Summer is finally here and with that comes the long awaited warm weather and sunshine! So the last thing we all want to think about is snow, frigid weathers, and even more nerve racking, the holidays, right? Think again! The holiday season is the most prominent time for retailers of any size, bringing in 25-40% of annual sales for some. Because of this, it is never too early to start preparing to make the most of this year’s holiday shopping season.
When I saw this article “Best Buy CEO: Who’s Afraid of the iPad?” http://www.fastcompany.com/1691767/best-buy-ceo-tablets-not-the-death-of-notebooks on Fast Company two weeks ago, I thought to myself “Uh oh, something is shaking up Best Buy…” When Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn first cautioned about the “cannibalization of netbooks” by iPads by as much as 50%, and then he and President Mike Vitelli quickly backtracked the comment by saying how small a percentage iPad sales has been compared to the overall PC notebook market that it simply wouldn’t affect laptop sales.
You know the old saying, “Two heads are better than one?” Now we’re dealing with “Millions of heads are better than one.” Crowdsourcing is a compound of the words “crowd” and “outsourcing” and is defined by Wikipedia as the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor and outsourcing them to a group of people or community, through an open call to a large group. Jeff Howe coined the term in an 2006 article in wired magazine.
It can be a daunting task to dive into email marketing for the first time. To help guide marketers through the nuances, I spoke to Jordan Lane, email marketing expert and author of the blog EmailMoxie.com.
NetElixir: Please tell me a little bit about your background as an email marketing expert.
Imagine you’re a brand with a rich history. Your followers are loyal but sales have been less than favorable over recent years. You need to revitalize your brand and give people new reasons to consider why they loved it in the first place.
Integrating social media into their advertising, the company launched a promotion geared towards amateur cooks. The Real Women of Philadelphia site was created as platform for interaction and engagement among consumers. Philadelphia Cream Cheese partnered with Food Network personality Paula Deen for their venture. The campaign kicked off in March with a YouTube hosted by Paula announcing a cooking contest. Cooks were asked to submit videos highlighting their best recipes…using Philadelphia Cream Cheese, of course. The aspiring cooks were judged on personality rather than technical expertise. Deen and a panel of judges narrowed the field to 16 semi-finalists, who will be invited to a cook-off in Savannah, Georgia on June 3oth. The competition will stream live on the site and there will be winners in four categories: appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. Each lucky winner will receive a $25,000 contract that includes hosting a weekly online cooking show, participating in publicity tours, being featured in cooking videos, and appearing in a cookbook featuring the community’s favorite cream cheese recipes. After the four winners have been chosen, they will be in charge of soliciting recipes from other women in the growing online community. This contest, held over a period of 16 weeks, will culminate in a winner receiving a $500 prize.
We live in a world of bite sized communication. Our attention spans are short and if you don’t grab our attention in the first minute, we’ve most likely checked out and are on to the next thing. Brands seem to have picked up on this and are producing slick viral videos on YouTube. These are the videos we talk about, which in turn promote brand awareness or product sales. The examples below are the top viewed brand-driven ad campaigns for the first week in June. Though the videos come from established brand names, this is not to say that a smaller company can’t get involved. This is the beauty of user driven video content on YouTube. What makes these videos successful is how they entertain without a hard sell angle. Viral content doesn’t work unless it’s viewed as entertainment rather than a commercial. Take a look, get inspired.
After an exciting time at IRCE 2010, we are back at the office. It was the largest Internet Retailer conference to date, with several thousand attendees and hundreds of exhibitors! We spent most of the time at our booth speaking with attendees but were able to sit in on Imran Jooma’s presentation. Imran is the Senior Vice President & General Manager of E-Commerce at Sears and spoke on the subject of social media.
Peer reviews dictate how we shop, teenagers in particular. They seek approval from their friends who often hold more influence over fashion choices than a carefully planned out advertisement. Today’s reviews are not in the pages of magazines but broadcast via webcam for an audience of millions over the web. “Haul” videos, if you’re not tuned in, are basically a review of one’s shopping trip. These videos are made predominantly by teenage girls and mostly cover shopping sprees of the apparel and makeup persuasion. The goods are usually from mid to mass retailers like Forever 21 or Target, making them attainable purchases for the avid watcher. This phenomenon feeds right into the need of consumers to “keep up with the Joneses”. Plus it’s kind of fun to live vicariously through the spending of others.
Are you already on the list? Sample sales are not new; it wasn’t too long ago that people lined up at private, invitation only New York warehouses. They were crowded and shoppers came ready for battle. I mean, where else were you going to get designer wares at 75% off? But now consumers can enjoy the same satisfaction from the privacy of their home. The adrenaline is still there, as items this deeply discounted move quickly. It’s a rush for the shopping enthusiast and a pretty good deal for the sites as well. Gilt Groupe, which launched in 2007, is projecting $400 million in sales for 2010. Each site seems to have its own niche and since I’m never one to discriminate, I am a member of them all. Here’s a rundown of the most popular sites: