For most of us, making in-store purchases doesn’t take much thought. We have an idea of what we want, go into the store, grab it, and go. Yet, we often find ourselves buying those same items online.
In this podcast, Doug Ryan, RRD’s President of Marketing Solutions, will share how the in-store experience is being built to drive customers online, discuss the last mile of marketing, the resurgence of direct mail, and the three most important things companies can do for their customers in these unpredictable times.
Here are some of his key takeaways.
CREATING A DIGITAL EXPERIENCE IN-STORE
In-store marketing used to be entirely driven by a production management mentality; how to get signage into the stores as quickly and efficiently as possible. But is it really driving traffic?
The majority of transactions are still conducted in-store and continues to be a critical part of the customer journey. It’s important to bring a digital mindset to a non-digital channel. How can you be better about your targeting? How can you be more personalized? All of those things that go into a great digital campaign apply, especially as you see the role of stores changing.
Many stores don’t just function as a place to get product, but they showcase product and try to create a brand experience. Five or six years ago, the way we did targeting was to make sure that the merchandising sent out matched the physical layout of the store – having the right sized things in the right places.
Now, we look at how the customer areas differ from one store to another. Also, consider how the seasons vary from one store to another. Also, think about how to incorporate those things into an in-store experience to make it a more sophisticated medium.
We can’t assume the experience already began online to drive customers into the store. Stores have to take the in-store traffic and get customers to follow up online. It’s taking the digital mindset to an analog world and building connectivity between the two.
THE LAST MILE OF MARKETING
CMO’s struggle with the last mile of marketing. Companies have everything in place, but how do they bring them to market in a cohesive and coordinated way? From a brand perspective, how do you feed into the last mile?
Doug says, “I’m a big believer in brand purpose and the value of a brand. To me the value of a brand is really being clear on the value that you’re bringing both tangible and emotional. Brand purpose can be a great tool for that, but it’s not the only tool and I don’t think it’s a required tool for every case.”
Companies have to constantly deliver brand meaning across the touches with customers – banners online, confirmation emails, direct mail pieces, and shelf awareness.
RETHINKING DIRECT MAIL
Popular opinion says that millennials don’t care about mail. Doug says this is unfounded. Millennials open mail at the rate equivalent to every other group. Good direct mail stands out from spam. It’s quite unique.
Doug, “Direct mail is having a bit of a renaissance. If I’m not mistaken, direct mail has the highest response rate of any medium out there. It’s a way to break through the clutter. It’s becoming closer to an experiential medium. It can be perceived as more high touch to have something in your hands.”
Direct mail has got to deliver some added value and it can’t be a standalone experience; but a part of an integrated experience. Some companies send an email to say ‘be on the lookout for something in the mail’ and it boosts the response rate. This weaves things together. The challenge is bringing those things together where they feel connected.
Think of direct mail more along the lines of a ‘thank you’ note. Make it more personalized and in the customer’s interest. It should be done in a way that creates a tangible experience that evokes positive emotions.
REACHING CUSTOMERS DURING CRISIS
In these challenging times, Doug says there are three things companies should focus on to get through.
- Empathy. You do best when you have your customers’ interest foremost – individual or company. Heighten your sense of empathy.
- Urgency. Ask what you can do urgently to help customers – a cost savings, a new idea, a way to reach people.
- Creativity. This may be the hardest one. Stress can limit your focus because you’re concerned with survival. How can you take your capabilities and repurpose them?
To hear the full conversation with Doug, check out episode 184 of Marketing Trends.