In my last post I emphasised the importance of giving your customers the choice between choosing paper and viewing documents online or what I call a multi channel service.
More than 42 years have passed since the first mobile phone call was made by a motorola employee, Martin Cooper in the USA.
Since then, the sale of smartphones has reached dizzying heights and has become the staple business tool for many of us.
Connecting and transacting business on a daily basis is now commonplace from emails, shopping, banking online; it would be hard to imagine a life without a smartphone.
72% of us own a smartphone.
Generation Y those aged between 25-30 are the most likely to own a mobile phone (89%) and Generation Z, 16-24 year olds follow closely with smartphone ownership at 85%.
This group are most happy to use apps for shopping online. 54% of 54-65 year olds own a smartphone.
Mobile websites and having the ability to interact and communicate important information to your customers via mobile is increasingly important.
Offering a multichannel service to deliver and communicate with your customers is key to customer retention.
Mobile technology is rapidly becoming the most popular channel for people to be able to access information and being able to adapt your delivery processes to ensure that customers have access to the information online, on mobile and in paper format is crucial to ensuring customer longevity.
By providing a seamless experience to the customer irrespective of the channel they choose – telephone, online, mobile phone, they are made to feel like they are dealing with one company.
How they receive and interact with the information is important for long term customer relationships.
It is no longer about sending paper communications, customers need to have the choice how they interact with the information they receive from you and as the above statistics show mobile adaptation for businesses must be considered part of the marketing process.
Businesses need to embrace mobile technology and adapt their services to fit with the needs of their customers.
Presenting documents online can be costly and time consuming firstly there is the need for:-
developing an app(s)
They also need to be mobile responsive which means that the document needs to emulate the layout and content of the paper document and respond to the size of screen it is viewed on.
Multichannel communication is about presenting documents online so that customers can view information anytime and anywhere.
Part of the multichannel service experience is about driving up customer engagement and organisations need to understand how customers use mobile technology in their personal lives – for shopping, banking and connecting on social media driven to use their smartphones more readily to access their documents when they are on the move.
Viewing customer information is not solely for the smartphone, it needs to be viewable on PC’s, laptops, tablets and in paper format.
A multichannel service allows your customers to choose how they prefer to view the information you send them without forcing them to take up an option they are not happy with.
For more information about multichannel distribution of electronic documents and online viewing. Please feel free to call us here.
Multi channel marketing interacts with the customer using a combination of indirect and direct communications channels that include social media, websites, catalogues, direct mail, phone, SMS/text, email, television and radio.
Channels can be used in combination or independently to deliver a branded message enabling the customer to take action in response to buy your product or service using their preferred channel.
Multi channel marketing and communications is about delivering information to your customers in a way that will engage them quickly, whenever and wherever they are.
With so many different channels available it gives the customer choice over the buying process.
Here are 5 things to consider when considering multi channel marketing.
1. Create visibility You must be where your customers are and this means you have to provide them with the opportunity to engage on all channels, which gives them the freedom to choose what information they want and on what platform, at their convenience.
Customers today have more buying power than ever before and no matter what your brand or company marketing message says, customers have the power to decide when they want to buy and who from.
They have to be able to interact with you at all stages of the buying journey and on whatever channel suits them. So making sure your message gets seen and heard is the key to making sure you are at the front of the queue when they are ready to buy.
All sounds very easy, right?
There are numerous pitfalls and one of the obvious is ‘I’m going to send out a mass email and newsletter to see what happens?’ Irrelevant messaging is guaranteed to be deleted even before the strap-line is read by the recipient.
The right message delivered to the right audience is not enough.
Each campaign or message has to be fine tuned across each channel so that the message isn’t distilled making it meaningful for the customer and trustworthy.
Customers need to be able to view your message, be attentive and receptive before they take action.
With so many mobile devices, smartphones and media channels, businesses must be able to develop well coordinated campaigns that use different touch points so that the customer can jump onto his preferred platform.
2. How do I know which channel(s) to use?
Understanding the profile of your customer is a good starting point. Having a single view of your ideal customer then helps you identify where they are likely to hang out.
Measuring the success of the campaign is easier if you send a direct mail or email marketing campaign because the responses are directly associated with the campaign and can be measured in click throughs and responses.
However, managing a coordinated campaign across different channels is more of a challenge.
Your website analytics will show you where the customer entered the website, which landing pages and what channel they jumped onto.
But the sequence of touch points that lead to the customer taking action is not so quantifiable.
Having loads of data is great fun but knowing what to do with it is another.
Having this data on a customer database and understanding which route your customers came from i.e. email sign ups, YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers is a useful starting point.
In our case our target audiences can be found on Linkedin, limited exposure on G+ and FB and some on twitter, this makes it easier for us to talk about what we do, who for and where to target the message.
Providing email sign ups and accessibility to information on your website in the way of downloadable PDFs and newsletters is a great way to attract your audience and keep them coming back for more.
At the same time you can encourage them to join you on their social media channel of choice.
3. Be consistent Maintain your consistency across all the platforms you intend to deliver your content and message that way the customer learns to associate you and your brand to the message.
From paper to digital keep it the same. I’ve been in print and communications for 25+ years and I’m still surprised when I see companies using different forms of advertising from paper to digital.
If your marketing messages are mixed it can give the wrong impression a high bounce rate on your website might indicate that your landing pages aren’t delivering what the customer was looking for.
Every digital marketing channel used must have a clearly defined objective and goal and keep in mind the end goal, what is the purpose of the campaign, what are my business objectives, who are my customers.
Having a precise set of goals will lead to a better marketing experience.
Ensure that any single campaign deployed gives the customer the same experience on all channels.
Your customers experience your brand in different ways so if they have a negative experience for example in your retail store then there is no value in having a positive online experience. So keeping it consistent and positive and treating each channel differently helps the customer experience.
4. Transform your data
Treat your raw customer data as gold dust. It can be used to deliver targeted and personalised information to your audience.
By having a data collection point and establishing where your audience hang out online (see point 2) helps you build a presence there.
Converting prospects into customers is the real end game and not about how many facebook likes, G+’s, followers, all vanity and not reality.
How many subscribed to your newsletter, read your e-books, downloaded a free trial you were offering.
Focussing on conversions, sales, sign ups and building customer relationships is key for business development.
5. Be mobile, Be digital
Following my Google seminar being mobile and being a digital business has to be part of the game plan. It’s not good enough being mobile friendly, your business has to be accessible via smartphones and easily shareable. It has to be digital.
Multi channel is not limited to goods and sales it is about developing interaction, including communication.
Customers want to consume content on different channels – email, mobile, online and print depending on the context and convenience.
It is impossible to predict which channel will be used when and so the only approach is to make your content, message, brand available on all channels.
Being a digital business and delivering your marketing efforts across multi channels is key to developing and keeping customers.
I was invited by one of Digital Print Management’s suppliers, to visit Google HQ in London recently to experience google’s ‘Drive for work” which is superseding google apps for work.
The purpose behind google’s re-positioning of this product is to make it more personal, accessible and more mobile for organisations.
There were a number of key factors that came out of the conference:-
This year alone it is estimated that 1.2 billion smartphones will be in worldwide use
Mobile video will increase exponentially
Mobile e-commerce is set to go even more ballistic
Mobile responsive websites are key to customer engagement
Encrypted BYOD which I’ve talked about will be ever more prevalent in the workplace
During the day I was impressed by the various presentations and videos, an american powerhouse company delivering great content.
However, there was one thing that resonated with me during the day and that was the use of the word ‘digital’. A digital business, a digital culture, a digital brand.
According to Google, digital and mobile are key to the future success of any business.
Google put forward the scenario that companies and brands should be thinking in terms of being a ‘digital’ organisation or business.
A digital business involves creating digital content using a communications strategy across all channels to excite the consumer along his/her journey to purchasing.
Organisations no longer sell goods, or services or products they are delivering meaningful digital content, subliminal messages to awaken the customer across a variety of channels as a way of planting the seed for purchase or opening the customers eyes to a problem they didn’t know they had.
I see a communications strategy looking something like this and should comprise of the following five components. This makes it easier to decide which and how many touch points you will use to deliver your content.
a creative strategy – the ideas bit
a media strategy – what media – print, social, video, TV, adverts (channels and platforms)
content strategy – what are you going to talk about, what are you trying to tell/sell your audience
a digital strategy – how do you deliver it and where
a mobile strategy – having mobile responsive websites, being able to view content across multiple devices
None of the above will be successful if used in isolation and simply calling it a “communications strategy” is too big a deal to work with.
Successful digital companies embrace new trends and innovation comes out of the need to meet and go beyond customer expectations.
These companies are successful because they no longer perceive themselves as a maker or provider of X but have repositioned themselves as a digital company.
An organisation able to deliver their brand, content and marketing message digitally.
In google’s words Digital brand = Digital culture = Digital success I would add at the end of that = multi-channel/media communications.
These companies are optimising digital platforms for marketing success.
Marketing in our digital world has changed. Advertisements in the major newspapers, leaflet drops in local and national newspapers, adverts on billboards and commercials on TV were how your brand and message was delivered in the past.
Whilst the above retains it’s place in the stratosphere getting noticed by your audience is increasingly more difficult.
How do you position yourself to be in the right place at the right time in front of the right people?
Using a multi-channel strategy combining digital services with print to communicate the same message but delivered in different ways is an effective way of staying in front of your audience.
An organization that is responsive to customer needs and provides easy access to a variety of channels can differentiate itself in an otherwise crowded field.
Organisations that do create a seamless experience and integrate different forms of technology into its marketing effort can gain customer loyalty.
We’ve become an increasingly mobile workforce, 68% of adults in the UK access the internet on the go (Office of National Statistics) the statistics would appear to stack up. Looking at DPMs analytics clearly shows that more people visit us via some form of mobile device.
In our 24/7 connected world business owners are accessing information around the clock from multiple devices and locations.
Multi-channel communications are about delivering relevant and timely information to your customers in an engaging way giving them the opportunity to interact with you and your brand. It is impossible to predict which channel will be used when so making your content available on all channels is a must.
Being able to co-ordinate a print and digital campaign simultaneously is a great way of targeting your audience with personalised communications.
In my next post 5 tips for digital multi-channel marketing success.
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