When it comes to brand and retail promotion and consumer engagement, the players chasing shiny objects are not the leaders. The leaders are those who invest in innovative platforms that maximize their intelligence about consumers and act on that intelligence in ways that boost the potential for long-term value across all available channels.
On a panel at the recent Advertising Week 2013 event, some of my fellow panelists took the position that tracking performance of promotional offers through the point of sale is difficult. They were right (to a degree—though I would argue that the solution doesn’t have to be difficult if you choose the right approach). But even it if it is difficult, it’s still extraordinarily important to the evolution of retailers and brands. The reality is that it needs to happen if brands and retailers are going to truly leverage the omnichannel opportunity that now exists through marketing delivered via print, mobile, online, QR codes and more.
What brands and retailers need to realize is that the value of marketing lies not only in converting an offer into a sale, but also in the depth of intelligence that can be gathered about how, when and why that sale is finally made (and, conversely, when it’s not). Imagine if a brand or retailer could distribute an omnichannel offer—leveraging Facebook, Twitter, mobile ad networks, in-game rewards, websites and more—and then track the performance of that offer in real time across each channel.
The ability to gather that intelligence requires a foundational groundwork in the form of platforms that have the ability to track attribution and return on investment for any offer. Such a solution provides proof points across all channels so that brands and retailers know mobile offers work and are actually driving sales—and if they’re not, exactly how the offers should be adapted.
Having such a platform in place enables retailers to run their own successful marketing programs and enables brands to drive their loyal customers into retailers’ stores. But they won’t do it separately and alone. Retailers in particular need to help educate the broader marketplace that this capability exists. Brands realize that the capability isn’t everywhere, and are demonstrating an increased willingness to look at retailer-by-retailer strategies.
The number and type of available marketing channels increases all the time, and the key to maximizing the valuable opportunity available in all of them is gathering and acting on data about consumer behavior and what’s working and not working. The truly forward-thinking brands and retailers will leverage the technology they need to collect that intelligence, allowing them to truly scale across all of those channels.