Consumers Want a Response, And They Want It Now

Posted by Lauren Murphy on November 14th, 2013 in , ,

Watch out for consumer tweets coming your way! Lithium Technologies, in conjunction with Millward Brown Digital, performed a study on consumer perceptions on brands’ response time on Twitter. Think you can respond at your leisure? Think again. Lithium found that 53% of those surveyed expected brands to respond within an hour of a tweet. The percentage increased to 72% when it came to a complaint. So, why do consumers want such a quick response?

The study found that more than 50% of all active users on Twitter seek out and engage with brands. They’re looking for a deeper connect with the brands they love and they seek the connection through social media. When a brand seemingly “snubs” a consumer by not issuing a response to a tweet, it could mean bad news bears for the brand’s reputation. When ignored, 38% of consumers start to feel more negatively towards a brand. A whopping 60% will voice their dissatisfaction to the masses. Clickz reports that 29 percent of consumers will start to relay their negative feeling to family and friends and 26% will elicit other media forms as their concern grows. The longer a brand takes to respond, or chooses to not respond at all, impacts its overall reputation among its consumers.

Aside from the negative effects a delayed response can have, a brand can harness the power of its response time and reap the benefits. Lithium reports that 34% of consumers are projected to buy more from the brand and 43% will spread the word to their family and friends (and you know how we heart word-of-mouth). Positive recommendations go a long way from brands in the short and long-term.

Overall, brands need to have a strategy when it comes to responding to consumers not only on Twitter, but all social media. A quicker response time leads to a satisfied customer and therefore a satisfied you when they come back again.





Look Out! It’s the Holidays!

Posted by Lauren Murphy on October 31st, 2013 in , , , ,

With Halloween upon us, the flurry of the holiday season is about to begin. Marketers know how important it is to stand out from the crowd over the next two months and keep customers engaged and attentive.  So let your customers help.

For many, holidays mean one thing… food. Those few extra pounds we may pack on are worth it if it means getting a second helping of that pumpkin pie.  Looking for recipe ideas?  Some food brands have fun recipe contests on social media for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas to enable customers to show off their creations. BzzAgent already has many boards on Pinterest loaded with holidays recipes (plus some fun extras).

Another great way to market your products this season is to create how to videos on YouTube. These videos are easily shared and consumers can be more open to new items during this time. If they can see multiple uses to a product, their value perception may increase and they’ll want to try it for themselves. Even a tutorial video of how to decorate the home or cook a turkey can help potential customers make a decision to purchase. We love to give tutorials about the newest products in our BzzCampaigns, like with Pure Madness chocolates.

Speaking of lending a helping hand, the holidays are a time for giving. You can offer a deal on your products that includes some portion of the profit being donated to charity.At BzzAgent and dunnhumby, we participate in Helping Hands all year round and the holidays are no exception.

There are even more ways to engage your customers this coming holiday season. Pick the one that best differentiates your brand while spreading some holiday cheer.

For now, have a Happy Halloween!


Interact with Your Customers Right in Their Living Rooms

Posted by Lauren Murphy on September 23rd, 2013 in , ,

Smart TVs are new to the market, but their impact on consumers is already evident. In a study conducted by Nielsen on behalf of YuMe and LG Electronics, consumers are interacting frequently with ads on smart TVs. With 12.7 million global shipments of smart TVs in this year’s first quarter, consumers are inviting interactive ads into their homes and giving marketers a new path to purchase.

According to MarketingCharts, the study found that most viewers clicked on a smart ad because they were interested in the brand or the advertised product. It was also found that viewers were equally likely to click on an ad if there was a deal as they were if an ad was informative. Obviously, relevance to consumers was also a major contributor to prompting a viewer to click on the smart ad. Roughly 42% of viewers agreed that they were more likely to click on an ad on their smart TVs if it was relevant to them.

Two thirds of all survey respondents who clicked on a smart ad took some kind of action. What’s even better is that 1 in 8 who did click on an ad purchased the product immediately.  Advanced Television reports that the eye-catching content of Smart TV ads have seemed to create a positive perception of advertising on the platform by viewers. “The interactive features that Smart TV offers are the key to advertising effectiveness. This research really highlighted that viewers are now predisposed to take action as a result of viewing an ad and advertisers of course need to take advantage of this,” stated Youngjae Seo, Vice President of Smart Business Center at LG. Marketers love to draw consumers down a new path to purchase. Since so many of them are tech savvy these days, attracting consumers’ attention with an interactive ad on a television is much more enticing. It allows them to engage with a brand without needing a second screen to do so.

Smart TVs may be new to some of us, but those already adopting this new technology can be a new sweet spot for marketers. A new way to promote consumer engagement can also be a new way to accrue purchases.

This is an attractive audience. DailyFinance reports that 90% of smart TV owners prefer them to the traditional television set.  Viewers are generally younger, tech savvy, have higher incomes, and are willing to pay a premium for the latest technology trends. Affluent techies, social “youngsters,” traditionalists and mid-life families are the 4 main segments of smart TV buyers.


Twitter is Knocking at E-Commerce’s Door

Posted by Lauren Murphy on September 9th, 2013 in , ,

Twitter is known for it’s succinct messages of 140 characters or less. Each character has a value to marketers, but that value may increase in the near future. Last week, Twitter announced its first Head of Commerce, Nathan Hubbard. Hubbard was the CEO of Ticketmaster and has a good grasp on how people buy items online. He’ll use his insight to help Twitter develop a system that allows users to buy an item without ever having to leave the microblogging site. Business of Fashion reports that Twitter plans to enable shopping through the existing short postings on its site. Sure, this may make shopping more convenient, but what does this mean for marketers?

Marketers are already tweeting up a storm to build awareness about their brand and its products or services. Time Magazine speculates that Twitter may add a prominent “Buy” button to Twitter Cards, tweets that expand to show a summary and embedded photos or videos. It seems like an all-in-one experience- hanging out your favorite social networking site and shopping at the same time. If a customer retweets a post including a “Buy” button, what impact will that have? Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, so its impact may become amplified with this feature.

Reported by Business of Fashion, Hubbard assures marketers that Twitter plans on partnering with merchants and retailers, rather than compete with them, to deliver a product right on the social media site. He also added that Twitter may seek a percentage of the profits to deliver the service to customers. However, how much of a dent into our profits will this service take? And an even better question, how will customers feel about allowing Twitter access to their financial information in order to make a purchase?

Sure, sites like Amazon have one-click shopping, but it’s not a social site where anything and everything is shared. Social Media Today recounts Facebook’s failed attempt at becoming an e-commerce site on top of a social networking site. Back in 2011, Gap and Gamestop closed their Facebook stores after a few short months due to a lack of ROI. This may be perhaps consumers prefer to keep their social networks and shopping baskets separate. Customer’s share brand experiences on social media, but a study of 250 luxury brands over the last 4 years showed that only 0.1% of new customers came from Twitter. With social networking sites may be great for promoting a product, they may not be so great when acting as a platform to buy it.

Only time will tell what Twitter has in store for e-commerce. And, whether or not it’s successful is an entirely different story.


Who Are Your Most Valuable Customers?

Posted by Lauren Murphy on August 29th, 2013 in , ,

When asked what customers are the most valuable, the answer is surprisingly not all of them. Your brand’s most loyal customers, roughly 20% of your entire customer base, are actually your most valuable. Sure, 20% seems small, but those customers account for 80% of a brands total revenue and 72% of total store visits as reported by MarketingProfs. To reinforce the fact that your most loyal customers are also the most valuable, they spend 10 times more than the average customer. See why we’re making a fuss? Because loyal customers are our bread and butter.

Your brand’s loyal customers are your sweet spot. In looking at the lifetime value of a customer, MarketingProfs found that loyal customers have a greater value due to the fact that they spend more over time and generate more revenue. According to CMS Wire, by looking at this lifetime value, you can evaluate the best way to market “exclusively to their worth.” This exclusivity can be achieved through a customer centric approach. By using customer data to better understand and segment your customers by lifetime value, you can identify your best ones. Coming up with products and services to enhance your brand’s experience for these customer is a concrete method to help become customer centric. You have the potential to increase sales by 17% if you choose to give your loyal customers some extra attention.

We aren’t saying that you should discount the “average” customer. In  fact, there are ways to gain loyal customers that were once “average.” Perhaps the most efficient way to turn “average” customers into loyal ones is through a digital loyalty program. MarketingProfs states, “The right digital loyalty program lets you easily store all your customers’ info, and then target customer groups and persuade them to come back.” Communicating with customers to bring them back to your store over time can help increase their visits and result in a potentially loyal customer. Digital loyalty programs can actually account for 12-44% increase in overall store visits from members. By turning the “average” customer into a loyal customer, you also increase the probability of additional sales by 60-70%.

Loyal customers are the most valuable to your brand because of the revenue they generate along with positive sentiments. After all, why else would they be loyal if they didn’t like you? To make sure you aren’t leaving any extra revenue on the side, focus on your loyal customers and thank them for all they do.


A Purchase Can Be One Friend Away

Posted by Lauren Murphy on August 22nd, 2013 in , ,

We all know how important peer influence and recommendations are when it comes to customers making a purchase decision. In fact, peer recommendations can make or break a sale. Marketers can harness the power of peer influencers in a variety of ways, but customers still want to see relevant content at all times. Two services have been developed that harness the recommendations made by friends and directs customers to the perfect product for them. The more buzz going on, the better and greater the recommendation.

Social networks are a driving force behind peer recommendations. The path to purchase has become a casual journey that lacks all the traditional bells and whistles, but drives home the customer purchase. Forbes spoke with Azeem Azhar, CEO of the startup PeerIndex, on how his company created a service for customers that helps them benefit from their influential roles among their peers. PeerIndex is a small service, but it competes with the likes of Klout by utilizing the influence it ultimately hopes to identify. The company’s goal is to become the “standard of measurement of people’s individual Influence while also helping brands figure out how to reward those influencers for the social capital they have built up in various areas.” PeerIndex allows customers to get what they’re looking for while giving brands key insights into influential marketing. This all happens through social networks with the ultimate gal of using peer-to-peer marketing to generate sales.

According to, 256 billion influential impressions are made each year with 62% coming from Facebook alone. Three Harvard undergraduate students decided to tap into Facebook’s potential for influential marketing and create an app. BostInno reports that James Ruben, Neel Patel and Nithin Tumma created Side, an app that acts as a personal recommendation and insight engine. Available on iTunes, those with the app log in through Facebook and answer questions based on shopping preferences and their own personality. Their friends answer the same questions and the app recommends products for them to try. “We’re trying to get a picture of your personality, and figure out the products you like based on who you are as an individual,” Patel notes. Just as marketers aim to do, Side gathers information on consumers and delivers relevant products right to them. This level of personalization makes customers feel special. Side is literally marketing directly to the customer in a way that entices a purchase from them without the formality usually found in marketing.

Social networks and peer influence go hand-in-hand. Influential marketing has become an important component of brands’ overall marketing strategies due to the pathways opened up by social media. It’s time to take what customers are saying to each other and use it to their benefit through influential marketing. Marketers can learn a thing or two from PeerIndex and Side.


Twitter Hearts CPG Brands

Posted by Lauren Murphy on August 15th, 2013 in , , ,

Twitter may just be CPG brands’ new best friend. Last week, Twitter announced that it will be launching an analytics tool that will measure the impact of promoted and organic tweets in a partnership with analytics company Datalogix. MediaPost reported on a study performed by Twitter and Datalogix that measured the impact of promoted and organic tweets of 35 CPG brands across categories of beverages, food, wellness, household products and alcohol. The study found that tweets helped lift offline CPG sales.

Social Barrel reported that the study showed engagement with a brand increases in-store sales. Users who engaged with promoted tweets bought more from a brand than compared to those who were not exposed to them. This resulted in a 12% increase in sales for brands. Also, those who were exposed to promoted tweets but did not engage with them still led to a 2% sales increase. Twitter believes these results show the value of promoted tweets and the capacity for them to impact a brand. Shoppers are now social, so the high visibility of promoted tweets allows them to act as reminders to purchase the featured item. The evidence is in that fact that user exposed to a promoted tweet will purchase 29% more from a brand than those who are not.

Despite promoted tweets having a higher visibility rate compared to organic tweets, organic tweets still contribute to an 8% sales increase for CPG brands. Users who were exposed to organic tweets purchased more from brands compared to the unexposed controlled group. There is still an increase in sales due to the fact that these organic tweets help to build relationships with a brand’s followers. This in turn can create advocates among users and impact their decisions to purchase more. In fact, the increase in sales was nearly three times the original value among those who were exposed to 5 or more organic tweets during the study. Advocates are valuable assets to brands and drive sales far beyond that of the occasional shopper.

For CPG Brands, Twitter and Datalogix’s research offers a compelling argument as to why they should engage with their customers on the social networking site. Customers are taking to social media sites to share their opinions and experiences with a brand. It’s like an end point to their purchase, so why not drive their purchase decisions where they’re shopping experience comes to a finish? CPG Brands will bring the experience full circle and kickstart the next purchase their customer will make with a simple tweet.


Pinterest Is On Alert

Posted by Lauren Murphy on August 8th, 2013 in , , ,

Pinterest is now taking e-commerce head on with its newest feature. Recently announced, the social networking site will be sending alerts to users when an item they have pinned goes on sale. As an avid Pinterest user myself, I have found myself coveting items out of my price range on several occasions. With the new alert system, items once thought to be unreachable can be within reach thanks to a simple price drop notification.

Pinterest introduced “Rich Pins” back in May, reports ClickZ. These pins allow users to post more detailed information about a pin such as its cost or the ingredients to a recipe. Pinterest’s Annie Ta told ABC News that since the introduction of “Rich Pins” tens of millions of products have been added to the site. The implementation of “Rich Pins” has also led to a higher click-through rate for product pins compared to regular ones. Users are able to repin these pins to their boards along with all of information, however there was no way to tell if the item had a price reduction or even went out of stock. Annie Ta explained, ”Many of the pins already have price information. Now we are able to send notifications about the price dropping. We think it will be really helpful for the pinners and great for the websites selling the products.” Pinterest has also made sure not to spam users with notification emails. Users will only receive a few emails each day updating them on any price changes.

Industry analyst at Altimeter Group Susan Etlinger stated, ”What they are doing by adding these features is removing the friction between the pinning and the sale. In the past they have had a hard time making the distinction that people were pinning and then buying.” Social Media Today reported on the importance of reaching pre-market customers. These customers have yet to really begin the shopping process and are just browsing, but do have a certain brand in mind. While Pinterest doesn’t always bring a brand to mind for me, the images of items I like stick in my brain. Many people use Pinterest for home decor ideas in the initial planning stages. Much like targeting those who are thinking of a certain brand, the Pinterest price drop alerts connect those previous home decor ideas to a potential purchase.

Pinterest’s new alert system is gradually being rolled out to all users, hitting inboxes of customers everywhere still in the pre-market phase of decision making. Pinterest has created a way for brands to influence consumers and drive purchases. The social networking site has yet to implement a monetized system for brands to influence the alerts, but it is beginning to play with the social media big boys in e-commerce.


The Rise of the Digital Coupon

Posted by Lauren Murphy on August 1st, 2013 in , , , ,

We may not all be ultimate coupon clipping machines, but that doesn’t make us any less appreciative of using coupons to save a few dollars. In a recently published study by Google with the help of Zavers and Shopper Sciences, From Clipping to Clicking details customers’ couponing habits. Of the $467 billion offered in coupons in 2012, only $3.7 billion were redeemed. Google found that many shoppers who forgot the coupon at home would actually not make a purchase.

Marketing Charts reported that Google’s survey took place in late 2012 and required 1,000 participants to have used a coupon in the past 6 months. Most shoppers still obtain coupons through direct mail and newspapers, but e-mails follow close behind. Google asked its participants if in the last 90 days they have left a store without purchasing an item because they forgot a coupon at home–42% answered affirmatively while 6% were unsure. Marketing Charts suggests that due to this finding, there may be more efficient redemption methods to serve shoppers.

Paper coupons still seem to reign supreme, but their broad distribution makes it more difficult to reach the right shopper. Even when the coupon does reach its target, a sale is not guaranteed due to a consumer’s potential forgetfulness. The study welcomes the “rise of the digital coupon” and it’s potential to deliver the right coupons to the ideal customers in an efficient manner. The rise of mobile lends a hand in making digital coupons successful since so many shoppers are reliant on their mobile devices in general. With 59% of customers loading coupons onto their loyalty cards from their mobile devices or the web, mobile is certainly beginning to cement itself as a powerful supplement to the paper coupon.

Customers will begin to seek out time-saving and money-saving ways to shop more than they already do through the Internet. The study recommends that CPG marketers designing coupon programs should look at the bigger picture and embed coupons in relevant content, like geo-targeting customers in stores.  Mad Mobile News reports this if you deliver a coupon to customers while they are in the store, 63% are more likely to make a purchase. With the rise of the efficient digital coupon, 30% of customers are already relying on showing their coupons on mobile devices to cashiers. Google’s study reports the eMarketer predicts digital coupons will grow by 4.6% each year and will accrue 100 million users by 2014.

Coupons have to start the process of integrating into a brand’s digital experience. Their future hinges on giving customers what they want in real-time. Customers are becoming more accustomed to immediacy in this digital world and they are now actively seeking that in their shopping experiences.


Don’t Fall Behind on Advocacy, Drive It

Posted by Lauren Murphy on July 25th, 2013 in ,

Advocacy makes us all warm and fuzzy inside, but not every brand has embraced its power. In a new study release by Social@Ogilvy, the advocacy content of 7 million social media conversations about 72 different brands in 4 different countries (US, UK, Brazil and China) was analyzed and the findings actually identified an advocacy gap. Marketing Charts reports that only 15% of all conversations could be seen as “advocacy mentions.” Proven by our campaigns, advocacy can play a crucial part in a brand’s marketing efforts and subsequent sales. Marketing campaigns can attribute 80% of their reach to amplification through advocacy. The customer’s decision to advocate for the brand and share their feelings can potentially make or break a marketing effort.

Brand advocacy has a large potential value, but brands are failing to drive customers to share on social media according to the study. In the Wall Street Journal, global head of Data+Analytics and Products at Social@Ogilvy Irfan Kamal states,  ”Our study suggests that the vast majority of satisfied customers are not publicly advocating for brands on social platforms. Brands have not provided the technology, incentives or content that both inspire and enable customers to speak out positively. To help close the gap, brands must help facilitate advocacy volume, reward passion and amplify reach.” For example, the US Hotel category saw 1 advocacy mention for every 100 stays. Most hotels saw a satisfaction rating of 80% or more, but a majority of satisfied customers did not voice those same feelings online to their peers.

Social@Ogilvy found that few brands are driving true passion in their consumers. Only 2 out of 22 brands had 50% or more of brand mentions falling into the enthusiastic category, using words like love and buy. To drive advocacy, brands need to focus on what consumers like about the products and what they’ve already been talking about. Product features were the top reason consumers became brand advocates, because of what the product had to offer them personally. By focusing on these discussions and looking into what consumers are sharing with their peers, brands can start to drive passionate advocacy among their consumers.

Business 2 Community highlights recommendations made by Social@Ogilvy for brands struggling and looking to create advocacy among their consumer bases. Brands should seek to enable advocacy everywhere, identify and use the brand’s different advocacy drivers and move beyond sentiment analysis. Brands must readily give consumers outlets to share their satisfaction with others. Implementing social media options or giving directions to tweet and post can drive consumers to start those conversations they normally wouldn’t have. Consumers aren’t always talking about the same things however, so brands can use the different topics about each of their products to identify their strengths and sell them back to consumers. Lastly, advocacy needs to be measured in a more quantitative format. Monitoring these metrics and implementing them in marketing tactics will benefit brands’ sales and enhance marketing plans.

There is a huge opportunity for brands to generate valuable conversations among their consumers. The more they talk, the greater they advocate for the brand. The time is now to start harnessing the power of all that buzzing.