A version of this article first appeared as an excerpt in an ebook called The Retail Imperative, from DM News.

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The activation of brands in retail environments is being forced to be more direct to consumers. In such a competitive market, bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds might be equated to survival.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you execute:

Lead with your CRM data

Despite that the amount of data produced daily is literally quintillions of bytes, nothing will ever be better than your own data—as long as you have a CRM data strategy. The accessibility and depth of this data is the cornerstone to bridging the gap between physical and digital locations. A strong foundation in CRM materializes the reality that you know how to connect to your consumers better than anyone.

The difference in targeting via precision vs. accuracy

Accuracy is important, but don’t negate the role, and importance of, precision—the exactness in targeting. The root of the problem in creating seamless customer experiences lies in the fact that most targeting models are built on top of modeled, third-party data. While “scalable,” this type of data is generally imprecise.

A consistent plan for data governance

Not having a strong data governance policy—quality controls around your data practice—is inexcusable for any retailer looking to connect the digital and physical worlds for consumers. How long to hold it, methods to gather it, and partners with whom to share it will all be questions you face. Thus, ensure that resources are allocated appropriately and executive oversight is consistent.

Challenge vendor transparency

As marketers, we know we can’t go this path alone. Whether it’s pipes to connect the two worlds or strategies to achieve your KPIs, you need to seek out great technology partnerships. Nevertheless, as the market consolidates, bad actors will rise. Marketers need to strive to do a better job in vetting these relationships—otherwise, lots of promises can be left unfulfilled or, even worse, they could put you or your customers’ information at risk.

There has probably never been a more promising time for marketers to strategize and execute across two “worlds.” However, we are still in the early stages, so set expectations accordingly and strive to lead the market versus letting the market lead you.