For a long time, marketers would base their marketing strategy on ‘gut feeling’, but that’s now long gone, according to a recent paper released by Deakin University Australia and Pitney Bowes Software.

The Decision-Making in Retail Marketing: The End of Gut Feel? was the basis of discussion at the Retail 2012 Exhibition and Conference where they examined how retailers could take a different approach to their marketing strategies.

The panel of people that were involved in this discussion were Mark Harding, Australian Bureau of Statistics NSW Client Services Director; Steve Ogden-Barnes, Retail Industry Fellow of Deakin University Graduate School; Mani Shishineh, Audio Clinic/Oticon Australia insights and alliances manager; and Nigel Lester, Pitney Bowes Software retail solutions group manager.

Steve highlighted that it’s a great thing that marketing decisions are no longer determined by gut feelings as it now allows businesses, such as those in the retail sector, to have the opportunity to take a smarter approach to pushing out marketing strategies.

He also noted that while there’s a perception the marketing sector is a dynamic system it is also quite conservative, which explains why managers who were surveyed for the paper were likely to choose ideas, models and techniques they understood.

Also, a survey undertook by the ABS showed that four out of five businesses only service their area while half of Australian businesses rely significantly on those customers; and of those, half of them admitted they would significantly lose business if they lost just one customer.

The Audio Clinic discovered through their own experience this strategy and frame of mind was no longer the appropriate approach to take when it comes to executing their marketing.

 “You need to be as customer-centric as possible…” Mani said. “…because you want to retain customers and grow from that retention.”

According to Pitney Bowes’ Nigel, marketers need to start making plans over the next few months and setup a strategy that will be appropriate for the next five years – at the very least.

“Retailers need to start creating their strategy around the 360 degrees customer view,” Nigel said. “The 360 degrees customer means looking at point of sale, basket information, social media, web, multi channels and use all that data that is collected to create a profile of an individual. But that’s the challenge for many businesses on how they can create targeted marketing messages.”

Other advice that was offered was by Mark from ABS who said: “When you measure a relationship you enter a point of interaction but you have to ask yourself first ‘what do you already know’ and ‘what do you really want know’ because you don’t have to know everything.”