Ask any PR or marketing pro with digital chops how a dynamic web has changed marketing communications and the answers are liable to boil down to ease, speed, volume and accessibility. These are all reasonable answers, but there’s one more that’s quite telling and it has to do with channels.
In his latest book, Content, Inc., the godfather of content marketing Joe Pullizzi paints a compelling evolutionary picture of channel growth in the second chapter (you can find my review of his prievious book here):
“Before 1990, there were only eight channels available where a company could communicate with a consumer: at an event, by fax, through direct mail, by telephone, on television, through the radio, on a billboard or in a print magazine or newsletter. In 2015, there are literally hundreds of channels where consumers access content.”
It’s this growth in channels that’s reshaped marketing strategy so dramatically, particularly in the digital space. It’s hard to achieve the visibility necessary to drive business results while also staying on budget. The economics of marketing with all spokes and no hub is unsustainable.
Visibility is becoming a commodity, channels are fragmented and the audience is fractured. Even with the good fortune of a large budget, it’s hard to find a critical mass of a target audience…anywhere. This has produced a paradox where marketing has become easier in some ways, but harder in others.
Customers may hop frequencies and channels, but research says customers don’t distinguish between conversations over various channels. Marketers may tend to think of these conversations in fragments, but to a customer, perhaps to a prospect as well, it’s all the same conversation.
This is another reason why a hub, an owned media platform, and content marketing strategy, are so important. Sure it unifies the spokes — email, social media, PPC, gated content — which is sound marketing. But we’re also learning it unifies the conversation fragments our customers already see as a dialouge.
And so “channels” is the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links – the impact on customer expectations, the knowledge gap among marketing leaders, and a new twist from a reliable channel.
“Customers don’t view their relationships and interactions with brands in discrete channels,” according to this piece by eMarketer which rounds up several studies:
“As explored in a new eMarketer report, “The Customer Experience Mandate: Brand Strategies to Meet and Exceed Customers’ Always-On Expectations,” the number of potential channels or touchpoints in which one can encounter a brand is vast and continuing to expand—and they’re not always direct or controlled. Customers don’t view these interactions as channel-centric or as journeys, paths and lifecycles in the same way a brand might view them. Each one, however small, elicits emotion from the person at the other end. Over time, these individual interactions or moments accrue, forming the basis for customer experience.”
We tend to think of channels in terms of sites and media, but it’s also devices and conduits. The iPhone is a clear example as Devon Wijesinghe the CEO of Atlanta-based Insightpool, social optimization platform, points out in this piece:
“Today’s boards of directors are now asking the senior management, “what are we doing about digital?” and some are even asking for the exact metrics. They previously may have needed a translator; meaning someone who could help draw a parallel between normalized more traditional marketing metrics to what that actually meant in digital speak. So in 2016 our past VP of marketing is now 46. He may have hired some great 25-35 year olds that were baptized in digital and has been able to get away with telling his boss that he has to be the go between. When all of a sudden digital has now become the standard and CEO himself is being immersed in it. Senior managers want to be closer to the actual detail because their jobs are on the line too. Guess what…the 46-year-old ‘translator’ is now out, and up comes the ‘kids’ that were baptized in the modern world.”
Among digital vehicles, email is perhaps the oldest channel and many would argue email is still a killer app. Many email providers advise customers to prune inactive subscribers, but one provider, MailChimp, released data earlier this year challenging that notion (the chart nearby is by MailChimp). In crunching “6.6 billion sends” the technology vendor found:
“After crunching all the numbers, we’ve got some great news—it turns out that 1 inactive subscriber is worth 32% of an active subscriber. That’s a lot of revenue! We also learned that inactive subscribers purchase more frequently and are less likely to churn than customers who aren’t subscribed to your email list.”
* * *
Did you know? This blog has transformed into a PR agency based in greater Atlanta with PR, content marketing and social media services engineered for the B2B market. Contact us to learn how we can start driving consistent, sustainable and process-driven results.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
In Content Marketing, Marketers Might be Losing Their Way