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September 5, 2014

8 Digital Marketing Posts Worth Reading This Week: E-commerce Link Digest

September 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile ecommerce and marketing postsIf it’s Friday, it must be time for another e-commerce link digest. So, without any convoluted setup, let’s just jump straight to these 8 great digital marketing posts for you to read this week. Enjoy:

  1. Chris Brogan, writing at The Customer Edge, explains “The Rise of Warm Data,” which looks at how businesses can use data to really assist their customers. It’s an idea that Forrester Research’s Julie Ask calls, “big mother, not big brother.” It’s also an idea whose time has come.
  2. While we’re on the topic of data, you might want to review what your mobile e-commerce data isn’t telling you.
  3. Marketing Charts offers up this review of where North American digital marketers rank their key goals and challenges. They also show how large enterprises are allocating their digital dollars. Good data, well presented.
  4. Search Engine Land shows why Google’s push for HTTPS is more about PR than search quality that also serves as a strong lesson in being too reactive to Google’s changes. Yes, you need to respond when Google makes algorithm changes. But, some times exist when you need to have some patience. And this sure looks like one of those times.
  5. Think that companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft (the AGFAM group), eBay, Yahoo or others can’t be beat? Think again. Business Insider details why Alibaba is becoming a huge threat to Amazon and eBay. The simple fact is that any business can get disrupted. Time will tell how this plays out.
  6. Amazon and eBay (and you) might benefit from this Entrepreneur.com list of the 6 things Mark Cuban says you need to be great in business. Excellent resource.
  7. eMarketer talks about kids heading back to school with shiny new devices — and, of course, what that means for your business. With this shift to mobile (which I may have mentioned a time or two in the past), it’s time you take a close look at whether mobile search works for your business.
  8. Finally, while the long holiday weekend is (sadly) behind us, you might still want to catch up on these 9 Prime Digital Marketing Reads for a Long Weekend Getaway and The Big Reading List for Labor Day 2014. Good stuff to get you through until next week.

Just as a quick reminder, you might want to check out a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year that I’m presenting on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here.

You may also enjoy this look at growing your email list and its importance as an e-commerce best practice as well as reviewing the slides from a talk I gave all about email marketing in an age of mobile:


(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 enjoy 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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September 4, 2014

7 Useful Marketing and E-commerce Blog Posts: The Top Posts from August

September 4, 2014 | By | No Comments

Useful marketing blog postsOne of the most popular posts here on the blog every month is actually a round-up that collects the most popular posts on the blog every month (Try saying that 5 times fast). So, in the interest of being helpful, here’s this months list of the 7 most popular and useful marketing and e-commerce blog posts from last month. Enjoy:

  1. The biggest post of the month was the triumphant return of my regular E-commerce Link Digest series featuring this entry: “10 Key Posts about Millennials and Mobile”. (Well, technically, it was the second biggest post; the biggest belonged to the Travel Tuesday series, which gets its very own list here.) Still, those 10 key millennial and mobile posts proved highly useful to you and your fellow Big Thinkers. Check it out when you get a chance.
  2. Another very popular post rounded up these “E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List.” Good stuff.
  3. While we’re on the topic of email, the next entry on this month’s list asked, “Will Millennials Use Email?” Spoiler alert: Yes, yes they will. But the devil’s in the details. Fortunately, this post provides those too. Well worth your time.
  4. Another of the E-commerce Link Digest Series, this one called, “7 Marketing Must-Reads” enters the big list here at #4 for August. Great collection of fantastic posts from strong marketing minds. Now, remind me again why I put that series on hiatus?
  5. This look at “How Mobile Shapes Customer Behavior” was not only among the most popular posts, it actually had the lowest exit rate and attracted a large share of links and Likes across the social sphere. So, I’m thinking it’s probably worth a second look.
  6. Another look at email marketing, episode 85 of my Thinks Out Loud podcast, “Why Email Marketing Still Works,” explores, well, pretty much exactly what at says in the title.
  7. Finally, rounding out this month’s list is another entry into the E-commerce Link Digest series (No, really. Why was that on hiatus?), “9 Prime Digital Marketing Reads for a Long Weekend Getaway: E-commerce Link Digest.” While this weekend (sadly) isn’t another long holiday weekend, it’ll still give you some good stuff to prep you for the week ahead.

Still want more? Then you might also want to check out last month’s round-up of 6 must-read digital marketing and e-commerce posts from July, too. Good collection of tips and information from July.

As a reminder, I’m presenting a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here.

And, if you’re 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.

Given how useful you all found my email marketing posts last month, you might want to review the slides from my talk about growing your email list below:


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

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:

Tim Peter

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September 2, 2014

6 Crucial Hotel Marketing Posts for August (Travel Tuesday)

September 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

Crucial hotel marketing postsWelcome to the second edition of our top hotel marketing post round-up, this time reviewing the very best from August. As with last month’s list (itself among the top 10 posts on the blog overall), these crucial hotel marketing posts weren’t just the top hotel marketing posts on the blog; the first three were in the top 5 last month, and 5 of the 6 were in the top 10 overall (and given that the 6th was published on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we can probably cut it some slack I think). Pretty cool, eh? Anyway, with no further ado, let’s get to the list:

  1. The most popular post on the blog last month, by far, asked “Marriott Partners with Booking.com. Should You?” Since the relationship between hotels and OTA’s continues to be, as Facebook would list it, “complicated,” that’s not a shock. Marriott probably made a good decision here, for its business. The question remains whether it would be an equally good decision for you. Check out the post when you get a chance and see for yourself.
  2. Speaking of the complicated relationship between hotel and OTA’s, this look at “How Intermediaries Drive Up Your Costs and 5 Ways to Protect Yourself” rocketed to the #2 spot last month. Given its popularity among your fellow hospitality marketers, it’s well-worth taking a look.
  3. Mobile remains one of the key drivers for hotel occupancy and revenue growth this year. And these “5 Mind-Blowing Stats About Mobile’s Growth You Must Know” explain why that trend is not going to slow down anytime soon.
  4. I’d already mentioned last month’s “5 Essential Travel Marketing Posts for July,” but wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it in the list.
  5. I’ve started collecting a weekly link digest for hotel marketers. While this look at “8 Key Posts Hotel Marketers Must Read This Week” went live before starting the new link digest series, the popularity of this post at #5 shows how much you and your fellow hotel marketers value this kind of information.
  6. Finally, let’s finish this list by highlighting the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest post I just mentioned, featuring this collection of the “5 Exceptional Hospitality Marketing Posts” from last week. Building on the success of our regular E-commerce Link Digests, this series will explore top hospitality marketing posts each week. Be sure and stay tuned for more.

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

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September 1, 2014

The Big Reading List for Labor Day 2014

September 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

Labor day beach readsIt’s Labor Day here in the US and a bank holiday in many other countries, so no new post today. However, here’s a collection of some of the best of Thinks for you to enjoy. Hope you’ve had a great weekend and make the most of the last blast of summer.

Thinks

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, here are 10 of the top Thinks posts, including tips on marketing, mobile, and e-commerce:

  1. E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List
  2. The Zen of Digital Marketing Strategy
  3. What Makes You Think Your Customers Care About You?
  4. 10 More Things You Need to Know: The Top 10 Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts in April
  5. What You Can Learn from Apple’s New Retail Honcho
  6. What You Need This Month: The Top 10 Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts in June
  7. Do You Feel Lucky?
  8. How Safe is Your Business from Mobile E-commerce?
  9. Today and Tomorrow: Mobile and The Changing Customer Journey
  10. The Big Problem with Paid Search on Mobile

Travel Tuesday

If you’re a travel marketer, you might also enjoy these top 7 posts from the Travel Tuesday series (and, even if you’re not a travel marketer, many of these offer tips that apply to your business, too):

  1. How Hotel Marketers Can Win in an “All E-commerce” World: 3 Steps to Success
  2. 4 New Year’s Resolutions for Hotel Marketers
  3. The 4 Rules of Social Marketing for Hotel Marketers
  4. This Week’s Sign That Mobile Rules
  5. You Won’t Believe How Many Guests Use Mobile to Make a Booking Decision
  6. It’s Time You Take Mobile Seriously. Here’s Why.
  7. Where Google, Facebook, and Expedia Want to Take Your Guests

Thinks Out Loud

Finally, if you prefer podcasts to blog posts, here are a dozen of the most popular Thinks Out Loud podcast episodes for your listening pleasure:

  1. Should Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Focus on Apps or the Mobile Web? Thinks Out Loud Episode 69
  2. Internet Marketing to Millennials (Gen X and Boomers Too) – Thinks Out Loud Episode 65
  3. The Future of Social and Mobile Marketing is Happening Right Now – Thinks Out Loud Episode 66
  4. Thinks Out Loud Episode 30: The Rise of AGFAM (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) and Everywhere Shopping
  5. When E-commerce Giants Attack – Thinks Out Loud Episode 73
  6. Mobile and E-commerce Go Hand-in-Hand – Thinks Out Loud Episode 82
  7. What Does “It’s All E-commerce” Really Mean? Thinks Out Loud Episode 77
  8. The State of Search Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 83
  9. The Secrets Behind “It’s All E-commerce” for 2014 – Thinks Out Loud Episode 51
  10. Why Your Customers’ Privacy Matters to Your Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 68
  11. Why Mobile First Just Became Mobile Now – Thinks Out Loud Episode 71
  12. What Works in Digital Today? Thinks Out Loud Episode 79

As a reminder, I’m presenting a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here.

You may also enjoy this look at growing your email list and its importance as an e-commerce best practice as well as reviewing the slides from a talk I gave all about email marketing in an age of mobile:


(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 enjoy some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Image credit: Alappuzha Beach by Vishnu Nair. Retreived September 1, 2014 from Wikipedia and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Tim Peter

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August 30, 2014

5 Exceptional Hospitality Marketing Posts: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

August 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

Exceptional hospitality marketing newsLast week, I rounded-up the 8 key posts hotel marketers must read this week. Given how much you all seemed to enjoy it (and the success of my regular link digest series), I’ve decided to add a recurring hospitality marketing link digest series to the blog as well. Check out the links below and let me know what you think of the series going forward. Enjoy:

  1. Hotel News Now had a great look at how to get to No. 1 on TripAdvisor. Given the importance reputation management represents to most hotels (I’ve called it the single most effective way to improve your brand’s digital marketing), it’s well-worth the read. You might also want to check out this look at the state of hotel reputation management and these 3 reputation management secrets every hotel marketer should know, too.
  2. NASDAQ.com (an unusual hotel marketing source, I know), offers 5 things Expedia’s management wants you to know. Good insights. I’ve recently taken a look at what Expedia’s leaders can teach you about digital strategy that’s also worth reviewing.
  3. Travolution has a post about email tips that will catch you more bookings. If you’re not using email marketing for your property, you might want to review this evidence that shows Millennials will use email, as well as a recent podcast explaining why email marketing still works.
  4. Tnooz looks at American pulling its fares off Orbitz again, citing high costs and low ancillary sales. Before you assume you should do the same with your OTA “partners,” consider this look at why hotels may want to think twice about an Orbitz boycott from TravelPulse, and these 5 ways to protect yourself from rising intermediary costs. Hint: Pulling your inventory from all your OTA channels isn’t usually a great way to do that.
  5. Finally, echoing a theme I’ve noted for years, Hotel Marketing points to data from Chadwick Martin Bailey that shows most leisure travelers make their final decision on a hotel by visiting its website. Yet another reason why you want to make sure your hotel website continues to work well for your guests.

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:

Tim Peter

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August 29, 2014

9 Prime Digital Marketing Reads for a Long Weekend Getaway: E-commerce Link Digest

August 29, 2014 | By | No Comments

Weekend mobile digital readsGetting ready for the long holiday weekend? Well, then I won’t waste your time with lots of set-up. Here are 9 prime digital, e-commerce, and mobile marketing must-reads to help you enjoy your time away — and prepare you for the week ahead:

  1. Search Engine Land tells search marketers why the time to focus on mobile user experience is now. I quite agree. Makes a nice follow-up to my look at the big problem with paid search on mobile. Check ‘em both out when you get a chance.
  2. Marketing Charts has data showing that mobile ad response seen differing by gender and platform. Worth noting. Of course, it also complements this look at what mobile e-commerce data isn’t telling you. Good stuff all around.
  3. Carlson Commerce offers up this warning: “Omnichannel to brick-and-mortar: You will be assimilated…” Definitely worth your time.
  4. Speaking of “must-reads,” check out these 7 marketing must-reads from last week’s link digest.
  5. Mobile payments will play a key role in omnichannel e-commerce. According to Wired magazine, the next iPhone will include NFC mobile payments. While Apple may be a little late to the game on this technology, it’s worth watching as data suggests iPhone users spend more on purchases than Android users.
  6. Payments will also influence customer behavior in a big way going forward. And this look at why millennials buy will help you get a better sense of the factors influencing this key demographic.
  7. This past week’s podcast asks “What Do Customers Do?”
  8. MarketingLand offers up 5 data-driven lessons in retention marketing from e-commerce stars. Excellent read.
  9. Finally, all work and no play makes for a dull time, doesn’t it? Well, Linda Bustos and the fine folks at GetElastic have rounded up 13 xkcd comics for ecommerce professionals that should bring you a chuckle this weekend. Enjoy!

As a reminder, I’m presenting a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here.

You may also enjoy this look at growing your email list and its importance as an e-commerce best practice as well as reviewing the slides from a talk I gave all about email marketing in an age of mobile:


(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 enjoy 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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August 28, 2014

What Mobile E-commerce Data Isn’t Telling You

August 28, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile ecommerce dataWith all the talk about the rise of mobile and its effect on online and offline sales, it’s easy to get confused by the disparate definitions of mobile and e-commerce. And you really need to be aware of what that mobile e-commerce data isn’t telling you.

Here’s what I mean.

Marketing Charts offers the following details about mobile share of e-commerce spending from Q2 of 2010 through Q2 of 2014:

“With desktop-based e-commerce growing by a more modest 10%, mobile accounted for 11.1% share of total e-commerce spend during the second quarter, up from 8.6% during the year-earlier period”

The same article goes on to note:

“Separately, an Internet Retailer report predicts that the 500 leading retailers in mobile commerce will see smartphone and tablet sales grow by 80% this year to represent 21% share of their e-commerce sales”

Further muddying the waters, eMarketer highlights
back-to-school mobile shopping habits among mothers with children

“A July 2014 study by PunchTab found that the majority (63%) of US mothers with children under the age of 18 planned to use their smartphones while back-to-school shopping. This deal-seeking group was most likely to turn to smartphones for assistance with price-related queries. Nearly half of respondents said they intended to use their phones to find coupons or sales, while 30% wanted to compare prices across different stores.”

Again, eMarketer notes:

“Even after stepping foot in a store, mothers indicated that smartphones—and especially deals found on those smartphones—would still play a role in what they bought for their kids. Among the 59% of respondents who planned to use their smartphones while back-to-school shopping in brick-and-mortars, 46% said they would look for mobile coupons. No other response came close”

So, let’s see. That’s 11% of total e-commerce, 21% of Internet Retailer 500 members, and 63% of back-to-school shoppers, mixed in with a bunch of other numbers about consumer use and/or retail results.

What isn’t this data telling you? Where mobile should be in your overall mix.

The simple reality is that customers use mobile regularly during their discovery, browsing, and shopping experience (less so for buying, though that may be more an attribution problem than an actual conversion problem). The question is whether they’re finding you during that same process.

Instead of getting too hung up on all these different data points, here’s a simpler notion: Observe your customers. Now, my experience suggests that “it’s all e-commerce,” because of what I see across my client base (using both analytics and direct observation of customers), as what I see when watching other people in stores, airports, restaurants, hotels, and attending events. I suspect you’re seeing the same thing, too.

What you really want to watch for is customers using mobile in your retail outlets (or restaurant, hotel, etc.), without corresponding growth in mobile traffic to your website. Because that’s a likely sign that they’re using mobile to check out your competitors while shopping your aisles… and not doing the same thing with you in return. If that’s the case, start working on improving your customers’ mobile experience.

Right. Now.

And, if it isn’t the case, start anyway, because it will be soon enough.

As an FYI, I’m presenting a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here.

You may also enjoy this look at growing your email list and its importance as an e-commerce best practice as well as reviewing the slides from a talk I gave all about email marketing in an age of mobile:


(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 enjoy 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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August 27, 2014

What Do Customers Do? Thinks Out Loud Episode 87

August 27, 2014 | By | No Comments

What do customers do

What Do Customers Do? Headlines and Show Notes

As a reminder, you can participate in my next webinar, called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year, on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here. And you can view the slides from my most recent talk here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at 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: 18m 20s

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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August 26, 2014

8 Key Posts Hotel Marketers Must Read This Week (Travel Tuesday)

August 26, 2014 | By | No Comments

Key posts for hotel marketersI’m taking a little late-summer siesta this week, enjoying some time on a beach. So, taking a cue from my popular e-commerce link digest series, I thought I’d collect some top posts from around the web that all hotel marketers could benefit from. Without further delay, here are 8 terrific travel marketing posts for your reading pleasure. Enjoy:

  1. TravelClick highlights the growth of mobile in travel and offers hotel marketers tips for improving revenues and bookings. Good stuff.
  2. Tnooz outlines Google’s new hotel search test, which pushes Hotel Price Ads to the second click. Happily, they also provide some context on what it means for your business.
  3. Marketing Charts reveals the top travel search categories on Google and YouTube. Spoiler alert: The data uncovers the primary reason why most destinations can benefit from increased use of video on YouTube — and why most hotels probably won’t.
  4. Of course, as well as mobile and search work, they’re not without their challenges. I recently looked at how intermediaries drive up your costs and 5 ways to protect yourself. Check it out when you get a chance.
  5. While we’re on the topic of intermediaries, this recent post that asked “Marriott Partners with Booking.com. Should You?” provides some perspective on when using Booking.com’s white-label offering makes sense — and when it doesn’t.
  6. HotelNewsNow offers highlights from the recent STR Hotel Data Conference. Money quote: “Has the U.S. hotel industry reached its performance peak? Not quite yet…” along with data suggesting the current state of rates and occupancy. Required reading.
  7. Speaking of the growth of mobile in the travel space (a topic I’ve covered a time or two myself), WYSE Travel Confederation takes an in-depth look at how mobile is beginning to define the multi-trillion dollar global travel industry. Great information, that’s well worth your time.
  8. Finally, you might want to take a few minutes to review the 5 essential travel marketing posts from July. Lots of popular topics among your fellow travel marketers, and worth a look.

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:

Tim Peter

By

August 25, 2014

Why Millennials Buy

August 25, 2014 | By | No Comments

Why millennials buyWant to know why millennials buy? For that matter, want to know why any demographic cohort buys? New research from eMarketer and Harris Interactive might point the way.

Now, I’ve mentioned this research before (notably in last week’s e-commerce link digest), but it’s worth digging into in some detail. Essentially, Harris Interactive asked consumers what they would do if they won $100,000. Because of the size and growing importance of the Millennial segment, eMarketer chose to focus on that cohort, noting:

“…June 2014 research also by Harris Interactive confirmed that millennials were savers—or at least wanted to be. Fully 64% of US internet users ages 18 to 36 planned to save or invest more money in the next six months—the most popular spending change among respondents in that group.”

What’s really notable in the poll, though, is how strikingly similar the responses were regardless of age. “Pay off existing debt/loans,” “Save for a rainy day fund/unexpected expenses,” and “Invest towards my retirement” represented the top three responses among Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. (To be fair, saving for retirement just barely beat out “Buy a car” among millennials, but the basic point remains).

Anyone familiar with Keynes’ “paradox of thrift” will recognize the inherent problem if everyone saves at the same time[*], and may be a contributing factor to the continued slow economy in many industries.

Economics aside, the fact remains that you won’t help millennials buy your products or services — or any other segment for that matter — if you don’t offer real value for their money. Just don’t confuse “value” with “low prices.”

Running the “Race to Zero”

Many businesses respond to tough times by simply lowering prices, trying to convince their customers that they’re the right choice because their products and services aren’t very expensive. Let me be clear: This is a terrible idea. This approach, which I call “the race to zero,” represents a race you simply can’t win. With the radical transparency offered by the Internet and mobile — where most of your customers now know more about your products, services, and prices than your employees do — you simply can’t outrun your competition that way. Too many industries have spent the last few years teaching customers that if they just keep looking, they’ll find a better deal. And that’s exactly what customers have done.

Why would you want to play that game?

Focus on Value

Instead, focus on showing your customers the value you offer. Value represents a key component of a compelling brand story, and helps customers understand why they would want to spend their money with you. Things like the P’s & Q’s model helps customers see what they get in exchange for their hard-earned money, and helps them decide whether or not you’re the right option for them, regardless of where you price your products. No one balks at the prices offered by Southwest Airlines, Procter & Gamble, or Zappos. Even premium products like iPhones and Mercedes are seen as good values by their target customers.

And, as a result, those companies have thrived during the last few years.

More importantly, this focus on demonstrating value works no matter what the economy does. Even as the economy has started to improve, many of the businesses who lowered prices during the downturn (and still somehow managed to stay in business), now face customer resistance to raising their prices. Whereas those who focused on value throughout the latest recession don’t need to raise their prices, further improving the value proposition to their customers. How’s that for a neat trick?

Conclusion

No matter what your customers are willing to spend, running the race to zero is a losing strategy. Offering value from your products and services remains the best way to convince customers that you’re right for them. And that’s true whether you sell to Millennials, Baby Boomers, Gen X, or all of the above. The Internet and the rise of mobile have given your customers the ability to find the right product for their needs anytime, anywhere. Develop your marketing around demonstrating value, and you’ll go a long way towards making sure customers choose you.

As a reminder, you can participate in my next webinar, called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year, on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can read all the details here. You can also check out the slides from a talk I gave on price transparency a while back. While the talk is from a few years ago, the basic points remain true:

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, 2014. You can read all the details here.

Finally, 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:

Note about Keynes: Some criticisms to Keynes’ paradox of thrift point out that when people save money, it provides banks additional capital for lending, and that lending keeps the economy humming along. That may well be true in many circumstances. I’m certainly not trying to incite economics/religious debates on this topic. However, it’s also worth noting that, in the case of the last few years, many banks haven’t been lending that much money, probably because — as the Harris data cited by eMarketer suggests — most people were more interested in paying off debt than taking on new debt. So, whether Keynes was ultimately right or not isn’t particularly relevant to the current discussion. What matters more is whether your customers feel like they can/should spend money. And offering them appropriate value remains the best way to do that.