Deliver Compelling, Consistent Experiences

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, August 24, 2010
Over the last few decades, some marketing challenges have remained much the same. Brand establishment; target identification and communication; product planning; and sales support continue to test marketers at every turn. The prevalence of on-demand media, however, has broadened our marketing horizons exponentially and radically changed the way people research and purchase products and services. It has also altered audience attitudes significantly.

As a result, marketers are no longer able to think of marketing in a single channel, and new challenges have materialized. Today, the focus is not on how to find customers and prospects, but how to engage them. And, how to do so in a compelling and consistent way.

In order to find, convert and retain customers, marketers have to think about how their messages, visual concepts, and most importantly, how their customer interactions will work across all marketing channels. Reaching and resonating with customers -- to keep them coming back -- requires a vigilant approach to multichannel marketing. And, given the abundance of opportunities to reach them today -- from traditional platforms such as TV, radio, tradeshow exhibition and direct mail to online campaigns including email, webinars, social networking, etc. -- it can be overwhelming.

Further, customers in general have raised their expectations when it comes to marketing and sales interactions -- the demographic shift, with an increase in Gen X and Millennial buyers, is trending towards individuals who are looking for, and expecting, a dynamic and interactive interchange. They don't just have phones, they have smartphones. They don't just have GPS navigation systems in their cars, they have voice-activated¬ GPS.

As such, the expectations of Gen Xers and Millenials are important to take into consideration when developing marketing and sales strategies. Not only are these younger professionals increasingly growing into decision-making roles, but it is now apparent that members of older generations have also evolved to having similar sales and marketing expectations.

In their simplest form, among their key expectations are:

  • An engaging experience
  • Use of technology
  • Access to relevant, current, in-depth information

Again, these expectations exist at every touchpoint.

For marketers, delivering on each of these expectations, with consistency, is key to achieving success. By engaging audiences, they become an active part of the process, proven to increase retention rates dramatically. And, providing easy access to relevant information leads to better buying decisions, and ultimately, enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty. Knowing the elements that resonate with your audiences is the first critical step ... knowing what marketing mix is required to reach them in the various channels that they use, is the second.

While technology is a component to achieving success in meeting audience expectations, essentially it's the underlying foundation for them all. In a multichannel approach, technology extends the use of traditional marketing. A call to action in a print ad leads a customer to a website or to a text message, for example. Video has transcended conventional broadcast channels with rich or multimedia technologies now available on YouTube, in kiosks and digital signage. These rich media technologies offer marketers endless ways to make user experiences dynamic and customized, or engaging, delivering interactivity, animation, audio and video, all with incredible realism and quality.

The number of channels marketers have to choose from has increased dramatically over the last several years, and the channels themselves continue to evolve. While this can present some challenges, it also offers revolutionary opportunities to reach and engage target audiences in a more direct and relevant way, providing the best chance for success. The buying process is an emotional process for every individual, so knowing what matters to your audiences and how to best engage them in an interactive experience is the key to winning the business.

1 comment about "Deliver Compelling, Consistent Experiences ".
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  1. Bruce May from Bizperity, August 24, 2010 at 2:42 p.m.

    You sum up the big picture nicely. The key, as you say, is what to do once you have achieved engagement. Understanding what the customer wants from that engagement is essential. What information do they need to make a buying decision or effectively implement your products and services? To what extent do they simply want to be entertained? What expertise do you have that is relevant? How can you convert that expertise into compelling content? Today, marketers must expand their role and become content producers. Creative engagement strategies should fulfill customer and prospect needs and do so by creating an interactive dialogue that leads to meaningful results for the organization and fulfilling experiences for the customer. Content strategies are an important part of the marketing solution. None of this is taught in business school. We are all on the cutting edge of new media marketing. Great article, well focused on the central challenges of today’s markets.

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