We research each area, we discuss and debate the vertical and the key players and then we break down the history, the current situation and then where we predict that industry will go to with our c-suite hat on.
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The Future State Of The High Street 🛍 Nick and I to discuss the important elements of the high street and answer the important questions:The challenge of the high streetThe history of the high street was to address the needWhy the evolution of butchers and grocers were so important in shaping today’s landscapeThe community and local aspect of the high street and the importance of retailIs the Poundlound IPO a sign of potential promising times?The question that we should consider: Did fast fashion outlets kill the high street or was it online marketplaces? Thinking more than just eBay, Amazon, the newer marketplaces like Onbuy.com, notonthehighstreet & EtsyAre high streets, shopping centres, retail parks considered the same thing or are they all competing?Why immersive experiences are the way to goWhy Google, Amazon and Apple have stores as essential brand extensionsWhat’s coming next… a brighter more integrated high street?
Back in 2014, I was helping brands with their Marketing, typically either auditing existing teams and activities or helped to build our their department and work with teams on workshops and developing long term campaigns.
In a recent googlemail search, I came across a deck I ran through and worked with a large travel company.
The sign that it was a good deck, you could still reuse the majority of the slides.
A go to popular slide that really stood the test of time was:
You Have To Be
“Kings of content”
“Queens of data”
“Chiefs of engagement”
“Leaders of common sense”
“Presidents of user signals”
“CEO of Personalised Marketing”
It dawned on me that these are still true, over the last two years we have slowly seen every brand become a media company, some are media first others are product first with (content) media building trust and audience.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to review these statements and tweak for 2021.
“Kings of Content” – still true, could be improved with rich media.
“Queens of data” – still true and going to continue to be. The question of needing more internal data vs using external data will be the debate for many businesses moving forward.
“Chiefs of engagement” – still true and requires more handholding and more great content and one to one engagement versus one to many as it was back in 2014.
“Leaders of common sense” – still true and actually should be doubled down on much more now than before. Particularly with the rise of personal brands and multiple brands within businesses.
“Presidents of user signals” – “Presidents Of User Intent” still true however could be improved to user intent. User signals were more specific to the requirement to SEO first businesses in 2014, today intent is a much better metric, signals are still a vital part of the funnel or loop.
“CEO of Personalised Marketing” – still true, however, in today’s world we are now living in an over personalised marketing landscape, this could be improved and optimised to CEO of marketing personally.
NEW: Masters of Distribution – By far the area of marketing and growth that is grossly misunderstood and still too spray and pray versus being more intentional and deliberate in tracking and optimising for the user and each user. This is not easy but the data and tools are available to make the best distribution action plan at a personal level.
Any new product or a product that is winning in 2021 has three components: 1/ User brings their network and creates a must use narrative, 2/ We serve you great & right content – you will share this to your closest friends and family (one to one or one to few) not blast (vs one to everyone) which brings a recommendation referral to the product or service 3/ This product is going to replace one very clear activity or action – we know our audience doesn’t need millions of tools, or one master tool we need one tool that does something brilliantly and bundles or unbundles current below par products.
NEW: Customer Champion – We live in a time of customer power and empowerment. Are we doing enough to market to our customer at the right time for them, on the best channel for them when it is convenient for them? This is the question to answer in 2021 as reducing churn and driving repeat usage, repeat purchases (retention) as we come out of this cycle.
This all means there is a lot of work to do but core principles you can follow and the problems you can answer for you and your customers.
On your next campaign or pitch, consider these statements and build towards making you the Kings of content, Queens of data, Chiefs of engagement, Leaders of common sense, Presidents of user signals, CEO of Personalised Marketing, master of distribution and customer champion.
Important Related Reads To Improve Your Marketing & Growth
In “marketing is” I break down the 9 actions you have to think about to deliver a great campaign.
Everything As Experiences 🤯 is the third theme in the future of marketing blog series. Everything as experiences is a way to think about the next move in Marketing and giving your customers real experiences they want to talk about, share and re-experience.
There has been many things written about the third space, right now we have two clear spaces, home and work.
The third and important space is the experience space. The 10% space where we will crave to have more experiences, enjoy more stimulation and look to escape.
With the number of varying lockdowns and quarantines, we have experienced many fewer experiences, some crave the theatre, some immersive movies, or like me art and zoo’s.
We have craved experiences with lockdowns and quarantines, we have had our homes become work and our work defaults to being at home. Humans are craving experiences, we are looking for immersive experiences, can you add something to the mundane or what has become boring?
Can you add to it by creating trails, walking adventures, walking tours, running playlists etc? Simple experiences that you can do solo or in a pair alongside pairing with a leaderboard or leaving notes or tips for others looking to experience this will be great ways to engage this audience.
Safe, Intimate, Personalised
Cinema / Theatre – Smaller more intimate experiences are what we will crave and feel safe with, can you offer an exclusive first look, a slightly more luxurious experience, or consider how you can spread people and colleagues out and build out deeper immersive experiences with brilliant visuals, brilliant surround sound or spaces where you do not want to use your mobile?
Yes, this does mean scaling down or scaling up experiences with smells, different sounds and more tailored experiences, this also comes with better margins and people talking about the experience vs just the film or performance.
Retail has been one of the hardest hit industries, huge brands have collapsed, many have been sold and brought by younger, online only brands.
Something that has been missed from retail is the touchpoints and the experience of good retailers.
There are many elements that have been missed and are actively being craved and this won’t change:
The inspiration (and the aspirations)
The aural experience
Hearing the sounds, the music, people around you – many miss being around strangers
The touch of something on your skin, the feel of the item of clothing, the varying quality between two items
And then the taste, treating yourself to a coffee, a snack from your favourite treat spot and being able to have one day full of experiences.
There are many areas we look for, here are the areas you will want to include when creating your experience, visuals, audio, text (seeing and engaging with text), the touch / feel of something and adding taste into the experience.
I truly believe retail as the biggest opportunity with the right positioning and training can kickstart revenue spending and win over online for many people.
Dark kitchens aka ghost kitchens have grown exponentially in recent years, not just because of restaurants shutting but down to being able to scale, offer your food to many dinners at completely new and different locations and branch out your offerings in a repeatable way, alongside ensuring you can keep your margins down.
Many dark kitchens operate on the well-known food delivery apps, some are available directly and although the cost and logistics are higher the ownership is higher.
What if in the future, these dark kitchens become hubs of experiences, blended with many of the other options and inspirations offered above but combined with retail, combined with personalised days organised for you.
Partnerships will be essential to win this space, this is how many local highstreets and stores have stayed alive and competed against much larger businesses. Local communities tend to step up and support each other in times of need. If you remove friction points and enable quick, convenient and reliable experiences you have a chance to win the even increasing bagel economies.
The High Street is struggling, many will be ghost towns when they re-open, there will be real estate that goes unopened, unused for many months at a time, what if we rethought this and applied a dark store approach.
In September 2020 I recommended in my 2021 predictions local would be essential as would the opportunity around dark stores. Some ideas:
Being able to offer fewer people (not cramming) into the store,
Offering invite-only in-store experiences you make the experience far more compelling. In-person, red rope treatment has been lost in recent years – leverage this.
Personalisation: you can offer personalised experiences with personalised pricing
You can connect online and offline together, gaining a better idea of ROI and CAC, alongside connecting LTV.
If this location was dark and invite only this would mean customers could book and you can build scarcity around the store, you could offer stock levels and instant picks ups – which many will look to, click and collect is still a huge influence on purchasing.
This truly can improve bad trips and turn into true experiences.
3D / 4D Experiences
Experiences require more than one layer, experiences are more than two dimensions they are 3d or 4d. Remember going to your favourite galleries, your favourite sporting events, they include the visual, they include a sound (even silence) they include the arena, they include people around you (a small number to a group or crowd) and they typically involve the smell and a feeling.
Taking inspiration from your favourite theme park, the theme part craft experiences:
The story is vitally important
The way your emotions follow the three-story arch
The way you feel and the ways you connect and then interact with the story
Most recently they added smell and liquid, typically water to add another layer of connection and experience and leaves you walking away thinking about the experience and wearing it (wet clothes or smelling od something) for the rest of the day.
Is this format something you could leverage, could you create or curate experiences using all of these senses?
Win the future of marketing and growth by creating experiences, where you can consider leveraging contactless tech, leverage billboarding and improving experiences connected to you and your brand.
In this post, I dive into ✋ Everything As Contactless and the huge opportunity there is in contactless and innovating.
✋ Everything As Contactless
1/ Entertaining Experiences
We will need to consider how we market and connect safely for a number of years to come. Contactless evolved massively in the last fifteen months, QR codes were used more than basic uses, contactless payments become default experiences. How can you make the contactless experience more entertaining, more rewarding, can you offer perks and rewards on receipts etc? Be inspired by offering experiences with contactless, rewards are great to create habits and make connections to products, people and brands.
2/ Developing QR Codes
QR codes to make payments is commonplace in Asia, it has been for a number of years, it has not been commonplace in the west.
This is now about to change, how do you consider QR code design, how do you make this experience smart, seamless, safe and entertaining. All area’s to consider, develop out and build experiences.
3/ Online To Offline To Online aka O2O2O
QR codes were designed to connect – we have spent years attempting to connect offline and online together, we are going to see this flow add another loop, offline to online to offline or online to offline to online, this is how to close the loop and build deeper experiences.
Driving footfall was somewhat hard to prove but driving offline online become more important and more interactive.
The question to answer with this is: How do you add a frictionless extra experience to improve marketing opportunities, more growth opportunities and add true value and convenience to the user.
4/ AR (& Mixed Reality) Becoming A Reality
AR (Augmented reality) experiences will be key, something that gaming has led the way with is offering AR and developing their games when it was not as safe to be outside, Pokemon Go won by tweaking their game and introducing indoor experiences versus having to go outside, this led to a record year for the game. Snapchat has really developed out their toolkits to incorporate AR.
How would you build in an AR experience with mobile phones? Apps, browsers etc. All important and lower cost now than ever before.
How can you drive an extra element of experience with shopping? With pickups? With curbside? These are all exciting opportunities for Marketing, Product & Growth teams. AR doesn’t have to be expensive but done right is imperative. Can you introduce AR or MR into your roadmap and connect with your customers?
5/ Physical Product Enhancements
Consider how you can tweak your physical product to incorporate different elements of contactless, can you add a QR code to add to the experience like Coke and many other brands have done recently? Can you add an SMS number or WhatsApp number to contact for quick feedback or help those who could be struggling to download the manual or gain support? These are not new concepts however these are all areas which contactless can reduce friction and increase loyalty?
As part of the Future Of Marketing series, I took a closer look at Peloton and how they built and developed much more than a product or a series of products, they recreate the brand, the luxury fitness at home category.
Here are the slides from the broader presentation:
Connected High End Fitness Trend
Fitness has always had connotations to more affluent communities, fitness is expensive, gyms membership, personal trainers, work at home equipment are all expensive options.
Peloton – Leader of the Pack
Peloton has been clear from the moment they launched they were for the high-end fitness fan.
So, here are the learnings you can apply from connected fitness and more specifically.
Community Member Living, Breathing, Touching & Sweating Peloton
I created Jess as a persona you can connect with:
Jess Loves connecting with people safely and as an introvert, she can work out from her comfort area
Jess loves her Peloton, in her space
Working out in groups and working out realtime feels like something that keeps her going
Jess loves her instructors and connects with them on personal levels not just as her instructor – affinity is key
Jess is powered by beating her personal bests and sharing these achievements on her social media
Jess was convinced by her friends in their friend’s group chat to buy her bike and subscription – Peloton best growth tactic is friend gets friend, this is a considerable benefit Peloton gains from their business and performance model. Joining an active network or growing one makes a product experience far more
Jess is a huge advocate and convinced her friends to invest in Peloton, this is herding her friends not just referring them.
Instructors Are Celebrities
Peloton was deliberate with their instructors and turned them from instructors to influencers and celebrities.
Emma Lovewell is the original instructor and was part of the original Kickstarter campaign.
Instructors connect with millions of Peloton community by training them regularly, engaging with them in real-time (& on-demand) and working out in their homes, seeing their home, seeing them sweat with you are all levels of connection you wouldn’t get with other products.
Emma is also attempting to grow her own audience on YouTube, offering insights into her life away from fitness.
The Peloton community were looking for Pelotons in hotels to book and continue their fitness ritual their streak their status their Instagram update finding their place on the road.
When something is engineered to keep you as active and engaged as Peloton, Peloton lovers will do everything they can to continue their workouts (streaks) to stay involved and connected to the brand. Many search and seek out the physical Peloton product vs use the app. This is very smart and engineered.
Peloton also has app options so you can work out if you don’t have access to your equipment or are looking to work out and cannot afford their specific equipment.
Peloton & Connected Fitness
Peloton might not be the first or last but combining with the connected fitness space there are many more reasons to work out and expand the Peloton model
Boxing and combat-based fitness has grown exponentially and will continue to do so, Hykso and Fight Camp are just a few in this space that is doing well and connecting equipment tracking fitness
With the recent expansion from Zoom with onzoom their marketplace offering for PTs etc and Apple’s move with Fitness+ we will see an unbundling of fitness and see masterclasses from huge pro athletes and ex-pro’s who will love to connect and train with their audiences with inspirational brands.
The Future Of Fitness Is Shaping Hotels
Hotels will be the first to think about how to become more connected to their customers.
Prediction to leverage becoming:
Pop up venues
Hybrid conference venues etc
The truth be told the gym 🏋️♂️ was inconvenient like many other offline activities.
We have however just moved our exercise & sharing habits online too.
Peloton, Mirror etc are just the tip of the iceberg for offline moving online & having a celebrity instructor train you will be almost normal but only accessible for those who invest.
Peloton have grown tribes and moved tribal habits into herding, herds of people bring others along with them on their fitness drive. Why? Price, increased status, feels bigger & more important than a product
Apple fitness+ will be biggest & best athletes training you. Do not discount Apple coming into the space more aggressively and making their brand presence felt, especially with the first non apple produced product that aligns so well with Apple quality and branding.
Lessons To Learn From Peloton & Connected Fitness
1️⃣ Question to answer every year but essential in today’s market?
Am I part of a habit
Can we be part of a ritual
Can we make it onto their lists
Tribes & Herding
How people think of Tribes: The bond over common enemies.
But Tribe typically means:
Do I belong? – Yes and with the instructor, we get to know
How can I belong to this? – With exercise & in their groups & leaderboard, it’s being a better you
Where do I go for this feeling? – And how do I continue with this feeling?
Why is this the future of marketing?
Affluent community = high spend, high renewal, will make their money work for the high priced fitness equipment
This is your equipment, it is worth over £3000 – it will take prime real estate in your house. Potentially the only item that will challenge the television for prime real estate in your house
The quality product works – a quality product is your best marketing and cheapest marketing campaign
The rider gets rider loop = referral loop of friend convinces friend to invest in to the Peloton ecosystem.
Social Gold – every ride is posted online and maximises the reach of the brand and leverages vanity as the sharing mechanism
Social media groups have really connected members and created a deeper community layer
The different option of classes makes it flexible and connective. Live classes – connection to the instructor and the other riders On-demand – makes the class flexible for you and enables you to connect to the instructor when you cannot be live
The instructors form connections with the riders, their backgrounds
The leaderboards feature is not unique but allows you to compete or compare yourself on your latest ride. It can be something you choose to review or choose to ignore.
Tribal communities connect at a deeper level, herding also happens with friends bringing friends to the product and then friends of friends joining and being able to compete
In the future when we return to travelling or having to visit other offices, Peloton and connected fitness members will seek out these devices to continue their streaks and fitness workouts.
Despite the recent issues with stock levels and keeping up with demand, Peloton have built a model many brands can replicate moving forward. Marketing, Growth and Product leads should use Peloton as a guide to affluent communities and addictive products and services.