As a number of pivotal trends transform the future of digital marketing, a leading marketing platform has unveiled key tips and tricks for retailers to stay ahead of the game.

The consolidation of large marketing firms, commoditisation of marketing agencies and the data revolution are all shaking-up the digital marketing sector, and changing it as we now know it, Bijan Bedroud, Chief Revenue Officer at Emarsys told Retailbiz.

These transformational changes call on retailers to shift the focus of their marketing strategies to data, personalisation, creating unique content and experiential retailing, he says.

The data revolution means that leveraging data effectively is absolutely essential for retailers and marketers to develop a view of their customer and deliver effective advertising, according to Bedroud.

“Many organisations are beginning to realise that human-driven personalisation doesn’t scale and are investing in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science to put their data to work,” he says.

The consolidation of marketing firms is the second trend having a big impact on the marketing landscape – with a strong of purchases by tech firm Adobe, who recently acquired Marketo, Salesforce, IBM and Oracle, Bedroud says.

“While this is not a new trend, mergers and acquisitions are picking up speed,” he says.

Commoditisation is the third trend emerging in the current marketing landscape, Bedroud says.

“With so much noise in the market, digital marketing companies must continue to add value to their customers. When a brand sees no real value in a service, it will downgrade that to a commodity.”

Bedroud says that while Australia leads the way in retail marketing, the marketing sector is currently going through a tremendous amount of change, moving away from a focus on competition with other agencies, and towards individual personalisation.

“Previously, many marketing departments would follow the norm or keep a close eye on their competitors. Now, we are seeing more leaders in the space aiming to create disruptive messages across more channels to tailor a story for each individual,” he said.

Targeted content, experiential retailing and fostering relationships

Creating unique and targeted content is the most essential feature of effective retail marketing in an increasingly competitive environment, Bedroud says.

“Stand out from the crowd! We are seeing more and more overseas brands creating an impact in their market through the use of new channels and messaging that we didn’t have a decade ago. There are roles and departments that were non-existent, which are now making strategic decisions for C-level executives. This is the greatest learning for Australian retailers,” he says.

A focus on creating an experience as part of your brand is also essential to stay ahead of the game, Bedroud says.

“Ultimately, customers don’t buy a product, they buy an experience. Take McDonalds, for example. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the environment—the Wi-Fi, the atmosphere, the McDonalds Monopoly,” he says.

But nothing beats creating a genuine relationship with your consumer, according to Bedroud.

“What we’re seeing occur, especially in bricks-and-mortar retail and in regional Australia, is there is no differentiation from shop to shop, which is in turn driving closures. Simple things, such as a consumer receiving a welcome SMS from a chain store as they walk in the door is a personal touch that takes customer experience to the next level. For online retailers, an equivalent could be sending a discount offer or voucher via email or text to a customer on their birthday.”