All the Bells and Whistles: planning a successful retail campaign

Silly Season is here! The time of year when you want to ensure you keep your customers interested, surprised and intrigued – and your brand top of mind.

Any campaign at this time of year is definitely aimed at ensuring return on investment. This is not the time for building followers or merely creating awareness – this is when you really want to bring customers instore or to your website for serious shopping.

In a way, this is marketing at its most basic – chasing sales. But how do you ensure you catch the public’s eye, pull the customers in, and give them an amazing shopping experience. While you might plan your campaign in the expected way, you will have to consider all the extras you can add so that your target market sees your products afresh, your stores – both digital and brick – as somewhat more inviting than Joe Bloggs next door.

Know your market:

If you know who your regular customers are – you’ve done your segmentation spadework – it makes it easier to identify your targets. Your regular customers will be interspersed with casual shoppers, but the idea would be to captivate all in your approach. Knowing your customers through previous purchases, as well as interaction on social media, will help you optimise returns on your campaign.

Choose your media:

Luckily, in today’s world, you have a host of avenues to support your campaign – from traditional television, radio and print, to posters, flyers, emails, to almost limitless possibility and imagination via social media and mobiles. You can keep the focus the same, but change the approach depending on the media. Meeting your customers’ needs is crucial; it may be pointless to offer specials on all the things you haven’t been able to sell during the year. What has been successful? What do customers prefer? Why have certain products appealed above others? When your customer arrives at the door, drawn by the pull of your media magic, don’t disappoint them.

Create a story:

Once your strategy has taken shape, you need to ensure a consistent brand experience at every touchpoint. When your campaign launches you are beginning a journey, a story that will engage your customers with the theme and purpose of your campaign. You are delivering reward to your loyal customers, and valuable bargain options to the potential customers. From print competitions to coupons to instore surprises; take your campaign up a notch when the customer is physically in your retail environment.

Intrigue and entertain:

This is when you need to outshine your competitors. Take a look at what they might be doing, analyse possibilities, and push the envelope; capitalise on anything that will help you up your game. Rewards could be developed as follows: a customer who makes the tenth purchase that day…or the 99th customer to enter the store…or popping balloons with surprise prizes…or having a mini-auction of a desirable item…or an instore mystery treasure hunt…or rewarding the customer who spends the most that day…etc, etc. The experience should prove as much excitement and fun as the main prizes/rewards/discounts you are offering through your campaign.

Begin the campaign before you begin the campaign:

Alerts should go out ahead of the launch so that customers are informed and aware, intrigued, their interest peaked – ready to enjoy a unique shopping experience. Postcards, flyers, instore posters, small giveaways with lucky numbers for an instore draw, etc, backed up by creative posts on social media.

Be memorable:

Offer something as spectacular as you can. Make it easy for winners – don’t go the route of two free nights in Outer Mongolia or boring grocery vouchers. Be more creative and enticing than that. And more convenient. It’s not about what you want to give away (that 1953 jacket that’s been hanging in the storeroom – no!), it’s about what your customer would truly be thrilled with. Make a splash. Make someone happy. And do good. Offer equal value of the prize to a customer’s charity of choice. Be surprising and be memorable.

Respond to customers:

It’s vital to keep the ball rolling by tracking response and responding in turn. Drive conversation because engagement is always likely to bring a customer to your stores, and offers the chance of establishing a stronger relationship. Partnering with other businesses to create customer rewards such as hotels, spas and restaurants, creates excellent marketing connections for all concerned.

Get your staff onboard:

Selling is not always about a winning smile but how well a salesperson can relate to a customer’s needs. Going the extra mile should be doubly important during your campaign; knowledge and efficiency amongst employees is key to driving your campaign forward, and keeping the focus on pleasing the customer, and adding genuine excitement to your instore campaign strategy.

Track return on investment:

Your campaign should have set specific and measurable goals. Tracking response whether it’s more visits to your website or online reviews, or instore and online sales, is important not only for the success of your campaign, but for future engagement and how you design and implement future campaigns. Noting mistakes and even any negative feedback provides valuable information going forward in helping you shape your next campaign to be even more successful.

Surprising is what we do at Out of the Blue!

Come and talk to us. We’re in that edgy business of surprise called marketing. At Out of the Blue Creative Communication Solutions we work with clients to build communications that do better business through concepts that are smart and relevant.

Find us at: www.outoftheblue.co.za