14 August 2019
The best marketing strategy in the world can only have temporary results if it doesn’t account for the entire customer experience. Sure, our first job is to get people in the door, on the lot or to the website, but that’s just the beginning of the journey. I was lucky to learn this at my first and only job before I started my professional career. I was working at a high-end butcher shop in downtown Cincinnati where the clientele had expectations for their rack of lamb just as high as my current clients do for their multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns. How does a teenager become a butcher at such a place and what did I learn from my time working there? For the first question, ask my dad. For the second, I think it’s safe to say that I learned as much working as a butcher as I did in college. Scary, right? The most important lesson I learned there is that the experience is just as important as the product. This is easy to overlook while organizations focus on product and process, but it can be the most important part of your business plan. Marketing’s job isn’t over when the customer comes through the door. In some ways it’s just beginning. Think about it. One of the first lessons at the butcher shop was wrapping orders. At the time I didn’t understand why my father made such a big deal about it. Finally, he explained that the package that goes out the door is a big part of the experience. The way it feels in our guest’s hands, the way it looks that afternoon in the refrigerator. The appearance, the aroma, the reveal when he first unwraps his roast or chops to start cooking. All those moments are an opportunity to reinforce his decision to choose us. The challenge is to own as many of those moments as possible. Why is that customer in the market in the first place? It’s a butcher shop, so the simple answer is for food. But probably not because they’re hungry. Usually, our customers were preparing a meal to be shared with others, and likely somebody they wanted to impress. That changes the equation. It means they need more than just quality product. They want and expect our expertise beyond which cut is particularly good that day. We’d make suggestions for preparation and serving, selecting side dishes and other ideas for making their meal a success. We understood that we were playing a role in that special meal and it could very well be one of the most important occasions in our customer’s week … or career or relationship. And the customer experience isn’t complete until the dishes are cleared from the table.
05 August 2019
Ask most business owners who their customer is and they’ll likely point to demographic characteristics or the different types of media they consume to support their answer. While these data points always are important, they’re just that—data points—without a more intimate understanding of what drives your customer to make a purchase decision, and more important, when she or he is likely to make it. It’s true … we live in a brave new data-driven world that is stunningly (frighteningly?) easy for both ecommerce companies and mass retailers to collect granular details about shopper habits. Data that they can then use to generate insights on their customers’ habits and behavioral attributes. How do you compete with that technology if you’re in one of those businesses where you can’t obtain a deep customer profiles? Or simply don’t have access to that level of in-depth detail? We encounter this data disconnect particularly with consumer or in-home services brands. Accurate information is even harder to come by in categories where the sales cycle is longer or more considered, or when purchases are driven by a specific, perhaps acute, need. This is key—because if you don’t truly know who this customer is, if you’re not targeting the type of customer appropriate for your brand, you risk losing them to a competitor who is. So are these companies destined to be left behind in the data revolution? Not if they use data for what it does best, and trust themselves to continue doing what they’ve already proved they do best. While it’s not easy to create the perfect data model of your customers, there are still ways to better understand them. The right answers start with asking the right questions: • What problem is your customer trying to solve? • What other solutions have they considered (or will they consider)? • What information do they need before choosing? • Where do they get that information? • Do they do their own research, or do they rely on referrals from family, friends or social networks? • Do they simply follow the brand they perceive to be the market leader? • Which customers are selecting your competitors over you, and why are some leaving you altogether? By answering these questions, marketers in less data-rich categories can build a better understanding of their specific customers. Even better, that puts them in a position to target the right customer with the right message—at the right time.
11 July 2019
Daniel Lally When it comes to sharing industry advice—real-world marketing know-how, brand-building next-steps, current trends and important practices—we’ve always got something to talk (and write) about. Now, we’ve taken that talk to the next level: action. Since our launch as an independent agency in 1986, our entire focus has been to build our business around yours … our clients’ businesses. We’ve invested in new technologies and added capabilities, but only when it allowed us to better serve those clients. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? Our goal has always been to work more closely with our clients than is the norm in this biz. And from what we’re told, we succeed. We know that relationships based on transparency and trust are the most successful ones of all. Best of all, this often provides us insights into opportunities for building better relationships between brands and their communities. That insight is what inspired bringing a new division on board—along with a seasoned expert to lead it. Meet Daniel Lally, the newest member of the St. Gregory team and Vice President of Strategic Communication. Dan has been on both the agency and corporate sides of the ad biz for more than 20 years—notably, one of the early adopters of social media techniques among public relations professionals. He even co-founded a nonprofit to study and share best practices for using social media to achieve real-world business objectives. Practical PR at its finest. Along the way, Dan has created and led strategic communication efforts on behalf of leading consumer and B2B brands. He’s launched several familiar products you likely have in your house right now, and appeared on more than a few popular TV shows we know you watch from time to time. We’re confident both long-standing clients and new ones alike will appreciate the resources and experience Dan brings to our table—from marketing, media relations and social media to content development, community relations and crisis communications. More important, we know he’ll make our work for those businesses even better.
25 April 2019
There’s been a lot of talk about television viewers cancelling cable and switching over to subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, otherwise known as Over The Top (OTT). We see headlines like “Cord-Cutting Accelerates as OTT Video Keeps Growing” and “The Number of OTT-Only U.S. Homes Has Tripled Over the Last 5 Years.” But so far, the numbers don’t seem to reflect the giant migration advertisers had feared. While the headlines do reflect facts, they don’t provide much in the way of context. According to a 2018 report from the Video Advertising Bureau, the number of households exclusively using OTT streaming services and devices has tripled since 2013. But that adds up to only a small fraction of the U.S. market—anywhere from 11 to 13%, depending on which survey you look at. In fact, about the same number of U.S. households still use antennae to watch broadcast television—and nobody’s panicking about the rabbit ears taking over. The main OTT services—Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Prime—account for more than two hours of daily viewing per household per day, on average. Ad-supported television, meanwhile, averages 7.9 hours of usage each day. And most people who use OTT devices and apps—about 70%— also have cable. Some aspects of OTT subscription make estimating viewership a little fuzzy. Nobody’s quite sure what the effect will be of forthcoming OTT platforms like Disney, Warner, Apple and NBCU; we can assume that OTT viewership will increase, but there’s some question as to whether we’ll reach a saturation point at which viewers resist subscribing to yet more services. Further, it’s likely that we underestimate OTT viewership, since sharing passwords is so ubiquitous. And finally, since subscription information comes from the services themselves, critics like FX Network CEO John Landgraf accuse OTT services of “grading their own homework”—i.e., potentially spinning the facts to benefit themselves. While OTT subscriptions are growing by leaps and bounds, it’s not time to abandon traditional advertising just yet. A wise marketer will determine the balance of media advertising allocations based on the demographics they wish to reach—and keep all advertising options on the table.
19 November 2018
Look. Some of our best friends are car dealers, but many people just don’t trust them. Whether customers have had bad experiences or just succumb to an unfair stereotype, it takes a lot to establish a reputation for being trustworthy in the car business.
19 October 2018
19 January 2018
29 September 2017
There’s much talk these days about “cord cutting”—the choice some consumers are making to cancel their cable service in favor of either over-the-air (antenna) TV or alternative delivery services (Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc.) So what’s the message for marketers? Abandon TV like the bellbottoms of yesteryear? No, we don’t think so (although we do think
24 April 2017
Huge collections of websites like the Google Display Network can help advertisers get maximum exposure—but this model can be vulnerable to click fraud and placement next to unsafe content. Here's why actual human beings are still the key to getting the most out of online advertising.