As a brand marketer, developing a committed relationship with those purchasing your product is vital, as is recognising that, when it comes to loyalty, they are the ones wearing the trousers. Failure to respect their changing needs and acknowledge new behaviours could land you in some very hot water.
For instance, the dating landscape is changing. Consumers can no longer be found in the same hangouts. The dominance of linear broadcast TV is long gone and the changing ways audiences consume media is a key driver in the transition towards cross-channel, cross device experiences. Consumer appetite for online video has never been greater, and nor has their desire to enjoy content in ever more convenient ways, by combining multiple devices to complement and augment their TV experiences.
Keeping consumers engaged
In this climate, keeping your consumer relationships alive by sharing relevant messages with viewers at the right time and in the right place is more important than ever.
Thankfully, as TV budgets shift to digital, there has never been a greater opportunity to reach your target audience with every ad campaign. As a result, marketers are looking long and hard at how they can gain and sustain consumer attention at every stage of the customer lifecycle.
A recent study identified that 76 per cent of marketers saw video as a key element in communicating with consumers. Why, you might ask? Not only must marketers learn to migrate alongside their audiences, they also recognise that video is a powerful vehicle for strengthening consumer relationships.
Online video provides an interactive medium for telling stories, conveying information and triggering an emotional response. Video also has the unique capacity for uniting compelling content and advertising, creating a symbiosis that enables one to add value to the other.
That is why securing the right context for your advertising makes your messages resonate far more loudly. The killer creative and compelling message that you have spent time and money perfecting will be devalued if you are unable to reach your intended audience in the right environment. Securing context that complements the creative and enhances your message is tantamount to keeping consumers engaged and loyal.
Thankfully, it is not impossible to achieve. By playing the long game and marrying the power of video with a holistic, targeted approach to media planning, marketers can forge truly long-term consumer relationships that reach audiences with the right message every time. After all, the consumer is so much more than a single point in time within a single campaign. They are dynamic individuals with ever-evolving habits, wants and needs.
Understanding how to find and communicate with consumers not just once but over time with sequential messages is the key to building relationships for life.
The human touch
Despite technological advances, the marketer’s objective has not changed – we are still ultimately trying to sell something to someone and win their loyalty. Marketing has always been about real people. Thanks to intelligent, data-driven insight, we now have a means of enhancing what we know about an audience across the entire lifecycle, providing the flexibility to adapt messages and remain relevant for the long haul.
However, do not be fooled into thinking technology is all about creating efficiencies. Often some of the language we have adopted in the media industry might imply a diminishing role for the human element in this equation (I’m looking at you, big data).
In reality, the infinitely large data sets available to us today are about enabling closer connections. Data may mean you can target the most relevant people for your message, but it is the insight and analysis pulled from this data that provides marketers with a means of strengthening their strategies with a bespoke, detailed understanding of the consumer as a dynamic individual rather than as part of a generic segment.
All marketers want their consumers to feel something positive for their brand or, even better, to feel something positive and share it with others. We would be foolish to underestimate the importance of what a consumer feels when they view advertising. After all, brand affinity is driven by emotion and a consumer will only become an advocate if they feel a connection with a brand.
This truth proves the value in ensuring your messages are optimised to reach the consumer in the most engaging way. Screens are not equal. Mobile, for example, is ideally suited for personal, engaging, fast interactions, while TV will always offer the prize, ‘lean-back’, immersive experience. Brands need to remain receptive to the different ways in which video content is consumed on various screens.
Unfortunately, we are not yet systematically taking full advantage of the flexibility of digital to deliver creative that is built for these respective experiences and reflects the form-factor and interactivity best-suited to an individual device.
Advertising needs to innovate as quickly as consumer behaviour is changing. Each ad message should ideally be realised via multiple adaptations that leverage the media and format in which it will appear. It means more reliable experiences, better engagement and better results.
Getting to this level of maturity requires a concerted effort from the entire ecosystem – brands, creative agencies, media agencies, technology companies and publishers – to help create and develop strong relationships. Ultimately, it is up to marketers to keep reminding the consumer why they fell for a brand in the first place and why they should remain loyal.
Keeping your consumer close means thinking longer term, taking a holistic approach rather than a campaign-by-campaign view. It requires measuring what has worked before, following up and building on the dialogue. It means leveraging media for maximum power and impact, complementing TV campaigns with the interactivity that digital permits for continued relevance throughout the years.
As the American journalist Mignon McLaughlin once famously said: “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Combining the power of rich media with deep, data-driven insight that enables you to interact with your consumer as an individual will enable you to win them over, time and time again.