As the retail world continues to expand its emphasis on digital sales, marketers are faced with many challenges. Products that used to be sold in brick-and-mortar stores are now increasingly being sold online. In fact, according to Forrester Research Inc., online sales in the United States are expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years, up 56% from $335 billion in 2015. While being able to purchase items in-store or online is great for the customer, it adds a tremendous amount of work for marketers.
Print ads and signage were once the norm, but in today’s digital world, in-store is just one of many promotional channels retail marketers must consider. The world has gone omnichannel increasing the marketer’s workload along with it while bringing marketing complexity to a whole new level.
It’s clear that selling products both online and offline is incredibly beneficial to customers and retailers alike. According to the research firm Aberdeen Group, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. Yet the challenges associated with managing vast amounts of content, and sharing that content globally and in multiple languages, can be a painful logistical issue for marketers who are not equipped with the right tools.
Omnichannel promotional campaigns don’t happen on the fly. They are planned months in advance and are often in various stages of production at any given time. When you add global marketing teams and complex workflows to the mix, such as personalization and support for multiple languages, that complexity can become unmanageable.
There are content management tools available that specialize in making unmanageable campaign content manageable—and your journey to a successful omnichannel content strategy depends on your ability to pick the right one. When it comes to delivering exceptional customer experiences, the content management system is critical.
Here are a few important things to look for from your content management system when it comes to omnichannel campaign management:
There are two types of campaigns retailers run—page campaigns and themed campaigns. Your content management system should support both.
Page campaigns are used to redo entire website pages (such as the home page or product pages), for the duration of a promotion which can last the length of an entire season (Christmas) or simply one day (President’s Day sale). During a three month period, campaign pages could conceivably have many different promotions scheduled, all of which need to be developed well in advance of their respective launch dates. You need the ability to plan ahead, schedule campaign launches, maintain and preview campaign content for any given date, and work on those pages independently and simultaneously. A good CMS will enable you to select a future date, preview the content scheduled for publication for that page and date, and work on the content as needed until launch.
Themed campaigns, however, offer an entirely different set of issues to tackle. Themed campaigns are site-wide promotions where specific campaign assets, such as videos, images, and text, are distributed across multiple pages and channels throughout the entire customer journey. There may be multiple content assets to manage of varying sizes, customized for different regions, translated into multiple languages, and personalized to specific personas. A good CMS should give you centralized control to manage and preview campaign assets in the context of the pages where they reside, target the delivery by persona, and schedule assets to launch according to local time zones. This level of coordination requires advanced asset management and controls to orchestrate global themed content successfully.
Will this pay dividends in the end?
The short answer is a resounding yes. Successful marketers operate with extreme agility and purpose. That requires marketing to orchestrate campaign content like a finely tuned machine. A good content management system will help make seemingly unmanageable campaign content manageable while helping you implement campaign strategies with the dexterity and efficiency needed to achieve your desired results.
While using a state-of-the-art content management system makes life easier for marketers, the real benefit is for the customer. Having content that is timely and relevant for each customer regardless of the channel they use greatly increases the chance that they will not only purchase products from your company, but they will become a repeat customer that speaks positively about your company to other people.
As Aberdeen Group’s research indicates, companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies. In order to realize these types of results, ask your Web content management vendor how their technology simplifies global campaigns, improves the customer experience, and increases productivity for marketing managers.
Andreas Knoor is the Chief Digital Strategist and COO of e-Spirit.