It is not sufficient to try one tactic and expect a campaign to work well. It usually takes a number of touchpoints for a customer to be nurtured, trust you, and try what you have to offer. It is not like we want to get married on the first date, is it? Well, rarely anyway, and buying something whether it is health insurance, or a new chair, is no different. Today, the conversation — with our customers and prospects –never ends.
A truly great marketing strategy leverages the appropriate marketing tactics in combinations that are right for the intended buyer. Most businesses take a fragmented approach to marketing channels. This is becoming even more noticeable with new platforms entering the mix: mobile, apps, SEO, PPC, social media like Pinterest, and more.
In CRM, the focus is on using technology to organize and automate relationships with customers and prospective customers. CRM has historically focused on efficiency rather than on the customer experience.
Integrated marketing combines three elements that are closely related to service design:
- an understanding of consumer behavior
- focus upon brand
- customer experience
Integrated marketing takes a holistic view of services, in which coordination of touchpoints is one major part of linking what is termed contact experiences to the brand. As a savvy marketer, you need to be able to understand the behavior of your audience so that you can pick the right mix of tactics and use them at the right time. It takes excellent strategic skills and the ability to translate your marketing into the right messaging to each of your target audiences. All the data is out there but you need to understand it, analyze it and use it! More than this, it takes an empathy for customer buying behavior to ensure that the mix of touchpoints are appropriate. You need an inside-out approach or customer centricity.
To own the buyer’s journey, we need to have a manageable set of critical touchpoints that allows us to focus and have a better impact on our customers’ perceptions. These touchpoints need to be distinctive, well-conceived, and synchronized. We need to break down the customer experience into distinct moments from the customer’s point of view:
- What are the customer’s most urgent needs, insecurities, expectations upon an approach point?
- What transactions and interactions take place?
- How should touchpoints draw people in?
- What products and services, and enhancements speak to a customer segment’s aspirations, motivations? What captures your customer’s attention?
- What information is captured?
- What knowledge is used and what is shared across other touchpoints?
Hilton Hotels touchpoints wishlist, for example:
- Owning the welcome
- The guest room first impression
- The complimentary breakfast offering
- 100% guarantee of service
McGladrey LLP defines different types of touchpoints in a recent article:
- Company created touchpoints can be seen as those planned marketing messages (e.g., website)
- Intrinsic touchpoints are experienced while purchasing or using a product or service –the “how of the experience”
- Unexpected touchpoints are the unexpected references or information that cannot be directly controlled by the company — personal communication, word of mouth communication.
- Customer-initiated touchpoints occur when a customer contacts the club (e.g., social media)
According to B2B strategists DeSantis Breindel, there are good options to keep your touchpoints synchronized:
1. Keep the dialogue going and growing
“A dialogue about a company’s product or service on Facebook, for instance, can spill over to Twitter — and overnight lead to a far-ranging conversation with thousands of voices and lots of feedback. By understanding the dynamic and keeping the dialogue going, smart B2B companies can lead the prospect through the conversation to the sales sweet spot: consideration for his or her short-list.”
2. Connect multiple platforms
All touchpoints feed one another and become connected in a web of conversation.”A print or on-line ad with a URL can lead to a microsite where a corporate buyer can download a white paper or watch a YouTube video offering valued information and insight. Or an outdoor ad can invite corporate prospects to scan a QR code with their mobile device and take them to a microsite with more information.
3. Don’t forget employees!
Employees are a critical part of customer touchpoints.
“They are not only the face of the company in every interaction with clients and prospects, they are active in social media, business networking, and society in general. Today businesses who empower employees with a compelling brand messaging platform, and help them to understand their importance in their companies’ and their own prosperity, can activate a consistently strong brand identity at thousands of touchpoints. These companies understand that it is important to link brand strategy with brand behavior so that you not only talk the talk but walk the walk.”
Danielle MacInnis is a highly sought after strategic marketer. Her focus has always been on understanding customer needs and company insights to deliver marketing that works. With over 20 years marketing experience with some Australia’s leading corporate companies, Dan has been recognized as a talented marketer by the Australian Marketing Institute. Her company MacInnis Marketing conducts customer centricity workshops and maps out the customer touchpoints. The next free workshop is in May.