Facebook is feeling the impact of its data privacy controversies. After recovering from a decline amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, Facebook stock took a hit last week. In fact, it posted the largest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history. No company in the history of the U.S. stock market has ever lost $100 billion in market value in just one day.
Diminishing revenue and user growth, along with a forecast from Facebook’s CFO that the decline would continue, triggered trading which resulted in the stock closing down 19% on Thursday, July 26th. MarketWatch called Thursday “the ugliest single-session decline since the company went public in 2012.”
U.S. and Canada Facebook Daily Usage Remains Unchanged
Regarding declining user growth, Facebook saw a decline in European users during the quarter as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. Growth in the number of users who logged in daily declined during the quarter, but Facebook reports daily usage in its biggest markets, the U.S. and Canada remains unchanged.
Impact of Privacy Changes to Facebook Advertising
While Facebook started to make privacy changes in advance of the GDPR enactment, Mark Zuckerberg said that many of the GDPR required changes will be applied globally. This calls into question the impact of the privacy changes to Facebook Advertising.
Facebook historically used tools that let advertisers target users based on third party data. These “Partner Categories” which included offline purchase history, is now defunct in Europe and will soon be unavailable globally. Advertisers will only have access to their own data and the data Facebook collects.
What This Means For Facebook Advertisers
Despite the privacy changes for third party data, Facebook still has powerful first party data that allows targeting by demographic, region, and interests. These targeting options are ideal for local businesses to reach the community they serve. Facebook is also focused on gaining back revenue through SnapChat and Instagram advertising.
Cajam Marketing looks at all advertising avenues based on clients’ unique needs. Whether its offline efforts like print ads or mailers, testing, analyzing, and monitoring performance on tried and true platforms like Google Ads, or experimenting with newer platforms like SnapChat, Cajam will continue to follow the industry changes and trends and advise clients of the best channels for their advertising dollars.
As marketing professionals, we tend to look at everything through an advertising filter, even during our off-hours. For fun, we share great subject lines, take screenshots of eye-catching retargeting ads and watch full video ads on YouTube, even when we can skip the ad after four seconds. We pore over “junk” mail and read catalogs cover to cover. We “like” Facebook ads, just to see what happens next.
We even approach the most universal dilemma of the day – “what’s for dinner?” – with a marketing slant. If we were chefs by profession, our take on popular meal kit delivery services would be much different. But as marketers, we are just as interested in the brand building as the perfectly proportioned spice packets.
Here’s what our recent experience with Blue Apron meal kits reminds us about the essential ingredients of effective marketing (as well as incorporating kale into a healthy dinner).
The Main Ingredient: Solve a Problem
Solving a problem is the keystone of all marketing. Blue Apron and other meal kit delivery services offer an easy solution to the common time-consuming challenge of planning, shopping and preparing a meal.
Takeaway: Whatever you are selling, focus on the benefits to the end-user.
Mise En Place: Everything In Place
Top chefs stress the importance of prep time, to make sure all the essential tools and ingredients are in place and easy to find. This same principle applies to building a brand through a well-planned marketing campaign from the start.
While lamenting my lack of a dinner plan to a colleague, she forwarded me a Blue Apron email with a coupon code and said her family was enjoying the service. I was familiar with the brand because I had seen Blue Apron ads on Facebook and noticed some friends were fans. Blue Apron had everything in place to convince me to give them a try: a friend’s recommendation, a coupon code that worked and brand recognition through social media. This was no coincidence; it was a well-coordinated effort to get my business.
Takeaway: Think about where your customers will find you and take the time to develop a consistent, multi-channel marketing plan.
A Good Presentation Makes It More Appetizing
“That looks good!” A great meal employs all the senses – it smells good, looks good, and has a nice texture. Great marketing invokes the senses too. The Blue Apron website is visually pleasing and easy to navigate. The site’s images are beautifully photographed, and the meals look delicious. The shipping box and meal kit are nicely branded. The recipe card is well designed and printed on high quality paper stock. Blue Apron purposefully makes a great presentation at every step, with top quality details you can see, feel and taste.
Takeaway: Pay attention to the details. Good photography, clean design and quality packaging can really make a difference and will set your business above your competitors.
Easy to Follow Recipe
How many times have you scrolled through Pinterest or flipped through a cookbook and ruled out a recipe because it seemed too complicated? Blue Apron simplifies meal preparation – but more importantly, they make it easy to join, select meals and pause meals. They offer free shipping with an exact shipping date. They also make it easy to cancel a plan or contact customer service.
Takeaway: Keep it simple. Make it easy for customers to buy your products. Most customers want to know about return policies and shipping before placing an order, so make sure this information is easy to find.
Share a Meal With Friends
“Try this!” A delicious meal is even better when shared with friends. Blue Apron does a great job of turning happy customers into brand ambassadors through social engagement. They encourage customers to share their meal pictures on Shapchat, Facebook and Instagram. They rely on the power of referrals, allowing members to send free meals to friends and family.
Takeaway: Encourage customers to share pictures, reviews and referrals.
Adjust to Taste
A favorite recipe evolves over time, with substitutions and adjustments. While this blog post was in the works, Internet Retailer published a story about Blue Apron’s recent IPO filing. According to Internet Retailer, Blue Apron spent about 17% of its total operational spending on marketing last year. In fact, Blue Apron warns potential investors of the high cost of acquiring and retaining customers. Notably, Blue Apron reported 92% of revenue in 2016 came from repeat customers.
Takeaway: Customer acquisition can take a big chunk of your budget. Good marketing analytics are necessary to assess the costs and returns of your marketing spend. Just as you modify a recipe to your taste, you’ll need to evaluate and adjust your marketing plan, using analytics to guide you. In addition to marketing, it is also important to consider the other ingredients that affect customer acquisition and retention such as fulfillment, operations and competition.
Learn more about Marketing Analytics.
Cajam Marketing, based in Millstone, New Jersey, recently received certification as a New Jersey Minority and Women’s Small Business Enterprise. As a local businesswoman, Cajam Marketing President Kathy Gould is proud of the SBE designation. “We are honored to join a strong network of women and minority business leaders in our community. Cajam Marketing’s clients include diverse businesses of every size across the country, but at the heart of it all, I am still a Jersey girl. Our local roots and Jersey can-do spirit have helped Cajam Marketing flourish,” Gould shares.
Well Versed in Many Industries
From welding supplies to bourbon, the Cajam Marketing team is well versed in marketing to a wide range of industries. Gould founded Cajam Marketing in 2001 with Linda Delp, a colleague and data analyst. “We combined our creative and analytic strengths to focus on data driven marketing,” explains Gould. “We started our careers in print advertising, before Google Adwords or Amazon shopping were a thing. Our strong foundation in offline marketing has really helped us excel and match pace with the ever-evolving digital marketing ecosystem.”
Delp and Gould are joined by a seasoned staff of writers, graphic designers, web designers, developers, data analysts and digital advertising experts. Cajam Marketing specializes in offline and online marketing, offering an array of services from website development to social media marketing. “Whether you need a banner and brochures for a tradeshow booth or a targeted email campaign for your business, Cajam Marketing does it all,” says Gould.
Giving Back to the Community
As a small business owner with deep ties to her community, Gould likes to give back. One of her “pet projects” is raising and training puppies as guide dogs for the Seeing Eye non-profit group of Morristown, NJ. Gould adds, “Having my own business gives me a little more flexibility to incorporate volunteer service into the work day. Plus, the Cajam team gets its fix of cuddling puppies, which is a great job perk. We are excited about our Small Business Enterprise certification because this will offer us more opportunities to work within our community and make a difference.”
About Cajam Marketing
Founded in 2001, Cajam Marketing is a full service consulting firm specialized in maximizing offline and online marketing initiatives through analytics. Services include web analytics, web design, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, digital advertising, affiliate marketing, marketplace marketing, print marketing and brand building. For more information about Cajam Marketing, visit www.cajammarketing.com
At the risk of over-sharing, here’s a tidbit about Cajam Marketing: our marketing team often talks in song lyrics, and just about any topic can inspire a tune. A recent discussion involving lots of charts and acronyms like ROI and AOV called to mind Bruce Springsteen’s “Human Touch,” “…just a little of that human touch…” (Cajam Jersey girls give extra points for Springsteen lyrics), as well as Rick Springfield’s “we all need the human touch…” For marketers, a brief musical flashback to a pre-digital era is a good reminder of the timeless quest for human connection.
In data-driven digital advertising, there’s a tendency to lose touch with the human side of marketing while sorting through numbers. We tally “conversions,” an impersonal term for a very human moment. A real live person needs something, looks for it and finds it on your website. Using emotions like trust and reasoning, this person decides you have the best solution, enters a payment method and clicks the order button.
Online retailers, in the absence of face-to-face interaction with shoppers, need to work a little harder to build a relationship with a website visitor. With a combination of song titles and marketing wisdom, here are a few tips to add the all-important human touch to the digital shopping experience.
“Make Me Feel Your Love”
Interpersonal Communication 101: Everyone wants to feel special and loved. (Go ahead, hum whatever song popped in your head about feeling special and being loved). Keep this basic human need in every step of your marketing plan.
What makes a customer feel special?
- A handwritten thank you note in the shipping box or post-purchase
- A free sample
- A non-salesy phone call, especially to diffuse a potential conflict like a shipping snafu
- “My account” customer registration to foster a sense of belonging. Amazon Prime membership is a prime example.
This handwritten postcard from Chewy.com adds a personal touch.
“Baby Hold On To Me”
Offer a tangible reminder of your brand. Send something your customer can hold onto like a friendly, well-designed postcard or branded swag related to your product line (like the mini pencils IKEA keeps in easy reach in its stores)
- A postcard mailer with an offer to a targeted list (we recently received postcards from HelloFresh, Chewy.com and Boxed.com, and guess what? They worked.
- A printed card with product tips, recipe, etc. included in the box
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
Continue to grow your customer relationship after the first sale. Post-purchase emails with tips related to the product and links to other relevant information like a blog article or idea book can strengthen your bond. Despite the “e” in “email”, an email can evoke a clubby feeling of community. A branded box and creative branded packaging are often retained for future use, keeping your brand name in sight.
Be the solution. In the simplest terms, every person who visits your website is in search of an answer. Helping someone solve a problem builds trust and gratitude. Be sure to focus on the benefits of your products, and pay attention to your visitor’s needs.
“The Power of Love”
If you show the love through genuine customer service, friendliness and care, your customers will love you back. A happy customer becomes a repeat buyer and a brand champion. Customers who feel connected to your brand will share their love with friends. Encourage customers to post photos and videos featuring your products on social media, write product reviews and spread the love.
Need marketing help? Cajam Marketing offers guidance, planning and creative resources to help you build your brand and grow your business. Contact us.
As Cajam Marketing celebrates its 16th year, our team reflects on the evolution of marketing and the lessons we’ve learned. In 2001, Amazon was still known as the largest river in the world. There was also an online book and music store called Amazon, where you could easily search for book titles. Google had just begun selling text-based web advertising. A cell phone was a luxury and used primarily for making work calls – no Blackberry, no iPhone, no QWERTY keyboard, no built in camera in 2001.
In 2001, the more seasoned (a nice way of saying “older”) Cajammers were honing their marketing skills in print advertising and a burgeoning new web based e-commerce application called Yahoo! Store. The younger Cajammers were working on their Destiny’s Child dance moves and instant messaging their friends on the family computer. From Netscape to Snapchat, the marketing know-how we developed in the early days is just as relevant today as technology, connectivity and e-commerce continues to evolve.
Lessons In Print
Our roots in print marketing, direct mail and catalogs prepared us for e-commerce. Well written, descriptive copy, good pictures and an eye-pleasing layout still sell products. Attention to the details builds trust and can make a small company seem just as big as the larger competitors. “Always check the phone number,” was drilled into our proofreading minds. Make sure your customers can find you.
Making Sense of the Numbers
In the glory days of direct mail marketing, before click-through rate was a thing, coded mailers helped us track the performance of a mailing list. Even with the limited amount of performance markers at the time, we learned data analysis saves money and offers valuable insight on how to get a mailer in the hands of a purchaser. Today, there is a wealth of digital marketing data to dig through, and it takes an experienced data analyst to drill down to attribution, maximize return on investment and find new opportunities.
Be a Shark
In the classic movie “Annie Hall,” (which was considered an “old movie” in 2001), the character Alvie, played by Woody Allen offers some insight, “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies.” The same observation applies to marketers. Our skill set keeps us agile and ever-evolving at the same pace as digital technology. We’ve been around long enough to see some retailers come and go. The companies who are able to pivot to new platforms and embrace change are the ones with staying power.
Soak It Up
Our team is continuously learning. We study new trends, we master new technology, and we keep our certifications up to date. We are all naturally curious – and a bit studious – and that serves us well. There is always more to learn and discover, and that’s one of our favorite parts of the job.
Unlike other digital marketing companies, Cajam Marketing has a very high employee retention rate. We’ve been working with each other – and many of our clients – for years. Our tenured team genuinely cares about the success of our clients, and we often become part of their team.
Put It to the Test
The rapid pace of online growth offers a great chance to discover new marketplaces every day. There was no such thing as social media marketing in 2001, but the human desire to share has been around since the beginning of time. Be open to new platforms and promote your business using the tried and true marketing values that have remained relevant through the decades: authenticity, usefulness and pleasure. Most importantly: measure and test these new initiatives. Will Instagram Stories work for your business? You won’t know unless you try it.
It often pays to be an early adapter on a new channel when the costs are lower or free. One word of caution: don’t rely solely on the numbers from the channel to gauge performance. They may be using different metrics, and a reported “conversion” there often doesn’t translate to a conversion on your site. Track any campaigns with Google Analytics as well for a better snapshot of performance.
The Next 16+ Years
Our retrospective look back at Cajam Marketing gives us a good perspective on the future. When the next Google or Amazon comes along, we’ll be well prepared with our accrued knowledge – putting the customer first, understanding the logic of data analysis as the metrics we measure change, communicating well regardless of the medium, and continually learning – not to mention our 2001 Destiny’s Child dance moves.
Looking for a seasoned marketing team? Contact us.
Photo credit: Jeramey Lende / Shutterstock.com
With Amazon credited with about a third of U.S. online retail sales and estimated to contribute .51 cents of every dollar in U.S. e-commerce growth, (source: Internet Retailer) the relevance of brand – apart from the mighty Amazon® brand – may seem to be eroding. However, considering Amazon’s huge market share, the differentiating value of brand is more important than ever.
To a small retailer, Amazon can be both a friend and a foe. Building a brand is one of the best strategies for concurrently competing with Amazon as a retailer and partnering with Amazon as a seller. A brand name separates a product from the pack and helps a product get found. According to a Forrester Research study, about one third of all online product searches in the U.S. start at Amazon. Brand names have the distinct advantage of showing up in search results, based on the search terms shoppers use.
What Does Brand Mean?
Brand is not just a catchy name or cool logo; it’s the association of good feelings with the name that makes shoppers choose a particular product or service. A common marketing adage is shoppers buy on emotion and justify a purchase with logic. We choose one brand over another because the product looks better, feels better, smells better, tastes better or promises to make us better. We choose a brand because of this personal connection formed by our own senses, a feeling of “it’s right for me.”
Brand is just as important for the shoppers who are less swayed by emotion and more influenced by price. To many shoppers, the Amazon brand is associated with reliable service, value and selection. Value-seeking shoppers don’t always buy the cheapest offerings on Amazon. Instead, they use emotions to sort through the products, looking at reseller ratings, brands they trust and product reviews at a site where they feel they belong. The feeling of brand as a shared community is especially true for the millions of Amazon Prime members who subscribe to brand loyalty with an annual fee.
How Do You Get People to Pay More For a Name?
As a marketing professional, I know brand building strategies. As a shopper, I fall for them every time. Recently, I stood in the grocery store condiments aisle, weighing the pros and cons of which bottle of Worcestershire sauce to buy. The Lea & Perrins® bottle caught my eye, as its iconic paper wrap reminded me of my mom. It’s the brand my mother always bought to make her delicious grilled hamburgers. This bottle costs 50% more than the other Worcestershire sauce brands, but emotion and brand beat budget.
Lea & Perrins sets a great example of effective brand building.
The iconic Lea & Perrins® paper-wrapped bottle.
The Lea & Perrins unique packaging adds perceived value and sends the right message of quality: this brand has put a lot of thought and care into their product. Plus, the product looks better than the other brands on the grocery store shelf (or Amazon search results), so it’s easy to assume it will taste better too.
“The Famous Paper Wrap” story is printed on the Lea & Perrins packaging, inviting the consumer to be part of the rich heritage of this brand, which dates back to 1837. This feeling of shared history strengthens brand loyalty. Not only is this the brand my mother used, but it’s also the brand my grandmother and generations before her used. I must continue the tradition.
Lea & Perrins conveys the premium packaging = quality message on all their marketing channels, making good use of the clever tag line “Unwrap the Flavor.” The same messages of quality and tradition (plus the same recipe my mother used) are easy to find on the official Lea & Perrins website – as well as their brand page at Amazon.
Make a Name For Yourself
For a new business that hasn’t been around since 1837, the same principles apply:
- Make your name synonymous with the value your products offer.
- Tell a unique story to differentiate your product from the others.
- Consistently reflect these values and narrative in every detail of your business – your customer service team, your packaging, your emails, your website and your social media channels.
Building a Brand on Amazon
It may seem counterintuitive for new or smaller businesses to gain brand awareness in Amazon’s massive marketplace, but with the right product ads, product listings and messaging, it can be a very lucrative way to grow a business.
With over 24 years of experience, Cajam Marketing can help you develop and nurture your brand. Our online marketplace specialists can guide you through selling and advertising on Amazon, Houzz, Jet and other digital marketplaces. Learn more.