My two most recent blog posts described how multichannel marketing programs require measurement across all channels (touchpoint attribution) and how online and offline data has to be unified in customer intelligence hubs. The final installment in this series is about the strategies required in this new world of multichannel marketing.
Customer engagement is the the all-encompassing term that refers to customers engaging with one another or with a company. Marketing has changed; it’s not always company-to-customer (traditional “push”) marketing. With the advent of new media (i.e. social), marketing is becoming more “pull,” where customers seek us out usually as a result of information they’ve gleaned from one another.
Before I begin, let me reiterate what I feel are three prerequisites for successful cross-channel campaigns: 1) a consistent brand message across all channels, 2) relevant communications (even more important with new channels) and, 3) a measurement process that tracks return on investment (ROI). These considerations are described more fully in some of my other blog posts.
In this 3rd, and final, part of my series on multichannel marketing, snapshots of 21 customer engagement strategies follow, which are broken down by sales stage. You will note in the graphic that I’ve added a new stage to what we learned in business school: “share” is now the first stage in the marketing process since it usually occurs before the marketing begins. Under each stage of the process, I list the strategy and how it applies to multichannel marketing.
- Dialog – The word-of-mouth discussions occur from customer to customer, but they also occur from company to customer. Facebook, blogs, discussion groups and communities are all good strategies to engage in dialog with potential customers.
- Collaboration – After engaging with customers, it’s possible to have them collaborate in the sales process. Using questionnaires, forums, etc., to obtain feedback in the innovation and product development process is a good way to attract sales later on.
- Influence – Marketers have always tried to influence the purchase decision, but with new social tools, individuals can quickly spread information themselves. Marketers can now see influencers in action; instead of asking them to recommend a product, we can see it in real time with blogs, Twitter and social networks.
- Listening — There’s so much chatter out there that marketers must use new technologies (listening platforms) to separate the wheat from the chaff. This information can be used to monitor brand sentiment but also to refine campaigns. (For more information, see Forrester’s Listening Metrics that Matter, www.forrester.com)
- Awareness – is still important in Marketing 2.0, but it’s a little different. Instead of a frequency strategy, marketers might shift some of their awareness budget to be spread out more evenly in a year (versus flights), so as to improve the chances of catching the customer in a need cycle (depends on the product, of course).
- Behavioral targeting - Advertising is being refined by collecting web-browsing behavior and using it in conjunction with other factors such as geography, demographics or surrounding content. This will soon be moving into traditional media with addressable TV.
- Response - Advertising is more likely to contain a response mechanism such as a URL for a microsite. Some prospects may not remember the URL, so incorporating site optimization and paid search are valuable additions to a microsite strategy.
- Viral referrals – To leverage the investment in marketing, customers will increasingly be asked to forward the ads, submit their own story, etc., so the awareness goes beyond the immediate contact.
- Right channeling – Customer preferences are one of the most valuable and one of the least requested pieces of information. Asking customers which channels they prefer and the frequency of communications is a key underpinning for conversions and cross-channel marketing.
- Authentication – Until this point in the sales process, marketers may only be engaging with the customer using a Twitter handle or screen name. Authentication is the process of getting more information like the name, address and email address, so future communications can be more personal.
- Lead management – Now that leads are flowing from more sources (phone, online, agents, etc.), it becomes critical to have a lead management system. After the leads are scrubbed (lead qualification), they are prioritized for interest and potential (lead scoring). For more information, see my blog post entitled “Can Lead Generation Become More than Frosting and Cherries?”
- Lead nurturing – Your CRM or SFA system can be used to build ongoing nurturing programs with the scored leads. We can also prioritize prospects who are more engaged (i.e. used multiple channels, downloaded information, engaged with key content, etc.). The response to these efforts can be assessed with the touchpoint attribution techniques discussed in part 1 of this blog series.
- Remarketing – A strategy for directing communications at prospects according to their stage in the sales funnel. Most notably, this is applied to those who are likely to fall out. In the online world, this is usually referred to as “abandoned shopping cart programs,” but the strategy works equally well in the offline world.
- Market basket – Is an analytical technique that crunches numbers to determine the items that buyers most frequently purchase together. The theory is that more buyers will be enticed if these high affinity items are placed prominently and close to the target purchase.
- Cross-sell/Upsell – Is a tried and true strategy from the old days of database marketing. The goal is to increase the share of wallet and gain repeat business. With multiple touchpoints, marketers can predict which product is likely to be purchased next.
- Social intelligence – Is like a market basket analysis (“people who bought this product also bought…”) except it is not derived from analytics, it’s presented as peer advice instead of a suggestion by the marketer.
- Onboarding – In many industries, like banking, much of the cross-selling and growth in relationships comes when the customer first buys. Many onboarding programs use specially designed, multichannel, event-based marketing programs to capitalize on this peak selling opportunity.
- Attrition detection – Marketers have found much success with attrition detection programs where models are developed that predict customers who are most likely to defect. The models are constructed so the marketer has enough time to intervene before the defection occurs.
- Event triggers – In most businesses, there are usually certain events that spell trouble. These events are found in online and offline data (e.g. service failures, credit card balance paid to zero, customer goes online to check loan pay-off amount, online buyer returns purchase without a replacement). Incorporating rules-based strategies to trigger communications surrounding these events is a proven retention strategy.
- Change in behavior – Customers may alter their purchase patterns such as reducing the frequency or number of purchases in a certain timeframe. Also, they might reduce the number of categories. Once a change is found, the marketer takes action to save the customer.
- Win-back – is when customers have already left and companies invest in marketing programs to win them back. Many times these campaigns use multiple channels and each one is leveraged to its best use. Some innovative marketers have even designed strategies where customers can design their own retention package by spelling out what it would take for them to stay or come back.
Some of them are new, and some are old and retooled for new marketing channels. Customer engagement strategies will continue to evolve as customers and channels change.
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