As marketers in today’s landscape, we face some difficult challenges when it comes to developing valuable and lasting connections with audiences. The penetration of digital has made media consumption fluid, argues marketing software company, Kenshoo.
Consumers don’t think about engaging with brands through different channels; they just think about engaging. Consumers now move effortlessly between channels, devices, and platforms, blurring the lines of engagement and changing the way brands connect with their audiences.
To survive, marketers needs to create a singular experience regardless of what medium consumers happen to be using at any given moment. Programmatic and mobile are playing a fundamental role in making this achievable.
Michael Burgess, President of HBC Digital, Hudson’s Bay, who operates retail stores throughout the US and Canada including Saks Fifth Avenue, comments that “the majority of consumers are crossing channels and using multiple devices, whether they start by opening something on mobile and then concluding the purchase either on a tablet, desktop or in the store, or just researching online and transacting in the store”.
The total impact of digital is having a hefty and growing impact on business revenue. A recent PwC report indicates that the majority of respondents surveyed purchased online via PC at least every month and 24% of respondents purchase online via mobile monthly. This doesn’t take into account the research consumers do online before transacting in a brick-and-mortar location, but attribution is another story we’ll touch on later in this article.
It’s clear the way consumers discover, engage, purchase and maintain loyalty to brands is shifting, and as marketers, we should be adjusting the way we target consumers across channel.
Mayer Gupter, global head marketing technology and innovation at Kimberly-Clark quoted his CMO Clive Sirkin at the recent Ashton Media Programmatic Summit in Sydney: “we don’t believe in digital marketing, but marketing in a digital world” – emphasising the fact that consumers don’t operate in silos.
Consumers want the best product, at the best price, at a time and place that best suits them.
How can marketers ensure they are hitting the mark? The four strategies below can help you sharpen your focus in a world where the lines are blurred.
1. Create Brand Consistency
Having consistency across multiple channels is crucial. Your customers can now experience your brand in any number of places: their Facebook newsfeed, Twitter, on Google, direct to your website, etc.
In a new study of 3,000 global shoppers by SDL, 90% of consumers said they expected the customer experience to be consistent across channels and devices. It’s been reported that consumers who notice a disparity between pricing online and offline are likely to abandon their shopping effort and look elsewhere.
Better integration and communication of pricing strategy, stock levels, and messaging can help give the consumer a better experience with your brand. This can be improved by automatically turning your top performing products in search into Facebook ads by leveraging trend signals from inventory systems, identifying performance triggers from search and product ad campaigns, and creating dynamic ad copy and audience targeting. This is how Brazilian e-tailer, Netshoes, automated and scaled product-specific advertising across search and social.
2. Forge a ‘Consumer-First’ Mobile Strategy
There has been a lot of talk about ‘mobile-first,’ but a more effective way to be thinking about mobile engagement strategy is ‘consumer-first’. To quote Steve Jobs: “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology, not the other way around.”
The bottom line is that a winning mobile experience focuses on the customer’s needs. Mobile as a channel is going to continue to grow with reports showing that consumers already spend more time on mobile (and mobile apps) than on desktop. So, how can you leverage this channel to better suit the way your consumers interact with your brand?
Mobile and native ads are quickly becoming important factors to audience discovery and retention. The increase in speed and access to inventory through Real-time Bidding (RTB) exchanges and networks allows advertisers to be more selective and reach audiences in real time. Coupled with the engaging and integrated experience created by native channels, this creates a powerful combination for your audience strategy.
A marketer “in” mobile generally means working with, and through, mobile apps. A recent Kenshoo research report showed that paid social spend for mobile app advertisers grew steadily over the second half of 2014, peaking in November and ending the year 234% higher than it started in January, indicating strong and rapid growth in the channel.
The key to mobile app success is not just driving app discovery and installs though. It’s about fueling re-engagement and fostering a long-term relation to grow lifetime value.
3. Capture Your Audience Through Key Data Signals
Data is the key to helping you create a consistent and flawless customer journey. Despite there being an abundance of it, many marketers find it difficult to action.
One way to leverage data is to engage customers with ads based on search intent. This can be done through automatically creating ads in Facebook and Facebook’s Audience Network (a way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook into other mobile apps), based on the intent consumers demonstrate through their search engine activity.
In addition to Facebook this search intent data can also now be leveraged across mobile and desktop display. This type of targeting has helped boost ROI for many leading brands by re-engaging customers based on their interests and also increased customer acquisition by using the expressed search intent to find similar ‘lookalike’ customers.
4. Make Attribution Actionable
The age of the customer demands that marketers understand consumer interactions across channels. Attribution plays a big role here – if done accurately it can help inform you of the true customer journey to help determine how important each channel was in the purchase decision.
This data can help you value conversions, determine the most influential paths, and forecast future scenarios. Ultimately, it can help you make the tough decisions about where to increase spend and which cuts will fund that increase.
Actioning these insights in real time as opposed to after the fact is the most effective way to manage attribution.
When it comes to pursuing and implementing attribution, the majority of marketers still fall short, according to a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Kenshoo, Cross-Channel Attribution Must Convert Insight Into Action. Marketers still embrace elementary approaches to measurement with only one in nine marketers using advanced attribution methods. In fact, among those using attribution, 23% still use single-click method.
With the data and technology innovations available to the modern marketer, it’s becoming more of a reality to create truly holistic digital program that provides a seamlessly integration across channels and screens. At the end of the day, your consumers do not draw hard lines against the ways they interact with your brand, and neither should you.