In the Office

Twitter’s E-Commerce Features Continue to Grow

Instagram and Pinterest recently revealed their integration of purchasing features on their platforms. Now, Twitter has announced that, in addition to the “buy-now” button, brands will be able to develop their own e-commerce pages with pricing and other details.

twitter marketingTwitter said, “Every month, millions of people Tweet about what they love: products they buy, places they visit, books they’re reading, or vacations they’re planning … So today we’re beginning to test two ways to make it easier for you to discover rich and relevant content about products and places on Twitter.” In other words, there are already millions of product-related Tweets (which are like mini product reviews) floating out in the Twitterverse. What Twitter is proposing is the creation of individual product pages that will display a collection of tweets and retweets from anyone who uses the product-oriented hashtag. This will create one place where users can easily find lots of aggregated information about a product.

Along with the introduction of product pages, there will be product collections. These collections can be created by celebrities or brands to showcase a combination of products that they would like consumers to view as an ensemble. For example, Twitter’s Swim & Sun Ready collection page showcases tweets about bathing suits that, when clicked, lead directly back to the individual product page for that swimsuit.

AdWeek says that this will give brands even more of an incentive to purchase promoted tweets. One drawback, though, is that it often takes multiple clicks to reach the actual point of purchase. Even though these new pages seem like they will help drive sales, they might not if customers don’t make it to the buy button. And if people use these pages to simply educate themselves on a product, the effects on sales might be too difficult to measure for advertisers.

With these changes come some questions. AdWeek asks, will these “collection-style” pages even be worth visiting? This largely depends on each individual brand’s dedication to developing these pages and populating them with content that is relevant to shoppers and Twitter users.

Another question inevitably arises: what’s next? As we have seen, social media is not stopping with buttons. Twitter is further blurring the distinction between e-commerce sites and social media platforms. Who is going to make the next move, and what new features will they come up with? Share your predictions in the comments below.

Week In Marketing: Timesquare Billboard, Next Big Brand Ambassador, Consumer Storytelling, Marketing Stats, Neuromarketing


1. Coke Expands on their “Share A Coke” Campaign With an Interactive Billboard
After creating a new microsite last week for the Share a Coke campaign, Coke decided to add another component to the mix: an interactive billboard in Times Square, activated by Twitter. When a fan tweets their name along with the hashtag #CokeMyName, they are changing the billboard in real time. Once someone sends the tweet out, the name, along with a fun fact about the name, will be displayed on the billboard in Times Square. However, you don’t have to be in Times Square to see your name across the screen. After a tweet is sent out, Coke’s social media team receives a picture of the billboard with the name on it, and sends it back to the person within the hour.

2. Gatorade: A Coach’s Concoction now a Billion Dollar Industry
In 1965, Florida Gators football coach noticed his player’s lack of hydration and energy, so he mixed up a drink that is now known as Gatorade.
Ever since people were calling this electrolyte filled drink “Gator Coach’s Aid,” it has been dominating the $12.5 billion sports drink category. While Gatorade has given rise to plenty of competitors, it has also shined in its marketing efforts. From Michael Jordan to Peyton Manning, the drink has had some of the biggest names in sports behind it. Joe Favorite, a sports marketing teacher at Columbia University says that “[Gatorade has] done a great job of storytelling to the consumer.”

More »

What Marketers Need to Know about Micro-Moments

micromoments purchase decisionMicro-moments are instantaneous, fragmented moments – the impulse of “I want to know” “I want to go,” “I want to do,” or “I want to buy” that makes consumers pick up a device and Google.

According to Think With Google, “Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.” This means that some consumers change their purchasing decisions at the point-of-purchase. Any research done on products prior to entering the store is replaced by a quick skim on the web while staring the products in the face. Consumers want quick content that will tell them what to do right here, right now, in this one micro-moment.

These impulsive micro-moments are resulting in extreme multitasking. The Wall Street Journal said, “91% of smartphone users look up information on their smartphone while right in the middle of a task,” meaning that they are searching for a recipe while they are already boiling the water.

Micro-moments are also strongly intent-driven, meaning that consumer expectations are extremely high. Users will try the first 3 search results, and if they find their solution there, they won’t bother to go any further than that. In other words, your solution has to be the best solution – and it has to come up first.

What these micro-moments mean for marketing is that convenience is replacing brand loyalty. Think With Google said, “The successful brands of tomorrow will be those that have a strategy for understanding and meeting consumers’ needs in these micro-moments.”

Developing a strategy to deal with these moments may sound like taking a stab in the dark, but publications like AdAge have already started gathering best practices to get you started. Here are four questions we came up with to help you better understand how your customers are experiencing micro-moments:

  1. When and where is your audience experiencing an immediate need for your product?
  2. Where does your audience look for the answer to their need? (e.g. Google, Amazon)
  3. What words/terms does your audience use to call up these answers?
  4. What format do they want answers in? (e.g. text, image, video, compatible with mobile/tablet)

World Cup Marketing: Women vs. Men

As the FIFA Women’s World Cup comes to a close, brands everywhere have taken advantage of “fútbol fever” by launching powerful marketing campaigns. When comparing this year’s successful campaigns to last year’s FIFA World Cup standouts, common themes emerged:

Focus: The Gear

2014: Nike aired The Last Game, part of its “risk everything” campaign that hinged on the supernatural, following a team of men’s soccer players on a mission to save the game.

2015: Nike launched the American Woman campaign, showing that training and inspiration, along with the right gear, can keep energy alive on and off the field.


event marketingFocus: The Players

2014: Beats by Dre aired The Game Before The Game, using various soccer players to portray the message that the game often starts before anyone is on the field.

2015: Tampax gave advice to young girls through USA women’s player Alex Morgan’s advice on how to deal with losing a big game.


Focus: The Community

2014: GoPro showed the impact soccer has on the people on Brazil through Brazil for the Love.

2015: U.S. Soccer went behind the scenes for its One Nation, One Team video series.


Focus: The Connection

Fox Sports, covering the women’s tournament for the first time this year, hoped last summer’s excitement around Team USA would continue through their It’s Not Over television promotion.


The Result: No matter if men or women are on the field, brands can find success through campaigns that aim to reach beyond the game itself.


Week In Marketing: #followfood, NFL Advertising, Millenials’ Music, Packaging and Beer

HowardMerrell bike 1. New Packaging for Cyclists
Mcdonald’s has a new promo packaging aimed for cyclists. The packaging was designed to help riders hold their food while staying balance on the bike. The frame work and craft of the box is innovative and captivating. The promo packaging was released in Copenhagen, Denmark and then Medellin, Columbia. The project will be coming soon to Amsterdam and Japan.

2. Follow that truck!!
Dentyne is making a foundation with its #followfood campaign. It shows the benefits and values of following the food with breath-freshening gum. The Dentyne truck will be on tour with its food cousin, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, as well as a Kimchi Taco truck, a hot dog vendor and a pizza truck. The following trucks will be traveling to six food festivals across America.

More »

The Latest Endorsement Guides

Endorsement Howard/Merrell

Are you leveraging social media for professional use?

If you answered yes, then you may want to familiarize yourself with the Federal Trade Commission’s newly updated Endorsement Guides.

The document answers questions people (advertisers, advertising/PR agencies, bloggers, etc.) are asking about the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, including information about disclosing material connections between advertisers and endorsers.

The guidance is now available in the form of the FTC’s recently updated FAQ entitled, “What People Are Asking”. The FAQ covers: Product Placements, Social Media Contests, Online Review Program, Intermediaries, Affiliate or Network Marketing, Expert Endorsements, Endorsements by Individuals, Testimonials and Soliciting Endorsements.

More »

The Small Business Misconception

marketing for small business

Small businesses are a pretty big deal. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, over half of Americans own or work for one. And these companies create two out of every three new jobs nationwide each year. Many assume these small, local businesses are at a disadvantage against the endless marketing budgets of their larger competitors. But what if small businesses actually had the upper hand in reaching customers? Here are some key ways that we think they do:

– Knowing the target audience. Local businesses are closer to their customers – literally. An example is downtown Durham’s American Underground, home to over 150 start-up companies. They have countless opportunities to network with other businesses, experiment with new ideas, and access potential customer segments within the city.

– Making personal and genuine connections. Real engagement provides an opportunity to bring your customers closer to you without the intermediary of mass media. If you take a trip to Miami, make sure to visit the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In. It’s located right in the middle of the city and pays homage to the intimacy of a traditional drive-in experience. Their sponsorship program provides donors with personalized benefits and motivates them to return often.

– Relationships based on loyalty. Locally owned companies have the potential to serve as a hometown staple for the community. Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery has functioned as a Chapel Hill town favorite for over twenty years because of their commitment to the area’s traditions and community involvement. Creating this sense of community identity eventually results in strong emotional connections with customers.

– Innovation and Adaptability. Small budgets mean you have to be more creative, efficient and adaptable. The food truck craze meant food trucks were a dime a dozen in Denver, so the Crock Spot came up with a new, unique concept. The truck offers slow-cooked crockpot meals specially made for each customer.

Week In Marketing: New Getty Images, Father’s Day Tributes, WSJ’s New App, Automated Social Media

Howard/Merrell Fathers Day

1. Getty Images New Collection: Masculinity Gets a Modern Makeover
Stock photography is everywhere, and a lot of it reinforces traditional gender roles. Last year, Getty Images created a collection of 2,500 images showing women in more empowering ways. The collection, which has since doubled in size, turned out to be a success, according to Getty, with sales also doubling since the launch. Now, ahead of Father’s Day, Getty Images has curated another collection, this time offering images that redefine representations of masculinity. According to the company, there has been a growing demand for imagery showing a modernized view of gender equality like parents sharing the work of raising kids and images of same-sex couples.

The collection, which Getty customers can find by entering the keywords “Lean In Together” in the database, features images of what the company describes as men as involved caretakers and caregivers, men who are emotionally available and affectionate, men involved in domestic life, and men working collaboratively in the workplace.

2. Toyota’s Documentaries for Father’s Day
It’s all in for Toyota this Father’s Day. They are unveiling a pair of 3-minute-long Web films — and erecting an “I (Heart) Dad” monument next week on Southern California’s Santa Monica Beach Pier. The campaign turns on the insight that Americans spend $7.4 billion less on Father’s Day gifts than they spend on Mother’s Day. Toyota’s push: Let’s make Father’s Day Mean Something…

Extending the Father’s Day theme into the physical world, Toyota commissioned a 15-foot-tall wooden “I (Heart) Dad” monument, which will be unveiled next week on Santa Monica Pier, where it will remain through June 22. Visitors will be able to instantly print their Instagram photos at the site by adding the campaign’s #OneBoldChoice hashtag.

3. Mobile Programmatic Growing As 91% Of Marketers Up Spend
Nearly all (91%) mobile ad-buyers have increased their programmatic spend in 2015, according to a new survey and research report from Millennial Media, a mobile ad exchange. The company interviewed 137 advertisers during the first quarter of 2015 and pulled campaign data from its exchange for the report. Millennial notes that 46% of respondents are spending under one million on mobile programmatic campaigns this year, down from 63% in 2014. Over one-third (36%) are spending between $1 million and $5 million, up from 22% last year. And the number of marketers spending over $15 million via mobile programmatic has more than tripled — up to 13% from 4%. The number of buyers spending between $5 million and $15 million has decreased to 5%, from 11%.

4. The Wall Street Journal tests new app
The Wall Street Journal is testing a news app called “What’s News,” which will be offered in addition to its current subscription. It’s the first product the Journal has created that’s available only to mobile readers, and it will offer a digest of the day’s most important stories.

According to Capital New York, the app was designed to increase reader loyalty: From a business standpoint, the app is designed to shore up subscriber loyalty as the Journal marches toward a goal of 3 million paying customers by 2017; it currently has around 2.2 million, roughly 700,000 of which are digital-only subscribers, according to company estimates.

5. Spirit Airlines’ automated Social media customer service
According to PR Daily, while most businesses go out of their way to employ best practices in all areas of marketing and operations, Spirit Airlines somehow survives by employing some of the worst practices. That now includes social media. Spirit has a history of an almost adversarial relationship with customers, and has gotten its fair share of negative comments in social media. While all other airlines have made it a point to show that real humans work on these accounts, Spirit goes out of its way to try to convince you that they use a robot to manage their Twitter account. The brand has renamed the Twitter presence the Spirit Autopilot. Clearly, it’s a gimmick. Because that’s what irate customers want—another automated response. Even the organization’s broadcasted tweets are apparently automated with customized social media tiles that, if we’re to believe the brand, no human had a hand in creating.

Get to Know Generation Z

Marketers spend a lot of time talking about millennials, but have you heard of Generation Z?

marketing to Generation Z

Although it sounds like some sort of alien species, Gen Z simply refers to those born after 1995, or under the age of 18 (depending on whom you ask).

If Generation Z is in your target market (or will be soon), it’s important to understand how to reach them. Here are some insights gleaned from a Wikia research study to help you get familiar with them.

“One-in-four (25%) are actively connected (checking email, messages, etc.) within five minutes of waking up, while nearly three-in-four (73%) are connected in an hour or less.” To maximize viewership, release your content in the waking hours before they head to school.

Gen Z has an 8-second average attention span. Deliver your messages simply and visually. Try creating “snackable content,” which are bites of content that can be easily consumed.

“Nine-in-ten of these GenZers (93%) say they visit YouTube at least once a week and 54% visit multiple times per day.” Gen Z is redefining the meaning of “celebrity.” AdWeek said, “YouTube stars aren’t mainstream famous, but teens can’t get enough of them because they relate to their authenticity.” The faces of your brand need to be genuine – maybe even YouTube stars.

“Three-quarters (76%) agree that their experience with technology will help them reach their goals. Two-thirds (66%) agree that technology makes them feel like anything is possible.” Gen Z is highly ambitious and believes that using social media and technology will help them reach their goals. According to Mashable, high-schoolers are already thinking about starting their own businesses. This generation wants interaction with your brand to empower them. So, tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and inspire them.

Although there is still much to learn about Generation Z, start getting to know them now so your marketing efforts will be ahead of the curve.

Week In Marketing: YouTube’s Birthday, Retro Ads, Influencer Marketing, Branding Efforts


1. Lady Gaga’s Piano Player Trying To Start His Own Brand
Lady Gaga has raised the creative bar so high not only is the competition trying to keep up, but so are the members of her band. Keyboardist Brockett Parsons has played for packed arenas for Lady Gaga for sometime. Now he feels as though it is time do try something of his own. Parsons has made the concept of a circular piano with an asking price of $45,000. Could there be a PianoArc in every home?

2. The From SunnyD’s Goofy ’90s Rollerblading Advertisement
Sunny D released a commercial that may bring back memories or a little chuckle. The company made a parody of its own iconic commercial from 20 years ago, with rollerblading kids and a view of a 90s kitchen. The new ad shows you what its like 20 years later. The commercial displays a valuable viewpoint that although time has past, Sunny D will never change.

3. YouTube’s Birthday Contest
In honor of its tenth birthday, YouTube is hosting a showdown of the top ads featured on its platform. YouTube has taken the top 20 advertisements and encourages everyone to visit the site and place their vote. Who will take the crown?

4. Resurrecting Colonel Sanders
Celebrating its 75th birthday this year, KFC is bringing back Colonel Sanders. The Colonel, who has not appeared in ads since the 90s, will soon be online, in social media, on broadcast and in stores as part of an effort to update the chain’s image. The marketing push includes a blitz with the new Colonel played by “Saturday Night Live” alum Darrell Hammond, store remodels, new packaging, new menu items, a new and a “reinvented”, which gives the history of the Colonel in all his different iterations.

5. What’s next with Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing – partnering with well-known bloggers and people with large social media followings – is on the rise. A recent study found that 92 percent of consumers look for referrals from those they know, finding referrals online 81 percent of the time. This is making brand managers look for creative ways to attract consumers’ attention through social media. They are leveraging the of selfies, pictures taken of food,… what’s next?

Image Credit.