By Kevin Cochrane, CMO at Day Software.
The ways in which brands reach customers is not only diversifying but also increasing in number. When it comes to marketing, companies need to invest in more then just the in-store and website experience.
The rise of social media and the multitude of new online and offline channels mean that brands need to target customers through their preferred channel. The main challenge for brands is how to identify, reach and target customers through these multiple channels, while remaining as personal and helpful as possible.
Identify, profile and target
The first stage of any successful multi-channel marketing campaign is to identify and manage customer profiles, communities, interactions and web analytics though a variety of customer channels. These channels can include the social media sites they visit, the brands website or email newsletter, forums and/or communities set up on blogs or comment sections.
This will reveal vital information that will provide a personal and targeted experience, defined by time, spend and the product on offer. To create this insight, companies must invest in a web experience platform that enables a media-rich, community-orientated customer experience.
This would include incorporating video and imagery into the website, as well as providing forums/comment sections for customers to provide feedback and ask questions. In doing so, brands can leverage their customer’s feedback, create ratings and also introduce like-minded individuals via their social networks.
Join the conversation
A brand’s website is a tried and tested, and well invested in, resource for marketing to its customers. However for many the website remains static, limiting any interactive features like videos, forums and/or comment sections to stimulate conversation.
A brands website provides a direct route to its customers and an important channel for a ‘two-way’ conversation. Customers can, and do, want to use websites to express their opinions, share ideas and problems. There are a plethora of groups and associations available on the social web, all with particular value to brands.
Companies need to take this opportunity to attract their attention and engage them. Consumers want to be asked their opinion and made to feel important and this can be achieved by utilising the infrastructure and software available to them.
This type of technology provides an insight into consumer browsing habits and the communities and social networks they interact with; collating this information will create valuable customer profiles.
These customer profiles will reveal information as soon as the consumer interacts with one of the brands ‘touchpoints’ be it in-store, website, mobile or email. In turn they can then be used for direct targeting of personalised marketing campaigns.
Embrace new technologies
One channel emerging as a key area for brands to consider is mobile, because it offers direct access to consumers. The mobile phone provides brands a chance to use innovative and creative ways, such as geo-location, to market to their customers.
Geo-location allows brands to alert consumers to promotions directly to their mobile phone, which could be as they walk down a given aisle or as they walk past a shop, generating personalised offers relevant to their location.
Personalised promotions are a perfect fit for mobile marketing, and can be sent via sms or mentioned during a customer service call. The mobile phone provides the immediacy needed to link web-based promotions with the in-store experience.
Through multi-channel marketing, companies can deliver tailored messages to improve the customer experience. Brands need to produce strong customer profiling through contextualised, personalised and relevant campaigns and promotions leveraged to each customer, their friends and like-minded communities of users.
Understanding who your customer is critical for a next-generation, multi-channel marketer looking to leverage Web 2.0, new channels including mobile, and drive higher lifetime customer loyalty and value.
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