Retail Marketing Priorities Don’t Fully Align With Consumer Preferences
Today’s consumers have an attention span shorter than a goldfish. And with 95 percent of millennials admitting to doing other things while shopping, it’s no wonder retailers are facing challenges with consumer hyperconnectivity and hyperdistraction now more than ever before. Marketers are continuously searching for the secret sauce to break through the noise, effectively connect with consumers, and increase return on investment. But how exactly do they plan to achieve this?
A new report, Marketers Are on a Mission: The State of B2C Marketing, goes straight to the source, surveying hundreds of B-to-C digital marketers, including a large audience of retailers, on what tactics they’re using to reach customers, where they’re spending most of their budget, and ways in which they’re leveraging technology to better target consumers. Despite the fact that marketer aspirations are high based on their responses, it seems they’re still missing important opportunities to implement personalization tactics and truly deliver what the customer wants. Here’s a brief rundown of a few key strategies and discrepancies uncovered in the report.
Increase Investment in Multichannel Experiences
Brands are investing 26 percent more in multichannel solutions than any other technology. It’s clear marketers understand that customers are increasingly blurring digital and physical channel lines, and they want to keep closer tabs on consumer behavior across channels. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they’re investing in data and analytics, and additional tech investments vary by industry, with retail investing the most in personalization and behavioral marketing tools.
Retailers are also prioritizing their marketing spend to drive traffic to online first, mobile second, and in-store third — a surprising strategy considering over 50 percent of consumers are still doing their shopping in-store (and this stat holds true for millennials as well, which they told us in a recent survey). Consumers still favor storefronts, so it’s imperative for brands not to abandon brick-and-mortar as an important piece of the multichannel experience.
Send More Relevant Messaging Based on Customer Behavior
Seventy percent of millennials are frustrated from receiving irrelevant emails. To combat this and create customer loyalty, most marketers surveyed said they have a goal of sending more individualized campaigns compared to mass newsletters. However, retailers are still sending mostly mass communications: 62 percent are focused on mass marketing, while only 38 percent are focused on individual customers.
In addition, 83 percent of consumers say they unsubscribe due to too many emails. Millennials only want one to three marketing emails per month, but the report uncovers that brands are sending eight to 10, and they plan on sending even more emails in the future. Retail was the only industry that plans on sending less mass marketing to accommodate more individual-based emails.
Create a Competitive Customer Experience Through Personalization
Fifty-one percent of respondents said personalization was at the top of their priority list, with an increased focus on how effectively it's being implemented across all channels to create a better customer experience. Ninety percent of consumers have browsed online and purchased in-store, 53 percent are most likely to buy online and pick up in-store, and 61 percent have bought online and returned in-store, yet the report found that brands aren’t effectively marrying online and offline data to make these experiences more seamless and personalized for channel-changing consumers.
Also along the lines of customer experience: retail marketers reported they’re taking drastic measures to compete with Amazon.com (understandably so). One retailer summed this all up quite perfectly in his response to what they’re currently doing to compete: “We're investing in an entirely new company infrastructure to be able to ship products faster and more accurately, improve in-person experiences with our sales reps, and create a better and more consistent online shopping experience.”
Michael Osborne is the president and CEO of SmarterHQ, a multichannel behavioral marketing platform.
Michael Osborne is the president and CEO of SmarterHQ, a personalization platform that makes it easy for marketers to increase revenue now and customer relationships over time by powering highly relevant, cross-channel experiences.
As CEO of SmarterHQ, Michael Osborne provides leadership and focus on building their innovation, growth, and success. SmarterHQ works with leading brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Omni Hotels, Santander Bank, and Finish Line, and has been recognized by Forrester’s Total Economic Impact study to deliver 667% in ROI.
Prior to SmarterHQ, Michael served as Chief Revenue Officer for Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and spent nearly five years at Coremetrics, (Acquired: IBM) where he built and managed the client services team.