Advertising is the lifeblood of modern business. Brands need to balance their brick-and-mortar and online presence to reach the highest percentage of their target audience and boost conversions. While trying to promote regional branding and stay ahead of the ever-changing algorithms of e-commerce marketplaces, retailers find it challenging to maintain focus on their main business objectives.
As we look forward to a new year, we’d like to share an interview Bruce gave Retail Tech Insights Magazine to discuss retail marketing in 2022 and beyond.
RT: How is Mittcom positioned in the retail marketing space, and what is the unique value proposition that you deliver to your clients?
BM: Mittcom’s skill set is that we have experience working with retailers throughout the country. We have experience working in multiple locations and with various managers throughout the chain to ensure that we take advantage of the local and branding opportunities. In addition, what we do here at Mittcom is we have a full-service group. So we can address any of the concerns we have with in-house marketing and in-house research, in-house video, and in-house social, digital web development, media buying, writing, and art direction. We have a full-service approach that allows us to solve any of our client’s needs on a multi-market basis.
RT: In your interaction with your retail clients, what sense do you get of the challenges they’re facing today in the marketplace? What are the issues that they come to you with? How is Mittcom addressing those issues for them?
BM: The reality in today’s retail environment is what to do in brick and mortar and what to do online. Should you have an e-commerce presence? Should you have just exclusively a brick-and-mortar presence? And obviously, the answer is both. And what we try to do, again, is take a full-service approach. We have an E-commerce specialist that is adept at building a Shopify site or helping them sell through Amazon, as well as helping them to coordinate those sales through their local branding effort, and regional branding, depending upon how many locations they have. So it’s trying to stack the media to support both the retail stores and the online presence because the customer journey is extensive. And so you need to be visible all along the points of that journey. That also includes creating content so that when people come to hopefully your either eCommerce site or your website, there’s information they can glean that reinforces why they’re shopping and your location in the first place.
RT: How does Mittcom help clients improve their engagement initiatives, help them attract and retain more clients, and convert leads into potential customers?
BM: Much of this stems from doing your background research: who’s the real client target for this customer? Age demographic? Geography? What’s the average purchase? Why are they coming to shop in the first place? What can we put in front of them to ensure they find what they’re looking for? So a lot of that has to do with things like making sure that all the content that you’re publishing relates to the demographic, the geography, and also the product that you’re trying to sell. Because it’s a holistic view of purchase that you need to satisfy, you can’t just satisfy a customer by saying, “Hey, I have this item, and I’m located here;” you have to show them why the experience they’re going to get with your retail store or online experience, meets their expectations, provides the kind of support they need service, and can fulfill their purchase quickly and easily. We try to look through the entire process and ensure that the customer experience is truly what their expectations are.
RT: Could you elaborate on Mittcom’s integrated marketing approach and talk about the services you offer to your clients, the unique functionalities you deliver to them, and the benefits you provide?
BM: Well, I think the most crucial element here is that given that you’re in a stack media environment, meaning digital, social, traditional, video, online, and web, all of those things need to be integrated; they need to be a singular message. And they need to look, feel and reflect on that retail company so that when someone visits any of those tentacles of that company, they feel like they visited the same brand. And they get a sense of the brand. So branding becomes critical and must be coordinated to work together. And when that works together, you maximize the experience the relationship because the client truly feels like they understand who you are and what you represent.
RT: How are you stepping up in helping your clients with content development and/or their media buying and management? How does Mittcom help them generate more profit from their brick-and-mortar stores or eCommerce website?
BM: Sure, I think it all starts with good research, a good foundation, what the demographic is, where the customer is, what the lifestyle is, what some of the qualitative elements of that customer on what, how they best like to interface with you, what they like, and what they don’t like has lots to do with how media is placed and how efficiently and effectively customers are targeted without wasting money. We do multiple creative iterations when it’s social and digital so that we can measure the kind of ads that are performing at the highest levels, clicks, or conversions. We measure all that against our target. We’re constantly evaluating data to make sure that no money is being wasted and everything’s being maximized while at the same time studying and learning about the behavior of our customers in terms of what creative messaging is working and which elements within that context as messaging is working.
RT: Now, let’s talk about your client engagement. Walk me through that step-by-step process of onboarding a client and resolving their issues.
BM: Onboarding is a very important part of the relationship between an agency and their clients; you know, trust comes in the first couple of weeks. As such, onboarding becomes a really critical component because that allows the client to feel comfortable that you’re doing the kind of due diligence on their business that they feel is going to give you a good perspective effectively; you’re building a relationship with that client, such that they feel very comfortable sharing, and working together with you to get the best results. Ideas and direction is a joint process; the agency can make recommendations, but it needs the relationship to be fostered between the client and the agency in such a way that everybody feels comfortable expressing their opinions, building a combined strategy that everybody can buy into, and building elements within the framework of that relationship that measures results in an objective fashion. That’s an important part of the development of that long-term relationship, and the word relationship is really the key ingredient. Without a real relationship between the agency and the client, it will not be successful for either party.
RT: It’d be great to highlight a Mittcom customer success story with a before and after scenario.
BM: We’ve worked with one of our clients at Subaru of New England for 20 years. And we started out by helping to redesign the strategy with them on how they approach the marketplace and developed a strategy for each separate market throughout New England on a contiguous marketing strategy that worked for each Market simultaneously. Throughout the year, we created events. And this was a joint effort between our clients and us. And the first year saw such great results. We’ve never looked back when we started helping and working with the Super New England, they started selling 25,000 Subarus in New England. They’re now up to 70,000 a year. So we’ve had quite good growth over nearly 20 years.
RT: How do you differentiate Mittcom in the marketplace? What is it that sets you apart from other key players out there?
BM: I think that we’re full service. A lot of agencies here are digital agencies, are social agencies, or they pride themselves on national business, or we are really adept at multi-marketing, meaning a company, one of our retail clients has 92 locations in 12 states, we’re capable of managing that effectively because we know how to do that. On top of that, we’re really strong in media. I also own a broadcast company, we own up 44 radio stations in eight markets and five states. So we’re pretty adept at understanding local marketing and how that impacts on a regional basis, and I think that differentiates us dramatically.