2012: Year of Preference-Driven Multichannel Marketing Breakthroughs

For some brands, this will be the year of multichannel breakthroughs. For other brands, the next twelve months will be another painful period of trial and error -- mostly error.
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PREDICTION: Marketers who deploy their multichannel marketing mix at key points in customer's lifecycles with the company and per customer's individual preferences will win. Those who don't will just be creating multichannel irritation.

Brand Paths in 2012

For some brands, this will be the year of multichannel breakthroughs. For other brands, the next twelve months will be another painful period of trial and error -- mostly error.

Per recent Voice of Customer research we conducted with major BtoB and BtoC marketers, customers want brands to use an integrated multichannel mix that engages them to share their preferences regarding offers, alerts, frequency of contact and media preferences. Using this integrated multichannel mix, marketers can provide relevant communications ... at key points in the consumer's lifecycle with the company.

Thriving in 2012 ... and Beyond

To thrive in 2012, assume that both "old" and "new" media will play a role in your customer's personalized multichannel mix.

Elements of a preference-driven mix include online, social, direct mail, print, broadcast, narrowcast, and all the possible person to person "touch points," including both face to face and phone interactions. As an excellent Epsilon study, "The Formula for Success: Preference and Trust," referenced here, put it:

"Consumers use and trust certain communications channels more than others. This means that marketers need to understand which channels resonate most at various points in the consumer purchase cycle and incorporate a cross-channel strategy that leverages data and technology to communicate on a one-to-one basis ... Our study suggests that brands should use a variety of mediums to build relationships, starting with trusted channels like direct mail, then layering the message to re-enforce it through other channels."

This multichannel mix must be deployed at key points in the customer's lifecycle with your company and per the consumer's individual preferences ... or you will lose ground in 2012!

Four Takeaways for Marketers

  • Trust your customers to tell you: Gather Voice of Customer (VOC) research-based insights regarding how your customers define a truly personalized multichannel relationship, and which communications are most relevant at key points in their relationship lifecycle with you.

  • Understand the behaviors that equal "engagement": Use VOC insights to understand what range of actions from your side drive engagement from the consumer's side, such as recognition, personalized rewards, the opportunity to share their point of view, the chance to enter a contest, etc.
  • Be media agnostic: Offer both "old" and "new" media options your customers can select to satisfy their media preferences.
  • Measure it. Track the results carefully over time. What matters is not how many eyeballs or fans you have. It's what people are actually doing ... and buying!
  • Ernan Roman is President of the marketing consultancy, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing.
    Recognized as the industry pioneer who created three transformational methodologies: Integrated Direct Marketing, Opt-In Marketing, and Voice of Customer Relationship Research.

    Ernan was recently inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

    Clients include Microsoft, NBC Universal, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

    2010-12-08-ernan.jpgErnan was named to "B to B's Who's Who" as one of the "100 most influential people" in Business Marketing by Crain's B to B Magazine.

    His fourth and latest book on marketing best practices is titled: Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay.

    Ernan is also the co-author of "Opt-In Marketing: Increase Sales Exponentially with Consensual Marketing" and author of "Integrated Direct Marketing: The Cutting Edge Strategy for Synchronizing Advertising, Direct Mail, Telemarketing and Field Sales."


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