This year, Faraday had the pleasure of attending Shoptalk Meetup for Women, a three-day digital networking event for women-identifying people in the retail community. From facilitating peer group discussions to curating one-on-one meetings to connecting women with mentors, the event created a space where women could share their experiences, learn from their peers, and work to propel more women into leadership roles in retail.
With attendance from some of the country’s largest retailers, as well as marketing agencies and tech companies, the event was a great opportunity for us to dig into the challenges (and successes!) businesses are facing. Here are some of the highlights we took away.
Direct mail strengthens omnichannel marketing
Direct mail isn’t dead (we’ve harped on this before). To reach many consumers where they are — at home! — brands should introduce direct mail into their marketing mixes.
As e-commerce continues to boom and consumers spend more time online, direct mailers can be key to breaking through the noise of digital ads and reaching customers with personalized offers on a channel that isn’t nearly as congested.
Utilizing direct mail also helps to garner the attention of those consumers who don’t spend as much time online. After all, just because a lead isn’t on Facebook or Tiktok doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a valuable customer. Smart brands know this and are working more and more with SaaS platforms, like Faraday, to locate these consumers and understand their potential. This expands the brands’ reach and brings in customers who would otherwise go overlooked.
Brands want to better leverage customer data
As we talked with marketers last week, many expressed that they have a lot of customer data, but aren’t sure how to get value out of it. Before diving into this, let’s be clear: data is a tool, but not a solution.
Simply having access to customer data is not enough to grow a brand. Even periodically appending third-party data to your proprietary customer data — while it seems appealing — has major downsides. Wading through even more data (think: upwards of 400 appended attributes per customer) is not the answer. Human data is messy and it can be hard to decipher what specific data and insights are actually informative.
On top of that, people’s lives are constantly changing — that is the nature of being human. So, a one-time snapshot of your customers just doesn’t cut it. Brands need to have access to accurate, updated data if they’re going to rely on that strategy to improve their customer understanding.
Brands that are thriving know how to activate on their customer data across the customer lifecycle. Many Faraday clients use our platform to develop predictive personas and use those holistic understandings of their various types of customers to improve marketing initiatives. This may look like seeding audiences with personas, generating lookalikes, and using insights to personalize engagement across multiple channels.
Women need more support from employers to advance their careers
One of the most valuable takeaways from Shoptalk Meetup for Women was the chance to connect with veterans in the industry, many of whom offered themselves up as mentors. Hearing how some of these women got their start and advanced their careers underscored the amount of support from fellow women in the workplace.
Networking communities, like Ellevate (which seemed to be a favorite), that focus on bringing women together can be very beneficial when looking to meet others in your industry, find mentors, and get some guidance on switching career paths. This third-party, women-supporting-women mindset seems to be a main driver of success, particularly in male-dominated workplaces, where there may not be a woman in leadership to turn to.
In a peer group discussion, it became clear that businesses need to not only make a concerted effort to bring more women into leadership positions, but to actively support a continuation of their success. The ways in which businesses could do this vary from hosting anti-discrimination trainings in the office to paying for tickets to conferences focused on empowering women professionals (like Shoptalk Meetup for Women). For larger companies, setting up internal mentorship programs is a great option as well.
Networking events can be weird and uncomfortable, but they can also be enlightening, validating, and a chance to talk to people you may not usually have access to. Overall, Shoptalk Meetup for Women was a success; it brought together women of varying backgrounds and job levels, and the format allowed people to meet each other with intention, which doesn’t always come with large networking events. Hopefully we will be seeing more opportunities like this in the future!
Note: The use of “women” in this article refers to any individual who identifies as such.