Taming the eCommerce Marketing Beast

Merchants of all sizes are in constant competition to satisfy high-expectations from consumers for a seamless, enjoyable experience across every interaction. But, SMB retailers are often paralyzed by a lack of resources and experience to implement sophisticated digital marketing programs. The four stage marketing maturity model helps smaller online retailers identify their current level and create a path to marketing success writes, Erika Jolley Brookes, CMO, Springbot

In today’s world of almost constant connectivity, online shoppers expect to search, browse and purchase products easily, whenever and wherever they want. As they travel interchangeably between a growing number of devices and channels, the path to purchase becomes less and less linear and increasingly complex. It’s no longer enough to simply deliver the right product at the right price, merchants large and small are in constant competition to satisfy high-expectations from consumers for a seamless, enjoyable experience across every interaction.

As a result, the eCommerce mandate is to deliver a personalized, relevant and timely experience with engaging content wrapped around products and replicate it across numerous domains.This heated competition for consumer attention has many store owners feeling added pressure to become experts at digital marketing, often with limited experience and resources. For the 99% of retailers that are SMBs, who rarely have dedicated marketing teams or budgets to hire consultants, mastering the complexities of online marketing can be a seemingly insurmountable undertaking.

While there are a variety of marketing tools and technologies available to help merchants develop, analyze and optimize campaigns, many even accessible and affordable to smaller retailers, figuring out where to start the marketing journey often stalls the process before it’s even begun. Implementing the right strategies at the right time is paramount to marketing success, but without a framework to help merchants identify their current state of marketing and a clear path to the next level, the chaotic marketing universe can get very overwhelming, very fast.

To help merchants wrap their arms around the often nebulous marketing function and develop a plan to continuously improve strategies and drive revenue, Springbot and FitForCommerce worked together to study and define the common stages of marketing maturity for SMB merchants. While marketing maturity is certainly a very broad spectrum, careful exploration of marketers and online retail operations at various levels of growth revealed that most SMB merchants will fall within one of four stages of marketing. By determining the current stage of their own organizations, marketers can focus on next steps and develop an actionable plan for taking their programs to the next level.

Whether just getting off the ground or already seeing the positive impact of strategic marketing efforts, merchants who commit themselves to ongoing evaluation and evolution will be best positioned to keep building and growing sustainable businesses. We all have to start somewhere:

Stage One: The Ad-Hoc Marketer

The multiple-hat-wearer who is determined to grow their online presence. Despite having to manage most of their tasks manually, the Ad-hoc marketer is focused on acing the fundamentals of marketing. Ad-hoc marketers are focused on building brand awareness and driving site traffic and conversions.​​​​​​

Stage Two: The Up-and-Coming Marketer

Those who have mastered the basics of running a business and are able to manage more than one or two channels. Up-and-coming marketers are ready and eager to test automated marketing tools to better engage their current and prospective customers.

Stage Three: The Full-Fledged Marketer

The Full-fledged Marketer is a more sophisticated marketer, driving a steady stream from online sales. They are data-miners, uncovering all of the hidden insights to create a more one-to-one, personalized marketing approach.

Stage Four: The Best-in-Class Marketer

The Best-in-Class marketer has successfully mastered all stages of ecommerce marketing maturity and, through automation and data consolidation, can now focus efforts on maintaining a streamlined online experience while keeping tabs on evolving tech trends.

Whether you are about to launch an online store or already have an online presence, it’s essential to evolve your ecommerce marketing skills and knowledge as your business grows and matures over time. 

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