marketing PR

Millennials Pose Unique Marketing Challenges – And Familiar Ones

Millennials, as children of the digital era, pose unique marketing challenges. However, you are more likely to engage them with online video ads and social media with videos. That said, it never hurts to know you target audience and recognize they are a moving target.

Millennials, as children of the digital era, pose unique marketing challenges. However, you are more likely to engage them with online video ads and social media with videos. That said, it never hurts to know you target audience and recognize they are a moving target.

Millennials are a moving target, so it helps to understand as much as you can about their demographics. Salesforce did the homework for you.  https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/best-practices/millenial-marketing-strategy/#

Millennials are a moving target, so it helps to understand as much as you can about their demographics. Salesforce did the homework for you. https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/best-practices/millenial-marketing-strategy/#

Marketing to Millennials is admittedly a challenge. They are as interested in car-sharing as car-buying. Owning a home is less important than being close to the action. They don’t read newspapers or watch commercial television. Their choice of channels seems to change regularly.

To get a better handle on Millennials, a real estate company commissioned a survey and discovered online video advertising is the best vehicle to engage this target audience. Not exactly a eureka moment, but it does confirm – at least for now – that online video still holds appeal.

Online video ads are not a silver bullet. According to the survey, 21 percent of the 1,100 Millennials interviewed said they engage with online video ads, contrasted to only 11 percent of people 39 years or older. Fourteen percent of Millennial respondents said they engage with social media ads with videos.

It’s worth noting, the survey indicated 31 percent of Millennial respondents say they don’t engage with online ads. More than four in 10 older adults say the same thing. That suggests Millennials are simply hard to engage with ads anywhere online.

What the survey underscores is the value of visual content. The second highest source of online engagement (17%) is social media ads with pictures. They attract the highest percentage (14%) of older adults, too.

Search engine ads work better to engage older adults (12%) than Millennials (9%). Display ads on websites and native ads don’t work that well with younger or older adults, based on survey results.

Tommy O’Shaughnessy of Clever Real Estate, which commissioned the survey, says, “In many ways, YouTube has assumed the functional role of television for Millennials. According to an eMarketer study, Millennials watch more digital video than traditional video content, making YouTube an incredibly important tool for marketers.”

He adds, “While Facebook is still the dominant social media platform and reaches the widest audience, the preferences of younger Millennials have begun shifting toward YouTube and Instagram, where video content is more readily available and more fundamental to the experience. However, despite the recent Millennial migration away from Facebook, ads run on the social networking megalith are still more likely to lead to a purchase than ads run on any other platform.” The migration of Millennials from Facebook appears to be tied to growing concerns about its privacy policies.

One nugget buried in the survey is that Millennials are 54 percent more likely than older adults to buy a product suggested by a social media celebrity. That may be the byproduct of older adult unfamiliarity with most social media celebrities.

It may not set apart Millennials from other adults, but the survey underscores they like to laugh and learn at the same time. “Marketing campaigns that provide value to their audience through funny and informative video content stand the best chance of engaging their viewers,” O’Shaughnessy says. “Humorous content is the most likely to strike a chord with millennials (44%), while informative content comes in second (30%).”

“Amusing and informative advertisements elicit good responses from Millennials and Baby Boomers, with the latter demonstrating a slight preference for informative ads,” he explains. “However, marketers need to exercise caution when trying to grab their audience’s attention with a shocking ad, as these performed abysmally across both generations – only 4% of Millennials and 3% of Baby Boomers stated that unsettling ads resonate with them.”

While Millennials, children of the digital age, pose unique marketing challenges, they are still part of the human race. “Although this generation has its idiosyncrasies, Millennial marketing is not such a hard nut to crack,” O’Shaughnessy argues. “Millennials crave content that feels valuable, honest, personal and sticks out from the rest of their feeds. The best way to accomplish this is to create video marketing campaigns that utilize influencers and provide funny, informative content to a brand’s audience.”

 

Technology Will Push Market Researchers into New Depths

Just as the venerable Sears & Roebuck catalog is fading away, consumers will have new options to search for what they want. That, in turn, will create new challenges for market researchers to understand emerging trends such as voice search and to evaluate immersive consumer experiences made possible by virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Just as the venerable Sears & Roebuck catalog is fading away, consumers will have new options to search for what they want. That, in turn, will create new challenges for market researchers to understand emerging trends such as voice search and to evaluate immersive consumer experiences made possible by virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

You don’t typically associate artificial intelligence, blockchains and search engine optimization with research. But you should, based on predictions for market research trends in 2019.

Focus Pointe Global shared five market research trends it perceives in 2019.

  1. Artificial intelligence combined with automation makes it possible to learn from all customers, not just a select sample. AI advocates say this will enable brands to have a deeper, more authentic understanding of their customers – and potentially gain a competitive advantage.

  2.  Online searches for content, special offers, reviews and pricing is an important tool for consumers – and a critical channel for brands. Google Home and Amazon Echo are extending consumer reach with voice search. Not far behind is visual search in platforms such as Pinterest, Bing and Google Lens. These new avenues will require website optimization and close attention to see how, or if, voice and visual searches differ from online searches the “old-fashioned” way on computers and tablets.

  3.  Researchers won’t have to ask consumers to describe their daily lives, they will be able to capture them on video in their daily lives. Brand managers can see for themselves how consumers engage with a product display or interact with a sales representative. This video evidence can be combined with geo-location technology to trace quite literally the consumer journey. This trend on steroids would extend to virtual reality that allow consumers to experience products.

  4.  All these techniques that can be quite intimate with consumers also must contend with existing and more stringent future privacy protection regulations. The European Union has adopted privacy protections and California has adopted legislation embracing similar protections. Other states are likely to follow, maybe even as soon as this year when most state legislatures convene.

  5.  New avenues for research will require closer partnerships between brand managers and market researchers. The expanding possibilities will demand hand-in-hand working relationships as research techniques become more fully embedded into the consumer purchasing process. Partnerships also will be necessary to interpret accurately and fairly increasing amounts of emotional intelligence about products and the people who buy them.

Writing for Forbes, small business contributor Lilach Bullock offered her predictions for market research trends in 2019. She agrees voice search is on the rise, predicting 50 percent of all searches will be via voice by 2020.

Bullock notes 35.6 Americans use a voice-activated device at least once a month and one in six Americans own a smart speaker – all of which point to new optimization strategies based on how consumers ask questions and search engines respond.

Other trends pointed out by Bullock include steps to speed up searches. Mobile-first indexing and faster-loading websites will be essential to improve the consumer experience, which market researchers will be tasked to monitor. Blockchain technology to create secure, trustworthy transactions also can be used to verify a consumer or brand is who they say they are. Bullock indicates security will become a new imperative alongside privacy.

“It might not be clear what the future will bring exactly,” Bullock concludes, “but it’s clear that emerging and older technologies are starting to have a huge impact on search engine optimization – if it’s not already happening, then at the very least it’s bound to happen soon.”

 

Pinterest Idea Boards Offer Distinctive Platform for Thought Leadership

Yes, Pinterest boards are filled with recipes, travel destinations and cool photographs, but they also can be used for thought leadership such as curating the insights and bright ideas from a major conference or extended event.

Yes, Pinterest boards are filled with recipes, travel destinations and cool photographs, but they also can be used for thought leadership such as curating the insights and bright ideas from a major conference or extended event.

Have you ever attended a conference, speech or major event and wished you could share the nuggets of wisdom you gained? Pinterest has an idea for you.

Actually, Pinterest has an idea board for you.

Sporting events or unfolding election results lend themselves to a series of tweets. A single aha moment from a speech can form a solid foundation for a blog post. A funny episode or clever display makes for a popular Facebook or Instagram post. But Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs aren’t as accommodating to a group of insights.

Jessica Lawlor, writing for ragan.com, points out that most Pinterest users aren’t there to interact with friends and families. They are looking for ideas and tips. Recipes, travel destinations and cool photographs are common, but any kind of content with a long shelf life works well.

Pinterest can provide a visual scrapbook for ideas gathered at a conference or extended event. The idea board can serve as a handy reference tool both for the person pinning as well as for their followers and event sponsors. The idea board, with a wide range of interesting notes in the form of pins, can become a useful tactic in demonstrating thought leadership.

Since note-taking is a modern-day lost art, curating the high points and breath-through moments from events or conferences can be a real value. Pinterest’s board concept is a perfect platform for this kind of content.

In fact, Pinterest has improved its suitability for this kind of content with what it calls group boards, which allow others to add their pins, enriching the overall value of the content and enticing more followers. You also can pin media coverage of the event. Group boards work best with engagement, so it is smart to promote the group board, starting with other conference or event attendees and extending to your associates with an interest in the subject matter.

Another value of Pinterest is its visual orientation. With photos, videos and graphs, Pinterest is great for showing what you mean, which can transform dry conference presentations into lively, visually appealing content.

Pinterest is measurably different than other leading social media platforms, but some of the same rules apply. Original, relevant content counts. Keywords matter. Engagement, through repining and following, is king. Your Pinterest boards need to fit into a thoughtful strategy and connect with your website.

With that in mind, idea boards can be a distinctive way for you to exercise your thought leadership, even for the menial task of taking notes to capture someone else’s bright ideas.

 

Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Market to Hispanics in Spanish

Don’t let ugly immigration policy rhetoric distract you from marketing to the growing bloc of US Hispanics who speak Spanish, use the internet and reward brands that respect their culture.

Don’t let ugly immigration policy rhetoric distract you from marketing to the growing bloc of US Hispanics who speak Spanish, use the internet and reward brands that respect their culture.

Debates over immigration policy have raised awareness of Hispanic people in the United States, but not provided much of a back story about Spanish influences in America and Spanish as a language and cultural marker.

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MotionPoint, which specializes in multilingual website development, has produced an infographic with some startling data points such as there are 40.5 million Spanish-speaking people living in the United States, the second largest language group behind English speakers.

The Spanish language is freighted with cultural meaning for Hispanics, whether they are recent immigrants or have lived in the United States for more than a generation. It shouldn’t be surprising because Hispanic people have left a significant and proud footprint in the discovery and development of the New World and of America.

The larger message MotionPoint makes through its infographic – it is a serious mistake and missed opportunity to overlook Spanish and Spanish speakers. Here is some of the evidence:

  • The growth of Hispanic internet users has grown from 65 percent to 84 percent from 2009 to 2015.
  • The growth of Spanish-dominant internet users in that same period has risen from 36 percent to 74 percent.
  • Eighty-three percent of US Hispanics use a mobile device for product research while in-store, which explains why Amazon.com now features a Spanish language option on its e-commerce site.
  • The combined purchasing power of US Hispanics in 2016 totaled $1.4 trillion, roughly 10 percent of total US consumer purchasing power.
  • Ninety-five percent of US Hispanics believe future generations should speak Spanish as well as English.
  • More than 400 million people view Spanish as their native tongue, making it the world’s second-most spoken language behind Mandarin Chinese. (English is third, Hindi fourth and Arabic fifth)

Connecting with Spanish speakers is more complex than using Google Translate. MotionPoint points to the need for cultural fluency, which requires a certain amount of respect for Hispanic cultural and contributions. Marketers might do well to travel to Spain where influences on America are just about everywhere, from architecture to food to religious faith or to Latin American countries to see their sense of family and their willingness to undertake hard labor to improve their economic lot in life.

The debate over immigration can be raw, mixing together fears of terrorism, gangs and drugs with the aspirations of people trying to escape poverty and oppression. One way to cut through rhetoric is, with MotionPoint’s assistance, to see the broader economic opportunity, to see Hispanics as a sizable, growing bloc of consumers with families to feed and clothe and smart phones to research products and buy them online.

You will be glad you did because Hispanics are becoming a larger segment of the US population, predicted to rise to 30 percent or more by 2060.

[Information for this blog also came from an article written by Robby Brumberg for ragan.com.]

 

Clear, Fair Questions Key to Reliable Survey Results

Reliable survey research depends on many factors, but it all starts with questions that are asked clearly and fairly.

Reliable survey research depends on many factors, but it all starts with questions that are asked clearly and fairly.

A lot of things need to be done right to deliver reliable and useful survey data. At the top of the list is asking relevant questions clearly and fairly.

Fuzzy questions produce fuzzy answers. Skewed questions produce skewed results. Fuzzy answers and skewed results aren’t a solid foundation for successful advertising and advocacy campaigns or for smart business decision-making.

Clarity in the wording of questions is essential to avoid confusing respondents. You want to make sure respondents have a common comprehension of the question so you can reliably measure their responses. A best practice in public opinion polling and market research is to test questions to ensure they are as clear and commonly understood as possible

Question clarity is becoming more important because of increased cultural diversity and audiences that include English-as-a-second-language speakers. Question testing needs to include this variable as well.

Along with clarity, questions should explore a single idea, issue or product feature. If you mix in multiple ideas, issues or features, you won’t necessarily know which one is the factor that fetches a  “like” or “dislike” answer. Sarah Taylor, in a blog post about survey questions, provides this example:

For example, asking "how valuable and organized was the Ebook?" is mixing two issues together: value and organization. Maybe the respondent really enjoyed the content in the Ebook, but thought it was organized poorly. If you ask them that question, the response may be for either issue and you won't really have a sense of what needs to be changed for your next Ebook. Instead, ask two questions: “How valuable was the e-book?" and “Rate the organization of the Ebook" to get better quality data.

The vocabulary of questions should be basic. Respondents will run the gamut of education and backgrounds. If your subject matter is technical, take special care to avoid jargon or phrases that may go over the head of some respondents. In some cases, you may need to preface a question so there is a common framework for all respondents. Special care is required to make sure any explanation is fair and factual.

Which brings us to skewed questions. If you are in the propaganda business, skewed questions and push polls may be tools of your trade. But for everyone else, skewed questions aren’t helpful and can be disastrous if you mistakenly base million-dollar campaigns on their findings.

Finding out what you need to know – as opposed to what you want to know – is the proper attitude to bring to any kind of research, whether  a quantitative poll or qualitative focus group. Curiosity, not a fixed mind set, is the right frame of mind.

Credible pollsters and market researchers can readily identify and will avoid loaded words or leading sequences of questions. But sometimes skew still slips in, as it did in this famous question, “Would you vote for a woman for president if she were qualified in every other way?” In addition to being confusing, the question implies being a woman is a qualification as opposed to a gender. Subtle, yes, but doesn’t mean it can’t have a significant effect.

The order of questions can influence responses. Pollsters and market researchers will often rotate the order of questions to minimize the possibility of skewing results.

Give respondents a full range of choices in evaluating an idea, issue or product feature. You also might give them a chance to comment through an open-ended question, which allows you to capture their words, not just their answers.

One of the most common forms of skewing is the omission of a key word or concept. If you were polling the congressional Republican proposals to replace Obamacare, it would be a mistake not to test the concept of lower health insurance premiums in connection with the cost of keeping premiums low for patients with pre-existing conditions. Who wouldn’t want to see lower health insurance premiums, but at which price and paid by whom? Installing residential rooftop solar panels will be enticing as a way to cut electricity bills, but the financial equation is incomplete with exploring how long it would take to break even after making the investment in solar panels.

Many other factors determine the accuracy and reliability of survey findings, such as representative samples, sample sizes, length of surveys, when surveys are conducted and the type of survey used. Surveys can generate rich, meaningful and actionable data if done right. A good place to start is to get the survey questions right.

Social Media Video Sells to Consumers on the Move

Peloton has used Facebook video to connect with potential consumers and turn views into sales.

Peloton has used Facebook video to connect with potential consumers and turn views into sales.

Video sells. According to Animoto’s "State of Social Video in 2017," 64 percent of consumers say they purchased a product after watching a video about it on Facebook.

No wonder Animoto found 83 percent of marketers place video content on their company’s branded Facebook pages, many as often as four times per month and some six times per month.

One obvious reason why video sells is because it causes consumers to stop and pay attention to a product message. That’s important because more than 80 percent of consumers who regularly view branded Facebook pages do so on mobile devices. They may be swiping quickly while riding a bus, shopping while watching TV or standing in a store looking at the product.

Branded social media video content is the rough equivalent of a TV infomercial. Both need to show off unique product features, explain how the product works and point out practical product applications. While infomercials are designed to appeal to insomniacs on a couch, social media videos need to connect quickly with consumers on the move. That means you need more than a great branded video; you also need a smart branded video marketing campaign to reach those consumers on the move.

Aiming branded social media videos at mobile device users is now more than a trial run. It is a trend that shows no sign of tailing off. And there is a clear incentive – mobile device users are more likely to watch the entire video, which explains why Animoto found 81 percent of brand managers optimize social media video for mobile devices.

Getting views and generating sales require an eye-catching video with an engaging thumbnail and teaser to draw attention, informative content, some entertainment value and a call to action. It also requires a campaign that targets your most promising prospects. Animoto says nearly 70 percent of marketers pay to boost their social media videos to targeted audiences, which is smart because 3 billion videos are posted everyday just on Facebook.

Unlike mass media ads, digital media advertising is all about testing variations, measuring responses and focusing on what works. Some Facebook videos may get views, but no follow-up. Marketers want to find out what turns viewers into buyers. Often that is the video that is more informative than artsy, that shows someone using the product and talking about it.

A few other nuggets from the Animoto survey:

  • 85 percent of Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off, which argues for strong visual content.
  • 39 percent of consumers are more likely to finish videos with subtitles, making it easier to understand key messages.
  • There is increasing interest in live branded videos.
  • Consumers like behind-the-scenes videos.
  • Consumers are more likely to share videos with educational value, emotional tags or humor.
  • More than 40 percent of viewers decide whether to view the entire video in less than 15 seconds.
  • The attention span of mobile device users viewing videos is significantly shorter than viewers on laptops.

The bottom line is that if you aren’t using video content as part of your marketing mix, you are missing out on opportunities to connect with your existing and potential consumers who are on the move.