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Marketing & Branding

3 Must-Follow Digital Marketing Podcasts

Podcasts are great! You can find regular new podcast content from creators across all industries featuring literally any topic at all.

While I came late to the podcast craze, only having hopped on the bandwagon a few years ago, that hasn’t stopped me from scooping up new shows to follow.

And that includes industry-specific ones for my specialty: Digital Marketing.

If you have any sort of commute, digging into your favorite podcast is a great way to get to where you’re going. What better way than to catch up on the latest industry news while you drive (or bus or train) to the office?

Here are three marketing podcasts I’ve been following for a while now. I think you should check them out. Do note: they center around digital marketing, eCommerce, and B2C retail marketing.

Behind the Numbers: eMarketer Podcast

What I love about Behind the Numbers is that it’s timely. With new typically 30-minute-long episodes each morning, there’s always content to digest, and it’s always very relevant to what’s going on in the world and in marketing today.

Behind the Numbers is full-on digital, given it’s from the folks at eMarketer, a great source of content for all things digital. Plus, a few of the folks at the helm have British accents.

FutureCommerce Podcast

Future Commerce, also timely, is a weekly podcast tailored a bit more toward eCommerce as opposed to strictly digital marketing.

The Modern Retail Podcast

Modern Retail is my third recommendation choice for marketing podcasts to check out. About the cast, they state “The Modern Retail Podcast hears from entrepreneurs in the retail space, including the buzzy world of DTC.” DTC is Direct to Consumer for those not in the know.

What Are Your Go-To Podcasts?

So, those are my three choices. Would any of those be in your top three? What other marketing podcasts would you recommend? I’m always up for discovering new podcasts and content to check out. Let me know in the comments below!

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Content Strategy Digital & Social E-Commerce Email Marketing Marketing & Branding Video Marketing

Using iMovie on iPhone to Introduce Andy Fenstermaker

I was filling out an application today, and one of the preferred requirements was to send along a two-minute introduction video.

Sitting at home with unkempt hair and an overall disheveled appearance, I opted to film, edit, and send it along later.

Well, later is now.

I just returned home from a 20 mile bike ride. While exploring the trails near my home, I whipped out my phone, let go of my handlebars, and shot this:

My First Time Using iMovie on My Phone

Alright, so I’ve used iMovie for a few years now. It’s always been via my MacBook Air.

Presented with the challenge of transferring 400MB of video from my iPhone to my MacBook using cords that don’t really work that well, I decided heck with it!

I’m just going to use my phone.

Editing footage in iMovie on the phone is JUST AS EASY as doing it on a laptop or PC, if not easier.

I was able to merge the two files, easily split footage, cut the length from four minutes to the preferred two, AND publish the content to YouTube all in about ten minutes.

Due to its sheer simplicity, I’ll be creating more content on video in no time!

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E-Commerce Marketing & Branding

Sustainability and the Trend Toward Fewer Better

We all know the landscape of retail is changing. The trends are clear: sustainability is in, fewer is better, and astute consumers want higher quality goods that will last.

In a recent podcast episode of Future Commerce, the hosts touched on luxury goods reclaiming their second-hand market.

The example they used was in fashion, noting that customers were moving away from fast fashion retailers like H&M and toward spending more on quality items from high end brands like Louis Vuitton.

REI Enters Second Hand Market Online

Just one day prior to listening to the aforementioned podcast, I received an email from outdoor retailer REI. The overall focus was branded used goods, available at a notable discount off new pricing.

They are dubbing this section REI good & used, and their messaging is simple yet effective: The power of one: One less piece of gear in our landfills. One more chance at adventure.

However, the question remains: Will the price discounts be enough to sway consumers to the used goods market when they are unable to see the condition of the actual item they are purchasing?

My gut says yes.

Outdoorsy types tend to have a sustainability mindset, and those conscious of budget are likely to be swayed by the brand cache of REI. It’s a niche that suits the brand well. Pushing the environmental factor should play right into their hands, too.

Nordstrom Enters the Used Goods Space

Prior to moving to Texas a month ago, an article popped up in my LinkedIn feed about Nordstrom entering this space, too. Here’s the official press release from their corporate site for their re-sale brand See You Tomorrow.

They’re dubbing it re-commerce.

The release gives insight into how Nordstrom and others plan to and are managing the back-end and logistics questions that inevitably will arise in the previously-loved market where used items may show wear, contain dirt, or have highly limited quantities due to scarcity.

Nordstrom has partnered with Yerdle, a technology and logistics start-up company, to power the backend operations of the resale platform including cleaning and repairing of product, inventory processing and fulfillment, pricing and authentication of certain luxury designer items in partnership with Entrupy.

Yerdle also works with REI and Patagonia, among others in the re-sale space.

Fewer Better IRL

This trend toward Fewer Better is not new. It is an idea that’s been around for ages, and it’s one potential cornerstone of the minimalist mindset.

For consumers who are steadfast to living within their means and maintaining a certain level of quality and durability, while keeping their life simple and stuff minimal.

Note: I wrote *most* of the above this line back February.

Obviously, with exponential growth and impact of COVID-19 on the way we do business, the landscape has changed.

So, what now?

If anything, my gut tells me that we will see a growing dichotomy between the Fewer Better and Stock Up trends. On one hand, many will trend toward the latter, scooping up necessities by the handful (they’ll be the same who are hoarding toilet paper and canned goods right now).

On the other hand, I believe many will open their eyes to the fact that Stuff and Too Much Stuff are synonymous. The immediacy of the economic crunch we are facing is likely to have an impact for years to come, well beyond COVID-19.

Back in 2016, IKEA Executive Steve Howard talked about Peak Stuff. It’s likely that concept will be accelerated in the aftermath of COVID-19.

What we’re experiencing now reminds me of Dee Williams and her journey towards a truly minimalistic life in a Tiny House:

After a medical emergency led her to the age old realization that life is short, she re-assessed her priorities and decided that her friends, family and community deserved more of her time than her four bedroom house.

While Williams’ journey was on the extreme end, and the show Hoarders covers the polar opposite, the area between will likely see growth on both ends over the next few years, and this is where companies like Nordstrom and REI will see growth.

People will still want higher quality goods, they just may not be able to afford new. They want the experience of shopping at name brand companies, they will just be more selective in what they choose.

We will see a return to consumerism in the aftermath of COVID-19, and it’ll be interesting to see what trends are accelerated and what new trends arise.

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Assortments Digital & Social Marketing & Branding Personal Passions

COVID-19 is Changing How We Do Business

A little over a month ago, it was business as usual. The economy was strong, the stock market was at or near all-time highs, and unemployment was at stunning lows. Then COVID-19 began to rapidly spread across the globe and dominate the media.

Everything changed, and at lightning speed.

Within a one to two-week period, millions began filing for unemployment, many companies froze their hiring, and those who were able to began working remotely.

The impact to how we do business was immediate.

In a time where partisanship continues to dominate my Facebook feed, where fear is rampant in most and complacency in the rest in regards to the current health care and economic crisis, and where negativity is literally everywhere, I’d like to point out some positive ways companies are adapting to our current situation.

Growing Trend: Curbside Pick Up & Delivery

Small to medium sized businesses are experiencing enormous hardship amidst the nationwide COVID-19 social distancing measures. For those that provide somewhat essential services, curbside pick-up is a growing option.

For those that don’t, it’ll get there.

My old employer–a regional Harley-Davidson dealership in Washington State–has been offering curbside pickup for motorcycle parts, albeit with a reduced staff.

Businesses are still taking orders, they’re just fulfilling them differently. Unfortunately, these changes likely require reduced staff. But it could also lead to employment opportunities, especially in urban areas where quick delivery could be an option.

Case in point: a friend on Facebook shared a photo yesterday of an order he placed, delivered to his door by Easy Street Records in Seattle. he got two LPs and a handful of CDs.

An Immediate Change for Restaurants

Restaurants that can afford to stay open are transitioning, ramping up takeout and delivery models. I got three notifications yesterday about MOD Pizza offering free delivery through Thursday of this week.

Others, like Legacy Hall here in Plano, are creating geo-targeted social advertising campaigns to communicate about curbside takeout availability.

Sunday Vibes☀️….Curbside Pickup from 11am-9pm!!! Chicken Sausage Breakfast sandwiches (12-2pm), Mimosa and Bloody Mary…

Posted by Legacy Hall on Sunday, March 29, 2020

Online Grocery Shopping is Expanding

Online grocery orders are finally here, and they’re expanding to more grocers as well. While the industry has struggled to take off, outside of light success at Amazon, it’s now changing real-time.

At Kroger yesterday, I saw multiple employees with carts, picking orders for customers who placed them online, by phone, or at the curb.

It was exciting to see the change, providing expanded employment opportunities for workers and filling a now essential service. Not to mention, Kroger and others are offering bonuses, raises, and expanding paid time off for its workers.

Video Hangouts Are Now Mainstream

Once a thing for nerds and freelancers, video hangouts are suddenly a huge thing. I’ve attended a few myself. People are flocking to create Zoom accounts and host friend and family game nights. Others are jumping on the Netflix Party bandwagon.

A contact I have in New York City was diagnosed with COVID-19 and has had nightly family game nights as she’s mended. Others have binged Tiger King on Netflix as a group using the Netflix Sync service Netflix Party.

And for those of you just hopping on this bandwagon, here are three hot tips for video hangouts:

  1. Don’t forget to mute yourself if you’re not actively talking.
  2. Wear pants. Everyone will see you in your underwear when inevitably you stand up to stretch.
  3. Make sure to bring your Conference Bingo card…

Businesses Are Stepping Up

Amidst all the negativity, all the shortages of medical supplies, all the fear, and all the desperation, there are rays of hope. Good things are happening.

Here are a few of the businesses jumping onboard to make an impact:

Estee Lauder, Diageo, and Pernod are among many makeup, fragrance companies, brewers, and distillers helping make hand sanitizer.

Ralph Lauren, Gap, Prada, and other fashion retailers are committing to make face masks and health provider garments due to the current shortage.

Ford and Dyson are just two of many companies that will help make ventilators, along with private parties who are 3D printing ventilator valves to donate as needed.

Some hotels in New York, like Four Seasons, are opening their doors free for health care providers so they don’t have to potentially expose their families.

Starbucks is giving free coffee to front line health care responders.

Renewed Self-Care

I’ve seen it in others–this renewed effort for self-care. I’m also experiencing it first hand, being in a new and unfamiliar place where I’m also stuck at home a lot of the time.

I’ve committed to doing the things I love. I’m committed to setting and achieving goals. Here are some things I do to ensure I stay on top of who I am and who I want to be:

Cooking: Try new recipes, cook fun meals, share favorite dishes. A friend shared a simple 4 ingredient flatbread recipe on Facebook the other day. I made it my new pizza crust.

Health & Fitness: In the past two weeks, I’ve rediscovered my love for bicycling. I have just about 60 miles under my belt in just over 10 days, and I plan to keep riding as long as the parks remain open.

It’s Time to Focus on the Good

As a society, we get caught up in the negative. We hyper focus on the bad things we see in the news, get extremely critical about political parties that aren’t our own, and shame people who view things differently or don’t abide by our own personal set of morals. In times like this, it’s even easier to get sucked down that rabbit hole. I just wanted to point out some of the good I’m seeing reported out there in the world.

With social distancing now extended through the month of April, these trends are likely to keep growing.

What trends are you seeing? What good would you like to see come out of our current situation? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Marketing & Branding

Best Buy: Extra Convenience Where You Least Expect

As I rushed to the airport yesterday morning, the thought of the dwindling battery on my phone kept me anxious. More so, the nagging feeling I’d leave my charger in my truck as I flew from Bellingham to Dallas to visit my wife, where she has been staying the past 5 months during a career change.

“It’s alright, Andy,” I told myself. “They will have chargers you can buy if needed. If you forget, it can’t be worse than last time, when you forgot your prescription sunglasses.”

BUYING CONVENIENCE

And it’s true. Airports have taken on a presence that provides pretty much anything you’d need. Except, maybe, a shower—my 3:30 wake up didn’t allow me that luxury and it was leaving me a bit self-conscious.

I was right, but not in the way I expected. Even a small airport like Bellingham International Airport carries your staple necessities. There it was: a Best Buy vending machine for headphones, chargers, and other frequently forgotten or upgraded digital hardware items for flights.

OUT OF THE BOX DIVERSIFICATION 

It’s a smart move on Best Buy’s part, diversifying by spreading their recognized brand into new areas, and providing the consumer with added brand-name alternatives beyond the two, maybe three overpriced poor quality selections of the old days.

Here you could pick up products from Sony, Beats, and more, with typical price points from inexpensive to top-of-the-line.

Now, it’s probably not a huge revenue generator for the retail brand, but it’s definitely a smart move. 

For the brand loyal, card holder, and rewards member, it’s the obvious choice when compared to the standard airport convenience store: go with the trusted name as opposed to the stereotypically overpriced airport store.

I may not be brand loyal to Best Buy, but I sure as hell know which one I’d pick. 

SOLVING CONSUMER PROBLEMS

I remember the days of old; they weren’t that long ago. If you forgot something, you’d have this sinking feeling in your stomach: now you’d have to go into an infamously overpriced airport convenience store. 

The thought even now curls my stomach. 

Something as simple as a bottle of water can be up to three times the price of the same item outside the microcosm of the airport.

That’s anything but convenient. But it’s the reputation these spots have given themselves, and it is becoming their demise.

Granted, as I looked over the Best Buy vending machine, something as simple as product prices were nowhere to be found. What stood out, on the other hand, was a call out about price matching.

Still, as someone relatively savvy when it comes to technology, I wondered how easy it would be for the end user to get a discount from a vending machine based on price comparisons.

The fine print states “See Policies screen for details,” but 4:30 AM was too early for me to try it first-hand and find out.

THE CONVENIENT TRUTH

The consumer push for convenience is everywhere, from how we rush through the self-checkout at grocery stores to how we buy cars. 

Businesses like Best Buy these days are more apt to position themselves in a manner that provides a quick sale. For box chain brands like Best Buy, it makes sense with the scope of options at consumer fingertips.

And the result is that it’s more and more rare to find businesses geared toward creating brand community. They exist, but even they are hopping on the convenience bandwagon. After all, it’s what consumers demand.

So, for the small business owner or mid level marketer, the question must become: how can I position my company to make it easier for my customer? Be open to try anything and think outside the box, because the answer may not be what you expect.