Thousands of brands across the globe are experimenting with constantly emerging and spicy new marketing tactics and trends.
Some of these tactics work well, or at least they do for a short amount of time. But some offer no measurable return on marketing investment or, unfortunately, yield no real results at all. An even bigger problem: Many brands succumb to the wrong marketing tactics for the wrong reasons, wasting precious dollars, time and credibility in the marketplace.
Marketers now must match competitors’ tactics, to some extent, in order to retain relevancy to their customers. Any marketing strategy must always put the customer first. A thousand good experiences will keep customers returning. But only one bad one will turn them away. So, don’t bombard them, and don’t pester them. Invite them in.
We’re halfway through 2015 and it’s become clear that, among others, the following three secrets – which are no longer really secrets due to their widespread adoption across the industry – have the potential to lift up almost any brand, in any industry, when executed correctly. These are the keys to help you unlock the door to true customer loyalty, creating a holistic brand experience that keeps customers coming to you.
1. Leverage the Scalability of the Internet to Own a Public, Free, Useful Forum
As Gary V counsels, “Give, give, give, give, give… and then ask.”
It’s all about providing a helpful place for customer interaction with your brand. Think of this as your own online social lounge.
This might mean simply optimizing your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page if you’re a well-known consumer goods company with a hip audience that loves spending time online. Perhaps it means creating a dedicated tab on your website – “Company XYZ in Pictures” – that syncs up with your social platforms and contains nothing but native images that speak to some quirky, natural, oddly beautiful aspect of your business.
Consider beginning a company blog with a special, catchy name that aims solely to inform or entertain readers by encouraging ongoing dialogue between employees and other stakeholders.
How about creation (and promotion) of microsites that can help supplement events or other unique aspects of your business?
Food, beverage or nutrition companies should offer a branded blog with new recipes, food ideas and anecdotal stories, as well as a forum for customer food reviews.
Auto dealerships: Optimize your social pages with images and reviews of new cars. Develop a public car “Q&A forum” where perhaps users who consistently contribute to questions posed by others are rewarded with points that eventually earn them some sort of prize like gas gift cards.
Banks can offer a public and branded forum for free financial tips that serve to highlight your expertise in the financial services industry. You can develop a tab on your website that shows the success stories of happy couples who have successfully invested or saved up their retirement.
But think outside the box. Who is your target audience, and what can you do for them to make their purchase decision easier, to be of value to them, to simply make their day better? Aim to be a trusted consultant – a guru in your industry – so that you’ll be the go-to brand once it is time to buy.
2. Build Captivating Multimedia or Other Collateral That Can’t Be Put Down
Your job as a marketer is to peak interest. It’s to tell your brand story in the most intriguing way possible. Think of yourself – whether you’re an advertiser, marketer, content strategist, multimedia specialist, video editor, or web developer – as an author, writing a stimulating and inspiring tale.
The best kind of marketing is a unique combination of information and entertainment with sales-focused and nail-bitingly captivating content that you simply must consume more of the ongoing story.
Strategically generating content across all platforms that works together to tell a complete brand story is the essence of marketing. Product brochures, thought leadership videos, slide presentations, social media, the website and all aspects of a brand’s online presence should be stimulating.
Regardless of what I’ve heard, I don’t believe marketers or sales people are liars. Embellishers, maybe. Storytellers, certainly. Marketers are tasked with finding the most interesting benefits of a product or service, and then positioning that in comparison to the competition.
This requires a unique skillset. The best marketers understand how to use their expertise to be remarkably informative while simultaneously being clever and entertaining and motivating.
I have no clues to help you, specifically, deliver content that will keep your audience salivating. It’s different for everybody. But start by creating something that’s new, that’s better than just okay. Ask yourself, “Would I consume this content?”
3. Catch Your Customers at the Right Moment by Sharing
The worst possible mistake that too many brands nowadays make is carelessly bombarding customers with irrelevant, annoying marketing communications. These kinds of communications just feel icky – they’re out-of-place, humdrum, mindless attempts to capture our fleeting attention.
Remember, the best kind of marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. It helps us achieve some task in some fashion. Be sure to focus on customers who are interested in engaging with you rather than wasting time on those who unsubscribe from your emails, who don’t open your newsletter or who discard your offers. It’s always easier to reel in a fish already on the hook than to convince him to bite the bait.
Catching your customers at the right moment
Is she waking up in the morning and eating cereal? How can you brighten her day?
Is he on his way to work for the day? How can your brand make his day a little bit better? Does he stop to grab a coffee, and if so, can you deliver a timely offer to him when he does?
Is she shopping for a new bedspread? What can you share with her at that moment to enrich her brand experience? Can you send coupons at the right time via the right channel?
Is he searching for travel information for a trip next month? What can you offer to help his decision?
Catching customers at the wrong moment leaves them confused and uninterested. But catching the moment soothes their need for whatever it is you’ve so elegantly shared. And when the moment is just right, that’s when you send that promotion, offer or sales message. And when you catch the moment, be sure to go beyond personalization to individualization.