Make Your Creative Work Smarter by Using Dialogue & Data
To make your marketing communications smarter and more relevant to customers, work on getting the most out of the two Ds: dialogue and data collection. They represent two key ways to learn about customers' wants and needs and to truly personalize those communications to them—enabling your communications to achieve higher response rates, change customer behavior and increase sales.
The Missing D: Dialogue
In business, a dialogue is the give and take of information between a customer and company. Mailing a piece of communication or persuading a customer to visit a Web site does not constitute a dialogue. It must be a two-way flow of information in which you get information a customer has given you and respond with value-added information.
The aim of dialogue is simple: By having an ongoing conversation with customers, you can build a relationship with them. As that relationship grows in time, you gain that customer's trust. And with that trust comes higher retention and greater incremental sales.
For virtually every piece of business on which you work, you can begin a dialogue with customers the next time you talk with them. Start by asking them to complete a survey. Keep it short, and motivate people to complete the survey by offering an incentive. Following are a few basic questions you might ask:
• Do you prefer to receive communications via e-mail or regular mail?
• What are your (insert your product/service here) preferences?
• Would you be interested in getting information on other products/services from our company?
• Would you like to receive updates on new products/services?
As soon as a customer replies, you're ready to begin a dialogue. Because once you know about a customer's personal preferences, it gives you the opportunity to deliver relevant, tailored messages via opt-in e-mails—or lasered copy in snail mail. Yes, snail mail. While much has been made about personalization in e-mail, you can offer the same kind of compelling messaging in laser-printed letters and inserts.