4 Ways to Win Elections in the New Marketing Democracy
We live in an age when consumers are lodged more firmly than ever behind the wheel. While technology has produced many new and innovative ways to market to consumers, there's also been a proliferation of ways in which those same consumers can choose not to be marketed to. Welcome to the New Marketing Democracy.
I like to think of an organization’s marketing strategy as a faucet, and consumers’ hands are on the tap. Consumers control the amount of marketing they receive, plus how and when they receive it. They're free to ignore the rest. Effective campaigning requires skilled direct marketing execution. When consumers are ready to "vote" with their hard-earned attention, you'd be wise to demonstrate a healthy respect for their preferences.
Elections are held daily in the Marketing Democracy, whether you've claimed a position on the podium or not. The reason? Consumers trust each other far more than a product or brand, and the digital age has allowed word to spread faster and linger longer than ever.
The slickest and most expensive of ad campaigns can never erase the negative web chatter your product may have previously generated. For better or worse, consumer reviews, social network forums and blogs now wield the weight of public opinion. Prevailing requires that you enter the race and exert a favorable influence wherever possible.
Cultivating advocates and supporters will help you win elections in the Marketing Democracy, and your customers can actively campaign on your behalf. Improving marketing and services across all channels makes your company easier to transact with — generating more long-term business — and enhances the customer experience for more positive word-of-mouth. Here are four critical success factors to consider when outlining your election tactics:
- Recognize. Know your customers across all channels in which they engage with you, and treat them like old friends.
- Relevance. Provide offers and services that reflect how they've interacted with you in the past, and what they're most likely to need now.
- Execute. Insight without execution is pointless. If you can’t use what you learn in your ongoing marketing communications, you're merely creating overhead.
- Incentivize. Design campaigns encouraging customers to work on your brand’s behalf by creating a benefit for those who display loyalty.
The aforementioned concept of loyalty is one that works both ways. In hoping for fidelity from your customers, repay them by recognizing them — regardless of where and when they appear — and display sufficient insight to extend timely, relevant offers.
Failure to treat every customer interaction as a unique opportunity to learn, understand and predict the nature of future communications won’t profit you in the long run. Gathering information about explicit and inferred customer preferences — their wants, needs, motivations and attitudes; cross-channel behavior; and circle of social influence — helps you create strategies to market to them and others like them.
Winners in the New Marketing Democracy fuse insight with media to create high-performing campaigns that are more relevant at every interaction. Using the real-time tools of customer recognition, data insight, personalization and communication across multiple media channels helps you better understand your voters and how they research, shop, purchase and expand their use of services. This helps you to identify your best prospects and high-value customers, and focus resources more effectively.