“A 360-degree view of the customer includes every touchpoint across channels with your brand.” ~ Dan Arthur, Senior Director of Customer Experience and Operations, Andrew Reise Consultancy.

Today’s world of digital marketing presents what can be a bewildering plethora of opportunity and challenge for advertisers. For some medium to small companies, the idea that a website and a Facebook page might be sufficient is quickly fading. It is simply not enough – not if you want to catch your current and prospective customers on their journey of fleeting engagement through multiple online options.

However, taking your brand online requires serious research and planning. Posting something on social media once a day and hoping for a response is probably like trying to stab a mosquito with a pin. There’s much to know before you begin, otherwise, you might very well feel despondent and that your attempts are a waste of time.

Know your Customer

There are two things you need to know before you set up your strategy and both of them are your customer! One is the customer you already have, and the second is the customer yet to be. The first know your brand, know what to expect and are perhaps comfortable to receive your marketing outreach. The second is the customer still to be profiled and persuaded. One thing is sure – you should be able to find both of them online at some stage or another.

Research and Tools

To get a good idea of where your customer is, means collecting and collating data from several sources: websites, emails, blogs, a variety of social media platforms across the Internet, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., as well as mobile phones, websites and search engine browsing habits. There are well-devised tools that give you a fair indication of where your customer engages and at what times – but, unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily show you how your customer feels.

  • To draw maximum benefit from any digital presence, you need to build a persona of your most valued customer. To do that, you need to profile your customer across many platforms, working across all the points of contact as much as you can, including conventional marketing methodologies.
  • This means that you need to investigate and understand all your media options and what they can do for you before you can successfully track your customer. By doing this, you can map customers’ journeys – where they shop, what they buy, what they like. And you can soon flesh out the digital persona into real emotion – analysing moods, behaviours, feelings, etc.
  • Only once you have done extensive research, shadowing your customers like any good detective, you will have a good idea of who your preferred customer is; and only then can you really employ targeted marketing techniques with engaging, informative content.
  • The good thing about the tools at your disposal to do this is that it is becoming easier daily to identify your customers and track their individual digital footprints. In this way, you can analyse their habits, likes and dislikes, and tendencies to purchase – then you can adjust your marketing campaign accordingly.

Best Friends Forever

  • Every time a consumer uses the Internet, they leave a little more information behind. From the analytical tools at your disposal, you can gauge whether they have read an email or a blog, visited websites, where they like to shop, their social media presence, how often they visit any particular platform, etc. And all of this is grist to your campaign decisions.
  • However, be aware that you cannot betray a customer’s trust – all data collected must be kept secure, and privacy must be respected at all times.
  • When your customer reacts positively to your engagements, they will likely comment on your posts and often share them. In this way, you get your message out to a range of other possible connections via family, friends or friends of friends, continually building your campaign to a wider audience.
  • At this point, you can engage, respond, inform and entertain. Using every one of the online options open to you, you can follow through with good content marketing, keeping interest alive and your direct customers delighted, while at the same time reaching an ever-widening circle of potential new targets.
  • Gradually, you develop more knowledge about the ‘not as yet’ customer: their browsing patterns, locations, behaviour, and social media interactions. All the while you are developing content to build your brand and a closer relationship with both established and potentially new customers.

The value of Emotion

Essentially, examining your customers’ digital footprints gives you a good idea of what people are buying online…and more importantly what they are saying. When consumers like your page or comment positively on your posts, you know that you have good interaction – and when they are customers who are still considering your products, these interactions can increase your online presence significantly. Once people see your brand as a good experience or a solution to a problem, they are usually willing to share your information with friends and family.

Time and Patience

Finding your customer’s digital footprint and ultimately expanding your influence through their connections, and making an impact through useful and entertaining content, takes time. For many smaller companies, the timespan of at least two years sounds daunting. Finding enough material for emails, blogs, posts, etc, can require both time and ingenuity, even if you have gathered the useful information that will effectively target your preferred customer online with good positioning, timing and content. However, once you have your research in hand, and have set up your strategy, the keywords for the online world are consistency and tenacity.

Before you might think that digital is over, and that print is the returning king, there is a wealth of change always moving in the digital world. But Millennials who once spurned print, are turning back to its value, because it’s still there in every aspect of life. However, print excellence is still a key factor. Print – from paper to copy to fonts to colours – needs busy eyes. The pitfalls of print are also, in essence, its salvation.

Finding us… Out of the Blue

Above all, the way to truly engage in a strategy designed to fit various customers’ digital footprints still lies in the value of the content that you provide. Most consumers don’t know what you know about them – but what they will know about you is the value of your information, empathic voice, and friendly engagement – and wherever they are, you are most conveniently there also; a stable, steady, savvy brand with a relatable value system and shareable image.

Come and talk to us. We’re in that edgy business of surprise called marketing. At Out of the Blue Creative Communication Solutions, we work with clients to build communications that do better business through concepts that are smart and relevant.

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Author otb-2020

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