In 2009, there was an acceleration of marketing investment shift from Off-Line to On-Line channels. A research from Forrester amongst Marketing Leaders indicates that Chief Marketing Officers from their panel (mainly international companies) are planning to increase their On-Line media spending up to 39% of their total media investments in 2010. However, On-Line and Off-line activities should not be disconnected as the visitor of a real store would have searched information on Internet prior to his purchase.
The critical steps remain the same across all marketing channels:
- Drive Visibility/Awareness
- Generate traffic
- Increase conversion
Let’s have a look on 5 trends for 2010 on how brands would connect the dots:
TREND #1: CONSISTENCY OF BRAND EXPERIENCE ACROSS CHANNELS
The consumer will go through different steps before, during and after its purchase. The nature and the type of experience across those different points of contacts are crucial for the brand and the client. Especially as clients expect a richer, more honest and mature relationships with their brands whatever the type of products (from FMCG to Luxury brands). This Relationship Building would need to match the diversity of attitudes and behaviors of clients but with one common factor: consistency.
Emotion and elegance are core drivers within the Luxury industry. Dior expanded the traditional approach of celebrity endorsement for its Lady Dior collection. The movie star Marion Cotillard illustrates different facets of Lady Dior (Black, Red and soon Blue) through a story telling online and offline.
A brand could decide to express its values and philosophy through different means and not necessarily connected with its core products’ offer. The shoe brand Camper moves along this line and inaugurated in 2009 their second Hotel (Berlin): Casa Camper Hotel.
it is not an easy journey but Richard Branson made this concept a success with Virgin.
Microsoft transformed a digital experience into a concrete one by establishing the Windows Café in Paris for supporting the launch of Windows 7.
I have done in a previous post an analysis on Nespresso as a good example of this trend: Luxury brands and 360° Marketing Strategy.
TREND #2: ENGAGING CONSUMERS ON RELEVANT TOPICS FOR THEM
Consumers expect interactions with brands which promote their areas of interests. A Customer Centric approach would integrate this dimension through the different marketing channels.
Etam (French lingerie brand and retail chain) has multiplied by a 3 its Facebook community by organizing an online “fashion defilé”. The initiative was aligned with the target audience as 85% of the new members were women.
Even if men could have an interest on the subject.
In France, Coca Cola and Skyrock (leading FM radio and blogging platform amongst teenagers) joined their forces for setting-up a Community to promote active engagement of young people for supporting social projects. This collaboration on the social responsibility theme between 2 brands having the same target audience but not competing directly could be a source of inspiration for other business sectors.
Lufthansa launched in October 2009, a mobility service MySkyStatus. Travelers are informed in real time on the status of their flights via email, Facebook or Twitter.
Obviously, Foursquare is a good illustration of “what’s coming next” in terms of localization and interactivity. This service allows you to tag interesting places in your city (restaurants, bars, shops), share it with your friends and stay in contact with them when you are mobile. Meanwhile, you collect points to discover new places from other communities.
TREND #4: EXPERIENCE AT RETAIL IS A MATTER OF INNOVATION AND EXCLUSIVITY
Sephora have launched their new concept of flagship stores in Italy (Milan) . In this new shop everything is done to transform the client’s visit into an outstanding experience where services take a major role: Beauty Bar, make-up school, shows and even pop-up Spa.
It could be a source of inspiration for other sectors especially in Luxury.
The store moves from a retail place to a lifestyle place. In the meantime, the synergy with ecommerce has been reinforced. In France, the online sales channel represents the #1 shop in terms of traffic and the 4th in terms of turnover.
In the luxury industry, Fabergé decided to push exclusivity to its limit. The brand’s website does not display the collection of products without an individual registration done by a sales agent. This step will trigger a private appointment for a presentation of the collection online. The rest of the website focuses on the history and the philosophy of the brand.
TREND #5: TARGETED OR SEGMENTED OFFERS
Consumers look for more and more specific and specialized products. It could go beyond the well developed approach of customization. There are 2 additional directions where brands could use emotional drivers such as nostalgia and leveraging on a well identified community
Capitalizing on nostalgic consumers
Vintage products are more and more popular. Market Publique is a market place specialized in this product category and gathers buyers and sellers into a community around premium and high end fashion vintage collections.
Community of clients or users could be the back-bone from product development to dedicated commercialization models.
The direct-sales cosmetic brand Mark (sister brand of Avon) launched an eShop on their Facebook Page. Their young consumers can identify their nearest sales rep amongst their community or take benefit of the Fan page to purchase directly.
On the other hand, the US retail chain Marbles offers games to support and develop mental agility amongst senior people. 200 products are categorized by the type of mental function to maintain or improve.
The fashion sector is advanced in this practice. Clients amongst their community could lead the product design before sharing their creation (Trendy Workshop) or voting on different designs before initiating the final production (ModCloth.com).
We will see over 2010 how those trends would be confirmed…or not!