We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Salsify, the world’s leading product experience management (PXM) platform. Our partnership will allow us to expand our services creating best in class strategy, content and syndication across large eTailers and DTC platforms.
As eCommerce trends begin to surge, it’s crucial for brands to optimize their digital shelf with an eye towards conversion. With this partnership, we’re able to provide solutions that align with your brand’s needs efficiently.
“Salsify has long recognized Scrum50 as being an incredibly agile and effective ecommerce marketing firm,” said Morgan McAlenney, director, strategic alliances at Salsify. “We’re very excited to have Scrum50 be part of Salsify’s larger partner ecosystem and are looking forward to working with them to drive and execute impactful strategies for brands looking to win on the Digital Shelf.”
After building successful eBusiness programs for Mondelēz, Luxury Beauty and Fragrance Players, Gerber, Welch’s, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden and more, we’re ready to take on new challenges and bring our content to the next level with this partnership.
Scrum50 is the first born-agile marketing agency. Our mission is to marry world-class strategic creative with efficiency by embracing agile marketing approaches — employing shorter production sprints managed by uniquely-talented hybrid teams. We focus on three competency areas for clients:Agency Services,eBusiness, and Digital Transformation.
Salsify is the world’s leading Product Experience Management (PXM) platform. We empower brand manufacturers to accelerate digital growth by delivering the product experiences consumers demand anywhere they choose to shop online. Salsify’s platform combines the power of PIM and DAM capabilities, the industry’s broadest commerce ecosystem, and actionable insights to orchestrate compelling product experiences through every digital touchpoint. The world’s biggest brands including Coca-Cola, Bosch, GSK, Rawlings, and Fruit of the Loom use Salsify every day to stand out on the digital shelf. To date, Salsify has raised a total of $98.1 million in funding, led by Greenspring Associates, Underscore VC, Venrock, Matrix Partners and North Bridge.
For more information, please visit: http://www.salsify.com.
The heritage brand reinvents itself for savvy eCommerce consumers
STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT, 7/1/19— Conair is empowering shoppers to “Be the Pro” with their immersive Amazon brand store and bold new image. Launching in time for Prime Day, the brand built on the zeitgeist of “self-care” and blogger culture to roll out new product lines and reintroduce the diverse offerings under the Conair umbrella.
Conair recognized Prime Day as the ideal opportunity to put a fresh foot forward. The brand worked with its eCommerce AOR (Agency of Record), Scrum50 to develop a strategic platform based on Amazon shopper behaviors in the health, beauty and hair fashion appliance categories. “Our strategic and creative approach to driving product conversions can be vastly different based on retailer, category and brand. It’s not a one size fits all” says Stacy Thomson, VP of eBusiness at Scrum50.
“We’ve always been on trend with our innovations. Now we’ll be ahead of the trend when it comes to how customers like to shop,” said Robin Linsley, VP of Marketing at Conair. “The beauty and style industry changes quickly,” Linsley said. “That’s why it’s so important to develop and go live with great ideas at the speed of life.”
The Conair and Scrum50 teams partnered to quickly develop a creative platform, including the design, photography, development and launch of a premium brand store for more than 300 products in less than 90 days. Now they’re at the ready to make a splash on Prime Day.
In 1959, Conair built its business on the first “pistol grip” hair dryer—revolutionizing hair care. Today, it’s a global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of personal care, grooming, health and beauty products; premium kitchen electrics, tools, and even cookware. www.Conair.com
Scrum50 is the first-born agile marketing agency combining world-class strategic creative with efficiency. In addition to Conair, Scrum50 has built successful eBusiness programs for Mondelēz, Luxury Beauty and Fragrance Players, Gerber, Welch’s, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden and more. www.Scrum50.com
Source: Profitero; 2018 Prime Day sales lift vs average daily sales, Amazon.com
The Amazon rumor mill is running at full speed. But more alarming than the usual rumblings of mergers, buy-outs, and robots delivering your orders is one big closer-to-reality story: Amazon is getting ready to eliminate first party sellers.
In early 2019, Amazon sent shockwaves throughout the eCommerce world when it briefly stopped issuing thousands of POs to vendors. The eCommerce giant told those brands to sign up for the brand registry, a move many linked to Amazon’s desire to eliminate vendors that aren’t profitable – especially those that sell low quality of counterfeit goods.
But right now, first party sellers and third party sellers on Amazon have completely different platforms for selling and advertising. The core difference? Fulfillment responsibility – who takes on the risks of inventory, pricing, customer service, and shipping – Amazon or Brands. Generally, Amazon absorbs the bulk of the effort for 1P sellers. Naturally, they want all their Vendors to become self-service.
Still struggling with what that means? Let’s lay it out…
|Amazon 1st Party Vendor Central||Amazon 3rd Party Seller Central||Impact|
|Inventory & Pricing||Amazon sets price and issues Purchase Orders for wholesale items based on sales, demand, and category considerations. Vendors fill purchase orders and must ensure products are available for purchase on Amazon.||Seller manages inventory and sets price.||There is potential for a significant impact on manufacturing, demand planning and inventory management for 1P vendors, which are traditionally not set up for real-time inventory.|
|Pricing & Fees||4-10% COOP fees for manufacturers||15% referral fee paid by seller to Amazon||Any fees paid to Amazon eats into revenue. Price point matters, especially with fulfillment costs in the mix.|
|Fulfillment||Amazon houses, packs and ships inventory. Manufacturers receive chargebacks for incorrect labels or packaging||Fulfilled By Amazon brands need to pay fees to store product and fulfill orders. Drop shipping requires brands to stock, pack, and ship themselves, avoiding fees but shouldering the costs themselves.||Most large brands don’t have drop-shipping capabilities due to volume issues. It can cost millions to adapt, but it will be worth it as online shopping adoption rates skyrocket.|
|Customer Service||Amazon is responsible for handling shipping or customer service issues.||All issues managed by individual sellers. They have the opportunity to communicate directly shoppers||The email capabilities on Seller Central are great for promotions and driving loyalty. There are penalties for not responding quickly to customer service issues (including getting removed from Amazon)|
|Advertising||Access to all Amazon Advertising Tools.||Access to Advertising tools is limited to Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ads.||Marketing products and brands can be a huge effort. Smart strategy, fluency in the platforms, and a team of content creators is a must-have for selling on Amazon.|
What Brands Can Do Right Now: Get both 1st Party and 3rd Party Access on Amazon
Sometimes brands have both 1st Party and 3rd Party accounts so they can provide customers with options and inventory that Amazon won’t purchase on the 1st Party side. Brands with their own 3rd Party presence can mitigate resellers denigrating their brand with bad customer experiences.
What does this all mean for mid-sized brands on Amazon in 2019?
Here’s the bottom line: Amazon is going to need more from your brand.
The eCommerce platform will increase their expectations for brands to managing fulfillment, marketing, and manufacturing – without help from Amazon. The burden to fulfill customer’s high shipping expectations will fall squarely on the brands – which could seriously eat into profits. If you don’t have help.
1Leigh, Andrea, Vendors snubbed by Amazon’s ordering system – it’s not me, it’s you, LinkedIn Blog, 2019 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vendors-snubbed-amazons-ordering-system-its-me-you-andrea-leigh/
2Milnes, Hilary, Amazon walks back vendor purge as sellers look to reduce dependence on the platform, Digiday Blog, 2019 https://digiday.com/retail/amazon-vendor-purge-sellers-reduce-dependence-platform/
3Soper, Spencer, Amazon Is Poised to Unleash a Long-Feared Purge of Small Suppliers, Bloomberg, 2019 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-28/amazon-is-poised-to-unleash-long-feared-purge-of-small-suppliers?srnd=premium
Steve Jobs once said “Always start with the customer experience, not with the technology.”
Sure…it’s maybe THE mostly commonly quoted quote for CX’ers.
Because it’s true. 73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Digital marketing and technology leaders often focus heavily on User Experience (or UX). No doubt that is a critical piece of designing a good product. But UX and CX are NOT one-in-the-same.
Customer Experience AND User Experience
It’s important to note – It’s never CX instead of UX. User Experience is a subset of the Customer Experience.
User Experience is about the product and how a consumer interacts with it. How to achieve a task with as little friction as possible. It is considered a piece of the over customer experience.
The Customer Experience encompasses the entire end-to-end brand experience – beyond digital, beyond marketing, beyond purchase. Every touchpoint that the user engages with during their journey. It’s any service, employee, representative, collateral, design, website, app, or that the customer interacts with at any stage in their journey before, after, and during purchase. Holistically, these things come together to create an experience.
CX is observable, measurable, and helps our iteration process. We observe the end-to-end customer experience, then pull meaningful conclusions from customer actions. From there, we can manage the experience according to brand objectives.
Plus it pays to pay attention to CX.
Customers Pay for a Good Experience
There is a value for good experiences. Customers would pay up to a 16% price premium on products and services that offer a quality experience.1 In the U.S., 65% of customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising.1
Bringing CX and UX Together
Customer Experience and User Experience work together in a shared goal of creating connected, well designed experience. But UX doesn’t live in a bubble…just as good design or content shouldn’t be created without a strategic approach. You could design the hell out of the website and app, but if you don’t consider other CX touchpoints, you will never impact and improve the customer’s overall experience with your brand.
Putting the Customer First
The Scrum50 approach puts the customer at the center of our strategy. It’s a slightly different mindset than traditional marketing and advertising, which starts with the question “what do we want the audience to do?”
Instead, we ask “What does the consumer need?” This critical shift allows us to drive the experience with a consumer-centric based point of view. It lets us create meaningful experiences. That’s how loyalty and brand affinity are built – through connection, emotions and positive experiences along the customer journey.
The CX approach allow us to consider feedback, intent, and overall satisfaction in conjunction with the typical stats and conversion rates as success factors. It helps us test and learn to design better overall experiences.
The CX Difference
Is your brand considering the end-to-end customer experience? Let’s talk about how our Agile Marketing methods have helped major national brands reach and retain their customers through a holistic view of customer experience.
The sales and marketing worlds are colliding online. It’s a tumultuous and exciting time in your organization, but everyone is scrambling to figure out how to win on Amazon. Suddenly, the executive leadership is demanding significant growth in the eCommerce channel, Amazon didn’t send a PO last week and a brand manager is upset that an old logo is on a product page. Not to mention, there’s a random third party selling expired products and winning the Buy Box. What do you do first?
You’re going to need some help. Because going it alone is tough.
Here are just a handful of reasons partnering with an Amazon agency not only alleviates some of your pressure and workload, but makes the most strategic sense in an eCommerce channel that’s a constant moving target.
How to Sell an Amazon Agency in to Executive Leadership
The only constant on Amazon is change. Some agencies have full teams that just submit tickets, resolve issues, and dig through knowledge bases to solve problems that arise on a daily basis. Why isn’t that gallery image appearing? Why aren’t we winning the Buy Box? How do I create variations on Amazon? Why did a third party hijack my ASIN?
You can’t phone Amazon, but you can phone a friend—the next best thing.
By using an Amazon agency, you have access to a team of people who have already experienced and solved 90% of the issues you face on your own. Searching for solutions by Googling and digging through Amazon forums can get very time consuming. If an Amazon agency doesn’t know the answer, they have the manpower and contacts to quickly resolve a problem so you can focus on other things.
Would you bring your PR, Media or Print campaign work in-house? Just like any other channel, there’s an art and science to winning on Amazon. That’s a lot of responsibility (and pressure) to put on a small in house “eCommerce” team (or often, a single person). From logistics, to product setup, to content, keywords, pricing, and fulfillment, it takes a village to rise to the top.
It’s not enough to just get your product on Amazon. Successful brands on Amazon have internal people or teams that lead eCommerce functions, but have realized that adding an Amazon agency gives them the competitive edge. As a bonus, Amazon agencies save you time and money because they’ve mastered the nuances of the self-service model.
For the same reason that you hire a PR agency or a digital agency, an Amazon or eCommerce agency has the expertise, insights and resources to not just “get your products up on Amazon” but create a digital shelf that impacts the brand and drives sales. It’s been proven that the more (quality) imagery and valuable content provided during the shopping experience significantly impacts conversions.
While your brand or digital agency might have the ability to upload images, they most likely don’t have the experience or understanding of unique Amazon shopper needs in your category. The strategies and tactics used offline (or not on eCommerce) are different, and investing in the right Amazon partner to create best-in-class content will pay dividends.
Before you can create and syndicate great eCommerce content, a manufacturer must ensure their assortment and availability is stable. If you’re a mid-to-large-size company, you’re most likely facing supply chain and inventory management challenges, the rectifying of which is required to win on Amazon. While your Amazon agency focuses on the digital experience, you’ll need to collaborate with sales, logistics, demand planning and last-mile delivery solutions to keep up with the new pull strategies required by Amazon. Do you have the right selection? Are people interested in buying? Can you keep it in stock? Can you get it to the consumer in 48 hours without melting or breaking?
Did we mention Amazon changes every day? A great Amazon agency is already poised for coming changes, and will proactively provide solutions to avoid missteps and beat the competition. You can take advantage of what’s new and now on Amazon…and sometimes capabilities that haven’t even been widely released yet…with an Amazon agency that knows how to push the envelope and pull strings with elusive Amazon reps.
They’re experts on the latest Amazon best practices and can help optimize existing assets for Amazon or even create an Amazon testing environment for a brand, product or campaign. They can assess your ASINS, handle reporting, and provide Amazon success metrics. Amazon agencies at the top of their game possess a deep understanding of how different pieces of the Amazon puzzle click together to bolster clients’ efforts without breaking the bank…or a sweat.
A dedicated Amazon agency can also arm you with thought leadership and forward thinking strategy on a rolling basis in an often confusing and cluttered eCommerce space.
About CT Ad Agency Scrum50, an Amazon Agency that uses One-of-a-Kind Amazon Agile Methodology
Scrum50 is the first born agile advertising agency. Their mission is to marry world-class strategic creative with efficiency by embracing agile marketing approaches — employing shorter production sprints managed by uniquely-talented hybrid teams. They focus on three competency areas for clients: (1) Agency Services, (2) eBusiness, and (3) Digital Transformation.
Lisac-Ramirez, Maria, The Sales Impact of Product Content, Salsify Transformers Blog, 2018 https://www.salsify.com/blog/the-sales-impact-of-product-content
Pull Marketing Strategy, CFI https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/strategy/pull-marketing-strategy/
Content is king, right? Right. So it goes without saying that all your visual content in Amazon should be as professional, educational and impactful as possible. If your product doesn’t look good, people will believe with all their heart and soul that it is NOT a good product. Consider Amazon as your most powerful conversion-driving Content marketing platform and make it work for you.
Amazon Visual Content Rules
Get familiar. The eCommerce giant has well-defined image guidelines, and playing by the rules is always rewarded. After all, it’s in both your brand and Amazon’s best interest for images to follow their best practices. Failure to do so often results in death, well the death of ROI. Death of sales, and death of your product page, A+ content, or Brand store going live because it’s not gonna happen without their approval. But with a little creativity, your Amazon enhanced brand content can really sell your story (and a lot of product).
Think Mobile First
Mobile friendly hero images are a must. When creating and managing visual content, think about how your brand pages are going to stack in mobile and think about what will actually show in your header image when it scales down to size. Amazon’s projected share of holiday sales via mobile app in 2018 was 40%, up from 35% in 2017, including $9.4 billion in incremental sales. That percentage includes sales from Vendor Central (sold by Amazon) and Seller Central (marketplace sales by retailers).
Product Image Photography
What’s in the Box?! No, really, show me what’s in the box. Setting customer expectations of what they get is critical to purchase decision and reducing returns. Unboxing videos and clear, beautiful shots of everything you get with your purchase located in the gallery images help to win on Amazon. And anything that is NEW, like “new packaging” or redesigned products, should definitely be showcased as such to clear up confusion as people compare your products to others selling your products on Amazon.
Refresh That Amazon Content
Constantly evolving content is a must for the Amazon environment. Seasonal content refreshes are key to keeping repeat consumers engaged. Let’s face it, people get bored quick these days in an oversaturated eCommerce landscape. Embrace it and keep them coming back for more with the occasional Amazon Listing Optimization. Beyond boredom, the eCommerce giant is constantly changing. Templates change, image sizes change, formats change, and you may not get notified. So you need to be checking those pages and assume adjustments will need to be made (plan for at least 2-3 times a year). It’s also good to have a test and learn approach. Shift placement of visual content, include lifestyle, remove lifestyle, add more color—the best way to win is to make a hypothesis and test it.
Use Lifestyle Imagery on Amazon
Amazon product photos in lifestyle settings are how people relate to your products. Lifestyle is for the living and the living shop and compare on the site. A gorgeous kitchen inspires culinary genius’ to buy your premium pots and pans. That weekend warrior is convinced he (or she) can do that half marathon seeing a picture of those slick cross trainers pounding the pavement. How could she not? The pictures looked amazing. Time to order on Prime because those items will transform you.
Sprinkle in Some Text
Think outside (the first) box. You can’t add text to the main image, but, it can be added to the additional images for each ASIN if used correctly. A smart keyword strategy will always help supplement the visuals and boost your ranking in the site’s search. Scrum50, a leader in Amazon content creation, cites the COS (Content Optimization Score) as a key indicator of conversion opportunity. Among other factors, visual quality and copy content play a large role in its calculation and potential for the ASIN’s success.
Tricks of the Trade
We can’t give you all of our secrets, but we can put them to good use for your brand as your Amazon Marketing Agency or Amazon consultant. Let’s talk about what we can do to make your brand kick ass on the eCommerce giant, deliver effective agile creative and improve your Amazon Ranking. To get more info, contact us today.
 Marvin, Ginny, Report: 2018 holiday sales to grow 15%, driven by Amazon and mobile season, Marketing Land, 2018 https://marketingland.com/report-2018-holiday-sales-to-grow-15-driven-by-amazon-and-mobile-248468
If you think the up and coming generation: Gen Z are basically the same as Millennials…you might want to look up from your Avocado toast.
This new posse of tenacious teens and twentysomethings is already poised to take the eCommerce world by storm.
Members of Gen Z are 13–22 years old. 90% have their own phones, they make half their purchases using said phones and 64% say they’re heavily influenced by imagery online when making shopping decisions. They don’t cozy up to brands. They ARE the brand. They’re not idealistic. They’re pragmatic. And they’re not curators. They’re creators.
Perhaps of most interest: Gen Z represents up to $143 billion in buying power, so understanding how they think, shop and consider the world around them is the next silver bullet.
Gen Z & Amazon: The Mall Effect
For Gen Z, going to Amazon to “hang out” is a thing. It’s a place where emotion trumps practicality, insightful content turns a sale, and the “mall effect” makes the Internet shopping giant the hottest place to see and be seen.
Like most shopping malls, Amazon is designed to facilitate the “Gruen Transfer,” or the moment when consumers enter a store and are intentionally surrounded by a confusing layout, which distracts them from their original intentions…priming them for impulse buys.
Gen Z & Amazon: Brand Challenges and Solutions
Like every generation, Gen Z comes with its own set of challenges, many of them to do simply with the challenges of youth:
Gen Z Phenomenons & How Brands Can Meet Them Halfway
Reach Gen Z with eCommerce Agile Methodology.
Scrum50 is the first born agile marketing agency. Their mission is to marry world-class strategic creative with efficiency by embracing agile marketing approaches—employing shorter production sprints managed by uniquely-talented hybrid teams. They focus on three competency areas for clients: (1) Agency Services, (2) eBusiness, and (3) Digital Transformation.
 Generation Z, New insights into the mobile-first mindset of teens, think with Google, 2016 https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interactive-report/gen-z-a-look-inside-its-mobile-first-mindset/
 Generation Z, The Newest Generation, Response Media,
 Gen Z Amazon Consumer Journey Group Research, Scrum50, 2018
Content Marketing as we knew it is dead. The days where you can pack your site full of text-based articles and watch your SEO results soar are gone. And so are the days of coasting by on the strength your brand name alone. Now, a new evolution of Content is more important than ever to your marketing strategy.
Non-branded searches are up 10% year over year.* That means your target audience is less likely to search for your brand – and more likely to search about topics they care about. The key for effective content creation is to find the intersection of what your customer cares about, and where your brand can provide expertise.
Today’s content marketing starts with defining your Authority to Publish. A brand’s Authority to Publish lies at the intersection of what their customer cares about and elements of a brand’s DNA. Here are a few questions you should ask as you improve content marketing efforts – both digital content and traditional content – for your brand.
4 Questions to Help Define Content for Your Brand
What content do my customers care about?
Sure, your customers care about a lot of stuff…so find out where our brand can connect with them. Start with search and SEO. Find out if anyone is actually searching for the topics you want to create content about. Follow trends. Ignoring news coverage and trending topics that relate to your brand could be very damaging.
Is my brand an expert or leader?
Define your brand’s area of expertise, then stick to it. There may be many, many, many topics your brand could use in an editorial calendar and content plan but narrow it down to your zone of expertise.
What content do customers realistically expect from my brand?
This is where that clearly defined zone of expertise really comes into play. Because if you’re a brand of house cleaners and you’re writing content about flower boxes…sorry, but you’re in the wrong sandbox. Customers don’t want to hear from your brand about things that are just barely in your circle of influence.
Where will anyone find this content?
Forgetting about content distribution is a common content strategy mistake. Your content plan needs to work hand-in-hand with your distribution channels. Each piece needs to have social media content supporting it – at the very minimum. And in most cases, paid social media, to get the pump primed.
Keeping Content Creation Effective
Keeping a close eye on your brand’s authority to publish is critical to creating effective content. There’s no sense in cranking out content for the sake of cranking out content. In today’s content marketing model, digital content needs to drive search, sales, awareness, and handle some reputation management – all at once. If you keep within a focused zone of expertise, your content will be much more effective.
* L2 Think Tank, Brand is Not Enough March 14, 2019
SOUTH NORWALK, CT – Pioneer agile marketing agency Scrum50 has been awarded eCommerce Agency and Amazon Agency of Record (AOR) status for global consumer packaged goods company Mondelēz International, leader in biscuits, chocolate, gum, and candy, with brands such as OREO, Ritz, Chips Ahoy!, Belvita, Halls, Trident, Cadbury. The partnership solidifies Scrum50’s highly-regarded credentials in eCommerce, and specifically the Amazon marketplace, where many brands are struggling to keep pace with commerce platform and its many intricacies.
The AOR distinction was awarded after a series of successful 2018 projects together—including Amazon-specific Trident Vibes launch and seasonal Back-to-School/Halloween programs for Multi-Pack snacks, OREO, Sour Patch Kids, and Swedish Fish.
“In our relatively short time working together, Scrum50 has demonstrated a command of the Amazon landscape, delivered thoughtful, insight-driven creative, then executed efficiently through their agile approach,” said Chris Butler, Head of eCommerce NA at Mondelēz International “Our eCommerce channel has grown share in very competitive categories and seasons much quicker than anticipated thanks to Scrum50’s strategy and support.”
Setting Brands Up for Success in Amazon
In addition to their work for Mondelēz, Scrum50 has built successful eBusiness programs for Luxury Beauty and Fragrance, Gerber Naturals Baby Formula, Conair, Welch’s, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden and more.
“Our eCommerce success relies specifically on the category and shopper insights we develop together in partnership with our clients so that we can fully understand what makes them tick and then deliver that messaging and creative directly to them.” Says Stacy Thomson, VP of eBusiness for Scrum50, who leads the charge in client growth on the ebusiness side. “Our clients overall have found success through our work on their Amazon platform with our expertise and strategy from product details pages with custom content, to brand stores and display units.”
Press and Insights About the Scrum50 and Mondelēz International eCommerce Partnership
Originally published in: Marketing Dive
Naming Scrum50 as its designated e-commerce AOR points to how important e-commerce is becoming for Mondelez as well as for the consumer packaged goods sector more broadly. Mondelez said the agency was selected for its expertise in Amazon marketplace as evidenced in past efforts. Mondelez is clearly working to ramp up e-commerce across its brands as consumers, especially millennials, do more of their grocery shopping online. Amazon commands 30% of online grocery spending in the U.S., according to a Brick Meets Click survey cited by Supermarket News. P&G has also been pushing aggressively into e-commerce with new packaging, acquisitions and key partnerships and other marketers in this sector are similarly focused on establishing closer relationships with consumers through online sales.
Teaming up with Scrum50 will allow Mondelez to tap into a trove of product category and shopper insights that can help the company better understand its consumer base and deliver more personalized messaging. The news comes as Mondelez has already been bringing an e-commerce element to recent marketing campaigns.
What is eCommerce Agile Methodology? About CT Ad Agency Scrum50
Scrum50 is the first born agile marketing agency. Their mission is to marry world-class strategic creative with efficiency by embracing agile marketing approaches — employing shorter production sprints managed by uniquely-talented hybrid teams. They focus on three competency areas for clients: (1) Agency Services, (2) eBusiness, and (3) Digital Transformation.
Though Amazon is a behemoth on its own, at the end of the day it’s really no different than any other marketing effort when it comes to content strategy. Visuals must be thoughtfully designed. Copy needs to mean something. But what you might not be considering is that your search engine strategy and Amazon search strategy should complement one other.
You might be saying to yourself right now, “But no one goes to Amazon for CONTENT. They go to shop!” You, my friend, would be wrong. Amazon actually represents the #1 opportunity for content marketing at this present moment as 64% of Americans have Amazon Prime and 55% begin their product searches on Amazon. (And you know what they say about first impressions).
In this blog, I’ll show you six reasons why Amazon cannot be ignored as a content platform and how to begin your strategy today.
1. Brand Building Starts Here
Thanks to newly redesigned Brand Stores, brands can get excited about a unique, dynamic, and more visually-driven chance to meet consumers where they are. Think browsing magazine-worthy imagery, comparing features and pricing, and getting drawn in by the brand’s DNA. Plus, it not only helps you create another entry point for your brand by capturing consumers you might not otherwise reach, but it allows you to protect your brand reputation by controlling the quality of your marketing efforts. The flexible templates also provide a rich canvas to showcase content that completes the story around a brand and its products.And it’s already proving itself. Our clients have seen sale increases in less than 6 months thanks to these content-rich brand stores. Cha-ching!”
2. You Can Take Advantage of the Rabbit Hole
Similar to the “Target Effect,” there is certainly an “Amazon Effect.” You go in for one thing, you come out with a cartful of items you never knew you needed. Brands can maximize potential customer’s ‘browsing and buying’ mindsets by presenting them with relevant content at just the right moment. Sometimes that moment occurs when a customer is considering one of your competitors.
3. Easily Editable Format Lets You Tailor Content
Personalities and motivations to shop are different for all potential consumers. Amazon’s flexibility allows you to develop and design content that closely aligns with these unique need states (and to change them on the fly if needed). If you think about mapping the “Amazon Effect” against the classic marketing funnel, “search” typically falls within in the TOFU stage, and “reviews” within the MOFU/BOFU stage. The way people shop and browse is fluid. So, you’ll want to hit them wherever they are in the funnel at any given moment for maximum impact.
4. It Bumps You Up in Search (and Trust)
If you Google “toothbrush,” you’ll get a search engine results page brimming with listings. Among those will be manufacturer’s listings (brands promoting and selling their own products) and Amazon listings. Then perhaps more Amazon listings in several content-based forms (e.g. best sellers, top rated, most wished for, hot new releases).
Plus, you know that on Amazon you’ll have instant access to thousands of reviews, similar products that you can compare easily, and perhaps even have free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Which listing would you click first? Likely the one that feels more like a neutral third party versus name brands hocking their own goods. Most consumers feel the same way. They inherently trust Amazon listings more. If that’s not convincing enough, even at the most basic level, having keyword-rich and interesting content on Amazon automatically gets you ranked higher in search engine algorithms. In other words, you can’t win if you don’t play. In fact, according to Consumer Affairs, 70% of consumers trust reviews from people they’ve never even met more than brand statements
5. You Can Kill Three Birds With One Stone to Drive Sales
Awareness, consideration, and authenticity—three key objectives for most brands that traditionally can only be accomplished in store—can be addressed in Amazon with the proper presence and content. Conversely, Amazon can help amplify in-store efforts against these same objectives by providing a way for consumers to scan packaging, get detailed information and reviews, or ask questions right at shelf with the platform’s mobile app.
6. Address Purchase Barriers and Consumer Feedback in Real Time
Consumers head to Amazon to really understand the nuts and bolts of a product, providing a rich opportunity for research gathering. Anything can inspire content: reviews, questions, problems, behaviors. It’s all fair game. And in using such inputs as impetus, you can solve issues and continue to build your brand, filling unexpected gaps in marketing efforts. That includes talking to consumers at a deeper level than even your brand’s website can go. This type of dual-functioning content can help not only online, but also has a halo effect on brick and mortar sales.
Amazon should be the bakery-fresh bread to your peanut butter and jelly. Aligning with your brand’s overall content strategy is key so that complementary Amazon content feels like part of the larger ecosystem. Everything needs to feel like it goes together. The bottom line? As a content platform, Amazon is a new package for some of the things you already do, and a testing ground to try something different when it makes sense…like a scoop of delicious marshmallow fluff, perhaps.
Have you implemented Amazon as a content strategy for your business? What results have you seen from these efforts? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. Let’s keep the discussion going.
Most big companies produce Corporate Social Responsibility Reports or Corporate Sustainability Reports (CSRs) detailing their efforts and future goals in corporate responsibility, to the tune of 85%. But only 17% of their intended audience are actually reading them.
And, that’s precisely what makes CSRs such a huge opportunity.
One study showed that when it’s done right, Corporate Responsibility can increase a company’s revenue by up to 20%. To get there, however, the traditional way CSRs are developed and presented must be turned on its head. Engaging key stakeholders in the Information Age involves making your data clear, concise and…well… engaging. Here’s why:
Stakeholders of all levels have equally short attention spans
There is a widely held notion that stakeholders aren’t like the general population and live for poring over long, complex tomes. Not true! (spoiler alert: they’re just like us). Making dense topics into scannable, digestible content isn’t just an art form. It’s a necessity. Everyone can reap the benefits of a beautifully animated chart, elegant video, or well-designed infographic over reams of text.
Readers want to understand your story
Storytelling is an important pillar of content strategy. Your CSR is a perfect place to lead stakeholders down a semi-linear path of discovery and hang onto them until the end. Why? So they get a clear picture of the values and aspirations of the company, and can feel good about attaching themselves to it. They need to be invested to invest. And a laundry list of your organization’s achievements just won’t cut it.
Delivering the right content at the right time is critical
Figure out the most universally impactful points and pull them forward, in thoughtful order, as “tapas” to be consumed and shared. Then, if your readers are still hungry, they can get all the details…or move on to the next course.
Here at Scrum50, our team of agile marketers are seasoned at taking complex, technical narratives and distilling it into experiences that readers engage with, learn from, and share. Check out our latest work with the NHL or Xerox for example. Like what you see? Contact us.
Here at Scrum50, we very purposely chose our name to coincide with our thought process about our agency’s goals and objectives. You probably picked up on the rugby huddle reference with our Agile culture, but why the 50 after it? We think that 50 is the sweet spot for our small agency. 50 employees, specifically. After three years in business, we’re 25 people strong, and on track to what we believe is a critical point in our agency’s growth. As founders, we’ve been through it all at previous companies –agencies with just a few people, agencies that grew into hundreds of people, and everywhere in between. We’re confident that 50 is the ideal number, and here’s why:
We love personally knowing each and every one of our clients. We know who our customers are and we WANT to be involved in their business directly. The founders play a significant, active role in the agency and client business, which is important to our agency philosophy. We want to have that personal touch at every level, which we believe allows for our clients to get the very best service — the benefit of having senior level thinking for all accounts.
When starting up Scrum50, we wanted our internal group of employees to feel like a team and have a true level of closeness. We wanted everyone to know each other — not just know of each other, but really build a close comradery that results in a thriving culture of happy employees. It also builds internal trust, allowing for quicker “short-hand” as the teams work through projects. Ultimately, we want our employees to thrive and provide the best work possible for our clients through a strong workplace environment.
We believe that a small agency setting is the best place to grow new ideas and bring them to fruition. Because everyone in our agency organically knows what is going on with our different clients, we often find teams sharing ideas or suggestions being passed along. In brainstorming, we’ve also found that smaller teams deliver breakthrough thinking, while big groups, bogged down by too many cooks in the kitchen, tend to produce ideas that are more vanilla.
With small agency teams like ours, we have experts in every level and have brought together some great minds. Together, co-workers have a healthy competitive edge between each other, but not a destructive one. Everyone works towards common goals and has a collective role in our achievements. At this level, we get the best work out of the staff and they feel as though their work is being valued by the rest of the team.
An agency must be able to pivot easily when needed, an idea that goes along nicely with our Agile mindset. With a team of 50, shifting gears and changing our process is immediate, because we don’t have to go up the ladder at each level to make decisions. Keeping our team small provides the flexibility we need to keep our Agile systems in place and service our clients with whatever they need at the highest level.
Another key element to our Agile philosophy is speed — again, made possible with our small team. We want to work as fast as we can without those layers of hierarchy. We are nimble and faster and can get our great ideas to market quickly and efficiently.
Our size is an integral part of our vision, not the result of any circumstance. By keeping Scrum50 in the realm of a smallish agency, we provide the most superior end results and work for our clients, while also creating the best work environment for our staff. To use common big agency lingo, “It’s Win-Win.” And… we promise never to do that again.
Check out our feature in the Ad Age Small Agency Guide!
“Jack of all trades”
Most of us are familiar with this Elizabethan term that’s used equally to describe visionaries like Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci, as to discredit millennials with a frustrating lack of focus. In the modern agency world, however, the notion of being multidisciplinary has been granted new life as a prerequisite for employment (and success) in a digitally-minded landscape that is ever changing, ever more demanding and as a result, ever more challenging to keep up with. Those who can excel wearing lots of different hats (think: write copy, creative direct, sketch, take photos for social media, interface with clients and devise strategy all within a single day) have also earned a shiny, new name: Hybrids.
Speed Boats vs. Cruise Ships
Agencies have come a long way since their “Mad Men” days. Bill Bernbach’s Creative Revolution of the 1960’s brought about the partnership of copywriters and art directors, while the digital age added developers and coders to the mix. However, the silo-mentality that segregated disciplines in those agencies of old, is refusing to go quietly—and in some cases is so entrenched in the DNA and culture of creative shops that it has stymied their evolution and growth. The lines between marketing mediums (media, digital, social) have blurred, and so have the boundaries of traditional job descriptions to support them. Today’s consumer-driven world calls for a consumer-centric marketing approach. In fact, it’s the only strategy suitable for the speeding current of the rapid, fluid digital world in which consumers, not brands, have all the control. And that leaves much of the old, hulky traditionally segmented way of doing things bobbing sadly in its wake.
What’s Next: Agile Revolution & The Polymath Reincarnation
We are once again on the cusp of a new age of advertising and marketing. Smaller tests beat big bets, ongoing engagement is a way of life and Content is King. In order to be flexible and fast-acting (after all, who wants to be left behind commenting on the latest Game of Thrones plot twist?), the same flexibility must be required of its creators. Brands need agile agencies, and agile agencies need hybrids—also called polymaths, renaissance men or unicorns…OK, we’ll also answer to ninjas. People who are passionate about the work they do and are comfortable being uncomfortable. In other words, those who might spend their days playing any number of old-world roles: account director, producer, art director, UX designer, analytics specialist or strategist depending on the needs of the client challenge or what the moment dictates. And killing it every time.
Quora Design Director, David Cole wrote that “Learning is not a zero-sum activity.” That goes for everyone—agencies and employees. For too long, hunches have trumped real insights. And limiting talent with a too specific job-description trampled multipotentialities. But, no more. And that’s why we’ve been doing it differently all along.
Culture of Doing
When we conceived Scrum50, we planned on doing more with less. Less people, less time, less money. Better vision, better creative, better end results. We believe that agencies can work smarter and get even better results through agile marketing tenants where tight knit teams are working together empowered to take action and get results. When building the right staff to fulfill our vision of world-class creative, we looked long and hard to find nimble people with ambition and a “get it done, and get it done great” mentality. Most importantly, we wanted to put our multi-talented employees to the best use possible. So, what to do with a Project Manager that has an eye for creative? Or a Media Buyer who has a knack for writing social? You harness that shit.
These are talented individuals that not only have strengths in multiple areas, but do better when engaging in ALL of their skills. Ditching the siloed, single-focus mindset of the outdated agency structure, Scrum50’s polymath employees are able to develop their full potential by utilizing all of their strengths and skills. It works out for everyone. Employees are motivated and happy when they are challenged and do things that they love. And that translates into long-term employee loyalty as well as the best end result for our clients.
As modern Da Vincis, these standouts are shaking up the advertising landscape just like the renaissance men of old who combined their prowess for science, philosophy, theology and the arts to make amazing progress in the world.
Making Agile Work For You
So, how did we get here? We planned for it from the beginning. But you can start by retooling the way employees and roles are structured. Think about how you can get the most and best work for your clients out of the experts you already work with every day and mine for that talent. Then, make multipotentiality criteria moving forward as you add new people to your roster.
After 3 years, we haven’t looked back…not even once.
We’ve built an agency squad that’s more like a badass SWAT team. Polymaths picked at their peak for departments, like our Agile Content Studio which produces on-the-fly social posts. We’ve got editors who write, produce, and project manage—PrEditors for short. We’ve found gems right in our own backyard—like the incredible Dom, our Art Director who is multimedia-video-driven and an expert retoucher; or Erin, our Content Manager who is a social-writing, media-buying, insight-researching, analytics reporting powerhouse. To Dana, our Associate Content Director that writes as well as she strategizes, and Brad our UX and design guru and resident go-to guy.
We believe we’re set up for success, but our eyes are on the horizon. Keeping the momentum going and continuing to ride the wave of innovation is the ultimate goal. And we’ll do it until the winds of consumer behavior shift and the ever-changing marketing landscape send our multi-talented team of polymaths chasing the next adventure.
When it comes to digital design, there are multiple factors to consider when you first attack a project. Visually, where do you start? Beauty vs. functionality? Desktop vs. Mobile? Which gets priority? Where to begin? Let’s be clear – your digital experience needs to work flawlessly across all major devices to create a cohesive design and seamless communication so that your audience can choose where and how they want to engage with your brand.
In general, we as humans spend the majority of our time digitally on mobile devices rather than actual computers (71% of our digital time to be exact). Since more people are looking at your website on their phones as opposed to their computers or tablets, we have our answer! The mobile-first mindset is again reinforced by attacking the most difficult design challenge first – the limited space constraints of the mobile screen. As designers, we need to figure out how to capture the attention of the audience and portray the brand effectively in just a few inches. Not an easy task, my friends.
So to help deliver a flawless experience for your customers, here are a few UX principles to keep in mind as you start designing:
Create a Fully Responsive Experience
Being fully responsive means that whatever device your customer is using, the experience shifts and modifies to optimize for each device. The industry is moving to a place where the optimal design is dictating the breakpoints. You may start with a certain breakpoint but designing the interface to look good and be functional is the primary goal, therefore your breakpoint may shift to accommodate the best design solution. The jury is out, by the way, on how large is the largest size you should accommodate. 4K resolutions are not super common for the mainstream, but they are gaining traction. You really just need to know your audience to determine the outer-limits resolution to plan for. Here’s a guide to the most common starting points.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Users are familiar with the main mobile operating systems and are already familiar with how they engage with websites on their mobile devices. Generally speaking, there is no need to completely reinvent what they are already familiar with. Take a que from common operating systems. For example, iOS and Android have already set up a strong visual vocabulary for button styles, toggles/switches and actions (swipe, pinch, tap, pressure-based actions, etc). You’ll want to mirror common user experiences, but use your brand identity to customize the experience.
Keep Content Visual
Content is King, and engaging, storytelling visuals are what rules today’s digital world. As our attention spans fade and consumption of mobile content increases, people’s expectation of visual content increases. They want to see more images, more videos, more infographics and more compelling (but also short) copy that gets right to the point and supports the visuals. As you are writing for digital, keep it crisp and cut out the excess clutter. Consider meshing amazing visuals and succinct copy for a win-win. (And yes, SEO is always important, but there are other ways to optimize for keywords other than copy-heavy pages.)
Functionality is Critical
The days of truncating the experience for mobile are over. Users expect to be able to perform the same interactions on their mobile phone as they can on any computer. They want what they want, when and where they want it. So, how do you translate a large screen into a tiny hand-held device? From a design perspective, that may mean abridging the UI elements themselves – for example using icons on mobile where words are used on a desktop.
When designing for a smaller mobile device, it goes without saying. It’s also important to consider your audience and keep the UX at the very forefront of your design elements. Font sizes need to be large enough for them to read, but small enough to fit on the screen. Touch targets like buttons need to be usable for your audience. Make sure you are allowing enough size on the screen for male targeted sites vs female targeted sites. Minimum size is generally 48px x 48px, erring on the larger side to avoid the dreaded “fat finger.” Images need to load quickly and create a consistent feel with the other elements on the screen. No matter how you dice it, size is critical in designing for mobile.
Keep these principles top of mind as you set out to design digital experiences that can be viewed on any device. A simple, intuitive user experience is what makes the biggest brand impression on your customers and these concepts outlined above set the foundation for success.