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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Retail Marketers Shift To Social and Email

Spiral joy letter originally uploaded by Green Velvet.
Spiral joy letterAccording to Recession Forces New Focus In E-Commerce Marketing by Anne D'Innocenzio, a Forrester Research/Shop.org industry study released on 05/05/09 states that online retailers are shifting "their marketing from traditional advertising to less expensive tools such as Facebook, Twitter and e-mail as they seek market share or just work to retain customers."

In this case, traditional advertising seems to refer to expensive search marketing programs and retailers are looking for increased efficiency [something at the heart of my MarketingProfs Daily Fix post "Ignite Your Consumer-Dealer Sales With Dealer Ignition's Dealer Promotion Network"].

Their solution: social tools that enable customer engagement and "spread a positive message about their products." Some invite bloggers whom they consider 'ambassadors' to review products on their sites. [NB: I now permanently associate 'ambassador' with Fiskateers - see Fiskars: 360 Years Young and Innovating With Customers.]

The article mentions a focus on email marketing which 90% of respondents consider a top priority. That caught my attention. It's a potent tool and yet not one that I've seen readily embraced by many flooring retailers, for example.

According to the study, "retailers are getting more sophisticated about using e-mail to attract and retain specific customers they already know" and over 70% intend to "send targeted e-mails based on customers’ stated preferences or past purchases." What a terrific way to create engagement with customers and integrate information you know about them from other sources.

This timely article describes how email plays a role for High-End Retailers Offering More Discounts.

In addition to email, the article refers to social media. Despite skepticism "about the sales potential for marketing in social media like blogs and social networks, the study found that companies that are growing faster than expected are more likely to embrace such initiatives."

That had me thinking about Charlene Li's new study: Deep brand engagement correlates with financial performance.

What about you? What are you doing online and in-store to gain market share and retain customers? How are you changing what you do? And how are you integrating social and email?

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