You Have To Be Agile At ‘The Speed Of Social’

According to the annual digital trends study by Consultancy and Adobe, retailers worldwide who were surveyed at the end of 2017 and into 2018 plan to put a great deal of effort into omnichannel marketing and customer experience this year. 

The two most exciting opportunities cited by retailers for 2018 were optimizing the customer experience (23%) and data-driven marketing focusing on individuals (19%). These were the top opportunities cited by all sectors surveyed, but more retailers were in agreement. 

The two areas where other sectors had far more excitement than retailers were creating compelling content for digital experiences (14% vs. 7%) and using video to increase brand engagement (9% vs. 4%). It is also likely that retailers are already on top of content, visuals and video as merchandising and selling tools.

Looking back, most retailers also said optimizing the customer experience was the biggest opportunity last year (18%). Social marketing turned out to be the next biggest opportunity in 2017 (16%). It also appears that retailers have a better grip on mobile this year. The number of retailers who said understanding how mobile users research and buy products will be very important for digital marketing over the next few years shrunk considerably between 2017 and 2018 (79% vs. 62%). Using offline data to optimize online experience as well as using online data to enhance offline channels have both grown in priority. 

When asked by Econsultancy and Adobe about digital-specific priorities for 2018, targeting and personalization was at the top for 34% of retailers in North America and Europe. (Retailers in Asia-Pacific had much more interest in social media engagement.) Worldwide, 61% of retailers planned to increase their budgets for personalization in 2018, up from 57% in 2017. 

Based on a number of studies released since January, personalization has emerged as one of the biggest retail themes for 2018. It was the top engagement priority for retailers polled by BRP (Boston Retail Partners), and it was a top strategic priority for retailers surveyed by IHL Group and RIS News.

It is important to note for retail, here is no longer a beginning and an end to a campaign. One has to have a strategy of thinking and acting quickly as they way to win. Being able to react fast in unpredictable situations is a needed aspiration for brands. As TV viewership wanes and social gets “stickier,” marketers must adapt. Marketers must become agile.

Stephanie Bohn in Adweek wrote, ‘marketers should test and iterate until the optimal execution is revealed. Consumers are fickle and trending topics turn on a dime.

Therefore, the smartest (some would say only) way to market on social media is to develop a large array of assets and see what sticks. As a campaign takes flight with “prequalified” assets, creative fatigue often sets in after a period of time and/or market conditions may change, so new assets must be at the ready to test, optimize and rotate in.

There is no longer a beginning and an end to a campaign. Agile marketers are in a constant loop of producing new creative, learning and optimizing. This is in stark contrast to what broadcast advertisers are accustomed to doing—betting the bank on informed guesses and letting it ride.

The upside of agile marketing is hard to refute—invest media dollars against top performing creative. But the financial cost and human capital needed to create dozens (sometimes hundreds) of unique assets in a matter of days can be prohibitive.’

As social advertising becomes dominated by video, this appears even more daunting. But marketers of all stripes are leaning in. According to a recent study by Magisto, more than one-half of the 545 small, midsized and global businesses surveyed reported creating new video content at least once per week, and 26% say they create new video content daily.

When marketing at the “speed of social,” it all comes down to relevancy.

Becoming agile…truly agile, is the smartest social media marketing strategy.