As a marketer, I use the word “targeting” a lot. A target is a person, persona, audience, archtype, etc. Targeting means getting the message you want them to see in front of them. Even as I write this, I feel I’m devaluing myself and my profession as ‘hitting a target’ sounds cheap and impersonal – and what I what I do is neither. So let’s flip this script (which we’re doing a lot here at (R)Evolution this week) and elevate the term and practice of ‘targeting’ to what it is: curation.
I create curated experiences. I curate offers, messages and opportunities for a given person or group of people and, if I do so correctly, they are impressed. I’m impressed when I see great curation. For instance:
Curation is the right message at the right time in the right place to the right person. Easier said than done.
Meeting consumers’ expectations
Steven Howard, Senior Manager of Analytics & Digital Services at Accenture, live at (R)Evolution just moments ago explains that consumers bring their expectations of a retail experience from other industries. An UBER customer expects the retailer to know where they are physically. A Netflix user expects a retailer to know what he or she already bought and suggests what he or she might like to buy next. Even if the user never uses this feature or engages, living up to the expectation that you can deliver this kind of curated experience becomes part of your Brand’s equity.
As Steven presented, “The Road to Retail Innovation”:
- Begins with aggressive focus on customers and value
- Runs through data and analytics
- Demands new ways of thinking and inspires new behaviors
- Incorporates and adapts technologies for people’s lives
- Personalizes experiences – at scale
Rising to the challenge for nearly four decades
Rising to the challenge year after year, Zumiez began as a single store in the Northgate Mall in Seattle, WA in 1978 and has not only grown, but revolutionized into an international retailer with 658 physical locations and an Ecommerce business accessible in 18 languages. Zumiez curates from over 400 brands’ offerings to remain a leading lifestyle retailer of youth culture fashion. Live at (R)Evolution, Rory Hudson, Vice President of IT at Zumiez, revealed “how removing friction from the shopper’s multi-channel journey blurs the line between physical and digital retailing in a way that creates something memorable and worth return visits.”
Supporting the frictionless brand is a tech stack built from the outside in – with a keen and current knowledge of the business and understanding “the pieces that make [it] unique”, wise investments - avoiding the “shiny object”, prioritizing enhancing “human to human engagement”, organizing team with “domain expertise in both the business and technology”, and “focus on solving the problem, not on perfecting a solution”. To do this, Zumiez often partners with vendors who can deliver a critical capability, but only do so “with vendors who facilitate the customer experience and who share our cultural values”.
The key to Zumiez’s success and sustaining it for so long, especially as others have entered and exited the space, is the ethos of Founder, Tom Campion. Zumiez's employee video speaks volumes.
It takes hard work to make it easy
When a customer walks away happy, work begins to retain that customer and bring them back. When a customer walks away unhappy, work begins to change their mind. But both of those scenarios assume that the customer stayed the same. Customers expectations change - they're driven by countless outside influences so retailers and marketers cannot be complacent. Keep eyes and ears open, stay current, timely, relevant -- and like Zumiez, authentic.
Follow the action on the (R)evolution Live site.