While a ‘pull’ focused multi-channel model is quickly replacing the ‘one size fits all’ approach, the underlying mission for brand managers is changing. The focus is now on creating specialised messages which challenge consumers to think differently about your brand, and ultimately make them feel like you are speaking to them as individuals.
Successful marketing requires a complete and deep understanding of your target audience. With the proliferation of media channels and services available, one of the major challenges facing all marketers is to find new ways to get brands included in the initial consideration set that consumers develop in the beginning of their decision journey. According to Forrester Research, a successful customer experience will drive loyalty, influence buying consideration and recommendation to peers. Rather than using traditional media to push one way messages, brands need to focus on customer-led channels, which encourage two way interaction, driving engagement and influencing decisions.
By its very nature, multichannel marketing is paramount to building stronger lifetime value through longer term relationships with your customers. However, consumers have evolved; they publicly exchange ideas and opinions about brands, word of mouth and viral marketing are stronger than ever, and a personal experience with a brand can influence decisions. What actions do you want your consumers to take as they move through the stages of their relationship with your brand? What channels are they likely to prefer? And more importantly, how to successfully integrate each type of dialogue?
Communicating with consumers across multiple channels requires serious forethought and clear process. Traditional advertising messages are no longer direct enough for this ever evolving dynamic environment. Brands are now required to focus on pulling customers in rather than pushing products out. Therefore, the relevance of new channels becomes critical to contact your consumers via multiple and personal touch-points, such as mobile devices, experiential channels and pop-up stores, which improve both customer experience and reach.
People react and interact with a variety of platforms in different ways. Some may be more engaged in digital touchpoints, others are likely to respond better to live experiences. A tactical approach will play an important role in delivering longer term relationships and short term results. Mapping the decision journey becomes critical if you want to have a real impact on your ROI.
Consumers want to be heard, they appreciate brands that cleverly approach them with a personal experience. By leveraging customer data and analytical capabilities, you can gain deeper consumer insight and deliver more targeted marketing messages throughout the entire customer journey. No matter which channel your customers choose, you need to respond personally and intimately.
From a strategic standpoint, experiential is all about challenging perceptions. The fact that an experiential activity is happening gives people a reason to take more notice of your message in comparison to the cluttered mass media channels. To enable an effective multichannel marketing approach, brands need to understand how consumers can experience or immerse themselves with your brand to understand the message or story you are conveying. Your online channels must be supportive of your offline efforts to make sure you are offering easy-access to the best customer services.
In the end, it all depends on the type of experience you want to implement based on the required outcome. For example, a live experience would be implemented to create a direct customer interaction, giving people something to talk about, whilst a sampling campaign would be more appropriate to encourage trial of product. No matter what customer experience you want to deliver, it must be seamless and consistent, maintaining your brand promise throughout the entire process.
Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results.