Especially now, with the current COVID-19 situation, retailers are trying to prepare for a successful holiday period in 2020 – marketing automation tactics will play a big part – when they don’t have the same certainty they had in previous years.
Marketing automation: use your data
My first recommendation is always: get to know your customer data. Most retailers already have this available in their ecommerce or offline platform. Having so many different points of data can result in this data being siloed and unusable.
Like many retailers, if you are struggling to think of who, where, and when to target, start by getting to know your data now. If you’re looking for inspiration on where to start, the dotdigital cheatsheet on 5 segments to target this holiday season is an excellent resource to use, as you prepare for the impending holiday shopping season. It’s full of marketing automation tactics, so make sure you take a look.
Where to start?
If you’re in the same position as many, you’re finding it difficult to make use of your customer data which is effectively your little (or big) pot of gold.
- Firstly, identify where your useful data is. Is it within your ecommerce platform, CRM, ERP, or point-of-sale (POS), and establish which will give you the quickest wins connecting to first.
- If your data is siloed, then identify an omnichannel marketing automation tool that can connect to everything you need.
- Implement your quick wins first. Identify your revenue returning automations, abandoned cart, abandoned browse, welcome series, post-purchase, etc…, and set them up. By having simple but effective automations running you’re increasing conversions while planning your next move. The best part is that you don’t need to lift a finger once they’re set up (if you have a decent marketing automation platform). During the busy holiday period especially, marketing automation tactics will help you to stay front of mind when your customers are doing their shopping. The key automation strategies will stick with you even when the holiday season is done and dusted. Check out how dotdigital helped its customer Accolade Wines drive revenue with a multichannel automation strategy.
- As I mentioned earlier, segmentation should be your best friend. You have the data, so use it! Let’s face it, your competitors will be. A challenge encountered frequently by businesses I speak to is removing themselves from the batch-and-blast mentality. More often than not, less means more (engagement). The science around this is simple. If you market to a customer who engages with your brand, then you stand to maintain a much higher level of engagement. Even though it may be a smaller audience, by segmenting you’re increasing the value each customer has with you.
- We’re going to be heading into unchartered territory this year with the effects of COVID-19 still very much here. I expect this holiday season to look very different with less emphasis on bricks-and-mortar promotional days, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday – which will shift online – as brands attempt to recover revenue lost through physical store closures and restrictions resulting in lower foot traffic.
Realize your omnichannel marketing automation opportunities
Although email is still the highest revenue-returning channel today, using an omnichannel marketing automation strategy is a fantastic way to set your brand apart. If you’re using an omnichannel marketing automation platform worth its salt, then you should have the ability to send the right message to the right person at the right time and, most importantly, through the right channel.
Personally, I have seen a huge uptake in dotdigital’s SMS offering, which we all know is a channel that can really cut through the noise (Domino’s Pizza gets me every Friday with its weekly SMS offering). Whether you’re retargeting through Facebook/Google or sending a timely WhatsApp message, finding the best fit for your brand is all about testing. Don’t be scared to segment and try new ways of communicating with your customer base.
Marketing automation tactics: Next steps
Start planning for the holidays if you haven’t already. Identify if you need to move to a more relevant omnichannel marketing automation platform to give you enough time to get used to a new system – the easier to use the better.
If you have a resource like a customer success manager, then you should use it; the chances are they will have worked with a number of brands and dealt with all sorts of challenges. One bit of advice is, look at last year’s results and strategies employed by other brands and find things that you liked and implement them for your business.
Most importantly, enjoy the ride on the run-up to the holiday period and don’t forget to breathe when it’s all done.
For more marketing automation tactics, check our our fundamentals of automation worksheet which you can download here.