This article is part of a larger series that focuses on diversity and equity in marketing through the amplification of Black and racially diverse authors. As a company, we are committed to identifying actions we can take in the fight against racism and injustice, and elevating BBIPOC voices is paramount to inspiring change. Follow along and read other posts in this series here.
This post is authored by Juanita Velez, Multicultural Marketing Expert and Founder of HYPE.
In less than nine months, you’ve brought to light the important issues that have been swept under the rug of many brands and pressured them to share actionable next steps on how to address them. As conscious consumers, our thumbs have eagerly been scrolling through Instagram carousels, reading brand statements, or black squares shared in hopes to find one that supports our values.
While the discussion around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has been the focal point of our attention; all too often we’ve forgotten, dismissed, and maybe even replaced the effort of teams responsible for researching, learning and ultimately building a business case for marketing to diverse audiences.
You may have heard of the party analogy when defining DEI:
Let’s imagine that we are on the planning committee for this party with an overall goal to increase ticket sales. Think about some of the questions you may have had to work through as a committee before sending the invitations out.
Perhaps the below come to mind:
The questions you just reviewed are the foundational elements that make up a marketing brief.
While DEI looks to shape corporate cultures to be more diverse, equitable and just; inclusive multicultural marketing aims at growing the business by investing in research and strategic initiatives to authentically market to multicultural audiences.
After years of research and building business cases for multicultural marketing initiatives within Fortune 50 brands, I define Multicultural Marketing as a niche within marketing growing a brand’s marketing goals within a clearly defined ethnic/race-specific audience such as Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, LGBTQ+ or perhaps BIPOC and non-multicultural segments as well. This automatically forces this team to be intentional about learning this target audience’s motivations, aspirations and purchase drivers for the brand’s product or service.
And while we understand that the term multicultural can take on a variety of definitions, it is also equally important to differentiate multicultural marketing from other niches that fall under the marketing umbrella as a profession:
And yes, the above can seem overwhelming, subjective and counterintuitive in a country that’s on an accelerated path to becoming “minority-majority” led by 2040. However, it is extremely important for the differences and similarities to be evaluated thoughtfully and intentionally when building a credible relationship between your brand and audiences that you’re actively seeking.
In 2016, the Association of National Advertisers’ launched the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) with a mission to create a powerful voice that elevates multicultural and inclusive marketing to promote business growth in an increasingly diverse marketplace. Their efforts have been catalytic in driving awareness of the opportunities that exist. In a 2019 report by AIMM, only 5.2% of marketing and advertising spend was allocated to multicultural efforts even though multicultural consumers make 40% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2016). [One of the many reasons why it’s important to fill out your Census]. Top highlights from the the 2019 report by AIMM that are extremely important to consider as marketers:
Earlier we made a clear distinction between DEI and marketing; however, we’re about to tie it back in because everything is interconnected.
One of the consequences of insufficient DEI efforts within corporations is the lack of representation within the workforce. When we lack diverse perspectives across teams, especially in marketing departments, our efforts result in non-diverse and inclusive work. The 2018 ANA/AIMM AdSpend Trends Analysis exposed that 50-60% of top U.S. advertisers spend less than 1% of their ad budgets targeting multicultural audiences. This narrow operational mindset has also exposed some truths of why brands don’t allocate more resources:
While I wish I could tell you exact details of what the future holds, 2020 is a literal representation of this dynamic and ever-changing thing we call life. If you were to ask me for my forecasted opinion, I’d share that 2020 has and will accelerate the importance of capitalizing on these unique audiences for accelerated business growth, across all sectors and industries.
Younger—more diverse—generations are taking leaps and jumping into leadership positions that hold power and influence.
Communities are starting to recycle their dollars within, empowering and supporting Black and Brown-owned small businesses to thrive.
Women of color are taking ownership of their lives and careers disrupting the family lifestyle that has for so long ruled our existence and diminished our control to seize opportunities.
We are not only growing in population, but also in education. Now more than ever, we have the highest graduating numbers of Black and Latinx students. (National Center for Education)
And as education becomes a power tool for financial growth, our median household incomes and purchasing power are reaching the highest levels that have ever existed.
If the above doesn’t sound appetizing or necessary for your brand, reconsider understanding the reality of your target audience. Acknowledging the evolution of your marketing efforts is just as important as updating your product or service over time. It takes research, resources, time, and intentional commitment in understanding these audiences and creating authentic relationships with your brand.
I’ll leave with one last bit of advice – don’t wait until it’s too late. As conscious consumers, we are well aware of the brands that have been there from day one, the ones that are just now starting, but committed and the ones that just want our money.
Make a conscious effort to win with your actions before you win our pockets.
Juanita Velez is a product of the immigration surge during the 96’ Olympics. Born in Colombia, but raised in the A, she has trail-blazed her way through Atlanta’s UPS and Delta Air Lines corporations as a global social media expert. Having founded HYPE, Hispanic Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs as part of a solution to a gap she experienced heavily during her corporate climb, Juanita has propelled exponential opportunities for the next generation of multicultural Atlanta. Her true passion is serving others by connecting people in the community to opportunities. Juanita is a social entrepreneur and corporate professional who values humility, vulnerability, compassion and perseverance. She has shaped a career focused on inclusion, opportunity and drive.
Visit this page to see more in the series, or check back in a month for our next guest post.
CM Group is a family of global marketing technology brands including Campaign Monitor, CM Commerce, Delivra, Emma, Liveclicker, Sailthru and Vuture. By joining together these leading brands, CM Group offers a variety of world-class solutions that can be used by marketers at any level. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, CM Group has United States offices in Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and global offices in Australia, London, New Zealand and Uruguay.
Email and SMS (Short Message Service) messaging are the chocolate and peanut butter of the digital marketing world. Each is great on its own. But they’re unbeatable when you pair them up in a program that uses the strengths of each channel to create a communications mix that recognizes when, where and how consumers want to be reached.
This synergy is even more important today, given the pandemic-drive move from physical to digital commerce. We don’t know whether consumers will continue to stick with digital-first for shopping. But marketers should do all they can to capitalize on this shift, and forging more cooperation between the two channels is one way to do it quickly.
SMS is usually touted as the ultimate email-killer. A 2020 Omnisend study credits SMS with an average 14.2% click rate and having SMS in the mix of an omnichannel campaign increases conversions by 47%.
Still, email hangs on as consumers’ No. 1 preference for brand communications. Here’s why you need to create a partnership in your marketing decisions:
The 160-character limit on an SMS message doesn’t give you much room for education and nurturing. And an emailed fraud alert or flight change might not get seen in time. That’s why you need both to serve your customers best.
SMS to email: Send a message with a link to your preference page so they can sign up for email messages. Email to SMS: Add a tap-to-text function to your email that lets customers opt in to SMS with just a few taps.
Both of these help you widen your contacts with your audience and give them more options to stay in touch with you. Win-win for everyone.
Caution: Remember “WIIFM!” Figure out ahead of time how each program fits into your messaging plan, and tell customers up front what you’ll send and when and why it benefits them to opt in. That’s the WIIFM, or “What’s In It For Me?”
You can probably come up with dozens of use cases to join up email and SMS that benefit everybody. For example, Thrive Market, an online grocery retailer and Sailthru customer, uses email and SMS in tandem. If someone hasn’t engaged with email, Thrive Market tries to reach them via SMS.
Here are three tactics that you can test and implement quickly:
If you already ask for mobile phone numbers along with email addresses (that is, you ask specifically for a mobile number and not a general number), run a query to see whether customers who provide both are more likely to buy or use your services. If your query pans out, target them for special treatment in high-traffic periods like holidays or travel high seasons to increase propensity to purchase.
Your email can become another port of entry for customers who need to contact customer support. Add tap-to-text to open an SMS conversation with a customer agent to resolve problems like missed deliveries, rescheduling services, travel hiccups or order errors. Or use tap-to-text to encourage subscribers to opt-in to another form of communication. A leading brand in the travel industry gained over 1600 opt-ins in 24 hours by implementing tap-to-text with Liveclicker.
Abandoned-cart reminders are a natural place to start. Add an SMS alert to your abandoned-cart email series if a product in the cart is about to sell out or go on sale. If you don’t maintain perpetual carts, alert via SMS before you close out the cart. Test to see which actions are better suited for email or SMS.
Nobody wants a mobile phone that buzzes or pings every five minutes. Decide which messages are suitable for the always-on immediacy of a text and which need email and its richer information environment. It takes less time to type “STOP” on a text than to find and click an unsubscribe link.
Until recently, marketers have been able to reliably look at past holiday performance as a strong starting point to build their email strategy for the next. But this year? Not so much.
Retailers and researchers alike have scrutinized consumer behavior closely since March, looking for trends and changes in shopping patterns. This report title from WARC, based on panel data and insight from media firm Meredith, sums up the general direction of most of the research so far: “Meredith predicts consumers will use e-commerce to drive an earlier, quieter 2020 holiday season.”
The 10 statistics below show a combination of two big trends: Consumer behavior shifted significantly in the first seven months of 2020, but marketers can still base their planning on a few fundamentals.
1. 48% of holiday shoppers expect to spend less to “a lot less” than last year. Nonretail services like dining out will be affected most. (Coresight)
2. One-third of holiday shoppers expect to do their shopping on Amazon Prime Day, which is expected to be in October. Another 28% said they will start their holiday shopping earlier than usual, 18% said they would shop on Black Friday (Coresight)
3. The proportion of consumers avoiding any kind of public places, especially malls and shopping centers, spiked to 85% in late July, reversing a gradual decline (Coresight).
4. 73% of holiday shoppers will purchase primarily online this holiday (Netimperative/Rakuten).
5. More than 72% of consumers believe the 2020 holidays will be different from past years. (WARC/Meredith)
6. 50% of consumer families have someone concerned about a job. More than a third of them have already experienced some loss of income. (WARC/Meredith)
7. July, August and September have the highest rates of shopper interaction with customer reviews, photos, and questions and answers as they research gifts online. (NetImperative/BazaarVoice)
8. October is the month when shoppers are most likely to submit reviews and questions as they intensify their gift shopping. (NetImperative/BazaarVoice)
9. Retailers’ loyalty-program members generate 12% to 18% more revenue for retailers than non-member customers (Accenture Interactive).
10. 36.4% of consumers say they don’t consider themselves brand loyal until they’ve made five or more purchases from a brand, and 36.5% of shoppers said they will spend more on products if they’re loyal to a brand. (Yotpo).
Most of the evidence points toward an unpredictable, difficult holiday season for email marketers, right at a time they’re under more pressure than ever to drive results and make up for lost time. Creative, innovative measures will be needed to stand out in a crowded inbox, keep revenue flowing, and stay essential to your team.
Download the 2020 Holiday Email Lookbook for ideas and inspiration to update your email strategy for a new kind of holiday season. You’ll get actionable tips and examples to help you pursue revenue growth, engagement, and efficiency when it’s needed most.
Retail marketers have their work cut out for them as we quickly approach a holiday shopping season that remains full of question marks. Advanced personalization that uses dynamic content and moment-of-open technology will be even more essential in this challenging year to bring value to email campaigns and help marketers keep up in an uncertain, constantly-changing retail environment.
It’s never too early to start planning, especially this year when marketers will pull every available lever to drive traffic, sales and revenue without relying on deep discounts or margin-eating incentives.
Research from the National Retail Federation shows nearly 1 in 4 consumers say they start shopping in October or earlier. This year, you need to get ahead of these early birds to serve their needs and wants and retool campaigns quickly if conditions change.
Need some help to get started on your strategic holiday plan? Find it in the Liveclicker 2020 Holiday Lookbook, packed full of tips and tactics for sending emails that will get your customers excited about shopping this holiday season.
U.S. retail sales, including holiday, will fall 14% in 2020, eMarketer predicts, while ecommerce should rise 18%, bolstered by shoppers who discovered the convenience of curbside/home delivery and in-store pickup.
No matter what happens, retailers are in a stronger position today than they were in the early weeks of the pandemic. They have learned how to survive shutdowns and manage around product shortages and day-to-day changes.
With the holidays looming, marketers can put that knowledge to work by using dynamic content and moment of open technology to create high-value email campaigns that roll with uncertainties and get customers excited about shopping again.
Different parts of the country will be at different stages of recovery this year, from full reopening to partial or total shutdown. Your email campaigns must reflect these variations, especially if your company relies on physical stores for sales and customer service.
One email, many variations: Save time, money and resources by replacing all of your regional email campaigns with a single email template that includes dynamic content modules. These let you blend standard content for all shoppers with content that’s right for different regions.
A map of your nearby locations can update automatically based on where your customers open the email. Copy can list regional store hours or shopping policies. No worries about sending customers to closed stores or posting inaccurate information!
Many consumers are adamant that they won’t join the usual holiday throngs this year. Show shoppers you care about their health and safety by offering click-and-collect or “buy online, pick up in store” services that let them shop but stay socially distant.
Create a fun animation or short video that walks new users through the steps so they understand how the process works and gives them confidence to use the service, like this example from Tractor Supply Company.
Then, add it to a special promotional campaign or to purchase-confirmation emails if they choose the service at checkout.
Remember to add location data and dynamic content to the mix! With these you can target the locations where you offer the service and swap in substitute content for emails opened in regions where you don’t offer it yet.
Whether your online shoppers choose regular delivery or click-and-collect from a local store, keep them updated (and off your customer-service lines) with shipping updates that track delivery dates and times.
Add this content to a dynamic module in your regular or triggered emails, or send a stand-alone email they can refer to whenever they want an update.
Your copy of the Liveclicker 2020 Holiday Lookbook is as close as a click. It’s free and filled with great tips to help you leverage the power of dynamic content and moment of open technology for more relevant and engaging email. Learn more about these cool tools, too:
Use these subscriber engagement tips keep customers supported and engaged.
Whether your own company is shut down for now, operating on low speed or beginning to contemplate a cautious return to ‘normal,’ email marketers face a lot of unknowns these days. We’re all hopeful for a quick recovery; but when that will happen, and what it looks like, remains uncertain.
Even with all the ambiguity about the future ahead, we know one thing for sure: Your customers want to hear from you!
A Twilio survey finds consumers are eager to get brand emails that explain what’s changing, what to expect and how the company is faring:
Your marketing plan likely has changed considerably since January. Traditional promotions-heavy campaigns are less viable now, whether due to logistical reasons (stores and locations are closed, supply chains are disrupted) or more due to the sensitivity of the situation (it just doesn’t feel right to Sell Sell Sell!’ right now).
But don’t scrap all your ideas yet. Instead, retool your campaigns with content to keep your customers in the loop on your operations. Show them how much you value them, and remind them about the support you have to offer.
This use of email is becoming extra-important now that some states are beginning to allow certain businesses and public spaces to reopen. You must be able to respond fast to changing situations.
The Twilio study found customers want to know how your company is taking care of them, your staff and your community. They’re looking for information, for reassurance and even for help and distraction. This six suggestions can help you stay connected until you can open your doors again
1. Keep customers up to date on what’s happening with your company
If you operate physical locations like stores, restaurants, entertainment and fitness centers and other public spaces, keep customers in the loop about openings, hours, special conditions and anything else customers need to know. Customers want to know this crucial information:
If you use dynamic content modules in your email templates, add this content there and update it in real time using moment-of-open technology that refreshes the content each time your customer opens the email.
One last thing: Customers want to know what your company has been doing to support workers and to your local communities. Share what your company has done or what you’re doing now, and be specific about what you’re doing and the organizations your company supports. We love this powerful, authentic message from Everlane featuring a program to support Feeding America.
2. Ask people what’s on their minds
What do they miss most about visiting your locations or shopping in your stores? What’s their favorite stay-at-home activity now? What do they look forward to doing first once you’re back in business?
Add a live polling function to your emails to let people vote in the email and then see immediate results. This lets people express what they’re thinking and also gives you a fresh source of customer feedback. Or send subscribers to an interactive quiz to get in on the fun.
3. Use video to create virtual events
Add video content from influencers or company experts for demonstrations and DIY uses of your products. Fogo de Chao, which is selling home meal kits based on its menu, includes a video of one of its chefs demonstrating how to prepare one of the items on its special menu. It’s a smart move because it will help customers get more satisfaction from preparing the meals.
Or, shoot video footage of daily life while your business doors are closed and cut them into four or five videos. Show what your employees are up to behind the scenes, or what you’re doing to keep everyone safe and healthy. Embed one in each of your next email campaigns. At the end, use a poll to let customers vote for their favorite video.
Important: Use a video service that operates on moment-of-open technology to determine whether to play the video in the email or serve a screenshot with a link to view it online based on the reader’s browser.
4. Send personalized content based on loyalty programs and engagement
Recap their past year of activity with your brand with a personalized chart showing visits to your physical locations, purchases, total spent, membership tier in your loyalty program, how close they are to the next tier and the benefits they’ll gain.
Then, send an offer that’s personalized to their engagement levels for something they could buy now and use later, along with a default offer for members for whom you have no purchase or loyalty data.
5. Freshen up emails with social media feeds
Social media is a great way to keep your audience informed with your brand’s latest official updates and up-to-the-minute policy changes It’s also a phenomenal source of fresh content.
Keep your emails updated with the latest news, as well as new material from your social media team or user-generated content, with a live feed embedded in your campaigns. We love how Drizly uses social content here to build a sense of community and “in-this-togetherness” for customers adapting to the work from home lifestyle:
You can extend that capability to the auditory senses, too. Design a music playlist for your brand (or ask your customers for requests!) and embed it right in your emails so your subscribers can see what tracks you’re recommending.
6. Start the clock ticking
Got a firm reopening date? Or maybe another big event planned; like a huge sale at your ecommerce store, a digital concert, even a cooking class? Send an add-to-calendar invitation that people can use to add your event to their digital calendars.
As you get closer, add a countdown timer to your regular emails showing the time remaining until your doors open again. If appropriate and safe to do so, add a live map showing the nearest open location based on where your subscribers are when they open your emails. This will be essential if you are doing a rolling open, or if you have last-minute changes.
Keep track of all the responses to your new initiatives, from open and click rates to unsubscribes and spam complaints. We’re all learning about what works and what doesn’t.
Everything you do now to understand and connect with your customers can improve your email marketing down the road when you’re ready to start promoting again. Who knows – your email program could end up stronger than ever!
Use these tips to keep revenue flowing when your venues are closed.
Many entertainment centers have gone dark for now, with many venues canceling everything from individual performance to entire seasons, thanks in large part due to uncertainty about reopening dates.
But even as buildings stay shuttered, enterprising venues can stay connected with fans through regular emails that keep fans in the know about canceled or rescheduled events.
In fact, attendees are looking to email more than ever these days to stay informed, according to a new poll from Twilio. It found 67% of consumers favor email to learn about changes and updates from the brands they value the most, and 52.9% want to get critical updates about closings and how to stay engaged during shutdowns.
For entertainment venues and other companies invested in live entertainment, the challenge is keeping ticket-holders and event attendees virtually close even if they can’t be there physically. It’s important to acknowledge the disappointment of ticket-holders and to keep them informed about reschedulings, refunds and other important issues.
A venue that’s lucky enough to be able to remain open still has work to do, especially in showing attendees how it’s keeping them safe. Here’s how email can help:
1. Going digital. Highlight events that are being livestreamed, like concerts or stage performances. Embed video in your emails to promote the streams or upcoming performances, and add a countdown timer to build anticipation.
2. Look back and ahead. Use loyalty members’ past purchase or attendance history to populate email content. Add video of performances (if contracts permit) or recap the shows they attended. Then, create offers to bring them back when you reopen, such as first crack at premium tickets, advancement to a higher loyalty tier or discounts on season passes.
3. Keep emails updated, even after you send. Things can change quickly when your venue runs on live events. The pressure to keep information current is higher than ever. But you’ll gain the gift of the “takeback” when you use dynamic email content capable of being edited even after you hit “send.” As soon as you learn a concert is canceled or rescheduled, or a venue closes or reopens, you can change out the editable content with your new message, which will refresh as soon as your recipients will see as soon as they open your email.
4. Use live polls to keep the audience engaged: Ask your audience a poll question in each email. What was their favorite concert? Which performer would they want to see next, what other kinds of live events would they want to see? Or find out what they’re doing while your venue is closed or how they’re getting by.
When you use a live poll, voters can see how they compare with everyone else. Bonus: Their answers can also give you great fodder for future events or ways to improve the experience.
5. Add a playlist. The action might have moved off the stage or the arena floor, but you can help recreate the experience with a Spotify playlist that you embed in the email so your subscribers can play it without leaving your message or having to open an app. Pull music, theme songs or podcasts that feature past events or represent events that you had to postpone or cancel.
Nothing can ever replace the magic and intensity of a live performance, in-person event or game, but email messaging that uses advanced personalization and real-time content can keep attendees warmed up and ready to return as soon as your doors are open.
While many consumer sectors have been able to keep some of their business going through ecommerce and delivery services, theme parks and other entertainment venues have to search for other ways to stay top of mind with their customers.
It’s tempting to cut off email communications until you have an opening date to announce, as a number of parks and destinations have done. But, now is a critical time to keep communication flowing! Clever and innovative uses of content that engage and entertain your visitors (many of whom might welcome a distraction right now) helps you build up anticipation for the moment you can reveal your opening day.
The best part of this plan is that you probably have much of the content you already need. You just need to present it again in unexpected and intriguing ways—and preferably in a manner that saves you time and effort. Try these theme park marketing tips for your email campaign:
1. Hit pause briefly to retool. Use the time to think about what you want to say to your visitors, to gather material and think through your strategy for using email to keep connected. This will be helpful if your company needs to wait a bit to see how conditions develop.
2. Check up on your community. Use polls to find out how visitors are doing and encourage them to interact with your email. A couple of ideas: What are they doing now to stay entertained? What park features are they most excited about visiting when they can come back?
If you use a live poll, your email readers will get instant feedback and see how they compare with your other respondents. Plus, polls give you great data to use in creating an even better experience when the parks open again.
3. Build engagement with content. Your customers might not be in the frame of mind to respond to purchase-based offers right now. So, find content that helps to take them out of the present situation and reminds them of the good times they enjoyed or tells them interesting things about your locations:
Check out this simple but inspiring example from the Oregon Zoo. When their attendees aren’t able to visit the zoo grounds, they’re “bringing the zoo to you!” through the inbox.
4. Give your loyal members the VIP treatment with personalized content. Warm them up with individualized messages that use their membership or rewards data, such as recaps of their past visits. When appropriate, offer special perks, such as advance ticket purchases, discounted season passes, membership tier upgrade and other incentives that would get your best customers excited about coming back.
5. Focus on opening day. Once you know when you’ll be able to reopen, add a countdown timer to your emails and start adding photos, videos and copy that show how the park is being refreshed and readied for visitors. The countdown timer is a graphic element that refreshes every time your recipients open your emails. It adds an element of urgency and excitement and lets customers watch how time is ticking down until they can stream through the turnstiles again.
This is a tough time for theme parks and other in-person experience destinations, especially those that are open all year long. Even if you can’t sell tickets now, personalized and engaging content can give your visitors a little break from day-to-day stress and look forward to the day when your park teams can welcome them back.
With advanced personalization, marketers can offer customers support through difficult times and set themselves up for success as normalcy returns. Get a complete breakdown of messaging priorities and learn how to make advanced personalization accessible and easy in this ebook for theme park marketers! Click here to get it now.