As the holiday season approaches, and thoughts turn to parties and holidays and spending time with family and loved ones, I like to find time to reflect on the year that has just passed, and all the things that have caught my attention at work and in conversation with colleagues and customers.
It’s also important to remember that although we’re marketers, we’re also consumers—and this is particularly clear when it comes to online shopping and the disruption it has caused to traditional retailers.
Gone are the days of panic buying from the High Street on Christmas Eve—I can remember a particularly fraught day spent chasing down a Christmas pudding in London many years ago. Now even from Fortnum & Mason, one of the most iconic and traditional British retailers, will send a hamper or a Christmas pudding on your behalf to anywhere in the world—and you can order it from the comfort of your home.
This got me thinking about how companies are having to evolve to keep up with the pace of change.
Everyone’s begging for an adaptive app.
When I was young, it seems like there was one big gift for Christmas every year—a toy every child wanted, because it promised an exciting experience we’d never had before. It wasn’t so long ago that branded mobile apps were little more than fun toys, but this year, they’ve leapt into the spotlight to become drivers of all sorts of personalised experiences.
The latest apps are less like toys and more like smart services, providing users with relevant content and personalised alerts that recognise and adapt to their needs on the fly. Retailers are using apps to serve dynamic individualised experiences to customers, to gather rich behavioural data, and even to work with other data sources to help optimise the overall customer journey.
Personal recognition isn’t just one-on-one anymore.
Back in the days of shopping on the High Street—or in your own village —many local shopkeepers would know you by sight, and would recommend products you’d find useful: “Shopping for a day at the beach? Here’s some sunscreen!” “Like those red shoes? I’ve got a dress to match!”
But in today’s world of large-scope marketing, we’ve have had to scale up our efforts, building customer profiles that use location data, past purchases, and even communications with other departments to help us recognise thousands or even millions of visitors as if they were old friends. Still, one important thing hasn’t changed: the more companies interact with each customer, the better they can learn what that customer will be looking to buy next week.
Channels have begun to work together in harmony.
You can’t celebrate the holidays without getting the family together. And you can’t run a cutting-edge marketing campaign without using each channel to support the others. Retailers that’ve begun to use channels together, instead of as separate tools, have found that they’ve been able to cross-sell and up-sell like never before, no matter when, where, or how they interact with a customer.
From apps to web, from gaming consoles to the Internet of Things (IoT), every channel grows in power when it works with the others in harmony, creating a seamless message that spans every touchpoint. By bringing data and content together across all channels, marketers are discovering opportunities that would scarcely have been imaginable just a few short years ago.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the journeys we’ve taken on the Digital Marketing Blog over the past year. We’re already planning a lot of exciting content for 2017, so stay tuned. This holiday season is just a short break before the start of a fast-paced new year—and I, for one, can hardly wait to get started.