How did Brian Monahan, VP of Marketing for Walmart.com till last April, take the company from an average of 55 million uniques to 85 million and grow sales by billions of dollars? Join our VB Live event on leveraging the power of personalized marketing and find out.
A marketing strategy that increases sales by billions of dollars has to be doing something right. But when you’re VP of marketing at Walmart.com, you’re expected to achieve greatness. Brian Monahan, who left the top marketing role there only a few months ago for his own startup, credits personalization in large part.
“I’ve witnessed first-hand the power of personalized marketing to really drive a business at scale,” he says. “We grew sales by a couple of billion dollars powered by personalized marketing. It works.”
Monahan, who has helped clients like amazon.com pioneer digital marketing at scale, has also watched the rising tide of mobile irrevocably change the path to purchase and impact the purchase cycle.
“People like to say it’s a non-linear purchase funnel now,” Monahan says. “What the industry is waking up to now is the other implication of perpetual connectivity: shrinking purchase windows. If you can think it you can buy it.”
Simply put, the period of time between a consumer making up her mind to buy something and actually doing it has become vanishingly small and incredibly difficult to catch.
“If you’re trying to drive sales and trying to reach the qualified prospect, you’ve got to nail it,” says Monahan. “You’ve got a very specific moment in time for a very specific path-to-purchase for that individual person — and you’ve got to get it right if you want to influence that opportunity with your marketing messages.”
It’s a problem that has to be solved. With consumer cord-cutting, the mass media market has crumbled and fragmented, so you simply can’t just buy overwhelming blanket reach and call it good.
“The brand builder, if someone’s trying to drive growth through marketing, has no choice but to embrace big data and technology to do personalization at scale,” Monahan says. “You have to compete for one opportunity at a time. That’s really where personalization comes in.”
Thankfully for business building marketers, he says, the technology has become very sophisticated, so that you now have the tools to do that, to win, and to compete and to drive sales.
“My run at Walmart — when I got there we were averaging about 55 million uniques a month, and when I left it was somewhere on an average month of 85 million,” he says. “The way we grew the business was in a large part was by personalization of the customer experience — both when you came to our website, and our app, personalizing the marketing messages you receive across various channels.”
“If you’re just dabbling into personalized marketing, the first thing I would say is hurry up, because it’ll really drive your business,” he adds. “That should be top of your list of what you can do to drive sales tomorrow.”
While intelligent synchronizing across marketing channels is still a major data challenge — causing message mixups and frustrating customers who feel like companies don’t know them well enough, or at all — the technology continues to evolve to the point where marketers can offer their customers a product story that ushers them into the next purchase and then the next. It’s a future that marketers should keep their eye on when developing their marketing infrastructure and putting creative talent in place, Monahan says.
“I’m passionate about it,” he continues. “There aren’t many companies racking up sales growth with Bs on it, and we did. So I know how powerful it can be. And it’s just exciting to think about when we get it right, what a better experience it will be to build brand relationships.”
Join this VB Live event to hear more about what marketers can do now to build powerful relationships with customers and nail that moment of purchase, and prepare for the future of personalization.
Register here for free.
Webinar attendees will learn to:
- Understand every customer on an individual basis in real-time
- Build user graphs that account for the persistent and transient behaviors of consumers
- Create rich, aesthetic user-experiences that engage
- Deliver timely, consistent messages across multiple channels
- Brian Monahan, former VP of marketing, Walmart.com
- Vijay Chittoor, CEO founder, Blueshift
- Wendy Schuchart, analyst and editor, VentureBeat
This VB Live event is sponsored by Blueshift.