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5 Actionable Steps to Simplify Your Cross-Channel Retail Marketing Process

About 95% of marketers use multiple channels to communicate with their customers, yet only 10% coordinate their messaging and execution across these channels. Your day-to-day will be much easier if you streamline your marketing process - we teach you how.

Adebisi Adewusi
October 24 2017

Cross channel marketing in retail is difficult, chaotic and time-consuming.

As a retail marketer you’ve got a lot on your plate.

Keeping up with customer preferences, creating campaigns, setting goals, and adjusting budgets all battle for your attention and make it challenging for you to execute an integrated campaign properly.

It’s tough work, but you’re in good company.

About 95% of marketers use multiple channels to communicate with their customers, yet only 10% coordinate their messaging and execution across these channels.

Your day-to-day will be much easier if you streamline your marketing process.

A streamlined marketing process will increase your efficiency, convert leads into customers and strengthen customer loyalty, all while keeping brand messaging consistent.

To help customers reach the buying stage, increase productivity and revenue, we’ve provided five actionable steps that will help you streamline your marketing process.

#1 Develop Guidelines

With a single channel, retail marketing is pretty straightforward, but if you’re integrating online and offline marketing strategies, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

One way to improve your marketing game, speed up your efforts and provide customers with an integrated shopping experience is to set guidelines.

Sticking to guidelines ensures consistency in your marketing, which establishes trust between you and your customers and reduces customer deflection.

A few points to consider when developing your cross-channel marketing guidelines:

  • Set goals: Clearly define your goals specify what you want to achieve with your marketing, whether it’s generating awareness, creating leads, increasing revenue, etc. Then, develop a clear plan for how you’ll attain these goals. Your goals must be measurable and directed towards meeting the needs of your customers.
  • Break the silos: To succeed in cross channel marketing, you need a single customer view. This means all teams must cooperate to create an integrated marketing team. If your team doesn’t collaborate with one another, you run the risk of duplicating work, miscommunication and losing your customers to the competition.
  • Speak with one voice: A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), shows that a consistent message across multiple channels increase customers’ purchase intent by 90% and improve their perception of that brand by 68%.

From your storefront to social media activities, keep your messaging streamlined and consistent. Always ensure you have the same sound, look and feel across all your marketing channels.

#2 Automation: Today, Tomorrow, Forever

As a retail marketer, why waste time on tasks that reduce productivity and profitability? Marketing automation software saves you time and while also:

  • Streamlines lead generation, cross sells and up-sells
  • Ensures customer retention across all channels
  • Limits time spent on repetitive tasks, giving you more hours to handle expectations and focus on projects that lead to growth
  • Tracks online and offline marketing efforts in the same portal

According to data from Autopilot, marketers who use automation software generate 2x the number of leads than those using blast email software, and automated communications are 2x as effective at communicating.

There are also other perks:

  • 67% of Marketing Leaders currently use a Marketing Automation Platform – Salesforce “State of Marketing” (2017).
  • Marketers say the biggest benefit of automation is saving time. Other benefits include increased customer engagement, more timely communications and increased opportunities such as up-selling– Adestra “Marketer vs Machine”.
  • 64% of marketers say they saw the benefits of using marketing automation within the first six months of its implementation.
  • Automation users have noted an average increase of sales by 34%. – Pardot.

To achieve marketing automation success, develop an implementation strategy that integrates the right processes, people, content and data.

There are plenty of available options, so make like Goldilocks and try them all until you find one that’s just right.

#3 Invest In Referral Marketing

How many times have you made a purchase based on recommendations from friends or family?

This act is called referral marketing.

Studies have shown that referral marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to get new customers and ensure customer loyalty.

And the reason is simple.

Like you, customers trust their friends and family more than any marketing strategy your company can come up with.

Specifically, about 82% of Americans seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase.

According to McKinsey, marketing induced consumer to consumer word of mouth generates more than 2x the paid sales of advertising.

Additionally, customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate and word of mouth drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending.

Smart companies like Dropbox and Airbnb have built their business on referral marketing.

Dropbox’s “give us a customer, get free space” promotion, helped the brand create a 10 billion empire (as at 2014), while Airbnb used personalized referral messages (among other tactics) to drive its current $31 billion valuation.

While referral marketing is important, offering rewards and asking customers to refer a friend will not work as your sole tactic.

You must also:

  • Provide an excellent customer service and buying experience
  • Network with local influencers
  • Make your referral process easy to find, use and compelling enough
  • Offer something in exchange.
  • Constantly measure your refer-ability through client satisfaction surveys

To promote your referral program online and offline, try these tips from Extole:

  • Promote your referral program during point of sale interactions at your physical locations
  • Get in-store staff to act as ambassadors and give referral codes to shoppers by printing them on receipts, dropping flyers with a code into bags, or by talking about the program at the register. This gives customers a reason to check out your site and shop with you online, as well as in your store.
  • Give different codes to associates at each store to track performance

A referral marketing program will shorten your sales cycle, save you time and help you reach your customers at every touch point

Get strategic like the folks at Airbnb and Dropbox and start leveraging on the power of referral marketing.

#4 Find Your Target Audience

When you market to everybody, you market to nobody.

It is a waste of your time and resources.

What you need to implement is target marketing.

Targeting marketing allows you to focus your marketing efforts and resources on those likely to buy from you.

This is a more affordable, efficient and effective way to reach potential customers, retain existing customers and increase revenue.

Unilever’s Dove Real Beauty campaign successfully translated data about its target audience into its marketing offers and communications.

To find your target audience, conduct interviews or surveys in-store or online, consult industry research, track customer purchase history, conduct competitive analysis etc.  You can also receive contact and personal information from your point of sale system.

Use the information you collate to build buyer personas and segment them based on lifestyle, gender, income levels, geographical location, or benefit sought.

Pay attention to where customers interact with your brand, their pain points and interests. This will help you send personified messages. You wouldn’t want to send campaigns about retirement homes to millennials, would you?

#5 Measure Your Efforts

Marketing without measuring is useless.

It is important to know which of your marketing channels lead to conversion along the customer journey.

One way to do this is with cross channel attribution.

Measuring your marketing with cross channel attribution will help you identify all touchpoints leading to a conversion, remove inefficiencies, and increase performance.

Done right, attribution can provide clear and accurate insights into how, when and where your marketing efforts influences customers across devices and channels.

With cross-channel attribution, you’ll spend smarter and do more with less because you know your customers better.

When selecting an attribution model, consider which media you can track, the level of granularity of attribution supported, e.g. impressions, clicks, actions, other data events; and the frequency of available information.

Remember to always test all your cross channel marketing efforts to find out what’s working and what’s faltering.

The Bottom Line

Cross channel marketing is key to delivering the best customer experiences.

While it may seem difficult to interact with customers at every touch point with a unified message, it is possible.

With marketing guidelines, automation, referral programs, target marketing and by measuring your marketing efforts, you can get things done faster with less stress, leaving you with enough time to focus on projects that will ensure long term customer retention.

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Adebisi Adewusi

Adebisi Adewusi is a freelance B2B writer and a Huffington Post Contributor. When she’s not creating compelling content for businesses, you’ll find her capturing moments with her Nikon d600.

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