Retail is fundamentally changing, says Jeremy Cornfeldt. To stand out from the competition, he says, “It’s not just about transactions. Retailers need to build a soul for their brand and what it stands for.”
As the CEO of iProspect, US, a global digital marketing agency serving top retail brands, Jeremy is uniquely situated to survey the industry and understand how it’s evolving. He sees a future where retailers, armed with precious first-party data, build a personal relationship with shoppers and provide value beyond the sale.
Jeremy discusses this and other key predictions during a special episode of Retail Uncharted with Sidecar CEO Andre Golsorkhi. He also explores how iProspect’s unique partnership with Sidecar is helping the agency navigate the fast changing retail landscape and better serve its clients.
During the podcast, Andre asks:
- What digital marketing trends are you preparing for in 2021?
- What benefits have you seen from iProspect’s partnership with Sidecar?
- How is the partnership with Sidecar preparing iProspect for success in the future?
- What marketing approaches are you seeing work well in other industries that can benefit retailers?
- Is there a #1 marketing channel that retailers should prioritize in 2021?
- What do you predict marketers will remember 2021 for?
This is the second part of a two-part interview series with Jeremy Cornfeldt. Listen to the first part of our series to learn how Jeremy’s career path led him to become CEO at iProspect, US and his advice for leading a company during a pandemic.
Top Sound Bites
On the growing convergence of retail and media:
Jeremy: One of the big things that we’re gearing up for is this convergence of retail and media. The Amazons and Walmarts of the world recognize and embrace the fact that they don’t just own a retail property — they also own a media property. Amazon has been one of the first to really grasp that, in terms of their marketing, but it’s not state-of-the-art yet.
Walmart’s putting a lot of emphasis on their work with Oracle, and Facebook has their marketplace. So you’re seeing an amazing convergence. It’s not just about digital media and marketing anymore. It’s about merchandising and having a fully fleshed-out merchandising strategy.
On the coming pivot to first-party data:
Jeremy: Right now, there’s a race for first-party data. We’re working on building proprietary data assets, so we can help our clients from that perspective and give them something to plug into. Overall, it’s helped our clients understand that they need to collect data, but also that they have to have the right architecture, so you can take that information, activate it, and capture more.
I think the brands that will get it right are the ones that aren’t just investing in stack infrastructure, but the ones who know how to organize the information so they can use it from an activation perspective. That’s the secret to success. You create something that works at both a macro and a micro level, so you can dial it up or down in real time.
On the value of iProspect’s partnership with Sidecar:
Jeremy: From the first time that you started working with our team, we have seen positive results. We’ve seen 30%, almost 40%, improvements over what we were doing, and we felt like we were pretty good at performance marketing.
With Sidecar, it’s not just about the technology, and it’s not just about the services, it’s about both. Your teams understand the agency pressures better than most, because you have that kind of a mindset infused within your organization that then rallies around the tech as well. The tech is only going to be as good as the people, and the people have to feed the tech.
On 2021 digital marketing predictions:
Jeremy: The first thing I think we’ll see is another wave of bankruptcies. I think we’ll see anywhere from 5% to 15% of retailers experiencing that, with probably half of those shutting their doors. I think you’re going to see a massive number of store closings as well because of the decline in foot traffic. And I think you’re going to see a lot of people asking, is it even worth it? Can they really support that?
For us in the digital space, that means that they’re going to have to rely even more heavily on what we do. I think with some retailers, you’re going to see double-digit — if not triple-digit — growth in what they get out of their e-commerce platforms. Lastly, I think we’re going to continue to see ongoing disruption from the direct-to-consumer sphere.
On retailers reconsidering their marketing channel priorities:
Jeremy: My recommendation would be not to look at the channels but to look at the consumer. We had a former client who had this aspiration of who they wanted their consumer to be, and that was very different from who their consumer actually was. They were an athletic apparel and footwear company, and they thought their consumer was younger, fit — when really it was older men.
It’s okay to have aspirations for where you want to go, but you have to be very clear about who your consumers are. It’s about understanding and following the consumer wherever they go. You need to test and learn your way into going after consumers that you might not necessarily have, but, at the same time, you need to nurture your base and make sure you can keep the lights on.