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Retail Marketers' Top Digital Channels

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Some 41% of retail marketers say they have spent more on social media marketing this year than last year, according to a recent report from Extole.

Mobile advertising has also been a top priority for retailers, with 32% of marketers surveyed saying they have spent more on the channel this year compared with last.

Email marketing has been popular as well, with 31% of respondents saying they have spent more on the tactic this year.

Marketing channels with a significant decline in investment by retailers this year include: Display advertising (28% spent less), content marketing (28%), and paid search (24%).


Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 302 people responsible for marketing and technology at US retail companies across a range of sizes, geographies, and verticals.

Most Used Channels

  • Social media and email are the two most used digital channels by retailers, employed by 85% of respondents.

Most Effective Channels 

  • Social media ranked as the most effective tactic for acquiring customers, with 50% of respondents listing it in the top three.
  • Referral marketing, SEO, and email marketing are also seen as being effective channels for customer acquisition.

  • Email marketing is seen as the most effective channel for converting retail customers.

About the research: The report, which was based on data from a survey of 302 people responsible for marketing and technology at U.S. retail companies across a range of sizes, geographies, and verticals.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Daryl Goldstein Thu Oct 23, 2014 via web

    Email marketing to actually convert customers. No surprise there however, there are two sides to this; converting customers from your existing database (remarketing) or generating new customers by dedicated direct response email campaigns. We specialize in the latter which can be used to generate leads (for your call centers to close) as well as sales.

  • by The Marketing Boutique Tue Oct 28, 2014 via web

    Email marketing was certainly at the top of many of our retail clients’ list last year. But since CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Law) took effect in July, most our clients saw an erosion in their email lists and have turned away from email marketing to social media and paid advertising to attract new clients – and even to grow the email lists.

    Here was our experience sending out an e-mail newsletter for our B2B client while rebuilding their list after CASL: http://www.themarketingboutique.ca/blog/e-mail-marketing-after-casl

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