Marketing study: Promotions most popular for driving sales

Retailers are not only increasing their marketing spend, they are spreading the budget almost evenly across all marketing channels, including social, mobile and display.

That’s according to a new RetailMeNot study conducted by Kelton Global. The report finds that nine in 10 retailers are upping their marketing budgets. Ninety-three percent of mid-sized retailers (between $500 million and $1 billion in annual revenue) increasing their budget compared to 86% of large retailers (more than $1 billion in annual revenue).

Promotions continue to be top-of-mind for driving sales, according to the study. Most retailers (76%) plan to increase the amount of promotions they are offering in 2018, and 86% will partner with websites and apps that focus on deals, cash back and loyalty programs.

"Retail marketers are no longer thinking in channel silos. They are approaching commerce holistically with an understanding that consumers are channel-agnostic," said Marissa Tarleton, CMO, RetailMeNot. "Delivering an experience that meets the consumer in the moment across the shopping journey will be the pathway to success for brands."

While trends like virtual reality are generating lots of buzz, most retail marketers have their sights set on more realistic forward-looking trends. More than half (52%) of retail marketers surveyed believe improving mobile Web checkout capabilities and offering exclusive promotions for mobile app users (51%) will positively affect sales growth in 2018. Additionally, voice-assisted shopping is an area that 39% of retail marketers plan to implement, with many retailers hoping to capitalize on increased use of smart home systems and smart speakers.

In other findings of the "Nine Retail Marketing Trends in 2018” study:

• Retail marketers believe mobile is the key priority for positively affecting sales growth, and 72% will use mobile marketing to drive in-store sales, according to the survey. Further, 82% will rely on mobile marketing to drive in-app sales.

• About 50% of retailers indicated they will use multi-touch attribution in order to better monitor the quality of traffic from their advertising investments.

• Retailers will become more bullish on advertising fraud as they look to ensure that their marketing is reaching the highest quality audience. More than six in 10 will increase their direct media buying in 2018 in order to better monitor the quality of their traffic from advertising investments.

• Fifty percent of retail marketers say that their mobile marketing team falls under digital marketing within their organization, up from 41% in 2016.

"The convergence between physical and digital shopping will blend even further this year," said Tarleton. "As retail shifts continue, delivering seamless shopping experiences — be it in-store or online — are critical to success."