3 Considerations for Post-Pandemic Growth in Retail

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After a tumultuous year in 2020, retail CMOs are once again targeting growth in revenue and market share. Still, there are serious challenges to overcome. Consumer behaviour will continue to change as the pandemic inevitably causes further evolution of socioeconomic pressures. As such, marketing leaders need to build marketing strategies that are flexible enough to adapt to changing local conditions. To help set a successful course, we've analysed retail CMOs' plans for how to achieve future growth, taken from three large-scale surveys: Gartner’s 2020 CMO Spend Survey, which shows the immediate consequences of the pandemic on marketers’ plans. Gartner’s 2020 CMO Strategic Priorities Survey, which highlights areas CMOs are prioritizing to find success in 2021. Gartner’s 2021 Digital Marketing Survey, which looks deeper into the goals and targets attributed to digital channels.   >If you're a Gartner client, you can read the full analysis here< Here are a few considerations to get you thinking about your own strategy and the challenges to overcome: 1. How much do I focus on acquisition vs. retention? We've seen a big shift in retail marketers' priorities between acquisition and retention over the past 2 years and we've heard that this will shift again into the coming 2 years. If you want to achieve growth, it's crucial to get the balance between acquisition/retention right. Setting a balance that is weighted too heavily towards acquiring new customers can cause businesses to spend too much on advertising and discounting. At the same time, consumers are less loyal than ever - something that was exacerbated when store closures forced consumers to shop online. Retail CMOs targeting growth should map their resources to the entire customer journey, with a specific focus on any points of friction along the way.   2. Do I expect to grow my market share in an existing market? If so, what will I do differently? The vast majority of retail marketing leaders expect to find growth from existing markets. That will lead to success all round if the total market is increasing in size but otherwise, you'll need to find a way to increase your market share. To do that, marketers will need to optimise further and innovate faster than competitors. Gartner has a lot of information, trends and insights to help there. Ultimately, an obsession on optimisation, a willingness to experiment and a constant focus on KPIs will all be critical to overall success.   3. How can I ensure my investments suit an ever-changing socioeconomic climate? I often speak to retail marketing leaders who want to know the likely direction of travel for consumer demand. Unfortunately, I don't have a crystal ball for future waves of the pandemic but I can see how smart CMOs are prioritising investments for any eventuality. These are, broadly speaking, deployments that give marketers the ability to engage better with stronger use of data regardless of whether shoppers predominantly interact in-store or online. Personalised, omnichannel marketing has been the holy grail for retailers for years but the pace of progress has stepped up considerably. This will increase the split between the leaders and the laggards over time - so it's vital to prioritise these efforts now.   These are all serious considerations that retail CMOs need to work through to be able to set a strategy with the best chance of success. Thankfully, you don't have to do it alone. Set up an inquiry with myself of one of my colleagues and we'll be able to guide you along the way. And again, a plug for the report Retail CMOs’ Key Strategies for Growth in 2021 and Beyond, which has more info on all of this.

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After a tumultuous year in 2020, retail CMOs are once again targeting growth in revenue and market share. Still, there are serious challenges to overcome.

Consumer behaviour will continue to change as the pandemic inevitably causes further evolution of socioeconomic pressures. As such, marketing leaders need to build marketing strategies that are flexible enough to adapt to changing local conditions.

To help set a successful course, we’ve analysed retail CMOs’ plans for how to achieve future growth, taken from three large-scale surveys:

Gartner’s 2020 CMO Spend Survey, which shows the immediate consequences of the pandemic on marketers’ plans.
Gartner’s 2020 CMO Strategic Priorities Survey, which highlights areas CMOs are prioritizing to find success in 2021.
Gartner’s 2021 Digital Marketing Survey, which looks deeper into the goals and targets attributed to digital channels.

 

>If you’re a Gartner client, you can read the full analysis here<

Here are a few considerations to get you thinking about your own strategy and the challenges to overcome:
1. How much do I focus on acquisition vs. retention?
We've seen a big shift in retail marketers' priorities between acquisition and retention over the past 2 years and we've heard that this will shift again into the coming 2 years.

If you want to achieve growth, it's crucial to get the balance between acquisition/retention right. Setting a balance that is weighted too heavily towards acquiring new customers can cause businesses to spend too much on advertising and discounting. At the same time, consumers are less loyal than ever – something that was exacerbated when store closures forced consumers to shop online.

Retail CMOs targeting growth should map their resources to the entire customer journey, with a specific focus on any points of friction along the way.

 
2. Do I expect to grow my market share in an existing market? If so, what will I do differently?
The vast majority of retail marketing leaders expect to find growth from existing markets. That will lead to success all round if the total market is increasing in size but otherwise, you'll need to find a way to increase your market share.

To do that, marketers will need to optimise further and innovate faster than competitors. Gartner has a lot of information, trends and insights to help there. Ultimately, an obsession on optimisation, a willingness to experiment and a constant focus on KPIs will all be critical to overall success.

 
3. How can I ensure my investments suit an ever-changing socioeconomic climate?
I often speak to retail marketing leaders who want to know the likely direction of travel for consumer demand. Unfortunately, I don't have a crystal ball for future waves of the pandemic but I can see how smart CMOs are prioritising investments for any eventuality.

These are, broadly speaking, deployments that give marketers the ability to engage better with stronger use of data regardless of whether shoppers predominantly interact in-store or online.

Personalised, omnichannel marketing has been the holy grail for retailers for years but the pace of progress has stepped up considerably. This will increase the split between the leaders and the laggards over time – so it's vital to prioritise these efforts now.

 

These are all serious considerations that retail CMOs need to work through to be able to set a strategy with the best chance of success.

Thankfully, you don't have to do it alone. Set up an inquiry with myself of one of my colleagues and we'll be able to guide you along the way. And again, a plug for the report Retail CMOs’ Key Strategies for Growth in 2021 and Beyond, which has more info on all of this.

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