All Commerce Is E-Commerce: CMO Council Report

With digital retailers continually proving to be an existential threat to the success of brick and mortar retailers, consumer product brands have faced a simple choice: join or die. But, according to a report by the CMO Council released on Monday, seeing which way the wind is blowing in the dawn of the digital retail age is just one of a number of hurdles marketers have to face.

Fifty-six percent of respondents in the CMO Council’s report titled “Ingenuity in the Global eCommerce Community” said that eCommerce is revolutionizing and reinventing the global retail marketplace and 43 percent say it challenges brands to evolve across all channels and markets. While views on eCommerce were positive overall, 14 percent said that it complicates relationships with traditional retail partners.

“When [marketers] realized that retail was reinventing itself, it was already too late,” said Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council, to AListDaily. “They couldn’t keep up with the pace of change that the Amazons and the Alibabas and the eBays of the world were precipitating. When you’re a day late to the party, it’s a little hard to catch up, and the only thing you can do is try to reinvent yourself on the fly or close.”

For many companies, the latter was the only option. Over 7,000 retail stores shuttered in 2017, and according to the report, 2018 is on track to beat that number.

“Any time CNN isn’t running a story about something happening in the White House, there’s a headline about a retailer shuttering stores,” Miller added.

However, according to Miller, the media doomsaying is largely overblown. Retail sales have grown 4.2 percent year over year, which, though not massive, is still positive growth. Though e-commerce giants are growing, they only make up 10 percent of total retail spending.

“Is every store going to close tomorrow?” Miller asked. “No! ECommerce is ten percent of the global shopping revenue base. But it used to be six. It’s growing at a much faster pace than anyone anticipated.”

According to Miller, the real sweeping change isn’t so much in the bottom line for retail brands, but in the minds of the consumer.

“These massive e-commerce communities are actively changing the baseline expectations of our consumers. And they’re forcing marketers and brands to reassess how they go to market, and the content that they’re using to engage their customers,” Miller stated. “How do we look at what these massive communities […] are doing that is successful, and how do we as brands, not just tap into that—it’s not about an ad spot—but transform to be able to engage with our customers across these communities in a way that fits their expectations?”

According to their findings, marketers have had to scrap the idea of a linear path-to-purchase model and reassess not only what content they put out, but fundamentally how they make strategic decisions. Brands no longer just have to provide products to choose from, but help guide consumers through the discovery process.

Survey participants were asked to choose the top three ways they plan to differentiate their brands in the digital retail marketplace. The most popular response, at 42 percent, was to produce richer, more visually engaging content. Only nine percent named chatbots or other AI technology as their go-to solution.

“What’s happening with these e-commerce communities is that every customer, every user, every member of the community is not being invited to shop, they’re being invited to explore. When you’re invited to explore, the brand responsibility is to be there with things that meet that need to explore.”

But brands shouldn’t lose track of the silver lining to the e-commerce clouds. According to the CMO Council, the new strategies brands have adopted to survive have given them access to swathes of new consumers whom they may never have reached before. For these new consumers, the shopping experience is an efficient one.

“It’s brands who advertise at really large malls who know that people are there, but they don’t necessarily know that they’re there to shop,” Miller stated. “People who go onto Amazon, people who go onto eBay, they’re there to shop. They’re there to find something new that they want to buy.”

For the CMO Council, reaching these consumers as they’re shopping is only small potatoes—getting them to consider a brand beforehand, or even seek it out, is the future of doing business. But for some marketers, fears over online sales eating into brick-and-mortar profits is keeping them from fully adapting.

“What could hold marketers back from success is they’re still super worried about cross-channel cannibalization. But the reality is, these communities are going to continue to grow,” Miller stated. “That expectation of diversity of product will spill over to a shopper’s expectation in a traditional retail environment. If we can’t see that the expectation of the shopper is being set by folks like the eBays, the Amazons, the Alibabas of the world, we’re in for a really bumpy reinvention ride.”

To assemble its report, the CMO Council surveyed over 200 marketers primarily in the areas of consumer packaged goods and durables as well as retail financial services, of whom 35 percent characterized themselves as either “chief marketing officer” or “head of marketing.” Of the companies the survey respondents represented, 31 percent reported revenues of over $1 billion last year.

“People are going to shop online,” Miller summed up. “We can all stop worrying about if it’s going to happen.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with details from the report that were not available before publishing time.

A Skylight Company Is Behind A Cautionary Viral Video About Modern Life

Daylight is a necessity, not a luxury—that’s the message behind skylight brand Velux’s new campaign, “The Indoor Generation.”

The cautionary video warns of the adverse effects of depriving our bodies of natural light. Narrated by a young girl, she tells a tale of humankind turning their homes into places they’d never want to leave but in shutting themselves out from the sun, they created problems ranging from depression to allergies.

Velux claims that 90 percent of our time is spent indoors and that 84 million Americans currently live in damp and moldy conditions. The brand did not cite the source of this information.

“The Indoor Generation” video has gained traction across social media, especially on Facebook, where it currently sits at over 7.1 million views.

To measure user engagement with Velux’s campaign, we calculated the earned media value from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter from May 14 to 17.

“Earned media” is the value of engagements a brand receives across channels as a result of their marketing efforts. To help quantify what the value of those engagements is worth, Ayzenberg Group established the Ayzenberg Earned Media Value Index (a.emvi) and assigned a quantifiable dollar amount for marketing gains a brand receives from a campaign or individual engagement that includes social media networks and similar digital properties.

(Editor’s note: AListDaily is the publishing arm of Ayzenberg Group. To read the updated a.emvi report reflecting the rapid changes in social, click here.)

Based on the latest a.emvi rates for social media interactions, Velux’s “Indoor Generation” ad earned a total of $830,387.28 in earned media value. This figure was based on values assigned to views, likes, comments and retweets.

“The Indoor Generation” generated the most earned media value on Facebook with $761,673.37. YouTube also proved effective in reaching audiences, with over 2.4 million video views to date. In its first four days, the ad earned $68,618.41. Instagram and Twitter delivered modest results—less than $100 of earned media combined.

The Velux website offers tips for integrating sunlight and fresh air into a daily routine. Although the brand does not cite the sources of its grim statistics, the ad appears to have had a strong impact on audiences, especially on Facebook who shared the PSA over 600 times.

Instagram Unleashes An Emoji Slider And Twitter Tackles Trolls

This week in social media news, Instagram thrives in Japan, Twitter battles trolls and Facebook lets users reminisce over old Stories.

Instagram: Sushi, Sharing And Surveys

Japanese Instagram users cited feeling a growing “sense of belonging” in the community, according to study findings released on Thursday. A 2017 Kantar study commissioned by Facebook IQ found that a majority of respondents check Instagram right before bed. The most popular topics are Fashion and Photography, both at 27 percent.

Users in the region are open to advertising on the platform, Kantar found, stating that some of the interviewed respondents don’t regard an ad as an ad. In addition, 33 percent said Instagram is a suitable advertising medium for any brand and not just those in high-end categories.

Instagram announced the ability to share feed posts inside a Story—even if that post originated from someone else. The new option allows users to insert another Instagram post like a sticker and will automatically credit the original poster. Users can opt out of having their posts shared by others in the settings and the option is only available for public accounts. Feed post sharing is now available for Android devices and will roll out for iOS in the coming days.

Instagram introduced the Emoji Slider, a new way to interact with users by creating polls inside Stories. Users can pose a question to their followers such as “How much do you love pizza?” Users can type any question they like and choose an emoji, which appears on an interactive slider. The emoji animates as users slide it left or right on the scale.

“By choosing an emoji for your question, you also add a layer of emotional context that helps those answering understand your tone and answer accordingly,” Instagram said in the announcement.

Twitter: Don’t Feed The Trolls

On Wednesday, Twitter announced its “new approach” to battle abuse on the platform, integrating new behavioral signals into its algorithm update. The idea is that accounts exhibiting suspicious behavior or those which have been reported multiple times for abuse will show up less often in Twitter’s timeline.

“Less than one percent of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse, but a lot of what’s reported does not violate our rules,” wrote Twitter’s director of product management and health David Gasca. “While still a small overall number, these accounts have a disproportionately large—and negative—impact on people’s experience on Twitter.”

Since not all “trolls” or negative comments technically violate Twitter’s rules, the algorithm update targets accounts that do not contribute to the “healthy conversation.” Gasca did not provide examples of what they constitute as healthy.

Early tests saw a four percent drop in abuse reports from Twitter search results and eight percent fewer reports from conversations.

In other news, Twitter has announced that its legacy API services will retire on August 16. Its new Account Activity API is now available to developers.

Facebook: Stories And Soundbytes

Like Instagram—and Snapchat from whence the feature originated—Facebook Stories disappear after 24 hours, but users in India can now archive them for viewing and posting later. Indian users are the first to try the platform’s new Stories update that rolled out on Wednesday. Facebook will let users privately save their clips from the Facebook Camera directly to the social network instead of their phone in case they don’t have enough space.

For a country like India, with 22 official languages, not having a custom keyboard can make posting a challenge. Facebook Stories will now offer audio recordings that play against a custom background. The feature could also be useful for those who are known for their voice, such as podcasters and voice actors.

Brands React To The Infamous ‘Yanny Or Laurel’ Debate

Brands were quick to capitalize on the viral “yanny or laurel” debate this week by stubbornly choosing a side, remaining neutral or inviting conversation on social media.

The debate started last week when high school student Katie Hetzel was working on a school project that recorded a computerized pronunciation of the word “laurel” from their computer speakers. Other students in the room discovered that they heard different things so Hetzel posed the question to their Instagram followers. Soon after, fellow student Roland Szabo, posting as RolandCamry, posed the question to Reddit. Other students posted the clip as well across social media and the debate has gained considerable traction ever since.

So what’s the correct answer? While the recording originated from “laurel,” examining Hetzel’s low-quality recording reveals that both words can be heard at different frequencies—”laurel” at low frequencies” and “yanny” at high.

People are responding to the debate in the thousands—let’s examine how brands have joined the conversation.

Team Laurel

Brands that heard “laurel” created memes to express their frustration about how anyone could interpret the clip any other way.

Warby Parker was a bit more subtle, promoting its Laurel model of glasses but calling it Yanny.

Taking a STANCE #laurel #yanny #itslaurelokay

A post shared by Smosh Games (@smoshgames) on

Team Yanny

Others, hearing the higher tones of “yanny,” defended their position on the matter with equal ferocity.

Embracing Both Sides

Not wanting to alienate any customers, most brands decided to show support for both “yanny” and “laurel” listeners. Some asked users to respond with the word they heard more clearly.

Staying Out Of It Altogether

Some brands merely commented on the debate rather than choose a side.

Hearing What You Want

It has been suggested that what listeners hear on the recording can also be influenced by previous experiences and preconceived notions. Some brands dodged the debate by “hearing what they wanted,” inserting different audio into the clip.


Study: Marketer Confidence In Driving Revenue Unchanged In 10 Years

After a decade, marketers still have a difficult time funneling customer engagement into revenue, the CMO Council and Sendwithus reported Tuesday.

In 2008, the CMO Council asked brands if they were fully realizing the revenue potential of customers, to which 76 percent said no. The question was posed again in a March study but 77 percent of marketers still said no and 10 percent say they are not even sure.

The new report, Gaining Traction With Every Digital Interaction, found that marketers aren’t confident in using digital communication to drive revenue. In fact, only 47 percent feel they are only “doing okay” in their digital communication efforts.

Marketers are optimistic about the practice, overall, with 94 percent of the respondents believing individual digital communications will help them reach their customer experience goals. Despite faith in digital communications overall, only 13 percent said they are drawing the full possible revenue from their customers.

Part of this uncertainty may be tied to a lack of collaboration. According to 34 percent of marketers, transactional emails are not leveraged as a relationship and revenue driver because they are created outside of marketing, with little opportunity to collaborate or align across functional areas.

The CMO Council asserts that that collaboration around the channels of choice for the customer is critical to turning an automated touchpoint into a revenue-producing opportunity.

This lack of involvement with digital communication efforts might explain why just only 36 percent of respondents see transactional emails as an opportunity to reinforce consumer relationships. The survey found that 30 percent use them only to confirm choices such as a password reset or receipt—not to further engagement.

Marketers were asked to detail the state of collaboration across key stakeholders in customer experience. Just over a quarter of respondents said that that collaboration is left to team leaders who collect input and feedback as needed. Just under a third of marketers indicated that collaboration comes in the form of meetings to align on strategies and timelines.

Looking forward, marketers indicated plans to realize revenue by optimizing profitable consumer relationships. Sixty-four percent said they are personalizing communications across all touchpoints, and identifying new ways to improve up-sell/cross-sell opportunities with existing customers.

Survey: Toyota, Verizon, Walmart Among The Most Trusted Brands In America

In partnership with Ipsos Connect, Reader’s Digest has fielded its 2018 annual Trusted Brands survey, revealing both the most trusted brands in America and the state of brand trust generally.

“Trust has always been one of the most essential values we maintain at Reader’s Digest,” stated Lee Zellweger, the journal’s publisher. “This program enables us to understand how trust impacts consumer behavior and why it is critical that brands work diligently now more than ever to protect the trust they have built between themselves and their consumers.”

The survey, which polled 5,500 Reader’s Digest readers across America, found the brands people trusted the most in each of 40 different product categories, which are granted the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand seal of approval.

Toyota won big across the automomotive categories, taking home the prize of most trusted brand for SUVs and hybrid and standard cars—only losing out to Ford for the truck/van slot. In the hotly contested wireless provider category, Verizon won out over rivals Sprint and AT&T.

Walmart was crowned the champion of trusted mass-merchandiser retailers, small surprise given its ubiquity and Amazon’s effect on other brick-and-mortar retailers in the category. Beating out MasterCard and Amex, Visa earned its seal as most trusted credit card company.

“This year’s winners consist of brands and companies that have excelled at earning the respect and allegiance of consumers nationwide,” Zellweger continued.

You can see the full list below.

The journal emphasized the importance of building brand trust, citing several of the survey’s more general findings. Seventy-one percent of the survey’s respondents claimed they would pay more for a brand they trusted, and 82 percent said they make an effort to stick with brands they trust.

While consumers tend to be generous with brands they like, woe on those that betray that trust. According to Ipsos, 68 percent of respondents claimed that being let down by a brand even once will make it “hard” for them to use it again in the future.

Many marketers may find themselves in the “untrusted” category. Sixty-nine percent of respondents agreed that “brands need to do a better job of earning consumers’ trust.” Additionally, 48 percent claimed to trust brands less now than they have in the past.

Though Amazon did not appear on the Reader’s Digest list, it was recently voted the most liked brand in America, though how much consumers trust it was not determined.

Amazon Is The Most-Trusted Retail Brand According To New Study

Written by H.B. Duran

Consumers are loyal to Amazon because they see the company as emotionally appealing, a new study finds.

The Brand Trust Index Retail Report by marketing technology developer asserts that consumer perception can be measured through a combination of emotional and scientific means.

Decoding Consumer Trust determined the top 10 US retailers by sales revenue and presented 4,054 US consumers with a variety of emotion-based statements designed to measure levels of trust and the underlying reasons. Instead of simply asking whether a consumer trusts a brand or not, respondents were asked to rank how they agreed with statements such as, “[Brand’s] creativity is what makes them a good brand” or “[Brand] is only interested in making money.”

This “read between the lines” approach to brand trust was developed for a.BTI by Galen Buckwalter, Ph.D., chief science advisor at and the psychometrician behind eHarmony’s matchmaking technology.

“The process of what I went through in developing a measure of brand trust was exactly the same one I would go through if I were developing a measure of openness in people or honesty,” Dr. Buckwalter told AListDaily.

The Brand Trust Index (a.BTI) defines trust along three key dimensions: Brand Loyalty, Brand Reliance and Emotional Appeal.

Loyalty is earned through shared values and similarities with a consumer and a perceived service competence. Reliance is perceived when a brand consistently meets expectations, which may include social responsibility, honesty, consistent success and innovation. Emotional Appeal, meanwhile, is earned when a brand engages consumers on a social level or gives them something to aspire to.

For this study, survey responses were analyzed and assigned a number in each key dimension. Based on those results, an overall trust score was assigned to each brand.

Rely On Amazon, Aspire To Costco

Out of the 10 retailers in this study, approximately 30 percent of respondents selected Amazon as their most trusted brand. Amazon scored 96 for reliance, 98 in terms of loyalty and 99 overall, 25 points higher than Costco, the next most-trusted brand in the study.

Best Buy, Target and Kohl’s rounded out the top five brands in the a.BTI findings with trust scores of 66, 66 and 63 respectively.

At 60, Apple was one the most polarizing brand in the study, said, which is why the brand comes in at the center of the list. Consumers ranked the brand as very high or very low in terms of trust.

Dollar General came in last in terms of consumer trust with an overall score of just 24 but scored higher in individual factors with low-income respondents. found that similar brands can be perceived very differently. For example, Costco scored 73 points in Emotional Appeal compared to Sam’s Club at 57.

Trust Is Like A Cake

“Trust is a very complicated issue [but] can be customizable in terms of how it is relevant to brands,” director of analytics and data products Johanna Tam told AListDaily. “Different components of trust are important and that varies across demographics.”

Scoring brand perception varies across demographics like income, gender, political affiliation and age group, Tam noted. “For college students, service competence may not be as important as honesty.”

Brands wanting to shape their image will need to decide which individual trust dimensions are most important.

“For different industries, trust is like baking a cake. You’re going to need eggs, butter, sugar and flour but how much? It depends on what kind of cake you want to make. The idea is that all of these components are important but they have different weights [depending on a brand’s goal].”

Pom Wonderful ‘Impaled By A Dolphin’ Spot Pokes Fun At Big Pharma

Pom Wonderful produced a video spot that pokes fun at the pharmaceutical industry by claiming that pomegranate juice helped a man impaled by a dolphin.

“Impaled by a Dolphin and Better Than Ever” tells the story of Jeff Kowalczyk, a fictional man that was impaled by a dolphin but saw it as a wake-up call to get healthy. Prior to the “accident,” Jeff claims he was overweight and didn’t exercise, but something like [a dolphin sticking out of your chest] puts things into perspective.

Focusing on health benefits, this campaign marks Pom Wonderful’s largest digital spend to date, with a multimillion-dollar media plan. According to the company, the spots will be shown in contextually relevant TV shows like The Doctors and Dr. Oz, online sites such as WebMD and on screens in doctors’ offices across the country.

The “Impaled By a Dolphin” ad is presented in the style of a pharmaceutical commercial, down to the subtitle disclaimers, upbeat music and generic activities that somehow represent living with an ailment but being able to ignore it thanks to the cure being marketed.

Jeff is shown going about his daily life as if nothing happened, working, making dinner and riding his bike—all with a live dolphin sticking out of his body.

“These spots poke fun at mundane pharmaceutical industry advertisements and use humor to talk about what people typically want to avoid—what they should do after a health scare,” Pom Wonderful said in a press release.

In addition to using tongue-in-cheek humor to sell its juice, “Impaled by a Dolphin” may also be a playful jab at deceptive health marketing. Last week, the US Supreme court refused to review a court ruling that found Pom Wonderful guilty of making deceptive health claims. Claims included marketing pomegranate juice as being able to treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.

Despite the Supreme Court’s denial, Pom Wonderful’s dolphin spot links its pomegranate juice to health benefits such as verbal memory performance, brain activity and maintaining post-exercise arm strength, as claimed by two preliminary studies mentioned at the end. Links and details about the studies were not released in the ad or its video description.

Mother’s Day Marketing Gets Sentimental; Spending Expected To Reach $23.1B

Brands have answered the call to celebrate Mother’s Day this year with messages ranging from sentimental to silly.

Spending on Mother’s Day is expected to reach $23.1 billion in the US this year, a slight drop from 2017’s record $23.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). According to NRF’s annual survey, 86 percent of Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day this year and spend an average of $180 per person.

Finding The Words

Sometimes it’s hard to say how you feel, or you want to say it just right. That’s why Americans turn to the $3.6 billion greeting card industry for occasions like Mother’s Day—something Hallmark is taking full advantage of with its marketing campaign.

Hallmark teamed up with actress Julie Bowen (Modern Family) to surprise moms with a giant greeting card on the street. When opened, the card reveals a handwritten message from the recipient, who reads it aloud.

Bowen also provided voice over for a TV spot called “When You Care Enough To Put It Into Words.”

American Greetings asked its Facebook followers what they do just like their mothers. Answers ranged from having the same handwriting to spaghetti night crying at commercials. The brand illustrated some of these answers with a YouTube video called “Just Like My Mom” using colorful props and upbeat music.

Different Kinds Of Moms

For Mother’s Day, Teleflora produced a series of videos called “Love Makes A Mom.” The three-video series highlights different kinds of mother figures including a half-sister that steps in, a lesbian couple and a mother of a child with Down Syndrome.

Australian shopping center brand Stockland created a video called “Those Who Mum” that highlights mother figures in all their forms. The Stockland website also produced an editorial series that highlights several mothers from the region—telling each Australian woman’s story in detail.

Being a mom means putting herself above the needs of her family, and that can be reflected in how she looks.

Planet Fitness commissioned a study to support its “Judgement Free Zone” mantra that celebrates the “mom bod” —the female equivalent to a “dad bod” that often reflects the toll of physical and emotional stress after having children. The survey found that 79 percent of women feel stronger after having kids and 59 percent of respondents believe that women with “mom bods” are comfortable in their own skin.

Speaking of feeling comfortable, American mothers find it difficult to find a private place to breastfeed in public. Zappos teamed up with Mamava to install private rooms around New York and enlisted the help of comedienne Dena Blizzard to spread awareness.

Taste The Love

According to the National Restaurant Association, 34 percent of American families plan to dine out for Mother’s Day. Meanwhile, another 34 percent plan to have a home-cooked meal this holiday.

The National Cattleman’s Beef Association is highlighting moms that work on cattle farms on its Facebook page and the hashtag #RealRanchMoms. The “Beef. It’s Whats For Dinner” brand is also sharing recipes and digital greeting cards to share with the carnivorous mothers in your life.

Carvel is offering ice cream cakes printed with custom designs drawn and/or colored by family members. The legacy ice cream brand teamed up with influencer Kelly Mindell, who designed and helped promote exclusive Carvel cake templates for Mother’s Day.

Burger King’s ‘Promposal’ Created Over $260K Earned Media Value

Burger King asked Wendy’s to prom over Twitter and garnered attention that would have otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing spend.

On Wednesday, a Burger King restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts changed its sign, playfully asking the neighboring Wendy’s restaurant to prom. The official Burger King account posted a photo on Twitter and waited for a response as social media reacted with supportive messages.

Wendy’s responded within the hour, accepting in the brand’s trademark sarcastic tone. “Ok, but don’t get handsy and we have to be home by 10,” wrote Wendy’s.

Burger King changed its sign to say “She said yes!” and posted a picture with a rose inside a burger box—its own fast food corsiage.

To measure user engagement with Burger King’s “promposal”, we calculated the earned media value from Burger King’s initial request, Wendy’s acceptance tweet and Burger King’s response on Twitter from May 9-10.

“Earned media” is the value of engagements a brand receives across channels as a result of their marketing efforts. To help quantify what the value of those engagements is worth, Ayzenberg Group established the Ayzenberg Earned Media Value Index (AEMVI) and assigned a quantifiable dollar amount for marketing gains a brand receives from a campaign or individual engagement that includes social media networks and similar digital properties.

(Editor’s note: AListDaily is the publishing arm of Ayzenberg Group. To read the updated AEMVI report reflecting the rapid changes in social, click here.)

Based on the latest AEMVI rates for Twitter interactions, Burger King’s “promposal” earned a total of $260,696 in earned media value. This figure was based on values assigned to likes, comments and retweets.

Like a prom king and queen, Burger King and Wendy’s shared the spotlight—in this case, the earned media value—when Wendy’s accepted. Wendy’s quote retweet earned a majority of the earned media value: $113,133.54 in likes, $5,610 in comments and $121,391.97 in retweets for a total of $240,135.51.

Burger King and Wendy’s haven’t always gotten along on Twitter. In October, Burger King promoted user tweets that complained when Wendy’s took spicy nuggets off the menu.

For now, the two brands are playing nice for prom season, to which Moon Pie responded, “I knew I should have asked sooner.”