Last week, we met alongside leading retailers such as Allbirds, Mackenzie-Childs, and State Bags in Austin for the Digiday retail conference. Alongside some of our clients, we gathered up the general themes and examples of brands executing on these themes. Not surprisingly, retail is changing, and overall we saw brands who are taking back control and consolidating strategies to focus in on where they can make the biggest impact. Here is a brief download of what we took away from the conference:
  1. Winning brands are learning to measure success across the entire marketing mix by optimizing in real time. Measuring the entire marketing mix seems pretty basic on a surface level, but it can be super hard to implement. Determining the right marketing mix across digital, OOH, TV, audio, etc. is a challenge for both new and heritage brands.

Beginning with complete data collection across all channels is a huge task, but this starting point is the key to success and the ability to react in real time to how marketing is impacting the business. Brands should be backing their investment decisions with data. Having clean, quick, and accessible data is key to making the best decisions and driving a more cohesive strategy. At JD, we call this “waterfall budgeting”, which prioritizes how you should be spending your marketing dollars in real-time based on complete data collection.

Real Life Example: Mackenzie-Childs began a few years ago cleaning their data to make it accessible, and get a single customer view. This allowed them to base their marketing budget allocations more on LTV (lifetime value) and less on transactional data, like revenue and ROI.

  1. A physical footprint that delivers experience to consumers is table stakes. Stores are expected to do more than ever before. Brands are asking themselves how they can make their store work harder for them and whether short or long-term space is right for them. More experiential brands are leaning on pop-ups and short-term, flexible leases. This allows them to pivot as their business needs change, while still reaping the acquisition and brand awareness benefits of having a retail presence.

Real Life Example: Allbirds spoke about their journey of going from using pop-ups to investing in long-term retail space on an international scale. They have found that empowering their local store teams to make decisions according to local culture has been invaluable, especially for international locations.

  1. As fast growing brands have prioritized acquisition, focus on retention remains the key to long term success. Acquisition will always be a focus, but brands need to make sure they are giving love to their retention programs because we know it is cheaper to retain than acquire customers.

Retention gets broken down into 4 key factors to building brand loyalty:

    1. Relevant Messaging
    2. Channel Diversity
    3. An optimized experience
    4. Special Recognition

Real Life Example: Mack Weldon spoke about implementing a loyalty program to provide both experiential and monetary rewards to increase LTV and minimize churn.

  1. Everyone is talking about brand values. More than ever brands are feeling the need to publicly establish their values and provide transparency into their sustainability.

Real Life Example: Brands like State Bags are finding their genesis out of charity and philanthropic endeavors rather than trying to absently add value. Some brands like Kendra Scott work give-backs into the fiber of their brand, partnering with a variety of organizations, ensuring that the customer feels involved in the process of giving back.


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