All posts by Rudly Raphael

4th of July Facts & State: Infographic

To celebrate America’s Independence Day, we put together this infographic with facts and figures to show how Americans are celebrating. Please refer to the firework section before you light anything tomorrow! We wish you a happy and safe 4th of July from QuestionPro Audience.

TOP 5 INFOGRAPHICS OF JUNE

top 5 lists

The month of June is named after the Roman goddess Juno, patroness of marriage and the well-being of women. Knowing that, it makes sense that June is also the most popular month to get married. If you like those interesting facts, you’ll love our top 5 infographics of June. Another month, another great round-up.

1 — PATERNITY LEAVE FACTS: DADS NEED TO BOND, TOO! 

ShelterPoint put together an infographic which covers how important bonding time is for dads and babies. While we all know maternity leave in the U.S. is lacking, paternity leave is not spoken about as much. But this infographic gives insight into why it is just as important for dads and babies to have time to bond.

 

2 — SUMMER GRILLING

Summer brings the heat—and we mean that literally. Did you know that June is National Grilling Month? Me either. This look at grilling habits in the U.S. is fun…but beware, it will cause your mouth to water.

 

 

3 — HOW APPLE STORES GIVE THEIR CUSTOMERS FIVE DIAMOND TREATMENT

We know Apple is the crown jewel of the technology industry, but did you know that Apple sent its store managers to Ritz-Carlton hospitality training before opening its own stores? This infographic is a must-read for anyone in the customer service industry. Or anyone in the tech industry. Or anyone…heck, just check out this infographic. It’s a great read.

 

4 —WHY NORMAL PEOPLE CAN’T AFFORD A HOUSE 

This eye-opening infographic covers the housing industry, and how it’s skewed towards the wealthy. Did you know that for every 100 extremely low-income households, there are only 29 affordable rental units available? It’s thought-provoking, and a more than a little upsetting.

 

5 — INFLUENCERS AT A GLANCE

According to new research by Mavrck, influencer marketing is here to stay. While not everyone is in it for the money (44% say creating content is a passion), 90% are in it for the free products or services in exchange for their posts. Not entirely shocking, but still an interesting look at this new trend in digital marketing.

 

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 5 million active consumer respondents, who are pre-screened and qualified candidates for high-quality data collection. Our Consumer Panel is carefully recruited to target all type of users, but also taking into consideration certain key industry trends, such as online store preference, physical store preference, actual systems, reasons to purchase, etc. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research.

How Market Research Gives Advertisers the Advantage

advertising and market research

Market research, according to The American Marketing Association, is defined as linking the consumer to the marketer through information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and issues; generate, refine and evaluate marketing actions; and monitor performance. The most intelligent brands understand that market research and advertising go hand in hand, and promote a successful product launch.

There are many things to take into consideration before launching your campaign, and in order to get the best results, it is imperative you have answers to the questions below.

  1. WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE? In a perfect world, your product or service would appeal to the masses, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case for most brands. Knowing your target audience is the first step. While you may believe you know who your target consumer is, proving this out with research is a step the most successful companies don’t skip. Once you have your audience demographics defined, it’s time to dig a little deeper into their behaviors, which leads us to…   
  2. WHAT ARE THEIR HABITS? What are their attitudes or predispositions? What are their interests? Are they on social media, and if so, which channels? Do they watch live television, stream, or DVR to watch later? It’s important to research your audience’s habits, so you can understand what your audience cares about, and why. Obviously the commercials on Nickelodeon differ from those on AMC, due to the brand’s target audience.
  3. WHAT ARE YOUR COMPETITORS DOING? I’m sure you’ve heard The Godfather II quote, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Well, obviously competitors aren’t your enemies, but it’s always good to keep tabs on what they’re up to. How are they advertising their similar products or services? Additionally, identifying their strengths and weaknesses will help you fine-tune your strategy.
  4. WHICH ADVERTISING CHANNEL IS BEST FOR YOU? Obviously companies want the biggest ROI on their advertising spend. There are so many options available for advertising your products out there: TV, print ads, online ads, social media, radio, direct mail, even billboards. Each option requires a different strategic approach to ensure success. Social media is particularly popular as of late due to the ability to target and track. However, if your target demographic isn’t on social media, this route doesn’t make sense.

Don’t cut corners when it comes to your customers. Conducting research before launching a product is extremely important, as it defines which market to best target with your advertisements, ascertains your product or service’s ideal consumer base, determines which advertising channel will make the greatest impact on these consumers, and discerns whether your intended audience are receiving your advertisements, and gauges their reception. When done correctly and thoroughly, market research can take your brand from “okay” to “amazing”.

QuestionPro Audience provides its clients access to millions of research participants who are pre-screened and highly qualified to participate in a variety of research initiatives of any level of specificity. With more than 10 specialty panels developed and managed in-house and over 20 years of industry experience in research and data collection, we can always find the right respondent to participate in your research. Click here to learn more.

Rise and Fall of Tech Innovation: 2018 Technology Failures

technology failures

How Big Data, Internet of Things, and Virtual Reality Rose and Fell

We just love disruption in the digital age. From the iPhone to ridesharing, and everything in between and beyond, consumers are always eager for the next best thing while brands are ready to change the way they do business.

But not everything that glitters is venture capital gold. Some recent solutions that were lauded as revolutionary seemed to have stalled, and are in danger of ending up like Coke Zero.

The Internet of Things

Just a few years ago, it looked like every home and business were on their way to being fully connected to the internet. This was the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT). Yet, we’re still waiting for our smart toothbrush and automated grocery stores.

IoT is still alive and well to some degree. According to the latest statistics and predictions, worldwide spending on IoT is forecast to reach $772.5 billion by the end of 2018 – representing an increase of 15 percent over the previous year.  The global IoT market will reach $457 billion by 2020, with a yearly annual growth rate of approximately 28.5 percent. Even our own research on smart technology reveals that consumers are taking their time adopting new technology.

All other metrics point to growth.

The offline devil is in the details, however. According to advisory firm Bain, the biggest competitive areas for IoT will be in the enterprise and industrial segments. IoT market share will be dominated by smart cities and industrials, with smart utilities and wearables at the very bottom.

Basically, this means that unless you’re a cash-rich country like Qatar, ubiquitous smart homes and communities are still a thing of sci-fi.

Why do consumer applications lag so far behind? The main reasons are scalability and security. North American consumers are just too wary of security issues. In The Failure in the Market for the Internet of Things, Yosef Yudborovsky goes into detail about the security dangers of IoT, as well as troubling instances of hacking and privacy breaches. In fact, cyberattacks are increasing from 6.6 million attacks in 2015 to an expected 17.4 million attacks in 2020.

On the business side, IoT is just as troublesome. A recent Cisco study of 1,845 business and IT decision-makers found that almost 75 percent of IoT projects fail.

The top five reasons are:

  • IoT integration
  • Budget overruns
  • Long completion times
  • Poor quality of the data collected
  • Lack of internal expertise

What we have here is an industry that hasn’t matured, suffers from limited expertise, and is lacking in technology standards. And above all of this, too many hackers.

Big Data

Big Data was supposed to be a big thing. It hasn’t delivered. Gartner even dropped it from its Hype Cycle of Emergent Technologies back in 2015. The hype is still there, though, with Big Data business worth $122 billion and growing. At the same time, a stunning 85 percent of big data projects fail.

Why the disconnect? According to TechCrunch, these are the reasons:

  • The human brain is just not built to interpret large and complex data sets. Data sets must first be made “smaller” via aggregation, summarization, description, and presentation — but that sort of negates Big Data in the first place!
  • There just is a limit on how much data will benefit an organization. More information is not better than the right information; and a lot of information can warp core assumptions without suggesting solutions.

In other words, businesses like what Big Data brings, but don’t know what to do with it.

The article suggests that smarter applications and predictive analytics could make Big Data more effective, or as it states: “Big businesses have absorbed Google-style tech, but are only just beginning to adopt Google-style thinking alongside it.”

Even with these changes, an article in Information Week explains that these stumbling blocks must be overcome in order for any Big Data project to work:

  • Management resistance/trust gut feeling
  • Selecting the wrong usages/trying to make the projects too big
  • Asking the wrong questions without understanding the business
  • Lacking the right skills within the methods and tech
  • Unanticipated problems beyond Big Data technology in which people and systems don’t cooperate

It seems like the funny quote that went around the internet a few years ago regarding Big Data was not just funny, but prophetic. If you haven’t heard it, it claims that Big Data is like teenage sex: Everyone talks about it; nobody really knows how to do it; Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims to be doing it.

Looks like we need a lot of big data to overcome the Big Data issue…

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality bombed in the 90s, but its resurrection was supposed to be a religious experience in the digital age.

From the grave, virtual reality has risen more as a zombie.

As TechCrunch’s Lucas Matney explained last summer:

“Over the past several months it’s become clear that the war is no longer HTC and Oculus trying to discover who is Betamax and who is VHS, now they’re just trying to ensure that high-end VR doesn’t turn out to be LaserDisc. Though few of the big players are keen to readily admit it, many investors and analysts have been less than thrilled with the pace of headset sales over the past year.”

An article in The Economist agrees, saying that for this year: “Virtual reality has failed to live up to its hype, and mainstream consumers never really bought into the technology.”

Supporting the above takeaways, Game Developers Conference’s latest State of the Game Industry report states that of the 3,000 game developers surveyed, only 17 percent said their next game would include VR headsets.

The reasons for virtual reality’s sputtering are many: subpar content, high prices, cumbersome equipment, and the need for powerful specs on a computer or gaming console. You can easily add to these issues the reality that Apple—a standard bearer of tech trends—has yet to throw its VR hat in the ring.

The only good news (for consumers) is that virtual reality equipment has fallen in price, from the Oculus Rift to the HTC Vive to the PlayStation VR. Considering that many of these brands don’t release sales figures on their virtual reality products (already telling), quick and steep price drops are a key indicator of the lukewarm sales.

Of course, sometimes all it takes is a breakout game (I’m looking at you, Halo and the original Xbox). Another answer is perhaps more focus on virtual reality’s cousin, augmented reality. Two years ago, Pokémon Go put augmented reality on the map, and it remains more scalable due to its presence on smartphones and tablets.

Until something comes down the strategic or creative pipe, virtual reality is only a niche product stranded in a niche between success and Google Glass.

Will These Digital Solutions Succeed?

The big takeaway of these digital tech products is that they weren’t outright rejected by consumers and brands, despite, or perhaps because of, expectations. Companies offering these solutions simply hit the walls of scalability, processes, and truly understanding how to serve consumers. To wit, they could have done more market research and less hype-jumping.

In my opinion, strategically lowering the cost of equipment or focusing more on movies instead of complex games could have moved the needle in the right direction for virtual reality. Heavily investing and educating on cybersecurity could change the perception of IoT. Vendors who tutor organizations on how to leverage Big Data, instead of solely focusing on the sale, could make it more successful in projects.

As they say, the difference between a trend and fad is that a trend works. IoT, Big Data, and virtual reality do work, but working well has yet to trend.

QuestionPro Audience provides its clients access to millions of research participants who are pre-screened and highly qualified to participate in a variety of research initiatives of any level of specificity. With more than 10 specialty panels developed and managed in-house and over 20 years of industry experience in research and data collection, we can always find the right respondent to participate in your research. Click here to learn more.

Pet Tech Is Taking The Pet Industry By Storm

pet technology

The U.S. pet industry has been growing year after year, with overall sales of pet products and services rising 5% in 2017. Pet technology is a category that is growing at a rapid pace, with no signs of slowing down. It is expected to generate $233 million in 2018, marking an 18% increase from 2017, according to a study by the Consumer Technology Association. We took a look at emerging trends in the pet care industry, and dug into why pet technology is on the rise.

DOG VS CAT

Dog owners and cat owners have more in common than they would admit. Both cat and dog owners are willing to use technology to address pet issues, with dog owners’ biggest priority being training (35%), versus cat owners’ monitoring of their cat’s nutrition (32%). Of those who own pet technology, 45% of cat owners use their pet technology at least once a day, compared to 35% of dog owners.

SAFETY

Pet owners love their animals, and consider them to be an integral part of their family. Safety is the biggest driver of pet tech purchases, as evidenced by the popularity of automated feeders, vet apps, pet GPS and more. In fact, 46% of pet owners use an app that delivers pet health data directly to their vet, and 40% say they use pet tech for philanthropic reasons, such as finding shelters for rescued strays after natural disasters.  

SHOPPING

In a win for brick-and-mortar stores, the Consumer Technology Association report found that most pet owners discover and plan to shop to pet technology in brick-and-mortar stores. 72% of pet owners are most likely to purchase pet tech from a physical pet store, followed by 48% who shop at an online-only retailer, and 40% who shop at a physical mass merchant store.

WALK THIS WAY

App-based services offering pet sitting, dog walking and boarding are taking the industry by storm. Rover, which matches pet sitters with pet owners who need help taking care of their beloved pets, is growing rapidly, tripling net revenue in 2016 and 2017, and processing roughly one million bookings per month.

QuestionPro Audience has more than 10 niche panels, including our veterinarian panel. Our vet panel is one of a handful in the continental U.S. and consists of more than 40,000 highly engaged, pre-screened veterinarians who provide critical insights. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients.

Consumer Trends Taking Over the Food Industry This Summer

Summertime brings the heat, barbecues and pool parties. The food and beverage industries count on American consumers purchasing traditional barbecue fare such as burgers, hot dogs, and beer. But with consumer’s eating habits evolving in search of more healthy options, these industries will need to make adjustments to their products in order to capitalize on their shifting tastes.    

HOT DIGGITY-DOG

As consumers focus on more health-friendly options, smart bun brands are altering their strategies to keep up with the changing market. Over the past year, reports found that dollar sales for hot dog and hamburger buns dropped 1.2% to $1.9 billion. Adding value to buns through nutrition or multi-purpose uses will help differentiate their products in the supermarket. Guy Ozery, owner of Ontario-based Ozery Bakery, states, “We saw a void in the marketplace, which was saturated with unhealthy, calorie-dense buns, so we created a heart-healthy, pre-sliced thin bun made with 100% whole grains.”

VEGAN OR BUST

7 billion hot dogs were consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2017, but this year, the traditional brats and burgers may be missing from summer parties. According to Mintel’s 2018 Summer Food and Drink Trend Report, vegan barbecue is on the rise. There’s been an increase in specialty vegan options, including barbecue. The report found that 33% of U.S. consumers, and 37% of millennials, plan to buy more plant-based foods in 2018, leading sales of plant-based foods to grow 8.1% over the past year.   

BUH-BYE, SODA

55% of consumers cut out soft drinks when trying to limit their sugar intake, causing flavored sparkling waters to be a more popular choice. Per Mintel’s report, 37% of Americans ages 25 to 34 have had flavored sparkling water such as LaCroix in the past three months. “The desire for unsweetened beverage options, along with consumer demand for more exotic flavors and unusual ingredients, is driving a trend toward more and more creative sparkling waters,” said Jenny Zegler, associate director of food and drink for Mintel.

SPIKED SELTZER

As consumers have become more mindful about their health, low-carb, low-cal hard seltzer has made their mark in the liquor industry. Between July and September 2017, the combined sales of the top six hard seltzer brands accounted for just under $60 million in sales, more than four times the amount sold during the same time frame in 2016. According to a recent report, beverage categories with health attributes are outperforming those without these claims, which is why hard seltzer brands incorporate this into their packaging.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 5 million active consumer respondents, who are pre-screened and qualified candidates for high-quality data collection. Our Consumer Panel is carefully recruited to target all type of users, but also taking into consideration certain key industry trends, such as online store preference, physical store preference, actual systems, reasons to purchase, etc. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research.

All About Father’s Day: Fun Facts and More

Father’s Day falls on June 17th this year, and it looks like dads—and retailers—across the U.S. will be pretty happy with their kids. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, the expected spend for Father’s Day is $15.3 billion, or an average of $133 per person, second only to 2017’s Father’s Day spend of $15.5 billion, which was the highest in the 15-year history of the survey. While this spend is substantial, it’s still second fiddle to the $23.1 billion consumers spend on Mother’s Day! Millennials look to the big spenders, spending an average of $188 per person.  Continue reading below for our infographic filled with fun facts about Dad’s day.

The Top 5 Infographics of May

top infographics

May brings fresh flowers, and fresh infographics! We love a good data dive at QuestionPro Audience, and we know you do too. Especially when they come in our favorite guilty pleasure—a colorful infographic. So, we’ve curated a list of the top 5 infographics of May for your reading enjoyment.

1 – THE BEST DAYS & TIMES TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Everyone is on social media these days, and this infographic by Unmetric is great for any brand who is looking to grow their presence. Who would have thought Instagram would be so busy between 3-4 A.M. on Sundays?

 

 

2  5 GREENEST U.S. CITIES TO VISIT 

We know that 56% of Americans plan to take a vacation this summer. If you’re still undecided on where to go, check out this list of the 5 greenest cities to visit. I was surprised by a few!

 

 

3 – WHAT HAPPENS IN AN INTERNET MINUTE? 

Not only does this infographic show what happens in the internet in a minute, but it compares the data to last year’s data as well. Let’s just say, we’ve definitely upped our Netflix watching and Instagram usage.

 

4 – HOW TO DRIVE PROPERLY EXPLAINED IN ONE SIMPLE GRAPHIC 

This very tongue-in-cheek infographic from Jalopnik shows how to be a good driver. Spoiler: if you’re in the left lane, you’re not doing it right.

 

 

 

5 – A VIEW OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN MAY 2018

This easy-to-read infographic breaks down the trade war between the U.S. and China, without making you watch hours of CNN. It shows what each side is looking for, and the likely outcome. Where was this in government class??

 

 

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 5 million active consumer respondents, who are pre-screened and qualified candidates for high-quality data collection. Our Consumer Panel is carefully recruited to target all type of users, but also taking into consideration certain key industry trends, such as online store preference, physical store preference, actual systems, reasons to purchase, etc. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research.

Can Our Smartphone Addiction Be Fixed?

smartphone

The smartphone has been an integral part of our society for almost two decades. Who could ever have guessed this small device would change our world so drastically? Today, the smartphone serves many purposes: telephone, calendar, navigation, web browser, note-keeper…the list can go on and on. While there are many ways smartphones help us, they have also become an obsession.

ADULTS AND CHILDREN

77% of Americans own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. When Deloitte surveyed 4,150 adults in 2017, 38% thought they were using their smartphone too much. 79% of respondents checked apps in the hour before they went to sleep or within 15 minutes of waking up (55%).

If adults can’t resist the allure of the smartphone, how can kids be expected to? A 2016 report found that the average age for children to get a phone is 10.3. According to research conducted by the Kaiser Foundation, children and teens use four to five times the recommended amount of technology. QuestionPro Audience conducted a study among teens ages 14-19, and found that 24% spend more than 6 hours on their phone each day. It’s not only a problem along tweens and teens, however. A team of researchers at University of Iowa found that by age two, 90% of modern children had a moderate ability to use a tablet. While the long-term effects of children using smartphones is still to be determined, it has been found that usage causes eye discomfort, promote a sedentary lifestyle, and irregular sleep patterns.

NEXT STEPS

Concern over tech addiction have spawned a movement to change among former Silicon Valley employees. Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, is now the executive director of the Center for Humane Technology. His aim is to push the industry toward technology that protects and replenishes society. Per Harris, “The key thing is, the addiction [to technology] is not happening by accident — it’s happening by design.” Technology companies whose business models hinge on maximizing attention “are not aligned with human well-being,” he says. “It’s not because they’re evil but because that’s their model.”

In January, Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which together own a $2 billion stake in Apple, wrote an open letter to the company, asking them to address the issue of phone addiction among children. The companies asked Apple to take a socially responsible approach to helping parents navigate phone ownership among kids. “By doing so, we believe Apple would once again be playing a pioneering role, this time by setting an example about the obligations of technology companies to their youngest customers,” said the two companies in their letter. In response to the request, Apple has created a new feature, Screen Time. Screen Time shows users their daily and weekly time spent in each app and also lets them set time limits for specific apps. Users can also see how many notifications they received and how often they picked up the device. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, told CNN this week that after seeing the data from the new tool, he was shocked when he found out how much time he was spending on his phone.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 5 million active consumer respondents, who are pre-screened and qualified candidates for high-quality data collection. Our Consumer Panel is carefully recruited to target all type of users, but also taking into consideration certain key industry trends, such as online store preference, physical store preference, actual systems, reasons to purchase, etc. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research.

5 Things Hollywood Does Well When It Comes To Marketing

hollywood marketing

The recent soft landing of Solo: A Star Wars Story makes one wonder about the supremacy of the Disney marketing machine. Is there a Star Wars fatigue setting in? Did the studio release the movie too soon after another Star Wars movie? Is there too much competition with Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 still in the theaters?

It’s still too soon to give Solo a dead verdict (considering the hype) and too soon for a marketing autopsy. The movie might still be a hit of sorts. Not a movie critic, but my son and I saw it over the weekend and we both left with a “mehh”.

We can say, though, that Solo was marketed well — since the studio mostly aped the promotion of the other three recent Star Wars film (all box office monsters). One thing Hollywood does well is understand its audiences and market to them.

By grasping the general marketing techniques of movie studios, we can leverage insights that can work in any vertical. Your brand may not become a global behemoth like the Star Wars franchise, but it will move the right audiences to action and loyalty.

Tell a story

Movie studios just don’t create a product and then advertise it to kingdom come (if they want to be highly successful). They create a story around the actual storyline of the movie.

The most iconic example of storytelling is The Blair Witch Project. In the nascent days of the internet (1999), marketers behind this low-budget horror film generated additional storylines on its site before the movie was released: a faux documentary, “missing” posters of characters, fake news stories, and more.

The marketing was so successful that audiences were drawn into the overall mythos of the plot, with many actually thinking the Blair Witch legend was not fiction!

These days, this type of world-building around a film is common with horror fares, including The Walking Dead and Paranormal Activity.

Another great example is The Dark Knight. A year before the movie release, the film’s marketers successfully invited audiences into the narrative of the movie by creating:

  • A fake campaign for politician Harvey Dent presented in a very realistic website.
  • Producing and distributing a fictional newspaper called The Gotham Times.
  • Delivering mysterious Joker playing cards with “HA HA” at comic book stores.

This and other promotions produced a massive buzz for The Dark Knight, but you could also say they unified audiences with the Batman characters and milieu.

In the “real” world, it means that companies engage better with audiences when a story is part of marketing campaigns and overall branding. Apple is accentuated by the story of Steve Jobs while SpaceX is bolstered by the story of Elon Musk.

What’s in your story?

Be interactive

Successful brands continually engage their audiences, and in the Digital Age, there is no excuse not to. In Hollywood, it’s almost an automatic.

Case in point: The promotion of Jurassic World was as interactive as possible. It took the form of a promotional website that was an accurate representation of the film’s setting, down to details like current temperatures on Isla Nublar, a realistic map of the grounds, and specific facts of dinosaur housed in the amusement park. Every single page worked to convince visitors to buy a ticket for the attraction, with assistance even offered on planning an unforgettable trip. The actual trip was not to the hypothetical Jurassic Park but for a spot at the local cinema.

Just as effective, the marketing in The Hunger Games provided “Virtual Hunger Games,” where users were able to join a district and compete against other districts (as in the film). The virtual game online allowed viewers to experience the movie characters while connecting with other like-minded fans.

In the “real” world, it simply means make your sites, social media, and events as collaborative as possible. And make your brand as transparent as possible, too, so audiences feel comfortable taking an amusement park ride down the proverbial sales funnel.

Tap into your SME’s

Actors sitting down for television interviews or coasting on a red carpet during a premiere is so legacy media. Actors who become proverbial brand evangelists take marketing to the 21st century.

The best case study is Deadpool, which saw Ryan Reynolds made the titular character transcendent. Reynolds continually promoted the movie in full character, from handing out chimichangas at the Super Bowl 50 to creating a Deadpool Tinder profile. It helped that Reynolds loved the comic book character, so much that he was actively involved in studio meetings to plan various marketing events (or more like stunts, if you will).

The next best illustration (arguably) would be Sacha Baron Cohen’s shocking character, Borat. To promote the mockumentary Borat, Cohen stayed in character most of the time before the film’s release, whether he was on The Late Show in front of David Letterman or in local news shows.  

In the “real” world, it means brands should not be shy in tapping into their talent for marketing initiatives. Company thought leaders can contribute articles, appear at events, and be visible/available during promotions. A company succeeds with the talent behind it, so the talent should be in front of it as much as possible.

Know your audience

Understanding consumers might seem obvious, but it’s so essential it needs to be continually repeated. It’s no different in the film industry when it comes to marketing.

Take, for example, the movie Sausage Party. Being a rather subversive animation, studios promoted Sausage Party in such cutting-edge events like SXSW, as well as spent 50% of marketing on social media blitzes for Millennials.

On the other hand, a teen rom-com movie like The Fault in Our Stars focused on promoting on social media sites popular with younger demographics, including Instagram and Tumblr (where the movie hosted its official site). And yes, there were plenty of faint-worthy photos of the stars, behind-the-scenes videos, and GIFs.

In the “real world,” this means to know your audiences to the point you know exactly where they frequent. As basic as that.

Content is king, but market research places the crown

At the end of the marketing cycle, the product or service is what matters, since it knights marketers with the right inspiration and logistics. The disappointing results of Solo might be simply due to its weak plot. On the other hand, we have this year’s Black Panther. As an article in Fast Company stated:

“If there is a marketing lesson or blueprint to take from all of this, it’s that marketing success starts with the truth of the product itself. Disney built a fantastically solid foundation, then tapped into the magical Marvel hype machine to amplify the film’s inherent strengths. The single greatest marketing move for Black Panther was T’Challa and the heroes of Wakanda themselves.”

Put it simply: It still comes down to the best possible market research to deliver the best possible product. After all, the finest marketing in the world could have never saved Howard the Duck, Cutthroat Island, John Carter, or Monster Trucks. In retrospect and to a degree, the same might be said for Solo.

So start with the research to make sure marketers make your product a star. Having a Wookie in the campaign won’t be enough.