“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” – Alexander Graham Bell
For many retailers, the holiday season dominates their sales generation. And as all commerce indicators have shown, online buying will continue to soar – most especially through mobile devices.
To effectively capture new and returning visitors, and expand your market reach, strategic planning and execution must start now.
From organic ranking for unique search terms to multi-channel buying journeys and social story telling, there is a long Santa list of tactical efforts to be ready for 4Q. Here are a few considerations to get your team on the Online Sales Sleigh!
(1) Set your seasonal budget and tactical plan to increase ad spend, promoting the brand’s value and quality, both of which people pay attention to when buying gifts.
(2) Perform comprehensive technology and interface diagnostics of your ecommerce platform and mobile app – identify any weaknesses with core web vitals, site performance, usability, and visual experience.
(3) Further optimize web pages with critical technical SEO – schema markup, unique titles, meta data, tags, core metrics, use of interstitials, crawl errors, internal and external links, etc.
(4) Consider distinctive packaging with a holiday-themed message card inside every shipment.
Talent comes in many forms. One of the most powerful is problem-solving. It benefits the team (smoother execution), leadership (fewer headaches and distractions), customers (greater service satisfaction) and the bottom line (efficiency reduces costs).
“Problem” is a broad term encompassing an unplanned event, miscommunication, technology jam, team conflict, and trouble in execution. A prominent cause of project failure or delay is the lack of timely, practical, and well-developed solutions to unexpected problems.
People who are skilled in problem-solving have undoubtedly learned from prior experiences. They know how to look at challenges objectively, remove sentiment and emotions from the process, hold themselves fully accountable, and focus solely on a smart solution path.
Insider tip: Start by changing the word “solve”. When contending with a problem, replace solve with detection, exploration, modeling, experimentation, and accuracy analysis.
Troubleshooting also requires being unconstrained by allowing others to influence and persuade your thinking.
Global players and a rapidly changing digital landscape are shifting how companies must operate to be profitable and experience sustainable growth. Markets are saturated with competition. And the internet as well as social media have entirely altered how businesses engage and interact with their customers.
To achieve tangible results, organizations have to be brave by tackling challenges and transforming their traditional tactics. It’s smart to partner with digital experts and highly creative contractors to guide your team through the actions, techniques, and practices that will drive positive outcomes and measurable change.
Start by telling the team – “We’re breaking out of the status quo.”
Every strategy must have business alignment, engaged team members, and focused execution. Your aim is to position your company to innovate and pursue effective strategies.
Often departments are structured as silos with very little common ground or joint efforts. Digital transformation requires intersecting disciplines and removing traditional barriers. The ethos of a company depends upon shared ownership of functional, operational, strategic and innovative capacities.
IT is a company’s heartbeat, overseeing technology and securing scalable internal systems.
Marketing is its persona and customer conduit, designing a value-driven brand experience.
Making headway in your digital presence, engagement and earnings relies on an alignment and synergy between these sources.
At the core of the two branches is data.
IT = how data is assembled, structured, stored, secured and dispersed
Marketing = how data is utilized, analyzed, modeled, made actionable and measured
Strengthen your Infrastructure and Marketing by developing blended strategies, projects and metrics. And optimize your investment by no longer operating them as cost-centers, but instead as engines for revenue augmentation.
Marketers have a pivotal role and a fundamental responsibility to contribute to bottom-line numbers. To be an earnings asset, a marketing leader must execute auspicious projects.
Attaining an optimal ROI requires advanced planning and a rigorous process of framing the initiative. When creating a campaign, producing new content, generating a channel mix, preparing a go-to-market plan or designing an experience, the team must first tackle the ‘why’.
Finish the statement – We are investing time and resources in this project because ….
Be clear on the answer, which should include the benefit to the company and the value to customers.
Next is alignment. Does the project support business objectives and current priorities? Is there alignment to the buyer’s reasoning and requisites? There needs to be specific orientations, meaning that you define the project alliance with company objectives and customer intent, and identify the priority association.
‘Design Thinking’ is a business methodology – and ultimately an attitude – being used by companies that have embraced digital transformation, re-orienting their strategy towards innovation and experimentation. To be on the front end of this, there are essential changes to how an organization reasons and rationalizes its way of doing business.
Fundamental to Design Thinking and Digital Transformation
Be open to new information and uncommon ideas
Embrace uncertainties as part of exploring and exploiting opportunities
Experiment: hypothesize and employ rapid testing and iterations for validation
Understand that trial n’ error actions are constructive
Make it a priority to be data-informed for forecasting, identifying patterns and better pathways
Socially listen to gauge sentiments and to capture real-time interests, motives and preferences of customers
Perform journey mapping across the customer’s ecosystem (not your own)
Be channel agnostic
Require that customers will benefit from the outcome of every decision
Shifting the collective mindset of a company in order to gain from design thinking can be fraught with obstacles and resistance. You must be patient and persistent, providing ample time to stir curiosity, foster esteem, inspire cultural growth, and build momentum among team members.
A brand’s value is its voice. Authenticity strengthens brand authority. A communication strategy institutes the concrete foundation of customer engagement, trust and loyalty. The style and true essence of your messaging has a significant influence on buyer confidence. What matters is relevancy, precision, compelling expression, vivacity and a positive experience. Detouring outside ‘customary’ content and daring to be expressive and novel are how today’s innovators deviate from the standard bearers. To be resonating requires the art of persuasion.
We are experiencing a major health crisis across the globe which impacts businesses of all sizes and requires clear and constructive messaging.
An organization is judged by how it performs in both thriving and volatile moments, placing the greatest weight on how effective they share information, reveal their confidence and character, encourage and motivate, and focus on progress and positive momentum.
At a time when technology and touch points dominate commerce, brand and marketing strategies are becoming increasingly fluid. To ensure your programs deliver the desired results, consider the following:
A Marketing leader must serve as a powerful brand voice and ambassador, as well as a pragmatic change agent in pursuit of market positioning in the digital age.
How do you constructively and convincingly establish a formidable marketing axis?
Continually get exposure across your industry and the competition, gaining critical insights on cutting-edge business practices. Seek out trends, anomalies, disruptions, and novel ideals that are essential to weigh and factor them into your chartered course.
Similar to a sales or operations leader, those overseeing brand and marketing programs must be subject matter experts with well-defined action plans.
I’ve discovered that one’s approach to business is everything. Being open, curious, agile and engaging are the foundations to flourishing as a valuable leader, partner and team member. Strategy requires a 360 degree view.
And being meaningful to your audience matters. A company’s business strategy must be, above all else, relevant and applicable, as well as capable of being successfully achieved and measured.
Some insights to construct and execute your project in thriving fashion.
Articulate well and be specific
Set goals, milestones and benchmarks in advance
Envision and communicate future needs and requirements
Avoid an idealistic approach and rigid tactics
Adopt realistic expectations
Prepare for obstacles and constraints
Address concerns and overcome objectives
Assess proposed shifts with prudence and diligence
Monitor momentum (or lack of)
Track performance against milestones
Evaluate progress and analyze results
#4 Digital Rapport
We are saturated in messaging, moments and ‘must haves’. There needs to be breathing room and a balance of touch points, cadence and social bearing. Allow the audience to gravitate at their pace, not on your demand.
Lean into them, don’t loom over them.
Share an affinity, don’t shout a message.
The user journey must demonstrate commonality at its core along with intrigue sprinkled throughout the landscape. It’s imperative to remember that the aim is for a unique, persuasive and enduring experience. Make your business model sufficiently experimental and permeable to continually modify, reallocate and curve direction, which must be closely tested to assess market penetration and customer responses.
#5 Final Thoughts
Frequently research and refresh your company’s business intelligence to ensure your strategy doesn’t become stale or antiquated.
Be open to changing course when evidence clearly shows a need to pivot.
And of utmost importance, go for a joy-ride in your work! Let the love in! Having a true, deep passion for you work means you get to live the dream.