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Consumers want personalised experiences at retail and shop accordingly

Customers want to shop wherever and whenever they want with the benefits of both the digital and physical retail environments, according to a study by Boston Retail Partners.

The study found that 79% of consumers indicated that personalised service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop.

Consumers understand that receiving personalised service requires retailers to identify them. While this has been the normal standard online or via mobile, identifying the customer in the store is a little more difficult and not as common.

Most retailers who identify customers in the store use the customers’ mobile phone as the identification tool paired with a combination of beacons, WiFi, MAC address, etc.

While 64% of consumers are comfortable with retailers identifying them via their mobile phone when they enter a store, as long as it means they are offered a personalized experience, only 37% of retailers are able to identify their customers prior to checkout.

The Boston Retail Partners report says customer identification is a requirement for any type of personalisation of the shopping experience – if a retailer can’t identify the customer until she is at the checkout then it’s too late to empower the associate to influence the current purchase decision.

Ken Morris, Principal at Boston Retail Partners, said: “Without early identification of the customer, retailers miss critical engagement opportunities to deliver a personalised customer experience and increase sales. And in today’s crowded and highly competitive market, personalization is a critical component for optimizing the customer’s shopping experience.

“The customer has spoken and she wants a personalised shopping experience in the store, how are you going to provide her that experience?”

GUEST BLOG: Gauging the return on investment available from marketing

According to figures published by Google in its Car Purchasing UK Report in April 2018, £115.9 million was invested in direct mail and online display by UK car dealers during 2016 alone.

While automotive manufacturers often have a substantial marketing budget available to them though, this is not always a luxury to firms when they are looking at their marketing campaigns.

Due to digital visibility not usually coming cheap due to the increased interest in online platforms, VW service providers Vindis takes a look at whether such investments are indeed worth the cost…

The automotive industry

Within Google’s Drive To Decide Report, which was created in association with TNS, a discussion took place about how the auto shopper of today is more digitally savvy than previous generations. In fact, over 82% of the UK population aged 18 and over have access to the internet for personal reasons, 85% use smartphones and 65% choose a smartphone as their preferred device to access the internet. These figures show that for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.

Research online will also be carried out by 90% of auto shoppers, the same report goes on to reveal. 51% of buyers starting their auto research online, with 41% of those using a search engine. To capture those shoppers beginning their research online, car dealers must think in terms of the customer’s micro moments of influence, which could include online display ads – one marketing method that currently occupies a significant proportion of car dealers’ marketing budgets.

Of the entire UK Digital Ad Spending Growth throughout 2017, eMarketer claims that the automotive industry accounted for 11% of the total. This placed the industry in second place behind the retail sector. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

As many car purchases still occur on the forecourt though, what effect is online having on influencing the decisions of auto shoppers? 41% of shoppers who research online find their smartphone research ‘very valuable’. 60% said they were influenced by what they saw in the media, of which 22% were influenced by marketing promotions – proving online investment is working.

Across the automotive sector, traditional methods of TV and radio continue to be the most invested forms of marketing. In the last past five years though, it is digital that has made the biggest jump from fifth most popular method to third, seeing an increase of 10.6% in expenditure.

The healthcare industry

An entirely different set of rules are followed for marketing when it comes to the healthcare sector. This is generally because it is restricted by heavy regulations. The same ROI methods that have been adopted by other sectors simply don’t work for the healthcare market. Despite nearly 74% of all healthcare marketing emails remaining unopened, you’ll be surprised to learn that email marketing is essential for the healthcare industry’s marketing strategy.

Email is used by approximately 2.5 million people as a primary form of communication. The use of email has also increased in value and usage over the past few years. This means email marketing is targeting a large audience. For this reason, 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email – and now that smartphone devices allow users to check their emails on their device, email marketing puts companies at the fingertips of their audience.

Those in the healthcare industry should see online marketing as another platform that will make for worthwhile investment as well. This is especially the case when you consider that one in 20 Google searches are for health-related content. This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answer before calling the GP.

According to data from the Pew Research Center, a search engine will be the starting point of 77% of all health enquiries. What’s more, 72% of total internet users say they’ve looked online for health information within the past year. Furthermore, 52% of smartphone users have used their device to look up the medical information they require. Statistics estimate that marketing spend for online marketing accounts for 35% of the overall budget.

Don’t forget the appeal of social media marketing either. Whilst the healthcare industry is restricted to how they market their services and products, that doesn’t mean social media should be neglected. In fact, an effective social media campaign could be a crucial investment for organisations, with 41% of people choosing a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation! And the reason? The success of social campaigns is usually attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.

The fashion industry

The success of many fashion retailers will depend on their investment online. This point is underlined by the fact online sales in the fashion industry reached £16.2 billion in 2017! This figure is expected to continue to grow by a huge 79% by 2022. So where are fashion retailers investing their marketing budgets? Has online marketing become a priority?

Almost a quarter of all purchases in December 2017 were tied to ecommerce. This is according to the British Retail Consortium, as online brands such as ASOS and Boohoo continue to embrace the online shopping phenomenon. ASOS experienced an 18% UK sales growth in the final four months of 2017, whilst Boohoo saw a 31% increase in sales throughout the same period.

Next, Marks and Spencer, and John Lewis are just three of the well-known brands in the industry to have invested millions into their operations and marketing efforts online. Such tactics aimed to capture the online shopper and drive digital sales. John Lewis announced that 40% of its Christmas sales came from online shoppers, and whilst Next struggled to keep up with the sales growth of its competitors, it has announced it will invest £10 million into its online marketing and operations.

It also seems that many shoppers aren’t willing or interested to head to the high-street in order to shop. Instead, they like the idea of being able to conveniently shop from the comfort of their home, or via their smartphone devices whilst on the move.

In research carried out by the PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency, 59% of fashion marketers increased the budget they had available for influencer marketing last year. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy and more than a third of marketers believe influencer marketing to be more successful than traditional methods of advertising in 2017 – as 22% of customers are said to be acquired through influencer marketing.

The utilities industry

Comparison websites are now being used by so many consumers when they are trying to find the right utilities supplier for their needs. These websites could be the key to many suppliers acquiring and retaining customers.

Comparison websites often spend millions on TV marketing campaigns, which are then watched by so much of the nation. Therefore, it has become vital for many utility suppliers to be listed on comparison websites and offer a very competitive price, in order to stay in the game.

Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, Go Compare and Confused.com are currently the four largest comparison websites. These companies are also among the top 100 highest spending advertisers in the UK, but does that marketing investment reflect on utility suppliers?

The difference between a high rate of customer retention for one supplier and a high rate of customer acquisition for another supplier can be determined through comparison websites. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

Instead of customer acquisition, British Gas has altered its marketing goals towards customer retention. Whilst the company recognise that this approach to marketing will be a slower process to yield measurable results, they firmly believe that retention will in turn lead to acquisition. The Gas company hope that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

A loyalty scheme offering discounted energy and services has received a £100 million investment. This scheme focuses on the value of a customer, their behaviour and spending habits over time to discover what they are looking for in the company. The utilities sector is incredibly competitive, so it is vital that companies invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers.

Digital should be a key focus for those in the utilities sector too. 40% of all searches in Q3 2017 were carried out on mobile, and a further 45% of all ad impressions were via mobile too – according to Google’s Public Utilities Report in December 2017. As mobile usage continues to soar, companies need to consider content created specifically for mobile users as they account for a large proportion of the market now.

Concluding thoughts

Online marketing investment should be seen as very important for some industries, such as the fashion and automotive sectors. With a clear increase in online demand in both sectors that is changing the purchase process, some game players could find themselves out of the game before it has even begun if they neglect digital.

The picture grows even more for sectors such as the utilities industry. Whilst TV and digital appear to remain the main sales driving forces, it’s more than just creating your own marketing campaign when comparison sites need to be considered. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind.

The average firm is expected to allocate a minimum of 41% of their marketing budget to online strategies during 2018. This is according to webstrategies.com, with this figure expected to grow to 45% by 2020 too. Social media advertising investments is expected to represent 25% of total online spending and search engine banner ads are also expected to grow significantly too – all presumably as a result of more mobile and online usage.

Where do you stand when it comes to investment into marketing strategies? If mobile and online usage continues to grow year on year at the rate it has done in the past few years, we forecast the investment to be not only worthwhile but essential.

Sources

https://pmyb.co.uk/global-fashion-company-influencer-marketing-budget/

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-uk-clothing-market-2017-2022-300483862.html

http://uk.fashionnetwork.com/news/Online-is-key-focus-for-UK-fashion-retail-investment-in-2017,783787.html#.WrOjxOjFKUk

http://www.mobyaffiliates.com/blog/retail-accounts-for-14-2-of-digital-advertising-spending-in-the-uk-in-2017/

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-2933401/Energy-price-comparison-sites-spend-110m-annoying-adverts.html

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/03/28/british-gas-shifts-acquisition-retention-marketing-know-the-value-keeping-the-right

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-companies-online-advertising-spend-10-billion-more-last-year-2016-pwc-a7678536.html

https://www.webstrategiesinc.com/blog/how-much-budget-for-online-marketing-in-2014

https://www.kunocreative.com/blog/healthcare-email-marketing

http://www.evariant.com/blog/10-campaign-best-practices-for-healthcare-marketers

https://getreferralmd.com/2015/02/7-medical-marketing-and-dental-media-strategies-that-really-work/

Join BNP Paribas, Coca-Cola and Macmillan at the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit

The Digital Marketing Solutions Summit is entirely FREE to attend, taking place on May 14th 2019 at the Hilton Canary Wharf in London.

Simply register your VIP place here for the opportunity to:

  • Meet new suppliers and discover innovative solutions – and you’ll be provided with a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged meetings, based on your own individual requirements
  • Learn new tips and discover insight via a series of seminar sessions
  • Network with like-minded senior marketing professionals

You’ll be joining representatives from the likes of:

BNP Paribas
CitySprint
Clifford Chance
Coca-Cola
CompareTheMarket
Harbour Hotels
Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Kettle Foods
Macmillan Cancer Support
Orange Business Services
SofaSofa
Softomotive
The Berkeley Group
The Lalit London
Trend Micro
West Midlands Trains

… and many more

We have a limited number of VIP places. Simply click here to register your place.

For more information, contact Katie Bullot on 01992 374049 or email k.bullot@forumevents.co.uk.

Alternatively, if you’re a digital marketing solutions provider and would like to showcase your products and services at the event, contact James Howe on 01992 374067 or email j.howe@forumevents.co.uk.

SAVE THE DATE: Print & Digital Innovations Summit 2019

The next Print & Digital Innovations Summit will take place on November 14th at the Hilton Canary Wharf in London.

Don’t miss out! Register your place today! You’ll be able to:

  • Meet with innovative and budget-saving suppliers based on your requirements and upcoming projects
  • Network with other senior education procurement professionals

PLUS! Enjoy complimentary lunch and refreshments.

Last year’s delegates included representatives from A Nelson & Co, Abel & Cole, Beauty Bay, Boden, Brora, Cancer Research UK, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors, Civil Society Media, Covea Insurance, Direct Line Group, Dubarry, Fitflop, Marie Curie, Miller Insurance Services, Not On The High Street, Pasquill, Santander, Swansea University, The Hut Group, The Lalit London and more.

Places are limited, however, so register now to secure your place and avoid disappointment.

Or for more information, call Emily Gallagher on 01992 374085 or email e.gallagher@forumevents.co.uk.

To attend as a supplier, call Joel Millson on 01992 374070 or email j.millson@forumevents.co.uk.

For more information, visit www.printinnovationssummit.co.uk.

GUEST BLOG: Customer Experience – The latest silo in the marketing mix

Joey Moore, Head of Product Marketing, Episerver

For years, marketers have talked—and written—extensively about the disconnect between marketing and IT. Who should own email lists and sensitive data? Who should have access to the website CMS? Who should decide which marketing automation platforms to install? These are just a few of the questions that have plagued the marketing/IT debate.

In 2019 however, this debate finally feels like it’s come to a close. According to new research from Episerver, 93 percent of marketers now have the ability to directly edit their company’s website, while 80 percent expect to have complete ownership over their brand’s web presence within the next two years.

Instead of seeing this as a ‘land grab’ from IT, however, 62 percent of marketers say they are simply working collaboratively with their IT departments in order to reduce silos and ensure the best customer experiences. While this is great news for customers, the problem of marketing silos has not gone away for good. Instead, a new debate has started to rage—this time between marketers and the new wave of customer experience (CX) professionals.

Over the last few years, customer experience has become a central topic for most businesses, with as many as 35 percent hiring specific teams and individuals to manage the CX journey. In contrast, only 45 percent of marketers feel they have genuine autonomy over the customer experience, with many feeling that CX teams aren’t delivering the same quality of experience that marketers themselves would provide if they were in charge.

As a result, Episerver’s research shows that as many as 80 percent of marketers are planning to take over the CX role by 2020, removing the need for standalone customer experience departments and professionals.

While new technologies are making it easier than ever for marketers to control elements of the customer experience, by attempting to force out CX teams, marketers are falling into the exact same trap they did with IT.

Just as IT teams work across so much more than just marketing technologies, today’s CX teams also provide a far more all-encompassing view. Working with customer service departments, contact centres, HR and employee training courses, the remit of today’s CX professionals goes well beyond just marketing. Given this fact, marketers should be careful about biting off more than they can chew.

Instead, what is needed is a joint approach, one in which marketing and CX teams work together and collaborate in the best interests of the end customer. Technology can enable this collaboration, providing a seamless link through which marketing and customer experience teams can decide the CX direction of their company and ensuring it’s implemented across all levels of the brand. This will be the future of CX, not total marketing ownership, but technology-driven collaboration.

UK ad spend ends 2018 on £23.5bn high note

UK ad spend rose 5.1% year-on-year to reach £5.6bn in Q3 2018, marking the 21st consecutive quarter of market growth and the industry’s strongest third quarter of the year since 2015.

This record investment highlighted bu the Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report underpins the preliminary estimate for 2018 ad spend of £23.5bn – meaning the industry will have grown 6.0% year-on-year.

Key headlines from the report show:

* Q3 2018 was the 21st consecutive quarter of adspend market growth

* UK adspend rose 5.1% year-on-year to reach £5.6bn in Q3 2018

* The preliminary adspend estimate for 2018 remains at £23.5bn – meaning growth of +6.0% year-on-year

* Q3 2018 saw the strongest third quarter growth since 2015 – the first nine months of 2018 also saw the strongest growth since 2015

* Mobile saw a growth rate of 23.6% y-o-y in Q3, with overall internet growth at 12.3%

Overall market growth is being driven by increasing spend on online advertising, which is expected to grow 9.8% this year, following on from an estimated 13.4% rise in 2018.

In the individual formats, the positive story for digital was reflected across the board. Notably high growth was recorded for digital radio ad formats, with a year-on-year rise in Q3 of +25.1%, and in VoD TV at +11.5%. Regional digital newsbrands witnessed growth of +10.9%, with national digital newsbrands measuring +3.7% growth, and digital magazine brands +1.5%.

Discussing the findings from the report, Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive at the Advertising Association, said: “UK advertising continues to perform strongly, now delivering its twenty-first straight quarter of growth and demonstrating the commitment of British advertisers to investing in the growth and success of their businesses.

“As the clock ticks down to our departure from the EU, it is crucial the Government provides the certainty we are all seeking in business. We are predicting continued adspend growth of 4.6% in 2019 and an agreement with the EU that keeps disruption at a minimum and keeps trade and talent flowing will greatly help this growth. UK advertising is the best in the world and we need a deal that ensures we keep it that way.”

James McDonald, Data Editor at WARC, said: “Our projection of 4.6% growth in the UK’s ad market this year is firmly based on a business- favourable outcome from the EU withdrawal agreement, and would mark a decade of continuous expansion since the last advertising recession.

“Further, a preliminary estimate of 6% growth in advertising investment last year represents a faster rate of expansion than was recorded in 2017, and is therefore indicative of an industry in rude heath. This is particularly true in relation to digital ad formats, all of which are currently forecast to attract higher levels of investment in 2019.”

GUEST BLOG: The secret sauce for measuring social media ROI

By James Carroll, Digital Marketing Manager, Tableau

If you’re a digital marketer, social media is probably a key part of your marketing strategy. But if the idea of proving out the ROI of your social media presence to your marketing leaders keeps you up at night, you’re not alone. Research from DMA shows that “only 48% of marketers agree that social media gives them any return on investment”. Gathering and analysing social media data comprehensively and connecting it across all platforms to show the value of your social programs is no easy feat.

So how do you know if your team is measuring performance with the right social media metrics? To answer this, you need to understand what problems you’re trying to solve. Before diving into the data, you must have key performance indicators (KPIs) that support your objectives and align with revenue attribution models. Each social platform has unique audiences and definitions for metrics on engagement, reach, and more, as well as native reporting. So, before you step in front of senior leaders to report on social media performance, understand what you’re trying to accomplish with your programs and have clear goals in place.

Approach social media data with metrics in mind

When you’re determining which social metrics matter, be cautious of committing to KPIs that may not be measurable. If you don’t have access to the right data to back up a KPI, don’t plan to include these metrics in your goals until that data becomes available. Understand that some in-platform metrics help measure impact or influence on business goals—like reach, website visitors (returning and net-new), actions on your website or app, and the cost for those actions, such as cost per acquisition (CPA). Other metrics may require tying together a social post or ad impression and click with business-critical actions, such as: filling out a form, submitting credit card information, or buying something in-store.

Depending on the maturity of your analytics strategy, you may already be answering the below questions, but review them to frame your thinking and 2019 planning. Here are things to consider:

  • What are you using your social channels for? (e.g., grow awareness, convert leads, engage with clients and community, etc.)
  • What are your paid social goals? What are your campaign goals?
  • Can you measure success with platform data alone or do you need additional data sources?
  • Do you understand who your website visitors are? Can you compare them with your social followers?
  • Are you able to quantify the cost of acquisition and lifetime value for each customer?

Formal social metrics need data points to map back to and establish a method by which your stakeholders and leaders can track performance.

Social analysis is relative to analytics maturity

Once you’ve determined metrics that are aligned with marketing analytics goals, you’ll need to access and analyse social data to measure success. Sounds simple enough, right?

Viewing insights natively within Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook is straightforward. Analysing data and identifying trends across platforms is another story. If you’re trying to create a comprehensive view of performance so you can slice and dice the data, it’s necessary to export your social data outside the platform.

How should you approach deep analysis of your social data? Start by being honest about the maturity of your marketing analytics program. Early on in your journey, you should be able to track your basic performance and report by platform. As your analytics organization matures, reporting on your social data across platforms and campaigns should be happening on a regular cadence. Next, focus on gathering insights across platforms and attribute social data to benchmarks that inform platform ROI and plan your budget accordingly. If your social analytics program has the previous steps in place, you should be in a comfortable position to predict and forecast investments across channels and regularly report on the ROI of all your platforms.

For reporting, there is a variety of approaches also aligned with your analytics program maturity. Application programming interfaces (APIs) offer direct and automated access to your social platform pages and advertising data, allowing you to access all of this information in in one place. If you’re using third-party tools like AdStage, SproutSocial, or HootSuite, these platforms aggregate data and assist you in focusing on different priorities with their report templates.

Other APIs that connect with a BI platform, like Tableau, and social data sources help you access your data and create high-level, aggregate dashboards for your team, senior leadership, etc. When you create social media dashboards in Tableau with a live API connection, you have more control over the data and how you visualize it, customizing the view for your audiences to tell a compelling story. This particular set-up means you only need to create dashboards once and they will update automatically on a monthly or quarterly basis—depending on your reporting cadence. These dashboards offer quick insights into the performance of paid social ads, the paid social budget for the month, or anything else your marketing department is reporting on.

When comparing your platforms next to each other, look for macro trends, especially in different regions. Are fluctuations in performance seasonal, related to campaign launches, or caused by something else?

Monitor your cost per click or acquisition throughout the week and see if there are ebbs and flows that you can take advantage of—potentially optimizing your ads on a daily basis. As new trends and technologies emerge, you’ll need to prepare your strategy—and your reporting—to reflect these changes.

Understanding the clear goals you’re trying to achieve with your social channels and the business problems you’re trying to solve will ground your organic and paid social programs—and show your marketing leaders that you have data at the core of your social media analytics.