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MITX eCommerce Summit- Read All About It

On July 25th, several members of  AMP’s Integrated Media team attended the MITX eCommerce Summit at Google’s Cambridge offices.  The event featured speakers from different companies and firms sharing their research and first-hand experience in ecommerce.  There were many important points of view and even a great demonstration of Wayfair’s augmented reality app WayfairView which allows users to visualize furniture and décor in their homes before buying online, but the one overarching theme of the summit was the intersection of online and offline moments on the customer’s journey to a sale. From the summit, they three defining takeaways where: 1.Digital Sales Should Not Be Treated As Separate One practice that some retailers still follow is that sales via online channels are different and separate from in-store sales.  The reality of today’s customer is that these two types of sales are interconnected and should be managed that way.  If retailers track and measure their sales channel in silos, they are missing the larger consumer trends.  A survey result revealed that 76% of consumers use digital devices to shop prior to their store trip.  Before they step into a store, they have made multiple digitally influenced decisions that led them there.  The new approach for retailers should be to view these channels holistically. Inspiration Research Selection Purchase Return/Service Each of these moments should have offline and online initiatives to influence the consumer to sales.  It is up to the marketing teams to define how to best reach the consumer when they enter each of these moments with a holistic approach.  These moments can also be seen as points of friction, which could lead to the consumer ending their journey before the sales, or points of leverage, which could lead to opportunities to upsell or gain brand loyalty. 2. Deciding on the Path to Differentiation For retailers to find their path to business growth, they need to find their path to differentiation.  Understanding how and when they reach consumers will enable the organization to map their interactions with their target audience.  The first step on this path is to reduce the friction that consumer may encounter when they interact with the retailer.  From there, the retailer can work on uniform cross-channel experiences for all consumer interactions no matter where they happen. The final step on the path to differentiation from the rest of the retailer pack is the drive omni-channel results, which is ultimate goal to secure big sales growth. Our team learned a great deal from the Summit. Regardless of whether you attended or not, if you would like to discuss the topic outlined below, please reach out to us- we'd love to chat. Click here to learn more about the Integrated Media team.  

Why I Hate Inflatables and Handheld Video Games

By Mike Underwood, Sr. Director, Business Development/Creative Services - Sponsorship and Events Saturday started off like any other weekend family day - a foggy wakeup call with a quick cup of coffee, the morning newspaper, some BB e-mail exchanges and then the bomb drop from the Mrs. - "don't forget you're taking Katherine and Aiden to Colin's birthday party today." Oh really? After a series of colorful dialogue exchanges and inevitable submission, we were off to "Pump It Up" for an exciting 2-hour fun-filled adventure (or so it said in the brochure). Translation: an afternoon of screaming kids, refined sugar and really bad pizza. We arrived at our location in a warehouse building district where this unassuming playtime birthday mill business resides. "Welcome to Pump It Up!" our pierced lipped Goth party hostess, Jasmine, said as we entered. I instantly wondered if my kid's vaccinations were up to date. Like a slingshot, their shoes were scattered and they ran into a dark room filled with giant inflatables of every kind - some that you slid down, others that you climbed on, some that you stuck to wearing special Velcro® gloves in addition to the huge inventory of projectiles in every size and shape to outfit a kiddie army. I noticed an abundance of kids sitting on the sidelines, noses buried in handheld gaming units. It was at this moment that my mind drifted to work and I saw the parallels between the kid party I was attending and the 'adult parties' we produce every day. And I realized something profound: how much I hate inflatables and portable games! As an event marketer, we're taught to create experiences that everyone can participate in. As I looked around the room at Mom's and Dad's standing around I thought to myself . . . this is not an event, this is not a party. What happened to intimate backyard birthday bashes where parents took pride in planning the day's festivities - where the whole neighborhood pitched in and let you borrow their extra lawn furniture? Outside, Dad would tie up the piñata to the largest tree while mom took care of tacking up the 'pin the tail on the donkey' activity. If your family had the big bucks, the birthday experience may have included a magician or a clown that made balloon animals too. It seems like the simple days of kick the can and hide n' seek have been replaced with reclusive activities like text messaging and heldheld gaming units removing us from participating in these immersive experiences. As a marketer and an active consumer I demand more for me and my kids. I want them to grow up with the social enrichment of strolling museums, peering into the universe under the stars of a planetariums sky, camping out in the backyard and digging for sand crabs on the beach with flashlights at night - all without social hindrances of handheld gaming units in tow. Parents should be the catalyst for creating lasting memories and familiar pastimes that they can own, participate in and pass onto their children. And marketers ' good ones at least ' should be tasked with the same responsibility. So what have we learned? An experience is what you make of it. How it's translated and delivered to the consumer is up to the people who create it. We deserve more from an experience than just settling for a 'bounce house' or a handheld video game unit. Consumers should be active participants in their brand experiences. Captivating that audience is the marketer's responsibility. If we didn't believe in the power of sensorial events, we would have tossed up a giant Elf balloon rather than recruited hundreds of consumers to wear an Elf suit and sing Christmas songs together, striving toward a World Record. We would have chucked a free download card to tweens instead of organized an international gaming tournament in which kids and their parents lined up for hours to show down together! We would have emailed Moms an e-coupon instead of mixing them drinks and serving them organic local fruit from the back of a branded vintage apple truck at Farmer's Markets. But that's just me. And that's just AMP.

My Super Bowl Party (Another Day at the Office)

y Pete D'Andrea, SVP, Sponsorship and Events As the football season comes to a close (with another Cowboyless Super Bowl) it was pointed out by several friends that it is my turn in the hood to host the  Super Bowl party.  Seems simple ' some wings, lots of beer, and a bunch of guys huddled around a TV stuffing their face for 5 hours -  Wrong. I was quickly reminded that I graduated college many years ago and no longer live in a house with 10 other dudes. After taking 30 seconds to let this sink in (25 of those seconds remembering how easy life was back then),  I began to think this isn't much different than another day in the office planning an event. So let's dig in. After the brief meeting with the CMO (aka my wife Nicole), a budget and core objectives were set: Host a great event that the neighborhood will be talking about and posting on FB Make sure me and my neanderthal football buddies can focus on the game and talk football for 5 hours straight Don't ignore the wives and make sure they have something to do The game will last about 4 ' 4.5 hours so make sure our guests don't lose interest Tough day to hook a babysitter so the kids have to be invited and need something to keep them busy (i.e. out of the way if they aren't watching the game) These are  some similar challenges we face when planning an event for young kids.  It is important to think about and plan for the entire family to maximize attendance and participation at your event.  Of course the experience for the kids needs to be relevant to the brand and fun and exciting but you also need to consider the parent and build in activities for them as well.  Setting up areas  that allow the parent to take a break, get some refreshments, relax on comfortable furniture  while still keeping one eye on their child is key.  Build activities where the parent can participate with the brand along with their child and not just be a spectator.  Reward the parent with adult relevant prizes  along with younger themed prizes and swag for the kids. Include this messaging in your pre-promo to make sure parents know there will be something in it for them.   These type of tactics will  build a common thread between the parent and the child, build parental endorsement and increase sharing within online communities via the parent.  I don't know of too many employed 8 year olds that are driving so it is important to remember Mom or Dad when building out your event experience. So back to delivering on my CMO's objectives: Establish a core football room ' minimum of 2 big screens so every play can be viewed at every angle, replayed, rewound and replayed again Non-football watching youngsters ' in the basement with babysitter (this way you only need 1 for the neighborhood), X-Box, Wii, and collection of American Girl dolls to dress, undress and re-dress TV in kitchen ' can't miss the game while reloading the cheese and crackers and'?¦..doesn't everyone always end up in kitchen? Boxes ' small dollar amount for football pool to keep interest even in a blow-out And if all else fails ' FREE WINGS AND BEER ' isn't that enough?  (sorry Nicole

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