Snap and Send! Just Realize It's not About the Gadgets!
While at the InterAct! Conference this week, we're all hearing about the newest and greatest techniques of delivering marketing messages. One thing that strikes me is, there is a lot more to all of this than the new gadgets like iPad, iPhone and the host of other new media platforms and tools.
First what's changed. The medium or delivery systems that are being deployed have taken new forms and have new names. Here are a couple:
1. QR Codes, or Tags as Microsoft likes to call them. (Why it always need to call things with its own names always amazes me, but that's for another blog.) QR Codes are the funny square symbols you see on packaging, magazine ads, real estate for sale signs, wine bottles and a host of other products. Mostly in the consumer marketplace it seems--at least all of the examples that I have seen presented during the sessions have been. They allow a customer to scan or photograph the code with a mobile phone and get additional information like a coupon for a contest on a micro-website. This allows the brand owner to drive traffic, track results and hopefully increase sales.
2. Social Media Platforms being used as primary channel marketing vehicles to deliver messages. New media is not new, of course, but the integration of print and social media with mobile telephones is gaining wider acceptance. And a wider circle of companies are starting to deploy these new media tools.
Now for what hasn't changed. Throughout modern communications the issue has always been about meeting a customer's needs. Think back to when radio and television advertising first came along. Did they cancel all newspaper and magazine advertising?
Now fast forward to 2010. What's new is new media of course. So what's changed is the method of delivery, not the basic principles of creating solid marketing messaging that resonates with key customers.
So if you're an owner of a brand and responsible for its marketing, there are three essential questions that remain to be answered, regardless of the media you choose:
1. What do our customers need and want from us?
2. How can we meet those needs and wants?
3. What's the best way to deliver our messages?
Finding the answers to these straight-forward questions demand you think beyond both traditional and new media solutions and focus on your customer's preferences. Research shows customers want high relevance with all of their purchases. The way they receive this relevance is a matter of convenience to them. So be careful you don't find yourself using some cool new media technique or gadget for the sake of being cool. There is no long-term value in it. Here's an example of doing it right.
Start with a print mailing and a special offer delivered with a QR Code. Scanning the QR drives you to a time-sensitive coupon on a micro-site Website setup for just this purpose. On the Website, the customer can download additional information and the specialized coupon they can print out and redeem at the brand owner's business. This triggers a customized postcard and a monthly eNewsletter that contains additional benefits and calls to action. And all of this can be tracked and coded for later marketing.
As you can see, the gadgets have changed but the process of building brand messages haven't. As a result, you still have to know your customer, how to meet their needs, and come up with creative ways to attract their attention. Proving once again, the more things change the more they stay the same.
Tom Marin is the Founder and President of MarketCues, Inc., a national consulting firm. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations and middle-market firms. Tom’s focus is to help CEOs drive their strategy shifts and strategic growth programs. Follow MarketCues on Twitter. Tom also welcomes emails new LinkedIn connections or calls to (919) 908-6145.