The Summit Sets the Menu Bar High

Described as the open-air center for style in Nevada and the Sierra mountains, The Summit offers anytime inspiration for style and flavor. With a mix of fonts and lines like “Hey Reno, it’s good to be here,” the retail destination’s online presence is cool, casual, and contemporary. Representing a shared theme, The Summit is identified by a pair of minimal logos (a compass and a license plate), both of which can be found on its website homepage. Whether hitting the center’s quality collection of retailers or the open road, shoppers are guaranteed to experience finds and firsts.

Although The Summit’s website earns extra points for its look and logo(s), the go-to read wins the top prize for its accessibility menu. Fixed on the right side of the screen, on each page of the site, the feature is noted by a small circular icon of the international symbol for access. A forward-looking form of inclusive practice, the accessibility menu includes a checkmark link to hide v. unhide and the following options: Keyboard nav, cursor, contrast +, bigger text, stop animations, highlight links, legible fonts, read page, tooltips, and page structure. Designed by UserWay, the menu can also be collapsed by pressing CTRL + U.

Beyond exploring options, resetting all, or reporting a problem, the mall encourages shoppers to follow the arrow, join in the fun, and connect via social. Separating itself apart from the competition again, The Summit’s website replaces the standard line of social links with a visually appealing row of recent Instagram snaps. Beyond sending readers to its general social account, the center directly connects shoppers to check out and engage with specific posts.

Always on the Move

Queensgate Shopping Centre (Lower Hutt, New Zealand) is a fan of metallic kicks, chunky knits, little royals, and big bites. With 150+ stores and late-night shopping on Thursdays and Fridays, the center’s team works around the clock to stay connected. Currently undergoing development to rebuild its cinema complex and associated carpark building, Queensgate aims to improve overall traffic flow and vehicle access to its upper levels. For more information, shoppers can visit its site and refer to an online map that outlines the construction zone and indicates pedestrian access.

Before staying up-to-date on new developments, online visitors are encouraged to take a fashion detour. Displaying fast fashion (literally), the mall’s homepage shows the same woman walking on and off, front to back, and all around the screen wearing three different outfits. From leaning on letters to sitting on numbers, the model’s set of quick changes and playful actions match the piecing together of the title AW19. In addition to staple denim jeans, she covers up in fall colors, including mustard yellow and burnt orange. Below the line, “New season fashion is here,” browsers can click on the Read More link to move to the AW19 section of the site, which is also accessible via the main menu.

Expanding on the design of the homepage, the section features four versions of the same woman wearing four different outfits and exhibiting four different positions. Dressed in the same color palette as before, the letters and numbers of the section title move across the screen disappearing and re-appearing.

A Dog Day Afternoon

Earlier this year, Canada’s Grain&Grit Beer Co. responded to community trends and customer feedback (both in-person and online) by launching its Dog Day Bash. Knowing that its patrons loved to bring their dogs on-site and interact with other pet owners and pups, the Hamilton-based craft brewery organized a festival-type experience that catered to this niche market. Looking to fill a gap in the marketplace, attract a wider audience of dog-loving people, and strengthen its reputation as a dog-friendly venue, Grain&Grit reached out to specialist businesses in the area to take part in the festivities and build future working relationships. Defined as an event for dog and beer lovers to not only gather and connect with each other but also local business owners, the bash was the first of its kind to take place in the city.

In addition to having fur babies as the primary focus, Grain&Grit also prioritizes creating strategic partnerships and giving back to the community. During its Dog Day Bash, along with hosting a handful of local vendors, the brewery launched a collaboration beer with Loyal Canine Co. and partnered with Ladybird Animal Sanctuary to donate a portion of the proceeds from the event to the local charity.

With a shared passion for dogs, beer, and community, Grain&Grit and Loyal Canine continued their working relationship by co-creating the Dog Day Sour IPA. Since the owner of the company also runs a marketing agency, Bellwether X, the team documented the process of making Dog Day Sour IPA and Dog Day Bash, from start to finish. In exchange for providing images and video content to use to promote the beer and the event, the brewery generated awareness of both brands with every post on social media.

“The idea for Dog Day Bash emerged from getting to know our target market better over the two years that [Grain&Grit Beer Co.] has been in business and learning just how important dogs [were] to our audience. We noticed that every time we posted on social media about dogs, we had some of our highest engagement,” explained brewery owner, Lindsay Mrav.

“Because of that, we decided to do a weekly Dog Day. Every Wednesday, we offer a 10% discount on 12oz draught to dog owners who bring their pups to the brewery. Our audience loved this, so we decided to take it one step further and create Dog Day Bash.”

With an established following, Grain&Grit relied heavily on Instagram and Facebook to spread the word about Dog Day Bash. Using ads, posts, and stories, the brewery naturally connected with its online audience. Plus, leading up to the event, the team sent an e-newsletter to its 1,000+ subscribers and promoted on-site via signage. Overall, Grain&Grit spent a minimal amount of money on an Instagram ad and printing.

“We also held an Instagram contest, where we asked participants to take a photo of their dog with Grain&Grit beer, post it, and tag it with #ggdogdays. The prize included goodies from our Dog Day Bash vendors, so they all shared the contest and event to their audiences as well, which helped us gain more exposure for the event,” Mrav added.

The Impact

Goal achieved: The brewery connected with more community members who are pet owners and gained new followers and customers.

Throughout the entire day, the brewery experienced a full house with some people waiting in line to get in.

From speaking to the attendees of the event, the brewery’s team learned that Dog Day Bash attracted several first-time customers, many of whom expressed interest in returning to the brewery with their dogs.

The collaboration beer was well-received and Grain&Grit sold more cans of the beer at the event than expected.

Grain&Grit experienced an overwhelming increase in social media engagement on the day of the event. Followers engaged with the brewery’s content via DMs and comments.

In the week following the Dog Day Bash, Grain&Grit gained 150+ new followers, which is more than its weekly average.

The Digital Crystal Ball

The crystal ball—often spoken of in folkloric terms, but never available when you need it—has entered the realm of possibility. In our switched-on world, where digital interaction is present virtually every moment of an individual’s life, we as marketers now have the tools to peer into the future using data, not crystalline, to gaze forward at where our business is going. Predictive analytics, or the process of using new and historical data to foresee the result, activity, behavior, and trends of our consumer base, is the key that is making successful businesses, well, successful. Enterprises primed for growth in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace are using predictive analytics to gain a deep understanding of the customer base to maximize revenue, the efficacy of marketing budgets, and, of course, profits. So how can you unlock the benefits of predictive analytics for your business? Let’s look at some of the key predictive tools and how they can be deployed to help your business.

Predictive modeling of customer behavior

Using data points gleaned from previous campaigns (particularly, the data that help us understand what worked and what didn’t), plus all demographic information known about your customer base, you can build predictive models to draw correlations to link past behavior and demographics. This model endeavors to score each customer according to their likelihood to buy certain products, and projects when and how to best approach this individual. In the wild, you may have seen tactics such as suggested products being offered to you during your online purchase checkout. This is an example of how this model works in execution.

Qualification and prioritization of leads

Chasing a lead that is not likely to convert can be expensive. Applying predictive analytics to lead modeling can get you more “bang” for your lead investment buck. It uses an algorithm to score leads based on known interest, authority to buy, need, urgency, and available funds. The algorithm— using public and proprietary information—analyzes, compares, and contrasts customers who converted with those who did not, and then finds “alikes” among the incoming leads. The higher the score, the more qualified the lead. The highest-scoring prospects should be directed to sales or offered immediate incentives to convert; medium scores deserve a drip campaign; low scores…forget them.

Customer targeting and segmentation

Among the most common use of predictive analytics, customer-targeting and segmentation take three basic forms:

  1. Affinity analysis refers to the process of clustering/segmenting the customer base according to attributes that clients have in common, facilitating “fine-tune” targeting;
  2. Response modeling looks at past stimulus presented to customers, as well as the response generated (converted or not) to predict the likelihood of a certain approach to get a positive response;
  3. Attrition rate (or churn analysis) provides a look at the percentage of customers lost during a certain period of time, as well as the opportunity cost/potential revenue lost with their departure.

With the deliberate use of these predictive and other analytics tools, a business can then predict the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). This measurement looks at several aspects of historical behavior to identify the most profitable customers over time, acquisition spending trends around which activities generate the best ROI, and types of customers that are loyal (i.e., retention traits). This model then adds an estimate of expected retention to the equation as a means of estimating future value. Once you understand the CLV, you can right-size the cost of acquisition and your marketing budget to reach the desired ROI.

One last note: When applying predictive analytics, it’s absolutely critical to A/B test your approaches to inform your output.  Known as casual inference, A/B testing of the same target audience allows us to infer the WHY behind the WHAT customers are doing.

With these steps and measurements in place, you have earned your role as a fortune teller, overseeing a true predictive analytics organization.  This is a tight ship, where marketing, sales, operations, and finance work hand in hand, constantly providing feedback into the “data-outcome-analysis” loop.
Finally, the future of predictive analytics rests on ethics. Yes, ethics. Instead of “sneaking into” people’s technology to follow their behaviors and disrupt their buying patterns to increase market share, the future of predictive analytics is to engage the consumers so that they share their preferences. That is what led Nike to acquire Boston-based Celect, an AI predictive analytics platform company. By embedding predictive algorithms in its own website and apps, Nike will be able to better predict which models are getting traction, where consumers want to buy them, and when they are likely to buy.

Remember, it all starts with the clear articulation of the business strategy. With all parties in alignment, the chips should fall into place. Predictive modeling of customer behavior helps inform campaigns to drive loyalty or generate leads. Lead qualification modeling helps the sales team focus on the most probable customers to buy/close the deals. Both of these together help finance understand the CLV and educate the entire organization on the acceptable customer acquisition cost to drive the targeted ROI.

If you’re not predicting, you’re losing ground.

Adriana Lynch is CMO with Chief Outsiders, a leading fractional CMO firm focused on mid-size company growth. She works with companies to differentiate, drive customer loyalty, and unlock profitable growth.

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