November 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
November 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s the time of the year when we begin thinking about sending holiday greetings to friends and family far and wide. Will it be an online greeting this year or a sentimental real paper card with pictures of the family and a special note? Will it be written in cursive or typed away on a convenient laptop? Will it be mailed with a 46-cent stamp or whisked through the web at no cost?
Have we lost our social graces? Or are we entering a new phase of how we relate our love? It seems we are in a cultural shift brought about by technology, budget concerns, digital natives and time deprivation.
Decline of Traditional Greetings
The United States Postal Service, which has its own problems, reported that the number of greeting cards mailed within the US declined by 24 percent from 2002 to 2010 and is still dropping. A perfect storm of migration to online services, a financial recession, busy lifestyles and younger digital consumers are creating new traditions for holidays and special days like birthdays.
A greeting cards industry report this year from IbisWorld says the sale of traditional cards has fallen by 60 percent over the last decade, to $5 billion a year. Last year Hallmark reported that their 2012 card sales dropped to 5 billion, from 6 billion in 2011. And American Greetings has had to go private after a 60% decline in revenue.
Growth of Digital Greetings
Remember your birthday this year? Chances are you got more Facebook Birthday greetings than you ever received cards? Why? Well, it’s so easy. Facebook reminds you. And you can even send a gift card if you want to really express some love. With Facebook, those annual holiday letters are not as important anymore. We see regular updates of our friends and know what is going on in their lives.
All the while, e-greetings are growing. Online card sales (both e-cards and custom printed ones) have grown to $3.5 billion in 2012 from just $65 million a decade ago. Both Hallmark, the number one provider, and American Greetings, the number two, have digital greetings divisions. And there are a plethora of other greetings companies like Egreetings, Blue Mountain, someecards and Dayspring. The trends are to more personalized or more irreverent cards than the traditional drugstore cards.
Growth of Handmade Cards
At the same time, there is a resurgence in small companies that provide special handmade cards. With a higher price than normal cards, the handmade card is actually the gift itself. There is also a big business in crafting for card making. Just ask the ladies at my church who make very special cards with special design stamps, craft supplies, pictures and glue.
So what’s your choice this year? Let me know how you will share your holiday greetings?
November 13, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The stores are already decked in Christmas decorations. Santa has shown up in some malls. The holiday television spots have started. And retailers are planning moving up the selling season from Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day. The holiday reports point to a holiday shopping season that will start online and continue in full force through December.
eMarketer says the US holiday season online retail commerce spending will be up 15.1% over last year and will reach $61.8 billion. November and December spending will account for nearly one-fourth of all retail ecommerce spending for 2013. Total holiday sales are expected to top $602 billion, up 3.9% from last year.
Deloitte‘s annual report shows that 47% of internet users expect to shop online this holiday season and 38% of respondents said they would spend at least half of their budgets online. Where are they shopping if they are not online: some 44% said they would shop at a discount or value department store, 28% planned to shop at a traditional department store, and 21% anticipated going to an electronics, office supply or computer store.
The National Federation of Retailers says that online holiday shoppers expect to spend 20 percent more than other shoppers. The online shoppers expect to spend a net average $884.55 on gifts, decorations, food and more this holiday season, compared with an average $737.95 among all holiday shoppers.
The Google 2013 Holiday Shopping Intentions Study reports that 64% of women, compared with 56% of men, are more likely than men to start shopping early and purchase on the big days. But some 41% will still be shopping in December.
And shopping has already started. More than 40 percent of holiday shoppers said they started their shopping in October or before. Two-thirds of online holiday shoppers started early to help spread out their budget. Another half want to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping and the crowds. This holiday season will continue to highlight the importance of smartphones and tablets in shopping. Shoppers will use them to research products, compare prices, look up retailer information, and redeem coupons.
Value will continue to be important. Many say they are focusing on what they need and will be making practical purchases this year. Google finds that 81% of shoppers will rely on discounts, 76% will take advantage of free shipping, and 60% will act on purchase incentives.
October 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
New research says that the average consumer visits the doctor three times a year but spends some 52 hours a year researching health information online annually.
The average number of physician office visits per person is 3.19x. Since most physicians actually spend only 15 minutes per patient, there is a role for other healthcare efforts to expand the physician experience through other efforts such as email, telephone care and even group visits. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 63% of women want a relationship with a doctor that knows their medical history.
Marketing healthcare is really marketing to women.
Learning the behavior of women in these situations is important because women make the primary healthcare decisions in 2/3 of households.
- Some 59% of prescriptions are ordered by women.
- Women spend 80% of all dollars in a drugstore.
- 60% of all doctors appointments are made by women for the household.
- More than one in ten care for a sick relative or parent.
While many online search occasions are prompted by physician diagnosis, it certainly means that consumers are not getting adequate information from their healthcare provider.
The research, conducted by Makovsky Health and Kelton among Americans aged 18 and older, was focused on behavior related to healthcare and prescriptions. We tend to go to pharma-related websites when we are experiencing symptoms (16%), after receiving a diagnosis (51%) and before filling a new prescription (23%).
Some 24% of consumers use at least one or a combination of social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and blogs) to access healthcare information.
The most accessed online resources are:
- WebMD – 53%
- Wikipedia – 22%
- Health Magazine Websites – 19%
- Advocacy Group Websites – 16%
- YouTube – 10%
- Facebook – 10%
- Blogs – 10%
- Pharmaceutical Websites – 9%
Contrary to their search for health information, 33 percent of consumers have spent less than an hour researching information on the Affordable Care Act.
October 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Women are hardwired to shop – a desire to provide for our families that might be traced to the earliest hunter-gatherer times. So maybe we aren’t looking for soft buffalo pelts, mastodon meat and twigs for fires. But for retailers to appeal to women, advertising and marketing need to resonate with the female shopper.
Nielsen NeuroFocus research has found that the female brain is hard-wired with evolutionary patterns that create a very unique shopper whose purchasing prowess has never been stronger.
Research from Nielsen NeuroFocus tells us that women’s brains are designed for:
- Big-picture thinking
- “Gut” reasoning
- Social and verbal skills
But men’s brains are hardwired differently for:
- Concrete thinking
- Goal-oriented tasks
- Logical solutions
Getting a woman’s attention is the first step toward intent and brand loyalty.
Second women must retain the information we are providing. Women remember more and differently than men do, so marketers must talk to both her emotional and rational sides and acknowledge her attention to detail. The combination of emotional decision-making opportunities and rational information increase purchase intent and have strong “sticking” power.
We women have better memory for detailed information than do men, while men tend to have better spatial ability and the ability to build systems. This means that marketers need to get product design, packaging, pricing, branding, messaging and more in sync with how the female subconscious mind receives and processes information, and directs behavior.
According to Nielsen NeuroFocus, the female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging should be positive and not focus on negative comparisons or associations.
- Male brain vs female brain: How do they differ? (theguardian.com)