Back to Top

Lydia Bury

Digital Marketer

Undoubtedly, customer shopping habits have adapted to the unprecedented constraints brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some are likely temporary, but some have left a significant and lasting imprint on the retail landscape, asking poignant questions of route to market, operational agility, and sales & marketing strategy.

But the reality is, for many organisations, before all this hit, strategic marketing decisions were already in the pipeline for how to integrate additional innovative channels into the mix; how to then manage customers across these channels; and how to make the move from a multichannel to an omnichannel environment. Those that didn’t get there quick enough on this ongoing journey have certainly felt the nip of Covid’s bite (case in point – Primark). But even those that had made significant progress along that road have struggled to sustain supply chain and operations.

Regardless, the pandemic has further accelerated the pre-existing pursuit for truly integrated and seamless customer experiences, frictionless service and personalisation to secure the future favour of customers, no matter the channel. True omnichannel is not for the faint hearted and has high expectations of an organisation’s infrastructure, resources and strategy, but having the option to enjoy the seamless blend of offline and online will continue to be a huge consumer drive whilst mitigating some of the unknown threats of the months and years ahead.

Just as infrastructure needs to be smooth and seamless to support an omnichannel model, the right communications strategy is critical to further flatten the bumps and ensure the consumer has a consistent, enjoyable brand experience, achieving both their emotional and practical goals at every step.

RACE

The RACE model in marketing is used as a summary of the key activities that need to be managed as part of the marketing funnel for brand advocacy. While the model itself was primarily developed for digital marketing, it can actually be applied to all marketing activity including offline. In fact, it can be particularly useful for creating omnichannel campaigns that work together to achieve objectives. The mnemonic stands for:

 

(Plan) > Reach > Act > Convert > Engage

The model provides a useful customer-centric approach and covers the full customer lifecycle, including the value of creating customer loyalty and engaging existing customers. 

 

With the current climate, digital has seen a massive increase in spend and activity, and has been a lifeline to maintaining revenue. However, once things go back to normal people are going to be craving the experience or ‘Physical Evidence’ part of the marketing mix. Therefore, a blend of both online and offline activities will be key to bouncing back stronger than before. But the experience must be seamless, agile and frictionless.

 

Plan  

The RACE model is sometimes referred to as PRACE to reflect the very first stage, planning. This stage is arguably the most important as it allows you to gather all of the information you need, set your objectives and build the foundations for your campaign. 

 

Activities that take place during this stage include competitor research, market research, identifying your target audience, developing an omnichannel approach where all channels work together to resolve customer intention, as well as identifying KPIs and how you intend to measure them. This is also the stage for establishing your budget and considering how you need to spend it in order to generate maximum return. A thorough and deep understanding of the preferences and behaviours of your target audience is critical at this point, and more significantly, how these may have changed through the pandemic.

 

Reach 

The first official stage of the model is Reach, which is all about promoting your brand, products or services to build awareness. Using an omnichannel approach to this stage is key for maximising brand touchpoints, reaching a wide audience and delivering the right messaging to your audience at the right time. 

 

Key things to consider and act on during this stage include:

 

  • Identifying the channels which are going to enable you to reach your audience and how they are going to work together to build brand awareness.
  • What messaging you are going to serve your audience – encouraging audiences to respond to your brand, sales messages should be avoided and instead you should focus on providing emotive content .
  • The execution of the messaging across the channels – e.g. physical (stores), TV, OOH, paid media and other touchpoints where your audience spends time.

 

Act  

The next stage is Act, short for interact. Once you have successfully generated awareness and curiosity around your brand, you need to determine how your audience is going to engage with you. The messaging you serve at this stage needs to persuade your audience to take the next step in their customer journey. 

 

At this point, you need to provide your audience with engaging content that educates, informs, inspires or entertains. It is this content that is going to encourage them to take the next step, whether it’s to request more information or simply sign up for your newsletter.

 

Example:

A great example of a brand that uses an omnichannel approach is Gymshark. Their use of social media content is highly relevant to their target market and results in extremely high levels of engagement, this in turn leads to more clicks to their site and encourages potential customers to act. As well as their digital presence, Gymshark makes use of offline marketing methods effectively particularly with the regular events they host and their physical store. 

 

By using various channels to create engagement and encourage their customers to act they are providing a seamless, omnichannel experience which pushes existing and potential customers down the funnel. Below are a few examples of the different content types used which generate high levels of engagement.

Convert 

The next stage of the model is Convert. This involves encouraging your audience to take the next step which turns them into paying customers. At this stage, your messaging can change from being informative and helpful to more concrete and specific targeted messaging based on the actions taken, in order to encourage the conversion – this may be delivery of a product specific email, a remarketing campaign or a new customer promotion.

 

Key metrics to measure at this stage include:

  • Online and offline sales
  • Revenue and profit generated
  • Average order value

Examples:

Hubspot does the convert stage extremely well with their highly effective content marketing strategy. The company has a very wide funnel and they provide very broad content to this audience. As potential customers begin to move down the funnel, their content becomes more and more specific until the reader eventually converts.

 

Hubspot’s use of this CTA is a clear example of how brands can encourage potential customers to convert.

Engage  

 

The last stage of the model is Engage and this is all about building long-lasting relationships with your first-time customers and developing a sense of loyalty. The aim for the Engage stage is to drive repeat purchases and brand advocacy, both of which can be extremely effective for future profitability.

 

During this stage, you need to maintain communication with your existing customers over various channels, both online and offline, this will keep your brand fresh in their minds. One of the main metrics to keep in mind here is Customer Lifetime Value as this will show you how much each customer is worth to your business.

 

Examples

 

A great way of engaging your existing customers and developing a sense of customer loyalty amongst your customer base is through using user-generated content. A brand that does this exceptional well is Amazfit and as a result, they have developed a tribe of loyal customers.

 

Wanting to display how their customers were using their products to develop trust, loyalty and brand advocates, Amazfit integrate user-generated content into their newsletter emails. This banner displayed the latest social content from their customers, while incentivising others to post about them online too, even offering rewards for doing so. The results? A highly engaged customer base who became brand advocates as well as a word-of-mouth marketing tool for the brand.

Example of Amazfit campaign

 

Closing thoughts… 

 

At each stage of the RACE model it’s vital that you continue to monitor the key metrics to ensure the activities you are carrying out are bringing results. Additionally, by monitoring your results you’ll be able to adapt and change where necessary to join the dots between your channels, improve your customer’s experience and ultimately increase conversion rates.

 

Now more than ever it is vital for businesses to adapt to the current climate and understand how consumer behaviour has changed. Doing this effectively will result in increased customer loyalty, better brand awareness and improved conversion rates.

We would love to hear about your challenges Get in touch