When I started in marketing, it wasn’t as complex. Back then a one-size-fits-most approach was close enough. There was no social media, no online reviews, no way for the audience to “talk back.” All the information flowed one way, and it flowed like a river swollen by a prolific rainy season.
What happened? We started to drown our audience — too many emails and door-to-door campaigns, too much junk mail and endless telemarketing calls. The result? People shut us out. They opted out of emails, blocked telemarketers, ignored the doorbell, and tossed junk mail unopened.
Why? We forgot something crucial. We market and promote to people — individuals with likes, dislikes and a desire to connect. Social media and online reviews reminded us of that. Now there was a way for people to be heard. Sometimes it was music to our ears, because they loved us. Oftentimes it was a harsh slap upside the head, because we weren’t listening to them.
We had to get smarter. Our marketing technology had to get smarter. In addition to gathering and reporting campaign results, demographic statistics and ROI, technology had to provide a way for us to both engage with our audience on an individual level, while maintaining control over our message. This new revolution happened fast and it’s taken time for technology to catch up. However, now that it has, we have a responsibility to not only control our messages, but engage with our audience as individuals.
So how do we connect and engage? We do so through conversation and by enriching experiences. We use technology to reach our audience where they now reside — their smartphones. With these new tools, we can both promote and inform, which is what today’s consumer expects. Yes, they still want offers and to save money, however consumers crave connection, information and innovative services. New workout tips, new exercise machines, new ways to control their entertainment, healthy diet information — all can help you keep a relevant spot in your customers’ daily lives. In short, snippets meaningful to them and that can be digested without having to swipe down.
Happy and engaged customers are apt to give you great reviews. Those who don’t can now be dealt with one-on-one through technology. You have a unique opportunity to reach out, hear their concerns, and rectify them before their negative reviews go public. That is invaluable.
Finally, connected and engaged customers increase retention. They perceive your business as adding value to their lifestyle. What do happy customers do? They refer your business — causing new people to connect and engage. That helps your business stay healthy and grow.
Linda Thomas is director of marketing for Soundog Applications. She can be reached at email@example.com or visit mysoundog.com.