As technology evolves, so too does the way in which customers engage with and consume media. And not just one media, but a seemingly infinite combination of touch points that impact and influence consumers’ perceptions of your brand, and in the end, an action they may or may not take.
Today’s marketing challenge revolves around the ability to successfully integrate marketing messages across various media platforms, taking into account multiple clients, and in many cases, multiple agency partners. There are different stakeholders with different goals, objectives, and success metrics. One solution might be to simply use the creative for a direct mail piece, translate it to an online banner, incorporate a QR code, and drive to the same landing page as the banner.
While this effort may yield some consistency, who is receiving the direct mail piece, and who is receiving the online banner ad? It is this level of granular segmentation and targeting marketers must take in order to reach consumers in the right mindset with the right message within various media vehicles to generate an action. Marketers should view every touch point with a consumer as an opportunity to generate some response, but also learn something about them.
This high level of fragmentation and shift in consumption habits are key points in the sophistication of customer segmentation efforts that can generate not only action, but engagement. As online marketing efforts have more aggressive goals and accountability is tracked down to each touch point, marketers need to understand more about their customers and potential customers in terms of their preferences. Being able to understand consumers’ true preferences should be an ongoing effort, especially online when options change by the minute of ways to consume information, places to shop, promotions, offers, etc.
The main characteristic of the digital environment reminds me of my 5-year-old daughter after she eats her way through her Halloween candy: scattered. The digital platform is the only platform that allows you to find out about breaking news from disparate channels across the country before CNN announces the story. This is the reason CNN developed the iReport – to allow people to break the story within their own platform. And what is news? Only the people can truly decide what is newsworthy, and it is represented by online unique visitors, clicks (user-generated content?), page views, comments, shares, “likes,” and searches.
Recognizing continuously changing consumer preferences is winning half the battle. And using the digital platform also allows brands to be hyper as well – hyper-targeted, that is. An annual brand and segmentation study is not enough. Yes, research is a piece of the pie, but there are so many ways to monitor performance and track trends for targeting purposes – website analytics, user experience studies, profiling information from your current CRM efforts and response rates, search, social platforms, customer service feedback and interactions, online advertising campaign performance, and the list could go on and on.
Continually looking for these trends and opportunities allows a higher degree of visibility in the various motivators for purchase and behaviors leading to generating an action. At the end of the day, this provides brands the ability to target consumers granularly with the preferred content in the right context.