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3 Key Trends That Had Retailers Buzzing at Bluecore 2015: Explore Summit

By Bluecore Marketing

Last Thursday, dozens of leading retailers gathered in New York City to discuss and learn about the latest trends in ecommerce marketing, with a focus on the future of personalized, automated marketing experiences. It also helped that we started the day with mimosas and bloodies.

What did these retailers uncover?

1. Willingness to experiment. Exploring new and unconventional marketing techniques is paramount to staying connected to today’s customer.

2. Data is everywhere – and that’s a problem. Retailers struggle to access and make sense of behavioral data.

3. They’re in good company. Most retailers are facing the same challenges across the board.

As a part of Bluecore 2015: Explore Summit, we got to see first-hand how leading retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Jockey, Teleflora and GAP leapt into the latest issues ecommerce retailers tackle in effectively communicating with their customers. If you missed it – here’s six hours worth of great times condensed into just a few paragraphs.

Having had a peek into the unconventional marketing machine that is Bark & Co, it’s clear that new types of companies are paving the way for how to grow a business. Henrik Werdelin, Co-Founder of Bark & Co, kicked off the Explore Summit with a presentation that honed in on technology that brings media, commerce, community, and services together in fun, unique ways. Bark & Co.’s innovative approach to marketing, detailed alongside enough cute dog pictures to crash reddit’s /r/aww in Henrik’s presentation, covers an expanse of marketing techniques, even going so far as to host Barkfest, which Business Insider described as the “Coachella for Dogs” in Brooklyn in late August.

Following Werdelin’s opening keynote, Max Bennett, VP of Business Strategy at Bluecore, exposed the 3 major difficulties marketers are plagued with on a daily basis: data being siloed by channel, platforms not being end-to-end and covering marketers’ needs, and platforms that are manual and slow, both in their integrations and their day-to-day operation.

Bennett demonstrated to attendees that common marketing frustrations don’t have to lead to concussions and holes in office walls. He revealed how Bluecore will continue to offer new tools to its partners that bring their marketing programs into the future.

Bennett, and Bluecore, believe that the future of marketing automation will operate natively across channels in an end-to-end fashion that provides quick and automated solutions for marketers’ every need. This was supported with a demo of Bluecore’s latest product, Live Segments, which enables marketers to make the personalization that makes triggered email messages effective an integral part of batch-and-blast sends making up a majority of their email marketing.

To take a more individual approach, mid-day sessions at the Explore Summit included a retailer panel with executives from DealNews, Wine Enthusiast, and evo, led by a former Amazon veteran, Stefan Pepe. Retailers discovered how these three very different retailers handle marketing ranging from budget, resources, cross-device issues, and the growing complexity of the marketing tech landscape as they add more and more services.

Attendees also took part in interactive roundtables that highlighted topics ranging from data science in retail, merging email and ad retargeting strategies, product notifications, as well as the changing nature of promotional, or traditionally dubbed, “batch-and-blast” emails, in retail. They were encouraged to discuss common issues amongst themselves, and many realized that the sometimes crippling challenges they faced as marketers are more common than previously thought.

Closing out the Explore Summit was Peter Fader, Professor of Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School presenting a very engaging session on how retailers can use customer-centricity…to be quite blunt…make more money off their marketing initiatives. Everyone’s college flashback’s ensued. Class was in session, and Professor Fader wasn’t kidding around.

At the core of Professor Fader’s presentation was the celebration of customer heterogeneity- which seems to be the crux of what every marketer is trying to tap into – every customer is different! Dr. Fader proposed a very convincing perspective on how customer-centricity can lead to improved profitability. Fader believes that retail marketers should do what they’re doing now, but with a reversed focus on which customers are the most important.

Many marketers focus on what merchandising and design tell them are the latest trends, as Jared Blank, Former VP of Ecommerce for Tommy Hilfiger, described during our retailer panel. Fader believes that by switching this focus to the desires of the highest-value customers, retailers will unlock hidden value in their customer base. A key example of this is Fader’s belief that focusing solely on Cost-Per-Acquisition when looking at customer acquisition channels will limit the effectiveness of these channels, when instead focusing on the Average-Lifetime-Value of acquired customers results in higher revenue gains per customer.

Bluecore Marketing