Unlocking Business Growth Through a Unified Content and Commerce Strategy
by Ray Grady
Developing a unified online experience is an important step for any company trying to hit what Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker termed the Internet Trifecta (content+community+commerce) to differentiate its brand in an increasingly digitally dominated economy. That’s why creating a shared vision is an important first step toward achieving a truly unified strategy . If the goals of your marketing and commerce teams are unshared and misaligned, you won’t make much headway in bringing them together.
Retailers and branded manufacturers should view the integration of content and commerce operations as part of a larger digital transformational journey, with a shared goal of delivering a consistently positive experience across every customer touchpoint.
This customer-first transition can be tricky, because it often challenges existing processes, workflows, metrics, and org structures. That’s why the CEO generally needs to lead the charge – or at least have the back of the person or team who’s driving the strategy.
Developing a shared strategy early in the process is critical to the success of any digital transformation project. In a recent report, Forrester notes that the first 90 days of a transformation initiative “are all about getting ready for action” – which includes getting buy-in around the goals of the transformation with senior management and others important to making it happen.
Part of the initial round of communications may involve helping the affected leaders and contributors become more digitally fluent, the report notes:
Far too many digital programs stall because eBusiness leaders over-focus on building plans and strategy documents and forget that their senior leaders are often out of their comfort zone in the digital world. Work with partners, agencies, your internal training team, and executive coaches to immerse your C-suite in digital. The rest of your firm can follow as you begin to build a stronger case based on real results.
Another Forrester report suggests that marketing and commerce teams should closely collaborate to identify any pain points that are a priority to customers – using a combination of analytics and techniques such as customer journey mapping – and focus initial investments on shoring up those weak spots.
As content and commerce strategies begin to gel, you’ll gain even more insights about your customers. These insights can drive new features, functions or products that improve engagement and potentially drive top-line growth.
Lush, a UK-based cosmetics maker, has used content as a springboard to extend its strong, socially conscious brand personality into its digital channels. The insights it gained from better brand engagement with customers online and through social channels led to a new product category called Lush Kitchen, which features small batches of hand-made beauty products that are created and shipped daily. The Kitchen concept creates even deeper engagement with customers by opening a window into the company’s manufacturing process. Launched in the spring of 2014, Lush Kitchen already accounts for about 10% of online sales.
With a unified vision around content and commerce, Lush’s executive leadership has embraced digital as the next frontier for extending the company’s brand spirit to new channels and new customers.
Are your goals aligned a similar vision of the future?
See the fourth post in this series: Dogs and Cats Living Together? Why It's Time to Merge Content and Commerce
See the series ebook: Why Retailers Need to Reorganize for Effective Content-driven Commerce