How Message Convergence Leads to More Profitable Customer Relationships
Online communications have fundamentally altered how we interact with each other. Evidence of our collective behavioral change is both obvious and pervasive in our personal and professional lives. It's a technology-enabled, connected world in which we now live, and it's influencing us at an accelerating rate and to increasingly deeper levels.
With few time and space constraints, this connected world has enabled us to obtain and apply information at unimaginable depth and speed in furthering our personal and professional pursuits. And, of course, its real-time omnipresent nature has fed our insatiable appetite for instant gratification in all that we do. We’re utterly dependent on (even addicted to) this connected world.
Marketers' communications are becoming individualized, in the moment, cross-channel and interactive — all at once. Witness how they seamlessly move between channels so that conversations they initiate in one channel (e.g., email) morph into another (e.g., SMS text). But what’s changed goes beyond how marketers communicate. It extends to their expectations of those they communicate with. Consumers want what they want, how and when they want it.
Now introduce the element of control. Consumers are in a position to control the messages they receive more than ever before. Look at what’s happening with Facebook’s new Social Inbox as a harbinger of things to come. Not only has Facebook introduced a truly unified inbox, but it's enabling members to make their own decisions about how to manage it. Soon 550 million Facebook members will be able to directly determine what messages they want and don’t want and, more importantly, what messengers they do and don’t want to hear from. That determination will apply across channels.
Reflecting on your own online experiences, project these mega-trends — e.g., changed behavior, heightened expectations, greater control — into how your company communicates with its customers. If your company is like most, communications and data are siloed by business unit and/or channel with legacy technology and lots of disconnected point solutions. This type of setup inhibits your ability to get a holistic view of customers and to communicate with them in a coherent, cross-channel or real-time way.
The challenge becomes immediately evident: To meet customer expectations, you need to know who they are, then act on what you know by delivering meaningful content through the most contextually relevant channels. Oh, and this needs to be done right now. The risk involved also becomes equally evident: You could lose vital connections with your customers for communication and commerce if you don’t meet their expectations.
As detailed in a new whitepaper from Message Systems, Preparing for Message Convergence, David Daniels, CEO of The Relevancy Group, a marketing consulting firm, says he believes that message convergence is the only viable strategy for companies to stay connected with their customers in this new reality of changing customer communication behaviors, heightened expectations and, most importantly, control.
I see this new reality as disrupting traditional marketing and sales cycles, and radically altering how online communication and commerce gets done. In fact, it’s already happening with mobile, and that’s just the leading edge of what’s coming.
Yet as daunting as the challenges and risks may be, the opportunities are truly enormous for those companies that break free of their silos, put the customer at the center of their business model and get message convergence right. Find out more about how message convergence can enable you to stay connected with your customers. Be one of tomorrow’s winners.
Related story: Recalibrating Your Digital Messaging Infrastructure, Part 2