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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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November 19, 2014

Mobile, Millennials and More: E-commerce Trends 2015: Thinks Out Loud Episode 99

November 19, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile travel hiker

Mobile, Millennials and More: E-commerce Trends 2015 Headlines and Show Notes

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

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

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

Running time: 14m 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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November 18, 2014

Digital Marketing Directions 2015: 3 Key Trends for Hotel Marketing (Travel Tuesday)

November 18, 2014 | By | No Comments

Do disruptors and disintermediators have you in their cross-hairs?I was really honored to participate in a webinar last week as part of Leonardo’s look towards 2015. And, as requested, here are the slides for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy:


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

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

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

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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November 5, 2014

Is E-commerce Innovation Over? Thinks Out Loud Episode 97

November 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

Couple shopping on tablet

Is E-commerce Innovation Over? Headlines and Show Notes

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

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

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

Running time: 17m 30s

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

Tim Peter

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October 31, 2014

8 Scary Good Reads: E-commerce Link Digest

October 31, 2014 | By | No Comments

Scary good reads for a Happy HalloweenHappy Halloween, Big Thinkers! Hope you’re having a spook-tacular holiday, wherever you might be. Now what’s say we get on with the links? Here you go:

  1. Scary stuff: Forrester reports that most marketers’ use of mobile technologies does not match customer behaviors. It’s not just scary, though. It’s downright silly. And it’s something to pay attention to as you finalize your holiday season and 2015 marketing and e-commerce plans.
  2. Speaking of scary stuff, Marketing Charts looks at how mobile owners respond to difficulties when using apps to shop. More than half abandon their cart and close the app. How’s that for scary?
  3. One last “scary” item: this week’s podcast continued the Halloween theme, looking at some scary changes coming to marketing in 2015 and beyond. Spooky good, if I do say so myself.
  4. Marketing Charts also reports that mobile now accounts for two-thirds of Facebook’s ad revenues, while Mobile Marketer suggests that Facebook’s mobile ad prowess may be matched only by Google. Actually, I suspect that should be the other way ’round (Google may only be matched by Facebook). As we talked about in last week’s podcast episode, “What the Hell Just Happened to Google?”, Big G hasn’t quite figured out how to make the most of mobile. Facebook definitely has. Don’t be surprised if you start to see increased growth from your social marketing activities relative to Google in the coming months.
  5. Google clearly isn’t standing still in the race to gain more mobile ad revenue, though. Search Engine Land reports that Google is testing a new mobile friendly design using its material design format from Android. Mobile, of course, is just one of the the little-known factors behind e-commerce growth in 2015. What are the others? Read on and see…
  6. Among the biggest factors, eMarketer discovers that smartphone-toting Millennials are fueling Demand for mobile-optimized sites. The growth of Millennials in the marketplace is another key factor behind e-commerce growth and is a key demographic realities driving mobile commerce.
  7. Speaking of Millennials, eMarketer also uncovers that Millennials’ social shares don’t stop with the post. Important observation as you think about your content marketing in 2015.
  8. And speaking of content marketing, our old friend Linda Bustos at GetElastic has great tips on closing the gaps in the content + commerce trend. Great read.

Want more good stuff to get you through this Halloween weekend? Well then check out these 11 must-read trends and tips, 6 great weekend reads, 8 potentially game-changing trends, and the rest of the weekly E-commerce Link Digest series here.

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.

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

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

Tim Peter

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October 29, 2014

Scary Changes Coming to Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 96

October 29, 2014 | By | No Comments


Scary Changes Coming to Marketing Headlines and Show Notes

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

Image credit: Wikipedia’s Horror Films article and believed to be in the public domain.

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 18s

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

Tim Peter

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October 16, 2014

Will E-commerce Kill Retail?

October 16, 2014 | By | One Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even more good news for most retail outlets:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Peter

By

October 15, 2014

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

October 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

Waiting in line

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

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

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

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

Running time: 16m 35s

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

Tim Peter

By

October 8, 2014

What Mobile Strategy Looks Like – Thinks Out Loud Episode 93

October 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile shopping couple

What Mobile Strategy Looks Like Headlines and Show Notes

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

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

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

Running time: 14m 13s

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

October 7, 2014

7 Top Travel Marketing Posts for September (Travel Tuesday)

October 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman traveler mobile phoneWell, another month’s gone, which means we’ve got another round-up of the top travel marketing posts for the month ahead. Or, more accurately, right here. Let’s get straight to the list:

  1. By far the most popular post this past month asked, “What Are Google’s Plans for Hotel Distribution?” Google’s making a ton of moves in the hospitality space, and has gone from being a significant component of your travel marketing approach to a major industry player in the last couple of years. Stay tuned for what’s coming next.
  2. The Hospitality Marketing Link Digest has proved really popular. This look at “Rising Mobile Bookings, Big Data, and More” cruises into the #3 spot on the list this month. I wasn’t sure if this series was going to fly. Silly me. Want more proof? Then check out…
  3. This round-up of “8 Awesome Hotel Marketing Posts,” which is followed immediately by…
  4. Yet another Hospitality Marketing Link Digest, this one collecting “5 Exceptional Hospitality Marketing Posts” from around the web. Technically, this one launched in late August, but given that it was a holiday weekend, we’re letting it sneak in.
  5. One of the key trends worth watching in 2015 is the rise of Millennials as a meaningful travel market. Some travel marketers argue that the trend is more hype and hope then actually helpful. I take a deep look at the subject in this post, “Are Millennials Buying Travel?” (Spoiler alert: Yes. But it’s a little complicated). Check out the whole post to see why.
  6. The final Hospitality Marketing Link Digest of the month sneaks into this month’s list, with a look at why “Hotel Distribution is Heating Up.” Good stuff.
  7. And, finally, you all know the importance of mobile in your hospitality marketing, right? Well, there’s more to come. One of my recent posts explains why “Mobile Marketing Matters for Hotels in 2015,” and will help you set up your marketing strategy the right way for next year.

Of course, there’s always more great content where this list came from. For instance, you might want to check out last month’s list, which featured “6 Crucial Hotel Marketing Posts for August.” And, In case you missed it, FitSmall Business interviewed a group of hospitality experts about how to market a hotel. I was thrilled to be asked to participate.

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

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

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

Tim Peter

By

October 6, 2014

7 Key Tips for More Effective Email Marketing

October 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

7 key tips for more effective email marketingI got an email from Geoff in the UK the other day, who asked,

“You’ve written in the past about how to grow my business’s email list and that Millennials still use email. You’ve sold me. I want to grow my list and reach more customers. But, even with a large list, I don’t know that the results we’re seeing are as effective as they can be. How can I make my email marketing more effective?”

Good question, Geoff. And, happily, I’ve got an answer for you. Well, seven, actually. Here are 7 key tips for more effective email marketing:

  1. Address your email message to your key customer segments. It’s almost impossible to write an email that works for the entire world (or your entire list). It simply doesn’t work as well as targeting a key customer segment and speaking to that group’s needs. Think about who you’re addressing your email to, then build the message around the needs of that customer segment. Personas help, too (see slides 137-141 in my presentation “The Truth: How the Social, Local, Mobile Web Affects Sales Online and Offline” for more on personas). While you can craft a single email message that uses different sections to address different customer needs, work to segment your email list into its component groups over time. A more focused message will perform better, and improve your customers’ experience, too.
  2. Write a clear subject line. Once you know who you’re sending your email message to, draft several subject lines until you find one that resonates for your target customer segment. As these 6 simple subject line tips to boost email open rates suggest, sometimes less is more. A subject that says “Offers and updates from [INSERT YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE]” often works better than “Super Deals! Free Stuff! Amazing Opportunities!” For one thing, you’re setting a more realistic expectation of what’s inside. For another, you’re more likely to get past your customer’s spam filter.
  3. Present a simple, strong call-to-action. You’d be amazed how often I see email messages with multiple, competing calls-to-action, or, worse yet, no call-to-action at all. Make sure that each separate message in your email provides a single, clear call-to-action. Try terms like “Learn more,” “Read on,” or “Browse offers” to clearly indicate what you expect your customers to do. And, if you’re talking about a few different offers in a single email blast, vary the size and placement of those calls-to-action, to make it clear for customers what’s most important, what’s secondary, and what’s less important. You’ll reduce your customer’s confusion, while still providing everything she needs to make a decision.
  4. Images, images, images. Images sell. Period. Give your copywriters a rest, and increase the size, quality, and frequency of images within your email messages. Do you think your customers keep buying high-def screen mobile phones and tablets just to read more text? ‘Fraid not, folks. Customers love images. So put those high-res screens to use. And make your images clickable, too. There’s no reason a well-designed image can’t serve to reinforce your call-to-action — and make it easier for customers to click once they’re ready.
  5. Use responsive design for your emails. As this look at how to improve your email in just 5 minutes mentioned, emails with responsive design enjoyed a 21% higher click-to-open rate than emails using a non-responsive design. So, assuming you’ve got a 20%(-ish) open rate, responsive design will buy you 42 more opens for every 1,000 people on your list (or 420 for every 10,000, or 4,200 for every 100,000…). And, if you provide the right images and calls-to-action, those extra opens will drive increased clicks and increased conversions, too.
  6. Benchmark your results. Where’d I get that “20%(isn) open rate” number? From benchmark data. Most major email providers offer decent benchmarks you can use to measure your effectiveness against others in your segment. Think in terms of your key email marketing metrics — total opens/open rate, unique clicks/effective rate, conversion, unsubscribes — and use those numbers to see when you’ve got room to improve, and when you might be fighting a period of diminishing returns. Develop internal benchmarks, as well, to evaluate your progress over time.
  7. A/B test everything. Finally, making your email marketing more effective depends on conducting regular tests to see what’s working for your customers, then applying those learnings to your ongoing efforts. While I’ve covered A/B testing in detail over the years, email marketing introduces a few wrinkles of its own. For instance, to test subject lines, consider a holdback test. In this test, you test two competing subject lines by sending each to 10%-15% of your total list (split the two different subject lines evenly between the group), measuring which subject line drives the greatest open rate. Once you have a winner, you send the remaining 85%-90% of your list (the holdback group), the winning subject. You can conduct similar tests within your message body, splitting your list to see which headlines, images, copy, and calls-to-action drive greater results before sending the final version to the majority of your list. The more tests you conduct, the more you’ll learn what works for your audience, and what drives the greatest results for your business.

The great thing about these tips is they apply equally well in both B2C and B2B contexts (especially important given that email represents a key way to reach top decision-makers in B2B environments). While the specific messages, headlines, copy, and images, will certainly vary, the general approach works just as well to both types of customer.

Despite sometimes representing a forgotten social network, there’s no doubt that email marketing still works for reaching qualified customers, and driving meaningful business results. Follow the 7 key tips for more effective email marketing just outlined, and you can expect to see those results for your business too.

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


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

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

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