By Jessica Lee, HelloWorld
As the digital landscape continues to expand, retail brands are presented with more opportunities than ever to interact with consumers across channels and gather valuable insights along the way.
In a world where data begets data, the most potent campaigns are powered by cross-channel initiatives, which allow consumers to move seamlessly across social channels and experience brand messaging in a way that’s consistent and familiar.
In order to fuel effective campaigns, however, brands must have a thorough understanding of their audience, the digital platforms they’re most likely to engage with, and the types of content they prefer. To grasp richer insights, marketers must recognize the research, discovery and acquisition phases of the data cycle and how they relate to shopper interaction.
Research Phase: Deciding What You Want
From Facebook to Snapchat, Reddit and Vine, consumers are swimming in a sea of social media, providing brands with a plethora of potential communication points. Choosing the right channels to have a presence on requires marketers to take a close look at their target audience and determine the mediums where marketing will be most effective.
When crafting a campaign, marketers must analyze their objectives and determine whether their end goal is to generate followers, promote new products, increase loyalty, or something else entirely. Understanding these key objectives can help marketers determine the proper channels to use and the tactics best fit to meet their aspirations.
When devising its “Reasons to Love Denim” sweepstakes, J.Crew kept its goals top of mind. To raise awareness for its new Madewell product line, the clothier paid special attention to the platforms where its fans congregated, and identified Pinterest as the best fit for its female target audience. Participants were invited to pin one of the 12 featured Madewell styles for the chance to win a $1,500 gift card.
Entrants were then prompted to share the sweepstakes with their other social networks, Facebook and Twitter, encouraging cross-channel behavior. These facets directly correlated to J.Crew’s mission. By incentivizing the act of sharing the Madewell line, J.Crew successfully encouraged fans to promote their newest product to their social channels, while increasing brand loyalty along the way.
Discovery Phase: Plunging Into Consumer Preference
While it’s tempting for brands to moonlight on every social channel, brands should take consumer preference into consideration and pay attention to the mediums their desired consumers are most apt to engage with.
Brands should then be prepared to take a deep dive into noteworthy platforms, analyzing stylistic norms and accepted language. Paying attention to these preferences and adopting them increases a brand’s chances of being embraced on a channel and helps marketers craft messages specific to their audience.
Brands also must identify content that resonates with their audience. When brands create targeted messaging specific to a sect of consumers, they align themselves to collect stronger analytics about their audience based on their reception. Knowing what this data looks like and how it’s measured can provide valuable insights about consumer preference that can be used to refine social campaigns. To figure out what audiences favor, play around with cadence and see how posting at different times of the day affects interaction. Determining what drives consumer enthusiasm can help you craft campaigns specific to shopper needs.
IHOP recently received attention for its boisterous Twitter presence, equipped with youthful tweets teaming with hip-hop slang. Throughout Q3, IHOP’s sassy persona helped its account grow its following 18% and a recent tweet received more than 20,000 retweets. The brand has also taken to running spirited Twitter contests, asking followers to insert “Waffullicious Waffles” into lyrics for a chance to win a prize. IHOP’s upbeat, playful and contemporary persona has helped them gain a surplus of followers, and in turn, greater access to their audience.
Acquisition Phase: Obtaining Data In Real Time
With the rise of retail apps, brands can now receive powerful data points directly from consumer transactions, locations and behaviors. Beacons have especially contributed to the data pool, revolutionizing the way marketers engage with shoppers. Location-based technologies like beacons allow brands to send targeted coupons and other incentives at the right phase of the purchase cycle based on a consumer’s purchase history and whereabouts. Each time an app is used, marketers learn more about their customers and the resulting redemption rates will help create even stronger, more meaningful campaigns.
After experimenting with beacon technology, American Eagle Outfitters discovered that offering consumers real-time awards for trying on clothes significantly influenced their behaviors. The chain installed beacon technology in more than 100 of its locations, enabling app users to receive notifications upon stepping in-store.
American Eagle played around with the technology, sending different messages to shoppers throughout their visit and realized that the percentage of users who tried on clothes was more than double for those who those who received beacon-enabled offers versus those who did not. Such data demonstrates that when consumers are presented with something of value, they’re likely to opt in, positively impacting sales and in-store activity.
By paying special mind to each phase of the data cycle, marketers can best identify the needs and preferences of their audiences and build memorable campaigns that align with brand objectives. Cross-channel campaigns created with the data cycle in mind will ultimately help marketers reach rich, relevant data, enabling them to continuously sculpt initiatives best fit for their audience.
Jessica Lee is the Sr. Manager of Mobile for HelloWorld. With more than nine years of mobile marketing experience, Lee is a veteran in the space. In her role, Lee focuses on driving the mobile strategic direction of the agency and their clients. Driven by knowledge and innovation, Lee’s career includes mobile work with Proctor & Gamble, Walgreens and Humana. In addition, she works with the Heartland Mobile Council to develop mobile certification classes and to facilitate discussions between brands regarding their mobile learnings and strategies.