Great video from SAS "Digital Marketing -- What It Is and Why It Matters."
While SAS makes statistical and analytical software for Fortune 1000 companies, and those that can afford to spend seven figures on a software solution, the video is just as relevant to small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs).
Any B2B or B2C company needs to be promoting their product or service using electronic media.
The internet, and social media, has leveled the palying field for SMEs to compete with companies with much largeer marketing budgets.
If you have a compelling story to tell, digital media is a very cost effective way to market.
Consumers today are three times more likely to trust what a stranger says about a product or service on the Internet than what a company says about itself.
It is critical to earn the trust of customers by doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.
Likewise, your product or service better do as well, or better, than you say it will or you will be called out on social media.
The way to earn customers' trust is to provide information of value that is both personalized and relevant.
The more your know about your customers, the more you can customize your commuications to them and provide them with solutions that anticipate their needs based on your knowledge.
Digital marketing enables you to analyze what is, and is not, working in real time enabling you to make adjustments in real time.
SAS identifies three challenges in marketing today:
- The proliferation of digital channels. You need to know on what channels your target audience is congregating and meet them there with information of value. If you're not sure where they're congregating, ask them. Have an ongoing dialog with your customers to get to know them, their needs and their wants.
- Competition is intensifying. This is a function of it being easier to compete. Large companies are notorious for providing poor, or no, customer service. A small company can providing customers with an outstnading customer experience that they'll tell others about. This is how Ace Hardware is taking share from Home Depot and Lowes.
- Data is exploding and it's not integrated. Companies tend to keep data in separate silos making cross-channel or inter-company analytics difficult and unproductive. Companies large and small have a lot of data about their products, finances and customers. Those with the intelligence to use the data they have to benefit the customer will win. Again smaller, more agile companies are able to outflank larger, less flexible and more siloed companies.
SAS suggests taking three actions:
- Manage complex customer relationships across multiple channels. I suggest having an excellent CRM system with which everyone in your firm is familiar and uses when interacting with prospects and customers. Let your employees know, and ask your client-facing employees, what information need to be collected on clients to provide a consistently outstanding customer experience.
- Respond to, and initiate, dynamic customer interactions. Be prepared to have an informed dialog with your customer in person, online or on the phone. This is where an accurate and up to date CRM system is critical. The more you know about your customer, the more the customer knows you care about them as an individual. The more personal the dialog, the greater the customer's emotional connection to your brand.
- Extract value from big data to make better more informed decisions. If you keep good records, you're able to make well informed decisions using "little" data as well. I've used the data clients had available to determine what the ideal price difference should be between a branded product and a generic. Likewise, I've been able to show a client a positive correlation between their media spending and market share. Big data is nice to have, but make sure you are making the most out of the data you do have.
Ultimately you must know your customers better than your competition knows them so you can communicate with them when, where and how they are most receptive to your message.
You need a consolidated view of customer expectations and preferences across all channels -- traditional, digital and social; as well as, brick and mortar and online.
All of your communications and knowledge must be integrated to create consistent and coordinated communications and customer experiences.
The more consistent and coordinated the communications and customer experience, the more trust you build. Trust is the foundation of long-term customer relationships and the opportunity to provide "wow" experiences that your customers will tell their friends, family and colleagues about.
Let me know if I can assist you in garnering insights from existing data, or customers, that will help you accelerate sales by improving products, services, communications or customer experience.