How irritated do you get when someone will not answer you, will not listen or gives you the cold shoulder? We all hate a breakdown in communication, especially when we are the ones trying to get the message across. Most of us consider it rude when someone ignores us. So does your customer. Why are brands still actively involving themselves in non-communication? It can only harm the way people perceive them and, as we all know, in this world perception is absolutely everything!

When communicating with someone as a brand, the manner and tone must match the brand. Your message(s) should suit the person you are trying to reach not what suits your company and guide the person to communicating further with you. So long as a brand stays open and honest and true to its identity it will gain many followers and be appreciated enormously. Easier said than done isn’t it, just remember that the public is not stupid and knows there is a face behind each message so expects some form of human ethics and morality to shine through. Remember the beautiful rule called KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! It cannot be truer for conveying any form of message, do it simply and effectively and you will achieve better results, do not leave someone having to search for your message in a load of big words with long sentences that mean nothing but leave them feeling inadequate.

On a side note, the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) is coming into force at the end of this month with a major clamp down on direct marketers and our ability to market. I suggest going forward that you should use all available means to get an opt-in database from your existing customers. Find out how they want to be spoken to and what they want to hear about from you. Rather market to someone who wants to be marketed to than to the people who don’t. This will also give your current clients the feeling that you are always there and reliable.

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Complexity of Mobile Media Will Drive Traditional DM?

I was asked to give my opinion on whether I agree or disagree on the following statement:

“Market opinion is that growing regulatory complexity around new media channels such as e-mail marketing, web and mobile will in fact drive growth in and a return to more traditional DM (Direct Marketing) channels – this is as direct results of direct marketers wanting to steer clear of the complex legal issues when it comes to PPI and managing opt out lists. While we agree that the digital channels are growing and offer fantastic new ways of reaching consumers, they are by no measure ready to take over from traditional DM such as mail pieces, 3d and so on. Furthermore, traditional DM channels are still the perfect partner to new channels to drive opt in and grow databases.”

Traditional DM channels are going to work, however I believe that the way we use them is going to change. Our most successful client only uses mail and gains unbelievable responses, however the nature of the mail, its product etc. are very well suited to this, and again the data management on our clients side is superb and we commend them for this. Globally we are not seeing a shift away from traditional DM channels but rather an integration of traditional and non-traditional which has become highly effective. When one considers the cost of a mail campaign against a mobile campaign or e-mail campaign, many companies choose to go for the less expensive option which then yields, if you are lucky, average results for that type of campaign. However this move towards multi-channel marketing on a global scale is yielding some amazing results especially within the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and lately South Africa) as these are developing nations where digital and mobile media has grown rapidly. Multi-channel marketing is becoming the best way to attract people to speak to you as a business. Your traditional forms of DM are becoming the drivers to get people to platforms where one can engage in mobile and digital marketing. Once you are able to use your traditional methods of DM to get people to allow you to market over these mediums then the legalities and regulations are more relaxed as you gain a potential client who has opted in.

Whilst traditional DM channels are a definite winner on a call to action, digital and mobile is the winner on consumers telling brands and companies what it is they actually want. Once on these platforms, any company or person with some knowledge of what having an effective database can do for your company, would use the digital and mobile channels to gather information and engage with consumers, thus ensuring that your next call to action DM campaign will be reaching the right person with the right message in the right nature. As Ian says people still want to be spoken to, however we must not underestimate their want to speak to us! This is important in a new age where the consumer holds so much power over brands and companies, we really need to learn to listen and engage. Being on a mobile or digital platform allows us to listen and engage, however people need to know we are there and they can come and speak to us and the best way to let them know is through traditional DM channels.

As we get further into this new millennium we are going to see advancements in technology that some of us could barely dream of. As a company promotion and marketing are key to any and all plans we have at achieving success in this fast paced world. We have to forget about this “war” between traditional and non-traditional DM, a multi-channel approach offers great flexibility and for a dynamic marketer various channels can be used to great effect, allowing us to gain great knowledge and what’s more, brand loyalty.

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The New Age

The new millennium has ushered in an age of digital marketing aided by greater information as we all become a bit more tech savvy. We have access to data that marketers could only dream about 15 years ago. The platforms for instant communication have been laid with social media and mobile marketing. All the options available to us, we can advertise any way we like and tell the consumer anything we want! Right?

Wrong! This new age is all about brands listening to what the consumer wants, for the first time in history we have to think about what they are saying, and indeed be weary of it too. The reach of one consumer is immeasurable these days so we need to focus down to the singular consumer and make sure they are happy. A 70% satisfaction rating from frequent users of your brand is no longer any good, the high 90’s is what you should be aiming for.

How is it possible to achieve this you may ask? Well it is really about getting back to the basics of marketing and understanding your consumer. Some companies spend a fortune on getting data on their consumers just to waste their time with impersonal leaflets in newspapers and magazines. Other companies do not collect any information but then insist on promoting in a highly personalised way which fails due to a lack of data. If you take the time and effort to build a platform or use a platform that allows your consumer to communicate with you and accurately store that data with the intention of using it, you will then be able to gain insight into their interests and what they think about your brand and use it for(you may find some of those answers surprising).

This really sounds like a bunch of market research doesn’t it? You already did that 6 months ago? Maybe 3 months ago? Well I am telling you it is out of date, your research might still apply to the people coming into the same situation, but the people whom you conducted that market research upon have changed, have moved onto something else or have formulated a different opinion due to the mountains of information that we digest each and every day living in this fast paced world. To get your consumer onto a platform where you can maintain constant, precise and relevant communication with them is key in this new era.

How we get to our consumers to drive them towards a communication platform is another challenge. I am a firm believer in the multi-channeled approach as with any plan or strategy or design, the outcome is greater than the sum of its parts. You need a clear goal or final platform/channel and a good idea of who you are going to target. After you have ascertained those 2 criteria, you can decide upon the means in which you will drive them there depending on what your consumers respond best too (I recommend testing and experimentation, whilst costly you could end up gaining revenue through trying something new). Ensure you have a Plan Of Action (POA) regarding the drivers and make sure the campaign is structured with a good balance between above the line, below the line and online advertising. These different mediums all have different effects upon current and potential consumers, please make sure you understand them.

Once you have the platform you must ensure that you maintain constant contact, and keep your public engaged. I am a great advocate of personalised URL’s as they allow you to ask questions and do surveys, involve your customers in some fun interaction with your brand and run some amazing competitions. Also using social media both as a platform and a driver is cheap and effective, this is where a small company can really muscle in with the big giants in their industry and capture a share of the market or increase their share so long as it is done with the right back up and services.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me or post a comment.


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