Monday, March 22, 2010

Is the consumer back? Well, yes & no.

The era of conspicuous consumption is over. Americans no longer live to shop. They shop to live.

That's the conclusion of a newly released national marketing study.

"Americans have changed how and where they shop, first through necessity, now through choice. They have a new set of shopping values that are entrenched, certainly, for the near term," Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of the marketing strategy and consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, said on the release of How America Shops 2010 MegaTrends Study, "The Odyssey Begins to the New Retail World."

"While the recession is ending and shopper panic is over, shopping apathy is now a way of life," said Candace Corlett, president of WSL. "In spite of that, there is opportunity to be had if companies understand the new shopper rules."

Among the findings:

--53 percent of women think the recession will last at least another one to two years.

--43 percent think it will take at least another three to six years or more.

--63 percent of shoppers, even the affluent, don't want to buy as they did before.

--70 percent of women agree, "It is important to get the lowest price on most things I buy."

--64 percent of shoppers ask themselves, "Is this a smart use of my money?" That's an increase of 9 percent since 2008 and 16 percent since 2004.

--53 percent of shoppers will go farther to shop in stores where they can save money. That's down 5 percent from 2008, when gas prices were higher, and up 10 points since 2004.

--47 percent of women are uncertain about the future, so 52 percent are staying out of stores where they are tempted to overspend. (The same is true for one-third of those earning over $150,000.)

--32 percent constantly worry about how much debt they have, and 25 percent have promised themselves they will never get into such debt again.

--50 percent now choose lower priced brands, up 16 percent since 2004.

--Only 31 percent agree that trusted brands are worth paying more.

--38 percent agree they still love to shop even though they are buying less of everything.

--25 percent of shoppers with $150,000-plus incomes say their finances were not affected by the recession, but one-third are cutting spending, avoiding places where they are tempted to overspend and are content buying less.

--50 percent or more of all age and income groups think the recession will be around at least two more years and agree it will take them at least two more years to recover their financial stability. (One difference is that more of those 55-plus, whose prime earning years are behind them, have no idea when, or if, their finances will recover.)

"Companies need to recognize that these shopper truths will remain for the foreseeable future, and begin to build strategies to address them," Liebmann said. "Clearly, smart shoppers need to be convinced why they should spend today, what makes a brand or a store worth it. Do that, and there's a chance they will."

The survey of 1,950 men and women was conducted Nov. 3-9. Could be that some attitudes have changed since then.

Reach Warren Wise at

Retail consumers are slowly coming back. They just look different.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Google's all-out assault to get local advertising

Google, in an ongoing effort to transform the number one video site on the Web into a profit powerhouse, introduced Tuesday afternoon a new way for small advertisers to take advantage of the effectiveness of the Invideo overlay ad.

Display Ad Builder, a Google ad construction platform used by over 20,000 advertisers, allows companies with little to no experience to quickly and easily edit templates and fonts to create display ads. That's why over 80% of those 20,000 have never run a display ad campaign before.

Now, Display Ad Builder includes all the tools necessary to construct overlay ads, those little banners that appear on the bottom of a video, have for awhile been one of the most effective ad formats on many video sites, including YouTube.

Overlay template

"With this new format, Display Ad Builder will enable more advertisers to run display advertising campaigns on YouTube," writes Product Manager Christian Oestlien. "For example, if you’re a small business that sells beauty products, you can quickly use a template in Display Ad Builder in AdWords to create an overlay ad and then run it on popular fashion and beauty videos."

Advertisers can choose to run the ads they build on a CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) basis and have a lot of control over which videos show their ads; advertisers can choose the videos categorically, demographically, or even individually.

Since last October, YouTube has showed ads in one billion videos a week, or one in seven videos. The site is well on its way to incorporating advertising in all the site's videos, a move that would entice even more advertisers of all sizes.

It would be interesting to see if spikes in advertising negatively affect viewership on the site.

Google is deploying a full assault on local ad dollars. They have a Google Map plan tied to their 7-pack. They rolled this out this week. Do you ignore it, fight it or join it if you're a local media property????

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Friday, March 12, 2010

Local Search - Local Products

In stock nearby? Look for the blue dots.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:00 AM

(Cross-posted with the Google Merchant Blog)

Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering, demonstrated last December a preview version of Product Search for mobile with local inventory, which lets you see right in your search results whether items are in stock at nearby stores. We're happy to announce that as of today, if you're searching for a product that is sold by participating retailers, including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, or West Elm, you can just look for the blue dots in the search results to see if it's available in a local store. If you see a blue dot, you can tap on the adjacent "In stock nearby" link, and you'll be taken to the seller's page where you'll see whether the item is "In Stock" or has "Limited Availability" near you. You'll also see how far away the stores are from you -- as long as you've enabled My Location or manually specified your location.

If you have an iPhone, Palm WebOS phone, or any Android-powered device, and you're in the US, just go to in your mobile browser, tap on the "more" link, and then select "Shopping." Or look for the "Shopping results" section in Universal Search results when you search on
Finally, if you're a retailer and you'd like to participate in this program, we want to hear from you. Please fill out this brief form to let us know that you'd like to be considered. In the meantime, you can get prepared by making sure your Local Business Center data is up to date, and ensuring that your Product Search data is in great shape.

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This will be useful. And I believe there is a business for local media properties creating the FTP platform that allows local businesses to upload their products. This actually might be a value proposition that could generate revenue worth a full-time employee.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Friday, March 5, 2010

KOHD to cease all local newscasts

When the ax falls on KOHD tomorrow, the once booming city of Bend will be reduced to having only one full-time TV news station. Employees at the ABC affiliate were informed this morning that the station will become a Bend bureau for KEZI, Chambers Communications' sister station in Eugene. Bend employees will then create local packages for KEZI-produced Bend cut-ins.

Executives at KOHD and KEZI aren't yet talking, but information that we've learned, some from sources who were specifically instructed not to talk to blogs about this news, is that there will be three "one-man bands" in Bend and an anchor/producer hosting KOHD cut-ins from Eugene. We hope to have more information after laid-off employees cash their severance checks tomorrow.

KOHD launched as the United States' first HD television station to be built from the ground up in September 2007. Chambers paid an ambitious $8.5 million at auction for the station's FCC license in 2006. Their 11,000 square foot facility will now be used as KEZI's Bend bureau, if not also a shrine to media industry and Bend industry hopes during the city's population boom and before the advertising recession.

KOHD cut its weekend newscasts in a major reshuffling last summer and rearranged its evening news lineup as recently as a month ago. At the station's last Christmas party, employees were told that Chambers was committed to maintaining KOHD's news operations without cuts through 2010. KOHD equipment will now be moved to Eugene, which may enable KEZI to become that market's first station to produce newscasts in HD.

The Bend TV news market is also served by NBC affiliate KTVZ, which airs morning, evening and late newscasts each weekday, as well as half-hour shows at 6 and 11 pm on weekends. The station also produces a weekday half-hour at 10 pm on Fox affiliate and sister station KFXO. CBS affiliate KBNZ simulcasts Portland sister station KOIN's newscasts with one-minute local cut-ins.

In addition to KOHD and KEZI, Eugene-based Chambers Communications also owns KDRV in Medford and its semi-satellite KDKF in Klamath Falls, as well as Chambers Productions in Eugene and Chambers Cable in Sunriver.

KOHD's last locally-produced newscast will air tomorrow at 11 pm.

In case there's still any doubt that TV will face similar consequences to the new digital media landscape that newspapers are grappling with, here is Bend, Oregon. In my opinion, a significant difference between the consequences newspapers and TV station face will be the effect of market size. Small market newspapers continue to be in a better position than large metro dailies. Conversely, small market TV stations will probably face the negative consequences of the digital landscape before their larger market brethren.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Local, Local, Local

When it comes to the future of local advertising, Dave Morgan is someone to watch.  He’s the Wayne Gretzky of the online advertising world – a guy who’s always skating to where the puck will be.  (He even looks like Gretzky.)  And in an interview we did with him recently, I found his thoughts on the future of local media right on the mark.

We interviewed Dave at the Grand Hyatt in New York last month as he was attending an advertising conference where the CEOs of Yahoo and AOL had just spent a lot of time talking about their biggest advertising opportunity:  You guessed it, “local.”

Dave will be back at the Grand Hyatt next month as a keynote speaker at our 2010 Local Online Advertising Conference.  You can see our interview with him on YouTube, or learn more about the conference here.

Dave has been at the forefront (in front of it actually) of ad-serving systems such as 24/7 RealMedia and Tacoda, which he founded and then sold to AOL for $247 million two years ago. He’s steeped in local media.  When I met him 15 years ago, he was general counsel for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association looking for a way to get step into the Internet skating rink.

So where is local media headed?  “All too often,” he says, “we’ve always seen local as about channels – local is newspapers or local is radio or local is television or local is directories. But that’s not how things are happening in the emerging media economy.  It’s now more about the customers in the market as they’re trying to reach local and they’re trying to understand now how they work with all the different touch points to reach consumers and for the merchants to be able to best exploit their marketing dollars.”

Thought Dave is right, it’s not an easy concept for traditional media companies to grasp.  That’s why we’ve asked the people who are following that path – the Yodles, Local.coms, Reply.coms and other fast-growing local online advertising companies – to address the conference.  They’re offering local advertisers multiple touch points that in the end makes the phone ring or drives store traffic.

Dave believes we’re at a crucial point in the evolution of local media.  “It’s a really important time,” he says, “here in new York City, essentially the headquarrters of advertisers and marketing the world, to have a really important conference focused on local.”

I look forward to hearing more from Dave, and to seeing you there.

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 15th, 2010 at 5:50 pm and is filed under Conference, News, Projections, local advertising. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

In my opinion, the key line from Dave Morgan is this, "...they're trying to understand now how they work with all the different touch points to reach customers..."

The key to unlocking local digital dollars is being the key to local SMB's effectively utilizing those different "touch points."

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Village Voice Happy Hours App Debuts

When we noticed the Cocktail Compass app, showing local happy hours, that L magazine was bringing to New York, we wondered why Village Voice Media didn't have something like that. But, keeping to our usual journalistic method, we didn't ask any questions. Now, surprise! VVM is releasing Happy Hours, available now on iTunes.

Village Voice Media Holdings' Scott Tobias says in the release, "We want to be everywhere our readers are"; that, apparently, is in bars with cheap drinks, which explains why they hired us.

Due to the reach of the network, you can get happy hour info in 30 cities, including this one. GPS finds them in Your Area. We tried it and got three joints holding HHs nearby at this very moment (9:15 a.m.) -- the Cartoon Lounge in Elmhurst, the Blarney Cove in the East Village, and Bailey's Corner Pub on the Upper East Side. One's phone was disconnected, but the other two didn't even answer, so those parties must really be raging.

For 4 p.m., however, we got 53 choices in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, all of which looked legit, and dozens of which we haven't been thrown out of yet. You can also shake the thing to get a random happy hour, enabling a technologically advanced pub crawl. It's a good toy for adults and, like all the best things in life, free.


What took this so long?

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff