Strategy 7 Takeaways from the 2018 Bluecore Explore Summit

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By Sarah Cascone

As retail reinvents itself (again), how can digital marketers drive innovation to make a business impact?

According to last week’s 4th annual Bluecore Explore Summit, it all comes down to retail relevance. Presentations from industry leaders like Sephora, LUMA Partners and Pura Vida and roundtable discussions led by frontline marketers made exceedingly clear that achieving that goal requires a deep understanding of data and a propensity for testing.

Here are our top takeaways from the day:

 

1) It’s a New Dawn for Retail

We’ve come a long way from a year and a half ago when it felt like the world of retail lived six feet under. The force of Amazon has made an indelible imprint on the industry, but it’s also clear that Amazon won’t be the only winner.

We now have no shortage of retail success stories from new and established players, and the positive results keep coming every quarter.

 

2) Transformation Starts from Within

To truly transform anything, you need the right organizational support. That foundation has proven critical for leaders like Sephora and Perry Ellis.

However, a poll of the crowd revealed that 50% rate inadequate organizational support as the biggest barrier to personalization. Fortunately, this is not an insurmountable barrier by any means.

 

3) The Future of Retail Marketing will be About Goals

Over the next five years, software will shift from a focus on tasks (e.g. send message, run campaign, set up a journey) to a focus on goals (e.g. increase clicks, optimize for conversions, drive revenue).

This shift will help improve the performance of retail marketing campaigns and allow marketers to spend more time innovating and testing new ideas to continue to push the envelope.

 

4) Marketing and Experience are One in the Same

According to David Court, former Director at McKinsey, retailers must personalize marketing and experiences at the same time because for consumers, the two are one in the same.

For those who can get that experience right, the rewards will be plentiful.

 

5) It’s Time for New Innovation in Email

Many marketers have found themselves in an email death spiral: To increase revenue from the email channel, they send more emails. But as they send more emails, performance declines.

It’s time for a new solution that can increase performance with less effort, for example by optimizing for goals. Now where have we heard that before?

 

6) Consumers Never Settle and Neither Do Retail Leaders

The need to keep up with consumer demands never goes away. Even the retailers whose success you read so much about continue to worry about how consumer expectations will change and whether or not they can keep up.

But it’s exactly that worry that got them to the front of the pack to begin with. And it’s that worry — which often leads to a culture of testing and agility — that will help them stay there.

 

7) The Future of Marketing Won’t be Like the Past

The rise of data and new channels have fueled tremendous growth for direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, many of which are rapidly taking market share away from well-established players.

Terry Kawaja of LUMA Partners shed light on how these brands have introduced an entirely new model and the top lessons retailers of all kinds can learn from them to fuel similar growth of their own. Those lessons include focusing on the customer and prioritizing performance-driven channels.

 

See You Next Year!

That’s a wrap on the Bluecore Explore Summit until next year, but there’s plenty of learnings still to come! Check back in the coming weeks as we continue to share insights from our speakers and all of the marketers who participated in our roundtable discussions.

In the meantime, visit our full blog for even more advice on how you can put your retail strategies into action today.

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