No, this blog post is not going to be an adult contemporary supergroup pop-song. It is, however, a post telling you that your marketing practices are out of date and dragging your business down. Nobody has the time to deal with a company that refuses to evolve and keep pace with new practices. The digital landscape is in a constant state of flux thanks to the proliferation of the technology and speed at which we can communicate on global scale. Marketing strategy is taking a turn, following a customer-first approach. This is the same thing we see happening in eCommerce; both B2B and B2C. We’re living in the age of the customers, and your marketing needs to reflect that.
The old school approach to marketing that we all have come to know, and for some reason cannot detach ourselves from, steams from the practices of big consumer goods companies. Once considered the cutting edge of marketing to consumers, these types of strategies that had been developed by behemoths brand are stagnant. Gone are the ways to reach buyers through advertising media in a direct channel of distribution. Marketing is huge part of your business, and grabbing the attention of consumers is competitive to say the least. Don Draper’s creative and compelling sense of story-telling to capture an audience through advertising is still part of the right track to elevate marketing, but there’s so much more to it in the 21st century because of the way shoppers can observe, consume, and interact.
Buyers are dictating how products are advertised through new buying behaviours and high expectations. In this fast-paced consumer environment marketing is all about delivering an experience. This real-time customer experience is more similar to what we traditional think of as customer service. Marketing isn’t limited to the experience of the product, it’s about the cross-channel customer experience. So our question to you is, are you still kicking it old school? Or are you one of the eCommerce stores pioneering marketing in the 21st century to grow your business and drive sales?
Everything matters in marketing in this day and age. Is this statement too general for you? Then you aren’t even close to being contemporary in your marketing practices. Marketing is complex, and you have to have a general overview of every little piece in the process of running your eCommerce store and creating awareness of your brand and products/services that you sell. Holistic marketing is made up of: internal, relationship, integrated, and socially responsive marketing. A perspective for your business that may be helpful in this regard is to take on the mindset that you are developing customers for your business through your marketing efforts. This holistic approach to marketing involves this notion that business relationships are not purely transactional anymore. Your motivation may be to complete a transaction online, but your marketing needs to be about building lasting profitable relationships with customers.
We can argue app vs. mobile site ’til we’re blue in the face, but what you need to focus on right now is mobile optimization. Earlier this year we covered Google’s “Mobilegeddon” update, which took into account the mobile-friendliness of a website for search rankings. Post-update businesses lost traffic because they weren’t mobile optimized. Consumers are spending are more time browsing on a mobile device than they are on a desktop, especially when it comes to shopping. A recent report from Think with Google indicated that in-store buyers used their mobile devices at some point in the purchasing decision! Mobile is the new shopping assistant, giving customers access to the information they need to make a purchase. People are connected 24/7 and if you aren’t leveraging this new level of immediacy and relevance this connectivity has brought your business then your business will be dead in the water. Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm is not just going to disappear into thin air (tip: it will only keep evolving), and consumers aren’t going to suddenly stop browsing and buying on mobile devices. From your SEO to your social media accounts, your marketing needs to be formatted for mobile-first!
Gone are the days that having a Facebook account involved group messages with your friends to organize an outing to Moxies for daiquiris on a Wednesday after work. Obviously, the return of a social platform will greatly depend on your business, but let me give you an overview of the power social media has for eCommerce businesses. Numbers have been rolling in consistently since the advent and popularity of social media, and being social matters. Shopify analyzed data from a broad range of their merchants and found some key facts about social commerce, including: Facebook is a main driver of traffic and sales, Polyvore generates orders with a higher average order value, visits from Instagram also results in a higher average order value, Youtube consistently converts at 1.16%. Recently these social platforms have been integrating eCommerce or making it easier for merchants to sell on a platform. Beyond the sales and traffic you can expect from social media, social commerce assists in the engagement of customers and heightened awareness of your brand. This is where your social strategy will crossover with your content strategy. Remember it takes more than being present on social platforms; your content needs to speak effectively to your brand and audience.
CRM has traditionally been a popular tool within B2B, but it’s beginning to make its mark in the B2C world as companies are facing more pressure to offer superior customer experience. Pricing isn’t your competing factor anymore with more companies heading online, it’s the service you provide your customers that will differentiate your business from the rest. Your CRM can arm your business with the relevant conversation you should be having with your customers to facilitate a richer customer segmentation experience. There is an opportunity for you to engage with customers at multiple points across channels with the rise of omnichannel. Your customer experience needs to be flawless from consistency to personalization. Customer Relationship Management tools allow for a 360 degree view of your customers, with every interaction trackable for your team stored in one place. This stored data comes into play when setting up customer segments to target specific customers and streamlining your message, as well as helping you track which of your customers are most influential and valuable to your business.
Bring Your eCommerce Site Up To Speed with the 21st Century
These are just a few examples of marketing elements you need to consider and implement to bring your eCommerce site (and frankly any online presence for your business) into the 21st Century. Competition online is fierce, and if your strategic efforts aren’t reflecting the current trends in technology, catering to this idea of a “customer-first” approach then you aren’t going to succeed. It’s that simple. So, remember these four elements to bring your marketing into this century: