Content created for Crocs
With a new decade comes a vast array of new strategies, goals and responsibilities for brand marketers to evaluate, implement and iterate.
How are consumer expectations changing? How will technology shift the very core of how we market? What strategies do we need to put in place to stay competitive?
Over the course of 2019, Social Native co-founder and Chief Growth Officer, Jeff Ragovin, talked to over 50 CMOs and asked these questions and many more to uncover key trends and resulting tactics being implemented to best prepare brands for growth in 2020 and beyond.
Omni-channel must become the foundation of your entire strategy
Kristen D’Arcy, CMO of PacSun explains, “The omnichannel experience is important because customers don’t think in channels. Whether they go to your store, they visit your website, they follow you on social—to them it’s just an experience with your brand and it needs to be consistent no matter where they are engaging with you.” Brands need to meet customers on their terms, and not force them to change their behavior and expectations based on the environment of the experience and sophistication of the brand’s presence on the channel.
For retailers that sell direct as well as in-store, the challenge becomes one of creating a holistic brand that reaches consumers across all touchpoints with the ultimate goal of getting them to purchase, regardless of the channel. In discussing her strategy for omnichannel conversion, Charisse Hughes, CMO of PANDORA Americas explains,
"As an omnichannel retailer, we want consumers to shop when they want to, where they want to. So if we think about it from a more holistic standpoint, our goal is to elevate the PANDORA brand.”
Having a multi-channel content and brand experience is critical, but online isn’t the end all, be all. There will always be a world where purchases are more considered and consumers prefer to see and feel the product before converting. This doesn’t mean that brands should scrap their digital strategy, just that expectations should be set early on. Though 90% of Parachute’s conversions are happening in offline environments, CMO Luke Droulez believes, “You need to be where your customers are.” The brand employs strategies to reduce the friction of shopping online with perks like free shipping and returns, as well as a 90-day risk-free trial.
The omnichannel experience is important because customers don’t think in channels. Whether they go to your store, they visit your website, they follow you on social—to them it’s just an experience with your brand and it needs to be consistent no matter where they are engaging with you.
—Kristen D'Arcy, CMO, PacSun
Brand and performance strategies can no longer be run in silos
The era of brands rapidly scaling on Facebook is over. Competition has driven prices up and consumers are becoming weary to social ads. The next generation of DTC brands need to merge performance and brand strategies to capture attention, push consumers through the funnel and drive sales. A great online and offline strategy, customer experience and product will create the best competitive advantage.
"As a digitally native brand getting out of the gate, you have to focus on brand awareness” says AJ Nicholas, CMO at The Inside. “A lot of early stage companies look for growth marketers who can hack paid spend on Facebook, Instagram and Google, but that growth curve eventually plateaus. At The Inside, we’re taking a very similar approach as we did at Rent the Runway and Charlotte Tilbury, and focusing on building the brand first.”
When shifting the focus to building a brand instead of selling a product, the scope of marketing responsibility and expectation of results shifts from direct response to lifecycle management. Will Flaherty, VP of Growth at Ro believes there is no single channel that can bridge the trust gap immediately.
He explains, “At the end of the day, the real elemental goal of the Facebook ad impression, the paid search click, the TV ad impression isn’t to get someone to your site or product. It is to get them to engage a little more deeply with your brand, and even if they don’t convert at that moment, give them the chance to interact with your email communication or other consumer touchpoints before they do convert.”
Charisse Hughes, CMO of PANDORA Americas, shared her perspective on why digital has been one of the best shifts in the marketing world and said “We have historically talked about marketing being a balance of art and science, and digital has actually helped marketers do just that. It’s helped us better understand consumer behavior and improved how we’re leveraging those behaviors and triggers to drive deeper engagement, and ultimately drive conversion, repeat, and loyalty.”
Content created for Anon Aptics
Focus on influential content,
not influencer content
Influencers and content creators are a huge part of today’s marketing mix, but not many companies know how to effectively measure their reach or ROI, especially as we’re in an age of massive phantom followers. Brands and agencies need to be strategic in influencer activations to ensure quality content and consumer engagement. Karen O’Brien, VP of Social Media at Signet Jewelers explains,
"The democratization of content creation has created a way to produce influencer marketing at scale,” however, it’s her belief that influencer marketing only works when your brand and the influencer’s brand are highly aligned.
Karen continues, “Enabling and empowering your influencers to create in the way that their audience expects them to is very important. When the brand gets too prescriptive, the content doesn’t feel authentic to the influencer. The influencer brings value to the table, including their audience and ability to reach a new customer that maybe you can’t and would like to, so you need to let them communicate in a way that they’re used to.”
Content created for Schick
A lot of early stage companies look for growth marketers who can hack paid spend on Facebook, Instagram and Google, but that growth curve eventually plateaus.
—AJ Nicholas, CMO, The Inside
Content created for Cuisinart
Content that is genuine and authentic is more influential–and valuable–than influencer content, which often falls short on engagement despite the high follower count. The future of the industry is about engaging with people who have real influence over their communities versus focusing on follower count as an indicator of value. Brian Bushell, CEO & Co-Founder of by Humankind, explains why local influence is achieving global impact and shares his perspective on taking a simplified look at the influencer industry:
“Everyone’s an influencer to the extent that they’re willing to share their life on social media.” The key is to find people that have natural affinities with your product and empower them to become ambassadors of your brand.
When influencer marketing is done right, the network effect is unbeatable. Tina Sharkey, Co-Founder and CEO of Brandless explains that the ideal relationship between a brand and its consumers is tridirectional: “Consumers talk to us, we talk to them, and they talk to each other. Consumers talking to each other is where it gets most exciting for a brand.”
Enabling and empowering your influencers to create in the way that their audience expects them to is very important. When the brand gets too prescriptive, the content doesn’t feel authentic to the influencer.
—Karen O'Brien, VP of Social Media, Signet Jewelers
Consumers talk to us, we talk to them, and they talk to each other. Consumers talking to each other is where it gets most exciting for a brand.
—Tina Sharkey, CEO, Brandless
From influencer activations, to user-generated content and edited assets optimized for ad placements, we are your partner in all things social.
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