ECOMMERCE: This post presents the timeline of events of the Fab+Hem journey and begins to touch on lessons learned from my viewpoint. Over the next few weeks I will be authoring follow up posts that go deeper, especially around lessons learned. Along the way, I’ll discuss how those experiences impact the choices I make today as part of a rebounding-and-rebuilding journey. Thank you in advance for reading.
BRAND: In the era of traditional media, audiences were powerful. They were also all you could build. Today, in an age that’s increasingly mobile, the most important organizing model isn’t an audience, but an army. By army, I mean harnessing a network of people to organize action, develop skills and ultimately take on a mission. In an army, people assume different roles depending on their commitment, engagement or skills — all things an audience alone cannot.
BRAND: It's a safe bet that decades of being a box-office star has taught Will Smith a few things about branding. The actor and producer spoke today in Cannes with Jackie Cooper, global chair of creative strategy at Edelman, on the "Pursuit of Impact." On the Lumiere Theatre stage in the Palais des Festivals, Mr. Smith shared insight that applies to the world of advertising.
MEDIA: Marisa Thalberg, chief marketing officer at Taco Bell, was fielding Cinco de Mayo-related pitches from her social media team when one idea stopped her in her tracks: a “sponsored lens” on Snapchat that would make people’s heads transform into a giant taco drizzled with spicy Diablo sauce. “I don’t usually feel my age on these things. On this one, I was like, ‘I don’t know,’” said Ms. Thalberg, who is 47 years old. Taco Bell ultimately went through with the strategy, and the lens was a huge hit, garnering 224 million views on Snapchat.
DATA: Eighty-three percent of marketing leaders expect to maintain or increase their investment in mobile marketing analytics, according to Gartner’s 2015 Data-Driven Marketing Survey. However, mobile marketing analytics are still shrouded in hype and not well understood by marketers. Why? Many marketers remain accustomed to click-through and cookie-based analytics and will be challenged to show a return on an increased investment in mobile marketing tactics.
ECOMMERCE: Pinterest announced today that it has made another acqui-hire, picking up the team behind the mobile commerce app Tote. While the visual search engine hasn’t released any financial details of the deal, we’re told that cofounders Mike Bidgoli and Langtian Lang will be joining Pinterest to work on growth and monetization. It doesn’t seem that the third cofounder Abuzar Amini will be joining.
BRAND: In the basketball shoe market, sales are driven by endorsements. Nike (NYSE:NKE) signed Michael Jordan in 1984 and never looked back as the company now controls upwards of 90% of the basketball shoe market. Things tightened in the market in the late 1990's and early 2000's when Adidas (OTCQX:ADDYY) used Kobe Bryant to steal market share. In 2003, though, NKE signed a high school kid named LeBron James and, a month later, convinced Kobe to leave the Stripes and join the Swoosh.
AD TECH: The three age groups with the biggest declines — millennials, basically — are the most attractive to the brand advertisers that dominate TV advertising: for one, the younger you are the less likely you are to have developed affinity for a particular brand, and for another, the younger you are the more years a brand has to earn back the money spent building said affinity. Small wonder brands have been so eager to jump on new digital platforms where said millennials are actually spending their time.
ECOMMERCE: Amazon held Prime Day on July 15 last year and billed it as being bigger than Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving that is one of the biggest online sales days of the year in the United States. Last year’s mid-summer promotion was in conjunction with the online retailer’s 20th anniversary, and it proved to be bigger than Amazon’s Black Friday 2014. Amazon’s sales on Prime Day were 18% higher than its Black Friday sales and 266% higher than July 15, 2014. The e-retailer did not release sales in dollars.
ECOMMERCE: The agreement between the companies includes a wide range of business initiatives, covering both online and offline retail. For Walmart, the alliance greatly expands its opportunity in China e-commerce and provides its stores and Sam’s Clubs with potential traffic from JD.com’s significant base of online customers and vast same-day delivery network to serve its customers. JD.com will leverage Yihaodian’s strong brand and business in eastern and southern China.
ECOMMERCE: German forklift maker Kion Group AG agreed to buy robot maker Dematic for about $2.1 billion to expand in the U.S. and tap demand from Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers as they look to automate warehouses. Dematic, owned by buyout firm AEA Investors and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, had sales of about $1.8 billion last year and the agreement is based on an enterprise value of $3.25 billion, Wiesbaden, Germany-based Kion said in a statement Tuesday. Kion shares dropped as much as 8.1%, the most since July 2013.
ECOMMERCE: This isn’t the first time Adore Me has established a presence in a bricks-and-mortar store, though it is the first time it has done beyond its own location. The company opened a pop-up location in time for Valentine’s Day this year at the Hudson Hotel in New York City. When that pop-up launched, a spokeswoman told Internet Retailer that Adore Me planned to open more branded stores this year, though she didn’t specify when or where. The retailer also has a showroom in New York available by appointment only, near Times Square.
Last Word: Why Brands Should Embrace Agencies
Being the chief executive of an eCommerce brand is a tough job. And so is being the CEO of an agency or consultancy that helps companies with their brand presence, public relations, or eCommerce-efficacy. Both brand-side and agency-side businesses should be respected by the other but that often isn't the case. Brands tend to believe that agencies' lack of sales accountability makes their job easier. And agencies tend to believe that brands should believe, blindly, in their efforts.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. Brands need agencies and agencies need brands. In 2PML's next live chat (hosted on Talkshow), I'd like to team two brand executives and two agency owners in a discussion on bridging the gap between value and deliverables between agencies and brands. If interested in joining, feel free to respond to this letter via email.