Thursday, 23 November 2017

Primark keeps up the social media marketing momentum

Primark is gearing up for the holidays with all kinds of special merchandise and seasonal items. Its value fashion positioning is a distinct competitive advantage, offering both style and affordability. No wonder Primark's sales are up. And costs stay low because Primark doesn't splash out on flashy TV adverts. Instead, it concentrates on social media marketing, inexpensive and interactive.

A quick look at its social media accounts shows fashions for men, women, children, and brand fans more reasons to shop at their local Primark store more often.

Above, Primark's Twitter post about its Hogwarts merchandise for home and gifts. With 217k Twitter followers, Primark posts a constant stream of photos and promos to keep consumers excited about what's next.

Primark has an amazing 5.2m Facebook followers. In addition to merchandise promos, the company posts job openings to attract brand fans as employees. Who better to talk with shoppers than brand fans?

Fashion is a natural for Primark's Pinterest boards, which have 86k followers--many repinning Primark fashions for later review or to get hints for how to wear the latest accessories. Similarly, 5.2m people follow Primark's Instagram account. That's a big audience, and because they choose to follow Primark, it's clear that they're interested in the company, its products and its latest promotions.

And of course the company's Primania section of its website continues to attract user-contributed photos of Primark fashions in action, more than 15k photos in all. As 2017 winds down, Primark is well positioned for social media marketing momentum into the new year.

PS: This post, my 802nd post, updates the opening example in Essential Guide to Marketing Planning 4th edn. More posts are on the way!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Alibaba's 9th Annual Singles Day sets records again

Did you shop online during 11 November? In China, Alibaba Group has designated 11/11 ('Double Eleven') as Singles Day since 2009. The world's largest e-commerce company, Alibaba wanted to encourage singles to 'buy for yourself or a friend' with special discounts and star-studded promotions for the 24 hours of 11 November.

This annual promotion has paid off, making Singles Day a much, much bigger sales day than Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day. Year after year, Alibaba's Singles Day has pushed sales higher and higher. In 2017, consumers clicked on Alibaba e-commerce sites or visited in-person sites to purchase merchandise worth £19bn.

Yes, that's billion.

And Singles Day was truly a global event in 2017, with marketers from many nations participating by offering goods via Alibaba retail platforms. The company splashed out on its Global Shopping Festival Gala (above) featuring celebrities from around the world.

The result was a day of buying that broke the 2016 record by nearly 40%. In all, 812 million transactions were processed, a record-setting number -- and Alibaba says 90% of transactions were conducted on mobile devices, a key element of consumer buying behaviour these days.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Retailers reveal holiday adverts for 2017

With the holiday shopping season about to begin, retailers around the UK are releasing their seasonal adverts. And as has become traditional, many have emotional themes or humour or both, to try to connect with consumers and encourage positive feelings towards the brand.

Above, one of the holiday adverts released by Argos, showing elves preparing toys for Santa's fleet of sleighs. One toy nearly misses being shipped, but a dedicated elf puts it into place on the sleigh just in time. 'We love this edge-of-your-seat, high-energy Christmas campaign, which aims to surprise and delight', notes Argos marketing director. This advert has been posted on the Argos Facebook page (which has 1.2m likes) with the hashtag #ReadyForTakeOff.

Like Argos, Marks and Spencer also posted its holiday advert on Facebook (where the retailer has 5m likes). This year's feel-good advert focuses on Paddington, with #LoveTheBear as the hashtag spreading on social media. Not coincidentally, the new Paddington 2 movie will be in UK cinemas tomorrow.

And, in the holiday spirit, Marks and Spencer is going to make a charitable contribution for each copy of Paddington and the Christmas Visitor bought by customers.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Updated list of marketing planning links

Researching a marketer or retailer? Writing a marketing plan? Check my newly updated list of hotlinks to resources for marketing planning!

Categories of links include:
  • Preparing for marketing planning
  • Analysing the marketing environment
  • Researching consumer and business demographics
  • Marketing ethics, social responsibility, sustainability
  • Branding issues and ideas
  • Marketing mix issues and ideas
  • Retailing and channel trends
See the Marketing Planning Links section, accessed from the right side of this blog.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Update on plain packaging for tobacco

In the UK, cigarettes are sold only in plain packaging with prominent health warnings, part of a years-long public health initiative to reduce illness and deaths from smoking. Above, an example of what this legally-required standardised packaging looks like, with space for the brand name on the lower one-third of the green band.

Advertising of tobacco products on UK billboards was banned long ago, even as ad campaigns have been launched to encourage current smokers to quit and discourage young people from even trying cigarettes. Now other countries are considering whether to force tobacco marketers to switch to plain packaging.

Meanwhile, marketers of popular brands like Winston and Drum have had to look beyond packaging and advertising to sell cigarettes. Imperial, which owns Winston and Drum, says it continues to be successful in Australia, for instance, where plain packaging has been the law for five years. Imperial's chief executive explains that 'commercially, we’re very capable in terms of operating in plain-packaging markets'.

Public health activists are discussing whether illness and deaths would be reduced by requiring other products--particularly alcoholic beverages--to be marketed in plain packaging. Alcohol brands object. Already, the industry has agreed to carry voluntary warnings on alcohol packaging. Will plain packaging eventually be required for alcohol? Unlikely right now, not until the short- and long-term impact of selling cigarettes in plain packaging has been assessed.