Digital Summit Los Angeles 2016

This may be the year of the micro-influencer as the new brand message conduit, but it’s also the time for micro-moment as the new messaging opportunity. Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer, North America at RetailMeNot Inc., shared insights about marketing on a budget in the mobile space.

Consumers are no longer device-specific; most are using multiple channels throughout the path to purchase, and they are stopping and starting. Data shows that 70 percent of shopping happens and starts on mobile, but the majority of commerce still takes place in-store. This is where smaller brands have the opportunity to engage consumers in moments that matter.

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Google followed several hundred consumers looking for one product over 30 days, and found that there are three types of shoppers: device agnostic; desktop dependent and shopping mostly on mass online retailers, and power shopper, using mostly mobile brand interactions and coupon and deal sites like RetailMeNot.

According to Tarleton, there are three key ways to engage these groups. Testing new content formats such as a blog that speaks to customers’ interests, but that isn’t necessarily selling them anything, is one example. RetailMeNot produced a DIY segment about making paper flowers for Mother’s Day, partnered with influencers and amplified on Pinterest, that cost less than $5,000 and netted over one million impressions in a couple of days.

The company is also testing better-known influencers like reality stars Sara and Erin Foster to get its message out to twentysomething fashionistas with funny skits. A paid influencer strategy is a higher investments but it yielded more than five million impressions in two months.

Knowing exactly where your customer is and engaging locally is also important. The majority of RetailMeNot’s mobile users turn to the location feature of their phone on in order to find the best deals near them. Store specific sale offers delivered via media-rich push notifications can get a customer out of a competitor’s store and into one of their client’s stores, which is also trackable mobile-to-store data. Tarleton noted she sees a 10-times return or higher using these methods.

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But it’s not necessarily about being where the customer is physically. Marketing through conversation commerce, or “chatbots” may garner $2 billion in online sales in the next year, according to Gartner Research. One example is Taco Bell engaging consumers who were using the Slack app during lunchtime. It delivered offers, enabled transactions and food delivery all while people were at their desks working within the interoffice instant messaging platform.

Finally, marketers can take lessons from augmented reality games such as Pokemon Go as the convergence of reality and digital becomes an expectation for consumers who want to see a store but don’t necessarily want to go in. The Houzz app for example, shows people’s furnished rooms and where to buy the items.

“Be thoughtful of their unique needs. Commerce is no longer linear. Put your brand in front of where they are in a game, in an app, in a chat destination. Be creative,” said Tarleton.

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