Cross-Channel Marketing is Helping Me Increase My Shoe Collection
On my commute into work I was checking out the newest pair of adidas shoes on my tablet for an upcoming marathon. The shoes are great but it’s time to hop onto a conference call, so my purchase plans will have to wait. Later as I am browsing through Facebook, I notice an ad appear for those same adidas shoes – coincidence or fate? That evening on my laptop, I see yet another ad for the same pair of shoes…finally some downtime to make the purchase! And the shoes are mine! After adding the shoes to my shopping cart, I realize this would make a great post! Not all marketers are familiar with Cross-Channel basics…this post can help!
How It All Began
Targeted marketing has been part of the online experience since the late 1990’s. At the time Brands would try to reach consumers similar to how they advertised on TV – by selecting ads that appealed to the broadest audience. Throw something at the wall – something has got to stick! Right? In the early 2000’s they began using browsing history and collected data from users to create targeted ads, and promotions for shoes, clothing, cars and other products by tracking people across the Internet. This custom is now widespread and a mainstream practice by all brands.
With the emergence of the mobile phone (acting more like a mini computer), the adoption of tablets (according to PEW Research 42% of US adults own a tablet), and the social media boom – Brands are trying harder to keep their ads top of mind for their customers. A recent study by Internetretailer.com identified 35% of e-commerce executives plan to invest in creating a “seamless shopping experience” for their customers across stores, web and mobile.
Today, targeted and personalized advertising is practiced more often – but still not nearly enough to keep the public happy. According to Forbes Insights 62% of consumers are now expecting to receive personalized offers across all communication channels.
Once again, there is a wide gap between what consumers are expecting and what brands are looking to deliver.
How Do They Collect Your Information?
If 35% of brands plan to invest in creating a seamless shopping experience, how are they able to deliver these targeted ads?
Search Data. Analyze search terms and user habits to place targeted advertisements alongside regular search results and pay for a higher position in the results for particular keywords.
Cookies. Collect and record webpages, blog articles and social media sites visited using a small file (or cookie). There are two types of cookies: first-party cookies, which are sent by the site domain in the address bar, and third-party cookies, which come from other domains that have embedded ads or images on the page. This information helps marketers tailor advertising to specific audiences.
Purchase Behavior. How can sites like Amazon recommend items that remind you of previously purchased items? It’s because online stores often utilize user registration to track what a person buys – even what you put in your cart and later abandoned to personalize the shopping experience.
Profile Data. Profiles created on social networks like site Facebook, Twitter and Instagram contain information about your age, education, interests, music and books Brands can leverage this data to provide custom advertising.
What I Want, Where & When I Want It
With so many channels (smartphone, mobile, desktop and social) for brands to use to connect with their audience, marketers face a major opportunity and challenge. They have more opportunities to connect but they must be more streamlined and data-driven.
The problem is (as mentioned above) there are many data points. Most brands are buried in data overload and don’t know how to seamlessly execute targeted communications on their audience’s preferred channel. Nearly 65% of Brands are not even considering offering a personalized shopping experience in 2014 or 2015.
Not only is it difficult to digest content because marketers are not tailoring the content to specific channels – there is a lack of personalization. With access to the mountains of data, brands have the capability to leverage that content to create personalized relationships. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of marketers are not providing their customers with the content they want or even seek!
The good news is Brands like Starbucks, Amazon and Zappos provide a great customer experience – which equates into brilliant revenues. Marketers and Brands will be forced to take notice and get on board to deliver the type of communications customers want, on the devices they prefer, as they need it.
Until that time arrives, I will continue to drink my latte at the Starbucks as I purchase the coffee maker Amazon recommends while admiring my new adidas shoes.