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Business Digital Marketing

Top Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

The tumultuous year of 2020 caused a major shift in consumer behavior, buying tendencies, and online interactions. Businesses were forced to quickly pivot in their marketing strategies in order to stay relevant and continue to serve consumers.

As we move into a more hopeful 2021, businesses must consider what was learned last year and form new strategies based on current digital trends. Read below to learn some of the top digital marketing trends that will lead in 2021.

Short-Form Videos

Staying at home and increased levels of boredom has led to many people turning to short-form videos for entertainment. TikTok soared to the forefront in 2020 and is now the top preferred platform for Gen Z. This soon led to Facebook launching the new Instagram Reels to give consumers what they want.

With the increase of social media use of all ages, businesses have began to increase marketing budgets to these channels. In Q2 of 2020, social media accounted for nearly 25% of total marketing budgets, an increase of 13% in 2019.

Quick, catchy videos are taking over social media and are here to stay. This year, brands need to meet consumers where they are. If your business isn’t already investing in a creative video strategy, it’s time to get started!

Social Media Shopping

In 2021, social media is set to become a top channel for purchase, rather than just discovery. In recent years, Instagram has become increasingly used for shopping. And early last year, Instagram made a big switch to make social shopping even easier. The platform replaced the activity tab with a shopping tab, making Instagram shopping a simple click away.

A recent study found that 30% of consumers would shop directly through social media platforms. This year in 2021, it is crucial for businesses to use social media shopping as part of their e-commerce marketing strategy.

Virtual Events

While virtual events began out of necessity during the pandemic, they have proved to offer substantial ROI and increased accessibility. Companies discovered that going virtual allowed their event to reach a whole new audience. By eliminating the extra expenses and travel costs of an in-person event, many businesses experienced higher attendance and participation with online events.

The key to a successful virtual event is excellent content, great speakers and having fun in order to keep online viewers engaged. In 2021, virtual events will continue to be a top marketing trend for businesses to reach a large number of consumers where they are.

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Business Marketing

The Power of Brand-Driven Storytelling

Brand storytelling is the art of using a cohesive narrative to connect your brand with customers. The key to successful brand storytelling is to clearly communicate your brands’ core values in a way that resonates with consumers.

A recent study found that 55% of people consider buying a brand if they love their brand story. Of those people, 44% will share that story with others, and 15% will immediately purchase the product.

It appeals to consumer’s emotions

It is scientifically proven that human emotions are impacted by stories. Our emotions play a significant role in our daily lives, which also affects our buying decisions. When your brand tells a great story, you are speaking to the underlying reasons why a consumer might buy your product or service. A successful brand story goes well beyond just talking about the product, it’s about making a connection with your audience.

It humanizes your brand

In a heavily digital world, the human element can sometimes get lost behind a brand. Think about the emotions, values, and ideas your company offers to consumers and incorporate those elements into your brand story. A great brand story is always authentic and knows how to relate to consumers on a personal level. When consumers see that your company is made up of real people, it helps to build trust and customer loyalty.

It makes your brand unforgettable

Your brand story can give your company a unique edge and stand out in the crowded marketplace. With so much competition in the digital space, it can be very difficult for brands to stand out. It’s not enough to have a good product or service, you need to have a story that sets your brand above the rest.

Studies have found that storytelling will not only increase your brand favorability to your audience, it can also be up to 22x more memorable than facts. So rather than just sharing facts about your product, tell a story that clearly communicates your company values.

Using storytelling to get to $1 billion

The Dollar Shave Club exploded into the retail market with the launch of a hilarious video that creatively told their brand story with a direct aim at one of the biggest razor blade providers in the world- Gillette. This startup company tapped into a 30 billion dollar industry with Gillette owning about 70% of it. In March 2012, this video was released and went instantly viral – getting more than 12,000 orders in the first 48 hours. Just five years later in 2016, the Dollar Shave Club was purchased for $1 billion.

The Dollar Shave Club brand story was ingenious because it not only built a brand that inspired customer loyalty but it also simultaneously disrupted the brand story of a massive company. The Dollar Shave Club proved that brand storytelling  isn’t about the massive budget, it’s about the strategic brand narrative – one that communicates a meaningful message that immediately resonates with consumers.

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Business

Van Halen: A Brand That Lives On

Millions around the world are saddened by the recent passing of rock n roll legend, Eddie Van Halen. Over the years, the Van Halen band has achieved worldwide album sales of over $96 million with all but one of its albums hitting Number Six or better on the charts. Outstanding success by any means.

Van Halen was more than a band; it was a BRAND. One that offered constant quality, volume, excitement, and attitude. Eddie Van Halen showed us what it takes to build a lasting brand, and many businesses today can learn from his example.

Brand Consistency

To have consistent branding, a business must hold true to its core values, vision and principles. Branding that stays consistent even when a company undergoes change, shows consumers who you are and what you stand for. Consistency results in a brand that people will trust and loyally follow.

Even with three different lead singers, Van Halen created a distinctive sound and brand consistency over the years. With his dedicated leadership as CEO, Eddie Van Halen acted consistently on decisions and maintained control from behind the guitar. Eddie Van Halen grew his brand and fan base by showing consistency and staying true to the original vision of the Van Halen band. Van Halen was always about the music and never wavered from producing awesome rock n roll.

Brand Evolution

It is essential that your brand has the ability to evolve and take risks to stay relevant. Testing organizational limits is part of understanding your brand’s full potential. Van Halen had three different lead singers over the years which proved the band’s ability to evolve and continue to grow a loyal fan base. While replacing the iconic lead singer David Roth with Sammy Hagar was a risk for the band, Van Halen music continued to soar high on the US charts (all four of Van Hagar Albums hit #1).

In 2009, Van Halen was able to capture an entirely new audience with the release of Guitar Hero’s: Van Halen. Now that teenagers thought listening to Van Halen was cool, it opened a whole new landscape for the band. This new fan base purchased music, tickets, merchandise, and helped Van Halen reach a whole new generation of fans.

Brand Quality

Consumers expect the quality of a product to align consistently with your brand. Eddie Van Halen poured his life’s experience and expertise as a guitarist into designing a product that would line up with the quality of rock music that Van Halen was known for.

The Wolfgang guitar design and development process took over two years of trial and error research. This intense process included multiple prototypes that went through a full year of hardcore, in-concert testing by Eddie Van Halen during his 2007-2008 world tour. The final product of the Wolfgang guitar revealed a first-class instrument with outstanding durability and quality.

When asked about the Wolfgang guitar, Eddie Van Halen stated, “It’s not a fad, it’s 35-40 years of my knowledge of what makes a sweet, sexy, toning, quality, indestructible instrument.”

Eddie Van Halen will always be remembered as an amazing guitarist with a memorable brand.

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Business Digital Marketing

How Much Should Your Business Spend on Advertising?

Great advertising and marketing are crucial to the success of a business. In recent years, digital advertising has seen significant growth, making it more important than ever for companies to have a strong online strategy in place. So how much should your company spend on advertising and where should that money be invested?

What should be your budget?

The average marketing and advertising budget for a business is 10% of its gross revenue. However, advertising spend isn’t a one-size-fits-all equation. Determining the best advertising budget for your business depends on your industry, company size, company history, existing digital presence, and goals.

1. New Businesses

For first-year businesses, it takes more marketing capital to get off the ground. New businesses need to invest heavily in brand awareness to gain customer trust and a market voice. 

Percentage: 12-20%

Variables: Some industries are more competitive than others. It is crucial to conduct in-depth market research to understand your audience and competition. The level of competition will help you determine how much to spend in ad dollars.

2. Established Businesses

Percentage: 6-12%

Variables: Competiton and profit margin are two important factors for determining your advertising budget. The higher your profit margin, the more you can afford to spend on marketing and advertising. 

If you are a smaller company doing less than $5 million in sales, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending around 7-8% of your gross revenue on marketing. 

Where should you invest your ad dollars?

To properly allocate your ad dollars and maximize your ROI, businesses must pay close attention to industry trends, competitors, and consumer behavior.

In 2019, over $100 billion was spent on search marketing, display advertising, social media, and email marketing. For the first time ever, digital marketing spend surpassed traditional advertising spend (TV, print, radio, etc.). While traditional advertising is still a relevant means of marketing, digital advertising is projected to continue to dominate in the coming years.

How should you spend in a recession?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause economic uncertainty in the United States, businesses need to remain calm and reframe from slashing their advertising budget.

During a recession, there is less competition and noise. While other businesses are quiet, your customers are more likely to hear your brand voice above the rest. In addition to this, less competition means cheaper ad costs. When the economy improves, your business can emerge as a market leader having acquired a substantial customer base at a lower cost.

“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time” -Henry Ford

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Business Marketing

Podcast with CEO of Chattanooga Whiskey, Tim Piersant

In this podcast special, Sam Silvey chats with CEO of Chattanooga Whiskey, Tim Piersant, about all things regarding brand authenticity and strategy, overcoming obstacles, the effects of COVID-19, and other important topics. Tim shares the inspiring story of Chattanooga Whiskey and its 10-year journey of establishing its brand in the marketplace.

Listen now to understand more about how Founder and CEO of Chattanooga Whiskey triumphs through adversity as his company turns global.

How it Began

In 2011, Chattanooga Whiskey was founded by Tim Piersant and his partner, Joe Ledbetter, two friends with a vision to reform the ban on distilleries in Chattanooga, TN. Before 2013, it was illegal to distill whiskey in Hamilton Country due to the decades-old prohibition laws. With a mission to bring back “Whiskey to the People”, they set out to overturn those laws and began the Vote Whiskey campaign. Utilizing a broad marketing strategy centered around empowering the Chattanooga community, the successful Vote Whiskey campaign gained huge traction across the city. In May of 2013, the laws were overturned. Not only did the Vote Whiskey campaign open the doors for Chattanooga Whiskey, but it also created significant economic opportunity for all of Chattanooga, TN.

Following this milestone, Chattanooga Whiskey became the first distillery in the Chattanooga area in over 100 years. In 2015, they began the process of crafting their own unique bourbon whiskey recipe. After four years and over one-hundred recipe variations, Chattanooga Whiskey perfected and released the first ever Tennessee High Malt, a local whiskey that celebrates Chattanooga’s rich distilling history.  

Brand Authenticity

Over the past two decades, white labeling in the spirits industry has become so common that finding a truly authentic brand with a real story is very rare. With the momentum and name recognition that came from the Vote Whiskey campaign, keeping the same white label product would have been an easy solution for Chattanooga Whiskey (the product was already doing well in several states), but that was not the Chattanooga Whiskey way. They were born to be trailblazers, so instead, they decided to be true to themselves and create a completely unique and entirely new bourbon recipe – the Tennessee High Malt. Although creating a new product was a significant risk, it was a risk they were willing to take to be an authentic brand.

In the video, Tim Peirsant shares the story of Chattanooga Whiskey’s recent launch in Kentucky and how it was received in the market. Kentucky consumers are known for their appreciation of bourbon, so it was important that Chattanooga Whiskey stood out as a unique brand. By sharing their authentic story of how Chattanooga Whiskey created the only Tennessee High Malt, it gave them a better chance to succeed in a market like Kentucky. Chattanooga Whiskey is a progressive brand because they not only have a true authentic story, but they also deeply believe that their flavor is unique, better, and different.

Brand Strategy

Tim explains that markets operate very differently in the spirits industry – some are independently driven while others are chain driven. This is important to take into consideration when building relationships, utilizing marketing resources, and implementing marketing tactics. An important strategy for Chattanooga Whiskey is to invest heavily in consumer education. Rather than using a “Spray and Play” tactic which would spread them far too thin, Chattanooga Whiskey has taken a more focused approach to share their story and build relationships the right way.

Even though naming a brand after a community can be limiting, Chattanooga Whiskey has gained major brand recognition across the United States. They are the only real branded Chattanooga product that is available in a third of the country. Chattanooga Whiskey is already available in nine different states and will soon be in twelve.

COVID-19 Challenges

Although whiskey is somewhat of a “recession-proof” product, the industry has faced some very difficult challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. Big whiskey brands produce and sell approximately 80% of consumed alcohol. Although craft distillers only make up for a small fraction of sales, they are a huge economic and market driver. Tourism and social activity are major factors for the local spirits industry as they grow and build their brand. With COVID-19 causing the shutdown in the hospitality industry, distillers across the nation are suffering. A recent study found that 60% of craft distillers were doubtful that they would survive in the next one to two months.

Chattanooga Whiskey has been fortunate during these unprecedented times due to its growth, price point, and amount of time they have been in the industry. Because Chattanooga Whiskey is a retail-centric brand, they have been able to weather the storm and continue to grow. Chattanooga Whiskey has seen a 62% increase in sales compared to last year, whereas 42% of distillers are going out of business.

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Business Marketing

Impact of COVID-19 on the Outdoor Recreation Industry

 

As the U.S. continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking to outdoor activities as a solution to staying occupied and healthy amid social distancing mandates. Research shows that consumers are shifting discretionary spending away from typical summer travel plans and focusing instead on family-oriented outdoor activities. As a result, several outdoor categories have experienced exponential growth in recent months.

While the sports & outdoor industries typically see increased activity during summer months, this year those numbers have skyrocketed. Top retail websites like Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, and Camping World collectively saw an 86% year-on-year increase in May 2020. With consumers increasingly seeking outdoor activities, sales of bicycles, boats, water sports, and camping gear have exploded.

Boating

With many summer vacations canceled, the boating industry experienced a major peak in interest to get out on the water. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 70 percent of boating dealers reported they experienced significant sales growth in May 2020, the strongest number recorded since July 2018. Personal watercraft sales have spiked by 75 percent compared to May 2019. Boating has given consumers a way to get out of the house and enjoy summer days on the water while still maintaining social distancing recommendations.

Paddle Sports

Before COVID-19, the paddlesports category such as kayaks, paddleboards, rafts, and canoes experienced a decline in sales. From an inventory management standpoint, these expensive and bulky products typically gave retailers a challenge for making sales. With consumers looking for family-based activities, these products have been selling at unexpected speeds. In recent months, Google searches for water-related products increased by 70 to 100 percent. And in June 2020, sales of water sports products increased 56 percent compared to the previous year.

Cycling

The cycling industry experienced significant growth soon after the stay-at-home order was announced in the United States. In June 2020, bicycle sales were up 63 percent compared to the same time last year. Most sales were generated from family-friendly bicycles during the early months of COVID-19. In recent months, the industry has seen an increase in full-suspension mountain bikes and road bikes. This is believed to be attributed to the shortage of family bikes, along with people taking up cycling as a more permanent hobby.

Camping

The camping industry has recently experienced a surge in performance due to the increasing consumer interest of backyard adventure. In June 2020, sales increased by 31% as more people camped at local destinations or even their back yard to spend quality time with family outside of the house. Recreational tent sales grew almost two times as fast as backpacking tents, which are typically purchased by serious campers. This indicates that as camping continues to grow in popularity, the family recreation niche could be a major boom to the industry. Offering more affordable equipment to new campers will also provide value during current economic uncertainty.  

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Digital Marketing eCommerce

The Key to Building a Profitable Ecommerce Website

The future of e-commerce is booming. In fact, e-commerce sales are forecasted to increase from 15% in 2020 to 25% in 2025. If you’ve been considering starting an e-commerce business, now is the time!

When it comes to building an online store, there are many important factors you must consider to ensure you are creating the best performing e-commerce website for your business.

In the video below, Spectruss showcases the key elements necessary for an outstanding, profitable e-commerce website.

Excited to start your e-commerce business yet?? We sure are. Read below to learn more about how you can make sure your e-commerce website is a success!

Platforms

The platform your ecommerce store is built on serves as the foundation for your business. In order to maximize your online success, it is crucial to choose a platform that best represents your overall business goals. We highly recommend building your e-commerce store with either Woo-Commerce or Shopify, depending on your unique business needs.

WooCommerce uniquely offers the capability to build on top of WordPress – which accounts for 60% of all content management systems. It also offers complete website control, source code ownership, and customization options that other platforms simply do not have. With over 3.8 million companies using the WooCommerce platform, it’s clear that this is the preferred choice.

For companies looking for a more affordable option, Shopify is the recommended platform. Businesses using Shopify are limited to the platform’s themes, plugins, credit card processing system, and hosting fees. Despite the limitations, this platform remains a good option for budget-friendly businesses looking to launch a store quickly.

Fully Responsive

Fully responsive means your site works seamlessly across all screen sizes, such as mobile, tablet and desktop. With over 50% of online transactions taking place on mobile devices, it’s crucial that your e-commerce store is optimized for mobile! Utilizing responsive design ensures that your customers will have a smooth user experience from start to finish, no matter which device they are shopping on.

Product Photography

Eye-catching, beautiful product photography is crucial for showcasing your merchandise online and grabbing the attention of your potential customers. The right lighting, positioning, and brand language makes all the difference!

PCI Compliance

Implementing PCI compliance on your ecommerce site ensures that all credit card transactions are secure. This alleviates you of any potential liability and builds trustworthiness with your potential customers.

Analytics

Gathering data from your website is extremely useful for increasing your online sales. As you begin driving traffic to your new site, it’s critical that you have proper analytics set up to help you understand your customers’ behavior. Measuring this data will help adjust the way you advertise, maximizing your your user traffic and online sales. If you don’t have tracking tools properly set up, you could miss out on huge business growth opportunity.

Ready to get started with an AWESOME e-commerce website? Our team at Spectruss would love to help!

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Business eCommerce

What E-commerce Platform is Best for Your Business? (Video)

In this new digital age, many companies are shifting their focus towards selling products online. In order to maximize your online success, choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make.

Watch in the video below as Sam Silvey, founder and CEO of Spectruss, discusses the best solutions for building your e-commerce business.

As Sam described, there are many ways to move your business online. With so many e-commerce platforms available in today’s market, choosing the right one for your business can be challenging.

Our Experts at Spectruss Recommend:

As mentioned in the video, WooCommerce uniquely offers the capability to build on top of WordPress – which accounts for 60% of all content management systems. WooCommerce offers complete website control, source code ownership, and customization options that other platforms simply do not have. With over 3.8 million companies using the WooCommerce platform, it’s clear that this is the preferred choice.

For companies looking for a more affordable option with less barrier to entry, Shopify is the recommended platform. Shopify boasts over 500,000 active online stores, accounting for over 20% of all e-commerce websites. In addition, our experts at Spectruss can launch new websites using this platform in as little as 72 hrs (with rush delivery request). However, businesses using Shopify are limited to the platform’s themes, plugins, credit card processing system, and hosting fees. Despite the limitations, this platform remains a good option for budget-friendly businesses looking to launch a store quickly.

Platforms such as SquareSpace and Wix are advertised as cheaper options, but these platforms are limited in their functionality. For example, Wix promotes itself as a free, self-build website platform – but we advise caution. The fees to unlock “premium features” that come standard on professional platforms can be significant. In addition, lower visibility and website traffic due to subpar design may cost thousands in lost revenue. According to our CEO and founder of Spectruss, “I would personally not invest in Wix or SquareSpace”.

While some may choose to cut corners with self-build websites, smaller platforms, and less secure software, this approach can create problems in the long run. Building an online presence that maximizes your ability to reach customers, grow your business, and offer a seamless user experience is critical for a return on investment and long-term success .

In short, if you are looking to start a new e-commerce site, or looking to update an existing site, Spectruss suggests building with WooCommerce or Shopify. If you need help designing and developing your e-commerce site, our experts at Spectruss are ready to help. Give us a shout at 423-800-8633 or send us an email at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation.

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Business Digital Marketing

Showcase Your Business Online

Yes, we are open and we are here for your business during this difficult and uncertain time. Our heart goes out to all of the doctors and nurses working tirelessly to fight this virus, the grocery store clerks and truck drivers working overtime to keep our shelves stocked, and the many businesses who have closed their doors in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We believe your company can continue to prosper and your mission advance amidst this virus pandemic. During this time of social distancing, it is imperative that businesses adapt to serving their valued customers with digital options.

Now is the time to showcase your business online.

And we are here to help you do it.

If you don’t currently sell online, it’s time to start now. We can promote your products online with our flexible e-commerce platforms, giving you the ability to sell 24/7. Whether your business would benefit from platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Facebook Marketplace, our experienced team can provide you with online selling options that will continue sales and serve your valued customers from the comfort of their home.

During this current situation, we have seen a significant rise in digital advertising to drive sales online. If your business already sells online, it is more important than ever to implement advertising strategies that will increase your online visibility and drive traffic to your e-commerce website.

Whether your business needs an e-commerce website, digital advertising management, or council on next steps to take, our dedicated team of experts is here for you. Schedule a free consultation with us today!

Click HERE to get started!

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Events Marketing

Why Brands Should Embrace Experiential Marketing

In today’s world, it’s harder than ever to get the attention of consumers. Brands are always looking for new ways to stand out against all the noise and truly engage their customers. An increasing amount of businesses are turning to experiential marketing, which offers immersive, memorable campaigns that help deliver a brand’s message without distractions.

So, What Exactly is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing has been a buzzword over recent years and is gaining increasing momentum in the marketing world. This powerful campaign strategy brings a whole new light to the way consumers experience a brand.

Experiential marketing focuses on direct engagement with consumers by using creative interactions to leave a lasting impression. These experiences could include a live event or a pop-up installation. Its central focus is to provide consumers with a live, engaging experience.

Many brands have found huge success in experiential marketing. Check out some great examples of successful campaigns below.

JetBlue- The Icebreaker

Who doesn’t want to take a trip to the beach in the middle of freezing cold winter? JetBlue airlines used this opportunity to promote their new direct flights from New York to Palm Springs in a very clever way. They put various summer-themed prizes such as beach attire, golf clubs, and free tickets to Palm Springs inside a huge block of ice and told passing New Yorkers that anything was up for grabs.

A social media campaign was launched along with this unique experiential strategy, resulting in a huge success for JetBlue. Everyone loves free stuff, right? Giving away prizes in a unique, creative way gave consumers an engaging experience they wouldn’t forget.

Gatorade Combine

The Gatorade brand is widely known for its close association with professional sports. To create an engaging experience for consumers, Gatorade used experiential marketing strategies to test individual athletic abilities in the form of a combine. A combine is an examination of athletic skills that athletes must complete before going to the professional league. Gatorade worked with a number of companies such as Xbox, Kinect, and Sparta Science to create electronic stations that executed interactive combine tests for each participant.

The results for the Gatorade combine tests provided accurate information for consumers, giving them data and knowledge to apply to other areas of life whether it be workout routines or dieting. Experiential marketing proves extremely impactful to consumers when it not only offers entertainment but also valuable information.

Red Bull- Stratos

The whole world held its breath when Redbull performed a record-breaking, supersonic skydiving jump. Known for its bold actions and involvement in extreme sports, Redbull decided to take its marketing strategy to new heights – – 24 miles about the earth’s surface to be exact! Redbull developed an experiential marketing campaign known as “Stratos” and partnered with Felix Baumgartner, a skydiver from Austria, to accomplish this incredible stunt.

Redbull streamed this event on YouTube and received over 8 million views (the highest viewing traffic of any live stream broadcasted on Youtube!) Don’t be afraid to think big and push the limits with your marketing strategies. Leave a lasting impression on your consumers by using the power of suspense and giving your audience something new to experience.