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Archive for the ‘Consumer Marketing’ Category

Direct Marketing vs. Wholesale Marketing: How Steve Madden organizes and optimizes its $1.4 billion shoe empire

June 9th, 2016
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When your business is 80% wholesale like Steve Madden, how do you carve out a unique value proposition for your direct ecommerce business?

 

Watch the full interview to find out

“The value proposition of our site is that we have the deepest selection [and] we have it before anyone else.”

So said Mark Friedman, President of Ecommerce for Steve Madden, yesterday during a live interview at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2016.

Additionally, Mark mentions the company’s community of rabid Steve Madden fans in social channels and through the SM Mag.

“It’s crazy how people feel about the brand. We incorporate that into the site, and that gives others some perspective of how some people are wearing it. You’re getting to see not only the product that they bought, but their complete look and how they put it together,” Mark said.

Of course, because the business is 80% wholesale, Steve Madden can’t just leave partners out in the cold. To balance its relationship with partners, Mark mentions the team employs a variety of tactics, including:

  • Syndicate product photography done in-house
  • Syndicate product reviews that were written on SteveMadden.com

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How Integrating Customer Service and Marketing Can Build Successful Consumer Marketing

June 7th, 2016
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This week, the MarketingSherpa team is running the official Media Center at the world’s largest ecommerce event – IRCE 2016. We’re interviewing speakers, industry experts and brand-side marketers to bring back ecommerce lessons for you. To get notification when this year’s interviews will be available visit our IRCE 2016 Media Page. Until the videos are up, here’s an interview from last year’s event. 

When you go to a restaurant and your customer experience before the meal arrives is terrible, you’ll most likely refer to that restaurant as being terrible, even if the meal was amazing. Customer service has the power of leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

Customer service and marketing now work together more than ever. At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, interviewed Katie Laird, Director of Social Marketing, Blinds.com, on how her team was making amazing strides with their customer experience.

Here are a few components to transforming customer service feedback internally to build success in your company.

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Brand Marketing: 5 tactics to understanding customer experience

February 16th, 2016
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Marketing is constantly evolving, because your customers are. It continually begs the question: what is currently working to grow brands?

I interviewed three brand owners from Expedia.com, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Ancestry who are leaders in digital marketing to understand what’s working and what’s not for brand growth currently.

First of all, what is a brand owner? Those who build, grow and sustain brands that reflect their company’s principles, values and value proposition, to ultimately influence consumers to believe in and purchase their product/service.

And these brand owners are definitely feeling the squeeze.

“We all live in a world of limited budgets and need to make those dollars extend as far as possible,” Vic Walia, Senior Director of Brand Marketing, Expedia.com, said.

According to Kathi Skow, VP Brand Marketing, Ancestry, “With the measurement tools now available, we can see near real-time results on marketing efforts. But brand marketing’s influence is measured through a more qualitative and longer-term lens, so we’re having find new ways to prove its impact on the business.”

“The biggest challenge is how we are leveraging digital platforms,” Lisa Holladay, Vice President, Global Brand Marketing, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, said.

The top issues facing brand owners right now include:

  • Needing more/better insight from data to understand customer journey
  • Needing better predictive data models for behavior (i.e., who is likely to buy?)
  • Proving the ROI of brand investments with results/data
  • Needing to better connect and communicate with customers
  • Growing new markets/growing outside the U.S.
  • Building trust with customers and overcoming customer skepticism
  • Profiling customers and understanding/influencing their customer journey (use of data)

So what’s working to overcome these issues and help brand owners to grow their brands?

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Finish Line Tells Us What Customers Want in Email Marketing

February 5th, 2016
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For leading athletic retailer Finish Line, a memorable customer experience means focusing on product, presentation and people.

During MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, after presenting his session on “What Customers Want,” Erin Hogg, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, interviewed 2015 MarketingSherpa Best-in-Show Award Winner, Aaron Buchanan, Digital Personalization Manager, Finish Line. His session presented marketers with information on how they could turn basic segmentation practices into highly personalized, multichannel campaigns.

 

In this day and age, it is very clear to see why 77% of consumers prefer to receive the majority of their marketing communications through email. And while it would be ideal to create one quick email blast to all your customers, personalized email communication is an important element in gaining and keeping subscribers.

That does present a challenge to marketers, because not everyone has the same interests or needs even if you have a general product.

In his interview, Aaron walked through ways marketers could create a significant email experience for customers. By following a few of the tips below, you can also build better engagement with your customers.

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Mail-to-Order Marketing Takeaways: 5 lessons to be learned from subscription boxes

October 9th, 2015
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Who doesn’t love the feeling of seeing a package on their doorstep? While the mailbox is reserved for bills and sales flyers, a box on the front porch usually means a present.

The popularity of subscription boxes has allowed for millions of customers to enjoy this consumerism bliss bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly.

Subscription boxes are the ultimate way for consumers to enjoy products. The boxes are delivered on some sort of schedule, filled with products the customer is interested in and usually have some element of surprise.

There seems to be a subscription box for every category of shopper — food, pet supplies, “nerd gear” and even apocalypse prep. The diversity of the boxes available speaks to the widespread popularity among consumers. However, not every company has the interest or ability to expand into the subscription box space. This poses a question: What can we learn from the success of subscription boxes?

To answer that question, we’ve compiled five takeaways from boxes that marketers in any industry can utilize to promote their product.

 

Takeaway #1. Be surprising, but don’t get crazy

Customers who subscribe to boxes have a general idea of what types of products will be mailed to them. For example, a box member knows that every month he’ll get a t-shirt, an accessory of some type and a small gadget.

However, every month there is a surprise element — the products that will actually make up the box will be a surprise upon arrival. That means our example box member doesn’t know that this month the t-shirt will have a comics theme or that the accessory will be a pair of sunglasses.

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How Advance Auto Parts Uses Online Videos to Increase Conversion

September 29th, 2015
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“We see a lift, definitely, in conversion, whenever we have video on the page,” Val DuVernet, Senior Program Manager, Advance Auto Parts, told me during an interview in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015.

Read on for three of the biggest lessons I learned from my interview with Val, and watch the below video to get your own ideas for using video to improve your brand’s conversion.

 

Three important points stuck out to me from this interview …

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Ecommerce: Why online retailers are experimenting with brick-and-mortar locations

August 28th, 2015
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“There are so many ecommerce retailers who now believe that in order to differentiate themselves and establish better brand relationships with their shoppers, they [need to consider] opening brick-and-mortar stores,” Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief, Retail TouchPoints, said.

According to Advertising Age, 80% of companies have increased digital marketing budgets for 2015. Whether it’s selling products on a website or through a mobile or desktop app, virtual marketing has become the norm.

However, some ecommerce retailers have recently invested in the opening of brick-and-mortar stores in order to stay ahead of the marketing curve and establish better relationships with their customers.

The growing popularity of this omni-channel trend was recently explored by Retail TouchPoints, a digital publication for retail executives, offering content focused on optimizing the customer experience across multiple channels.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, interviewed Debbie Hauss on why expanding to brick-and-mortar stores is becoming common for online retailers.


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Dimensional Weight Pricing: How a “17 pound” feather can affect your ecommerce profit margins

August 25th, 2015
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Ecommerce has long been considered to have a cost advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers. After all, real estate, inventory and human resource costs are all lower.

However, these reduced costs come at an expense — Internet retailers rely on a third-party for fulfillment. Which means their margins and perhaps overall business model is at the mercy of other companies.

This dependency became all the more clear recently when UPS and FedEx announced a significant change to shipping policies by applying dimensional weight pricing (also known as DIM) to all ground shipments. This means that the size (length, weight and height) of even lightweight objects could cause increases in shipping costs for ecommerce vendors.

A concrete example of this is The Wall Street Journal estimating a 37% increase in price for a 32-pack of toilet paper and a 35% increase for a two-slice toaster.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, I spoke with Abe Garver, a contributor to Yahoo! Finance and an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) banker, to discuss how these shipping changes are affecting ecommerce companies. Abe used the example of a peacock feather — which may really only weight six ounces, but due to its large size is considered weighing 17 pounds when calculating the cost of shipping.

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The Power of Visuals: How four companies effectively used visual content and three tools to get you started

August 18th, 2015
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An image is a powerful tool in the digital world.

It can draw attention, communicate value, increase shareability and so much more. In fact, HubSpot pulled together the “17 Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing in 2015” to display this. From what your peers are doing to how effective visual content is for social sharing, the stats of recent studies are certainly interesting.

Two stats stuck out to me while researching this topic.Visual storytelling in the digital world

First, tweets with images were clicked 18% more and retweeted 150% more than those without, according to Buffer.

Second, when looking at the most shared posts from Facebook pages, a photo post made up 87% of interactions.

Even better than stats, I came across four success stories that show how visual content can greatly impact your content and social media marketing efforts, from blog views to Facebook shares.

 

Case study examples

Content Marketing: Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

As a smaller insurance company, HCC Medical Insurance Service (HCCMIS) needed a way to stand out in its marketplace. While insurance can typically be thought of as a boring product, the HCCMIS team decided to make their blog content more exciting with interactive infographics.

The result? The team saw a 1,000% lift in blog traffic, as well as significant lifts in social media followers and email revenue.

Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

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Email Marketing: How to utilize your consumer data without being creepy

August 11th, 2015
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Have you ever been at a social event and a person, unknown to you, eagerly greets you by name? Recall the creepy feeling you got in that situation.

It leaves you thinking — who is this person and how do they know this personal information?

Thanks to the Internet, marketers have the ability to collect and use an absurd amount of personal consumer data. As marketers, we’ve used this data to guide consumers to ideal products and services without them even knowing. Well, let me revise that last statement — we used to do this without consumers knowing.

 

Avoid This: Personalization                                                                                             

As personalization has become a buzzword over the last few years, efforts to connect with consumers have gone haywire. Every day, I receive emails from companies who promote products similar to those I’ve pinned on Pinterest and address me by my name, or at least attempt to:

The Adverse Effects of Email Personalization

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