Pop-ups Lasting Brand Benefits
UK retail is going through dramatic changes. Since the start of 2018, over 1,100 retail stores have closed with the loss of 20,000 jobs. The terminal decline of the high street seems unstoppable. However, as the old certainties vanish, new opportunities emerge. The UK’s pop-up industry is estimated to be worth £2.3 billion, and accounts for 0.76% of total retail turnover. In a recent survey, 44% of customers said they had visited a pop-up shop in the last 12 months. The pop-up industry employs over 26,000 people. Of course, the pop-up industry extends beyond traditional retailing into the arts, education, leisure, events, hospitality, fashion, design, technology and marketing. New start-ups, charities and established businesses use pop-up shops to raise brand awareness, promote good causes and test new products and services. Appear Here, an online marketplace for short-term retail spaces, launches around 300 pop-up stores every month, and that’s just in London.
Take a Birds Eye View
The most successful food and drink product launch of 2014 was Birds Eye Inspirations, a range of premium frozen food dishes. The integrated campaign used TV, online, outdoor display, mobile and social to generate £45 million in sales. As part of the campaign, Birds Eye set-up a temporary restaurant in London where diners could pay for their meals by posting a photo on Instagram along with the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations. The pop-up restaurant was an innovative way to harness the power of social media and create free publicity for the company’s Inspirations range.
Certainly, the right pop-up store in the right location might make a healthy return thanks to footfall alone. But, you can magnify your results by making your pop-up part of an integrated campaign. Before you open your pop-up store or attend a pop-up event, you might want to send out an invitation or teaser. A clever piece of paper-engineered direct mail can surprise, delight and engage your target audience. Traditional addressed mail remains a highly effective marketing medium. According to figures from the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) 57.1% of recipients open a piece of addressed mail, 26.2% throw it away, 24% put it aside to read later and 3.6% act on the information or offer. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it is to refine your message and increase conversion rates.
Paper Engineering New Sales
Software development firm Autodesk brought print and social media together to create an imaginative direct mail campaign aimed at architects and engineers. The low-cost campaign targeted just 250 accounts. The purpose of the campaign was to encourage existing users of Autodesk’s Revit® building information modelling software to adopt a more collaborative, Cloud-based version of the application. Knowing their target audience were born problem-solvers, Autodesk sent a flat-packed model of London’s iconic Shard building in the mail; challenged recipients to work together to build it; and then post photos of their finished handiwork on Twitter to win a night out. Along with the model, Autodesk included an A5 card that briefly explained the benefits of a more collaborative design approach plus a link to a downloadable eBook and details of the Twitter competition. The recipients also received a follow-up call from the Autodesk sales team. The whole campaign cost just over £16,000. Initially, the campaign made £50,000 in new sales and 17 open opportunities. The Autodesk campaign went onto win a B2B marketing award, which created its own free publicity for the firm.
Google Goes Medieval on Your App
Of course, you can do a lot more with paper engineering than just direct mail. Pop-up or moveable books have been around since the Middle Ages. Initially they were used as instructional devices in theology, mathematics and medicine. The idea of using pop-up books for children’s entertainment came much later. Surprisingly, an American publisher only coined the term “pop-up book” in the 1940s. Of course, the sale of physical books has taken something of a beating in recent years with the widespread adoption of e-readers and audio-books. Nevertheless, they have retained their appeal. In 2017, physical books outsold their digital rivals by 4%. In fact, e-reader popularity peaked back in 2014 and has plateaued since. Counter-intuitively, Google opted to create a pop-up book to help launch its Google Photos app. The pop-up book was designed to help journalists and influencers setup the new app and highlight its key features.
Perhaps one of the most maligned online tools is the humble pop-up window. In fact, most browsers come with pop-up blockers. It’s true, pop-up windows can be incredibly annoying. They also work when used in the right way. According to research by Sumo.com, the average pop-up window conversion rate is just 3%. Imagine your website gets 1,000 visitors per week. A 3% conversion rate is 30 new subscribers, prospects or sales. Suddenly, 3% looks pretty good. Making pop-up windows work for you rather than against you is about using them appropriately. Have them appear only on certain pages or pieces of content. Don’t have them pop-up immediately. Give people time to read or view your primary content first, and only afterward suggest they subscribe to your newsletter using a pop-up. Your pop-ups need to have a clear headline, be consistent with your brand personality, offer something of value and display a strong call to action. Exit pop-ups need to offer something really compelling to persuade a visitor to stick around, complete a form, answer a survey or make a purchase.
Back to Basics
Making offline and online work together is all about understanding your target audience. Who are they, where are they, what do they want and how best to engage them? I know this all seems a bit marketing 101. But once you have been living within your own organisational bubble for a while, it is easy to forget that not everyone sees the world the way you and your colleagues do. Understanding your customers the way Autodesk does is rarer than you might imagine. At the other end of the process, you will want to be able to assess the success or failure of your campaign against your stated objectives.
Voice of the Customer
If you have been running a pop-up shop, bar or restaurant then obviously your sales figures will indicate how you did after costs. You might want to break that down by order value, product type or sale by staff, for example. A combination of paid search advertising, dedicated landing pages, unique hashtags and social media interaction will allow you to track consumer behaviour as it moves from the physical to the digital world. Today, consumer insight platforms such as Clarabridge and Talkwalker enable you understand the voice of the customer. These insights can help you drive down churn rates (the percentage of customers who stop buying after a given period), increase average revenue per customer, and improve new product development.
As we have seen, a variety of low-tech pop-up media can be extremely effective in engaging audiences. Nevertheless, it is important to remember the media is not the message. The real reasons the Birds Eye, Autodesk and Google campaigns worked was they had clear objectives, understood exactly who they wanted to reach and what they wanted to say. The creative execution and media choice made that engagement possible and timely.