Summer in Chicago. What could be better? For marketers, pair it with a jam-packed agenda at IRCE 2017 and it is perfection.

As always, “mobile” and “personalization” were two of the biggest buzzwords at the Internet Retailer Conference and Expo last week at McCormick Place in Chicago. But even with that being said, those words mean different things every year as we evolve in the digital space.

Related: How a streaming brand enhanced its customer service through social media.

With a flurry of sessions available, I honed in on the five biggest topics I heard discussed at IRCE over the course of the four-day conference.


Is there such a thing anymore? A lot of retailers are focusing on starting a loyalty program or refining an existing program…but does it matter?  According to Jay Dunn of Chief Outsiders during his session at IRCE, and with a quote from Jeff Lenard, “People price shop. There is no loyalty. They will leave you for a penny a gallon.”

A report from Havas showed people wouldn’t care if 74 percent of brands they now use vanished.

Havas looked at 1,500 global brands, getting feedback from 300,000 people in 33 countries. The report showed that people wouldn’t care if 74% of brands they use now vanished! That is a shocking statistic. User experience is paramount and directly ties in to brand loyalty. Even though the odds are stacked against us, if you treat your customers like royalty, you have a better chance of earning their loyalty.


Which makes this topic so much more relevant. If you haven’t dabbled in this area, you need to start! Much like mobile is just a given these days, so is personalization. Personalization can mean different things to different people, even within one organization. The bottom line is that everyone needs to first understand what is meant by personalization.

Personalization is 1:1 content. It is often times confused for customization, which works for groups of people and not quite on the 1:1 level. Customers expect to receive personalized content. If you aren’t doing it, they will go to someone who does. In the days of the ever-cluttered inbox, you need to stand out. You can start as basic as adding a name to the subject line, or as savvy as personalized promotions, but you need to start somewhere.


When creating content, ask yourself what resonates with your customers and how you will amplify the content.

It is often said that content is king, and that is definitely still the case. Here are nine questions to ask yourself as you are drafting a content strategy:

  1. Why are you creating the content?
  2. What do you want your content to do?
  3. Who will your content speak to?
  4. How are your competitors using content?
  5. What types of content can you create?
    1. Use call center information and customer service information to create content based on customer feedback.
  1. What resonates with your customers?
    1. People consume content differently…think of everything for them. People will go elsewhere if they can’t find what they are looking for.
  1. How will you amplify your content?
    1. Social media promotion, influencer marketing, lead nurture. Get content out there and find your audience in all the places they are.
  1. What resources can you use?
    1. People, process, priorities
  1. How will you measure success?
    1. What are your KPI’s?

Mobile-first Marketing

As said by Ricky Bobby — If you’re not first, you’re last. That is the reality in the ecommerce world in which we live. Mobile cannot be a question. You have to make mobile a priority and you have to do it well. The shift in mobile vs. desktop is here. More than 50% of shoppers are shopping on a mobile device, compared a desktop.

More than 50 percent of shoppers are shopping on a mobile device.

Per Dormify, a seamless mobile experience isn’t an advantage, it’s essential. Mobile means everything from ensuring your site, content, emails, etc. are optimized, but to make sure you have a presence on all of the search and social platforms. Mobile also is not just the first place people go to shop, but also the last.  One of every three clicks on mobile is a Google shopping click, while 64 percent of smartphone shoppers turn to mobile search for ideas about what to buy before heading into the stores. Instant gratification is the way of the world and the customer wants a seamless experience.


The problem is that most enterprise businesses do not have one single source of the truth for marketing. It is vital that KPIs are agreed upon internally. Most of the time, CMO’s are looking at different KPIs than the people who are in the weeds. To be successful in this crazy, fast-paced world, go into the wild KNOWING what your goals and KPIs are. Pick a single tool to be your tool of measurement and define what each KPI means internally.

I will end with a quote from Kosiba’s Law: “Every time your revenue doubles, you must rethink your operations.” You will never have it all figured out. The customer is dynamic and ever changing, and so is your business. Create loyalty and keep your internal focus as customer first…and you will win.

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