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Marketing Operations

CMO’s Guide: Capitalizing on Emerging Marketing Trends Beyond 2020

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The landscape of the marketing industry is in constant motion. These changes present new opportunities for marketers to engage with consumers to drive sales. However, some brands are struggling to keep up with changes in the industry, and are consequently falling behind as the broader retail landscape changes.

According to Charles Golvin, as quoted by Chris Pemberton in his Gartner article, “Shifting consumer behaviors and technology innovation deprive marketers of equilibrium. Recovering that equilibrium will require organizational alacrity, a laser focus on customer needs, and a balanced embrace of automation.”

In order to ensure future success, brands need to find ways to capitalize on the current changes in the industry. So, what can brand marketers do to gain benefits from emerging marketing forces in the coming years?

shop with digital network graphics - retail continuity

Adapt to Consumer Behavioral Changes

Consumers are changing the way they shop. Technology plays a major role in this evolution of the modern shopper. Customers now use voice commands, wherever they are, to get tips and advice from automated voice interfaces as if it were a human. Brand marketers need to ensure that their brand comes up as a suggestion when customers search for a particular product through voice automation.

Along with using voice commands, consumers respond enormously to video content. Brands should recognize this emerging preference and focus on producing creative, engaging video content to capture the attention of potential customers. By discovering how to use new consumption formats to reach your target consumers, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing presence and drive sales for your brand.

marketing meeting

Partner With Experts

As we already know, many brands collect personal data from shoppers. But the simple act of gathering information doesn’t lead to results by itself. Brand marketers need to figure out how to properly analyze and utilize the data that they have.

Brands need to ensure that they employ analytical talent with the expertise necessary to extract valuable insights from large amounts of data. As Pemberton explains, “Based on the Gartner Marketing Analytics survey, nearly half of marketing leaders surveyed said some of their most expensive and experienced analysts and data scientists spend their time preparing data to be analyzed rather than analyzing the data.” The problem is that many data analysts are simply “missing the mark” when it comes to effectively utilizing personal information to market towards a target audience.

When brand marketers know how to put consumer data into action, they are able to focus on personalizing the customer experience, which results in higher profits and increased conversion rates. An effective way to capture the attention of customers is through personalized, creative marketing materials that can engage customers with call-to-action.

AI-machine learning

Marketing with Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence is an important technology that has strongly impacted the marketing industry. The increased use of sophisticated technology for marketing may pose challenges for brand marketers, especially those who are convinced that legacy marketing tactics are the only effective way to reach customers. What brands need to realize is that an effective, balanced combination of physical marketing tactics and digital marketing methods is required for brands to remain profitable in the current age.

Brand marketers can capitalize on the emergence of new automation devices by delivering personalized communications to consumers. Pemberton explains, “Vendors promise their AI solutions will yield increases in marketer efficiency and deliver optimal communications to prospects and customers at the moment of maximum influence.”

As automation methods continue to dominate the marketing industry, marketing teams will experience a disruption in the way they perform. But, when brand marketers see technological advances as new opportunities, as opposed to problems, they can invent and implement innovative methods to improve marketing outcomes and customer experiences.

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The changing terrain of marketing in the coming years doesn’t mean that you will struggle. Instead, brand marketers should see these market challenges as opportunities to redefine their business by thinking of new, creative ways to engage with customers and drive sales.

Adapting to customers’ behavioral changes related to shopping, hiring experts who know how to effectively analyze data to improve marketing tactics, and capitalizing on the use of machines for marketing are important steps you can take as a brand marketer in order to flourish in today’s challenging market. By understanding these useful actions, brands are more likely to remain profitable and ensure a prosperous future for their business.

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Next Generation CMOs: Transformation Leaders

butterfly out of cocoon

The marketing industry is constantly evolving. These changes bring new opportunities and roles for CMOs and the brands they represent, alike. Brand marketers today are stepping away from legacy marketing tactics and inventing new, exciting campaigns to reach customers.

According to Deloitte’s Jen Veenstra in her article, “If CMO roles as we’ve defined them have required proficiency not only in marketing but across multiple business functions, the job has expanded even further in complexity to include sustainable growth, highly personalized customer experiences, and advanced marketing innovation.”

In order to ensure success, CMOs need to embrace and step into key strategic roles. By doing so, you will increase opportunities to enhance brand awareness, driving revenue for your business, and expanding your own professional repertoire.

man on a toy car in flame - growth

Growth Driver

It is vital that CMOs drive growth for their brand. When they fail to establish and implement initiatives for improvement centered on growth, the brand suffers.

Most CMOs measure growth using revenue. However, this seems like a daunting task to accurately attribute, and many marketers experience disconnect when trying to drive growth through revenue.

But CMOs must put in the effort to become comfortable using revenue as a metric for growth by adopting the new role as enterprise business growth leader.

At the end of the day, one of the critical responsibilities that a CMO has is to have an end-to-end view of the customer, acknowledging trends, and making strategic recommendations to outsmart the competition to grow business. It is, ultimately, the bottom line for C-Suite decision-makers.

Customer Champion

Embracing customer data and intelligence are important ways for brands to deliver better customer experiences. You can gain valuable insights by collecting and tracking both emotional and transactional preferences from consumers across all channels.

CMOs can then use this data to become the “voice” for their shoppers. And, consequently, CMOs will more effectively engage with their target group of consumers and provide a personalized buying experience.

When brands know what consumers want and what their expectations are, they can implement marketing approaches that personally “speak” to customers.

Man holding tablet with icons popping out - CMO

Storyteller

Riveting, intriguing stories engage consumers’ interest. So, CMOs should ensure that they effectively assume the role of storyteller. By creating and sharing an entertaining narrative about your brand and value, shoppers will be more drawn to what you have to say, and more attracted to your products. Marketers can reshape their brand’s image through the stories they tell consumers.

As Veenstra explains, “It’s still up to marketers to safeguard and disseminate the news about their companies’ brands and invite consumers to participate in the narrative. Chief storytellers have been defined by their part in promoting brand relevance and consistency, and it appears they aren’t straying far away from this role.” Growth-oriented CMOs see storytelling as a thriving and exciting opportunity to connect with customers.

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CMOs no longer have only one role to follow. Brand marketers who want to remain profitable and relevant in today’s ever-changing market must wear different “hats,” hence, the future roles of CMO are likely to become even more complex. By adopting the enterprise-wide mindset to align with the shared goals, and to become a brand’s voice for consumers, CMOs will become the major player behind their company’s success.

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How Omnichannel Grocers Can Keep Up with the Digital Age of Shopping

While most consumers still prefer to do their grocery shopping in person, the presence of online grocery shopping is becoming more prevalent and is predicted to triple over the next ten years. This is creating new challenges and opportunities for both brand marketers and the consumer packaged goods industry.

Consumers don’t fully recognize the convenience of online grocery shopping yet, but omnichannel grocers can capitalize on the e-commerce market by customizing the online experience to their customers and incentivizing them to order online more than once.

According to Stephen Caine and Michelle Paratore at Bain & Company, “Only 42% of first-time users say online grocery shopping saves time, but it gets easier the more they try it.”  If grocers can keep customers coming back to online ordering, the likelihood of the customers using the same method and consistent brand products increase in the future.

So, what exactly do grocers need to do to prepare for the rising digital age of shopping?

online grocery shopping

Create a Convenient Online User Experience

Customers still consider shopping at a physical grocery store to be more convenient than attempting to navigate online grocery shopping. Grocers need to bridge the gap by breaking down the online experience to make it easy and convenient for the consumer to find what they need while also saving them money by suggesting cheaper, similar products.

The key is also personalizing the journey for online shoppers. Grocers can design tools that can touch and influence online shoppers’ decision-making process, such as making product recommendations based on the customer’s previously-purchased items and their shopping patterns.

Another tactic is to minimize the amount of effort required by the consumers by providing them with a visual “shelf” that contains their frequent and repeat orders. By doing so, grocers can make online shopping quicker, easier, and therefore more desirable for its customers.

Incentivize Customers to Shop Online with Your Brand

According to Caine and Paratore, “75% of online grocery shoppers say they are still using the first online grocer they tried.” Most people have a trusted local grocery store where they always shop. So, if local grocers create an online shopping platform that effectively reels in their loyal, regular customers, the likelihood that they will transition their grocery shopping with the same grocer online is almost guaranteed (the home-store bias).

Grocers can offer rewards to incentivize consumers to continue ordering online. Promotions such as coupons for relevant products, special sales, and spending rewards can serve to both personalize the customer’s experience, and to entice them to make repeat orders with your brand by making checkout quick and easy.

This is also a great opportunity for cross-channel engagement via things like direct mail marketing. Sending customers postcards with URLs or QR codes to unlock the rewards that they can redeem for personalized online coupons is a powerful way to build brand loyalty.

mobile grocery shopping

Offer Cutting-Edge Online Features that Fit the Consumer’s Lifestyle

Many consumers still use physical grocery lists to keep track of their shopping needs. Grocers can target this routine practice by designing an online feature that enables shoppers to log their frequently-purchased items and search for them quickly and easily.

Grocers can take it one step further and even create tools to relate to the customer’s lifestyle preferences. For example, for particularly health-conscious shoppers, grocers can offer recommendations for products and recipes that best fit their healthy lifestyle online and offline.

It’s all about personalizing the experience for each shopper, so they feel seen, understood, and valued by your brand. “Retailers who can deliver frictionless omnichannel experiences by investing in digital experiences and tools that save time for consumers shopping online or in stores will emerge as winners in this rapidly changing grocery landscape,” explain Caine and Paratore.

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While not occurring rapidly, consumers are beginning to transition into the digital age of grocery shopping. Many still find it more convenient to shop at a physical grocery store, but with the emergence of digital generations – such as Millennials and Generation Z – is expected to take the CPG and retail industry into the next chapter of the digital grocery shopping era.

Practical and data-based online tools are an essential part of the online experience that “do the work” for customers to shorten the buying cycle. Based on the customer’s shopping pattern, grocers can provide recommendations for items, store favorite item information for a timely reminder, offer coupons and special discounts specific toward their frequented items to help them accomplish their routine shopping practices.

By understanding how to transition into the digital age of grocery shopping, omnichannel grocers can capitalize on the growth of the online shopping world and boost the effectiveness and efficiency of their physical marketing activities as well. And by working with a trusted partner who can help you take advantage of this up-and-coming shopping platform, your brand can compete and win on the quality and convenience of your online user experience.

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Three Ways to Make Your POP Pop!

It’s no secret to anyone that as retail marketing technology has begun to transform in-store displays, it is also changing how retailers leverage those displays. According to an Inc.com report, 40 percent of shoppers still make in-store purchases at least once a week. And with so much revenue still flowing through brick-and-mortar retail spaces, one of the biggest ways marketers are seeking to capitalize this business is point-of-purchase (POP) displays.

That’s according to the experts at ThomasNet.com, who explain that POP displays are on the cutting edge of creating new, compelling customer experiences that encourage brand loyalty and drive greater in-store revenue. So, what does a truly exceptional POP display need to have?

three female shoppers-retail

Good POP Displays Are Interactive

Interactive experiences are not only the key to an effective POP display but the secret to a winning in-store retail experience in general. As we’ve discussed on this blog before, brick-and-mortar retailers are embracing the move towards transforming their stores into “experience centers,” where customers can interact with and experience a brand’s products in a way that online shopping just can’t match.

“The option to touch, feel, or test products when applicable is paramount to purchasing decisions,” ThomasNet says. In fact, 61 percent of consumers like trying on the item or actually seeing it in person before committing to an item, according to an Inc.com report. So whatever else your POP displays accomplish, make sure they give your shoppers something to physically interact with.

POP Displays Should Showcase Your Brand Identity

Your retail space is a brand’s world. Everything in it represents what your brand stands for, from the signage colors and materials to the music. And that includes your POP display.

“POP displays should give consumers a taste of the brand the product represents. Consumers in younger generations, especially, are looking to feel a connection with the products they buy—they want to feel good about the purchases they make,” ThomasNet explains.

You should use your POP displays to further your brand’s identity. What does your brand stand for in the minds of consumers? By customizing your POP displays, you can project whatever values represent your brand, from minimalism to environmentalism to outrageousness.

commercial printing

POP Displays Create Personal Connections

Especially among Millennial shoppers – who make up a larger and larger percentage of the buying public every day – personal connections can lead to long-lasting brand loyalty.

And POP displays are an excellent way to foster those connections. Maybe your POP display showcases “how Brand X shoppers have removed 10,000 tons of plastic waste from the oceans” by buying your recycled fashion products. Or perhaps you use it to show “real people enjoying Brand Y’s products at concerts and music festivals,” in order to let shoppers personally imagine their lives with your product.

“They want to have a medium to connect with the world around them and the causes they care about when they make purchasing decisions. Through showcasing aspects of a business that highlight these things, a retailer or marketer can anticipate a positive consumer response,” ThomasNet explains.

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By understanding the changing role of brick-and-mortar retail spaces as customer experience centers, brand marketers can start to leverage the true power of POP displays. And by working with a trusted partner who can deliver highly customized and unique POP displays, on-time and on-budget, your brand can compete and win on the quality of your retail customer experiences.

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Top Brand Marketing Trends for 2019

people looking up-crowd

2019 is set to be a game-changing year for brand marketers. Between a rapidly shifting political landscape and fast increases in marketing technology, the way marketers do their jobs – and how brands connect with their customers – is likely to witness some major new trends that they’ll need to be prepared for to capitalize on.

That’s according to an article by Michael Stone, published in Forbes that while “we live in a time of radical transformation” of the retail space, savvy marketers can still prepare themselves for success.

So, what significant trends are set to shape the marketing landscape in 2019?

broadway street view with storefront signs

Merging Online and In-Store Customer Journeys

One of the biggest marketing trends set to continue well beyond 2019 is the merging of an online and in-store customer retail journeys.

As Stone says, “the blurring of online and offline retail will continue at an increased pace.” This is made possible in large part due to advances in customer data tracking and analysis. Thanks to a multi-channel understanding of a customer’s interactions with your brand, you can drive them either to your brick-and-mortar space or your e-commerce website by offering personalized deals through either channel.

At any rate, brands will need to ensure both their digital and in-store marketing are in healthy, fighting shape, as competition continues to grow from retailers moving from one space into the other (like Amazon’s move into brick-and-mortar, and Walmart’s robust online shopping platform). Stone explains: “Retailers will not [be able to] sit still as they continue to up their game.”

Creating Compelling In-Store Experiences

As we’ve discussed on the NVISION blog before, one of the most interesting retail marketing trends is the growing appeal of transforming retail stores into “experience centers.”

With online shopping and e-commerce becoming easier and faster every day (especially with services that offer next-day or even same-day delivery), brands must find new ways to draw customers into their brick-and-mortar stores. To do so, they are creating experience centers, where customers can physically touch, try, handle, and use the company’s products, and even test them in a real-world environment.

“Brands will continue to look for ways to ‘pull’ customers into the brand rather than ‘pushing’ the brand at them,” Stone explains, “such as creatively driven pop-up stores; new, permanent mono-branded stores; malls featuring spa services, tailoring, and personal stylists; branded hotels; themed restaurants; and themed exhibits. Brands and consumers will become more ‘entangled.’”

And as the popularity of these brick-and-mortar experiences grows, so too will the need for brands to create, produce, and deliver their physical marketing materials on-time, on-budget, and with empowered flexibility.

woman holding shopping bags walking

Brands Taking Positions in a Shifting Political Landscape

For years, brands were told to “stay in your lane” and athletes were told to “stick to sports.” But 2019 promises to be a year where much of the rules around marketing and politics change.

As Stone points out, many brands have been “forced” to take a stand politically, citing the example of many brands pulling their support (and advertising dollars) and “abandoning the NRA following the shooting last February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.”

Other have chosen to take a stand and roll the dice both financially and politically, such as Nike did in 2018 when it made former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick its spokesperson.

“Brands are increasingly aware that younger consumers want their brands to take a position and to have a purpose,” Stone writes. And whether that position is something fairly uncontroversial – like using sustainable manufacturing processes or promoting female executives to leadership roles – or whether it is a new hot-button issue for 2019 (like the widespread legalization of the marijuana industry in the U.S. and Canada), customers want their brands to stand for something.

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2019 will be a year of new trends and changes for marketers everywhere. Between a shifting political landscape and the continued blurring of the online and in-store retail spaces, having flexible and reliable marketing operations will allow many brands to capitalize on these changing trends and post record-breaking years. And that’s a trend we can all hope for.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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