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Going Against the (Marketing) Grain: Taking a Step Back to Progress

by: Justis Saayman (@justissaayman)
05 August 2016

So let’s be realistic, the modern marketing team has a finite amount of resources. From graphic designers to time, we’re limited in how much we can do to improve the bottom line.

Goals like a single customer view, fully dynamic emails and sending an email to the right person, at the right time, on the right device might feel like a pipedream when you gaze at your diary.

Now don’t get me wrong, striving to set up items such as a single customer view are important, it’s just that they take time, and it’s smart to balance these longer-term projects with more “basic” tactics you can implement more quickly and add to the bottom line.

With this said, I present you with my buzz phrase of 2016: Crowd-Led Marketing.

What Is Crowd-Led Marketing?

As the name suggests, Crowd-Led Marketing entails using information at your fingertips to decide what content is best for your subscribers or what time is best to send an email.

Let’s look at a theoretical use case. Imagine you’re on online retailer with peaks and troughs of organic and paid-for traffic. To combat these troughs, you want to utilise other marketing avenues to drive traffic affordably.

Just as important to the above end-goal is the fact that you don’t want to canabalise revenue from the good days. Keeping in mind that you’re an online retailer with many brands, products and services, just putting items on sale is likely to get lost between the day-to-day emails from your competitors and everyday browsing behaviour. Thus, you agree that you need something time-sensitive, appealing in real time (almost) and “own’able” (more on this term in a minute).

In essence, you need a flash sale. That’s not a new concept, but you need a flash sale that will address this need on a weekly basis. As indicated above, there are three key areas to consider:

1) Time-sensitivity

Flash sales instill a sense of urgency when used in the correct way. Sticking to the crowd-sourced mentality, you’re using this method on a day when you’d generally have low traffic from other sources. By using email and social to get your offer “into the wild,” these fans/subscribers will feel like they are special.

2) Appealing in real time

Normally it’s up to buyers or merchandisers to choose which products to feature based on their understanding of the market, what competitors are doing, and other factors like weather.

Wouldn’t it be smarter to find out what your customers are looking at? If the majority of customers are looking at a particular category or brand, for example, wouldn’t it make sense to show them those items to help drive better results?

Places to look for this information include:

  • Keywords or brands people used during the week to visit the site
  • Words/brands/items people were searching for on the site itself. These offer you a real view of what people are looking for in semi-real time.

Instead of selling raincoats when it’s raining (as buyers might recommend), you might notice people are buying shorts due to the weather forecast for the following week. Market to the rule, not the exception, and take your audience’s actions into consideration.

3) Making it “own’able”

So, what is this made-up word and why should a simple flash sale be own’able? Well, the problem you’re trying to solve is a lack of web traffic on down days. This is not a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, it’s a constant. People browse on certain days and shop on others. Changing that behaviour will take a long time and a lot of work, so you must commit to it.

Often, we see companies dump hashtags into their marketing without a plan of owning them and using them for a long time. In this case you need to own the day, the name and the deals for that time.

Owning a concept centred on a particular day(s) means your audience will start coming back week after week for the deal. They’ll start to associate the day with your brand or industry and will be less inclined to unsubscribe from your other emails if they feel one offers a huge amount of value.

Tips for Making It Work for You

Intrigued? Here are a few points that are paramount to making crowd-sourced marketing work.

1) Go all-in. I cannot stress enough that buy-in from the company is needed so you can commit to this. Discounting on a single product on a single day is great, but most consumers won’t get out of bed for something that sounds normal.

Recently I worked with a company to implement this concept, and we saw a 400 percent increase in sales (in 24 hours) over the amount sold in the four weeks prior to the campaign. Since then it’s become a weekly email campaign for the company, which allocates a lot of resource to it as it’s almost flattened the bell curve on the low-traffic days.

2) Test offers and timing. While I was working with this company, we noticed that a £25 price point for a hoodie worked better than 30 percent off. Test what your audience responds to — does percentage work better than fixed price?

Also, check crowd-sourced information such as traffic times and email open times. If you’re launching a one-day sale that ends at midnight, would it be better to send the email at 7 a.m. so people have more daylight hours to purchase? Remember, use the power of the crowd to drive traffic and lessen that trough in traffic.

3) Review high-traffic-day sales. Adjust your campaigns if you feel they’re affecting purchases from your best days. This could mean you’re flash-selling too many items or products that might sell in any case.

Remember: don’t let a lack of time or resources get you down. Implementing basic tactics like crowd-sourced marketing can help you make incremental improvements while you gradually implement longer-term projects.

Get More Marketing Tips:

1) Tip Sheet: “7 Tips for Getting Started with Behavioral Marketing

2) Blog: “8-Second Pitch: What Snapchat, Twitter and Your Marketing Approach Should Have in Common

3) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Becoming an Agile Marketing Team




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