How Affluent Americans Live

Income/wealth is distributed quite unevenly in the United States and around the world. And high poverty rates exist globally. But today, we look at the upper end of the income spectrum. How affluent Americans live. Their demographics and behavior impact many firms. In the United States, 28 percent of households earn at least $100,000 per year. However, the cost of living also affects affluence. It differs dramatically by a person’s location.

See how closely the following information matches your own perceptions of affluence in America.


How Affluent Americans Live

Based on several different sources, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), recently produced a report on American affluence. Writing for MarketingProfs, Laura Forer offers these insights about that report.

“You’ve heard the expression that a person is ‘time poor but cash rich.’ So what can marketers do with that type of information about their consumers? The Video Advertising Bureau produced an infographic that includes statistics from a report that explores the behaviors and media consumption of those Americans with plenty of cash but little time. The report shows affluent U.S. as demographically different than those in other income brackets. But, they possess similar values and life pressures regarding education, career, family, and time management.”

“Of course, a big differentiator is disposable income. Higher disposable income lets the affluent simplify and enrich their lives. For example, they use credit cards and time-saving services more. And they own more new technologies than the average American. Few, however, consider themselves highly knowledgeable about new technology. None of that should come as a surprise. Yet, the idea of products and services that can help people simplify and enrich their lives may be appealing to affluent consumers. Also, it may be something marketers want to consider in their advertising efforts.”

Learn a lot about affluent Americans from the infographic below.

How Affluent Americans Live

Posted in Global Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Advertising Tools

In this post, we cite free advertising tools for small businesses. By using these tools, a firm can hold down its costs. And it can advertise more effectively.

Because we like free, also consult these other resources:


FOURTEEN Free Advertising Tools for Small Businesses

According to Caroline Forsey, writing for HubSpot:

“When you work at a small business with a limited budget, it’s not really possible to shell out $340,000 for a 30-second TV commercial,. Or even $10,000 for an E-mail marketing campaign. Thus, it can be frustrating when your budget dictates how many people your business can reach.”

“But surprisingly, we can turn to a lot of free ways to supplement our paid advertising efforts. By incorporating free advertising tactics into your strategy, you can remove some nonessential costs. And you can dedicate your budget to deeper, more long-term plays. In fact, we suggest some of these methods regardless of your budget. To help you spread the word about your business without breaking the bank, we’ve compiled 14 ways to get advertising for free.”

Click here for an in-depth discussion of the tips listed below.

Free Advertising Tools for Small Businesses -- From Hubspot

In addition, HubSpot offers a free E-book on 20 outstanding marketing and advertising campaigns:

“We’ve compiled our own list of the top marketing and advertising campaigns ever. And we and include a few juicy details explaining what made each campaign so remarkable. Thus, you’ll learn strategies you can use as inspiration for your next marketing initiative. Examples include: Interactive ads that are easy to share, like Office Max’s ‘Elf Yourself’ E-cards. Showing gratitude for your customers with a surprise ending, such as Cardstone’s ‘World’s Toughest Job’ video. Content that creates a movement for a good cause, for example ‘Small Business Saturday’ by American Express. And many more!”

Click the book cover to access the free signup and download.

Best Marketing and Advertising Campaigns

Posted in Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Uncertainty with Just One Year Until Brexit Occurs

In one year, Great Britain will officially exit the European Union. Yet, for many British retailers, questions remain.

For example, as Silvia Amaro reports for CNBC:

“In 365 days, the U.K. will no longer be a member of the European Union. But U.K. businesses are still unaware of how much they will have to change to continue trading with the rest of Europe — making it harder to plan for the future. Paul Clarke, chief technology officer at the online food retailer Ocado, told CNBC that he is concerned about future funding. The £3.59 billion ($ 5.09 billion) company has benefited from European money in the form of business funding to develop its operations.  ‘How will the UK government replace that?,’ he wondered during a phone call with CNBC.”

Click the image to read more.

Uncertainty with Just One Year Until Brexit Occurs

Loop Images | UIG | Getty Images. Looking down on the New Oxford Circus crossing at sunset.


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Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools

The level of customer satisfaction leads to customer repeat business — or abandonment. To be a leader in customer satisfaction, firms must understand how to measure it. Thus, today’s topic: comparing customer satisfaction assessment tools.

To start, look at these posts:


Background on Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools

In fact, many customer satisfaction tools exist. And let’s learn about some of them.

According to Gert van Deesel, writing for CheckMarket:

“In market research. we love acronyms almost as much as the IT world does. Here are three of them: CSAT, CES and NPS®. Indeed, all three measure customer satisfaction. So what do they do? And how do they differ? Can they be used in conjunction?”

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). As a typical question: How would you rate your experience with your … (e.g. recent support requirement)? With the CSAT, the score represents the sum of respondents that answered somewhat or very satisfied.”

Customer Effort Score (CES). As a typical question: The organization made it easy for me to handle my issue. After aggregating the replies, a high average indicates that your company is making things easy for your customers.”

Net Promoter Score (NPS®). As a typical question: On a scale of 0-10 how likely would it be for you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? The Net Promoter Score = % of promoters (respondents that gave a 9-10) – % of detractors (respondents that gave a 0-6)

“In some instance, these measures could stand on their own. But they can also complement each other. For example, we could imagine a survey to measure the satisfaction among attendees of a recent event. When building a feedback survey, you could ask the respondent to fill out some Customer Satisfaction scores (CSAT). And split up into different areas of the event (satisfaction about content, timing, speakers quality, location, etc.). In addition, you could ask the CES question to measure the efforts your customers needed to sign up for this event. At the end, you could ask how likely your customers are to recommend your company.”


Examples of Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools

From HubSpot.What is Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)?”

Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools -- HuSpot
From Relate by Zendesk. Measuring Happiness: What’s the Difference between CSAT and NPS?”

Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools -- Relate by Zendesk
From Nice Reply. “The Ultimate 2018 Guide to Measuring Customer Satisfaction”

Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools -- Nice Reply
From Customer Guru. “BBVA Net Promoter Score 2018 Benchmarks.”

Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools -- Customer Guru
From Capterra. “Customer Satisfaction Software.”

Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools -- Captera
From Glance. “Check Your Customer Experience Score–Stat!”

Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools -- Glance
From Zonka. “Getting Started with Net Promoter Score Surveys.”

Comparing Customer Satisfaction Assessment Tools -- Zonka


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Will Tracking Cookies Become Obsolete?

One question arising among Web experts: Will Tracking Cookies Become Obsolete?

First, let us define the term. According to PC Magazine: “A tracking cookie involves data stored in the user’s computer by a Web site being visited. ‘Third-party’ advertisers place these cookies there to monitor the user’s Web surfing habits. And many people consider them an invasion of privacy.”

Furthermore, as Techopedia notes: “Many firms that use tracking cookies say the data collected involve demographics more than personal data. And this helps businesses make effective decisions about advertising and outreach. Yet, when firms collect IP addresses and personal data, the risk always exists for inappropriate use. Thus, tracking cookies continue to be controversial.” This helps explain the popularity of ad blocking software. See 1, 2.

Now, we turn to the future of tracking cookies.


Will Tracking Cookies Become Obsolete

Given the widespread use of tracking cookies, why their expected decline in the future?

eMarketer reports the following:

“The death of the tracking cookie may be upon us. According to a September 2017 survey of U.S. brand-side digital marketing executives by Viant, more than 60% of respondents believe they will no longer need to rely on cookies for the majority of their digital marketing within the next two years. Although cookies have been the staple way to track activity on Web sites for more than two decades, that monopoly on user tracking is slowly eroding as browsers and regulators in Europe crack down on digital privacy. Last summer, Apple’s Safari browser made tracking users more difficult by deleting third-party cookies after one day.”

Will Tracking Cookies Become Obsolete -- How Soon


“While marketers’ reliance on cookies declines, it will still stick around for a while.”

Will Tracking Cookies Become Obsolete -- barriers to Digital Ads

However, eMarketer also reports that the drop in tracking cookies may be more imminent:

“It’s a hard knock life for tracking cookies these days. Flashtalking analyzed 20 advertisers worldwide throughout Q4 2017. And it found that 64% of their tracking cookies were either blocked or deleted by Web browsers. Rejection rates on mobile devices reached 75%, compared with 41% on desktop.”

“Originally, cookies tracked users across the Web on browsers. But, it’s more difficult to track a user who spends their internet time opening and closing mobile apps, since those apps operate independently of each other.”


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Americans Eat a Lot AND Fast

In 2017, $5.61 trillion was spent on restaurants and bars. And this amounted to to 4.3 percent of all personal consumption. We also spent trillions on food for in home-use use. That’s impressive, right. On the other hand, Americans eat a lot AND fast. Furthermore, our obesity level is at an all-time high — and rising.

How do we compare with other countries in our eating habits?


Uh Oh: Americans Eat a Lot AND Fast

Consider these observations from Thomas L. Johnson, writing on Quora:

For Americans, eating a meal is like ‘filling the tank.’ Food is fuel. And refueling is not exactly an activity that they believe in stretching out. When I had my first job working in the paper mill, I got 20 minutes during the middle of the shift to eat the lunch my mother had packed into the lunch pail for me. Well, mostly bologna sandwiches on white bread with a side of Doritos corn chips. Twenty minutes was more than enough time to fuel up, go to the bathroom, and get ready for another four hours throwing logs onto conveyor belts.”

“For Europeans, the pressure to get onto the next thing is not part of the culture. I have never met a French person yet who feels that anything less than an hour is adequate for a noon lunch. At the end of a meal, you never get the ‘did you get enough to eat?’ question. You are more likely to be asked what you thought of the steak tartare or the celery root salad. And you are perfectly free to tell the truth.”

It’s cultural. Americans always have places to go, things to do. If anything, the meal is a distraction. In central Europe, there is always time to slow down, to burrow in, and to really taste whatever it is that the cook (who is not an 18 year old recent graduate of Hamburger U.) has decided to cook that day.”

And Statista’s Niall McCarthy adds:

“In many countries, taking time over a meal is normal, according to data from OECD. People in France tend to spend the most time eating and drinking per day on average at 2 hours and 13 minutes. But, eating is much faster in North America. Canadians spend an hour and five minutes eating and drinking per day. In the United States, it’s just an hour and two minutes.”

Americans Eat a Lot AND Fast


Posted in Global Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What Caused the Death of Toys ‘R’ Us

After many decades, it appears that Toys ‘Us’ will be going out of business and liquidating its stores. What caused the death of Toys ‘R’ Us. The short answer might be Walmart and online retailing. But that’s not the full story. This prior post certainly applies to Toys ‘R’ Us.

For some, it may be hard to believe how dominant Toys ‘R’ Us was at one time. As reported by Christopher Borelli for the Chicago Tribune:

“Toys ‘R’ Us came across like the closest thing to that universal childhood fantasy of a mountain of toys. It had a smile that lit up a room. It was the life of the party. It would do anything for anyone. That it had a mascot named Geoffrey the Giraffe — whose costume teetered like a spotted chimney over the heads of any unfortunate employee forced into it — had felt redundant. A single store holding every toy in existence was its own enticement.” 


What Caused the Death of Toys ‘R’ Us

To us, the biggest reasons for the Toys ‘R’ Us decline were its low adaption to the changing retail industry, the late recognition of the importance of online retailing, and slowness in closing under-performing stores. So, what do others conclude? 

According to Krista Garcia for eMarketer:

“Toys ‘R’ Us was one of the last remaining specialty big box stores in its product category. Best Buy is attempting to stay relevant by using its stores as experiential showcases for brands like Dyson and connected devices in partnership with Vivint, a smart home service provider. Yet, Toys ‘R’ Us’ problems’ stemmed less from changing consumer behavior and the rise of online shopping but from billions of dollars of debt.”

“Walmart and Target could potentially benefit more than Amazon. Coresight compared all toy buyers to Toys ‘R’ Us buyers and found behavioral differences. Toys ‘R’ Us buyers were less likely to purchase on Amazon than toy buyers in general and more likely to buy on both Walmart and Target (46.8% vs 38.6%). It’s plausible that shoppers who would prefer a traditional big box experience like Toys ‘R’ Us would be more inclined to shop in-store rather than online.” 

What Caused the Death of Toys 'R' Us

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment