Commentary

Marketers Name Biggest Challenges As They Look To Increase Scale

At Tuesday’s MediaPost Brand Insider Summit in Austin, Texas, Steve Smith, editorial director of Events, shared with the audience the answers to questions he had posed to them earlier. Here’s a link to the slideshow. It’s also copied below:

What is the biggest challenge facing your brand as you try to increase scale?

Low brand awareness. Our unaided and aided brand awareness is relatively low, so while that presents a challenge due to the investment it requires to have a larger share of voice, it also presents a huge opportunity

Awareness and consistency across the many channels where we are communicating with customers

•Finding profitable ways to grow customers

Trying to scale paid advertising in a way that continues to be profitable 

Cost of acquisition, spending in less traditional channels to grow brand awareness.

Scaling the various challenges while maintaining key metrics

Scaling social media to drive efficient ROAS

•Balancing commerce with brand

Physical products brand growth are often throttled by supply chain

Connecting all data to create personalized messaging

Consolidation of distributors combined with a big uptick in emerging brands. Harder than ever to compete for shelf space with retailers

•Finding the right talent

It’s been difficult to work quickly to develop new content, but also have that content be engaging and high quality

New products & Inventory

Which customer acquisition channel(s) have been most responsible for your growth until now?

We are a big fan of organic YouTube. It has impacted the growth of the company dramatically. 

Facebook / IG - with video in particular has really changed the game for us as you can show proofpoints of function-oriented products very compellingly

Which customer acquisition channel(s) have been most responsible for your growth until now?

Social lead Gen programs

Paid social - Facebook and Instagram

Online Paid Channels (paid, affiliate) 

Physical events that we attend

Organic sessions on our DTC site

Social Media, CRM, SEO, Affiliate

•Paid search (shopping and text ads)

Paid search, SEO.  Need to find wins in pure acquisition like display

For DTC we’re recognized as a destination

•Strategic partnerships

TV and Brand campaigns

Home Shopping

Which channels are you looking towards for your next stage of growth? 

Social activation gives us scale in a really efficient way. Our investment levels are relatively low but we’ve become a lot more data driven in our approach so scaling is easier

We're doubling down on video on FB/IG - though we haven't cracked it on YouTube. 

Video (YouTube), Native advertising, Podcasts, print

Retail, TV, Print, Digital 

•Digital TV (optimize based on data from smart TVs and streaming services

•We are going to continue to invest in our organic strategy through our YouTube, Social Media, and blog.

Our goal is to find channels where our service is meaningful and limit our engagement with customers to those channels. 

•Scaling the big ones like PPC and SEO and getting more out of Email

Paid search

Continued investment in our CRM  platforms once we have customers in our pipeline.

Amazon

What have been the biggest challenges in working with outside agencies, data providers, vendors?

Integration - as more and more we lean on numerous outsourced partners (email, SEM, dev, winback etc) their systems all need to play nicely and as part of a wider funnel on our e-com site

Being able to connect our internal data through multiple platform in real time. 

Meet time lines

•Attribution (vendors)  

Turnover (agencies)

Lots of complexity due to restrictions on marketing alcohol. Internal complexity from the various data collection/POS systems we have that aren’t tied together. We have a lot of data, it’s just very difficult to piece it together effectively.  

•Understanding our brand values and culture has been a challenge for the small amount of agencies we work with.

Brand consistency 

Consistent results 

Resource management

•Outside providers valuing quantity over quality, lower quality work due to a full client roster

They do not truly understand our business and try to treat us like we are selling $75 shoes or Insurance quotes.  We have a very upscale customer base that may have a 3 month sales cycle

To find partners that truly understand our brand and our voice. 

•Need to find partners that are doing something different or have a niche that goes beyond what 50 other vendors can offer.  Sorry but, “we will be your strategic partners” or “we can track conversions right within our platform” is not enough of a differentiator

Connecting data, sorting through all of the technology solutions that are out there. Finding time to parse what vendors can be strategic long term partners

What has been your biggest customer service challenge?

There's a soft line between FB ads and customer service, and so the ads often serve both roles which is something we've been embracing as an opportunity for real-time conversations with the customer

 Ensuring we’re responding to customers in a timely way. We don’t have customer service over the weekend or in the evenings which can create issues for fans looking for quick responses to questions they have

•I would say the biggest challenge is operationally fulfilling orders that stand out from the pack. Most third-party logistics providers focus on cost and speed, rather than quality and presentation. It’s been hard to find the right partners who can grow with us.

The delivery aspect (we are a modern furniture company)

Getting all reps to be consistent

• Our customer service allows for self-service as well as talking to a real human being. We want to empower customers with education and the tools to help themselves because it's often faster for them and helps them understand the solution if they're part of the process, but we don't want them to feel like we're pushing them to do it themselves because we don't want to help them in more traditional ways like over the phone.

•Inventory stock outs

Connecting all customer data to customer service data – e.g. next-best offer, most recent offer viewed, etc.

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