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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.


 

Can You Start a Business in Your Garage?

1 Nov

Forty years ago, Apple was founded by 20-something young guys– some say, in a garage (Steve Wozniack disagrees with that depiction 🙂 ). Despite a number of ups and downs over the years, we know that Apple has emerged as the most valuable company in the world. Here is a video on the history of Apple.

 

In today’s post, we want to show that other small startups have also been very successful and remain so today. So, the answer to this question — Can you start a business in your garage? — is a resounding yes. And this remains true today.

As Matthew Anderson recently observed for TheSelfEmployed.com:

“For many people, the idea of just starting their own business lies somewhere in the realm of fantasy. It’s something for someone else to do, something that requires investors and business know-how, or something an average person could never think of doing. The truth, however, is that starting your own business requires only one thing – determination. Well, if history is any indicator, a garage might help as well.”

  • Amazon — “At one time, Amazon was simply an online bookstore; and founder Jeff Bezos ran the company out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington. Needless to say, the Amazon of today is just a bit bigger – the world’s largest online retailer. In keeping with its bookstore beginnings, the Amazon Kindle is widely regarded as the best E-reader on the market.”
  • Disney — “Walt Disney and his brother Roy moved to California and set up the first Disney studio in a one- car garage behind their uncle Robert’s house in Los Angeles in 1923 to film and sell his Alice Comedies, which combined a live-action actress with an animated cat. Nearly a century later, Disney is one of the largest media corporations in the world.”
  • Harley Davidson — “William Harley and his friend Arthur Davidson worked in a shed to make the motorized bicycle a reality. In 1903, Harley-Davidson was founded. Today, it is one of the most well-known motorcycle brands in the world; and you can buy  anything from aprons to clocks and outdoor oil-can-shaped lights with the Harley-Davidson logo.”
  • Maglite — “In 1955, Tony Maglica  bought a lathe and set up a tool shop in his garage. After operating his business for 25 years, the innovative Mag-Lite was released in 1979. It is now the standard-issue flashlight for U.S. police officers and was referred to by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Cadillac of flashlights.’”
  • Yankee Candle Co. — “Sixteen-year-old Michael Kittredge created his first scented candles out of melted crayons for his mother in the family’s garage in 1969. When neighbors showed interest, he began producing the candles in larger quantities. With help from two high school friends, Yankee Candle Company was founded. Fast forward to 1998, Kittredge sells the firm that began with a gift for his mom to a private equity company for $500 million dollars.”

 

Click the image to read more from Anderson.

 

Brands That Millennials Love

4 Oct

As we have noted before, Millennials represent a huge, demanding, and challenging consumer segment for marketers. With that in mind, let’s ask: What brands are doing best among Millennials?

Recently, Moosylvania — a company involved with branding, digital, and experiential (“Digital connectivity has changed the way we interact with one another – people no longer want to consume marketing, they want to participate in brands.”) asked more than 1,5000 Millennials to select their favorite brands. The findings are interesting and some rankings may be surprising!!

In describing the top five companies in the 2016 Moosylvania study, Mallory Schlossberg and Kate Taylor report the following for Business Insider. [Note: In their article, all 100 companies are described.]:

  1. Apple — “has a fanatical following, and many of its customers are Millennials. The company’s iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks, and Apple Watches are wildly popular. The company has a cultish following.”
  2. Target “owns the intersection of style and affordability. It has been giving its kids’ clothing business a makeover to be more stylish. The company also sells gender-neutral room decor and stopped labeling its toys by gender.”
  3. Nike — “When it comes to active wear — and apparel in general — Nike is the go-to brand. Nike has focused on incorporating top-tier technology into its clothing. It helps that it’s a massive retailer.”
  4. Sony — “is ready for innovation, from robots that can interact with humans to its wildly popular PlayStation.”
  5. Samsung — “Galaxy phones and tablets are extremely popular with Millennials. The brand’s Galaxy S6 smartphone received rave reviews. Tech Insider’s Steve Kovach said that Samsung’s designs have eclipsed those of competitor Apple.” [NOTE: The Moosylvania study and these comments preceded the problems that Samsung is now facing due to product safety issues. It’s unlikely that the firm would be ranked so highly today. Right?]

 
Click the image to see the top brands for Millennials, from 100 to 1.
 

Photo by Business Insider / Matt Johnston

 

Humanizing and Entertaining Ads

28 Sep

HubSpot recently identified 12 enjoyable video marketing campaigns: “What better medium to propel the new wave of humanized marketing than video? It’s one of the most effective media for marketers. Seventy-three percent of respondents in a 2015 Web Video Marketing Council study indicated that video had a positive impact on their marketing results.

Click here to see all of the campaigns cited by HubSpot (and to read why HubSpot selected these campaigns).
 
Below are videos from HubSpot’s 5 top-rated campaigns.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Shoppers Really Believe Customer Reviews?

26 Sep

As marketers, we have become increasingly knowledgeable about the power of online customer reviewers. And we recognize that many shoppers place more weight on these reviews than on company-sponsored communications.

Let’s look at some research by Trustpilot, a customer review consultant to business.  According to eMarketer:

“In early 2016, Trustpilot surveyed 1,132 Internet users ages 18 and older. In all, 80.7% said reviews were somewhat or very important to their purchase decisions. Few users said reviews did not influence their decisions when deciding on a product to buy. Just 4.7% said reviews were somewhat or very unimportant.  When it comes to when users are most likely to read reviews, roughly half said it’s while they’re on a site, before adding the item to their cart. Nearly a quarter said they were more likely to read reviews earlier in the process: while on a company’s Web site, but prior to actively shopping. Another 18.5% read reviews primarily before visiting a company’s Web site at all.”

Stage of the Buying Process During Which US Internet Users Are Most Likely to Read Reviews, Feb 2016 (% of respondents)
 
Retail Touchpoints wrote this about Trustpilot’s research:

“While the majority of consumers believe online reviews help them along their shopping journey (88%), only a fraction of these customers (18%) actually trust that all the information contained within the reviews is valid, according to Trustpilot. This significant gap reveals that it is critical for businesses to not only incorporate online reviews into the shopping experience, but to deploy them in a way that will build trust and transparency with the consumer. To close the gap between those seeking out trustworthy online reviews and those who believe the reviews are fully authentic, Trustpilot recommends that retailers gain a greater understanding of how shoppers read, write. and believe in online reviews. Half of consumers feel the overall rating of a review or a high-level, easy-to-understand aggregation of a company’s feedback to it are the most important factors when it comes to reading online reviews. Additionally, 20% cited how recently the reviews were posted as the most important factor, while another 20% said the number of reviews posted for a product is more relevant.”

“The report identified several best practices to help businesses create more trustworthy customer feedback strategies, including: ensuring online reviews are easy to find and showcasing them to customers during every step of the shopping experience; giving customers a forum for reviews and inviting them to leave their opinion; responding to negative feedback in real time; asking the customer to update their reviews once the situation is resolved; and analyzing sentiment to continually improve business and products.”

 

Here is further information and advice directly from Trustpilot: an infographic and a YouTube video.

 

 

 

How Scenario Planning Influences Strategic Decisions

31 Aug

Scenario planning involves planning for the future by understanding that different marketplace outcomes may occur in response to any strategy and that each possible marketplace outcome must be planned for to avoid the worst case scenario.

Here’s a simple example: Suppose that a major soda company introduces a new non-carbonated cola beverage into the marketplace. These are just a few scenarios that are possible:

  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations and do not cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues and profit rise.
  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations, but slightly cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues and profits rise slightly.
  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations, but greatly cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues stay the same, and profits fall somewhat due to the investment in the new item.
  • The sales of the new beverage do not meet expectations and do not cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues rise very little, and profits fall a lot due to the investment in the new item.

The premise of scenario planning is to anticipate the possibility of each of these outcomes occurring and have in place a pre-planned framework (contingency plan) to deal with each scenario.

Recently, Shardul Phadnis, Chris Caplice, and Yossi Sheffi wrote an article for the MIT Soan Management Review titled “How Scenario Planning Influences Strategic Decisions.” The authors reached three major conclusions:

  1. The use of multiple scenarios is not necessarily an antidote for overconfidence. One should not assume that simply using multiple scenarios to evaluate a long-range decision will help alleviate the negative effects of decision makers’ overconfidence in their own judgment.”
  2. Scenarios influence judgment — and their content matters. More than half the judgments in our studies changed after single-scenario evaluations. Scenario users became more favorable of investing in an element — either by increasing confidence in their original recommendation to invest, decreasing confidence in their original recommendation to not invest, or changing their recommendation to favor the investment — when they found the element useful in a scenario.”
  3. “The use of multiple scenarios can nudge executives towards more flexible strategies. Executives often choose strategies optimized for a particular environment. While such strategies may perform well in the environment envisioned at the time of their implementation, they may not be easily adaptable to new opportunities or in response to unexpected threats.  Under such circumstances, evaluating strategic decisions using multiple scenarios can help executives appreciate the importance of choosing more flexible assets or approaches — even if doing so is not the most optimal choice for present-day conditions.”

Click the image to access the article.

 

 

The Consumer’s Path to Purchase by Category

22 Aug

We know that consumers shop differently for various goods and services. But we can always learn more.

Millward Brown Digital recently produced a report entitled “Demystifying the Consumer Journey?” A free download is available with a simple login.

The chart below summarizes the average length of a shopper’s journey (in days) and  the level of involvement accompanying a purchase decision (in other words, how hard the consumer was willing to work to make a purchase decision). Millard Brown concluded that:

“The risk of making the wrong decision is a powerful thing. When a wrong decision could result in significant financial loss or impact personal safety, consumers invest more time and care in the decision-making process. As a result, the average journey length for an auto purchase, for example, is nearly 10 times longer than that of a beauty purchase.”

“A ‘marketer-centric’ approach to budget and resource allocation is often the easiest option. However, by placing the consumer at the center, marketers can tailor budget allocations to the digital touchpoints that drive real consumer action.”

 


 

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