How is our access to more and more data affecting how marketers reach their customers and measure success?

Data has quickly become a core asset for marketers. It’s making us smarter, faster and more effective. One of the most influential aspects of our growing access to data is that one-to-one marketing is a reality.

The model of one-way, mass communication and this idea of throwing ads into the wind and hoping they land (resonate with) as many people as possible is no longer necessary. Data allows marketers to segment, to track over time, to measure results and to evaluate campaigns on many different levels.

Ultimately, it’s about refinement. Refining the message, refining the audience and then personalizing the message to drive engagement, loyalty and revenue.

What changes are you seeing in the retail space and how are omni-channel solutions affecting both the brick and mortar brands and online stores?

Some of the most impactful changes are happening organizationally. Departments that have historically lived in silos are beginning to interact. Once upon a time, the e-commerce and “in-store” marketing teams didn’t cooperate. They had separate goals and objectives. Now, e-comm and “in-store” are starting a conversation.

More than that, integration and organizational alignment is a necessity to succeed. Consumers expect a seamless experience, from mobile ads to in-store signage to social media sites, and if e-comm and in-store aren’t coordinating, there’s going to be a divide.

Another change we’re seeing is in compensation models. Whereas display used to drive online sales, it is now utilized to also drive in-store sales. Retailers are working to better leverage vendors and data to attribute sales to the right channel and break down walls between channels, budgets and success metrics.

How have we advanced from the world of coupon cutting to online solutions? Has the target markets changed? How are brands able to reach new cliental in a non-intrusive way?

The target hasn’t changed, but the delivery vehicles certainly have. Technology has ushered coupon cutting into the digital age. Rather than serve up one offer to everyone in a local newspaper, marketers now have the tools to reach individuals. Furthermore, they can track and assign success metrics that were historically unavailable.

Marketers are also beginning to see promotions as a vehicle for measurement rather than a model for mass distribution. By determining what channels, messages, timing, etc. motivate digital engagement and coupon redemptions, retailers and brands can learn how to build loyalty and brand advocacy.

Where are you seeing the most growth across the different platforms you work in and how can brands take advantage of that?

Mobile is probably seeing the most growth right now, although we’re also seeing a change in the way retailers and brands are approaching social media. First, any marketer who hasn’t considered how mobile integrates into (and drives) their plans is going to play catch-up. Whether through brand-centric apps, mobile wallets, mobile websites or simply creating a mobile-optimized experience, there is a breaking point where tech-savvy consumers are going to move to a competitor if you can’t provide the kind of experience they expect for whatever device they are using.

Secondly, social media isn’t just about likes, retweets and comments anymore. It’s about data collection, meeting business goals and connecting social activity to the in-store sale. Our clients are using social scoring to determine how consumers engage and how their purchasing habits differ. The best promotion social tracking allows brands to track consumers across channels, assigning the equivalent to a Klout score for brands.

What advice can you give to marketers on how to approach marketing in an integrated fashion to allow for omni-channel solutions?

The best advice we can offer is: target, measure, refine, repeat. Data is the most prized marketing asset right now, but data without analysis and application is worthless. It’s up to marketers to steer this continuous cycle of targeting and measurement. Collect the right insights, implement the appropriate changes and never stop evaluating your efforts.