Market Information

Market Information

What’s in the Box?

Online shopping started in 1994 and spread like wildfire in 2017. As a result, nearly 79% of Americans shop exclusively online. People have ditched waiting in long lines, driving through traffic, and searching for the best bargain by simply scrolling through the World Wide Web. It doesn’t get much simpler than being able to type in anything that you are looking for and setting filters to narrow it down to your preferred product. Business owners discovered they needed to be innovative and develop a new way to sell their goods online. Thus came the birth of an entirely unique time in online shopping: The Box Pop.

Subscription boxes are everywhere. Chances are if you are on the internet, there’s at least one subscription box beckoning your wallet. Birchbox put the subscription box retail trend in motion with its launch in 2010, with a specialty in beauty, grooming and lifestyle products. Birchbox subscribers pay $10-$20 to receive goodies like skin rejuvenators, fragrances, and makeup. This company has 800,000 active global subscribers which equal a total of $96 million in annual sales.

Just like with any successful business model, the imitators quickly followed suit. There are subscription boxes for everything from razors, tactical gear, video games, clothing, and of course: food.  In 2012, Blue Apron was founded and is now known as the gold standard for food delivery services. Each Blue Apron box contains enough food for you and your family (2-4 people) and offers a very reasonable price range ($59.94 – $69.92).

Subscription boxes have risen to fame because of three different reasons: convenience, personalization, and excitement. Subscription boxes are a perfect example of experiential marketing, a strategy that directly engages consumers and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand or a brand experience. Therefore, creating a consumer-producer relationship with the brand.

Convenience

There’s nothing more convenient than coming home from a long day’s work to see a box on your doorstep full of goodies; meal kits offer a hassle-free way to prepare dinner after work. Some consumers don’t like to get off of work and then face the stress of determining a recipe, shopping for ingredients, and preparing a meal. With meal subscription boxes, all of that is taken care of for you. There are even specialized subscription meal boxes made for those with particularly demanding schedules such as college students.

Personalization

The difference between the average consumer now compared to ten years ago is the value placed on personalization. After all, we live in a time where there’s a space for each of us on the internet that we can personalize and make our own through social media. Upon subscribing to a box, subscribers are asked a series of questions. Some have a list of all of their products with check boxes for the customer to click, while others have text boxes where customers explain their product preferences in detail. Consumers have the chance to put a little of themselves in their ordering and feel special in the process.

Excitement

You’ve already skipped the stress of real-life shopping, and you have defined yourself by making your product preferences known. Now it’s time for the fun part: the excitement of the box on your doorstep. Because the business asks what makes you tick, you know that the box is going to contain products you will love. But, it’s the feeling of it being a gift and a surprise that really has jump-started this marketing trend. This type of excitement isn’t just trending with subscription boxes either. Unboxing videos routinely take a few of the top 10 spots on most-viewed YouTube watch lists, among the music videos from international superstars and the latest viral prank.

Even though the marketing model for subscription boxes seems to have everything that we as consumers want, some recent news has made many of these business owners wary. The subscription box business is not immune to the same dangers of other, more traditional businesses. Many of these companies have been reporting a dramatic slump in sales and must think of ways to increase sales. The subscription box market is severely saturated, with more than 2,000 different types of boxes to offer and steadily growing. Also, big companies such as Starbucks, Sephora, Macy’s, and Adidas are joining in the craze which is making the smaller companies lose steam rapidly.

What do you think the next step will be for these business owners to stay on top?

Market Information

Are Millennials Killing Business?

business killers blog

If you’ve crossed any business or marketing site you’ve probably heard the news about how millennials are business killers, ruining once proud businesses with their own culture. Things like the golf industry, the wine industry, and even McDonald’s have seen a slight decrease in value in recent reports, leading most market experts to blame these events on the rise in Millennials coming of age. From some headlines (“Are Millennials Killing Credit?”), readers would not be remiss in considering this the end of days. Are 20-30-somethings really single-handedly ruining the country’s economy though? The answer to that is of course not.   

First, the idea of any generation “killing” the industry or culture of another is hardly a new development. Millennials alone have been accused of ruining movies, cruises, department stores, and even vacations to the point where the complaint hardly has any merit. As new technology develops and the culture changes, some systems will undoubtedly change regardless of any time period or group of people. Look no further than the song title “Video Killed The Radio Star” released in 1978.

Likewise, millennials do not destroy industries out of pure spite or disinterest in the public market. The demographic, like plenty of groups before them, simply adapt to the circumstances given to them and choose to spend their money elsewhere. According to reports from both Forbes and Time Magazine, although this younger generation spends less money on wine or vacations, they are still well-represented in items such as technology and organic foods. They also appear highly adept at new technical developments such as Uber or same-day delivery systems compared to other generations. The millennial generation is still a force in the market following the latest trends and causing a boom for some companies. Those businesses that do not keep up with the times are usually the ones millennials leave behind.

Furthermore, the millennial spending habits seem to reflect the spending habits of their parents or the generation before them. Following the recession earlier in the century, many baby boomers were negatively impacted as thrifty spending choices did not serve long-term goals. Millennials ranging from young teens to college-starters often witnessed this effect first-hand from their parents, leading them to change destructive market habits. Also, with seven out of ten millennials saddled with student loan debt, the generation is less apt to make long-term, expensive purchases such as a house or a car compared to their parents. From that impact, many previous staples of life such as the 9-to-5 job or marriage are also altered or postponed as Millennials struggle to earn a debt-free life. While the millennial generation is spearheading this change in the economy and culture, the obvious source is their parents.  

However, just because some businesses have seen a slight regression doesn’t mean the Millennials are a generation of ” business killers ” in the darkest sense. Their gradual rise and general impact on the economy simply prove the need for businesses to adapt to the times and that all companies should practice keeping up with their customers. As the economy improves, more people throughout all generations will be more inclined to spend their money on the things they choose. These are still factors beyond one group’s control and will likely continue to affect people for years to come as the generations and times continue to change. Although there will probably be plenty of factors to influence the market by then, the headlines will be full of just as much doom and gloom. Just remember that these same headlines were written about hippies in the 60’s and that turned out quite alright!

No matter what generation leads the market, one of the best ways to keep a business afloat is up-to-date promotion and a significant social media presence. Contact Velocity Agency to keep your company prepared against any potential ” business killers ” and get ahead of the market trends!

Market Information

Alexa, Purchase Whole Foods

In our last newsletter, we detailed the Retail Apocalypse. Perhaps we heralded this shopping doomsday too soon. With the latest news about store closures and business bankruptcy, it’s easy to give up on the classic brick-and-mortar retail place. As people seem to spend less on items and more on travel, according to Business Insider, retail could be on its way out eventually. However, if there’s one thing that is predictable about the market, it’s that it can sometimes be unpredictable. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods alone proves that retail might not be facing an apocalypse so much as a digital makeover.

Last week, the online retailer site Amazon announced its $13.7 billion (including debt) purchase Whole Foods Markets, signaling a significant new step for the company outside online purchases. In addition to this purchase, Amazon has also announced a plan known as Prime Wardrobe, a system to allow customers to try on clothing and shoes before purchasing them, to expand its fashion retail as well. Many analysts note that these moves signal not a revitalization of classic retail stores but a reliance on them as well. After all, why would a company like Amazon spend billions on a system that is supposedly out of style? In fact, based on these announcements as well as Amazon’s continuing plan to break into pharmaceutical areas, retail stores still seem to have some value outside of online services.

Perhaps the classic brick-and-mortar stores just offer a sense of security, consistency, and personality. Offline sources have, for longer than Amazon, often gathered customer movements in real time to understand what products were preferable. Since people have always relied on going to stores for goods, the retail store remains a staple of the industry. Of course, regarding Whole Foods, food retail remains a reliable source of physical shopping with people going for food on average twice weekly. Though the places to find food or clothes have been static for quite a while, that’s not to say that the system cannot be improved upon for efficiency.

While retail stores might still have a place in the digital revolution, they may have to tackle a new set of standards to keep up with the competition. The latest purchase of Whole Foods offers Amazon a real-world base to test out online systems ranging from increased WiFi to visitor data profiling. With Amazon’s system of big data, Whole Foods might soon be able to access customer preferences with groceries and allow them to make recommendations for additional purchases in real time. This could also connect to Amazon’s home delivery system where grocery preferences can already be suggested for purchase before heading to store. In essence, this new method of purchase is not a preference of physical or digital stores but a combination of both.

Still, none of this guarantees that Amazon’s new method is sure to work or benefit the classic retail store. Indeed, some retail stores have seen drops in stocks following Amazon’s announcement. Nevertheless, this method proves there are still new horizons out there for the retail business. The future may be digital, but at least there is still a future at all for retail stores.  

Market Information

Heineken vs. Pepsi: How to Leverage Today’s Sociopolitical Climate

Today’s sociopolitical climate makes it essential for companies to tread lightly when it comes to advertisement. By now, you’ve probably heard all about the latest Pepsi ad. Many argue that any publicity, whether negative or positive, is good publicity. Pepsi has been swept up in controversy in connection with an ad that depicted Kendall Jenner solving the tension between protesters and police with a can of soda and a smile. This controversial ad did not go over well with its audience and was pulled almost immediately after it aired. However, Pepsi’s mentions on social media were up more than 7,000% the day it debuted. In total, Pepsi was brought up more than 1 million times across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It’s difficult to tell if Pepsi’s purpose in making the ad was to stir up controversy. Despite the ad being called a tone-deaf take on “protest as brunch,” as well as “a trivialization of civil rights activism in America,” Pepsi may be onto something. Controversy is no stranger to consumer marketing today, and the statistics show that maybe this wasn’t the big PR blunder that it was made out to be: a large percentage of minorities — namely Latinos and African-Americans — viewed Pepsi more favorably after watching the ad. A whopping 75% of Latinos said the ad made them more favorable to the soda brand, while 51% of African-Americans said the same. Only 41% of whites said the ad made them more favorable toward Pepsi.

If social media in 2017 has shown us anything, it’s that no matter how bad the PR move, there will be another brand waiting to steal the spotlight shortly thereafter. Competing companies will sit back and watch as companies like Pepsi generate outrage online, all while plotting their marketing move to heal the wounds.

Directly following the Pepsi ad fiasco, Heineken stepped up to the plate. Heineken decided to launch a much longer video campaign that would show completely different people settling their differences over a crisp and refreshing beer. Consumers received this ad especially well after the Pepsi fluke. Heineken’s ad is an example of how companies turn another company’s PR trash into their treasure by learning from consumers. Social media platforms have been miracle workers in this way, they give valuable insight into consumer behavior, thoughts, and values.  Companies now have an inside look at what their audience wants, and when they make a mistake, they will never hear the end of it.

Here at Velocity, we are always identifying and examining what resonates with our audiences. 55% of local online consumers across 60 countries say that they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. Welcome to 2017, where beer is sold by pulling your heartstrings and say goodbye to the ads of the 80’s, where babes in bikinis were the secret weapon of selling.

 

Market Information

Building Brand Loyalty

Creating and retaining a loyal customer base is essential for any business. A study conducted by Facebook shows that more than 3 in 4 adults in the US return to the same brands over and over again. Marketers commonly define brand loyalty as a pattern of consumer behavior where consumers become committed to brands and make repeat purchases from the same brand rather than competing ones. In this case, the consumer believes that the brand meets their expectations and identifies with the consumer on a personal level:

Some famous examples of brand loyalty include:

  • Mac vs. PC
  • McDonald’s vs. Burger King
  • Coke vs. Pepsi
  • iPhone vs. Android

It goes without being said that consumers must be convinced to be brand loyal. That is, a significant amount of effort must be put towards creating a loyal consumer relationship. So, how can you drive brand loyalty? The five drivers are commonly defined as awareness, relevant differentiation, perceived value, accessibility, and emotional connection. Here are some easy ways to garner brand loyalty:

Further your brand’s accessibility by using technology –

In what ways can your company utilize digital technology to make an impact on your customers’ lives? Perhaps you can develop an app that will allow your customers to access your services more quickly. The goal is to create a symbiotic relationship between you and your customers.

Use real people from your organization to create an emotional connection –

Leverage executives with the organization. The executives in the company are aligned with the brand. They help put a personal face to the brand and give your customers a person with whom they can relate. The core values of a company are important to consumers. You develop trust by re-emphasizing the company’s mission statement.

By learning as much about your brand as possible, we’re able to gain valuable insight into how your customers interact with both you and your competitors. Then, we will work towards building a meaningful relationship between you and your customers. Start a conversion with Velocity Agency today, and we’ll start forging those integral relationships.

Advertising, Market Information, Research

Identifying Your Employer Brand

Branding is quite arguably the most important aspect of any business, no matter how large or small. A company’s brand goes well beyond just a logo and a slogan. A brand is a promise you make to your customer. With an understanding of your brand, your customer will know what to expect when it comes to interacting with your business or purchasing products and services. Your brand is who you are, who you want to be and what you are perceived to be. That perception is from the eyes of your customers. But what does your brand look like from the viewpoint of potential employees? If you have never thought about your employer brand, now is the time.

A solid employer brand will ensure that candidates are a perfect fit with the organization. Similarly, your employer brand is an opportunity to allow potential applicants who don’t fit your organization’s culture to opt out. An employer brand brings you quality candidates quicker. The truth is that you can’t afford NOT to have a well-defined employer brand. A report by CareerBuilder states that businesses lose more than $14,000 for each position that remains vacant for three months or more. A study conducted by recruitment firm Hudson RPO reveals that firms with strong employer brands saw revenues increase by 20% while companies with weak employer brands grew by only 8%.

At Velocity Agency, we are experts in performing audits of organizational reputation. We stay on top of market trends, and we can identify how potential talent views your brand. We will design a unique brand strategy based on who you wish to recruit and what that market desires from an employer. Your employer brand can be showcased through website design, social media, events, and more.

Don’t think you have an employer brand? Well, you do! And Velocity Agency is here to help you identify it. When done right, your employer brand is an invaluable asset to your organization. We can’t wait to help you discover another facet of your organization’s identity and to help you find the right talent!

Market Information

What Internet Privacy Rollbacks Means For Marketers

 

 

Online advertising is an $83 billion market – meaning that digital marketing is imperative. Recently, Congress made a decision that is bound to disrupt the internet marketing world. Congress voted to put the brakes on Internet privacy rules set in place by the Obama Administration. The online privacy protections that were set into motion in October 2016 are regarded as revolutionary legislation. And now, the Trump Administration is being given the option to retract these protections. This event presents marketers with a tremendous opportunity, but should they capitalize on it? The doors are opening for marketers (but, really, they are remaining open) to build upon their treasure trove of consumer data.

In actuality, the legislation protecting Internet privacy had not yet gone into effect. The sudden uproar is spurred by the potential for FCC Internet privacy rollback. Cable firms and wireless providers can potentially exploit your browsing history, shopping habits, your location and other information harvested from your online activity. With all of this information on a specific person, internet service providers (ISPs) can sell highly targeted ads for a hefty price. ISPs could compete with Google and Facebook in the $83 billion online advertising market. Inherently, ISPs have very detailed information on consumers and a better understanding of who is using what device in the home. Fewer privacy restrictions mean internet service providers can look more closely at behavior that marketers eagerly want details on, like mobile behavior and app usage.

Is there a good side to privacy protections being put on the chopping block? ISPs could leverage privacy and use it as a selling point. It’s a given that consumers would be concerned about their data leaking. Data leakage could be a threat to a brand’s image and consumer loyalty. Therefore, offering heightened security could become an attractive feature for companies to advertise. FCC’s broadband privacy protections would have prevented Internet service providers from selling personal data like web browsing history without prior consent. However, the rule had not yet gone into effect. It can be argued that nothing has, or will, change. Sales of personal data is a much-feared but highly unlikely scenario.

Advertising, Market Information, Professional Development, Timeline, Velocity News

Digital Casino Marketing

Let’s face it, marketing in the ad-saturated world of 2017 is difficult, but marketing a service that depends on people spending money with the risk of seeing no tangible return can seem almost impossible. However, just as the gaming industry has endured various periods of adjustment and difficulty in the past, gaming endures through and with the digital age. In years past, casinos often relied on the flashy styling of their gaming machines complete with graphics and flashing lights. Luckily for the gaming industry, the internet and digital casino marketing are perfectly suited to continue this tradition of flash and glamour.

Nevertheless, it is important for casinos to remember that well designed ads are just as important as bright lights and flashing signs. When we talk about design we are talking about more than just selecting the right color. For example, websites built around certain keywords, ads that are targeted to specific audiences and graphics that convey a point are all a part of an advertising campaigns overall design. In addition to conveying a point, casinos can use online advertising to offer incentives such as giveaways. However if you choose to run such a campaign, always make sure you are clear on your state’s laws as well as all federal laws  and regulations pertaining to online contests and their advertising.

Online casino games have become a booming source of revenue for many companies. Thanks to modern advances in technology, a person can experience the fun of a casino from the comfort of their homes. While this may appear to be a threat to brick-and-mortar casinos, the use of online games also serves as a way of promoting the casino’s brand. Used as a sample, online games can help show gamers all the fun casinos have to offer.

It may be too early to tell what kind of an impact digital casino marketing will have in 2017, but if the past few years indicate anything it’s that the online market is only expected to grow. With the rise of online games, online integration should be understood as part of the path to keeping the glitz of the casino industry alive and thriving.

 

Advertising, Market Information, Social Media, Sports, Timeline

Sports

Sports Marketing for Teams and PlayersThe “big four” professional sports (MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL) in our country have all been around for a very long time. Despite the advanced age of these sports, most of them are happy to embrace modern technology. Reaching out to a devoted fan base is crucial, but for some teams transitioning to social media can be a difficult experience. Fortunately, as agents and managers become more adapted to the times, players and teams are finding it easier to navigate through the complicated seas of social media.

Forbes remarked in an article in 2015, that the traditional sports market has changed with the rise of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In terms of endorsement deals, many businesses appear to be looking towards social media stars to guarantee self-promotion without unnecessary costs. While, some sports superstars may still land traditional deals they are also asked to maintain a certain level of a social media presence. It’s clear to see that for better or worse, social media has changed sports marketing.

In this new age, many businesses have adapted to social media in order to remain relevant, and sports franchises are no different. The most obvious advantage includes the ability to connect to millions of sports fans eager to learn more about their favorite teams or players. While, the change has come quickly, there are already some quick and valuable developments.

Of course, these developments speak more to the inescapable influence of digital marketing. With the increased use of social media, the collection and implementation of consumer feedback becomes a more integral part of development. This encompasses Twitter polls to decide songs played during rain delays or even team names based on public support. Making the public a part of the event is not a new concept, but Facebook and Twitter have made the communication process easier than ever.

Regardless of how or where, connection to fans has always been a part of sports marketing. Improving the connection online is only inevitable, so adapting to the system is necessary. While the change can have some consequences, the overall benefit of fan interactions and involvement ensures a longtime base of loyal admirers, something that will keep the tradition of sports alive in the digital age.

Advertising, Market Information, Social Media, Timeline, Velocity News

#TBT: Business Edition

Throwback Thursday has been a popular ongoing Internet trend and for good reasons. The nostalgia factor combined with the ability to bring old friends and family members together are enough to make #tbt a fun weekly event. However, if used correctly, the Throwback Thursday hashtag can also be a helpful tool for a modern business. All you have to do is remember the Throwback Thursday etiquette.

#TBT

Every business strives to be relevant, and nothing makes brands more relevant than participating in modern social media movements. Jumping into trends like Throwback Thursday shows a clear attention to popular culture. In addition, the fun tradition of featuring an old image or even an old brand brings about a relatable sense to consumers. In this constantly moving digital age, businesses have to rely on a quick yet personalized form of marketing to stand out. Taking part in Throwback Thursday could be one of things that sets you apart from the rest.

#considerations

Despite the relative ease of posting an old photo on Instagram, there are also some considerations a business should take into account. When you look through the thousands of posts made every Thursday, there are clearly right and wrong ways to do a “throwback.” For starters, many users unofficially agree that the throwback post should at least take place a year from the original post to properly be considered nostalgic. For businesses, that can include first days on the job, old logos, or even childhood photos of employees. Another practice can include remembering to pace posts regarding Throwback Thursday. Generally, one throwback a day is enough to begin a conversation, and anymore risks over-saturating the tag. Finally, an essential but sometimes overlooked part of Throwback Thursday is to limit past posts on Thursdays only. While, casual social media users have extended these posts to Flashback Fridays, the consistency towards the day ensures that consumers can rely on a consistent business. As long as you remember these facts on Throwback Thursday Etiquette you can’t do it wrong!

#trendy

Every year, new trends rise and fall on social media, but Throwback Thursday remains a popular staple for everyday users.  Sometimes it can be hard to tell what trends will directly impact sales but hey… the next big boom in business may just be one black-and-white photo away.

 

Is your company doing social media right? Fill out the form below to have a social media wizard review your current social media approach:

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