I’d be willing to bet that, like me, your email inbox was inundated with retail offers this past Christmas season. And like me, you probably gave each message no more than a quick glance before consigning it to electronic oblivion. Most offers were uninteresting or not relevant to you.
The problem is getting worse, according to The Wall Street Journal. It notes that the number of holiday shopping emails jumped 15 percent between 2015 and 2016. The percentage of recipients who opened them, meanwhile, dropped by 15 percent. The culprit? A lack of understanding on the retailers’ part of how to use their data to zero-in on customer preferences.
New challenge in marketing – how to ensure customers have the same experiences no matter which touchpoint they use?
Yet, sellers are about to face an even bigger disconnect when it comes to reaching customers. In particular, the marketing automation tools used today use a first-generation approach. Designed 5 to 7 years ago, they’re mostly limited to a combination of webpage, email interaction and a bit of social media.
They haven’t adapted fast enough to today’s buying landscape, where customers expect all of their touchpoints – from store visits to online chats to Snapchat – to be seamlessly integrated. The customer buying journey has changed forever and those who want to be successful must adapt to the new situation.
Touchpoint marketing, as the name makes plain, is about blurring the distinction between channels, focusing on touchpoints of interaction. It’s about collecting more data about customers and using it in a competitive way. The approach has to be proactive, well-tailored and adaptable to whatever media or device the customer is actually using.
Moving to omni-channel marketing where customers can communicate with you seamlessly no matter what touchpoint they are using, takes time and effort. The steps, however, are straightforward.
They start with a holistic analysis of your current system to see what its capacities are, as well as what kind of data you are – or could be – collecting. They also include old-fashioned market research to better understand your customer base and how to connect with them.
Whatever system is implemented, you must remain dynamic in how you run it, constantly updating the way you’re using your data and reaching customers in a rapidly-changing environment.
As Salesforce’s Mathew Sweezey pointed out recently, the future of marketing requires us to see automations across this hyper-connected network, and not just within our marketing automation tools. He calls this marketing automation 2.0.
The approach may sound more hands-on and demanding than the marketing automation you’re used to, but it’s the best way to find success as the market transitions away from email and toward better options. Think about that the next time you delete spam.