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Rogue One: May the Force Still Be with You

1 Dec

Last December, we wrote about the smash holiday sales of Star Wars toys, tied in to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

This year, on December 16, 2016, the latest Star Wars (Rogue One) installment will hit theaters. So, this post takes a look at some of the milestones the series has achieved — and at the new movie.

Here are some pre-Rogue One cumulative data for Star Wars, compiled by Statistics Brain:

  • More than $30 billion of revenue has been generated.
  • The global movie box office has reached $6.25 billion.
  • VHS/DVD/Digital revenues have hit $5.5 billion.
  • TWELVE billion Star Wars toys have been sold.
  • Book sales have exceeded $1.8 billion.
  • $3.5 billion worth of videogames have been sold.

Here are some interesting tidbits about the tie-in blitz (yes, these items are ready for you to buy!) for the upcoming Rogue One, reported by Erik Kain for Forbes [Note: This list is NOT a commercial; that’s why there are no product links. The list is only intended to show the mania surrounding any new Star Wars release.]:

  • LEGO Sets — “LEGO has been at the forefront of all things Star Wars for ages. This year is no different. LEGO has released some truly awesome sets to celebrate the new film.”
  • Rebel U-Wing Fighter — “If you’re looking for something a bit more heroic, look no further than the Rebel U-Wing Fighter. This is a nice twist for Star Wars fans, since we’re all pretty used to X-Wings by now. The set is a bit less complicated than the previous one, with an 8-14 age rating and just 659 pieces.The U-Wing may be the main attraction, but the characters it comes with are awesome.”
  • Video Games — “Star Wars: Battlefront is an online multiplayer shooter that pits the Rebels vs the Empire in maps on planets from across a galaxy far, far away. There’s content from Episode VII like Jakku, and there’s content from the original trilogy, including the moon of Endor. On December 6th, the final DLC pack drops, and it includes content from Rogue One. The Rogue One: Scarif pack will let gamers experience battles on the film’s planet Scarif a full ten days before they can on the big screen.”
  • Books — “Most of the books coming out about Rogue One won’t release until after the movie (because of obvious things like spoilers). Still, here are some options for die-hard Star Wars fans looking for some art and literature tie-ins to Rogue One.
  • Action Figures — “The larger ‘Black’ series figurines are especially great both for kids and collectors. You can get the 6″ Jyn Erso figurine for $12.50, Rogue One pilot Cassian Andor for $15.49; and the sleek Imperial Death Trooper for $15.99.”
  • Figurines — “An alternative to action figures, Funko’s POP figurines are as cute as they are addictive. Be careful when you start buying POP characters, because there always seems to be another one that’s even cuter. In any case, there’s tons of characters from Rogue One to choose from, ranging from a little over $5 to a little over $8.”
  • Razors — “A little off the beaten path of toys, books, and video games, we come to very sharp blades. Razors, to be precise.Gillette has some pretty cool razors available with some Rogue One branding. The boxes are cool because they have some great artwork, but the insides are also pretty neat.”

 

 

Not Trying to Keep Scaring You About Online Security, But …

30 Nov

Yes, we at Evans on Marketing have made a number of posts about about online security, privacy, identity theft, and related issues. We’re not really trying to scare you, but we are trying to get you to be more alert and to protect yourself better online. That’s why we we’ve posted several tips, such as: 1, 2, 3 (a short video quiz),  and 4 (video tips).

So, here’s another alert for YOU!! 🙂 

Recently, AV-Test, a nonprofit organization that monitors online security, published its latest report. To grasp the highlights of this report more easily, TechRepublic has summarized what it considers to the top four points made by AV-Test:

  1. “Android is becoming more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats — While the majority of malware deployed in 2015 and 2016 targeted Windows, the most widely-used operating system in the world, Android is increasingly under fire as well. Malware attacks on Android platforms jumped from about 3% in 2015 to nearly 7.5% in 2016. Though it seems like a fairly small percentage jump, it represents an increase of millions of attacks, and marks ‘a significant trend away from Windows and towards Android,’ the report stated.”
  2. “Mac’s security fortress is just an illusion — Many Apple Mac users believe that the devices cannot be infected with a virus—even those using Macs in the enterprise, the report stated. And compared to Windows, the number of malware programs attacking Apple’s Mac platform is tiny: Just 819 malware threats targeted Macs in 2015. [Due to the small percentage of Macs in the marketplace — which remain at a 7.5 percent market share as of the date of this post.] However, that does not mean that these attacks were not serious. Plus, attackers would not need to program a large number of malware applications to obtain data from Mac users, as they rarely have antivirus solutions installed, the report said.” [Is this YOU?]
  3. “The rise of potentially unwanted applications (PUA) — A new cyber risk comes in the form of potentially unwanted applications (PUA), which are deployed by the advertising industry to track personal information on user and movement patterns, and to then display personalized advertising without the consent of the user. PUA represented nearly one-third of the online risks in 2015, the report stated, and are steadily increasing.”
  4. “The top 10 Windows malware of Q1/Q2 2016 — More than 85% of malware attacks occurred on Windows machines in 2015, with that number dropping to 67% in 2016. Some 12 million new Windows malware programs enter the market each month, the report found. Here are the top 10 malware for Windows to keep an eye out for.”


 
Click here to access the full AV-Test report. Click here to access the TechRepublic synopsis.
 

10 Tips on How Companies Can Be More Customer-Centric

17 Nov

A while back, Professor Joel Evans of Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business wrote an article about “Customer Centricity” for Promo Magazine (now part of Chief Marketer.)

The essence of that still rings true today — even more so given the level of competition faced. Here is that article (with only slight edits).

We are now in an era where the marketplace is so cluttered that it is more difficult than ever for any one firm to stand out from the competition—or even be recognized. As a result, a customer-centric approach is imperative.

Most firms promote as fact that they are customer-centric. Many even believe they are. But, one of the most abused terms in business is customer-centric. Here are three true examples to illustrate the point: (1) A leading department store branch is busy. In the women’s apparel section, the checkout line is long. In the shoe department (which is not leased), no one is waiting on line. The sales clerk refuses to ring up any apparel sales. The department store prides itself on outstanding customer service. (2) A customer buys a $100 gift card from a leading consumer electronics chain. The gift recipient spends $90 at the chain and asks for the balance to be remitted in cash. The request is refused. The chain prides itself on outstanding customer service. (3) A local bookstore promotes a policy to “beat any prices.” The policy is good for only three days after a purchase. The bookstore prides itself on outstanding customer service.

There are several things that firms of any type or size can do to truly be customer-centric. Here are 10 ways to facilitate the process:

ONE — Be your own customer. Interact with salespeople. Visit all your facilities. “Think like a customer.”

TWO. Be proactive. Use mystery shoppers to engage your employees in various types of situations. Do customer surveys. Adjust practices as necessary.

THREE — Encourage employee empowerment. A number of firms have cut back on employee flexibility in “bending the rules” for fear of hurting profitability. Yet, research shows that customers are more loyal when they feel the company listens to them.

FOUR — Small gestures can be big. Take a look at “Simple Truths of Service” and see how.

FIVE — Be as honest and informative as humanly possible. Don’t run a full-page ad with the word “SALE” if not all the items in the ad are actually on sale.

SIX — Every firm should offer a meaningful loyalty program. There’s no better way to be customer-centric than to reward continued patronage.

SEVEN — Match your sales staff requirements to your positioning. It is okay for Walmart to have a limited number of sales workers on the floor because of its low-price, self-service approach. Likewise, it is proper for Best Buy to have a lot of staff on the floor since it promotes more personal service.

EIGHT — Use customer-friendly signage. I once addressed a group of supermarket executives and made what I thought was a rather non-provocative suggestion: Have a large sign at the entrance depicting the full layout of the items in the store. My reasoning: With more men starting to shop in supermarkets, better signage was needed. The intense negative reaction to this suggestion was stunning. The supermarket executives thought this would cut down on impulse shopping. My response: If shoppers feel more comfortable and knowledgeable, there will be more impulse shopping—not less, I lost that battle. Supermarkets (and many others), for the most part, still do not have enough customer-friendly signage,

NINE — Run special-themed promotions throughout the year that are NOT price-oriented. Too often, firms view promotions only as “sales,” and run them frequently. However, promotions do not have to just focus on price. (Such tactics typically encourage customers to wait for the inevitable sale and not buy on full price). Examples of good promotions: Contests don’t only have to coincide with special events, such as the Super Bowl. Similar activities can be done at other times. Be creative!

TEN — Encourage employees to be more customer-centric. All those who personally interact with customers should have name tags—from the sales staff to senior executives. Every person who answers the phone (or makes calls) should state his or her name. Employee photos should be prominently placed. Recognition of good employee performance should be posted. One nice thing that I always observe is when a company has a parking space designated “employee of the month.” This is a signal that the company cares about people.

 

2016 China-Based Singles’ Day to Dominate Global Holiday Season

14 Nov

Last year, we wrote about the phenomenally successful 2015 online Chinese Singles’ Day, an annual event scheduled for November 11 that dwarfs Cyber Monday, which occurs on the first Monday after Thanksgiving each year. As reported by The Street: “Singles’ Day is the biggest retail event in the year, beating Cyber Monday and Black Friday.”

What is Single’s Day? As recently described by Lauren Davidson, Emily Allen, and  Ashley Armstrong for the Telegraph:

“Singles Day started as an obscure ‘anti-Valentine’s’ celebration for single people in China back in the 1990s, but it has spawned into the world’s biggest online shopping day. Astute readers will notice that November 11 is written 11.11, or one-one-one-one. Known in China as ‘bare sticks holiday’ because of how it looks numerically, Singles Day began as an anti-Valentine’s Day in the 1990s when students at Nanjing University started celebrating their singledom. It was then adopted by E-commerce giant Alibaba (China’s Amazon equivalent) in 2009; and it is now a day when everyone, regardless of their single status buys themselves gifts.”

“Alibaba chiefs spotted the commercial opportunity in Singles Day back in 2009 and began launching ‘Double 11’ deals just as online shopping was starting to explode. It was also seen as a chance to boost sales in the lull between China’s Golden Week national holiday in October and the Christmas season. When sales almost quadrupled the following year, Alibaba trademarked Singles’ Day. Some of the featured sales center around singledom, such as boyfriend pillows and single travel tickets, but the day has now widened to an all-inclusive shopping holiday.”

Angela Doland, writing for Advertising Age about the 2016 Singles’ Day, notes that:

“Alibaba’s annual online shopping festival started with just 27 merchants taking part. It has grown into the world’s biggest shopping day, and has just smashed its own record, with sellers on its platforms logging nearly $17.8 billion in transactions in 24 hours. Over 11,000 foreign brands joined in [from more than 25 countries], including first-timers Apple, Sephora, Target, Victoria’s Secret, and Maserati.”

“The Chinese Internet giant has created a whole entertainment offering around its shopfest, including a 4-hour live-streamed variety show that drew stars like Scarlett Johansson, Kobe Bryant, and David and Victoria Beckham. That’s a surprising departure from its small-scale start in 2009, when Alibaba latched on to the fact that some Chinese college students were celebrating Nov. 11 as a day for singles, an anti-Valentine’s day. Other E-commerce firms have joined in, including Alibaba’s chief rival JD.com, and much of China shops on Nov. 11. It’s not just for singles anymore.”

How well did the 2016 Single’s Day just do? It has crushed last year’s revenues — going from $14.3 billion in 2015 to $17.8 billion in 2016. Here are a sales curve (reported by BBC News) since online giant Alibaba first embraced Single’s Day in 2009 and a 2016 video from CCTV News.
 
singles-day_-alibaba-breaks-record-sales-total-bbc-news
 

 

When Marketing’s Good, It Can Do GOOD

8 Nov

Cause-related marketing can be inspirational and touch us. Hopefully, it can also make us want to better ourselves and the world.🙂

Consider the annual Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF):

“The WCFF’s mission is to inform, engage, and inspire audiences about the need for and importance of the protection of global biodiversity. The WCFF does this through the annual film festival and biodiversity conference in New York. Also through an education outreach program to college/university campuses. WCFF engages in monthly programs in New York and other cities that include film screenings, business & social networking events, and presentations. People that attend and participate in the WCFF are international wildlife conservationists, filmmakers, photographers, scientists and people across the globe that work toward the preservation of global biodiversity.”

As reported by HubSpot, the 2016 film, was “set to “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables.” It was “created pro bono [free!!] by DDB New York as part of a larger campaign to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and global biodiversity protection. Zombie Studio produced the animation for the spot, which features a cast of uniquely expressive animals and sinister humans.”
 
Will this short film move YOU?

 


 

GREAT Tools to Assist You in a Job Search

7 Nov

Two weeks ago, the following information was posted. If you are in a job search, these tools are VERY useful for you. In case you missed it, we are publishing the post again.

_______________________________________________________________________

When searching for a job, are you effective? There are many excellent digital tools that can assist you in undertaking a better job search.

As Maria Onzain writes for Tech.co:

“Do you feel your job hunt efforts are inefficient? Do you want to jump-start your career but not sure how to do it? Using the right technology will help you build up a winning resume faster. Each of these digital tools will help you in the different phases of your job hunt.”

  • With Uptowork, “choose one of 20 templates in 400 colors and let this resume generator guide you. Once you have filled out all the sections, you will be able to edit and personalize it before getting a URL to share. From the dashboard, you can to track your resume’s performance and check how many times it has been seen and downloaded by recruiters.”
  • Use Grammarly to “make make sure your resume and cover letter are error-free. Copy and paste your resume in this platform, and you will instantly see if you have made any grammar mistakes.”
  • Through Jobscan, you can “check if your resume is tailored to the job description. Jobscan optimizes your resume keywords against the job description. All you need to do is paste your resume and the job description, and it will scan it for you.”
  • With GlassDoor, you can “get to know companies inside out. You can search for hundreds of companies all over the world and find precious information including, but not limited to, first-hand employees reviews, salary expectations, and details about the enterprise’s specific recruiting process.”
  • JobHero can “help you manage the whole job searching process. With the smart browser extension, you can save job opportunities from across the Web and you can access a personal dashboard to track the application process.”

 
Click the image to read more.


 

A Post for iPhone Loyalists

4 Nov

Over the years, Apple has revolutionized the smartphone industry — sometimes, with great advances from model to model; and other times, with more modest changes.

According to Statista:

“Since its introduction in 2007, Apple’s iPhone sales have consistently increased, going from around 40 million units sold in 2010 to more than 230 million iPhones sold in 2015 alone. iPhone sales worldwide generated more than 155 billion U.S. dollars in revenues in 2015. As sales increased, the iPhone gained space within the company, and has become the most successful Apple product to date. “

“The iPhone’s share of the company’s total revenue has jumped from about 25 percent in the beginning of 2009 to around 70 percent in the first quarter of 2015. As of the first quarter of 2016 (4Q ’15 calendar year), iPhone’s share of Apple’s revenue was at 68 percent, the third highest figure to date. Much of the iPhone’s success can be attributed to Apple’s ability to keep the product competitive throughout the years, with new releases and updates.”

 
Here’s an interesting video that shows how the iPhone has evolved over the years across several attributes.


 

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