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Think like a marketer, act like a retailer

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Many marketers are obsessed with the content of their campaigns and their websites, and rightly so. A well-crafted message and intelligently structured information are essential to winning and retaining customers when advertising and trading online, writes Richard Mullins, director at Acceleration.

As any retailer can vouch for, great content is not enough to ensure a strong rate of customer conversion. Retailers should also understand their clients’ needs, so that they can deliver against those requirements as they channel them through their conversion funnel. To put it simply, one lesson to take from retailers is that marketers need to put the customer right at the heart of what they do.
The truly successful retailers are masters at identifying different customer segments, understanding their needs and then responding with the correct products for their need. Then, their marketing materials, advertising campaigns and the layout of their stores are all designed to help customers to convert.
As an online marketer, a similar set of capabilities needs to be built into the marketing campaigns by delivering the right content to the right consumer, based on their real needs and interests.
For many marketers, this represents a fundamental mind shift away from simply trying to capture an initial sale, towards creating a platform for a longer-term engagement, based on matching the products and content to the customer’s needs.
Luckily, the online marketing environment offers an extensive range of tools that can help marketers to meet this goal. One of the biggest advantages that the Internet offers is the ability to see how customers behave, so that content can be tailored in response to their inferred needs.
This enables marketers to serve up the right advertising message for their needs and then channel them to the right pages on the website so that they can get to what they want as quickly as possible. It is all about measuring and analysing the right data to understand how people get to the website (from searches and ads for example), what they do once they get there and how they convert once they arrive.
For example, information can be collected about Internet users by browsing information and the searches they have conducted to understand what they’re looking for. If someone is reading the holiday section of a website and searching for flights to Cape Town, an ad for a package holiday that takes them straight to the page where they can book can be served to them.
By understanding their customers, marketers can use their content to their advantage to meet customer needs and improve their conversion rate. As any retailer knows, achieving sales is what really matters at the end of the day.