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Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri
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NATIONAL COLUMN
How do you get consumers to look up and say, "Are you talking to me?"
Studies show that customers see nearly 3,000 messages a day. They notice barely 50 and remember only four. So, how do you break through?
 
Did you see that? No. How about that? What’s “that?” It’s the pace of change that continues to accelerate in our industries. If you think the printing industry is moving fast, try keeping up with the rapid-fire changes playing out in marketing. The good old days were when we had one-way platforms to deliver messages: print, TV, billboards, direct mail. Then, we got our own websites and could push content through yet another format.  And, now… well now, consumers have their platforms. It’s not just brands talking to consumers. The consumer talks back and they talk to their friends through channels of communication that grow exponentially each day.

While this presents new challenges for marketers, it’s also providing us with knowledge we never had before. By listening to consumer’s conversations about our brands, we learn nuances about their purchasing habits, what’s informing their decisions and what makes them like or hate us. And, this knowledge gives us the foundation to finally customise our marketing messages and have relevant discussions with the consumers we are trying to engage.

At long last, the technology of 1:1 marketing has finally caught up with the idea of 1:1 marketing. Think about it: new tools make it easier to develop and implement multi-channel campaigns with personalised content. New media and new channels of communication inspire creativity. Our customer’s real-time feedback gives us insane insight and wields tremendous influence.

It’s overwhelming. It’s scary. It’s fun ... and it’s hard.

  Consider this: Studies show that customers see nearly 3,000 messages a day. They notice barely 50 and remember only four.

So, how do you break through? How do you get consumers to look up from their smartphones and say, “Are you talking to me?” That’s the main filter we need to apply to all our messages.

At Xerox, we are learning new ways to do this every day and we are applying our expertise in cross-media communication through XMPie and digital production printing. The “are you talking to me?” lens is viewed through these tough criteria:

1 Irrelevance equals immediate delete. There’s nothing generic about people so let’s move away from generic marketing to people. Customised communication is more than a “Dear John” email. It’s messaging and images presented through multiple media that address John’s industry, what he’s interested in and what motivates him to take actions.

2 When technology levels the playing field, raise your game. With email lists and marketing automation systems, everyone can be a direct marketer these days. This is when effective design and creative really counts. Don’t skimp on good creative; it’s what helps you cut through.

3 Turn content into conversations. No one wants to be sold to. But, we do want easy access to the details that inform our decisions and give us confidence in the actions we take. Marketing is transitioning to engagement. The words we say, the formats we use, the messages we deliver, the conversations we start – all of it needs to connect with consumers as people.

 
In the time it took you to read this story, our industries have taken more twists and turns with more ways to connect with consumers and more ways for them to connect with us. The good news is that we have technology on our side. By using it wisely, we are building not just brand loyalists but also brand advocates. It starts with making it personal ... and putting into practice the sage advice of 1:1 guru, Don Peppers: “Fundamentally, it’s about treating different people differently.”
Manish K. Pandey           
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