Early this year, the industry saw major retail-focused technologies and innovations emerge from CES and the NRF's Big Show. The possibilities for retailers seem endless -- so how can they sort through this abundance of information and know what to incorporate into their marketing strategies?
The days of putting an ad in front of consumers and expecting sales has long passed. Today, there's just too much choice, too many competing opportunities, and far more tech and data-savvy marketers in the ecosystem than ever before. In this challenging environment, how do you stand out? How do you meaningfully impact sales? And, perhaps most importantly, how can you better bridge the gap from digital to brick-and-mortar?
This year, marketers must adopt new approaches in personalization, video, mobile, and optimization of consumer data to connect the dots -- allowing them to carefully follow and expertly guide the consumer journey.
Mobile is still king
Mobile will continue to gain traction throughout 2015 -- eMarketer expects mobile will surpass desktop in search ad dollars. Devices such as tablets and smartphones have already transformed the consumer shopping experience -- enabling the purchase cycle to run 24/7.
While millennials (young adults ages 18-24) remain a key demographic for online commerce, boomers and seniors are who retailers should be paying extra close attention to. According to comScore, one in four mobile shoppers in the U.S. is over the age of 55.
Retailers must continue to invest in their mobile strategy in order to hit consumers of all ages consistently throughout the day, in order to move the needle on sales. While mobile can still be a bit of a puzzle -- with devices, formats, and attention spans all being a challenge-- it is where your consumers are. Making your mobile marketing more personal to consumers can pay a huge dividend.
Personalization is key
By 2016, more than 104 million adults will redeem coupons via mobile for offline or online shopping. Accenture found that personalized offers and coupons are among the most important factors when deciding what and where to buy. Additionally, consumers expect their emails to be tailored to their wants and needs. According to Listrak, 80 percent of email users prefer receiving personalized emails with retail product recommendations based on previous purchases.
Seems fairly obvious, doesn't it? Know your customer, personalize their experience of your brand and continue to speak to them wherever they are in their own commerce journey. However, to do this well (and be able to know if it's working or not) requires that marketers become agile practitioners of data-driven, outcome-based, personalized brand marketing. Marketers don't want to miss that boat.
Today, consumers expect marketers to create the perfect digital experience -- seamless, consistent, and engaging. In fact, 86 percent of senior level marketers say it's important to create a cohesive journey across touch points -- for retailers and manufacturers in particular, on and offline channels are now intertwined.
It is personalization that will create impactful online branding and translate to offline sales. Retailers must leverage assets and relevant content to personalize their offers -- whether through coupons or emails -- based on an individual's location, interests, and preferences.
Industry is shifting to video
This year is also set to be a breakthrough one for video. eMarketer estimates that domestic digital video advertising will reach $7.7 billion this year.
Video has long been the ideal tool to tell a story, create consumer experiences, and drive awareness, favorability, and purchase intent. According to Millward Brown, a digital video ad has an average 1.1 percent increase in purchase intent; compared to 0.2 percent for a static ad and 0.6 percent for rich media. Our long, successful history of television advertising proves the dynamic and lasting impact of video on consumers.
Today, however, a monolithic approach to digital video will leave your viewers and your results wanting. For example, if a consumer is conducting online research to buy a car, chances are they will be inundated with generic, random car ads due to their online behavior. I think we would all agree that the blunt object of simple product retargeting could use a bit of refining.
Imagine, just for a minute, how impactful if would be if you could personalize that experience for the consumer instead? So, instead of a generic pre-roll, that consumer sees an ad featuring cars of the style they are interested in, with the performance characteristics, or color or narrative story that speaks directly to them as a buyer. Then, you can tell that consumer exactly where that car is available, right in their area. Isn't that a far more engaging and impactful marketing experience?
Data seals the deal
Personalization, video, and mobile allow retailers to determine if their ads are effective. Data is the powerful tool that glues them together -- helping retailers realize what's working and what's not.
Data enables retailers to determine the success of a specific campaign, ultimately ensuring that they target the right consumer at the right time with the right message. Retailers have one common goal in mind: driving sales.
The strategies outlined offer new opportunities for retailers to navigate the digital world, and combined, will enable a new connection with consumers. It's time to connect personalization, video, and mobile to sales through optimized data.
Now it's your turn to make the connection. Are you ready to rumble?
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