Claire Van der Zant, Chief Operating Officer at Uniqodo, chatted to PerformanceIN about the debut launch of their 2020 Annual Promotions Report and some of the trends and insights that shaped the success for brands and industries during 2020.

You joined Uniqodo in summer 2020 and are fairly new to the world of performance marketing. Can you introduce yourself and your journey that brought you here today?

I’ve spent my career in marketing and partnerships, launching programmes like O2 Priority and Virgin Red, but predominantly helping businesses to define their vision and purpose, and charge forth to do brilliant things. I’m restless, curious and can’t help but see new and more exciting ways to get things done.

I left the agency world in 2017 to help Thomas Cook launch a new fintech venture; Thomas Cook Money, which was an amazing experience, though it won’t escape anyone’s attention that it was unfortunately short lived! Cue COVID (and a redundancy) and I found a rather cool little team making magic happen for eCommerce… here I am today.

What excited you most about joining Uniqodo?

When I stuck my head under the bonnet, I saw not just a powerful promotion stack, but also an emerging concept; an ethos that had guided the business on how they wanted to work with clients, uncovering an entirely new way to approach promotional marketing. It was nascent, and needed some shaping, but had the potential to take us in a direction that would break new ground and do something genuinely transformational for eCommerce in the years to come.

With a commitment to solve every challenge our clients give us, Uniqodo has pioneered an approach that takes advanced promotions and smashes them together with amazing digital customer experience that took results to new highs. We’re about to have a proper coming out party with the evolved direction of the business, so more to follow on this, but if you’ve not heard of PromotionX, you will soon.

So why was now the right time to launch your first annual promotions report?

Back to curiosity and restlessness, I refused to write 2020 off without taking some big learnings that can help our clients and the wider industry charge forward into whatever 2021 has to throw at us. If you take COVID out of the picture, really what we saw was an immense acceleration of the growing trend for online commerce. When the high street opens up again, understanding what levers and strategies are most successful for marketers in a thriving digital ecosystem can only be a good thing.

What are some of the key takeaways from the promotional landscape in 2020?

  • Number one would have to be the importance of being genuinely tuned in to the needs and wants of your customers. You can almost read the key moments of the pandemic in the data. In the moments we were most uncertain and anxious, engagement dramatically dropped, and in the times where restrictions began to lift, so too did our spirits and willingness to connect. The way people are feeling, what they need in the moments that matter, and how they want to engage is intrinsic to how they spend. Being relevant and sincere was absolutely essential.
  • Number two would be a ‘he who dares, wins Rodney’ message. In all of our promotional data, across many verticals and geographies, it has never been more clear that standard discounts and money off is not where the results are to be found. Forging new partnerships, embracing influencers, shaking up promotional formats and creating engaging onsite experiences for promotions was where to find success. We’re about to launch a ‘myth busting’ series on promotions, but as a spoiler, codes don’t always have to equal discounts, and codes can do so much more to unlock digital experiences. It’s about being brave and getting creative.
  • Number three is completely audacious, but I’d be missing a trick if I didn’t say that working with Uniqodo wasn’t a key factor in delivering amazing promotions. If not, make sure you get your promotion capabilities and onsite experiences prioritised in the backlog with your IT and product teams, you’ll thank us for it.

How is Uniqodo making use of the insights from 2020 to help shape your clients’ activity in the coming year?

It’s great to be able to share the combined insights with everyone working with Uniqodo, learning and evolving strategies together. Plus with almost a year of lockdown under our belts, we’re all better equipped to plan for how to engage with customers day-to-day and on the big occasions.

We’ve also used the insights to shape our roadmap priorities for 2021, doubling down on the areas that can help brands make a step change in their promotions and results. More to come on that soon, but it’s going to be an exciting year building PromotionX.

When will we know more about the PromotionX and what it’s all about?

Really soon. We’re heads down over the next fortnight to put the finishing touches on what it means, what it does, and how to leverage PromotionX. We had to be prepared that the annual report might disprove our theories about the potential of combining advanced promotions with onsite experiences, but we’re delighted to say it has just added more fuel to the fire.

We would like to thank Claire for taking part in this Q&A. It was great to hear about her journey so far and the plans in store for Uniqodo in the future regarding PromotionX!

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