One Marketing Concept to Unite Them All
From time to time Newman and I come across a fundamental idea. Today was one of those days. And damn, it feels good to be a gangsta when that happens.
Recently, I’ve been looking into marketing automation tools. These tools also want to distill everything into segments and funnels. This process can start on a website but it’s certainly not limited to it. Marketing automation tools also extend to a range of marketing events including email, direct mail, webinars, and social media.
I’ve also been working with a SaaS (software as a service) client in user testing their app. In this case, rather than drive a user through a series of paths or funnels, it’s about keeping the user engaged in the product. High engagement means happy, paying subscribers.
All three of these components at their heart want to do the same thing: they want to deliver the right message at the right time.
The Key Concept: Personal Attention
This messaging and timing combo is known as “personal attention” and it’s the concept that’s going to revolutionize how you do business.
Think, for a moment, about how this one concept redefines ALL of your company messaging. It’s quite possible that you’re already getting a lot right. But what you can do now is see your marketing as part of a larger, more wholly integrated cycle.
All companies hope to engage in some kind of relationship marketing. And that’s just a fancy way of saying that once you get a customer, you want to keep them as a customer. And this relationship can be seen as a cycle.
At each step in the cycle, technology is now giving us the tools to give customers and potential customers better personal attention.
Let’s look at what a typical experience can look like now.
0. FINDING US – The potential customer finds their way to our website. This could be from marketing, a Google search, or other reason.
1. INTEREST – The website has to create interest. Using a combination of analytics tools and persuasive techniques we try to create enough interest to want to buy our product/service. Should the website fail at doing this initially, we try to collect some data that will allow us to continue to market to them. This could be an email address, a Facebook, Twitter, or other social network connection, a phone number, or a physical address. We will engage in various marketing campaigns to try to get the user to buy our product/service.
2. BUY – This is the actual sales process. It could be web based or it could require a sales person. In either case, technology will be playing a support role. This is still about delivering the right message at the right time. In the case of an ecommerce solution, the messaging turns to shipping, the return policy, the cancellation policy, and to credibility indicators. It should also be really easy to check out. In a lead based business, the website could hand off to a sales person. And then it becomes the salesperson’s job to finish providing the right message at the right time.
3. EXPERIENCE – This encompasses the entire experience that a user has with your product or service. For an ecommerce site, it starts when they first visit your site and ends when they get their goods. For a SaaS website, this is largely about the look and feel of your app. While this may seem like a time to start drifting from the idea of “personal attention”, this is really the time where it becomes most crucial. Your experience has to account for the fact that users want to get off message and they don’t have any consistency in their timing. In other words, people aren’t linear. Figuring out the motivation for your users to stay engaged in your product is key. Keeping them engaged is also key. This is all driven by messaging and timing.
4. RECLAIMING/REMARKETING – At this stage, you’re either starting to lose your customer or you’ve already lost them. It happens. Dying is a part of living. And turnover is a part of business. But this too is an opportunity to market to your customers. Marketing plans can be designed to get people back in the door or to keep customers who seem to be engaging less frequently.
What’s the Big Difference?
I can hear a few of the skeptical ones now. “So what?” they say. Direct marketing blah blah blah. Dan Kennedy blah blah blah. Smart marketers have been doing this forever! And this is kinda true. Various iterations of what we’re talking about have been around for some time. But the technology is now getting good enough to track people to a high enough degree that we can get really personal in delivering personal attention.
It’s not that this is a new idea. It’s the degree to which we can seriously implement this that’s compelling.
Think of this simple, realistic possibility:
1. I go to your website.
2. I do not buy but I click on something that puts me on a remarketing list.
3. I start to see your ads around the Internet.
4. I eventually click on an ad and go through your tour. In the process I give up my email address for a white paper.
5. Now your Marketing Automation tool has my email address and starts sending me email based on my interests on your website.
6. After several emails and no response from me, they deliver a special deals email that gets me to try their service.
7. I sign up for the service and am given the chance to refer a friend. I get a free month for ever 3 friends I invite.
8. I continue to receive updates based on my usage pattern of the service. They introduce me to features and give me tips based on what I use (if I’m active) and incentivise me to come back if I’m not.
9. As my usage drifts off – indicating that I’m likely to quit, I get sent emails suggesting ways to get reinvolved OR a way to pause my account heading off the possibility of cancellation.
10. If I cancel, there is messaging that tries to get me to stay. But it’s easy enough to quit that it doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth.
11. I can be put on a list to engage in future marketing for previous customers and can become part of that re-sales process.
This is a game shifter because it recognizes that each action is happening as part of a larger cycle. And that entire cycle can be integrated and managed.
THIS IS A BIG DEAL.
It’s going to dictate how your website is designed, how your sales process is run, and the kind of relationship that you have with your customer. In a way, it always has. The difference now is that we have so much data and technology at our fingertips that we’re getting to the point to where the word personal in personal attention can be used literally. We are rapidly moving to mass, largely automated 1-to-1 marketing.
And it’s all based on the idea of personal attention.