At the core of any successful marketing campaign is the ability to create an emotional connection between the brand and the customer. This is especially true when it comes to digital shopper marketing.
Despite all the technological advances that have transformed the industry in recent years—from smart phones and apps, to geo-targeting and biometrics—it still all boils down one thing: The relationship between you and your consumer. Sure, bells and whistles are great. Everyone gets excited about innovative digital campaigns and mobile strategies, brands spend a lot of money designing and implementing them, they look pretty, and corporate is happy. But often these campaigns fail in their execution.
In almost every case a campaign’s ultimate success is based on its ability to build a relationship with the shopper. Without this critical partnership, every digital shopper marketing experience that is put in motion will fail by any honest and objective evaluation.
Planning Your Digital Shopper Marketing Program
Don’t be discouraged if getting started is a little overwhelming. My agency receives dozens of calls and emails every week from vendors pitching us on the latest and greatest digital solutions to everything from e-circulars to loyalty programs. Keeping track of what’s working and what isn’t can be challenging, even for experts in the field.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you sift through the ever-growing list of ‘must haves’ in your digital shopper marketing plans:
1. Keep it Personal. Today’s digital consumers appreciate communication based on their past purchases and offers that are tailored to their needs. Remember this phrase: Hyper-personal means hyper-relevant. Hyper-relevant leads to a true, two-way conversation with the shopper.
2. Don't be afraid of creating a mobile app for customers. An app isn't right for everybody, but if it is developed properly and engages shoppers on their terms, a good mobile program could provide personalized, valuable content for customers both in and out of store.
3. Loyalty programs are the real deal. They’re everywhere and almost everyone is trying their hand. The ones who are most successful at loyalty are the luxury brands, in large part because they’re able to provide customers with an experience that makes them feel like VIPs. Experts in digital shopper marketing should take a cue from this and develop personalized and exclusive experiences that will enable them to connect with their customers in ways once never thought possible.
4. Make social media a key part of your shopping marketing campaign. Sure, just about everyone has a Facebook page, but few brands are leveraging them as effectively as they can. The job of your digital shopper marketing expert will be to integrate your social media platform into the shopping experience--not just to help you get a lot of “likes” on Facebook.
There is no doubt that social media is an important part of digital shopper marketing--60% of smartphone users are already social shopping, both in and out of stores. If you aren't out ahead in this space, you might as well stay home.
5. Carefully choose a partner to guide you through the process. As the worlds of shopper marketing and social media become more and more interconnected, it’s important to have expertise in both areas. The majority of digital shops have little or no actual shopper marketing experience, and most traditional shopper marketing agencies have never built a single successful digital experience. You must find someone who connects both your shopper marketing needs and digital know-how under one roof.
Having a clear understanding of how to implement your digital strategy, and which technologies to leverage, will help you enhance your customers’ shopping experience, while building a stronger bond between you and your target audience. These relationships are the true mark of success and the key to longevity in an ever-changing environment.
Joshua Black is director of business development at Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide.