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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 Blockchain Will Revolutionize
Marketing in 2019

With 2018 coming to a close, brands and organizations around the country are shifting their focus to 2019. Rapidly changing customer demands have left many marketing teams scrambling to capitalize on every advantage, while also making sure they can deliver the experiences customers want; convenience, flexibility, and affordability. For marketers, that’s where blockchain comes in.

What Is Blockchain?

If you’re not a mathematics or computer science Ph.D., the specifics of blockchain will be challenging to follow. But that’s okay – just about anyone can grasp the basics.

Put simply; blockchain is a digital record of ownership that cannot be altered or modified.

Whenever ownership or possession of something is transferred, both parties leave a sort of encrypted digital signature in the blockchain, like signing a ledger, that is verifiable by every other user in the world and cannot be altered or modified. So, why should marketers care about blockchain? Campbell R. Harvey and Christine Moorman at Harvard Business Review examine a few good reasons.

marketing-brainstorming

Blockchain Will Make Email Marketing More Effective

“Fraud verification via blockchain will also help verify the origin and methodology of marketers,” as HBR explains. *135 billion spam emails are sent every day, making up approximately 48% of all emails sent. Varying in sophistication, this tidal wave of fraudulent and unwanted emails has led to catch-all spam filters that dilute the effectiveness of email marketing for everyone.

But with blockchain, brands and marketers can verify their authenticity with an extremely small microtransaction (thousandths of a cent), thus proving their identity and eliminating the need for overreaching spam filters. And this will make email a more effective part of a multichannel engagement strategy for marketers everywhere.

Blockchain Will Make Real Marketing Revenue Attribution Possible

“By using blockchain technology to track their ads, marketing teams can retain control over their automation practices, ensure that marketing spend is focused on ROI-generating activities, and directly measure the impact of marketing down to a per-user, per-mail matric,” HBR predicts. And that has real upshot for marketers.

“By tying user behavior and micropayments together, blockchain could solve the attribution problem that has bedeviled marketers for decades.”

Indeed, given that blockchain works by keeping a record of a sort of transactional handshake, it could present the ultimate answer to attribution – a granular, user-by-user record of every single interaction of every single customer with your brand. That’s powerful marketing revenue attribution and opens up a world of possibilities into ROI accountability and analysis.

woman working on her laptop in the office

Blockchain Will Offer Better Customer Experiences by Making Personalization More Effective

Unlike credit card companies who charge a 3 percent fee to process payments, blockchain enables nearly zero-cost transactions. As a result, blockchain eliminates the need for “minimum purchases” to ensure profitability for brands. And marketers can use that to boost the effectiveness of personalized customer experiences and loyalty programs.

As HBR explains, “Blockchain could allow merchants to use micropayments to motivate consumers to share personal information – directly, without going through an intermediary [like paying Facebook or Google].” This means that brands can offer their customers a small reward for, say, allowing location tracking on their app, or even just opening the app for a minute at a time. “During that time, they push deals and special offers to the user. Indeed, user-tailored deals open a legitimate mechanism to deliver personalized prices that are a function of the consumer’s profile.”

With blockchain, marketers can deliver the granular personalization that not only builds brand loyalty but delivers superior customer experiences.

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Blockchain is more than just the latest buzzword. It’s a technological revolution, and the shortcuts to efficiency, security, and personalization. What it offers marketers are a big reason why brands will be leveraging it more in 2019. From customer experiences to email conversion rates, blockchain has a lot to offer marketing teams.

*Referenced source: The Statistics Portal

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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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What Smart CMOs Are Focusing On in 2018: Gartner

2018 has already been a big year for CMOs. Between advantageous new U.S. business tax laws and the growth of multi-channel marketing, many brands and CMOs are tackling new opportunities, as well as new challenges. That’s according to Chris Pemberton at Gartner, who shares several of the key lessons and takeaways that the research and advisory company has identified for CMOs in 2018. 

Let’s take a look at some of the major trends and opportunities facing CMOs this year, and how to position your marketing department for success!

Man holding tablet with icons popping out - CMO

Marketing Budgets Tied to Results

According to Gartner, 75% of CMOs in the “Leaders” category expect their marketing budgets to increase in 2018. That’s despite the fact that Gartner reported that marketing budget growth stalled in 2017. The reason? 70% of CMOs who expect their budgets to increase predict those increases will help support advanced marketing analytics and customer intelligence.

It is due primarily to a growing need for more concrete marketing KPIs and metrics that more closely tie into the organization’s business goals. Things like conversion rates and MQLs/SQLs will be key for CMOs to prove their impact and justify their budgets. CMOs should prioritize revenue attribution and strategic partnerships that feature robust analytics and results tracking.

Marketing Technology (Martech) Grows in Importance

Gartner also found that marketing technology (martech) will grow in both strategic value and budget expenditure, among leading CMOs in 2018. According to the firm, far more of their designated “Leaders” than “Laggards” are leveraging martech, with 26% of the latter claiming they are not effectively acquiring or using it, compared to just 16% of the formerFurther, more than twice as many Leaders (65%) as Laggards (31%) plan to increase martech spending this year.

It is primarily due to several factors. Organizations that are rapidly growing need the scalability that martech automation provides. Plus, the efficiencies in both cost and time that martech offers deliver greater attributable revenue and profit, the ultimate goal of CMOs everywhere. CMOs should perform skills assessments and technology audits to determine whether an increased investment in martech is right for their organization.

three female shoppers-retail

Increased Focus on the Entire Customer Journey

From acquisition to retention to growth, leading CMOs understand that the customer’s journey is a long one, with the need for specific and personalized marketing materials that capture and resonate with the customer each step of the way. According to Gartner, leading CMOs emphasize analytics in all aspects of their marketing operations, from supply chain to ultimate asset performance, to measure the customer’s journey.

This attention to detail allows savvy CMOs to anticipate and prepare ahead of time for what marketing materials and activities they will need, and equips them to be ultra-responsive to shifting customer demands and requirements. It is this understanding of the customer journey as a long and changing one that will set successful CMOs and organizations apart from those playing catch-up.

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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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Top 2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends

stethoscope on keyboard-healthcare-orginal

The healthcare marketing landscape is shifting rapidly. New laws have changed how hospitals and healthcare networks are organized, and many have undergone significant mergers or acquisitions in the past several years.

As a result, healthcare organizations are now making efforts to re-establish their brands with patients, and to differentiate themselves from the competition with their marketing activities. Key metrics they seek to compete on include quality of care, and specific quantifiable outcomes like speed of discharge, rate of infection, and in-patient versus out-patient capabilities. That’s according to Peter Do at Health Care Success, who explains that by embracing some of 2018’s major trends in healthcare marketing, hospitals and healthcare organizations can stand out from the crowd and establish a clear, effective brand with their patients.

Location-Based Marketing

Mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have put a computer in nearly everyone’s pocket. Location-based marketing, like geofencing and geoconquesting, can help solve some of the challenges facing healthcare marketers.

Geofencing

Geofencing using GPS technology to establish a very specific area where your ads are appropriate to show. When people enter this customizable area, whether they live there or because they frequently travel through it for work or to visit family, your ads will display. This is promising technology for marketers struggling to build brand recognition in a specific neighborhood or region, and well as those looking to cut waste costs and improve targeting efficiency.

Geoconquesting

Geoconquesting is similar, but works specifically to win market share back from competitors. Like geofencing, it allows you to designate a specific area for your ads to appear. However, that area is meant to be around the hospitals, facilities, or deeply entrenched markets of your competition. This is a powerful tool for marketers looking to establish themselves in competitive areas, or win back market share from specific regions and patients.

elderly woman at the hospital counter - full

Technology and Telemedicine

As it has for many other fields, technology has created many possibilities for replacing costly in-person healthcare services with cost-effective virtual and digital versions. Customers demand omnichannel access to brands in industries like mobile banking, shopping, and insurance. They want a customer experience that is deeply embedded with video, chat, and easy-to-use apps – all the ways they are comfortable communicating in an increasingly digital world. Whether for video doctor’s appointments, booking and billing, or prescription questions, healthcare organizations that invest in technology and telemedicine can offer a truly superior, modern patient experience.

Patient Experience

“The connection between patient satisfaction, hospital reimbursement, and continued growth and development is a marketing picture that will expand significantly,” Do says. But, as he explains, “the concept of improved patient experience has been slow to gain traction with some facilities.”

Industry leaders like Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, for example, have begun to offer truly personalized customer experiences to their patients. This is due, in large part, to the connection of reimbursement and HCAHPS scores. Today’s patients are increasingly sophisticated consumers, and they have come to expect the same level of customer experience in healthcare that they do receive in their daily retail and service interactions.

Healthcare Marketing Supply Chain

To capitalize on these trends and make their brand stand out, healthcare marketers need clarity and efficiency in their marketing supply chains and operations. They need to know exactly what’s being produced and inventoried, what the budget impact is, what employees are involved, what the project timelines are, what the returns on investment are, and more. That’s why it’s so crucial to partner with a trusted expert who can provide simplicity, cost efficiency, and reliability to healthcare marketing organizations. That way, your team can remain flexible and responsive to changing patient demands while maximizing every dollar of your marketing budget and delivering powerful customer experiences.

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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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Disruption in Building Materials Marketing: A Guide for CMOs

“Disruption” is a hot word right now in marketing. It calls to mind the Ubers, PayPals, and Yelps of the world. Disruption can mean huge profits and slashed costs for companies that pull it off successfully, and a place in the pantheon of revered brands.

But for CMOs, who must try to navigate through this ever-changing sea of disruptions in consumer behaviors, business environments, and new technologies, handling this task, and identifying which opportunities to capitalize on, can be a challenge. That’s why Navigate-the-Channel offers these helpful tips for coming out on top to CMOs riding the wave of disruption.

Explore and Understand New Technology

It wasn’t even five years ago that virtual reality, machine learning, A.I., and the Internet of Things were all pipe dreams. Now, they’re household concepts, and marketers are integrating them into their strategies.

Take Marriott Hotels, for example. It uses VR headsets to allow vacation shoppers to virtually “explore” some of its flagship properties in places like London, Hawaii, and, Thailand, telling its hospitality story better than a pamphlet ever could. VR, and the ability to “walk through” structures has exciting applications for the building materials industry.

As NTC puts it, “these technologies should not be cultivated for their own sake,” but CMOs should seek to understand both their applications and their appeal to consumers.

businessman holding tablet

Use Data to Consider Customers Holistically

Big data has brought big changes to how marketers develop customer personas and ideal customer profiles. In the past, CMOs grouped large swaths of customers into similar “personas” and segmented their marketing efforts at that level.

Now, with the rise of “Big Data” and, more importantly, the machine learning power to analyze, process, and make sense of it, CMOs have an unprecedented opportunity to target their customers at an even more granular level.

As NTC explains, “In a small industry like building materials, everyone knows everyone else. Each person within a sales funnel must be considered fully,” and that includes considering their organization’s challenges, goals, budgets, geographic markets, and more. CMOs should explore investments in big data analysis that can help create these hyper-specific buyer profiles.

Real-Time Responsiveness and Connectivity

The Internet of Things is rapidly redefining traditional marketing “channels.” Now, refrigerators can recommend packaged foods to consumers, and windows can suggest more energy-efficient blinds.

CMOs should take a step back and consider how certain societal and consumer attitudes have already changed regarding styles, materials, and processes. “For instance, certain manufacturing processes that would have been industry standard within building materials might now be considered anti-environment and cause enough of a stir to hinder business,” explains NTC. The use of asbestos in insulation materials is one of the most famous examples.

Smart CMOs should take into consideration which aspects of their business may become the subject of consumer attention in the future, and they should prepare their marking supply chain and marketing operations to be agile and responsive to these changes as they arise.

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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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