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Authenticity in Content: Reflections from the WWD Digital Forum

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) Digital Forum in New York City. The event focused on how modern retailers are creating marketing initiatives across all channels, including digital platforms as well as brick and mortar locations.

Pioneering technologies have been revolutionizing the beauty and fashion verticals for a number of years, allowing brands to improve sales tracking, drive traffic online and in-store, and create seamless payment opportunities. Mobile technology, specifically, has gone further by actually changing how consumers shop, resulting in a new mandate for how marketers can engage and convert them effectively. Here were a couple of sessions that resonated most with how brands can involve consumers more impactfully in their marketing programs:

Content for Commerce

Alicianne Rand, Vice President of Marketing at NewsCred spoke about the importance of utilizing content to drive e-commerce, since content is omnipresent throughout the customer experience, and the content journey has become synonymous with the customer journey. According to Rand, shoppers who engage with an omni-channel brand experience spend up to 8x more than those who interact with the brand in a solitary channel. Every brand needs to ensure its content is turning its audience into customers. Perhaps more importantly, content must be designed to create deeper relationships with consumers beyond the point of purchase, to encourage repeat buying and upsell opportunities.

Earning Brand Content

Laura Elkins, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at MAC Cosmetics spoke about the company’s local and global approach to engage its customers. Speaking to local communities, MAC employs directed social media strategy to discover consumers and tap into their desires and unique lifestyles. MAC has embraced user-generated content (UGC) while amplifying and protecting its brand voice. In fact, the brand celebrates 20,000 influencers around the word and consistently tasks them with creating content on a specific and strategic topic. By “re-gramming” the photos MAC consumer artists have created, the brand is able to both motivate its audience to create more while providing a platform for creative expression.

Throughout the event, one theme was primarily evident: Establishing an authentic customer experience through content is key to creating a successful customer journey. And that customer journey is more complex than ever before. Retailers can’t simply drive a customer to a one-time purchase. With so much clever competition, and direct-to-consumer models continuing to disrupt the industry, brands need to tap into their audiences to truly succeed in today’s market. They need to inspect each client touchpoint to enable the client to discover and ultimately choose their products. When you think about the marketing experience you’re delivering for your customers, how are you stacking up?