Monthly Archives: July 2014

Don’t Leave Home

One of the classic ad lines is”don’t leave home without it” which David Ogilvy penned for American Express 40 years ago.  I asked myself how the line would have been written today as I read a study from Accenture on shopping and retailing.  It’s called From Retail to “Me-tail” and you can read it here if you are interested in their take.   These points really caught my attention:

• Stores as we know them will no longer be relevant—many shoppers will never even visit one
• Consumers will be able to shop seamlessly across multiple channels—and expect to find relevant content on all of them
• “Fast fashion” will be the de facto industry standard—with dramatic consequences for store inventory levels
Supply chains will be optimized across the full product lifecycle—right through to disposal
• Consumers themselves will help form the communities of talent required to service a vast diversity of new and constantly shifting demands

That first point has profound implications.  What will take the place of retail outlet?  I can’t see Main Street populated by warehouses or shipping centers.  The truth is that as my family’s shopping habits have shifted to online, we leave the house far less often to hit the stores other than the supermarket.  Ogilvy’s classic line works less well when consumers don’t leave home at all, at least not to shop.

What can retailers do? I like one site’s take on the study:

Ensuring consumers are comfortable and confident wherever they make purchases is critical for brands as they bridge their online and offline experiences. The comfort of brick and mortar stores can easily be replicated online with the right tools and tactics. And, brick and mortar will continue to become more like online via their use of analytics and in-store digital tools that enhance the customer experience. Once these types of strategies are in place, customer satisfaction will improve along with the retailer’s bottom line.

That makes sense to me.  You?


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Filed under Consulting, Thinking Aloud

Trusting Sponsored Content

We’ve explored the subject of branded content or advertorial or deceptive editorial or whatever you want to call it here on the screed a few times.

English: Example of a variable data tear sheet...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some data on the subject that I came across from Contently is worth a minute of your time.  They were spurred to do the research by a statement from the CEO of Chartbeat, an analytics company, who claimed that only 24% of readers were scrolling down on native ad content compared to the 71% of readers who scroll on “normal content.” Since that content is advertising that is supposed to integrate seamlessly with the site’s other content and, therefore, get the sponsor higher brand engagement, that number is pretty disturbing.  For my money, not quite as disturbing in some ways as what the subsequent study found.

Putting aside that most of those surveyed disagree about what exactly qualifies as “sponsored content”, some of the other findings were:

  • Two-thirds of readers have felt deceived upon realizing that an article or video was sponsored by a brand.
  • 54 percent of readers don’t trust sponsored content.
  • 59 percent of readers believe a news site loses credibility if it runs articles sponsored by a brand.
  • As education level increases, so does mistrust of sponsored content.

In fact, the study found that people would rather have to deal with banner ads than sponsored articles, and the more education the consumer has the greater chance they feel deceived by a piece of branded content.  The fine print labeling it as something not quite the same as other editorial does nothing to change consumers’ views.

Way back in October of 2012, this is what I had to say on the subject:

I’m not a fan.  Obviously I’m a big fan of ad-supported media – I worked in it and sold it for decades.  I do think, however, that doing this in digital in particular is an issue since there is so much content out there and users’ expectations of editorial integrity…are not met when the line is crossed.  It calls into question all of the legitimate reporting.  I get that people might ignore advertising but pay attention to this.  They need to know it’s not the same as other content.

My views haven’t changed.  Have yours?

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Filed under Consulting, digital media, Huh?

Where Are The Kids?

Suppose you produce something that is widely consumed.

Braun TV

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day you notice that your customer base is getting older in composition. “Duh,” you’re saying – people age. Of course, but if there continues to be an influx of newer and younger consumers, and if product usage remains steady in the younger segments, there isn’t a problem.

So you do a little digging and find out that use of your product by younger people has dropped off. In fact, use among 18-24 year olds is declining at a fairly rapid pace and over the last 3 years it’s down 18%. What now?

This isn’t a hypothetical case.  Welcome to the world of television.  Nielsen put out their quarterly viewing report and here is how one post summed up the results:

In the space of 3 years, Q1 TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds dropped by a little more than 4-and-a-half hours per week. That’s equivalent to roughly 40 minutes per day, says the report. In percentage terms, traditional TV viewing among 18-24-year-olds in Q1 2014 was down by almost 7% year-over-year. Between Q1 2011 and Q1 2014, weekly viewing fell by almost 18%.

I suspect that if you took sports out of the mix the declines would be even larger.  The younger segments haven’t stopped consuming some of the content but they do so using on-demand video both on the traditional TV screen and alternate screens such as their phones, tablets, and computers.  They’re also off playing games and watching others do the same.

I recognize that the TV business in which I grew up is dead.  How can you sell audiences that don’t exist?  Without the dual revenue stream of payments from cable and satellite operators for the programming I suspect we would have seen some TV companies go dark.  Interesting times just keep getting more interesting in the media business (he said echoing the old Chinese curse).  What’s your take?

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Filed under What's Going On