I had the pleasure of attending the Global Retail Marketing Association (GRMA) Executive Forum recently. Throughout this two-day event, I was inspired and energized by the discussions and insights shared by the outstanding retail marketing executives and thought leaders in attendance. Since I work with retailers every day, my mission is to understand the retail marketing challenges that keep retail marketers up at night and to solve for these issues. As I reflect upon this event, some common challenges for all retailers come to the top of the list:
- Omni-channel — Omni-channel retail marketing is no longer a competitive advantage. It is expected. Now we ask ourselves -- how do we take omni-channel to the next level?
- Digital — For a marketer, the digital world represents a world of opportunity that often feels out of reach. The potential for digital platforms connecting you with your customers is virtually endless, but it's overwhelming for many retailers to know what to focus on and what will provide the best ROI.
- Loyalty — The concept of rewards programs has become tired and is less valued by consumers. Retailers need to start thinking of loyalty in terms of customer needs and values.
- Organization — A retail company’s organizational structure is often the most difficult barrier in driving new marketing programs.
As I consider these topics, I see so many opportunities for retailers! Today, we have the real opportunity to take CRM to the next level — what we call Connected CRM. By leveraging customer information from a variety of offline and online sources, and segmenting that data with powerful analytics, retailers can harness the power of Addressability at Scale — the ability to deliver targeted, personalized experiences to your customers through all of your channels. Undoubtedly, a retailer’s ability to build loyalty by “knowing” their customers will create competitive advantage for retailers across all segments. I realize that this is not new news to you. You know this. You believe. But it can feel overwhelming just the same. Can you really make it happen?
The good news is that it is happening. We’re working with retailers every day to make Connected CRM a reality. Retailers have the unique and exciting opportunity to know their customers in the most personal ways, speak to them and create advocates for their brands. One retailer at the GRMA shared his vision to start utilizing Big Data to impact customer experiences and give customers the sense of community by creating loyalty programs that give back to local charities. Another retailer questioned the value of a traditional points-based loyalty incentive; does that kind of program really drive loyalty? The answers to these questions came back to the data. Connecting your customer journey with these actionable insights is the key to gaining the upper hand in this contentious marketplace.
For me, having these conversations with retailers is the best part of my job. It is exciting to learn more about opportunities retailers have and how we can solve for this when we make Connected CRM a reality!