Preparing For The Present: Retail Marketing Priorities For 2021

Preparing For The Present: Retail Marketing Priorities For 2021
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In this guest post, Adam Ioakim (pictured below), managing director at APAC Emarsys, says marketers need not predict the future when so many of the learnings are right there in front of us all…

Last year was a watershed year for marketers, with half a decade worth of e-commerce growth occurring in less than a year. While the new year period always sees an overabundance of predictions from industry players, this year it felt more redundant. The transformation that we’d typically expect for the coming years has already happened.

What marketers do need is advice on how to make current marketing effective for the current climate. Rather than predicting the future, I will outline the priorities and actions that marketers can deploy right now.

  1. Prioritise customers above all

As businesses flock to the e-commerce space, consumers are spoilt for choice in who they buy from. This radically reduces customers’ tolerance threshold for status quo or sub-par experiences and increases their willingness to switch brands.

This means that personalising a single element in a one-size-fits-all customer engagement strategy isn’t enough anymore. True personalisation requires using all of a customer’s unique attributes, behaviours, and preferences drawn from your various data sets to create and deliver a one-of-a-kind experience that is not only highly relevant and valuable, but also scalable.

  1. Consider customer data, policies and privacy changes

Just as customers have high expectations of experience, they are also increasingly conscious of their privacy and how their data is being used. The impending end of web-tracking cookies means marketers have no way to glean insights from customer behaviour unless the customer provides explicit permission to track and use first-party data.

Moving forward marketers will need to have a defined strategy in place to identify more customers and capture their consent. They must clearly define the value that the customer will receive in exchange for their data and make sure that the data being collected is processed in a safe, compliant way.

  1. The right to use customer data must be earned

As customers feel more empowered to choose who they share their data with and to what extent, brands have to earn the right to benefit from it. It’s no longer a one-way deal — customers can revoke their permission whenever they choose.

This zero-party data, that is information a customer shares with your brand directly, is particularly powerful as it eliminates the guesswork in determining how to market to them, because they are telling you directly.

Leveraging this zero party data enables retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors as the data is unique to their brand. This makes it easier for example to identify product trends, and then deploy programs like “Back In Stock” and “Price Drop” for quick wins in sales and revenue.

In other words, brands can readily identify buying patterns, and then run campaigns to win back customers, inspire their next purchase, and move them further in the customer lifecycle.

Targeting a customer with the right offer, at the right time, and on the right channel to drives repeat purchases, and ultimately, creates more loyal customers.

  1. Loyalty is more than points and prizes

With more competition online, loyal customers who return to a brand again and again are essential. On average, such customers have a 306 per cent higher lifetime value than the average consumer.

In this climate, marketers need to stop viewing customer loyalty as a “nice-to-have” and instead see it as a crucial tool to maximise the effectiveness of a genuine personalised experience.

From prioritised customer service to early product access, an effective loyalty program must go beyond free gifts and discounts, delivering useful value-added experiences.

There’s no better time than now to re-evaluate your current marketing priorities to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is important that brands also consider how they can prioritise experiences using zero-party data to make the individual customer feel valued.

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Adam Ioakim

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