Skip to Main Content

What Retailers Want: How to reach retail marketers

With marketing budgets being slashed and teams shrinking, retailers need to make their marketing more efficient and more effective.

Thankfully, martech is here to help.

Automation, AI, and data platforms are flying off the shelves. But in a highly competitive space, how do you ensure your particular product is front and centre of retail marketers’ minds?

To answer that, we analysed the buying habits of 170 UK retail marketers using market research data from our GWI platform.

We ask what they want from marketing technology brands and how you can help them get it.

Rev up your social media game


To connect with your online audience effectively, you need to know where they hang out. Surely the answer begins with social media. Right?

With over 80% of the UK population actively using social media, it’s the obvious choice to reach a massive audience. But if you’re targeting retail marketers in the B2B arena, there’s a twist: LinkedIn, typically a B2B favourite, surprisingly ranks 7th.

Intrigued? Let’s dive deeper.

Sharpen your focus on retail marketers

How Retail Marketers Use Social Media

When looking at retail marketers, we tapped into GWI’s audience to unearth their distinct social media preferences. Will this set them apart from the crowd?

In the UK, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok reign supreme among these professionals, while LinkedIn, yet again, takes a modest 7th place with a 31% user base.

With LinkedIn trailing in the rankings, the big question arises — should you divert your efforts to engage retail marketers on other platforms? Perhaps, but the strategy needs a bit of nuance.

Retail marketers wear a different hat when on alternative platforms — they’re likely in relaxation mode, far from work-related thoughts. Here, your messaging must be concise and eye-catching, a departure from the traditional B2B tech content on LinkedIn.

When promoting your B2B content, don’t dismiss popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram. On these channels you need to think like a savvy B2C marketer, aiming for snappy, attention-grabbing posts with crystal-clear CTAs. Or channel your inner packaging designer, crafting visuals that make your product stand out on the virtual shelf.

The power of testimonials and case studies

What do Retail Marketers engage with?

In our retail marketer-focused GWI dataset, 40% express a strong preference for testimonials, while a still solid 25% find case studies useful. The hunger for customer feedback and peer perspectives remains strong. Retail marketers are primed to respond positively to a well-crafted customer advocacy programme.

However, the data tells us something interesting — testimonials outshine case studies by nearly double. Concise, comment-driven content is the name of the game. Too often, businesses invest excessive time in case studies, overlooking the value that easily generated ratings and comments bring to the table.

Start with testimonials as your front-runner, and expand into case studies when the narrative truly demands the spotlight.

But, there’s more to the story. Whitepapers and buyer’s guides claim the 2nd and 3rd spots in popularity. Clearly, there’s an appetite for deep-dive, product-focused material. The challenge lies in capturing and holding readers’ attention.

For LinkedIn, test concise ways to convey the value of delving into a more in-depth read. On other social platforms, consider deploying traffic-driving tactics with a B2C flair to seize attention.

The quest for information

When it comes to actively seeking information about products and services, it’s no surprise that 57% of retail marketers kick things off with search engines. But remember, we’ve seen how much they value testimonials, and customer reviews also score high on their radar.

Social networks might not be the first thought for information gathering, but they remain relevant sources for 25% of retail marketers.

Is there a difference in mindset? Yes. It all boils down to intent.

If someone is actively searching for information, they’re more likely to delve into the details they discover through search, reviews, product/brand websites, and comparisons from the likes of Forrester or Gartner. This is where ebooks, whitepapers and other longform content become relevant.

Email isn’t everything

When reaching out to retail marketers (or any B2B audience), it’s easy to overly rely on email. 

In reality, only 18% of retail marketers find out about new brands and products through emails, newsletters, or mailshots.

When inboxes are overflowing with spam (and smart filters are growing ever more aggressive), email alone isn’t enough to get cut through. It needs to be part of a wider integrated campaign.

Events – what are they good for?

Retail tech events 2023

Retail marketers are almost twice as likely to use conferences, trade shows, or events to discover new products or services than they are to make an actual purchase.

This means that the type of content and displays you should focus on creating for such events needs to be top of the funnel discovery content. This will resonate with your audience more and align with their expectations from the event.

Reputation is king

How do retailers buy martech

When deciding which tech to buy and which suppliers to use, the first port of call is your website. Who’d have thought?

After that, the four most popular sources are based on reviews  —  whether these are user reviews, expert recommendations within their network, recommendations from industry analysts, and recommendations from colleagues or friends. This reinforces the importance of customer advocacy.

Key takeaways

  1. Social media savvy: Retail marketers don’t only spend their time on LinkedIn. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok rule the roost, with LinkedIn surprisingly lagging behind in 7th place. To connect effectively, tailor your approach to each platform and where appropriate. Retail marketers aren’t only influenced while they are in a work mindset. Think B2C for attention-grabbing content.
  2. Content that converts: Testimonials are the crown jewels, favoured by 40% of retail marketers, followed by case studies at 25%. Opt for concise, comment-driven content, and pivot to case studies when the story demands it. Whitepapers and buyer’s guides also hold promise, but capturing readers’ attention is key.
  3. Information odyssey: When actively searching for product information, 57% of retail marketers turn to search engines, while social networks remain relevant for 25%. Tailor your content to the searcher’s intent, with whitepapers and long-form content for deeper dives.
  4. Email’s limited impact: Only 18% of retail marketers discover new brands and products through email. With today’s cluttered inboxes, relying solely on email won’t cut through the noise.
  5. Event engagement: Retail marketers use events for discovery more than making purchases. Focus mostly on top-of-the-funnel content that resonates with event-goers and aligns with their expectations.
  6. Reputation rules: Your website and reviews are the top sources for retail marketers when making buying decisions. Building a strong reputation through integrated communication campaigns, influencers, and advocacy is paramount.

Success hinges on innovative and bold communication strategies. Harness the power of influencers, analysts, experts, social media, and the press to elevate your retail technology brand. Think bigger, think bolder, and remember, reputation is king in the retail world.

Case studies

Wildfire Labs Profile Image

Written by

Wildfire Labs

About the Author

Wildfire Labs explores intelligence, insights and trends from the world of tech marketing and PR. Articles and content by Alex Warren, Tim Richardson, Rebecca Quin and Paula Fifield. If you'd like to learn more about any of our trends or our team, contact