Brand Marketing in Today’s World

In recent times, there has been a shift from product planning to brand management. Well, this is because consumers buy brands and not products; it is not possible to form a mental association with a product. Every organization wants to have a good brand because the concept of branding as a strategic asset seems to have permeated the business world. Brand Marketing

When people hear the word “brand”, it is often synonymous with words like “company name”, “slogan”, “logo”, “distinct mark” and so much more. In today’s world, branding encompasses all these and so much more and goes to show how important it really is; from your logo to your phone answering skills to your complaints handling system to associations with your staff. It provides answers to who you are as a business, your target customers, the problem you intend to solve and what makes you different from others. The idea behind branding is firmly rooting the mindset that you are the sole provider of the solution your customers need to a particular problem they have and not just getting them to select you above others.

Branding As a Strategic Asset

With so many definitions and arguments as to what branding entails and what it does not, the common ground they all stand firmly on is the recognition of a brand as a strategic asset. This is because your typical product has a life cycle that will definitely have a downward slope into product decline. Now, on the other hand, a brand lives longer than a product which is why it is highly essential and necessary.

The relationship between products and brands can be likened to a complimentary one. Products are just “products” but the infusion of value, saliency, differentiability, trust, and dependability turns your product into a brand. Branding makes your offering valuable and raises it above competing products. A brand is that name that will always ring a bell even in your subconscious, influencing the choices of consumers.

There is a particular quote from Scott Goodson I stumbled on during my research and I think it aptly summarizes the content of this section. “No one cares about your brand. It is not important. It is not invited anywhere but to your company picnic. That is unless you can make the brand relevant to people’s lives. To the way they understand things…No one cares about your brand unless you find a way to speak to why you care about it”.

“A bit harsh”, you may say, but true! This is the reason why promising brands often lose their hold on the market and fall in so short a time. Do you want to turn your brand into a strategic asset? Continually and consistently make your brand a name that solves people’s problem and is relevant to their lives. As e-commerce store owners, the moment you lose focus of this is the moment you start a rocky decline, and it will be difficult to head back up again.Brand Marketing

Importance of Branding

The brand is what remains in the minds of the consumer even after your product has been used, turning customers and employees alike into loyal ambassadors. This should give you an inkling of how important branding is.

The result of branding is loyalty which is not easily gotten except through continuous innovation, quality product and service offerings and a dedication to surpassing customers’ expectations. Every successful product out on the market is being backed up by a trustworthy brand. The recognition that branding offers increases confidence in the brand and provides positive associations with the brand; effectively differentiating yours from zillions out there.

Through branding, customers can have a connection to your business. The elements, words, signs, creativity, color among others make it easy for customers to have a mental picture of your company in their minds. On the other hand, branding provides a direction for your employees, who are the point of contact between your business and your customers. A clear branding strategy points the direction your business is headed and informs the way they act and how hard they work to meet company’s goals and objectives.

A good brand creates a ripple-buzz effect. We all know people love to tell stories about their experiences. Customers wear brands, drink brands, and listen to brands and basically have relationships with brands that occupy a space in their mind. It is easier telling people about the brands they love; hence, converting prospects into buyers, generating referrals and creating free unpaid buzz and referrals.

Investors do not invest in products; they invest in brands because of the goodwill and business credibility a strategic tool like branding affords.

Figuring Out Your Brand Identity

Don’t get all confused when you hear terms like “brand identity” and “brand personality”. Your brand identity should be infused into your brand personality and should clearly communicate one message. In simple words, they should work hand in hand. While a brand identity includes all forms of communication and visuals like colors, logos, symbols amongst others attributed to your company; brand personality encompasses all emotional and associative characteristics connected to a company

Make no mistake about this; no brand personality is better than another. You just have to apply consistency. It does not matter the size of your company, brand personality can apply to anyone with a web presence and effectively harnessing this is a way of building your brand.

Your brand identity is seen as who you are as a brand and what you are bringing to the table for your customers. I admit, it sounds easy but it is so serious that once a brand misses it, the result can be quite devastating.

You need to figure out your brand identity because it is an important key to growing your business. I mean, it is basically what your business stands for, it influences to a great extent how customers perceive you as a brand. The first step is to look at others in your chosen niche and be attentive to what they are communicating about themselves.

These times are highly competitive. There is need to study your competition and leverage on the weaknesses observed so you have strong points to convince your customers that they should trust you are doing it better than they can get elsewhere. Doing this will help you have an idea on how to create a structure that matches your needs and will take your business to greater heights.

You need to clearly state your core values and make it evident in your actions. You need to set standards on which your business will be run. Even as a store owner, you are a customer, so you need to deliver what you expect to receive.Brand Marketing

Popular Digital Marketing Channels To Grow Your Brand

With technology changing like the speed of light, there is need to be proactive and stay on top of your game if you are to survive in competitive times like this. Today’s customers are actually much more demanding than before; they want real engagement that is convenient and modern. That is where digital channels come into play, helping a brand achieve reach on a global scale in real-time scaling trough boundaries presented by the traditional means.

Digital channels include an email campaign, Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Vimeo amongst others; some of which will be discussed below.

For e-commerce business owners looking to generate traffic to their site and increasing sales, Google AdWords is a tool that can help you achieve results. Contained within this platform include tools and features that offers personalization and proper targeting of your advertisement to the right customers who need it at the time they need it. Some would even argue that it is more result-oriented than the Search engine optimization.

Some research conducted suggests that your website is the electronic gate of your brand. However, a website should not be used in isolation; it requires consistent marketing efforts like search engine optimization, social media amongst others to complement efforts. Websites suggest the credibility of a brand to customers.

If you are internet-savvy, you cannot deny the immense benefits of search engine optimization (SEO) in boosting your brand through the use of activities like organic link building, on-page, and off-page optimization and so on. This can be outsourced as it will help increase your online visibility and help you rank higher in customers’ search results. Affiliate marketing strategy is a strategy that can increase traffic to your site by the actions of a third party with the payment of certain percentages in commission for every sale obtained.

You can also explore online public relations which helps give your brand exposure in public relations that are online. It is free to join for some while for others; you pay subscription fees before you can publish press releases about your product or service.

If you haven’t incorporated email marketing into your top digital channels, you should re-evaluate your list again! Research has shown that emails are a more preferred option to social media channels as a result of the effectiveness of its customer target, often indicated by customers signing up newsletters or supplying their contact details in surveys and so on. Contrary to the popular belief that it is outdated, it really isn’t and you can pass your message across with low costs per lead. So, don’t just send emails, do more justice to it by advertising your brand with it!

Everyone is getting their social media game on, evidenced by the increase in smartphone usage. Little wonder why it is an important digital channel to expand your reach and target people of all ages, sizes, denominations, connected together by social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Snapchat amongst others. Why wouldn’t it be? Setting up company profile is free and easy to navigate.

There is need to create attention-grabbing contents and maximize social presence on these social media platforms to engage customers, create awareness and drive traffic to your site. In recent times, there has been an increase in the demand for videos as opposed to pictures, hence video marketing. While a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million stories. With faster internet solutions and increase in live streaming, video marketing can engage your customers and deliver your messages clearly with demonstrations.

The features of these platforms can be optimized to communicate to prospects that have higher chances of being converted to customers.

Using Digital Marketing Channels to Grow Customer Engagement

Before you get frustrated at the failures of your digital channels at achieving desired results, hold on a little bit. You have to be effective at these channels and doing so requires paying attention to certain areas in order to be more effective.

Who are my customers? You need to know your customers before you can select the best digital channel for your marketing activities. It will be a total waste of time channeling marketing efforts to the right customers through the wrong media. The goal here is meaningful interaction with your customers and how best it can be achieved.

How do I select the right digital channel? It is highly necessary to select the best channels that will help you achieve your goals. There is a need for a proper review of the performance of previous channels used against returns. Getting it right is crucial.

To do this, you must properly define the goals you want to achieve via the use of digital marketing channels which could be brand awareness, sales and lead generation, traffic generation amongst others.  Your budget should be considered as well as the personnel you have on the ground and their competencies which might differ. You can carry out tests on your selected channels within a time frame to know which is most effective to allocate costs more efficiently.

The beauty of digital marketing channels is the swift response it affords, making communication easier. The success of communication is not in the talking but also in the listening; it is a two-sided experience. How well do you listen to your customers? You need to engage customers on your digital marketing channels, listen to their needs and take their feedback into consideration; building lasting relationships with them.

How well do I personalize my offerings? As e-commerce store owners, the increase in technology brings with it ease in personalizing your messages on any digital marketing platform you decide to use. With personalization, your message stands out from the crowd and makes the customers feel special.

Building Your Brand: What to Do?

Of course, we know that Rome was not built in a day. Just in the same way, brands do not become well-known brands in a day. It requires hard work to infuse all the qualities and features that make a brand stand out from the crowd of competing brands out there. And this number keeps growing every single day!

What then can you as e-commerce store owners do to build a brand that will stand the test of time?

First of all, there is a need for you to identify your target customers. This will help you package your offerings and tailor it to their specific needs in a way that will surpass their expectations. You need to know them like the back of your hands; know what makes them tick! This includes details of their demographics, their best touch points and the problem of you can solve for them.

Never underestimate the power of content in your marketing campaigns, be it physical channels or online channels. Contents are informative and can be seen as the fuel that drives your marketing effort. Contents help to build brands; hence a content strategy must be mapped out in order to inspire a purchase action.

A well-crafted and attention-grabbing content will be useless if it is not consumed and this is where your digital marketing channels come in. You need to select the channels you can maintain presence and visibility effectively. Doing this means selecting the channels where your target audiences spend most of their time. Of course, consistency has to be applied here in order to build confidence and trust.

As a store owner, you should have indexes to check if your branding efforts are working and producing results. When you have outlined desired outcomes you expect, it is easier knowing if you are headed in the right direction. Do you need more leads? Do you need more awareness? If you have increased followers on your social media channels, for instance, it means your goal of increased awareness is being fulfilled. Furthermore, activities that increase traffic to your site can be monitored and tracked through Google Analytics.

Building your brand entails ensuring your company is people’s go-to for their needs. You can evaluate your brand by addressing questions on the uniqueness of offerings, customer values promised, connection to the target audience, ease in understanding contents as well as the satisfaction element. Answering questions on each of these and more will go a long way in building and develop your brand. Of course, if the answers are in the negative, you need to go back to your blueprints and make adjustments to turn the negatives into positives.

Conclusion

The only constant is that times are changing and diversity in marketing is your best bet to achieve your goals. Customers are not just buying products; they want to be associated with brands that are value-oriented and will deliver on their promises. Hence, you have to strive to deliver on your brand promises and create experiences for the consumers in a way that makes a customer unashamedly share those experiences. For example, Apple has perfected this and turned their customers into Apple-fanatics.

There is a need for your brand and business to maintain a very strong online presence to help you stay competitive and expand reach across different people. With digital marketing channels, there are new opportunities being created which would not be possible with the traditional channels. It is in your hands to utilize these opportunities by carefully selecting the channel(s) that will best suit your purpose. Some of these digital marketing channels will be applicable to your business while some will not be. Brand Marketing

The best approach for a digital marketing campaign will be a combination of the channels in order to supplement the weakness of one with the strength of another as opposed to complete dependency on only one channel for your desired results. Brand Marketing

Finally, for you to be successful as a business owner, you have to recognize and understand the importance of branding and make it work to your advantage. Your visual image, marketing materials, advertising and packaging designs and overall web presence should be done with consistency in mind. Remember, your brand is the face of your business to the world. Without consistency, you create different faces and no particular one will stick to their mind.

9 Benefits of Centralizing Product Content for Your Entire Organization

We hear a lot about product content but what does it really mean? When you talk about product content, it encompasses every written and audiovisual material that gives information about your product offering. Yes, including your business documents, texts, imagery, technical manuals and a wide range of other business tools that communicate a uniform message about your product and services.

Product content is a must for any e-commerce business. This is because it is the first point of contact your customers might have with your brand. When customers cannot physically handle the products you have to offer, they naturally depend on the product content you provide as a brand. If they are not satisfied with what they read or see, there becomes an uncertainty in going ahead with the purchase decision.

Now, we move on to the next thing; centralizing your product content! It is a known fact that every organization that strives to be productive must be able to manage and store data for information spread. Furthermore, communication is very important in order to create a unified message. By unified, I mean a message that speaks the same language to everyone such that it is easily recognizable and can occupy a distinct place in the minds of the consumers.

Centralization refers to a central location where information can be collected, stored and maintained that can be accessed from numerous points. Centralizing your product content helps you move at the speed of your shopper. Anytime a customer goes online in search for information about your brand, you have the ability to respond to them immediately from a well of content that gives them amazing digital experiences and builds their loyalty in your brand.

Decentralizing your product content can lead to data inconsistencies which could relate different messages to your consumers. Can you imagine your product content everywhere, pointing in different directions and telling different stories? I bet you know the resultant effect! This is why there is need to centralize your product content across your entire organization.

The importance of information cannot be overemphasized. This is because customers today are in complete control of what they filter and messages that do not benefit them in any way are shelved out the door. Product content that is highly consistent, valuable and relevant can be used to build a relationship with your customers as a brand. This is where centralizing your product content comes in as it fulfills the criteria necessary for building your brand.

Benefits of centralizing your product content

Every consumer expects to be given quality information about the products and services of a brand in order to make an informed purchase decision. This includes information about the shape, size, condition, manufacturing information, and 360-degree high-resolution image of the product, accessories, specifications, usage, ratings, reviews and dimensions among others. There is a need for a centralized data location to source all information needs.

We can talk about centralizing your product content throughout the course of this article. But why save the best for last? With all the information shoved down your throat about centralizing product content, I bet the important question on your lips is “how does this benefit my business?”

There are many benefits that you are sure to enjoy as a brand when you centralize your product content. For this article, however, nine of them will be extensively covered.

Benefit 1: All data is fresh

The goal of every data management is data integrity. What other means of achieving this than through centralizing your product content? Within a centralized database, no same information is expected to be repeated. This means that everyday fresh data gets updated to the existing database.

Centralized product content provides a clear guide to marketing efforts and serves as a roadmap for other departments to follow and incorporate their practices with. I cannot emphasize how redundant files can be a real thorn in the growth of a company.

Let us analyze this scenario objectively; person A and person B both work for the same firm. Imagine that these two persons are separated by a continent or state and they work on a particular spreadsheet, separately of course. The end result is dual copies of the same file with different versions, some of which may not be accurate or recent and this can be confusing to other employees accessing it. Do not get me started on the time or resources wasted!

With centralization, data is new as reports can be developed across a wide range of business activities and updated in the central database. Furthermore, time will be used to create more accurate versions of existing information rather than duplicating information that is already in existence.

Benefit 2: Only one place to go

You will agree with me that it can be quite a hassle to search through emails, drop boxes and files just to find the accurate information about a product. This process of looking for product data that is up to date can consume time, which is a strategic tool that is never in excess. Once lost, it can never be regained.  The worst part of it being that you can never be a hundred percent sure the source of your content is accurate enough for consumption.

With the centralization of your product content, all your product content can be accessed from a single location and used by many people at the same time. Basically, there is only one place to go. This goes a long way to assure customers of their choice to come to you and creates the right information to enable them feel confident buying from you.

When all your product content is stored in a central place, whether your product data or a general marketing data, it makes it possible for you as a brand to see your entire picture and answer any tough question or inquiries from your customer.

Benefit 3: Saves time finding data

  • Centralizing your product content for the entire organization truly does save time. This is because all product information needed by various departments can be retrieved from one source. Your data is a critical asset to your business; hence it should be treated with the care it absolutely deserves.
  • Through centralization, a much more comprehensive view of your product data is obtained from a single source of truth. This goes a long way in saving time that would have been spent poring through different information sources scattered around. Data can also be properly analyzed when it is centralized, making it more useful for the use of various departments in your organization.

Contents can be easily created and uploaded to the central database where partners, employees and marketers alike can easily access the information. The greatest thing is that this product content will be created according to the brand identity for the use of interested stakeholders.

The process of maintaining product information takes time. It is even more time demanding when your product content database is dependent on multiple sources. Wouldn’t it be far better, time-saving and profitable to your entire organization if you could search and update product information without the hurdles and pains multiple sources pose? Of course, it is!Product Content

Benefit 4: Feeds all channels from the same source

Since all channels are fed from the same source, it enables consistency in delivery; thus leading to greater effectiveness and efficiency in the organization. Of course, for content marketing, consistency is a factor that should be enforced in the growth of the organization.

A company can centralize all data collected within a data “warehouse” within which all departments can withdraw information from, uncovering patterns and trends that exist more easily than the individual systems would have uncovered. This is a much better option than storing data in various departments at different locations.

Data can be integrated from all sources into a single centralized data system, from which different sources can feed on. When product content is centralized, the complete picture of the direction of the business is better understood’ showing lapses and how it can be better resolved for the overall growth of the business.

When all channels draw from the same source, it leads to data integrity as data redundancy is completely removed from the equation. Introducing a single point of entry also helps to increase the operational efficiency of a business and saves the cost of data management across different channels.

Benefit 5: Your teams can collaborate

Trust me; you cannot miss the benefits that are sure to be obtained when there is collaboration among the members of your team. When teams collaborate and act in sync, there is bound to be greater synergy which will lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness in the organization.

When product information becomes centralized, it breeds a fertile room for growth as it saves time and reduces duplication of efforts. I will explain further! When teams create content and there is an easy way of sharing, it will help team managers manage their teams better. I mean, having one source for product information makes it easy for one to see recent uploads and make changes where necessary.

When all marketing communications and documents are linked to a central system, it helps you achieve better collaboration among your team members. This is driven by the fact that everyone has access to accurate versions of the information being provided.

Furthermore, many teams now have the opportunity to contribute to the product content; thereby delivering a unique content that is complete, consistent and timely in its entirety, reaching the consumers wherever they are and delivering a unified message about your brand.

The truth is that centralized content is so much easier for your teams to work on with access to authorized persons and readily available data. What is not to love about the ease it presents? You jump the hurdles of managing your team wherever they are by storing your contents in one place, basically helping you stay connected and in touch with your team. And everybody wins!

 Benefit 6: Have the most up-to-date images

Without centralization, your brand will have fragmented images and product videos which will present an overall distorted brand image. You have probably heard the well-used phrase “the only constant thing about change is change itself”. Well, it comes to mind here. With market intelligence influencing product changes and new product additions to meet up with competition, a brand needs to communicate updates to their customers.

With product content centralization affording a brand the flexibility to access all product information from a central location, product image changes can be updated easily.  Customers do not need to search through different locations and sources for their entire product inquiries as every information needed can be seen including product changes.

Quality content includes not only the texts but clear images of the product you are communicating about and it should be captivating enough to generate and sustain the interest of consumers. Having seen that centralization of your product content can increase the quality of your content, recent product images can be uploaded to the central database.

 Benefit 7: Sales reps get access to all data they need easily

When people are able to have access to the exact information they want based on their specific needs, communication has reached an amazing peak. I can only imagine how many newsletters, memos, product updates, industry news and so many others are shoved into the throat of the salesperson. Of course, all these are gotten from multiple sources and tracing them becomes an uphill journey.

The trick is not in the number of information shoveled down but in the ease, this information is consumed. In simple terms, make it easy for the information to be consumed. And what better way, I dare ask, than centralizing all product contents? With the centralization of product content, a salesperson can get access to all data needed easily since it is in a central location. With a centralized library of information, your sales representatives can get access to contents that will be useful to the achievement of their targets. It also becomes go-to for all content that is relevant to the growth of the company as a whole.

Think of it this way; if you make it easy for sales representatives to access all the data they need, you help them gain more insight into the industry you operate in as a brand. This makes them more knowledgeable and better informed. And yes, this impacts positively on their selling and attracts more customers to your brand.

Every sales rep knows that the right content can help enhance their credibility, but for most, there is a problem of not knowing where to source the data needed. Well, your prospective clients can tell someone who is uninformed from their interactions with the person. Equipping them with contents that are easily accessible through centralization puts your sales team in a positive light!

Benefit 8: Increase the quality of your content

The quality of your product content should be such that it uplifts the perception of your brand. There should be a sentiment attached to your products in the minds of your customers from the contents you produce.

When you centralize your product content, it increases its quality and consistency. A piece of content is capable to generate gross amounts of buzz, shares, retweets, likes, comments, and so much more, generating lead which can be converted to business revenue.

Relevant content can be gathered from different sources to enrich the content in your centralized database. With this, you have better control of your content to deliver quality and valuable experiences to your customers, thus increasing traffic and generating sales lead for your brand.

When data is centralized within an organization, it creates the establishment of a data standard which sets the pace for smart business decisions. Centralization increases the quality of your content as it ensures that every piece of product content meets the set standard. One can take a good look at all the content; how each one can fit into the goals and plans of the company and how they can complement each other in the delivery of meaningful and accurate information.

Benefit 9: More easily add new attributes to products and categories

  • Of course, I bet you already have a clue with regards this. With the centralization of product content, you can access all your contents from one location. This means the information presented can be analyzed and features and attributes can be easily updated.
  • The attributes of your product are what makes it unique and stand out on the shelf. When talking about attributes, it encompasses the product size, color, packaging, flavor and other attributes that make it different from other products. Product attributes can be created easily on a single database than on multiple channels, thus facilitating content sharing across various departments in the organization.

Conclusion

Marketing is getting more complex than it was before. Gone are those days when teams critical to the success of the organization were geographically concentrated with different managers working independently to create the product content. With the opposite being the case, there seems to be the challenge of bringing all dispersed teams together to deliver consistent messages to the right people at the right time and through the right channels.

Centralization of product content comes in to bridge the gap. You should not rest on your oars but research on more benefits you can enjoy as a brand in order to make your operations more effective and efficient.

Don’t you just love technology?! With its advent, there are content management systems in place that can be used to manage your product content more effectively. Look at it this way; once information or content is stored, the system can monitor everything that happens to it. Not only does this make your content more secure, it also saves time as one can search contents and retrieve them to make decisions within minutes.

Just in case you did not know, information is also an offering that is a strategic asset to a firm. No matter the products or services you sell, you must give great care to the information you pass across as a brand. This means the delivery of consistent and valuable product content should be given topmost priority.

Product content centralization is really worth the time and investment to implement. The marketing world is a jungle and only the strongest survive. A lot of challenges can be overcome when information is reliable, accurate, timely and more importantly, consistent. Much more positive results can be achieved with available resources when content is created within a centralized platform.

You need to continuously apply innovation in your business practices. As a brand, the same “wow” expression should be felt by your customers. The delivery of consistent product content which delivers superb shopping experience with your brand will go a long way to validate your brand in their mind’s eye.

How to Acquire Lifelong Millennial Customers

The millennial customers, also known as the Generation Y, are people who are born between 1977 and in the early 2000s, according to Phillip Kotler. Of course, there is literature that offers different age brackets, they are not written on stones as the perfect one. Generally, they are, however, applicable to those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

Included within these groups are different age brackets, according to Phillip Kotler and Gary Armstrong. We have the tweens, between the ages ten to twelve; the teens, between the ages thirteen to eighteen and the young adults, between ages nineteen to thirty-three. Different marketing strategies are can be applied to these age brackets to effectively tailor your offerings to satisfy their needs.

These groups of person, directly following Generation X, roam around the world, all connected digitally and present a rich market to any business looking to grow and expand into endless possibilities. Much more than the older generations, these generations are interwoven with digital technology and access to the internet.

This article explores ways by which brands can incorporate the millennial customers into their marketing strategies in a bid to acquire them as loyal ambassadors as these groups of persons are important for the success of the brand.

Millennials 101: Facts you should know about Millennials

Let’s get started!

Without a doubt, the millennial market segment is categorized as being very tech-savvy. They have embraced technology as their way of life and not a trend. I mean, it is as common to them as eating. They grew up along with top-notch technologies and are exposed to the complexities and opportunities they present.

The millennial customers thrive in a socially networked world. This is not shocking to see the increasing millennial customers who are always online; always connected. It is so easy to see millennial customers checking online to see reviews and product information extensively before they conceive buying the product. Presence of mobile technology makes it even easier and convenient to do so.

With zillions of mass marketing messages targeted at the millennial customers and proving abortive in retaining them, they thrive on a two-way communication to keep their attention. This means that companies wishing to engage millennial customers must do so by creating valuable experiences, and ensure that customers are treated special. Hence, customization is the new key to retaining millennial customers by paying attention to their specific needs.

Millennial customers have more appreciation for diversity. This is because the millennial customers are more open to change and can adjust faster than other generations. This is why they appreciate companies that offer customizable features and have an offering for diverse groups of people. It translates to them as there is always something that is for “me and my friends”.

The millennial customers usually make buying decisions based on recommendations or referrals from their friends, family members or even strangers. A millennial will be more prone to buying a product if it was recommended by a peer. I can only imagine the possibilities you will have as a brand if you have a millennial as an advocate.

Did I tell you that these groups have a short attention span? Your typical millennial will pour interest only in things that are intriguing and interesting enough to seize their attention. Hence, you should invest in attention-grabbing content that will be shared with friends across different platforms when developing marketing campaign strategies.

Millennial customers are more emotionally invested in brands than the older generations. They embrace brands that show who they are, their values and their importance in the society. This is why most millennial customers go for brands that reflect their personality and style or the image they wish to portray about themselves.

For the millennials, they wish to interact on a personal level with brands and for their ideas and concerns be listened to. They want personal experiences that will recognize, engage and interest them consistently in exchange for their loyalty. As a brand looking to attract the millennial customers, your communication with them must suggest an in-depth knowledge of their needs as people.

Attracting millennials through your product information

More than any generation, research shows that the millennial customers search for product information online even while in a store before making their buying decision. This is because they have access to portable devices which they use almost all day, comparing prices, features, product reviews, and promotional deals among others about a product offering.

With regards to product information, you can take advantage of the opportunities given by the internet as it can influence the buying decisions of millennials. The truth is that most millennials are likely to share threads and links about their fascination with a particular brand or the experience they have with a brand on their social media pages as well as follow brands they have a relationship with, thereby increasing the visibility of the said brands.

How then do you present your product information in a seductive way that sells all we want to convey?

Remember, your product information must have the capacity to engage, persuade and sell. Of course, when conveying your product information, it must be done in a way that speaks with ease to your target customer market and just makes them want to click “buy” in the shortest time. Visualizing your target market will make your product information more personal and clearer in their mind’s eye.

As much as customers need to know the product features, they prefer to know what is in it for them and the benefits they will personally gain from making use of your product or service offerings. So, before listing all your product specification, make sure they translate into product benefits. And more importantly, get to the point and do not beat around the bush.

Be aware of the tone of your description of your product as it reflects your culture as a brand and creates a strong impression of your brand personality. Imagine you were speaking directly to your customers in real-life, how would you communicate with them? If you have that figured out, communicate the same in your writing.

I cannot stress this enough; make the information you convey about your product easy to skim and read. Some copies I have come across as a millennial trying to make purchases just makes me wonder at the typos seen and utter lack of engagement. It is not enough to jump for joy, having created a copy free of errors; you also need further editing to make sure that your copy is highly engaging and more readable for different classes of people. Use simple words in place of complicated words and make your delivery more specific.

The importance of pictures in your product information for millennials

We live in a visual world where pictures are fast becoming the worldwide language. Still doubting? This is why Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, SnapChat, and Tumblr are the fastest growing social media platforms. The reason is that these platforms make it easy for images to get shared online.

When you use images a lot in your content, it increases your page views. Adding a video makes the views increase more. Research conducted has shown that customers considered the quality of product image important in the selection and purchase of a product. I dare say that your product image is the most important element in your product presentation.

This leads me to emphasize the power of pictures in your content. You will agree with me that animations and pictorial description makes it fun to read and makes you feel like you already use the product, further strengthening customers’ desire to try it. So, go creative and make it colorful and interesting enough to make your customers read your product information fully and not just skim over.

Delivery of quality content on your site

For you to grab the attention of the millennial customers, your content should be intriguing, relevant and authentic. All communication messages and marketing campaigns must be consistent across all online or offline media and should be tailored to reflect their personalities. The tone of your message does matter. Aim for savvy, rebellious, daring, young, modern, trendy, fashionable, fun, energetic instead of arrogant, self-centeredness or sarcastic; as these are qualities that can be identified with their generation.

Millennials trust content that is authentic and created with their interest at hand. Hence, make sure your brand carries out campaigns that are transparent and real. Content marketing is a high necessity here if you want to win millennials over.

The appeal of user-generated content

Well, with everything being said about the millennials, we can all agree that much more than other media forms, they value user-generated content. Building a lasting relationship with them entails ensuring that you deliver rich experiences to be shared with others. The “sharing” capacity is highly important as it creates the feeling of participation.

Times are better today with the mobility of millennial customers affording you the opportunity to reach out at any point in time to create these rich experiences and turn them into loyal ambassadors. The reciprocity principle is usually activated by the user-generated content. I will explain better in the paragraph following this.

You know how I have talked about the millennials thriving on a two-way relationship with brands. Look at it this way; if a brand is one that listens to the feedback of the millennials and uses it to define the direction they go as a brand; it will definitely increase the experience. This increase will, in turn, prompt millennials into creating a positive buzz about the brand and spreading their favorable opinion through social media platforms.

This spread buzz will go a long way to influence the buying decisions of other potential customers. It should be noted that this generated content can also be done in videos as much as written branded content. Research shows that a lot of millennials trust user-generated content as much as product reviews. And it is no surprise to see many brands jumping on the user-generated content (UGC) bandwagon in a bid to acquire millennials as loyal customers.

Exploring the opportunities Twitter ads and Facebook ads can generate

It is no surprise to see that millennials are digital shoppers; preferring to make their purchase decisions from the convenience of their beds. This goes to show that their use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is always on the rise. Social media networks continually add innovative features to their platforms to make sure they keep their customers. Why not use this information to your advantage by targeting them where they do hang out?

Google ads have gained widespread popularity with regards promoting adverts but there are still platforms like Facebook ads and Twitter ads that can be explored as they are the places where the millennials hang out.

According to a survey conducted, about two billion people use Facebook on a monthly basis with people spending one of every five minutes on the application while Twitter has about two hundred and eighty-eight million users. This statistic should give you an inkling of the reach that can be gotten through these social media platforms. Since Millennials have been known to be socially active, Facebook ads are a great way to reach them in their relaxed online communities. Facebook ads appear in the news feed and at the right-hand corner of the desktop.

Twitter as a social medium helps in connecting people from different areas and finding trending news and businesses. Twitter ads can be a veritable tool in your marketing campaigns helping you advertise on the network’s real estate. Your tweets should include images for more engagement using Twitter Cards, which is a unique function Twitter offers. The dashboard and interface of Twitter make it easy to understand, create ads and monitor its effectiveness. It is easier to share on twitter because of its easy-clickable nature.

You can experiment with Twitter because of its ease of use and can be delivered to all mobile users with the option of creating the specific campaign you want to embark on. Campaigns can range from followers, tweet engagements, installs of apps, increased video views, generating leads amongst many others.

It is more expensive advertising on these two media paid ad platforms because of the high demand for advertising space on the media that reduces supply. Facebook ads work with a bidding system influenced by your bidding strategies, goals, competition and target strategies; allowing payment by clicks or by impressions. On the other hand, using Twitter ads is similar to Facebook ads but with a different pricing system. This means that you pay only when users take an action in line with the campaign you are running with Twitter ads.

Other acquisition strategies to attract millennials

Never forget to appeal their sense of adventure. Millennial customers will bend over backward and do everything within their power to look good in front of their peers and set a particular trend. This is why you must appeal to their inner adventurous spirit by packaging your offerings in a way that makes it look unique and adventurous.

The power of customization should never be underestimated and can be a very powerful weapon to capitalize on their spontaneity. Brands should customize their offerings tailored to satisfy differing individual needs of the millennials if they are to acquire them for life.

You need to have powerful content. The quantity of the content is not as important as the quality and its ability to consistently command attention. Brands should create innovative and interesting content that is easily shared among their peers.

As a brand, carry out campaigns that can give the millennials an avenue to make your brand story into theirs by sharing their experiences, giving you a fully engaged customer base in the process. This is because these groups of persons are the last set of persons you expect to swallow the aggressive tactics of traditional media hook, line and sinker. They do not take your advertising messages at face value but will only accept people’s opinions with regards to their experiences when making use of the product.

Looking to attract millennial customers? Key into the incentive bank as incentives have proven to have the power to engage. Referral marketing is one great way to create virality to your marketing effort. According to research, millennial women share an average of 1.17 purchases, getting 3.77 referrals for every social share while their male counterparts get 2.47 referrals for every social share of 1.5purchases made.

Other incentives can be applied include; holding contests, creating loyalty programs to reward committed customers, featuring user-generated content on your media channels amongst others.

Millennials love convenience, so make it easy for them to get your product in the shortest time possible. Their experience, both in-store and offline, must be such that convenience will be guaranteed.

Build relationships with online influencers you know the millennials trust and hold in high regard. This means you should align your brand with media personalities, notable bloggers and vloggers, celebrities, and Instagrammers to have an easy access to their world. Millennials are influenced by peers and the persons they follow on social media. Doing this will also help you as a brand to gain more visibility and popularity.

Conclusion

Today’s millennials thrive and get high off on adventure and excitement. Whenever millennials associate your brand with these top emotions, you have a loyal customer. This means incorporating experiences that are compelling enough to warrant a repeat action and not just selling a product or service offering. Research suggests millennials will rather buy experiences than mere products.

The typical millennial does not remember what it feels like because they are always online. Looking for how to identify them? They are heavy social media users and are usually active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more.

Embrace the innovativeness offered by digital marketing channels and stop over-concentrating efforts on traditional channels. You need to enforce your presence in, within and across all online and offline media types to be fully engaged with the millennials; offering them marketing with a personal touch.

The amount of influence the millennials wield is so strong, especially in sharing experiences had with a particular brand. Give a millennial a bad experience with your brand and news of that singular experience will travel to parts you never knew existed through their social media channel. For example, a tweet has the power to reach millions of customers in a matter of minutes.

As a store owner with an offering to the market, ditch the status quo and embrace strategies that can attract the millennials to your store. They are a huge unexploited market filled with opportunities waiting to be tapped into. This is why different brands are keying into understanding what motivates the millennials and informs their attitudes and behavior; basically, everything that makes them tick!

As much as millennial customers are the in-thing, they do not have patience and they want their complaints settled immediately. The truth is that the purchasing power of millennials will keep on growing for the next decades to come and by capturing them; you are setting your business up for success!

Extended Attributes Aid Product Sales

Every retailer’s goal is to satisfy his customers by giving them a superior shopping experience. This is made possible as a result of having on his store, not only what customers need, but what can easily and specifically be accessed via a quick, direct search. Extended attributes is one strategy that is employed to achieve the retailer’s goal and the customer’s needs.

What are Extended Attributes?

Extended attributes make up the detailed and consistent product information provided by suppliers to retailers. Suppliers follow guidelines as set by some major retailers in providing detailed and relevant product information that goes beyond the basic and physical descriptions commonly seen. Extended attributes meet the need of shoppers who know exactly what they want down to the very last detail and the need of others who take pleasure in making choices from a large array of available products. It helps retailers to give customers a wonderful shopping experience.

How do Extended Attributes give Shoppers a Superior Shopping Experience?

When more detailed product descriptions are given, it is easier for customers to search out a product that fills a specific need of theirs and navigate easily through your site. If for example, a shopper wants to get a shoe, he might find a list of different, available sizes and colors, which is not bad, but trying to implement extended attributes might require picking each color and stating what sizes you have for each of those colors, the material from which the shoe was made, and even the kind of sole it has. This would make it easier for a potential client who types in a specific color and size of shoe to be brought directly to you compared with someone who just has a long list pulled out.

When products have enough information on them, it earns you as a retailer higher traffic as more specific searches take a shopper straight to your site. Instead of simply typing in “long-sleeved shirts”, a shopper might type in “magenta XL long-sleeved shirt”. The first search might bring up a wide range of shirts with long sleeves which would be available in many places but typing in a specific color and size of shirt streamlines the search and if you have the description stated just as typed, the shoppers get directed to you and you stand a better of selling to him or her.

With consistent information available on multiple channels like on mobile phones, a PC, or a physical store, more sales are guaranteed.

Extended attributes also reduce the rate at which goods are returned as customers get to know every little, but relevant detail needed to satisfy the need of your customers. If you tell your clients how far from their shoulder a specific bag falls, what material it is made of, where it was made, and what kind of closure it has, you will be catering to their specific needs and highlighting details that make the product more appealing.

How Extended Attributes affect Suppliers and Retailers

Retailers creating guidelines that suppliers follow in supplying product information breeds consistency. When product classification is consistent, it makes product inventory listing very easy. It also reduces the time spent on editing info as suppliers give only the info requested from them.

Why the need for Extended Attributes?

Sometime before now, there were no set of rules guiding what information suppliers were to give to retailers for customers’ consumption. As such, retailers decide what information to include for the products they offer up for sale. When two retailers offering the same products on their sites describes them differently, shoppers get confused. If you enlist a product as “bags” and it includes purses but was not specified, a shopper in search of purses is certain to not find it. Such clients might thus decide against making an online purchase because they simply can’t find what they are looking for. There thus arose the need for set guidelines that ensure that relevant information is provided by suppliers and that such information is consistently represented across multiple channels. Below are some initiatives collectively put up by some major retailers in conjunction with some organizations to streamline the information provided to clients:

GS1 US Extended Attributes Guideline

The GS1 US extended attributes guideline was created by GS1 US, an organization that creates solutions to business-based problems, in conjunction with major retailers like Macy’s, Walmart, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom. They came up with this particular initiative to streamline the amount of product info made available to consumers, ensuring that the most relevant information is not left out or hidden in a maze of data.

Macy’s, Walmart, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom supported this arrangement by GS1 US and helped in creating the guidelines along with a few other retailers. This GS1 US extended attributes guideline applies to 6 product categories, that is, fashion accessories, beauty, footwear, apparel, jewelry, and home. As a retailer whose products fall into any of these six categories, you can decide to employ this guideline in gathering product information from your suppliers

The GS1 US extended attributes guideline tells clearly what product attributes are most likely to give your potential customers, a great online shopping experience and more sales for you. Suppliers also need to be notified of what extended attributes to supply and are to cooperate with retailers to get maximum benefits.

As a small retail store, using this set guidelines makes your product offering as appealing as those of major retailers because you’ll be offering information based on the same guidelines and stand a chance at appearing before consumers as much as they do.

GS1 US’ standards for most of its merchandise categories are as follows:

  • Where the product was made: suppliers have to indicate a clear statement that shows that a product was made in a particular country. For example, a product could be said to be made in Canada, imported, or both. If some materials used in making the product were imported then it would fall in the “made in Canada and imported” category. If all was gotten within the country, then it’s simply “made in Canada”.
  • Brand name: this is the name by which you as a producer is recognized in your industry and by consumers e.g. Versace
  • Care information: this refers to how consumers are to care for your product after purchase. This information is provided by the manufacturer. For a dress, you might direct that it be washed with warm and not cold water or that it should be washed with soaps, not detergents. It would also be nice to state the reason why. Will it damage the ware in any way? Or alter its components?
  • Item depth and height: this involves measuring how deep and how high a product is without packaging. This is applicable to almost all product categories that GS1 US Extended Attributes Guideline allows for.
  • Item length and width: this refers to how long a particular material is e.g. the length of a gown, a sleeve, a belt, etc., while the width is the measurement of a product from left to right.
  • The number of units in a package: this tells how many of one item is in a pack e.g. 4 pieces of hair bows, 18 piece glass set, 3 pairs of trinkets, and so on.
  • Country of origin: this is required and must be expressed using a 3 character ISO Country Code.
  • Material description: this is where you tell consumers what the product you are selling to them is made of. You can simply highlight the most obvious feature or the feature that is most likely to scratch the itch that your potential clients have e.g silver plated wristwatch with a cigarette lighter. This is very likely to catch the attention not just of individuals who want silver plated wristwatches, but also smokers.
  • Marketing message: this is the part that convinces clients to make a purchase. It gives them strong reasons to buy your product. Your marketing message should state unique benefits and utilize search engine optimization that ensures that your products are quickly located. It not only tells the features of your product but how those features benefit your clients. For example, BLISS designs bright, full, high waist skirt for summer. Its features will likely be:
    • 60% cotton, 25% rayon, 15% viscose
    • Made in Tunisia
    • Fully lined
    • Elastic band, no zipper
    • 30 inches in length
    • Can be dry cleaned
    • Easy to wash, dry, and wear
  • Team name: you are expected to provide a professional team name associated with the product e.g. the Elite Inferno
  • Vendor collection name: this is the name a vendor gives to this group of products. Could be “Summer Collection”

The above are just a few general guidelines to be followed as stated by GS1 US.

Project Mercury

This project by Kroger covers a wider range of product classes, for which extended attribute is to be provided, compared to the GS1 US extended attributes guideline. It is applicable to about 100 product classes. It was introduced in 2012 with the sole aim of providing customers with the right products and services at the right time. Each product category has a set of rules guiding it. All information by suppliers is submitted via the Kroger Portal which is connected with GDSN, the Global Data Synchronization Network and is made available to any user on the network. Suppliers are expected to provide extended attributes like NuVal nutritional scores, kosher labels, health alerts to allergens and cholesterol. Consumers will no longer blindly make a purchase as they will be aware of every minute, essential detail.

Walmart

A great video, punchy product description on a product page are not all you need guys. Product information goes a long way in helping you get one more customer. It makes it really easy for your first-time customers to learn all they need to know about a product.

You might have already heard that phrase, “that customers can’t test your products before buying” so the information you provide about the product is all they need to make the decision to buy or not to buy…simple.

Walmart has proven to be one of the companies that believe that great product discovery begins with great product classification. You might call this shoe a “sneaker” and your competitor calls that same shoe a “tennis shoe”, what do you think happens to that customer? The customer now has two different experiences, and it gets even worse when each retailer provides enough information to support its giving the shoe that title.

Having a standard classification makes each of the retailers have the same product type, name, category and the customer who visits the two websites sees that same product, same product information, and he sees that the product serves the same purpose.

It also makes it pretty easy to search products, without being bedeviled with all types of shoes that have been named just the way the retailer deems fit. The point is this. Not only is extended attributes great for retailers, it makes searching and finding products super easy for customers.

Structured Commerce Classification

GS1 is creating the Structured Commerce Classification in an effort to have a global classification structure instead of multiples, a system that will serve all product categories. With this system, producers or suppliers will be able to provide the same set of information to all retailers.

At present though, individual retailers like Amazon, are starting to request highly detailed product info from suppliers. But would this not mean more cumbersome data to manage? It might translate to that. An information management system would, thus, be essential.

How to Manage the number of Extended Product Attributes you have

A Product Information Management (PIM) system can be implemented. A PIM system gathers information from every unit of management present in a business setup and centralizes it before it is published for sales and marketing. After collecting this information, it processes and stores it. If any redundancies are found, it eliminates them before making such information available for sharing and usage. Such information is made available to suppliers, retailers, and even consumers.

With a PIM system, you can be less worried about how you can manage large chunks of data gathered in putting together a detailed product description. Gone are the days when you have to manage product information in a spreadsheet. That complex process with high chances of errors can be eliminated with the implementation of a PIM system which ensures not only management of complex data but wide distribution. A producer doesn’t have to be worried about sending varying information at different times to different retailers.

With initiatives like the GS1 US Extended Attributes Guideline, Project Mercury, and Structured Commerce Classification, there will be one set standard for providing information to all retailers. As such, with your PIM system, you can send one set of info, following the existing guidelines, to all retailers in no time. This should lessen your worries about managing product information.

Benefits of Extended Attributes

Sorting out product attributes following set guidelines breeds great benefits.

·      It puts you right in the face of shoppers. You will appear on the first page of search results. When you have rich product description with extended attributes that have relevant keywords, search engines will love you. Such rich content earns you more visits, page views, and sales.

·      Extended attributes help to foster trust in you. If the information found online is the same as what a client sees in-store, he is likely to trust you more. At a physical store, customers get to see and feel what you sell, even test them out. In your online store, they do not have this luxury. As such extended attributes in form of texts, images, videos, and social proof convinces them that what they are seeing is just as it is. Replicating same information across various channels will build customers’ trust in you.

·      Extended attributes enrich product content. As is often said, “Content is king”. Rich product content ensures that potential clients in the first place, find you before deciding to buy from you. Customers need to make an informed choice and if you can provide that convinces and puts them at rest, you are sure to make more sales. Has it ever happened to you that you find a gorgeous handbag online but have reservations about purchasing it because you doubt that it’ll be as good as it looks online? Extended attributes let you know what material it was made of, what kind of closure it has, how many compartments there are within it, where it was produced and so on. With your mind’s eye, you can imagine all those features in the bag and be better convinced that this is as good as it looks and will be durable.

Note: Extended products attributes are great for your business, and if you can subscribe to it, I will encourage you to do that without delay. But know that it just has to remain consistent.

I am a modern day customer, and I know a lot of people who are, and one thing we all have in common is taking extra steps to ensure we make informed purchases, especially when we are buying from some store that seats in the other corner of the world.

So, ensure that product images, content, variants and reviews are consistent. Go the extra mile to present something anyone would want to be a part of. The only way you help buyers see you as a serious business is by providing all the information they’ll ever need about you and your product.

Rich product content can earn you, as a retailer, better conversions and give your visitors an overall fun-filled shopping experience. Including extended attributes in your product description eliminates the possibility of having incomplete or inconsistent information on a product. If your content can earn you higher traffic, you will not only make more sales but retain your consumers.