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Time to Get Strategic

Let’s just all admit it: Marketing in 2019 is hard. While there are multiple programs and strategies and ways to spend money reaching out to consumers, the way we talk about marketing doesn’t make it any easier. We have traditional and digital, marketing and advertising, data and insights. It’s all just a big jumble of everyone trying to understand what is going to work and what isn’t and none of us have a crystal ball. Now that we’ve all had our moment to vent, what do we do about it? The only answer is to start with the basics and focus on a strategy. The tricky part about that proposal? Having a strategy. Let’s think through were to start. No marketer worth her weight starts to build a strategy without doing some research. That means understanding where the brand is currently, what it means to consumers, what you WANT it to mean to consumers and what avenues are in place currently to help connect those two ideals. Sometimes, this means actually doing research, sending out consumer surveys or talking to…

The Practicality of an Idea

If you’re like me, I get a lot of sales pitches about new products and services. It’s hard to understand which one to grab onto and which ones to push to the back burner for now. While I always do at least some cursory investigation into new opportunities, there’s no way to do everything. All of this can be overwhelming if you don’t have a way to narrow down where you should focus. At Groceryshop back in October, Wayne Duan, VP of eCommerce for Constellation Brands provided a good way to think about any business opportunity. Below are the questions to ask about this opportunity and my two cents on how I think of these when working with retailers. Does it Solve a problem? This seems like an obvious question but it’s amazing to me how many people decide to dive fully into implementing a program without thinking about whether a problem exists that needs to be addressed. Is it better than the Status quo? While we’re always wanting to push the needle and continue to evolve, sometimes it’s good…

Making Marketing Data Work

Big data. Little data. Shopper data. Transaction data. Data. Data. Data. By now someone has said you need data. The trick is knowing what kind of data you need and what you should do with the data once you have it. Knowing many independent retailers have these questions in mind, I attended the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association presentation recently from Blake Hodges of Alight Analytics. Hodges had some important reminders for those of us trying to figure out how to solve the two part data problem: aggregation and reporting. Fundamentally, before aggregating and reporting on data, you have to have it. Data comes from all different places. You likely keep track of some of this data but maybe not all and potentially not in a way that helps you make future decisions. According to Hodges most of us spend around 80% of our time prepping data but only around 20% analyzing it. This insight really calls into question the whole reason we have data. To address this imbalance, Hodges broke down four levels of performance insight from data and…

We’re Hiring!

The AWG Sales Services team has two openings, a Sr. Creative Specialist and a Digital Marketing Specialist. If you are looking to join a fast-paced team full of opportunity, we’re your place. To apply for either of these jobs, click here and enter the job title in the search bar to navigate directly to the respective opening. Sr. Creative Specialist The Creative Specialist is one of the hubs of marketing/advertising for all AWG retailers. This position will be heavy on design work that will come in large full-store branding projects to small-scale projects like single signs, shelf signage, and quick turn-around social posts. Will work closely with advertising supervisor to develop branding for retailers — sometimes from scratch, other times to build upon what already exists. Internal work will also be an essential part of the Creative Specialist position with several large and ongoing projects and on-needed basis. Those projects include the annual report, quarterly retailer-focused magazine and trade ads. Design of advertising/marketing promotional material for the department will also be asked. The Creative Specialist is also charged with working…

GDPR – What Retailers Need To Know Now

Have you noticed all the emails you’ve received recently with information about organizations updating their privacy policies? When you visit websites are you seeing the bar on the bottom informing  you about cookies and data collection policies? If so, you can thank the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) policies now in place in Europe. While the United States hasn’t adopted the legislation yet, that hasn’t stopped organizations based in the US from paying attention to what’s going on. That’s why the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association recently held a lunch with David Cacioppo of emfluence and Neil Watkins of Asureti to walk through some of the basics of GDPR. Below are some of the things you might want to at least be aware of as GDPR gains traction. Require Opt-In Now GDPR dictates that a company must obtain consent from a consumer to process and share their information. When it went into place in Europe, that meant consent had to be given for data that had already been collected. That means you might as well start making sure you have…

Tale of the Tape

In the excitement of dreaming up and launching campaigns, sometimes determining how to measure it gets lost in the mix. Yet, as Tara Saylor expressed to the room full of marketers at the Kansas City International Business Communicators lunch, the only way to pop the champagne and enjoy the successes is to know where you’re going at the beginning. This means asking questions, using data, deciding what to measure, making a plan, and telling everyone about what you did. Good solutions start with good questions. Question 1. Who are you trying to reach? Are they loyal customers, new ones, or potential ones? What do you want them to do with the information provided? Question 2. What’s your timeline? Working backwards from the final date sometimes helps build out the steps. Once you have those steps, put them on a calendar. Question 3. How are you going to measure success? It’s best to document the answers to the questions so you can think through the way they contribute to success, otherwise you might end up having to use HIPPO (highest paid…

The mile marker painted white on the blacktop of the footpath on a close up view.

Chasing the Last Mile

Of all the hot topics in retail these days, last-mile fulfillment is one of the hottest. Independent grocery retailers are becoming more comfortable with the notion of click and collect eCommerce, but last mile seems to be another beast altogether. There are concerns, for sure. But, as more and more competitors venture into delivery, retailers are asking how they can get in the game. At the Home Delivery World conference in Atlanta in April, Bringg laid out seven steps in the delivery process and how retailers can prepare to tackle it head on. 7 steps in delivery: Streamline processes – ensure the data used to power delivery is correct. Have the right product and pricing information and understand what’s even going to be available via delivery. Improve Efficiency – Learn how to track inventory and have driver visibility for both the driver and the customer. Use real time data and consider proof of delivery. Provide Visibility – Build trust with on-time delivery and use data to understand each component of the process and how to continuously improve it. Communicate effectively…

Producing & Protecting A Digital STAMP

The words technology and digital can be scary. It isn’t so much that they have to do with change but sometimes that they have to do with the unknown. Yet, as Erik Qualman assured retailers during his presentation at the AWG Innovation Showcase in March, connecting with customers today isn’t really about technology, it’s about relationships, and independent grocery retailers already know relationships. In his presentation, Qualman reminded retailers that all of them have a digital stamp composed of their digital footprint (what is uploaded to the internet by them) and their digital shadow (what everyone else says online). Digital leadership then comes down to producing and protecting the best digital stamp possible. Qualiman outlined five habits that stand the test of time when it comes to digital leadership because according to him, digital leaders are made, not born and digital tools are in place when time and distance are an issue in reaching customers. S – Simple Digital leaders make “not-to-do” lists. This helps them streamline by taking things away versus making a to-do list which just consists of…

Mining Search Behavior

We all lie. Whether on surveys, in focus groups, or on social media platforms, there’s a story we’re all trying to present in a certain way. Tylor Hermanson, Manager of Search Solutions at Intouch Solutions, opened his recent KCDMA presentation on harnessing search behavior in all facets of marketing with that context. Hermanson referenced the book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Hermanson went on to reveal, though, that search behavior may be a better indicator of how people feel and how you can influence them. Thus, keyword research is worth investing in, and harnessing, for the learnings it can provide in all different contexts. With the understanding that keyword research is something worth looking into, Hermanson helped explain some of the basics of it. Rule 1: Don’t start with keywords. Hermanson reminded the marketers in the room to draw from what they know about their industry, competition, brands, and insights already gathered. Use this information to inspire the keyword research rather than pulling keywords…

Creating Content Without Keeling Over

When Greta Perel started describing the phantom English teacher on our shoulders at the Social Media Club of Kansas City’s February breakfast, I immediately pictured a little lady sitting on my shoulder yelling at me about commas and using words more exciting than the ones I’d used in the sentences before. Perel nailed the challenge that I have daily with writing content for marketing and digital media: I keep applying the rules of writing term papers to content that is supposed to be fun, interesting, and engaging. No wonder I’m frustrated. Thankfully, at Perel’s session, she shared tactics to formulate an unmistakable voice and irresistable writing using a practical and office-ready approach. Voice is the first component Perel reviewed during her presentation. There are Perel’s four elements to voice: Humor – It gets people to relax and disarms them. She advises going with the self deprecating variety if you can’t think of anything else. Likeability – Be vulnerable, it’ll help people connect with you. Curiosity – Readers are lazy, selfish, and distracted. Your writing has to arouse and fulfill them…

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