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Mobile

Industry Spotlight: How can marketers ensure that their brand is being displayed correctly on the high street?

Luca Pagano, CEO of BeMyEye, discusses the need for marketers to find a cost-effective means of ensuring that retailers in brick and mortar stores are displaying their brand correctly.

In the digital age, it’s easy to forget that marketers face challenges offline, as well as online. When faced with decreasing budgets and difficulties justifying ROI to the c-suite, a common problem is proving that offline marketing materials are achieving what is intended. Marketers do not have the same visibility afforded to them when their brand appears in a physical store as they do in online environments. Ultimately, as soon as marketing materials leave the marketers hands, they go into a blind spot.

With the uncertainty of Brexit’s impact and falling store prices, marketers will have to work harder than ever to ensure consistent revenue streams and safeguard operational efficiency. The majority of sales for brands and retailers still take place offline and therefore marketers who supply brand products and materials to physical stores must be confident that their brand is being presented to consumers correctly.

 

Facing the challenge head on

The biggest challenge in ensuring this is the spread of location. Marketers cannot easily monitor how their products and marketing materials are being presented in thousands of physical stores. Normally, marketers would receive a sample snapshot of data providing an overview of their brands presence across a handful of stores, but how can marketers ensure that this is consistent everywhere to measure accurate compliance of promotional activation and ultimately ROI?

To achieve a census view, the brand needs to ‘see’ each individual store. However, up until now this has been a costly, lengthy and improbable task for sales teams to complete. Brands need the ability to check thousands of retailers for in-stock presence of their products, effective activation of marketing collateral and POP and compliance of price quickly and cost-effectively.

 

The role of crowdsourcing to ensure brand consistency

Mobile crowdsourcing and the gig economy have grown at rapid speeds in recent years and businesses are beginning to tap into its incredible power. Marketers can utilise hundreds of thousands of eyes on the ground who are ready to deliver detailed actionable insights about their brand. The crowd can deliver images of promotional activity, pricing and competitor positioning from any location, all in real time.

BeMyEye’s recent report ‘Eyeing up the cost of UK groceries’ is an example of this at work, revealing price differences for a basket of popular groceries across hundreds of retailers in the UK, collected over just 4 days. The crowd uncovered granular level details of branded goods, including that cans of coke are less likely to be stocked in two of the four big supermarkets than avocados, which highlights changes in distribution for Coca Cola in the UK.

The report also discovered interesting insights for marketers when looking at convenience shopping, which is a trend that could unseat leading retailers as consumers move towards ‘little and often’ shopping. For example, results from the report showcase that whilst supermarkets like Tesco remain the most cost-effective outlet for grocery basics like milk, eggs and bread, some other goods, such as avocados, can often be found for lower prices in off-licences.

 

Brands are already benefiting from the crowd

The data from the grocery report highlights that it is possible to gather actionable retail intelligence at scale, cost-effectively and in real-time, however utilising the crowd doesn’t just apply to the grocery sector, the data can be applied to any brand or retailer operating on the high street.

For example, the world’s largest cruise line company, MSC Cruises, uses BeMyEye’s crowd of eyes to analyse the presence of their marketing materials in its travel agency partners. The results amounted to a complete overhaul in the brand’s marketing strategy as 30 per cent of the travel agent partners weren’t displaying the materials correctly.

During uncertain times, marketers need an honest representation of how their marketing materials, promotional offers, and products are being presented and they can turn to mobile crowdsourcing to find this stability. A recent report from McKinsey showed the importance of insights for brands, stating that brands such as Phillips and TRESemmé are all driving growth by meeting consumer needs better than their competitors are. Brands who invest wisely in scaled data, analytics and real-time insights will often achieve up to 10 per cent sales increase, up to 5 per cent higher return on sales and a margin uplift of 1 to 2 per cent – something the c-suite cannot argue with when allocating marketing budgets.

Crowdsourcing and the gig economy have quickly become the fastest, most feasible, accurate and valuable means for marketers to gather granular insights about their products, pricing and promotional activity across every single offline touchpoints. Combating this blind spot will be fundamental for marketers to maximise their brand’s revenue streams in the uncertain post-Brexit retail landscape.

 

Luca is CEO of BeMyEye, Europe’s leader of mobile crowdsourcing for real world data gathering. Prior to BeMyEye, Luca was co-founder and CEO of Glamoo, Italy’s third largest player in the digital couponing space, acquired by Seat Pagine Gialle in 2014.

Prior to joining Glamoo, Luca was VP of Publishing EMEA at EA Mobile, where he spearheaded the growth of iconic brands like Fifa, Tetris and Need for Speed into the dominant titles of the App Store; from 2001 to 2009 Luca was Managing Director UK & International at Buongiorno, a global leader in mobile Value Added Services (VAS).

Guest Blog, James O’Day: Travel marketers are missing out on the mobile revolution…

Mobile is changing the way we travel. It’s how many of us research and decide where to go, when to go and what to do when we’ve arrived. However, the travel industry hasn’t yet fully caught up with the mobile revolution. This is a missed opportunity.

More than ever, mobile is defining consumer behaviour in the industry: 60 per cent of research on destinations and more than a third of all bookings are made on smartphones, while 90 per cent of in-trip information is accessed via mobile devices.

Increasingly, travellers are looking for the feeling of a bespoke, tailored experience, whether they’ve booked through a big tour operator or are travelling independently. Mobile is key to this experience because they want relevant, accessible, shareable content on the go. Many traditional publishers have failed to adapt their content to take advantage of this opportunity. The big crowd-wisdom sites, such as TripAdvisor, have plugged the gap, but they are not trusted and faked reviews are still perceived as a problem.

How do marketers take advantage of this?

Travel companies have not appreciated the opportunity to produce great content that travellers can use on the go. As a marketer, providing this content gives you the chance to talk directly to your customers in your own language yet few operators have effective content strategies in place.

The opportunity is open to companies big and small. It is equally true of boutique hotels, which could help their guests get the most out of the surrounding area by providing mobile-friendly,  personalised recommendations for pubs and restaurants, or cruise liners, which could give customers tailored guides to Caribbean islands depending on their personal tastes.

Some companies neglect content creation altogether, while too many others use ‘flat’ content – information hosted on an external site or webpage. In today’s mobile world that’s no longer good enough. First, it’s a missed opportunity for direct customer engagement. Secondly, as travellers, we don’t want to be directed to external sites for information, we expect a more convenient, easy-to-access, immediate experience.

Two years ago, I set up Pearlshare with my co-founders Michael Liebreich and Oliver Brooks; it is a digital platform where anyone – companies, friends and like-minded travellers – can build and share guides to their favourite places and attractions. These pearls of travel wisdom can be shared via any messaging app or social network and also embedded into third-party websites. Personal recommendations carry five times as much weight as paid advertising or paid-for posts.

The Airbnb revolution has accelerated this trend; guests want to ‘live like a local’ and good hosts help them do this by giving the inside track about the hidden gems around them. Not only are they providing an accessible guide to the best their locality can offer, they are also taking the opportunity to open up a direct dialogue between host and guest.

Now we are helping marketers adopt this authentic approach on their own sites. Customers want advice they feel they can trust and that’s relevant to them and their interests. Pearlshare’s guides can be embedded in holiday companies’ own digital platforms. They can be shared with customers before, during and after they have travelled, creating the sense of a shared journey. Customers can contribute their own ‘pearls’, posting recommendations and photos, which turns the process into a dialogue rather than a monologue and helps build communities with shared interests.

Independence and individuality are prized more than ever before by discerning travellers. Travel marketers who can create a simple, informative platform to communicate with the communities they are trying to reach will stay ahead of their competitors. Mobile is the gateway to achieving this.

 

James O’Day is COO of Pearlshare, which he co-founded in 2014 with Michael Liebreich and Oliver Brooks. Prior to launching Pearlshare, a digital platform accessible through www.pearlshare.com or a downloadable app, he was a project leader in the London office of Boston Consulting Group.

Guest Blog, Rupert Harrison: Moving mobile for email marketing…

In a prevalent ‘mobile first’ society, Rupert Harrison, planning director at Zeta Interactive, explains the rise of its incorporation into email marketing, and how marketers and brands should be cautious in monitoring its engagement level, the design and how it will fit into the overall ‘marketing mix’.

We live in a ‘mobile first’ world. Take a look at any bus stop or queue for the bank and the majority of people will have their mobile phone in hand. It’s no surprise that 50 per cent of consumers use email ‘on-the-go’, according to the DMA Email Tracking Study 2015. That means that half of brands’ email interactions with consumers are on mobile, so it’s important to get it right.

But the hype around ‘mobile first’ has led many brands to oversimplify their thinking when it comes to mobile engagement. Yes, mobile creates the opportunity for brands to target customers in any place, at any time – but email marketing via mobile is so much more than a one-way route into consumers’ pockets.

It goes without saying that email design must be responsive to mobile devices, so that the customer experience is as good as possible when the message is viewed on mobile. However, it is also critical that marketers make good use of the data available to them to understand the context within which content is consumed, and deliver the right messages accordingly.

Striking the right tone

Mobile takes the relationship between brands and consumers to a new level of intimacy. Email marketing is already a very personal medium: as a means of delivering highly personalised content, it is the real definition of one-to-one marketing. But brands can derive powerful insights by looking at location and device type, as well as time of day, dwell times and interaction rates – allowing them to make their communications hyper-relevant to every customer.

Of course, this is a good thing. But such intimacy can quickly turn invasive if it misses the mark, and marketing that is poorly targeted or overbearing can feel particularly intrusive for customers. True personalisation is speaking softly to an audience, not yelling in their ear.

Over half (51 per cent) of consumers believe that just one-30 per cent of emails are relevant or interesting, according to the DMA; a figure that has risen steadily over the past four years. And consumers do unsubscribe from brands that no longer interest them, or if their content is inappropriate or uninspiring. By smarter targeting and better understanding of the customer mind-set and situation when they are engaging on mobile devices, marketers can improve engagement and reduce the cost of getting it wrong.

Moments of insight

But mobile gives brands the opportunity to go further and use the channel as an ‘early alert system’ providing insights for a wider marketing campaign.  Think of mobiles as mini ‘vote now’ devices and you get the picture.  The ‘moments of insight’ afforded by these interactions can be fed into a segmentation engine that allows brands to target their customers in a more intimate way.

So, businesses need to be wary of placing too much emphasis on ‘mobile first’, take a step back and think smartly about where mobile engagement fits into the overall marketing mix. Only by thinking in more holistic terms can brands ensure they make the most of the “moving target” opportunity.

 

Rupert Harrison is the planning director at Zeta Interactive. He has extensive experience of data driven communications and customer journey planning across direct, digital, social and offline and has worked at a wide range of companies, including POSSIBLE, News UK and most recently as head of comms planning at VCCPme.

Zeta Interactive is a digital marketing and smart data company working with over 250 brands worldwide.  It was recognised as one of the 50 most promising private companies by Forbes in 2014 and has featured twice in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs. 

‘Dark Social’ most popular in sharing publishing and marketing content…

A study from the San Francisco-based digital advertising company, RadiumOne, has revealed that 80 per cent of UK mobile clickbacks evolve via ‘Dark Social’ channels, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, compared to 23 per cent of content being shared via public social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

The company analysed the actions of 940 million global users – pinpointing the UK’s social content sharing activity – who shared content from sources where RadiumOne’s sharing software is utilised.

European managing director at RadiumOne, Rupert Staines, said: “Dark Social is a big piece of the sharing universe. This interest and intent data source is particularly powerful when it comes to mobile, where the majority of interacting with shared content is occurring. The opportunity for brands is to track, gather and activate these valuable signals to connect their owned and earned media investments with paid media effectiveness.”

RadiumOne’s worldwide figures found that ‘Dark Social’ content sharing is also popular outside the UK, with 84 per cent of all sharing is happening through this medium.