In this new world, technologies have given consumers an advantage over retailers in how and when they receive promotional messages. Retailers are racing to catch up and overcome ingrained internal attitudes based on how marketing campaigns have worked in the past. This new, complicated environment holds great opportunities and challenges, but it requires using a combination of digital communications methods and traditional ones to reach modern consumers. Most important of all, it requires new tools and analytics engines that organize data about customers and products to create relevant and personalized campaigns.
In its 2013 Digital Marketer report, Experian Information Solutions reported that 36% of U.S. organizations interact with customers and prospects in five or more channels. In this environment, understanding the customer and reaching her – no matter where she is located – is critically important to every retailer. The customer must hear one voice through all the channels the retailer operates in and make her purchase from one inventory. The differences between the physical store, website ad is in the warehouse must be transparent and deliver seamless interactions across all channels.
- Raise your marketing and merchandising IQ. At its most basic level, successful promotion management maximizes such functions as forecasting, planning, direct marketing, price management, markdowns and more. It must be powered by analytics engines that organize data about customers, purchases, product history and other key sources of information that help marketers create relevant and personalized campaigns.
Embed analytics intelligence into cross-channel decision making. Advanced campaign management today envisions using the full spectrum of data sources available to the retail enterprise and these become enablers for making smarter decisions. This means synchronizing marketing and merchandising operations with an overlay of analytic intelligence.
- Manage internal resistance to overcome people challenges. The biggest challenges any retail organization faces when a major change arrives are internal. Many executives are still more comfortable with spreadsheets than complex, advanced systems. Developing a good business process and workflow will enable planners and merchants to get the practical aspects of their work done in an efficient way and will complete the loop of integrating your people into the process of creating and executing successful campaigns.
- Expand understanding of critical forces that contribute to successful campaigns. Beyond running campaigns that focus on targeted sales goals, marketing and merchandising departments must address heightened expectations within four areas of responsibilities: customer experience, marketing campaigns, brand management and insights and analytics.
- Obsess over marketing technology. To attain obsessive loyalty among shoppers, retailers need to become obsessive about technology. According to a Forrester report, Enable Customer Obsession with Cross-Channel Campaign Management, "marketers who successfully combine customers, contexts and channels will build sustainable competitive advantage and differentiation."
- Make social media critical to campaign relevance. In modern marketing and merchandising, the goal is a matter of identifying the individual, not the transaction. The best campaign is the one that impacts buying behavior as it is happening and does so at the individual level.
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