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Where are the Australian Retailers?

Integrated marketing solutions are on the rise in Australia. Corporate, Government and Education are all investing, but there is a lack of investment by the retail industry. Is this a reflection of the consumers? Or the marketers?

Adobe delivers yet another larger than life experience in the form of their Adobe Symposium 2015, held this week in Sydney. I’ve been to quite a few of them now – 4 in Salt Lake City, 1 in London and I’ve lost count of the ones I’ve gone to in Sydney – and I have to say, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

What I think is really interesting is how much these events have grown – globally. At the first one I went to in Salt Lake City there were about 700 people attending, last year there were 7,500. Massive. And next year, they’re having to move it to Vegas because they’ve now run out of space at the conference centre in Salt Lake. Vegas – oh that’s going to be tough!

When I first attended the one in Sydney a few years ago, there were about 200 people and it was held in a couple of rooms at the Hilton. This year it was held at the Star Casino complex with 1,800 in attendance. And it was, to be honest, bursting at the seams.

Digital transformation.

But the thing that impresses me the most about attending these events over the years is the growth in interest for integrated marketing solutions. The number of companies that are either invested in them or considering investing in them continues to rise. It’s not just the corporate world either, Government and Education are big investors as they re-platform and go through their own digital transformations.

Only it’s not a desktop revolution – it’s actually more likely to be a mobile revolution. This next generation, our kids, tend not to use desktops or laptops now – mostly everything they do is on a mobile device…Are we ready for that? Nowadays the ability to access information and transact on mobile devices is expected of brands. Those that don’t…they simply lag behind.

Retail revelation.

But to me, the most surprising and also the saddest part of this is Retail. Well actually, the lack of Retail.

Where are you Retail? You’re not here, are you hiding? You’re big in the US. You’re big in Europe. But in Australia you haven’t caught up, you don’t exist. And I wonder why? Is it because consumers in Australia aren’t comfortable with buying online? Or is it that we feel the retailers don’t provide good online retail experiences? Is it a catch 22? But if we don’t like buying online, why has Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the Government is considering imposing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all overseas online purchases? Clearly we’re buying online, at least from overseas sites.

Banks, media, insurance, energy, tourism, entertainment and virtually every other vertical all have great digital experiences, many are investing in cross-platform experiences, many are starting to look at personalising those experiences. But Retail…Where Are You?

Adobe loves Retail.

Also interesting to point out is that Adobe pitches the retail story, for very obvious reasons. At the essence of the Adobe story is the retailer that wants to customise experiences and deliver personalised content to individuals, based on their previous buying behaviour and their loyalty.

In a greatly simplified version of the whole thing, Adobe sells this vision using Experience Manager to deliver the experience and house all of the assets; Target to customise and optimise; Campaign to deliver out 1:1 multichannel campaign messages; Mobile services to deliver an integrated mobile solution; Analytics to measure the impact and easily figure out the reason for anomalies; Core Services to share the data and profiles across all platforms; Audience Manager to develop a core customer profile and pull in 3rd party data share that profile (everywhere) and then Media Optimizer to deliver an offsite personalised experience through paid media retargeting.

Closed for business.

But in Australia, unlike in the US and Europe, the majority of retailers don’t seem to be doing this, or even considering it properly.

So, my final thought…The financial sector seems to be driving us forward digitally down here in Australia. Should the Adobe story be adapted to life down under?  Or do we inherently ‘get it’? And if we inherently get it, why aren’t more Aussie retailers interested in delivering exceptional digital experiences like their northern hemisphere cousins?

Are you a marketer in retail? How do you use digital to deliver customised experiences to your target audience? We’d love to hear your thoughts about any digital wins and losses you’ve experienced in the comments.

For more on the Adobe Symposium; Why an investment in Marketing Cloud requires an equal investment in your people.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on August 4, 2015.

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