Conversations Quickly Eradicating Campaigns – What’s Your Secret Weapon?

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By Leah VanZelm, Vice President, Digital Strategy at Merkle and Zimm Zimmermann, VP, Personalization at Merkle

From Campaigns to Conversations

The days of traditional marketing campaigns are ending. Businesses can no longer rely on time-bound, channel-specific, outbound communications.

Today’s marketing resides in an always-on, always-engaged digital world, where a consumer continuously interacts with a brand through a variety of channels and media. In the era of modern marketing, multiple marketing teams simultaneously manage numerous channels and media in an attempt to interact and engage with the consumer.

However, many brands struggle, because these interactions, while existing under a single brand, are often managed in silos with divergent marketing strategies and objectives. Even the key data points driving campaign decisions may be siloed.

This lack of integration generates erratic contacts and levels of engagement, as well as a set of disparate communications driven by multiple marketing teams clumsily interacting with a singular customer. Essentially, brands are creating many-to-one relationships. As a customer embarks on his/her unique journey, however, a brand is a single entity; and the brand is expressed through each interaction (hopefully in a consistent manner).In the eyes of the customer, the brand is a single one-to-one relationship.

A consumer’s relationship with a brand is the result of the cumulative impact of that person’s interactions with the brand. To maximize and maintain a customer’s loyalty (and value), brands must have the right brand promise and deliver extraordinary experiences that fulfill against that promise. “Extraordinary” means a personalized experience that develops a one-to-one relationship with the brand at any given moment. While an individual’s respective values remain stable over time, most everything else vacillates (product interest, relationship with a company, competitors under consideration), making those moments of engagement variable and potentially difficult to manage.

The Secret Weapon: Managed Moments

A personalized moment is a singular point in time that the consumer is engaging with the most resonant possible treatment (creative, message, offer, content, call to action) via an interactive (online or offline) channel or medium. The planning, delivering, and optimization of these moments are referred to as “managed moments.”

Managed moments rely on knowing when and where marketing can interact with and track each customer interaction with the brand. They are the key points in personalizing the experience, while reinforcing the brand. Each touchpoint provides the data and means to change the treatment; the responses (or even non-responses) to the treatment provide us with information on the impact and effect of that moment.

Managed moments start with the understanding of consumers and mapping out journeys that will deliver an extraordinarily personalized experience at every turn. Journey mapping is an activity used to create a holistic set of initiatives that align a brand with the consumer.

To manage moments, successful brands undertake their own personalization journey inclusive of the following activities:

  1. Draw and synthesize insights from behavioral, contextual, and motivational data to anticipate the customer’s engagement path and determine how to progress the customer to the next lifecycle stage with the brand.
  2. Develop a vision of the macro-journey that leverages those insights in order to both codify the common aspects of the experience and delineate components that should be individualized.
  3. Translate the vision into micro-journeys that feed into communication planning and data, technology, and analytics enablement.
  4. Activate and optimize each interaction point against the overall journey, and optimize the collective interactions that comprise the personalized experience.

By starting here, marketers are able to identify those key moments where they can effectively engage and enhance customer interactions. It is through these moments that brands will drive personalized and resonant experiences, ensure a positive brand relationship, and assist each customer further along in the journey. Ultimately, this drives customer value for the brand, meeting the company’s needs along with the customers’ needs.

The Empowered Marketer

Managed moments empower marketers with the ability to:

  • Optimize key points of engagement throughout the entire customer journey
  • Personalize the customer experience to each particular lifecycle stage to progress the customer to the next stage
  • Dynamically change the content to fit the moment
  • Dive deeper into analytical analysis around journey engagement
  • Enable agile marketing to zero in on key priorities

Managed moments have even changed how marketers plan and execute their marketing strategies. In planning for managed moments, marketing will translate insights into a set of intentional interactions across media and channels, throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Additionally, the insights provide contextual, behavioral, and motivational data surrounding prospects and customers. With segments, personas, and an interaction map in hand, marketers are now able to develop an audience narrative, which in turn leads to a more robust set of media and creative briefs.

The reality of big data and consumer connectivity is in full swing. With the ability to reach, engage, and converse with a customer on a 24-hour basis, marketing can only be effective through the planning, optimizing, and execution of managed moments. Managed moments provide marketing with the data to engage, interact, and personalize the entire customer journey – ensuring a cohesive branded experience regardless of the channel or media selection. With this secret weapon, the eradication of campaigns will be a welcome change by marketers and consumers alike.

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