I just finished watching the unveiling of the NCAA tournament pool – talk about a marketing engine! The NCAA and CBS sure know how to promote an event. They even make an event out of the tournament draw. It may be labeled madness, but it is very strategic. It's time for retailers to consider marketing strategies as our retail March Madness tips off.
You’ve survived the past couple of lean seasons, and intelligently invested in inventory for 2010. In order for you to win your retail tournament, you need to make marketing a priority …NOW. Some of your competitors have not survived the economic downturn. So, make sure you expend the effort required to increase your company’s visibility; both retaining current customers and securing potential new customers. You want to be the retailer they all look to when they decide to resume spending.
It’s only March. You have 9+ months of sales opportunities ahead. Now is the time to make those key strategic and tactical marketing decisions to ensure your business’s financial success in 2010. Budgets may remain tight, but retailers must continue to invest in marketing to drive sales. The key will be making smart investments.
Here are a few tips to squeeze the most from your marketing budget in 2010.
1.Invest in Search That Optimize Customer Engagement
Use search engine optimization (SEO) in combination with pay-per-click (PPC) to attract potential customers to your website and to your store. In addition, design your website to engage potential customers when they do visit. The website is where consumers usually begin the product and information-gathering process. Consumers have usually already researched your business (and developed an opinion) before they ever step foot in your store.
2. Use Technology to Personalize Customer Service
Your existing customers are your greatest source of potential new customers. Treat them well and they will reciprocate. Take the time to understand their needs and deliver information and content to them that helps meet their needs. Use technology to track and record customer behavior to personalize customer relationships and customize special offers.
3. Leverage Social Media to Attract New Customers
Embrace social media, but use it intelligently. Retailers are realizing that social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are invaluable for serving current customers and attracting new ones. Top performing retailers use their pages on those social media sites to provide access to information, invitations, and offers that respond to current and potential customer’s needs and interests.
4. Customize Email Marketing
Email marketing tools enable the segmentation of your email subscriber list into multiple smaller lists. You can segment customers into a variety of distinct groups to enhance customization of emails and offers. Putting in the effort to segment your customers at this stage and carefully considering the attributes that determine the segmentation will facilitate improved email capabilities and potentially increase email marketing effectiveness and sales.
5. Measure Results and Reallocating Marketing Dollars
Many retailers continue to do the “same old, same old” when it comes to marketing. That would be great if they actually knew that the current tactics were the best ways to spend their marketing dollars. Retailers need to measure the impact each marketing activity in an effort to optimize future return on marketing investments. Develop an objective, create a tracking mechanism, measure impact, analyze results and determine the effect on future investments.