This is an incredibly busy time in eCommerce. As the pendulum is swinging back towards brick and mortars and the world reopens, Q4 puts a lot of pressure on marketers to make up for the losses incurred earlier in the year.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to host several experts in eCommerce marketing on our podcast, Optily Radio. At the end of each episode, I ask all the guests for one takeaway tip that they would like to make sure our listeners pay particular attention to.
While I definitely recommend listening to the full episodes, I’m conscious that there are only so many hours in the day. So I’ve distilled the 5 key points from these episodes that will help you get your marketing to the next level.
1. Build experiences specific to your customers
Navah Hopkins, formerly of Justuno and now VP of Strategic Marketing at AdZooma, highlighted the importance of tailoring the user experience to your end customer. Where she’s seen brands fail with their messaging or UX is when they didn’t spend enough time really drilling down to understand the motivations behind their customers’ behavior.
“Think about your customer personas, leverage your data, and build experiences that you would enjoy interacting with. When you build with your customers in mind and when you segment into those personas and target them with the right messaging–whether it’s ads, your landing page, or email–you’ll be able to succeed,” said Navah.
2. Be patient and thoughtful when presenting data
Michel Guillet, Senior Product Manager at Salesloft, pointed out the importance of being mindful of who you’re presenting to. A big part of marketing is reporting, which needs to be made accessible to stakeholders. Be conscious of their time and skill level when crafting reports, presentations, and dashboards.
When it comes to data analytics for marketing, less is oftentimes more. Rather than having 30 metrics in all your reports to upper management, narrow it down to three or four key figures and really focus on telling a story with those numbers. Michel quoted Cicero to sum this message up, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
3. Invest to grow
When it comes to his specialty area of Amazon, Tom Baker, CEO of FordeBaker, steers clear of cutting corners for quick wins. For example, it’s best to avoid any manipulation of reviews. While many brands are doing this to gain an edge in the immediate, long term it can have very negative ramifications.
His advice is instead to play the long game and to think more sustainably about growth. “Amazon’s not a ‘get rich quick’ thing,” emphasized Tom. ”If you think that way, you’re going to make the wrong decisions.”
4. Understand your customers at a fundamental level
Echoing many of the sentiments that Navah Hopkins also expressed, Charles Chy, CEO of MindCart AI, reiterated the importance of fundamentally knowing your audience. If you don’t have the basics down, it’s incredibly difficult to succeed and scale.
Whether it’s through mind-type analysis, A/B testing, or market research, there’s no substitute for this key step in building an eCommerce business. All of your messaging, strategy, and design will revolve around what your customers respond to positively. So you truly need to understand what makes them tick, what their motivations are, and which of their frustrations you can help alleviate.
“All marketing starts with a fundamental understanding of your customer,” said Charles. “If you understand who your customers are, what they care about, integrate that into the core of your marketing execution, and you give it time, the results will follow.”
5. Think strategically about differentiation
Amazon is a crowded marketplace, so Emma Schermer Tamir of Marketing by Emma, stresses the importance of standing out. Competition is increasing daily, so you need to identify what makes your product and brand unique and highlight that. Even well-established businesses with tons of reviews shouldn’t feel like they’re untouchable.
New companies are adapting and trying out creative tactics to gain the edge over competitors who claim the top of the results pages. “If you don’t also figure out this differentiation piece, then eventually you are going to be losing some ground to these companies that really are committed to figuring that out,” notes Emma.