The only complaint from marketers attending this year’s eTail West wasn’t associated with the event itself — it was that it rained on Monday. As an eTail virgin, I left feeling inspired, enlightened, and… exhausted! I was most impressed by the number of honest discussions around the challenges retailers face and how combining data and innovation is driving businesses forward.
The Promotion Pitfall
As I settle back into the gray New England weather, I’ve had some time to go through my notes and think about my biggest take-away from the event. A common theme with keynote speakers, panel discussions, and perhaps less subtly addressed in the session “Getting Off the Promotional Crack”, is the need for retailers to evolve from discount-driven strategies. While this may have a positive effect on daily revenue, it may easily come at a cost to margin. And it’s ubiquitous in the industry.
What consumer didn’t experience it this past holiday season? If your inbox was anything like mine, you were besieged with discounts that increased in value week after week. As one notable speaker pointed out, “We are conditioning our consumers that if they wait, something better will come.” We need to shift the conversation to educate customers about the brand’s product or service and sell to those with the likelihood to buy.
Defining Value with the Right Customer
Our friend and former colleague, Alanna Vallee, shared a real-world example of how Staples introduced a more personalized experience in its email program for SKUs that historically received less marketing attention, but was highly relevant to a subset of subscribers. In order to execute, she broke the process down into four steps and conducted a small-scale test. Once execs were comfortable with results, there was an opportunity to expand the program. She proved that targeting the right consumers with a personal touch was the clear way to win sales.
And that’s a story we heard from other leading brands as well… the process of testing, validation and customization targeted to the right consumer was the clear winner at eTail. The best advice Start small, and pick one campaign to test. The data will validate the hypothesis and from there, you move forward. Think about what makes your product/service purchase-worthy. Make sure that content is incorporated into your campaign. And find the right customers/prospects to target.
I’ll take a latte, after I catch up on my sleep.
The next show you connect with Zeta at is ShopTalk, March 19-22 at the Aria Las Vegas, we will be in Meeting Room E, make sure you stop by and say Hi!