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Go Mobile, Go Social Or Go Home: Using Mobile And Social Media To Drive Buying Decisions


By Joe Cordo, CMO of
Extraprise

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series.

Joe_CordoMulti-channel marketing is not new. Its genesis comes from integrated marketing communications, and its most recent evolution is from the vast number of possible customer interactions fueled by the Internet and mobile communications. What is new and evolving is moving beyond simply setting up social media and mobile channels to reach prospects, and actually publishing to these channels the kind of content and information they need to make purchase decisions.


By Joe Cordo, CMO of
Extraprise

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series.

Joe_CordoMulti-channel marketing is not new. Its genesis comes from integrated marketing communications, and its most recent evolution is from the vast number of possible customer interactions fueled by the Internet and mobile communications. What is new and evolving is moving beyond simply setting up social media and mobile channels to reach prospects, and actually publishing to these channels the kind of content and information they need to make purchase decisions.

To many, real-time marketing is the optimal way to drive 1:1 customer interaction, especially in the mobile and social media world. But real-time marketing is highly complex and costly, and its transactional nature is not directly applicable to many industries, products and services.

Multi-channel marketing that heavily involves mobile and social media communications is just as much about right time marketing as it is real-time. With right time marketing, the marketer is able to focus on the aggregation of customer behavior over time, and take a very deep, analytical approach to customer interactions, based on behaviors and a multitude of market and channel dynamics (i.e. the idea that someone asks their Facebook friends an opinion demonstrates a certain purchase readiness).

The customer intelligence derived from these interactions guides an optimized revenue strategy that focuses on markets, accounts and buyers to spur specific buying behavior throughout the customer lifecycle, regardless of the marketing channel.

Zeroing In On The Customer Lifecycle

In developing multi-channel marketing strategy and executing campaigns, most marketers profess to be very customer-centric. But often that customer-centric focus is very linear. It views the customer typically in the context of new customer acquisition, and there usually is homogeneity about the interaction, such as disproportionate spend on one marketing channel or a lack of insight into how the customer wants to interact with the brand.

According to a February 8, 2011 Forrester Research report, Customer Life-cycle Marketing Demands New Metrics, a customer lifecycle approach forces the marketer to think about the customer’s buying process along four key dimensions:

1. Discover

2. Explore

3. Engage

4. Buy

These four dimensions represent different strategies, channels and forms of customer interaction and buying opportunities. Over 70% of all buyers want to interact with brands across different channels, depending on their buying stage. Adding to this complexity is the stratification across interaction platforms, including tablets, mobile, laptops, PCs and kiosks, and voluminous customer data sources across and outside the organization.

The only way to create and drive an effective multi-channel marketing strategy is to build it from the outside in – through the customer lifecycle, mapping the various stages to your customer buying behavior, channels, platforms and data sources. By using the customer lifecycle approach, marketing and sales are also able to create a far more effective closed-loop sales and marketing system that ensures the two functions are aligned throughout the entire buying process (and beyond) while providing prospects and customers with the right offer at the right time.

Using the customer lifecycle approach is especially valuable with mobile and social media communications. For example, the combination of location data with a mobile ID is a very powerful mechanism to push opt-in messages around special offers during the Discover and Explore stages of the customer life cycle.

As a result, the combination of buyer behavior, channels, platforms and data sources around the customer lifecycle also contains the necessary information to drive a much more effective multi-channel marketing strategy based on right time revenue optimization. This creates a holistic, heterogeneous approach to engaging buyers on their terms. After all, your goal as a marketer is to promote not just synchronous interaction, but a conversation with the buyer.

The most obvious place to begin multi-channel marketing is to begin in the Discover phase of the customer lifecycle. However, while obviously based on traditional marketing strategies, it is not the place to start when it comes to employing mobile and social media strategies.

Marketers need to think more broadly when employing mobile and social media communications as a customer lifecycle-based, multi-channel marketing strategy. Mobile and social media are very dynamic mediums that are rich in communications capabilities, extending their value to every phase of the customer lifecycle. The best place to start is where each type of customer is in their own lifecycle – literally at any of the four phases. Again, here is where location data employed with mobile communications can even affect buyers at the Buying stage of the lifecycle. Even B2B buyers can be influenced through the publishing of specific content or the recommendations that exist in their online network.

How To Tie Mobile And Social Profiles To The Customer Lifecycle

The obvious question then becomes, how do marketers know where buyers are in the customer lifecycle? Closed-loop sales and marketing environments, offering marketing automation or campaign management, and sales force automation can help, but those systems do not necessarily do an effective job of bringing together a complete customer profile.

The challenge for the marketer is to create a complete customer profile that spans mobile and social customer user experience, online and offline interaction history, service experience and purchase history. Traditionally, some of the online customer interaction history could be brought together by marketing automation platforms that matched customers based on email ID. This was an inadequate way to create a true customer profile for multi-channel marketing purposes and underscored the need for marketing data marts. Today, marketing automation platforms do provide the capability to match customers on social and mobile ID, but this is also inadequate.

True and comprehensive customer profiles for multi-channel marketing need to include all forms of customer data – online and offline – to get a 360 degree view of the customer. Once that occurs, it is then possible for marketers to use a marketing data mart as an interactive marketing hub, where customers are matched on email, social and mobile IDs, along with their purchase and service history. Unstructured data from social media and SMS text messaging can also be integrated into those marketing hubs to drive true buying experiences based on buyer conversations.

Check back next week when we will discuss why effective multi-channel marketing requires customer intelligence and how marketers can use this insight to create a truly personalized experience.

 

Joe Cordo is CMO of Extraprise, a leader in right time revenue optimization for B2B and B2C enterprises, providing database marketing and demand generation services. For more information, contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit http://www.Extraprise.com.