Bronto's 2012 Trends and Predictions for Retail Marketers


Jim Davidson

Will 2012 be the year Black Friday and Cyber Monday become less important?  Will marketers finally start to drive revenue through social channels? Bronto’s Marketing Strategists, who help clients including Party City, Dean & Deluca, and LittleMissMatched increase revenue and engagement via email and cross-channel marketing, share their insights and predictions for the year ahead.

Email Creative Goes Cross-Channel

By Emily Keye

With consumers constantly on the go and viewing email messages on a variety of devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.), marketers will be paying more attention to email design.  Email messages will have to be scannable and display clear calls to actions that are evident with eye-catching buttons. Larger fonts will be used and designed into single columns.  Many of these design changes will evolve as the click of a mouse is increasingly replaced by the touch and swipe of a finger.

From Email Marketing Reports:

  • An April 2011 study sponsored by Google showed that 82% of smartphone users check and send email with their device.
  • Merkle’s “View from the Digital Inbox 2011” survey found over half of those with an Internet-enabled mobile phone used it to check a personal email account

Brands Step Up Content and Social Consciousness

By Anna Pfieffer

Content has always been king, and we’re going to see more of it than ever in retailer’s 2012 marketing campaigns. Leading retailers will add softer sell, value-added content campaigns to their revenue-focused marketing as a way to build community and pride around their brands. We’ll also see more brands embracing cause marketing – another great way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty while helping others.

  • Each year, the Cause Marketing Forum recognizes the best cause marketing campaigns with its Halo Awards. Check out the 2011 winners for some great examples of what we’ll see more of in 2012.

Marketing Automation Gains Traction

By Kristen Gregory

More retailers will grasp the immense value of marketing automation and will have better, easier-to-use tools at their disposal in order to move from good intentions to implementation. We’ll see a spike in adoption of timely, targeted triggered messages such as abandoned shopping cart reminders, recommendations based on purchases, inspirational welcome series, and meaningful post-purchase touches. This will translate to a better experience for the consumer and more revenue for the retailers who move forward in this manner.

From Email Marketing Reports:

  • Bank of America reports that event-based trigger emails are 250% more effective than broadcast promotional emails
  • 75% of registrations for Roku’s referral program are driven by triggered emails to new customers
  • People who purchase after getting cart abandonment emails spend 55% more than those who buy straightaway

Social Gets Real

By Kestrel Lemen

Many companies have had a chance to experiment with social media channels and build a social audience of followers.  More advanced companies have developed analytics and metrics criteria for measuring social media successes and failures.  This will be the year when retailers develop social marketing campaigns that not only engage their audience, but also drive direct conversions. Driving revenue through social will result in retailers scaling their social marketing campaigns by using cross-channel techniques to expand their audience. Continuing to evaluate performance and ROI of every channel will be essential.

From the Direct Marketing Association’s “The Power of Direct Marketing” a biennial forecast of direct marketing’s economic impact on the US economy (October 2011):

  • Social networking’s ROI is also expected to rise. The report found that the current payback from $1 invested in social media is $12.71 and is expected to increase to $12.90 in 2012 and climb to $13.43 by 2016.

Daily Deal Sites Differentiate with Cross-Channel Strategies

By Steve Dubois

Daily deal sites have hit critical mass and the winners will have to get smarter and more creative with their marketing to differentiate themselves from competitors and drive sales. In 2012, we’ll see more daily deal sites partnering with marketing technology companies offering core technology in tracking and analyzing the online behavior of consumers across email, mobile and social channels. Social and mobile channels will play an increasingly important role in the success of leading daily deal sites. The companies that invest to better understand consumer behavior will thrive. Those who fail to adapt in this way will be out of market in twelve months.

From “How Businesses Fare with Daily Deals: A Multi-site Analysis of Groupon, LivingSocial, OpenTable, Travelzoo and BuyWithMe Promotions” Study from June 2011:

  • Rice University Associate Professor of Management Utpal Dholakia found that there is very little difference between daily deal providers in the ever-expanding competition for consumer dollars, and it will be difficult for any one site to stand out from the others.
  • “The major take-away from the study is that not enough businesses are coming back to daily deals to make the industry sustainable in the long run,” Dholakia said.
  • 21.7% of deal buyers never redeem the vouchers they’ve already paid for.
    • Although close to 80% of deal users were new customers, significantly fewer users spent beyond the deal’s value or returned to purchase at full price.

Holidays 2012: Black Friday and Cyber Monday Decrease in Importance

By Steve Dubois

Black Cyber and Cyber Monday still made headlines in 2011, but as marketers extend the marketing season for the holidays, launching campaigns months in advance, the importance of those two days as bellwethers of holiday retail sales will continue declining in 2012. The trends will be more about consumers increasingly shifting more holiday shopping dollars online versus shopping in store. We will continue to see better discounts on days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and that entire week of frenzied online promotions and sales will emerge as a marketing entity in and of itself deserving of its own coined term.

From: Nielsen: “80% of U.S. Consumers Skipping Stores on Black Friday” (November 2011):

  • Much like in 2010, the majority of consumers (80%) are avoiding in-store Black Friday shopping.
  • While increased Black Friday promotions appeal to consumer’s desire for “hot deals,” as a shopping event, Black Friday is becoming less relevant in the retail world as online shopping grows and holiday promotions begin earlier and earlier in the year.
  • In fact, 35% of those recently surveyed cited they’ve already started their holiday shopping.

Preference Centers Become Vital

By Fawn Young

As engagement plays an increasingly important role in email deliverability, a growing number of marketers will launch preference centers to give the customer more control over the marketing messages they receive. Through preference centers, consumers let marketers know how and when they want to hear from the marketer, as well as what type of content they’d like to receive. Giving consumers more control has a significant impact on improving email deliverability, which will drive more retailers to launch and improve preference centers.

According to a survey of 1,001 consumers conducted by The Relevancy Group:

  • 72% of consumers stated deleted email from a marketer wasn’t relevant to me
  • 59% of consumers stated deleted email from a marketer because I get too much email from them.
  • 49% of consumers unsubscribed from email that I had opted in to because it wasn’t relevant.

Retailers Ramp Up Loyalty Programs

By Greg Zakowicz

Consumers today have grown accustomed to deep discounts and other perks, such as free shipping – especially around the holidays.  In order reclaim profit margins, an increasing number of retailers will launch and cultivate loyalty and VIP programs that will keep consumers coming back for more year round.  These programs will allow retailers to show the love to their best and most loyal customers, while cultivating more repeat buyers.

From Colloquy’s 2011 “Forecast of U.S. Consumer Loyalty Program Points Value” study:

  • The retail industry makes up 40% of all loyalty program memberships, and issues rewards at $12 billion a year


2 Responses to “Bronto's 2012 Trends and Predictions for Retail Marketers”

  1. Avatar

    I felt like Cyber Monday was low hype this past year. Anyone else? Not even Amazon or Target marketed big Cyber Monday events.

    • Avatar
      Steve DuBois

      Thanks David. I think you are on something here. It looks like Amazon did/does more of a bundled event. It looks like they market Black Friday and Cyber Monday as “Deals Week” where they can push users to sign up for their deals email list. To me this is smart so you can keep the user engaged throughout the year.

      With Target, they have retail locations and online presence, I did see their Cyber Monday ad but you could be right they could have pulled back on their marketing tactics. One thing that would make sense why retailers with brick and mortar stores would not push Cyber Monday is because the deals are typically online only. Stores are at risk if they do not hit their revenue targets. They could close, plus online only ads can hurt in-store sales. Over the last few years tons of stores have closed and liquidated locations including Staples, Gap, JCPenny, Macy’s, Kmart, Pier One…and so on. In efforts to stop the loss of revenue some retailers could of went heavy on Black Friday and light on Cyber Monday.

      What do you think?



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