Digital marketing: The power to be emotive

John Boynton: Brand content should not disrupt the user experience, but enhance it

John BoyntonWe know that face-to-face interaction is personal and satisfying, and people’s passion for their product or service is infectious and will support sales conversion. In addition, television, print, and radio advertising have developed over the years to produce highly emotive responses from audiences, personifying brands and increasing self-identification with consumer goods.

The broad shift in societal habits has now introduced digital into the media mix. Broadening traditional marketing tactics to include a robust and personalized digital marketing strategy will have a major impact on positively influencing that ever important repeat purchase decision.

It must be noted that technological advancements have led to digital’s increased ability to be both emotive and relevant down to each and every digital impression. Given our capacity to understand each individual intimately from the data available, we as marketers should strive to be intimate, ultimately increasing our relevancy and emotive scores. Mass media can only guess at mega clusters or segments and hope the emotive appeal is completely uniform for all of them – but we know that is not reality.

That said, it is important to note that digital marketing needs to be managed wisely and brand content should not disrupt the user experience, but instead enhance it. Relevancy in messaging will be key to how positively emotive content is received.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the way digital is being used today. A huge word of caution here – less than optimal targeted marketing via digital channels has been proven to have the opposite effect. Recent Aimia research into consumer attitudes toward digital marketing communications found many consumers feel they are getting too many digital messages, and they will rebel and take steps to change the relationship with the brand if this is the case – an action we’ve dubbed ‘the deletist consumer’. Characterized by their unforgiving attitude to brands, deletist consumers will pull the plug on receiving communications entirely if they receive irrelevant, impersonal marketing messages. CMOs beware – your teams may be looking for clicks and opens and sacrificing future results for short term volume. This means the deletist consumer could shrink your addressable audience, until hitting your numbers is no longer possible. The terrible multiplier effect of a declining addressable audience and declining relevancy scores will eventually drive declining click through and open rates and ultimately your KPIs.

Our research confirmed that consumers of all types were willing to make a fair trade with brands and give up some of their personal information in exchange for relevant and personalized messages. If the offers and content have real utility and value, consumers will permit the use of the demographic and behavioural data. So how do you use digital successfully?

Focus on your internal KPIs and Insights
Customer data can be overwhelming and feelings of inertia can settle in. By focusing on which KPIs you want to drive, then determining the insights that data can provide to directly inform the customer interaction, marketers can narrow down what data is ‘important’, allowing the collection, storage and analysis of only what is needed and when. This eliminates most of the paralysis. Ban the word “big data” from your company’s lexicon. Start using “profitable data” instead.

Adding Digital to the Media Mix
Brands should consider their digital strategies within the context of their overall marketing mix. After identifying the most critical customer touch points across the consumer journey, brands can determine the degree to which these inflection points can be enhanced by a digital strategy.

Channel Role Reinvention
A solid marketing strategy will have a multichannel orientation and not focus on digital exclusively. This holistic view will allow for a consistent customer experience at multiple levels of engagement. This becomes even more important when marketers realize that data and digital can be the way home for all their lifecycle management needs – not just acquisition. It opens the door to a large number of complete lifecycle touch points and can help accelerate a company’s customer centric approach.

Today’s digital marketing has the capacity to be more emotive than all other mediums. For brands, the key here is the ability to keep customers coming back. Digital marketing based on customer insights will engender loyalty and play a significant role in driving repeat purchase decisions.

Aimia is a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company. We provide our clients with the customer insights they need to make smarter business decisions and build relevant, rewarding and long-term one-to-one relationships with their customers.

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