Marketing Cloud Best Practices for Retail Brands

For direct to consumer (D2C) and retail brands, the world was turned on its head in 2020 with the emergence of the pandemic. As consumers adapted to widespread lockdowns, their needs and wants from brands shifted. As a result, D2C and retail brand marketing teams had to pivot their strategies to be fully digital and hyper-focused on customer engagement.
As the word begins to stabilize into a new form of normal, one thing is clear: the way consumers shop has changed forever. To meet customer demands, many retail brands have adapted their marketing strategies, enabling new best practices to adjust their methodologies for long-term success in a highly competitive digital market.

Data Intelligence & Utilization Strategy

With increasing talks of the demise of the third-party cookie, creating a robust and transparent in-house data intelligence and utilization strategy is crucial. Just as important as the planning is the execution, especially in terms of utilizing the correct platform and methodology for data collection and analysis to leverage in marketing.

In the grand design of all modern marketing blueprints, data is at the core with all methods hinging upon it. Retail brands are no exception. In fact, for retail and D2C brands, data collection and utilization strategies are more important now than ever before due to the wide number of competitors and the need to achieve customer engagement in a very crowded market.

Audience Segmentation for Ideal Targeting

Just as important as data collection is how it is utilized. That’s where audience segmentation and targeting come into play.  For retail brands, understanding their audiences and having a marketing cloud system that allows for proper segmentation and targeting capabilities is crucial.  

While audience segmentation and targeting are not new concepts, the ways they are implemented have shifted over the past several years to optimize success for retail brands. The robust capabilities of modern marketing technologies allow brands to target by specific individuals, households or wider groups, thus enabling in-depth personalization within marketing efforts including geo-targeting, recommendations based on user preferences and browsing history, curated user driven content, abandoned cart messaging to close the sales cycle and more. 

Leverage Template Systems for Consistency

One key best practice that has been implemented by successful marketing teams within and outside of D2C and retail brands is the utilization of a standardized template system within their marketing cloud platforms. While creating branded templates is a standard practice for the majority or marketing teams, many do not have their system fully optimized.
To ensure consistency, many teams have begun creating wire frames for their templates that can be utilized within different types of marketing messages while still maintaining their brands look, feel and voice. This is an especially relevant practice for retail brands to implement within their marketing cloud technologies as many are sending a multitude of messages across a variety audience segments on a daily basis.

Utilize Customization & Interactivity

Customization and Interactivity are top of mind among marketing teams, especially among those who operate in the retail space. In order to ensure success, savvy marketers know that they must create interactive and customized marketing to increase customer engagement. It is crucial to utilize a marketing cloud tech platform that allows for interactive elements to be leveraged and permits optimized customization based on customer data.

80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. -Salesforce

As consumer needs evolve, so do the customization and interactive tactics of agile teams. Many of which, like dynamic marketing creatives, kinetic emails, contextual marketing driven by A.I. and accessibility,  have been and will continue to be pioneered by D2C and retail brands. 

Automate Campaigns For Steady Engagement

Automation is a huge topic in the world of marketing and has been for some time. As the effects of the pandemic evolved, so did the necessity of automation implementation across various marketing practices. Pivoting to digitalfirst strategies meant meeting the needs of consumers who were living a remote and isolated lifestyle and the only way to accomplish this was to scale digital marketing methodologies.


For retail brands specifically, this meant more marketing messages, fully enabled eCommerce platforms that could handle volume and more efficient buying and delivery processes for consumers. This is a difficult feat when the world is facing a global pandemic, unless automation is implemented to ensure scalability and efficiency. As a result, many D2C and retail brands have implemented wider spread automation across their marketing campaigns and processes leveraging the capabilities for their marketing cloud platform and other elements of their martech stack.  

In Summary

The marketing teams of retail brands have been pushed to adapt to a rapidly changing market at a faster pace than ever before. While many of the best practices that are standard across the industry are not necessarily new, their current adaptations certainly are. As consumer preferences and demands continue to evolve, so will the methodologies employed by these agile teams. 
Creating optimized and transparent data collection and utilization strategies, properly segmenting and targeting audiences with customized and interactive elements to ensure optimal engagement all while keeping branding consistent are the best practices that will carry teams through these unprecedented times. Understanding and implementing these basic key elements of marketing cloud tech utilization for retail brands is critical to achieving modern marketing success. 

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