Is marketing dead? Two trends turning marketing thinking up side down.

The traditional marketing “segmentation-targeting-positioning” approach requires you to try and find a homogenous customer segment with specific needs, and serve it with a product that answers that need. Some people advocate that this approach is dead, stupid and outdated. I don’t think so: it is just that it has slowly been robbed from its utility.

The reasons for this are twofold: product overload & technology dominance

“With markets overloaded with products, opportunities to truly create disruptive innovation and new products are scarcer”

The reality is that most marketers in their daily jobs are dealing with existing products, not truly inventing new ones. Let’s admit it, consumers are overloaded with products as they are.

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source: syntagmaviaggi.it

Truly engaging in new product creation is more and more rare, and the best marketers can usually do now, is bring them tiny incremental innovations, to try and sell more of them to increasingly bored consumers.

Think you are going to go and work at Unilever and revolutionize the global ice cream industry? (dear students, I am talking to you) Think twice. The segmentation-targeting positioning framework is obsolete because we don’t truly innovate anymore.

Another reason why we don’t innovate so much in marketing anymore is because more and more product innovations are concentrated in the technology/digital areas. And believe it or not, technology products are not so much ideated by marketers, as they are by IT guys or engineers. Technology specialists gain more and more marketing skills and use their own product development tools.

“Tech specialists are taking marketers’ jobs

Yes, IT guys like them. Source: The IT Crowd.
Yes, IT guys like them. Source: The IT Crowd.

As a result: a) adjust your expectations if you are going into marketing and want to do product development and b) if you don’t want to adjust your expectations, get into technology…or social marketing. With the world turning its head upside down an markets as well as economic and political climates being more and more uncertain, there is dire need to design solutions with social and societal impact (but even then, you will probably need an IT guy on board!)

 

About the digital invasion within traditional stores

A post by Capucine CHAUVEAU, MSc student in Digital Marketing @KEDGE Business School. 

As a make-up consumer, I am frequently receiving newsletters from different brands and particularly Sephora, offering discounts or presenting new products. Recently, they informed their loyal customers about the opening of a new shop: the first connected make-up store. This intrigued me and after some research, I discovered this was a “phygital” store.

I asked myself: what does the term of “phygital” mean?

It is actually a sweet neologism between “Physical” and “Digital”, and thus, describes the integration of emerging and digital marketing techniques within traditional and physical stores.

Phygital is a neologism between “Physical” and “Digital” which describes the integration of emerging and digital marketing techniques within traditional and physical stores.

This concept is quite new but is starting to appeal to more and more companies. Indeed, customers’ behaviour has evolved and Internet is our new best friend. How many of you have already checked if the wanted product was available online and cheaper?

Introducing digital and new technologies is an interesting alternative to keep customers in the store through the creation of a totally new experience around new digital trends.

But, let’s talk about our concrete example of a phygital store: Sephora Flash in Paris (I am really sorry for all the gentlemen’s who will read this article, but keep reading because it can totally be adapted to another kind of product).

The experience begins at the entrance of the shop where a little robot, named Robot flash, is welcoming and explaining you the concept. Moreover, Robot flash invites you to take a digital cart which will allows you to put products on it, pay and choose a delivery mode: at home or in a Sephora shop.

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Then, you will meet different types of screens of different sizes. Each of them have a precise role: delivering information, finalizing the order, showing tutorials, adding products on your digital cart, choosing samples, or simply creating a special atmosphere with images and videos.

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Are you wondering if Robot flash is the only employee within the shop? Actually, Sephora employees are still there, helping you though this experience with pieces of advices or make-up sessions. However, they all are equipped with a new digital tool, scanning your skin in order to provide the best needed products.

And by the way, there is a little added service: you can recharge your mobile phone for free during your shopping, unless it avoids you to find information about competitors’ products online during your visit in the shop…

What about you, have you already been to this kind of shops? Do you feel they provide you a totally new experience?

Capucine CHAUVEAU

To get in touch with Capucine, find her here on TwitterLinkedIn

 

Top tech tools for web marketers

Last week, I had the pleasure to welcome Bertrand, the director of “Le Wagon Bordeaux” in my digital marketing class. Le Wagon is an international coding school for entrepreneurs,  (a little like Dev Bootcamp in the US) and they know their coding business! But what Bertrand talked about was not code this time.

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The aim of the session was to get students aware of the importance nowadays to “speak tech” for a marketer and give them easy, “no-code-needed” marketing communication and analytics tools that they can (and will!) use as part of their job later on. I find it hard, when you are not part of the world of developers, or have no particular ambition to learn to code, to become acquainted with these tools. However, if you have a simple project you want to launch (a student association, a bakery on the corner, or an internal company innovation), it’s paramount to be able to have a simple landing page for your product or service, with a clean design and user experience.

I’ve selected here the 4 tools Bertrand talked about that I think are musts for markeUJ6cUSZKT2ynPTyWeGmYting application

To create your landing page, Strinkingly. It proposes ready-made site templates that are customizable. You can ad sections, edit the text, fonts, templates, colors and pictures, ad blogs, galleries and forms. It gives you a clean and customized landing page to present your project.

To set userfeedback-wufoo-round1up a questionnaire, Wufoo. I am a bit of a questionnaire addict…market research deviance I guess. So I love anything that helps me get insight into the market & collect consumer data. Wuffo allows you to create easy drag-and-drop forms (to create a signup, ask for insight, ask for contact details, whatever.) that you can then intergrate on your strikingly page.

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To manage a newsletter, Mailchimp. Set up this super easy email service provide to create campaign, manage your subscriber list and then have analytics insight into your campaign performance. Again, you can link it to your Strinkingly page. It’s easy to use and you can get a lot done with the free account.

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To design and create mockups, SketchApp. As Bertrand put it, it’s the revolution or “kiff complet” of the marketer. It removes the complexity of designing mockups, gives marketers credibility when they want to get a developer on board of their project and again, helps create engaging, clean visuals.

These tools all have loads of free functionalities or work with trials periods, so you can just get strated straight away. I’m now getting my hands on all these tools, and I hope this review helps you develop your project as well, whether as part of your studies, job or personal hobbies. Tech away, monkeys!

Find Le Wagon on Twitter @Lewagonparis @LeWagonBordeaux @LeWagonBrussels and more cool European locations. 

Educating the non-digital natives

Social media tend to emphasise the generational gap between us, generation Y or Z, and those born and raised without the ubiquitous presence of the Internet (the NON digital natives, also know as “our parents”).

Have you ever noticed your parents struggling with technology, online practices and vocabulary? Yes… yes, you have. Ever had to set up an online account for them? Help them reset their password, install a printer, show them how to scroll, view messages, pay online..? Probably a hundred times.

Out of all these funny, and honestly quite adorable parent fails, I find their social media behaviour most amazing. Parents are experimenting with social media out of curiosity; to stay in touch with their kids or reconnect with old pals from school. The funny part is that they don’t seem aware of the fast-evolving “code of conduct” that we have learned to master after about a decade of social media usage (yes, we can call ourselves experts here).

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Remember these times when you kindly ignored, or better, deleted, embarrassing comments they made on your Facebook profile – visible to all your friends? (“You are so beautiful and intelligent and I love you so much and miss you, why don’t you come and visit more often?” – something like that). It’s a bit the equivalent of them kissing you ten times when dropping you off at school when you were ten. Social humiliation.

Or when they profusely use “lol’s” and weird smileys, or even sometimes leave spelling mistakes or shortened words in their posts, thinking it’s cool. You probably don’t use “lol” since 2012 and stopped shortening words when the text message length got unlimited.

They might also randomly poke you (why does that even still exist?) or get mad if you don’t instantly answer a Facebook message. If they are connected, you should too: is that not like an SMS?!

So, I think that, as a good starting point (vocabulary is always the basic of learning), we should send this link to all parents, possibly grand-parents and elders in our network: the Top Social Media Terms and Acronyms Defined. Don’t bother reading it, just send it.

Remember when your parents sermoned you for doing socially-awkward things in the real-life world, like trowing a tantrum in the supermarket? Start giving back, send the link, and hope for the best!

PS: Dear parents, we still love you 🙂

Digital retail roundup

What does it take for retail environments to deliver compelling customer experiences in the face of soaring online and mobile-commerce figures?

Despite the rise of e-commerce, in-store retail keeps an important place in the lives of consumers who seem to move effortlessly between all consumption channels. The factors that might help physical stores stay abreast of e-commerce are hard to capture, but seem ironically reliant on digital technologies.

Retail stores will not disappear, but they need to evolve, integrate technologies, and rethink consumer loyalty to drive store visits.

In a white paper published this week, Samsung reveals that what customers are looking for is a blending of online and physical experience, with digital technology becoming more prevalent in-store. In-store technology should serve two functions:

  • Help the speed and ease of the purchase process;
  • Make the retail environment more engaging and interactive.

Here are a few exciting examples of retail/technology integration:

iBeacons, which deliver real-time, customised discounts, store information, or engage users in games. The Beaconcrawl in New York is a brilliant example: it gamifies the pubcrawl experience by notifying crawlers of secret spots and offering them special drinks and perks.

Instant printing and customisation can also be created through technology, like Topshop allowing shoppers to make their personalised, in-store, instant printed t-shirts with the Yr technology.

QR Codes: since 2011, Tesco’s branch Home Plus has implemented smart supermarket shelves in South Korean subways: commuters scan the QR codes of products on 2D shelves, order instantly and get the goods delivered directly to their homes.

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3D scanning: Virtual Changing Room technology like Fitsme lets consumers visualise what they would look like wearing a specific item without needing to get undressed, just using 3D scanning. A similar tool, StyleMe, developed by Cisco, was tested in John Lewis stores recently:

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These are but a few striking examples of how retail environments can make the most of online technologies, but it does not stop there and will continue expanding beyond current applications.

Keep your eyes and phone open on your next shopping trip!

Instagram’s regressive aesthetics

I was discussing the other day with a game user interface designer from Edinburgh. Our conversation meandering and common interest for technologies led us to talk about Instagram, and all the cool filters that they allow you to superimpose on your pictures. Well, “cool” was my personal view, my friend, on the other hand, did not seem much impressed by the technology, arguing that he preferred keeping the pristine purity of his shots. Fair enough.

Then, he raised a very interesting point, saying that “Instagram filters offer a way of regressing in the practice of photography”, a way of going back to vintage, dated aesthetics that were, only a few years ago, sharply neglected as outdated modes of representation.

Now, people seem increasingly attracted by these technologies and ways to broadcast their lives and interests. Which benefits do Instagram filters really bring to users? Is it the playfulness of the application? The ability to position oneself in a certain way in the social realm? What do these little square pictures tell about us?

What does this one Instagram picture say about me?

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