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Guest Column: 7 Steps to Build a Great Retail Marketing Strategy

Every retail marketer has had the same nightmare.

They spend a significant amount of money and hours on creating an engaging campaign designed to have customers lined up outside before the store opens. But once the doors are unlocked, no one is waiting. Hours pass and not one person walks through the door.

This scenario should never become a reality. Marketing campaigns can be expensive, and they need to pay off. With the right strategy, text-based and other marketing campaigns can drive measurable revenue and be a catalyst for growth. Here are seven steps to building an effective retail marketing campaign.

1. Align your campaign to company goals.
It may seem to be a no-brainer, but campaigns should always directly tie into a larger business goal. Company leadership has a direction in mind, and strategies should be aligned with their goals.

For example, leadership may be interested in building awareness and brand recognition over generating a short-term sales boost, influencing the marketing strategy away from quick-fix revenue tactics. By aligning marketing strategy with overall business goals, the positive impact will be felt through more levels of the business.

2. Target the right audience.
Very few retailers can honestly say their products sell to every consumer. Even businesses like Walmart or Amazon, who sell to most consumers, need to understand who buys and uses their products to create effective campaigns and strategies. By asking the right questions, marketers can ensure they will not only reach the right consumers, but will also send messages appreciated by the recipient. Good marketers ask who their desired consumer is in terms of demographics, unexpressed needs and wants, and preferred purchasing methods (online or in-store). Marketers should also aim to convey how their products will help the consumer as specifically as possible.

3. Identify the best channel for each individual campaign.
The right message sent in the wrong way can ruin a campaign’s chance for success before it even gets off the ground. Customers have their preferred methods of communication, but those methods will change over time. What may have worked two years ago may not generate any interest now. Customers might want to be reached through specific social media platforms or email marketing.

They may even appreciate a direct text message. After all, texts are read almost five times more than email, and are read within three minutes of delivery. Consumers want valuable content they can engage with, so marketers should look for opportunities with familiar platforms like texting, which allow them to directly engage with the retailer.

4. Consider your audience's emotional needs.
Consumers make purchase decisions based on a number of factors such as the fear of missing a great deal, the need for social validation in the form of sharing an offer with others, showing off an exclusive product, or feeling part of an exclusive group. They may be driven by a strong sense of optimism or pessimism, or may be motivated by new experiences and learning opportunities. Marketing strategies are made better when they tap into an emotional driver of purchases.

5. Plan your marketing assets.
Before the campaign gets too close to launch, consider all marketing assets necessary to make the campaign effective. Photography and video assets may be outdated, in-store signage and branding may need to be replaced, and vendor platform solutions may be required, just to name a few. Getting assets in place well before launch will allow for enough time to set up physical assets and test platform solutions so the launch can go as smoothly as possible.

6. Launch the campaign.
This may seem like another no-brainer, but a strong launch is essential to a good campaign. Not only will it get your store noticed by as many relevant consumers as possible, it will allow for better adjustments on future campaigns based on what goes well and what doesn’t.

7. Gather data to improve future campaigns.
Every campaign is an opportunity to make future campaigns better by collecting important information. Good marketing platforms will allow users to easily collect and analyze campaign data, allowing marketers to fine-tune campaigns over time to meet more specific consumer needs.

Following the above steps will help any marketer develop a successful campaign aligned with business goals, responsive to their consumers’ needs, and structured enough to gather data which will enhance future campaigns.

Matt Reid is chief marketing officer of EZ Texting.
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