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Tim Peter

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July 16, 2014

Where Your Customers Are Taking Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 81

July 16, 2014 | By | No Comments

Follow the leader

Where Your Customers Are Taking Marketing Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy this look at what your customers expect from e-commerce in 2014 and my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” talk I gave recently:

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 37s

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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July 9, 2014

Marketing’s Future Has Arrived – Thinks Out Loud Episode 80

July 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile phone street

Marketing’s Future Has Arrived Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy this look at what your customers expect from e-commerce in 2014 and my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” talk I gave recently:

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 27s

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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July 7, 2014

The Shocking Truth About Millennials and Digital Media

July 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

Millennial couple using mobile to shopWow. Talk about burying the lede. Marketing Charts highlights research from Experian that shows how Millennials consume media, and notes the prominence of TV:

“But, Millennials share a common trait with their older counterparts: of the various devices available to them, TV still rules, accounting for the single largest share of their total weekly media time. For Millennials, TV captures about 25 hours of their 67 weekly hours of media time, or about 37% share. “

This data ignores the fact that Millennials consume 32 hours of media weekly using digital technologies. Now, last time I checked 32 hours (digital) is more than 25 hours (TV). Yes, they’re using multiple devices to access digital media, but that’s besides the point. Truly. Whether a consumer chooses their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop to get on the web, use apps, or watch digital video has much more to do with what’s close at hand, not whether they prefer a given device.

And speaking of smartphones:

“Millennials — not surprisingly — are avid smartphone users. On average, Millennial smartphone owners spend roughly 14.5 hours per week using their devices, or more than 2 hours per day. Overall, they account for 41% share of aggregate time that Americans spend with smartphones, despite comprising just 29% of the population.”

Even more impressive:

“Some 43% of Millennials access the internet more through their phone than via a computer…”

I mentioned a story in last week’s podcast about Jeff Bezos talking to the staffers at the Washington Post, where he shared the following wisdom:

“What has been happening over the last few years can’t continue to happen,” [Bezos] insisted. “All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s.

And, as I noted in the podcast, if you don’t know what Woolworth’s is, that’s the point.

Again, the simple fact is that Millennials spend more time using digital than any other demographic cohort. Millennials spend more time using their smartphones than any other demographic cohort. And Millennials are more likely to use their smartphone as their primary way to access the Internet. We’re witnessing a changing of the guard here, folks. It’s time to recognize that fact and align your efforts with the changing needs of your customers. Or run the risk of becoming Woolworth’s — even if you don’t know what that is.

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 the 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. 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 social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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June 23, 2014

Wickedly Effective Laws for E-commerce Websites

June 23, 2014 | By | No Comments

Young couple using e-commerce website to buy onlineE-commerce is a tricky beast, encompassing a variety of disciplines and approaches for finding, engaging, and assisting customers with their purchase decisions. You’ve got to know at least a bit about search and social and marketing and merchandising and a whole host of other skills ranging from the top of the funnel to user experience design to post-conversion customer service. And that’s before dealing with all the changes wrought customers’ shifting behaviors towards tablets and mobile and wearables.

I often find it’s helpful to start small. Instead of trying to do everything at once, focus on a few, critical elements of your plan and then execute against those elements.

Where should you begin? What are those “few, critical elements?” Well, happily, that’s the topic of my latest Biznology post, “The 5 Laws of Effective E-Commerce Websites.” Among the elements I recommend:

  • Solve Your Customers’ Problems First. Your customers are busy people, with busy lives. It’s not that they don’t care about you; they’ve just got lots of other things to worry about. Help your customers accomplish their goals and they’ll help you reach yours.
  • Focus on Key Metrics. Your sales represent the lifeblood of your organization, generating cash-flow and profit to sustain and grow your operations. Metrics serve as the “pulse” of your business, helping you measure your company’s health and directing you towards the right remedies when things aren’t going as well. Develop a data-driven culture that helps you identify what is and isn’t working so you can keep your business healthy. Utlimately, analytics and data aren’t about web metrics; they’re about business metrics.
  • Improve Your Images. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” may be one of the oldest clichés around. It’s also true. Plenty of evidence exists to show you can measure what a picture’s worth in dollars as well as words. Customers rely on what they can see online at least as much as what they can read. Create clear, crisp, attractive imagery that highlights the benefits your customers will receive from your products and services to drive increased engagement and interest.

Of course, these three items are just the beginning. You can check out all 5 laws of effective e-commerce websites, as well as how you can apply them to your business over on Biznology

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register here to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it was originally written with hotel and resort marketers in mind, 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 my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, though presented to a travel marketing audience, the talk covers many essential laws of e-commerce and digital marketing across industries:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of how the social, local, mobile web continues to shape e-commerce and business generally, including:

Tim Peter

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June 18, 2014

What Does “It’s All E-commerce” Really Mean? Thinks Out Loud Episode 77

June 18, 2014 | By | No Comments

What does I'ts All E-commerce Really Mean

What Does “It’s All E-commerce” Really Mean? Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy this look at what your customers expect from e-commerce in 2014 and my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” talk I gave recently:

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: 15m 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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June 11, 2014

Why Mobile Commerce Will Be Even Bigger Than You Think – Thinks Out Loud Episode 76

June 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman shopping mobile customer

Why Mobile Commerce Will Be Even Bigger Than You Think Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” presentation for further examples of companies following — and breaking — best practices to great effect:

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 22s

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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June 9, 2014

How to Reach Top Decision Makers in 5 Minutes

June 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Executive woman tablet carYou want to reach top decision makers? It’s easier than you think. Just as with any marketing or e-commerce initiative, the key is to reach customers where and when they want to hear from you. Easier said than done, you say? Not really. The one place that executives and senior management pay attention to more than anything else remains their email inbox.

Now, it’s probably no secret I’m a big fan of email marketing, long calling it the forgotten social network and including posts about improving its value in the top e-commerce and digital marketing posts for the last two months.

Don’t believe this? Check out this excellent Marketing Charts study that shows global executives rely on email to consume and share industry information:

“Email newsletters also significantly outpace social media accounts as news sources, with social platforms generally used more for sharing than sourcing content. Even so, results from the survey show that executives are far more likely to use email (80%) to share content than they are to turn to specific social platforms such as Twitter (43%) or LinkedIn (30%).”

This data underscores the importance of email for reaching key decision makers, particualrly if you’re a B2B enterprise looking to converse with managers and executives. Yes, social and search often represents best practice for reaching customers. But as I talked about last week, best practices only truly live up to the name when they work for your business.

Now, how can you make this work for you? Simple. Here are three key steps to keep in mind:

  1. Talk in their language. Think about who you’re talking to. Your customer has a set of needs. Talk in terms of benefits that matter to drive opens and click-throughs.
  2. Don’t waste their time. As I’ve talked about before, your customers don’t really have time to care about you. It’s not that they’re bad people; they’rebusy. Focus on addressing their needs immediately. Solve their problems first and that will help you solve yours, too.
  3. Keep the conversation going. Finally, don’t give up on email. Its value is in creating an ongoing dialogue. Your customer needs to see your message when they’re ready for it and if you’re only sending irregularly — or not at all — you won’t be found when they’re ready to hear from you.

Email is far from dead. And, as this data illustrates, it can be the very best channel for reaching key customers. Which, really, is what your digital marketing and e-commerce efforts are meant to do, isn’t it?

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 may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, 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.

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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June 6, 2014

What Google Won’t Tell You About Search Engine Marketing

June 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

Do you know what a search engine really is? Do you know how search engine marketing is continuing to evolve? No? Well, eMarketer has some crazy research out this week that talks about how companies are shifting US mobile ad dollars to search apps and how that will affect your business:

“As smartphone and tablet usage continue to increase, users are becoming more sophisticated, blurring their mental division between browsers and apps. Mobile marketers are responding to the fact that mobile search behavior is becoming less comparable with its desktop/laptop counterpart, and as a result, the market for mobile search advertising continues to fragment.”

Once upon a time, I posed a trick question, asking you all to consider the following image and answer which of the apps shown were search engines:

What is a search engine?

The reason it’s a trick question is because all these apps are search engines, with many vertical apps today taking the place of “traditional” search. As eMarketer notes:

“Google owned 82.8% of the $2.24 billion mobile search market in 2012… Google still dominates browser-based searches on mobile devices, but niche search apps are also becoming much more prevalent. This caused Google’s share to drop to 68.5% in 2013, according to eMarketer estimates, while the long tail of “other” companies increased share from 5.4% to 22.9%. This year, we expect Google’s share to fall again, to 65.7%, while the “other” category reaches 27.3%.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that Google’s shrinking, only that the use of mobile apps is growing faster than search overall as a means for customs to get answers to their questions.

So, who’s winning? It’s not just “search engines.” While “…search stalwarts like Yahoo and Bing” do well, a whole category known as “Other” has gained significant share. Who are they?

““Other” also includes niche service providers such as travel metasearch apps like KAYAK, job search apps like Indeed, e-commerce sales apps like Amazon and contextual search apps like Shazam… and Yelp is one of the companies beginning to emerge from the pack”

So, Google’s fallen from roughly 83% of all “searches” to only about 2/3rds in less than two years, with Yelp, Amazon, Kayak, and others gaining huge volumes. This demonstrates why I’ve suggested that local search increasingly is all about apps and that search engines will look very different in the coming months and years.

That’s also why I continue to recommend you improve your marketing through a variety of tactics:

  • Build your email list and social connections. Bypass any intermediary — search engine or otherwise — and talk directly with your customers.
  • Explore alternative marketing channels. Evaluate channels in use by your customers and seek ways to help them accomplish their goals in those channels.
  • Learn from market leaders. A number of outstanding companies are using mobile to deepen their relationship with customers. Watch for best practices and look for opportunities to apply them to your business.

I can’t tell you for sure what search engines will look like in a year’s time — or whether your customers will use “search engines” at all. However, I can tell you how to prepare so that no matter how your customers search, you want to be sure they can find you.

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 may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, 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.

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

May 27, 2014

What Expedia’s Leaders Can Teach You About Digital Strategy – (Travel Tuesday)

May 27, 2014 | By | No Comments

Expedia mobile and digital strategyWeb in Travel has a fascinating interview with Expedia’s senior vice president of worldwide engineering, Aman Bhutani, and John Kim, the company’s chief product officer. The two discussed Expedia’s $500 million (!), annual investment in technology R+D. The article notes, “…[Expedia] intends to keep up that level of investment to make sure it lives up to its mission of reinventing travel through technology.” Given that commitment, it seems worthwhile to pay attention to what they have to say.

Interestingly, Bhutani and Kim highlighted the company’s efforts to capitalize on a number of major trends I’ve been tracking for a while. Here’s what these two leaders had to say on each.

Own the data, own the customer + Internet, Everywhere

This one’s a long time coming, and it’s becoming an increasingly big deal. For instance:

“Bhutani and Kim admit that even the biggest companies in the world are struggling in the new world where the web has become a set of data products, not interfaces.”

Here’s how Expedia plans to put it to use:

“Technology’s finally ready to take large data sets and aggregate them in sub seconds – every click connects you to large data sets.

‘It remembers everything you’re doing and plays it back to you – gets a sense of your history so it’s easier for you to find the thing you’re looking for – easier to share, easier to compare, easier to take notes.’

Why’s data so important? Because your customer surrounds themselves with it, every day.

“In the US, it takes people 48 searches before they book, we thought it would take weeks before people buy but what we found is people use it intensely and then book within a day. So they spend snatches of time but get one experience across devices – this allows them to make faster decisions.”

They continue:

‘What we are doing is aggregating information and converting that to knowledge.’

‘There’s so much at stake, so many trends. You can make the wrong moves. Everything is being disruptive, everything is designed to make consumers’ life easier but harder for companies…’

For Kim, the company he admires is Dropbox. ‘How unsexy is storage but they’ve nailed it for millions of people. I use Dropbox throughout my entire life, it reminds me, puts my friends on it, rewards me and scientifically measures every response.”

Of course, data’s importance came around because your guests now have the Internet, everywhere. And it’s a use OTA’s have seized upon:

Mobile has also given OTAs the opportunity to shift last-minute business online. ‘In the past, almost all last minute was walk in and most of that business was offline. Now with mobile devices, you can shift that online.’

Said Bhutani, ‘We talked mobile for 20 years and it happened gradually, gradually and then suddenly. This happens with all technology usually – you know it’s coming and then boom – the generation that can design it builds it and expects it.’

I’ve been talking up mobile for a while (most recently, last week). It seems pretty obvious that Expedia thinks it’s a really big deal too.

Reviews: The Single Most Effective Way to Improve Your Brand’s Digital Marketing

Another result of the Internet, everywhere, is your guests’ reliance upon reviews during their research, booking, and post-stay experience. I’ve stated that improving your reviews is the single most effective way to improve your brand’s digital marketing, and Expedia seems to think the same.

For instance:

Another area [Expedia] is experimenting with is real-time reviews. ‘On flights, when you land, we send you questions and we are getting answers and we think we are onto something. Real-time interaction and feedback — everyone wants to do it now, the delay loop kills it, we now have to figure out a way to give that to suppliers.’

Clearly, the company expects guests to write reviews from their tablets and mobile phones while sitting on the plane, on-property, and on-the-go.

You really owe it to yourself to read the whole interview.

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.

And, if you’re curious about other trends shaping travel marketing, take a look at my recent presentation, called, aptly enough, “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing”:

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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May 23, 2014

Your Customer, Tomorrow

May 23, 2014 | By | No Comments

Looking to the futureIntel surveyed a number of futurists about “the world of tomorrow.” The whole thing is worth reading in detail, but I thought these were some particularly relevant insights into our day-to-day tomorrow… and in some cases today.

When asked how the tech landscape will change 2, 4, and 8 years down the road, Whitney Johnson said:

“The lines between work and home will continue to blur… And as Millennials who are accustomed to remote collaboration, like video games, take the workplace reins, we will see the lines between work and home all but erased.”

We’re already seeing this today. When’s the last time you truly disconnected for 24, 36, or 48 hours? And with half of Millennials already over 18 (and the oldest now 30), this shift should only increase.

Supporting that notion, Dan Abelow noted:

“Our daily lives and world are full of screens. They will be everywhere, with a two-way networked system that turns the Earth into a digital room with everyone in it. “

“A digital room with everyone in it.” Sounds like Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+ doesn’t it? Well, OK. Maybe not Google+. But, still, you get the idea.

In part 2 of the interview, Paul Higgins suggested that there’s lots of change still to come:

“In the not-too-distant future, the use of smartphones and tablets will seem a little archaic. Wearable technology is at its early stages now and people are still fumbling around for a solution or combination of solutions that really work. However, we tend to forget that tablets of different kinds were around for a long time before the iPad got such widespread adoption.”

Or, as I’ve quoted William Gibson many times, “The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.”

Hope you have a great weekend, everyone. Catch you next week.

Interested in learning more about marketing on 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 like these slides that list three key digital marketing trends shaping your customers’ behavior right now:

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