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October 22, 2014

What the Hell Just Happened to Google? Thinks Out Loud Episode 95

October 22, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile in app advertising

What the Hell Just Happened to Google? Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 40s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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October 21, 2014

Why Attribution Modeling Matters in 2015 (Travel Tuesday)

October 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

Book now enter keyAttribution modeling has become one of the hottest topics in digital marketing and is particularly important for hotel marketers these days. Why? Because OTA’s have invested heavily in solving this problem for their businesses. And they’re using those insights to build their marketing and distribution plans in earnest.

What is attribution modeling? It’s the process of identifying the channels that actually lead to a sale/booking so you can allocate your marketing spend more accurately and effectively. Luxury Daily highlights some of the most common models:

“The last interaction model gives all the credit to the last step, and the first interaction model gives all the credit to the first step, two models that favor expedience over accuracy.

Whereas the linear model gives equal credit to every step of the journey.

Positioned based attribution involves giving 40 percent to both the first and last interaction and splitting the final 20 percent among the remaining steps.

Finally, the time decay model gives credit to the touchpoints closest in time to the final sale. So, although a consumer may have first searched for a property a few weeks back, it will likely be dismissed if multiple steps occurred in the days leading up to a sale.”

Building the right attribution model for your hotel takes time, effort, and testing. But you don’t need to start from scratch. As The Leading Hotels of the World’s Debbie Johnsen notes,

“Of all the models, Ms. Johnsen recommended starting with the time decay model, which attempts to partially address the mystery of what ultimately triggered a sale, while staying practical by giving most credit to the clinchers.”

I completely agree (Full disclosure: Debbie and I worked together at Leading a few years back, but I have no connection with the company any longer and it appears we’ve reached the same conclusion about time decay models independently. Great minds think alike, apparently. At least in this case anyway).

If you’re interested in learning more about how it works for your hotel, resort, and poor management company, give me a call. And in the meantime, start pulling together your data about where your sales come from, online and offline. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of hospitality e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” Developed specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons can help your business adapt to the changing guest environment. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, why not take a minute to review the tips from my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing? I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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October 19, 2014

6 Amazing Travel Marketing Posts: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

October 19, 2014 | By | No Comments

Read these 6 amazing travel postsWant a great way to wrap-up the week that just passed and set yourself up for the week ahead? Then check out these 6 amazing travel marketing posts:

  1. Tnooz offers up an infographic showing that Chinese travelers book over 30% of their travel via mobile. I’d expect more to come, both in China — and in the rest of the world. In fact, growth like this further underscores why it’s really time to take mobile seriously.
  2. Hotel News Now published my latest piece on how to use hotel data to drive growth. And, highlighting that point, Skift offers up 6 top quotes about the power of user data from the CMO of TripAdvisor.
  3. Tnooz also uncovers data that says travelers post 120 items of social media per week while on a trip. Further proof that all marketing is social for you and an excellent view of why social isn’t for interns anymore.
  4. Hotel Marketing announces a new Cornell publishes eye tracking study on what drives online hotel choice. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but photos tend to draw lots of attention from your potential guests. The importance of images in the hotel shopping experience highlights why it’s important to decide how to share images with OTA’s. Alexandra O’Neale from Ice Portal writes on Tnooz why you should. I’m essentially inclined to agree, but with the usual caveats about balancing direct and indirect business and keeping your OTA costs under control.
  5. More good stuff from Hotel Marketing on how mobile technology can transform a travelers’ experience. That applies to business travel as well. For instance, Marketing Charts outlines the important features of meeting and event apps. Interesting read.
  6. Finally, I took a look at 4 tips to build your 2015 e-commerce and distribution plans in this past week’s Travel Tuesday post. You can check out the 7 Top Travel Marketing Posts for September here or the complete Travel Tuesday archive here, too, when you have a moment.

You might also enjoy past Hospitality Marketing Link Digests such as these entries on how hotel distribution is heating up and rising mobile bookings, big data, and more.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of hospitality e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” Developed specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons can help your business adapt to the changing guest environment. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, why not take a minute to review the tips from my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing? I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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October 17, 2014

6 Great Weekend Reads: E-commerce Link Digest

October 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

Millennial use mobile coupleLooks like this is going to be a great weekend here in the Northeast. Hope you get a chance to enjoy the fall weather. But, when you’ve got some downtime, you might want to take a few minutes and check out these 6 great weekend reads. Now, let’s get on with the list:

  1. Marketing Charts shows that mobile neared 40% of organic search traffic in Q3. Um… wow. It’s no secret that mobile’s getting really huge, but that’s a really big number.
  2. eMarketer shares new research showing position is huge for smartphone search ad click-through rates (CTRs), which leads Search Engine Land to ask whether bigger iPhones are better for paid search. The answer, for right now, is no. But the trend bears watching in detail
  3. FutureCommerce gets it right by saying every customer is a mobile customer. Given research that shows 66% of tablet shoppers leverage mobile during path to purchase, I don’t expect this to change anytime soon. All that said, I don’t expect e-commerce will kill retail, as long as retailers, marketers, and merchants recognize the trends and work to support their customers effectively in all channels.
  4. I made a similar point in this week’s Thinks Out Loud episode, which looked at what happens when “It’s All E-commerce” goes wrong.
  5. GetElastic has a cool “Pinfographic” (cute, eh?), showing the link between Pinterest and e-commerce and also offers great insights on the benefit of using Pinterest’s rich pins. As Saks’ director of social media, Qianna Smith, told Luxury Daily Pinterest boards should be extension of merchandising. Good reading.
  6. Another great Luxury Daily article shows streamlining Web sites leads to increased e-commerce. That shouldn’t shock anyone. But it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. And don’t forget to catch up on these “In Case You Missed It: 10 Posts from the Archives,” last week’s Link Digest post, “8 Potentially Game-Changing Trends,” the “8 Crucial Marketing and E-commerce Posts: The Top Posts from September,” and the rest of the E-commerce Link Digest series.

Plus, don’t miss these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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October 16, 2014

Will E-commerce Kill Retail?

October 16, 2014 | By | One Comment

Woman shopping phoneeMarketer has new research out that asks how much longer will traditional stores remain shoppers’ favorite, with the underlying premise being that traditional retail is doomed. But is that really true? Will e-commerce kill retail?

Well, with all due respect to my friends at eMarketer, this is a silly question. How long will traditional stores remain shoppers’ favorite channel?

Forever. At least for most purchases. And at least if you do it right.

First, let’s dig into the research. Here’s the good news:

“Among digital shoppers worldwide, 72% said the traditional store experience was important when making a purchase—the highest percentage out of locations and channels studied. The internet landed second, at 67%.”

Customers actually prefer the in-store experience over any other channel when making a purchase.

Even more good news for most retail outlets:

“Despite mobile’s rise and rumors of showrooming, smartphone websites and apps trailed behind in-store tech and even email as important channels for purchases.”

Of course, every silver lining has a cloud, right? Here’s the not-so-good:

“Capgemini noted that physical shops faced a grimmer future: Digital shoppers worldwide planned to order directly from brand manufacturers more in the coming years (65%), up ordering via a manufacturer’s app (53%) or third-party app (50%), spend more money on the internet than in a brick-and-mortar (51%) and turn to stores for showrooming rather than purchases (48%).”

Well, sure. When customers have experiences like those in yesterday’s podcast episode, “When It’s All E-commerce Goes Wrong”, of course customers would rather shop online.

But… it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve said many times that all marketing is social. And that’s because all people are social. For many, many people, it’s a lot more fun to get out and mill about at the mall (or whatever its future equivalent may be), than it is to sit at home. And it always will be.

Remember, I do digital for a living, love it, and breathe it. That doesn’t change the fact that human beings are social creatures. Digital, mobile, online — whatever you want to call it — is incredibly convenient. It makes it easy to shop and buy the things you want, when you want, where you want, and how you want. I recently needed to get some replacement water filters for my refrigerator. Ordering online offered a fantastic way to accomplish that goal as a.) I didn’t need the product today, and b.) I don’t particularly enjoy shopping for refrigerator filters.

Of course, e-commerce and digital provides customers a convenient way to shop when and where they want for all sorts of products and services, including much more highly considered and personal purchases than water filters. It’s not e-commerce or traditional retail. It’s e-commerce and retail, working together that provides the greatest benefits to both you and your customers.

What will change, though, is what it means to be a “traditional” retailer. Take a look at what Birchbox is doing with its new storefront, Amazon’s new storefront in Manhattan, or Apple’s exceedingly successful retail strategy. Each takes a different approach to solving customers’ retail needs. And, yes, it’s not guaranteed that all three will succeed in the long run (though Apple sure seems to have a bright road ahead).

Marketing in a mobile, social, digital era differs from the past in that your customers can easily find a preferable alternative — especially if you don’t offer them an attractive option today. But that’s a choice you make, every day. Make the right one, and your customers will continue to choose you for a long time to come.

If you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Plus, don’t miss these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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October 15, 2014

When It’s All E-commerce Goes Wrong – Thinks Out Loud Episode 94

October 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

Waiting in line

When It’s All E-commerce Goes Wrong Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 35s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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October 14, 2014

4 Tips to Build Your 2015 E-commerce and Distribution Plans (Travel Tuesday)

October 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

E-commerce and distribution channelsLike many hotel marketers, I suspect you’re right in the thick of 2015 planning, figuring out where to allocate your precious few dollars and hours to increase revenues, room nights, and, most importantly, profits in the coming year. To help with that process, here are 4 tips to build your 2015 e-commerce and distribution plans, taking from my columns for HotelNewsNow this past year.

First, it’s critical that you balance direct and indirect business. OTA’s aren’t going away, and they can play a truly important role in your e-commerce and distribution. For instance:

“Take a new look at each of your channel partners with a clear eye and ask these questions:

  • Can this OTA reach a guest you can’t? While the answer to this question is often yes, don’t assume OTAs always reach new business. Look for channels that deliver first-time bookers and look for opportunities to convert these to loyal guests.
  • Are the guests they reach the guests you want? One GM I know once told me about his “cooler index.” He could accurately predict which booking channel his guests used by the number of beer coolers they dragged through the lobby at check-in; the more coolers, the lower rated the business—and the greater the effort needed to convert them into longer-term, higher-value customers.
  • How much are you willing to pay to reach those guests? In other words, can the OTA reach those guests at a reasonable cost? Analyze your business to ensure an appropriate return on your cost of acquisition, whether paid as commission or as net rate margin.”

However, just because you will derive some business from OTA’s, you certainly want to look at ways to minimize intermediary costs. One way to do that is:

Learn to say “no.” While you want to give yourself plenty of options, that doesn’t mean you have to be on every shelf. You don’t need to sign every agreement offered you or provide inventory to every last “partner” out there. True partners support one another. Choose those channels that work with you and for you to deliver guests you can’t reach on your own, and ignore those that simply compete with you for the same guests. Remember, without your inventory, the myriad marketing and booking channels have nothing to sell. Use that to your advantage, particularly during this period of relative growth.”

Mobile also plays a key role in acquiring guests. Which is why it’s time to take mobile seriously. As I noted at the time,

“Last year, roughly 90% of all guests researched their travel options online at some point, and half of those conducted some of their research on a mobile device, according to two separate Google studies. According to Pew Internet Research, more than 60% of cellphone owners go online using their phones and almost 21% of adult mobile owners use their phones as their primary way of accessing the Internet. Hoteliers I’m working with have seen mobile traffic increase between 75% and 100% over the last year to approximately 10% to 20% of all web traffic. Overall mobile Internet use grew by almost 75% in the last year and looks to do the same in 2014.

So where are the bookings?

They’re hidden in other channels. Because, most of the time, your guests can’t actually book on mobile. At least not in the real world.

Mobile isn’t a device; it’s a situation. A potential guest sitting on her sofa and checking rates while watching “The Voice” isn’t mobile (not that she’s not important, too). But she can just as easily grab her laptop or tablet and make a booking without too much trouble.”

Finally, it’s critical that you make strong use of your hotel data to drive growth. Your data provides a strategic competitive advantage relative to the OTA’s and shouldn’t be taken for granted. To that end:

“One best practice that has emerged from digital marketing is the use of a “test and learn” approach, where savvy marketers analyze the data from each new initiative to figure out what’s working, then continue to “fish where the fishing’s good,” building on successes and learning from less successful efforts. Apply a similar approach to building your measurements, and increase investments on those efforts demonstrating positive results.”

Obviously, there’s more to building your overall 2015 e-commerce and distribution plan than just these four tips offer. But, if you think about how to balance OTA business, reduce the cost of acquisition from those OTA’s, adapt to the shifting mobile customer, and leverage your data effectively, you’re going to be in great shape for the year ahead.

And don’t forget, there’s always more great content where this list came from. For instance, you might want to check out last month’s list, which featured “6 Crucial Hotel Marketing Posts for August.” And in case you missed it, FitSmall Business interviewed a group of hospitality experts about how to market a hotel. I was thrilled to be asked to participate.

If you want to learn even more about the future of hospitality e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” Developed specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons can help your business adapt to the changing guest environment. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 13, 2014

In Case You Missed It: 10 Posts from the Archives

October 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

CheckmarkSometimes I get asked where people should start with their marketing. In case you’ve missed these, you might want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

  1. 8 Potentially Game-Changing Trends: E-commerce Link Digest
  2. A Dozen Really Useful E-commerce and Marketing Posts: The Best of Thinks (So Far)
  3. What Your Customers Expect from Mobile and E-commerce in 2014
  4. The Secrets Behind “It’s All E-commerce” for 2014
  5. Should Marketers Really Trust Google in 2014?
  6. The Zen of Digital Marketing Strategy
  7. 7 Steps to E-Commerce Heaven
  8. Today and Tomorrow: Mobile and The Changing Customer Journey
  9. Mobile Makes E-commerce Even More “Frictionless”
  10. Your 2014 Internet Marketing New Year’s Resolutions – Thinks Out Loud Episode 56

Plus, don’t miss these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Tim Peter

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October 10, 2014

8 Potentially Game-Changing Trends: E-commerce Link Digest

October 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile ecommerceTons of good stuff this week, Big Thinkers, from around the mobile, e-commerce, and digital marketing sphere that may shape the way you structure your digital strategy in 2015. While reading about what a mobile strategy looks like, provided 7 key tips for more effective email marketing, and uncovered why mobile matters for better email marketing this past week, I didn’t want you to miss the following 8 potentially game-changing trends detailed in the following posts. So, let’s get on with the list:

  1. Leading off, eMarketer releases research showing consumers are bullish on a mobile payments for the future. And in related news, TUAW offers an in-depth look at what’s behind Apple Pay’s secure payment system. These reasons illustrate why I think mobile payments represent the big game changer for mobile commerce.
  2. Sticking with mobile e-commerce for a moment, Forrester encourages retailers to embrace responsive Web design to lure mobile buyers.
  3. Search Engine Land details Google’s upgrades to “Conversational Search” on its mobile apps.
  4. Future Commerce poses the very important question, “Black Friday is fast approaching: Is your e-commerce store ready?
  5. In “I did not see that coming news,” it looks like Amazon is going to test its first retail outlet in the next couple of months. It’s all part of reducing the amount time that exists between customers placing orders and getting their stuff. This is going to get interesting.
  6. Getting your customers to talk about your products and services plays a big role in any successful e-commerce and digital marketing strategy. Fortunately, Marketing Charts details which types of product offers consumers will share on social media.
  7. Linda Bustos and the fine team over at GetElastic offer a terrific infographic showing differences in how men and women shop online.
  8. Finally, even with all the growth in digital, many large businesses continue to use TV as their primary channel for reaching customers. But that tide is starting to turn. Business Insider uncovers the tale of ad agency Omnicom telling its advertisers to shift TV spend to online video. Given that it works with brands like Pepsi, McDonald’s, Apple, and Starbucks, that’s a really big deal.

Looking for even more e-commerce link digest goodness? Take a look at these “6-Plus Incredible E-Commerce, Mobile, and Marketing Posts,” “7 Marketing Tips You Won’t Want to Miss,” and the rest of the E-commerce Link Digest series. You might also want to check out this list of “8 Crucial Marketing and E-commerce Posts: The Top Posts from September,” our regular round-up of the most popular posts from last month.

Plus, don’t miss these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 9, 2014

Want Better Email Marketing Results? Think Mobile

October 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Consider this a quick follow-up to my look at improving email marketing effectiveness from earlier this week. Litmus Email Analytics has a cool set of information rounding up the email clients used in September, 2014. Check this out:

Email client use

According to Litmus’s data, the iPhone was the most used email client in September, with more than 1 in 4 emails opened (out of 927 million opens), in September. The iPad contributed another 12%. While Android was at #6, with “only” 6% of opens, it’s not clear to me how many of the Gmail opens at #2 with 15% were on mobile devices. I suspect at least some.

I’ve referenced data showing that using responsive design — i.e., designs that work well regardless of the device used — boosts open rates by 20% a few times now. This Litmus data helps explain why. If 45% or more (27% iPhone + 12% iPad + 6% Android) of all opens happen on mobile devices, your customers need responsive emails to even begin to interact with your brand and your business.

Email marketing remains a key contributor to connecting with customers. It’s often among the first sources of information your customers engage every day. According to Yesmail, 50% of users only read email on mobile and tablet devices. Yet, somehow, many marketers have moved away from email, leading to its status as a forgotten social network. Put simply, email marketing works for reaching qualified customers, and for driving meaningful business results.

Or, at least it will, if you help customers use it on the devices they care about most.

Want more? Then you might want to check out these slides called, “Email Marketing: Keys to List Growth,” from a recent talk I gave to a private industry group:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

And if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including: