Two-Pronged Key to Marketing Success


Noah Brier, co-founder and CTO at content marketing platform Percolate, makes the argument that there are only two keys to marketing success.  Your success depends on whether you can change the purchase threshold for your produt or make your product the easiest to buy.

To change the purchase threshold you can either lower it or raise it or differentiate it by product attributes.  Is your airline Southwest or Qatar Airways?  Is your product made with genuine leather?

To make your product easiest to buy – it could be in mass distribution or it could be visible on Amazon or it could be delivered to the front door on a monthly subscription.

Brier’s point is that by manipulating these two levers, a marketer can determine the fate of a product. As he would put it, “If you’re clear about the threshold and confident you’re above it, then it’s all about making yourself easiest to buy.” Source: Adweek

A Return to Normal

Retail Sales - Jun-18

It has been a few months since we reported China’s Monthly Retail Sales Growth and we missed May’s number, which was by far the lowest in the two years we have been tracking it.  June’s 0.73% growth returns to a position above the 13-month average.  All is right again in China’s consumer universe – consumers are buying.  Source: www.; National Bureau of Statistics of China

China has More Mobile Subscribers than People

Carrier Data June 2018

With a run rate of over 10 million new mobile subscribers per month over the last twelve months, the point continues to be made that China is the most mobile of any phone society.  There are now more mobile subscriptions that there are people in this vast country.  That’s because the total number of mobile subscriptions includes both phones and pads. If you are like us, the size of that audience from an advertising perspective is juicy.  Sources: China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom

Programmatic: the Road to Message Efficiency

Message Eficiency

Programmatic ad buying is most associated with buying efficiency – reaching the right audience at the right time for the best deal.  But with the move to mobile and the need to adjust ads to the medium, there is a place for programmatic on the creative side.  A/B testing can be done quickly.  Testing copy, video length, graphics, price and a million other elements of good advertising could help the creative process by finding the best creative approach.  Maybe creative is the reason programmatic buying isn’t working up to the hype? This isn’t deal efficiency, it’s message efficiency.  Both are critical to ROI.  Source: ChartBoost

Chinese Consumer Sentiment Remains Steady for Now

Chinese consumer sentiment - may-18

For eight consecutive months ending in May 2018, the Chinese Consumer Sentiment has been sitting well above the 13-month average of 119.6.  Year-over-year sees more than a 10 point increase.  That’s because prices have stayed steady and jobs have held in spite of automation.  We’ll have to wait until the July numbers come out to know if the trade friction between the US and China is going to affect sentiment.  Chances are it will.  After that we will have to wait a couple more months to know if any negative movement is real or just a reaction to the noisy headlines.  Sources:; Nat’l Bureau of Statistics, China

Playing Catch-Up

Mobile-Desktop Discrepancy

While the media landscape feels like it’s moving quickly as new digital advertising twists are replaced by even newer twists, it appears from these data that adaption is slower than we think.  App Geek numbers show that people spend significantly more time on their mobile devises than they do on their desktops and mobile conversion rates have increased 64% compared to desktop rates, yet advertisers do not appear to have made the adjustment.

Video is an example of one of the new advertising twists that brands are chasing. Yet, these data imply that desktop should get a third less of the video allocation than it does.

It appears advertisers haven’t even begun to make the adjustments suggested by the data. They have some catching up to do and those who catch up quickest may have an opening with the audience. Source: Entrepreneur

China – US eCommerce: Parallel Universes

Parallel Universe -eCommerce

Though the data from China is ancient, there is no reason to believe that the relative positions of the players have changed.  These graphs demonstrate the parallel universes that exist in the world’s two e-commerce powerhouses.  In both cases the leader is dominant with a significant second place competitor followed by a third and fourth position player of some notice.  The other six positions in these lists are also-rans.  Amazon is the only crossover and its presence in China is probably due to the country’s VPN users who regularly live with an eye to the West. Alibaba’s Tmall is the Amazon of the East.  Sources: Axios; eMarketer

Trade War, Schmade War

Smade War

In the face of uncertainty caused by the trade rift with the US, it was calming to hear China’s Premier Li Keqiang say recently that “China will focus on keeping its economy stable and improving, irrespective of external shocks.”

In support of that view was a Reuters survey of 55 independent economists who predict China’s second quarter GDP growth will hit 6.7%, just below the 6.8% seen in the last three quarters.  Pretty stable for the short term.

State Information Center (SIC), a think tank aligned with the government was a bit more gloomy, stating, “Uncertainties in both internal and external economic developments are rising. Global trade frictions are intensifying while a spill-over effect from major economies’ monetary policy normalization will amplify financial market volatility.”

A longer term view expressed by Premier Li, rather than the one that gets caught up in the momentary noise, seems the wiser.  Source: MaretWatch, The New York Times

Amazon, The Disrupter

Amazon in Ad Space

Amazon is reportedly building the infrastructure to make a move into the ad space occupied by the twin towers Google and Facebook. And Amazon has a couple great advantages.  First, they have the money and patients to sustain a long play.  Second, they have first party consumer data that no other company can offer.  They know what consumers are searching for, what they are buying, how much they are paying and where they are.  Match that!

“Amazon’s pitch to brands and agencies is that it is able to create a ‘total wallet’.”

Projections by eMarketer expect that by 2020 Amazon begins to change the vector.  It makes some inroads while Google and Facebook begin to lose a little of their dominance. For other companies this growth might be too slow, but for the Big A, it’s not a problem.  Source:

Will the Chinese Consumer Turn?

China v US Trade

This blog has always spoken of the Chinese consumer in a positive light because they are a consumption force to be reckoned with in the modern era.  According to BloombergOpinion, China passed the US in December 2017 as the world’s biggest retail market.  To this point, China’s purchasing power has been a great difference-maker for major US companies such as GM, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble Co., Coca-Cola Co., Apple and gambling giants Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd.

But it can go another way.  It can turn negative.

In 2012 when China and Japan were arguing about some China Sea islands Chinese consumers took it out on Toyota and Panasonic while last year when tension erupted with Korea over a defense shield, Hyundai’s car sales dropped by about 50% and Korean retailer, Lotte Shopping Co., sales crashed by 84%  – literally driving them out of China.

Thus far, the China – US trade struggle has caused no visible ripple among Chinese consumers.  That may be because on both sides of the rift, consumers still like the deal they are getting from the other.  We must hope that continues.  Source: Hellenics Shipping News