Gone are the days of one-to-one marketing, as increasingly tech-savvy consumers demand businesses do away with mass marketing and meet their needs via two-way dialogue.
Social networking has turned the everyday consumer into an information activist, and according to Pitney Bowes general manager of customer analytics and interaction Chris Lowther this means “companies have to look again for new ways to create communications that will truly engage their customers.”
“Even companies that have mastered one-to-one personalised marketing communications are falling short in customers’ eyes. They increasingly see through marketing’s ‘manufactured intimacy’ and will continue to ‘opt-out’ because of the disparate, disconnected communications they receive,” he added.
The key to keeping customers engaged is by embracing their changing demands and by ensuring that whatever channel of communication a customer chooses to use, your business responds personally, intimately, and with awareness of the previous interactions.
To master two-way dialogue with your customers, follow these communication best practices:
• Deeper customer insight. Businesses need to gather data from customers and use it to focus communications around topics which are relevant to customers individual needs.
• Engage customers when they want to be engaged. Campaign-focused marketing can overlook the relevance of the timing of a customer communication. Getting the timing right is likely to improve receptiveness, whilst reducing the negative effects of unwelcome approaches.
Customers are most likely to respond well when they’ve chosen to initiate communication. Inbound interactions present opportunities to introduce relevant cross and up-sell offers or additional services.
• Ensure cross-channel consistency. Customer interactions need to be able to take place seamlessly across a number of channels. A conversation that started over the phone should be able to be continued (possibly days later) in the web channel. Business processes must be consistently executed across different channels.
• Enact communication governance. Across the board standards for content, context and design provide the foundation for a consistent brand image. The ability to implement business rules and generate personalised output supports reliable ‘always on’ customer communication management.
• One-to-one marketing is dead. Long live mutually managed, one-to-one marketing! Personalised one-to-one marketing was a great step forward, but increasingly savvy customers exploiting technological and social media innovations have raised the bar far beyond personalisation. One-to-one needs to be a two-way dialogue with customer preferences and needs guiding the way.