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5 Ways to Reach Customers in the Digital Era

January 29, 2013 By Kamal Tahir
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Marketers have grown up with the foundation of the four Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion and place. These are as relevant today as they were when first coined for both online and offline efforts. However, as time passes and the discipline of marketing becomes more complex and more enabled, additional factors come into play to augment and enhance the foundation, especially as marketers navigate a fragmented marketing structure encompassing online and offline data and tactics. Here are five key factors that have the power to impact marketing performance:

  1. Predictive: Using modeling and predictive analytics, marketers can better determine who is likely to purchase a certain item, and also when they're most likely to purchase. This is helpful in increasing the effectiveness of campaigns and reducing waste. It also prevents a company from generating negative customer sentiment due to undesired contact or content.
  2. Personalized: This goes hand-in-hand with using predictive analytics, but incorporates what's known about customers. Factors range from the preferred mode of communication (e.g., are they more likely to respond to email or direct mail) to the type of messaging that resonates with them. Take for example two people living in the same neighborhood who are in the market to purchase an SUV. Perhaps the same vehicle would fill the needs of both people, but customized communication tailored to their interests and needs would result in one being more outdoor-focused, featuring messaging and images as such, while the other features the same vehicle being used to haul materials for business. Don't forget to customize delivery to a preferred channel — email for one, Facebook for the other. Doing so further creates a personalized experience based on the user's preference.
  3. Permission powered: A key way to engage customers and prospects is to have them opt in to receiving communications from your brand. Permission-based marketing is getting more specific in terms of types of products, mode of communication, frequency, etc. Review current personalization capabilities being provided to customers; they provide a detailed road map to help deliver more effective campaigns.
  4. Peer reviewed: Peer reviews are important for specifics about a product's performance. The value of peer reviews increases with factors such as location or keywords used by a reviewer to describe themselves. Customers may be more interested in the perspective of a fellow reviewer who is more like them than someone who is less similar to them. Enable shoppers to sort or select the reviews by ratings and various criteria about those providing reviews.
  5. Proactive: Being proactive in implementing one or all of the factors above is important. Don't wait for customers to tell you what they want, as they may do so by going to your competition. Don't wait for a "critical mass" in your competitive set to start following these guidelines. Use it as a competitive advantage for better customer engagement and higher return on investment. Listen to your customers, anticipate what they want and when they want it, then deliver it.

Adding Ps to the marketing mix may seem complex and time consuming. While there is an element of complexity present, better planning and proactive solutions take time. The returns, however, can be great. There are a growing set of solutions available to marketers which can help even the smallest of businesses become better engaged and drive better results. It's no longer for just the big companies.

The final P? Stay positive. While trends and buzzwords will come and go, the movement towards better engagement with the factors noted above is a win-win for businesses and buyers.

Kamal Tahir is senior manager of product management at Experian. Kamal can be reached at kamal.tahir@experian.com.


 

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