October 17, 2018

Just For Men Launches Be The Better Man Campaign

What do you do if you’re the original men’s grooming brand and want to encourage men everywhere to be – and look – a little better? You step in front of the mirror and give yourself a makeover.

 

That’s what AMP Agency and Just For Men accomplished together with this week’s launch of the Be The Better Man brand platform and campaign.

 

 

For more than 30 years, Just For Men has been letting guys know it’s not only OK to care about their appearance, but to do something about it. And over the decades, Just For Men has been innovating and refining hair care solutions that make it easy for men to achieve the natural look that lets them feel their best. And as their portfolio has expanded to include beard care and hair regrowth (and more to come), it was time to reinforce the brand’s leadership role in the men’s grooming conversation it started in 1987.

 

Be The Better Man stems from the idea that it takes a good man to know he can always be a little better. The notion applies to both their daily grooming routine and the way they go about their lives. We are calling on guys everywhere to take the small steps needed to look their best—and do the little things that make the lives of those around them, well, better.

 

02_JFM_PREP TALK_15_script B_ Cut03B_Conform_WIP (1).00_00_33_08.Still005

The campaign launched on CBS NFL Game Day this past Sunday. With the broadcast buy comes a fully integrated brand push. It started with a re-imagined website, email and social channels and will continue with an omni-channel paid media campaign within outdoor and digital. We’ll be on TV screens and in locker rooms at the hottest gyms in our key markets. Digital will focus on partnering with the web’s leading experts on grooming (GQ), dating (Match), business travel (Conde Nast Traveller), and parenting (Fatherly) through custom content and ambassador/influencer programs to reinforce the message of being better in all aspects of life. We’ll ultimately push product via direct-to-consumer tactics within programmatic and social channels through efficient reach and continuous frequency in the Better Man messaging against our male audience.

 

Check out the following coverage to learn more about the campaign:

Ad Age

MarketWatch

Marketing Dive 

Marketing Communications News

 

October 4, 2018

Beyond Personas: Creating Customer Doppelgangers

 

BlogPost#1

Dear smart marketers: it’s time to start dabbling in doppelgängers.

 

What does this mean, exactly? It means the future of substantial and effective consumer understanding relies on the intersection of behavioral analysis and Consumer Identity Strategy (CIS).

 

Although consumer research has always been a crucial component of advertising, CIS is a new, more comprehensive level of consumer research. Through CIS, brands establish an authentic and evolving portrait of a consumer and their purchasing journey informed through persistent evaluation of online and offline behavior coupled with demographics and psychographics.

 

By developing an identity strategy that layers behavioral data onto more traditional methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis, brands are able to truly identify their consumer.

 

Discovering how, when and where a consumer shops, seeing what brands are stealing closet or cart space, and understanding how customers connect on social channels — brands can even see how their customers behave when they aren’t shopping.

 

In essence, brands don’t just build personas, but create doppelgängers of their customers through Big Data.

 

It’s the creation of these doppelgängers that enable brands to attain a comprehensive understanding of how their consumers act, live and behave. With this knowledge, brands can make viable predictions of how particular consumers will shop and act based on similar consumers. This doppelgänger approach can even be applied to the smallest business all the way up through the big leagues. Even in big league baseball.

 

At age 32, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hit a career-threatening slump. But Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com used doppelgängers to refute the conventional wisdom that Ortiz was washed up.

 

>> Interested in taking a swing at the details of Big Papi’s doppelgängers? Download our white paper now to learn more.

 

Ortiz ultimately shook his slump and improved his game, just as Silver’s doppelgänger data suggested. With the right amount of the right data, brands can build more effective and accurate personas. They can design strategies to reach and serve their customers not only with the right messaging, but also the right timing and cadence.

 

Using behavioral data to create a consumer identity strategy is no longer for the Amazons, Walmarts and Googles of the world. It’s for every brand that has a physical, digital and mobile presence in their industry. Brands that don’t focus their marketing dollars on consumer identity strategies immediately will find themselves playing catch-up in the years to come.

 

Now is your chance to step up to the plate and make bold business moves. Get a deeper look into the power of behavioral analysis and AMP Agency here by downloading the white paper, or visit AMP’s website: www.ampagency.com.

October 1, 2018

Big Data's Impact on Consumer Research and Strategy

Customer Identity Strategy Blog Post

When it comes to the dynamic nature of marketing and advertising climates, stagnancy is rarely recommended.

 

That’s why it may seem unfathomable that consumer research tactics have seldom adapted since the folks at Arm & Hammer discovered that their customers were putting baking soda in their refrigerators to keep them fresh.

 

But now, marketers are no longer confined to surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Consumer research is finally following the lead of Arm & Hammer’s customers and freshening things up big-time.

 

Data scientists and smart data-led marketers today are creating methods that improve and expand upon the insights coming from traditional qualitative and quantitative research. As a result, consumer research as a whole is embracing a new wave of audience understanding thanks to the help of Big Data.

 

That’s right — Big Data just so happens to be the next big thing for consumer research.

 

By layering in Big Data, brands can develop a comprehensive Consumer Identity Strategy (CIS): an authentic and evolving portrait of a consumer and their purchasing journey informed through persistent evaluation of online and offline behavior coupled with demographics and psychographics.

 

The idea of observing people’s actions, habits and behaviors may not seem all that groundbreaking. But being able to observe consumers at scale and use data models based on behavior is, in fact, disruptive for marketers and is rapidly becoming the core of every identity strategy.

 

By augmenting self-reported surveys, behavioral data analysis builds a picture of a consumer based on their actual behaviors. These behaviors can range from what they purchase online and offline to behaviors as specific as what time of day they like to shop or how often they actually go to the gym.

 

To see how Big Data and CIS play out in real-life scenarios, just look at Netflix — a company who learned early on in its life cycle that actions speak much louder than words.

 

 

>> Read more about how this streaming giant succeeded in using Big Data-driven consumer identity strategy by downloading our complete white paper here.

 

 

Netflix grew their business by using behavioral data that showed true consumer behavior. On top of that, this data helps reveal counterintuitive results that may go against what society or individuals believe to be true.

 

When this behavioral data is layered onto more traditional methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis, brands are then able to truly identify their consumer in ways traditional research methods had not made possible before Big Data came into play.

 

Now’s the time to be bold and lead with the best tools available.Get a deeper look into the power of behavioral analysis and AMP Agency here by downloading the white paper, or visit AMP’s website: www.ampagency.com.

August 9, 2018

Unexpected Takeaways From the Ad Club's CMO Breakfast with JCPenney

“Stylish women love JCPenney. Some of them just don’t know it yet.”

 

Like I had, you might be thinking, “Really now? Coming from a brand with a decades-old value first reputation?” Yes, really. Bear with me on this because I wasn’t buying it at first either, but there’s something fascinating here.

 

My expectations weren’t exactly clear walking into the AdClub CMO breakfast featuring Marci Grebstein, JCPenney’s recently appointed Chief Marketing Officer. In fact, I hadn’t heard much about JCPenney in recent advertising news at all. So, as I settled into my seat in the Google auditorium, I carried my perception of JCPenney as being an outdated brand with me. What followed in the next 60 minutes of Marci’s presentation radically shifted that perception, and propelled me into a state of furious notetaking.

Expectations: 0. Marci: 1.

As Marci spoke, my previous perceptions were countered by a surprising portrait of a progressive brand that has altered its messaging to meet the the modern American mom where she actually is, not where the rest of the world expects her to be.

 

How did JCPenney break from an old brand perception and arrive at their new strategic positioning? With Marci’s lead, the company invested in what many brands have yet to: critical brand perception research and journey mapping. They put in the work to better understand the modern American mom, their bullseye audience. The result? A clear picture of her values that transcend just standard demographics alone—

 

  • Convenience: She’s a working mom who doesn’t have a ton of time.
  • Family: She puts extra emphasis on family - her real family, work family, friend family. She loves spending time with them, especially when shopping.
  • Price: She’s on a tight budget, so finding style for less is important.

These newly pinpointed values exposed a critical insight that ultimately drove JCPenney’s brand repositioning: The modern American mom wants to find value without sacrificing style.

 

When you think of value forward, you might think Walmart or Kohl’s. When you think of style forward, you might think Nordstrom or Macy’s. To meet this mom where she is, JCPenney repositioned itself to exist at the intersection of both. This opportunistic white space was the driving force for a major shift in marketing communications—breaking from the old “Get your Penney’s worth” tagline, and transitioning to “Style and Value for All”, a nod to their diverse and value-driven audience.

 

JCPenney has since rolled out everything from new brand anthem spots touting their new messaging to fresh fashion, beauty, and influencer partnerships—all of which reflect a diverse range of people and lifestyles, centering on shared American values and family.

 

 

 

I applaud JCPenney’s efforts to get smart about their customer. It can be scary for brands, especially ones with long legacies, to step away from the standard. But JCPenney took these consumer insights as an opportunity to break free from the mold and instead represent who their customers really are—people of all different sizes, cultures, family types, and mindsets.

But wait, there’s more.

Extending beyond a commitment to reflecting their diverse consumer in their advertising, Marci confirmed the brand also puts strong emphasis on diversity in hiring. When I asked if JCPenney works to ensure that the multicultural woman they’re targeting is reflected in their work force and marketing decision makers, Marci met my question with enthusiastic appreciation.

 

She shared that she thinks diverse perspectives inevitably lead to stronger communication strategies—and that giving traditionally underrepresented populations in business a seat at the table is important to her. In support of this, she proudly shared that 60% of JCPenney’s decision makers are women, and growing numbers are racial minorities.

 

I’m of the belief that a sea of sameness yields more of the same. Strategies are elevated by the healthy tensions that diverse perspectives bring. And we need more of that.

 

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The sometimes difficult, but always invaluable self-reflection that JCPenney embarked on with their brand perception and consumer research is something all of us as marketers can learn from while navigating the ever changing consumer landscape.

 

Want to check out Marci’s full presentation and decide for yourself? Watch the full presentation here: http://theadclub.org/cmo/jcpenney/

 


 

This blog post was written by:

Alyssa McBryar, Marketing Manager

Liz Lauzon, Assoc. Business Development Manager

 

July 26, 2018

AMP Boston Launches Sprindrift's First National Marketing Campaign

In early 2018, the AMP Boston Media strategy, buying and planning team was tasked with planning and executing Spindrift’s first national, multimillion dollar campaign with the goal of increasing overall recognition of the brand. In a sea of clear “natural flavors”, Spindrift is the first and only sparkling water in America to be made with real squeezed fruit. I mean, when was the last time you saw a clear raspberry?! On top of that, the fruit used in Spindrift is sourced from local farms and made in small batches so it’s a drink that you can truly feel good about. Flavors include Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange Mango, Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry Lime, Cucumber as well as two newer flavors, Cranberry Raspberry and Half & Half. Yum!

Spindrift_IGpost1

 

The goal of the campaign was to target both male and female sparkling water drinkers and educate them on Spindrift’s real ingredient difference. The media strategy approach was rooted in strong preliminary audience research, determining the best mix of digital and traditional channels to reach this target. The media team did a deep dive into not only the audience’s media habits but also their attitudes toward things like grocery shopping, health and wellness, and overall lifestyle choices. Giving the Spindrift consumer a personality helped us envision where they were on a day to day basis and how they consume media, resulting in a strong, strategically rooted media plan designed to drive business results.

 

The campaign is a multi-channel approach, which launched first w

Spindrift_Print1ith search, social and programmatic display in May and then expanded to Print, OOH and Digital Content partnerships in June and July. The campaign will run for the remainder of 2018, with the majority of the spend condensed in the summer months. OOH units are focused on five key markets – Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. The creative, led by Mistress Agency out of LA, highlights the simplicity of the ingredients in Spindrift and the tag line “yup, that’s it”. Recently, Kristen Bell was tapped to promote Spindrift through a series of videos that are currently being promoted through programmatic, YouTube, paid social and our direct content partnerships. When Kristen is a superfan of the brand, you know it must be good! 

Check out the following coverage to learn more about the campaign:

 

https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/322201/spindrift-launches-first-national-ad-campaign.html

 

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/07/11/superfan-kristen-bell-touts-spindrift-sparkling-waters-first-national-campaign

 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/spindrift-sparkling-water-taps-kristen-bell-to-launch-first-national-campaign-300678950.html

 

https://marketingindustrynews.com/2018/07/11/superfan-kristen-bell-touts-spindrift-sparkling-waters-in-first-national-campaign/

 

Happy reading and grab yourself a delicious Spindrift – real squeezed fruit and sparkling water, yup that’s it!

March 29, 2018

Don’t Tell the Media: Retail is Alive and Well

It’s rare to go a full day without reading a headline in your email inbox or on a news site highlighting the rapid demise of the retail industry. Many brands that have become household names are undergoing massive business restructuring or shuttering their doors altogether. Shopping malls that once served as go-to destinations for many communities are experiencing increasing vacancies. The perception largely driven by the media is that brick and mortar retail is a sinking ship, but what is the reality? Deloitte set out on a nearly year-long study to better understand the state of retail as it stands today and the driving forces behind recent changes. And what did they find? The silver lining.

 

Despite the onslaught of negative press, retail is still growing and in many places, thriving. Backed by a stable and growing economy, consumer confidence is at an all time high. Experts predict that in the next five years, online sales will grow 11.7 percent annually, and in store sales by 1.7 percent.1 That’s healthy growth across the board.

IBIS World Projected Retail Growth

Deloitte found that a big contributor to the success of brick and mortar stores actually comes down to income. Today, shoppers in lower income brackets prefer to to buy in physical stores. As the wealth gap continues to widen, more and more Americans are losing their discretionary incomes and landing in this low earning bracket. The purchases they make will likely be in person, so brick and mortar stores stand to benefit the most from this change in the distribution of wealth.

 

With this in mind, here are a few marketing priorities to consider:

 

1. Fine tune your customer acquisition strategy

Yes, you know a lot about your customers, but are you investing into the right channels that will lead them (and other audiences who look like them) to make a purchase? As mentioned previously, even details like household income (HHI) play a significant role in the way people shop. Consumers with a low HHI may compare prices online before ultimately going into a nearby store to make a purchase. Your marketing dollars should be aligned with these behaviors. For many brands, it may be time to reevaluate how consumers search, and ultimately buy. Find an agency that can help you understand the unique features of your most profitable audiences, and then identify the right mix of channels to activate them. Small optimizations on the front-end can have a big impact on long-term growth.

 

AMP Agency Customer Journey Mapping


2. Make it easy for consumers to compare prices and find inventory at nearby stores

Eighty-one percent of consumers do online research before making a purchase.2 Whether shoppers are becoming more cost conscious or simply cost aware, the fact is they are more informed than ever before. Retailers should leverage local ads to motivate store visits. Solutions like Google’s Local Inventory Ads and Brand Showcase Ads allow shoppers to quickly locate information on the products they’re looking for as well as their availability in nearby stores. Google also has a feature that allows advertisers to adjust bids for individuals with a certain income range (from the top 10% to the lower 50%), who live within a certain geography. If you’re a multichannel retailer who sells discounted items, you may want to increase bids for searches that originate in an area in the lower 50% household income level. To measure the impact these ads are having on driving purchases in stores, check out Google’s Store Visits tool. Store Visits uses anonymous, aggregated data to measure the number of people who click or view ads and later visit a store.

 

3. Build superior storefront shopping experiences

The digital and physical shopping experience shouldn’t be planned in silos, rather they should be developed as a consistent end-to-end experience. Forty-two percent of in-store shoppers search for more information while in a physical store3 and savvy retailers like Sephora are combining digital elements into their physical stores to make it easy for shoppers to explore, find and purchase the products that are right for them. Discount retailers like Marshalls are making the physical shopping experience more social by encouraging store visitors to share their unique finds with their social networks using the hashtag #marshallssurprise.

 

Marshalls Surprise


4. Leverage partnerships to grow awareness and sales

Brands and retailers often market to the same consumers, so by working together, their power is magnified. With ecommerce set to experience double-digit growth over the next five years, digital co-op investments are a great way for brands to increase their exposure online and drive sales across channels. The right agency can help you identify, manage, and measure the outcomes of these opportunities.

 

While the Retail industry is alive and well, we are seeing a massive shift in the way multichannel retailers operate to meet the changing needs of their consumers. And let’s not count out pure-play e-tailers. Amazon is working hard to turn low income shoppers into loyal customers. Individuals who receive government assistance can qualify for a reduced $5.99 a month Prime membership, and EBT cards can now be used to pay for qualifying groceries. We expect that as brands compete more on price and free shipping becomes more universal, consumers from all income brackets will begin to make more purchases online.

 

As Socrates once said, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

 

Here’s to building the new.

 

You can access a copy of the Deloitte study, The Great Retail Bifurcation, here.

 

1 IBIS World

2 GE Capital

3 Google, Ipsos

 

February 20, 2018

Building the Agency of the Future

AMP WordMark

 

I am thrilled to share some exciting news about AMP. The AMP Agency team has joined forces with  UX focused agency BLITZ and premier experiential marketing and branding firm 206Agency. The three agencies become AMP Agency, and while the name may be the same, we have an evolved look and a national footprint, with five offices and more than 300 employees to build solutions for our partners.  

 

Also joining our team is Adlucent, an industry leader in performance media and analytics who, through their proprietary technologies and methodologies, have launched successful performance campaigns for clients, including many retailers, including Amazon, Wasserstrom, and Gardner’s Supply Company to grow their ecommerce performance. We’re excited to have Adlucent join the AMP family,  operating under their existing brand.

 

What does this mean for our clients?  

 

We believe brands that design better customer experiences lead the world in business performance. While these agencies have been collaborating behind the scenes for a few years, by more fully integrating, our teams have the ability to affect change at “every touch-point” of the customer journey, delivering exceptional brand experience systems – the Holy Grail for CMOs and modern marketers. 

 

Our brand ecosystem agency has offices in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin. Together, we use proprietary data, behavioral analysis and predictive analytics tools to better understand our clients’ audiences and drive business results through creative marketing solutions.

 

I’m humbled by the incredible team at AMP Agency. 300+ happy AMPers, digital natives and global thinkers who are passionate – and yes, maybe a bit obsessive – about the work we create every day for clients like Amazon, Facebook, Fisker Inc., Garnier Fructis, Levi’s, LinkedIn, Maybelline, Southwest Airlines and Patagonia.

 

With a rapidly changing technology landscape and connected consumers’ demands for more personalized products and services, there is no question the pressure is on modern marketers who must continually evolve. I am confident our team of number-crunchers, strategists, analysts, geeks and creatives can deliver on this mandate, building solutions across the entire brand ecosystem, connecting people and brands in more meaningful ways that grow businesses.

 

We look forward to tackling your most complicated marketing and technology problems and creating solutions that move business forward.

 

Gary Colen

CEO, AMP Agency

 

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October 18, 2017

An Easy Guide to Discovering Content Ideas

Two of my favorite things, outside of my wife and daughter (of course), are 1) beer and 2) creating content from high volume keywords. I can hear you saying, “Really, Greg?” and I would say, “Yes, really.” So, what a better blog topic that combines these two and gives some tips for creating content that people actually want to read?

You might have guessed, but I’m a beer snob. I used to be ashamed to admit that because I hate being trendy, but I can’t hide the fact that 2017 is the height of craft beer mania. Check out how the term “craft beer” has trended since 2004 according to Google Trends. Craft beer may as well be Taylor Swift, pointy fake nails, Herschel bags, or one of those undercut haircuts with a tiny ponytail on top.*

*For the record, I’m currently drinking a Lamplighter Stardust IPA brewed with Simcoe, Summit, and Amarillo hops. I love Lamplighter Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Lamplighter employees: Hit me up to coordinate my free cases).

Cool chart, huh? It's free courtesy of the Googs' Trend tool. You can get a graph on anything you want there.

Let’s imagine I came up with the really unoriginal idea to start a beer blog. For the sake of this blog, let’s assume I want to be a source of education for beer newbies. So, where do I start? I can hear you saying, “Greg, it must be really overwhelming to figure out what to write about, right?” And I would say, “Wrong.”

With the right (mostly free tools) and a little bit of SEO know-how, you can figure out exactly what you should be writing about and how to drive traffic to your site over time. The best part is - it’s all based on real data and what people really want.

I bet a lot of beer newbies see a porter and a stout as being similar. Looking at Google Keyword Planner, we can see that “porter vs stout” gets 5400 searches per month. BAM! I’ve written my first article entitled “What is the Difference Between and Porter and a Stout?” For those of you who aren’t aware, Google Keyword Planner is linked to an existing Adwords account. If an Adwords account doesn’t exist, there’s a great free keyword research tool through “The Hoth.”

When should I write this article? In the chart below, it looks like search interest around the term “stout” peaks in the cool/cold weather months - not surprising since a stout is a hearty beer. It’s also not a surprise that searches peak around St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness is a stout and it’s one of the most famous Irish beers. With this knowledge, I’ll likely publish my article in the fall, and then maybe I’ll do another feature on stouts around St. Patrick’s Day. BAM! Who am I? Emeril Lagasse? Punch me…

Ok, so now my mind is working. What about summer beers? I see a lot of people drinking shandy-style beers in the summer. Since I actually have no idea what a shandy is, I’m going to Google “shandy” now. Based on Google’s “Auto Complete,” many other people have the same curiosity as I do:

 

Based on this tip, I confirm that many people are curious to know what a shandy is. After doing some keyword research, I see that 1600 people per month type in the exact query “what is a shandy?” Sweet.  Check out the shandy search trends below. There’s no surprise that queries around “shandy” peak in the summer since it is a light, fruity, and refreshing beer.

Search data is great and all, but what is actually resonating with the public? What have people been sharing over the past year? Using BuzzSumo (which just got acquired by Brandwatch), we can see the most shared content pieces pertaining to a given topic over a preselected period of time. I love using this tool to understand the types of content that actually resonates with the public. Check out the results below for the query “craft beer.”

An article entitled “IPAs Are Giving You Man Boobs” was shared over 93K times. This list has some great inspirations for fun and lifestyle content that I can add to my blog. Most importantly, I’m currently rubbing my chest and thinking that I might need to go to the gym.

TLDR: Use keyword data to discover and create awesome content.

  1. Google Trends to see popular searches
  2. Google Keyword Planner to see the volume of searches for particular keywords
  3. BuzzSumo to see what’s being shared in social
October 2, 2017

Pin It To Win It

Advertising on social platforms can be a great way to get your message out, but as many of us know, creating compelling content that doesn’t necessarily feel like an ad is a really tough balance to strike. Enter Pinterest’s new Pin Collective, a team of creatives that you can hire to create ads in less than 10 days.

Pinterest’s paid adoptions have been around for several years under Promoted Pins. What makes them unique is that they have designed Promoted Pins to flow in with organic content smoothly, making the viewing experience for the consumer much more pleasurable. How many times have you been scrolling through your feed and come across a jarring image that is clearly an ad? I don’t know about you, but I find that really annoying. Pinterest solves that by making the separation between organic and paid content much more subtle.

This approach is paying off. According to Pinterest, advertisers who use Promoted Pins receive an average of 20% more clicks in a month after launching a Promoted Pin.

And now, with their Pin Collective self-serve platform, marketers can use a team of content creators to make super appealing Pin ad imagery in as little as 10 days. Easy, breezy, lemon squeezy.

Let’s take a peek at some pristine pinners who are doing a great job using promoted pins. (Are these puns too much or am I pinning at this pun game?)

  1. Target

 

Not only does Target do a stand-up job at promoting its merchandise, it also showcases its products in a lifestyle setting.

2. Chobani

 

So, maybe Chobani doesn’t have a catalog of ‘perfectly pinnable products’ like Target, but they do have a cool Pinterest page packed with wellness tips, recipes, general information and inspirational quotes. Chobani is a perfect example of a brand that understands their customer base and plans their pins accordingly.

3. L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean’s Pinterest board does a fantastic job highlighting their ‘nature enthusiast’ brand with their outdoor, dog and flannel packed board.  Their paid product ads flow seamlessly into the other lifestyle imagery, inspiring viewers to get into nature wearing L.L. Bean clothes

The message is clear: Pinterest paid posts are a great tool for marketers to promote their content in a subtle and effective manner.

 

September 28, 2017

Toys R Us Is Bankrupt. Have Toys Lost Their Magic?

“Kids these days,” they say. Television viewership is declining, iPads are tethered to their grip, and Toys R Us just filed for bankruptcy. What happened to strolling through aisles of baby dolls, or turning on the TV immediately after school to see the hottest Nerf blaster during commercial breaks? Both the shopping and media consumption landscapes are shifting – and toy manufacturers have to act fast. With the rise of kids’ digital obsession, imagine trying to sell both classic and innovative toys, when the actual purchaser is mom and dad (who likely only found entertainment out of Tonka trucks growing up).

As suave digital marketers, we need to stay ahead of the game to prepare for these sorts of shifts in digital consumption by challenging current media investment – getting in-front of both kids and parents alike. Toys R Us’ bankruptcy doesn’t actually signal lower toy sales – toy sales were up last holiday season – and are expected to increase this year. With our toy-manufacturing client, AMP acted on evolving consumer purchase behavior and kept an eye on developing ad-tech, as consumers became more reliant on e-commerce sites to research, price compare, and purchase toys year-round. AMP’s Media team has transitioned from a purely Paid Search capability to one extending to managing product display ads on retail e-commerce websites.

The reality is that there’s a substantial decline in foot-traffic to stores during the holidays, which is where a lot of shopping inspiration used to take place. Why rely on the perspective of an 18-year-old sales clerk, when you can read 25+ reviews across any retail site at your fingertips? To capitalize on the growing reliance on e-commerce sites, we partnered with Criteo and Amazon Marketing Services to push inventory for specific products and gain visibility on retail sites throughout the consumer’s online journey. Best of all, we’re then able to analyze and attribute data at the product level, and pinpoint trends in both research and purchase behavior.

Through these e-Commerce vessels, we’ve been able think fast for toys and games seeing the most success with real-time data – proactively shifting investment throughout the holidays to result in the strongest return during the most competitive season. Due to the success of this investment, budget has doubled YoY and driven over $30M in Sales last holiday season. This kind of success doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a constantly evolving test and learn process. We’ve conquested viral trends (think fidget spinners), tested any and every beta to get our client(s) first to market, and cranked up investment during Thanksgiving week resulting in 70% more Sales YoY.

Although it seems like toy retail giants are struggling and 5-year-olds will one day digitally outsmart you, one thing remains the same: the magic of toys will always be in demand.

 

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