Earlier in the year, Target Marketing Magazine (targetmarketingmag.com) published an article by Thorin McGee entitled, “The Big Qs Of 2011” – how you answer these questions will shape your business for the next year and beyond.
The marketers interviewed for this article commented on questions centered around knowing your customers, using multi-media campaigns, understanding metrics and dealing with privacy issues. Many of their comments were very interesting and informative.
- Are you talking to the right customers? – The responses to this question could be condensed to the following statement. Stop THINKING that you know who your customers are and start using the tools and strategies available to better understand your customer/prospect and what drives their behavior. To me, this means that the recession-that-won’t-end, dictates that we stop spending our marketing dollars on campaigns that are not targeted and that do not provide a measurable return on investment. In addition, it’s developing campaigns that provide the data needed to better target each future marketing effort. Spend less – get more!
- Are you talking to them the right way? – Again, condensing the marketer’s responses to this question down to the following statement – Have you figured out how to make all of your conversations with your clients/prospects unique and one-to-one? In my world, this means using the technology available to make every direct mail piece or email unique. It’s using the information you have on that target to develop variable data campaigns that speak to your customer, or potential customer, personally. If you don’t have that type of data, then it’s time to begin to collect it at every touch point. Ashley Johnston, VP for Experian Marketing Services states, “Today, that means effectively utilizing both online and offline channels and having them work smarter together, while also understanding a customer’s threshold for receiving information across those channels”. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Ashley!
- How do you manage multi-channel? – It’s all about touching your customers and prospects through a variety of channels, at least until you know the channel they prefer. It’s integrating your direct mail, social media, email marketing, website, mobile marketing and so on. No marketing channel should stand alone when research shows that a multi-channel campaign will drive better results that a single channel campaign. The management of these campaigns comes down to the data. Again, Experian’s Johnston states it perfectly. “As marketers seek to implement more data-driven campaigns and marketing strategies across a growing media mix, it will be essential to have immediate access to data that is linked across all channels and insight that is actionable.”
- How do you balance consumer privacy? – I, personally, am fed up with those organizations that I provide my data to, selling that data for their profit. I find myself opting out of more and more emails. Gotta love the Quarantine folders that insure I won’t hear from them again! Most marketers (hopefully) realize that gaining your client’s trust is more important for future success than the dollars you will realize from selling their data to others. Today, consumers are very savvy and are demanding respect from the organizations they do business with. They are more than willing to develop relationships with those companies that respect them, their preferences and their privacy. Since we are so focused on delivering targeted, relevant messages in an attempt to build relationships, why would you jeopardize that by infringing on the consumer’s privacy?
- What did you learn from the recession? – Again, this seems to be the recession-that-won’t-end, so we’re obviously still learning from it. One lesson we have learned is that we cannot continue with business as usual. We’ve learned to use the new technology tools, new marketing channels, analytical tools and so on to better target our clients and prospects with relevant messages. We are focused on helping our current clients succeed by doing more with less – helping them to drive bottom-line revenue. If we can’t help them sell more of their products and services, then why would they need us? We are focused on retaining our current clients through bringing value to them. And, we are focused on acquiring new clients who value the resources and talents that we can bring to the table. Lois Brayfield, president of J. Schmid & Assocs. states, “Marketers must understand where profits really come from. It’s critical that brands understand the reason why customers spend money with them and why they stay . . . We must understand what value really means; it’s more than price plus quality. Value must be delivered as an emotional benefit”. Well said, Lois!
So, what is your organization doing to learn more about your clients and prospects? Are you using multi-media campaigns? Are you allowing them to respond in their preferred channel? Are you gathering, and then appropriately using, data at every touch point possible? Are you protecting their privacy? And, finally, are you a valuable resource or just another marketer?