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Social Media Posts and Interaction: A HubSpot Study

28 Mar

How well do industries do in their social media engagement? Is the frequency of posting related to the level of audience participation? HubSpot recently conducted a research study on this (“2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report”). The full 49-page report may be accessed for FREE by filling out a simple form. THE RESULTS MAY SURPRISE YOU!!

As summarized by Ayaz Nanji, writing for MarketingProfs:

“Businesses that post more often to social media do not necessarily generate more engagement per post, according to a recent report from HubSpot. The report was based on HubSpot social media data for 7,000+ businesses in nine industries (real estate, healthcare, hardware, nonprofit/education, manufacturing, business/financial services, consumer goods/retail/E-commerce, marketing services, and software/technology).”

“There is no positive correlation with industries that publish more social media posts per week and interactions per post, the analysis found; in fact, there’s a very slight negative correlation. Businesses in the two industries that post the least (consumer goods/retail/E-commerce and manufacturing) have two of the highest interaction per post averages, whereas companies in the industry that posts the most (real estate) have the lowest number of interactions per post on average.”

Take a look at these three charts from HubSpot. Click them to read more at MarketingProfs.
 

 

 

 

The State of Wearable Technology

27 Mar

To date, the current popularity of wearable technology seems to be more of a company and media public relations campaign than based on actual sales revenues. In many cases, firms have not met their sales goals for the latest in wearable technology; and consumer interest is far less than expected. This is in some part due to consumers questioning whether they really need wearable technology when they have the most-advanced smartphones which are capable of doing so much.

Although some firms have succeeded with their wearable technology, Google has virtually withdrawn Google Glass from the marketplace. So, it will be interesting to see how Apple fares when it introduces its high-tech watch next month.


 
Take a look at the following infographic on wearable technology to see how far we have come in the last five-plus decades. The infographic is by Mashable.
 

 

2014 Global Patent Filings

21 Mar

According to the WIPO Web site:

“Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright, and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.”

“The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 188 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.”

Here is an infographic about global patent filings in 2014.
 
infographics_pct_2014
 

An Infographic Look at the Evolution of Web Design

16 Mar

Web design and the quality/features of Web sites have certainly come a long way over the last 25 years.

AmeriCommerce has put together an excellent infographic on the evolution of Web design:

“During the 25 years since the Internet entered our lives, change has been the only constant. And nowhere has that trend of ongoing change been more evident than in the world of Web design. We all know how important great design is today, but what did Web design look like in 1990? How has it changed over the years? And what can we expect to happen in coming years? We take a look at the history of Web design in our latest infographic.”

 
The History of Web Design
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Generating Pricing Power

11 Mar

In this era of cost-cutting and price discounting, it has become harder for many firms to price their products in a profitable manner. Yet, this can be done!

As McKinsey’s Jay Jubas, Dieter Kiewell, and Georg Winkler report:

“Companies often overlook pricing as a driver of earnings growth, instead defaulting to cost cutting and other measures. Here are five steps to growth through pricing.”

  1. Provide meaningful transparency into pricing data — Pricing managers often lack a clear understanding of how profitability varies among regions and product lines, and they know even less about how it can vary among individual customers or transactions. Yet these all have an important influence on pricing and sales decisions.”
  2. Understand what customers really value — For all the sophistication provided by advanced analytics to master a complex array of prices, the price of a product or service ultimately depends on how much a customer thinks it’s worth—that is, ‘value pricing.’ The best companies augment pricing analytics with detailed customer insights to identify all the key buying factors that determine how much a product is worth to a given customer, understand how those factors compare with competitors’ offers, and quantify the value created for the customer.”
  3. Move from sales reps to ‘value negotiators’ — Determining the best price means nothing if sales reps can’t convince customers to accept it. For this reason, it’s critical that sales reps have important pricing capabilities, such as sound judgment to manage time, negotiate thoughtfully, and adjust pricing guidelines in order to maximize value and minimize the risk of customers defecting.”
  4. Provide on-the-job training to build confidence — While most companies understand it’s important to build the pricing skills of their people, few move beyond basic training in classes or online. Successful companies, however, use adult-learning techniques, such as experiential learning, to embed the new skills in the front line.”
  5. Change the culture – In our experience, even the best pricing programs will fail in the long term without a deliberate commitment to overcome the entrenched habits and shifting priorities that doom most change programs.”

Click the image to read a lot more.
 
3-5-2015 10-49-49 AM
 

Globally, Brick-and-Mortar Stores Still Alive and Kicking

8 Mar

Despite perceptions to the contrary, on a global basis, the brick-and-mortar store is not fading away in the face of online and mobile shopping — as long as such stores are committed to customers and adaptive to the times.

eMarketer reports that:

“Customer satisfaction may be down in the U.S. for brick-and-mortar retailers, but globally, the physical store is still the most popular purchase location. In a September 2014 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), seven in 10 internet users worldwide said they bought products in-store at least monthly, and more than half of that group did so weekly or daily.”

 

“One online channel gave brick-and-mortar shops a run for their money. Digital buying via PC ranked second, with the majority of respondents purchasing there at least monthly. However, all other digital channels were used far less frequently for purchasing. For example, fewer than one-quarter purchased products via mobile phone or smartphone at least monthly — providing more evidence that mobile is still mostly for upper-funnel shopping activities — and despite the fact that tablet users often show similar behavior to PC shoppers, buying frequency was almost the same as that on phones.”

Click the image to read more.
 

 

How to Generate Greater Customer Loyalty

7 Mar

by Joel R. Evans and Barry Berman

In this post, we continue our discussion about gaining the loyalty and increased patronage of current customers. Our focus is on the value of frequent-shopper programs.

WHAT IS A FREQUENT-SHOPPER PROGRAM? It is one awarding special discounts or gifts to people for their continued patronage. In most such programs, customers must accumulate a certain number of points (or their equivalent); these points are redeemed for cash or gifts. Here are examples: 

  • More than 70 million people belong to the American Airlines’ AAdvantage program. By traveling on American Airlines, and its recently acquired US Airways, and members of American’s One World Alliance – as well as patronizing participating firms such as Marriott and Hertz), people can earn free flights.
  • With Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Card Perk Rewards Program: “Points will be earned when you use an enrolled DD Card as payment for Qualifying Purchases at participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations. Earn five points for every dollar spent. Every 200 points will get you a Reward Coupon for a free beverage.”
  • The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card offers online-exclusive $100 cash rewards bonus after a customer spends at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening There is 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores, and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery store and gas purchases each quarter. There is no annual fee.
  • Loyalty programs are not just for large firms. Boloco is a small New-England based burrito chain with a very strong customer loyalty program. Customers receive a free item for every $50 spent. This is how the firm promotes the program.

 boloco card

 

Among the advantages of frequent-shopper programs are the loyalty bred (customers can accumulate points only through patronage of one or a few firms), the “free” nature of awards to many consumers, and the competitive edge (distinctiveness) for a firm that is similar to others. Frequent-shopper programs also let existing customers know they are important to the firm and encourage them to shop more often. As a result, a good frequent-shopper program can actually increase the profits of a retailer (rather than decrease them).

Here are several hints with regard to setting up and carrying out an effective frequent-shopper program: 

  • Make the plan easy for people to understand, as well as easy for them to participate.
  • Make the plan easy to administer by the firm.
  • Make sure that points can be redeemed for items which are of value to customers.
  • Do not set the point totals that are needed to gain a benefit from a frequent-shopper program (either a discount or a prize) so high that customers will be frustrated and thereby abandon the program.
  • Have a range of gifts and discounts to encourage higher patronage by current customers. Introduce some new prizes on a regular basis.
  • Run some special promotions that are keyed to frequent-shopper points (such as “Double Points Day”) rather than to run-of-the- mill sales (which everyone else will just copy).
  • Promote the program in and out of the store.
  • Publicize the big award winners. This creates excitement for all.
  • Keep prices competitive so that people do not think they are getting points in exchange for paying higher prices.
  • Constantly re-evaluate the program to see what is working and what is not. 
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