Voice assistants set to revolutionize commerce and become a dominant mode of consumer interaction in the next three years

User spending via voice assistants is expected to grow as much as six times in three years

Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute has today released a new report titled, “Conversational Commerce: Why Consumers Are Embracing Voice Assistants in Their Lives,” which highlights how consumers are using voice assistants and the opportunities this creates for businesses to connect with their customers. The report, which surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the U.S., UK, France and Germany, found that voice assistants will become a dominant mode of consumer interaction over the next three years, with shoppers who use the technology willing to spend 500 percent more than they currently do via this mode of interaction.

Voice assistants will revolutionize ecommerce
Consumers are developing a strong preference for interacting with companies via voice assistants. The research found that today around a quarter (24 percent) of respondents would rather use a voice assistant than a website. However, in the next three years, this figure will rise to 40 percent. Close to a third – 31 percent – said they will prefer a voice assistant interaction to visiting a shop or a bank branch, compared to 20 percent today.

Voice assistant users are currently spending three percent of their total consumer expenditure via voice assistants, but this is expected to increase to 18 percent in the next three years, reducing share of physical stores (45 percent) and websites (37 percent).

While streaming music and seeking information remain the most popular usages for voice assistants today, over a third of respondents (35 percent) have also used them to buy products such as groceries, homecare and clothes. Currently, 28 percent of users have already used a voice assistant to make a payment or send money, but 44 percent of users have expressed interest in using voice assistants for banking transactions as more smart speakers enable functions such as credit card payments via voice.

Consumers are highly satisfied by the voice assistant experience
Consumers who use voice assistants are very positive about their experience, with 71 percent being satisfied with their voice assistant. In particular, 52 percent of consumers cite convenience, the ability to do things hands-free (48 percent), and automation of routine shopping tasks (41 percent) as the biggest reasons why they prefer using voice assistants over mobile apps and websites.

The ability for the voice assistant to understand their human user is also critical; 81 percent of users want the voice assistant to understand their diction and accent. The report also revealed that voice assistants are most popular among 33-45 year olds, while close to one in five (17 percent) have an annual pre-tax household income of more than $100K.

Voice assistants will yield concrete benefits for retailers and brands
Brands who provide good voice assistant experiences will generate more business and positive word-of-mouth communication. The report found that 37 percent of voice assistant users would share a positive experience with friends and family, and even 28 percent of current non-users would want to transact more frequently with a brand following a positive experience. This equates to serious potential financial gain, as consumers are willing to spend five percent more with a brand following a good experience with a voice assistant.

Mark Taylor, Chief Experience Officer, Digital Customer Experience practice, at Capgemini said, “Voice assistants will completely revolutionize how brands and consumers interact with each other. What makes voice assistants so exciting is that they are woven into the fabric of our lives, offering a simplicity and richness of interaction that consumers have never experienced before. Brands that are able to capitalize on the huge consumer appetite around voice assistants will not only build closer relationships with their customers, but create significant growth opportunities for themselves.”

Research Methodology
Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute surveyed over 5,000 consumers in the U.S., the UK, Franceand Germany. The quantitative research was complemented with focus group discussions with consumers from each country, conducted virtually. The survey – as well as the focus group discussions – had a healthy mix of demographics and user/non-user persona.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

About Capgemini
A global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation, Capgemini is at the forefront of innovation to address the entire breadth of clients’ opportunities in the evolving world of cloud, digital and platforms. Building on its strong 50-year heritage and deep industry-specific expertise, Capgemini enables organizations to realize their business ambitions through an array of services from strategy to operations. Capgemini is driven by the conviction that the business value of technology comes from and through people. It is a multicultural company of 200,000 team members in over 40 countries. The Group reported 2016 global revenues of EUR 12.5 billion.

Visit us at www.capgemini.comPeople matter, results count.

About the Digital Transformation Institute
The Digital Transformation Institute is Capgemini’s in-house think-tank on all things digital. The Institute publishes research on the impact of digital technologies on large traditional businesses. The team draws on the worldwide network of Capgemini experts and works closely with academic and technology partners. The Institute has dedicated research centers in India, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Cyber Monday Alert: Half of Consumers Unable to Determine Safety of Online Shopping Sites

Only half of consumers think they can determine the safety and legitimacy of online shopping sites and 35% claim to have stopped an online purchase because of security fears

With Cyber Monday just days away – the official start of the busiest online shopping month of the year – a new survey of American consumers finds that only half think they can determine the safety and legitimacy of online shopping sites and 35% claim to have stopped an online purchase because of security fears. Further, the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) online survey of 1,019 U.S. consumers also reports that the fear of being scammed online causes 27% excessive worry and 12% to actually lose sleep.

The online holiday shopping season is also a boon to scammers, as more fake websites are launched than any other time during the year. Nearly 119,000 unique phishing sites were detected during November 2016, with more than 300 individual brands targeted, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. The brands with the most spoof-able websites included popular online retailers Amazon (82%), Walmart (36%), and Target (20%).

It is easy for scammers to trick users with websites that look like they are legitimate company websites – either a national brand name or a local store – but have a different IP address – something that most users would find very hard to confirm.

One method for scammers? Registering web domains that are misspellings of popular brands and destinations. According to the GCA survey, 77% of U.S. consumers have mistyped a website address into their browser and 68% have clicked on a link in an email that has taken them to a different site than they expected. Consumers and small businesses need a way of protecting themselves that is effective, automatic, and affordable. They cannot trust the names they see in their web browsers.

Last week, GCA, along with IBM Security and Packet Clearing House launched Quad9, a free service that protects both consumers and businesses from the most popular phishing websites. In four easy steps, computers can be configured to automatically check every link that is clicked on – or address that is entered – against a directory of millions of bad web addresses compiled from companies that specialize in categorizing online threats and scams. If a user tries to access a website that is on any of the lists of malicious websites, they are blocked from accessing the site.

“The cybersecurity burdens that we place on consumers are excessive. It is asking too much from consumers to navigate all the security risks they face.  Even experts make mistakes,” said Philip Reitinger, President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance. “We must do a better of job of creating solutions that provide security and privacy without the user having to worry about it. Quad9 does just that.”

Other findings from the GCA survey include:

Online Safety vs. Physical Safety

  • Only 16% of consumers fear a burglar breaking into their home more than an online hacker stealing personal information
  • Only 11% of consumers think that their mobile phone is more secure than the front door of their house

The Threat is Real

  • 60% of consumers have had their computer infected with malware
  • 50% have visited a website that they feared could do harm to their computer or device

About the Survey
Zogby Analytics was commissioned by GCA to conduct an online survey of 1,019 U.S. adults. Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the poll has margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The survey’s full results can be found at: https://www.globalcyberalliance.org/time-now-automated-internet-immunity.html.

About the Global Cyber Alliance
The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) is an international, cross-sector effort dedicated to confronting cyber risk and improving our connected world. It is a catalyst to bring communities of interest and affiliations together in an environment that sparks innovation with concrete, measurable achievements. While most efforts at addressing cyber risk have been industry, sector, or geographically specific, GCA partners across borders and sectors. GCA’s mantra “Do Something. Measure It.” is a direct reflection of its mission to eradicate systemic cyber risks.

GCA, a 501(c)3, was founded in September 2015 by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the City of London Police, and the Center for Internet Security. Learn more at www.globalcyberalliance.org.

Study Reveals Blueprint for Marketers: Elevate Your Email Marketing with a Customized & Contextually Relevant Approach

The SendGrid commissioned study found that marketers crave an email solution to enable personalized experiences across the customer lifecycle

SendGrid, a leading delivery platform for customer communication that drives engagement and growth, today released a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SendGrid called Elevate Your Email Marketing With A Customized Approach. The study examines the adoption of integrated email marketing platforms and highlights opportunities that exist for businesses looking to create personalized, digital conversations with their customers.

The study, conducted in March 2017, surveyed 200 organizations across industries in the US and Canada to evaluate the challenges, successes and opportunities involved in implementing custom campaign management solutions for their email marketing needs. The study found:

  • There are a host of data and personalization challenges that impede one-to-one digital customer communication.
    • 50 percent of businesses feel that consolidating data from different sources and channels is their biggest challenge and 50 percent also feel that the ability to personalize experiences across channels and customer touch-points is the biggest challenge.
    • 34 percent of respondents said adding contextualized, relevant content to email messages is challenging while creating personalized experiences via email is a challenge for 40 percent of businesses.
    • While these marketers are attempting to reach their customers in meaningful ways, they continuously struggle with ways to make those messages relevant and meaningful.
  • Access to customer data isn’t the problem for marketers. Marketers are challenged with transforming data into truly meaningful action.
    • Though many marketers have completed integrations to ensure visibility into customer data, that data access hasn’t yet resulted in personalized email content.
    • Two-thirds of respondents say data from their sales, marketing, and service applications is fully integrated with their email systems and yet, only 37 percent of respondents said personalized content is fully integrated and only half said the data is highly influential.
  • The study identifies an emerging—but small—group of forward-thinking marketers who have managed to decrease the insight-to-action gap to achieve contextually relevant email content.
    • 18 percent of survey respondents said they integrated both vendor and in-house capabilities to craft their own custom email marketing solutions.
    • 22 percent of respondents who already use these tools, say that this method allows them a higher level of customization and flexibility than an email service provider alone can provide.
    • SendGrid believes these marketers are leading the industry toward true email personalization and contextually relevant emails by combining their own data and business logic with the capabilities of a leading email platform.

“Email is the most commonly used marketing channel according to 82 percent of respondents, but it’s not yet being used to its full potential,” said Scott Heimes, Chief Marketing Officer at SendGrid. “Marketers crave a solution that enables personalized and contextually relevant customer experiences that better serves their customers to drive engagement and business growth.”

SendGrid is a leader in email infrastructure and is committed to helping marketers realize the benefits of email personalization. For businesses that send high volumes of email, require fine-grained personalization to enhance their customers’ experience, and are interested in developing their own application layer on top of SendGrid’s flexible APIs, contact SendGrid here.

The Forrester commissioned study is available for download here.

SendGrid CMO Scott Heimes will be delivering a keynote at theTraction Conference in Vancouver on Thursday, June 1. His keynote will highlight findings from the study with keys for building an effective email program using customer examples and data insights.

About SendGrid:
SendGrid is a proven, cloud-based customer communication platform that drives engagement and business growth. A leader in email deliverability, SendGrid sends over 30 billion emails each month for Internet and mobile-based customers like Airbnb, Pandora, HubSpot, Spotify, Uber and FourSquare as well as more traditional enterprises like Intuit and Costco. For more information, visit www.sendgrid.com.

Outbrain Releases State of Global Content Marketing Report

Content marketing has finally hit critical mass as marketers around the globe compete with an explosive news cycle

Outbrain, the world’s leading premium discovery platform, today unveiled the findings of its ‘State of Global Content Marketing’ Report. The interactive report was created in partnership with interactive content marketing platform Ceros and shows that content marketing has finally hit critical mass as marketers around the globe compete with an explosive news cycle for eyeballs.

Outbrain reportBelow are some highlights and key takeaways from the report.

Consumption Trends
Globally, mobile has surpassed every other method of content consumption: 52% of all Outbrain pageviews were mobile in 2016. France, and South Africa are all majority-mobile viewing countries, and almost every region has seen a huge mobile push, especially in video consumption. 42% of South Africans view video on mobile, the second-highest year-on-year growth in that area. In the U.S. adults devoted 10 hours and 39 minutes per day to screen time in Q1 of 2016. Almost ⅔ of the people in the UK have smartphones, and that number is growing worldwide. Mobile is big and only getting bigger.

Other big trends in North America were chatbots, which Microsoft’s CEO believes are the new apps, and VR. Native advertising spend, already $10.7b, is expected to double by 2018.

In India and Singapore, Internet penetration is growing with internet users skewing younger, more educated, and more interested in video. Germany saw a 27.5% jump in video viewing last year, and 45% of all Israelis watched a video on their phone daily in 2016. 54% of people in Singapore watched digital video regularly, and social and video were popular with Brazil’s 64 million smartphone users. 72% of all Indian Internet traffic is projected to be video by 2018.

The State of Content Marketing
Content marketing continues to grow globally. Germans trust brands almost as much as they trust traditional media outlets (42% vs 44%). 96% of Italian marketers manage their digital content and 94.6% of Spanish marketers used content marketing. 84% of Australian marketers say that creating more engaging content is their top priority for 2017 and in Brazil mobile advertising generates 12.5% of awareness for brands, 8.9% more than the average generated by desktop.

Ad blockers hit big last year in Italy, causing losses for media outlets, but were much less popular in Japan.

The Biggest News Stories of 2016
Additionally, the report looks at the consumption behaviors from top performing headlines ranging from the US election and Brexit to hairstyles banned in South African high schools.

Please see the full report for more insights and data about content consumption in key markets last year.

About Outbrain
Outbrain (www.outbrain.com) is the world’s leading premium content discovery platform, bringing personalized, relevant online, mobile and video content to audiences while helping publishers understand their audiences through data. Outbrain serves approximately 250 billion personalized content recommendations every month and reaches half-a-billion unique visitors* from across the globe.

Outbrain’s expansion to some of the web’s largest global properties is a reflection of its rapid growth and its successful innovations in supporting a new era of digital publishing. Top-tier premium publishers that currently leverage the Outbrain platform include: CNN, ESPN, Time Inc., Le Monde, Fox News, The Guardian, SPH, The Telegraph, New York Post, Sky News, TF1, Condé Nast, Orange and L’Equipe.

Founded in 2006, the company is headquartered in New York with a presence in a growing number of locations globally, including the U.S., UK, Israel, Singapore, Japan and Australia.

Follow @Outbrain on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Outbrain

About Ceros
Ceros is an interactive content creation platform that empowers marketers and designers to create rich, engaging content, without any coding. The Ceros cloud-based design studio makes it easy to collaborate on stunning, unique digital projects in real time and publish with the click of a button. Distributing your content is as simple as sharing a link or dropping an embed code on your site. On the back end, Ceros analytics delivers viewer interactions on a granular level so you can understand what’s working and what isn’t.

Founded in 2013 by Simon Berg and Dominic Duffy, Ceros has offices in New York and London. We’re backed by Grotech Ventures, Sigma Prime Ventures, Greycroft, and StarVest Partners. Learn more at ceros.com and follow us on Twitter @cerosdotcom.

Brain scans reveal what makes a video advert most effective

Brain scan study shows what makes people more likely to click following a TV advert

Researchers at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) have discovered what in a TV advert triggers people to find the product online, by scanning the brains of a group of ‘guinea pig’ consumers.

This group was shown the adverts of 11 different adverts, all created for the same brand of pain-relieving muscle and joint gel.

These scans revealed that an advert works best when it highlights both a product’s functional benefits and triggers the viewer’s imagination. Together these activate specific parts of the viewer’s brain most intensely, to make the advert more effective.

The study aimed to examine online search behaviour, and to find the elements most effective in prompting consumers. The goal was not only to find out which elements, but also to understand WHY, hence the need to gather the data from brain scans.

Linda Couwenberg, who led the research, said: “This study shows that the effectiveness of a marketing message cannot be explained by isolating just one simple brain process. Successful TV adverts trigger a complex combination of processes in the brain.

“First of all we undertook a study of a large audience to measure click-through rates and what combination of elements in the adverts was most effective. From this evidence, we then conducted the brain scans – magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) – on a smaller group to determine what makes these elements so effective in activating consumers.

“Adverts that highlighted the product’s advantages were found to trigger most activity in the part of the brain associated with recognising and identifying objects: ‘what am I looking at, and how can I use it?

“Those adverts or elements that appeal to the imagination, or have an original way of delivering the message, activated more complex thought processes, such as sustained attention, working memory and creative thinking.”

She added: “By understanding which elements of an advert are most effective in doing what, we believe marketing, advertising and media professionals will be better placed to optimise the creative development of adverts.”

70% of SMBs to Increase Digital Marketing Budgets in 2017 [survey by GetResponse]

Study also reveals that social, mobile and email will drive the spending surge.

GetResponse, the easy-to-use yet advanced online marketing platform with more than 350,000 customers in 182 countries, announced the results of a commissioned study examining expected digital marketing investments among US-based small and medium-sized businesses in 2017. The study, fielded between November 28th and December 1st, 2016, also identified the channels most likely to drive spending. 200 US-based SMB decision-makers were polled for the study.

70% say digital marketing budgets will increase

When asked if their digital/web-based marketing budgets in the New Year would “increase,” “decrease,” or “stay the same,” 70% said they would “increase.” Of that group, 30% said that the budget will “increase considerably,” while 40% say it will “increase somewhat.” Of the remaining 30% polled, 28% said that their budget would remain unchanged, while only 2% said their digital marketing budgets would “decrease” in 2017.

“Digital marketing is vital for SMBs and our survey numbers bear that out,” said Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO & Founder. “Marketers are investing accordingly, given the substantial return on investment delivered through web-based campaigns.”

Social, mobile and email are poised to drive growth

Among the SMB executives surveyed that projected increased marketing budgets in 2017, when asked what areas will primarily drive that growth: 59% said “marketing on social networks,” such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Rounding out the top-three were “mobile marketing” (50%)—either app or web-based—followed by “email marketing” (42%).

“Mobile marketing is increasingly important given the surging content consumption numbers across smartphones and tablets,” said Grabowski. “And social media usage has only grown in tandem with mobile consumption, as the most popular platforms are mobile-first. Email, too, has become a mobile-driven activity. Ultimately, mobile is the reason why these areas will drive spend in the New Year.”

Social media’s first-place finish follows a December 2016 GetResponse study of 200 SMB executives regarding holiday marketing channels, where 33% named Facebook advertising as the digital marketing channel they primarily use to “promote or increase holiday sales.”

With social media, mobile marketing and email owning the top-three growth areas, the remaining channels were “video production” (28%), “search marketing, including paid search” and “content creation and management” (both at 26%), “data collection and analytics” and “corporate website maintenance and development” (both at 23%), and, finally, “commerce experiences” (16%).

About GetResponse

GetResponse serves more than 350,000 active users from 182 countries, delivering more than 1 billion permission-based emails per month, with an average deliverability rate higher than 99 percent. For more information, visit: http://www.getresponse.com.

Press Release from PRWeb.

The Good Web Guide Website of the Year Awards – Shortlist Announced

The Good Web Guide asked some of the judges of this year’s Website of the Year Awards what they expected to see in a winning site.

With the web getting ever more complex and the needs and requirements that users put on their favourite sites, The Good Web Guide asked some of the judges of this year’s Website of the Year Awards what they expected to see in a winning site.

This year’s expert panel of judges were looking for websites aspiring to be the best and the words that they repeated were ‘Immediacy,’ ‘Unique customer journeys,’ ‘Search engine visibility,’ ‘Super super fast download speed’ and ‘Stay true to who you are.’

Ciaron Dunne of Genie Venutures talked about the judging process saying, “We ran this as a collaborate exercise with a diverse team of designers and online marketers at Genie HQ in Cambridge…”

THE SHORTLIST

After much deliberation, The Good Web Guide is delighted to announce the shortlist, an excellent cross section of what the web has to offer from the luxury of Boutique Retreats to the charity, World Veterinary Service, committed to improving animal welfare globally. To see the full list, click here.

ANNA BANCE OF GIRL MEETS DRESS.COM TO ANNOUNCE WINNERS

The category winners and overall winner of The Good Web Guide Website of the Year will be revealed at the Awards reception held on Monday 21st November at The Royal Institution of Great Britain. Web doyenne, Anna Bance, co-founder of Girl Meets Dress has kindly agreed to announce the winning sites. Anna said, “As a digital entrepreneur myself, it is with great honour that I will be presenting the 2016 GWG Awards. When we launched Girl Meets Dress, The Good Web Guide was tremendously supportive. I know how much it means to have your hard work recognised and am happy I can present someone else with the same distinction.”

For further information regarding The Good Web Guide Website of the Year Awards 2016, please contact Arabella Dymoke
Tel: 020 7402 6412, Email: a.dymoke@thegoodwebguide.com  

EDITOR’S NOTES

• Winners will be announced at an evening reception at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Albemarle Street, London W1 on Monday 21 November 2016

• the missiontm, headline sponsor, is a marketing communications and advertising group with 23 offices across the UK, San Francisco and Asia. the missiontm employs over 850 staff and is listed on AIM (TMMG). The Group specialises in providing national and international clients with award winning marketing, advertising and business communications. Group members include April Six, bigdog, Bray Leino, Proof, RLA, Robson Brown, Solaris, Speed, Splash, Story and ThinkBDW. www.themission.co.uk

CATEGORY SPONSORS

– Feefo, the global feedback engine and Google Licensed Content Partner collates ratings and reviews from verified customers. www.feefo.com

– Rakuten Marketing provides advertisers and marketers with expert technology, clarity and online services for affiliate marketing, retargeting, display, mobile, search marketing, lead generation, omni-channel attribution and automated product feeds. rakuten.co.uk

– Streets ISA Chartered Accountants, specialist media and entertainment accountants, with offices in Great Portland St, London and Spinningfields, Manchester, specialises in providing tax advice and financial planning for clients. www.streetsmedia.co.uk

– Blue Array offers boutique SEO consulgency® services, providing the boutique services of a consultancy with the scale of an agency. www.bluearray.co.uk

– Simply Business is the UK’s largest business insurance provider, with over 400,000 live policies. www.simplybusiness.co.uk

– Search Office Space has been helping people find their perfect workspace free of charge since 1993. www.searchofficespace.com

– The Good Schools Guide, the guide that provides personal, unbiased reviews of the top schools in the UK. www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk

PARTNERS

The winning site will take home a number of prizes to perfect their online presence from the following companies:-

– A comprehensive digital audit by Zest Digital, an award-winning digital marketing agency that helps businesses to grow, fast. www.zestdigital.co

– A content audit by Blue Glass, an innovative, full service digital marketing agency that is on a mission to change the way companies market themselves online with extraordinary strategies and services powered by the best minds in digital marketing. www.blueglass.co.uk

– One hour cooking class for four people at L’atelier des Chefs, the cooking school in the heart of London. www.atelierdeschefs.co.uk

ABOUT THE GWG

The GWG offers its visitors a more taste driven and selective alternative to search engines whilst also championing small web-based businesses. Editorially driven with detailed reviews on websites and snappy web-related features, The GWG has grown its online presence with initiatives such as the extremely popular Guest Edited newsletters and the annual Website of the Year Awards, all enabling The GWG to become the definitive authority on everything that is good about the web.

Be transparent on social media or risk the consequences, CIM warns businesses

Businesses are increasingly using misleading marketing methods on social media, risking significant legal, financial and reputational damage.

Chartered Institute of Marketing logo Businesses are increasingly using misleading marketing methods on social media, risking significant legal, financial and reputational damage. That is according to CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing), which has today released new research into the prevalence of questionable marketing on social media sites.

The Keep Social Honest study by CIM – the body that represents the marketing profession – shows a significant increase in the number of people who can’t distinguish between marketing and non-commercial content on social media, with only 19% saying they can tell the difference. This compares to 38% of people who said they could distinguish between marketing and non-commercial content in a 2014 study by CIM.

The research also found a rise in consumers citing that they have seen questionable activities from brands on social media. A quarter (25%) have seen a brand fake an online review (compared to 17% in 2014); 21% have seen a brand pay or incentivise customers to share positive comments on social media without making this clear to other users (up from 14% in 2014); and 16% have seen brands pay someone to promote a product or service without disclosing the payment (also up from 14% in 2014).

This should set alarm bells ringing for firms that use social media to market to consumers. The findings suggest  potentially widespread breaches of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code), enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which states that any advertising must be “obviously identifiable as such”. Violation of the CAP Code can lead to ASA sanctions, including businesses being told to withdraw advertising from their own sites, have paid-for search advertisements removed, and being denied access to advertising space.

Furthermore, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has highlighted that businesses are likely to be breaking the law if they fake online reviews and pay for online endorsements without making this clear to consumers. Such practice contravenes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which prohibit misleading marketing activity, and CMA has recently taken action against companies for faking reviews.

Chris Daly, Chief Executive of CIM, said: “Misleading marketing communications on social media is a real problem and it’s evident that advertisers aren’t doing enough to ensure transparency. This isn’t always intentional – from previous research, we know that 52% of marketers have little or no understanding of the regulations affecting their communications on social media – but the consequences are still the same.

“Businesses face a serious risk of regulatory or legal action, but they also need to understand that the penalties for misleading customers on social media go beyond that. Brands are putting their reputation at risk too. For example, 38% of the people we spoke to as part of our research told us they would lose trust in an organisation or turn off from it on social media if they discovered that content the brand claimed to be real wasn’t genuine.

“We are calling on all organisations that market and communicate through social media to understand what the law is, and ensure they follow it. Doing so can reap rewards for businesses in the form of increased consumer trust and confidence. Not doing so can have damaging results.”

CIM’s research also found that people are increasingly using social media to support purchasing decisions, making transparency even more crucial. 39% of those surveyed said they are using social media more than they did a year ago. 62% of people said they use social platforms for advice before making a purchase decision, compared to just 17% of those surveyed in 2014.

CIM has issued new guidance for businesses on its dedicated website www.cim.co.uk/keep-social-honest.

Advice includes:

  1. Know the rules – familiarise yourself with the CAP Code (https://www.cap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/Non-Broadcast.aspx) and the CMA’s guidance on how to comply with the law on online reviews and endorsements.
  1. Make sure those responsible for marketing on social media in your business have the right knowledge and skills – businesses should adopt social media compliance as a professional development priority for marketing staff, and provide the appropriate training and support.
  1. Set a policy and revisit regularly – set out the behaviours and standards on social media that reflect your brand and values. Social media and related technologies are constantly changing. So, policies need to be subject to regular review.
  1. Get everyone on board – make sure all of your employees and any supplier partners you use are aware of your social media policy and commit to complying with it. Make it part of the HR process and supplier contracts.
  1. Make your position public – once you have a policy in place, let your customers know what they can expect from you and welcome their feedback.

GoDaddy Launches Flare: New App Brings Business Ideas To Life

Social App Empowers People to Share, Gather Feedback, And Refine Ideas within a Trusted Community

GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE: GDDY), the world’s largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses, today launched Flare, a first-of-its-kind, community-based app that helps bring business ideas to life. Flare empowers people to share ideas and get guidance from friends, fellow entrepreneurs, and experts in a fun and collaborative way, providing an immediate resource to receive feedback and drive new concepts or ideas forward.

New business ideas come from everywhere and everyone, but only a fraction of them go beyond the initial stage to become something bigger. In a recent survey conducted by GoDaddy, 67 percent of respondents reported having come up with a concept for a business, product or service, but only 15 percent actually pursued it. The biggest barriers for not taking action: people didn’t know what to do next (30 percent) and fear/self-doubt (15 percent). Nearly 55 percent said they regret not taking the next step with an idea.

“Everyone has ideas, but too often they don’t go anywhere,” said Rene Reinsberg, vice president of Emerging Products at GoDaddy. “We created Flare because we recognized the need for a community where people can get impartial feedback on ideas and connect with others to help them turn those ideas into something meaningful. Whether you’ve just had a fleeting thought and want to explore where you might be able to take it, or you’ve been dreaming of creating your own business your whole life, Flare is the first place to go for someone that wants to take the next step.”

Flare also enables people to give back to the community by becoming advisors. It gives people the opportunity to share their knowledge in a given field or discipline with others seeking advice. By supporting a concept, advisors can play an active role during its developmental journey. Followers can also pledge to be a future customer, providing a valuable signal to the entrepreneur about demand and marketability of his or her new product or service.

Flare Features:

  • A simple, easy-to-use, elegant interface reminiscent of popular social media feeds
  • Quickly give feedback by swiping left/right to dismiss or be reminded of an idea if it becomes popular
  • Tap on an idea to learn more. Love an idea to follow its progress and shape its direction
  • Spread ideas by easily sharing them via social media
  • Explore ideas that are nearby
  • Quickly poll your followers for directional feedback regarding pricing, desirability, feasibility, among other things
  • See all of your followers, across all ideas, and their expertise
  • Gauge interest of your followers in being future customers via pledging

Flare represents the latest example of GoDaddy’s ongoing commitment to develop innovative technologies and products designed to empower entrepreneurs – whether they’re looking to simply get started with a new idea, get online, or grow a business.

Flare is available immediately in the Apple App Store. It will launch in June on Google Play for Android devices.

Nearly 75% Of Global Consumers List Brand Origin As Key Purchase Driver

National pride among the factors that influence consumers’ willingness to buy local versus global products

Nearly 75% of global respondents, on average, say a brand’s country of origin is as important as or more important than nine other purchasing drivers, including selection/choice, price, function and quality, according to findings from the Nielsen Global Brand-Origin Survey released today. The new research examined whether consumers prefer goods produced by global/multinational brands (defined as those that operate in many markets) or by local players (those operating only in a single market—the respondent’s home country), based on responses from more than 30,000 online respondents in 61 countries spanning 40 categories.

Respondents in Asia-Pacific and Africa/Middle East are likelier to say that origin is more important than the other selection factors (33% and 32% on average, respectively). European, North American and Latin American respondents, in contrast, are likelier to say brand origin is less important than the other selection factors (35%, 32% and 31% on average, respectively).

“One of the more surprising findings from the survey is that country of origin is as important as—or even more important than—other purchasing criteria such as price and quality,” said Patrick Dodd, group president, Nielsen Growth Markets. “In a crowded retail environment, brand origin can be an important differentiator between brands, but sentiment varies by category and by country, and leveraging a powerful brand presence needs to be managed carefully regardless of whether it is global or local. Ultimately, the brands that deliver on a strong value proposition and connect personally to consumers’ needs will have the advantage in any given market.”

THE WHY BEHIND THE BUY

Why do global consumers choose local brands over global brands or vice versa? When asked to select the top three decision factors for choosing a global brand and for choosing a local brand, respondents offered similar response patterns across all regions—emphasizing the factors that typically are top rated in consumer surveys. Globally, better price/value is the top-selected reason for choosing global (42%) and local (43%) brands. Positive experience with the brand (32% for global brands, 28% for local), safer ingredients and processing (31%, 28%), better product benefits (31%, 25%) and a sale or promotion on the brand (26%, 24%) also are among the top-selected reasons for selecting a product.

National pride is the only selection factor for which there is a notable difference between local and global brands, which is unsurprising, given that one would not buy a global product for reasons of national pride, unless it was a global product widely recognized as ‘American,’ such as Marlboro, or ‘Japanese,’ such as Toyota. Logically, this is a more important reason for buying local products than global ones. One-fifth of global respondents (21%) say national pride is the most important reason they buy local products, with sentiment highest in Africa/Middle East (25%), Asia-Pacific (24%) and Latin America (21%) and lower in Europe (16%) and North America (10%).

LOCAL BRANDS HAVE ADVANTAGE IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE CATEGORIES

For fresh foods, local brands are, not surprisingly, the clear preference. The majority of global respondents who have purchased the category say they prefer local brands to global ones for vegetables (68% vs. 11%), meat (66% vs. 13%), fruit (64% vs. 12%), seafood (57% vs. 18%) and yogurt (52% vs. 22%). The preference for local brands holds for nearly every fresh category in every region. Local brands also are preferred for beverage categories where spoilage is a concern or flavor preferences differ by region. Respondents in every region prefer local brands for juice, water and milk. Among those who purchase carbonated soft drinks, global brands are preferred in every region except Europe, where the largest percentage say brand origin is not important to them.

For packaged foods and snacks, local taste preferences dominate. Local brands are preferred to global brands for ice cream (44% vs. 27%, respectively), cookies/biscuits (40% vs. 28%), crisps/crackers (40% vs. 28%), breakfast cereal (44% vs. 29%), instant noodles (47% vs. 24%) and canned vegetables (53% vs. 20%).

GLOBAL BRANDS ARE PERCEIVED AS QUALITY FOR BABY CARE CATEGORIES

When it comes to baby care, global brands are clearly preferred for diapers in every region except Asia-Pacific, where preferences for local and global brands are evenly split. However, for food and formula, preferences are split largely along developed- and emerging-market lines. Global food and formula brands are preferred in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, while local brands are preferred in Europe and North America. The strongest preference for global brand baby food and formula comes, unsurprisingly, from respondents in China and Hong Kong, where in recent years product-quality issues for local baby food and formula have made headlines. In Africa/Middle East, global brands are just slightly preferred for formula, but local brands are more preferred for baby food.

“For many categories, a global brand name is an indicator of quality, safety and trustworthiness in emerging markets,” said Dodd. “In North America and Europe, the baby-care product industry is highly regulated, and consumers may automatically expect that the baby foods they buy are safe and nutritious. For these consumers, local brands carry an assurance of quality.”

CONSUMERS LOVE GLOBAL BRANDS FOR PERSONAL CARE AND BEAUTY

For personal-care and beauty products, global brands are the clear favorite around the world. Global brands are preferred to local for razors, shampoo and conditioner, cosmetics and deodorant in every region. Global brands are also preferred for toothpaste, hand and body soap, and hand and body lotions in four of five regions (Asia-Pacific is the exception). In Europe, the largest percentage of respondents say brand origin isn’t important for several categories, including razors, toothpaste and hand and body soaps and lotions.

“Global brands are able to leverage their scale and expertise, research and development capabilities, and strong brand equity to provide high-quality and innovative personal-care products to local markets around the world,” said Dodd. “In addition, in some markets, the number of local brands is limited for nonedible categories, so consumers naturally gravitate to offerings from global brands because they are widely available.”

ABOUT THE NIELSEN GLOBAL SURVEY

The Nielsen Global Homecare Survey was conducted Aug. 10 – Sep. 4, 2015 and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 61 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes Internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.9% at the global level. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion.

ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

Webtexttool addresses entrepeneurs’ needs for easy and simple SEO

A new study by Ebay Business found that seventy percent of online entrepreneurs are not able to profile their business on the Internet.

A new study by Ebay Business found that seventy percent of online entrepreneurs are not able to profile their business on the Internet. Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for the success of a business and many entrepreneurs are missing out on sales they would otherwise receive. In an effort to improve the sales of these businesses, Webexttool has created a do-it-yourself tool that allows businesses to write optimized text that will rank well on Google and other search engines. The tool has successfully helped entrepreneurs in the Netherlands and is set to release in the United States today.

In the same Ebay Business study, it was found that forty percent of entrepreneurs rely on the Internet for sales, yet they don’t know how to find customers online. Additionally, while some businesses hired companies for SEO help, others simply did not know what to do. With a clear need for SEO education, Webtexttool collaborated with Ebay Business to create a webinar for Dutch businesses, in an effort to improve online visibility.

According to founder and CEO Kyrill Poelmans“Optimizing your website is an important condition to get more visitors and possible customers to your site. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t know how they can accomplish this or don’t even know it is possible to get more visitors with just a few simple adjustments. Webtexttool comes to the rescue and helps business owners with their online activities. Our clients are happy to see the number of visitors on their websites improve.”

Webtexttool is a Dutch startup with a goal of making search engine optimization available to everyone. The do-it-yourself tool helps business owners to write content that is optimized for search engines. Unlike other SEO tools, Webtexttool is simplistic and accessible to people who don’t know much about technology. Additionally, the team at Webtexttool keeps users up to date with a blog that outlines a variety of articles involving SEO and the latest techniques. It is projected to grow exponentially in upcoming months.

For more information, visit www.webtexttool.com

New Study Maps Role of Digitization in Growth of Middle Market Companies

The fastest-growing middle market companies place the strongest emphasis on going digital, according to NCMM and Magento Commerce

The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) and Magento Commerce today announced results from their joint “How Digital Are You?” study, which examines how middle market businesses are utilizing digitization to streamline processes, maximize efficiencies and promote business growth.

The research found that the fastest-growing middle market firms (those growing revenues at a rate of at least 10 percent annually) place a measurably greater emphasis on digitization versus similarly-sized companies. Additionally, the research found that the middle market as a whole is shifting the focus of its digitization investment to emphasize projects that affect strategy development and future growth. This marks a departure from the back office and operations-focused spending that has defined past digitization activities.

According to the study, 49 percent of middle market firms with annual revenue growth of 10 percent or more consider themselves “digitally advanced,” compared to just 36 percent of all middle market firms surveyed. The business services and technology sector has the greatest percentage (50 percent) of companies that consider themselves digitally advanced. Meanwhile, the retail and wholesale trade industry has the largest proportion (35 percent) of firms that consider themselves “somewhat or far behind” the average middle market company.

“By illuminating successful companies’ digital best practices and identifying common pitfalls, we expect this study to serve as a roadmap of sorts for middle market firms,” said Thomas A. Stewart, Executive Director, NCMM, a partnership founded in 2011 between GE Capital and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

“Clearly, the study validates that improving digitization is important to every industry in the digital age and that technology is rewriting the rules of the game. Businesses that are complacent or just average in this area will get left behind,” said Peter Sheldon, Head of Strategy, Magento Commerce. “To keep pace, companies must take necessary steps to address key digitization barriers and move quickly to successfully adopt next-era digital tools. In doing so, these businesses secure not only continued relevance, but also superior returns and growth.”

Middle market companies are defined as those that produce annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion. The U.S. middle market consists of nearly 200,000 companies that employ 44.5 million people and generate more than $10 trillion in combined revenue annually.

Digitization Remains Focused on Operations
Currently, 44 percent of digitization spending in middle market companies goes toward operational activities (business management, back office functions and logistics). However, the study shows that 19 percent of digitization spending is now allocated for innovation and strategy development projects, which have direct implications on a company’s future growth.

When asked to predict changes to future spending on digitization, 42 percent of firms expected to increase spending on business analytics and strategy development, while 39 percent of firms expected to increase spending on innovation. Additional answers included business management (35 percent), back office functions (30 percent) and logistics (26 percent).

Spending Increases Expected in Technology Sector
Despite having the greatest percentage of companies that already consider themselves digitally advanced, the business services and technology sector leads all industries with 35 percent of firms expecting to increase spending in the next 12 months.

The health products and services industry, however, had the greatest percentage of companies that expect to decrease future digitization spending at 12 percent. No other industry in the middle market had more than 6 percent of companies expecting to decrease spending over the next 12 months.

Firms Grade Themselves as Average for Current Digitization Efforts
Despite general optimism in individual digitization projects, firms as a whole graded themselves at a 2.8 “Digital Grade Point Average” on a scale of 0-4. “That’s about a C-plus,” said Stewart. “Even the companies that say they are digitizing rapidly give themselves an average GPA of 3.1, a B-minus. Either they’re tough graders, or they realize they have a long way to go.”

While individual projects are often viewed as successful, the average grade stems from difficulties transitioning individual digitization accomplishments into gains for the entire company. Factors cited that negatively affected company-wide digitization projects include the slower pace of large-scale projects, the length of time necessary to see a payoff and a lack of in-house talent on the digital front.

About the “How Digital Are You?” Study
The study, conducted by the National Center for the Middle Market, in partnership with Magento Commerce, surveyed 500 C-level middle market executives with responsibility for company strategy and business process implementation. The Center and Magento worked with Ralph Greco, of the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University and Kati Suominen, CEO of Nextrade Group, to design the survey to gauge attitudes toward digitization practices and benefits, determine firms’ digital readiness and digital performance capabilities, and identify trends in digitization spending. Respondents completed the 15-minute, self-administered survey online between October 2, 2015 and October 9, 2015.

About the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM)
The National Center for the Middle Market was founded in 2011 in partnership with GE Capital and The Ohio State University Fisher School of Business. The Center is the nation’s leading research institution dedicated to helping middle market companies to be more competitive through research, advocacy and educational initiatives. To learn more about the Center visit www.middlemarketcenter.org.

About Magento Commerce
Trusted by more than 250,000 businesses worldwide, Magento Commerce is the leading provider of open omnichannel innovation to retailers, brands and branded manufacturers across retail B2C and B2B industries. In addition to its flagship open source digital commerce platform, Magento Commerce boasts a strong portfolio of cloud-based omnichannel solutions empowering merchants to successfully integrate digital and physical shopping experiences. With over $50B in gross merchandise volume transacted on the platform annually, Magento Commerce is the foremost provider to the Internet Retailer Top 1000 and the Internet Retailer B2B 300, counting more than double the clients to the next closest competitor. Magento Commerce is supported by a vast global network of solution and technology partners, a highly active global developer community and the largest e-commerce marketplace for extensions available for download on the Magento Marketplace. More information can be found at www.magento.com.

80% of B2B Digital Marketing is Hurting Sales

Brand new 2016 B2B Digital bench marketing report shows what’s wrong – and how you can fix it fast.

Brand new 2016 B2B Digital bench marketing report shows what’s wrong – and how you can fix it fast.

We analysed the “digital footprint” of 509 of the top business-to-business organisations in the Thames Valley and Solent and discovered: 80% of these companies have fundamental problems with their online presence that directly impact their sales.

We identified 8 “key digital marketing signals”. Then we gave each a weighting based on how important they are. Then we scored each business to find out how likely it is would be that a customer or prospect could find them and then find the information they needed. Three of the finding are:

  • Only 21% of companies had ever tried using Google AdWords and many had implemented it ineffectively.
  • 79% of companies not using Google my Business, a free service that helps clients find your company both online and in the real world.
  • Less than 6% of companies were using remarketing.

Full copy of the report is on LinkedIn SlideShare: www.slideshare.net/secret/rHezY4gyRFEhbp

Dr John Woods of Sharp Ahead said: “Although there are some outstanding examples in our survey of B2B companies doing digital marketing really well, the overall picture is that most B2B companies in our survey sample are neglecting their digital channels. Many companies are ignoring basic requirements like having a mobile-friendly website. It’s quite a surprise: these are substantial companies with turnover of £10M/yr and upwards, so they really should have the resources to invest in digital.”

Dr Woods continued “B2B companies neglect digital marketing at their peril. In even the most conservative and slow-moving B2B industries, buyers are increasingly using digital channels to find and select suppliers, so a strong digital footprint is essential for long-term competitive success. There’s a great opportunity for B2B companies in conservative industries to achieve spectacular market share growth by investing in digital. We predict that B2B companies with weak digital marketing will be overtaken by their more digital-savvy competitors over the next few years. We’ll repeat our survey later in 2016 to test this prediction.”

The Traffic to Your Content Drops by 98% After One Month

New research shows that online articles enjoy a very short period of high traffic, followed by a sharp decline.

New research shows that online articles enjoy a very short period of high traffic, followed by a sharp decline.

The research, conducted by Boost the News, analyzes the traffic of 30 articles from different websites. The analysis points at the following phenomena:

In 74% of articles, traffic reaches its peak on the day of publication.

25% of articles reach their traffic peak on the first or second day after publication. Less than 1% of the articles reached their traffic peak more than 2 days after the day of publication.

The peak in traffic is quickly followed by a drastic drop: within one week, traffic of articles drops in average by 90%.

After one month, traffic is down by more than 98%, and the average daily traffic of articles is equivalent to merely 1.7% of the traffic during the peak.

The results of the research are of big importance for online publishers and for online marketers:

For online publishers, the results mean that the competition over readers is harder than ever, and content must be constantly created and promoted in order to maintain high traffic in the long term.

For online marketers, the results put a big question mark on the efficacy of their content marketing efforts. Brands that spend thousands of dollars on creating high-quality branded content should know that the effect of their investment lasts for merely a few days. It also means that the impact of SEO on long-term traffic of online content is minimal: after the initial buzz fades away, organic traffic stands for less than 2% of the initial traffic.

Marketers and publishers must thus develop a sustainable, long-term promotion strategy for their content. Without it, most of the resources they have invested on creating content will be irrelevant already after a week.

Read the full results of the research by Boost the News.

Digital Behaviour Analytics system launched

Millward Brown Launches Digital Behavior Analytics to Help Marketers Find More Meaningful Insight in the Digital Noise

Millward Brown, a global leader in brand, media and communications research, today announced the launch of Digital Behavior Analytics (DBA), an advanced analytics solution that gives businesses near real-time access to actionable insights on brand health and marketing campaign performance, using data from search patterns and social media conversations.

“While most companies monitor social and search data today, many do not have the confidence to use it in decision making,” said Sarah Walker, Global Lead for Digital Behavior Analytics at Millward Brown. “Millward Brown is tackling this major issue by applying cutting-edge modelling and econometric approaches to identify the meaningful signals in carefully chosen social and search sources.”

DBA uses changes in online behaviors to give advertisers real-time feedback on the in-market performance of specific campaigns, allowing them to identify and act on emerging issues and opportunities. DBA also monitors long-term health of brands through changing trends in interest and opinion over time, and can identify when brands are over- or underperforming versus expectations or the category. These ‘always on’ analyses provide marketers and business managers with consistent metrics that enable them to optimize campaigns and feed long-term strategic decisions.

“Social media and search are double-edged swords. While they offer the potential to understand consumer behavior and perceptions on an unprecedented scale, the sheer volume of data generated can be overwhelming, with the result that marketers often struggle to derive value from it,” continued Walker.

“Our mission is to turn ‘big data’ into ‘better data’ through sophisticated analysis that can inform decisions. DBA will help businesses to manage their brands 24/7 by being more insightful, more affordable and more actionable.”

Millward Brown has pioneered and innovated brand tracking for more than 40 years and DBA represents the ongoing evolution of its model. Currently available in more than 30 countries, DBA can be a stand-alone solution or integrated into a company’s core brand tracking solution.

The Secrets of Email Marketing’s Top One Percent

Email marketing service provider Pure360 has released a new statistical report building upon its work in defining a “maturity model” for email marketing sophistication.

Email marketing service provider Pure360 has released a new statistical report building upon its work in defining a “maturity model” for email marketing sophistication. This report, endorsed by Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights, finds that most businesses are failing to establish clear, bankable facts about customer personalities and preferences.

By interviewing 205 large and medium-sized UK companies, Pure360 has found that 90% of all email marketing fits into the first four stages of their six stage model. The report finds several compelling reasons for companies failing to reach later, more effective stages of the model. Across all business sizes, reduced resources and increased responsibilities are preventing marketers from taking their email offering to the next level.

Interestingly, marketers rate their email marketing approach low in terms of sophistication, but high in terms of effectiveness. They find themselves stuck in the middle of Pure360’s model: 39% are “segmenters” and 38% are “recommenders”. Discussing the email habits of these groups, Nicola Webster, Product Marketing Manager at Pure360, notes, “Many marketers simply do not have the time, resource or skill to analyse complex data sets, meaning that much of it goes unused, or is only utilised at a fairly superficial level.”

Nicola suggests that the jump beyond “recommender” to “predictor” status is a particularly difficult one, “[requiring] best in class integration, data and technology, capital investment and specialist data analysts.” Only 1% of companies surveyed can be considered “interactors” – the most mature of the stages in the model.

The report finds significant variation between industries, as a result of different information gathering habits and systemic differences. Professional services companies gather their information offline (and therefore struggle to maintain CRM systems), whereas manufacturing firms are stuck with old systems and place little emphasis on digital channels, for instance. The retail and financial services industries are generally more mature, arguably because retailers have more digital touch points and finance is built around lead generation and data analysis.

In the full document, these barriers to email marketing maturity are broken down and the case for how each stage brings improved results is made visually and in extended discussions with Pure360’s experts. Discover this advice by downloading the full report on Pure360’s website.

Launch of New e-Commerce Service Will Make Selling Online More Accessible

Kong is delivering a real solution to small businesses and retailers who want to develop their eCommerce business

A staggering 1,800 businesses have already signed up to a free online service just weeks after being launched – following a significant investment from eCommerce parcel broker Parcel Monkey.

Kong – easyCommerce is an innovative new model which aims to make eCommerce more accessible by empowering anyone to sell products through their own, professional online store.

The free service, which is being seed funded by the technology-driven parcel firm, is already creating a buzz among small businesses and retailers – and bosses are confident the sign up figure will continue to rise quickly over the coming weeks.

Parcel Monkey’s Managing Director Nav Ramiah said:

“It is truly incredible that more than 1,800 businesses have already signed up to Kong in just a few weeks. It shows just how much of an appetite there is for this service.

“Kong is delivering a real solution to small businesses and retailers who want to develop their eCommerce business but don’t have the money to create a truly professional online service.

“There are no restrictions on Kong. Have as many products you like, use as much bandwidth and storage as you need and make use of our incredibly flexible,customisable default theme; all for free.

“We’re confident that more and more businesses will be signing up to this service as word gets out.

Businesses cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to grow their company online. We invested in Kong because we could see its potential and we’re confident that it will continue to be a huge success.”

Kong has been developed by the team from a former award winning digital agency that
specialised in building Software as a Service platforms, and respected developer Neil Crookes, who is now Technical Director at the start up.

Neil said: “The team’s life-long passion for technology, problem solving and innovation has had a direct influence on the creation of this powerful & easy-to-use software.

“Whether you choose to create and style your store yourself or want to leave it to a team of experts to build your store for you. The team have you covered. And, our free help & sup-port is setting a new standard in the UK.”

Stores created on KONG are 100% Google ‘Mobile Ready’ approved so customers can seamlessly browse and buy straight from their device, phone or tablet.
All credit card and transaction information is protected by the same level of security used by banks – a 256-bit SSL certificate.

And, of course, Parcel Monkey is already integrated so you have the option of benefiting from incredibly low shipping rates exclusively through your store.

Nav added: “Kong is a unique offering which recognises the demands of the marketplace as well as the ever increasing online/eCommerce presence.

“It allows start-ups and smaller retailers, some of whom may already have a presence on the high street, to grow and become much more sustainable.

“As a company, Parcel Monkey is committed to helping smaller businesses succeed. We understand the importance eCommerce plays in developing and growing a business and we are incredibly proud to be offering this valuable service free of charge.”

You can find out more about, and sign up for a free store, on the Kong website: http://trykong.com

Product Availability and On-Time Deliveries Matter Most to Consumers

A new survey by eBay Enterprise and CFI Group reveals that consumers desire multiple ordering and more shipping options

Uncovering the latest insights into the online shopper’s expectations during the holiday shopping season, a new survey by eBay Enterprise and CFI Group reveals that consumers desire multiple ordering and more shipping options; while proving that product availability and late deliveries have the biggest impact on retailers’ bottom line.

The “Holiday Outlook Report 2015: What Matters Most During Peak Shopping Season” released today shows that of the 500 online shoppers surveyed, 79 percent reported that rather than waiting, they are likely to switch brands when the items they are shopping for are out of stock.

“The critical nature of product availability is emphasized when realizing that not only will a retailer lose a sale on the out of stock item, but often times on other products in an overall purchase,” said CFI Group CEO Sheri Petras. “It’s true that consumers have a strong desire for multiple ordering and shipping options, but first the product must be readily available.”

The report further emphasizes the importance of product availability and omnichannel alignment: Of the online shoppers that report utilizing in-store pickup, 62 percent do so in order to save shipping cost while 17 percent do so to get products immediately. This combined 79 percent underscores the importance of having more products available both in-store and online.

Honoring promised delivery dates is mission-critical for retailers, according to the study. Not only can late deliveries cause 56 percent of consumers to not shop with that retailer in the future, but another 56 percent say their primary reason for contacting customer service during the holidays is related to shipping or delivery. More than a quarter of consumers will contact customer service the day after a delivery date has been missed and 48 percent will do so if two days pass, causing a strain on a retailer’s resources to track shipments and communicate the status of orders to customers.

For a more in-depth look at shoppers’ expectations of the holiday shopping season, visit www.cfigroup.com.

Ways to Keep Consumers Engaged with Content

There are several key benefits of pushing out branded content; increased site traffic, brand awareness, and audience engagement.

The sudden growth and acceleration of content marketing has enabled small businesses — with limited budgets and resources — to distinguish themselves in the marketplace by delivering relevant and engaging content to their target audiences.  There are several key benefits of pushing out branded content; increased site traffic, brand awareness, and audience engagement. Still, companies may struggle with the content development process.

Phillip Thune, CEO of Textbroker understands the difficulty of continually creating interesting and engaging content, and in his latest article provides a few ways to spruce up your branded content.

  • SOS. Consumers face daily struggles and you’ll want to ensure that your content provides helpful information, tips and advice. Thune mentions how IKEA offers tips on how to use their products as well as advice on daily struggles that their consumers may face.
  • Complex material. Thune suggests using analogies and examples when covering specialized or complicated subject matter. Presenting the information this way may spark further interest from readers and help to digest the in-depth material.
  • Community. Create a community where users feel included in the experience and they can share their stories and connect with others.

For further discussion on ways to revitalize your branded content, read Thune’s article posted to PR Newswire’s Small Business PR Toolkit here: http://bit.ly/1J7K7M1.

PR Newswire’s Small Business PR Toolkit is a comprehensive resource that provides small businesses and entrepreneurs the tools to develop an affordable public relations and marketing plan that helps generate interest from potential customers, engage with key audiences and grow their businesses. The toolkit features relevant content such as informative white papers, interactive webinars and how-to articles and premium access to educational resources, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of special offers designed specifically for small businesses. To request information on how PR Newswire can help your small business, click here. You can receive updates on new Small Business PR Toolkit content by following @prnsmallbiz on Twitter.

77% Of Marketers Struggle to Make Their Email Campaigns Stand Out

Email marketing highlighted as one of the most difficult things to get right as 500 global marketers are surveyed about their biggest marketing ‘headaches’

Research revealed today by SmartFocus and Econsultancy has shown in no uncertain terms that success via the inbox is getting harder for marketers in a digital age. With many marketers finding their emails are getting lost amongst a sea of competitor messaging.

The SmartFocus email marketing pain points whitepaper reveals that more emails than ever are being sent, with estimates citing figures close to 1 billion emails a day; while highlighting the fact that fewer emails than ever are actually being seen or opened by consumers.

The report also states that email will continue to be a reliable channel to deliver ROI for marketers, but its ongoing success will rely on whether brands use email in isolation, or as an integral piece of their wider marketing vision that delivers relevant, real-time, personalized customer experiences.

Jess Stephens, Chief Marketing Officer for SmartFocus, explains: “According to our research almost a quarter of senior level marketers were clued up when it came to delivering success via the inbox. That means there is still an incredible 77% of senior marketers out there who are struggling to achieve stand-out in their campaigns.

“If the thought of delivering stand out messages in the inbox seems a scary task to you, then don’t worry – there are simple and easy to implement ways to increase your email campaign success rate and alleviate any email marketing migraines. Our email marketing pain points whitepaper discusses easy to implement tips, to increase email campaign success rates and alleviate email marketing pain points.”

One large brand who no longer struggles with their email campaigns is Peak Performance – Scandinavia’s biggest sportswear clothing label. Anna Abrahamsson, CRM Manager at Peak Performance comments: “Thanks to SmartFocus, my team and I are now able to customize our emails, which along with our recommendations facility has resulted in a 50% increase in AOV, a 33% increase in click-through and 7% decrease in bounce rates from our website.”

The ‘Marketing Pain Points and How to Overcome Them’ report identifies the most significant challenges marketers face in today’s digital age and offers insight and advice on how to overcome them. The report followed a global survey of over 500 senior marketers who gave their views on the impact of marketing challenges to their businesses.

The report’s sister email marketing pain points whitepaper highlights a number of ways marketers can improve their email campaigns, and follows the whitepaper on solving data marketing pain points.

SmartFocus’s best-of-breed Message Cloud technology allows marketers to solve these marketing headaches. It gives a holistic view of a brand’s customers and enables them to deliver even more personalized marketing interactions that increase brand engagement and sales.

The Message Cloud effortlessly processes big data to automatically personalize and contextualize communication to every brand’s customer. Using a host of factors including location, weather, customer age and gender, favorite brands and products, web browsing history, past buying behavior and abandoned carts, The Message Cloud listens to and learns from customers.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

For the full Marketing Pain Points report, please visit:  https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-pain-points-and-how-to-overcome-them/

To access SmartFocus’ dedicated marketing solutions resource, go to: marketingpainpoints.com