Marketing to the connected consumer requires a new approach to brand management and customer relationship marketing. The list of customer touch points grows every day.
Technology-driven touch points, like Twitter and Facebook, bring with them a rich profile of data that is rarely leveraged to improve the customer experience.
Marketers confront a dizzying landscape that challenges us to rethink our roles and restructure our organizations in order to keep our brands or products top-of-mind with the right audience. Here's a quick breakdown:
This may sound trivial, but it is the cornerstone to successful marketing communication. Your value proposition becomes your guiding light in an evolving media environment. When messaging is backed by a unique and defendable value proposition, it will transcend whatever the next generation of media channels may hold. Without this, you base your branding on the media channel at hand, rather than set a foundation that is channel agnostic.
We expect Marketing Managers to know what differentiates their product from its competitors. But what about Customer Service or Finance? Years ago, before the social media revolution, non-marketing personnel didn't need much brand knowledge. But things have changed. Just imagine, your colleagues represent your brand in their LinkedIn profile 24/7. They might also be blogging or live Tweeting industry news. How they talk about your company and its products in any environment needs to be consistent with your Value Proposition. This will help standardize the customer experience and maintain morale.
Marketers, especially lead generation marketers, are often narrow-minded in their approach. The multi-channel environment challenges marketers to be less action focused. Yes, it's always important to convert a prospect into a sale. But a brand that participates across multiple channels must also be relationship-focused. The more channels you operate within, the more your brand becomes embedded in your customers' daily lives. Consider the kind of partner your brand will be throughout your customers purchase cycle. Focus on your customers' unique needs at that moment, within the confines of your channel and message accordingly.
Your online presence grows with every piece of news or Tweet your company publishes. As it grows, you risk communicating inconsistently. Ideally, a single person or department should be responsible for reviewing all content before it is posted to your website. A robust content management system with easy-to-use workflow management tools will greatly simplify this process. It allows anyone to write content for the web, but require approval from a senior marketing leader before going live. This tool enables marketers to edit and sign-off on all content without having to hardcode html or write everything themselves.
Many marketers assume that social media is a public relations or brand awareness tool. It is both of those things and more. By allowing users to log-in to your site using their Facebook credentials, you gain access to a wealth of customer intelligence that you didn't have before. The tricky part is to compel a user to log-in. You do this by offering premium content, like special reports or promotional coupons. Make social interaction a regular part of your on-site and off-site communication.
Online marketers have been spoiled by the depth of data they collect from each customer interaction. Marketers who focus on offline campaigns find it difficult to compare metrics across the organization. As a marketing team, it's important to agree on your high-level goals (Awareness, Education, Purchase) from the start and define the metrics around those goals. Technology advances have made the volume of data increase, but many times with the complexity of identifying visitor behavior across channels. You can achieve a 360 degree view of your customers if you can correlate data from your online ecosystem.
The ultimate goal of any marketer is to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. It's the theory that drives integrated marketing communication. Until now, it's seemed more myth than reality. But advancements in technology are making this possible. Leveraging social media within your site naturally leads to a personalized brand experience based on a user's stated likes and dislikes. For example, if a user logs into your site using their Facebook profile, you can create rules to show them unique headlines, calls-to-action and geo-targeted support services based on what you know about them. If you know the user is in their 50s (Facebook's fastest growing membership!), you can automatically increase your font size on every page so that it is easier for them to read. If you know they live in Florida, you can show stock images with beach landscapes in the background.
As the number of channels expands, so does the burden on marketers to deliver a data-driven, customer-centric brand experience. At the same time, the responsibility for consistently communicating brand value transcends the marketing department to include every employee and stakeholder.
Cross-departmental communication and internal marketing are especially important. User-friendly content management and personalization tools will also support an integrated marketing strategy.