Although states and communities are beginning to lift their stay at home orders, it’s clear that social distancing is going to be a part of our “new normal” for quite some time. That said, there’s much to consider, especially for retailers.
More and more, the zombie apocalypse is looking like people wandering the streets, driving, eating out, and doing just about everything with their faces buried in their screens. Communications have gone the way of messaging, leaving face-to-face, and even phone, conversations a novelty. We’re all guilty of it – or at least half of us are.
Gary Satterfield and I go way back. We met while I was working on a marketing research project for Gary twenty years ago at a utility. And he’s since gone on to become an expert in the retail energy space and was kind enough to sit down with me and my team to talk shop. The topic of deregulation, removing restrictions in a particular industry, ran a thread through much of our conversation. This has implications for consumers – and therefore, marketers.
Marketers use many different channels to reach customers, and they’re increasingly building omnichannel strategies that can follow and engage an audience on multiple different platforms. But when it comes to the marketing tools they use, too often these solutions are siloed from one another.
It’s always shocking to find that a major retail brand doesn’t have a mobile app. Meanwhile, it’s equally stunning when a small business has built a killer mobile experience for its customers.
But when you understand the role omnichannel plays for retail and other major industries, the shortcomings of the big-box retailer are much more confounding than the smaller company’s assertiveness in building a better mobile presence.
How do you describe marketing mistakes? Just ask five marketing experts and you’ll hear at least 50 examples of what people do to mess up their marketing programs.
So much about marketing depends on your product or service. While every industry is different, there are some basics that apply to all industries. Often a given error is not about the tactic, but about the implementation.
As marketers, we constantly strive to improve our results. And when it comes to learning – and proving – efficacy, something as simple as A/B testing is paramount. A/B testing, the process of using two versions of a marketing piece (web page, email, etc.) to see which one performs better, offers us the ability to tweak very small details in our programs to see incrementally larger results. But, like many marketing strategies, A/B testing can provide mixed, or even inaccurate results if not properly executed.
Retail and ecommerce companies are at a crossroads. Many storefront retailers are realizing their growth limitations as locations shut their doors. Companies that once saw omnichannel retailing as a “nice to have” marketing strategy now realize its critical importance to survival.
Challenges to overcome in moving to an interactive marketing model
There are several key movements in the marketing technology are that are driving solutions today. One is the proliferation of web-based marketing tools. Many vendors have developed or are developing tools in the personalization, ad management, web measurement, e-marketing, and campaign management areas. These tools have significant overlap, often solve a tactical short-term problem, and don’t provide support for the entire marketing process – thereby falling short of improving the bottom line. This generates significant confusion in the industry and leads organizations down a solution path that might lock out future business alternatives.
This three-part series explores various attempts to exploit interactive marketing techniques, defines interactive marketing, and investigates how this new marketing technique recognizes the customer’s role in the customer-company relationship. Part 1 can be found here.