Whether you’re building awareness with new customers or reconnecting with past ones, retail marketing has been historically driven by TV, catalogs, mailers and circulars.
TV spots let you connect functionally and emotionally through sight, sound, and motion. Nothing merchandises products quite like page after page of professional photography and romanced copy. Having your most competitive promotional deals on the front page in big, outlined text practically invites the consumer to pull out a fat marker and circle their must-haves and coupons.
These are creative and engaging mediums, but they’re also increasingly expensive—particularly in less profitable markets. The television GRP can translate to somewhere north of a $50 CPM depending on the buy, seasonality, and content. With print marketing, we’re all aware of the apocalyptic factoids about waning eyeballs, declining circulation, and rising print costs. Although these channels have traditionally been great for retailers, marketers are stuck with tighter margins and the increasing need to invest more in infrastructure and distribution to successfully compete with big-box stores and Amazon.
But there are other options.
The emergence of digital video brings a new take to creative retail marketing; one that allows marketers to stretch budgets farther and see directly attributed outcomes in a way that traditional TV and print haven’t been able to deliver. As the 2017 planning season is under way, here are five tactics to easily test and redeploy investment next year.
1. Supplement or bookend more cost-prohibitive TV buys
If your retail marketing strategy is traditionally centered around sports or seasonal events, replace a Thursday- or Monday-night football presence entirely with digital video to sustain or even improve the impact. If playoffs, awards shows, or specific tournaments seem expensive, you don’t have to get priced out of coverage. Chances are the same viewers have a laptop open or a smartphone that is easily accessible where you can more accurately and completely target them on alternative devices.
2. Shift lower-performing print drops
You know which DMAs just haven’t produced the necessary ROAS for a few years now. Instead of continuing with the same, expensive methods, fix loss-leader market economics with a higher-reaching, more sustainable digital campaign. In some cases, there may have been a demographic profile shift, and it’s likely that personalized video can find and form a stronger connection with your customers. Plus, the right balance of digital video can give you an opportunity to increase impression count and frequency.
3. Shave TV investment to test video in high-performing markets
Digital video allows you to create one-to-one personalization for each video and, therefore, more relevance and return per viewer. Start small and divert dollars at a rate that feels comfortable. Balancing the media mix is often about seeing what you can get away with. Pulling back in a market or trying to support stores with less can be risky. Optimizing impressions per unit is good budget management. Since video has more flexible delivery, the new medium can increase online and offline traffic, as well as share-of-wallet.
4. Cut print production and mailing costs
With the right digital video strategy, you can move away from costly printing and mailing costs while simultaneously delivering a greater ROI. Additionally, video is a more compelling medium—and it can be personalized with user data. Good video creative is dynamically rendered using broadcast-quality editing that brings a product feed to life in new ways, and regularly changes merchandise-assortment based on a specific customer’s behavior, promotional calendars, and even inventory needs.
5. Force measurable outcomes into your annual plan
In addition to being less costly than print and TV media, digital video has the capability to measure KPIs through resulting campaign ROI. Although it’s traditionally been relegated to top-funnel branding and engagement, new methodologies show how digital video actually impact the multichannel path to purchase. A Nielsen rating, publisher rate card, or GRP count can only illustrate loosely forecasted audiences. New leaders in digital video can prove site visits, measure in-store foot traffic, and even correlate campaigns with online and offline sales using customer and transaction data. There is a test-and-learn approach to scaling your digital ad spend, but it can be attributed directly to topline revenue and business outcomes—a tactic that other channels just can’t match.
Traditional media will never completely fade out, instead it will shift with the current trends. It is the job of retail marketers to be smarter about where their current investments go. Retail marketing is moving to digital in the same way your customers are, maybe just not as quickly. By shifting budget to digital strategies when possible, you’ll find that you can get more with digital video. With the one-to-one level of personalization available today with video, you’re likely to see more positive, real outcomes for your brand.