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A Little Mystery and Intrigue Accompanies Apple Card Introduction

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Flashy introductions touting world shattering, high-tech, gee whiz, holy cow demonstrations of almost magical performance have been the typical approach of Apple when revealing their newest products. The flash of the reveal has consistently been trumped only by loyal consumers’ responses. The recent introduction of Apple’s foray into the financial services sector was expected to be received with the typical enthusiasm awarded to past product introductions, but the initial response has fallen short of expectations. Perhaps it is the usual, ho-hum response typically afforded product introductions from the financial industry. Let’s face it, financial products generally are not described as sexy and disruptive.

Apple’s long-awaited introduction of the “Apple Card” made its debut with the company’s usual flare and promise. The effort is a partnership with Goldman Sachs, who is making its first offering in the credit card world, and MasterCard. Apple Card is built into the Apple Wallet app on iPhone, offering customers a familiar experience with Apple Pay and the ability to manage their card right on iPhone. While Apple is playing up the card’s benefits of no annual or late fees, no over the limit fees or international surcharges, the card’s cash back features have been described as underwhelming by critics and early consumers. The interest rates, dependent upon a cardholder’s qualifications, appear to be in-line with the current financial industry’s best offerings. The card does not contain a credit card number, expiration date or CVV security code, instead featuring facial and touch identity capabilities. The card is tied to Apple Pay, a service that lets people load banking information and pay in store or use it for purchases online. It works globally where Apple Pay is accepted, lets users track spending in the Wallet app, and focuses on transaction privacy.

But the new offering may be destined to receive a similar response from consumers as Apple Pay. First introduced five years ago, Apple Pay has struggled to capture a modest two percent of the credit transaction market dominated by MasterCard and Visa.  “It’s just easier to use card payments,” said Harshita Rawat, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “Mobile payments need to evolve their value proposition to get consumers to switch from their plastic card payments. This new offering Apple Card is a step towards that but it needs to evolve even further.” Apple appears to be banking on the new Apple Card and the “Z” generation to boost Apple Pay acceptance. Jeff Fromm, author of “Marketing to Gen Z” and a partner at agency Barkley, says, “Gen Z is going to ‘hashtag’ Apple love this card.”

Whether on a revolutionary or evolutionary path, the Apple Card is already having an impact on the established players in the credit card market. Competitors are investigating advantages like privacy protection, no card numbers and advanced security features. And while credit cards may not be sexy, there is a certain amount of cool factor to the Apple Card for all those loyal Apple fans. “Although the Apple card’s rewards aren’t too exciting, it might bring more value to its already loyal customers in the form of convenience and security,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at finance site WalletHub. “When using the card via Apple Pay, users will quickly be able to see where and how they spend their money without the use of a third-party app.”

For Apple, the journey into a field less traveled and experienced contains more than a little mystery and intrigue. Will the brand’s magical touch of the past be repeated? It appears that even for a veteran like Apple, only time will tell.

A More Diverse and Socially Conscience Generation of Consumers

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Grouping an entire generation of people into a single marketing segment has its pitfalls. Not every member of any group or demographic segment can be expected to see the world from an identical perspective and follow a single behavioral pattern. However, generational differences and behaviors are influenced by disruptive events. The Great Depression and World War II had a dramatic impact on baby boomers, both in the way they saw the world and their role in the future. The technology revolution is generating much of the same impact on Millennials, and to an even greater degree, Generation Z. Such dynamic experiences tend to not only alter established patterns of process but often disrupts the way people reinterpret and redefine fundamental societal norms.

Marketers found measured success in developing strategies that connected with Millennials only after struggling to fully understand the impact of the technology era on those born and reared during the years that saw unprecedented disruption in traditional communication processes. Millennials were the test subjects for social media platforms that were born and that matured during their formative years. Both Millennials and the generation that followed became accustomed to fast paced growth of new technologies and the impacts they have on the world.

Generation Z consists of those born in 1996 or later. They make up 25.9% of the United States population and will account for one-third of the U.S. population by 2020. The most tech savvy and information consuming generation in history, Generation “Z’ers” tend to be less focused on a single thought but are demonstrating an amazing ability to multitask and a lack of patience with a single subject. Since 2018, members of Generation Z spent up to $143 billion and will represent 40% of consumers by 2020. In order to successfully market to this generation, it is important to recognize how this new set of consumers differentiates from the previous generation. While Millennials learned to coexist with the development of digital devices, Z’ers are perpetual in their use and have demonstrated a mastery of everything smart and mobile.

Marketers are experiencing a massive shift in advertising methods and content messaging in order to successfully connect with Generation Z’s shifting values. “When it doesn’t get there fast they think something’s wrong,” said Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young. “They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.” Like their predecessors, this new generation values authenticity. However, Generation Z’ers desire even more transparency from companies requiring brands to alter their approach to focus to a greater degree on social media influencers. This generation of shoppers indicates they are more likely to be motivated by social media influencers than by celebrities. Four out of five Generation Z members say they allow social media to influence purchasing decisions.

Contrary to digitally honed social insights, Generation Z is more socially diverse and conscious than former generations. They are more likely to appreciate face to face relationships, be willing to do great work for an employer and are predicted to be willing to invest years in a job that propels them forward to achieving personal self-development. According to Generation Z marketing strategist Deep Patel, “the newly developing high tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.”

It would be easy to button-hole this newest generation of consumers into one market segment, but care must be exorcized to understand that each new generation is influenced by those that have gone before. In reality, while greatly impacted and honed from a lifetime of technology, this new generation may be much more diverse having been influenced by interactions with each preceding generation.

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.

Is It Getting Too Complicated with Four Generations Comingling at the Water Cooler?

In the most recent years, marketers and employers have been attempting a multitude of strategies to figure out who Millennials really are and what their expectations about life, job and product are. For those who are still struggling to understand Millennials, and the most effective means to connect with them, Generation Z has reached the workforce.

While some marketers can at least claim a little success in cracking the millennial code, others have just given up and returned to re-focus on what worked to attract consumers in the past. Employers who have tried everything from ping pong tables, paid-time off for advocating for social justice issues and work from home models in order to attract, inspire and retain effective millennial employees are still evaluating the totality of their experiences. Are we now supposed to scrap everything and retool corporate strategies for the new generation?

Generation Z consists of those born in 1996 or later. They make up 25.9% of the United States population and are expected to contribute $44 billion to the American economy. By 2020, they will account for one-third of the U.S. population. The most tech savvy and information consuming generation in history, Generation “Z’ers” tend to be less focused on a single thought but are demonstrating an amazing ability to multitask and a lack of patience with a single subject; bad news for War and Peace sized novel writers and good news for publishers of an abbreviated Readers Digest.

This generation has grown up accustomed to the fast paced development of technology. They are perpetual in their use of smart, digital devices and spend less time watching TV than their forbearers. “We are the first true digital natives,” said Hannah Payne, an 18-year-old U.C.L.A. student and lifestyle blogger. “I can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone. Generation Z takes in information instantaneously, and loses interest just as fast.”  As result, marketers are experiencing a massive shift in advertising methods and content messaging in order to successfully connect with generation Z’s shifting values. “When it doesn’t get there that fast they think something’s wrong,” said Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young. “They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.”

Gen Z-ers have digitally honed social insights but are more socially diverse and conscious. They are more likely to appreciate the face to face relationships than their predecessors. Wanting to do great work for an employer, they are predicted to be willing to invest years in a job that propels them forward to achieving their personal self-development. Many are shunning traditional routes to higher education opting instead for online education while they practice making a living.  According to Gen Z marketing strategist Deep Patel, “the newly developing high tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.” Generation Z desires more independent work environments with nearly 75% of Gen Z teens espousing an ultimate goal to start their own business. “Kids are witnessing start-up companies make it big instantly via social media,” said Andrew Schoonover, a 15-year-old in Olathe, Kan. “We do not want to work at a local fast-food joint for a summer job. We want to make our own business because we see the lucky few who make it big.”

But with all the hype and predictions of generational differences is the next mega market group really all that different from their parents and grandparents?

When developing a strategy to segment any market we must realize that no one generation does a market segment make. Each generation, while differing in the methods of making connections, will invent many new insights and social behaviors but also retain important aspects of connectivity from their predecessors. Generation X, Millennials, Z’ers and Baby Boomers are all occupying the same marketplace and sharing the same water cooler conversations at work.  It will require marketers and employers to maintain due vigilance as each generation continues to morph into the multitude of individuals they want to become.  How are you adapting your organization to accommodate 4 generations?