2017 marketing planning tips

February 1, 2017 by Experian Marketing Services

Trends are dead ends: Create a clear road to success with our 2017 planning tips – Webinar Recap

Every year marketers around the world brainstorm the best strategies and tactics for the most meaningful and valuable customer programs.  Which of the latest trends will become the golden ticket and which will fade into obscurity like neon leg warmers? Hard to tell, but what we do know is that every year the most effective trend for a successful strategy is a trend that never ends, good planning! In our first webinar of the year, Trends are Dead Ends: Create a clear road to success with our 2017 planning tips, we dove into some tried and true strategic and tactical tips to help you and your marketing programs have a successful year.

We already know that having better access to data, and incorporating more personalization and automation are a firm foundation for the growth and revenue generating potential of our programs. Given that, our strategy should never be to rub some crystal ball, but to create a solid plan for success throughout the year.

First, we took a look back at some benchmark data to see what worked and what didn’t.   Compared to last year, email volume for all verticals grew by 14% while unique open rates and unique click rates saw little change.  We did see an increase in transaction rates of 5.4%, which is noteworthy given the simultaneous increase in volume.   Before you think “send more emails, make more money,” make sure you’re thinking long term about how volume increases impact customer experience – testing is always your best option.  Finally, holiday performance continued to be led by the much anticipated peak week – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.   Black Friday provided almost 21% of volume and revenue, while Cyber Monday had 23% of the volume and 29% of the revenue.    Our full holiday recap webinar is on 2/23/17at 1pm ET so be sure to mark your calendars!

Next, we went back to the basics – data, personalization, consistency, and a mobile first approach.  These are important factors in planning your program for a successful year.

  • Data:  It is our strong belief that the future of effective engagement across channels is data, both demographic and behavioral.   In addition to being able to collect and analyze data, you need it to be clean and available to the right teams.
  • Personalization: It’s important to use the insights from available data to personalize your communications, both in content and timing. Figure out what behaviors lead to higher transactions and have a phased approach to personalization that focuses on your scalable strategies and goals. Kinetic email campaigns that include dynamic, personalized messaging are also a fantastic way to deliver that personal experience for improved engagements.
  • Consistency: Your customers don’t think in channels and neither should you. You are a shopper as well, so think about your own purchasing behaviors, from information to conversion to post-purchase. Sign up for your own emails online and in-store, and via any other channels to see if the ease of use, availability of information, and overall branding is consistent.  Despite how cool the term sounds, there really isn’t a “customer journey,” but rather a customer experience that can take place in a store, online, on Twitter, Facebook, and so on that will influence and drive loyalty.
  • Mobile First: In addition to maintaining consistency across channels, it’s important to acknowledge that mobile is a key channel.  We check our phones nine billion times a day, according to Deloitte.  With that in mind, web teams should optimize websites for mobile to ensure the path to purchase is easy and frictionless. Email teams should optimize all templates, from promotional to transactional campaigns. SMS and applications teams should share their best practices and insights since they are on the front lines of mobile.

Third, you must know your audience.  Dig deep into their demographics to get a clear sense of who they are, what motivates them, and how and when to best communicate with them.   This data-driven behavioral and demographic dive will reduce wasted efforts, generate huge revenue, and improve customer loyalty.

Fourth, to have truly effective programs, you must first have effective talent.   Your program doesn’t run on its own, no matter how much technology and automation you have in place.  In the busyness of day to day work, it can be hard to take a few moments to regularly brush up on your skills and industry news, but if you don’t make yourself a priority, it will eventually impact your performance.

Finally, focus your program.  If you aren’t moving forward, you are falling behind.  A lot of brands tend to look at their programs as a series of emails that go out based on a calendar vs. a carefully orchestrated conversation with their customers. Figure out how to launch new relevant campaigns, and optimize your current emails.  Carefully create an ongoing conversation that helps your customer trust and value your brand.

Remember – getting back to the basics will ensure your future success.  If you want to gain even more insights into effective program planning, check out the full presentation of Trends are Dead Ends: Create a clear road to success with our 2017 planning tips by clicking here!