Cassandra Moren, the senior director of consumer goods industry marketing at Oracle
online magazine, wrote an article in September about using multiple channels to engage with the modern customer. You can read the article here. Essentially, Ms. Moren points out that the modern customer is using a variety of different networks and communication channels to evaluate the digital world. If a business uses only one method of communication to connect with customers and increase sales, that business will be missing out on a myriad of other opportunities for customer connection and communication. Cross channel engagement strategies are now being used by companies to ensure that potential customers are being inundated with brand information in a productive and consistent way.
Where Is Your Consumer Now?
If you want to understand the theory behind cross channel engagement strategies, simply ask yourself “where is my customer right now?” The answer is very rarely “in my store.” The amount of time that a customer actually spends standing in your store or physically examining your products or goods is miniscule. Customers have lives. They spend their time communicating with friends, going to work, browsing the Internet, traveling, eating, talking, and living. If you limit your brand’s exposure to customers by only communicating with them when they are standing right in front of you, your brand will be missing out on the vast majority of your customers’ lives. Instead, consider employing multiple channel engagement strategies to open the lines of communication much wider.
A New Approach to Sales
This cross channel strategy can be most easily observed in the sales advertising that modern companies are employing. Companies are using social media, fresh websites, blogs, videos and photos, online marketplaces like Amazon, and other channels of communication to connect with their customers and advertise new products and goods. Limiting your sales pitches to a single channel of communication is an ineffective way to use your marketing dollar.
A Different Approach to Customer Service
Cross channel engagement is especially effective where customer service is concerned. Customer service is one of the most frustrating subjects for business owners and manufacturers. It is virtually impossible to please everyone, but businesses and manufacturers try their best with the goods they produce and sell. Without customer satisfaction, your product will not travel very far. Customer service through just a single channel, like a service hotline, is ineffective. If you truly want to evaluate the satisfaction of your customers, you must provide them with multiple channels through which to voice their opinions. Creating social media forums, e-mail conversations, mobile contact, and other customer service channels, you are more likely to make your audience as a whole feel that they have been heard by your business. A customer who feels heard and respected will be a customer for life.
A Social Approach to Brand Imaging and Marketing
For years, businesses relied on widespread advertisements, television spots, radio ads, and even photographs to communicate a brand image to the population. This, however, was risky because different people respond differently to different images. This is obvious, of course: every single person is different. So, if a product manufacturer created an advertisement that featured a rugged man leaning against a sport car, the manufacturer risked enticing a small percentage of the market population while completely isolating the rest of the population. It was impossible to reach everyone consistently with a mass-market advertisement.
Now, consider the cross channel engagement approach to brand imaging and marketing. Instead of trying to connect with your audience as one large group, you can use social media, mobile media, marketplaces, and forums to connect with your audience as individuals. You can evaluate the likes, dislikes, and core values of the individual members of your audience and provide them with content and media that is attractive to those values.
Social media marketing is a huge element of effective cross channel engagement. An enormous percentage of the consumer population uses social media networks on a daily basis. By constantly communicating with potential customers, you can allow them to see and understand your brand’s image more clearly.
Product Testing, Development, and Pricing
In the past, most consumers assumed that prices for their favorite products were determined by a group of cigar-smoking businessmen hunkered down in a conference room in some executive suite. Oddly enough, this probably wasn’t far from the truth. Business owners and manufacturers set prices that solely depended on how much they wanted to profit from a product. Today, however, the prices and products being sold are being determined, in part, by the consumers who will be purchasing the newest items.
Instead of limiting your customer’s product experience to purchasing something from a shelf, consider allowing them to be a part of a product’s life from concept to manufacture to sale. Use social media and customer forums to let consumers tell you what they want to see. Ask your customers directly how much they can afford to pay for specific products. Invite your customers to sound off about product function, styling, materials, and construction. The modern consumer has been empowered by social media marketing and permission marketing. He or she has discovered that a consumer’s opinion is highly valued. Other businesses are giving customers a voice in the development, manufacture, testing, and pricing of the newest products. Allow your customers to have a similar voice.
Cross channel engagement strategies are projected to grow in popularity as more and more businesses realize the effectiveness of direct marketing strategies. Consumers no longer want to be seen as a herd of buyers. They want to be seen as a collection of individuals. Using cross channel engagement to connect with consumers on mobile devices, tablet computers, and social media platforms as well as in retail stores is the only way to allow consumers to feel like people. Additionally, when a business is able to reach its customers on multiple levels, the inundation of a brand image can help to affix a company in a consumer’s mind. The next time he or she needs your product, you’ll be the first thing to pop up.