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What’s old is new in the world of marketing, with teams and channels constantly innovating and evolving to reach their customers in new and interesting ways. In the digital age, the foundations of search, social and video lay the groundwork for much of how consumers interact with the brands they love and discover daily. This year’s CommerceNext included a panel with executives from startups, subscription services, DTC brands and solution providers to compare how these leaders achieved the new and noteworthy in their efforts to grow commerce.
Emily Hickey, Founder at Chief Detective Growth Consulting asked our panelists about the advantages of search, the value of video investments and the diverse ways each of them reach an audience on social. As the panelists work to further grow commerce, it is important to have a winning strategy for these core channels.
First and foremost, your customers and followers need to be able to find your website in order to fall in love, as well as effectively search and discover, noted Christy Augustine, Chief Customer Officer at Bloomreach. Strategizing search plays an integral role in brand discovery and search engine optimization rightfully sits at the forefront of many marketing playbooks.
Augustine shared her top three strategies to help brands optimize search. First, every page of your site is a landing page- they should all perform and load effectively if you want to grow commerce! “Performance is king!,” she advised, suggesting that teams be constantly checking and testing their pages to ensure that no matter what page a customer lands on first, they all represent the brand and operate as efficiently as the homepage to continue to grow commerce from every site page. Second, she encourages marketing teams to incorporate images into their SEO strategy. Google’s ability to recognize images as a part of a sitemap, and Augustine strongly advises adding an image sitemap to increase conversion rates and maximize “real estate” on mobile browsers. Finally, Augustine suggests that when a brand is building and changing their website, they should think of Google as an autonomous user. Think about what Google as a user can discover, what paths they can take and what the sitemap looks like as they navigate.
Video and dynamic content also played a notable role in our panelists’ marketing playbook. Leslie Emmons Burthey, VP of Marketing at beauty, fashion and lifestyle subscription service FabFitFun, noted that her team has made the switch to video-heavy content, taking up over 50% of their content strategy. FabFitFun invests a large chunk of their budget and marketing efforts in producing diversified video content per social channel, optimizing content for the platform as well as the audience. Meanwhile, Jason Nickel, former VP of Brooklyn-based sneaker startup GREATS, focused on the value of experimenting with OTT and Youtube as channels for video marketing and content. On the subject of producing the video content itself, Nickel stressed the importance of communication between the marketing and creative teams in deciding what actually defines “video” content. In order to grow commerce using a particular channel, first teams tackle establishing the concept and how to deliver for the various digital channels for maximum impact.
The panelists agreed that much of the video content that they produce and reshare from their communities is product-forward, with FabFitFun and AdoreMe citing unboxing videos as their best performing content for traffic, but not to grow commerce. Sarmad Saghir, VP of Acquisition for AdoreMe, a direct-to-consumer lingerie brand, noted that while these unboxing videos generally drive an overwhelming amount of positive traffic to their site, they see little conversion return once these prospective customers land. That said, our panelists agreed that the value of video as storytelling allows brands to really let their customers and influencer marketing to shine. Social platforms and video streaming let these individuals share their experience and spread the word. Brands like AdoreMe continue to test these channels to focus on conversion and messaging, while expanding their channel repertoire to include product-focused content on Pinterest.
When asked about their marketing plans for the next few months and their favorite channels to focus on, the panelists leaned into SEO as one of their top priorities. A wild card in the mix, both Nickel and Emmons Burthey mentioned direct mail as the channel they are most excited to expand on. In an increasingly digital landscape, these brands continue to lean into real-world advertisements as an important part of their marketing playbook.
The channels of digital and direct marketing present no one perfect formula to help grow commerce. These brands are testing and evolving alongside innovation in search, social, and video to maintain and expand their brand presence both on and offline.
To get more insights like these, apply to attend CommerceNext 2020 today. The conference will take place on July 28-29th in NYC. Inc.com named CommerceNext one of "Top 5 ECommerce Conferences for 2019 and 2020." We hope you'll join us this summer.