As I recuperate from COVID, I reflect on how much of the US I’ve gotten to see so far this year.
Living in New York City, one can lose the sense of how amazing this large country is and how diverse the people who live here are.
We’ve recently been treated to a slew of Supreme Court opinions that make some people wonder whether they still have rights in their country.
Having looked across the Grand Canyon that changes by less than the thickness of a sheet of paper each year, filled me with pride. The natural colors faded from purples to oranges as the early summer sun shone down. Slate gray rocks jutted out at different levels and tumbles of brush and cactus peek their green heads out.
Outside of Sedona the rocks muted reds and browns as Smokey The Bear watched over them. Looking down on Horseshoe Bend the drying water still made a deep blue circle and faded out to moss.
Yet amid these shiny gray structures of Manhattan I feel the history beneath my feet. Sometimes it’s worn into the street and sidewalks. Other times it peeks out in the architecture of the buildings.
While the Flatiron building remains girded in scaffolding, as it slowly regains its original luster.
This year people have gotten tired of being closed in. They’ve fled the city for the Long Island Shore, the Hudson Valley and the Jersey coast.
They want to escape the streamy summer. They’re ready to untie their shoes and leave them at the sand’s edge so they can run and feel the cold water roll in and out.
So New York City is empty this holiday weekend.
Marketing Lesson of The Week
► Amazon Prime Is Coming
To celebrate its 20th birthday, Amazon announced Prime Day on July 15, 2015. Its goal was to offer a larger volume of deals than Black Friday.
The offers were exclusively for Prime members. So to participate, customers had to purchase a Prime Membership. Since the membership brings free shipping and access to Prime Video, many customers purchase a membership.
On the face of it this type of promotion doesn’t seem that extraordinary.
But it works and it fills out your promotional calendar.
Over the years, I’ve recommended clients to:
Add an Anniversary or Birthday holiday during a month when your promotional calendar is lacking one. It’s what I call a movable feast.
From a marketing perspective, you need to keep the same number of promotions year-over-year or you risk a revenue shortfall.
If you have 12 promotions in year 1, then you need to have 12 promotions in year 2 to keep your sales relatively flat. This assumes that the performance of your promotions will yield slightly more sales each year, often from inflation.
If you have a shortfall in one or more promotions, you’ll need to develop another promotion to bring your sales up to a relatively similar place. But that may mean you’ll have to keep the promotion going to maintain your sales level. Hence more promotions each year.
Running for 24 hours, the first Amazon’s Prime Day’s customers outspent their largest Black Friday buy up till that point. Over 34.4 million items were sold across Prime-eligible countries accounting for 398 items ordered per second. It also was the largest day of Amazon Devices sold worldwide. (Of course, it helps that you can control the pricing of your own products.)
Further Amazon placed their massive sale during the quiet post-July 4th and pre-Back-to-School time to lure people to open their wallets without competing with other promotions. Prime Days encourage impulse buying.
Amazon, like other companies, discovered that once you run a promotion, especially a big one, you need to keep running it every year maintain your base sales growth. As a result Prime Day remains a key element of their promotional calendar.
But, there may be a silver lining for Amazon competitors. According to Wall Street Journal, Amazon’s Blockbuster Sale lacks some of its luster. The ecommerce giant has reduced its promotion of the event and is limiting its best deals to Amazon branded products.
The major e-commerce event, Prime Day 2022 will take place on July 12th and 13th in 20 countries.
Whether you participate in Prime Day or not, you should understand who their core buyer is and what motivates them. Because Prime Day is the biggest online shopping day of the year!
What causes Prime Day shoppers to buy?
Free shipping and cheap prices. Although half of Prime Day shoppers make unplanned purchases.
Actionable Marketing Lesson
If you compete with Amazon, don’t try to beat them on price. Since you’ll need lower prices and pay to match their free shipping. Instead assess how to increase the value of your products. Ideally with resources that you already own. For example, offer special training, content, or workbooks.
► Nathan’s Spends July Fourth Eating Hot Dogs
At the tip of Brooklyn in Coney Island, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is a Fourth of July institution. And how it came into being is a branding lesson any marketer can adopt to their products and services.
As with any great brand, Nathan’s Famous built its history around its Hot Dog Eating Contest and associated it with its location.
With a $300 loan from two friends, Nathan Handwerker, a Polish immigrant, started a hot dog stand in Coney Island at the corner of Surf and Stillwell. In 1916, Handwerker charged a nickel per hot dog.
What set Handwerer’s hot dogs apart?
His wife’s secret spice recipe.
To increase sales, Nathan’s promoter Morty Matz claimed that 4 immigrants held a hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s Famous stand in Coney Island to determine who was the most patriotic. This story became part of the lore around Nathan’s Famous. It was even documented by the New York Times.
In 2010 Matz finally admitted to having made up the 1916 story as part of a publicity stunt. Even knowing the truth hasn’t changed the event or its storied past.
Actionable Marketing Lesson
Create an event associated with your business and location to attract people to celebrate with you. In the process, you have developed an on-going promotion.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has grown beyond its local Brooklyn origins. Since 1997, Major League Eating (MLE), part of the the International Federation of Competitive Eating (or IFOCE), has authorized Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating the event.
With a total prize pool of $40,000, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest winners in the men’s and women’s competitions receive $10,000 each.
Take a page from 2022 Winner Joey Chestnut.
Chestnut has niched down to stand out as the only person on Earth to make competitive eating a viable lifestyle.
As a 14-time winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and other Major League Eating competitions, Joey Chestnut has a net worth of $2 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Beyond his annual winnings and sponsorship deals, Chestnut has his own line of condiments for hot dogs, brats, sausages, wings and sandwiches. (Source: SportingNews)
Actionable Marketing Tips
- Offer prize money to attract a larger base of contestants. Offset these prizes with sponsorships from other local and related businesses. Also charge contestants an entry fee.
- Keep permission to use photographs of winners and contestants in other content and promotions.
► Medicine Compliance Goes Easy-To-Read
While getting COVID after 2 shots and 2 boosters and getting sick from all of them was an experience I could have done without, I was impressed with the ease of getting Paxlovid, the US drug that reduces the effect of the infection.
My husband had no problem getting telemedicine calls within less than one hour. Each of us had to have a separate call so that the doctor could verify our symptoms, do the associated reporting, and order the Paxlovid. (I’m sure that our insurance got charged twice as well.)
Despite living in Manhattan where there is a Duane Reade (aka: Walgreens) or CVS on every other block, only one pharmacy could fulfill the Paxlovid prescription. I assume that this is to carefully manage quantities across geographic locations and reduce the overall amount of the drug needed.
For us the process was seamlessly handled by Alto Pharmacy. The doctor sent the prescriptions in and we were texted with a delivery time window within 2 hours.
By contrast, we’ve previously had lots of problems with a another delivery-only pharmacy. For example, they don’t let you know what happened to your order when they don’t have your prescription in stock.
Alto’s delivery man left the packages at the bottom of the stairs and refused to risk picking up the cash tip we left for him.
Actionable Marketing Lesson
Set up processes that help deliver your product and services.
From a content perspective, getting patients to take prescribed medications, known as compliance, is difficult for a wide range of reasons.
Paxlovid did a great job to make it easy for sick patients who may not be thinking correctly. There is one box per patient and all of the pills must be taken.
- There are 5 strips of 6 pills each for daily consumption.
- Each strip is half yellow with 3 daytime pills and half blue for 3 night time pills. They use both words and color. Further there is no need for anyone to pour or measure out the doses.
Actionable Content Marketing Tips
- Provide easy-to-use instructions to get customers to use your products. At a minimum use packaging, sales receipts and/or follow up emails. Where appropriate, reuse your “How To” content
- Make your product easy for your end-user to use or take. Where possible use a variety of content formats to help users.
NYC Marketing Minute
► Macy’s Lights Up NYC
When it comes to the Fourth of July, New York City brands know how to celebrate. In the process they build their brand and contribute to the unique qualities of the city.
Before 9/11, I felt thrilled to walk up the ramps onto the FDR Drive, the highway hugging New York City’s Eastside. Like many of my fellow New Yorkers, I got there early while it was still light to stake out an optimal space to watch the shimmering lights flutter down.
As the starting time for the fireworks would get closer it seemed like more and more people pushed to get onto the highway.
Then silence as all heads cranked back when the first massive boom shot through the sky. And everyone was like a child, their eyes widening.
After 9/11, I went once to see the fireworks but the combination of police security, check points and pens to control the number of people dampened the joy.
Billed as the world’s largest store, Macy’s lights up the night sky every Fourth of July starting at 9:25 p.m.. The retailer has created an annual fireworks event for the city that never sleeps.
For the 46th year, Macy’s launched 1,920 shells and effects per minute from each of the 5 barges positioned in the middle of the East River between East 23rd Street and East. 42nd Street, This allowed prime viewing from three boroughs in New York City.
But promotions like the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks don’t come cheap. This year’s price tag was $6 million (Source) In addition to the fireworks, costs include talent, insurance, and other workers.
While the fireworks only last from 9:25pm to 9:50pm, the televised show lasts a full 2 hours. Providing for advertising revenue to help support this free New York City event.
Actionable Marketing Lesson
Get a helping hand to create massive events. Macy’s partnered with 1010 WINS, Go Bowling, Green Giant,Jennie-O, New York Life, RAM and Sinclair.
Plan Ahead: Mark Your Calendar
► MAICON 2022 – August 3-5th, 2022 in Cleveland, OH.
The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference (MAICON), returns to an in-person event this year. Check out MAICON’s schedule of upcoming webinars.
♦ ♦ Special AMG reader discount: Get $150 off — Use code: AMG150 ♦ ♦
► VOICE22 – October 10-13th, 2022 in Arlington, VA.
The market for Voice/AI solutions is growing exponentially. This conference brings together the top people working to transform the user experience.
► THREE – October 10-13th, 2022 in Arlington, VA.
This conference, brought together by Modev, focuses on the $2T digital transformation market being driven by Web3, Blockchain and the Metaverse.
► MarketingProfs B2B Forum – October 12-14th, 2022 in Boston.
Ann Handley brings B2B back to Boston with 49 Sessions. 4 Keynotes. Immeasurable Connections (and Shenanigans).
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