What We Learned From Q4: Conversions Are Crucial, No Matter The Channel


Retail marketing reaches a fever pitch in the fourth quarter, with huge importance placed on the final conversion to sale and maximum topline sales volume. But in 2015, it was evident that an online conversion was not the only thing that mattered for digital marketing campaigns, especially as consumer interactions increasingly happened across channels. In that crucial Q4, marketers saw how often consumers browsed, compared and researched, only to then convert in a bricks-and-mortar store.

The smartest marketing approach leveraged this complete media landscape to transcend the mix, tap into that research journey and prioritize the shopper, no matter where or how they convert. Now that we’re on the other side of a hectic fourth quarter, marketers need to look at adopting this same philosophy year round.

A Data Driven Orientation

Seasonal retail campaigns are awash in almost too many creative ideas, so agency teams increasingly find themselves in conversations about how to tailor fun holiday-driven creative to specific channels and platforms. While teams manage fewer pieces of creative the rest of the year, the basic process remains the same.

It’s essential to maintain data orientation. This begins with the data basics: smart remarketing and contextual targeting in order to establish a connection with consumers throughout their journeys.

Having gleaned their interest, a brand can draw consumers back to the e-commerce site by serving them precisely targeted advertising based on their interests. The better methodsrecognize each individual’s behavior and interests in real time to deliver better performance, incremental sales, leads and engagement at the most efficient media spend. In addition, contextual targeting delivers relevant real-time messaging to your target audience based on the content they have viewed or keywords they have used to conduct retails based searches.

The Mobile Imperative

The biggest takeaway from the 2015 holiday season is that mobile is a crucial part of the consumer journey, throughout research, socialization, shopping and fulfillment. Top marketers will tell you that mobile is the closest you can get to a consumer. With many holiday purchases occurring on a mobile device, a mobile-led strategy is the appropriate response, an approach well suited to the rising mobile consumer trend.
To start, cross-device targeting and location options are critical to the mobile led execution. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) recently analyzed successful campaigns from 2015 in order to assess trends for the coming year, in the Smarties Mobile Trends Report. These trends bode well for mobile commerce.

First, the MMA anticipates that the rising adoption of m-commerce will continue to transform mobile into an end-to-end marketing solution. The purchase is increasingly happening on the mobile device, a behavior that cannot be ignored. The MMA also indicates that moving forward, location-based solutions will expand beyond addressing foot traffic. Why? Location-based mobile has proven to be a key for context-driven marketing. As the location data itself improves, we will see marketers leverage location not only to drive foot traffic to brick and mortar, but also to deliver experiences that are well tuned to context.

The Creative Aspect

Now that we have assured we are grounding our approach in data, targeting tactics and elevating our use of mobile in the cross-device mix, we can turn our attention to the best vehicles for our seasonal retail creative. The mark of a modern campaign is engaging through a wide range of video targeting capabilities, or, at a minimum, an approach that delivers the most effective version of your message for customers who are most likely to engage. Customized, one-to-one ads create a better user experience and a stronger ad performance.

Marketing teams are likely still evaluating engagement levels, click trends and an array of conversions measured across channels, but we should always look to the most recent holiday season as a harbinger of the future. With so many technology options for reaching consumers, marketers have to put what they’ve learned into place now, rather than wait a full year. Any brand that waits until Q4 2016 to chase conversions across all channels will find itself already falling behind.



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