Foreign Exposure: Reaching the Unreachable Customers

July 23, 2018

The countless ways the world has changed over recent years has totally modified customers’ habits, making them very hard to influence. But the same changes in our world make it impossible for our consumers to be completely anonymous.

It’s just impossible to keep track. The changes are so vast, and they’re affecting every aspect of our daily lives. They cover all fields and industries: manufacturing, medicine, agriculture, automotive, corporate services, energy efficiency or digital economy. The use of deep learning technologies, big data analysis, cloud development, cyber security and many more, has brought a dazzling number of inventions onto our fingertips, and nothing will look the same again.

And the rhythm is gonna get you. Every year tops and doubles the previous one. 20 years ago when Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov, the world saw an explosion of ideas that touched and changed our habits, day-to-day routines, caused rifts in our attention and behaviors until the point of no return. From the autonomous car to shoes that tie themselves, from the bionic leg and artificial skin to smart umbrellas. This list is just a drop in the bucket, and it is almost too difficult to imagine the forthcoming drops.

One of the more expected result of this era is the rapid change in customer habits. What was done on Sunday becomes outdated on Monday, and where people went during the summer will wind up completely deserted when winter arrives. One of the clear demonstrations for this phenomenon is this startling study by Omnicom Media Group Agency – Hearts and Science published this week: 47% of adults aged 22 to 45 are consuming absolutely no content via traditional TV platforms. Less than one-third of the TV and video watched by people in this age group (Gen X and millennials) is accounted for by traditional measurements. The rest is being watched on smartphones and other channels like Apple TV and Roku.

That’s not to say that the subjects aren’t watching TV content or viewing ads anymore, but the research suggests that the various ways we consume content has changed, which makes it much harder to reach these groups. These days, effectively reaching customers is a significant obstacle.

Anonymous? No such thing

There are multiple ways to connect with the most aloof customers. Whether it’s scratching the surface layer with a chisel to expose the hieroglyphics or scanning the depths of an ocean for the remains of a sunken ship. If Bigfoot does exist, and you’re probing for his footprint in the Cascades snow, just open your laptop. He would have probably left a digital footprint by now.

Customers can no longer be anonymous. A highly personalized approach through multi-channels, which work across every stage of each customer’s journey, will maximize the marketer’s ability to reach those who seem unreachable. Marketers should reach their customers where they are, and much of users’ screen time is spent on Facebook, Twitter, or surfing the Web. The fact that you have customer’s email address doesn’t mean much if that same customer spends hours every day on Twitter. In addition, consumers today have much more control over the buying process than marketers do. As a result, marketers must constantly develop and coordinate highly orchestrated touch points and micro-campaigns that fluidly span multiple channels in a way that the customer finds meaningful and trustworthy. Keep in mind that different types of messages work better over different channels, and what fits an email, won’t automatically translate well for SMS.

Mix and Match

Below are some approaches for using multi-channel marketing to improve campaign results. There are countless others of course, and that is where creativity and resourcefulness come into play.

Sequential Messaging Across Channels – Run campaigns that present a sequence of messages that tell a story across multiple channels. For example, we can use the 97% open rate of SMS messages to deliver a short teaser regarding a subsequent campaign message via email, and thus dramatically increase the open rates of that email when it comes half an hour later.

Message Blast– Send the same offer on every channel at once. This works best for a great time-limited offer that is tailored to a small segment of customers.

Channel Competition – Run campaigns with the same message/call to action via different channels, to different random segments of a target group to see which ones work best. Known as A/B/N testing, this approach can reveal which types of messages work best on specific channels for certain customer segments.

The Pros and Cons

Using all available channels comes with a price. In the table below, you can see the relative strengths and weaknesses of some commonly-used channels, according to these attributes:

Cost – how expensive is it to communicate with each customer through this channel?

Attention – how effective is this channel at grabbing the customer’s attention?

Design – how much flexibility and creativity does this channel provide when crafting the communications?

Annoying – how invasive or irritating do customers perceive this channel to be?

In conclusion – In the ecosystem described in this article, the ever-changing-dynamic era, marketers are required to closely analyze customer behavior, loyalty and retention. They need to communicate with their customers wisely, in all sorts of ways and tools according to their audience’s particular preferences.

Using different, less traditional channels, and combining them with more recent platforms, is really the right path to success. Examining consumer’s level of receptiveness for various communications, not only guarantees you won’t leave a customer behind, but also provides them with a tremendous amount of added value in terms of content, offers, and messages, delivered exactly where they’re at.