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Three Ways to Refresh Your Marketing Channels from a Customer Perspective

  |  October 18, 2013   |  Comments   |  

Is your digital presence giving customers an integrated, consistent, and profitable experience with your brand and services?

Customers don’t think about digital channels, devices, and touchpoints when they experience your brand. Your digital presence is an ecosystem that may consist of websites, online campaigns, and social media – but that’s just part of the story.

To deliver the right experience, every touchpoint should be designed to compliment, reflect, and reinforce each other – online and offline.

Most marketers are familiar with mapping out different customer journeys to help them determine the best channels and touchpoints to reach target segments. But how can you find out which channels and touchpoints are most effective for the people who interact with you?

Here are three ways to find out if your digital presence is giving your customers an integrated, consistent (and ultimately profitable) experience with your brand, products, and services.

1. Let people decide how they will engage with your brand.

The number of digital devices and applications is exploding and will not recede or slow. This means you no longer get to decide how, when, or why people will digitally engage with your brand. It’s a good idea to ensure your digital presence is optimized for this fact, utilizing responsive design techniques, with a particular emphasis on performance to ensure your business can be accessed by people who choose to use digital touchpoints on mobile phones or tablet devices.

2. Understand why your digital channel is different from every other channel.

Most marketing channels have traditionally been defined by their relationship to the medium on which they occur, e.g. print or TV. Digital is different because it’s tied to fundamental technological trends and unique because it can facilitate specific experiences and interactions, at times, places, and ways that your customers determine. For this reason, digital isn’t just another channel - it’s every channel. You need to understand the impact this has on all your other marketing channels as well as on the business as a whole. Empower your customers by designing modular interactions that can be experienced in multiple combinations.

3. Find your semantic footprint.

Digital success is rarely driven by people searching specifically and explicitly for your brand, product, or service. Task fulfillment is tied to needs fulfillment. What are the patterns of language, needs, and ideas that lead people to your brand? What language are they using to communicate these needs? Your semantic footprint is linked to the associations that customers form with your brand, based on the needs they seek to fulfill.

Explore the different ways that people are fulfilling their needs (beyond your own product or service). Are there different ways of expressing these needs? Is it part of a larger problem they are trying to solve? Delving more broadly and deeply into the context can yield unexpected insights about how much people want your specific product and how far they’ll go to get it.

Take Adwords, for example. An insurance company would want to rank for the term “insurance” - but so does every other insurance company, which makes the cost of competing for this word high. As an alternative, look for key moments related to the concept of insurance, such as becoming new parents, or wanting to join a gym. Then explore the language around these activities, which might be easier to compete on.

This not only creates an opportunity to reach customers when they are in a more receptive state of mind, it also reduces the competition for their attention.

Image on homepage via Shutterstock.

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Patti  Hunt

Patti Hunt is founder and director of On-off Design & Technology, a strategic design consultancy based in Hong Kong. Patti has held senior positions as a User Experience (UX) consultant and service designer in Australia and most recently head of strategic design for a Hong Kong based agency. She’s an advocate for using design thinking and practices to spark and drive meaningful change.

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