In Part 1 of this two-part series, I discussed how marketing is getting more personal. I also noted that today’s successful marketers are providing consumers with “calls to action” and great experiences. Grant Shippey insists that you need to know your customers “up close” if you are going to motivate them. He writes, “The global view risks overgeneralising the customer base and therefore failing to properly accommodate localised needs and wants.” [“Nice from far, but far from nice: big data can help retail bring everyone ‘up close’,” memeburn, 21 May 2013] In the past, he writes, the inability of businesses to get close to customers was “largely a legacy of the relatively high cost of data in the past, coupled with data scarcity, leaving us with a very dim light from which to garner insights.” In the age of big data, those impediments no longer exist. In fact, Shippey insists that today many companies have a data surplus.
By analyzing this data, companies can now engage in what David Armano, Managing Director of Edelman Digital Chicago, calls “Responsive Marketing,” Logic + Emotion, 19 May 2013] Even though companies CAN engage in responsive marketing, he writes, many (if not most) don’t. He explains:
“Despite the pervasive nature of all manifestations of digital, including social and mobile, much of the marketing emphasis remains dedicated to reaching people in mass, following a tried and true formula for advertising designed to build off consumer insights and craft compelling messages which could be distributed across a myriad of channels (including digital). The approach is designed for the broadcast industrial machine including print, radio and television, which, despite rumors of its demise is likely to stay with us for some time. The problem it poses however is that it is an approach that … is neither nimble nor flexible and isn’t built for rapid change nor does it adapt well beyond the dominant media it was designed for.”
Companies that have discovered the importance of responsive marketing, he says, “understand that their customers value content, consume it, create it, and share it.” In other words, they respond to calls for action and, as a result, have a great online experience. Because traditional media outlets aren’t going away any time soon, Armano believes that companies should take an evolutionary, hybrid approach to marketing. “The solution to the content question,” he writes, “lies somewhere between acknowledging that a brand must support both a traditional, linear marketing model in addition to a newer, cyclical construct which is constantly in tune with the current environment and operates in consolidated time frames. Responsive marketing sits at the core of the content evolution.” Jim Bampos, Vice President of quality at EMC, also believes that big analytics lie at the heart of providing customers with great experiences. [“Data-Driven Customer Experience, Direct Marketing News, 1 February 2013] He writes:
“Many different types of data elements are captured, analyzed, and turned into information that internal businesses can use to make decisions that are focused on continued improvements in the customer experience. From analyzing unstructured data via sentiment and suggestions in open-ended comments, to analyzing structured data via customer metrics, Big Data analytic technologies and tools are only part of the equation; people and processes are also essential to improving the customer experience and business results.”
Steve Goldner, a Senior Director of Social Marketing for Ryan Partnership, reaffirms what others have said, namely, simply having a presence on social media isn’t enough to engage consumers. “There is no value added for brands in their social presence,” he writes. “That is, unless they have a unique offering for their audience with their content, creativity, and presence on social channels.” [“The New Customer Demands New Marketing,” Social Steve’s Blog, 11 February 2013] He continues:
“Today brand image and style remain extremely important. But more and more consumers feel that they are manipulated by advertising. Many feel that the ads are merely a façade for brands and what they stand for. The new consumer wants to feel that brands stand for something that they themselves value. The new consumer is looking for greater brand transparency and truthfulness. And if a consumer thinks a brand has done an injustice, they will call them out in public space. The consumer opinion and influence is stronger than ever and they are pickier than ever because they now know they hold power. It is tougher and tougher for brands to capture consumer preference. The new consumer is powerful and thus a new marketing approach is required.”
The new marketing approach recommended by Goldner clearly relies on big data analytics. He asserts that this approach must have the following elements:
Complete understanding and empathy for their target audience.
Brand commitment to their target audience to deliver not only an outstanding product/service but also a strong and engaging ongoing user experience.
A publisher mentality – brand delivery of valuable content to their audience to reinforce who they are, what they stand for, while having complete understanding of the audience’s wants, needs, and desires.
Creativity that allows the brand to stand out in saturated marketing channels.
Listening – the new consumer is very social. Listening to them allows brands to shape their products/services closer to user-perceived perfection. Listening also allows brands to address problems immediately before a PR nightmare occurs. It also provides an opportunity to amplify positive feedback.
Goldner insists that new marketing approaches must “be completely driven by the consumer.” He concludes:
“Understand how your competition is attempting to win customers. Use the channels where your audience goes and produce a most dramatic presence in a creative way. Be bold and stick out way beyond commodized marketing.”
Even if the future belongs to mobile, more traditional Internet activities aren’t going disappear. Websites will continue to be an important outreach medium. There, too, targeted marketed (or whatever you prefer to call it) plays an important online role. Ruben Corbo prefers the term behavioral targeting. The objective of this approach remains the same — consumer engagement. “Behavioral targeting is a means of creating more efficient marketing strategies,” Corbo writes. “It’s conducted through use of specific apps and programs that monitor the activity of the site. It also allows visitors to pick and choose their site subscriptions preferences to their liking.” [“Why Behavioral Targeting Can Determine Your Website’s Niche,” Web Hosting Secret Revealed, 22 April 2013] Corbo continues:
“Behavioral targeting is conducted through creating a specific profiling pattern on each customized visitor’s page, allowing them the choice to browse topics that are of interest to them. They are also able to receive recommendations about topics, products, or services that would appeal to their tastes. … Behavioral targeting is best used on sites with high amounts of traffic and activity, as these sites offer the best content and services available. The range of advertising is also increased yet centered on areas that a specific user or client may seem to show a specific interest in, thereby increasing the chance of views which is by far a better alternative to just random ads. … Nobody likes to receive advertisements that aren’t relevant to them – especially in this over-saturated web where everything commands our attention. The benefit of behavioral targeting is it only suggests products or services to the customers based on their unique needs.”
It’s clear that targeted marketing is discussed under a number of monikers including response marketing, behavioral targeting, and content marketing; but, the desired results remain constant — engage customers and strengthen brands. Providing consumers with a worthwhile experience is quickly becoming the best way to achieve those goals.