By Darren Ponsford, strategy and planning director of Blueview Group
We inhabit a world in which media is fragmenting into a bewildering variety of choices. Companies are faced with an increasing range of channels through which they can communicate.
What’s more, consumers are showing an increasing tendency to shop around and switch brands – especially with the web making it easier than ever to compare offers.
Not only is it a growing headache for marketers to keep their existing customers, but it is becoming more challenging for them to then increase the amount of profitable business each customer does with a company.
Offering consumers channel choice does more than provide a platform for companies to speak with their customers – it helps gain their business in the first place and then ensure their ongoing loyalty.
However, our recent research found that if a company does not offer communication choice, then potential buyers are much less likely to purchase its products and existing customers are much more likely to switch to a competitor.
So how can businesses ensure an effective multi-channel communications strategy?
1. Make multiple communications options available
With more alternatives available to consumers than ever before, it is essential that marketers establish lines of communication with prospects and customers through multiple channels. This becomes especially important if companies want to develop their own loyalty schemes and engage consumers with promotions.
2. Collect data on preferences
Marketers need to find out what the favoured channels are across their customer base – whether it is mail, email, web, phone or face-to-face.
Getting all aspects of a personalised communication perfect and then sending it by email to someone who deletes marketing messages and would prefer to receive something in the post, would be a complete waste of the otherwise intelligent use of customer data.
3. Make sure data drives the communication
Every communication or contact should include an opportunity for the company to capture data and further refine targeting and relevance for the consumer.
Tracking what content drives the customer towards a purchase and what just doesn’t engage them provides valuable long-term insight into likes and dislikes, as well as other factors like response times and redemption of offers.
4. Make sure communications are relevant
Communication activity for each medium needs to deliver high ROI so the messages, promotions, events and incentives delivered through the various channels need to be targeted, tailored and absolutely relevant to the recipient.
The crucial thing to remember when communicating across multiple channels, is consistency of message, personalisation and creative across all touchpoints
The time has passed when brands could largely favour a single communication channel for dialogue with their customers. Smart marketers are now concentrating on achieving the optimal channel balance for their customer base.
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