Understanding Consumer Behaviour

As marketers, part of our job is staying informed of the latest trends in consumer behaviour and following how those trends change over time. While the term “consumer behaviour” is often considered just another buzz word, the concept actually goes much deeper than that – it’s a science that has been studied extensively in the marketing world for decades. So let’s look a little closer and see how it applies to our current situation – both on a worldwide scale, and smaller ones.

What Is Consumer Behaviour?

Consumer behaviour is relatively easy to define, but it encompasses a lot of different factors and ideas. It is the study of consumers (i.e. buyers and customers), and the processes – both conscious and unconscious – that they use to choose, consume, and dispose of products and services. These processes can be emotional, mental, behavioural, or environmental.

consumer behaviour effects

Some influencers of consumer behaviour (from Frank Belzer)

Marketers use common consumer behaviours to determine what influences their customer base, to predict purchase decisions, and to create new products and innovations that fill in perceived market gaps. Using established data to their advantage, marketers can more effectively reach, engage with, and convert their target audiences.

Some of the most important factors in determining consumer behaviour include:

Individual Influences

These include personal interests and opinions, often determined by age, gender, culture, location, and so on, as well as social factors, like family, friends, education, income, and social networks. Psychological factors also play a role in how individuals perceive and respond to marketing messages.

Types of Purchasing Behaviour

These can be broken down into four categories:

    • Complex Buying: When consumers buy expensive, infrequently-purchased products/services, they will be highly involved and will do thorough personal research on the investment (i.e. a house or a car)
    • Dissonance Reduction: This refers to a purchase with high involvement in the process, but consumers have trouble differentiating brands, and worry about “buyer’s remorse”
    • Habitual: There is little involvement in the product or brand category, such as grocery shopping for a few specific items
    • Variety Seeking: Buying something different just for the “fun” of it, like trying a new food or clothing type
Common Factors

Beyond individual influences, external and internal factors also play a part in changing consumer behaviour. These include:

  • Marketing Campaigns: Done properly and regularly, these can persuade consumers to switch brands, remind them about products/services, and drive impulse purchases – even for more expensive options.
  • Economic Conditions: Strong economic situations make for more confident consumers, driving large purchases. A negative economy, such as the one threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, can do the opposite.
  • Personal Preference: Dislikes, moral oppositions, priorities, and values all rank among the top of the main behaviour drivers.
  • Group Influence: We’ve all heard about peer pressure, and it has a well-earned reputation for guiding behaviour. Recommendations or warnings from a trusted friend can have a big impact on what we buy.
  • Purchasing Power: Your marketing and messaging could be perfect, but if the audience simply doesn’t have the budget for your product or service, they won’t be able to purchase it. This ties in to other personal, cultural, and socioeconomic factors, to varying degrees.

 

All of these factors and considerations taken together and compared over time will give you insights into changing consumer behaviour and how it affects you and your sales process. But it’s a lot of information – how can you analyze these ideas and turn them into better messaging and marketing campaigns?

 

Analyzing Consumer Behaviour

Taking a good look at consumer behaviour through data is easier than ever before, thanks to the rise of online shopping, website cookies, and detailed records. Some of the most important behaviours to consider are consumer emotions and feelings toward your brand or product (and its alternatives), the major influences on their choices, their shopping behaviour and trends, and what other external factors might be coming in to play that you hadn’t considered.

One example of how these factors intertwine is the big shift that happened due to COVID-19. As lockdowns went into place around the world, a huge portion of consumers moved their shopping online, for everything from groceries and basic supplies to their usual comfort goods and luxuries. This caused a surge in digital advertising in some industries, and a drop in spending across others. The final result? Less competition for ad space, increased engagement with more eyes on your messaging, and a bit better bang for your marketing dollars. But the flip side is that many people went into strict money-saving mode, and weren’t spending on unnecessary items, which was a behaviour trend that affected thousands of businesses.

consumer behaviour - covid changes

How consumer mindsets have changed during COVID-19 (from Forbes)

 

Using Behaviour to Your Benefit

So you know you’ve got to get some info on your consumers’ behaviour – but how do you get that data? Whether you’re running a two-person coffee shop on a downtown corner, or a giant multinational fashion chain, here are some ways you can get a finger on the pulse of your potential buyers, and find out what motivates them.

Gathering Customer Reviews: If someone had a great experience (or a terrible one), this is one of the best ways to find out. You can get insights into specific deciding factors for your products, and identify common themes or issues in your marketing and business.

 

Using Q&A Sites and Opportunities: Like a more robust review, interactive Q&A sites and forums (e.g. Reddit) can give you a platform to ask and be asked about your products/services. You can get highly targeted feedback, which is useful for improving your sales in the future.

 

Customer Surveys: Much like the Q&A idea, surveys are more regular, and can be sent directly after purchase or at specific intervals afterward to gain information on the user experience. This can help you find trends in what motivates your buyers, or what your customers think of your offerings, and lets you ask specific questions, depending on your needs.

 

Keyword Research: Knowing what potential consumers are searching for and interested in – down to specific terms and phrases – can be a huge help in getting your brand in front of them on the screen. Investing in the right SEO content takes time, but when done right, it does pay off.

 

Google Analytics: Are your customers shopping from their phone or their desktop? Did a big Instagram account tag you in a post and drive a few thousand people to your profile and website? Just how effective was that summer sale you had? Google Analytics can tell you all of that, and a whole lot more. The information provided by Google’s backend platform is extremely powerful in trained hands, and can help you identify consumer trends in geography, demographics, page views, promotions, etc. When you know what works, you can drop what doesn’t.

 

consumer behaviour - google data

Some metrics you can measure with Google Analytics (from Hubspot)

 

Competitor Analysis: If you’ve noticed a slump, take a look at what your competitors might be doing, and how you can switch up your approach. It might be as simple as one key element or bit of language you’re using (or not using).

 

Comments and Engagement Online: Do you maintain a blog or social accounts? (If not, you should!) Pop in to the comments and see what people are saying. Don’t be afraid of honest feedback – you might get questions or concerns, but you could also find compliments or recommendations for something new.

 

The RFM Method: Standing for “recency, frequency, monetary value”, this is a measure of how recently someone ordered from you, how many times they purchased from you in a given time frame, and how much they have spent since their first order. This is an excellent way to identify high-value, lifelong customers, and express your appreciation for their support.

 

consumer behaviour - rfm method

The RFM method for visualizing high-value customers (from Moengage)

 

Social Media: Do you have an ambassador who sings your praises all over their TikTok videos, or a shadow who pounces with negative comments as soon as you post anything, anywhere? We live in an age of immense data, and being able to use that information to create segments of your audience – “People Who Bought Something During This Sale”, “People Who Liked Ad #1”, etc. – lets you market more effectively to each, create better copy & imagery, and curate better content.

 

The needs, wants, and experiences of your customers are always the benchmark of ultimate success. By ensuring that your brand’s messaging and offerings mesh well with their behaviour patterns, you can create better campaigns that emotionally connect in the right way – leading to more success for you, and more satisfaction for them.

Having a professional team with the necessary tools and experience on your side is an excellent way to forge and solidify those connections. So when you’re ready to leverage the power of consumer behaviour, let us know!

How to Market the Sciences

It doesn’t matter how big or small, general or niche they may be, all companies in all industries need marketing. It’s not enough to sell a service or product, a business needs to make itself known and stand out from the crowd in order to continue growing. As our CEO Ryan likes to say, when you start a business you begin by selling to friends (you know, those people who you already know like and trust you), until you run out of friends to sell to – that’s where marketing comes in. By actively making your business known to the audience you want to reach, you’re creating an opportunity for them to become new customers.

It may seem difficult, or sometimes impossible, to create effective marketing campaigns for businesses in non-consumer-based industries. We’ve already discussed building strategies for B2B businesses and the benefits of niche marketing, but what if you’re in a science or biotech industry? Science-based companies often struggle to reach audiences effectively because the content and general nature of the subject matter is very specific and technical. We don’t want to use the word “boring,” but marketing is about creating a connection between a brand and its audience and using strictly science jargon can make it hard to do so.

So how do you captivate an audience if the only people who truly understand what you do are your employees (and even they sometimes may wonder)? In short, it’s about sticking to the basics.

 

1. Be clear about your ‘why’

When developing written and visual brands for clients, we always make sure we (and they) are clear on why they do what they do. It seems like a very simple question, but you’d be surprised how difficult it may be to answer. Before developing goals for the growth of your company and looking to marketing to help reach them, it’s vital to go back to the beginning and remember why it is you began your business. Not only will this identify the overall desired trajectory for your business, but it will help form the foundation for your story.

Human beings love stories, it’s in our very nature. It’s how we make sense of the world and how we connect with others. Having a strong brand and marketing strategy always begins with a story. This is especially true for science and biotech companies, whose content can often feel a little ‘dry.’ While the product or service you offer may be extremely specific, your reason for starting your business, finding a solution to a specific problem, is a story everyone can connect to.

 

2. Know your audience

This isn’t the first time we’ve brought up this point, but with good reason: it’s just that important. From a marketing perspective, knowing who you are communicating with and why will dictate everything you do. Are you trying to reach scientists who are experts in your field, or provide information for patients with a specific condition that would benefit from your services? These are two very different groups with whom you would share a different message, tone and vocabulary with. Your marketing strategy would ideally include insights into your target audience, allowing you to develop tailored key messaging for each. Your way of reaching them will also differ, as one audience may be more receptive to white papers and the other to social media and traditional news.

 

3. Tailor your language

As mentioned, once you know your audience, you’ll need to adjust your messaging to ensure they receive the information they need in a way that will resonate with them. While it may seem difficult to do so, one of the most important things to remember when marketing the sciences is to minimize the use of jargon. An audience not well versed in your organization’s vocabulary will glaze over if the messaging they’re receiving is too technical and the aim of developing a connection will be lost. That being said, there is a fine line between not using technical jargon and “dumbing it down.” Don’t underestimate your audience – utilize laymen’s terms where you can, but don’t oversimplify the information you want them to obtain.

 

Once you break it down into understandable terms, weaving in the “story” element will not only ensure the information is received, it will make it memorable. Even the most technical, niche, B2B business can have highly effective marketing if there is an emotional appeal people can grasp onto, whether it be the CEO of a target partner or a client looking for additional equipment or resources.

The key to effectively marketing the sciences is developing robust insights into the business and industry, and in turn, creating a brand that resonates with target audiences. Understanding who you are will help you determine what you want to achieve and how marketing can take you there. This is a crucial, and often difficult step to achieve. Luckily, William Joseph works within a variety of industries – including various in the sciences and biotech scope – and can help you develop a marketing strategy that’s right for your business. Need help? Give us a call.

 

The Benefits of Niche Marketing

When you think of successful marketing campaigns, chances are you’re thinking of major brands that can appeal to nearly everyone. We’ve all seen a Coke-A-Cola ad that pulls at our heartstrings or a Dove video that forces us to rethink beauty standards. What these powerful campaigns have in common is the ability to take a product (or service) that most of us use on a regular basis and force us to see it in a new light. They make us think outside the box, and in turn we keep them top of mind.

But what if your company provides a product or service that isn’t so commonly used? You may be a B2B business that sells equipment to oil and gas companies or develops tires for road bikes. Naturally, the smaller your target audience is, the less interest the general public will have in your brand. However, this does not mean you can’t have an effective marketing campaign or strategy that would resonate with audiences – even if they’re outside of your target. You may be thinking “what’s the point of developing a marketing strategy at all if I only sell to a specific group of people?” Well, a tailored, niche marketing strategy might be just the thing you need to be able to reach your consumer (public or not), and here’s why:

Target your customer base more accurately

Long gone are the days of “spraying and praying” marketing. Fifty years ago, nearly everyone watched the same television programs, listened to the same radio stations and read the same newspapers, so the chances of advertising with one of these mediums meant you had a pretty good chance of reaching your target. But, as technology evolved, developments made it easier for people to chose what media to consume and marketing became a lot more focused and complex (thanks a lot, internet). Luckily, so have our companies.

By doing comprehensive research into who your audiences are (demographics, interests, social media habits, etc.) you’ll be able to identify how they spend their time and consume their information, thus making it simpler for you to reach them.

Now that you know how to reach your niche audience, communicating with them effectively will allow you to develop stronger relationships. By developing a strong marketing campaign that allows you to interact with your current and potential customers on a more personal level, you will in turn be creating brand loyalty. Communicating to a smaller number of people allows them to get to know you and your team closely, making them feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

Increase Word-of-Mouth Referrals

No matter what your business is, we’re going to guess your goal is to grow it. It’s no secret that word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of communication – in fact, 92% of people would take a recommendation from family and friends over traditional advertising. Why? Because you’re always going to trust someone you know more than a brand or business you don’t, bringing us right back to having closer connections with your niche market. So, once your audience develops that trust with your brand, they’re going to sing your praises to their contacts. This is especially true in niche marketing, where your audience is smaller and more targeted, meaning they’re likely to have connections with each other.

Get Ahead of your Competition

If you’re in a B2B industry where marketing isn’t overly prevalent, a marketing will help get you ahead of the game. By communicating with those that follow your brand and sharing your company culture, as well as industry thoughts and insights, you’re staying top of mind and positioning yourself as an organization passionate about what it does. It doesn’t matter whether your own a B2B or B2C business, people want to be associated with brands that care about their work.

Just because none of your competitors are using marketing strategies that put them top of mind and ahead of the curve doesn’t mean you need to follow suit – stand out and become a leader!

Create an Emotional Connection

Yup, we’re going to end off on a heavy note. It doesn’t matter if you’re products or services aren’t “exciting,” we guarantee your business effects your audiences on a deeper level than you think. The business development manager whose attention you’re trying to get? Chances are he or she has a family they are providing for. The work you do directly affects the lives of everyone involved – whether that be your customer or your employee. So, it’s important to communicate your organizations mission and values in an effective way to different audiences, no matter how small that group may be.

When it comes to interesting, heartfelt marketing campaigns, Enbridge – an energy transportation company – most likely wouldn’t be your first thought. However, one look at their website and you know where their values stand – providing ethical and safe energy resources for the community they serve. Sure, energy may not be exciting, but knowing that your energy provider has your family’s best interests at heart, that’s something most people can get behind.

Marketing to a smaller number of people, about a topic (you may) not think is overly “marketable” might not seem like a smart investment – but we’re here to tell you it’s just the opposite. In fact, it may be one of the smartest things you can do to get noticed in the right circles and take your business to the next level. Not sure where to start? Let us know, we’re here to help.

Is Social Media Right For Your B2B Business?

If your business relies on consumers, social media is a dream. For little to no cost (more so little than no, but that’s another topic altogether) you can reach and connect with your target audiences and communicate your brand story effectively. Not only can you advertise new services and products, but also respond to comments and inquiries from devoted followers and potential customers. As social media becomes more and more integrated into our daily lives, we are becoming increasingly reliant on it to help determine which brands we deem credible, creating plenty of opportunity to use it to advance your business.

But what is the point of all of this if your business is in the business of doing business with other businesses (yup, we went there)? Sure, your target audience is most likely using social media – nearly all of us are – but this isn’t how connections are made with potential partnering companies, right? Not necessarily. Don’t let the perception of being in a potentially ‘boring’ industry fool you, social media is a powerful tool for most brands, regardless of service or scope.

So now that we’ve determined clothing brands don‘t have a monopoly on social media, how do you begin to know how to use it for your brand? Here are a few tips for you to help up your social game for your B2B business:

Get to know your audience

If your company makes specialized cabinets for home developers, you may not think your target audience is on social media, but you may be surprised. People who aren’t using some form of social media in 2018 are few and far between, and while it may not be a direct source of business development for you, there is still value in maintaining activity on the social channels your audience uses. Staying in your audiences’ feeds will keep your business top of mind, making your brand the first they think of when needed.

It’s also important to consider where your audience is most active – there would be no point in making Instagram your top priority when people in your industry use Twitter the most. Do some research into what platforms your target audience uses and what kind of content they share and respond to most.

Become a thought leader

When it comes to business, social media is not only about sales, especial for B2B industries. It can be an immensely powerful tool in establishing your company as a leader. Be proactive, rather than reactive, and become a resource of information for your industry. Share articles, information, blog posts, news and more. Provide opinions on current industry trends and demonstrate how you apply them to your business. By sharing your knowledge online you are setting your business apart from the rest, showing your passion and knowledge for your craft. People want to hire the best of the best, so show that you are exactly that.

Create relatable content

Part of the reason countless brands have found social media to be a valuable addition to their marketing strategy is because it makes them more relatable to their audiences. Social media has become popular because it allows us to connect on a deeper level to those around us. You can use social media to your advantage simply by sharing information on your team and your corporate social responsibility initiatives, and providing a more personalized look into your daily operations. It’s easier to do business with brands you feel like you know and trust, so make it easy for those you want to reach.

Having some difficulties finding your audience, or have questions about how much is too much information to share? Navigating social media as a business can be difficult. Luckily, we’re pretty good at identifying brand needs and developing strategic social media plans – if you have any questions, give us a shout!

How do you Market to Generation Z?

As the age of information and technology continues to grow in ways we’ve never even dreamed of, so has the way people interact with each other. For example, a popular scene in 80s and 90s movies would be teenagers (members of Generation X) talking on the phone for hours, racking up their parents’ phone bills. This would be unheard of in 2018 – not only because people rarely use landlines, but because talking on the phone has become virtually non-existent since texting was introduced.

Another thing that has changed as younger generations adapt to technology is our attention spans. According to Microsoft, the current human attention span is only 8 seconds long. Many are quick to blame Generation Y – more commonly known as Millennials – for their unwavering commitment to harder, better, faster, stronger technology (yes, we just quoted Kanye West, as all Millennials do). This generation often gets labelled as being distracted, unable to commit to long-term projects and self-absorbed and entitled – that’s quite a reputation. While a lot of these assumptions have been proven incorrect over the years, the fact that our attention spans are dwindling as our reliance on technology increases cannot be denied, and it’s safe to assume these factors will be amplified within Generation Z.

Born after 1995, Generation Z (let’s call them Zs) is the largest growing generation, surpassing baby boomers and millennials. As they grow into early adulthood, Zs are quickly becoming the largest group of consumers, so we need to learn how to market effectively to this tech-savvy generation that has no time for poor efforts.

Content is King

As information becomes more and more readily available whenever needed, humans are becoming increasingly hungrier for quality, authentic content. It’s becoming easier to decipher whether a company is trustworthy or not, not only based on the information and products they put out, but by the society that keeps a watchful eye on them. As consumers become more informed, companies are being scrutinized for their content. As tech savvy as Zs are, you better believe they will do their research to make sure what you put out there is honest and valuable – they won’t waste their time with anything less.

This applies not only to your words, but your visuals as well. 77.6 million people are active on Instagram and consumers are more image-conscious than ever before. Spend time on the design of your brand and ensure what you put out into the world will be well received.

Utilize Grassroots Content

The fact that there is ample information available is both a blessing and a curse. Consumers may be more informed than ever, but the amount of choice in product and information can be overwhelming, which is why we trust our peers when they make recommendations. Adopting a product or service becomes infinitely easier if our friends or a figure we admire uses it, so rather than spend thousands of dollars on advertising, get down to the basics and have the product speak for itself. Utilize social influencers and micro-influencers by offering them your product or brand in return for an honest, thorough review. Zs are able to identify honest content, so having honest reviews will surely prove worthy.

Get to the Point

As we’ve mentioned more than once, our attention spans are growing shorter. If millennials have an average attention span of eight seconds, Zs will be able to decided whether content is worthy of their time in even less so. Grab attention not with bells and whistles, but with information that is captivating and to-the-point. Share your message upfront – if they are interested in learning more, they will.

There is no exact science on how to market to Generation Z, as they are still growing into their consumer potential. What we can gather from our knowledge of this generation is that they are incredibly informed and tech savvy, so get onto their level and deliver quality content that will add value to their lives. Need help knowing which audiences to target and how, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help.

How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Marketing?

While we may not be driving through space or teleporting to different parts of the world within seconds (yet), you simply cannot deny that the future is now. Cars are driving themselves, we communicate with our homes verbally and nearly everyone on the planet has a personalized, hand-sized computer with them at all times that is immeasurably more powerful than those which filled entire rooms and took dozens of people to operate in the 1970s.

Anyone can see that we’ve made incredible technologic advancements in the last 100 years – heck, in the last 10 alone! Thanks to the internet and its accessibility (read: no more dial up), we now live in the age of information. Anything we’ve ever wanted to know is available to us with a few taps of a screen. Because of this, consumers are more engaged and informed than ever before, thus creating the need for more integrated and targeted marketing. Gone are the days of creating a visually appealing ad with a catchy phrase and watching sales numbers skyrocket. Sure, advertisement is still incredibly important, but brands need to be smart about communicating what makes their product different from all the rest.

One reason for technology’s ability to advance at such a rapid rate is the growing development in artificial intelligence, more commonly referred to as AI. Through machine learning, a proponent of AI, computers and machine are now able to develop and reprogram systems based on previous knowledge without human intervention. Simply put, machines are now able to learn on their own through a series of algorithms developed through data collected. So, what does this mean for marketing?

Marketing in the New Age

Up until now, it’s been the job of marketing professionals to find a way to communicate the right message to the right audience using the right channels. Being able to reach the people who would be most interested in using a particular brand or product is and on-going challenge for marketers. Luckily, AI and machine learning has allowed us to better identify key audiences and channels by which to communicate with them. Ever notice that the top you were considering buying from that online clothing store is now popping up in ads on nearly every website you visit? Yes, your ‘machine’ was able to taking into account data such as the website you visited, the time spent looking at the particular item, and your other interests based on what you search to create a tailored advertising experience for you. That, in a nutshell, is AI in the new age of marketing.

While AI helps marketers identify what target audiences are interested in seeing, it is still up to the creativity of the human mind to communicate the messaging authentically. AI and machine learning will continue to develop and aid marketing efforts, making the lives of marketing professionals easier. It seems ironic that as technology becomes increasingly integrated into our lives, we strive more and more for human connection – thus proving that a computer will never fully replace the need for marketers. At least yet, once this happens we have bigger issues on our hands!

For now, we welcome the assistance and knowledge AI provides us and the information it finds on our audiences. Our years of hands-on experience allows us to know what to do with it!

Need help targeting your audiences effectively? Contact us here!

The New Age of Influencer Marketing

In the age of social media, platforms such as Youtube and Instagram have become the ultimate resource for product research. When we can’t get the information we need from our friends, we turn to social media to learn about and discuss products and brands in great detail – after all, the people talking about them are just like us. Naturally, those that develop honest, trusted content that appeals to the masses will become more popular and their opinions will be revered and valued – enter the birth of the influencer.

Who is an influencer? An influencer is someone who people turn to for enjoyable content that is, for the most part, informative – therefore ‘influencing’ social media trends and, in turn, the culture around them. It makes perfect sense then that followers would be interested in the products these influencers are talking about. So while authentic word-of-mouth can never be replaced, it only makes sense that influencer recommendations would become a strong marketing strategy as our lives becoming increasingly intertwined with social media.

Influencer Marketing – the act of partnering with an influencer to promote a product or business – has become more and more popular as social media platforms continue to grow. As influencers become an increasingly trusted source for their audiences, marketing agencies are working with them to promote targeted brands and products. And while most influencers are now (transparently) being paid for their services, most make it an ethical point to be honest in their reviews, thus maintaining their integrity amongst followers.

Because of the visibility and authenticity it offers, Influencer Marketing is an extremely effective tool for many brands, both large and small. If you’re thinking about working with influencers to promote your brand, here are some ways you can ensure your efforts are effective:

Identify Your Target Audience

While an influencer may love your product so much they feel the need to shout it from the social media mountaintops, your brand won’t benefit if the right people don’t get the message. A crucial step in developing marketing tactics is identifying your objectives and ensuring they are tailored for the correct audiences. If you’re selling a product meant for people ages 40-60, engaging with an Instagram influencer most likely will not help you achieve your goals. Understanding what your audience is interested in, how they use social media and where they get their information from will help you identify the kind of influencer you want to partner with.

Have a niche product that you want to market to a very specific target audience? A micro-influencer may have just the right amount of clout to reach them effectively.

Understand Your Social Media Landscape

Now that you know who your target audience is, you need to learn which influencer(s) will be best for your marketing campaign and why. Are you targeting a specific city, or is your campaign national? Is it important for audiences to simply be exposed to the content, or do you want them engaging through comments? Answering key questions such as these will help you choose the right influencer that will help push your marketing efforts further.

Be Clear About Your Ask

Brands are often put off by Influencer Marketing because of its perceived inconsistency. Not only is its effectiveness difficult to measure, but the content created by the influencer is often not what the brand envisioned. However, if this has happened to your business, you should ask yourself if you were absolutely clear with the influencer about what you expected out of the partnership. Did you send them a product to test without any explicit request for review on their platforms? Did you think they were going to make an Instagram post but instead they only shared the product on their Instagram story?

As influencers are working with more and more brands on a daily basis, it is crucial that you communicate exactly what it is you want from them in terms of coverage. That way there is no ambiguity and both parties will be clear on what is expected.

 Ensure Transparency and Authenticity

While you may be explicit in the amount of posts you’d like them to share with their audiences, it is important both to the influencer and their audiences that the content remain authentic – and it should be important to you too. As previously mentioned, the reason Influencer Marketing is so effective is because audiences have developed a level of trust with the influencer and are confident that the information they share is honest. If you believe in your product so will the influencer and, in turn, their followers.

That being said, audiences want to know when an influencer is being paid to promote something or has a partnership with a brand. Transparency is highly valued in Influencer Marketing, so if an influencer wishes to express that the post is paid or they are working closely with your brand, let them.

As we become increasingly more connected with the world around us through social media, influencers will continue to be a source of reliable information for consumers. However, identifying whether or not Influencer Marketing is right for your brand is not always easy. At William Joseph Communications, our years of experience will help you identify the right marketing strategies for your business  – feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Does your Business Need an App?

How many apps do you have on your smartphone? Statistically speaking, it’s probably a pretty decent number. According to a report on The Business of Apps website, an estimated 197 billion apps were downloaded to mobile devices in 2017 and that number is expected almost double by 2021. Apps are a major craze in our modern culture. The phrase “there’s an app for that” has become a ubiquitous cultural saying that’s used almost jokingly, because quite literally, there seems to be an app for absolutely anything and everything you can think of.

The popularity of apps is undeniable, and because it seems like the cool thing (and maybe the smart thing) to do from a business perspective, a lot of business owners rush ahead creating an app for their company simply in the hope of having a presence on people’s phones. Just like any marketing decision though, the choice to create an app for your business should be approached with forethought and strategy. The first question any businessperson should ask themselves on the matter is:

Does my business actually need an app?

To answer that question there are some other important questions to ask yourself as well.

  1. Will an App Boost My Bottom Line?

Business apps, generally speaking, are meant to drive sales and improve customer service. They can be an important part of a business’s social media strategy, because they are extremely effective as tool for communicating directly with customers. Push notifications, special offers and deals and memory for what an individual customer prefers make apps very inviting for a lot of people to use. But if your particular business can’t sell anything via an app, there really isn’t any point in having one. If you can’t get customers to spend money through your app, then you can’t get on ROI on the cost of its development and upkeep. If you can’t make money with it, an app it’s not a good business tool.

  1. Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

Before commissioning an app for your business, its important to ensure your website is fully functional on mobile devices. This is important for two reasons: 1) Navigation on a smartphone or tablet is entirely different than on a laptop or desktop computer, and 2) Anyone who uses your app will definitely cruise around your website via the same device. If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile, getting it to do so is your first priority.

  1. What Will an App do that my Mobile Website Can’t?

Again, this is an entire functionality question. Are you going to design an app that will require GPS access? Maybe you’ll want it to be able to access photos or the user’s built-in camera. If everything you need and want your app to do can successfully be done through your mobile website, why spend the money on a second online access point?

  1. Are my Customers App Savvy?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in their passion to create something modern and fun (i.e. an app) many business owners overlook a key aspect of its success: whether or not their target market is the sort of group who will pay for, download and use an app in the first place. If your customers prefer to do business face to face, an app probably isn’t going to do much for you.

  1. How Strong is my Brand?

When someone decides to download your app, they’re paying you (and your business) a pretty big compliment. There’s only so much real estate to be had on our mobile devices, so your presence there is no small thing. Apps are a powerful method of boosting brand awareness and loyalty – the trick is though, you have to have a clearly defined brand to begin with. Make sure the touch points of your brand are solid before you develop an app, and it will do a lot more for you in the way of helping to build your image.

  1. What’s my Budget?

Depending on who you engage to develop your app and the intricacies of its design and programming, the cost of getting it up and running can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand. On top of that, you’ll have to decide if you’re going to charge a fee for your app or allow users to download it for free. Most business owners aren’t aware either, that app stores take a cut of your sales – typically somewhere around 30% of what you charge users to buy it. In other words, there are monetary considerations when producing an app that are important to get on top of before you begin.

Want to learn more about the possibilities and potential problems in creating a business app? Hit us up for coffee and a chat. We love talking tech.

Marketing Hacks for Small Businesses – 5 Must Haves

Marketing is fundamental to the growth and success of every business, but it’s particularly important for entrepreneurs. Small business owners face the unique challenge of getting the word out on who they are and what they do on what often is a shoestring budget, so it’s really important to find ways to stretch those marketing dollars and make them work as hard for you as possible.

Some marketing tactics are out of reach for entrepreneurs – they’re simply too expensive, so there’s no chance for a return on investment. Luckily, there are plenty of clever ways to reach customers that don’t break the bank – and others that don’t cost anything at all. With a little insight, ingenuity, and good old fashioned hustle, entrepreneurs can create great buzz for their businesses in really cost effective ways.

Of all the affordable options available to small business owners these days there are certain tactics that should be part of every entrepreneur’s marketing arsenal. The following five are sure-fire ways to create a strong, professional image for your business, leave a lasting impression, and reach a lot of potential clients and customers without spending a lot of money.

  1. Have a Professionally Designed Website

Having a website is non-negotiable in today’s business world. If you’re in business, you need to have one, and if you’re a small business owner it’s important to make sure your website not only looks professional but operates smoothly too. Yes, it will cost you a bit of money to have a website professionally designed, but this is one marketing cost that’s worth every penny. The first thing people do when they hear about your business is look for you online. If you don’t have a presence there, how are they going find you? Once they’re on your website, those people will immediately (and often subconsciously) make a judgment call about you based on what they see and experience there. If your website feels amateur, your business appears amateur – and that’s not the impression you want to make. Hire a professional web designer and content writer to create your website and let them devise a strategy for making sure your link comes up at the top of the list on a Google search. You’ll be very glad you did.

  1. Have an Active Social Media Presence

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter have made it possible to reach mass audiences quickly at little to no cost. Used the right way, social media is a highly effective brand building tool and offers business owners an exceptional way to connect with customers in real time.  A well-executed social media strategy can create broad awareness of your business almost immediately, will drive traffic to your website, and has the power to expand your viewership (and followers) quickly through “likes” and “shares.” If you want to take it to the next level, you can invest some of your marketing dollars in targeted social media ads that are guaranteed to be seen by just the right people as they scroll through their social feeds.

  1. Devise an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Some people think email marketing campaigns are a waste of time, believing that the messages land in recipients’ junk folders or get deleted without ever having been opened. There’s a risk of both of those things happening, it’s true – which is why you need the help of an agency that’s got the know-how to get your messages seen. Email campaigns aren’t just ad-hoc typed messages, they’re carefully crafted and designed messages that are jam-packed with valuable content – stuff your target market wants to read and see. Done right, the people on your email list will come to look forward to receiving your next message, and will read it top to bottom. Email campaigns aren’t only affordable – they’re great for generating sales. Calls-to-action are the key to this tactic, and conversion rates between receiving messages and jumps to your website are usually high.

  1. Get a Great Business Card

This may seem like a small thing, but a sharp looking and uniquely designed business card makes a big impression. You’ve got to think out of the box with it, but a good designer can do that for you. Your business card should be reflective of your brand and professionally printed on sturdy paper stock. When you hand it out, you want to be proud of it, and you want the person you’re giving to to remember you when they look at it.

  1. Network, Network, Network

As a small business owner, you are the face of your company. The more you can get in front of people, the more likely they are to do business with you. Networking generates leads and opportunities, builds relationships, educates you on what’s happening in the marketplace (there’s no better way to check out the competition) and promotes good will. If you want people to get to know your business, get in front of them personally. There are all kinds of networking events in every city at all times of day – but if you can’t find one that works for you, start your own. We did. WJ hosts Ryan’s Roundup on the first Thursday of every month at Ranchman’s. Why not join us next time and get your cost-friendly marketing strategy off to a great start? http://ryansroundup.com

 

Energy Series – How to Get Potential Customers to Notice You

The energy sector is Canada’s beating heart. While being a challenging industry inundated with competition, significant opportunity exists for business. To not only survive, but excel, brands must shift their way of thinking in order to stand out from the crowd. But how?

Whether you’re targeting B2B or B2C consumers, here are five ways to get potential customers to notice you.

  1. Have a Stand-Out Portfolio

Your portfolio should tell your brand story, describing the “why” you do what you do and “why” you are the best at doing it. A good portfolio includes an “About” section (your brand story), samples of your work, testimonials from past clients, and how to get in touch with you. Features of your work from a range of different clients should be the primary focus of your portfolio, and should be chosen based on the audience you are trying to attract. It should define your strengths, and follow suit with your brand both through language and stylistically.

To build the best portfolio, do research on your target audience. Understand their drivers, motivations, what they value and what they don’t. Cater your content and projects to them. Do you have both B2B and B2C clients? Multiple audiences mean multiple portfolios and sell-sheets specifically tailored to that audience. One size does not fit all.

Having both an online portfolio as well as physical copies allows for increased visibility. For online portfolios, you can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that when consumers search for something related to your business, product or industry, your company name will be ranked higher in the search results. Be sure to have something impressive and relevant for them to look at when they find you!

  1. Be Social – Use Social Media

Get on consumers and clients social radar – how can they choose your company if they do not know who you are, what you sell, or why you’re the best choice? Social platforms and energy news platforms allow you to target content specifically for the audience you are trying to attract. You can also decide exactly which platform to use based on who you’re targeting and which platform they are the most active on.

Social and energy news media offers unparalleled access to target audiences and decision-makers on their own terms, and on platforms of their own choosing. And guess what? They appreciate that. They also like when your social activity is an authentic representation of your brand, is honest, and is human. Know your audience, their interests, values, lifestyles and aspirations, and play to them. Whether it be sharing a relevant article, or just commenting on last night’s hockey game, communicate and encourage two-way dialogue. In all your communications, remember to explain the “why” of your brand and to share your story in a relatable way. While being social on social media is likely not going to close any major business deals as that will likely require face-to-face interactions, it will get your foot in the door and keep your “brands” in front of  people.  Out of sight….means out of mind!

  1. Network, and get Face-to-Face

Face-to-face conversations are the comeback of the business world. You will not be able to close any major deal without some sort of face-to-face interaction, be it at a networking event, tradeshow, community volunteering, client meeting, or so on.

Some of these events are likely to be outside of business hours, so be prepared for that. At the very minimum, invest your time and attend at least one after-hours industry-related event a month. While you may have business representatives for these sort of events, it never hurts to have high-level management present at important speaking engagements or conferences. Ensure that whoever represents your brand is fully aware of your products, services, and what is included in your portfolio and sell-sheets. They will be the human depiction of your brand, and will leave a lasting opinion in the memory of consumers and partners alike. Be sure they’re the right fit.

Fill up your tank, get business cards printed, have your impressive portfolio on-hand, and get ready to go full steam ahead. Networking and being present is a sure way to get noticed, and be remembered.

  1. Create a Common Enemy. Be the Solution, and Incentivize

Let’s first define the term “enemy.” Your common enemy is not a competitor, but rather a common problem that your target audience has, and one that you have the solution for. For example, think of early Apple advertising which considered PC as the enemy. Apple marketed themselves as partnering with consumers to solve any identified PC defects to create a better tech experience. Or, think of automotive companies which classify bad weather or the winter as the enemy, identify their product as the solution, and encourage consumers to unite with them to fight this enemy.

Ally with your target audience to unite against a common enemy. If they see the relevance, they will get fired up to purchase your products or services. It’s important to be extremely cautious when determining your common enemy. Do not relate it to politics, race, religion, gender, or other sensitive topics, as this could cause people to dislike you and your brand.

Instead, locate your clients weak or sensitive points, and use them to come up with your enemy. Create a sense of urgency and make a case for why this enemy is a problem that needs fixing quickly (i.e. winter is coming). Be and offer the solution, and incentivize these value-added services or products to inspire quick action. If its relatable, it’ll be sure to get you noticed.

  1. Invest in Your Brand – Invest in Marketing.

Nothing promotes growth quite like effective marketing. Depending on your target audience, you can differentiate your brand and gain a significant amount of attention if you base your marketing on the right strategy. Tactics compliment strategy, including social media advertising, SEO, radio ads, digital marketing, print collateral, or any combination thereof. The use of marketing tactics such as blogging can also help humanize your brand which helps distinguish you and make you more relatable. If your business looks attractive and is being promoted correctly, there’s a much higher chance that more people will walk through your door or reach out.

Your time, effort and investment in marketing can help you outshine your competition, build brand equity and enhance your overall reputation. In truth, an investment in marketing is an investment in your brand, and one with a high ROI if done properly. Even a moderate marketing budget can make a world of difference when it comes to getting your brand noticed.

Get going, and get noticed.

Title Fight – The Battle Between New and Traditional Media

We at William Joseph are constantly being asked which is more important when it comes to devising a successful marketing plan: traditional or new media? We always have the same answer: both.

There’s no denying that technology has had a massive impact on how we reach customers and how customers find the things they’re looking for, but underestimating the value of traditional media in your overall marketing plan could be a big mistake – depending of course on what you’re selling and who you’re trying to sell it to.

Think of traditional media and new media as boxers in a ring. In the red corner there’s the longstanding World Heavyweight Champion, Traditional Media – a fighter that packs a solid and time honoured punch. And over in the blue corner there’s the young contender, New Media – agile, savvy, fast footed and great at quick jabs. Traditional Media used to be untouchable, hammering home knockout punches time and time again. But in recent years, New Media has become a worthy opponent, throwing highly effective shots to Traditional Media’s side. Traditional Media can still pull off wins, but not always. Sometimes New Media steps up and delivers a hit that Traditional Media just can’t compete with anymore.

So what does this mean for your business’s marketing plan? It means you’ve got to know which fighter your target market is a fan of.

Traditional media sources like TV, radio, billboards and print ads definitely still have reach, but you have to be very clear on whether these tactics are going to deliver the kind of punch you need them to and very specific in terms of which sources to use. Consumers are becoming more and more autonomous when it comes to what they watch, read and listen to. On demand TV, customized playlists, online news sources and video channels like YouTube have made it necessary to be very targeted with traditional media choices, unless your market is entirely old school consumers.

We’re at a point in time where virtually everyone is online, so new media tactics like websites, digital ads, mobile apps, social media platforms and online videos are an essential part of any marketing strategy. Basically, you can’t not have new media if you want to attract new customers and generate sales. That said, new media sources tend to be most effective when strategically partnered with select traditional media outlets in a thorough and well thought out marketing plan. How else can a broad group of consumers find out about you in an expedient way? The billboard ad you put up drives people your website, and the radio ad you’ve got running during the end of day commute makes listeners look for your YouTube channel once they get home. See what we mean? When correctly balanced and properly executed, the fight between Traditional Media and New Media becomes more like a dance, with each contender bobbing and weaving their way to a tie, as voted by unanimous decision.

We get that it can be confusing – which is all the more reason that a well thought-out, smart marketing strategy is imperative when it comes to marketing your organization.

Want to find out what combination of new and traditional media is perfect for your business’s marketing endeavors? The team at WJ is just a phone call away.

The Best Approach to Services Marketing

Did you know that the service sector is a key driver of the Canadian economy? Information technology, management services, or financial and insurance services, all of which account for three of Canada’s fastest growing exports. In fact, according to John Greenwood of Maclean’s, some of Canada’s fastest growing exports are in the services sector – a sector which is often overlooked. While goods and commodities usually form the footing of Canada’s economy, real-time information on the impact of the service sector is challenging to manage and account for. As Greenwood coins it, the services sector is Canada’s secret economic playground, with technological advancements making it possible for Canadian service companies to experience significant growth by marketing and selling their services in global markets, and making top dollar too.

So, what exactly is a service? MarketingTeacher.com provides a great example:

“A service is the action of doing something for someone or something. It is largely intangible (i.e. not material). You cannot touch it. You cannot see it. You cannot taste it. You cannot hear it. You cannot feel it.”

The act of services marketing is selling experiences, not tangible products. This is the major difference between a company that produces goods versus a service provider. Goods are tangible, physical items, such as clothing, food, or office supplies which often have a set price to produce, package and ship. Services, on the other hand, is the action of performing work (or a service) for others, and can vary greatly in pricing depending the scope, requirements and perceived value of the service. A great example of services marketing is the tourism industry, such as Travel Alberta’s “Remember to Breath” campaign.

The category of service marketing is quite broad, and not all services are the same. Some having higher-value, and thus, have higher economic potential. Consider financial services, management consulting, medical services, engineering services, infrastructure, environmental services, mining services, water-management services as well as IT services, all of which Canadian companies are exporting worldwide. Every organization which provides and sells some kind of service uses service marketing strategies to sell their services to consumers (B2C) as well as to other businesses (B2B) both in Canada as well as globally.

While our experience is diverse, a lot of what we do here at William Joseph is focused on marketing services on both a local, national, and international scale. Given the extensive number of providers for any given service, differentiating your business and service offerings is critical, and there are best approaches to services marketing when it comes to standing out from the crowd.

Marketing a service can presents challenges which do not exist when marketing goods. Goods are tangible; however, services are not, leaving marketing strategists to have to communicate the benefits and unique differentiators of a service by drawing parallels with images, thoughts, and ideas that are more tangible. Another point is that consumers are more hesitant when purchasing services than goods, as goods can often be returned or exchanged. Experiences or services, on the other hand, cannot be returned once they are provided. Services are fluid and time-bound, never remaining the same in that they are both produced and consumed at the same time.

Strategic services marketing allows marketers to overcome the challenges of services marketing and narrow our focus to create more concentrated marketing tactics based on analytics. Research and insight is essential before embarking on any campaign as it can help your organization identify where you are now, where you want to be in the future, and what it will take to get you there, in addition to giving insight into your target audience, competition, industry trends, and so on. People will be at the pinnacle of your business’ success or failure, especially when it comes to selling services or experiences. Customer experiences with your service will need to be tailored to your target audience needs, wants, and expectations. Thorough research will help you determine the right marketing mix for your service, and better position your company for success.

Insight will also make it possible to determine your company’s “why.” Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you do what you do? This is your “why,” and is the very essence of your business’ brand and its story. To be successful, determining your business’ “why” is essential in creating a compelling campaign, and is an vital component to understanding how to effectively market your organization’s services.

After compiling, reviewing and understanding both internal and external insight into your organization, you can begin to develop a sound strategy grounded in research and based on your goals, brand, and key messaging. Service marketers must communicate the unique value of their services with immediacy, and without tangible goods, must do so visually through a compelling logo and brand. A sound strategy will result in a targeted approach, achievable milestones, and on-the-mark creative and tactics to support your strategy. To thrive, you must differentiate yourself, and to succeed in a competitive environment, you must understand how to do so.

The Rise of the Ageless Market

Ageless marketing is “marketing based not on age but on the values and universal desires that appeal to people across generational divides. Age-based marketing reduces the reach of brands because of its exclusionary nature. In contrast, ageless marketing extends the reach of brands because of its inclusionary focus.” – David Wolfe

We propose extending this concept one step further by applying the concept of ageless marketing to what has quickly become an ageless society, especially regarding the attitudes and approach of baby boomers.

Throughout history there has been an obsession with staying young; for example, hair dye was invented in 1907 by the founder of L’Oreal. Today it is even more pervasive with the rise of medical procedures, the size and reach of the beauty industry, and the opportunity to share and celebrate youth through social media.  Images on Instagram are of young people curating perfect lives setting an aspirational tone for all ages. In the world of celebrity and the everyday, people are having “work done,” gray hairs are hidden, and fashion trends span across demographics. Marketing is not immune to the trend to stay young and is at the core of capturing the energy and vibrancy of young content.

The generation with the most disregard for age are baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). They are fighting age every step of the way and do not consider themselves to be old and they most definitely do not want to be shown as old in marketing materials. They are just as interested in the products and trends for millennials as they are in things directly related to them. Baby boomers are also avid trendsetters and followers in their own right.

Within the ageless markets and ageless society, brands must be crafted to reach an older audience without alienating a younger one. Vibrant multi-generational imagery used with the right combination of messaging and tactical approach will make a strong connection. An ageless lifestyle brand will span across ages as multiple generations can picture themselves engaging with the brand now or in the future.

Social media is also influencing the overlap between generations as they are accessing similar content, bridging the gap between their activities and interests.  Parents have never so readily been invited into the private worlds of their children and vice versa. They are sharing their personal experiences, but also preferences for products and services. Baby boomers are working hard to keep up with technology as they do not want to miss out on pictures of grandchildren or the travel and adventures of their friends. They also want to share their own pictures and experiences and are using social media platforms to demonstrate their own youthfulness. While baby boomers are still engaged in traditional media, social media has quickly become a primary vehicle for reaching this group.

In conclusion, playing to the trend of the ageless society by showcasing the youthful vibrancy of baby boomers will enable marketers and brands to reach a wide range of age groups and to harness their collective buying power.

For your next marketing campaign consider an ageless approach – a strong ageless lifestyle brand promoted effectively through social media will have the widest appeal and greatest reach.

AR/VR and Marketing

Technology is changing the world, and as marketers, we must evolve our strategies to be better, to do better, and to make an impact in an world inundated with change. In response to an evolution of the digital world as well as consumer demands for innovation, forward-thinking marketers are revolutionizing digital marketing by using technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to give consumers an innovative and unique brand experience impossible with other mediums. While movies and videos used to be considered the most immersive medium, brands are getting extremely creative, taking advantage of the opportunity to use strategic marketing applications in reality technology to create one-of-a-kind customer experiences.

Virtual Reality is a “computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment, that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.” In layman’s terms, consider virtual reality the use of technology to virtually transport yourself into an artificial world, be it a different city, country or even planet.

Augmented Reality is a “technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” Remember when Pikachu appeared in your living room, or when Weedle showed up outside that coffee shop when you were playing Pokémon Go? These are the perfect examples of augmented reality.

So, what are the main differences between the two? VR is more of an immersive adventure which often allows consumers to experience a 360-degree view of a different reality that they can interact with. AR, on the other hand, uses the world around consumers and adds in other elements and details (think Snapchat filters).

Airlines have been using AR/VR for years to train staff and simulate everything from landing a plane, to reacting in a turbulent situation. However, immersive experiences through AR and VR are relatively new in marketing, and companies which use VR/AR technology in their marketing efforts are likely to be more memorable. Consumers love new technology, and they especially love experiencing something exciting that few others have. The use of these technologies can offer a “wow” factor,” grabbing attention and making entire consumer groups stop, stand up and take notice. There are currently a relatively small number of companies using these technologies, making it far more likely to be adopted as digital marketing progresses. However, for now, those using it have a competitive advantage, especially considering AR and VR gives consumers a more vivid and tangible feel for products and services than other mediums. While we can expect to see a significant increase in the number of companies using AR/VR in their marketing in the coming years, there are several companies already utilizing these new technologies.

Consider these examples:

The IKEA VR Experience – Have you ever wanted to do a major renovation in your house, but were too scared to make any major changes without seeing what they would look like? IKEA now offers the experience to see any projected renovations and change first-hand through VR technology. Experienced through a VR headset, IKEA structures the VR experience as a virtual visit to an IKEA store, where consumers can explore different areas including kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms that are fully stocked with strategically placed IKEA furniture, appliances and products. This allows consumers to virtually experience a space, viewing how IKEA products would appear in that space, and even use an innovative feature to experience the space from a child’s eye-view.

360-degree Facebook Videos – 360-degree video is a trend that is taking off on popular social networking channels including Facebook. Able to be accessed from a desktop, laptop, smartphone or VR gear, 360-degree videos offer viewers full interaction and immersion in whatever scene is being shown. The best part? Anyone can make their own 360-degree video based on whatever content they can imagine, or to share the experience they are experiencing themselves. Companies can also use 360 videos to immerse consumers in their brand, their event or to share stories and interviews. The sky (and beyond) is really the limit for these videos.

When it comes to marketing, AR/VR is the next great experiential technology, with research house IDC noting the market will surge 100% over each of the next four years. Organizations are presented with the unique opportunity to completely immerse consumers in their products, services, and subsequently, their brand. They can virtually engross consumers in an experience of their creation – something never before possible. Smart marketers will recognize the opportunity in bridging both on- and offline experiences and marketing efforts, and will jump on the AR/VR train.