Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years, it won’t have escaped your attention that the retail sector is in big trouble.
Just this week we have seen the demise of Henri Lloyd, Poundworld and Fabb Sofa’s with a question mark hanging over Carpetright, House of Fraser and New Look after vastly declining profits trigger store closures.
The attribution of blame towards Amazon and greedy Landlords needs no further commentary from me, but tell me this – why isn’t everyone failing?
As a marketer and advertiser, I probably take more notice of business marketing than people normally do. I play this game when I am led in bed scrolling through my Facebook news feed on my phone – when I come to a sponsored ad, I cover the comments and try and guess how many likes/comments/shares it has had and then see if I am right. (Yes. I know, I need to get out more!)
The content is dull. So dull. “We sell kitchens. Contact us now” and a picture of a kitchen. Yawn.
Businesses need to be honest, authentic and engaging by finding their authorial voice. Publishing bulletin-type updates that simply tell people what products they offer is no longing cutting the mustard – they need to entertain, inform or give some value before getting any back.
JD Sport’s are a brand who are thriving in this challenging climate, with 12 new stores opened in 2017 – their brands can be found on Amazon and they are exposed to the same property tribulations as everyone else. They tapped into the value of influencers and celebrity culture pretty early on, collaborating with Rita Ora and Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, successfully harnessing the power of Instagram by understanding the lifestyle goals of its target audience for that particular opportunity for growth – women’s athletic wear.
If you’re a business, or a marketing manager in charge of creating winning marketing strategies you need to start getting creative. In a world of same-y content and run of the mill copy you need to craft something that grabs attention.
Don’t just tell your audience, ‘We offer dental implants’ – tap into their perception of self and leverage the longing you know they have, to grin with confidence without feeling insecure. Use your experience to handle objections (cost/pain) and make a compelling offer that is hard to refuse.
You might be thinking, that’s okay for lifestyle products – but how do you make drain unblocking fun, engaging or sexy? If I was your marketing manager, I would stage a funny video – something like a fake body wrapped in a sheet down a well and film an unsuspecting employee lifting the manhole and discovering it. They freak out, everyone laughs, you caption the video with something along the lines of ‘whatever is causing it, we will find it’ and pump it through social media. You don’t need a big budget to be creative.
If you’re a fashion retailer and you are struggling with low footfall – give people a reason to come to you. It might be a free make-over or a celebrity appearance. As wedding season approaches, promote how-to videos of the perfect wedding guest outfit and push it out over social media. Use influencers. The slick online retailers are doing it well, but the established names on the high street continue to post mundane content with no call to action.
Video is still widely under-utilised, and yet offers retailers and brands an opportunity to bring their personality alive and become more than just a faceless entity. Let a little light in on the magic inside. Connect with your audience on an emotional level – whether you make them laugh, teach them something new, or simply demonstrate that you are human. In the coming years, businesses who can master the art of authenticity in their marketing and engage on an emotional level with their audience will reap the rewards.
As the saying goes, people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.