Cover Story: The 50 Best Tips of 2014
1. One Kings Lane, a flash-sales site for high-end home goods, has taken a different approach to building a high-quality affiliate program. Its solution is to block coupon, loyalty or any other nonbrand relevant sites from its affiliate program. This puts all affiliates on a level playing field, making the program very attractive to those affiliates who drive top-of-funnel orders and brand awareness. At the same time, it preserves the One Kings Lane brand.
Bob Glazer, Acceleration Partners, "Why 'Last In' Affiliate Attribution Needs a Second Look," Jan. 9, ROI Report
2. Try SlideShare for lead generation. One of the best ways to create and share free content is by building a presentation for SlideShare. You just need to create a PowerPoint presentation and upload it to the SlideShare network under your branded page. Once uploaded, you can title and tag the presentation for search engine optimization purposes and even set up a lead-generation form to be added to SlideShare. Giving away content (e.g., downloadable whitepapers, e-books, webinar recordings) for free and then asking for contact information can help you accomplish the following: build very high-quality leads; reach more people with your content; create social shareable content; and create blog content.
Dave Bascom, Fit Marketing, "The Best Social Channels to Use for B-to-B Marketing," Feb. 21, ROI Report
3. Isolate your one-time web-only buyers from PPC, SEO and affiliate programs and develop a repeat purchase strategy. Often these buyers can be "item" purchasers vs. catalog shoppers. You might find that this group of "new" buyers doesn't need to be mailed as frequently.
Stephen R. Lett, Lett Direct, "Catalog Marketing Strategy for the New Year," Jan. 9, Print-Plus blog
4. Don't bet the farm on a test. It's not necessary to do true A/B splits, where half gets the test and half gets the control. This is particularly true if management is worried about the test. It's fine to test say 10 percent and send the control to 90 percent as long as the test panel is big enough to generate statistically significant results.
Susan J. McIntyre, McIntyre Direct, "Catalog Testing: Whys and Hows," Feb. 11, Catalog Doctor blog
5. Omnichannel brands are flooded with data about sales coming from various marketing messages and contacts. Attributing sales is a universal problem for catalogers. Simple holdout tests are an invaluable measurement of the incremental value of catalog mailings. Make sure that you bake these tests into your catalog circulation plans.
Jim Coogan, Catalog Marketing Economics, "Measuring the Incremental Value of Catalog Mailings," July 21, ROI Report
6. While some content should be consistent to ensure a unified brand, content marketing should be localized in order to provide a more targeted experience rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. By making content marketing efforts region-specific, marketers are seeing significant improvements in site engagement, lead generation and revenue.
Noah Logan, Clickability, "Global Means Going Local in Today's Digital World," Sept. 9, ROI Report
7. Own your niche — become authoritative. Decide to "own" a category and be an authority. Leverage unique assets such as a teammate with a strong following, unique competitive differentiation, or existing offline and online marketing assets that can be repurposed. You'll find that when you commit to develop quality content and publish it consistently, you'll see your customers engage and drive tangible benefits.
Skip Besthoff, InboundWriter, "From Soup to Nuts," January/February, Retail Online Integration
8. Be a socially conscious brand. Millennials are concerned about reducing their carbon footprint and investing in the long-term care of the environment. They will favor brands that are ethical, have authentic moral credentials and support causes. This will also play out in some of their retail behaviors.
Shilpa Rosenberry, Daymon Worldwide, "A Strategy for Marketing to Millennials," April 14, ROI Report
9. Put a bigger focus on your value proposition. Value is vastly different from price. While price will continue to be the only important variable for the bottom third of the market, value for money (and time) spent has bubbled up as a decision point for consumers. The challenge for retailers is shifting from a price strategy to a value strategy. The two are related but are very distant cousins. A properly executed value strategy is much more beneficial to the bottom line than a low price strategy."
Jeff Weidauer, Vestcom International, "Why Retailers Should Focus on Value, Personalized Service and the Local Market," July 1, ROI Report
10. Retailers spend weeks preparing messaging for the holiday shopping rush and then gasp with relief when it's all over. But the words matter just as much — if not more — when the shopping's done. Spend the time to update scripts, live chat canned messages and knowledge bases in preparation for questions about returns, gift cards and refunds. Do a global search for the phrase "that's our policy," then delete them all.
Ross Haskell, BoldChat for LogMeIn, "When the Shopping is Over," Jan. 3, ROI Report