For too many companies, the answer to those questions is no. That’s because too many companies are applying an old model — one that’s brand-centric, linear and focused on awareness — to a new reality. The right approach demands that we show up in the right place, at the right time, with the right message to drive shoppers toward purchase. And it demands that we change our model to one that is shopper-centric, dynamic and relentlessly focused on conversion.
At The Mars Agency, we’re working with our clients to move beyond omnicommerce (which, at its worst, is just “showing up everywhere”) and achieve “connected commerce” (which, at its best, is true integration and alignment of all the tools of commerce marketing). On this journey, we’ve noticed five behaviors that are the hallmarks of companies who are advancing the fastest toward a better model of commerce marketing:
1. Connecting Experience Design: The best experience plans convey a cohesive brand message across paid, owned and earned media, and address both consumer and shopper insights. They curate and prioritize the right physical and digital experiences for consumers and shoppers. To get there, planning must begin earlier and with as much emphasis on mapping strategies up front as on creating the plans themselves.
2. Prioritizing Scalable Solutions: Winning companies are prioritizing bigger bets that enable end-to-end integration across brands, customers and drive periods. These fully integrated events get the complete power of the commerce marketing engine pointed in one direction and deliver stronger results than ad-hoc campaigns.
3. Integrating E-commerce: The first horizon in e-commerce was mastering the brilliant basics (product pages, reviews, etc.). The next horizon is ensuring that e-commerce content is connected to the broader commerce marketing shopper experience; that content changes dynamically to match seasonal changes in both brand campaigns and the in-store environment.
4. Measuring with Purpose: The critical first step is aligning KPIs across the entire commerce ecosystem — media to content to search to shopper — to ensure collaboration instead of competition. To unlock even more, companies must build a culture that enables lean principles, such as rapid test-and-learn.
5. Hiring Differently: Advanced companies have realized they must attract more connectors and fewer specialists. There will always be specialty expertise required to deliver commerce marketing, but a collection of people and agencies whose knowledge runs an inch wide and a mile deep will never be able to deliver integrated solutions. Seek diversity of experience in every new hire and cross-train staff to ensure a breadth of capability throughout the purchase journey.
We’ve been leaning into these strategies at Mars internally and with our clients, and we’re already seeing a difference in our ability to deliver integrated solutions that connect the physical to the digital, the message to the medium, and the marketing to the merchandising. With the right talent, the right partners and the right approach, the industry can reap the ultimate benefit of a connected commerce approach: better experiences for shoppers that drive more growth for brands and retailers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Rivenburgh is Global CEO of The Mars Agency, which creates breakthrough connected commerce solutions that influence the shopper journey from prompt, to purchase, and beyond. In addition to his leadership at the agency, over the last two decades Rivenburgh has served as a guiding force for the ever-evolving shopper marketing community.