Retail product marketers have straightforward goals: attract new customers, increase product sales and improve the brand’s awareness to drive recurring sales for their product or group of products. However, this is a challenging task in the current, tumultuous retail environment combined with a fragmented media environment. Many institutions that built and supported U.S. commerce for decades, like Sears, Macy’s and Toys “R” Us, have had to shut down a significant number of their locations or, in the case of Toys “R” Us, experienced full bankruptcy liquidation. As a result, new media options have pushed marketers to reinvent themselves to keep up with the demands and shopping considerations of today’s retail customer.
With the presidential election competing for television airtime, the environment has so far created several unusual challenges for marketers and media buyers. At the same time, companies disenchanted with the results of their digital campaigns and brand awareness continued a migration back to TV.
The idea of telling a complete, comprehensive brand story across multiple advertising mediums and mechanisms isn’t new, but it is an area that more marketers are examining in their attempts to engage today’s distracted consumers. Equipped with myriad tools for researching, finding, and buying goods online and offline, today’s consumers demand an omnichannel experience that’s as seamless as it is effective.
The upside to expanding overseas is clear, but there are also challenges to taking products and advertising campaigns into unknown territories. In most cases, marketers find that the tools they’ve relied upon for years in their domestic markets don’t always work as well in the international marketplace. For example, some campaigns may not work in foreign markets where language, cultural, legal, and regulatory differences come into play.
As the political climate heats up, the debates are getting more granular and politicians are drawing lines in the sand. Expected to spend about $4.5 billion on TV ads to promote their platforms and undoubtedly do some mudslinging along the way, political candidates pose a challenge for direct response marketers looking for affordable, available pieces of the television media pie. The hurdle is particularly onerous during presidential elections, when the big bucks are rolled out to support national campaigns.
The fact that offline and online marketing is headed in a more accountable direction should come as little surprise to the typical direct response marketer. After all, DR is one of the most accountable, measurable, and actionable advertising mechanisms organizations can use to engage, collaborate, and connect with customers. Digital marketers may have made accountability cool, but DR pioneered the concept when most brands were pouring all of their dollars into image-based advertising.
As companies seek to leverage big data to make the best possible business decisions, a divide is growing between the types of data organizations must deal with. Big data—defined by tech research firm Gartner as high-volume, high-velocity, and high-variety information assets—includes both structured and unstructured content.
According to a 2014 Business Insider story, more than 90 percent of the data generated by social media is unstructured. “The future of social media turns on being able to make sense of unstructured data—the firehose of texts, posts, tweets, pictures, and videos that even the most powerful computers are unable to classify,” writes Business Insider’s Cooper Smith.
In Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, authors Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier define “big data” as information that is accessed at a large scale and can’t be seen on a smaller one. “It’s about extracting new insights or creating new forms of value in ways that change markets, organizations, the relationship between citizens and governments, and more,” they write.