As you can see on the graph, demand comes cyclically and is related to product launches.
There is an ebb and flow, and in this particular niche in the consumer tech space, the typical life expectancy of the product is 6 months.
A good way to get around the inability to gauge demand and business cyclicality is to focus on pre-sales.
This way, you can get a much better understanding of the level of enthusiasm of your potential audience, and order inventory in proportion to what the demand is.
Our research has also shown that pre-sales typically generate higher ROAS than normal launches.
It makes perfect sense, as pre-sales allow you to hype up the product before there’s any possible negative press. They’re an excellent incognito marketing campaign.
Worth mentioning though is that you need to spread your new product launches evenly throughout the year.
Enthusiastic as early adopters might be, their pockets are not infinitely deep. So if you launch a bunch of products at the same time, one of them will take the limelight, while the others will be sitting in your warehouses, rapidly becoming outdated.
#2 - People Looking For External Reviews & Comparing You With Competitors in the Tech Space
Consumer tech, especially when higher-priced than average, is not an impulse purchase.
People shop around and see what the best options are available before making a decision.
Your advertisements are often thus the catalyst of their purchasing journey, rather than a persuasion tool.
This is especially true because customers will read external reviews, look at what influencers are saying about the product, etc. and you can’t control this independent review environment much.
To make matters worse, initial bad reviews can tank any chance of success - as negative reviews tend to snowball.
The quality of your product must be as good as feasibly possible, as your products will live or die based on reviews. Once this brand started to get some mixed reviews from influencers we saw a huge decrease in conversion rates.
However, it bears saying that regardless of the quality of your product it will likely always have some negative feedback.
There are two main ways to satisfy user’s concerns, as well as provide them with the info they need to make a purchasing decision:
1. Advertorials: Adverts that are also tutorials, wherein you explain what the product is, how it works, why it’s better quality than the competition, etc.
2. Celebrities as Brand Ambassadors: By getting celebrities as influencers for your brand you can leverage people’s parasocial relationships with them and monetize them.
Nonetheless, this option is very expensive, so we haven’t taken this route. But advertising rivals have used this strategy with great success to create a premium-brand image and increase trust in the brand
#3 - People Going As Far As To Buy the Best Product via Different Ads
A massive mistake advertisers make is assuming they have control over their audiences. No, you can direct where they might go through clever design, and you can persuade them, but you can’t control what they ultimately end up doing with the information you give them.
We were reminded of this lesson the hard way when we were trying to unload some of our older inventory.
Our advertising was geared towards pushing these older products which we wanted to get rid of.
Nevertheless, given that people shop around, they started finding the newer models and ignored the ones we originally suggested to them.
More than half of the people end up choosing a different model than they had initially been advertised. Worth remembering, upper-tier consumer tech isn’t an impulse purchase, so people compare characteristics and look for an item that best suits their needs, or is simply better quality.
This can cause issues from a stock management perspective, as keeping inventory that isn’t moving costs money. At one point, we even tried directing these target audiences to a specific landing page with the navigation options removed, so they didn’t search elsewhere.
Nevertheless, ROAS and conversion rates dropped drastically, as people were unhappy with being pushed in a direction they were unsure was the best one.
Hence we decided to focus on our bestsellers, and just have our older models occasionally sell in the background, but without actively losing money to get rid of them.
As such, one or two products get 70-80% of the sales even if you focus on advertising other products. This is known as the Pareto Principle, where success attracts success.
However, on Amazon, it’s the other way around, as people are algorithmically directed to buy certain products without them even being aware of it.
This variance between Shopify and Amazon can cause stock management issues, as there are different demands for the products and you can’t focus on selling specific SKUs.
So we were stuck with a harsh realization. If you control the platform itself, and can subtly direct people without them even realizing it’s happening, then you can direct them to buy specific inventory products.
However, if you’re not Amazon, you’re going to have to accept that there’s only so much control you can have over your customer’s purchase journey.
#4 - Making Video Ads Work
When starting with a client, especially if they’re in a different niche, there’s always a period of trial and error.
Every so often, we end up finding a strategy that works disproportionately well for them.
This is why 70% of our prospecting ads for this client ended up using simple images with a single product in them.
It’s not only great from a cost-benefit perspective, as images are cheap to make, and can retain relevance for longer. But they can be repurposed for all manner of projects in different niches.
The remaining 30% of our prospecting ads budget was spent on videos, and it took a while to understand which videos performed best. There are endless variants you can try - lifestyle videos where you show the product being used, review videos, 3D modeling videos, slideshow videos, etc.
We tried them all because you can’t know in advance what type of creative works best with a certain product, or even an industry.
Nevertheless, we soon came to realize most of these creatives underperformed compared to images.
Despite higher production costs and difficulty in producing these advertisements, the videos didn’t translate into higher conversions.
The one exception to this rule was 3D animation. And one look at our advertising rivals would confirm this assessment, as it was the primary means in which they were advertising their products as well.
In these 3D animation videos, the products are rendered in high fidelity and shown to be of superb quality, showcased from various angles. It almost looks like a movie trailer.
While they perform well, the downside is they take a long time to make, and are expensive when compared alongside still image creatives. Nevertheless, the ROI certainly made it worthwhile.
Furthermore, one 3D video could be cut into various creatives.
With a single 3D animated video, you can create 5 to 10 different intros & thumbnails. Thereby making the same ad look like different videos, which allows different segments of people to click on them.
In other words, by reframing the context and splicing different introductions, text, music, etc you can reuse the same animations while making it seem like an entirely new ad.
It’s a similar technique to what you’ll see in old cartoons, wherein the more expensive animations were given a different context and reused over and over.
Despite the high production costs, by virtue of the fact that 3D ads have longer longevity and reusability, they were a successful addition to our marketing strategy.
However, even with our repurposing strategy, ads reach a saturation point, and you then need to come up with entirely new creatives.
The numbers speak for themselves, our new campaigns that incorporate these lessons increased the direct sales attributed to marketing.
#5 - Figuring Out Which USPs to Focus on With the Creatives & Ad Copy
Part of the issue of selling mass-market products is that they appeal to such a wide audience, that you can easily get lost in the hundreds of potential segments of people who use the products.
For this particular brand, we had various Customer Avatars, each with their specific desires and concerns.
At first, we grouped these Avatars by Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) and tried to address each angle to frame the products individually.
But we quickly realized that while these tech consumer products could be used in all manner of environments - from the office to the gym - and those different users had various utilities for the products, it didn’t make sense to advertise to each Avatar individually.
Yes, an office worker might be happy they’re being included in an ad, but this same creative can also alienate a portion of your audience.
It’s the issue Apple had in decades prior, and still does to an extent, in that people view it as a brand for artistic people who do creative things. The average person doesn’t view it as a computer brand that you use to file your taxes or produce a report for your office.
This happened because it was initially framed as a “cool” electronic brand, and ostracized the people who engaged in “uncool” activities.
So, rather than artificially separate the different USP, we asked ourselves, what concerns do all of these people share?
Due to the adaptable nature of our mass-market product, it didn’t make sense to focus on hyper-segmentation.
And so, we began addressing the concerns that all the Avatars shared. We did so in a variety of ways, from occasionally using the overly technical language which only experts would understand, to using broad metaphors anyone might relate to.
Your marketing campaign has to be based on your goals and capabilities. It’s easy to overextend yourself, or not be ambitious enough.
By focusing on the broader-level source of appeal for the product, we were able to advertise to all of our target audiences.