By collecting and analyzing data about the intentions of its customers—and deriving insights into when and how often to update specific campaign strategies—one office furniture retailer realized a 35% increase in its return on advertising spend. And they did not offer even a single coupon to potential customers, according to an article in Marketing Land.
To achieve such goals, retail marketers must focus more on driving digital strategies rather than merely limiting their efforts to promotions, notes Alex LePage, author of the article. Additionally, they need to become “active participants” of their organizations’ e-commerce strategies.
Today’s knowledgeable and demanding consumers interact with companies and make purchasing decisions very differently than they did in the past. And that means marketers have to change the way they reach out to their potential customers. However, they can no longer do that just by communicating their companies’ great brand story to the marketplace, notes LePage, vice president of Market Development & Client Strategy at Chango, an online marketing company.
“[S]ince the advent of data-driven programmatic (not to mention cross-screen) marketing, the complexity of getting that message out has increased exponentially,” says LePage.
To better target, acquire, and retain customers, marketers need to use “data analytics, content marketing, and customer engagement,” according to Gartner Inc.
Here’s how that office furniture retailer increased its return on advertising spend by putting those words into action.
The retailer knew that to acquire new customers, it had to figure out better ways to find potential clients to target for its ads. To do that, however, meant the company needed huge amounts of intent—or in-market—data, LePage notes.
Intent data is data collected about online users’ activities—indicating some future action, or intent, such as ordering a product. When potential customers click through the web, their intents, preferences, and loyalties create impressions and marketers can then capture that data and act on it, according to LePage.
LePage offers an example: a person looking to furnish a new office may interact online in a variety of ways, such as browse through architectural sites for design ideas, visit various office retail sites to evaluate items or perhaps even do some comparative analysis on a product review site. All these actions signal that the consumer is actively browsing, researching or comparing the types of products online furniture retailers sell.
It is critical for retailers to get this data in (near) real time so they can target and engage with customers who have indicated active intent. If you’re a retailer trying to win a consumer who is going to decide to buy something in the next 10 minutes or 72 hours, immediacy is highly relevant, LePage says.
“For the office-furniture retailer, some 55% of its conversions occurred within 24 hours of the consumers seeing its last ad (notice I said ‘last’ ad; as a new company, up to 12 impressions were required to gain brand awareness among the retailer’s target audience),” he notes.
So the retailer only had 24 hours to message potential customers whose online behaviors indicated their intent to buy office furniture.
Another interesting yet important consideration that goes into consumer purchasing decision is the time of day. Customers pulled the trigger most often in the afternoon, the article notes.
That insight enabled marketers to tweak their campaign criteria, e.g., adjust the amount of money they were willing to spend on certain keywords and restrict the number of times a visitor is shown a particular ad when visiting a website “to ensure the most efficient buying and engagement costs,” according to LePage.
To be successful, retail CMOs should take a page out of the office furniture retailer’s catalog and forgo discounts and promotions in favor of capturing and using intent data, according to LePage.