Better Customer Understanding Leads Brands to Seek Better Insights
Customer-obsessed marketing is here, and retailers and brands are evaluating an increasingly complex advertising world filled with new questions around metrics, search performance and audience quality.
In a recent study from RetailMeNot and Kelton Research on connecting retailers, brands and agencies with priority customers, retail marketers weigh in on the essential nature of identifying and targeting consumers who are in the shopping mind-set. For retailers and brands, it's critical that their media-buying teams leverage a multitude of strategies to target consumers throughout the purchase funnel.
Retail marketers are looking to tackle lingering challenges such as linking online and offline; understanding the impact of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology on the customer journey; and giving consumers what they want most from their brand experiences in 2018. Here are three predictions for areas of change in 2018.
Voice Search Rises to the Next Level
Retail marketers should no longer be looking at voice search as an emerging trend. It has arrived, and advertisers should be focused on how to effectively harness the technology. Voice-enabled technology has already been embraced by millions of consumers, but it remains uncharted territory for many retailers as they attempt to navigate search and determine what advertising looks like on these platforms.
For most of 2018, however, marketers and advertisers should expect the debate to be about whether ads will come to life on devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo with Alexa. Big shifts in retail and product advertising may be on the horizon as voice recognition technology provides big opportunities for brands to gain the attention of highly engaged and ready-to-shop buyers.
Brands Move On From Last Click
For years, brands have been last-click obsessed, giving credit only to the last stop on a consumer’s journey. While last-click attribution can offer some insight into the customer’s path to purchase, it often fails to account for the entire journey. The issue of attribution, and the challenges it presents to retailers, isn't new, but in 2018 we can expect to see brands make better headway on understanding how all of their marketing efforts lead to a purchase.
Even advertising’s “duopoly darlings,” Google and Facebook, have begun to shift from last-click attribution in favor of analytics and insights that tell a complete story. Furthermore, 77 percent of marketers surveyed by Facebook at the Last Days of Last Click event said they didn’t feel that their current measurement solution accurately attributes all paid media. Additionally, a survey of 200 retail marketers found 37 percent feel their advertising efforts to reach consumers in the shopping mind-set are minimally effective at best.
So where does this leave marketers? Multitouch attribution, and the sophistication of a holistic attribution approach, will be front and center in 2018. Brands and retailers will rely more heavily on relationships with advertising partners as well as partner apps that can offer them quality insights from the consumer’s entire journey, including touchpoints and content that aren't owned by the brand itself.
Better Understanding of the Customer, Not the Device
In previous years, retailers have been mobile-obsessed. However, the customer’s identity — not the device they're browsing on — will become the focus for brands and retailers this year.
Customer data platforms, identity management platforms and data management platforms (DMP) — licensed or proprietary — will be on the mind of many this year. Exploring each of these solutions is a smart starting point for retail marketers who want to better understand how each can be uniquely beneficial to marketing efforts. While DMPs are essential for advertisers to evaluate their digital media spend across devices, current platforms are often missing crucial components to helping the brand understand their customer’s behavior.
Identifying a shopper through their actions, across both online and offline platforms, will give marketers a clearer picture into how to target a quality audience. Of course, maintaining privacy for consumers and keeping data anonymized is a must for customer intelligence initiatives. Here are some necessary questions that retailers and their partners should be asking:
- Does the data take a comprehensive look across multiple marketing platforms?
- Is the audience you’re targeting fraudulent or is the quality scored in some manner?
- Is there rich behavioral and psychographic data layered in?
All of these are good starting points for moving beyond the device.
With new technology comes extended opportunities for marketers to learn more about what makes their targeted audience click, how they can simplify the shopping journey and build a more positive retail experience. Along with targeting the right consumers and providing useful content, media buyers and planners will increasingly leverage platforms that provide better data targeting and first-party data, both of which can help reach shoppers throughout their journey, thereby closing more sales and creating an optimistic retail outlook for 2018.
Marissa Tarleton is the chief marketing officer of RetailMeNot, a site offering coupons, promo codes, sales, cash-back offers, and gift card deals for thousands of stores and brands.