that operating honestly is a default expectation for consumers, not something they view as a selling point.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8789/Chart_9.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="546"></p> <h3>Brands offering greater value </h3> <p>So, which travel brands are delivering value? Here are a few examples of customer-centric brands and how they’re engaging consumers.</p> <p>US hotel chain Aloft has launched the world’s first emoji-powered room service. Called TiGi (which stands for ‘text it, get it’), it allows guests to choose between six packages, including ones specifically designed for a hangover or a day of sightseeing. Taking service to another level, it’s a good example of a brand meeting customer needs in a seamless and personalised way.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lazy to call? Just text us with emojis from our special <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AloftTiGi?src=hash">#AloftTiGi</a> menu. It's our pleasure to serve you :) <a href="https://t.co/5BneeLKP68">pic.twitter.com/5BneeLKP68</a></p> — Aloft Bangkok (@AloftBangkok) <a href="https://twitter.com/AloftBangkok/status/749482814312153089">July 3, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>SeatFrog aims to increase visibility around the upgrade process, allowing customers to bid in an auction for a seat upgrade.</p> <p>As well as using technology to enhance the travel experience, it also takes away the sometimes random nature of the airline experience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8790/seatfrog.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="397"></p> <p>Another brand to use transparency is Delta, which was the first airline to visibly map out luggage journeys. The Fly Delta mobile app now allows travellers to see their bag’s last scanned location, helping to dispel a common source of travel stress – the dreaded lost luggage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8784/Delta.JPG" alt="" width="265" height="477"></p> <p>These examples show how brands can make the shift from meeting purely functional needs to creating long-lasting and deeper relationships with consumers. </p> <p>Of course, there is still a long way to go, with one of the biggest barriers to achieving this being trust. Scott suggested that highly transactional, tech-driven services can take away much-need warmth from travel brands. The DMA's research mirrors this, with around 50% of consumers saying they have some level of trust in brands. However, this falls to just 12% of people who say they trust a brand ‘very much’.</p> <h3>Brands driving loyalty</h3> <p>53% of consumers said that good service would keep them loyal to a hotel brand, even if they could get a cheaper deal elsewhere. Meanwhile, 40% said good deals and 39% said a rewards scheme would result in greater loyalty.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8788/chart_10.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="512"></p> <p>This shows that long-term loyalty is possible for travel brands, but the key to achieving it is delivering a service that takes into account the individual’s needs. So while personalisation is somewhat of a buzzword at the moment, it’s certainly something that consumers value.</p> <p>This is reflected in the reasons certain brands are favoured by consumers. The second-most favourite, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68505-a-closer-look-at-booking-com-s-customer-focused-strategy/" target="_blank">Booking.com</a>, was chosen because of its ability to personalise and tailor offers based on previous behaviour. Similarly, the biggest factor cited for British Airways was its superior rewards scheme.</p> <p>Outside of these, there are a few standout examples of brands succeeding when it comes to loyalty.</p> <p>Hilton and its Hilton Honours Program is particularly good, mainly because it allows consumers to make use of points in situations unrelated to the brand. Members can use them in restaurants and in shops, and even pool points to share with family and friends.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/HiltonHotels">@HiltonHotels</a> for the care package to recognize Lifetime Diamond status. Loyalty pays off and I appreciate it!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hilton?src=hash">#Hilton</a> <a href="https://t.co/G5vCgh5apq">pic.twitter.com/G5vCgh5apq</a></p> — Jason Robertson (@robertson_jr3) <a href="https://twitter.com/robertson_jr3/status/887280659030519808">July 18, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Marriott is another hotel chain that is similarly innovative, this time using a beacon-driven loyalty scheme to allow people to earn rewards based on where they are. </p> <h3>New channels and technologies</h3> <p>Another way for travel brands to increase customer engagement is by meeting real-time demands based on various points in the customer’s journey.</p> <p>When it comes to the inspiration stage, where travellers are researching where to go and what to see, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66614-will-virtual-reality-revolutionise-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">virtual reality</a> offers huge potential. The DMA found that 50% of consumers are interested in using a VR headset to see what a destination might look like in advance. Unsurprisingly, interest in VR is even higher among younger consumers. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8786/VR.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="518"></p> <p>Moving on to the booking process, and this is where <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots">chatbots</a> can help make the experience much more seamless. 52% of consumers say they’d use a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots" target="_blank">chatbot</a> to ask flight-related queries, while 38% say they’d be open to booking flights via a chatbot. This shows the demand for services that can be accessed in a native social environment, where consumers are already spending much of their time.</p> <p>The travel-phase is where data-sharing comes into play once again. However, this is an area which still poses a big barrier for brands. While 51% of consumers say they’d be happy to share their data in exchange for alerts, this is only once they realise what they'll get in return.</p> <p>In his summary of the research, Scott emphasised the importance of showing consumers the value of data-sharing. This is because while the appetite for personalisation is certainly there, concerns about privacy and misuse of data can often outweigh desire.  </p> <p>Finally, augmented reality presents a big opportunity for brands during the holiday phase. 45% of consumers say they’d be interested in using AR to find out informative facts about sites of interest.</p> <p>Carnival Cruises is already using this type of in-the-moment personalisation. Its cruise wristbands send tailored offers and recommendations to guests both on-board and off, based on where they are and what they’re interacting with during their trip.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8787/Carnival_Cruise_Line.JPG" alt="" width="548" height="308"></p> <h3>Key takeaways</h3> <p>So, let’s sum up some key takeaways.</p> <ol> <li>Consumers prioritise pragmatic needs, such as honesty, authenticity, value, and good service. Brands that do not meet these expectations (or view them as standard) run the risk of losing trust.</li> <li>Customer-centric brands create deeper relationships. Offering something of value (on top of the expected) can be the key to generating longer-term loyalty. </li> <li>Transparency is key when it comes to data-sharing. Personalisation can help to improve the customer experience, so it is important to communicate this value-exchange clearly with consumers.</li> <li>In-the-moment technology can take brands to the next level. VR, AR, and chatbots can enhance and improve the travel journey, engaging consumers when it matters most.   </li> </ol> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience">How six travel &amp; hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69127-how-hotels-are-upping-the-fight-against-online-travel-agencies">How hotels are upping the fight against online travel agencies</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67658-how-hotels-can-personalize-the-customer-experience-to-compete-with-airbnb">How hotels can personalize the customer experience to compete with Airbnb</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69408 2017-09-08T09:24:38+01:00 2017-09-08T09:24:38+01:00 Birchbox's UK Managing Director on content, personalisation & forays into physical retail Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently caught up with Savannah Sachs, who is Birchbox’s UK managing director, to gain more insight into this – plus her perspective on personalisation, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing">influencers</a>, and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/customer-experience/">customer experience</a>. Here’s a run-down of our conversation.</p> <h3>Using content to shape the customer experience</h3> <p>I first asked whether Birchbox sees content as a key differentiator, and something that sets it apart from competitors. Savannah agreed, explaining exactly how this is the case in relation to the brand’s ‘try, learn, and buy’ business model. </p> <p>It all starts with the monthly subscription box, she said, with customers signing up and filling in a beauty profile that includes details such as skin and hair type, beauty concerns, and individual style. From this data, Birchbox is able to send customers five beauty samples every month. </p> <p>The customer experience doesn’t end there. This is where the ‘learn’ part comes in, as each box contains tips and tricks relating to the products inside. This then continues across all of Birchbox’s social and digital channels, allowing customers to tap into content related to the products they’re using in real-time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">How To: shape your brows with a brow pencil <a href="https://t.co/AkBr8rfNHu">https://t.co/AkBr8rfNHu</a> <a href="https://t.co/GvxDJ70zWt">pic.twitter.com/GvxDJ70zWt</a></p> — Birchbox (@BirchboxUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/BirchboxUK/status/877188062543065088">June 20, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Savannah explained that this is important because – while beauty is part of their life – customers are also likely to be busy and looking for more convenient ways to make beauty easy and fun. </p> <p>Finally, the ‘buy’ part of the business model is how the brand offers a really seamless path to purchase, with its relating ecommerce store offering an easy way for customers to buy full-sized items they might have tried in a box.</p> <blockquote> <p>We really see Birchbox as offering a 360-degree customer experience, with content being one of its core elements.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Creating personalisation that disappears</h3> <p>So where does personalisation come into play?</p> <p>Savannah explained how the beauty profile allows Birchbox to serve the most relevant content to individual customers. By stipulating what beauty products will suit them or that they’d like to try, Birchbox is able to tailor products and recommendations, also meaning each person will get a different box to their best friend, for instance.</p> <p>Alongside the benefit for customers, this also gives Birchbox’s brand partners a really powerful opportunity to target new customers.</p> <p>For example, Birchbox recently worked with Estee Lauder to specifically target a younger demographic in the UK. It sent products to customers between the ages of 24 and 34, as Estee Lauder particularly wanted to focus on millennials. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8809/estee_lauder.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="516"></p> <p>As well as introducing younger consumers to something they might not have considered before, the initiative was hugely beneficial for Estee Lauder, allowing it to align a new product launch and marketing strategy with a super-targeted demographic. </p> <p>Birchbox also takes a channel-by-channel approach to personalising content. For example, it recognises that Instagram Stories is more fun and playful, so it uses this channel to post raw, unedited, and spur-of-the-moment content. </p> <p>In contrast, it typically uses a more educational approach for its online blog, perhaps taking a deep-dive on a specific product. Essentially, it takes into account how long users spend on a particular channel as well as what they’re looking for from each.</p> <p>Another example of this is how Birchbox recently created a personalised email campaign focusing on skin type.</p> <p>Customers are able to pick a product in their beauty box each month – in July, it was offering the chance to pick between two different shades of a Benefit tint. In order to help customers choose the right shade for them, each email contained an image of a woman with a skin tone that matched the customer’s own, based on data from their beauty profile. From this, they could then easily see which product might look the best on them, without too much thought or deliberation.</p> <p>This is an example of what Birchbox calls ‘personalisation that disappears’.</p> <blockquote> <p>It is seamless, easy and feels right. It doesn’t require any work from the customer other than filling in their beauty profile – we then make use of that data throughout the customer journey.</p> </blockquote> <h3>The importance of user generated content</h3> <p>User-generated content is also critical for Birchbox. Savannah explained how the brand considers its subscribers to be its influencers, and a powerful way to help its growth. This is because Birchbox drives a good amount of acquisition organically, but also because word-of-mouth helps to make its paid acquisition activity much more efficient. </p> <p>In order to generate this type of content, the brand is focused on creating a monthly box experience that customers love and will want to share with friends on their social channels. In also means asking questions like ‘what’s going to make this month's box design super Instagrammable?’ or ‘why would a person feel proud to show this off?’</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8806/Birchbox_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="500"></p> <p>Next, it focuses on amplifying this organic word of mouth – and that’s typically been done via Facebook and Instagram, where the brand focuses the majority of its paid acquisition work. That being said, Birchbox is not entirely against using paid influencers to help attract new customers, doing so on a relatively small scale.</p> <p>Interestingly, Savannah said that the reason that it prefers user-generated content over paid influencers is all down to targeting. It aims to target a different kind of customer than other traditional beauty brands. </p> <p>Instead of the ‘beauty junkie’ – someone who is knowledgeable, trend-aware, and who follows all the top influencers – Birchbox is going after the ‘beauty majority’.</p> <p>This is because while the beauty junkie spends a lot of her disposable income on cosmetics, research indicates that she only makes up about 20% of women. In contrast, the more casual beauty consumer – who is willing to invest but needs help to figure out what’s right for her – makes up the rest. This consumer truly values having Birchbox as a sort of ‘beauty editor best friend’, to recommend and steer her in the right direction. </p> <blockquote> <p>In terms of appealing to this customer profile, Birchbox strives to be approachable, meaning it makes more sense to focus on the everyday woman rather than the expert influencer.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Translating the CX offline</h3> <p>Birchbox has a physical retail store in New York City, with imminent plans to open one in Paris. </p> <p>I asked Savannah how Birchbox is able to translate the customer experience into physical retail, especially considering that part of its USP is all about the convenience of delivery and laid-back discovery. In this sense, will customers seek out physical stores? </p> <p>Savannah assured me that, as a company which is about driving discovery and purchase online, Birchbox will always be digital-first. However, taking into consideration everything it has learned about its customer-base, it also realised that it has something quite unique to offer in terms of a bricks and mortar experience. </p> <p>The main innovation of its physical stores is that it does in fact mirror the online shopping experience. Its stores are merchandised by product type and category rather than brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8804/Birchbox_bricks_and_mortar.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="442"></p> <p>The reason being is that it does not believe the beauty majority has enough expertise to walk into a department store, with tens of thousands of products merchandised by brand, and know where to start. Instead, the beauty majority walks into a store and thinks ‘I’d love to get a new mascara’ or ‘I’ve never used a highlighter – where do I begin?’. </p> <p>It’s much easier to go to a shelf with all the mascaras side by side, to touch and try and compare. And albeit without the touch element, that’s exactly how customers navigate online shopping. </p> <blockquote> <p>An online customer will click into make-up, then eyes, then mascara – they would not typically navigate by brand. Our key innovation is bringing that online experience and navigation into the brick and mortar store – to make it easy for the customer to find the right product for them.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Channels of focus</h3> <p>I finished by asking Savannah where Birchbox’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content strategy</a> might be heading next. </p> <p>Interestingly, she cited Facebook Live as a big focus. The brand currently streams on the platform once a week, typically using a casual, Q&amp;A-style format to encourage interaction. Videos are always fronted by Birchbox employees to make it feel authentic and approachable. </p> <p>It’s clear the channel is proving successful. Birchbox now sees about 4x the engagement on Facebook Live than it does for other types of Facebook content. What’s more, its Facebook Live content is getting about 5x the views and engagement as it did a year ago.  </p> <p>A recent Facebook Live called ‘Three ways to mermaid’ generated 18,000 views, proving that there is an appetite for this kind of fun and lightweight content. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBirchboxUK%2Fvideos%2F1415131011870060%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Finally, mobile is also an incredibly important focus for Birchbox, with 65% of UK traffic coming from mobile devices. Savannah emphasised that everything the brand does from a content perspective has to be mobile-first. While cutting down on copy, making sure images are optimised, and limiting vertical scroll is not rocket science, these elements are vital to the customer experience.</p> <p>Similarly, in order to truly engage customers, the content needs to be relevant to where they’re going to view it, and that is increasingly on a smartphone. </p> <blockquote> <p>Something that’s core to our overall strategy, but specifically in terms of digital content and social, is making sure everything we do is optimised for mobile.</p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong> Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality">Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68689-how-the-beauty-industry-is-embracing-the-internet-of-things">How the beauty industry is embracing the Internet of Things</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67884-seven-ways-social-media-is-shaping-the-beauty-industry">Seven ways social media is shaping the beauty industry</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69338 2017-08-17T10:00:00+01:00 2017-08-17T10:00:00+01:00 Five companies using robots and AI to make a difference Nikki Gilliland <p>This is naturally a big concern - but there <em>is</em> a flip side. We’re all aware of how AI technology is changing the ways consumers interact with companies, by making processes faster, easier, and more streamlined than ever before. But more than this, artificial intelligence is starting to have a greater and positive impact on society as a whole.</p> <p>So, putting the aforementioned matters aside for a moment, here are five companies using AI intelligence to make a difference in consumers lives.</p> <h3>No Isolation</h3> <p>For children with a chronic or long-term illness, being unable to attend school doesn’t only mean missing out on vital education. It also means missing out on crucial social interaction, often leading to high levels of isolation and loneliness. </p> <p>A new startup company called No Isolation is aiming to transform the lives of children struggling with this issue with the world’s first ‘telepresence robot’.</p> <p>Essentially, the robot takes the place of the person in the classroom when they cannot attend. It allows them to listen as well as participate by controlling the system through an app while at home. If the child is feeling too poorly or sad to contribute – they can also turn on a blue light on the head of the robot to signify passive learning.</p> <p>While the technology itself is not revolutionary, it is revolutionising the lives of the children using it. By taking away feelings of social isolation, and helping to ease worries about going back to school after prolonged periods, it’s having a direct and positive impact on its target consumer. No Isolation is also working on a product to help senior citizens dealing with loneliness.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GfHBsmswe8s?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Microsoft</h3> <p>From a startup to one of the world’s biggest brands – Microsoft has invested heavily in AI in the past few years. ‘Seeing AI’ is one of the first examples to come to fruition – an app that uses artificial intelligence to help visually impaired people.</p> <p>The app uses an iPhone camera to tell people what’s happening around them, using neural networks to identify people, objects, and even the emotions of others via facial recognition.</p> <p>One of the most functional aspects is its ability to recognise US currency, something that is usually impossible for visually impaired people due to the fact that all bills are the same size and shape. Similarly useful, it helps identify everyday household objects by scanning barcodes, and recites text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.</p> <p>With further research in speech recognition, as well as the agricultural and healthcare industries – it is clear that Microsoft is intent on harnessing the power of AI for positive change.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bqeQByqf_f8?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Darktrace</h3> <p>Cybercrime <a href="http://fortune.com/2017/06/22/cybersecurity-business-fights-back/" target="_blank">reportedly cost</a> the global economy an estimated $450bn in 2016. Now, a new wave of companies is aiming to fight back, with many using AI to identify and prevent digital attacks. </p> <p>Darktrace is one of the most valuable, having recently raised $75m in funding. By using machine learning technology to analyse network traffic and track threats, Darktrace is able to quickly identify anomalies. Moreover, it is able to do so without slowing down or disrupting normal operations.</p> <p>With organisations taking an average of 99 days in 2016 to realise they had been breached, this kind of AI technology can rapidly alter the speed at which attacks are quashed. Meanwhile, as an increasing number of cyber-attacks are now said to involve altering data rather than merely stealing it – AI can help to prevent potentially catastrophic outcomes. For example, in healthcare industries, where altering medical records can lead to the possible misdiagnoses of patients. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AI?src=hash">#AI</a> tech caught a malicious <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/insider?src=hash">#insider</a> trying to harvest user credentials - learn how in our Global Threat Report <a href="https://t.co/ZDAQQwt7fw">https://t.co/ZDAQQwt7fw</a> <a href="https://t.co/t1B8vQoeIn">pic.twitter.com/t1B8vQoeIn</a></p> — Darktrace (@Darktrace) <a href="https://twitter.com/Darktrace/status/892680454138187777">August 2, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Leka</h3> <p>New <a href="http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/393/eaag2882" target="_blank">research</a> from the University of North Carolina and Washington University has found that an AI can identify autistic children before they display overt behavioural symptoms. By training a machine learning algorithm on the behaviour and earlier MRI data of children with autism, scientists then built a model that predicted a number of other autism cases.</p> <p>The potential for early diagnosis is not the only way AI is having an impact. A new motion-sensitive robot named Leka has been developed to help children with autism spectrum disorder, Down’s syndrome and other disabilities develop motor, cognitive and emotional skills.</p> <p>As children with autism struggle with interacting and communicating with others, Leka acts as an intermediary. While it is designed to display some human characteristics, such as facial expressions, it can be customised to adapt to the child’s individual needs for engagement and interaction. Alongside the direct benefits to the children, Leka is also having a huge impact of the lives of therapists, parents and care-givers – helping to reduce anxiety in both learning and day-to-day life.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/luN84iqllIA?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Babylon Health</h3> <p>Machine learning is changing the way the healthcare industry diagnoses and treats serious diseases like cancer and diabetes, with the technology being used to read CT scans and X-rays.</p> <p>In the UK, start up digital healthcare company Babylon Health is aiming to revolutionise the diagnoses of routine conditions, creating an AI doctor that takes the place of a GP.</p> <p>The app, which is currently being used by 800,000 people, allows patients to text their symptoms and receive advice from the AI. Babylon then advises whether or not medical care is needed, also providing the option of a video-consultation with a real doctor.</p> <p>Interestingly, the NHS is currently trialling the service in areas of London as an alternative to the 111 number, which offers free medical advice on the telephone. With the potential to offer cost savings, as well as free up time for busy GP’s – Babylon is being touted as a positive step for healthcare professionals. Meanwhile, with Babylon claiming that its technology can help cut diagnosis time by 50% - it’s also aiming to make the experience more positive and convenient for patients.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CMD6B8h6Pzg?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68722-how-ai-will-impact-marketing-and-the-customer-experience">How AI will impact marketing and the customer experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69098-could-ai-revolutionize-high-street-retail-as-well-as-ecommerce/">Could AI revolutionize high street retail as well as ecommerce?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing">15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69296 2017-07-28T14:34:27+01:00 2017-07-28T14:34:27+01:00 10 superb digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>On we go…</p> <h3>Only 25% of data is being used for real-time customer engagement</h3> <p>Despite 60% of UK organisations believing that real-time customer engagement can deliver a 10%-40% increase in revenue, those same organisations are collecting less than a third of relevant data on their customers.</p> <p>What’s more, just 25% of this dataset is being used in segmentation for real-time customer engagement.</p> <p>These stats come from SAS’s <a href="https://www.sas.com/en_gb/whitepapers/real-time-customer-experience-report.html" target="_blank">Age of Now</a> report, which also reveals how slow companies are to act. It says that only 16% of UK organisations can adjust their marketing communication in real-time based on customer behaviour.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7888/SAS.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="327"></p> <h3>42% of customers more impatient due to reliance on technology</h3> <p>A new survey by Fetch and YouGov suggests UK consumers are increasingly looking to new technology for functional purposes, with 81% of millennials being more receptive than older generations to try new tech in order to improve the speed at which they do things.</p> <p>42% of UK consumers now say they are more impatient today than they were five years ago, mainly due to an over-reliance on technology to complete everyday life activities.</p> <p>When it comes to food, 61% of Brits are unwilling to wait 45 minutes or more for a takeaway they ordered online or using an app. Similarly, 22% of consumers say they are only willing to wait between 11-15mins for a taxi service.</p> <h3>CPC costs reach an all-time high</h3> <p>iProspect has just released its <a href="https://www.iprospect.com/en/us/insights/povs/paid-search-trends-2017-q2/" target="_blank">Q2 report</a>, which includes in-depth analysis of data from more than 1,800 AdWords accounts.</p> <p>It has revealed that CPC costs continued to rise in Q2, reaching their highest recorded levels since 2014. Despite this, iProspect found year-on-year impressions and clicks declined 16% and 27.5% respectively, as advertisers were forced to pay more per click while dealing with diminishing budgets.</p> <p>Elsewhere, it found mobile CPC to be on the rise, increasing 17% from Q1 to Q2 of this year and 52% year-on-year. Similarly, mobile click share increased 22% year-on-year. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7890/iProspect.JPG" alt="" width="743" height="547"></p> <h3>Over 60% of SMB’s attribute half or more of sales to Amazon</h3> <p>In a survey of 503 small- to mid-size retailers, NetElixir found that 60% of respondents attribute 50% or more of their ecommerce sales to Amazon. Interestingly, 26.6% are seeing a 50/50 split from their website vs. marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.</p> <p>In terms of the reasons why SMBs are choosing to sell on Amazon, 52% said that the potential for increased sales volume is the biggest benefit, 32.6% said increased brand exposure and 11.3% noted solid infrastructure. Conversely, 45% cited lower margins as the biggest downside.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What was the biggest benefit and downside of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Amazon?src=hash">#Amazon</a>? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/webinar?src=hash">#webinar</a> <a href="https://t.co/OhOnUZG67Z">pic.twitter.com/OhOnUZG67Z</a></p> — NetElixir (@NetElixir) <a href="https://twitter.com/NetElixir/status/890292060938543105">July 26, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>UK advertising spend grows 1.3% YoY in Q1 2017</h3> <p>WARC’s latest <a href="http://expenditurereport.warc.com/" target="_blank">Expenditure Report</a> has revealed that overall ad spend grew 1.3% to reach £5.318bn in Q1 2017. But despite being the 15th consecutive quarter of growth, it was actually the slowest rate seen in four years.</p> <p>This growth also occurred despite a 6.2% decline in total television advertising spend – TV’s first fall since 2009. However, it is forecast to recover next year with 2.5% growth in 2018.</p> <p>Meanwhile, online ad spend grew 10.1% year-on-year, and mobile growth was recorded at an impressive 36.2%.</p> <h3>Retailers wrongly assume that customers value speed over free shipping</h3> <p>According to a new report by <a href="http://www2.temando.com/l/86602/2017-07-10/4g564b" target="_blank">Temando</a>, 86% of UK shoppers prefer free delivery over fast delivery. However, the majority of retailers’ surveyed wrongly assume that customers place greater value on a fast shipping service.</p> <p>As a result of this misconception, many retailers are failing to respond to customer demands, with just 27% offering free standard shipping every day. Even worse, almost a quarter of retailers admit that that they don't use free shipping as a promotional tool.</p> <p>With 58% of shoppers stating that they’d shop more if free shipping was offered, many online retailers are still missing a trick.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7889/Tamando.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="439"></p> <h3>Usage of connected TV’s predicted to grow 10.1% in the US this year</h3> <p>Emarketer says that usage of connected TVs will continue to surge in 2017, with 168.1m Americans predicted to use an internet-connected television this year – up 10.1% on 2016.</p> <p>In terms of brands, it predicts that 38.9m Americans will use a Roku device at least once a month – 19.3% more than in 2016. Meanwhile, 36.9m will use a ChromeCast and 35.8m will use an Amazon Fire TV. Just 21.3m users are expected to use an Apple TV.</p> <h3>AI predicted to create over 2.5m jobs in the next 15 years</h3> <p>PwC has estimated that by 2030, 30% of British jobs will be lost to automation. On the back of this, <a href="https://joblift.co.uk/Press/artificial-intelligence-and-automation-potential-job-creation-will-fill-only-19-of-the-hole-left-by-robotic-job-replacement" target="_blank">Joblift</a> has further analysed the situation, comparing potential job creation with jobs lost.</p> <p>Research shows that 136,939 jobs dealing with AI and automation have been posted in the last 12 months, and jobs in this field have increased by an average of 0.06% each month.</p> <p>On this basis, calculations suggest that over the next 15 years, AI, automation and robotics will create 2,535,009 new jobs in total. However, by 2031, 13,375,363 jobs will be at risk from automation, meaning that newly created roles would be able to fill only 19% of the jobs lost.</p> <h3>John Lewis tops UK brand health rankings</h3> <p>John Lewis has ranked first in YouGov’s BrandIndex list of UK brand ‘health’. The ranking is based on consumer perceptions of a brand’s quality, value, impression, satisfaction, reputation and whether consumers would recommend the brand to others.</p> <p>BBC iPlayer comes in at number two on the list, followed by Sony and Marks &amp; Spencer. In contrast to these older, more heritage-based brands, the global list was topped by younger tech brands like Google, YouTube, and Facebook. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7892/Brand_health.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="291"></p> <h3>Cause-related ads generate more views &amp; engagement</h3> <p><a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/video/cause-related-marketing-purpose-driven-ads/" target="_blank">Pixability</a> has revealed that the number of cause-related ads created by the top 100 global brands has increased four times over the past five years.</p> <p>Women’s empowerment accounted for 24% of these ads, making it the top featured issue. Meanwhile, 17% of ads were related to the topic of community aid and 14% were about sustainability.</p> <p>Pixability also found that the average number of views for cause-driven videos was almost 1m more than for those not related to a particular cause. The engagement rate was also 0.31% for cause-related ads compared to 0.29% for the rest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7891/Cause_related_ads.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="384"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69260 2017-07-21T09:39:19+01:00 2017-07-21T09:39:19+01:00 Four ways hotels and accommodation sites can increase direct bookings Nikki Gilliland <p>Along with <a href="http://www.newsroom.barclays.com/r/3493/uk_holidaymakers__booking_direct__through_hotel_websites" target="_blank">these findings</a>, other research also suggests that certain hotels are experiencing a surge in direct bookings. Take Premier Inn, for instance, whose website accounted for 87% of all its bookings in 2016. That said, at other hotel chains, like Hilton, direct bookings are far lower as they struggle to compete with aggregator sites.</p> <p>So, what can we learn from Premier Inn? And how can both UK and international hotels increase their direct bookings? Here’s just four factors that could make a difference.</p> <h3>Mobile optimisation</h3> <p>Google’s 2016 Travel Trends report suggests that 60% of searches for travel information come from mobile. Meanwhile, conversion rates have grown 88% on mobile travel sites. So in order to capture some of this search interest – and draw users away from online travel agencies – hotels need to ensure a good mobile UX across all channels and throughout every step of the journey.</p> <p>This doesn't only mean in terms of the immediate booking process, either. </p> <p>Interestingly, hotel apps and mobile bookings are said to lead to greater levels of satisfaction compared to the same technology delivered by a third party or OTA. A survey from J.D. Power found that guests who book through an online travel agency or a mobile app not directly associated with a hotel are more likely to experience a problem and be less satisfied with their stay overall.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7599/Mobile_check_in.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="486"></p> <p>This suggests that a mobile strategy is not only important for first-time direct bookings, but to increase the likelihood of <em>repeat</em> direct bookings – as well as long-term loyalty. Features like mobile tickets and check-in can be hugely beneficial for increasing satisfaction and keeping consumers coming back.</p> <h3>Perks and benefits</h3> <p>In order to sway people away from the perceived cheaper and more flexible options provided by travel agents and aggregator sites, hotels and self-accommodation companies must provide clear incentives.</p> <p>This usually comes in the form of discounts and offers for direct bookings – alongside even greater incentives for joining loyalty programmes. We’ve recently seen many large hotel chains heavily promote this as part of marketing campaigns, specifically Hilton and its ‘Stop Clicking Around’ ads.</p> <p>As well as highlighting the benefits of being an HHonors member, the campaign also points consumers towards other perks such as free WiFi and arrival gifts.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DsZkUAAAv5I?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It is this added value that really sets direct bookings apart from OTAs. But interestingly, it appears to be smaller or independent hotels who are largely capitalising on this, using unique incentives to entice consumers to book direct.</p> <p>The small Hawaiian hotel chain, Aqua-Aston, offers a free $20 Starbucks gift card if guests book direct. Meanwhile, Hotel Amarano in California offers guests either a $25 credit to use at the hotel’s restaurants or to receive a room upgrade. These incentives are not particularly ground-breaking, but against a third-party site offering nothing much more than the standard cheapest tariff it's easy to see how it might improve conversions.</p> <p>That being said, incentives don’t always have to involve personal gain. Last year, the Omni Hotels group launched the ‘Say goodnight to hunger’ campaign, which saw the hotel donate to Feeding America for every stay booked directly through the brand’s website. Each donation would provide dinner for a family of four for an entire week.</p> <p>Not only did this clever strategy enable the hotel to increase the likelihood of direct bookings, but it also contributed to positive brand perception and a reputation as a company that cares about social good.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you for helping us make such an incredible impact in just one year. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SayGoodnightToHunger?src=hash">#SayGoodnightToHunger</a><a href="https://t.co/3Sqg5JdEiI">https://t.co/3Sqg5JdEiI</a> <a href="https://t.co/B2gXZaI9oL">pic.twitter.com/B2gXZaI9oL</a></p> — Omni Hotels (@OmniHotels) <a href="https://twitter.com/OmniHotels/status/877998060399321089">June 22, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Personalisation</h3> <p>One way hotels can enhance incentives is to add <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience">personalisation</a>, or any elements that will help to build a direct relationship between the company and consumer. Again, this can be done through loyalty programs, such as HHonors members being able to share preferences in order to customise their hotel stay. However, when it comes to direct bookings, this type of personalisation is most effective early on in the customer journey.</p> <p>Data is a key enabler, of course, allowing hotels to track and monitor user behaviour. This means that if someone browses and abandons a site before booking, the hotel can re-target them with personalised and tailored messages. </p> <p>There is the argument that hotels should not dismiss OTAs entirely, as they can help to increase awareness and boost bookings (despite taking a commission). But often consumers tend to browse hotel websites in conjunction with OTAs. This perhaps means the focus should not always be on getting people to visit a site – but on keeping them there. Companies like HotelChamp use technology to do exactly this, using data to engage with potential guests and optimise sites accordingly. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Wondering what the advantages of direct bookings are compared to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OTAs?src=hash">#OTAs</a>? Read our latest blog! <a href="https://t.co/t40p02pQno">https://t.co/t40p02pQno</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bookdirect?src=hash">#bookdirect</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hotels?src=hash">#hotels</a></p> — Hotelchamp (@Hotelchamp_com) <a href="https://twitter.com/Hotelchamp_com/status/883324839808954373">July 7, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Human interaction</h3> <p>A final reason that consumers might be swayed towards direct bookings (both on and offline) is any kind of human interaction. Unlike OTAs, which usually involve communication via digital channels, hotels can benefit from reaching out to customers via the telephone.</p> <p>Telephone communication remains desirable in the US, where 8% of people prefer to book their holidays over the phone versus 4% of other global travellers. Similarly, 15% of US consumers prefer to do it in person compared to 11% elsewhere. </p> <p>Hoteliers can capitalise on this through online customer service channels, making features like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68898-seven-retailers-that-use-live-chat-to-improve-customer-service/">live chat</a> highly visible on homepages. Not only does it offer a one-to-one connection to hotels (which is often absent on OTAs) but it also helps to dispel any queries or concerns which may lead to abandonment.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64395-google-click-to-call-used-by-more-than-40-of-mobile-searchers">Click-to-call</a> functionality on mobile is also key, helping to convert customers in the moment of browsing. This is because, in such a competitive market, an immediate answer could potentially mean the difference between a direct or abandoned booking.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66551-how-hotel-websites-can-improve-the-booking-experience">How hotel websites can improve the booking experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65964-why-do-people-abandon-online-travel-bookings">Why do people abandon online travel bookings?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/65940-10-essential-features-for-travel-websites">10 essential features for travel websites</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69254 2017-07-20T09:44:00+01:00 2017-07-20T09:44:00+01:00 Four key digital challenges for IT leaders in 2017 Nikki Gilliland <p>Based on a sample of more than 500 IT leaders, here are a few key charts from the research, highlighting the biggest hurdles IT professionals currently face.  </p> <h3>1. Threat of security breaches</h3> <p>While technical skill is still a given, the role of senior executive within IT departments has evolved into something much broader, requiring a deeper understanding of business objectives. This also means creating a bridge between technology and other areas of the business such as HR, finance, and marketing. </p> <p>This focus on the wider customer experience has also led to the concept of the ‘chief integration officer’ – someone who is able to influence the overall strategic vision of a business. Following on from this, it is clear that the challenges faced by IT leaders are much more complex than they once were.</p> <p>Now, the threat of security breaches and cyber-attacks is cited as a key concern by 41% of respondents – higher than any other area.</p> <p>Perhaps unsurprisingly, executives at organisations with annual revenues exceeding £150m are more likely than their peers at smaller organisations to reference security as a major challenge.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7501/Security_attacks.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="535"></p> <h3>2. Finding the right mix of skills</h3> <p>Interestingly, it is larger organisations that cite lower levels of confidence in their digital skills mix, with just 58% agreeing that they are well-positioned in this area compared to 61% of smaller organisations. </p> <p>Similarly, European organisations seem less confident than their American and APAC counterparts. Talent availability is seen as more of a challenge than in other regions, with availability of individuals with the right mix of skills being cited as a top-three internal problem by more than 34% of European respondents.</p> <p>This is also the case when it comes to culture, with 61% of European respondents describing their company culture as "innovative, adaptable and undertaking a ‘fail fast’ approach". When compared with 68% of respondents saying the same for North America and 75% in APAC, it’s clear that Europe is still playing catch up.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7504/Skills_and_culture.JPG" alt="" width="739" height="618"></p> <h3>3. Escaping silos</h3> <p>In terms of internal barriers, it appears the age-old problem of organisational structure remains the biggest. 42% of executives cited frustration with departmental silos and bureaucratic processes, while 41% expressed frustration over integrating legacy systems with new tools and technologies.</p> <p>This is even more the case for larger organisations in Europe, with 52% of European respondents citing bureaucracy as a top internal barrier.</p> <p>Interestingly, while support from senior management is less of a concern, a lack of shared vision relating to the meaning of digital transformation appears to be sustaining conflict. Again, this challenge is slightly more evident in Europe, tying in with the aforementioned struggles of skills and culture.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7506/Silos.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="541"></p> <h3>4. Keeping abreast of innovation</h3> <p>With IT executives now expected to help drive marketing strategy, keeping ahead of major technologies connected to innovation is another growing challenge – especially for larger organisations.</p> <p>46% of executives at larger companies are more inclined to feel pressure regarding tracking technology and innovation trends compared to 36% of smaller company peers. Interestingly, IT executives appear to be looking outside of their organisations to keep abreast of technological innovation. More than half of respondents say they exploit technology content sites and webcasts and webinars.</p> <p>Lastly, the challenge to keep on top of innovation also extends to finding talent, with increasing importance in striking a balance between traditional technical knowledge and softer skills such as communication, co-operation and strategic thinking.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7508/Innovation.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="550"></p> <p><em><strong>Subscribers can download the full <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/2017-digital-trends-in-it/">2017 Digital Trends in IT Report</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69246 2017-07-13T14:21:24+01:00 2017-07-13T14:21:24+01:00 Why Adidas is moving into utility marketing with All Day fitness app Nikki Gilliland <p>Its MiCoach app (now Runtastic) aims to help improve users’ fitness performance, while its Adidas Confirmed app lets users know about exclusive product releases.</p> <p>Now, Adidas is taking a broader approach, combining different types of health and fitness tracking technology into a single app. 'All Day' – just launched in the US – is an all-encompassing version designed to help users ‘begin their journey to well-being’. </p> <p>But, is there a market for yet another sports-brand app? More to the point, how will Adidas benefit? </p> <h3>Technology to manage health, not just fitness</h3> <p>From the Nike+ Training Club app to MyFitnessPal and Fitbit, there are a tonne of similar apps on the market. Interestingly, Adidas’s All Day app does not appear to be a carbon copy of other brand examples, instead, focusing much more on health and well-being for women.</p> <p>While it is inspired by sport, the app is tailored around four distinct categories of movement, nutrition, mindset, and rest. This means if the user is not that interested in one category, such as exercise, they’ll still be able to gain value from others like food and sleep.</p> <p>Essentially, it’s an interesting example of utility marketing, with Adidas ensuring that it is there to meet the individuals needs at any time – without directly promoting its core products.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GvQfVjpDTwM?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>Moving into the health industry could prove to be a shrewd move from Adidas. According to research, two-thirds of Americans <a href="http://www.itnonline.com/content/two-thirds-americans-favor-digital-personal-health-management" target="_blank">favour digital health management</a> over physical. Meanwhile, healthcare apps have seen a surge in interest, with a 16% increase in downloads during the past two years.</p> <p>Adidas is not the only brand to veer into this market. Under Armour’s Record app is also geared around general health verticals such as fitness, nutrition, and sleep – capitalising on its ability to track and help users throughout the entire day, not just during moments of exercise. </p> <h3>Using content to inspire</h3> <p>One way the Adidas All Day app differentiates itself from the competition is by going beyond performance tracking, also using content to inspire users. </p> <p>This part of the app is called ‘Discoveries’, with the current selection including recipes and healthy eating tips from food author, Candice Kumai, and a custom music playlist from DJ Nina Las Vegas. </p> <p>As well as capitalising on the authority of influencers, Adidas is focusing on high-quality content to tap into the general lifestyle interests of women. </p> <p>The aim here is to provide more than just utility. So while some people might use fitness apps for a while and then forget about them, or only think of using them in the moment of exercise, Adidas wants to provide the inspiration for maintaining and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7415/Adidas_All_Day_2.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="604"></p> <p>Furthermore, instead of focusing on hardcore or lengthy workout programs, it focuses on setting short term goals – where the length and category is chosen by the user.</p> <p>For example, if you’re interested in setting up a healthy eating plan, you can choose a select number of recipes to try – which the app will then remind you about and mark as complete as you go. The same goes for exercise plans and sleep aids. </p> <p>By breaking everything down into manageable chunks, the hope is that users might be more inclined to sustain usage over time.</p> <h3>Expanding digital presence</h3> <p>The app is not the only example of Adidas targeting a female audience or experimenting with other forms of utility marketing. In the UK, it launched a chatbot to let consumers find out information and book fitness classes in its East London studio. </p> <p>The chatbot received 2,000 sign ups with a 60% retention rate after the first week of launch, proving that online users often value practicality over pure entertainment.</p> <p>Adidas appears to be using both to promote the All Day app on social media, pulling in lifestyle-based content from its blog as well as promoting features such as the ability to set mini challenges.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Make every movement count.</p> <p>Take on challenges on the new All Day App: <a href="https://t.co/ZCnUASMOYR">https://t.co/ZCnUASMOYR</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/adidasALLDAY?src=hash">#adidasALLDAY</a> <a href="https://t.co/haamf50fZc">pic.twitter.com/haamf50fZc</a></p> — ADIDAS NYC (@adidasNYC) <a href="https://twitter.com/adidasNYC/status/883037976007024640">July 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>It’s also capitalising on influencer involvement, featuring popular lifestyle bloggers on its Instagram channel – another sign that it’s set on widening its target demographic rather than a niche, fitness-focused audience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7413/Adidas_insta.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="478"></p> <h3>Building brand affinity</h3> <p>The main benefit of utility marketing is that it helps to create brand affinity, with users potentially more likely to favour Adidas products when considering a purchase.</p> <p>While this naturally extends to Adidas sportswear and apparel, there’s also the question of whether Adidas will introduce a wearable tie-in.</p> <p>This has been the pattern for many sports brands up until now, starting with Nike+ and its Fuelband. Despite Nike going back to being a third-party app (now compatible with the Apple Watch), others have since entered the market, including Under Armour and its Healthbox wearable, and New Balance and its RunIQ smartwatch.</p> <p>As it stands, the new Adidas app can be paired with Apple’s Health Kit and Google Fit, and it looks like it won’t be long before a new official wearable is launched.</p> <p>It’s been reported that the device featured in the press photos for the All Day app is the all-new Adidas fitness tracker – thought to be called ‘Chameleon’. Said to be a rival for Fitbit, it will include a heart-rate sensor, as well as tie-ins with healthcare partners like Verily and American College of Sports Medicine. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7414/Chameleon.JPG" alt="" width="606" height="344"></p> <p>So, could Adidas take a share of the lucrative wearable market?</p> <p>Fitbit is currently the dominant player, with the brand seeing the most amount of downloads for its accompanying app. That being said, there has been rising concern over privacy rights, with many big wearable companies coming under fire for vague and convoluted T&amp;C’s. </p> <p>Alongside privacy concerns, one of the biggest reasons for wearable abandonment (a <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/article/a-third-of-wearable-devices-abandoned-by-consumers-gartner/" target="_blank">third of all owners</a> are reported to not wear their device) is said to be guilt or frustration for failing to reach their fitness goals. </p> <p>As less of a goal-setting app, and more of a lifestyle support, this is one area that Adidas might be able to capitalise on.</p> <p>By focusing more on flexibility rather than serious workouts, it could appeal to a wider demographic, as well as consumers already interested in its fashion-focused collections such as Adidas Originals.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69086-how-adidas-uses-digital-to-enable-powerful-experiences/" target="_blank">How Adidas uses digital to enable powerful experiences</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65598-nike-vs-adidas-which-provides-the-best-ecommerce-experience" target="_blank">Nike vs. Adidas: which provides the best ecommerce experience?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68785-how-adidas-originals-uses-social-media-to-drive-sales/" target="_blank">How Adidas Originals uses social media to drive sales</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69173 2017-07-11T15:55:00+01:00 2017-07-11T15:55:00+01:00 Customer experience in Amazon's New York book store: Why not just buy it online? Charles Wade <p>Upon arrival customers are met by greeters (the first faces of Amazon, aside from CEO Jeff Bezos) who are both eager to help and distinctly Apple-esque, albeit dressed in checked shirts, jeans, and Converse – rather than seasonal t-shirts – giving more than a hint of the company’s Seattle roots.</p> <p> Whilst meandering through, it becomes apparent that all the usual categories exist: Fiction, Kids, Cooking; indeed, everything you might <em>expect</em> from a book store. Slightly depressingly, ‘Self-Improvement’ was the busiest of all...</p> <p>There is alchemy here though. Firstly, all the stocked editions have an amazon.com rating of four stars and above. Moreover, they have clearly been chosen based on what is popular in New York, utilising troves of data that the company has on the city's inhabitants. Perusing the travel section’s destinations brings this to life: London, Paris, Europe, Costa Rica, and the new darling of affluent Manhattanites, Cuba!</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">I had time before a doctor's appointment in Columbus Circle, so I went to see New York's first Amazon Books store. It's interesting.... <a href="https://t.co/jyzwJhVBpU">pic.twitter.com/jyzwJhVBpU</a></p> — Kate (@librarian_kate) <a href="https://twitter.com/librarian_kate/status/872827409321611264">June 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>It is certainly Prime time, with calls to action <em>everywhere</em> highlighting the advantages of signing-up to the premium shipping and content service. Pricing is one such example: Prime members and Amazon device owners pay the same in-store as they would have had they bought the books from the website, whereas everyone else is charged the (typically more expensive) list price.</p> <p>Strangely, ancillary items – like water bottles and key-finding devices – have no prices shown; no stickers nor shelf placards. As such, the customer must scan them using either the Amazon app or in-store machines, or take them to a cashier. Either way, the process buys time and, importantly, takes them away from the shelf, building a connection and making it harder to simply put the product back.<br> </p> <p>One obvious concept, well-executed, is relaying customer feedback. One wall is adorned with ‘Books with more than 10,000 reviews’; then there are ‘Most popular’ titles such as <em>Fahrenheit 451</em>; or ‘91% of people rated this 5 stars’; alongside individual customer reviews. A chalk board behind the till-point allows the in-house team to highlight weekly bestsellers. </p> <p>As with iPads in the Apple Store, the Kindle is deployed as a reference tool for visitors to use to search for recommendations. Intriguingly, digital best-practice has been brought to life with a wall of ‘If you liked then you’ll love’, where popular titles are paired alongside each other. Again, it is likely that this has been driven by oodles of user behaviour but it was compelling – gorgeous covers combined with intrigue.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here's a peak at the first brick and mortar Amazon Bookstore, Columbus Circle, New York City. Far from our beloved 66 St B&amp;N, but I liked it <a href="https://t.co/k49GaTHS01">pic.twitter.com/k49GaTHS01</a></p> — (((Orchid))) (@OrchidNYC) <a href="https://twitter.com/OrchidNYC/status/872991098398027776">June 9, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, there is no order and ship directly to home option. (Maybe that was a pastiche too far, with Bonobos still <em>the</em> player in that space.) As with most book shops magazines are also on show – think GQ, Cosmopolitan, Outdoor Magazine – along with Osprey backpacks and hiking equipment; coffee presses, and nick knacks tempt the customer throughout journey to the checkout. </p> <p>Moreover, the full gambit of Amazon products is on display, from the simple gift card, through to Kindles, Fire TV, and the Echo. A rolodex of cue cards is placed next to each device giving people ideas of what to ask Alexa, a considered touch that urges the customer to form a bond with ‘roboshop’.</p> <p>The Columbus Circle store is only 4,000-odd square feet, so not huge. The space on the right and left upon entry is soon swallowed by the central payment area and a funneled sensation is created at the back. Located in one of the city’s higher-end shopping malls it does not look out of place. Make no mistake, this made for a pleasant trip. </p> <p>No surprises and multiple titles that caught the eye (so predictable!). Yet, simultaneously it was so devoid of creativity; the devil may be in the detail, it certainly is not in the décor (the small wooden tables and leather-style chairs look like they might be related to Starbucks’ furniture.)</p> <p>What is more, following the visit one thing was hard to reconcile: why go here, rather than buying it on amazon.com?</p>