OK, it’s been a while since we visited each other here. My excuse – well, I’ve been traveling the world promoting solar power and all its virtues! My new “day” job has me hopping all over the country and SE Asia and we’re doing some wonderful things.
Now, my background for those who don’t know me personally (and what a shame if you don’t!) is not only marketing, but electronics technology also. Most notably, working within the photovoltaic industry. “Photo – Vol – what” ? I hear you say? It’s not as geeky as it sounds. Photo = light, like what comes from the sun. Voltaic = Volts or electricity. So, sun-generated electricity…see, that wasn’t so hard. We’ve been bringing clean power to villages in Malaysia and some Government installations around the globe. Much more to do and many more places for me to see; but I promise to keep you in the loop!
Anyway, that along with my new book collaboration – The Good Book of Business, has been keeping me quite busy. I’ll be writing more about the GBOB as the weeks progress and we get closer to publishing the book (very soon, I promise!). OK, out for now…the sun’s shining somewhere!
I’ve been anxious this past week and I’m just starting to define why. Leading up to Christmas (like, two months prior!) I’m consumed with what to get everyone on my list. I’m canvassing the Internet and the local stores doing research on everything from a laser parking assistant (trust me, it’s a real product) to the cleverest Hallmark card I can find. All of this frantic activity stops on the morning of the 25th. Even with all the moaning and griping I do about shopping, I find that I miss the hustle of it all after the holiday.
I’m sure I’m not the only one suffering the blues here; retailers must be going insane. After the rush to return the ugly sweaters and the imitation iPods, there’s not a lot of activity until we all go looking for Valentines’ cards, jewlery and over-priced chocolates. What is the solution? I’m not sure, but what if we developed (and marketed) gifts that have some immediate recurring revenue? The Wii and Blu-Ray players are a start, but even then the initial gift usually comes with a bevy of games and asssorted DVDs.
Retailers and e-tailers need to be thinking about how to bring those shoppers back shortly after the holidays; maybe it’s holding customer events in the store (e-vents online) that begin to build a community among the shoppers. Gaming contests, chefs teaching us how to properly use those new Ginsu knives or a class on getting the most out of our iPads. As marketers, we must keep the momentum going after the holidays or we’ll all be singing the blues this winter.
Well, is the recession finally starting to let up on us a bit? Maybe, if you look at, and take into account the sales numbers for this past Monday. To be more specific, online sales on what we now call Cyber Monday. According to ClickZ we reached a billion dollars in sales online Monday for the very first time. I’m taking this as good news on a few fronts.
First, consumer spending is up this holiday season – way up; up 9% Friday, 16% on Monday; and that 16% equals well over $100M over last year’s figures. Next, retailers are capitalizing on online shoppers as Cyber Monday blew away Black Friday, $1.028B to $648M. Now, 2/3 of a million is nothing to sneeze at but topping a billion online is significant.
Lastly, consumers are spending more per capita. The average sale was $114 online versus $102 last year; up a full 12%. I’m encouraged by this news and I hope you are also. I mean really, when was the last time we had any increases in sales figures, let alone double-digit gains. Let’s hope this a sign of a strong 2011 to come!
OK, did you get caught up in the moment? Still full from your turkey dinner and in a daze from watching 47 football games in a row? Were you one of the many millions that filed into the streets last Friday searching for those bargains and deals? I can say I was not, not because I don’t like to shop…I can spend money with the best of them. But rather because I’m doing most of my shopping online this year. That means today I’ve been quite the Internet bargain hunter.
Black Friday is a marketer’s dream come true. What a concept (latched upon by marketers only a few years ago) of one day of the year to get a head start on your Christmas shopping. The term originated in Philadelphia in the mid-60s and became more of a national phenomenon a decade or so later. But not until the early part of this millennium did we marketers really get hooked into the possibilities here.
Now, what used to be considered the busiest shopping day of the year is that and much more. Black Friday deals now last the weekend or longer. Plus, we now have Cyber-Monday – the opportunity to buy more stuff at the speed of our keyboards, all from the comfort of home (or maybe the office!). Both days now positioned as “Must do” shopping events.
Big winners Friday were not much of a surprise; Walmart, Target, Best Buy and of course, Toys R Us. Who will win today’s contest? I would think a few of the brick and mortars above will do well as they all have good Web presences. Tune in later this week for a look back at Cyber Monday!
Have you ever heard of Icebreaker? Not the ships that pound throught the Artic blazing the way for lesser sailing vessels, but the outdoor clothing company from New Zealand. No? Well, me either until I read a recent case study on MarketingProfs.com . This company has relatively low brand awareness in the United States, somewhere around 25,000 subscribers to their catalogs, but still pulled off a wildly successful campaign last holiday season.
Seems the smart folks in their marketing department set out to segment those 25,000 U.S. prospects. Now, I know the marketers in the crowd are already forming groups in their heads – Males 18-35, females 41 and up, blah blah blah! But Icebreaker decided to segment not by demographic, but by gift-giving habits…f-ing brilliant!!
They had segments like “it’s hot” for those who give cutting edge gifts, “Black Friday” for the deal finders, “Gift Guide” for the person who has trouble figuring out what to get everyone (this would be me). All in all Icebreaker had 11 separate gift-giving segments! So, each subscriber was “touched” many times, sales soared and the one’s who received the gifts were now aware of Icebreaker. Ho, ho, ho – it’s off to the bank we go!
There’s one moment in history, and only one, that is this monumental to me. You see it’s my first post on my brand new blog! thebrandedblogger launches today and I could not be more excited. Why? Let me count the ways:
- I can now write purely about marketing and communications as my former blog was a bit restrictive and owned by the corporation I worked for.
- I can also use any kind of language I damn well please (see #1) however, I will keep it “R”-rated for the most part.
- I’ll be able to reach a wider, more diverse audience of marketers…my peeps!
- Finally, I’ll write more often as I’m inspired by marketing topics.
So, jump on board with me and let’s take a ride on the marketing rollercoaster; it can be bumpy and scary at times, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun than the merry-go-round!