Category Archives: Insights

It isn’t you, it’s me. Retail has changed and are brands losing out?


Most people have heard those words at one point or another in their lives. When it comes to the love triangle of retailers, brands, and customers, is the customer choosing competitors or retailers over your brand? After building retail solutions for five years, I’ve learned that the new face of retail isn’t about selling the customer the items you want, it’s about selling the customer what they want.

Retail was once an unshakable distribution standard, but now it’s an omni-channel experience, where purchases are made wherever they are convenient. It was once consistent and reliable, but mobile Internet came along and online sales grew at a dizzying rate. Insiders were convinced that the death knell for retail had been called. But did you know that online sales have never surpassed brick-and-mortar retail? That’s right, never.

In 2014, 80% of all sales took place in stores, while only 6% were through e-commerce, and half of those were ultimately transacted through a brick-and-mortar store.* What’s more, the rate of online sales growth per year is slowing down at an incredible rate, indicating that retail and e-commerce may be stabilizing into a form of synergistic equilibrium.


Retail isn’t fading into obscurity, it’s evolving to match the customer’s tastes, lifestyle, and access. Retail is no longer a fixed experience that can only happen one way, it’s an experience consumers decide for themselves. Retail is now everywhere and everything.

What matters now isn’t where you get the product, but how you get the product. Smartphones have created a limitless gateway for customer interaction, the key is making sure customer eyes and screens stay on you. This isn’t lost on retailers, who have begun using big data to better reach customers. These retailers aren’t as concerned with which brand customers purchase, only that they make a purchase. Brands and retailers each see the customer as exclusively theirs, often with differing marketing messages which can confuse customers, who ultimately purchase based on value and convenience over loyalty.

All of a brand’s efforts can culminate in a competitor’s product being sold in the last moment of sale, because the customer’s eyes are inevitably on the retailer right before purchase. It’s like taking your date to Prom, and having your date leave with someone else. The retailer knows what the customer wants from the minute they walk in the door, and thanks to big data, they often know where they are in the store, and what might entice them to pull the trigger today. All the customer needs is a nudge, and now your date is theirs.

So what can you as a brand do about it? Your first step should be to shore up your customer engagement model. Rather than rely exclusively on former customers and sales associate recommendations, or new signage and merchandising to draw the eye, you need to actively engage the customer in a direct motion that appeals to their sensibilities. This includes sales events, demonstrations, awareness campaigns, gamification, data execution, re-targeting, and engagement platforms that provide meaningful direct interaction. You need to woo your customers and make them feel special at all times, otherwise they will move on to the next relationship.

Not-you-callout2This is why it’s so important to be aware that the retail channel isn’t just a destination. It’s the entire journey. You need to make every effort to ensure your customer leaves the dance with you, and isn’t distracted by what the retailer or competitors may offer. You just need to adjust your strategy to be where they are, when they need you to be there, and if you do it right, you won’t hear them say: “It isn’t you, it’s me…”

*Brick-and-Mortar Retail Is Alive and Well,, 2015

Do You Enable Your Partners for Success?

Enable Your Partners Banner

We are currently seeing a very interesting trend within the partner channel – the need for enhanced enablement. Our view is unique because with so many great clients, we have a very broad vision of the channel as a whole. We are positioned to see emerging trends, and quite honestly, we are able to anticipate how the channel needs to evolve.

The biggest part of this constant evolution is how much more the partner seems to be dictating the terms of the partnership. The pendulum of power has swung from manufacturer to partner and it’s interesting to see how our clients are reacting to this.

Not long ago, manufacturers were clearly out front in the relationship and driving the channel value propositions. They created a strong channel program, partners hitched themselves to this flagship platform and that’s how they did business. They relied on one large manufacturer to be their lead product and they took full advantage of discounts, rebates, and MDF. Everything else just became a part of the rate card and everything ran relatively smoothly.

Enable Your Partners Subheader

Partners have moved to building a solution that includes many products and services. It’s not just a one-brand install any more. It’s a cloud solution with a security layer and cloud storage, mobile devices (with service), thin clients on-site with virtualization software, and an integrated communications piece to bind it all together. It’s a more complex (and at times, convoluted) solution, and rarely does one large manufacturer dominate the message. So with large manufacturers being just a part of a more diversified solution, what makes THEIR program so special? What makes them stand out with the partners?

It all comes down to enablement – and not just enablement on YOUR products and YOUR programmatic systems. Provide them with a marketing and demand generation engine.

It’s time to be the manufacturer that truly enables the solution-selling partner. We are talking about enablement that drives pipeline and sales, not just knowledge and incentives. The trend is to provide a program that generates leads (not lists…actual leads), self-serve automated marketing platforms, ready-made marketing campaigns, and concierge support.

Enable Your Partners Callout

Many manufacturers have struggled with generating demand in the past, and it’s always been a headache for partners. But in the age of cloud solutions and a new recurring revenue model, customer demand has rocketed to the front of the pack of priorities. The way we see it, it’s a great opportunity for the manufacturer to be the vendor that enables this practice. Make YOUR enablement platform the weapon of choice, and seize the opportunity to be the most valued player in their complex solution.

Many vendors are moving in this direction, some are not. Several have recognized this glaring need and they are not just ready to change, they are turning to us to help them enhance this enablement. Some of these vendors have recognized this, but are a bit paralyzed by their lack of know-how and organizational flexibility. And a few others have not recognized it yet and continue to overlook the situation.

We see all three cases, so we are speaking to all of our clients (and non-clients) about how we can generate true demand for partners and build a “through-partner” marketing platform. The question is, how are you enabling your partners?

Are you the manufacturer that enables, or is your head still in the clouds (no pun intended)?


Internet of Things – A Glimpse at the Market


Editor’s note: click here for Part 1, or here for Part 2.

As expected, the Internet of Things (IoT) was a hot topic at this year’s CES. From wearables, to connected homes, to connected cars; the focus was on the top trends for this market.

A lot of innovative products from great brands were highlighted during the show earlier this month, and our MarketStar team was there to gather some insights.

Brenda McQueary, MarketStar’s Business Development Manager, said: “Wearables and 3D printing seem to becoming more and more accepted – and adopted. With so many options, education and brand awareness are going to be critical in the competitive landscape.”

Even though there are still some hurdles facing this market, such as consumer privacy and storage management, analysts project Internet of Things will experience massive growth by 2020:

  • Gartner predicts the Internet of Things sector will include 26 billion units installed by 2020, representing a 30-fold increase from 2009. Gartner estimates that IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion in 2020.
  • Business Insider reports that revenues from devices, services, and software will reach $600 billion and a massive $1.7 trillion of value will be added to the economy in the form of revenues and efficiency cost savings
  • IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.
  • Cisco projects the number of connected devices at 50 billion by 2020.
  • ABI Research estimates that IoT will drive wireless connected devices to 40.9 billion in 2020


Internet of Things Impact for the Retail Industry

Most analysts divide this market into five main categories: Smart Homes, Wearable Tech, Industrial Internet, Connected Cities, and Connected Cars, which means IoT will touch everyone in some way.

As for the retail industry, no matter how we analyze it, the Internet of Things represents huge opportunities for retailers, including new ways to interact with their customers.

By building a clear strategy and choosing the right technology partner, the Internet of Things will help retailers grow their business and:

  • Enhance customer experiences
  • Learn more about consumer behavior
  • Manage their inventory more efficiently
  • Expand their marketing initiatives and promotions
  • Increase efficiency – staff productivity

Upon his return from CES, our own CEO and President, Dave Treadway said, “creating great experiences to support the evolving consumer journey, using digital capabilities, and connecting with customers in new and more meaningful ways is key to capturing consumer sales in the Internet of Things”.

At MarketStar, we focus on solutions that create memorable experiences for your customers through the art of engagement and the science of sales.

Learn more about the Internet of Things, Smart Homes, and Wearable Tech in our latest infographics:

          Internet of Things     Smart Home     Wearable Tech

International expansion: the future of Latin America


As I wrap up this series on International Sales, I wanted to touch on the future of Latin America and why to consider expanding internationally. As per the chart below, B2C e-commerce sales figures in Latin America are forecasted to grow to 78.15 Billion US dollars by 2016. That’s a lot of cash, and that’s just e-commerce!


Source: Statista

But did you know that according to the state of the US internet survey 35% of respondents engaged in showrooming? So, with this growth in sales, do you have the proper presence in stores to train reps and customers on your product? As discussed in this series, there are many things to consider in an international strategy. But most of us want to know: what is the future of our sales, and the future of regions we choose to expand into? Here are some thoughts to help you decide:

Out of the five key emerging markets in the world (Mexico, Brazil, China, Russia, and India) LATAM has two. We have 40% of the major market right next to the US! Why not take advantage of this opportunity?  The future is nothing but bright for these areas.

As far as the future of your international sales program is concerned, your model for the region is the most important part of the strategy to consider when forecasting. The model has to be region-centric to have true impact and keep up with economic fluctuations. Having a single “Latin America” model is too broad. It’s necessary to focus on the business cultures where you want to expand, and create specific models for these cultures as needed. Say, for example, we are talking about the two key areas: Mexico and Brazil. You must have individual sales programs for each of these countries.

Another thing to consider when looking toward the future is that Social Media is very prominent in these countries. Did you know that for many years Colombia was the #1 country for Facebook? Social Media is going to continue to explode, and if you are in the Social Media industry you will want to place your bets in LATAM. (Side note: keep an eye on!) Another industry going strong is Telecom. As people move from feature phones to smart phones, and internet access continues to drop on cost for those devices, having a phone in Latin America is becoming more affordable. Across the board, technology is becoming more consistent and key to the LATAM culture.

While Social Media and Telecom are on the rise, the last point I would like to make are the industries that are more challenging in Latin American regions. Here are some of the challenging industries to be aware of (in order):

  1. Services – LATAM can duplicate services based out of the United States at a very inexpensive rate because labor is a lot less expensive in LATAM regions than it is in the U.S.
  2. Software – rather than using expensive, established platforms originally developed in the United States, LATAM regions can inexpensively develop apps from scratch on a local-level.
  3. Hardware – companies in the hardware and networking industry are experiencing huge price pressures as the price per product is considerably dropping.

As a whole, expanding internationally is a great choice once it’s done carefully. Catch up on prior posts to these series here:

Part 1Making the Leap: Tips on expanding your international market

Part 23 strategies for targeting international sales

Part 3 How to execute your international sales strategy

Or, if you have any questions about your international sales strategy, please connect with me on LinkedIn or contact me at Saludos and Obrigado!


Exclusively for AV Integrators: the Secret to Winning Bids Over IT VARs


Now that AV solutions are the responsibility of the IT buying team, you’re likely competing against more IT VARs on RFPs and new business than ever before. Evolving your value proposition and presenting unique differentiators is critical to effectively compete against these long-standing contenders.

In talking with technology decision makers throughout the country about the advantages of using an AV integrator over an IT VAR, three considerations always come up. Keep in mind there are many permutations of IT VARs, but these best practices will still help you in the bid process.

Take a holistic approach to projects. The ability to consider all aspects of a room or building from environmental controls to seating to technology ranks high with decision makers. It reduces the risk of interoperability challenges and budget overruns that can occur when all systems and capabilities aren’t considered at the onset of a project. IT VARs tend to think only of technologies and the network. Advantage: AV integrators.

Understand IT technology and AV technology. Technology decision makers expect vendors to understand the implications their solutions will have on the network. They also expect high-performance audio and video. Fine-tuning AV systems is an art built over decades of experience, making it a harder expertise to acquire than network competency. IT VARs lack the skills and expertise required to deploy high-performance AV systems. Advantage: AV integrators.

Be the single point of contact. Because many IT VARs don’t have AV competencies, they will subcontract the AV component of projects. This adds more layers and complexity to projects. Technology decision makers value simple processes because it minimizes failure points and keeps the chain of accountability clear. Advantage: AV integrators.

In your bids, demonstrate how you deliver on these important differentiators. It will help you establish a true competitive advantage over IT VARs and ultimately win more projects.

(Originally published on AV Network, click here for the article.)

How to execute your international sales strategy


Sales, sales, sales. Sales are the core of any product line and ultimately determine a company’s success. Growing sales means expanding your influence. As I’ve discussed in my previous posts, making the international move is smart, as long as it’s done strategically.

What does “strategically” mean exactly? Well, I can tell you this: strategy isn’t simply hiring a bilingual rep to dial phone calls all day. That’s a start, but it’s much more dynamic than that. As we’ve discussed, speaking their language is only a small piece of a successful sales motion. Sure you can communicate, but do you understand the culture and their needs and drives? Most importantly, can you close?

There is a methodical approach to international sales. The method depends on the culture with which you’re working. In Latin America, following the chain of command is the prime directive. It’s highly important and rarely challenged. Your job as a Latin-American employee is to listen and deliver without qualms or questions. In contrast, United States culture focuses on equality and, on occasion, questioning the status quo. Along those lines, trust is the true value to a Latin American customer. As long as you gain your customer’s trust, you are setup for success.

So you can see the differences between these cultural styles can make or break your international sales effort. I will provide you with some proven process and communication tactics in both cultures that should help you in shaping your sales team.

Due to our attention to culture, MarketStar has been extremely successful in recruiting and retaining talent. In our industry we experience a 25% employee turnover rate, while MarketStar sits at less than 5% per year. The reasons for our low attrition are twofold:

1. Competitive salary: paying in extremes can be counterproductive and hurt employee morale. It’s crucial to pay competitive salaries to stay even-keel and relevant in the marketplace.

2. Managing individuals with clear expectations and structure, allowing employee input on those expectations. (a.k.a., Management by Objectives)

We find it vital to hire the right people, pay a competitive wage, train them on company culture and processes, and, most importantly, believe in them.

Along with differences in leadership and retention, execution also plays a vital role in closing sales. Often neglected, yet very important, sales teams need to be disciplined and have a sales process for Latin America. They also need to be tactical when building their pipeline. Every visit or call should immediately be tracked in a CRM tool. This means you need to enable your sales teams with a simple, yet dynamic, CRM tool. It should also include a reporting package because you can’t improve something you can’t measure. There are many, MANY different tools out there and pricing is as various as the tools themselves. It’s important for you to choose the tool that best meets your needs.  It’s also important to consider the flexibility of the tool. The key question to ask yourself is: how long does it take to implement?

Once you’ve found a proper CRM tool, you now have more capability in creating, measuring, and coaching towards the end goal. Some basic goals include a pipeline that measures your opportunities from initial contact to closing. (Side note: understanding a lost opportunity is as important as understanding why you won an opportunity.) This should then roll up into monthly and quarterly closing goals. A good rule of thumb is that your pipeline should triple your closing goal. (e.g., if you have a closing goal of $300,000, you should have at least $900,000 in the pipe.)

The last point I want you to consider is vision. To stay ahead, you should create proper support teams to help maintain a constant stream of services and culture. This includes Business Intelligence, HR, Legal, etc. This provides stability to your company and employees, helping the team feel they are part of the overall corporate organization. It’s also important to keep healthy competition in your organization through both internal and outsourced sales teams. These teams can feed off one another. The outsourced team can play an additional role as an incubator and a source of new ideas and methods for the overall program.

We’re coming to the final stretch of this series. Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for my final post where I’ll discuss the future (and potential) of Latin America sales programs.


3 strategies for targeting international sales

International Sales Series

As we continue our series on international sales, I want to dive a little deeper into the concepts we discussed in the first post. I outlined three key considerations for expanding your sales team to an international scale in Latin America, where you should be, what countries matter most, and how to effectively staff your sales teams.

1. Targeting countries: where you need to be (and why)

If you are looking to expand into Latin America (with a population size of around 600 million), there are two countries you will, without question, want to target: Mexico and Brazil. There are roughly 300 million consumers within these two countries, the equivalent of the U.S. population. You could potentially cover 50% of Latin America just by pursuing these two locations. Mexico is an especially important market because we share a border with them. Many companies in the United States choose to do business in Mexico because of our long history, similar sales culture, NAFTA, and convenience of travel.

Once you have made the leap into Mexico and Brazil and continue growth internationally, this is where you can tap into the rest of region. By population, Colombia is the largest of all countries in this group. However, companies focus on Argentina and Chile first. Just like in the domestic market, international markets experience business cycles that impact whether or not investors and companies want to do business there. Ultimately, if you are pursuing Latin American expansion, Mexico and Brazil would be your best bet.

2. Immersion: which regions matter most to your company

Currently because of heavy government regulation in Argentina, and the political situation in Venezuela,   many companies avoid these countries. Alternatively, there are other avenues that you could pursue, such as Chile, Peru, and Colombia, in that order. Within this sub-region are three markets that are on the rise: Ecuador, Panama, and El Salvador. While small, they are markets ripe for the picking for a few reasons. First off, their currency is the U.S. dollar. This means inflation is somewhat controlled, and the economy is more stable. I highly recommend Ecuador, as it has one key advantage above the others: the cost of energy is comparatively low. A stable economy, controlled inflation, and low-energy costs create a recipe for sales success.

Make sure to keep an eye on Paraguay! It has two distinct advantages: inexpensive land and electricity costs. Paraguay will only continue to grow as companies realize the benefits of doing business here.

*As a side note, the trickiest countries to deal with are Venezuela and Argentina. This is mainly due to government policies and total employee costs in those locations. I advise looking more carefully at your situation before committing to a venture in either of these locations.

3. Optimal performance by region: staffing your sales teams.

Staffing and training sales teams can be a daunting task – especially when you throw international cultures into the mix. Here’s how I see it: if you are in B2B sales, you need to have sales teams in both Mexico and Brazil. The rest of the region can be managed from Mexico, Costa Rica, or Uruguay. By having a team in Uruguay, you are essentially targeting Brazil at less than half the cost. Uruguay has a great pool of native Portuguese-speakers and a low cost of doing business. The key is that your company needs complete immersion in the territory and culture to have a positive impact on sales.

Now that you have a good baseline, keep an eye out for part three to my series on international sales: how to successfully execute an international sales strategy.


The Metrics Bridge: how are you measuring sales team performance?

Metrics Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is both a well-known landmark and a display of prowess in modern engineering. Roughly 39 million vehicles successfully cross this bridge each year.

Sales metrics in day-to-day business work in much the same way as the Golden Gate. Dynamic teams, high-performing strategies, and adequate metrics are all core components to a successful sales motion. Similar to the supports, anchorages, and suspended cables that support the weight of traffic moving across the bridge, there are metrics that need to be tracked and analyzed to better support your sales motion.

This “metrics bridge” helps companies identify their performance points of interest and achieve their performance goals.

Step 1: Effort Metrics

How can a team hit top-line goals if they aren’t frequently updated on their performance? That’s where these metrics come into play. While effort metrics are basic, they are a key support to the other three metric categories – especially when it comes to enablement metrics. From contacts created to hours worked, sales managers get a deeper look into the rep performance and ability with these metrics.

Step 2: Enablement Metrics

Enablement metrics measure activities that companies use to determine success on the next two metric categories. For example, understanding the quality and size of deals added to a pipeline (indicator metric) isn’t possible without having the adequate enablement metrics in the system. This information includes most profiling info, including the account contact, products purchased, trainings held, e-mail blasts sent, etc.

Step 3: Indicator Metrics

As we dive into a more detailed metric category, indicator metrics show the progress of a sales program. These metrics should always be at-the-ready to show whether the day, or week, was successful. Common indicator metrics that businesses use are deals that have been added to a pipeline, deals that have closed, and partners added to a recruitment pipeline.

Step 4: Customer Advocacy Metrics

These are metrics that matter to the business itself. They determine the success of the sales motion. Revenue is a common high-level metric that is important to many companies. But other metrics that are important to monitor in sales motions can include deals closed, resellers profiled, resellers recruited, leads generated, etc. These are all high-level stats that help companies determine the success of a sales motion, and the previous three metric categories contribute to the success of customer advocacy metrics.

Like cables and supports on the Golden Gate Bridge, each metric category is a necessary support in the sales process. If effort metrics are not placed correctly or falter in any way, then the flow in the sales process is hindered, causing delays in reaching the customer advocacy metrics. Tracking metrics in this manner helps managers understand where focus is needed to drive success.

Once a metric bridge is running full capacity, the sales team receives deeper visibility into successes and pain points. Along with visibility, it is also important to make sure your reps understand the metric system you put in place. While this may sound obvious, it’s surprising how often it’s overlooked. It’s vital to manage each sales rep in each metric category individually. This helps sales managers ensure metric performance at the team level – driving individual rep performance.


Making the Leap: Tips on expanding your international market

International Sales Series

I’ve worked in international sales for many years, and wanted to share my learnings with those looking to expand their brand presence outside of the United States. This series will do just that. To start, I wanted to explain what I’ve learned helping other large brands expand internationally.

Expanding sales to an international scale can be a daunting, intimidating idea for many sales managers. But it really isn’t as difficult as it seems. However, it can be time consuming.  With the right strategy, tools, people, and cultural understanding you can create an international sales program that plays a large role in sales stability and growth. When pursuing sales abroad, there are three important factors to analyze:

1. Time is of the essence: when to pursue international sales.

When should you pursue international sales? The answer is: when you’re ready for increased stability or additional revenue sources. There is a big advantage to having your business in multiple economic regions, because it contributes to a balanced revenue stream, steady growth, and even an influx of cash. For example, say one country experiences a decline in business cycle, while another country may be thriving. If you have a presence in several countries at once, you can mitigate potential risks by diversifying in several markets. I typically recommend that at least 30 percent of a company’s revenue come from international sources. We all know the United States is a top market for sales. But if you have a decent percentage of your company running internationally, you have other revenue pockets you can tap into. You can choose to grow or move depending on your success in these economies.

2. Inhibitors: time-proven learnings from failure.

There are two major contributing factors for failing in international markets. The first is hiring the wrong individuals. The second is the lack of personal and business culture understanding. I cannot stress the importance of these concepts enough. Many organizations hire people with language skills, and don’t look much beyond that. Consider it this way. You wouldn’t gauge an employee’s performance solely on their ability to speak English fluently in the United States. Thus, from my experience with international sales, linguistic skills are a small percentage of what makes a successful international business endeavor. The lion’s share of success comes from a deep understanding and keen knowledge of the cultural standards. The best reps are those who are well-trained, knowledgeable, and relatable. Cultural diversity is an excellent tool in growing your international brand.

3. Testing the waters: where to begin your international sales program.

So, you’ve hired the right people and you now have the sales model, capital, and inventory to start selling in international markets. Obviously, you need to determine the best location to begin selling. But if you don’t have any direct, natural connecting points to international business, this can be a difficult decision. In this instance, might I recommend two regions where you can test your international brand: Mexico and Puerto Rico. These regions create a simple, practical environment for many reasons. First, they provide easy access for companies based out of the United States. A hop, skip, and a jump away – these locations are easy to reach and are familiar with American business. They do sales similar to how we do sales, with some cultural differences. They are used to the “now, now, now” and “sell, sell, sell” mentality. You can learn many things in these regions, while still risking very little. Many people ask why I don’t recommend experimenting with international sales in Miami at first. It’s pretty simple. Since Miami is still located in the United States, avoiding the Miami test is important because it will allow you to better understand cultural differences and your international sales potential.

Now that I’ve created a baseline for what you should consider before pursuing international sales, keep an eye out for the next part to my series on specific regions where you should place your sales strategy.


Does The World Cup Generate World Record Sales in the US?

World Cup - World Class Sales?

If you have been living in a cave secluded from the modern world, or decided to pursue the “Facebook Challenge” and rid yourself of any technology for 99 days, you may have missed out on the excitement surrounding this year’s World Cup.

With more than 3 billion engagements on Facebook and 35.6 million tweets during the Brazil vs Germany match alone – the World Cup takes the cake as the biggest social media event to date.

Impressive, right? With crazy stats like these surrounding the huge event – one would assume retailers and manufacturers, particularly those heavily invested in World Cup advertising, would experience a natural spike in sales. The early returns look good internationally, with reports out of Europe and the Middle East that sales almost directly attributed to World Cup interest have increased 50-80 percent. We decided to do some research and see if the American interest in the World Cup was purely superficial or if we’d truly reached a point where interest was impacting buying behavior like other significant sporting events in the US can.

Retailers and manufacturers circle a couple of sporting events on their sales calendar every year; specifically The Super Bowl and the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. I do have a friend who purchased his first 60” television for the Kentucky Derby, but I think it’s safe to say he’s an outlier.

As Super Bowl fans prepare for the big game every year, TV’s are deeply discounted, and sales are on the rise. According to Fat Wallet, one in every 10 Americans purchases a TV during Super Bowl sales. So what did we see in-store during the World Cup?

It seems both the length of the tournament and the fact most games were played during the workday made it more of a distraction than a focal point. Those passionate about the event seemed more interested in gathering in bars and parks, rather than hunkering down in their home. Some went so far as to say the World Cup was more of a “distraction” than a driver of sales. We surveyed our team of US retail brand advocates about what they were seeing in stores during this exciting event, and here’s what we learned:

  • 50% of associates said the media hype surrounding the World Cup had no noticeable impact on in-store traffic.
  • 60% of associates said there wasn’t a noticeable increase in TV sales directly attributed to people wanting to improve the World Cup viewing experience.
  • 55% stated that they haven’t seen an uptick in demand/interest in 4K TV’s (a heavily advertised commodity during the World Cup) since the tournament started.

It seems that US interest in the World Cup in many ways mirrored the plight of the US National Team. While the team clattered its way through the group stage– meeting its match to a superior European club—as a country, our investment and interest relative to the rest of the world continues to lag behind. It’s tough to think things will improve for brand advertisers looking to make the World Cup a focal point in the US, as the next two World Cup cycles will be played on the other side of the world.

Brand StatsOn a more positive note, our associates did mention that there were some brands that benefited from the sheer volume of impressions generated during the month-long tournament. At the top of our list of consumer electronic associates interviewed was Sony. 65 percent of associates felt that Sony’s customer awareness and interest grew during to the World Cup. After gathering this data, we were particularly impressed by the fact that not just official sponsor’s benefited from increased awareness, but savvy brands like Nike and Samsung used the general media hype and athlete specific sponsorships to run dynamic viral campaigns. These campaigns were generic, but obviously intended to piggy-back on the World Cup, blurring the lines between sponsorship and smart marketing.