BY: DAVID WATKINS
It used to be so easy. Create a marketing strategy based on the 4 P’s and start persuading your Prospects to buy using ‘outbound marketing’.
So what’s changed?
Simple. The customer revolted. The days of mass marketing where one size fits all is well and truly over. The ‘holy grail’ of personalised marketing has arrived. Customers now expect a personal experience and new technology delivers it.
So does this mean that traditional marketing such as advertising, direct mail or trade shows is dead? Far from it, it just means a different approach. From now on, it’s more about ‘inbound marketing’ – creating real value, however conveyed.
Websites are no longer an extension of our promotional material; they are a dynamic, constantly updated and living experience that automatically adjust to whatever device they are viewed on. And with over half of all internet browsing now taking place using a tablet or smart phone it is predicted that by next year mobile will be the primary way for accessing the Internet.
This ‘always on’ concept means, therefore, that it is essential to deliver a seamless user experience across all platforms. Websites now need to be ‘responsive’ and businesses have to work hard to anticipate customer requirements. Companies that embrace this philosophy such as Amazon, Apple and Tesco know that by getting the customer actively involved in the buying decision pays huge dividends.
Amazon were reputedly selling 426 items per second in the run up to Christmas while Tesco reported a 1.8% increase in sales over Christmas, much of it attributed to the relationship they have with customers via their clubcard loyalty programme.
2014 is going to be the year when ‘convergence’ finally came of age, where we will see further integration of traditional platforms with new technology. And with customer expectations continuing to rise, social media and peer to peer recommendation (such as Trip Advisor) will continue to play a major role in the buying process.
In 2013, customers constantly felt let down by ‘poor service’, ‘products that don’t deliver as promised’ and businesses that disappear without warning. In 2014, they are desperately looking for a mutual trust. They want the confidence of knowing that businesses understand their needs and will do all they can to ‘add value’ to every transaction.
Traditional ‘outbound’ marketing, designed to interrupt still has a place. But even television viewing has become ‘smart’ with TV ads complete with social media links reporting enhanced response and, therefore, lower cost. TV is an integral part of the digital revolution.
Video has probably the greatest role to play in our marketing re-think. Video engages our senses. It enables us to ‘visualise’ the product or service and provides potential customers with an ‘immersive’ experience. Customers want to know more about the Business and its provenance before committing to purchase. In fact, research undertaken by Fortay Media suggests that, with so much information readily available, many customers are already half way through the buying process, before they contact the supplier.
As customers become increasingly discerning where they spend their money (because they can) they want to be reassured that they are making the right decision. The more ‘aggressive’ forms of marketing are becoming increasingly rejected in favour of ‘native advertising’ This editorial style of marketing, formerly known as ‘paid for’ advertising, puts the customer firmly in control with its rich and relevant content designed to integrate with the media and fully engage with the Prospect.
As customers respond to a myriad of available media, so too will Businesses. This means more content, that’s informative and relevant being conveyed across different platforms. Websites that are designed to look and work the same regardless of the device, an awareness that social media is not just Facebook and Twitter but a diverse range of sites such as Snapchat and G+ – now the second biggest social network with over 350m monthly users, location based marketing using GPS technology and the growth of picture and video based platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.
2014 – A marketing re-think is about businesses really getting to understand their customers and their needs, embracing new technology built on the foundations of the ‘marketing mix’ and looking at the most effective way to promote their products and services across multiple platforms.
Fortay Media is a marketing led digital production company specialising in creating responsive websites, powerful videos and influential social media.