Monthly Archives: February 2011

Social Media Training — Early Bird Offer ends Monday

Every day brings new headlines on the latest developments on the Social Media front:

  • Facebook shows it learned nothing from the Beacon fiasco with Sponsored Stories
  • 44% of surveyed members of the American Marketing Association say that Social Media Strategy is their top focus of 2011
  • YouTube recommendations now powered by your friends on social networks
  • 96% of leading US charities are using Social Media to promote their causes
  • Amazon book recommendations now linked to your Facebook connections
  • Ad spending on social networks is growing fast in the US, but even faster in the rest of the world
  • Social networks may determine your viewing habits in the new Google TV
  • Why it’s so important for every brand to understand and embrace Social Shopping

Social Media isn’t the only game in town — but it’s become hugely important for marketers, PR people and communicators of every stripe and persuasion.

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t encourage you to join the more than 300 marketers who have so far taken part in our Social Media Marketing eCourse.

PS We have an EARLY BIRD OFFER that closes in advance of the main course (5pm Monday 21 February). See below to SAVE $100.

Here are the course details:

Social Networks are Changing The Way People Buy

Consumers are turning for buying advice to their friends, associates and even total strangers connected through social media — and making decisions based on what’s being said, for good or bad.

1.92 million Kiwis now look to their fellow Internet users for opinions and information about products, services or brands, according to the New Zealand Social Media Report (Nielsen, July 2010).

Study after study has shown that consumers trust their friends (and their friends’ friends) more than anyone else when it comes to making a purchase decision.

Alas, you may have a comprehensive training programme in place for your staff, agents, branches and resellers — but now there’s a whole new constituency to inform, entertain, educate or with whom you now need to interact.

There’s a whole lot of talking going on — much of it happening in the social networks — and some of it may well be about you, your brands or your products.

In a perfect world, those who are doing the talking would know all about your products and would give wise, totally informed advice to their correspondents.

Unfortunately, that’s seldom the case — many of us feel free to venture an opinion on a subject even if we don’t really know the facts. Which is why marketers need to venture forth into the social media space — preceded if necessary by someone carrying a red lantern and a white flag, warning onlookers of impending newbie behaviour.

IF YOU’RE THERE, THEY WILL TALK TO YOU AS WELL

Consumers will interact socially with brands and their owners if the opportunity arises. 44 percent of Kiwi Twitter users say they have ‘followed’ companies or brands via the site, according to the Nielsen report. New Zealand companies are also jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, with 30% of marketers saying that their company has established a presence on Twitter.

SO HAVE YOU GONE SOCIAL YET?

The more nimble members of the business community have already hammered up their shingles on Facebook and Twitter — now it’s the turn of the Early Majority.

A moment of candour here: for many, it won’t be easy.

Traditionally-trained marketers are now finding themselves actively having to consider communications tools that (or at least so it seems) have the lifespan of a mayfly yet have instantly become insanely popular with consumers all over the world.

Most marketers have a comfortable familiarity with brochures, print, tv and radio ads and direct mail. They’ve learned to use (or at least live with) websites, email, search engines and the occasional online banner advertisement.

But social networks scare them silly.

The vast majority of today’s business executives are not “digital natives”. They grew up (and, by and large, went through the bulk of their professional training) before the internet changed everything.

For many, social networks are the place where anarchy reigns (in the form of uncontrolled consumer activity and comment).

Some worry that the Facebooks and Twitters of this frightening new world will be marketing graveyards – the place where brands are most at threat.

And there is a risk of that happening – at least for those brands and organisations that don’t play fair with the consumer.

For most organisations, however, social networks are really just another communications tool – if marketers can overcome their most basic and heartfelt concerns.

And the best way to deal with those fears? Knowledge.

TRAINING DESPERATELY NEEDED
Marketers recognise the need to get involved in social media — but for many the question is where to start.

If YOU find yourself in that position, here’s our recommended solution:

Course SM11: Social Media Marketing eCourse

Our seven-week eCourse provides a comprehensive introduction to Social Media Marketing, from the Basics to detailed instructions on how to build and run a Social Media Marketing programme.

This is an ONLINE-ONLY course — you can take part from anywhere, in your own time.

This eCourse is conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular eCourse provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.

Course lessons are released weekly, for participants to access in accordance with their own timetables. Interaction with the course tutor is enabled through the platform software tools (with telephone backup if required).

Feedback from previous Social Media Marketing eCourse Participants

  • “this was the best professional development course I have done in many years” - Mark R, senior Agency Exec
  • “thought the information within was outstanding” - Ed P, General Manager
  • “What I loved was that I started with a fairly rudimentary understanding of social media but have learned a lot – including where to find more information as I need it.” – Fiona W, marketing exec
  • “I found it relevant, informative, topical, insightful and a bloody good read. It’s never evangelical, too techy, patronising, assumes that you know too much or too little about digital and has a warm sense of humour in the communication throughout which helped faciliate the learning process for me.” — Adrienne B, consultant
  • “Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this course! It’s been extremely enlightening” — Shayne P, design agency director
  • “Rapt with what I have seen of the course” — Julia R, fashion editor
  • “I’m really enjoying the course – learning a lot – and I know the two friends I persuaded to join us are also loving it.” — Lavinia C, designer
  • “I was already engaging with social media and have been doing so for about 6 years or so. Remembering the days when all of my friends were on Bebo and MySpace and seeing how this has now shifted so dramatically. But, did I know how to use social media in a marketing and business sense? No, I simply did not. This course was a great way to show me how to do that.” — Sheryl K, ad agency exec

TIMING
The next eCourse starts on Monday February 28, with the delivery to participants of the Introduction and Lesson One. New lessons are delivered weekly on Mondays.

WHO SHOULD TAKE PART
Anyone who may have a fair knowledge of what social media options are out there, but doesn’t know how to use them effectively for business or marketing (whether to get involved directly or to brief others who will carry out the work).

WHAT YOU SHOULD LEARN AS A RESULT OF THE COURSE:

  • The principles of effective marketing in social media
  • Which social networks are strongest in your target markets, who uses them and how to sign up
  • What social media can do for your (or your clients’) business
  • How to build a social media programme (you’ll start constructing your own during the course)
  • The best tools and techniques for monitoring social networks
  • How to really understand and engage with the consumer
  • How to create relevant, informative, killer content for your social media programme
  • How to define and measure meaningful numbers to determine the success (or otherwise) of your social media activities
  • Answering those questions that (if you’re not prepared) could kill your career
  • How to watch for, and adapt to, the Next Big Thing in Social Media (whatever that is)



COURSE CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION: WHY SOCIAL MEDIA SILENCE IS DEADLY

LESSON ONE: THE BASICS — TELL ME ALL ABOUT THESE “SOCIAL NETWORKS”.

LESSON TWO: SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOU — I’M AFRAID OF INTRUDING IN SOCIAL MEDIA –ALL THOSE CONSUMERS WILL TRASH MY BRAND

LESSON THREE: BUILDING THE PLAN — ENOUGH TALK ALREADY, LET’S START BUILDING SOMETHING

LESSON FOUR: MONITORING — DON’T SAY A THING. JUST LISTEN FIRST (EVEN FOR JUST 10 MINUTES A DAY).

LESSON FIVE: ENGAGEMENT — WILL CONSUMERS REALLY ENGAGE WITH ME AND MY BRAND, OR WILL THEY JUST BE POLITE?

LESSON SIX: CREATING KILLER CONTENT — TELL ME STUFF THAT’S REALLY INTERESTING – AND STOP SELLING AT ME, THIS ISN’T A USED CAR LOT

LESSON SEVEN: METRICS AND ROI: — OVERCOMING THOSE QUESTIONS THAT KILL MARKETING CAREERS

CONCLUSION: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE, AND WHO’S DRIVING?

For full course details, please see http://MarketingRebooted.co.nz


INVESTMENT

This seven-part eCourse is available for $397 +GST. However we offer a special Early Bird rate of just $297 +GST if you book and pay before 5pm THIS COMING MONDAY 21 FEBRUARY.

Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by cheque, bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.

If you’d like to pay by credit card, please sign up through PayPal by clicking here.

If you would prefer to pay by cheque or bank deposit, or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to bookings@marketingrebooted.co.nz with your contact details.

(The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Services Limited in your transaction and on your credit card statement).

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

  1. Your booking will be confirmed by email (if you have not received a confirmation within 24 hours, feel free to email bookings@marketingrebooted.co.nz).
  2. On Monday February 28 you will be supplied by email with login details and Course Notes for the first lesson.
  3. Further Lessons will be provided at weekly intervals for the duration of the seven-week course.

For more information, please visit http://MarketingRebooted.co.nz

Microtrends 2011

Let’s talk Microtrends. According to Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne, co-authors of the book “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes”, they’re the smaller trends that go unnoticed or even ignored. But even if they impact on just one percent of the population, that can be enough to create new markets for a business, spark a social movement or even produce political change. Of course, not every microtrend is that significant, but one has to start somewhere.

So what microtrends can we expect down our way in 2011?

The crystal ball is still a little fuzzy — even Reserve Bank Governor Dr Bollard has a bob each way with his take on the year ahead (“… our forecasts will not turn out to be completely accurate … There are limits to what we, the Reserve Bank, and indeed any economists, can forecast …”). Anyway, we’ll give it our own best shot.

The Economy

We expect a slow recovery during the year, with a few unpredictable Black Swan events (think earthquakes, floods, cyclones, crowdsourced uprisings) along the way that will give us pause but not derail the gradual fiscal improvement. Unemployment hit 6.8% in December but some sectors are expecting to create new jobs in reasonable numbers as 2011 unwinds.

We’re Broke

Our collective coffers were busted wide open by the GFC (we’re borrowing $300 million a week and we’re okay with that?) so don’t expect any Election Year goodies. And our own personal piggybanks (aka our homes) are financially held together with string and cellotape and a hint of desperate hope — fine as long as we don’t try to shake them or tip them up to extract some non-existent equity.

The Recession Perception

As is usually the way at this point in the economic cycle, most Kiwis are actually okay financially (93.2% still have a job) — but we’re all wary of getting caught in the next downturn so we tend to conserve our pennies. Not saving necessarily, but not splurging either — paying off a bit of debt and being a bit more prudent. We’re also settling for buying products that are “nearly good enough” — such as the number two brand, still stylish but not so pricey — as we trade down to frugalise our way through the tight times.

Five dollars still goes a long way

According to an online survey commissioned by Westpac, Kiwis fritter away five dollars a day on impulse purchases — good news if you sell those products that typically adorn checkouts and the like, not so good if you add up the total cost of such impulses ($16.1 million a day or just under 5.9 billion dollars a year). Despite the tut-tutting of bankers, politicians and economists, don’t expect those little indulgences to go away in 2011.

Love those Daily Deals

Retailers have successfully conditioned consumers to expect sale prices every weekend (and training us not to consider buying anything that’s not “up to 50% off”). Now consumr price expectations are dropping even further, with today’s breed of daily deal websites teaching us that if we’re paying more than a dollar (Hell Pizza on Groupy) we’re paying too much. This week’s announcement that MediaWorks is partnering with Australian group deal operator Cudo just fans the flames. Can someone say “commoditisation”?

Boomer Karaoke

Those Baby Boomers are in for more musical treats this year, as once-were-headliners like Sting, Neil Diamond, Lionel Richie and Santana play the colonies. If it’s not your era, don’t complain — Lady Gaga and Britney Spears will be making Fortieth Anniversary Tours Down Under soon enough.

Speaking of Anniversaries

Lots of historical events to commemorate this year (and earn some marketing moolah doing so). Here’s our selection:

  • It’s fifty years since Yuri Gagarin of the USSR became the first man in space (on April 12 1961)
  • It’s also fifty years since the US-backed botched landing of Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs (April 17), at the height of the Cold War
  • 150th anniversary of the first NZ gold rush (May – Gabriel’s Gully, Central Otago)
  • Fifty years since the Antarctic Treaty came into effect (June 23)
  • Fiftieth anniversary of the start of construction of the Berlin Wall (August 13)
  • 75th anniversary of Jean Batten’s UK-NZ solo flight (October – 14,224 miles in 11 days 45 minutes total elapsed time)
  • 100th anniversary of first humans to reach the South Pole (December – Roald Amundsen)

Rugby with Everything

For some reason, 2011 will be the year when everything Kiwi develops an obsession with rugby. If The Hobbit was being released this year, it’d feature a nice little seven-a-side footie match between the Shire Mudfeet and the Bree Sheepherders. Take it easy, marketers, and just remember our legislators have drawn up certain rules to minimise exploitation (except by the official sponsors, of course)

The Just In Time Consumer

According to Nielsenwire, a recent Wall Street Journal article reported on the trend of U.S. consumers making more frequent shopping trips, but buying less each trip — a result of the continuing tough economic conditions and a desire by consumers “to keep cash on hand.” The article also noted that retailers and FMCG companies have been introducing smaller package sizes and changing displays to attract shoppers interested in smaller sizes. Similar trends are evident over here and are likely to continue through 2011.

Virtual Gratification

From Foursquare badges to Farmville animals, we’re getting surprising satisfaction out of stuff that doesn’t exist — especially if it’s rare and hard to acquire. The ideal gift for the person who has everything (in the real world).

Discrete Consumerism

Conspicuous consumption died with the Global Financial Crisis. Now consumers get their kicks with expensive purchases that don’t scream “look at me”. Get that branding off our back.

Realtiming

Fast isn’t enough anymore. Got to have it now. Thanks to the social networks, the thirst for instant knowledge just got upsized.

Social Backlash

So many tweets, so little time. Consumers are unfollowing and unfriending people and brands who are in love with the sound of their own propaganda and post way too many updates to the social streams. If you want to succeed in the social space, show respect for the permission your followers have given you. Overuse it and lose it.

Instant Obsolescence

One of the larger trends of the current era is the constant evolution of gadgets (and the urge to possess the latest and the greatest). For example, the next generation iPad is expected to be lighter and more powerful that the current model — and of course early adopters will want one as soon as it’s available. Don’t be surprised to see those clunky old iPads of 2010 making their way onto Trade Me soon after, at something of a discount. Similarly, big-screen LCD TVs are starting to give way to thinner, brighter LED models, some with 3D, others internet-connected.

eBookery

After years of waiting, New Zealand in 2010 finally got access to ebook readers — almost all of the major brands, all at once. Now you can read a (still territorially-limited) selection of ebooks on your choice of iPad, Kindle, Kobo or Sony eReader. Despite the delay in acquiring the technology, expect ebook consumption to get big fast — Amazon has just reported that ebooks outsold paperbacks through the site in the last three months of 2010. If you’re into publishing, the future just arrived.
Indoor Digital Mapping

You’ll probably never need GPS to find your way through your own home (unless you’re Bill Gates), but expect the bigger malls to start offering mobile apps to help shoppers find their way to specific products and specific stores. it’s already catching on offshore.

Wedding Fever

The bells are ringing over in Albion — Wills and Kate tie the knot on the 29th of April, nearly thirty years after that other famous royal wedding (Chuck & Di, in July 1981). Expect an outpouring of pro-wedding sentiment — and perhaps a few more marriages than usual as the year rolls out.

Mobile

Is this the year that smartphones finally catch on in New Zealand (amongst consumers, not just business customers)? Probably not, unless there’s a Black Swan event in the form of disruptive pricing.

A Better Class of Friends

As more and more of your friends’ likes and behaviours are thrust into your personal space through Facebook monetising moves, you’ll find yourself unfriending certain folk because they’ve offended you through their suddenly in-your-face taste in movies or shoes or breakfast cereals.

Your task for today: pick a Microtrend that’s relevant to your business and see how many ways you can take advantage of it for corporate gain.

iPublish or Perish?

Twice a year we get bombarded by an orchestrated litany of press releases, all proclaiming that Newspaper X or Magazine Y is better, faster, stronger or somehow more well-endowed than its competitors.

Yes, the bi-annual announcement of results from the Nielsen National Readership Survey is cause for unrelenting excitement across the publishing spectrum. Every title in every category is somehow Number One with an asterisk (in some demographic somewhere).

So, to all our publishing friends out there, well done you, let’s move on. A few bigger challenges lie ahead.

Such as? Well, this week’s announcement from Apple, for one, regarding its new subscription service for newspapers and magazines:

Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App Store billing system that has been used to buy billions of apps and In-App Purchases. Publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly). Then with one-click, customers pick the length of subscription and are automatically charged based on their chosen length of commitment (weekly, monthly, etc.). Customers can review and manage all of their subscriptions from their personal account page, including cancelling the automatic renewal of a subscription. Apple processes all payments, keeping the same 30 percent share that it does today for other In-App Purchases.

“Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app. We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers.”

Good News/Bad News for publishers, whose delight over the iPad as a publishing platform has been somewhat diluted by the need to pay 30% of revenues to Apple (forever). The Good News: publishers can keep all the revenue if they provide the subscriber; otherwise Apple gets an ongoing and significant bite. The Bad News: most new subscribers will probably sign up through the App store, because the process is so easy.

Another sting in the tale [sic!] for publishers:

“Protecting customer privacy is a key feature of all App Store transactions. Customers purchasing a subscription through the App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their name, email address and zip code when they subscribe.”

In other words, Apple will own the subscriber data, with publishers picking up the data crumbs only if the subscriber specifically opts in. That’s not what the brave new world of frictionless electronic publishing was supposed to deliver.

Google was quick to capitalise on Apple’s stance, with its launch yesterday of Google One Pass, which will allow publishers to set their own prices and terms for the sale of digital content.

The new Google service will be accessible through Android operating tablets, smartphones and websites with one email and password sign-on combination. One Pass will allow publishers to customize the methods of how they charge customers. This will include sales options of subscriptions, metered access, “freemium” content and the purchase of single articles.

Publishers will keep 90% of their share, with Google taking the remaining 10%. Publishers will also have access to subscriber demographics such as names and email addresses.

The Google One Pass service also allows publishers to authenticate current subscribers. This way, customers don’t have to re-subscribe to publications in order to access them on their chosen devices.

Why take the tablets?

So you’re a print publisher who hasn’t yet succumbed to the iPad cult. Why should you take your publication to the tablet (if not now, then eventually)?

1. The market is going to get bigger fast
According to market research firm DisplaySearch, the table PC segment will show an explosive 200 percent growth rate in 2011. Another analyst, Infinite Research, forecasts that in the next 5 years, worldwide shipments of Tablet computers are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 56%, with shipments rising from 16.1 million units in 2010 to 147.2 million units in 2015. And a Harris research study indicated that more than one in five Americans either currently own or plan to purchase a tablet within the next three years. New Zealand penetration is still tiny — but remember, publishers, that iPad publication can be borderless, you’re actually (at least potentially) marketing to the world.

2. Tablets = more time spent reading
Consumers who own tablets and other e-readers generally spend 50 percent more time reading magazines (presumably on those devices) than consumers who do not own those devices, according to a 2010 Harrison Group survey.

3. They like to watch AND interact
A January 2011 Adobe study has found that interactive advertising via digital magazine platforms such as Apple’s iPad can better engage readers and create stronger purchase intent than the same ads featured in print magazines — which means that advertisers will be keen to support and encourage table-based publishing (after the usual foot-dragging and “waiting for the research”).

Perhaps the last word on the potential of the iPad and its ilk belongs to the editors of the New Yorker, who made these comments when launching their iPad editions in September last year:

This latest technology provides the most material at the most advanced stage of digital speed and capacity. It has everything that is in the print edition and more: extra cartoons, extra photographs, videos, audio of writers and poets reading their work. This week’s inaugural tablet issue features an animated version of David Hockney’s cover, which he drew on an iPad. There is also a short film starring Jason Schwartzman and directed by Roman Coppola. It is billed as an instructional video to help you use the New Yorker application on the device, but we should caution that taking your iPad into the shower, as Schwartzman does, may void the warranty.

We’re at once delighted and a little bewildered about this latest digital development and our place in it: delighted because of the quality of what the tablet provides and the speed with which the magazine can be distributed, but bewildered, too, because we’d be liars if we said we knew precisely where technology will lead. These are early days. Right now, editing for the iPad feels similar to making television shows just after the Second World War, when less than one per cent of American households owned a television. And yet the general flow of things is clear: the digital revolution is already both long-standing and swift; there will be many more iPads sold; and competitors will inevitably follow. Some may even be roll-up-able. (Readers longing for digital scent strips will have to be patient.)

We held a webinar on the commercial potential of the iPad late last year. If you’d be interested in joining in on an updated version of that webinar, drop us an email.

Boomtown

The oldest Baby Boomers (those born in 1946) began to turn 65 last month, finally reaching that retirement age milestone — although not necessarily actually retiring, depending on their health, wealth or personal motivations.

The average age of this forever young generation, however, is 54 — and they still represent a significant group of consumers, even if they’re now slipping off the demographic radar as far as most marketers are concerned (sorry gramps, you’re now too old to watch Television One).

A recent article on MediaPost by Jim Gilmartin, president of a specialist ad agency targeting Boomers & Seniors, offered up ten behavioral distinctions of older customers for our consideration:

1. Don’t care anymore what others think

Older customers are less subject to peer influence than younger customers are. Keeping up with the Joneses is not as important as it once was; thus advertising that invokes social status benefits does not play as well in older markets as in younger ones. Largely freed from worrying about reactions of others, older customers tend toward greater practicality in buying decisions than younger customers.

2. Just the facts, ma’am

Adult customers tend to be less responsive to sweeping claims in marketing messages as they age. Hyperbole turns them off. If older customers are interested in considering a purchase, they want unadorned facts, and more of them, than they usually wanted earlier in life. Years of buying equip older people with knowledge of what to look for in intelligent purchases.

3. All you need is love

Older customers tend to be quicker than younger customers to emotionally reflect lack of interest in or negative reaction to an offered product. On the other hand, a positive first impression can become embedded especially deep in the emotions of the older person — so much so that the older customer is often more disposed to be a faithful customer than is the younger customer.

4. It’s not just about me

Older customers tend to show increased response to marketing appeals reflecting altruistic values. This tracks with common middle-age shift toward stronger spiritual values in which concern for others increases. As altruistic motivations become stronger, narcissistic and materialistic values wane in influence.

5. Don’t rush me

As most people grow older, they experience changes in their perceptions of time, but also in its meaning and role in their lives. For example, older people often ignore time-urgency strategies in marketing — such as “Offer good until —,” “Only three left in stock—etc…” Generally, “time is not of the essence” is a common attitude among older people, especially those who have retired.

6. Without my glasses these all look the same

Because older people tend to be more highly individuated, and less influenced by external influences, perceptions of products are more internally shaped. They typically conclude that there is little difference between products than marketers claim. This contrasts with the tendency of younger customers to assert robustly the differences between a product they prefer and its competitors — even when clear differences do not exist.

7. Reputation matters

Older customers tend to be more responsive to “companies with a conscience” than younger customers are. From a self-interest perspective, they are also more attentive to warranty issues and a company’s reputation for honoring its warranties than younger customers.

8. You want how much?

When it comes to making discretionary-purchase decisions, older customers tend to:

  • Have a decreased sensitivity to price;
  • Increased sensitivity to affordability; and
  • Sharply increased sensitivity to value.

Older customers have more complex ways of determining value than younger customers. Value determination by older customers tends to be an existentialist exercise whereby soul (spiritual) values as well as mind (intellect) and body (tangible) values are combined into the value determination process.

9. Hustle, hustle

As they age, many customers develop higher economic “literacy” and skillfully apply it to get the best price. In purchasing “need” items, older customers tend to be more bargain-minded, whereas in purchasing “desire” items, they tend to be more value-minded in a holistic sense.

10. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds

Older people are sometimes characterized as selfish and selfless, penurious and profligate, spontaneous and deliberate, and so on. These conflicting attributes lead some to characterize older people as contradictory. For example, an older shopper may be penurious in using cents-off coupons in a grocery store, after which she drives off in a Mercedes. This is not evidence of contradictory behavior, but an example of the rules of thriftiness applied to basics, and the rules of whole value applied to discretionary expenditures.



Game Over?

Recently-released data compiled by GfK Retail and Technology reveals that New Zealand’s video and computer games sales declined 7% in 2010 compared with the previous year.

Have we really fallen so much out of love with gaming?

Perhaps not. The information collected by GfK includes all sales from hardware, gaming peripherals and traditionally boxed software sold through retail outlets, but excludes revenue generated from online retail sales, downloadable content, online games subscriptions and games delivered to mobile devices. There’s more and more anecdotal evidence suggesting significant growth in downloaded gaming content (a typical gaming forum comment: “i bought a ton of games last year. All but 2 of them off [game downloading service] Steam”) — and we do know that 7.5% of Kiwis have downloaded games, according to Roy Morgan Research (Single Source NZ November 2009-October 2010).

In fact, global forecasts from Deloitte suggest that online gaming revenues (from monthly subscriptions, in-game purchases and advertising) could represent as much as 16% of total game revenues by the end of next year. In the US an estimated 53-78% of gamers (depending on their console) use an internet-connected device to play multi-player online games, download new games and converse with other players while gaming — all of which offers economic and relational benefits to games producers (whilst wreaking havoc with their offline distribution channels).

So what do we know about today’s Kiwi computer/console gamer? Some stats from Interactive New Zealand 2010 (research prepared by Bond University for the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association):

  • 33: the average age of a Kiwi gamer
  • 91%: percentage of Kiwis aged 6-15 who play computer/console games
  • 43%: percentage of gamers over 50
  • 44%: percentage of gamers who are female
  • 88.5%: percentage of New Zealand households which have a device for playing computer games
  • 100%: percentage of homes with children under the age of 18 years which have a device for playing computer games
  • 85: age of the oldest gamer in this study

Why Kiwi Gamers play:

  • 27%: to have fun
  • 255: to relax
  • 21%: to pass the time
  • 16%: for the challenge

These statistics don’t specifically relate to perhaps the hottest category of gaming in 2010/11, Social Gaming (predominantly on Facebook). Here are some global numbers about Facebook gamers:

  • 53% of Facebook users play games through the site
  • 69% are women
  • 19% say they’re addicted
  • 56 million play daily
  • 290 million play monthly
  • 50% of Facebook log-ins are specifically to play games

Interactive gaming is clearly continuing to grow, but the distribution mechanisms are going through dramatic changes. Now would not be the time to set up a bricks and mortar gaming store.