Managing a marketing campaign, whether across digital or traditional media, often means that multiple avenues will be used to reach a variety of consumers. The key to reaching consumers today is to establish a cohesive message that is a reflection of the company's mission, vision, and values. Don't waste time with trying to create multiple personas to reach different customers' segments; this will create confusion, and will not get through consumers' working memories. Once the desired story and persona are crafted, create marketing messages that communicate the company's values and the product's potential value. With the large amount of advertising messages consumers see each day, make an impact and tell a story that consumers see and process, instead of ignoring and passing by.
To do this, companies, and specifically marketing departments, should do three things.
The first step is defining how the company wants to be perceived by customers. This extends past the marketing department, and needs to be present during the entire customer journey. Perception is completely in the customer's realm, and impossible to fake. This perception needs to relate back to the company's mission, vision, and values, and be reflected in company strategies. Information is available so readily to consumers that if marketing messages are not transparent and authentic, consumers will quickly figure this out and develop a different, negative perception of the company as being fake or phony. Tell the story, and build a relationship with the customer. The goal is to ensure the customer's journey with the brand matches the vision and expectations communicated by marketing messages, and the first step is to clearly articulate what the intended perception is. Marketers need to be able to measure, analyze, and adjust in order to optimize messages' effects.
The second is to have a strategy and a roadmap to incorporate new technologies into the marketing department to reach consumers. Technology is changing rapidly, and new devices and apps are available in an increasing velocity. People are willingly digitizing themselves, adding more content to the Internet of Things by adding information outlets to their lives and hence creating more data about themselves that is available to marketers. This creates more opportunities than ever to interact with consumers, but companies have resource constraints and should ensure that any new technology will add value to their existing marketing, and align with the company's overall strategy. This strategy should address how to handle new and existing technologies and ever-increasing amounts of data, and how, when, and where to incorporate them into their marketing strategy. It should also be forward-thinking, and address future new technology. How is the company going to react? How will new information and data requirements be handled? Will it change anything about existing marketing media? Who will be responsible for handling potential negative feedback? These strategies and policies need to be flexible enough to apply to a variety of possible new technologies and channels, and enable the company strategy. (For example, if a company strategy is a high speed of adoption of new technologies, the policies should allow for short time frames, and include follow-up assessments). New digital touch points need to be aligned with the company strategy and then integrated into the overall marketing plan, if adopted. This needs to be reflected in both the overall company strategy, and the marketing strategy. How a company reacts to new technology and new information will affect how consumers' perception, so be prepared with a strategy in hand, not surprised.
The third step is to implement the roadmap. Identify the tools and technologies selected in the previous step to reach consumers, and implement these with a coherent message, and a similar strategy and policies. The technology needs to be implemented in accordance with company strategy. When ApplePay was launched, many credit card issuers moved quickly to be seen as early adopters, but some failed to implement the new technology with adherence to security strategies and added cards to ApplePay without adequately vetting the numbers and sources. Because of this, credit card fraud escalated for a short time, and could have easily been avoided. If the right strategies and policies are in place and are followed, tools and technologies will smoothly align with strategies and policies, new technologies will later brought in, and marketing messages will smoothly reach the audience through a variety of channels.
The fourth and final step is to build a process to ensure that all marketing and communications adhere to the above strategies. Marketing and communications departments now need to work together, to ensure that all company messages are integrated with the overall perception, because consumers will lump all messages together. Marketing data will begin to accumulate through the selected channels and conclusions can be drawn as trends emerge. Use the data to adjust the marketing messages, and work with consumers to develop advocates for products and brands. Consumers readily give information on their perceptions and thoughts, it is the marketer's job to interpret this data and take action.
A solid foundation is required before a company can create consumer advocates. Make the message (and then the relationship) authentic, and tell the story of the company. Build tools and technology platforms that communicate this message appropriately, and all align to the company core tenants. This will allow consumers to build a perception and then opinion of a company that aligns with the overall message marketing is trying to communicate, and find the value in a product independent of the channel that was used to communicate the message.