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New Marketing Data: Back To The Future

In our brand new annual marketing report, retail respondents indicated some significant shifts in their perception of their business challenges. And the decreases in challenge areas are just as important as the increases.

Top three on retailers' lists of business challenges include difficulty with customer retention and loyalty, keeping up with the new ways consumers are using technology (new to the list in 2013), and a tie between too many communication channels with unproven effectiveness and keeping up with all the new ways to engage with customers (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Turning the Corner

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Source: RSR Research, August 2013

Customer retention and loyalty, and the challenges with maintaining both, have long been on the top-three list for marketing business challenges, but every year it appears to grow in importance. However, the driving reasons behind those increases seem to be shifting. For example, while retailers may be scrambling to keep up with consumers - whether in technology-driven ways or not - they certainly aren't scrambling to deal with a tough business environment: in 2012, 47% of survey respondents said that the uncertain economy constrained their marketing budget. In 2013, that number fell to 30%, putting it second from the bottom of the list.

Looking at business challenges by performance, it would appear that laggards are singing the same sad song they have been singing since the economic downturn began - laggard respondents are the driving factor behind both the difficulty with customer retention and loyalty and challenges differentiating their brand, while their forward-looking Winning peers are much more interested in the challenges posed by consumer use of technology (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Some Turn Slower Than Others

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However, as we uncover in the full report, Retail Marketing 2013: Organizational Drift – available by following this link -  what laggards are choosing to do about their business challenges appears to have taken a significant shift. We hope you enjoy the full report.  

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Articles & Opinions September 10, 2013
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