Editor’s note: This article and interview were orchestrated by Zeta Global’s SVP of Customer Experience, David Schey. Connect with him and get more insights on LinkedIn.

An interview with Brendan Witcher, Principal Strategist, eBusiness & Channel Strategy, Forrester

Earlier this year we sat down with Brendan Witcher, principal strategist, eBusiness & Channel Strategy at Forrester to talk about retail trends at NRF. We recently checked back in with Brendan to see if retailers are making good on their promises when it comes to acquisition strategies in 2018.

Let’s recap the trends Brendan outlined at NRF…

  • In 2017 – Personalization and omnichannel were key trends with retailers.
  • In 2018 – Personalization and omnichannel are still big, but…maybe retailers don’t understand their customers well enough to personalize the experience or, maybe they don’t understand their business well enough to optimize a retail omnichannel strategy.

Brendan’s Advice for Retailers at NRF: “Focus on the “unsexy” work you haven’t gotten done to optimize your personalization and omnichannel programs.”

 “Focus on the “unsexy” work you haven’t gotten done to optimize your personalization and omnichannel programs.”  

We think retailers were listening. At Zeta, we’ve been hard at work with our retail clients all year helping them focus on optimizing personalization through their use of data. We have a phrase we use a lot around the water cooler here: “We know your customers, you just don’t have them yet!” Yes, it does sound a little out there, but it’s true.

How do we do it? We focus on people-based audience acquisition. We leverage customer signals, deterministic data and native artificial intelligence to deliver 1:1 personalization at scale. We target specific customers by identifying who you want to talk to, not who you think you want to talk to.

We think it’s pretty cool that a little after the mid-year mark, retailers are transforming their data programs from “unsexy” to “sexy” work. But, we wondered if Brendan is seeing the same pivot from the retailers he is talking to on a daily basis. Here’s what he had to say…

We asked Brendan if retailers are doing the work they set out to do, specifically are they:

  • Finding value in their customer data?
  • Capturing their data correctly to create better customer experiences?

He told us that retailers are making progress on the objectives they stated earlier in the year:

  • To be more data-driven
  • To engage with customers at the individual level

In doing so, he also said that new challenges have arisen that have slowed their progress, mainly:

  • Cultural roadblocks
  • Siloed organizational agendas

How do you get around that? Brendan suggests obtaining quick wins with data and showing how data-led marketing can have the greatest impact. He went on to say that some of the same marketers who are facing these retail omnichannel strategy challenges above are building the business case to have their organizations lean heavier on data—in both their strategic decision making and their tactical campaigns.

Brendan’s Keys for Success?

  1. Find and focus on the areas that have high impact on your customer.
  2. Make sure your organization is operationally set up to execute on the digital tools you have.

Watch our entire interview with Brendan, including his mid-year update, below.

To learn more about how we can help you achieve personalization at scale through your data, contact us for a personalized demo.

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