As a custodian of business, what strategies should you deploy to ensure your customers seek your communications? Simple: reduce or eliminate the traits and replace them with the following:
1. Put customers’ interests before your company.
2. Strive to provide a two-way platform for the customer to engage and co-create the brand communication along with you.
3. Strive to customize and personalize the communication for every customer.
4. Make your communication context-based location-relevant for the customer, and
If you adhere to these guidelines, chances are customers will seek out your communications.
Let us share examples of successful communications that follow these principles.
Native content: Let’s take an automobile company.
Just before the onset of the monsoon, it wants owners to get their cars serviced. Merely advertising in newspapers may not be effective. It creates a newsletter titled ‘5 Ways to Drive Safely During the Monsoon’ and puts it out in the public domain. The link is likely to interest customers because the title indicates that the information will be helpful to them. Result: they click on the link which displays the promised content. The fifth point in the list urges them to get their cars serviced, with a link directing them to the automobile company’s web page offering the servicing facility.
This approach works because the content is contextually relevant: car owners are already primed for safety during monsoon, so more people are likely to sign up for getting their cars serviced. Now is the automobile company running after customers, or is it the other way around?
Offers and schemes: Let’s stay with the same automobile company. Nine months have elapsed since the monsoon offer. Now it wants car owners to get their vehicles serviced again. Merely advertising is likely to get an inadequate response. A communication is released ‘offering’ free servicing to the first 5000 car owners who register; everyone else who registers also gets a 25 percent discount; the response is likely to be good because it is in the car owners’ interest note for servicing. Again, instead of the company running after customers, the customers will run after it.
Rewards and loyalty programs: Many companies have a formalized strategy for enrolling customers in their reward and loyalty programs. These programs are designed to secure customer loyalty for their business. Many Starbucks Rewards offer a free drink, while Encircle the loyalty card of Titan provides a discount during the birthday month. This tends to be a good deal for all.
These rewards and loyalty programs are like golden handcuffs. Take my case. 01 was enrolled in the Jet Airways loyalty program, Jet Privilege. Each time you flew Jet Airways, ‘you earned free miles. This is a reward you got for displaying loyalty. The more you flew with Jet Airways, the more points you accrued, which you can redeem for free tickets and a host of gifts. Frequently, even though Jet Airways’ itinerary was not convenient, or the key was expensive, we still insisted on flying it because of the allure of free points.
Dynamic advertising: This seeks to serve customized advertisements to a customer. It is gaining in popularity because the online marketplace is cluttered with ads. Therefore, for an ad to be noticed by potential customers, it needs to make a connection. That can happen if it is customized to be in sync with the current interest of the customers.
Dynamic advertising extracts information through web scrapping, aka web harvesting, about the likes and dislikes of individuals from multiple sources, including social media. It serves communication that matches ‘liked’ and refrains from acting things that are ‘disliked.’ Customers seek these communications because they are of interest. Not surprisingly, dynamic advertising garners better returns on investments.
Writes Sunil Gupta in Harvard Business Review:
‘Red Roof Inn realized that flight cancellations in the US left 90,000 passengers stranded every day. Imagine the emotions of a typical passenger at that moment—it perhaps starts with frustration and anger at the airlines and then turns toward the need to find a place to stay overnight. Recognizing this, the marketing team of Red RoofInn developed a way to track flight delays in real-time that triggered targeted ads for Red Roof Inn near airports. Ads that said, “Stranded at the airport? Come stay with us!” captured the consumers at the right moment, which resulted in a 60 percent increase in bookings compared to other campaigns.