Retail and ecommerce marketing leaders have the same ever-increasing goals: capture more attention, generate more traffic, and earn more sales. Marketing teams are busy churning out campaigns, updating product and landing pages, and dreaming up new deals and promotions. All marketing leaders share similar challenges. Increased competition and a plethora of new channels and devices make it difficult to reach the target audience. Marketing teams are stretched trying to accomplish initiatives and maximize ROI with limited resources.
In this three-part series, we'll dig into these common challenges. You'll learn how to identify and maximize current effective marketing activities. You'll also find out how to build a multichannel marketing strategy that will uncover and match the strengths of the business to the desires of the consumer. And you’ll learn how to use content to connect and convert more customers and see examples from industry leaders.
You’re not in control, and that's OK.
As requests to invest in new channels increase every year, marketing budgets get sliced thinner and thinner. Retailers scramble for attention and control of the market while their ability to prove business value diminishes.
The real problem is that consumers have all the control. They get to decide which merchants can interact with them, market to them. Modern consumers know when they’re being marketed to and they’re quick to ignore it.
Power to the Consumer
Directly to the right of my status update on Facebook is an ad for Indochino. To the clothing company’s credit, it’s a timely and well-placed ad—I happen to really like paisley dress shirts. But I still know I’m being marketed to. I’m OK with it, to a certain degree. Besides, I have the option to turn the ad off. I can literally delete the ad in Facebook. Power to the consumer!
Retail apps also empower the consumer. Apps are downloaded by the millions and yet can easily be replaced and deleted on any device at the consumer’s discretion.. A recent study by Forrester Research and commissioned by RetailMeNot says that a mere 10% of users with at least one retail mobile app use the app daily, and 13% say they never use their apps at all.
Considering the proliferation of mobile apps, it seems logical that the more utilitarian and helpful the app is, the less likely it is to be deleted. But again, this decision lies with the consumer. The decision to invest in mobile application development must take consumer control into account.
Retailers are even losing control over the ability to market effectively through more traditional forms of marketing and advertising. Consider TV advertising. Modern smart TVs and streaming devices connect consumers directly to all the programming they want, commercial free. Think of traditional radio, too. Subscription services such as Pandora and Spotify not only provide every song ever created on-demand, but they’ll also turn off the ads for a nominal subscription fee.
It’s a fascinating time to be a consumer marketer. Looking at all the options and channels available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to think, “There’s no way I can do everything.” And you’re right. Focusing on too many marketing initiatives with poor direction and strategy diminishes the value of them all. Therefore, you have to make some strategic decisions about where to spend your time and money:
You have to know what you have, what you’re good at currently, and what’s working from an ROI perspective. Double down on these efforts at least temporarily while you begin to answer some bigger questions:
The answers to these questions typically revolve around an integrated multichannel marketing strategy. It’s not enough to fill marketing roles anymore—one person for SEO, one for email marketing, one managing paid search, and so on. This isn’t a strategy; it’s skill-set hiring without a plan. Each team will create its own, independent strategies, but rarely does anything become integrated.
What you should strive for is a multichannel, multidiscipline approach to combine all these processes and focus attention on a common goal. One way to do this is by creating a buyer-centric multichannel marketing strategy.
Capture the Attention of the Always-On Consumer
It’s easy to assume the attention span of consumers is decreasing. We think we have to be everywhere because the consumer is everywhere. What if we reverse this belief and build something so useful that the consumer will want to come to us? What if we choose to believe it’s not that consumers’ attention spans are decreasing but that consumers are getting better at filtering the noise? When consumers have more control, you can focus more precisely on exactly what interests them the most.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll outline a way to find this sweet spot for your business. Meantime, consider the following steps to start organizing your thoughts:
Stay tuned next week for Part 2, in which we'll dig into the details about creating a highly effective multichannel ecommerce marketing strategy.