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Marketing Trends

Mixed Reality Marketing: Three-Dimensional Storytelling

man with vr goggle on

Marketers are always seeking the next big thing; whether its an emerging trend, a new generation of consumers, a viral social platform, or a technological innovation. Many experts predict that the “next big thing” for brand marketers is the Mixed Reality (MR).

Mixed Reality (MR), including Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), is becoming more and more attractive. Technological advances give customers a whole new way to visualize and experience products in different settings.

According to David Roe in CMS Wire, “MR, also referred to as hybrid reality, is the technology that is used to merge real and virtual worlds and produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.” It is predicted that a staggering 100 million consumers will be using MR by 2020.

In order to ensure future success, brand marketers should stay ahead of the curve and be able to capitalize on the opportunities presented by advances in MR technologies. So, what can brands do to take advantage of MR technologies?

AR on magazine and direct mail

Reimagine Advertising

MR technology enables marketers to be creative with their advertising experience by placing the brand image closer to the eyes of consumers.

Brands can take customers on an experiential “test drive” of their product before making purchase decisions. This builds confidence in their product with ads that can transform UX and the buyer’s journey into the next level.

Using MR technology, brand marketers can also tailor their ads by applying consumer’s preferences where the content of each ad shifts by specific circumstances and even with different languages.

This will help brands tell a better story in a more compelling and a meaningfully interactive way. With Millennials and Gen Z becoming the prime consumer group, the early adopters will have the upper hand in providing a superb customer experience and staying ahead of the competition.

Let Users to Truly Connect

Where there is content, it gets shared. You and five billion other smartphone users instantly connect via various social platforms. AR and VR are the new channels that marketers should consider to increase brand awareness. It is a new way for consumers to connect with your products on a deeper level, from the first-person perspective

For example, home-building brands can implement ways for customers to visually rotate and move furniture online in 3-D, enabling them to more easily see which products look best to them. They can also “see” how various materials and finishes will look and feel in a digital mock-up of a home.

This new trend also bridges the gap between the old and the new. The traditional marketing tactics are evolving as digital and virtual technologies mature, becoming a new storytelling medium for a new revenue stream.

Especially in the form of AR, where no wearable device is required but your smartphone to connect consumers with your products. Simply point and scan brochures or catalogs with an AR app to make a purchase or receive relevant product information and tips.

female using interactive screen to customize shopping

ChatBots 24/7

Some service leaders are now using artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual customer assistants (VCAs) as tools in their contact centers. Brand marketers should consider developing VCAs that can effectively interact with and provide technical support to customers.

By allowing well-equipped bots 24-7 to handle basic customer service queries, customers are cared for when needed, resulting in establishing trust-based relationships between customers and your brand. Using bots can also significantly reduce wait times for customers seeking assistance, which will increase customer satisfaction with your brand.

In the meantime, human representatives can focus solely on helping customers with complex, in-depth issues that require multi-layer customer support. As a result, they will become loyal shoppers and will recommend your brand to others.

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As new MR technologies become more available, brands need to capitalize on the different ways to use them in relation to consumers.

By assigning bots to assist customers with simple service inquiries, giving shoppers the opportunity to virtually test drive your products with AR before committing to a purchase, and provide a meaningful first-hand experience to connect with your products, brand marketers can enhance brand awareness, increasing demand generation to drive sales and revenue.

Related blogs:
2020 Shopper Marketing: Are You Ready For This New Wave of Consumers?
Looking Ahead: What Winning Customer Experiences Will Look Like in 2020
Top Brand Marketing Trends for 2019

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Retail Trends: Defining Your Strategic Roadmap

The retail industry today is more exciting than ever. With increases in technological advances, shopping has become a part of consumers’ everyday lives. Now, they can shop anytime and anywhere at their own convenience. The modern shopper is always in control, always in the “driver’s seat.” And they expect to have their shopping needs met by the brands they choose.

According to Kelly Bransten in Microsoft and PSFK’s eBook, “Success in this new era is dependent on understanding and anticipating the needs of customers at every stage of the retail journey.”

In order to ensure future success, brands need to find ways to capitalize on the emerging trends in the retail industry.

people looking up - crowd

Create Raving Fans

Shoppers want a customer-first kind of experience. And, with increased technology, brands are now able to gather valuable consumer data to help them accomplish exactly that. Consumers today are more open to sharing their data with brands, but they expect a more personalized shopping experience in return.

To deliver a more exceptional experience using customer data, brands first need to understand what kind of information is necessary. Once they have gathered the appropriate data, brand marketers should send personalized recommendations that address the individual needs of the shopper. These recommendations can be delivered electronically as emails or physically in the form of creative, attractive direct mailers. When customers feel their individual needs have been met by your brand, they’ll be more likely to make purchases in the future, and to recommend your brand to others.

Consumers are more likely to give out personal information to brands when they feel they will receive exceptional service in return. So, one way to incentivize customers to share their personal data is to offer exchange benefits such as discounts, loyalty points, and access to special, recommended deals. This exchange of information also helps establish trust between the customer and brand marketer, resulting in a higher conversion of raving fans for the brand.

Ensure Positive Brand-Customer Interactions

In the retail industry, it is extremely important for customers to have positive interactions with brand representatives. As a result, brands need to focus on training employees to be knowledgeable, so that they can provide accurate information when discussing their products with shoppers. They also need to be equipped and ready to present useful solutions to any problem. When brand representatives are passionate about the products they’re selling, they are positively impacting the minds of potential buyers.

As the experts at Microsoft and PSFK explain, “Despite collecting a variety of insights on individual shoppers from their online browsing behaviors, purchase history, loyalty membership and location, most companies fail to develop this information into an actionable customer view.”

Brands need to know how to effectively capitalize on customer data in order to drive sales and increase revenue. And they can do exactly that when they have well-trained, knowledgeable employees representing their brand.

When customers leave your store feeling satisfied with their interaction, they are more likely to shop with your brand again, and to recommend your superior service to friends and family members.

hand holding mobile phone with AR

Capitalize on Advances in Technology

Some brands are differentiating themselves by implementing data-driven initiatives that help them offer innovative products that have not previously been introduced to the market. They are able to do so by analyzing customer preferences and shopping patterns.

To more effectively fulfill customers’ expectations, some brands are utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) systems to unify their customer journeys across all channels. These systems notify employees when a shopper has entered the store, and then automatically trigger the delivery of recommendations. With this technological approach, brand employees are instantaneously informed of the arrival of a new customer, enabling them to more efficiently provide personalized service and assist the customer in their shopping process. This empowers brands to achieve more sales as well as higher customer satisfaction rates.

Brands should conduct Research and Development with customer needs always at the top of mind. By logging consumers’ in-store behaviors, interactions with products and employees, shopping patterns, and feedback, brands can develop a deeper understanding of their customers’ shopping needs. Using this understanding, they are able to respond better to the nuances of their shoppers, thus improving the customer experience.

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The retail industry is changing, and new trends are emerging. In order to remain profitable in this new age, retail brands need to adapt to these changes and find ways to capitalize on them.

Personalizing the customer experience to meet shoppers’ individual needs, ensuring that your employees have the training and knowledge necessary to engage in positive interactions with consumers, and effectively utilizing technological advances to your marketing advantage are important steps you can take as a brand marketer in order to flourish in this ever-changing market. By understanding these useful actions, retail brands are more likely to remain profitable and ensure a successful future for their business.

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How Wine Industry is Shifting to Connect with Customers

Wine companies invest significant resources in conducting studies to learn what customers look for when shopping for their ideal wine.

However, it’s becoming more and more evident that many wine consumers don’t actually know what they want in a bottle of wine. Consequently, these efforts usually bring wine brands with little useful insight and only wasted money.

According to Gregory Carpenter and Ashlee Humphreys at Harvard Business Review, there is a more effective approach to gearing your brand towards consumers – educating and engaging with them. If most customers don’t know enough about wine to know what they want to buy, wine brands need to take the initiative and proactively inform them.

So, how can wine companies successfully engage with their customers?

Wine glasses

Influence Customers’ Tastes

Many businesses aim to meet customers’ needs through their products. However, in the wine industry, many customers don’t know enough about wine to have predictable preferences. So, how can wine companies know what to produce to satisfy consumers’ desires?

Wine companies can use their expertise in the industry to give shoppers what they want before they even realize they want it. Brands can put a personal touch on their products by producing wines that they want to bring to market, rather than reacting to consumers’ preferences.

The most effective approach to success for winemakers is to influence the tastes of their customers. By coming up with innovative labels, branding and marketing planning, and products, wine brands can attract customers and drive sales for their products.

Develop Relationships with Industry Influencers

Certain critics and influencers have strong product views that can affect buyers’ decision-making processes. So, what’s the best way to capitalize on critics’ positions of power in the market? Impress them with a truly superior brand experience.

Creating a smart and innovative atmosphere where critics and social media influencers can experience and taste your brand’s wines will increase brand awareness and demand for your products. At the same time, it will enable you to develop long-lasting, profitable business relationships with influential figures.

As a result of the growing relationships with wine-industry critics, wine companies can use those reviews and ratings to better market their products and drive sales for their brand.

influencer marketing

Build Brand Loyalty with Shared Customer Experiences

Consumers seek advice by reading reviews and ratings. If wine companies want to wow shoppers, they need to focus on displaying these factors that can sway customers’ decision-making process.

The trick is creating a brand experience that is truly superior to the competition. As Carpenter and Humphreys explain, “Consumers become fans and pay premium prices, despite the availability of literally thousands of excellent alternatives.” When your customers believe that they are purchasing the best of the best, they will be willing to pay more.

The in-store display can be an excellent way to promote your products. Having a vibrant yet elegant display stating positive reviews and comments by influencers and customers will help accelerate your product sales by swaying the purchase decisions of customers. Sometimes too much information is better than lack of one, especially not many customers have expert knowledge when it comes to selecting a bottle of wine.

And they will keep coming back for the same brand and products in the future, hence, growing brand loyalty.

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Wine brands are discovering new ways to reach their customers. Instead of wasting money and resources surveying shoppers to learn about their wine preferences, they are focusing on influencing consumers with innovative products and creative packaging, and through influencer marketing.

Recommendations and strong reviews by influencers are an essential part of the decision-making process for modern-day consumers. By understanding the thought processes of shoppers, wine brands can help navigate them to make the right decision. As a result, it will create a fan base of customers who will remain loyal to your brand and increase your brand’s footprint in the market.

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There’s a New Sheriff in Town: How to Market to Generation Z

gen-z-holding arms together

Predictions indicate that by 2020, Generation Z (Gen Z) shoppers will make up 40% of the consumer industry. This generation, comprised of people who were born after 1995, are a new breed of customers.

Consequently, brands need to take specific consideration when it comes to marketing strategies that will effectively target this group.

According to the Forbes Expert Panel and Business Development Council in their article, “This powerful consumer base is the next group of consumers that can help your business grow its revenue, as long as you take note of them now and prepare your marketing strategies to cater to their needs.”

In order to ensure future success, brands need to begin implementing strategies to draw in Gen Z shoppers. By not doing so, you could miss the mark on future profits from this emerging consumer group.

So, what marketing strategies can brands employ to effectively draw in and engage with Gen Z?

woman shopping on tablet

Meet Them in Their Natural Habitat

Generation Z is highly detached and tech-centric. The online is their comfort zone, so brands should start their marketing efforts on social platforms with clean and straight forward brand messaging; utilizing various touch points and forms of media along the way.

Gen Z shoppers spend time doing their research on products. They read multiple reviews of a product before making a purchasing decision. The user-generated content (UGC) by other customers significantly impact the decision-making process of the Gen Z shoppers.

So, it is important to ensure that your product has positive reviews and comments that are contributed by previous users on popular online platforms. It is a powerful way to not only increase your brand awareness but also impact Gen Z shoppers’ opinions regarding the value of your product and brand.

Entertain Them

Because technology has largely impacted the nature of their upbringing, many Gen Z shoppers have a shorter attention span than previous generations. In order to draw them in and keep them engaged, brand marketers need to focus on providing authentic interactions that will keep these shoppers coming back.

Forbes’ expert panel member Lisa Box explains, “To win with Gen Z, marketers have to evolve from informing to delighting, from celebrity to authenticity, and from generic to predictive.” This consumer group looks for brands that grab their attention and identify what they need for them.

Develop fun and catchy marketing assets that will simultaneously entertain and dazzle them into your store to make a purchase. A useful method is to come up with interactive games to play with Gen Z shoppers in-store and advertise them using vibrant and interactive signage. Then awarding them with personalized reward toward purchasing would be even more ideal. This will attract and entice this growing group of consumers to interact with your brand.

customer-satisfaction on ipad

Advertise Based on Benefits and Results

Gen Z shoppers don’t trust a product simply because the brand says it’s a good product. They are mostly driven by results that they can see. To generate demand among this group of consumers, brand marketers need to clearly and effectively show them the benefits of a product.

Showing them what they can achieve by using the product will maximize the sale of your products as well as elevate your brand’s status as an expert who understands their lifestyle and needs.

Once the relationship is established, Gen Z shoppers will likely become your brand ambassadors by influencing their friends and acquaintances by promoting your products and brands.

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Gen Z shoppers are growing as a segment, and businesses need to prepare for this emerging group of consumers. Because they have different qualities and needs from other consumer groups, brand marketers need to focus on developing new marketing tactics to effectively advertise to them.

Reviews, entertainment, and results are important factors for Gen Z shoppers when it comes to making purchases. Using creative marketing materials, such as signs and POS displays, to show off positive reviews, provide entertainment, and demonstrate product benefits is an effective way to draw in and connect with Gen Z shoppers. By understanding this emerging consumer group, brands can capitalize on new opportunities to directly engage with them.

And by working with a trusted partner who can help you prepare for the emergence of Gen Z shoppers, your brand can increase competitiveness in quality, effectiveness, and providing delightful customer experience.

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2020 Shopper Marketing: Are You Ready For This New Wave of Consumers?

woman holding mobile phone shopping

Due to advances in technology and society, the way that consumers shop is radically changing. And consequently, according to Robert I. Tomei at IRI, the future is looking up for marketers.

Analysts predict to characterize the 2020 shopper by multicultural diversity, age, and technology.

Hispanic consumers, as well as Millennials, are beginning to dominate the shopping world. And the majority of them are using their smartphones or laptops to do it.

So, how can marketers and businesses prepare for the 2020 shopper?

Millemmial Marketing

Use Digital Platforms to Better Meet the 2020 Shopper’s Needs

More and more 2020 shoppers turn to their smartphones first before making a purchase in order to compare prices and search for different products. However, many of them do still prefer shopping at brick and mortar stores where they can actually see and feel a product before purchasing it.

The best method for marketers is to combine these two experiences. The first step is to build a strong online platform that drives customers into the store. Then, establish a positive connection in store to keep them engaged and satisfied with their purchases, so they’ll keep coming back.

Use digital platforms as well as legacy marketing assets to appeal to the habits of the 2020 shopper. The better in sync your physical and digital marketing efforts are, the stronger your brand will be in their minds.

Employ Marketing Techniques that Relate Specifically to the 2020 Shopper

As Tomei explains, “There is no such thing as a simple, one-size-fits-all marketing and sales strategy in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.”

To succeed, Tomei suggests marketers need to do three things:

  1. Understand the emerging 2020 shopper.
  2. Use their preferred digital platforms and channels to engage with them.
  3. Drive them into retail stores for experiences that convert.

The 2020 shopper is looking for a customized experience, one that’s tailored to their needs. The easier the process is for them to find and purchase what they need, the more satisfied they will be. And the more likely they will return, as a result.

hand holding mobile phone with AR

Remain Up to Speed with Market Changes

The 2020 shopper is shaping up to be different from the kinds of consumer groups that previously dominated the market, and therefore will respond differently to legacy marketing strategies and assets. For this reason, new tactics will need to be employed to reach them.

Marketers must remain agile to the constant changes that occur within the consumer industry and react swiftly by taking advantage of new ways to reach customers as they are made available.

The success of your brand depends on how well you can adapt and utilize these changes. A flexible supply chain and responsive marketing operations will be critical.

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The 2020 shopper is going to be more diverse, younger, and more connected to technology than previous consumers. By taking advantage of these factors, marketers can relate directly to the 2020 shopper and offer a customized, streamlined consumer experience that meets their unique demands and keeps them loyal to your brand.

By working with a partner who can help you prepare for the 2020 shopper and take advantage of new methods to reach them, your brand can compete in the ever-changing consumer market, instead of being left in the dust.

 

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