Archive for November 8, 2011

Style over Content?

Mobile technologies, QR codes, Near Field Communications are wonderful.  They are quickly changing the conversation and the way shoppers engage merchants.  But is the technology ahead of the content?  Is it ahead of the strategy, or even the ability of retailers and brands to even measure and understand these new engagements?

More likely than not, the prevailing answer to each of the aforementioned is yes.  Not that we should get caught up in pedantic detail of thirty page strategies or lengthy reports…..but we should be devoting some major attention to both. But what cannot be overlooked is the inherent elevated expectations from the consumer that the quality and volume of the content we deliver via these new technologies is worthy of the delivery mechanism.  Better said, great technology demands great content.  

Great content contains three vital elements.  Relevancy, Value, and Timeliness.  To be relevant, we retailers must use customer data and transactional history to learn quickly what floats the shopper’s boat.  Value can be both monetary and an informationally based, but more the former than the latter.  Timeliness implies a sense of urgency, a call to action.   There is no quick and cheap ways to make this happen.  But in the retailer, brand, third party partner triage, there are some basic rules of engagement that should be considered.

Retailers must make investments of people, offer expense, and promotion in channeling existing offers and deals to these new media, understanding that there are no magic buckets of new money from their brand partners that will suffice as the sole source of offer content.  There is no substitution for the retailer’s own content to dominate.

Brands, when new funds can be made available, should rightly insist that their retailer partners have both the sophistication and the willingness to share customer insights and investment results to qualify for their fair share of these funds.  But once the brand partner has access to the retailer’s data, they have an added responsibility to help the retailer honestly grow the category and their business, not just the brand’s own share at that particular retailer.  Brands must be prepared to adjust their content to adapt to the retailer’s customer, not force a pre-conceived brand strategy down the pipeline if it is not a good fit.

Content and Technology Partners have a role to play as well.  They need to solicit constant feedback from the brands and retailers to refine and strengthen their technology or their content to insure the consumer remains engaged and does not become weary of antiquated technology as others around them are becoming more efficient.

In real estate it’s location, location, location!   

In technology enabled CRM, it’s content, content, content!