Securing a Website with an SSL Certificate is More Important than Ever Before

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More than a billion web users’ personal information was stolen by cyber hackers in 2018. While large companies appear to be the victim of the vast majority of attacks, small business websites are proving to be an attractive target for cyber criminals looking to find an easy pathway to the riches that can come from the fraudulent use of everyday consumers’ personal financial information. While the level of illegal intrusion leveled-off last year, security experts are warning that recent advancements in website security measures may be doomed to the insistent and persistent improvement in hackers’ ability to adapt to the new security improvements.

Not unlike burglars who pass by homes with obvious security systems for an unprotected target, cyber criminals are turning to small business websites that fail to take even the most basic security actions to protect customer data. While the past two years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of websites taking actions to protect customers’ personal information, more remains to be done. The number of websites supporting HTTPS over encrypted Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/TLS connections has skyrocketed over the past year. Recent studies reveal that over 50 percent of web traffic is now encrypted. “Many sites need to catch up to avoid the ‘Not Secure’ warnings,” said DigiCert chief product officer Jeremy Rowley. “We urge IT administrators to check the sites they look after and deploy the appropriate TLS certificates.”

Perhaps the greatest incentive for website owners to gravitate to HTTPS protocol is coming soon from Google. With the release of Chrome 68 later this year, the search engine leader will mark all sites that haven’t adopted HTTPS as “Not Secure”. All other secured sites will continue to be displayed with green https letters in the URL, which means they are secured by an SSL certificate. Google will also give websites with encrypted connections a slight rankings boost. Imagine the number of website visitors who will be reluctant to frequent a company’s site when they are confronted with an “unsecure” warning. The consumer demands for increased web security is on the rise and consumer awareness of cyber security victimizations is heightened. It has been predicted that the Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla search engines will likely follow Google’s direction.

Research conducted by Ipsos, a global market research and consulting firm, found that 87% of internet users will not complete a transaction if they see a browser warning on a web page and more than half of respondents indicated they would seek to complete the purchase on a competitor’s secured website. SSL certificates have been available for decades but many website owners have delayed activation due to the perceived high cost and complications of implementation.

The cost associated with migrating to HTTPS and its significant benefits to a web owner is quickly becoming more affordable. Many hosting providers are offering free SSL certificates to clients. With “trust” becoming an important factor in the marketer/consumer relationship, a “secure” banner across the top of a company’s website is an indication that the site’s owner shares their customers’ concern for data security.

It’s Time to Play the March Madness Advertising Game

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Unlike 2018, the big NCAA 2019 basketball tournament event is not burdened with the pressure of battling clean-up. March Madness 2019 is predicted to set a new record of $1.36 billion in advertising spend, continuing an upward tradition since 2013. The NCAA Men’s Division I Final Four will be hosted by the city of Minneapolis, and is predicted to generate $142 million in economic impact for the area and attract 94,000 visitors to the U.S. Bank Stadium.  “In terms of impact, visitor spending is only one way to think about success,” says CEO Kate Mortenson, NCAA Final Four Minneapolis Organizing Committee. While the city looks forward to the promise of an economic windfall, a list of international brands is gearing up for an opportunity to promote their wares to the millions of college basketball fans who will be tuning in to the weeks-long event leading up to the big game.

The NCAA has announced that this year’s tournament will be streaming across 15 platforms in an effort to keep pace with a more mobile viewing audience. Mobile experiences will be very important to fans and advertisers will need to heed the viewers’ continued gravitational pull away from traditional cable and broadcast channels. The most successful brands will be those that connect all the channels into one cohesive campaign that brings basketball fans together with the brand.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will continue to build relationships between fans and brands. Official March Madness social media handles generated 26 million social engagements across these popular channels last year. Marketers will need to prepare ahead in order to capture prolonged customer attention.  “It’s about speaking to the audience, whether they’re preparing for their bracket or starting a competition with friends and family. And it’s about thinking of the length of time you’re spending with consumers,” says Courtney McKlveen, VP and Industry Lead of Retail, Travel and QSR at Yahoo. “ The word ‘loyalty’ is fun to throw around, but it still exists. In order to build loyalty, it takes time, and it means being there throughout the shopping cycle, and having the confidence to think about your ROI differently.”

Casual-dining brand Buffalo Wild Wings is launching its “That’s March Madness” TV spots and digital ads urging viewers to visit its restaurants to watch the tournament. In addition to their usual broad selection of brew and spicy wings, the 1,200-unit Buffalo Wild Wings chain is rolling out custom-designed “Jewel Stools” in Los Angeles and New York City. “Man caves and technology have divided us, conquered us and allowed a part of our herd to be divided,” says Scot Crooker, associate creative director at The Martin Agency, Buffalo Wild Wings’ advertising agency. “Sports is about finding your tribe.”

Whether you choose one or all of the available channels, there are more ways than ever for a brand to engage with an audience during March Madness. While the digital play provides social analytics that can generate immediate message effectiveness, display and sponsorship advertising often requires an incubation period following the performance to measure success or failure. It’s time to establish a strategy and tip off your best effort to connect with our nation’s college basketball fans.

The University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security Leads the Industry with Value and Forward-Thinking Expertise

Formed shortly after the terrorist attacks on our Nation in September of 2001, The University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS) serves as the leader in policy development and legal analysis in the field of homeland security. Through its association with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, CHHS has grown to include partnerships with the Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefence and Emerging Infectious Diseases to bring together top experts from the scientific, emergency management, and public health communities.  Today, CHHS is home to a powerhouse of knowledge and expertise dedicated to the advancement of emergency management training, public health security, safety, and disaster recovery planning to public and private agencies across the United States.

CHHS’s forward-thinking expertise, led by Michael Greenberger, JD, includes academic programs and comprehensive consulting services that encompass community resilience, continuity of operations, cybersecurity, emergency management, exercise and training, health security, public safety technology, and recovery planning.  CHHS works with governmental and institutional organizations but maintains a focus on developing future emergency management leaders through Graduate degree programs and externships/internships.

“For organizations, both in the private sector and in the government, it’s critical to be prepared in the event of an emergency, from pandemics to government shutdowns.  The need for business continuity planning is often a low priority unless the threat is imminent.  The expert team at CHHS can assist your organization in preparing and planning to mitigate risk and limit the devastation in the event that a tragedy strikes,” comments Eric Oddo, Continuity Program Director, CHHS.

“The CHHS mission is critical for advancing our Nation’s security efforts. Their vast experience in emergency response, crisis management, cyber security and continuity of operations is a key resource for government and institutional organizations throughout the country. We are proud to have been selected to create a new online experience that effectively presents their comprehensive menu of services in a way that compliments the quality of their expertise,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction Creative Solutions. With more than 60 professionals on staff, CHHS continues to expand its client base in the Washington D.C., D.C. Metro, and Baltimore areas.  For those institutional and government organizations looking for tailored, holistic programs in emergency management and homeland security, contact us to learn more or call 410-706-1014.

Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just for Lovers Anymore

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Hallmark holidays have always been an opportunity for retailers to rack-up some additional sales. Valentine’s Day, once a day reserved for romance and couples, is trending in some interesting directions. With more than 50 percent of Americans identifying themselves as single and not fully committed to a love relationship, the dynamics of the once romantic holiday are changing.

The changing social norms are not slowing the momentum of spending. This year consumers are expected to spend nearly $20 billion dollars on gifts for their sweetheart, co-worker or favorite pet. Consumers plan to spend just over $26 on pets for Valentine’s Day. But the tradition has not totally gone to the dogs.

The traditional winners in the loving gift department will continue to be candy, flowers and jewelry but gifts of experience are beginning to find favor among consumers.  People aged 25 to 34 will be spending the most on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, dropping an average of $202.76 per person. A poll conducted by the National Retail Federation found “the top reasons consumers chose not to celebrate Valentine’s Day were that they considered it over-commercialized, didn’t have anyone to celebrate with or simply weren’t interested anymore.” Sellers spend less time planning their campaigns in advance of Valentine’s Day than other holidays throughout the year, and most consumers wait longer to shop for their gifts. 

The origins of the lovers’ holiday has been traced back to the second century when Emperor Claudius II executed two religious Martyrs named St Valentine. The original February 14 holiday doesn’t appear to have been about romance or love. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Hallmark Greeting Card Company’s forbearer started distributing Valentine’s Day cards. By the start of the 21st century, more than 60 percent of Americans celebrated the holiday. Despite the falling popularity of Valentine’s Day, total spending during the holiday continues to rise and the bulk of the spending will be for significant others and spouses. Co-workers, family members, classmates and pets will join the rank of favorite relationships in 2019.

Okay, So Even the Venerable Super Bowl isn’t Always So Super

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It may not be as bad as finding an empty vault in Al Capone’s basement but the LIII Super Bowl Game certainly failed to deliver on the anticipated excitement, either for the fans watching the game or the advertisers who spent a large share of their annual marketing budget to advertise during the event. The estimated $5 million per 30-second spot always comes with a significant amount of doubt as to its real value.

This year’s mega game was the least watched Super Bowl matchup in 11 years and is ranked as the lowest rated in 16 years. CBS says the broadcast averaged 98.2 million viewers and a 41.1 household rating, almost as exciting as the activity playing out on the field. Even the halftime entertainment failed to excite the dulling malaise in the stadium. Perhaps the only star-studded performance of the week was the city of Atlanta and its ten thousand volunteers who put forth an award winning performance.

For advertisers who spent a ridiculous sum to produce a bevy of television commercials, they couldn’t be happy that the coveted number one commercial, as judged by the USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter, was the event’s owners and producers, The National Football League. It’s akin to entering a contest and having the contest organizer take the top trophy at the end of the show. Runner-up was the Amazon Alexa ad about technology gone haywire, followed by Microsoft’s ad about children with disabilities using the Xbox adaptive controller to play video games. The major beer brands’ efforts appeared to be as skillful as the two competitors on the field, just a bit off their best games. It appears as though brewing beer with molasses is a big deal, or maybe not.

The only clear winners were women, whose participation rate in commercials ticked up over previous bowl events. Toyota, Olay, Bumble and Michelob Ultra are among the brands that put women front-and-center in Big Game ads. “It seems like there’s an awful lot of humor and light appeals, and that for advertisers it’s somewhat of a play-it-safe year,” said Charles R. Taylor, a professor of marketing at the Villanova University School of Business. “We’re not hearing about anything crossing over in politics.” A resounding Bravo could be heard from avid football fans that spent more than $2,500 per seat to be entertained and $1 thousand for a bed to sleep in after all the partying.

Now that the crowds have gone home and the Champion’s parade has cleared the streets, it’s time for the marketers who convinced their C Suites that the million (plural in many cases) dollar tab was worth the effort. In the end, taking win place or show in the ad game only matters when revenue is added up. Unlike last year, the players on the margins of ROI won’t have the Olympic Games to soften a rough landing.

One aspect of advertising the big game from year to year is the answer to the question, “Was it worth the money?” It still remains in the wind. Measuring the impact of a single-event television ad is like asking an AM radio personality how many people heard a specific 30 seconds of the broadcast. In reality, the best answer you can hope for is a fair share of the audience that hadn’t nodded-off. The most successful ads tend to be those that elevate the institutional value of the brand over time. It’s sort of “you’re not sure but you’ll know the answer when you feel it.” Regardless of the answer, it is almost a given certainty that most of the admen and adwomen who turned out a team to play in this year’s LIII Super Bowl will return for an encore performance next year. The whole thing is just too good of a spectacle to miss. And besides, would you want to be the marketing manager who passes on the one year that the competition beats you badly at the goal line?

Opportunity Awaits Small Businesses that are Optimistic Enough to Brave the Journey

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A recent Federal Reserve forecast for 2019 proposes that the U.S. Economy will grow 2.5 percent in the coming year and inflation will be checked at 2 percent. Such a prediction only a few years ago would have been thought to be the ranting of an overly optimistic and controversial student of economics, or the position statement for a largely discredited, naïve, want-to-be politician.  At the start of this New Year, perhaps the least surprised entity among the business community is small business. Cut from the same cloth of optimism, small businesses in America account for 2 out of every 3 new jobs created.  With unemployment at the lowest level in decades (some predict it could set a record low in 2019 of 3.5 percent), it would appear that the optimists are winning the day.

The accepted thought among a majority of business soothsayers is that the coming year is the best time for those optimistic entrepreneurs to engage their plans and open their dream businesses. The reality is that no one can promise success for anyone venturing into business at any time. While 2018 was generally considered a positive tipping point for small to mid-sized businesses, just over half said operations performed better over previous years, and less than half were willing to venture a prediction of continued growth in 2019. Despite all the positive economic indications, there remains just enough room around the edges of everyone’s crystal ball to manifest a degree of doubt about the size of the expected fortunes to come for small business owners.

Most vulnerable are new and emerging businesses that lack the time to establish a sustainable base in which to weather any downturns in market performance. To survive and prosper, small entities will need to be focused on adopting strategies that gravitate towards growth in 2019, regardless of temporary fluctuations in the economy. Experienced entrepreneurs are painfully aware that failure lurks in the economic shadows occupied by those factors that are just beyond their control. A profound and sustained focus on technology, finance, marketing and public policy will be of paramount importance going forward.

“Customers today have more choices than ever, and they have shown they will gravitate toward those who prioritize the delivery of fast, seamless and personalized service. This is true whether they are ordering lunch, getting their car repaired or making a financial transaction. In my industry of financial services, we’ve already seen large legacy companies start to fall behind smaller startups who offer better user experiences,” says Bernardo Martinez, U.S. managing director at Funding Circle.

Another challenge facing all small to mid-sized businesses is the lack of qualified and motivated employees. With a record 39 percent of small business owners reporting unfilled job openings, finding qualified workers is the single most challenge facing them in 2019.  “Optimism among small business owners continues to push record highs, but they need workers to generate more sales, provide services, and complete projects,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Two of every three of these new jobs are historically created by the small business half of the economy, so it will be Main Street that will continue to drive economic growth.”

The year 2018 turned out to be a boom-time for non-bank business lending as 80 percent of traditional bank small business loan applications were rejected. The trend in non-bank financing appears to be ripe for continued growth in 2019. Kabbage, an Atlanta-based online lending company established in 2008, says small businesses now access more than $10 million every day via its platform. Despite all the preponderance of predictions, finding success in business is, in itself, a risky business; one where failure or success awaits just around the corner of opportunity and for those optimistic enough to brave the dangers of the journey.

Building Complete Business and Marketing Solutions with Strategic Alliances

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In a blitz-paced technological marketplace going it alone, even for the most established company, is no longer a strategy for optimal success. Strategic alliances are gaining favor around the business world for both small and mega-sized companies who are finding that not all business solutions are born and reared in-house. Successful partnerships are proving that going it alone in a diverse and dynamic business environment may not be the best path to expanding reach in marketing, distribution, or human resources.  Benefits for organizations that join forces include increasing brand strength, attracting new demographics and improving a company’s credibility with new and untapped market segments.

More than 85 percent of companies say that partnerships are essential to their business growth, and more than half say mutually beneficial agreements have helped them acquire new customers and strengthen their brand. A strategic alliance or partnership between two companies comes in the form of a joint contractual relationship. Unlike a merger or joint venture, the partnership allows the participants to maintain their individual identities. Each partner agrees to share proprietary technology, intellectual resources, physical attributes or marketing collateral in order to advance shared goals without losing unique identities. 

According to Booz-Allen & Hamilton, “strategic alliances are sweeping through nearly every industry and are becoming an essential driver of superior growth. Companies participating in alliances report that at much as 18 percent of their revenues are derived from their alliances.” The relationship can produce advantages in scaling up the scope of an emerging business, increase new market penetration, allow for smaller organizations to initiate entry into global market space and reduce operating costs. Larger players can improve inroads into unique and diverse market segments and improve their brand’s reputation with these segments. Other unified ventures are extending the life of some marketers disrupted by the advance of technology on operations.

Barnes & Noble, a once powerful brick and mortar book retailer, found their very dominance and existence threatened by digital formatting of all things readable. Focusing on selling the reading experience, Barnes & Noble formed a strategic alliance with Starbucks, the popular coffee shop retailer. The move provides an opportunity for the book retailer to offer coffee kiosks or small coffee shops within their space, and gives Starbucks the opportunity to efficiently expand local community presence. Such an alliance can work for localized, small coffee shops as well.

To be successful, an alliance between two entities must be mutually beneficial to the goals and objectives of each participant. Clearly defined responsibilities and goals of each partner must be defined at the agreement’s outset. Each organization must be flexible in order to adapt to the impact of the alliance on the differences in each organization’s culture and operating methods. It is necessary in advance to identify what strengths each partner can bring to the new relationship and how each can build trust and respect for one another and their individual objectives   Most importantly, as with any strategic alliance or partnership, there must be benefit and value for both parties.

2018’s Holiday Sales Outperform Retailers’ Predictions

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The days of long, unruly lines and 24-hour camp-outs in front of major retail locations appears to be a spectacle of the past. Shoppers tired of playing retailers’ hold-out games in order to get the best prices on holiday purchases have changed the long-standing dynamics of Black Friday shopping. Historically the absolute best shopping day of the year for retailers, the day after Thanksgiving in 2018 saw a significant shift in shoppers’ antics. Still the best day of sales for retailers across the spectrum, Black Friday was less stressful for customers. The increasing popularity of online retailers and major big box stores breaking with early promotions resulted in a much more civil launch to the Holiday shopping season.

Online spending was predicted to see big gains and reality did not disappoint the prognosticators’ early predictions. Online spending reached $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving Day, up 28 percent from previous years. Four-day Black Friday weekend sales totaled about $60 billion, according to retail advisory firm Customer Growth Partners. Smart phone sales set new records with customers using their smart devices to spend $2.0 billion.

Apparel retailers found new favor from consumers with an 8 percent increase in sales. Black Friday weekend saw several major retailers out in front of their best predictions. “Not all apparel is doing great,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners. “The biggest growth over the past few months has stemmed from activewear retailers like Nike and off-price companies like T.J. Maxx..” In general, brick and mortar and online retailers experienced their best performance in decades. “In sales terms, this has definitely been a very strong holiday — one of the best since 1999,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData Retail. “Momentum in the consumer economy, confident shoppers and more discipline from retailers have all helped to boost spending.”

Department store sales were down 1.3 percent from November 1 through Christmas due mainly to an inability to capture an increase in their online channels. Store closures also muted holiday sales as traditional department stores reposition brick and mortar strategies. Successful smaller retailers are transforming stores to meet the specific needs of local markets and customers resulting in a new and popular shopping environment that is drawing favor from consumers.

All in all, the 2018 holiday shopping season delivered on predictions and resulted in a much appreciated Merry and Happy holiday for retailers across America.

Here’s a List of Some of Our Favorite Things


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Raindrops on roses

And whiskers on kittens

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things…..

Who can forget these famous lyrics from the landmark musical play and movie, “The Sound of Music.” Hard to imagine that composers Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rogers could have thought their tunes would make such a lasting impact on the lives of so many over such a long period of time. Its message was so simple:

When the dog bites

And the bee stings

When I’m feeling so sad

I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don’t feel so bad.

Regardless of station in life we all face challenges and disappointments. The times when all things seem to go amiss or when even the smallest of problems cause stress that often appear to be insurmountable. During the holiday season we need to look away from our daily problems and take a few moments of reflection to ponder some of the things in our lives that can keep us from feeling so bad.  Here are afew of the Junction Team’s Favorite Things:

Apple Watch –“For the obvious reason – technology is incredible,” says Julie. And for those who hail from the “Dick Tracy” generation, the Apple Watch is nothing less than science fiction personified. It makes life so much easier in so many small and incredibly large ways. While some lament it is just another technological intrusion on our busy lives, it more often than not alleviates so many of the little nuisances experienced daily in our lives. Besides, it’s just so cool!

Rosie’s Collection – The dream of a Pennsylvania entrepreneur, Rosie’s mission is “to transform women’s lives by making them feel comfortable with themselves, through their outward appearance, so that it might permeate inward, to build their self-esteem, so they might reach their highest dreams and potential.” Who’s Rosie? Rosie is the childhood teddy bear of its owner. The bright red corduroy teddy bear has been with her through good times and bad since 9th grade. Although the rose on her headband is a little tattered and a leg has been reattached multiple times, she still remains strong and dependable. She puts a smile on everyone’s face, comforts those in need and reminds you of your childhood whimsical carefree days. How can she not be one of your favorite things?

Inglot Cosmetics – Makeup enthusiasts can find this 30 year experienced brand in over 800 locations around the world. Combining scientific technology with an array of vibrantly colored products, Inglot is brightening the lives of millions of consumers across the world when they feel so sad.  And with J. Lo behind the brand, it can add a sparkle to your eye!

Door Dash – Don’t feel like cooking after a busy day at work? What could appease those feelings of exhaustion better than eating out in the comfort and sanctuary of your own home? You can order a meal or snack from whomever and whenever without the hassle of leaving your home or office. Schnitzel with noodles anyone?

Starbucks App – Let’s be real! Who really enjoys waiting in line, for anything?  Starbucks has it figured out. Order your favorite items, pay ahead, and skip the line! You’ll get your favorite drink plus experience the envy of those around you waiting in line. A comfort when you’ve just been bit by a bad day.

MIG Soap – They have an incredible and unique line of skin care products made of natural ingredients, including local raw honey and beeswax. It’s perfect response for when the bee has stung. 

HondaAutomobiles – For those who appreciate safety and reliability in their vehicle, Honda has fanatic loyalty from millions of repeat owners. Lifelong in their love of all vehicle sizes, from the Civic to the Pilot and Accord, Honda has a place at the top of their owners’ list of favorite things.  Let’s not forget the resale value!

Target – Susan says, “This one is on my list because I’m there probably 3 times a week. From getting 5% off everything with my Target card, to buying online and picking up in-store, to having Starbucks in-store, to using Target’s “Cartwheel” to get additional savings. I just can’t get enough of Target!”

AMC’s Subscription Program – For movie buffs like Ashley, $20 a month to view 3 movies a week at any AMC theater will top the list of favorite things. “I get free upgrades on popcorns and drinks and I can also get my popcorn and drinks delivered to my seat. How great is that?”

Amazon Kindle – “I love this because of how small it is. Carrying around a book can get annoying sometimes. This fits right into my purse and is so easy to carry around without having to worry about bending any of the pages.”

Keurig – Something you can use every morning, Keurig lets you get a jump start on a soon to be challenging day. It’s great because it is not just for coffee anymore. From teas to hot chocolate, one cup or several in just minutes. Beats the old bright copper kettles anytime!

The exchange of gifts is a tradition across our culture that offers great meaning for each of us. Whether the gift is big or small, we love to see the joy on the faces of our family, friends, and coworkers when we hand them something thoughtful, useful, or just plain fun. Time to get shopping!

Happy Holidays from all of us at JunctionCreative Solutions.

Influencer Marketing Trending Up for 2019

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According to Am Golhar, founder of Abstract PR, there are an estimated 1.5 million influencers in the digital communication world, and approximately 71% of Generation Z’s digital users have a close relationship with at least one influencer. With Instagram leading the influencer journey, many marketers are lamenting the importance of increasing marketing spend on influencing customers via social media platforms.

Launched in 2010, Instagram continues to grow at a remarkable pace. Just a little moret han 7 years of age, the visual social media platform has surpassed 800 million monthly users and is not only attracting individual social conversations but is proving its worthiness to marketers looking to grow brand awareness and showcase products. With 51 percent of users indicating that they visit the site daily and 70 percent using the platform to search brands, influencer marketing is proving itself as an authentic method to connect with potential customers. Influencer marketing content is delivering an 11 times higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional forms of digital marketing.

Generation Z consumers are proving to be much more active and reactive to social media outlets like YouTube and Instagram than former generations. Businesses need to establish an effective and targeted strategy to engage with this new generation of consumers in order to grab their share of the next big consumer market. In the coming year, influencers will continue to increase their impact on marketing efforts for businesses of all sizes. Participants will continue to focus efforts on specific geographical market segments with targeted and quality content.

The trend in 2019 will require an even greater command for authenticity and transparency as the initial exuberance of the new shiny marketing tool meets with the greater reality across all marketing channels.  Consumers say they trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions, but some of that trust is being worn away by paid influencers who fail to make important financial disclosures that exist between their content and the brands they are reviewing. 52% are expressing distaste for repetitive advertising offers that are being pitched this holiday season by influencers.  With nearly 54% of consumers indicating “reliability” concerns about some current influencer content, User Generated Content (UGC) is set to receive more attention from marketers in the year ahead. Joe Rohrlich, from Bazaarvoice says, “Today’s consumers are looking to corroborate what they see or hear in one place with the information they find elsewhere.”

Social media influencer marketing is a natural technological segue from the long tested and tried method of “word of mouth” advertising. The former one to one approach to connecting with an expanding audience is being amplified by the internet’s “one to many” social media environment. In a global survey of consumers, Nielsen found that ”83% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family over other forms of advertising.”  In 2019 successful brands will find a way to utilize this expansive amount of customer content.

To learn how Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) can help refine and improve your influencer marketing strategy, call 678-686-1125 today.