Why perfecting the retail marketing mix is important

Contemporary retail marketing is a brave new world. While some basic principles remain when it comes to implementing effective retail marketing strategies, others have evolved to acknowledge and appeal to the new breed of consumer. Does your business have what it takes to succeed in today’s dynamic landscape? Let’s take a closer look at three critical components of the 21st century retail marketing mix.

1. It’s not you, it’s them

And by “them,” we mean your customers. While the retail marketing mix involves a number of elements — those trusty, oft-cited “six P’s.”  People, product, price, place, promotion and performance should all be focused in one clear direction: your customers.

It goes without saying that your customers are your business’ most important constituents, but a shocking number of retail enterprises fail to put them front and center when it comes to developing and implementing retail strategies. Here’s the cold hard truth: the more customer-focused you can make your retail business, the more success you can expect to achieve.

Lucky for us, we have more access than ever toward understanding our customers. From tracking in-store footfalls to online conversation rates, the ability to known and learn from customer behavior yields actionable insights into their wants and needs so you can stop wasting your resources on what doesn’t work and instead focus on results.

We’re living in an era of “YOU-tility,” and retail organizations are not exempt when it comes to satisfying the contemporary consumer. One common goal shared by today’s successful retail enterprises? To add value across all of the P’s.  This can mean anything from implementing point of sale solutions for on-the-go customers to targeting promotions to reach a particular demographic via their preferred means of communication, all without bothering the rest with irrelevant promotional materials.

2. Consistency is key

We can all agree that a retail organization which only emphasizes sales is destined to fail. Why? Because retail success also relies upon providing extraordinary customer service every step of the way. Want to gain an inside edge on the competition? Don’t settle for delivering what your customers expect. Instead, strive to exceed their expectations. After all, the ultimate goal is not to make a single sale, but to develop lasting customer loyalty, along with the potential for a lifetime of sales.

Because consumer shopping habits have changed, so must your marketing efforts. This means incorporating a complete range of omnichannel marketing methods in order to leverage technology into sales. To maximize your efforts and ensure that your message reaches your target audience in the most meaningful way, your business needs a compelling online and offline presence.

Today’s consumers expect the businesses they support to be transparent, accountable and responsive. While these may sound like trendy buzzwords, they’re a very real part of any successful retail marketing mix. This means every communication you send — whether in-store or via digital methods  — is aimed at reinforcing your brand sensibility across all touch points.

And don’t forget about email. While most people think social media and apps have overtaken email as the ideal means of communicating with consumers, email is still an important way to cultivate and engage consumers. In fact, a recent Inc. article decreed email marketing to be “vital for businesses of all sizes,” for a variety of reasons including its low cost, mobile reach, and impact upon both online and in-store sales.

Consistency also means establishing expectations for your staff and reinforcing these expectations so that organization-wide operations are coordinated, streamlined, and cohesive. Every team member should be working toward the common goal of satisfying customers through a well-communicated strategic plan.

3. A new kind of location, location, location

The traditional marketing mix has always emphasized location. After all, you’re not going to make any sales if access to your storefront is limited by a poor, inconvenient or incongruent location in terms of your brand and target consumers. And while your physical storefront remains an important concern today, it’s far from the only concern. Why? Because not only are today’s customers more mobile in terms of where they shop, but they also have access to endless e-commerce options. Shopping is no longer about geography. In fact, today’s consumers can get nearly everything they need without stepping foot inside a brick-and-mortar location. In order to keep up with the evolving retail mix, your e-commerce site is as important as your physical storefront when attracting paying customers.

Forrester Research’s report, U.S. Cross-Channel Retail Forecast, 2012-2017, predicts that by the year 2017, 60 percent of the country’s total retail sales will involve the web, and a full 10.3 percent will be online purchases. Unless you’re willing to forgo your 10 percent, creating an inviting, accessible, compelling and brand-centric new “location” — ie. your online storefront — is a must-do.

While finding the correct retail marketing mix takes some time and effort, it can serve as the difference between standing out from your competition and blending in with the rest. Keeping these three things in mind can help you maximize your retail marketing mix efforts in order to enjoy optimal results across your business, brand, and bottom line.

Are you a retailer in search of ways to set your brand apart in a bustling industry? Contact our team of strategists to schedule time to “talk shop” with us today!

Assessing Ello and Emerging Social Media Sites For the New Year

Recently, tech blogs and trendsetters alike have been talking about Ello, a new social media site designed to serve as an alternative to Facebook. In many ways, it seems preposterous that a company would try to challenge – or even potentially replace – Facebook, which is by far one of the largest technology companies in the world. What you might find fascinating, however, is that Facebook’s key target demographics tell a bit of a different story – one that leaves us pondering whether or not the site may eventually be headed in the same direction as Friendster, or a quite possibly, a “pre-Justin Timberlake” MySpace.

When I joined Facebook, which by now was approximately eight years ago, it was the quintessential online social media destination for users in their 20’s and early 30’s to communicate with one another. Rarely would you find a parent with a Facebook account of their own, and, in terms of other social networking options, there were a few, but none were so communal. Facebook served as a landing place for all my friends – including those from many different social circles – no matter how I knew them. Times have most certainly changed with emerging social media, and with the rise of Ello, who knows? We might just end up seeing an exciting new shift in the way people access this type of online networking.

Most bonafide marketers understand that today’s “young people” aren’t as present on Facebook, and given the host of other options, they’re more likely to spend a bulk of their time visiting Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat. It doesn’t take a seasoned marketing professional to know that it takes a lot of bandwidth to be everywhere at once. This is one of the key reasons why these days, my peers are generally only active on social networks in which they associate meaning to their daily lives – and, they remain active on forums where people with similar interests tend to gravitate.

Personally, I follow a lot of comedians and comedic actors and actresses on Twitter, which is the perfect venue for crafting short, funny “witticisms.” On the flip side, Facebook is relegated to keeping in contact with a wide circle of friends, while LinkedIn assists me in maintaining professional connections, and growing my network. I access Instagram and Pinterest daily, but other accounts such as YouTube, Foursquare, Google+ and Vine tend to go virtually untouched and oftentimes, unmaintained.

As a digital strategist, my Orlando advertising agency’s social media team and I truly don’t envision that Ello will succeed in becoming the new “Facebook alternative.” As recourse however, I am placing a pretty firm bet on that notion that it may eventually attract communities of its own – communities made up of Facebook users who may feel as though Facebook is not the best social media site to serve their varying needs. This might be as a result of its use of data manipulation, or perhaps, the addition of an advertising component, or simply, that users may find their personal news feeds to be disinteresting. Whatever the reasons – and there are many – we’re seeing something much larger at play here.

[quote]In creating and maintaining a social network, it’s important to know where your audience spends a majority of its time.[/quote] If you look closely enough, you will see that users practically canvas the web – they’re accessing sites of all types. There are entire social networking sites that are geared specifically to peoples’ interests and ideologies. Often times, it may simply consist of a message board of people who are interested in topics deemed otherwise obscure, such as “hula hooping culture” or “18th century songwriting.” Topics that might not resonate with most of us, but as the moniker goes, “if you build it, they will come.”

In a similar vain, crafting and maintaining these social networks has a great deal to do with formulating a community, and marketers can utilize this lesson in helping to propagate such communities around their products. Specific audiences may be on Facebook because there’s nothing better, but I’m certain that if you attempt to present them with a dedicated forum – one that speaks directly to their area of interest – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to watch as the population of that social networking community flourishes. As a result, members have the opportunity to create connections both online and off. One such example is Fitocracy, an online forum for self-proclaimed “fitness geeks.”

I’m a firm believer that Facebook is here to stay, although with many of the above concepts in mind, the site’s following may have the potential to shrink. This is particularly true as its users find more specialized social networks where they can connect with like-minded people (and not necessarily individuals that they know personally in the real “offline” world). By keeping in mind that a successful social media strategy isn’t limited to the most popular social networks, brands can essentially begin to seek audiences in these not-so-mainstream avenues – which, in turn, might allow them to develop more authentic connections to their own customers.

Looking for digital expertise on how to best navigate the social media landscape? Contact us today to form a partnership to chart your course!

Know The Top Tips for Financial Institution Marketing

With so many tools, webinars and publications available for marketers within the financial services industry, it’s often difficult to sift through the clutter to figure out the most “essential” strategies for bank marketing success. However, some strategies do stand above others, and these tried-and-tested outreach methodologies can create sizable success within your financial institution. That’s why BIGEYE’s Florida marketing agency is offering a few highly effective tips to help increase your bank or other financial service’s ROI.

Develop a Strategy Prioritization Matrix

The first step to success in the financial realm is prioritization. A Strategy Prioritization Matrix can help you to determine the most strategic projects to help your business get the most “bang for its buck.” Create the matrix by listing the impact on the X axis (high or low) and the ease of implementation on the Y axis (hard or easy). Then, within the matrix, classify potential projects in one of four buckets: Quick Wins (High Impact, Low Effort), Must Haves (High Impact, High Effort), Low-Hanging Fruit (Low Impact, Low Effort) and Money Pits (Low Impact, High Effort). Your matrix might look something like this:

Strategy Prioritization Matrix

This will help clarify those areas requiring the greatest focus. For most banks and credit unions, the Quick Wins will be of highest priority, as the ROI impact is highest, and the strategy is easy to implement.

Implement a “New Mover” Customer Acquisition Strategy

Prospective clients that may be relocating to your area will likely be in search of a local bank. Depending on a potential customer’s degree of wealth, he or she may also need other financial planning services such as estate planning or wealth management. Creating a strategy to deliver your message into prospect’s inbox will assist in the growth of your audience. Of course a direct mail customer outreach campaign is only portion of the process. It’s important to have a strategy in place to ensure that yours is the first financial services company to reach these potential clients, including the development of efficient on-boarding processes. For many financial service providers, these outreach efforts can prove to be “Quick Win,” as outlined in the matrix above.

Invest in Digital Retargeting

According to Wagner dos Santos, BIGEYE’s senior director of marketing and strategic planning, retargeting is often the most effective and efficient acquisition strategy on a cost-per-account basis. It’s also a good way to capitalize on a person’s interest, as retargeting is only triggered after a person visits your site or clicks on your content.

In many ways, digital retargeting can successfully work in tandem with direct mail efforts, as one banking business achieved a lift of 40% after pairing digital retargeting efforts with a direct mail campaign.

Collect Insights for Iterative Improvement

[quote]Email marketing is still one of the leading ways to reach people, even in spite of significant levels of email glut.[/quote] When your business can tailor communications to send the right message to the right individuals through segmentation, it significantly improves the chances that the prospect will convert (as compared to a general email blast). Be sure that in all financial services relationships, you’re not only collecting email addresses, but also analyzing customer profiles so that you can provide information that is relevant to their individual banking and financial needs. Through surveys and new account processing, you can grab significant information about your customers that you can then use for future marketing and outreach efforts. And, through iteration, you can continue evolving your campaigns and strategies for optimal growth.

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Need more ideas for effective ways to reach potential audiences with your bank or financial services marketing? Contact us at our Orlando ad agency, and we can help you tailor your customer acquisition strategies to help generate the most ROI for your business.

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How You Can Better Understand the Customer Journey

I’m always baffled when I learn about marketers who don’t have a full understanding of their customers’ behaviors. To me, the customer’s journey is the first place marketers should turn when trying to analyze ways they can improve their business. From a theoretical perspective, understanding the journey helps the marketer understand the business itself. Oftentimes, marketers who instinctively look to the customer journey don’t have a specific name for it; at our Florida marketing agency, we think clarifying why customer’s take a certain journey is a huge step in growing a business.

Analyzing a customer journey offers an opportunity for marketers to learn about how awareness leads to a purchase or other action. Assessing the customer journey helps determine whether, for example, the client should spend more money on awareness efforts or should stick to optimizing a website.

[quote]The customer journey first involves looking at where people get most of their information about a company’s products or services.[/quote]Years ago, marketers could create conversions after connecting with a customer approximately seven times, typically though print or television advertising. However, because of the rise of social media, these various touches don’t always create as much impact, and now marketers suggest that it requires between 20-30 touch points to gain a new customer.

In the digital space, social media steers these touch points, driving the first step in the customer journey: awareness. Be it paid or owned social media, this is often the first line of contact. However, it can also come from paid or organic search. Understanding where customers are finding out about your product or service helps target your advertising efforts to where you’re more likely to drive traffic to your website.

Next comes consideration. This is where it becomes important for a marketer to convince a person that a product or service is right for them. This requires having a strong understanding of your target demographic, complete with user personas. Having a firm understanding of your target customer can help guide all brand decisions, and the results of these decisions should be able to push people into the next phase of the customer journey: intent.

While good UX should always be a strong consideration when building a website or virtual shopping cart, it’s most important in the intent phase. Think of Amazon.com’s shopping cart feature. Sometimes, people who drop off at this point may have intent to purchase, but forget or drop off for some other reason. This is where strategies such as ad retargeting can be helpful, reminding the user of their intent to purchase.

Citing Amazon again, think of “1-Click” ordering. A person can choose to purchase in a single click, making the user experience as flawless as possible… and giving people fewer chances to change their minds between the intent phase and the next phase: the purchase.

Finally, the customer will make a purchase, resulting in a sale for the business. However, this is not necessarily the end of the customer journey; some marketers link this back to advocacy, such as when a person writes a glowing product review or shares it with friends.

Understanding your customer’s journey can help marketers find ways to simplify the process by cutting out friction in the purchasing or conversion phases. For more information on ways to simplify the customer journey, contact our Florida marketing agency for a consultation.

Multi-screen generations & how to properly market to them

In a world where children aren’t being taught cursive (because, frankly, who needs it when you have a tablet?), it’s getting harder and harder for marketers to stay in touch with the younger generation.  Back in our day, we didn’t have to worry about chargers and crashing devices – in fact, we could just tell our teachers that the dog ate our homework.

The digital age marks a time where children are growing up with Facebook and using electronic devices to learn through interactive games.  Remember the years that parents spent questioning whether it was appropriate to sit our children down in front of the television for hours on end?  Looking toward the future, we’ll have the same questions about the tablet, in addition to things we never had to worry about such as cyberbullying, internet predators and other as of yet unknown cyber threats.

But, there are also a lot of positives – children who are learning how to use devices at a young age are also testing higher in certain academic subjects, at least in part due to the fact that their parents are treating their devices as tools in the education process.

So, how can this information help a marketer who is trying to reach a multi-screen generation?

First of all, it is important to remember that things are much different than they were back then.  As much as we were dazzled by cereal commercials and Smoky the Bear, children are living in a different world than we did.  Technology has changed everything; even the idea of a smartphone would have been a fantasy when I was ten years old.

A marketer who is trying to reach a multi-screen generation can work to do so by creating interactive games that create an engaging experience for a child.  Obviously, there are privacy restrictions, particularly when it comes to collecting information about children and advertising to them.  But games are typically a safety net – a company-sponsored game using augmented reality or other features helps reach a child with its high levels of stimulation.  You can also reach them by having a fun and interactive website.

[quote]Though I mostly focus on the use of technology in the digital space, hand-to-hand marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach children.  [/quote]At our Orlando marketing agency, we often advise clients to market at events catered to children and teens, and to tie it in with a digital strategy.  If children have smartphones, there may be ways for a child to directly engage with your brand through the use of social media.  Perhaps they can unlock rewards with their Facebook check-ins, or by offering testimonials as to your product that you can post on YouTube and other media outlets.  Because our adolescents and teens have grown up in a digital world, they are practically socialized to do these things, which is why they are of special interest to marketers.

If you do engage in good old-fashioned television advertising, it may be beneficial to integrate your campaign with an interactive digital component.  Nokia’s recent Work for Will campaign, featuring  Up All Night’s Will Arnett (also of Arrested Development fame), invited people to log online to create a digital product, in order to be given the chance be Will Arnett’s personal assistant for a day.

Marketing to a multi-screen generation means thinking like someone with multitude of screens.  If your advertising and marketing campaign doesn’t reach your younger audience on all screens, then allow our Florida advertising agency to design one for you that will!

The debate big debate: To Google+, or not to Google+

So you’ve heard the hype about Google+. You’ve caught snippets of its new features and heard word of its competition with Facebook, but you don’t quite get the benefits and aren’t completely decided if you are going to sign up for an account.
New social media platforms can be overwhelming. Heck, a lot of people are still figuring out how to integrate Twitter into their social media routines. We’ll give you the rundown of Google+, and help you decide if this is one social media weapon you might consider adding to your arsenal.

Circles

In the real world, we have different circles of relationships. We have work friends, friends we like to have fun with on a Friday night, family and so on. So, sharing things on social networks should work in a similar fashion. With Google+, you can create different circles of people and share photos accordingly. This way you can share only your most flattering pictures with Grandma.

Hangouts

The next best thing to a real life conversation. Google Hangouts allows you to video chat with up to 10 people at a time, and even watch YouTube with them. You can let specific friends or entire circles know you’re hanging out, allowing other friends to join in the conversation at any given time, just like in real life.

Instant Upload

If you have a Facebook, you know how great it is sharing mobile photos of your latest adventures. If you have a Facebook, you also know how un-great it is uploading those photos from your phone onto your account. Enter Google Instant Upload. Your photos and videos will automatically upload to an album on Google+ that will be kept private until you choose whom you’d like to share them with.

Sparks

This feature is sort of like Google News, only you receive all of your updates in one place, and links, articles, videos, etc. are easily shared with friends. Let Sparks know some things you’re interested in and it’ll send you some things it thinks you’ll enjoy.

Huddle

Google Huddle simplifies the back-and-forth of making plans with multiple friends via text messages. Huddle creates one simple group chat where all your friends can text at once. Less time texting, more time doing.

+1 Button

This is a feature that, in many ways, resembles the Facebook Like button. Just hit the +1 button on a page to let everyone know they should check it out. If you’re a business, having the +1 button on your page will help you stand out and get better traffic. This is definitely a feature you don’t want to miss out on, even if you opt out of creating a Google+ account for yourself.

So what does this mean for your business?

Considering Google+ is still in what it calls a “field trial” and hasn’t yet rolled out its business account option, the truth is no one can be certain. The success of social networks is generated by people. And since Google+ is still in a trial mode, we can’t predict how it will be received by consumers. But what we are seeing is an undeniable buzz and excitement about this social media platform.

There’s no doubt that Google+ makes connecting and sharing with friends an absolute breeze. It also looks like the social network will revolutionize the business world. Functions like Huddle and Hangouts may play a significant role in the way colleagues and clients communicate remotely, allowing up to 10 people to communicate at once via their personal computers by video or by text. And the +1 button is an obvious benefit for businesses receiving increased traffic thanks to the button’s ability to increase your website’s popularity and visibility.

We’ve seen more and more employers ban Facebook from the workplace, and older generations deny its marketing benefits due to its college-centered demographic. The Google brand may bring about a more widely received approval from businesses and older demographics, based on its professional reputation. Unlike Facebook, Google+ wasn’t first released with a college-only clientele.

The future looks promising for Google+, and while we don’t suggest creating an account for your business just yet (Google promised to unveil an account for businesses soon), we encourage you to set up a personal account and become familiar with the platform. While Google+ is still in trial mode, and the popularity of its future is still not certain, now is a great time to become acquainted with the functionality. To create a personal account and start exploring the platform, you currently have to be “invited.” If you don’t have a friend who’s got an account, we’d love to invite you! Just email us at info@bigeyecreative.com and you can join the party, too.

So there you have it. The wonders of Google+. It’s hard to say how this social media platform will fare against the social media giant that is Facebook, but there’s no denying Google+ has some truly innovative features that improve connecting and sharing with friends, family and even coworkers. And that’s a real plus.

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