Market communication is typically done through traditional channels like print, tv, and websites. These channels are often referred to as Paid media (e.g. print, outdoor, tv) and Owned media (e.g. shops, publications, websites, apps). But with the increasing saturation and use of social media, the uncontrollable communication that goes on in these channels (blogs, Facebook, word-of-mouth) become more and more of a sanity check for businesses. That’s the reason they’re dubbed Earned media – here, you get what you deserve and you earn your reputation.
So, the most important marketing question is not what half of your marketing budget that’s wasted, but how all your marketing efforts influence the communication you can only earn? Or in other words: How good are you at fulfilling your customers’ needs? And are you sufficiently market- and customer oriented? Because the earned communication is the communication you deserve. It is rooted in those actual experiences we have with the brand’s paid and owned media. Just like our expectations to the brands we interact with is increasingly influenced by the earned communication.
That’s why it’s crucial to meet your customers’ expectations whenever they choose to interact with you through paid and owned channels. This requires investigations into what those customers actually want. Demand. Need. And when you consistently meet expectations, you can – and should – begin to work on how to exceed those expectations.
New marketing disciplines aiming to create strong and fulfilling customer experience, are surfacing. Customer Experience Management secures that the brand consistently provides extraordinary positive customer experiences – i.e. gives the customer experiences that differentiates in the market, secures that he receives a positive, holistic experience throughout all touch points – rationally as well as emotionally.
On the return side, the long term results of such dedicated work with customer experience are increased differentiation and organic growth. Growth is based on increased profitable customer behavior – typically through higher customer loyalty, increased sales, and an expanding customer base due to positive mentions (i.e. earned media!), reduced price sensitivity and transaction cost (cf. CEM Index 2012).
Not surprising, earned media are social media, and we see a lot of initiatives with social media amongst the dominating communication trends, e.g. social media as a driver for ecommerce, social customer service, social banking. Other trends also point to the fulfillment of the personal experience, e.g. by real-time personalisation (“personal shopper”), the mobile channel, location-based commerce, user-driven product development, and commerce-through-content (see this Economist article for an elaboration on this trend).
Knowledge about customers, their wants and needs, are key marketing insights. But these insights should not be limited to the yearly satisfaction survey or irregular customer interviews. Instead, they should be driven by a structured data collection effort that can inform the marketing decisions.
When consumers make a purchase decision today, it’s an informed decision based on often multiple interactions with the lucky company through various (digital) channels at different times. In a multi-channel world the aim should be consistent engagement with costumers, made possible by the regular collection and analysis of the increasing volume and types of data, available from more and more touch points.
Your customers don’t see different channels, they simply interact with your brand. And they have clear expectations of the experience of it, that allows them to buy what they want – where, when and how they want it!
A fragmented insight into the various marketing channels will be a barrier for creating the wanted customer experience. It will also make it impossible to measure the aggregated ROI. Data must be collected across channels and touch points, to feed into the foundation for making marketing decisions.
At Valtech, we call this Cross-Data Marketing, because it makes it possible to identify the very click that leads to conversion in a multi-channel digital marketing system.
Because it makes it possible to set goals for every touch point and benchmark the users on-site behavior against these. Because it makes it possible to investigate which channels contribute with new members and customers. Because it makes it possible to combine analysis of customer journeys with transaction history, and thus reach a deeper understanding of your customers’ journey through channels and touch points, and their actions through all steps that leads to a purchase.
Cross-data marketing provides the proverbial 360° customer view, establishes a foundation for data-driven decisions, and provides the means for individual real-time marketing messages across channels. Get your own copy of Valtech’s Cross-Data Marketing white paper to dig deeper.