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In episode 47 of the Customers Who Click podcast, my guest Robin Coles spoke about the strategic use of promotions.
You know me - I’m all about adding value to the customer wherever possible as opposed to heavy discounting, although I’m not completely against promotions as long as they’re used correctly and sparingly. Offer discounts too often and without a strategy in place, you’re cheapening your brand. Play it right tough and you’re on the right path to driving engagement and loyalty.
You see, many brands tend to drop 15% or 30% off here and there, hoping it’ll encourage the customer to come back and use it. But it doesn’t work like that I’m afraid - the promotion has got to be personalised and targeted at each customer group individually.
Think about their purchase history, wishlist, browsing history and channels they prefer. Do they want an in-store promotion? Would they prefer to receive their promotions via SMS or even direct mail? With the technology available these days there isn’t really a good excuse for not doing this, at least at a basic level.
Robin is the Managing Director EMEA at XCCommerce which is a leader in transformative, state-of-the-art, cross channel, promotion solutions. He’s been involved in retail for about 35 years, helping brands improve their omnichannel strategies. Robin is currently responsible for expanding XCommerce into the UK and Europe. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.
03:06 - 08:29 - How Brands Can Get Smarter About Promotions - It’s all about the cross-channel consistency. Many promotions start off on one channel but require the customer to access another channel in order to redeem the discount which creates friction, forcing the customer to start the process from the scratch again. Another thing to keep in mind is tracking and managing your promotions if you’re using a third-party website or app providers for your ecommerce (for example, Shopify) but with the right technology, achieving consistency is possible.
08:49 - 19:04 - Myths and Misconceptions about Promotions - Big misconception around improving promotions management is that it’s a huge change that’ll require a ton of resources and time - it does not. Another misconception that managing promotions belongs to the IT department where in reality, anyone involved creating the promotion should deal with it.
19:19 - 23:39 - Common Mistakes Brands Make with Promotions - Viewing promotions as just prices, which is just simply a race to the bottom that you probably can't win anyway. Good promotions require creativity, to do something different from the competition that increases engagement and encourages repeat purchases.
28:46 - 42:28 - Upcoming Trends with Promotions - Now is the time for brands to become more creative about their promotions. COVID massively amplified economic uncertainty and so people will react differently to marketing messaging, even if it is a promotion that benefits them. It doesn’t have to be anything too deep or complicated but take different demographics or age groups into consideration because they will have a different view on what’s a good offer to them.
42:46- 45:01 - Robin’s Marketing Pet Peeves - Lack of clarity in promotions. Great marketing is all about creating clarity and simplicity for the customer, not adding to the confusion. It’s the same with many loyalty programs where redeeming your points is much harder than it should. This only drives customers away, instead of encouraging them to come back.
45:15 - 49:41 - Robin’s Underrated Aspect of Marketing - Depriving marketing teams from systems that could enable them to drive competitive factors. For example, making CRM teams deal with loyalty campaigns etc without marketing’s input. Anything customer-facing should involve marketing teams, even (or especially!) customer service.