Companies love to trumpet their latest digital successes. What they don’t often do is decipher activity from achievement, in the form of actual sales or ROI delivered through their digital efforts. Here are a few strategies that will keep you ahead of the digital marketing game.
Don't isolate mobile. Everyone’s talking about mobile. Emarketer even upped its mobile ad spending estimates recently, predicting that U.S. companies would spend as much as $7.19 billion this year on mobile ads. But, don’t treat mobile as a stand-alone. Savvy companies understand that mobile is simply one step in the consumer purchasing process. In our super-connected world, where consumers can research and buy via smartphone, tablet or desktop, brands need to grasp how all the pieces work together to support customer purchase decisions. In short: think cross-channel and build cohesive strategies that are consumer rather than device-centric.
Unify offline and online. Companies that get digital marketing present seamless brand experiences to their customers. Offline and online should be tightly integrated -- not seen as a threat to one another. Savvy retailers offer touchscreens on-site that enhance the in-store experience and enable customers to get more info online; or they connect customers at the brick-and-mortar location with a member of the staff aware of their previous online interactions with the brand. Companies without a retail space need to focus on tighter integration between the call center and online. Our own research shows that digital shoppers -- especially mobile ones -- have far greater expectations of call-center reps after being online; they want a quick response with minimal hold time and don’t want to go back to square one. Call-center reps need to be able to pick up the conversation from just where the consumer left off.
Incorporate call centers into mobile commerce initiatives. Yes, it costs you money to staff and maintain a customer service line. But the best companies recognize the potential for a call center to function as a pivotal element to their mobile strategy. By leveraging data about customer needs and behaviors to make customer service reps smarter, call centers can be counted on to generate mobile sales. Companies can reap the profits from this crucial investment in the customer experience.
Ask the right questions. The phrase Big Data gets bandied about, but smart companies know how to not only capture and analyze relevant information, but to respond quickly to what it tells them. When consumers are engaged in a purchase cycle, what devices do they use at different stages? What is known about each device and the behaviors associated with it -- and what is hindering efforts to get a shopper to the next stage? If your data tells you prospects searching on mobile are more serious buyers than, say, PC users, think next about how you can create shortcuts to mobile purchase. Or, if your analytics show that tablet users tend to have a larger cart size than mobile users, create a way to take advantage of that opportunity.
Avoid one-size-fits-all. Sophisticated brands get that not all customers are created equal. Today, with the right data from online and offline sources, companies can strategically target consumers one shopper at a time. Let's say a leading car manufacturer sees two potential customers looking at its products online, at the same time and on the same device. One is on the fence, while the other is a sure thing. The carmaker offers the first customer a more aggressive online promotion than the latter. That’s making smart use of the company's marketing dollars.
So have we spilled the beans? Only companies dedicated to actually executing on these strategies will be successful in the long term. Will you be one of them?