Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

By

August 18, 2014

Will Millennials Use Email?

August 18, 2014 | By | No Comments

Millennials use email coupleEver since my post about how to grow your email list, last week’s podcast exploring why email marketing still works, and this e-commerce digest featuring millennials and mobile, you’ve all been sending me loads of emails (ironically enough), asking whether email use applies to millennials. Given all the media channels available to millennials, including mobile, social, search, and apps, will millennials use email as preceding generational cohorts have?

To put it simply, yes, your millennial customers use email too, and I see no reason to assume that will change right away.

Here’s why.

First, we know that 7 out of 10 customers in the United States have a smartphone now, with those numbers greater among millennials than any other generation. We also have data that shows more than half of all emails were opened on mobile in 2013, bypassing desktop email clients for the first time ever. Right there, the data suggests that millennials are likely to use email at least as much as Boomers and Gen X.

However, even better data exists. Aweber’s Generation Media Explorer shows that 40% of millennials use email to stay connected with their favorite stores, more than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other channel for that matter.

Millennials use email

The graphic above shows email vs. Facebook (the second most popular channel), but you can check out the other channels for yourself.

Here’s why you should care. The Direct Marketing Association said last year that email averages a 4,300% return on investment. If you think about the costs associated with email marketing, that number shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Even a few sales from email can often justify the expense. And when used as part of a comprehensive digital strategy, encompassing search, social, and mobile channels, email can prove even more effective still.

Email marketing remains a valuable tool in any digital marketer’s toolkit. Mobile customers read email at increasingly high rates. And because millennials use email, particularly on mobile, it appears likely email will remain a valuable channel for some time to come.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can view the slides from my talk about growing your email list below:


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

And you can learn even more about how customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing by registering 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.

You may also want to attend a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16. You can read all the details here.

Finally, whether you work with Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, or the Silent Generation, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

August 15, 2014

10 Key Posts about Millennials and Mobile: E-commerce Link Digest

August 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

Millennial and mobile go hand in handFor a long time, I curated a link digest every Friday featuring interesting articles and posts about e-commerce and Internet marketing. And, though it’s been a while since my last one, I’ve gotten a number of emails lately asking me to bring it back. So, without further ado, here’s the triumphant return of the Thinks E-commerce and Internet Marketing Link Digest, this week focused heavily on millennials and mobile. Enjoy:

  1. Marketing Charts has data that shows 2 in 3 millennials use mobile apps while shopping in-store. In fact, Business Insider data suggests that customer mobile use drives in-store traffic (they’re calling it “reverse showrooming”), in a reverse of what’s long been feared.
  2. Another Marketing Charts post, this one shows that millennials spend more time with digital than traditional media, but with some caveats.
  3. eMarketer offers data highlighting that a majority in Canada will access the web via their mobile phones.
  4. I wrote a post that explored the shocking truth about millennials and digital media.
  5. Mobile Commerce Daily has a great article explaining how Zappos wins at apps by leveraging mobile moments
  6. Still more Marketing Charts data shows US smartphone penetration tops 7 in 10 mobile subscribers in Q2.
  7. Another data point from eMarketer suggests people are pretty much glued to technology 24/7. Shocking, I know.
  8. According to Gizmodo, Snapchat’s thinking about getting into the mobile payment business. Given the overall growth of mobile, that’s not surprising.
  9. My 5 Essential Travel Marketing Posts for July offered a number of insights into mobile and millennials among travel customers.
  10. And another piece from Mobile Commerce Daily explains why retailers should pay closer attention to mobile-only shoppers. Good stuff to round out this week’s list.

Your customers, from Millennials straight through to Boomers often read email on their mobile phones too. Last week I took a look at growing your email list and its importance as an e-commerce best practice. I also gave a talk to a fantastic audience all about email marketing in an age of mobile and featured the topic as part of my weekly podcast. If you’re interested, you can view the slides from the talk below:


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

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.

As an FYI, I’m presenting a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16. You can read all the details here.

Finally, whether you work with Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, or the Silent Generation, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

August 13, 2014

Why Email Marketing Still Works – Thinks Out Loud Episode 85

August 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

Email marketing works

Why Email Marketing Still Works Headlines and Show Notes

And, as promised, here are the slides from my recent talk:


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

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: 17m 02s

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

By

August 12, 2014

How Intermediaries Drive Up Your Costs: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself (Travel Tuesday)

August 12, 2014 | By | No Comments

Managing rising OTA and intermediary costs

If you’re like most hotel marketers and owners, you’ve probably noticed a disturbing trend: your costs for acquiring guests have been rising, probably by a lot.

But have you considered why?

It’s easy to blame the OTA’s for pushing increased margins and enhanced commissions. And, sure, some of that’s happening. But it’s not just the OTA’s. It’s happening everywhere. The real problem relates to who owns access to customers — and their ability to charge for that access.

Google dominates search everywhere except China and Russia (and in those countries, Baidu and Yandex, respectively, play a similar role in the marketplace). As more hotel marketers have shifted their marketing spend to paid search, it’s driven up the cost of that medium. Similarly, Facebook continues to change its algorithms, filtering what its users see and decreasing the reach of your social messages. The social giant’s recommended solution: paying Facebook for reach — again driving up your costs.

Email has also suffered, as Google changed its algorithms to filter email marketing messages onto a secondary, “promotions” page in its ubiquitous Gmail offering. This has moved your email marketing out of your guests’ primary inbox, increasing the difficulty of connecting with guests through this still-promising medium.

And don’t get me started on the whole net neutrality issue, where ATT, Comcast, and Verizon are pushing in the worst way possible — literally — to force you to pay twice to reach your guests. The attack on net neutrality represents such a major threat to the way we all reach customers that Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo!, eBay, LinkedIn, and a host of others have all publicly protested the move. It’s pretty telling that one hundred and forty disparate, competitive players — including those just mentioned — jointly issued a letter to the FCC that begins, “We write to express our support for a free and open internet…”, the clear implication being that the FCC’s current proposal would eliminate that very thing.

Add in travel industry consolidation such as TripAdvisor and Priceline’s recent shopping sprees and you’ve got an ideal recipe for higher customer-acquisition costs. This trend isn’t limited to the hospitality industry, of course, as Amazon and Hachette’s recent kerfuffle in the publishing space demonstrates.

To be fair, except for the net neutrality mess — which is just wrong — and maybe the Amazon/Hachette dust-up, none of these companies are bad actors. They’re simply following basic laws of supply and demand. Any Economics 101 student should be able to explain the underlying causes. When someone else completely controls the road to your customers, it shouldn’t surprise you when they decide to install tollbooths.

How Do You Respond?

Now, does this mean you should abandon a balanced approach to direct and indirect business? Nope. Not even a little. What it does mean is that you need to pay particular attention where your guests come from, what it costs you to acquire them, and what it costs you to keep them.

How can you do that? Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Expand your options. It may be cliché, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Yes, OTA’s can drive significant business. But think about your overall web presence and, for that matter, market presence, and how you can reach guests most effectively and efficiently. Your website plays a crucial role, serving as the central destination most guests will visit at some point in their decision-making process. Maximize and optimize search, social, mobile, retargeting, email, and voice channels to attract and retain guests, then use OTA’s and the GDS to supplement that core. Assume that every channel will get more expensive over time; invest in those that offer you the most control in your conversations with guests and seek alternatives to the rest.
  2. 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” on 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.
  3. Benchmark your effectiveness. How do your revenues and costs measure up to others in your market? Many marketing teams struggle to answer this critically important question. Are your acquisition costs high, low, or somewhere in the middle? Are your marketing channels priced appropriately relative to your competition? Are you getting the best return on your spend? The more you know what the world around looks like, the more able you’ll be to manage your marketing and distribution to achieve strong results.
  4. Build your customer database. The trend is clear: Own the data and you own the customer. Google and Facebook have essentially built their entire businesses on this principle. Continue to grow your customer database, then use that data to foster deeper, more relevant conversations with guests. Measure which promotions and messages resonate with which guest segments, then deliver targeted messages to those segments. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  5. Don’t assume there’s nothing to be done. Probably the single biggest mistake I run across comes from those who say “We can’t possibly compete with (aggressive competitor),” regardless of who that “aggressive competitor” is. Of course you can. Whether you work for an individual property, a management company, a major chain, or anything in between, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to compete effectively. Heck, you even can — and should — add your opposition to the FCC’s net neutrality plan. Sure, sometimes a competitor may gain a temporary advantage. Fine. Just remember that it’s always temporary. Continue to follow the other tips in this list to shorten the duration of that temporary advantage and to improve your position in the market.

Conclusion

Blaming any one player — Google, OTA’s, whoever — for the rising cost of customer acquisition misses the larger trend. As long as gatekeepers exist, you’re going to face the same problem. And, it’s unlikely all gatekeepers will ever disappear entirely. Instead, focus first on those areas such as your own web presence where your control is greatest, supplement your presence with an array of true partners, benchmark your results to evaluate new opportunities critically, and use your own customer database to offer guests the information most relevant to them.

Most importantly, keep pushing for improved results. While it’s unlikely you’ll avoid all tolls along the way, you certainly can find a route that works for your business.

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.

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:

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Hotel News Now, where Tim Peter writes a quarterly column for the magazine’s Digital Tech Impact Report.
Tim Peter

By

August 11, 2014

How Mobile Shapes Customer Behavior

August 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile shapes customer behaviorNew research from eMarketer today highlights how consumers’ changing relationship with technology, especially mobile, shapes customer behavior, noting:

“…60% of US internet users were almost always connected. Fully 43% never unplugged from all personal technology, such as audio players, ereaders, laptops and computers, mobile phones, tablets, and TV, and 17% only took a break a few times a year.”

One of the biggest drivers, by far, is the growth of smartphone usage. Which isn’t surprising when you consider that smartphone penetration in the US has now topped 70%.

This trend towards the Internet, everywhere, creates both opportunity and challenges for many businesses. First, it highlights your need to support your customers when they choose mobile. Mobile serves as the glue connecting your various channels — e-commerce, in-store, call center, catalog — because it’s always at hand. And your customers increasingly expect that they can use their phone to accomplish whatever task they’re faced with, when and where they want.

One huge area of improvement for many marketers and merchandisers is email. Almost three-fourths of all customers check email on their phone regularly and, again, have it close at hand day and night.

Last week I took a look at growing your email list and its importance as an e-commerce best practice. I also gave a talk last week on the same topic. You can view the slides right here:


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

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.

The reality is the growth of mobile continues to shape your customers’ activity. The question remains is whether it’s shaping yours to meet customer needs.

Just an FYI, I’m presenting a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16. You can read all the details here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the e-commerce and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

August 8, 2014

Upcoming Webinar: Digital Marketing Directions – Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year

August 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Tim Peter Digital Marketing DirectionsOK, so this is from the “shameless self-promotion” department, but I’m presenting a new webinar on Tuesday, September 16 in conjunction with Biznology® called “Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year.”

Among the topics I’ll look at are:

  • How customer behaviors have changed and what that means for your business
  • What customers care about while they’re searching, browsing, and buying
  • The role search, social, and mobile will play in your marketing and e-commerce activities
  • Best practices for building audiences and customer acquisition in your digital marketing activities

This is a free Biznology® webinar, where I’ll describe the major trends driving your business this year and beyond. More importantly, I’ll explore how you can leverage these trends to grow traffic and sales for your business. The entire event is only 30-minutes long, so why not take a few minutes out of your day on Tuesday, September 16 to join in and learn more about the trends shaping your marketing both this year and in 2015?

Interested? You can register for the webinar here.

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.

For a preview, you may also want to review the information from a recent talk, The Truth: How the Social, Local, Mobile Web Affects Sales Online and Offline:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the e-commerce and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

August 7, 2014

E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List

August 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

grow your email listI gave a brief talk earlier this week called “E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List” to an amazing audience filled with savvy, experienced marketers from around North America. It was a fantastic group and a really great discussion followed. I wish I had video of the talk, because it was a fantastic day all around and really builds on what yesterday’s podcast is all about. Still, for those of you who are interested, here are the slides:


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

I bring all this up because Mark Jones of Thomson Reuters has a great piece about what’s driving the increased use of email marketing that’s well worth the read and underscores how important email marketing remains to effective e-commerce and digital marketing activities. Email really is the forgotten social network and a key part of building your business and your brand. Feel free to check out the slides and let me know if you’re interested in learning more about how you can apply these lessons in your business.

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.

You may also want to review the tips in another recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, it was built for a travel audience, but its lessons apply across industries. The full deck is here:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the e-commerce and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

August 6, 2014

Why Your Customers Buy – Thinks Out Loud Episode 84

August 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

Why your customers buy

Why Your Customers Buy Headlines and Show Notes

As promised in the episode here are my slides from my price transparency talk:

And from my overall “Transparent Web” talk:

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: 18m 07s

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

By

August 5, 2014

5 Essential Travel Marketing Posts for July (Travel Tuesday)

August 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile travel hikerLong-time readers of the blog know that each month, I collect the top posts for the previous 30 days. Well, the Travel Tuesday series has become so popular, that beginning today, I’ll recap its posts separately, beginning with this list of the essential travel marketing posts from July. (If you’re curious, you can see the list of the top digital marketing and e-commerce and digital marketing posts from July here, too).

Now, some of you might be saying, “Wait a minute. Weren’t there only 5 Travel Tuesday posts in July?” Why, yes, there were. But all 5 were among the top marketing and e-commerce posts for the month and #’s one through four in this list comprised 4 of the top 6 posts overall (including #1 and #2). And given the popularity of the series, I’ll be including more travel marketing content each month (not just on Tuesdays) in the coming weeks. So, there should be plenty of opportunity to present a meaningful list each month going forward. Don’t worry, though, the Travel Tuesday series isn’t going anywhere. I’ll just add to it when appropriate.

With that said, why not take a minute to review this 5 must-read travel marketing posts from July:

  1. By far, the most popular post this past month was this look at “6 Key Secrets Every Hotel Marketer Should Know.” Not only did it lead the Travel Tuesday list, it was the most visited, read, liked, and shared post overall for the month.
  2. While I like to include only original content in these lists, this round-up, “14 Killer Resources for Hotel Marketers: Travel Tuesday’s Best of 2014,” which recapped the most popular posts to date this year seemed very popular among your fellow travel marketers. Given that reality, I figured you’d want to check it out too.
  3. Mobile continues to drive the conversation, both here on the blog and with your customers. That helps explain why your hotel marketing peers checked out “5 Mind-Blowing Stats About Mobile’s Growth You Must Know” throughout the last month.
  4. Metasearch represents another huge topic in hotel marketing, and one that’s not well understood. Of course, you’ll understand it a lot more once you read “The Big Myth About Hotel Metasearch.”
  5. Does your hotel get reviews and ratings on sites like TripAdvisor and the OTA’s? Of course it does. These “3 Reputation Management Secrets Every Hotel Marketer Should Know” will help you put those ratings and reviews to work for your hotel to increase occupancy and RevPAR.

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.

Given the overall popularity of the Travel Tuesday series, 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

August 4, 2014

6 Must-Read Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts from July

August 4, 2014 | By | No Comments

Top digital marketing and e-commerce blog postsIt’s that time again, Big Thinkers. Time to round-up your most favorite, must-read digital marketing and e-commerce posts from last month. And there’s some great stuff this time around.

Long-time readers of this series will note that I haven’t included any Travel Tuesday posts in this list. Beginning this month, I’ll be breaking those out separately. Look forward to a dedicated list of the top Travel Tuesday posts of July tomorrow. Anyway, here’s the the list of this month’s must-read digital marketing and e-commerce posts:

  1. The most popular post of all this past month explored “The Shocking Truth About Millennials and Digital Media”. Given the influence that millennials have on digital marketing, I guess that’s no surprise. But the data is. So check it out when you get the chance.
  2. I announce my E-commerce and Internet Marketing All-Stars every year in July, and this year’s collection, “The 2014 E-commerce and Internet Marketing All-Stars: The Top 9 Blogs,” was the second most popular post this past month. Take a look and see why.
  3. Posts that examine trends in detail tend to be very popular each month. Which helps explain this look at the “7 Reasons E-commerce Growth Has Nowhere to Go But Up” attracted so much attention in July.
  4. eBay made a huge SEO error, one that’s going to cost them about $200 million in revenue this year. “Panda Attacks: What You Can Learn from eBay’s E-commerce SEO Mistake” helps uncover what happened — and how you can keep it from happening to you.
  5. Thinks Out Loud, my weekly podcast, provides the next entry in this list, this time with Episode 82: “Mobile and E-commerce Go Hand-in-Hand.”
  6. Oh, and Thinks Out Loud also offers up Episode 79, “What Works in Digital Today?” to round out this month’s list of the top digital marketing and e-commerce posts.

Interested in learning even more about the future of 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.” 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.

You might also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, it was built for a travel audience, but its lessons apply across industries. The full deck is here:

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