Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Rolls-Royce 'not a volume-driven luxury car brand'

Rolls-Royce has great expectations for its latest Wraith model in India, a powerful yet elegant car. 'Wraith is drawing interest from the new customers who have not considered a Rolls-Royce before', says the automaker's general manager for emerging markets-Asia. 

Who is the target market for Rolls-Royce in India? Highly successful entrepreneurs, says the general manager. Although Wraith may attract new customers, it may also be purchased by current Rolls-Royce owners who own more than one car (the Ghost model might be used for business while the Wraith might be used for non-business driving, for instance). 

The company's approach to the market is not volume-driven, because the product is so very upmarket. Yet surely Rolls-Royce monitors sales units and revenues as metrics, and will be tracking progress toward sales goals, especially since overall car sales in India have been trending lower as petrol prices rise.

Festival time is traditionally a time when car purchases occur--and many brands are hoping to gain market share in the competitive Indian market. Rolls-Royce chose to announce its Wraith on its Facebook page, just one of many ways the company stays in touch with its market.

Friday, 23 August 2013

De-escalating price promotions

Reckitt Benckiser--the corporate name behind so many familiar household brands--wants to get off the price promotion treadmill. 'When consumers’ only criteria is to do BOGOF [buy one, get one free] or half price, then you can do the most engaging campaign but they don’t care. They will buy the competitor if they are half price', says RB's Jérome Lemaire in a Marketing Week interview. So RB is in talks with its retail partners about other kinds of promotions.

Of course, after years of store promotions by retail chains trying to retain market share and increase shopper visits during the recession, de-escalating price promotions will not be easy for any brand. Supermarkets have been locked in a battle for price, position and image, as well, which affects how brands on their shelves are perceived by shoppers.

RB invests heavily in adverts to remind shoppers of its brands and benefits. It's on Facebook (88,000 likes), Twitter (9,500 followers), YouTube, Weibo (China) and other social networks. Even when RB markets digitally, it must rely on retail partners to actually sell the products, at least until its e-commerce strategy is tested and implemented. Meanwhile, the company has considerable sales momentum worldwide this year, thanks in part to its brand-by-brand and overall corporate marketing plans.

This post updates the opening example in Chapter 1 of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

How Grill'd markets healthy burgers

'Finally, a burger you can eat without having a hangover first'. That's how Grill'd introduces itself to website visitors in Australia. The site and its Facebook page have a slightly cheeky, cheerful attitude, but the burger is the star. Grill'd demonstrates that its burgers are NOT the usual, and no mistake.

Grill'd became a reality when founder Simon Crowe got tired of complaining about the usual burger. Without a food background, he set out to reinvent the product and create a fun, healthy and hearty eating experience for restaurant customers.

A strong, differentiated brand is Crowe's key to sustained growth and customer loyalty. 'We want to be a lifestyle brand that talks very much to our constituents who are 20-something urbanites, loving music, being very social and always getting together with friends,' he explains. 'We know that in part, our brand is two parts: it’s a rebel with a cause, it needs to have a lifestyle element to it, but on a rational basis'.

Crowe pays close attention to all the details that add to the experience. 'If we get our music volume right, the product quality right, and if we get the ambient features relating to lighting and/or temperature right, then what we’ve created is a brand that actually engages with our local community', he says

Through a combination of company-owned restaurants and franchising, Grill'd has already grown to more than 50 locations, with additional restaurants soon to be announced. Where is Grill'd headed next? When Ernst & Young named Crowe its 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year, he mentioned the possibility of opening restaurants in Asia and the US.

Friday, 16 August 2013

ASDA mixes multichannel marketing and social media

ASDA's latest financial results reflect the progress of its multichannel marketing initiatives. 'Our focus on opening up more ways for more customers to shop with us, particularly in areas currently underserved by Asda, provides us with real opportunity to grow space and channels to adapt our business to today’s customer', explains the CEO.

Stores are vital to ASDA's marketing plan for growth, and the company continues to seek out good locations. Not in the sense of a space race, which used to be the preferred method of expansion through opening more and more stores, but in the sense of strategic locations that will enhance ASDA's market presence.

Despite the importance of retail locations, 'click and collect' is seen as the key to cost-effectively serving customers in a multichannel way. The idea is to allow customers to shop (online or via mobile app) from anywhere and at any time. Shoppers select the store where they wish to collect their purchases (if groceries, they also indicate a time slot). No more trolleys, no more queues.

Social media marketing complements multichannel marketing, and that's where ASDA has been gaining strength. The company has 1 million Facebook likes, which is fewer than Tesco, but the number continues to rise steadily. ASDA also has two Twitter accounts, one for news and offers and one for special deals. Now a customer can learn about a special deal, click to buy and select a convenient location to pick up a purchase--all without leaving home or office, using a mobile or tablet or computer.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Remember outdoor advertising?

The industry group Outdoor Media Centre notes that expenditures on outdoor advertising (on billboards, transit posters, bus wraps and so on) now account for more than 10% of all UK display advertising. At least up to this point, outdoor (also known as out-of-home) ad spending exceeds Internet ad spending. And more than ever, some municipalities are seeing outdoor as an opportunity to make use of space and make money.

Posters and other outdoor ad materials don't have much time to grab attention--perhaps a matter of seconds as a bus drives by or a train rolls into the station. That's why marketers are testing new outdoor techniques and technologies to engage consumers and get their messages across more effectively and efficiently.
During the 2013 Wimbledon tennis tournament, for instance, Hertz asked its agency to update posters on the Wimbledon train platform every day, to keep passengers informed of who had the fastest serve the day before. Posters were easy to read, with just a few words and a few statistics, shown in Hertz's trademark bright yellow background and with its logo displayed as the sponsor.

Adobe, maker of Photoshop software, tested an unusual, personalised twist on bus advertising: It had a Photoshop expert hiding near a bus stop in Stockholm to take photos of consumers waiting for the bus. He instantly inserted these faces into fake "ads" displayed on the bus poster, showing the passengers in various amusing or unexpected settings. (Very personalised!) Then Adobe filmed the reactions of these passengers and posted the video on YouTube, where it caught the eye of 12 million viewers.

One more example: Sky combined digital billboards with mobile marketing not long ago. Travelers waiting at a train station read the digital billboard's question about what kinds of shows they wanted to watch. If they used their mobiles to tweet a request for show ideas using the hashtag #whatsonsky, the ad agency immediately tweeted specific suggestions. It also posted these same replies instantly on the billboard, making travelers smile and giving them a few seconds of public recognition. Again, personalisation helped engage the audience and make the ad a topic of word-of-mouth conversation.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Goals and metrics for Byte Night 2013

On the night of 4 October, more than 1,000 people from the info-tech industry will sleep rough to raise money during Byte Night. The money goes to help homeless children through the registered charity Action for Children.

In 2012, Byte Night set a marketing goal of recruiting 1,000 sleepers and raising £900,000. It achieved these goals, raising a record-breaking £950,000. In all, Byte Night has been responsible for donating more than £5 million to Action for Children during its first 15 years.

Now, in its 16th year, Byte Night has ambitious new goals: It aims to recruit 1,500 sleepers and collect £1 million in donations. To do this, it is reaching out to info-tech businesses and professionals, asking them to organise teams for 4 October and hold other fundraising events. Companies like Workbooks and schools like the University of St. Andrews have already announced their support and started planning their participation.

How will Byte Night measure success? Of course, the top two metrics are (1) the amount of money raised and (2) the number of participating sleepers. Interim measures of the number of sleepers who have committed to the project helps Byte Night gauge the effectiveness of its marketing efforts and make changes as needed to improve awareness and involvement before the event takes place.

In addition, Byte Night can count the number of Facebook likes for its page and the number of Twitter followers, then track comments and posts throughout social media to see how quickly the message is spreading. Byte Night's LinkedIn presence is another platform for engaging sleepers. The higher the number of comments and participants, the higher the awareness of Byte Night.

This updates the opening example in Chapter 11 of the new edition of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Apps to help shoppers make better decisions

New apps are shaping consumer behaviour, giving retailers a competitive advantage and adding value to the shopping experience.
    IKEA's augmented reality app, just released, has a lot of potential. The idea is to show shoppers how furniture would look in a home, because it can be difficult to visualise new pieces in a home setting before the purchase (see the app in action above).

    A marketing exec for IKEA explains: 'Our customers want to be able to test out whether the products they’ve been inspired by in our catalogue will work in their own homes, particularly when it comes to larger pieces of furniture'.

    This would be a benefit for both shoppers and the store (reduces returns, improves shopper satisfaction). And if the sample rooms are appealing enough, shoppers may even order other furniture after using the app.

    IBM's image recognition app (see left) is in the testing stage. Due out soon, this app would identify merchandise on store shelves, provide extra information and enable shoppers to organise choices by price or other attribute.

    For instance, the app might help shoppers eliminate products that contain gluten or dairy. The purpose is to help shoppers make more informed buying decisions.

    In this age of showrooming, when shoppers can do price comparisons with apps while standing in the store and then click to buy from an online rival, retailers see apps as a way to demonstrate their understanding of customer needs. 

    Monday, 5 August 2013

    What makes for good content marketing?

    How does a marketer demonstrate thought leadership, communicate authenticity and engage customers? With content marketing designed to benefit the target audience, not just meet the needs of the marketer.

    According to a new survey, 43% of people in the 18- to 24-year-old age group rely on social media to search for content.

    But what makes for good content marketing? Buzzfeed's UK editor told an audience not long ago that a video titled 31 Insanely Easy and Clever DIY Projects was viewed 7 million times. Yet a video titled 21 Awesome Facts about David Bowie had much, much lower viewership.

    Why did DIY do so much better than David Bowie? Jonny Rose of idio (a content marketing agency) explains that 'in order to excel in the world of content marketing, companies must remember that customers don't care about you, your products, your services. They care about themselves, their wants and their needs. So it’s crucial to be helpful'.
    “31 Insanely Easy and Clever DIY Projects” got over 7 million views, whilst “21 Awesome Facts About David Bowie” nosedived.
    “31 Insanely Easy and Clever DIY Projects” got over 7 million views, whilst “21 Awesome Facts About David Bowie” nosedived.

    Rose points out why, owned by L'Oréal, is successful at content marketing. The site covers cosmetics tips, celebrity looks, beauty trends and specific product ideas. It also makes it easy to share content via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

    Most important, is designed as much for advice as it is for commerce. L'Oréal brands are featured, but the focus is on helping consumers learn about the latest makeup colours and styles to see what they like and might want to try. When consumers perceive a benefit in exploring the beauty tips and ideas, they become regular visitors to and are more inclined to buy products they see there.

    For more about content marketing, see chapter 9 in my new edition of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.