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The Rise of Social Commerce (s-Commerce)

We've seen companies like Amazon and Facebook transition from a laser-focused CD and movie source and social media network respectively, into multi-faceted money making machines.  Amazon has positioned itself as THE online marketplace in the United States and has diversified into other web services like hosting and marketing as well as developing its own distribution infrastructure to the point that it can rival virtually any logistics company and it has its sights set on grocers too.

Meanwhile, Facebook has gone from cool collegiate exclusivity to the most ubiquitous social channel in the world.  Recently, Facebook revealed that it would amplify its existing e-commerce ads to account for showcase shopping ads.  Just like Google, Facebook is taking advantage of their online resources to help advertisers push more merchandise just in time for holiday shopping.  The new ad format allows advertisers to display one main picture with several product images that would, ostensibly, have their own unique landing pages.  This gives the potential consumer a broader understanding of what the retailer may be selling and what's specially priced.

Pandora's box is open and there's no going back. Linking a bank account to everyone's personal Facebook page isn't far off and this may raise security concerns all over the world, but for now, social media will undoubtedly see a rise in sell-through, especially with reasonably priced impulse buys.  It will continue to command an ever-increasing amount of your advertising budget as their ads evolve in terms of what can be done with them creatively and who can be targeted strategically.  Currently, only a few heavy hitters are testing out the new format, but look for a wider roll-out soon with other companies following suit in 2017.  Admittedly, I laughed derisively when some people claimed that Facebook was coming for Google.  Well, it appears that not only do they want to compete with Google, but with Amazon and Alibaba as well.  What's more is that they seem to have the golden touch right now and I wouldn't put anything past them.

Marketing Evolved

Consumers are continually becoming more and more sophisticated, especially in an age where we now quantify and track everything.  This allows marketers and advertisers to embrace that kind of transparency, put together their own research, and disseminate that information to a more targeted audience, which makes your advertising far more efficient with fewer wasted dollars.  The role marketing plays has become more comprehensive, including processes such as planning, implementation, and monitoring & analytics (Manning and Reece, 2008).  Analytics have become increasingly important because consumers want to measure success and revise the plan of attack if there are any shortcomings.  Instead of putting together a plan and putting the product out there for eyes to see, the marketer now needs to make sure the right eyes see it and with a certain amount of frequency.  

 

At the end of the day, the name of the game is value, and what you can bring to the table will ultimately determine your level of success.  Offering a superior value guarantees satisfaction which earns loyalty (Day, 1994).  Marketing in contemporary America now favors the cultivation of relationships, proving once and for all that it is, and always has been, all about the people.

Super Bowl vs Olympics vs World Cup

This is the epitome of comparing apples to oranges.  The Super Bowl is a single-day television event, largely isolated to just the United States.  The Winter Olympics, while international, doesn't have the same kind of viewership that the Summer Olympics has, possibly because it largely excludes countries that don't participate in winter sports.  The Winter Olympics also has the advantage of putting up large numbers because it is televised on multiple stations that showcase multiple events over the course of a couple weeks.

 

The World Cup trumps even the Olympics.  It is a month-long event that takes place in the summer and televises the world's most popular game to an international audience.  Corporate sponsorships are priced ~$75 million per sponsorship.  That's nearly 20 times the cost of a Super Bowl ad, BUT this includes a lot of bonus spots and a confirmed number of spots that eclipses 400.  This puts increased pressure on agencies and corporations to keep their message fresh because no one wants to be diluted with the same commercial over 400 times for a month.  

 

The Olympics offers more competitive rates over a sustained period, but ratings will likely diminish based on time of day, event, and so forth…Figure skating may not appeal to a younger audience, whereas snowboard superpipe may not appeal to an old crowd.  

 

The trick to determining whether or not to advertise during one of these highly visible sporting events is to do some thorough cost analysis and opportunity cost analysis and decide which suits your target demographic best.  Will the impression you get with a Super Bowl ad give you the frequency you want?  Will the frequency you get with a World Cup or Olympics ad reach the number of people you want it to reach (think Croatia vs Cameroon in the WC or Curling for the Olympics)?  

 

Regardless of what happens, the CPM will continue to rise and so will the price for a single spot (as high as $10 million/ 30 seconds for the Super Bowl by 2040).  Why does this happen?  It's not just because of the VOLUME of people reached, but the quality of ads increases on the world's biggest stages.  During the Super Bowl, people don't turn the channel, the viewership of advertisements actually EXCEEDS that of the game itself!  Exciting times indeed….

ME-Commerce

Any retail item can be purchased online, often with free shipping or some other incentive that actually makes it the pereferential method of shopping.  Gone are the days of waiting in endless lines behind the person that has to write a check as slowly as he or she possibly can.  Mobile e-commerce has replaced traditional e-commerce…or rather, improved upon it.  

 

You could be strolling down the beach, basking in sunshine while ordering a new grill for Labor Day.  Even GM is rolling out a new application that would allow savvy consumers to trade-in their car, and take delivery or test drive a new car, all without bothering to get dressed in the morning.

 

 I already order all of my take-out online when I used to phone it in.  Further innovation will herald the dawning of a new Kondratiev Cycle that could yield innovations in every single industry on a global scale, and this would represent a huge boom for the logistics industry, with higher levels of import/export and international shipping business.  It would also mean smaller businesses could level the playing field a bit.  For instance, I love the asadero cheese from the Licon Dairy in San Elizario, Texas.  I encourage everyone to find a niche product that you absolutely love, and see if it's available for international shipping.  What an industrious age in which we live!!!

New Fall Season Changes Media Buying

New fall shows, mean new ratings.  New ratings mean new places to spend your money and a new audience to see your product or service.  The new fall season will definitely shake up prime time, although I don't foresee CBS relinquishing the cobra clutch they have on Thursday nights.  I encourage everyone to get excited, step out of your box, and break with the norm a little.  You might be glad you did.  

For those of you who advertise, rest assured that Mad Men Marketing will be their every step of the way, monitoring viewing habits with NSA-like precision, down to what people DVR.  We are the only agency in the market to implement Rentrak, a service that gives us an extensive breakdown of what viewers watch based on innumerable sub-categories and demographics.  While Nielsen utilizes an archaic journal-entry style system with less than a thousand people in the Jacksonville market participating (less than 1/8 of one percent), Rentrak uses 68,000 set top boxes that you're already using to gather data (roughly 8 percent).  This is what sets us apart among agencies, being well-informed of where to spend YOUR money on advertising and being ahead of the curve with a research-oriented approach.