In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris examine rapid response marketing. How do you react when a major event happens in your market on a very short timeframe? We look at Amazon Prime Day 2020 and how marketers must react on a significant marketing activity in just two weeks. Will marketers make it work? Will they lose out to Amazon entirely? Tune in for a full discussion.
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Christopher Penn 0:02
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In this week’s in ear insights, what do you do when somebody drops a bomb on you.
So for everyone in the e commerce and retail space, this year, obviously has been a little challenging.
And one of the biggest days of the year, for a lot of e commerce retailers, particularly those within the Amazon system is Prime Day.
Every year, July, August, Amazon drops Prime Day, billions of dollars get moved around.
It’s a huge, huge retail dates, it’s practically its own holiday.
And of course this year with it being 2020.
It did not happen in July, August.
So over the weekend, Amazon dropped the bomb, Prime Day, October 13 and 14th, which as we’re recording this exactly two weeks away.
So the big question is for everybody in marketing, oh, that was a surprise.
What do we do? How do we can we even take advantage of this? For some obviously retailers and things if you know what stock you have in stock is what you got? You got to roll with it.
If you’re in the in that ecosystem for marketers, it’s like okay, well, how do we communicate this? Do you if you are in a competing space? Do you even want to attempt marketing on those two days to say, Baggett, we’re done? The holiday break? Katie, when we focus so much on planning, and scenarios, and thinking things through, what do you do when just the the 800 pound gorilla that just sits on you?
Katie Robbert 2:31
Well, you know, so I would respectfully disagree with you a little bit about the surprise element.
So, you know, Amazon Prime Day has been a thing for, you know, quite a few years.
And you know, every year the date is roughly around the same time.
And obviously, this year was a little bit different.
But the expectation was that there would eventually be an Amazon Prime Day.
So I would say if you hadn’t already figured out like what your strategy is what you were going to do for it, then you are behind the ball, and you’re probably screwed.
But you as a company, you know, as your as your marketing team should have been anticipating priority is going to come at some point, you know, whether it’s in July, August, September, and obviously now this year in October, like you knew it was coming, you had enough time to say let’s at least sketch out an outline of a plan.
So I sort of I call shenanigans on the whole surprise thing, because it was really more of a waiting game of When are they going to announce it not Oh my god, they announced this thing that we had no idea about.
So I think that planning and scenario based planning, and all of those things still apply here, because you knew it was going to happen eventually, you just didn’t know the exact date.
Now, I think you’re talking about two different things, you’re talking about marketing plans, and then you’re talking about companies who have to have things in stock.
Those are, you know, two separate conversations.
So if we focus primarily on marketing, and the services that you sell, or the physical things that you sell, you know, you can have a plan for Amazon Prime Day, you know, up to a year in advance and just continue to tweak it as you get more information.
And, you know, gets closer.
So that’s sort of my take, Chris, do you agree? Disagree?
Christopher Penn 4:20
I mostly agree.
Katie Robbert 4:22
That’s all I can ask for.
Christopher Penn 4:25
So you know, for example, with our company, what’s our what is our take on it normally, when private is happening, we have a plan in place to monitor it to be able to produce some useful data on and things like that we configure our social media monitoring, listening software, generously provided by Talkwalker to, to track it, and things like that and be able to provide insights, particularly for any of our clients that are in that space, to be able to say, Okay, here’s the things that you want to be watching for.
Those operations don’t change.
It’s just a question.
In our case of Do we have the resources and time to be able to spend something like that But the other thing that is always a challenge for anyone in the marketing space and you know, and for us in particular is, what can we do? What should we do that is newer and a little more different a little bit, raising the bar a little bit, even just for ourselves year over year.
So we’re not just doing the same thing, hitting, you know, repeat and hoping that it works.
From that perspective, when you get a major event with a very short timeline, like two weeks away, that changes the amount of r&d time that you have to work up to the event.
Katie Robbert 5:32
So I guess the first question I would be asking myself and my team is, do we have a place in the conversation? You know, so obviously, Amazon Prime Day is going to take over those whole two days, it’s going to take over social media, ads, all of those things.
And, you know, do we Trust Insights have a voice in that? Do we need to have a voice in that? Do we need to try to cut through the noise because, you know, what we, you know, quote, unquote, sell our consulting services, you know, things that are a little bit less tangible? Do we need to be a part of Prime Day? I don’t know that we do.
But if it’s an opportunity to showcase the type of data collection, and analysis and interpretation that we do, then yes, we do want to have a part in a major event where there’s going to be a lot of data to be processed.
You know, so I think that when an event comes up, that you’re like, Oh, my God, we have to be a part of this, I think you really have to ask yourself, do we need to be a part of it? Or do you just sort of have like FOMO, if you’re not doing something for it, you know, so I don’t think that necessarily Trust Insights would be running ads, during prime to have sort of like, here’s our Prime Day deal.
Like, that’s just not the type of company that we are.
But we would then switch our focus to, here’s what you can do with all of this data to enhance your marketing plans for the next major event next Prime Day, those kinds of things.
And so it’s less about us selling something and more of a showcasing what you can do with the information.
And I think that companies need to think about it in that respect of what is our place in the conversation during an event of this magnitude?
Christopher Penn 7:22
To your point, it is about showcasing what we’re capable of.
And in many cases, for any kind of x, we do this a lot with conferences and stuff.
It’s about trying to improve visibility for the company, just to for the folks who are in that space, particularly if it’s a sector where we don’t have a ton of customers, we would want to try and at least you know, wave and attention does.
Okay, so we’ve established, is there a goal? And this case, there is a goal? Is the goal achievable? You know, we know that something is achievable may not be the Rolls Royce edition, because of the timeline, but it certainly is going to be better than a broken skateboard.
So the question then becomes, what do you do with like, how do you how do you take the playbook that you already have that you’ve used in the past that has some ramp time and adapt it? What do you do to be more agile in the in the truest literal sense of the word?
Katie Robbert 8:18
Well, I think the you know, so we’ve talked about the goal, and for us, it’s more awareness.
And so I guess the next question there is, do we need to try to get awareness during those 48 hours, or the 48 hours after, and that’s drastically going to change the plan, you know, anything beyond those 48 hours after the event has ended is probably a waste of your time people have moved on to the next, you know, thing or whatever people are talking about.
And if your goal is awareness, then it might not be worth trying to cut through the noise during the actual event, pre or post event might be the best place to think about it.
And that’s obviously a choice that you need to make with your team.
And then in terms of being agile, it’s in a case like this.
So let’s say we had no idea Prime Day was coming at all.
But we had two weeks to prepare, the first thing you do is look around and see what sort of resources you already have.
Now is not the time to start to reinvent the wheel, especially if you need to be nimble and agile.
So you start to say, you know, what have we done for similar scenarios like this? So if it’s a large scale social event, okay, we’ve done network mapping that we’ve done, you know, and you start to tick off all of the things and think through like, how were those things responded to do people like those things? Do they bring leads in the door? Do people engage with them? Do they bring us more awareness? Do they give us that boost that we want? And so you have to start to go through your inventory and figure out like, how does this align with my goal? My goal is awareness.
What are the things that we have done in a similar situation that have brought us that awareness that we can replicate fairly easily with just a different data set.
Christopher Penn 10:03
So this is where those two different paths actually do converge the the marketer and the the operations person.
It sounds like, it’s just like a restaurant, you’ve got a dinner rush coming in, you don’t have time to order more supplies, you don’t have time to do anything except work with what you got in the kitchen.
So who’s on who’s on call that day? What do they what supplies you have an inventory? And what do you know how to make? Does that sound like what you’re describing?
Katie Robbert 10:28
Basically? Yeah, so if you have a surplus of, you know, lettuce, but nobody’s ordering salad, how do you make it into soup? Yeah.
It’s, but you know, you have to work with what you have.
And so if everybody’s ordering soup, then how do you turn it into a vegetable stock to enhance the soup.
So that way you are using all of the things you already currently have, not running out to the store and coming up with fresh new ideas with stuff that you’ve never worked with before.
And that’s how in a situation like this, you can remain more agile and keep your costs down, especially if your goal is more awareness than it is, you know, people directly purchasing something.
Christopher Penn 11:10
How do you balance the the tried and true, which, you know, you can work in a crunch? With the ever, ever increasing demand for innovation in the marketplace? There are people saying, oh, what do you got? That’s new?
Katie Robbert 11:28
Well, I think that, you know, that’s a tricky question.
Because it’s not that there’s nothing new anymore, a lot of stuff is very just referential.
And it’s just a new flavor of something that already exists.
And so in our case, the likely go to would be some sort of a network map, for us to see like, who the influencers are, which companies are the most talked about those kinds of things, and you know, it, it might just be, you know, painting in a different color or making it look a little bit more polished.
And I think that when you’re in a time crunch, you know, you only have a couple of weeks to do something, trying to, you know, completely innovate, it start to finish, it’s just not likely going to happen.
And quite honestly, some of the best innovations are those little tweaks here and there.
And then you’re sort of testing it out, seeing how people respond to it, versus throwing all of your eggs into a basket and saying, This is the most innovative thing ever.
And then everybody hates it.
And so for us, I think that it might be, you know, maybe looking at the data slightly a different way, but the same presentation that people like to see, because for us, at the end of the day, people really like to see their names on a chart, because it’s that like 15 seconds of fame thing.
And so why would we reinvent that, we would just make sure that it’s a little bit easier for them to see, hey, look, I was popular that day.
Everybody loves that.
Christopher Penn 12:54
That’s true, though.
I love the philosophy, even if the the person behind isn’t necessarily the best human being in the world, the philosophy that Jeff Bezos offers, which is your focus on what doesn’t change, focus on the things that are going to be consistent no matter what, we know that people love to see the name of lights, right.
So that’s clearly going to be part of something that’s in the toolkit.
But we also know that retailers in particular, are always trying to figure out, okay, what’s going to be the thing, right, especially this year, everybody and their cousin, appropriately is like, we have absolutely no idea what to do, right? There’s all the data skewed everywhere, things are hot mess, what do we do? And in that light, to your point, instead of doing just the people, one of the other things that would be a relatively minor tweak, would be to see what are the most referenced and shared items on Amazon in the run up to Prime Day to be able to say, Okay, yeah, we know you’re over your data’s garbage.
Six months ago, data is garbage.
But looking at the last two weeks of data about what’s being shared, or the the, the shares, just relevant to Prime Day, could give us a suggestion like, yeah, this, this thing might be a thing, not because somebody’s talking about it a lot, which is traditional influencer marketing, but because a lot of other people are talking about this thing, and that ability to spot what might be hot for Prime Day.
But even more important, what might be hot for the holiday retail season, could be something that would be a value to retailers to say, Oh, that’s actually helpful.
You know, I would appreciate knowing what’s going to be hot.
So I know it’s a stock.
Katie Robbert 14:30
No, and I think that that’s a smart way to go about it.
And, you know, obviously, we’re not trying to compete with Amazon’s resources.
But if you are a smaller retailer, and you want to know what Amazon is selling, you can say, Well, I have something similar, that’s a higher quality, lower price kind of a thing that your customers may not be aware of.
And so it’s an opportunity to get a little bit of a competitive advantage as well.
If you’re looking to say well, what is Amazon promoting this whole Season, let me look at what the data says.
So I can see if I have something comparable as well.
So there’s a lot of different ways to think about it.
And for us a lot of different ways to message it, depending on who we’re trying to reach with this information.
Um, you know, something that I would be interested in is, you know, which brands which retailers are the most talked about, so that if you’re trying to purchase ad space, you know, where do you want the eyeballs to go? Like, if a lot of those retailers are offering ad space on their websites, that might be a way to think about it as well.
Christopher Penn 15:34
So it sounds like it’s the same general structure with some some fresh new twists, maybe a slightly different flavor on a familiar dish.
You can tell I’ve been watching a lot of Kitchen Nightmares recently.
And, and having the playbook having a playbook of some kind in in place so that even if you can’t cook your main dish, you’ve got something to offer when the dinner rush comes in.
Katie Robbert 16:01
Well, and I think that that’s the thing that people misunderstand the most about process.
There’s this idea that having a process and a structure gets in the way of innovation and creativity.
And actually, it’s quite the opposite.
It gives you a foundation to work from, so that every time you’re looking to do something new, you’re not having to restart over and over and over again, it actually saves you time and allows you to be more agile and nimble.
So when things like this come up, you can say what recipes do we already have? What foundations can we already rely on, that we can just build upon? versus Oh, crap, we have a dinner rush, what are we going to do? You know, and so I think that that is one of probably the biggest mistakes that marketing teams and companies make is not having process at all.
And thinking that we have to wing it every single time.
And that’s where they kind of get caught in that trap of, we can’t keep up.
But having processed and structure is not your enemy.
It’s actually what’s going to help you continue to move forward at a very quick pace.
Christopher Penn 17:01
Alright, so if you’ve been listening to this, and you’re you haven’t figured out what your prime day plan is, this would be the time to dust off the cookbook and figure out what you do have in stock? What are your recipes, who’s on staff? What do you have to work with? And to make the most of it if you have a place in the conversation at all, so figure out those goals first.
For today’s episode, if you have comments about your questions, please go over to our slack group analytics for marketers where you can find up to 1300 different folks who are chatting about analytics all the time.
In fact, we’re gonna ask the slacker what people’s plans are for Prime Day now that we know the date and see what other folks are doing.
So if you want to see what other marketers just like you’re talking about with regard to Prime Day just hop on over to Trust insights.ai slash analytics for marketers.
As always, if you have not, please subscribe to the show over Trust insights.ai slash ti podcast we are available on all the channels including the brand new amazon music channels for podcast as well as nope no Prime Day purchases there.
Thanks for watching and we’ll talk to you soon.
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