From increased customer demand for content to the lasting impact of Covid and the current global economic situation, marketers are facing up to a variety of challenges at present with limited resource (and headspace) to deliver the solutions they require. The Inspired Thinking Group (ITG)’s Chief Marketing Technologist, Ken Madsen, examines these issues and looks at a recent example of how we’ve solved them for a world-renowned US fashion brand.
The Marketing Execution Gap
The issue of spiralling content demand is one that marketing teams have been grappling with for a number of years. As more and more channels spring up and customers cry out for increasingly personalized experiences, the traditional answer of boosting production resource (whether internal or offshore) is no longer adequate, or financially viable.
To take an example that we’re going to explore further in this article, research from Mood Media tells us that engaging digital content and personalized experiences in stores have the highest impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions, making 26% and 35% respectively want to buy something.
However, if your studio and production teams are spending most of their time tackling tiny amends and creating slight variations of existing assets, then it’s virtually impossible to deliver the quantity or quality of creative marketing content required – and that gap is only going to widen in the future.
What is Creative Automation?
“Brands can now automate those tedious creative production tasks that used to be performed manually”
Creative Automation, delivered via solutions such as our own Storyteq platform, is not a new phenomenon, but it is only really since the pandemic (which most experts agree accelerated digital adoption by several years) that perception of this technology has shifted from ‘nice to have’ to ‘essential for modern marketing’.
With Creative Automation, brands can now automate those tedious creative production tasks that used to be performed manually. Need a campaign translating into numerous different languages for your global markets? Now it’s ready in a few clicks. Want to replace a product, a model, a header or a call to action in your latest TV ad? A few seconds and it’s done.
It goes without saying that this is slashing production time for brands that have already onboarded the tech (not to mention reducing costs). Allied to Team ITG’s 24/7 studio team, we’re enabling our clients to get more content to market, faster than ever.
Our tech & teams in action
“Activating our Creative Automation platform reduced 40-60% of the brand’s manual production workload”
To give you a real-life, recent example of how our Creative Automation technology and award-winning teams work in practice, we recently implemented our Storyteq solution for a major US fashion/apparel brand.
This particular business is a household name throughout much of the world, with around 1,000 stores in North America alone. They had recently invested in thousands of digital screens for their US locations as they looked to transform the in-store customer experience.
Statistics from Canadian company Screenfluence show that digital displays capture 400% more views than statics, digital signage bumps the average purchase amount up by 29.5%, and 80% of brands who use it record a significant increase in sales (up to 33% in some cases).
It’s easy to see the opportunity that these screens offered for marketing innovation, particularly as they were fitted with cameras that could identify customers (for example, by age or gender) and immediately display content relevant to that individual.
Unfortunately, the brand quickly realised that they didn’t have the resource available to produce the kind of customer-centric content that you need to make this investment pay off.
Instead, they were stuck using 30-second video loops from social media that didn’t make sense in the store context, and therefore weren’t engaging shoppers or helping them along on their path to purchase.
We tackled this problem on two fronts. Firstly, by setting up a dedicated studio within the brand specifically to create template content for these screens, with dynamic elements that could be removed, swapped or amended at pace.
Secondly, by implementing Storyteq’s Creative Automation capabilities, which allowed the brand to automate rapid content variations to these templates, that could then be delivered to the screens in a matter of seconds.
We’ve truly revolutionized the in-store experience – where the screens used to be an out-of-place, often irrelevant fixture, now they form part of a wider, seamless customer journey.
Activating our Creative Automation platform reduced 40-60% of the brand’s manual production workload and drove more relevant content to screens, saving costs and resulting in a 20% uplift in sales.
What’s more, it opened the door to another challenge…
Turning old stores into innovative advertising spaces
“Using the latest technology, we’re now able to project high-quality video onto the windows and sell the space to advertisers”
It’s important to note that Covid hit during these projects, and that (along with the economic factors brought on by the global financial situation) meant the brand were closing 250 of their US locations – even though most of them still had around 12-18 months of their lease remaining.
Rather than leave them dormant and take the hit on the leases, we went back to the store team with a proposition – to transform these unused locations into advertising space.
Using the latest technology, we’re now able to project high-quality video onto the windows and sell the space to advertisers, bringing revenue back to these stores in the process.
Innovation is a central pillar of our identity at ITG, and this is emblematic of the creative mindset with which we approach challenges for brands around the world. It’s also a fantastic way of ensuring these locations don’t go to waste at a time when every cent counts!
How can we help you?
If you’re reading this and recognising issues within your own business, then we’re here to help.
Whether that’s implementing our marketing technology or resolving problem points through the expertise of our services teams, we’ll deliver a bespoke solution that addresses your specific challenges in a way that saves you time and money.
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