marketing experience tug of war blog post image


Winning the Marketing Experience Tug-of-War

By Kellye Snodgrass

How to balance what your marketing team can deliver with what your customers want

If you’re feeling a tension between what marketing messages your company wants to send out and what messages your customers want to receive, you’re not alone. We’re seeing a tug-of-war in eCommerce marketing between activities that are either marketer-friendly or customer-friendly, and it’s difficult to create a strategy that satisfies both.

A Marketer-Friendly Activity Is…

At the highest level, a marketer-friendly activity fits the marketer’s existing workstreams. These activities are easy to execute and can be completed with few dependencies (e.g. no more waiting on data from your CRM team or creative from your design team). In general, many of these efforts are “marketing workhorses” because they are reliable and drive the revenue needed to hit marketing goals.

A Customer-Friendly Activity Is…

Any marketing activity that delivers on the high expectations of today’s consumers meets the criteria for a customer-friendly activity. Today, that largely means marketing activities that create a personalized experience by connecting customers to the products that excite them, all in a way that seems completely natural and effortless. In general, anything that contributes to a convenient experience that catches people in their moment of need is customer-friendly.

Introducing The Marketing Experience Quadrant

Ideally, every marketing activity would be both marketer-friendly AND customer-friendly. In reality, very few activities fall into this bucket. We can map out common marketing activities using the following quadrant:

experience quadrant 1

We recommend plotting your marketing activities onto the grid, including current marketing programs and programs you’re considering for the future. Then, consider what workflows and technologies need to change to move the programs to the top right corner of the grid. Not only will this help you prioritize future opportunities, but it will also call out activities that aren’t delivering value for your team or your customers.

Here’s what this effort looks like with a handful of common email marketing activities:

experience quadrant 2

Marketer-Unfriendly, Customer-Unfriendly

In the bottom left corner, we have the “marketing graveyard,” where campaigns that add little value for marketers or customers go to die. This quadrant is where you’ll find old technologies and strategies that were once effective but are now obsolete because of changing customer expectations and evolving technologies. If you have any marketing activities that fall in this quadrant, you should consider phasing them out, as there’s little value in something that’s difficult for your team to execute and doesn’t create a friendly experience for customers.

Marketer-Friendly, Customer-Unfriendly

Next we have the top left corner, or activities that are marketer-friendly but not as customer-friendly, such as batch and blast emails. While these activities are necessary to get campaigns out the door and hit aggressive revenue goals, ideally we can find a way to make them more customer-friendly. In the case of batch and blast emails, that fix might be finding a simple way to pull in dynamic product recommendations based on individual customers’ past and predicted behaviors.

Marketer-Unfriendly, Customer-Friendly

The opposite of that quadrant falls on the bottom right of the grid and covers activities that are customer-friendly but not as marketer-friendly. Currently, most personalization efforts fall into this quadrant, and that has created the personalization gap we face today, in which marketers know personalization is important but don’t have the right technology to execute on their personalization strategies. Overall, the goal should be to find a way to maintain the customer-friendly aspect of these activities while making them more marketer-friendly by strategically introducing new technology geared to bridge this gap in the marketing stack.

Marketer-Friendly, Customer-Friendly

Finally, we have the top right corner of the quadrant, and this is ultimately where we want all activities to fall. Although it wasn’t always the case, triggered emails are now an example of a marketing activity that’s both marketer-friendly and customer-friendly. That’s because with the right technology, triggered emails can be very easy for marketers to set up and run and they create a relevant, personalized experience for customers. The more activities we can move into this quadrant, the better.

Creating an eCommerce Marketing Experience That’s Equally Marketer-Friendly and Customer-Friendly

As you take on the effort to make more of your marketing activities both marketer-friendly and customer-friendly, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some activities that might not be easy to move. Consider the batch email. We all know that batch emails don’t provide the best customer experience, but they do deliver value to marketers and play an important role in the email marketing mix, even in today’s age of personalization. That’s because they allow you to gather more information about new customers’ interests so that you can then start to send them more personalized emails. The key is to know their place, as they should be used as a top of funnel activity to gather that information about customers.

Finally, remember that this should be an ongoing project. As technology continues to get smarter and customer expectations continue to evolve (especially in the competitive retail space), what makes an activity marketer-friendly and customer-friendly will continue to change as well. And when you’re up against that type of constant change, the best thing you can do is regularly evaluate your efforts and find like-minded technology partners that are committed to innovating and helping your team stay agile enough to follow an ever-moving target.

Click here to find out how the Steve Madden eCommerce marketing team has worked to bridge this gap by introducing technology that makes it easy to execute on more personalized campaigns.

kellye headshot

Kellye Snodgrass

Kellye is a member of the Product Marketing and Operations team and is one of Bluecore's first Product Marketing hires. She's spent most of her career in marketing technology with a special focus in the eCommerce space. When she's not online shopping on one of our customers' stores, she loves to write about data-driven retail marketing strategies that not only drive performance, but are easy to implement

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