Every year, marketers jump on the bandwagon of what the latest and greatest thing will be in marketing; at the moment if you don’t jump on Snapchat within 12 months you’ll be dead in the water. In this opinion piece, Lee Hawksley, Senior VP and General Manager, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, JAPAC argues while it’s important to keep up with the newest channels and be open to what they can offer, marketers must not lose sight of the ultimate goal – customer experience.
One of the key takeouts from our recent report: Digital Marketing Predictions 2016, is that the best marketers are those that place the customer at the heart of everything they do. These marketers make customer experience the starting point of any digital marketing strategy.
I want to highlight this important fact: So far, nothing has replaced anything in digital marketing. Amazon has not killed the retail store; digital has not killed print; mobile messaging has not killed email … and so forth. Instead, what we’ve seen is a layering of new digital channels on top of existing channels, which creates a rich tapestry of ways to connect with customers.
New channels are opportunities, not threats. Its striking how new channels constantly build upon existing ones, instead of tearing them down. Here are four examples:
Instagram and Snapchat hasn’t replaced Facebook
If there’s one thing modern marketers love, it’s data. We have access to more data than ever — but we must be cautious about how and what we draw from it. I’ve seen study after study surveying consumers on their channel preference, and many of these studies proclaim that young adults and teens prefer Instagram and Snapchat to Facebook.
In reality, Facebook is growing. This past August, for the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day. That was no accident; Facebook regularly innovates with new features to keep users coming back, like live video for public figures and auto-play video. Instagram and Snapchat are on the rise, too, but Facebook’s growth globally and among older users is nothing to sneeze at.
It’s hard to imagine a company with a successful digital presence not having a Facebook page. There are 45 million active business pages and over one billion people visit these pages per month. That alone indicates the network’s potential for connecting with customers.
In addition to exploiting new tools such as live video; Facebook also looks at how it can sweat its existing channels further. In our Digital Marketing Predictions 2016 report, Stephen Scheeler, managing director for Australia and New Zealand Facebook said the company is re-imaging and re-developing its Messenger tool to drive advertising and business outcomes.
Don’t stop believing in print just because digital is on the rise
Magazines, handwritten letters, and direct mail ads aren’t museum installations — they’re still part of everyday life. Print hasn’t disappeared from marketing strategies, either. Instead, print marketing is evolving from spray and pray to on-demand and one-to-one.
In fact, some of our largest customers have asked for ways to integrate their print and digital channels using one platform. They want to send customers triggered, unique print messages as part of an overall customer journey – merging both physical and digital components. So, to entirely ignore the print side is a mistake.
With the addition of on-demand print to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, customers can receive physical printed materials alongside email, social, and in-app content. When print is layered on top of the digital experience — the channel remains alive and well.
Social hasn’t killed the email star!
Email is likely to maintain its relevance as a powerful marketing tool, despite its comparative age. It remains the tool most likely to generate an order, transaction or click-through.
Email remains the top channel for the majority of in-office dealings and brand-to-customer communications, and plenty of personal conversations, too. Mobile has actually reinvigorated — not obliterated — email, with 53 per cent of emails now opened on mobile devices. Mobile messaging and email not only coexist; they give customers more options to use the channels they prefer, which give marketers more ways to reach them.
For marketers, email is one of the most effective channels for 1:1 personalised messages to be shared. Just because it isn’t sexy and new, doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.
Ad blocking isn’t the end of great advertising
Apple’s iOS 9 introduced a new ad-free environment for iPhones, but ad blocking is an old-school service. Think back to the pop-up blockers you likely installed on an old PC. While ad blockers are indeed becoming more popular and sophisticated, new ad platforms are also driving innovation for both customers and marketers.
These new ads are emotional and entertaining storytelling vehicles, just like the best ads always have been. Add in the possibilities for targeted personalisation and you can appreciate why the future of online advertising is bright.
It’s my strong-held belief that marketing and customer service should work to the benefit of one another. Harvard Business Review echoes, “The new frontier of marketing will be service, not sales.” Today’s marketers are fortunate that they have more channels at their disposal to serve customers than ever before.
Marketers must create an integrated experience for their customers, who make the most of every digital and physical channel, and then allow the customer to pick whichever one they prefer. So my advice is: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, sweat all channels – both new and old – and work out the layers that resonate best with your customers.
Remember, we’re marketers, not magpies.