Campaigns can successfully drive sales — at least in the short term. They also are relatively easy to measure in terms of ROI. But in the last 15 years or so, technology has changed the marketing drastically — with real-time personalization and social media — making a campaign-only approach inadequate for nurturing relationships over time and getting sustainable results.
Marketers today know that their customers and prospects have access to tons of information — from sources such as a company’s website, product reviews, social media, and word-of-mouth. By the time they contact a company with the possible intent to buy, 57 percent of the customers’ decision-making process has already been completed, according to the CEB Marketing Leadership Council. At that point, a prospect may just be calling for a price quote, giving salespeople less opportunity to sell.
Smart marketers must think in terms of a buyer “journey,” which takes into consideration all of the touch points at which a customer interacts with a brand.
With multiple channels at their disposal, including social media, texting, email, web, phone, and more, customers now control the conversation and relationship with the brand. And, in this mobile and connected world, consumers expect companies to meet their needs when it’s convenient for them — not when it’s convenient for the company. In this environment, isolated campaigns fail to connect the dots that add up to a full brand experience. And that can let customers slip through the cracks.
Some strategies to consider to move beyond using just campaigns:
- Think About the Journey: The typical purchasing funnel is gone. By converting to a buyer journey mindset, marketers are better positioned to build long-term relationships and customer loyalty — versus generating leads for one-off sales. A customer journey is circular, fluid and often complex, and consists of multiple touch points or customer interactions. Strategically anticipating touch points along the customer journey is the backbone of this new approach to marketing.
- Make It Personal: Consumers today expect marketing communications to be relevant to them and their needs, unlike old-school advertising to the masses. More than customer segmentation, personalization today means being context-sensitive and delivering targeted messages at the right time and place over the right channels.
- Be Where the Customer Is: Traditional campaigns were sometimes pushed out over multiple channels as well (e.g., print, TV, radio, in-store or online), but having an omnic-hannel mindset helps today’s marketers reach all potential customer touch points in a strategic, targeted way.
- Tell a Story: Crafting stories around a brand isn’t new, but leveraging today’s technologies and channels to promote your brand story in an interactive way is a great way to move beyond plugging your products and services. Storytelling helps you get to the heart of what your brand stands for and helps your customers and prospects relate to and emotionally connect with a brand over the long-term by allowing them to see themselves in the story.
- Provide a Holistic Customer Experience: Other departments besides marketing touch the customer — from PR to sales to product development and customer service. Align every department that touches the customer in order to create more consistent brand experiences.
- Content Is King: Content marketing done the right way — producing high-quality content that has value to prospects and customers and doesn’t simply “sell” — can be an effective strategy. You’ll need to fully understand the challenges that customers and prospects face and to talk to them in their language, about their issues, and with helpful ideas and insights to solve their problems.
- Social Media shouldn’t be an afterthought: To get attention on social channels, brands and individuals affiliated with brands have to provide content that others want to share. Too many marketers use social media platforms only to announce their own product developments and tradeshow booth numbers. Social media marketing has a direct tie-in with content marketing — you need to produce great content to feed the social media machine in order to generate awareness and leads through these channels.
- Gather research and results: Split or A/B testing before launching a marketing effort can make a big difference in ROI, but many marketers don’t bother. With marketing technology that makes it easier to manage and accurately track multiple campaigns simultaneously, more marketers should take advantage of this relatively low-hanging fruit.
Moving beyond a campaign structure is a difficult change for many marketers, since so many companies have been doing it the same way for so long. Luckily, technologies such as marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM), customer experience management (CXM), and social CRM tools are available to help ease the process and get your team up and running with more data-driven results.-TargetMarketing