Is your store filled with customers comparison shopping with their smartphones? Are you losing sales without realizing it because your website isn’t mobile friendly or e-commerce enabled?
Technology has become both a blessing and a curse for many Canadian and U.S. retailers. The smartphone and tablet explosion, coupled with social media channels like Facebook and Pinterest, has introduced many fresh challenges and competitive pressures for retailers.
For a thought-provoking look at all six marketing and merchandising trends, along with a series of provocative questions for retailers to consider, read Nurun’s free, full trend report today.
Please note: This is the first of five trend reports. Next will be a report on business models, followed by value exchange, analytics and emerging technology platforms. The culmination of trend scanning and subsequent phases will inform future scenarios in our final strategic foresight report, which will be released in 2013.
To be added to our foresight mailing list, or to learn more about our project, contact Jen Chow and Ryan Bigge.
Evaluating the success of your marketing efforts across key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential; however, making those KPIs meaningful can be a challenge. Here are four steps that can ensure you are accurately measuring the performance of your marketing efforts.
1. Start with your business objective.
Aligning with the company’s overall business objectives is important in proving marketing activities have the ability to directly impact the overall performance of the business. Additionally, this can help you develop marketing objectives and a strategy that aligns with the business objectives.
Ensure these marketing objectives have the ability to be universal and translate to KPIs across all of your efforts, from the goals established in your website analytics to media objectives. All too often marketers can get tactical in evaluating performance by expected metrics. For example, leads from a trade show or completion rates from online video are metrics or data segments typically used to evaluate these tactics; however, if leads or awareness is not part of the objective then how is that working to move the needle?
2. Invest in research.
Frequently we hear about “the power of data.” However, many organizations need to reevaluate the data they have, how they are using the data, how they are getting the data, and what additional data is essential in measuring their objectives. Working with what data you have is valuable, but also knowing what data you want to have and investing in the research can be a big win for many stakeholders across the business. Set up a research effort to ensure the data you want is going to be clear, measureable, and actionable.
3. Know what success looks like.
Creating KPIs, establishing benchmarks, and iterating to improve performance is essential in realizing the potential of any marketing effort, but you also have to know where to draw the line in order to determine if the effort is successful enough for you to continue to optimize. Having a hard cost-per-acquisition metric is easy, but not all businesses are able to have such clear metrics. Evaluating the lifetime value of a customer or specific segment audience is a good place to start in understanding that value.
4. Look at the big picture.
The lifetime value of a customer is critical for many organizations to recognize not only on the importance of acquisition and growth, but also where they need to invest more on retention. Additionally, when looking at metrics on a higher level insights emerge that can help to identify where problems or issues are. For example, spending $500,000 in media for an online marketing campaign to drive orders is fruitless if there is a problem with the website conversion rate. Spend the time and energy in looking at the big picture before you start throwing money around. Building benchmarks and KPIs from a poor user experience is hardly ideal. Identify your weaknesses, show your improvements, and then start benchmarking and optimizing.
While there are only four steps, the overall process can be overwhelming. To make sense of it all, map out a long-term plan of where you want to be and how you will get there with regular performance reporting and analysis along the way. It’s OK to make an assumption with the data you have in an effort to move forward and qualify that assumption later. The most important part is ensuring you have the ability to evaluate everything not only against the laid-out KPIs, but how it all works together in supporting the objectives.
This article was originally published on ClickZ on August 1st.
Daily blog posts. Monthly magazines. Quarterly trend reports. Must-read books. Anyone who works at the intersection of technology and people is swimming in information. This data smog can make deciphering the implications of the latest tech and social developments difficult. One solution is strategic foresight, which can help you make sense of emerging trends and clearly evaluate your options for the future. It’s a tool to manage risk when facing ambiguity in the marketplace.
Strategic foresight doesn’t predict the future, but it does help prepare you for tomorrow by envisioning a number of different, yet possible, future states in the market landscape 10+ years from now. These future states are often described as a set of scenarios, and they emerge from an analysis of current trends. So, as a simple example, the increasing popularity of pop-up retail spaces, combined with the high adoption of mobile devices, could develop into a future filled with transient storefronts. This scenario would be made possible due to the minimal wired infrastructure required for information and payment.
The rapid uptake of technology means that our social lives, cultural experiences, policies, regulations, ecological landscape, and business models are increasingly intertwined. Through its very design, strategic foresight is built to accommodate complexity by considering trends from a multi-dimensional perspective.
The basic elements of strategic foresight include:
The Nurun Toronto team has launched a foresight initiative to articulate the future of B2C retail and commerce, and explore implications for Canadian and North American retailers. The scenarios we generate will give our retail clients the toolkit necessary to start imagining (and preparing for) the possible futures in the marketplace.
We will be starting with a trends series to gather material for scenario development, focusing on the domains of marketing and merchandising, business models, value exchange, analytics, and technology platforms. Over the next few months, we will be publishing a series of short reports. To be added to our foresight mailing list, or to learn more about our project, contact Jen Chow and Ryan Bigge.
Image Source: Flickr
At Nurun Toronto, a few of us had the opportunity to attend this year’s NXNE Interactive. With a varying line up of presentations and panel sessions, inspiration was served up in many forms as we learned about what creativity looks like today and how it’s connecting a span of digital and physical platforms.
As our smartphones and devices become increasingly integrated into our daily lives, digital media is becoming much more than just entertainment or a utility in today’s society. Whether it’s viral videos on YouTube or a gallery space filled with iPhone photography, digital media is evolving at an incredible pace and often through unpredictable methods.
A common theme across the various sessions was the importance of human connection. Putting the focus on people – not the product – and emphasizing emotional connections are integral parts of any successful brand campaign, particularly when it comes to digital. Although digital media may seem intangible, human connection and sentiments can still be projected through methods such as storytelling, brand personality and curation. Deeper connections must be formed as we experience a cultural shift in the digital space, where the line between online and offline is becoming more blurred.
The evolution of interactive social content is also bringing about a new appreciation for analog. As emotional connections are formed with tweets, texts or Instagram photos, we’re seeing an increase in services that allow you to bring this content to life through physical keepsakes such as Printstagram or tweet2hold (co-created by our very own Ryan Bigge!). This hybrid of physical and intangible, known as the “PhysiDigital,” may be something that you’ll be seeing more of in 2012 as we continue to connect, consume and create online.
Every now and then a creative director or senior strategist will send a company-wide email expressing their disbelief that another agency somehow came up with almost the exact same idea they had, and for a similar brand. It happens at every agency. I must admit that this is a familiar feeling for me as well. Browsing online archives of award winning work can get pretty frustrating, particularly when it all starts to look the same.
Aside from alleviating these (understandable) frustrations, conducting thorough post-mortem investigations to see precisely why the agency has not been able to sell a similar, winning idea has become an important part of the pitch process.
MUST READ: For useful tips, check out The Perfect Pitch by Jon Steel.
My personal hit list of reasons for not selling the most relevant digital concepts of the past year looks something like this:
Nowadays we digital folks have a multitude of tools at our disposal – such as Google, Twitter, forums and blogs – to amplify the true voice of the consumer. It’s an honest approach, and one that doesn’t require playing the super specialist hocus pocus agency card. It’s about being genuine and revealing what the clients and prospects are really saying, feeling and perceiving. In my opinion, it’s the smartest and most diplomatic way to make the above-the-line people listen to us, or to question budgets, briefs and requests from our client’s boss.