Hot List: Marketing Gets Holistic
Hot List: Marketing Gets Holistic
3. Holistic customer strategy
A holistic customer strategy should include elements of traditional marketing, public relations, loyalty programs, and customer service to support both customer acquisition and retention.
“Focus on the lifetime value of the customer,” says Pelin Thorogood, CEO and a board of director at business intelligence and analytics provider Anametrix Inc. “Understand their patterns and interactions with the brand. You want to turn the prospect into a buyer and then into a repeat buyer.”
The customer strategy needs to incorporate different elements while avoiding potential pitfalls:
Don't limit customer data to the marketing department. Sales, product developers, and others within the company can glean valuable information from this data, as well. Similarly, departments outside of marketing might have information that will help in formulating a holistic multichannel marketing plan.
Do make the right offer in the right channel, based on customer preferences. Some marketing messages will be more effective in one channel than another. But different channels can add incrementally to the decision to buy, so the marketing should use a mix of prioritized channels.
Do use microsegmentation. Two customers with similar backgrounds can have very different channel preferences. Some prospects respond more favorably to mobile ads. Other prospects are better candidates for online marketing or direct mail. Create a multichannel mix that informs via some channels and is response focused in others, based on those customer preferences.
Don't forget direct mail as part of the mix. With so much of marketing moving to digital and mobile channels, direct mail is regaining its status among customers and prospects as a welcome communication channel that stands out.
Do develop a long-term strategy that seeks to turn prospects into customers and customers into repeat customers.
4. Optimized marketing mix
Marketing channels must work together, cohesively, in a way that moves customers through the sales funnel from awareness to interest to purchase. In auto sales, for example, a customer who clicks through an online auto ad or is using a car pricing calculator is likely in buying mode. So Web or email outreach needs to be prompt and should focus on getting customers to the key channel, such as a test drive at a local auto dealer.
“Ninety percent of auto buyers start their search on the Internet,” says Dan Smith, VP of product for digital marketing software company Outsell LLC. So, he says, auto dealers need to correlate their multichannel marketing efforts accordingly. Similarly, Smith notes, marketers in other industries should align their marketing mix with their primary source of sales.
To determine how each channel contributes to the performance of a holistic customer multichannel marketing effort:
- Find out which channel a customer prefers and for what purpose. For instance, some customers prefer to research online, but make purchases in a brick-and-mortar store. Others prefer to research in person (showrooming) and then shop online.
- Use a cross-channel management system to provide “a single source of the truth” for all marketing messages that various marketing teams can use. When appropriate, permit the change of different elements (e.g., store location), but not the essential branding and marketing messages.
- Use tools that enable the company to track a customer's digital footprint. The tools should track items, such as whether the customer received or redeemed any digital coupons or downloaded specific content.
- Use a test-and-learn strategy for ongoing improvements. The multichannel marketing mix may need to be adjusted after its launch if results don't meet expectations. Test areas such as channel mix, messaging, and email and website design.