With the explosion of channels, data and technology in the retail industry, it is easy for businesses to be overwhelmed and under-informed.
Modern consumers can be an enigma. A typical purchasing decision may include a trip to a bricks and mortar store, a call with a customer service advisor, plus hours of online research.
Shoppers may use a combination of methods on some days and on other days, only use one channel.
Customers also behave differently at different times of the week, depending on what sort of product they are looking for or who they are with.
Getting to the bottom of shopper behaviour and developing an informed shopper-driven marketing strategy is vital for brands and retailers, yet it is ever more complex.
The key to maximising advertising potential is to accept that consumers are becoming channel agnostic.
Consistent and relevant messaging for each channel is important to achieve cut through. Measuring total customer experience and recognising the importance of all channels at various points on the shopper journey is key.
In response to this need for data and insight, the marketing technology sector has exploded onto the scene. There are now close to 4000 software providers and this is increasing by around 80% year on year.
Marketing technology budgets are surpassing advertising budgets as companies attempt to harness all the data that exists and use it to inform their marketing strategies.
Marketers should look to differentiate between the consumer and the shopper and utilise the right emotional triggers to derive a purchase.
A consumer’s focus is on research leading to awareness, whereas shoppers are defined by their need to purchase.
As Paco Underhill, noted leader in the field of retail observation and analysis, famously wrote, “If we went into stores only when we needed to buy something, and if once there we bought only what we needed, the economy would collapse.”
Shooting in the dark
However, our latest research reveals that a quarter of campaigns are still being executed without any shopper marketing strategy leading to wasted investment.
Arguably, these campaigns are likely to be ineffective when influencing sales as they are less likely to change shopper behaviour in order to drive a purchase.
In addition, the 82% of marketers believe they are failing to measure marketing ROI in an effective way, most notably due to lack of access to good data, time pressure and the complexity of campaigns.
When asked which areas of campaign spend they currently measure, a staggeringly high percentage of marketers answered “don’t know”. This indicates that the capture, cleansing, aggregation and publishing of procurement data across these categories of spend are not always visible to the wider marketing team.
We believe that many miss out on valuable opportunities to leverage campaign and agency effectiveness.
As pressure continues to build on marketers to deliver measurable results, there is a huge demand for data and visibility around campaign processes.
As an industry, we need to share best practice and work out straight forward ways to harness and understand data.
The data is out there but clearly far too many brands and retailers are not maximising it to inform their marketing strategies. The foundation of any informed decision making is the quality of the data.
Agencies, like us, can provide rigorous data insight and therefore offer clear visibility and accountability around campaign effectiveness.
We passionately believe that you cannot improve what you don’t measure and that is why we have invested significantly in our campaign management technology. It helps marketers identify every area of spend by collecting data across all spend categories and activities to determine ROI from shopper and POS campaigns.
This data provides invaluable insight for marketers as they assess old campaigns and create new ones. Brands can ascertain what creates a connection with their shoppers, helping them develop relevant content throughout the shopper journey.
Overlaying electronic point of sale (EPOS) data with how much spend is allocated to each item of POS can also help marketers understand which elements offer the best return.
There is a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to delve deep into the complexities of shopper data aggregation across platforms to deliver insight back to their teams.
The need to justify campaign spend is a massive priority in the current climate and as CMOs come under boardroom pressure to drive top line growth, more investment in data science and technology must be made to confront this challenge head on.
– by Richard Saysell